Four days after their 2012 season ended, the Giants called Trumaine McBride.
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The Giants knew it. They had even worked out McBride in the middle of last season, but the timing wasn't right. Unfortunately for McBride, who had most recently released by the Jaguars, the other 31 teams passed as well.
But with the year-to-year roster turnover in the modern NFL, McBride would get his shot with the Giants. Skip ahead a year after he was at home watching football on TV, and McBride is seeing the most action on defense since his rookie year as his new team tries to salvage the season.
"Being out is hard," said the six-year pro, who was originally drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2007. "But I never questioned me as a player because I know personally that I can play. I never questioned that. It was just hard being out and just watching games knowing I could be out there."
Once he got to New York, he had to wait just a little longer. McBride spent the first part of the season on special teams, but an injury to fellow corner Corey Webster opened up a door on defense.
McBride has since started three of the last four weeks, which include 10 straight quarters without the Giants defense allowing a touchdown.
"I haven't played this much since my rookie year," he said. "It's going well so far…It was just one of those things; I was just waiting."
McBride's three starts this season are the most since starting nine games in his first season in Chicago. In between, he only notched one and made stops in Arizona and Jacksonville after three seasons with the Bears.
With Webster still fighting a groin injury, McBride is taking it game by game, following the NFL credo of "prepare every week like a starter."
It came to fruition the last two weeks as the Giants went into their bye with two victories, their first of the year. This may be his first season with the team, but he has seen enough to know why the defense has started to turn things around.
"I think it's just we went back, looked at the film, and were just thinking, 'Okay, just make it simple,'" said McBride, whose four pass breakups are second on the team to Prince Amukamara and Antrel Rolle. "Make it simple, go out there, make plays, and just have fun. That's the thing. For me personally, I felt like we weren't out there having fun and we were just playing to not make mistakes. I feel like guys loosened up, we're just having fun. When you have fun, you make plays."
Adding to the fun has been his reunion with quarterback Eli Manning, who sits a few lockers down from McBride at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. McBride was a freshman at Ole Miss when Manning was a senior and about to be drafted first overall in 2004.
"I remember me, personally, I used to watch him," McBride said. "I'm from Mississippi, so I always used to watch Ole Miss before I got there. It just felt good to just be on the same team as him. You know about his family, the history, a great family, the father, his brothers, everyone – it was more like being star-struck when I first got there, like 'I'm actually on the team.' Going into it, I was so young and I was just happy to be an Ole Miss Rebel."