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Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara working toward attacking passes

Prince Amukamara of the Giants warms up during

Prince Amukamara of the Giants warms up during training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on July 22, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Mike Stobe

In Prince Amukamara's first NFL game, on one of the first passes thrown in his direction, he jumped and made an interception against the Eagles.

"He went up and snatched one out of the air," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell recalled. "I was like, 'Whoa!' We thought it was the second coming."

With Amukamara now in his fourth season, the Giants would like to see more of that first impression. He was tested vigorously by the Bills in the few snaps he played in last week's preseason opener, and though he played the receivers well, the ball was another matter. The Giants want their quiet cornerback to be more aggressive about going after it.

There were passes against the Bills they think he could have picked off. Should have.

"He's coming, he's not the second coming yet," Fewell said. ". . . He can be as good as he would like to be."

That's why Amukamara has been staying after practice this week working on attacking the football in the air. He'll get a chance to show that skill Saturday night when the Giants make their home preseason debut against the Steelers.

"Having the mindset that when the ball is in the air, that it's mine," Amukamara said of what he's been working on. "Getting the ball at its highest point. That's the number one thing to do as a defensive back . . . [I'm] a guy that usually just waits for it to fall down or I would jump if the receiver is jumping."

If Sunday was any indicator, Amukamara will have plenty of chances to make plays this season. With Amukamara lined up opposite Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, teams will be more likely to focus on Amukamara. That's what the Bills did. All of their passes with the starters were to his side of the field, including a deep ball to speedy rookie Sammy Watkins. None came to Rodgers-Cromartie.

Amukamara balks at the idea that teams will focus on him. Just because Rodgers-Cromartie is covering, say, Calvin Johnson in the Sept. 8 season opener against the Lions doesn't mean Matthew Stafford won't throw in that direction. But teams that know what Rodgers-Cromartie is capable of certainly will want to see what Amukamara has.

"Let them throw it at him," Tom Coughlin said with a shrug. "That will help him."

It also will give Amukamara, the 19th pick in the 2011 draft, a chance to bolster his interception numbers. After that pick in his first NFL game, he's had only two in the ensuing 35 games.

"If more balls come my way," Amukamara said, "that's nothing but great things for me."

Herman suspended. Second-year guard Eric Herman has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league policy on performance-enhancing substances. In a statement, Herman said he took a prescribed stimulant for which he did not have a therapeutic use exemption. "I am taking responsibility and I sincerely apologize to my teammates, coaches and the club," he said.

"This won't happen again, and I will spend the four weeks working hard to be ready to return to work."

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