One of the few issues hardly ever spoken about with the Giants offensive line, and few Giants fans hardly ever bring up purely out of fear that it might happen is – what happens if someone like Shaun O’hara goes down with an injury? It’s not something we’ve really had to deal with yet fortunately at an emergency level, but we know from the way things unfolded last year that the Giants offensive line will not always hold together, completely immune from injury. Kareem McKenzie and Rich Seubert’s injuries last year gave us a glimpse of what life might be like without Superbowl winning veterans in the Giants offenses’ most important trenches.
Fortunately though, the Giants 5th round draft pick of 2010 Mitch Petrus is working extra hard this off season to learn everything he possibly can from his teammates, in case someone like O’hara does become unavailable to play. In doing so the Arkansas lineman has stepped up and shown he is willing to do what it takes to help the Giants win, and has spent time learning how to fill in at center and both guards spots in the event the unthinkable happens. On his transition to the NFL:
“It’s been going great. I try to make sure I dot my i’s and cross my t’s, and my teammates have been really helpful.”
“(Offensive line) Coach (Pat) Flaherty gives us a quiz that we have to prepare every week — sort of like a study guide. We have to write down everyone’s position and their responsibilities, like the quarterback’s drop, his path, and the running back’s footwork, and draw up what the defense is for each example.”
“We don’t really get graded — we get to use our playbooks when we do them, but I don’t use my playbook. When I first started, I wasn’t really providing enough detail, so I started putting in that extra detail and got better feedback. That extra detail actually helps with making pre-snap reads and knowing where your guy might be going.”
“In the NFL, guys are faster, and it’s harder to cut them off and get around them. What I’ve found is that everyone has a lot better technique than they do in college. That’s what I think makes things faster — it’s not that guys are whizzing by you; it’s that you get beat if you don’t use the proper technique.”
On technique specifically, Petrus said one area of his game he’s looking to improve upon is his rub blocking:
“Guys in the NFL play a lot lower. Once I get on a guy, outside zones aren’t a problem. Getting around a guy (requires) a little more lateral bend as opposed to going straight out like I used to do in college. After I get on a guy and start to push, I can shed him, but I need to remember not to get on my toes or to overextend myself to where I’m off balance and can be thrown aside.”
“That’s the whole reason why I’m here,” he said. “I’m not one of those guys just looking to collect a paycheck. I love to play the game, I love to compete, and I want to do whatever I have to help my team win.”
Petrus sounds like his attitude is exactly in the right place. I look forward to seeing more of what he can do in camp, you never know what snags will develop along the way. Glad to here the rookie is ready for whatever might come his way.
[quotes via Yahoo]