Tyler Sash said at the beginning of training camp that his time would come. He thought it may have come on Saturday night. It didn't.
When starting safety Stevie Brown went down in the first quarter with a knee injury that turned out to be a torn ACL, and Antrel Rolle was already on the sideline with an ankle sprain, the Giants needed somebody to step in and play with the starters. A perfect opportunity for Sash, a third-year player who has had his strongest training camp as a pro.
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Instead, the Giants put Will Hill on the field. The same Will Hill who will serve a four-game suspension at the start of the regular season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
"I was surprised because I've been working at backup safety," Sash said of being leapfrogged for a job by someone who won't even be able to fill it until October. "But at the same time they put in Will and Will came in and did a good job. All I can do is control my production when I'm on the field. I can't control when the coaches put me in the game.
"I continue to say my time will come and when that time comes I'll play my best," he added.
Sash has played well. He was credited with a safety and a pass defense against the Steelers and also recovered a fumble on a muffed punt. Against the Jets, when he got on the field with the defense in the second half, he recovered a fumble and had two tackles. He also had a special teams tackle.
Sunday, though, when asked directly about Sash, Tom Coughlin sounded like a coach who still needed convincing.
"Certainly he's going to get a lot of playing time," he said of Sash's opportunity to move up on the safety ladder. "Quite frankly, it's really up to the production. That goes for anybody. The opportunity is certainly going to be there, this weekend, this Thursday night. We've got to take advantage of it. Those guys that have the chance, that look at it, see the opportunity, they know what's in front of them. The play time will be outstanding for them and they have an opportunity to prove what they're capable of doing. They can help themselves in that regard."
Sash said not getting the opportunity immediately on Saturday was difficult.
"As a professional and as a competitor, obviously you want your number to be called," he said.
But there is still time. And with Hill soon leaving the team for a month, Sash knows what needs to be done.
"It doesn't matter if the last game I had two interceptions and a bunch of tackles, each and every week that I go out I'm trying to prove my worth every time I'm on the field," he said.
On Saturday, Sash was the forgotten man. But he also knows that a year ago, so was Stevie Brown. Who would have thought at this point last preseason that losing Brown for the year would have such an effect on the defense. Brown stepped in for injured players - first Rolle and then Kenny Phillips - and excelled. Now the Giants need someone else to be a Stevie Brown.
"That's what happens in sports," Sash said. "New names and new faces happen all the time."