EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Ryan Mundy is accustomed to backing up outstanding safeties. He played behind Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark the previous four seasons with Pittsburgh. Now that he's moved to the Giants, Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown are in front of him.
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"I'm not sure of the timetable of Antrel's return, but this is a road that I'm very familiar with from my time at Pittsburgh," Mundy said. "I was a primary backup to Troy and Ryan, so this is a role that I know how to function in and I know how to prepare for."
Mundy has no trepidation about lining up with the starters.
"From day one, (secondary/safeties) coach (David) Merritt came in the room and said, 'We all have to prepare as if we're going to start the game,'" Mundy said. "That really sets the tempo, sets the attitude for our room. Because you never know who could go down, or when they could go down, but you know our job as professional athletes is to be ready."
Mundy didn't miss a game in his four years in Pittsburgh (plus one spent on the practice squad). He started five games in the regular season – including three last year – and one in the postseason.
"(He is) a sound football player, a smart football player," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "I'm happy that he's with us. He's very conscientious and physical.
"He is very knowledgeable, as far as the defense is concerned. He does not have the experience and the background that Antrel has, because he hasn't been in the system as long, but he's very conscientious and working with Stevie Brown, he'll be fine."
Mundy, who is 6-1 and 216 pounds, signed with the Giants in part because Fewell has played with three safeties at a time, most notably with Rolle, Kenny Phillips and Deon Grant in 2011.
"You're really not sure of what they're running," Mundy said. "All you see is three safeties on the field, and once I came here on my visit and met with Coach Merritt and Coach Fewell, I got a little bit better of an understanding of that. It was exciting for me, because they thought that I could fill that role."
Mundy's reputation as a big hitter was confirmed one day in practice, when he clocked running back Ryan Torain. The Giants look forward to Mundy treating opponents with the same malice.
"I do have a reputation for hitting people," Mundy said. "My time in Pittsburgh I did whatever was asked of me. If Troy was out of the game, then I was playing strong safety. If Ryan Clark was out of the game, then I was playing free safety. That's just been my whole approach to be a professional. Whatever I need to do to help the team out, I'm more than willing to do."
With Rolle sidelined, the Giants need Mundy to step up now.
QUICK HITS >>
- *Cornerback Terrell Thomas spent most of practice at nickel corner. The Giants are increasing his workload as Thomas attempts to return from two knee surgeries and an early-camp hamstring strain. But Tom Coughlin said he doesn't know if Thomas will be ready to play in the Giants' preseason home game Sunday vs. Indianapolis.
- *Guard Chris Snee, who, like Thomas, was activated off the physically unable to perform list last week, also got more reps.
- "I think Chris is starting to build up," Coughlin said. "Yesterday he had a few, two out of every four, we'll say. Today it seemed like he did a little bit more. I'm told that with this it's the next day…and how they build up their endurance. It's more of an endurance thing right now."
- *Cornerback Jayron Hosley was active in practice with an interception in seven-on-seven and a pass deflection in the team period…Prince Amukamara intercepted a long Eli Manning pass for Hakeem Nicks…Ramses Barden had two outstanding catches.
- *First-round draft choice Justin Pugh played left tackle for most of the practice, but moved to the right side with the first team in the two-minute drill to end the workout. It was his second day back after missing more than a week with a concussion.
- "He's got a ways to go, but he's in there fighting," Coughlin said
- *Players missing practice included cornerback Corey Webster (soreness); offensive linemen James Brewer (concussion) and Chris DeGeare (ankle); defensive end Damontre Moore (shoulder); safety Cooper Taylor (hamstring); running back Da'Rel Scott (shoulder); and wide receivers Jerrel Jernigan (soreness) and Brandon Collins (hamstring).