Giants secondary needs to improve vs. Tampa Bay
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants believed their secondary was a strength coming into the season.
Headed into Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0), they're not so sure anymore.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo shredded the secondary for 307 yards and three touchdowns in a 24-17 win to open the season. He completed 22 of 29 passes, and finished with a quarterback rating of 129.5.
There's no doubt, the secondary was short-handed with cornerbacks Terrell Thomas (knee) out for the season and Prince Amukamara out with a high ankle sprain. It only became worse in the second half when Michael Coe tweaked a hamstring and had to sit, forcing Justin Tryon to play cornerback.
Still, some things were unacceptable.
Cornerback Corey Webster, the supposed star of the back four, was beaten for a 40-yard score on a double move by Kevin Ogletree, resulting in the Cowboys' second touchdown. Safety Antrel Rolle and Tryon seemed to bump into each other instead of hitting Miles Austin on a 34-yard lollipop scoring pass by Romo on a first-and-30, fourth-quarter play.
And if that wasn't bad enough, the secondary played the Cowboys' little slant patterns like they had never seen the play before.
Safety Kenny Phillips, though, didn't seem concerned on Friday about the secondary.
"Like I say, after our first game, you can say: 'Oh my God! The secondary looked so bad.' When you watch it on film you see why this happened and why that play was given up," he said. "It's no big deal. It's nothing to worry about."
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was the first to admit his defense played poorly, but he made sure that everyone knew the secondary had a lot of help in messing up.
The defensive line, which created havoc on opposing quarterbacks late last season in leading the Giants to their second Super Bowl in five seasons, let Romo off easy. The Dallas quarterback was sacked only twice and hit just four times. Ten is the target goal for the game.
All-Pro defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and two-time Pro Bowlers Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora not only failed to record a sack, they didn't even combine for a quarterback hit.
"I don't have to remind them," Fewell said. "That's the great thing about those guys. The pride they take in hits on the quarterback and sacks and doing what they do. When we put on the film, that's the reminder and, yes, I get after them from that standpoint, too."
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