EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Zack Bowman joined the Giants this season after six seasons with the Chicago Bears. He learned to work with a new group of cornerbacks, one that included fellow newcomers Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond, plus holdovers like Prince Amukamara.
"In my career I've probably played with over 100 defensive backs in the National Football League," Bowman said this week. "Some are still playing and some came in for tryouts and some didn't stick through camp and stuff like that. You play with a lot of guys.
"The motto that I liked when I first came here was, 'Faces change but expectations don't.' I like that, because the room is always going to change in the National Football League, but at the same time the expectations to come to work every single day and to execute and to be able to play at a high level, it all stays the same."
That motto has come to life in the Giants' cornerbacks room. Amukamara (torn biceps), Thurmond (torn pectoral) and Trumaine McBride (broken thumb) have all suffered season-ending injuries. But the Giants still expect to shut down opposing passing attacks and anticipate winning every game they play.
Beginning tomorrow in Seattle, Bowman will have a greater influence in helping them meet those goals. He will move into the starting lineup to take the place of Amukamara, who was hurt last Monday against Indianapolis.
Bowman has started one game this season (at Dallas) and 24 in his career, so he accepts the added responsibility in stride.
"Nothing has changed for me," Bowman said. "It's not about starting, it's about going out there, doing my job and helping my teammates win and going out there and having fun. I've been in this league for a while now and I have seen the ups and the downs. You just have to try to be consistent and just kind of go with the flow and always be you.
"I've done a good job of taking notes. I always do a good job of watching film, asking questions and stuff like that. It's a copycat league, so you have a lot of friends in this league that have played against the team you're going to play against."
This week, Bowman contacted two former teammates who recently faced the Seahawks, one who now plays for the Oakland Raiders (who lost in Seattle last week) and another with the St. Louis Rams.
"I picked their brains about what they saw out of them and what their game plan was going into the game when they played them," Bowman said. "You may ask them, 'Hey, what did you all do against them? What was your mindset and thought process going into the game?' It helps every time that you can get any little nugget to kind of help you out for Sunday.
"It's the smallest turn that can turn into big things. You never know. That small, little nugget could lead to an interception, which could be the game-winning interception or it could change some momentum in the game."
Bowman did not have a flawless week, though it was not his fault. He contracted a stomach bug that forced him to missed practice Thursday and spend that night in a hospital. Bowman returned to practice yesterday.
"Obviously, I wasn't out there with my teammates, but that's where the veteran part of you comes in," Bowman said. "You have to take it into the classroom. I had to watch extra film, take extra notes, meet with the coaches a little extra so I could get caught up."
Although he's started less than 30 percent of his career games, Bowman has always prepared as if he had to start every one.
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"Mike Brown told me this my rookie year when I was with Chicano and low and behold, we had a game where the whole entire secondary went down and I was up," Bowman said. "I was able to go out there and make a few plays and had the game-winning interception. Never stop preparing, because you just never know when it will be your turn to go."
Although the Giants have lost their last three games and the secondary has been in continuous flux, Bowman said he couldn't be happier that he left Chicago to come here.
"I wouldn't change anything," he said. "I was in Chicago for six years, loved those guys, love the people and the organization there, good people. At the same time, to be able to come here and make new friends and have new brothers to go out there on the field to fight with, it's been fun. This is probably the most fun group of guys that I've been around. Just laughing, laid back, guys crack jokes on one another. They always keep the room nice and loose, but at the same time, guys are very focused and locked in on what they have to do."
Bowman has 10 tackles, three passes defensed and an interception this season. Now the Giants need him to ramp up his production as a starter. And he has another motto to help him do that.
"You can have a bad play," he said, "but don't have a bad day."