Aaron Ross playing out of position at safety
With Michael Johnson battling a groin injury and fellow safety
C.C. Brown struggling, there is a chance that Aaron Ross will make
his first start of the year against the Philadelphia Eagles this
There’s a catch: Ross would have play out of position, moving
from cornerback to safety.
Ross, who missed the first nine games of the season with a torn
left hamstring, has been working out at both positions in recent
weeks, and the Giants’ need this week is definitely at safety.
“The coaches told me they needed me more at safety so that is
where I am prepared to play,” Ross said Friday after the Giants
(7-5) practiced outside in frigid temperatures for Sunday night’s
crucial game against the Eagles (8-4).
Ross had not played safety since his freshman year at Texas, and
that didn’t last long before he was moved back to cornerback.
Coming into the season, the Giants expected Ross to start for a
third straight season at cornerback. However, he injured his
hamstring twice in training camp and only recently got back on the
Most times, a starter does not lose his job to an injury.
Terrell Thomas played well replacing Ross, and coach Tom Coughlin
decided not to make a change.
The result has been that Ross has been getting more playing time
playing safety in nickel situations.
“I am getting there,” Ross said. “I still have some things to
learn. I know the defense but I still have technical and just small
things that safeties that have been playing the game know that I
Ross said his biggest adjustments have been figuring where to
line up so not to give away the defense and watching the opposing
quarterback instead of the receivers, which cornerbacks do.
“I know my responsibility but I have to start learning where I
am supposed to stand to disguise the defense,” he said, adding
that he is starting to play safety more instinctively rather than
having to think about each call.
When he does have to think, Ross said that Johnson – who sat out
last weekend’s win over Dallas – Brown and fellow safety Aaron
Rouse have been there to talk him through situations.
Ross made an outstanding play in the fourth quarter against
Dallas, coming up quickly to tackle Marion Barber on a fourth-and-2
play that ended a Cowboys’ possession.
Ross laughed about the play, noting that some felt he was not a
good enough tackler to play safety.
“I told somebody last week that I wasn’t afraid to tackle,”
Ross said. “I don’t know who it was but they asked me. They told
me I had to get physical. I am very capable of being that person. I
am not scared to tackle at all.”
Whether Ross starts depends on Johnson. He has been limited at
practice the past two days and has been listed as questionable for
Johnson said he took about half the snaps on Friday. He said he
expects to start, but then backed off and said he was pretty sure
that he would start.
“I’m going to play,” Johnson said. “I didn’t really feel my
groin at all today.”
The Giants have struggled at safety since Kenny Phillips was
lost early in the season to a knee injury. Brown didn’t have much
success replacing him. Rouse, who was acquired on waivers from
Green Bay in late September, is finally getting up to speed. He has
led the team with 12 tackles in each of the last two games.
“When you are a player coming into a new team in the middle of
the season there is a lot of adjusting on and off the field, and it
takes time,” Rouse said.
Rouse has been impressed watching Ross.
“I think Ross is a player and he just wants to be on the
field,” Rouse said. “He can make plays wherever you put him, so a
guy like that, with all that talent, you need him out there. I just
think he wants to make plays.”
NOTES: Right guard Chris Snee practiced on a limited basis and
is listed as questionable. He has started 76 straight games.
…Backup running back Ahmad Bradshaw also was limited in practice
on Friday, but he is listed as probable with ankle and feet