Dockery may get unexpected start

Updated: December 18, 2009, 4:11 PM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The beleaguered New York Giants secondary may have to turn to one of its forgotten men against the Washington Redskins on Monday night: veteran Kevin Dockery.

Dockery, who has been somewhat in the doghouse this season, may get an unexpected start with the news Friday that Aaron Ross had reinjured his troublesome left hamstring.

Ross, who was not in the locker room after practice, hurt the hamstring Thursday afternoon and did not practice Friday.

"I'm concerned, yes," said an obviously frustrated coach Tom Coughlin said.

Ross hurt the hamstring twice in training camp and missed the first nine weeks of the season. He made his first start last Sunday, playing safety instead of his usual cornerback spot against the Philadelphia Eagles.

After cornerback Corey Webster sprained his left knee against Philadelphia and was unable to practice, it seemed the Giants were going to move Ross back to cornerback, where he would join Terrell Thomas as the other starter, and that Michael Johnson would return as the starting safety.

However, Ross' injury has the Giants scrambling again.

"It's been tough, we've been having an uphill battle in the secondary all year, but I think we've done a great job of always adjusting and people stepping up, so I don't think it will be any different this week," Thomas said.

Thomas did not see how Ross was hurt on Thursday, noting he participated in the entire practice.

"I feel sorry for the man," Thomas said. "He finally came back and was looking for a chance to get a couple more reps at cornerback and he has another step back. Hopefully, with a couple of days of rest, he'll get back out there."

Coughlin didn't sound optimistic that would happen. He also noted that while Raymond is making progress, he is not sure whether he will play.

If neither can play, that would leave Dockery and rookie Bruce Johnson as the replacements.

Johnson said Dockery practiced with the first team Friday and he worked in nickel situations.

"We can't afford to lose guys," Dockery said. "Whoever is called up, whoever has the duty on Monday night, you just have to rise to the occasion at all cost."

Dockery missed the first three games of the season with a hamstring injury and he has seen his role diminish this season with the undrafted Johnson taking over as the nickel back. He has played in eight games and had two tackles.

Dockery, in the final year of his contract, never questioned why he wasn't playing. He said he is ready now.

"I'm ready for this week," Dockery said. "I'm back in business. I am hoping to have a great job and stay in business."

"I am definitely jacked up and ready to go out and play some back."

Johnson, a rookie free agent out of Miami who might have been the surprise of training camp, has started four of 13 games, recording 60 tackles with an interception.

"I have been playing all year so I'm just ready whenever I'm called," Johnson said. "So it's not a sure thing if I will start or not. But if I do, I will just be ready. So I take every week like I'm going to start."

Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said that while there might be personnel changes, the system is the same.

"You have some new pieces that are going to fit in," he said. "But these guys have been taught the principles of the coverages from the get-go, so it's not like they're starting from scratch. But you have a couple of guys nicked up and it's not the same as having the guys you've been playing with."

Notes

Webster, offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie (left knee) and backup running back Ahmad Bradshaw (ankle) did not practice Friday. Bradshaw is expected back on Saturday. Coughlin said McKenzie is making progress, but expects rookie Will Beatty to start.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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