September 28, 2021

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You have to earn your spot every day

3 min read
New York Giants place Blake Martinez, Joshua Kalu...


New York Giants linebacker Blake Martinez has yet to play in front of the home fans at MetLife Stadium. In his first season with Big Blue last year, the Giants’ defensive captain played in front of a load of empty seats.

That changed when the Giants practiced at MetLife with approximately 29,000 fans in attendance on Wednesday night.

“Green Bay was an awesome franchise, but this place is just as historic and I’ve heard nothing but positive things about the fans,” Martinez, the former Packer said. “I’m just excited to get out there today and see everybody out there wearing their jerseys screaming and yelling. It’s going to be special.”

Martinez is getting back into the swing of things for the Giants after missing time on the COVID-19 list. He is one of the league’s most prolific tacklers and most certainly one of the Giants’ team leaders. He is looking forward to the fans rooting on his unit, which is developing into one of the NFL’s best.

“I think every single team has a kind of home field advantage to it. I think it all depends on the kind of ebbs and flows of the game. If you’re out there dominating, scoring a lot of points, holding teams to very few points, the fans are going to back you and they’re going to kind of make that homefield advantage that much more,” Martinez said.

Martinez believes the defense is still on the upswing. He likes the makeup of the group in his second year, which is also the second season for coordinator Patrick Graham.

“Last year was last year. This is a new year, new group, new guys, kind of new chemistry, and things like that,” Martinez said. “Overall, I can kind of just speak for this training camp, what I’ve been a part of throughout these practices and things like that. This group has a lot of potential, but it’s all about us putting that work in every single day, working together, becoming a full unit, all working in unison, making all the checks, be in the right position, making plays.”

The lineup — outside of Martinez — is fluid and says the competition is making the team better.

“I think it’s competition every day. It’s something I can’t go out there and be like, ‘Oh, I’m starting.’ It’s something you want to work at every single day to get better, you have to keep improving,” Martinez said. “Coach Judge talks about it all the time, we don’t have starters, you have to earn it. That’s the thing no matter what, I go out there every day and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to be the guy out there.’ It’s not, ‘Hey, I’m already the guy.’ Throughout the group, I think we all have that kind of same thought process, and put in the work every single day, and are making each other better. It’s an ‘iron sharpens iron’ type of thing.”

The linebacker spots have been in play with players young and old vying for spots.

“I think it’s extremely strong” Martinez said of the inside linebackers. “I think we have a lot of guys across the board — Devante (Downs), Reggie (Ragland), Tae (Crowder), the list goes on. It’s just those types of guys coming into work every single day, understanding situations, understanding their job responsibilities, their athletic skill set, all those types of things. It’s going to make for an awesome training camp. Like I said, iron sharpens iron and I think each and every one of us, whoever ends up out there for week one, is going to be ready to go.”

Giants’ Blake Martinez: You have to earn your spot every day