Plaxico Burress of the New York Jets tries to elude...

Plaxico Burress of the New York Jets tries to elude the coverage of Corey Webster of the New York Giants during their preseason game. (Aug. 29, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

Corey Webster said that losing fellow cornerback Terrell Thomas for the year does not change any of his responsibilities. He made it clear that it does not change any of his goals, either.

Webster and Thomas came into the preseason wanting to be the top cornerback duo in the NFL. Now it's Webster and Aaron Ross who want to prove that.

"We wanted to be the best," Webster said, "and I think we are still on that and still have that mindset. We are working towards it every day."

Webster and Ross have a ways to go just to be the best tandem in the city. But when you look at the entire secondary, the Giants have a group that can stand up against any in the NFL.

Antrel Rolle is a Pro Bowl safety and Kenny Phillips appeared to be headed in that direction before his knee injury two years ago slowed his progress. He said he's back to 100 percent, so the Giants are expecting big things from him. And even with Rolle shifting toward the line of scrimmage to play nickel back on passing plays, the Giants can pop veteran Deon Grant in at safety. That group of five could wind up being a full house for the Giants.

Webster said he liked what he saw from Rolle in his first action at cornerback against the Jets on Monday.

"I think he did a great job of covering the receivers," Webster said. "He is a former cornerback so it's not that far out for him."

On the flip side is Ross, who was a starting corner but lost his job to Thomas because of injuries. He even played a little safety for the Giants over the last few seasons. Now it is Ross replacing an injured Thomas at cornerback. A healthy Ross.

"All of those soft tissues injuries he had in the past, he was able to get corrected," Webster said. "That was a lot of his problems, dealing with those hamstrings and injuries like that, so I think he came back a lot healthier. Now he can focus on the small things and ultimately become great and [we can] be the best two cornerbacks."

Whether that group gets to see the field again before the regular season begins is a question. The Giants play the Patriots in New England Thursday night, wrapping up their arduous preseason. Because they played just three nights earlier, Tom Coughlin seemed hesitant to play his starters Thursday. He hasn't publicly stated his decision yet, but Webster seemed eager to be back out there.

"There is nothing like going out there and getting game speed and being put in those situations," Webster said. "I think it's always a plus for players to come in and have those plays."

And if Webster and Ross want to be the best corners in the league, they can always use the work.

Notes & quotes: Starting LB Michael Boley said undrafted rookies Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich have stood out. "They are both knowledgeable and came in and picked up the defense right away and stepped in and made some plays," Boley said . . . The Giants play in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday and will return for a regular-season game against the Patriots Nov. 6 . . . Giants assistant special teams coach Larry Izzo continues his tour of former teams. He played last year for the Jets, whom the Giants faced on Monday, but spent the bulk of his career as a linebacker and special teams ace for the Patriots.

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