Giants defense needs to improve vs. Bradford, Rams

Getting two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Tuck back on the field isn't the main issue for the New York Giants defense on Monday night against the St. Louis Rams.

Perry Fewell's group has to stop giving up big plays and making mistakes.

In the season-opening 28-14 loss to Washington, the defense allowed eight plays of 22 yards or more and safety Antrel Rolle kept the Redskins' final touchdown drive alive with a late hit after tight end Fred Davis was stopped two yards short of a first down with eight minutes to play and New York down 21-14.

Fewell said that five of the eight long plays were the result of either miscommunication on the field or players making a mistake.

"We had to put that game to bed," defensive end Chris Canty said. "That game is over. There is nothing we can do about that ballgame. What we can do is come to work. We can come to work focused, intense in our focus, be sharper in our practices, be sharper in our meetings so we can give ourselves a better opportunity to be successful on Monday."

Veteran Aaron Ross, who took over as the starting cornerback after Terrell Thomas suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason, said watching the videotapes of the game didn't reveal any major surprises.

"We basically shot ourselves in the foot," said Ross, who seemingly had one of those communication problems on a 39-yard pass to Jabar Gaffney late in the first half to set up a game-tying touchdown. "We have to correct it this week hopefully."

Injuries and lineup changes have led to some mistakes, and it seemed Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman capitalized on every one. The injuries though are taking a toll.

Since training camp opened, the Giants have lost Thomas and middle linebacker Jonathan Goff to knee injuries. Thomas' injury made Ross a starter and Goff's injury last week forced rookie Greg Jones to start at middle linebacker.

An injury to first-round draft pick Prince Amukamara early in camp also cut the depth at cornerback, and injuries to Tuck (neck) and fellow Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee) have cut the pass rush, even though the Giants had four sacks in the season opener.

Tuck practiced on a limited basis the past two days and seems to be ready to make his season debut.

Umenyiora looked good working out with the trainers on Friday but he appears to be a week or two away from playing.

"The big plays we gave up last week were nothing they did," linebacker Michael Boley said. "It was mostly us. It was little things, like being out of the gap, not getting the right leverage in coverage, just the little things. We're trying to pay more attention to that this week. It's not something that we can't correct."

Veteran cornerback Corey Webster believes the unit is going to improve after giving up 332 total yards to the Redskins.

"I think we are going to keep pressing forward and getting better and better," Webster said. "We'll help the young guys and the older guys will have to play great and led like we're supposed to do. We just have to keep holding everyone accountable."


NOTES: Receiver Hakeem Nicks (bruised left knee) practiced on a limited basis. He took part in individual drills but not the team portion. He expects to play Monday. ... WR Brandon Stokley, who was signed on Wednesday, practiced for the second straight day and should be ready for the Rams. ... Members of the Giants 1986 Super Bowl championship team will be honored at halftime. ... The team is advising fans to arrive early on Monday because of enhanced security procedures for fans entering MetLife Stadium.