Forget the chicken and the egg. Sometimes, it’s very clear which comes first. 

In the case of a No. 1 cornerback — like the Giants’ Adoree’ Jackson —turnovers have to be created before the defensive returns can swing momentum. 

Jackson has a history of being dangerous with the ball in his hands — he scored 15 touchdowns (eight on special teams, five on offense and one on defense) over three seasons at USC — but he hasn’t been able to duplicate that same level of explosiveness during a five-year NFL career. Why? Because he has only three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in 59 games. 

“I can’t even explain that,” Jackson said after Monday’s practice. “I’m just glad I’ve at least got three. I want to get more but, when opportunities present themselves I just have to make the most of them. That’s where it lies. If I have my hands on the ball, I just make that thing come down with [me]. I have to do a better job at that — and will do a better job at that.” 

Adoree’ Jackson
Adoree’ Jackson is looking for more takeaways in Year 2 with the Giants.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Jackson was the NFL’s No. 15-ranked cornerback last season, when he played opposite James Bradberry. With Bradberry off to the Eagles, even more is needed from Jackson, who is surrounded in the secondary by first-, second- and third-year pros like Cor’Dale Flott, Aaron Robinson, Xavier McKinney and Darnay Holmes. 

If opposing quarterbacks are going to challenge the youngsters, Jackson is going to have a smaller window to capitalize. No room for a dropped gift-wrapped interception like he had in a Week 3 loss last season. 

“I feel like every year is always an opportunity of a lifetime,” Jackson said. “It’s just like a me-versus-me mentality, but at the same time we know we are competing with each other. The best thing about having that competition with these types of guys is we’re going to hold each other accountable.” 

Kadarius Toney doesn’t have to master one craft before studying another. 

While he still is a work in progress after playing just 10 games as an injury-plagued rookie, the Giants are considering expanding his role. Of course, he’ll have to learn to play ‘X,’ ‘Z’ and other receiver spots in each formation. But how about putting some running back and wildcat quarterback on his plate like other versatile receivers? 

Kadarius Toney participates in drills at Giants training camp.
Kadarius Toney participates in drills at Giants training camp.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Coach Brian Daboll met with Toney before Monday’s practice to suggest it and was met with a “big smile.” 

“Saying, ‘Hey, can I add another position for you? I’m moving you around to this spot. And do you feel comfortable with that? Or is it too much and it will make you play slow?’” Daboll said. “I think you talk to your players and the ones that can handle it, you try to do that with them.” 

The Giants wound up in a pinch at safety Monday, when rookie Dane Belton’s left arm was in a sling because of a broken collarbone, according to a source. 

The solution was to release safety Jarren Williams with an injury designation and sign veteran Jarrod Wilson, who has played in 84 career games and had a sack with the Jets last season. Williams has played in eight games (two starts) and been cut three times since first joining the Giants in 2020. 

Sports medicine experts project a 6-8 week absence for Belton, which puts the beginning of the regular season in jeopardy and could become a complicating factor when rosters are cut to 53 players before injured reserve becomes a stashing option. Belton was getting first-team snaps as the third safety in sub packages.

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