By Curt Macysyn
While New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin indicated that he would not play young players just for the sake of playing them, the injury struggles of the G-men may force the veteran head coach to get an advanced look at his youth. The team has seen sustained injuries at several positions including running back, offensive line, cornerback and now wide receiver. With some veteran players unable to give it a go against the visiting Washington Redskins, some journeymen and young players will be able to showcase their talent on Sunday.
To have one player on an injury report this late in the season might be an indication of a deeper problem for the Redskins. By now, all teams have put several players on the injured reserve and many of the remaining players have bumps and bruises, if they play hard. This week the Giants will not see second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III, who was “shut down” by Washington head coach Mike Shanahan a couple of weeks ago.
New York Giants
This week, Big Blue placed rookie safety Cooper Taylor on the injured reserve list, with a hamstring injury, making him the 12th Giant to have his season ended prematurely. To replace Taylor on the 53-man roster, the Giants elevated offensive guard Eric Herman from their practice squad. Herman was a seventh round draft choice for New York in 2103 out of Ohio University. He was the only Giants draft pick not to make the 53-man roster out of training camp.
The need for Herman arose when Brandon Mosley, an injury replacement himself, broke his hand against the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Mosley has not practiced all week and likely will not suit up. Reserve lineman Dallas Reynolds replaced Mosley and was certainly serviceable in emergency capacity. With offensive line being the top concern for the G-men heading into the off season, expect Reynolds to get a long look on Sunday, even if David Diehl can play. Diehl missed the Detroit game and has been limited in practice this week. Reynolds was a starter at center for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012 for 14 games.
Once again, star wide receiver Victor Cruz will be out after undergoing a procedure on his knee last week. His replacement, Jerrel Jernigan, had an outstanding game against Detroit with eight catches including a touchdown. With soon-to-be free agent Hakeem Nicks’ future in New York in doubt, Jernigan’s play may allow the team to shift Cruz from slot receiver to the outside. Second-year wide receiver Rueben Randle did not practice on Thursday, as he was nursing a sore knee. Randle has indicated that he will play this week, but that remains to be seen. Since Randle is the primary punt returner, his absence would have a secondary impact on the Giants as well.
Tight end Adrien Robinson waited all season to be active for New York, and his return lasted one play. Robinson injured a knee of the opening kickoff and has not practiced this week. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has not practiced all week and will not play against Washington either. JPP injured his right shoulder against Oakland several weeks ago.
Look for running back Peyton Hillis to return to the lineup this week. Both he and Andre Brown practiced fully on Thursday, having passed the NFL concussion protocols. Hillis has provided a serviceable option at the halfback spot, which will be helpful for Brown, who has seemed worn down the past few weeks. Having a patchwork offensive line surely has not helped.
In the defensive backfield, Trumaine McBride aggravated an existing groin injury, and this injury bears watching. With oft-injured Jayron Hosley battling an undisclosed illness, the cornerback position thins out. Terrell Thomas will play, but that only leaves rookie Charles James in reserve. The Giants could promote someone from their practice squad before Sunday, but the team would likely not want to make any more roster moves this season.
It appears that the Redskins are preparing to play on Sunday without their sack leader, linebacker Brian Orakpo. Orakpo injured a groin muscle on the muddy turf at FedEx Field on Sunday and was not able to practice on Thursday. Meanwhile, reserve linebacker Nick Barnett hurt his knee last week and was placed on injured reserve. The Redskins promoted linebacker Will Compton from their practice squad and signed Adrian Robinson to their active roster.
Robinson comes to the Redskins by way of the San Diego Chargers who waived him on December 7 and is more of an outside LB. But if Orakpo indeed cannot play, reserve linebacker Brandon Jenkins will start.
Compton was an undrafted free agent from Nebraska who did not make the Redskins final cuts and was signed to their practice squad. Compton plays inside linebacker.
New York Giants
- CB Terrell Thomas (Knee)
- DT Cullen Jenkins (Shin/Quad)
- RB Peyton Hillis (Concussion)
- CB Jayron Hosley (Illness)
- RB Andre Brown (Concussion)
- OG David Diehl (Knee)
- CB Trumaine McBride (Groin)
- WR Rueben Randle (Knee)
- DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Shoulder)
- S Cooper Taylor (Hamstring/Injured Reserve)
- WR Victor Cruz (Knee)
- OG Brandon Mosley (Hand)
- TE Adrien Robinson (Knee)
- LB Brian Orakpo (Groin)
- LB Nick Barnett (Knee/Injured Reserve)
For more Giants news and updates, visit Giants Central.
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.