Versatility matters to Adrian Tracy.
"In order to make your name stay around here you have to do more," Tracy said Friday. "So the more you can do the better off you are."
After entering this season as the Giants' fourth defensive end, Tracy played a majority of his snaps at linebacker last Sunday against the 49ers, giving the team flexibility in its defensive packages. Tracy has played linebacker in the past (although not in any games), but needed a refresher on the position.
"Whatever role they ask me to be in I'll try and do it to the best of my ability," Tracy said. "That's how I see it. When your number's called and in the role you play, make sure you do it and are able to contribute."
Tracy, a sixth-round pick in 2010, played defensive end at William & Mary, but the Giants drafted him in the hope of making him into a linebacker. He dislocated an elbow his rookie year, and spent last year on the practice squad. But this season the team instead looked for him to fill the fourth defensive end spot.
Last Sunday, Tracy registered his most defensive snaps of the season, 12 -- but a majority of them came as a linebacker. Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell wanted to find ways to use Tracy during the game and saw that he could fit him in as a linebacker. Tracy had four tackles and a sack.
"You keep seeing this big body in the meeting room and you say you’ve got to use the talent that you have in your room and we just thought that if we created this role for him, in this game specifically in last week’s game, that we thought we could we could gain some mileage," Fewell said. "So he dropped a little bit, he rushed a little bit. He gave us some quality snaps. I think it was maybe 12 to 15 quality snaps and so we would like to do some things like that with him going forward. It was good to see him perform like that."
Tracy credited linebackers coach Jim Herrmann for helping him sharpen up on his linebacker skills. He said the coach helped him keep it simple. Tracy also said that his first career sack came on one of his few snaps as a defensive end against the 49ers.
"They didn't require me to do anything I hadn't learned when I was at the linebacker position," Tracy said. "It had just been a while since I was out there doing it."
The 25-year-old, who is still listed as a defensive end on the team's website, said defensive end comes natural to him, as it's the position he's played most of his life. Whatever position the team asks him to play, though, he'll be ready to go out and perform.
"I felt that all the looks they gave me in practice I was ready to go against in the game," Tracy said. "When you have that confidence and you know the coaches have confidence in you, you're able to play at a higher rate."