Can Young Guns Get Job Done?

The Giants secondary is nothing if not youthful. Gone are the experienced vets that were around to lend a helping hand. But the players and coaches seem confident that the defensive backfield will have enough talent and leadership to be a position of strength on this defense.

Sam Madison and R.W. McQuarters are gone, but they are still in the hearts and minds of the cornerbacks they left behind – particularly starters Aaron Ross and Corey Webster, who have assumed the leadership role filled so capably in the past by the veterans.

"As far as conversation, we still have those guys, said Ross, who speaks by phone to Madison and McQuarters. "But we'll find out during the season how it is not to have them physically on the field with us. Having those guys around last year was a big plus for us. When I came in as a rookie Sam and R-Dub really took me under their wings. They coached me up pretty well and now it's time to move on and see if I can take it into my own hands.

"Myself and Corey hope to take the leadership role. We've been talking about it a lot, grabbing the young guys and teaching them up, the same way Sam and R-Dub did for us. We're willing to jump into that role."

Ross said he and Webster bring different styles to their leadership duties.

"Corey is more vocal and I'm more of a laidback, pull-you-to-the-side type of guy," Ross said. "Corey's more of a Sam and I'm more of an R-Dub."

Will they be backed into a corner?

It sure looks like both the Giants starting corners are ready to come into their own and succeed on a consistent level. Both Webster and Ross have survived some tough times and seem ready to become one of the game's better pairings. However, after that the Giants have Kevin Dockery and Terrell Thomas – and a bunch of really young, unproven players. The major concern is which player will land the all-important third corner post. Like pass rushers, you can never have too many cornerbacks. And what if the secondary is hit by injuries, as has happened in the past? Who, if anyone, will be able to step up among an untested group that includes this year's final two draft picks, DeAndre Wright and Stoney Woodson?

Can MJ keep safeties dancing in right place?

James Butler was superb at knowing his and everyone else8 0s assignments and getting him and his mates lined up in exactly the right spot in Steve Spagnuolo's defensive scheme. That's precisely why Spags signed Butler and brought him along to St. Louis with him. Now that enormous responsibility falls on the shoulders of Michael Johnson, who has seemed to do a good job of quarterbacking the DBs so far. He'll be joined in the starting lineup by Kenny Phillips, who looks much better physically heading into camp. After that, free agent signee C.C. Brown is at the head of a very short list of reserves that are very short on NFL experience.

Will they be better in '09?

The linebackers had so many other questions that needed to be answered that we didn't even address on the LBs page whether or not they'd be better this season than they were in '08. For those scoring at home, we're saying that they will be. As for the DBs, it really all depends on health. If the top seven guys on the depth chart can stay on the field, the Giants will be just fine, and probably even a little better than=2 0expected. However, if the depth of this secondary is forced into action, there's really no way of knowing how it'll play out. We'll take the optimistic lean and say that the young vets will indeed get the job done in 2009.

The Giants Beat Top Stories