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LB Coach McGovern knows NYG history sets bar high

Posted Apr 4, 2016

Linebackers Coach Bill McGovern discusses the units goals

Especially as a New Jersey native, no one needs to remind new linebackers coach Bill McGovern about the team’s history at his position.

But Lawrence Taylor does it anyway.

A photo of the iconic linebacker hangs just outside the position room at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, greeting all who enter.

“I think that when you walk into the linebacker meeting room and to the right of the door is L.T.’s picture, I think it kind of makes a statement to the guys going in there that the bar has been set pretty high,” McGovern said Friday.

McGovern, who was named to the Bergen County All-Century Football Team as a standout defensive back at Bergen Catholic, is one of eight newcomers on Ben McAdoo’s staff after coaching outside linebackers with the Philadelphia Eagles for the last three seasons.

Prior to that, he spent a dozen years at Boston College, where he coached a pair of ACC Defensive Players of the Year: Mark Herzlich and Luke Kuechly.
Herzlich has been with the Giants since making the roster as an undrafted rookie in 2011, the year they went on to win Super Bowl XLVI. Kuechly, a fellow linebacker, was drafted a year later by the Carolina Panthers and became the first player to earn AP Defensive Rookie of the Year and AP Defensive Player of the Year in consecutive years since none other than L.T. in 1981-82.

“It’s just nice seeing those guys go on and have some success,” McGovern said of his former BC linebackers. “You wish it for everybody. That’s where we all want to get to, and that’s what we’re going to be continuing to work for.”

Last season, there was a revolving door in the position room stemming from injuries to players like Devon Kennard and now-retired defensive co-captain Jon Beason. But the Giants have taken measures this offseason to turn things around -- directly and indirectly.

Directly, the Giants signed free agent Keenan Robinson from Washington, where he played middle linebacker. They also re-signed Jasper Brinkley, who started the final nine games of last season at that position for Big Blue.

“When we get into the linebacker room, it is going to be that group in there and we are going to try and develop our skills as best we can and maximize everything that we can do in there,” McGovern said. “Again, without having a chance to interact with guys and have a chance to see them on the field moving around, I can’t really make any evaluations of the guys truly until that point.

“I am excited to work with them and I have heard nothing but great things about a lot of them. If you watch anyone’s game tape, there are positives and negatives for all of them, but you want to make sure you are putting the guys in the best position.”

Indirectly, the Giants bolstered their front four with defensive end Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison, two of the best players on the market this year.

“What we did with the front I think helps everybody,” defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. “And I think those guys feel the same way.”

Added Spagnuolo: “We need to improve on all of it right now, in my opinion. There will be a message when we all get together a week from Monday (the Giants’ offseason workout program begins April 11). I’ll just keep that under the hat right now. We’re all going to be working toward the same thing, and that’s getting back to playing New York Giants defense.”