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New York Giants Will Head into 2012 Season with Incredible Secondary Depth

May 6th, 2012 at 7:19 AM
By Jen Polashock

The 2011 New York Giants’ defensive backs were snake-bitten last year. They dropped like flies from training camp onward. Oddly enough, the injury bug hung out with the team well into the playoffs. This offseason, General Manager Jerry Reese has addressed the possibility of this type of repeat (or not!) and stocked up on depth heading into training camp.

Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell knows his defensive strengths: the front four and rotation of key players to keep opposing offenses off their game. QB quick-drops/releases and increased use of the hurry-up at times puts more pressure on the defensive backfield. Will this year show marked improvement or more of the same blown coverages on big plays?

Training camp battles with the defensive backs are a bit different than most other positions within the Giants organization. Most of them bond together, even when split into two groups: cornerbacks and safeties. The brotherhood that’s built with these players is strong and clear to see. Part of this is due to Safeties Coach David Merritt. He gets the most he can out of the secondary – and he can be heard doing so throughout camp practices. He also loves versatile players – guys that can play corner as well as safety, (as Fewell’s defense plays much nickel and dime) but can also help in run support. Barring damage to this unit again, the competition level at this position may be somewhat friendly, but will put forth the best players to cover the back end.

Taking a look at who is going up SUNY at Albany: 

S Antrel Rolle has grown into his position with blue and had it finally come together once he bonded in a deep conversation with Fewell:

  “…from that point on I never saw the game about me. I never saw the game about anything having to deal with me. I saw the game about my teammates, I saw the game most of all about Coach Coughlin, and I saw the game most of all about Deon Grant…”

“The defensive coordinator is more consistent with his calls and we are very comfortable with what he’s calling. We go out to win the games very smoothly. We’ve been very sharp in our technique, our adjustment. Even when things go as planned, we are flying around, we are hustling to the ball, and when we go to the ball great things happen…” he said while mid-playoff run.

S Kenny Phillips is ‘Trel’s partner and most of the time, the single high. He “gets it” back there.

S Tyler Sash will continue on Special Teams and now step in more that Deon Grant isn’t returning.

FS Chad Jones – the inspiring story has been more of a reality as he entered Timex in April. He’s sure to get some tear-jerking cheers at training camp and most eyes will be on him for the first few days.

CB Terrell Thomas re-signed before free agency started (four-year, 28 million). His health is priority, but all signs point to the positive. His communication skills were missed in 2011.

CB Corey Webster is a constant at corner. No competition here.

CB Prince Amukamara hurt his foot in early August, but had early flashes of brilliance over-shadowed by the times he got beat. Only way to move is up.

Depth/ nickel/ ST players: DB Bruce Johnson (re-signed and coming off a torn Achilles), CB Michael Coe, CB Antwaun Molden (depth/camp body), DB Justin Tryon (was about to seriously gel and breakout in Fewell’s defense until he fractured his wrist – and continued to play), DB Chris Horton (more of a ST guy that can flash), CB Brian Witherspoon (ST/return – depending on how knee is).

Coughlin on 3rd Round Draft pick CB Jayron Hosley:

“…very competitive, feisty guy with 12 career interceptions. He’s also a punt returner. He’s a physical tackler. He is a competitive guy who many times is matched up on the opponent’s best receiver. Whether it’s the physical aspect of the game, the coming up in run support, the competitiveness in the press position, whether he’s playing from off and just playing the ball in the air. This guy does have outstanding hands and has been able to convert that concept into many interceptions… he also has the potential to be a punt returner. We like him for our special teams aspect also. He’s played the gunner. He can play various kickoff coverages…We feel like we can accomplish a lot with this kind of an athlete. He’s not the biggest guy in the world… we do think he is a competitive, feisty guy and he’s one of those people that has not backed down from anybody. Played against some outstanding receivers in his career and did an outstanding job…” 

And finally: CB Brandon Bing, S Stevie Brown, S JoJo Nicolas, FS Janzen Jackson as long shots/ practice squad possibilities.

This should be a great area to keep a close eye on as many of the talented, fallen soldiers that couldn’t contribute to a World Championship are back.


Tags: Antrel Rolle, Antwaun Molden, Brandon Bing, Brian Witherspoon, Bruce Johnson, Chad Jones, Chris Horton, Corey Webster, Deon Grant, Football, Janzen Jackson, Jayron Hosley, New York, New York Giants, NFL

7 Responses to “New York Giants Will Head into 2012 Season with Incredible Secondary Depth”

  1.  GIANTT says:

    Good morning Jen and one and all . Seems like we got a few extra draft picks getting these guys back from injury . Im waitning to see how the Prince and especially Chad Jones are able to get over their injuries . I have no fear about Amukamara but will Jones have been able to regain enough strength ? Only time will tell
    So , whenever Eli throws a TD or scores , we throw bananas on the field ?

    •  Jen Polashock says:

      Mornin’. Is it sad that I want that “banana” pic of Easy E as my profile pic? Haha.

  2.  Samardzija says:

    Not a huge fan of our safety depth. Hopefully Phillips and Rolle stay healthy..

  3.  Dirt says:

    Osi, the cancer who dumps on his GM:

    @OsiUmenyiora: @UEhpc no subtle messages directed at Mr. Reese. Jerry will always be my guy no matter what happens

  4.  fanfor55years says:

    Nice piece Jen.

    I’m also a bit concerned about the depth at safety. I had said going into the draft that I thought we needed to grab one, but I’m also convinced that the coaches and front office have evaluated what we have and didn’t see it as a priority.

    TC seemed to say at the end of last season that he was expecting a leap for Sash. He was a very, very, good player in college and I certainly think it possible he could step into the role Grant had last season because that doesn’t require top-end speed. I also think that one of Coe or Horton could win the #4 job and they will probably figure that Thomas could play safety if called upon (and perhaps WILL play safety if he isn’t 100% and Hosley or Tryon really looks good in that slot corner position, which I expect they will).

    I’d love to see Chad Jones make it, but I still cannot believe he will. Maybe as a special teams guy, but not as a safety. One can hope though, both for the team’s sake and for the sake of a hard-working kid with great character.

    And, sorry, Eli has potential comedic chops but the writers really let him down last night. Flashes of real humor, but not enough. Many years ago my wife worked at The Today Show, which shared a floor at 30 Rock with the original crazies at SNL. Belushi and Ackroyd used to throw parties, invite her, and hope I wouldn’t show up. So I might not have thought those guys were the greatest fellows, but man they were funny. That was when SNL was not only a cultural phenomenon, but hysterically funny. Now? Blah.

    •  Jen Polashock says:

      As far as true safeties, yeah, the roster looks thin. I see T2 playig more safety, if needed– his communication and understanding of what’s needed back there went unspoken for in 2010. As afr as Chad Jones, hey, no one knows where he is physically– we’ll see soon (2.5 months). Most of these players are versitile enough to play both, but our BIG GAME is up front. We need bigger DT play, IMO.

  5.  Si Camps says:

    Terrell Thomas and John Conner Football Camp at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ on July 6-9
    Visit or call 301-575-9400

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