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Paysinger ready to take advantage of open competition at linebacker

Giants linebackers Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich talk

Giants linebackers Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich talk after running drills at minicamp at the Timex Performance Center. (May 12, 2013) Credit: Joe Epstein

Spencer Paysinger ran with the starting defense on the first day of training camp. He knows that may not last.

“They say that when it comes to the depth chart, it can change any day and that we dictate how the depth chart goes,” Paysinger said. “If one person has a great day, he might be going with the ones. If a person slips up a little bit, he might be going with the twos and threes. We have to know our stuff and go out there and perform.”

With no incumbent (Michael Boley and Chase Blackburn are no longer here) , the field is wide open at all three linebacker spots.

“The days of etched in stone linebacker positions going into training camp are gone for us for right now,” Paysinger said.

Paysinger seemed to have a solid openeing practice. He was consistently in the backfield against running plays. He also did a nice job of jostling the ball away from Brandon Myers on a short pass over the middle.

The first starting group included Paysinger, Mark Herzlich and Keith Rivers. Jacquian Williams, Dan Connor and Aaron Curry ran with the second unit. Curry left the field midway through practice – Tom Coughlin said he had cramping issues – and was replaced by Kyle Bosworth.

Any of those seven players could wind up starting for the Giants. Some like Rivers and Curry are former first-rounders and the most highly-touted linebackers to come out of college in the last decade. Others, like Paysinger and Herzlich, came into the league undrafted.

“All that stuff – first rounders and everything -- that’s in the past,” Paysinger said. “Now those guys are a couple years removed from college as are we, so it’s how well do we know this defense now.”

Curry said he was happy to have that kind of open competition.

"In the beginning of my career, that was an issue," he said. "I walked out there and they said 'You're the starter.' When I was at school we competed every day. When I got to Oakland we competed every day. My goal now is to compete with everybody. One of my sayings is: If I won't compete with my teammates, I won't compete against the guy across from me. I want to compete against everybody and by doing that we're all going to raise each others' level of play."

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