Tom Coughlin’s squad has a problem, too. And it’s only getting more difficult to deal with.
Starting cornerback Corey Webster missed his second straight practice on Friday with a hip flexor and his status for the game between the two winless teams Sunday is doubtful.
Coughlin indicated veteran Aaron Ross will get the call over second-year cornerback Jayron Hosley if Webster can’t go.
“I go in preparing like I’m a starter,” Ross said. “You never know what’s going to happen. I prepare like I’m a starter every week, no matter if I play or not.”
Ross, who played in Jacksonville last season, has not started a game for the Giants since the Super Bowl in February 2012, and did not play a down on defense in the Giants’ 41-23 loss to the Broncos last Sunday. The former first-round pick played on special teams but watched as coordinator Perry Fewell used Terrell Thomas in the slot and played linebacker Jacquain Williams in run-pass coverage.
Ross insisted he understood.
“Of course, I’m a competitor and I want to play. When they need me, I’m ready,” said Ross, who re-signed with the Giants after being released by the Jaguars.
Webster has been a constant. He has started 34 consecutive regular-season games, the third-longest streak on the Giants after quarterback Eli Manning (137) and safety Antrel Rolle (50).
The secondary faces a tough assignment this weekend with quarterback Cam Newton running the Panthers’ offense. He is a threat to run on any down, but the defensive backs know they can’t be caught watching him or else they will give up big plays down the field.
Since returning to the Giants, Ross has been the host of mid-week meetings for the defensive backs. So, there’s a rapport there already, something that could help on Sunday.
“We meet extra, after work, in the film room. It helps us a lot,” he said. “It’s just one of those things with the league becoming a passing league, so there’s so many routes and concepts that you have to learn in three days. You need a lot more studying.”
Rolle isn’t worried about Ross.
“The way we look at it, in our defensive room, is that everyone is a starter,” Rolle said. “You never know what’s going to take place. It can be before the game, it can be during the course of a game, the guy has to be ready to step in. Ross has been a starter in this league for a number of years. He’s played multiple positions for us, so we’re not looking for any kind of letdown, we’re looking for Ross to go in there and play ball.”
The Giants’ injury woes in the secondary are nothing compared to the Panthers. They lost free safety Charles Godfrey for the season last week with an Achilles tendon injury and starting cornerback Josh Thomas was ruled out on Friday with a concussion. Safeties Quintin Mikell (ankle) and D.J. Moore (knee) are also out, while Thomas’ backup James Dockery (thumb-shoulder) is questionable.
Carolina signed cornerback Drayton Florence earlier this week.
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