Aaron Ross and Stevie Brown are at different point in their careers. Ross is trying to rediscover himself after a down year with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Brown is looking to show he could is becoming a star in the NFL.
Ross had a disappointing season with the Jaguars and did not look like the player that brought excitement to the Meadowlands for five seasons.
"It's still football at the end of the day," Ross said about playing in Jacksonville. "It's two different organizations. Of course, being here for five years; it felt like home. I got two Super Bowl rings here, a great brotherhood formed and when I went to Jacksonville it was like starting all over."
Brown on the other hand, wants to build after a successful 2012 campaign. He wants to continue after a successful year that had him in the Pro Bowl conversation for safety. Brown finished the year with 76 combined tackles and was tied for second in the NFL with eight interceptions.
"Just to do better than last year", Brown added. "I want to remain a starter and get better in everything that I do."
The secondary for the Giants fell apart during the final stretch of the season. Big Blue hopes adding Ross and Brown's gained experience will help strengthen the defense.
In fact, Ross isn't here to play in certain packages, but he wants to start.
"Everything is up for grabs," Ross said. "Whatever the coach decides, that's what I'm with. I'm going to compete and when my number is called I want to be prepared to go out there and go out there and execute; however, if I'm the starter or I'm the nickel. So I just want to be ready for when that No. 31 is called."
Ross was originally a starter when he was drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft out of Texas University. The emergence of Webster during the 2007 playoffs and the Giants drafting Terrell Thomas led to Ross eventually losing his job and becoming mostly a nickel cornerback.
Webster was constantly beat by the deep ball last season and at times it seemed like quarterbacks were bullying the cornerback. He still feels he can be a top-notch cornerback in the NFL.
Thomas is returning after two straight seasons of injuring his ACL. An ACL injury is tough to come back from and may slow Thomas down.
Ross has a real opportunity to start for the Giants. Safety Antrel Rolle said No.31 seems like a different player.
"I guess it's just the years and the maturity," said Ross. "I think that's the main thing and knowing that it can be over at any time; getting released from Jacksonville, knowing that you might not have a job. It kind of breaks everything down and brings everything into perspective for you."
Brown was given the chance to start after Kenny Phillips went down with a knee injury. The Giants decided to not sign Phillips this offseason and he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Now the starting job practically job belongs to Brown.
"There's definitely a difference," Brown said about coming into this season knowing he's a starter. "Last year I was trying to make sure I was on every single special team, make sure I was on the defense, and make sure I was doing everything I needed to do to prove to the coaches that I should be here. This year, it's still about trying to prove myself, but at the same time I'm trying to master everything and be in my second year in the defense. I'm trying not to have the same little mistakes that I had last year. I want to build off of everything and just keep being a leader out there."
The Giants may have two players in their secondary that are at different points in their careers, but they both want to make a difference on defense. With the Giants having so many position battles and question marks on defense, it is important for the secondary to improve and be in top shape once game time rolls around.