This past Sunday wrapped up the first weekend of training camp for the Giants, and Tom Coughlin’s group had a scare as starting-cornerback-to-be Terrell Thomas went down after tangling feet with wide receiver Domenik Hixon during a drill. On Monday, the team found out that there is a chance he could have re-injured his right knee, which sidelined him for all last season.
Thomas flew back out to California on Monday, where he trained all summer to be ready for the season, to have Dr. Arthur Ting check his knee out. Regardless of whether or not Dr. Ting confirms that Thomas did in fact suffer new damage to his right ACL as the Giants doctors reported, the team will have to be leery of trusting the knee to stay healthy for the seasonfuture.
If this injury stands, it will be Thomas’ third ACL injury, giving Giants Nation reason to be worried about their cornerback situation. Thomas originally tore his ACL in college while at USC in 2005. Then he tore it again during last year’s pre-season game against the Chicago Bears in a collision with Jason Pierre-Paul, causing him to miss the entire season.
The fifth-year cornerback out of USC was heading into the first year of his new four-year deal with the team after having a breakout season in 2010 with over 100 tackles, 5 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles. Anyone and everyone affiliated with the Giants organization will be hoping to hear positive news about Thomas’ knee, hoping he will be able to recover for the start of the season.
Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell will be forced to look to his younger and more inexperienced corners to help fill the void. Second year man Prince Amukamara and rookie Jayron Hosley will bear most of the attention over the next month as the season gets closer.
Amukamara, the standout from Nebraska, was the team’s first-round selection in the 2011 draft. The former All-American missed time himself last year as he broke his left foot in the rookie’s mini-camp following the draft. As long as Amukamara can stay healthy, he will likely be the guy that Fewell looks to immediately step in for Thomas. Giants fans will be hoping that he can stay healthy and make the transition from the shut down corner he was in college to the Pro-Bowl corner he was drafted to become.
“I do have a lot of expectations for myself,” Amukamara said. “And I know the organization has a lot of expectations for me, so I mean last year I was kind of at fault but this year I’m starting off fresh and it’s time for me to fulfill [expectations].”
With the uncertainty of the health of both Thomas and Amukamara heading into the 2012 season, Giants General Manager Jerry Reese went ahead and used his clubs third-round selection this year on Virginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley.
Hosley was also injured in the last few days, as he fell on Monday and injured his knee, requiring stitches in the process. Despite slipping in the draft due to some off the field issues, Hosley was a Second-Team All-ACC selection last year and led the country in interceptions the year before with nine.
“Right now it’s just an adjustment to the defense and going against NFL-level players and being able to pick up the speed of the game and know your assignment,” Hosley said. “You have to be able to think and react at the same time, but right now it’s just getting lined up and knowing my assignment. Once I get that part out of the way, you’re just out there playing ball.”
The college resumes of the two young corners for the Giants are clearly impressive, but the players need to take their game to the next level, and quickly, in order to help the team’s pass defense which ranked 29th last season.
No one ever said that repeating as Super Bowl champs was going to be easy, and it’s even more difficult if the secondary remains a question mark. As training camp continues and the season opener against the Cowboys gets closer, it is looking like Manning and the offense are going to have to pick up where they left off to make a run at another Lombardi Trophy.
By Billy Bonneau