When the New York Giants selected Marvin Austin back in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, there were a lot of high expectations for him coming out of the University of North Carolina. But, thus far, his career has not been kind to him.
Austin's rookie season in the NFL was lost due to a torn pectoral muscle and last season, he barely saw any time in crucial situations. Now in 2013, he's got a lot of competition ahead of him with a lot of veterans in at camp; Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson and Frank Okam were signed as free agents, Shaun Rogers was re-signed as well and Johnathan Hankins was drafted in the second round to provide a spark to a unit that struggled, especially in stopping the run.
Many consider Austin to be a player "on the bubble" this summer and could be subject to being cut if he doesn't provide enough of an impact this summer to warrant keeping his spot on the team; and Austin knows it as he told Dave Hutchinson of the Newark-Star Ledger this week at training camp in East Rutherford.
“I think this is a pivotal point for me in my career,” Austin said on Wednesday.
Aside from the injuries that have slowed his progress in the NFL, many people feel that Austin doesn't work hard enough in practice and isn't tough enough in the trenches to be able to be an NFL defensive tackle, and if Austin wants to prove the nay-sayers wrong, he's going to need to step it up this summer, as Giants head coach Tom Coughlin told the media at camp on Wednesday.
"He's a defensive tackle we need to see in a fashion we anticipated when we drafted him," coach Tom Coughlin said. "He has done well this camp rushing the passer and we really would like to see him do a good job against the run."
In a perfect world, Austin's roster spot on the Giants would be safe and he wouldn't have been injury-riddled over the last two years, but the cold, hard reality is that Austin needs to prove himself to the Giants and show them that he can in fact be that impact player they all thought they were getting back in 2011. If not, Austin knows the harsh reality of the NFL as a business and knows what could happen if he doesn't produce results.
“At the end of the day, this is the NFL. It’s about competition. It’s a performance-based business. I haven’t performed since I’ve been here. That’s what they want to see. Am I going to be able to perform, be able to play at the high level they drafted me? Like any organization, they’re going to protect themselves and see if I’m ready and give me a chance to go out and compete. That’s all I can ask for."
In the two years he's been in the league, the 24-year-old Austin has amounted for eight total tackles in seven games played, which is why the sense of urgency is on for Austin this summer.
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