Bruce Johnson will continue his role in the nickel defense while Kevin Dockery steps ahead of him as starter in case Aaron Ross can't make it. That's not a knock on the undrafted rookie, however. Simply by virtue of taking over the nickel spot from Dockery all season, he's advanced further along the rookie curve than expected.
He's had his up and downs this year. He started fast with a forced fumble in the opener against the Redskins and a touchdown off an interception against Dallas in Week 2. But he's had his problems giving up the big play of late, lowlighted by his failed attempt to reel in his own deflection on a long pass to Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.
Now, after a rocky second-half appearance against Philadelphia at left corner following Corey Webster's departure with a sprained left knee, the 5-foot-11, 182-pound Johnson needs to be ready for an expanded role this week. If Dockery is shaky at left corner, Johnson might well be in there again going one-on-one against the dangerous Santana Moss.
Here's a video with defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan and Johnson talking about his rookie season.
Tom Coughlin is apparently very willing to forgive Johnson's flaws.
"He's done an outstanding job all year long from a guy who wasn't drafted to the impact he had on us in the early season," Coughlin said. "We've been pleased with Bruce.
"He's improved. He's gotten an opportunity to play a lot of football."
As for the big plays, Coughlin passed it off as part of growing up.
"He's a rookie," Coughlin said. "The other guys watch tape, too. Does it bother me? No more than any other area of concern or other ways in which the opponent attempts to attack."