July 30, 2012; Albany, NY, USA; New York Giants Joe Martinek (38) runs the ball during New York Giants training camp. Tim Farrell/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE
Joe Martinek, the former Rutgers University running back who is in camp with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent, knows that to have a chance to make the roster he has to show the Giants he can do more than run and catch the ball.
He knows that he has to show the Giants he can do the dirty work. Lead blocking as a fullback, picking up blitzers in pass protection, clearing lanes for kickoff returner. Part of a spirited competition for the final couple of roster spots in the Giants' backfield, these are the things Martinek must do to show the Giants' coaching staff he belongs.
Thursday, he did them well. He threw at least one excellent lead block on a running play, stonewalled blitzing safety Chris Horton on another and threw hit hat into a would-be tackler while blocking on a kickoff return.
Martinek's versatility is one of the reasons the Giants gave him an opportunity in the first place, and the New Jersey native has been utilized at both halfback and fullback during training camp.
"Anything they tell me to do, I'll do that," Martinek said.
That includes doing a lot of blocking, despite being only about 225 pounds.
"You put me as a fullback I am under-sized," Martinek said. "I have to put my head in there and just do the best I can."
Martinek seemed to struggle with that aspect the first few days of camp. Thursday, though, he did a nice job with it.
"I'm leaving that up to the coaches and leaving my family to worry about that," Martinek said. "I'm just trying to do everything I can to put myself in the best situation. If I start worrying about everyone else I have the potential to slip up at practice and I know I don't need that."
As the only undrafted player in the competition, Martinek knows his margin for error is razor-thin.
"I know I need to be perfect, need to do all the right things," Martinek said. "I'm trying to focus on that and put myself in the best position possible."