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Giants must patch things together in banged-up secondary

11/6/2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- First things first: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is not 100 percent physically, but he has no intention of sitting out games.

"I'm healthy enough," the New York Giants cornerback said. "The way things are, I don't have much choice. I'm playing."

Rodgers-Cromartie is something close to the last man standing among the Giants' group of cornerbacks right now. They have suffered season-ending injuries to Prince Amukamara, Walter Thurmond and Trumaine McBride, and Zack Bowman missed Thursday's practice while being treated in the hospital for an abdominal issue. Rodgers-Cromartie has been limited for more than a month with back and leg injuries, but he's not on injured reserve or in the hospital, and that is the current standard one must meet to play cornerback for the Giants right now.

Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said Jayron Hosley would move from the nickel corner position to the outside position opposite Rodgers-Cromartie in the base defense if Bowman can't play Sunday in Seattle. When the team goes to nickel (assuming no Bowman), Hosley would play inside and Chandler Fenner would be the outside corner opposite Rodgers-Cromartie. On the bench are Mike Harris, who was signed last week from the Lions' practice squad, and Chykie Brown, who was claimed on waivers this week after the Ravens released him Tuesday.

Fewell said Hosley and Fenner would get the first crack because they've been with the team all year, but that they would work to get Harris and Brown up to speed as quickly as possible. He also said the coaching staff would have to simplify their coverage plans because of the rash of injuries.

"When you have new faces, you cannot and will not do as much as you've done in the past," Fewell said. "We'll have to simplify our package."

Fewell said verbal communication would be key for a secondary that hasn't played together very much -- that guys will have to make sure they're calling out and repeating calls rather than relying on each other's body language. No easy task, and the players know it. But they also know it's a fact of life.

"It's football. There's a 100 percent chance of injury when you play this game," Hosley said. "That's why you have to have depth on your depth chart, and the team has to have confidence in those guys to get it done. It's a big loss in terms of experience in the secondary, but at the same time, we know we have talent on our defense and in our secondary. It might take a little bit of time for guys to get confidence in playing new positions, but it will work out."