EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — After overcoming two major knee surgeries in the past two years, Terrell Thomas might be facing his biggest challenge.
The Giants cornerback is probably going to go against Wes Welker when New York (0-1) meets the Denver Broncos (1-0) at MetLife Stadium Sunday.
Welker is one of the NFL’s top slot receivers. He had a team-high nine catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos’ 49-27 win over Baltimore in the kickoff to the season last week.
“It’s an exciting challenge,” Thomas said Thursday after practice. “He’s a Pro Bowl receiver, one of the best in the slot. He had a good game against the Ravens. I’m excited. It’s a great challenge for me. He’s good at what he does — very explosive out of his breaks.
“He’s very good east and west.”
Thomas, who missed the past two seasons after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament for the second and third times of his career, defended the slot receiver in the Giants’ 36-31 loss to Dallas Sunday.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said that Thomas was on the field for 48 plays and the defensive coaches were pleased with his stamina and the way he competed.
The knee was never an issue.
“I’m not worrying about it. My knee is fine,” said Thomas, who was on the verge of becoming one of the league premier cornerbacks before being hurt in a 2011 preseason game. “I proved that in this last game, proved that against (Dallas receiver) Miles Austin. I’m looking forward to the challenge, because I know (Welker) is one of the best.”
The 6-foot, 191-pound Thomas has about a three-inch size advantage over Welker and a couple of pounds. His hope is to be able to use his strength and long arms to slow down Welker coming off the line of scrimmage.
Easier said than done.
“Wes doesn’t have a whole lot of bad games,” Fewell said. “He has been a pretty good receiver and a pretty consistent receiver for the last eight years. You can try to take him out, but he finds a way to win.”
And no matter how well Thomas covers Welker, it may not be good enough the way Peyton Manning throws the ball. Denver’s quarterback threw for 462 yards and seven touchdowns against the Ravens.
Thomas said Manning took the Ravens out of their game plan in the second half and caught them off balance in leading the Broncos to 35 points.
Fewell refused to discuss the Giants’ game plan, but said New York won’t use the same one they had against Manning’s Indianapolis Colts in 2010. The Giants went with a small defense that night and invited the Colts to run.
Didn’t work out. Indianapolis won, 38-14.
“Peyton is Peyton, and with the addition of Welker, they have a strong passing attack,” Fewell said. “I think the running game is improved. They have a very explosive offense. They can catch a short pass and go 70, or they can throw it five yards and move it down the field.
“So it’s a very potent offense.”
And Terrell Thomas will be facing of the main cogs.
NOTES: C David Baas practiced for the second straight day on a limited basis, and there is a chance he will make his season debut Sunday. ... CB Prince Amukamara (concussion) was meeting with doctors on Thursday. Coach Tom Coughlin said if he practices Friday, he might start Sunday. ... The coach said RB David Wilson had another good practice holding the ball. He refused to say whether he would start Sunday, adding Brandon Jacobs has looked good, too. ... Starting MLB Dan Connor missed his second straight practice with a stringer.
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