Jayron Hosley expects the Falcons to target him pretty early in Sunday's game if he's the starting cornerback. He also thinks there will be some early lessons learned.
Oh, not by him. By the Falcons.
"It's like putting your hand on the stove that first time when you were a kid," Hosley said Thursday. "That second time, you think twice about that . . . I'm the stove. I'm trying to be the stove."
Despite likely making his first NFL start at true cornerback (he played earlier this season at nickel) and facing a team with two top-tier wide receivers, a Pro Bowl quarterback and the fourth-most passing yards in the league, the rookie cornerback is looking to bring the burn against the Falcons.
Because Prince Amukamara almost certainly will be sidelined by a hamstring injury, Hosley will be called upon to be a force in an injury-depleted secondary that also will be without Kenny Phillips (knee) and Tyler Sash (hamstring).
Is he ready?
"Without a doubt," Hosley said.
Others believe so, too.
"I think he's fearless enough and I think he's physical enough, because I think the young man accepts the challenge," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "I don't think he backs down from anybody."
"Both of those guys, I see that they have trouble in the press game," Hosley said, adding that in tape study, he saw the smaller Panthers cornerbacks like Captain Munnerlyn (5-8, 190) and Josh Thomas (5-11, 190) rattle the two receivers last week. "I seen a guy who put hands on them and it was a little difficult for them. That's something I definitely want to do this week, just stay in their hip pockets. Just play my game. Play my game."
The Falcons have their own injury issues, too. White missed a second straight practice Thursday with a knee injury and Falcons coach Mike Smith said his availability will be a game-time decision.
Hosley played significantly early in the season, but since the Giants moved safety Antrel Rolle into the nickel position, he's been pretty much sidelined. Fewell said they decided to move Rolle in place of Hosley because they wanted the playmaking veteran in "crunch time."
Now Hosley will be playing outside, where he played most of his college career.
"I'm a corner," he said. "I've played corner all my life, so I'm definitely comfortable out there. That's where I made my name, at corner."
His name likely will be called a lot on Sunday, when the heat will be on him.
For a stove, though, heat is no problem.