New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell relied heavily on a three-safety package last season, with veteran Deon Grant sharing the field with Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle. Well, Grant is moving on via free agency and the Giants left looking for a player to step into that role.
Safeties coach Dave Merritt said during interviews today that Terrell Thomas is the guy likely to fill that role. During the offseason Thomas had said he likes playing in the slot, anyway, and is one of the league's best tackling cornerbacks. The 6-foot, 200-pound fourth-year player said today that he is perfectly willing to fill that role if asked.
"I told coach Fewell and my position coach, whatever they need me to do to help the team, whether it is being a role player one game and being a guy they have to count on, I am ready to fill that role," Thomas said.
Thomas admitted he is aiming to make the Pro Bowl this season.
"I think I made some big plays last season but it is time for me to take my game to the next level," Thomas said. "That is what I worked on this whole offseason, taking my game to the point where I can be a star for this defense."
First-round pick Prince Amukamara is not signed yet, as the Giants and Amukamara continue to haggle over the guaranteed portion of his contract. Secondary coach Peter Giunta spoke today about what Amukamara is missing.
"Our language is different than the Nebraska Husker language. The Giants language is so much different and that's the biggest change for those guys. Learning our language and learning our terminology and learning the nuances of the program like the illegal contact rule. When can you get your hands on and when can you get your hands off, that will be a big adjustment for him," Giunta said. "We will start working on his technique and try to grab him as much as we can when he is free. We have some volunteer days when players get the days off and we will try to catch him up as best as we can."
Giants fans who love to dump on offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride won't believe what newly-signed tight end Ben Patrick said today about the team's offense. He said the Giants are "definitely an offense that implements the tight end a little bit more than what I'm used to."
The NFL and NFLPA are still negotiating the remaining points of the collective bargaining agreement, which needs to be signed by Thursday in order for players signed as free agents to begin practicing with their teams. Giants player rep Kareem McKenzie said it was "conceivable" that the deal could be finalized by Thursday.
"We have to put our faith in our leadership and on the NFL side, their management counsel so we can go and get this done. So everybody can get back to work and football as usual. It is conceivable that it can get done by tomorrow," McKenzie said.
Conceivable, though, does not mean definite. Which means there could be a whole lot of newly-signed free agents around the league still not allowed to practice with their teams.
ROSTER MOVE: The Giants today added offensive lineman Stacy Andrews. No, not the Andrews they just released, this is actually Shawn Andrews' brother. Stacy Andrews is a 6-foot-6, 318-pound eight-year veteran who started 12 games for Seattle last season. He can play both guard and tackle.