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The Giants really are counting on these young, unproven safeties again

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then you could make a pretty uncharitable assessment of the New York Giants’ plans for their free-safety position.

"I'm looking forward to seeing these guys come back," Giants safeties coach Dave Merritt said Friday. "I'm looking forward to seeing the explosiveness, hopefully, out of a guy by the name of Bennett Jackson. Of course, [Nat] Berhe and the calf and the situation he went through, looking forward to seeing him come back. And Mykkele Thompson. I'm just excited to see these guys when they get back here."

All three of those guys missed the entire 2015 season due to injury, which means it's unfair to judge their ability to handle the free-safety role just yet. But between them, they've played a grand total of 16 NFL games -- all by Berhe in what was almost exclusively a special-teams role during his 2014 rookie season.

This time last year, Berhe was the leading candidate in the minds of the Giants coaches to make the leap from young, unproven talent to starter at a key position in Steve Spagnuolo's defense. But a calf injury suffered in OTAs deprived him of an opportunity to show them whether they were right and ultimately cost the 2014 fifth-round pick the season.

Jackson was a sixth-round pick that same year as a cornerback, but he missed 2014 due to injury, came back as a safety last offseason and got hurt again in the preseason. The Giants have high hopes that he can emerge, but again, no NFL tape on which to base that. And Thompson was their fifth-rounder last year but got hurt during the offseason program.

The Giants are still at work on their secondary. They had free-agent cornerback Jerraud Powers in for a visit Friday, and he'd be a candidate to play the nickel position. And they still could add a free-agent safety such as Reggie Nelson. But assuming they don't, they'll go into the spring and summer with basically the same free-safety candidates as last year and nothing to do but hope one can get healthy and handle it.