Webster Holds Key to Success of Giants D

The second-year cornerback is being thrust into the starting lineup at left corner, which suffice to say, is football's version of the hot corner. Last year? A learning experience for the ‘05 second-round pick. This year? On the job training, with very little margin for error.

"You have to respond," Webster said shortly before the Giants broke training camp. "When Coach puts you in that situation he expects a lot of things out of you so you have to go out there and show him that you can do it. He's putting his trust in you so you have to do what you're supposed to to make him feel comfortable about it."

So far, so good.

"I've got to tell you that Corey's had a good camp," Tom Coughlin said.

Webster and free agent signee Sam Madison, a 10-year vet, are the new corners, having taken over for last year's starting tandem of Will Allen and Will Peterson. Webster knows opposing QBs will be looking at him right away.

"I'm a young guy, whereas Sam has already proven himself in this league," Webster said. "I'm going to be the guy that's going to be tested. I just have to be up for the challenge and be ready to show that I do belong here and I can hold my own. That's going to be the big challenge for me this year."

Last year's big challenge was just learning how to be a professional football player. Last season Webster started two regular-season games and the playoff contest and played in all but one contest. He finished with 38 tackles, five pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He posted seven stops in New York's postseason loss to Carolina.

"Last year coming in everything was new, everything," the 5-11, 204-pounder said. "This year I know what to expect. I know what the coaches want; I know how to practice. It's easier to give them what they want. So it's easier for me to be confident and make plays so that helps me out."

Madison, who signed with Big Blue on March 14, has played a key role in Webster's development.

"Sam takes us young guys under his wing, and we respect that," Webster said. "We're all improving as a whole. I just try to act like a sponge and absorb all the information he has. That can only make me better. I try to use all his information."

"He's still a raw corner," Madison stated. "I didn't even know he played part receiver and part cornerback coming out of college. He's still learning. That's why he was gravitating toward me and now I know why. He's still young and eager to learn. The thing about him is that he's getting better and when you tell him something he takes coaching very well."

Webster explained that Madison has been a huge help both on the field and off.

"He's shown me a lot of things that I might not have seen," he said. "He tells me what to expect from receivers. A lot of different receivers do a lot of different things so when we're watching film I can see what to look for and what to expect. And the same thing with quarterbacks. You watch for the different tendencies from them as well.

"He's great when we're watching film and then on the field he gets the opportunity to watch me. He'll tell me he doesn't like when I do this or that and then shows me better ways to do things."

It's been obvious this summer – both in Albany practices and preseason contests – that Webster's made quite a bit of progress and seems ready to lock down one of New York's most important defensive spots.

"He's extremely important," Brandon Short said. "If your corners can cover people man-to-man, the defensive coordinator's options are limitless as far as what he can do to an offense."

"He's going to be very important," Madison added. "I told him, ‘after a certain time, you're going to be the key element to this whole defense.' Majority of the quarterbacks are right-handed so that's where all the passes come. You're pretty much going to be in a one-on-one situation a lot of the time. You have to be able to hold up your end of the deal. He has to hold up his end of the bargain – and he will."

Like any youngster, Webster is still not out of the woods yet.

"The thing I like about him is that he doesn't know how good he is," Madison said. "He still has some way to go, but he's growing and getting better. I just like how he goes out and competes every day. When something happens to him, he asks questions. That's half the battle – asking questions and seeing what you've done. He's doing that."

The LSU product certainly has all the skills to get the job done.

"He's a good cover corner," Short said. "He doesn't get beat by the deep ball. He's smart. He makes good decisions back there. He wants to get after it."

Like all corners, Webster knows that one of the keys to success is being able to forget the last play and move on during games.

"You need a short memory to play corner because you're out there all alone," Webster said. "When you do get beat, you have to let it go so you can make the next play. That's how I have to be as a corner – have a good memory, but a short memory and keep working and working to get better."

Webster's been pleased that he's seen considerable improvement in his game.

"I'm more comfortable in the position so I should be able to go out there and make a lot more plays," he said. "I'm a lot better than last year. I'm a lot more comfortable with the defense and I know a lot more. I've been through a whole year. Sometimes it only takes a year under your belt to make a lot of progress."

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