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Big opportunity for Jayron Hosley

12/13/2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants may have two rookies from Virginia Tech in the starting lineup Sunday.

The buzz this week has been about first-round draft pick David Wilson, coming off his scintillating performance against the Saints last week. Wilson is likely to be the Giants' primary running back against the Falcons, with Ahmad Bradshaw missing practice so far this week with a sprained knee.

But cornerback Jayron Hosley, a fellow Hokie, may also get a starting nod, with Prince Amukamara currently on the shelf with a hamstring injury.

"We feel comfortable with him, that he can get the job done," said defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. "And I think he’s excited about stepping up to that challenge."

Fewell raved about an interception Hosley made in practice on Thursday.

"The receiver ran an in-cut, and he just, he saw it," Fewell said. "He broke on the ball -- I kind of joked with him, I said, 'I didn’t know you were that fast.' Because he broke on the ball and intercepted it, and he was in the end zone before I could turn my head. He had a really good day today."

The Giants liked Hosley enough to draft him in the third round this past spring, and threw him into the fire right away at the nickel back position. Hosley played 25 defensive snaps (41 percent) in his very first NFL game against the Cowboys, and 48 snaps (92 percent) the next week against the Buccaneers. But his playing time has fallen off of late. Last week against the Saints, Hosley played just 18 snaps (25 percent). He's also missed time this season with a hamstring injury.

"Not at all," said Hosley, when asked if he was frustrated by the dip in playing time. "You want to be out there every play, but that’s not possible. Things move around, coaches make changes and you’ve got to live with it. They’re the coaches. I’m a man, so it’s not something I took personally. It was just something that I felt like I could work harder. They give me more time to prepare myself and evaluate myself and just better my game."

If Amukamara can't start, Hosley will play a critical role on Sunday. The Falcons are fourth in the NFL in passing yards (289.2 yards per game), and feature arguably the best wide receiver tandem in the league in Roddy White (77 catches, 1,140 yards, 5 TDs) and Julio Jones (63 catches, 997 yards, 7 TDs).

Hosley sounds up to the challenge.

"I’m a corner. I’ve played corner all my life. So I’m definitely comfortable out there," Hosley said. "That’s where I made my name, at corner. I’m not saying that I downplay the nickel position. I love playing nickel. Wherever I’m needed I’ll play, but at the end of the day I’m going to be playing corner. So I felt comfortable out there, I’m ready and I’m going to be prepared."

Fewell thinks he is capable, too.

"He has great ball skills," Fewell said. "He’s one of those guys in practice, he seems to always be around the tipped balls. He can always tip the ball up and intercept it and catch it. And you just kind of shake your head, because he’s always making plays."