EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Second-year cornerback Terrell Thomas will start for the New York Giants in Sunday's season opener against the Washington Redskins because of a hamstring injury to Kevin Dockery.
Dockery, who was filling in for Aaron Ross (hamstring), missed his second consecutive practice Thursday because of the ailment.
"They are still holding out that he is going to make it," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said of Dockery. "He has got some issues, but he moved better today than he did yesterday."
Dockery's injury also pushed undrafted rookie Bruce Johnson into New York's game plan. Johnson said he has been going over videotapes most of the week and spent a lot of time with veteran cornerback Corey Webster and safety Kenny Phillips, also a former University of Miami player.
"This is what I signed up for," Johnson said. "This is what I have been preparing for and working for ever since I came in rookie minicamp. You have an idea what will be happening when the regular season comes. You just have to prepare hard."
New defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan isn't worried about Johnson.
"The first big regular-season game, he might be overwhelmed a little early on, but once gets in there, it won't be an issue because he has good talent," Sheridan said.
It seems veteran Chase Blackburn will be the starting weakside linebacker over Bryan Kehl and Gerris Wilkinson. Primarily the backup middle linebacker, Blackburn started nine games on the weakside last season because of injuries.
"He's a guy who is a middle linebacker, so he knows how to make a lot of calls, a lot of adjustments," middle linebacker Antonio Pierce said. "Sometimes I can kind of stay away from looking on that side of the field because I know he is going to take care of it. Plus I just love the way he comes in there and plays. He comes in going 100 mph."
Michael Boley, signed as a free agent to play weakside linebacker, was suspended for the opener by the NFL for violating the its personal-conduct policy. Boley was arrested in May 2008 and charged with battery on his wife after she accused him of becoming "too physical" after an argument. He was with the Atlanta Falcons at the time.
Backup center Adam Koets (ankle) and rookie linebacker Clint Sintim (groin) also didn't practice Thursday.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press