By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Cornerback Darnay Holmes has hit the point in his career with the New York Giants where he needs to take a major step forward.
A fourth-round draft pick out of UCLA in 2020, Holmes is entering the final year of his rookie contract and he needs to do more to stick around this season. In his first three seasons, he has started 11 of the 38 games, with most of his contributions playing slot cornerback in nickel situations.
The selections of Deonte Banks in the first round and Tre Hawkins in the sixth round this year have increased the talent level in the cornerback room, which already includes top veteran Adoree Jackson, Cor’Dale Flott, Rodarius Williams, Nick McCloud and Amani Oruwariye.
Aaron Robinson, a third-round draft pick in 2021, would be on the list, but he is not ready to go coming off a major knee injury last season.
Jackson is the best of the bunch and there have been times, he has played slot cornerback while Banks and Hawkins have taken the outside positions. Holmes has gotten his reps, too.
“At the end of the day, I’m just happy to be on the field,” Holmes said Monday after the Giants held a short practice. “It doesn’t matter where I’m at in the rotation. I play this game because of the love and the passion and the competitor within me. I’m just happy I can line it up against some good guys on offense.”
Holmes, who had only two interceptions in his first three seasons, said there are a numbers of things he is working to improve. He wants to use hands a little less to avoid the illegal contact penalties, and he has been focusing this season on getting his feet in better position to react to plays.
Holmes did not have an interception last season and had one in each of his first two seasons. His other stats include 97 tackles, 15 passes defended, four quarterback hits, half a sack and one fumble recovery.
When asked about the possibility of getting a new contract after this season, he said he was focused on 2023.
“At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can control and I’m just controlling my physical well-being and my mental state,” he said.
After missing the playoffs in his first two seasons, Holmes is excited about the future of the season after the Giants posted a 9-7-1 record under new coach Brian Daboll in 2022 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2016. New York even won a playoff game before losing in the divisional round to the Eagles.
“I’ve been here since year one and going on year four I’ve definitely seen a shift,” he said. “A shift of perspective, a shift of culture and a shift of just way of life. I’m just excited for what lies ahead.”
The Giants were only on the field for an hour. They will be in Michigan on Tuesday and Wednesday, holding joint practices with the Detroit Lions. The teams will play their opening preseason game on Friday night.
“I can’t wait,” receiver Parris Campbell said. “Just super excited to put what we’ve been working on in practice against another opponent. Our defense, they’ve kind of got an idea of what we’re doing nine times out of 10. So, sometimes it can be frustrating in practice, but excited to put some film out there and compete with some other talent.”
NOTES: DT A’Shawn Robinson and G Marcus McKethan, who were both coming off knee injuries, were both taken off the PUP list Monday. Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, cornerback Aaron Robinson and defensive lineman D.J. Davidson remain on PUP. … RT Evan Neal missed a second straight practice while in the concussion protocol … Daboll said all the players will make the trip to Detroit.
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