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New York Giants DC Perry Fewell on Terrell Thomas: He’s Responded Extremely Well in Return

August 14th, 2013 at 6:30 AM
By Doug Rush

This past week, the New York Giants got some of their injured players back off the sidelines and into practice; one of which is the returning Terrell Thomas, who hasn't seen an NFL field since the preseason of the 2011 season, which is when he tore his ACL the first time with the team.

'Terrell Thomas warms up' photo (c) 2010, Marianne O'Leary - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Despite the injury, the Giants still re-signed Thomas to a four-year, $28 million deal after they won Super Bowl XLVI. But in the summer, Thomas re-tore his ACL for the second time in two years and was forced to miss all of last year after needing a second surgery to repair it. The Giants restructured Thomas' deal to a one-year agreement so they didn't have to cut him, while allowing Thomas to make a comeback with the team.

Thus far, Thomas' hard work is paying off, as he has been slowly being worked into drills and into coverage at cornerback against wide receivers; which he has been able to hold his own in. Before the injuries to the knee, Thomas was regarded at the time as the team's best cover corner and on the verge of becoming a Pro Bowl caliber corner in the NFL. Injuries have derailed that plan, but defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was impressed with what he saw from Thomas on the field.

"Yesterday, he received about 50 percent of the reps that we were wanting to give him. I thought he responded extremely well. There were two situations he was in man coverage and he did an outstanding job, in my opinion. He showed burst. He showed the ability to come out of a break when he was covering in man coverage."

Some players in the league can have difficulty recovering from one ACL surgery, let alone two. Thomas has torn his ACL three times in his football career; twice with the Giants and once when he was in college at USC. The only other player to ever successfully come back in the NFL from three successful ACL surgeries was Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who tore his ACL three times in three consecutive years, yet returned in 2012 to successfully play, and Thomas will look to be only the second player in the NFL to accomplish that goal.

Fewell said on Tuesday that he's really glad to have Thomas back on the field and competing on the team's depth chart for playing time, but they're also taking it one day at a time with his knee.

"So we’re going to take it day by day with him. We’re going to bring him along as the trainers and as Terrell speaks to us about how he feels on a daily basis, but it was exciting to see him back in action."

The Giants have yet to officially announce if they will have Thomas play in their second preseason game at MetLife Stadium against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday or hold him out for a second straight game in the summer, as they held Thomas out against the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Saturday. Thomas initial ACL injury with the team was in a Giants preseason game against the Chicago Bears back in August of 2011.

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Tags: Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Perry Fewell, Terrell Thomas

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13 Responses to “New York Giants DC Perry Fewell on Terrell Thomas: He’s Responded Extremely Well in Return”

  1.  Krow says:

    Good news for a good guy. But I’d still play him carefully … and in moderation … at least for several games.

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      He’s been tentative in camp (as expected), but actually looked really good yesterday based on what I read. In fact, I haven’t heard a negative word about him at all. If he can come back and even be 80% of what he was becoming prior to injury, he’s a hell of a talent. No longer a No. 1 corner, but a damn solid one nonetheless.

      •  Krow says:

        I’d be extremely happy if he just played packages. This kid is one of those tough, decent sorts you can’t help but root for. The knee … like many of us unfortunately know … is never quite the same after those kinds of injuries. So starting at CB I think is not in the cards. But how great would it be to have this level of depth.

        • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

          I’ve tried to tell people here before (having experienced a complete ACL tear of my own — plus MCL and PCL) that you can come back strong after it. And, yes, he’s had 3, but after the second one, your knee never gets worse. The reason many players won’t come back after two isn’t that they can’t, it’s that it’s an entire year off your life spent in rehab. I honestly think T2 is gonna be just fine.

        •  fanfor55years says:

          I completely agree, and am really glad to hear what Dan said. But I think they have to play him now in order to find out what he can really do.

          One thing Thomas could really add is that he was an excellent corner against the run and so could be in a lot of packages where he could be the equivalent of a corner/safety hybrid. I cannot imagine him ever again being even the #2 corner, but if he could get to #3 by next season that would be great. I’m sure we’re all rooting for him, hard.

          Meanwhile, the very best thing I heard about the corners all year was Fewell being quoted somewhere to the effect that they don’t want to force Webster into covering the #1 receiver. Finally!! A recognition that without question Prince Amukamara is “the guy” back there. I believe Prince is going to be better this season than Webster was even at his best in late 2007/early 2008. Webster was a very good cover guy but was easily beaten on slants and wasn’t great going up and getting the ball in the air. I think Prince’s reaction time is better and his play in the air is better. I think he is headed for a great career.

