Excerpt: "From the first day he arrived in Giants training camp as an undrafted free agent last season, linebacker Mark Herzlichwas compared to Chase Blackburn. Blackburn, a heady veteran, wasn’t even in camp – he’d been cut before the 2011 season began – but Herzlich kept hearing the same references.
“We called him that from Day One,” linebacker Michael Boley said.
“He’s a younger version of Chase. Mark and Chase, they had the same preparation, everything.”
On Sunday against the Steelers, Herzlich must deliver the same production as Blackburn. The second-year linebacker is expected to start in the middle, replacing Blackburn, who was ruled out due to a hamstring injury on Friday. Herzlich took first-team reps throughout the week, and he said he’s learned plenty from Blackburn.
That’s something he didn’t think would happen a year ago. Herzlich admitted that last season, he was hardly a Blackburn fan. The Giants signed Blackburn midway through the year, hoping he could steady a then-shaky linebacking corps, and Herzlich saw the veteran as a threat.
“I was not super-excited at that point,” Herzlich remembers. “Chase was the nicest, friendliest guy ever, and I was a little cold.”
The two have become close friends since then, so much so that Herzlich is going to a birthday party for Blackburn’s son in a few weeks. And Blackburn has helped Herzlich prep for this week.
Now, Herzlich just hopes he can perform like a “younger version of Chase” on the field.
“I’m excited to fill his shoes,” Herzlich said." Read more...