Boley talks about playing in the middle

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
3:48
PM ET
Michael Boley heard how Jerry Reese mentioned him as a possibility at middle linebacker this season.

But Boley says he has yet to be told where he will be playing at this season.

“They haven’t asked me anything,” Boley said on Thursday. “I heard it. [I was] a little bit surprised. But I guess the league we play in, you can’t be surprised by surprises. Anything can happen.”

The Giants traded for Cincinnati’s Keith Rivers, who is an outside linebacker. Reese, though, feels that Rivers and Boley can play multiple positions.

“He plays middle linebacker in the nickel a lot for us anyway,” Reese said of the possibility of Boley playing in the middle. “I think he can play any position. We like our linebackers to be versatile, to play different positions. I think he can play any of the linebacker spots. I think Rivers can play any of the linebacker spots.”

Jacquian [Williams], I think he’s a WILL, though,” Reese continued. “I think he’s an outside backer just because of his size. But he could probably play SAM in some schemes as well though. We like those guys to be versatile. They’ll play all over the place. That’s the coaches job to figure out where they play.”

Cornerback Terrell Thomas likes the addition of Rivers, who played at USC with Thomas. The two were both drafted in 2008.

“We used to call him ‘shark’ in college,” Thomas said. “He is one of the best sideline-to-sideline linebackers I have ever seen. With our front four, I definitely know what kind of caliber linebacker he can be.”

Reese likes having that kind of speed and potential behind his defensive front.

“I think the injuries are the number one reason he hasn’t produced like he was ranked,” Reese said of Rivers, who was drafted ninth overall but has been sidelined by numerous injuries including a wrist injury that kept him out of all of last season. “It’s a new, fresh start for him. He’s got to prove that he can do it. He’s going to be in a great scheme. He’s going to be playing behind a pretty good front and he’s going to have a great opportunity to show us what he can do.”

What it means for Boley remains to be seen. But after playing some MIKE for the Giants and calling plays in the huddle, Boley has some experience in the middle. The adjustment would be playing it in the base defense.

“Pretty much depends on what kind of scheme you are playing in,” Boley said. “For the last couple of years, we have been playing a lot of three safeties and two linebackers. I have been the MIKE. But once you throw in the base package and playing the MIKE, it is a little different… but not too different.”
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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