EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — With the Miami Dolphins coming to town, cornerback Corey Webster knew his assignment before the New York Giants discussed their gameplan.
Webster will be paired against Brandon Marshall no matter where the Dolphins’ big wide receiver lines up Sunday.
There might be some plays the Giants either switch the coverage or elect to play a zone, but for the most part, coordinator Perry Fewell is assigning the opposition’s top receiver to Webster.
So far, it’s working out. Two weeks ago in the Giants’ final game before the bye, Webster limited Bills standout Stevie Johnson to five catches for 39 yards and one touchdown. He broke up three passes and intercepted two others, with the last one igniting a late game-winning fourth-quarter drive for New York (4-2).
Fewell said the move was made to challenge Webster a bit.
“We did that a little last year in the second part of the season, when we played Philly,” Fewell said. “He really did a good job on (DeSean) Jackson, we thought, a year ago. We just thought, ‘Hey let’s challenge Corey a little bit. Let’s give him some confidence and let’s let him see that we have confidence that he can go out there and do this for us and we’ll play around him.’ He’s answered the challenge.”
Earlier in his career, Webster was upset with the coaching staff for failing to assign him the best receiver. However, that wasn’t necessary in recent years with Terrell Thomas playing the other cornerback spot. Both players were good in coverage so it didn’t make a difference.
This year has been different though. Thomas suffered a knee injury in the preseason and was lost for the season, pushing Aaron Ross back into a starting spot.
Ross got off to a slow start this season, and his game didn’t pick up until he was benched for a half against St. Louis in the second game of the season.
That increased the pressure on Webster and he is having a season worthy of Pro Bowl consideration despite playing in the shadow of the Jets’ Darrelle Revis, who is the gold standard for NFL cornerbacks.
Webster has his own method for judging how he plays.
“I want zero catches,” he said Wednesday after the Giants practiced for their game against the winless Dolphins (0-6). “It doesn’t matter what receiver I am playing. I hold myself to a higher standard. I don’t want to give out any catches. I want to be a complete player. I like interceptions but if we don’t get them, I don’t harp on it.”
Webster is a seven-year veteran from LSU.
“We want to be a complete cornerback, so I want to come up, make tackles, be physical with the receivers,” he said. “I don’t hang my hat on whether I’m being put on the best receivers. I’m the same person every time. I want to be great no matter which receiver lines up in front of me.”
Going against Marshall, Webster knows he is going to get a physical receiver who likes to use his size to get position, something he equated to a basketball player boxing out for a rebound.
The negative for Marshall, whose 34 catches is third in the AFC, is that he is not as fast getting off the line of scrimmage.
“You want to stay close to him, plaster him, so he can’t use his body,” Webster said. “You want to control the line of scrimmage.”
As far as the interceptions, Webster isn’t worried about them. He didn’t have any in the first five games and then came up with two against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills.
“We always say they come in bunches,” Webster said. “Sometimes you are doing what you are supposed to be doing as a cornerback or defensive back and you may not get as many interceptions as you would like. As a DB, we want them all. When the ball is in the air we want to put our hands on it when we have an opportunity. Sometimes you don’t get credit for staying close in coverage but you know if you keep working hard the interceptions will come.”
Fewell said defensive backs always can’t be judged solely on interceptions.
“I’ll measure it by this; we don’t call his name too much,” Fewell said. “I’d like to keep it that way, except when he gets interceptions.”
The two interceptions by Webster tied his career high for a game, the last time coming against Dallas in 2008.
NOTES: For the first time all season, the Giants had everyone practice. It is expected that DE Justin Tuck, RB Brandon Jacobs and G Chris Snee will all play after sitting out against the Bills on Oct. 16. Rookie FB Henry Hynoski seems less likely as he continues to battle the effects of a neck injury that sidelined him against Buffalo. …First-round draft pick Prince Amukamara worked with the scout team. It also appears the cornerback (broken foot) may have to wait to make his NFL debut.