          •  GOAT56 says:

            I read the coaches say somewhere that they are not going by the #1 and#2 Cab designations this year. The assignments will be based on matchups. It sounds like a PC way of making Prince the #1 but as long as Webster isn’t covering Bryant or Djax type players I think he will be fine.

            •  fanfor55years says:

              Yeah, I think that’s right. It’s a nice way of not insulting CWebb while passing the crown.

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    Meanwhile, if Thomas can get to even 85% of what he was by the time the last preseason game is played does he get a roster spot? That would make the corners Amukamara, Webster, Hosley, Ross and Thomas, right? Especially since they will carry three quarterbacks I don’t think they can carry more than nine defensive backs. The safeties are Rolle, Brown, Mundy and probably Sash to start but with Hill likely to take a position when his suspension is over.

    That would rule out adding James (who might be a good choice as a punt returner) and any of the other youngsters competing for jobs in the defensive backfield. It would mean they’d have to go find at least three new defensive backs for 2014 as they, presumably, try to get younger back there.

    Is it possible they’ll view Thomas as a safety as much as a corner, and a hybrid guy who provides depth, and therefore dump Sash or Mundy and instead carry another, younger, corner? That might be the direction they take. Should be interesting. That last set of cuts is going to probably shock some people.

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      You know, the more I think about it, the more I feel encouraged by the DBs. Every single one of them has been widely praised by the media, fans and coaches so far. Add in Charles James, who is also seeming to turn heads.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        I’ve always felt that with two “breaks” they would be fine in the defensive backfield, but we couldn’t know if Webster was going to be healthy or Thomas was going to be able to come back. It appears both are turning out well for the team.

        Add to that my relief that Fewell recognizes that his studs are Prince and Rolle, and that Hosley seems to have made a big jump as really good players do in their second year, and I think you’re right. Things are looking good.

        And I don’t know how they can ignore what James has apparently been doing. Especially because he may become a great option for a punt return unit that hasn’t been decent since Hixon’s great years.

  3.  fanfor55years says:

    Now, not to be negative, but all these shiny toys in the backfield won’t mean much if we cannot stop the run. If not, even the best secondary in the NFL would be abused because the safeties have to cheat up and the linebackers have to read run-first, opening space between them and the corners.

    This defense has done a poor job of stopping the run for two consecutive seasons. last year was embarrassing. Reese brought in some muscle in the middle, and that should help. Will it be enough?

    I feel very strongly that they need to keep Shaun Rogers. He and Hankins are the real run-stoppers up front and they need them both as part of the rotation. I love Cullen Jenkins, and think he will be a fundamental part of the defense, but he is more an “athletic” type than a boulder who stops runs cold.

    The guy who still concerns me is everyone’s favorite Linval Joseph. I know the coaches speak highly of him. I know Jenkins was quoted as saying he has “Pro Bowl talent”. But I know what I’ve seen has been quite unimpressive, and that he has been playing in the middle with a variety of others over the past two years while opposing offenses slash through that middle regularly and force our defense to respond to what the offense wants to do rather than ever dictate the reverse. I hope this is the year he breaks out, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m not saying he won’t, but I think he has been highly overrated so far and is sailing on reputation and hope more than what he has actually done. At this point I am not convinced he should be on the roster ahead of Mike Patterson. he will be, but I’m not convinced that’s fair or intelligent. I hope to change my mind over the next few preseason games.

    And then there’s the linebackers. Someone has to be able to get into the right gaps and hit the runner before the runner hits him, and stone a few people. We have a lot of very mobile, but light, backers. Asking Williams, Rivers and Paysinger to be stout against the run is asking them to do what they may not be physically capable of doing no matter how well they play. Physics dictates that a 300-pound blocker, a 260-pound tight end helping, and a 210-pound runner are going to gain an advantage against a 270-pound outside defender and a 230-pound linebacker. We clearly need Herzlich or Connor to step up. We also need the safeties making quick, accurate reads and racing up to assist. But I am starting to think that we are really in need of three things at that level of the defense: Tracy being used as a SAM; a lot more 3-4 with guys like Tuck and JPP and Kiwi outside; and Curry proving he can play because he is the “big backer” who can stone the run if he gets to the right gap.

    If Joseph shows up this season, and some of what I’ve noted above as necessary at the second level occurs, then I think this defense will surprise a lot of people and be something between pretty good and very good. But who knows if those things will prove to be the case?

  4.  CT GIANT says:

    DAN: What’s your take on the RB’s going to make it to the 53?

    Wilson; Brown; Scott; Torain, none imo, is all that scary, Wilson is the guy, but I don’t feel the coaches have full confidence in him , yet, so does Reese look for a veteran, as these guys have never had a full season, none!

    CT GIANT

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