The New York Giants were dealt a serious blow last week when starting cornerback Terrell Thomas went down with a torn ACL, ending his 2011 season. The fourth-year USC product was injured in a freak collision with Jason Pierre-Paul during a meaningless play at the end of the first half of a preseason game. For a team that already had issues at corner, Thomas' injury was a nightmare scenario.
Without Thomas, the Giants are not only left without an experienced veteran with 11 career interceptions, who racked up 101 tackles last year, they also lost a tough, hard-nosed leader. Now, they need to find someone to step up and not only take his starting spot, but also be an on-field leader.
The Giants were well aware of their issues at corner this offseason, as they spent the 19th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft on Nebraska's Prince Amukamara. The rookie was supposed to come in and compete with Corey Webster for the starting spot opposite Thomas, but the day after he signed his contract, he was sidelined indefinitely with a broken left foot. He has undergone surgery and is not expected back before midseason.
On top of those two injuries, the Giants also lost reserves Brian Witherspoon (torn ACL) and Bruce Johnson (ruptured Achilles) for the season.
With Thomas and Amukamara out, Aaron Ross will step into the starting rotation along with Webster. While Webster is a solid, consistent performer who fits the Giants' defense well, he hasn't performed up to the five-year, $43.5 million contract ($20 million guaranteed) he signed in 2008.
Ross isn't a great tackler, but he has good speed and is adequate in coverage. But don't expect him to blow anyone away; if Amukamara was healthy, there was a chance Ross wouldn't have survived camp on the roster. Maybe this was just the break he needed to get his career back on track.
After Ross and Webster, things get even more thin for the Giants. Veteran Brian Williams was signed four days ago to add depth after he was brought in for a workout.
The biggest news to come out of Giants camp over the past few days is the rumor that Antrel Rolle may move up to play corner at times to help with depth. Rolle has played corner before during his five years with the Arizona Cardinals, and could be an in-house solution to the problem.
Whatever happens, the Giants need someone to step up in Thomas' absence.