They usually know. In fact, they almost always know.
When guys accustomed to taking down quarterbacks hit their target, they, in great detail, are anxious to revisit all the hows, whens and whys of the sack.
This was not the case Sunday for Oshane Ximines. He was not clueless in Cleveland but he was certainly unaware of what he had wrought. Heck, he wasn’t even rushing the passer.
In the first quarter of a 17-13 preseason loss to the Browns, Case Keenum rolled out and then tried to scramble to his right from the Giants’ 7-yard line. For a moment, it looked as if Keenum might be able to sidestep his way into the end zone. Nope. Ximines alertly raced forward and made a diving swipe at Keenum’s legs for a sack.
Not that Ximines knew it.
“Uh, was it the one when I dropped in coverage and he was trying to roll out?’’ Ximines told The Post afterward. “Oh, I didn’t even know that was a sack. I thought he crossed the line of scrimmage.
“I was in coverage on that play, I had a little drop, I saw the quarterback try to roll out and I just tried to go get him.’’
Xmines got him, all right, and the Giants are happy about that.
“I didn’t even know,’’ Ximines said of his sack. “Hey, two points for me.’’
The third-year outside linebacker, called “X-man” around the building, is one of those under-the-radar players on the roster. As a 2019 third-round pick out of Old Dominion, Ximines was a raw pass-rush prospect and flashed his potential with 4.5 sacks as a rookie.
His 2020 season was a washout, as he played in only four games before going on injured reserve with a shoulder issue that required surgery to repair his rotator cuff. He started training camp this summer on the physically unable to perform list, eventually coming off it to make his preseason debut against the Browns.
It was the first game for Ximines since he hurt his shoulder in Week 4 last season — 332 days between live action.
“It’s been a while,’’ Ximines said. “I’m just thankful to be out there. It means a lot, it’s something I’ve been praying for ever since I got hurt. To finally step on the field, that’s all I ever asked for.’’
In the second quarter, Kyle Lauletta, the Browns’ No. 3 quarterback (and a Giants 2018 fourth-round draft pick) felt what Ximines had to offer. The Browns were trying to mount a two-minute drill to close out the first half and Lauletta was leveled by Ximines, wrecking the play, as Lauletta’s pass went straight to the grass.
“I just tried to get around the edge,’’ Ximines said. “Got to be faster and that’d be a sack too.’’
Ximines, 24, is a wild card player for the Giants — an X-factor, if you will. He can be a big contributor, a non-contributor or land anywhere in-between. Ximines will get to further his progress this week working against Patriots’ offensive linemen in joint practices.
“It was good to see ‘X’ back out there with us,’’ head coach Joe Judge said. “Just get him back out there playing ball. Obviously he missed a lot last year being injured. Started camp late. I’m happy with the way he came out, did some nice things.’’
Even if he did not realize one of those nice things was indeed a sack.
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