Chase Blackburn’s interception in his first game back last year was one of the memorable moments during the Giants’ chase for the postseason. At home without a team for the first 12 weeks of the 2011 season, Blackburn, then a free agent, was signed to the Giants’ active roster on the last day of November. On Dec. 4, he was intercepting Aaron Rodgers of the undefeated Packers.
The Giants eventually lost the shootout to the Packers on a field goal, but Blackburn’s play provided yet another spark that kept the postseason dream alive. It also left him sore, tired, and on the verge of what he admits was his worst game in an abridged season. A week after his return, he was in no physical condition to travel 1,500 miles to play the Dallas Cowboys.
“I felt better in the Green Bay game,” the linebacker said. “My second game there against Dallas, that was probably my worst game of the whole season that I was a part of because of just how tired I was. Normally you have a lot of time to come off of getting your first contact in and everything. I was pretty sore, my legs were sore, just from everything. That was probably my least favorite game of last year from a personal standpoint.”
Twelve weeks behind everyone else, it’s understandable as he recorded only one tackle while the defense gave up 34 points (14 in the fourth quarter), needing Jason Pierre-Paul’s blocked field goal to win the game. But with a full preseason in the Giants program, he’s gotten all the bumps, nicks, scrapes and cuts out of the way, feeling fresh as ever heading into the season opener.
He has also gotten in some extra cardio this summer, along with Perry Fewell.
All throughout training camp, the two held foot races in between periods in practice to see who could get to the football first. A giddy linebacker and an even more excitable defensive coordinator could be seen boxing each other out as the rest of the unit worked their way over for the next drill.
“I guess last year I was always running around, and this year I was always the first guy out,” Blackburn said. “And I guess he didn’t want someone else to be the first guy there anymore. So we started racing and it was fun. It gets everyone going a little bit and gets everyone in the right mentality going into every period.”
But now the fun and games are over as the Giants prepare for Dallas.
“It’s game time,” Blackburn said. “It’s regular season. The speed picks up. Obviously your practice reps pick up. There is more time in the film room just trying to figure everything out and get all the details instead of just what we do. We have to figure what the opponent does, game plan and everything like that. It’s time to go.”
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