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Wilkinson gets noticed in preseason game, gets promotion

Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York

Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks to throw the ball down field while under pressure from Gerris Wilkinson #59 and Mathias Kiwanuka #94 of the New York Giants. (Aug. 29, 2009) Photo Credit: Getty Images

One of the Tweets I sent out after Monday’s game was a note about how well Gerris Wilkinson had played. Well, apparently I wasn’t the only one who noticed. When the Giants defense came onto the field for practice today, Wilkinson was lined up as the starting strongside linebacker.

“It was earned by the way he played the other night,” Tom Coughlin said. “He had some physical tackles. He did well on special teams. He did well in the open field tackling a back out of the backfield. You want to be able to encourage the guys who do that.”

Coughlin did say that he thought Michael Boley, the regular starter at the position, played well. And Wilkinson’s starting there today was no reflection on Boley. So the move may have been largely ceremonial. The Giants are also without Chase Blackburn for a few weeks, so Wilkinson will need to be taking some reps at the spot. We'll have a better idea of his role as we move forward.

I did say in today's live chat that I think Wilkinson will have trouble making the 53-man roster. I stick by that. It's very crowded at the spot. But the Giants could be showcasing him a little bit to see if there are any interested teams out there looking for an athletic linebacker.

I spoke with Wilkinson after the game about his performance. For a guy who had been buried with the third team, he certainly took advantage of his opportunity once the Giants faced another team.

“As a linebacker, you can really only do so much in practice,” he said of not really flashing during the first two weeks of the preseason. “You’re not tackling. But once you step on the field you get to hit somebody in another jersey, that’s when people notice you.”

Did Wilkinson think he was noticed?

“I think a few people noticed,” he said, “if they were still watching in the fourth quarter.”

The coaching staff clearly was.

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