Linval Joseph, who was last year's second-round draft pick, paid his dues in 2010, playing in six games on a defensive unit that ranked eighth in NFL against the rush and fifth in sacks.
Shedding the rookie tag, Josephs knows this is the time for him to step up.
"My opportunity is open a lot more now so right now I just have to give it my all, give it my best and just be ready," Joseph said on Sunday. "Right now I'm just getting back into things, that's what I have to do. I feel like I'm getting there."
Joseph accepted his role behind more veteran players in his inaugural campaign and made eight tackles on the season.
However, without starting a game, the East Carolina product saw 30-to-40 snaps per contest towards the end of the season, including the final two weeks when he made five tackles against Green Bay.
"Practice to me is just like a game because you have to practice to be ready for game day," Joseph said of his limited role. "Last year I felt like I was ready but at the same time there was Barry Cofield, Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard; we had a lot of good players so I just have to play my role, play my part."
Aside from the vacancies and an added year under his belt, Joseph "leaned out" during the offseason to help his cause.
"I kept on track," the 6-foot-4, 328-pound Joseph said. "I went back down to Florida and I was doing a lot of running and trying to train my body more and get my body weight down and try to make everything a lot more solid than last year."
Canty, the seven-year vet who may be lining up next to Joseph more often now, noticed the difference.
"Linval looks big," Canty said. "He's done a great job of keeping his body ready to come in and step right in and play football. He's a big, strong guy, very physical guy. There's nobody in the NFL that could stop him. He's just that kind of guy."
NFL coaches like to drum up competition during training camps, and Tom Coughlin is no different.
And with another defensive tackle drafted in the second round in Marvin Austin, there is no guaranteed seat at the table just yet.
"They certainly are going to have every opportunity," Coughlin said. "With Linval's talent, he should be (ready). I'm hoping Marvin can come along as fast as possible. Maybe someone will come out of the hunt to a degree."