Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: the garden
September 5, 2006 -- Whenever Corey Webster is asked specifically about himself he invariably redirects his answer to the plural, as in "we have to do this" or "this is a big game for us."
This is not intentional, Webster said yesterday with a laugh, and he wasn't entirely aware he refrained from using 'I' as fervently as he does.
How ironic that as a cornerback, Webster is isolated out on an island, unto himself, more than anyone else on the field. Come Sunday night, as the Giants start up their season with a prime-time matchup with the Colts at Giants Stadium, Webster will set up across the line of scrimmage from Marvin Harrison, a sure-to-be first-ballot Hall of Fame receiver who has been bedeviling NFL defensive backs for a decade.
No doubt Webster will get help with Harrison, but he is the first line of defense against Peyton Manning's most dangerous weapon.
It won't be 'we' out there against Harrison. It will most often be 'him.'
"It will be a great opportunity for me to show the team and our coaches that 'Hey, this guy's really worth it, this is why we stuck with him, this is why he's starting now,' " Webster said, "and I'm going to take full advantage of it."
As one of the emerging youngsters on the Giants roster, Webster in year No. 2 must prove his development has been rapid. As a second-round draft pick from LSU, he spent the bulk of his rookie season as the nickel back, eventually starting three games. His athletic gifts were compromised by hesitancy, a flaw he insists he's expunged from his game, thanks to experience and also the constant prodding of Sam Madison, the veteran cornerback signed this past off-season.
Madison, a nine-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowler with the Dolphins, upon arrival was in Webster's ear. Webster was like a sponge, soaking everything up. This week, with Webster preparing for the ultimate challenge in Harrison, it figures that Madison's tutorials would continue, but not so.
"I'm not talking to him about anything," Madison said. "I don't like talking about how to play a guy. You go out and you play your football game. I can't tell Corey how to move his feet, move his hands. I can give him advice here and there."
Webster knows he's graduated and must stand on his own two feet.
"He told me, 'You're a good listener, you're a good guy, you already know how this stuff goes,' " Webster said. "It's not like trying to teach a hard-head or nothing, he said you take coaching well, it's easy to talk to you.
"He said there's not really much he can tell me no more, just let me grow."
From the moment training camp began, Webster, 24, was one of the Giants' most consistent players, never missing a practice and rarely missing a beat. He'll need every advantage he can muster right out of the box.
Stationed at left cornerback, Webster will get a steady diet of Harrison, who almost always lines up on the left side of the opposing defense, making him easy to find but excruciatingly difficult to contain.
Harrison's 82 receptions last season were his lowest figure since 1998, but at age 34 he remains a supreme threat.
"I just know he keeps his motor going the whole time and I got to keep my motor non-stop," Webster said.
"You can't ever let up, you never know, you got to be ready every play."