By Paul Dottino
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It’s just about time to pack up.

Although there are three preseason games remaining, the Giants are holding their final training camp practice at the University at Albany on Tuesday, a day after coach Tom Coughlin unleashed his new annual T-shirt mantra for the season: “Build the Bridge.”

“The slogan conveys the Giants’ desire to take the outstanding performances at the end of the 2011 season and bridge them to the upcoming 2012 season,” the team explained in a statement.

Not bad, but it was rather unusual for Coughlin to recognize past achievement in the present. Usually, he prefers to enjoy success and lock it away in a box so it does not become a distraction as his team tries to achieve new goals.

Nevertheless, the Giants will move ahead, and they will do so with WR Hakeem Nicks (foot) returning from the PUP list. He’s picked up his sideline workouts over the past two weeks. Nicks very likely won’t play Saturday against the Jets but it clearly appears he’s on track – as he predicted he would be – to give it a try in the third preseason game and, certainly, be ready for the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

TACKLING A PROBLEM: DT Shaun Rogers, who started the preseason opener in Jacksonville, experienced some swelling in his knee and was sent to the hospital for tests.

The Giants already are without starting DT Chris Canty (knee) for an indefinite period of time, which means Coughlin may have a hard time choosing the four defensive tackles to keep on the roster. Linval Joseph is easy. So is Marvin Austin. Rocky Bernard, who also has a sore knee, would be safe, too. Does Dwayne Hendricks, who had a nice game against the Jaguars, grab the final spot out of necessity?

LINGERING ISSUE: LB Michael Boley continues to be bothered by a sore hamstring that has perplexed the medical staff and irritated Coughlin, who’s got more tough choices to make at this position, too.

If Boley has trouble saying on the field for the rest of the preseason, are the Giants forced to keep an extra linebacker on their final 53? His health could help solidify a roster spot on the back of the depth chart for a guy like Spencer Paysinger (who’s been solid and plays special teams) and/or Greg Jones.

NICKEL FOR YOUR THOUGHTS: Rookie CB Jayron Hosley saw extensive action with the nickel unit at Monday’s practice. Clearly, the coaches are trying to accelerate his development because he’s shown he’s got the tools to accept the responsibility. If he shows he can handle the playbook, this promotion would allow the Giants to avoid sliding FS Antrel Rolle into the slot corner as part of the sub package. The results were mixed during Monday’s session, but it’s still early and obviously something to watch throughout the preseason.

Are you a fan of the mantra? Let us know in the comments below…


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