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Herzlich making strides

Mark Herzlich of the New York Giants tackles

Mark Herzlich of the New York Giants tackles Kahlil Bell of the Chicago Bears. (Aug. 22, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty

Was it a good play? Sure. I think the run by Da’Rel Scott a few snaps later was better. But Mark Herzlich’s interception was the one that wound up on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays of the Day.

(UPDATE: I've been told both plays made the Top 10 -- guess I should watch the whole way through and not bail after number 5!)

Herzlich checked two receivers who came across his path and stayed in the middle to intercept the fourth-quarter pass from Caleb Hanie on fourth-and-2 from the 4. Let's face it: He drew national attention on the play largely because of his compelling story as a cancer survivor. But more importantly, he drew the attention of the Giants’ coaching staff on that play and others. That’s what matters more than SportsCenter shoutouts.

“He did some very good things on special teams and of course made a really nice interception down on the goal line,” Tom Coughlin said of Herzlich. “He is a really smart kid that enjoys playing. He is a good teammate and guys rally around him and have great pride in his individual success last night and he is showing improvement. He is a guy who has learned and learned fast. He gets himself in good position.”

Coughlin said his “understanding” is that Herzlich would have been a first-round pick had he not been diagnosed with cancer and had to come back from that illness and its treatments. Coughlin wouldn’t say that Herzlich has returned to that form, when he was a junior at Boston College. But he’s obviously making strides.

“He is much better then he was a year ago,” Coughlin said, “and if he stays on the track, we are excited about that.”

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