Darian Thompson was limited in practice on Wednesday, which is not as big of a deal as it might have seemed two weeks ago when the rookie safety first injured his shoulder. The Giants have Nat Berhe to thank for that.
Thompson was practically inked into the starting job in the secondary from the start of camp until his injury, and there didn’t seem to be much competition. But in the last two weeks Berhe has shown he is more than capable of playing the position, and the team is confident if he has to start on Sunday against the Cowboys.
“He’s a guy that’s been struggling to get out in the field,” Ben McAdoo said. “He’s finally had a chance to get out there and stay out there. He’s learned the defense and is improving as a communicator. He’s our heat seeking missile out there, fast and aggressive.”
Berhe’s confidence in himself has also risen during Thompson’s absence.
“It’s hard to trust a guy that you haven’t really seen play,” he said. “You haven’t seen him play against ones or stuff like that. So getting work against [Ryan] Fitzpatrick and Tom Brady [in preseason games] I think really boded well for me.”
Berhe was in line to be the starting safety last year, but a calf injury put him on injured reserve during training camp and he never took the field. He played mostly special teams the year before that as a rookie, so he’s only been in for a “handful” of regular-season defensive snaps in his career.
“I think that life is all about timing, and so I just have to wait my turn,” he said. “And the time is now.”
Even if Thompson is able to play and start this week or down the road, Berhe said he feels he has shown he can be a contributor.
“I’m here to help the team in any way I can, whether it’s on special teams, starting on defense, rotating in as a third safety, anything,” he said. “I’m going to do it because I’m confident in my abilities.”
So, finally it seems, are the Giants as well.
Beatty back in pads
The Giants will practice in full pads on Thursday, giving Will Beatty his first opportunity to go full speed in almost 20 months. Beatty missed all of last season with pectoral and shoulder injuries and was re-signed by the Giants last week.
“I was out there in the last preseason game in full pads, but I didn’t really get to hit anyone or use them,” Beatty said. “To break them in is going to be a good feeling.”
Said McAdoo: “[Thursday] will be a big day for him.”
Despite workouts for veteran free agent kickers on Tuesday, McAdoo said Randy Bullock will handle the duties in the opener against the Cowboys while Josh Brown serves a one-game suspension ... Besides Thompson, LB Jonathan Casillas (ribs) was also limited in practice … LB B.J. Goodson was cleared from the concussion protocol and a full participant in practice.