Giants banged up at cornerback and safety for Vikings' game
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. >> The New York Giants are so short of players in the secondary that rookie coach Ben McAdoo had to have a couple of his receivers play safety in practice.
McAdoo would not identify the guys who got shifted on Thursday nor would he say whether any of them might be used Monday night when the Giants (2-1) face the Vikings (3-0) on the road.
Who knows? Imagine Odell Backham Jr. back there! He did it in the Pro Bowl.
The truth is the Giants need some bodies in the secondary, and it's not just safety. They are hurting at cornerback, too.
Let's start at safety. Rookie starter Darian Thompson missed last weekend's game with a foot injury. He is still wearing a boot. His backup, Nat Berhe, is in the concussion protocol after being hurt this past week against the Redskins.
Second-year safety Mykkele Thompson went on injured reserve on Sept. 20 with a knee injury.
That leaves starter Landon Collins, Andrew Adams, who was signed off the practice squad late last week, and veteran cornerback Leon Hall, who has shifted to the back line.
Janoris Jenkins is the only healthy starting cornerback. Dominique Rodgers Cromartie (groin) and first-round draft pick Eli Apple (hamstring) had to leave Sunday's game. They did not practice on Thursday although they worked outside with the team's trainers.
If neither can't go, veteran backup Trevin Wade and rookie Michael Hunter are next up.
The only good thing for the Giants is that the Vikings are 31st in the league in offense and 28th in passing.
"The plan is the faces change but the expectations remain the same," McAdoo said when asked about who would start with Collins at safety.
Adams would seem to be next in line, but he has very little experience. Hall is a nine-year veteran who says he could make the adjustment.
Beckham would not mind a crack at safety.
"I wouldn't mind hitting someone," said Beckham, who has gotten his fair share of fines for illegal hits as a receiver. "There's a lot less rules when you're on defense. They expect the defense to be the aggressor. I think as an offensive player, when you come out here and are very aggressive it's a little different from what they usually see."
Collins, who started all 16 games as a rookie last season, never worked with Adams in training camp. Adams was at the lower end of the depth chart and was among the final cuts. He was signed to the practice squad and was elevated to the roster last week with the injuries to both Thompsons.
Collins said that he, Adams, and Hall need a crash course on communicating.
"He is agile, he is quick, he is fast," Collins said of Adams. "He knows what he is doing and he is assertive."
Adams had an unsettling NFL debut. He was called for a fourth-quarter unnecessary roughness penalty that wiped out a punt block that would have given New York the ball at the Washington 18, trailing 26-24.
In the days after the game, Adams wondered whether the mistake would cost him. Not only did he stay, he now has a chance to start.
"I'm just grateful for the opportunity and I am going to make the best out of it," he said. "That's what I have been waiting for. This is what you play football for. I didn't come here to watch. I'm here to play. That's my mentality."
Hall just as easily could play opposite Collins.
"Being next to him, of course, he is going to know what he needs to be doing because he has played the game for so many years and he knows exactly what he has done," Collins said.
Apple, who got his first start last week, said he felt better than the day before. He said he jogged a little, but refused to say he felt "good."
Rodgers-Cromartie, who has never had a groin injury, insisted on Wednesday that he would play on Monday night.
Wade, who played in all 16 games last season with three starts, is ready to step in.
"You just have to be ready and make the most of the opportunity," Wade said.
NOTES: RB Rashad Jennings (hand) was limited at practice. He missed last week's game. ... DE Olivier Vernon (wrist) was a full-go at practice. ... OT Marshall Newhouse (calf) did not practice. ... McAdoo on the Vikings' new U.S. Bank Stadium: "It's going to be loud. I'm sure it's not going to be much louder than the Metrodome." ... DT Robert Thomas is over the illness that sidelined him the first three games. He has refused to say what it was.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.