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Nat Berhe: Giants’ “heat-seeking missile” ready to launch

If Darian Thompson can’t play, Berhe in line for start

NFL: Preaseason-New England Patriots at New York Giants
Nat Berhe delivers a punishing hit on Julian Edelman in a preseason game against the Patriots.
William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Ben McAdoo calls New York Giants safety Nat Berhe “our heat-seeking missile.” Unfortunately, that missile has been mostly stuck on the launch pad since the Giants selected him in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Berhe played sparingly as a rookie, getting only 31 snaps as veterans Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown and Quintin Demps patrolled the back of the defense. With a starting job there to be had in 2015, Berhe never got a chance. A calf injury suffered during OTAs never healed, resulting in season-ending surgery.

Berhe may finally get to take flight Sunday in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Rookie Darian Thompson, expected to be a starter since shortly after the Giants selected him in the third round, remains limited by a shoulder injury. If Thompson can’t go, or can only play limited snaps, the Giants will turn to Berhe at free safety.

“I think that life is all about timing, and so I just have to wait my turn. And the time is now,” Berhe said this week. “I'm pretty confident. I'm not going to lose that confidence, no matter what the situations is. I'm going to be ready to play.“

McAdoo said this week that he “absolutely” believed Berhe could do the job if called upon.

“He’s a guy that’s been struggling to get out in the field. He’s finally had a chance to get out there and stay out there,” McAdoo said. “He’s learned the defense and is improving as a communicator. He’s our heat seeking missile out there, fast and aggressive.”