Giants look for 2 in row, Colts need to improve

New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas has been waiting for

almost two years to get back on the field and play in an NFL game,

any type of game.

It just won’t be Sunday night when the Giants (1-0) take on

Indianapolis in a preseason game at Metlife Stadium, a contest in

which the Colts have been challenged by their owner to show

something after a dismal performance last weekend.

Thomas has a bigger comeback, He has missed the last two seasons

with anterior cruciate ligament injuries. The 28-year-old started

training camp on the physically unable to perform list and was

activated less than two week ago.

However, he has looked surprisingly good in practice and appears

to be close to playing, possibly next week against the Jets.

”I’m still just building blocks and just trying to knock `em

down,” said Thomas, who was the Giants’ leading tackler in the two

seasons before being hurt. ”I’m taking big steps every day. Trying

to get better, you know, with my technique getting my feet

underneath me, keep building confidence.”

One clear indication that Thomas is getting closer has been

watching him work against Victor Cruz in practice. He has held his

own against one of the league’s top receivers.

”We love the competition,” Thomas said. ”I made a couple

plays on him and vice versa. We talked about it in the locker room,

give each other, gassed each other up a little bit. But it’s fun.

It’s fun to get me back out there.”

Cruz, who caught a 57-yard scoring pass in the 18-13 win over

Pittsburgh last weekend, said Thomas is definitely making

progress.

”You can still see him getting his feet under him and working

on his lateral movement,” Cruz said. ”But he looks good, he looks

quick, he looks fluid out there. He jammed me up pretty good one

day out there, I’m not going to lie. But I got him back. There’s a

little back and forth, just a little competitive stuff to get each

other better. But I definitely see him moving in the right

direction.”

Heading into the second week of the preseason, Giants coach Tom

Coughlin and Colts coach Chuck Pagano, whose team was embarrassed

44-20 by Buffalo, want to see their teams make progress. So does

Colts owner Jim Irsay.

Irsay was miffed with his backups after Andrew Luck and company

helped Indianapolis take a 10-0 lead, and he let the team know he

wasn’t happy after spending $140 million on free agents, seeing

star Andrew Luck sacked, and his defense and special teams

embarrassed.

Linebacker Robert Mathis didn’t show up in the right frame of

mind.

Pagano plans to play his starters about a half, which is fine

with Luck.

”Yeah, I think you got to keep improving and get more

comfortable with the plays,” Luck said. ”We’ve got one game under

the belt now, so to speak, and so yeah we should improve. We should

play faster, a little more confidently and again, we’ll have to see

what happens in the game.”

Coughlin plans to give quarterback Eli Manning about 20 plays

and follow with backup David Carr and rookie Ryan Nassib. Veteran

Curtis Painter, a former Colt, will not play until next week when

Carr sits.

Hakeem Nicks, who missed the preseason opener, is expected back

on the field and first-round draft pick and tackle Justin Pugh will

play after missing the preseason opener with a concussion.

Defensive end Justin Tuck, who missed the Steelers game with a

tight back, is expected to play. Safety Antrel Rolle sprained his

right ankle in practice and will be replaced by Ryan Mundy.

”I’m still going to go out there and make all the same calls

that I’ve made here normally,” fellow starting safety Stevie Brown

said. ”I’ll definitely try to be a little bit more vocal. But like

I said, Mundy still has a great knowledge of the playbook, so he’s

doing fine.”