Friday, December 16, 2011
Prince getting help from teammates
By Matt Ehalt
Tom Coughlin wants his first-round pick, Prince Amukamara, to be like a sponge.
"He's got to take all the help he can from the veteran guys and they're helping him, they like him, he's a very likeable young guy," Coughlin said. "He needs that kind of reinforcement on the field from his teammates and corrections as well."
As Amukamara learns on the fly here in his first season, the rookie is taking in plenty of advice from the veteran cornerbacks and safeties in the Giants secondary. Amukamara is coming off arguably his toughest game as a professional after yielding several big plays in the 37-34 win over the Cowboys on Sunday.
"It's always good to have an extra set of eyes, especially coming from your teammates because they are on the field with you," Amukamara said. "They have a better feel and they can just help you, no matter what."
With shortened training camp and an injury that saddled him on the sideline for the first nine games of the season, Amukamara is trying to catch up to speed with his team in these final few weeks. He has played in just four games this season but the team is relying on him to help shore up an injury-plagued secondary.
After being a premier shutdown corner in college, the rookie has been beat several times for big plays over the last few games. He surrendered a touchdown to Green Bay's Greg Jennings on Dec. 4 and last week gave up two big plays to Laurent Robinson that both led to Dallas points.
To help him, though, his teammates are constantly in his ear. In a video on Giants.com from Sunday's game, there's a video showing safety Deon Grant explaining to Amukamara what he did wrong on a pass play that went for 74 yards and led to Dallas taking the lead in the fourth quarter.
"He tries his best," safety Antrel Rolle said. "He's a young guy so there are certain things that take a little bit longer for him to grasp. He's always willing to learn and always trying."
Amukamara, who has 12 tackles and one interception on the year, said that the veterans explain different tactical things to Amukamara from his leveraging on plays to communication. One of the biggest things they preach to him is about having a short-term memory as a corner as Amukamara said it boils under his skin when he gets beat.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell believes that Amukamara's mistakes can be cleaned up relatively quickly.
"Prince is going to be a good young player. He's been educated a lot in a short amount of time," Fewell said. "Some of the things that you do to him in practice he retains and does well. And then sometimes they do something different to him in the game. He's learning on the run. He's got on the job training. He's smart enough that he can correct that and he'll fix those (mistakes)."
As a self-described confident player, Amukamara said he knows he will bounce back quickly. Likely, it will be with some help from his teammates and coaches.
"I was always taught you're always as good as your last play and my last play wasn't so well so I'm definitely hungry this game," Amukamara said.