EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The inexperienced group of safeties for the New York Giants just lost two players.
Rookie Mykkele Thompson will miss the season with an Achilles tendon injury, and projected starter Landon Collins will be sidelined for at least a week with a sprained knee, coach Tom Coughlin announced Saturday.
Thompson and Collins were hurt in the first half of the Giants’ 23-10 preseason loss at Cincinnati on Friday night. Collins is a second-round draft pick, and the Giants grabbed Thompson in the fifth round.
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That leaves Cooper Taylor, the injured Nat Berhe (calf), converted cornerback Bennett Jackson and veteran Jeromy Miles as the safeties. Only Miles has started an NFL game.
”Let’s let them play and we’ll take it step by step,” Coughlin said.
The Giants moved up in the NFL draft to take Collins with the first pick of the second round. He was penciled in as a starter almost immediately. They are hoping his injury is not that serious.
Thompson, who was showing potential in coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system, is probably going to need surgery.
”I feel very badly for the young guy,” Coughlin said.
The injuries are a major concern for a team that allowed Antrel Rolle to leave and sign with the Chicago Bears as a free agent and then didn’t re-sign veterans Stevie Brown and Quintin Demps.
The injury problems extend to the rest of the secondary. Starting cornerback Prince Amukamara did not play because of a groin injury, and backups Jayron Hosley (neck) and Trumaine McBride (hamstring) got hurt in the preseason opener.
Veteran backup Chykie Brown did not make the trip to Cincinnati after hurting a knee last weekend. Coughlin does not expect him to be back this coming week.
”You can certainly count as well as I can,” Coughlin said about the depth in the secondary.
Miles, who signed with the Giants in free agency, is the most familiar with Spagnuolo’s system, having worked with him in Baltimore last year.
Taylor played sparingly as a rookie and missed all of last season with an injury. He is learning on the job.
A fifth-round draft pick in 2014, Berhe was expected to push for a starting job at safety. He pulled a calf in the veteran minicamp in June and reinjured it early in training camp. He hopes to be back this week.
Jackson, a free-agent signee last year, was moved to safety early in training camp, but was switched to a nickel back recently. The injuries probably will force him to work more at safety.
Overall, Coughlin was not happy with the way his team played against the Bengals.
The offense didn’t register a first down in the opening four series. The line did little, especially the right side with guard John Jerry and tackle Marshall Newhouse.
The receivers struggled to get open. Coughlin said Rueben Randle was limited by knee tendinitis and probably should not have played.
The defense was awful, allowing Cincinnati to cruise down the field for a touchdown on its opening series and giving up 432 total yards in the game.