EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The motivation to make the Super Bowl this season is everywhere for the New York Giants.
Every time the Giants practice, the team doesn't need to look further than across the parking lot at MetLife Stadium for inspiration, since it's the home of Super Bowl XLVIII. But for Corey Webster, inspiration lies in the Giants' locker room at their practice facility.
In addition to a Super Bowl countdown calendar in the locker room, some Giants are motivated by the idea of another NFC team making the Super Bowl and occupying their locker room and practice facility for a week.
"If you don't make the Super Bowl and some other team uses your locker room ... it [ticks] you off," Webster said. "It should [tick] you off. That motivates you."
"We've used somebody's locker room [during the week of the Super Bowl] so we don't want it to happen to us," Webster later added. "We'll do everything in our power, work hard, all the little things in between and hopefully that will help."
A motivated Webster should bode well for the Giants. Last season, the defense struggled, finishing 31st in total defense. The Giants allowed 6,134 yards for an average of 383.4 yards a game -- both franchise records. Perry Fewell's defense surrendered a league-high 29 passes of at least 30 yards and 13 passes of 40 or more yards -- second-most in the NFL.
Webster had his struggles last season but believes he will bounce back this season.
"I still think I'm one of the best," a confident Webster said when asked if he's still one of the best corners in the league. "I think I'm a great cornerback. I go out there and compete and work like the best. [But] you're only as good as your last game. I hope we get off to a good start and hopefully I will make people better around me."
Webster, who broke his hand early last season but kept playing, is still considered the Giants' top corner and Jerry Reese is hoping he will play like it. Last year, according to ProFootballFocus.com, the veteran allowed eight touchdown receptions, tied for second-most among cornerbacks.
Webster took a pay cut to remain with the team in the offseason and he is one of several veterans who could be playing in his final season as a Giant.
Webster says he and the defense are highly motivated to turn things completely around.
"When you fall to one of the worst defenses in the league... we want to be a top-5 or even one of the best defenses in the league," Webster said. "There's an attitude to come in and be the best defense."
Webster said part of the problem with the secondary last season was a combination of poor communication, injuries and meshing with new pieces.
"We had flashes last year, turning over the ball," Webster said of the Giants, who finished fourth in the NFL in takeaways (35). "But then sometimes guys were wide open down the field. That's easy, that's not physical. That's all mental. We can put ourselves in a much better situation than last year."
The Giants focused on fortifying their run defense in the offseason by loading up at defensive tackle. In the secondary, the Giants brought back Aaron Ross and added depth at safety but didn't make any major additions at cornerback.
"I think we have the pieces to be a great defense as well as a great team," Webster said. "I think we got all the pieces of the puzzle."
"This will be a dominant defense this year if we continue to work like we've been working these last few days and continuing to get better."