Trumaine McBride was an under-the-radar signing for the New York Giants, but one that has worked out very well. McBride joined the Giants in 2013 as an unheralded journeyman free agent on a "futures" deal. He worked hard and made the team that year, even though few fans knew his name.
But when injuries forced Corey Webster and Aaron Ross out of the starting lineup, McBride got his chance and ran with it.
That year the unknown corner became one of the best players that nobody knew about. In an era when every team is looking for bigger and longer corners, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound McBride excelled on the outside against some of the best receivers the league has to offer.
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Per Football Outsiders, McBride averaged a full 1.5 yards fewer per coverage snap than any other receiver charted, the highest adjusted success rate at 69 percent.
-- Adjusted Success rate is defined by Football Outsiders as "the percentage of passes that don't manage to get at least 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent of needed yards on second down, or 100 percent of needed yards on third down."
McBride also allowed the third-fewest yards after contact. For perspective, he blew away corners such as Joe Haden, Patrick Peterson, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis.
In 2014, McBride played well as the slot corner after Walter Thurmond went down to injury, before McBride, too, was claimed by a hand injury that required surgery.
So where is the feisty corner heading into 2015?
"I have the same mind frame every year. For me, I have to make the team," McBride said. "They could have me one on the depth chart, two on the depth chart -- my mind frame every year is, 'Trumaine, you have to make the team first.' "
This year the Giants are having McBride concentrate solely on covering slot receivers, a shift from his prior success as a boundary defender:
"It's good for me because, like you [the reporter who asked the question] said, I've played outside here. So just me being at nickel helps me to focus and just learn all the little details of the nickel spot," McBride said.
Of course with all the questions surrounding the safety position, McBride was asked if their inexperience makes his job harder.
"I mean, it's not really hard because I think, overall, just being a corner, you have to know what to do anyway," he said. "So whether you have a vet back there or whether you have a rookie, it's on us to know our jobs."
To get more out of a practice schedule that is limited by the CBA, the Giants will be traveling to Cincinnati early this week to hold a pair of joint practices with the Bengals in preparation for their first preseason game this Friday. Earlier this week a joint practice between Houston and Washington made headlines when the two teams needed to be separated after repeated brawls. Though McBride, and the rest of the Giants, are anticipating practices to have more of an edge to them, they aren't anticipating similar incidents as happened elsewhere.
"I'm not worried, but I know that guys are going to be fired up. It's going to be real chippy because we're not teammates," McBride said. "So once you step on the field, you have to look at it like it's a game."
The hope is that while the practices might be more "chippy" than what the Giants are used to, the two teams will be able to control themselves well enough to reap the benefits of the inter-squad scrimmages.
"I think it's just more of a mindset. When you're here practicing with your guys every day, you know certain things you can do, certain things you can't do. You get used to going against the wide outs or you get used to going against the same linemen. So just having to see different faces, different techniques, different guys, will help us in the long run," the veteran corner said.
This is a change from the way the Giants normally run their camps, and it remains to be seen how much good it will accomplish, but McBride is just one of many players who are excited to make the trip to Cincinnati.