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      Linval Joseph article


      Giants Legend
      Giants Legend

      Linval Joseph article

      Post  Big_Pete on Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:02 am

      Giants DT Linval Joseph slimmer, ready for more responsibility
      Published: Monday, August 22, 2011, 4:30 AM
      Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger By Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger

      Linval Joseph says his “tray is a little lighter” this year.

      By that, it might seem he means he’s carrying less food, and that would be accurate because the Giants defensive tackle, listed at 323 pounds, is trying to maintain a lower weight in the 315-pound range.

      But what Joseph truly means is he no longer feels bogged down like he did as a rookie. With no more two-a-days in training camp, a better understanding of the playbook and more refined technique, Joseph feels faster, freer and ready to step into a bigger role.

      Which is appropriate because, after Barry Cofield signed with the Redskins, Joseph became the presumed starter next to Chris Canty.

      “I knew when they let him go, I had to step up to the plate,” Joseph said the other day. “All the doors are open right now and I have to do the best I can do. ... I just know I’m a step ahead. I have a year under my belt knowing all the plays and what we have to do and what I need to do. It’s easier in a way.”

      Joseph is starting to make things look easier and has impressed head coach Tom Coughlin with his work in the preseason opener nine days ago at Carolina. He came off the ball well and got good extension on the linemen across from him. It translated into only one assisted tackle, but last year’s second-round pick looked much more explosive than he did as a rookie.

      Monday night against the veteran interior of the Bears offensive line in a preseason game at New Meadowlands Stadium, Joseph will get a chance to further refine his technique.

      And he’d better do so quickly. Though the Giants have veteran tackles Rocky Bernard, Gabe Watson and Jimmy Kennedy on the roster alongside promising rookie Marvin Austin, Joseph is the biggest key as to whether the front four will survive without Cofield.

      “Linval has been impressive,” Coughlin said. “As the amount of playing time goes (up) and the level of competition gets better … it’s going to be interesting to continue to watch him. I’ve been pleased.”

      Asked specifically about Joseph’s coming off the ball quickly, Coughlin replied, “He’s been a load. There were a few times last year where he was late (off the snap) but I don’t see much of that.”

      Joseph played in only six games as a rookie and saw a chunk of his time in short-yardage situations. He was the equivalent to a hard-throwing reliever in baseball: one inning, mostly fastballs and just let it fly. Now, he’s more like a starting pitcher making three turns through the lineup, so he’s learning to mix in some off-speed pitches. He just didn’t get the chance to throw them in against Carolina.

      It’s why he cautioned against looking to the stat sheet to assess his play.

      “That’s how you bait: You start off one way and the next time you think I’m going to do that and then I do something else,” Joseph said. “But (against the Panthers) that’s the only opportunity I had to give that person that move. I’m working on one guy and trying to loosen him up and when I finally get him fitted, he’s gone.

      “And at the same time you don’t want to give all your tricks out in the preseason.”

      True, but in Joseph’s case, he must quickly figure out what kind of tricks he has.

      “I try to share little nuggets here and there, but a lot of stuff he’s doing a great job of picking up on his own,” Canty said. “He’s very diligent in watching film, he’s a freak in the weight room and he’s over here all the time working out and conditioning, so he takes really good care of himself.

      “But as far as defensive linemen go, usually the light switch doesn’t come on until their third year, around that time. To see that in him and it’s just his second year is impressive. It’s been faster for him.”

      Heck, it has to be.

      “We don’t have a choice,” Canty said. “But it’s good to see it’s happening with him. He’s going to be fine.”

      Mike Garafolo:

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        Current date/time is Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:22 pm