By Paul Dottino
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One, two … make it three … and then four Giants cornerbacks have been injured this month.
Pro Bowl-caliber veteran Terrell Thomas will be lost for the season after he tore his right ACL in the second quarter of Monday’s 41-13 preseason victory over the Chicago Bears.
Backup Brian Witherspoon, who was having an outstanding training camp, was carried off with sprained knee that will require an MRI – although he’s hoping his injury doesn’t sideline him for long.
How many teams do you know who can lose four quality cornerbacks and still have two top-flight talents in its starting lineup? Corey Webster and Aaron Ross, who had a terrific night, may be the only reason coach Tom Coughlin was able to get any sleep at all following the game – even if he only took a quick nap.
First-round pick Prince Amukamara (fractured foot earlier this month) provided some optimism in the locker room when he said he will be re-examined in two weeks and is coming along well. The expectation is that he will be available in Week 5. Nickel Bruce Johnson, however was waived-injured after he tore his Achilles early in camp and is out for the year.
The problem is the Giants don’t appear to have a serviceable third or fourth corner on their roster, which means they’ll be scanning the waiver wire.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell heavily relies on his corners’ ability to play press coverage while he dials up multiple schemes that usually provide pressure on the quarterback. How this affects his plans remains to be seen.
Ok, so let’s get to how well the team fared in its pre-game checklist:
Production from the tight ends. Not good. The blocking left a lot to be desired, other than a Jake Ballard block on Danny Ware’s 1-yard TD in the third quarter.
Bear Pascoe has shown that he’s best suited to stay at fullback and/or H-back and it appears the coaches would prefer to keep him if at all possible. A wide-open Daniel Coats caught a 17-yard TD pass on a slant from David Carr in the fourth quarter.
Improvement from the special teams. You can mark down this unit as the most improved from the preseason opener. Rookie linebacker Greg Jones blocked a punt, made a block to help spring Devin Thomas on a 73-yard kickoff return and made a coverage tackle.
Punter Matt Dodge and Steve Weatherford continued to stage a strong battle. Fill-in kicker Rhys Lloyd was 2-for-2 on field goals, 5-for-5 on extra points and put seven of his eight kickoffs at least five yards deep into the end zone. Lloyd’s other kickoff went to the goalline.
The two sore spots where Jerrel Jernigan’s 4.7-yard average on three punt returns – Coughlin is getting frustrated with him – and when the kickoff unit allowed Johnny Knox to ramble 45 yards with a return.
Offensive line communication. This unit took a step forward but, as we keep reminding you, it’s going to take time for all of the kinks to get worked out. Consider it a plus that it didn’t allow any sacks in the game.
How worried are you about the Giants’ secondary? Let Dottino know in the comments below…