Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Giants owners staying upbeat despite injuries
By Matt Ehalt
The Giants are going down like flies, but the owners aren't crying about it.
Following the loss of Terrell Thomas and Brian Witherspoon to torn ACL injuries Monday night, Giants co-owner John Mara is looking to his roster to step up and fill the void—although the team will keep an open eye on any available players.
"We have other guys on the roster that are going to have to step up and play and obviously we will keep our eyes open for other players that might become available but we have confidence in guys like Aaron Ross and our No. 1 pick (Prince Amukamara) will be back hopefully in a few weeks and we still have Corey Webster and a couple young kids that have done pretty well there," Mara said. "Obviously it happens all the time in the NFL you get an injury at one position and you get a few more guys hurt at that position and certainly it's a concern but it's time for other guys on the roster to step up."
The loss of Thomas will hurt the Giants the most this season. While players like Bruce Johnson and Witherspoon would have provided strong depth, Thomas was the No. 2 cornerback and was intent on having a breakout year. He led the team in tackles last season with 101 and is known for making tackles in the open field.
"He's one of our main guys. He's not only one of our best players, he's one of our smartest players and he's got a lot of leadership skills and we're certainly going to miss him," Mara said. "But as I said before, we've got other guys on the roster that are going to get an opportunity now and they have to step up and play."
If the Giants chose to bring in an outside cornerback to help with their depth, as Ross will move to the No. 2 spot and Amukamara will likely return, Mara said the team has cap flexibility to make moves. He said the team would re-work contracts under the right provision and won't just restructure deals for the sake of doing so, because that will hurt the team in the long run.
Even with the two injuries Monday, Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch were both pleased with the progress of the team in its second preseason game as it triumphed over the Bears 41-13. The offense and special teams looked much more crisp and several players trying to make the team made some big plays.
"I thought last night's game was fantastic and I think we showed our fans, I think the players showed the coaches, we're playing football and this year and we are going to play it at the level our fans expect us to and the players expect each other to," Tisch said.
While other teams in the NFL have made more moves in the offseason than the Giants, Mara said that teams don't win Super Bowls in the offseason. He said it's about drafting well, re-signing players at the right values and improving the team.
He's optimistic about the Giants this season--even if they can't stay healthy.
"I think we have a pretty solid roster right now. I like our team," Mara said. "Obviously the injuries at cornerback are a concern but we've got a very good defensive front and we've got other guys on the roster that will get an opportunity to play."