Jul 28, 2012; Albany, NY, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Reuben Randle (82) runs against New York Giants defensive back Prince Amukamara (20) during training camp at University Field at SUNY Albany. Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese said recently that his 2012 expectations for Prince Amukamara were that he would "play like a first-round draft pick."
With the awful news about Terrell Thomas' knee hanging over the Giants right now, the Giants no longer have the luxury of waiting for Amukamara, their 2011 first-round pick, to get comfortable. They need him now.
Fortunately for the Giants, after a rookie season that was for all intents and purposes ruined by a broken foot suffered in training camp Amukamara has been showing flashes in training camp that he could be ready.
Amukamara has moved and covered well during the first few days of training camp. Peruse Monday's practice report and you will find several instances where Amukamara made plays. He did take a few snaps with the first team on Monday and more than held his own in one-on-one matchups with Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon and camp sensation Jerrel Jernigan.
All of which is a positive -- and now very much needed -- sign for the Giants.
"We're trying to take it slow with Prince," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said before Monday's practice. "Just because Prince came off the foot injury we probably inserted him too quickly last year, he made a splash play and we got all pumped up, I got all pumped up, and probably put too much on his plate. So we're just trying to build him up."
Amukamara missed the first nine games of the season after breaking his foot last season. In the seven games he played he had one interception, three passes defended, 14 tackles and a host of missed assignments or times where he simply did not cover well.He played only 11 snaps Week 15 against Washington, six Week 16 against the New York Jets and none Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys. He did, however, play 60 snaps during the playoffs.
With Thomas down the Giants really can't "take it slow" with Amukamara.
Technically, Michael Coe is now the starting right cornerback. Coe is entering his fifth season and he is a nice player who should make the roster and contribute, but he has never started an NFL game. Justin Tryon is a possibility, and third-round pick Jayron Hosley figures to be force fed by the Giants in the hopes that he can contribute in the slot on passing downs.
Guys like Rutgers grad Brandon Bing and veterans Bruce Johnson and Dante Hughes would seem unlikely players for the Giants to rely on. None has stood out during camp. Veteran free-agent signee Antwaun Molden is also a backup, not a player the Giants want to see lined up on every down.
The only real potential difference-maker in that group is Amukamara. His time has to be now.