|Torbor replaces injured Kiwanuka at strongside LB for Giants|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 22 November 2007 08:09|
Torbor never got the chance.
The Giants decided in April that they wanted Mathias Kiwanuka on the field more in his second season, so they moved him from defensive end to linebacker.
Torbor remained a backup, getting most of his playing time on special teams. That will change this weekend when the fourth-year pro replaces the injured Kiwanuka, who was lost for the season last weekend with a broken left leg.
``There is no pressure,'' Torbor said. ``I just have to go out there and perform.''
If it sounds like Torbor isn't worried, well, he isn't. While he has been a backup for three seasons, injuries have allowed him to make 13 starts during that period.
``Everybody on the team wants to start,'' Torbor said. ``Everybody on the team feels they should be playing. But only 11 go out there. The remainder on offense and defense are in a backup role or special teams role. I found myself in the role and I didn't put my head down.''
Torbor kept working. He got his chance against the Lions on Sunday when Kiwanuka was hurt on the second play of the game.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin called his performance solid.
Pro Bowl middle linebacker Antonio Pierce wasn't surprised that Torbor could play the spot that call for the linebacker to play the run, cover tight ends and be an occasional pass rusher.
``He can do everything that 'Kiwi' can do,'' Pierce said. ``He was our 'Kiwi' last year and the year before. We used him in certain situations the same way, in our 2-3 looks. You know what? To me, they are the same kind of guys when you talk about football players.''
The similarity is striking. Torbor played defensive end at Auburn and was switched to linebacker in his rookie season with the Giants in 2004. He made nine starts in 2005 when the Giants won the NFC East despite having their linebacker corps decimated by injuries.
``Reggie has been around long enough,'' defensive end Michael Strahan added. ``He doesn't need me to say anything to him except to put his shirt on when you do interviews.''
Torbor, who usually can be found sitting alone in front of his locker, got a surprise when he returned from his shower after practice on Wednesday. His space was surrounded by about 20 members of the media waiting to talk.
Torbor obliged immediately, and Strahan gave him grief for doing an interview while wrapped in a towel.
Torbor knows what to expect Sunday against the Vikings. They are going to run the ball with Chester Taylor probably carrying the load for the injured Adrian Peterson (knee). Minnesota leads the league, averaging 177.9 yards.
``It is definitely a challenge,'' Torbor said. ``They are confident in what they do. They continue to do it. They can be down and they continue to do it. It is a definite challenge.''
Playing the strongside, Torbor might even get a chance to bump heads with former Giants tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.
While the prospect of playing was exciting, Torbor also felt for Kiwanuka, who had surgery on Monday to stabilize his ankle and leg. The two talked after the operation.
``We didn't talked about football,'' Torbor said. ``We talked about getting healthy. He had some things on his mind. He's going through a lot now. He had a broken leg and had surgery. Football was the last thing on our minds.''
That won't be the case on Sunday.