EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Nat Berhe, considered a front-runner for a starting safety job opposite Landon Collins with the New York Giants, missed most of the spring workouts with a calf injury. Berhe said Friday, however, that he doesn't feel like he is behind in the competition.
"I don't think I'm behind," Berhe said. "I think we're all starting at the same place right now. Here's when the real football starts when the pads come on."
Head coach Tom Coughlin said that Berhe, along with rookie Mykkele Thompson, will be taking limited snaps as they work their way back into action. Friday, Berhe took only a couple of reps with the third team toward the end of practice. Cooper Taylor took first-team reps in the spring and was still there on Friday.
"The best thing I can do is come out here and just play the best as I can," Berhe had said prior to practice. "I think everybody in the room wants to be on the first team. That's just how it is."
The 6-foot, 194-pound Berhe was a fifth-round pick a season ago. He was a key special teams contributor, but played only 32 snaps on defense. Inexperience at the safety spot is a concern for the Giants, and both defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and safeties coach Dave Merritt said during the spring that the young safeties were slow in making the necessary calls.
"You just need to make a call. Even if it's the wrong call and everybody's on the same page then we're alright," Berhe said. "Being afraid to make a call is probably the worst thing you can do out here. If you're not sure, say something. Make a call. There's no secrets on defense."
Berhe said that not making a call will mean incurring the wrath of veteran teammates.
"You gotta let somebody know out there or everybody's gonna start looking back at you," Berhe said.
"It's worse when you've got veteran guys in front of you. Jon Beason and all those guys looking back at you asking ‘where's call?' That's probably the worst feeling. So you don't want that to happen to you."
Berhe spent his rookie season learning from veterans like Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown. What did he learn from Rolle?
"Stay confident. Self talk. Antrel was big on that. He'd come out here every day and say he was the best, and he was just talking to himself. That was huge for me," Berhe said.
"You're here for a reason and you've just gotta believe it."
Berhe hopes his reason for being with the Giants is to be a starting safety in 2015.