EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Cornerback Michael Coe knows Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will test him when the New York Giants open defense of their Super Bowl title.
It’s a given. Coe is not only the new guy in the secondary, the six-year veteran probably is the most unexpected starter for Wednesday’s game.
When the Giants reported to training camp, Coe was probably the fourth choice to start opposite Corey Webster. Projected starter Terrell Thomas aggravated a knee injury that sidelined him last year and has been placed on season-ending injured reserve. Former first-rounder Prince Amukamara suffered a high ankle against the Bears and is out, and rookie Jayron Hosley is battling turf toe.
It leaves Coe to make his first career start at cornerback.
“I’m sure any time a new person joins the group or there is an unfamiliar face everyone is going to be watching to see how that person does and how everything jells,” Coe said Monday after the Giants held their final practice for the season opener. “I am not oblivious to that fact at all.”
Coe isn’t inexperienced. He got his biggest test last season when he played in 10 games as a reserve with the Giants before hurting his shoulder against the Eagles in November, forcing him to go on injured reserve.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said Coe performed well in the organized team activities in the spring and showed the coaching staff he would compete for a job in training camp.
“We have a lot of confidence in him,” Fewell said. “I think he is a much-improved football player. He helped us last year. He helped us in San Francisco last year and up in New England (in the regular season) so he has playing experience. He can play.”
With Aaron Ross lost to free agency, Amukamara slowed by a foot injury and Thomas not ready to play in the spring, Coe worked with the starters.
Fewell insists he felt Coe would compete for a starting job then.
“No one was assured the starting job so everyone was competing for jobs at that point in time,” Fewell said.
Coe has the job now and he will be trying to prevent Rome from hooking up with Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Kevin Ogletree.
“I know a team like Dallas and Romo, they definitely are going to execute what they practice,” Coe said. “Most teams in this league don’t really change a whole bunch. They are going to stick with what they are good at. I am sure he will probably look my way more often than not, so I’ll be prepared for that.”
Coe already had his Monday night planned. He was going to the weekly meeting of the defensive backs, which is usually held at the home of one of the players two days before the kickoff.
It was still to be determined whether Webster or safeties Antrel Rolle or Kenny Phillips would be the host for the get-together in which the players watch film, discuss the game plan and go over their individual notes.
Even though he missed the preseason game against the Jets a couple of weeks ago with a mild hamstring injury, Coe feels ready. He has talked to everyone and remembers the simple advice they have given him: “Trust your technique and trust your preparation.”
“You’ve come this far athletically, so athletically everything should be fine,” Coe said. “But trust your preparation and trust your techniques and the guys out there. I have a great group of guys out there, Antrel and Corey, and a great front four, so you trust the defense. There is great camaraderie on this team and we expect whoever comes in there to step in and play ball.”
Coe intends to fill that role against Dallas.
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