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Monday, August 17, 2009
Three and Out: Giants


Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Three quick hits on the New York Giants:

1. Major competition at receiver: This hasn't gone exactly as planned -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Because of a knee injury to third-year receiver Steve Smith, other wideouts have received more reps. Rookie Hakeem Nicks also missed time with a hamstring issue, and that has really set him back. Mario Manningham has had an excellent camp, according to quarterback Eli Manning. But the biggest surprise has been Ramses Barden out of Cal Poly. Sometimes players from small schools are a little wide-eyed early. That's not the case with Barden. He could be an immediate weapon in the red zone. One member of the organization told me Barden was going to be a "star someday." And don't rule out Sinorice Moss. He provides some big-play ability and I watched him catch everything during practice.

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New York Giants

2. What does the revamped defense look like? The rotation at defensive end with Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora is pretty scary. I think these three players will be even stronger than the Michael Strahan-Umenyiora-Tuck rotation of two years ago. The Giants need for Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard to get past injuries and start working together. I know Tom Coughlin's annoyed with all the injuries, because he complained to me about it last Wednesday.

3. Not enough people are talking about this secondary: Everyone wants to talk about the defensive line, but this team has quietly put together one of the best secondaries in the game. Corey Webster and Aaron Ross have been banged up lately, but they'll both be ready to go for the regular season. Their absence has given players such as Terrell Thomas and Stoney Woodson a chance to shine. Can Kevin Dockery hold off Thomas at the nickel corner? Well, we're about to find out. Dockery's a scrappy little player, but Thomas is smoother in his approach. I think he'll make a lot more plays than Dockery in the long term. At safety, Kenny Phillips is on the verge of having a breakout season. Everything seems to come easy for Phillips, and I think he'll end up in the Pro Bowl this season.