Domenik Hixon usually studies his upcoming opponents by watching film and jotting down notes. This week, he said, it’s strange because the names he is writing down are so familiar.
“Writing down my friends’ names who I played with has been a little different,” Hixon said. “But knowing those guys and playing with them for so long, I know what I’m going to get.”
Hixon is just one former Giant player on the Panthers roster preparing to face his old team this week. Linebacker Chase Blackburn is also in Carolina. The Giants didn’t make much of an effort to retain either of them as free agents this offseason, but former Giants pro personnel guru Dave Gettleman, now the general manager of the Panthers, was all too happy to scoop them up.
Neither has contributed much on the field. Hixon has been fighting through a hamstring injury and has played in only one game and hasn’t had a pass thrown in his direction. Blackburn has played only special teams. But this week they’re at least able to give some insight into what’s going on up in New Jersey.
“Anytime you have a real familiarity with what the guys are going to attempt to do and how they’re going to attempt to attack things and what their strengths are, it helps you out a little bit,” Blackburn said.
Hixon said he hasn’t been shaken down for any information on the Giants, but he’s been able to help the coaches understand a few things. “If they ask me a question here or there I’ll answer it,” he said.
Hixon and Blackburn were both two-time Super Bowl winners with the Giants. But on Sunday, they’ll be on the other sideline.
“We were a close-knit group up there,” Hixon said. “They’ve got a lot of great guys. We’ll shake hands and do all that, but it’ll be after the game.”
“It doesn’t really affect anything,” he said of his relationships with Giants players. “It’s just playing football. I’ll talk to them after the game.”