CINCINNATI (CBSNewYork/AP) — Giants safety Jeromy Miles has no qualms about getting in some verbal shots at Bengals receiver A.J. Green during combined practices the past two days.
They've gone against each other on the same fields before.
"It's all friendly competition," said Miles, who began his career in Cincinnati and dealt with Green on a daily basis in practice for more than two years.
Miles was back in Cincinnati for the past two days, practicing against the Bengals as the teams prepare for their preseason opener on Friday night.
It'll be the first test for New York's reshaped secondary. Gone from last season's team are Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown and Quintin Demps, the three players who combined to start at free and strong safety in 2014.
Miles, in his sixth season, is the veteran presence of a young group of safeties.
Rookie Landon Collins, this year's second-round pick from Alabama, and first-year player Bennett Jackson are at the top of the depth chart heading into the preseason opener. Jackson missed all of last season and is coming back from microfracture knee surgery.
Jackson played a lot of nickel coverages on Wednesday while Miles, listed with the third team on the depth chart, played with the first unit along with Collins.
"That's why he's here, the veteran experience," coach Tom Coughlin said. "He knows the defense pretty much. We thought we would add a player back there that knew it, understood it, had played it and would help some of these young guys."
Miles signed with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2010 out of Massachusetts. He made enough of an impression upon the coaching staff in his first training camp that the Bengals signed him to their practice squad. That's where he spent the first 11 weeks of the season before being signed to the 53-man roster for the final six games of the regular season.
He's gone from an undrafted player to someone who has played in 67 NFL games. He spent the past two seasons in Baltimore. He has the advantage of experience, but has been with the Giants for less than a month after signing as a free agent on July 15.
Collins is the only safety on the roster who was drafted higher than the fifth round. Josh Gordy, a fifth-year player signed by the Giants in April, is the only other safety who has more than three seasons of experience.
"I think we're growing together," Miles said. "I think it's a daily process and I think we all push each other. That's the best thing about football, it's just competing."
There is a lot of competition left before Coughlin decides on playing time.
"We're hoping it will be as competitive as it can," Coughlin said. "It's something we hope is going to solve itself right here in practice before the regular season."
Notes: WR Victor Cruz practiced on a limited basis Wednesday as he continues to come back from knee surgery last year, another step in his recovery. "Everything felt kind of similar to what I had hoped," Cruz said. "I felt good in and out of breaks." Coughlin said Cruz will not play Friday night. ... WR Rueben Randle did not practice Wednesday because of tendinitis in his right knee. Randle left Tuesday's practice early because of the issue. He said on Wednesday morning that he still expects to play on Friday.
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