New York Giants cornerback Corey Webster hadn’t read offseason media reports to discover Vincent Jackson was serving as a mentor to younger Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Williams.
Webster told FOXSports.com that he didn’t need to.
"You just could see some of that when you’re watching film," said Webster, who himself took advantage of advice from ex-Giants and Miami Dolphins cornerback Sam Madison earlier in his eight-year NFL career. "Vincent is going to be teaching him a lot since he’s a veteran."
Webster and the rest of New York’s secondary are going to have to deal with both teacher and pupil in Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET, FOX).
Now in his third NFL season, Williams is developing into a top-flight wideout. But his spot as Tampa Bay’s No. 1 receiver was taken in the offseason when the Buccaneers signed Jackson away from San Diego with a five-year, $55.6 million contract.
As the Giants’ top cornerback on an injury-wracked unit, Webster is expected to get his share of one-on-one matchups against one of the NFL’s top deep threats. Jackson’s combination of size (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) and speed has helped him average 17.4 yards a catch during his eight NFL seasons.
Jackson had a modest Tampa Bay debut with four catches for 47 yards in last Sunday’s 16-10 win over Carolina. The Bucs, though, were able to control the clock for almost 38 minutes in poor weather conditions at Raymond James Stadium.
"He uses his size well to get the ball at its highest point," the six-foot Webster said. "He adds another dimension to what they have over there."
New York’s secondary took a beating in a 24-17 loss to Dallas. Tony Romo completed 22 of 39 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target was Kevin Ogletree, who had a career night (8 catches for 114 yards and two scores) playing primarily out of the slot and running quick slant routes.
A subpar pass rush by New York’s high standard and cornerback injuries contributed to the struggles. Terrell Thomas suffered a season-ending knee injury in August. 2011 first-round pick Prince Amukamara (ankle) was inactive and starter Michael Coe hurt his hamstring during the game, forcing fourth-string cornerback Justin Tryon into duty. Amukamara and Coe have practiced on a limited basis this week and may be available Sunday.
Webster has no such excuse. He was healthy and still struggled in a poor outing.
Webster admits New York’s defensive problems ran deeper than physical ailments.
"There were a lot of things that were wrong," said Webster, who registered two tackles and one pass defensed. "We have to go back to the drawing board and be disciplined as coaches and players. We can’t just go out there and think we’re going to roll our helmets on the field and win. That’s not how it works.
"If you have a certain gap, everybody has to do their job and it has to tie in together. We didn’t do that. We played individually the first game. We didn’t do that in the preseason this year. Hopefully, we can get back to what we were doing being disciplined with sound technique and fundamentals and everything will go our way."
Otherwise, it will be the Giants learning another hard lesson from Vincent and the Bucs.