By Curt Macysyn
The New York Giants have placed 20 players on the injured reserve list, which is close to half the roster. Injuries have robbed the Giants of depth at several position, most notably running back, linebacker and cornerback. With the team suffering through a seven-game losing streak, it could be argued that some injured starters are over-rated anyway. That argument should not be summarily dismissed.
Overall, the Giants may have a two-fold problem: 1. The team does not draft enough NFL-ready talent, and 2. the head coach trusts his veterans too much and his rookies not enough. Case in point, Tom Coughlin moaned and groaned about Odell Beckham’s hamstring injury and the amount of practice time he missed throughout training camp and the early season. Hopefully the head coach was made aware that the dynamic Beckham was just named the NFL offensive player of the month for November, his first full month of NFL action.
New York Giants
Injury-prone running back Rashad Jennings may miss yet another game, this time with an ankle injury. Jennings has been a solid performer for the G-men, but his durability has become a huge question mark. He is listed officially as questionable for Sunday’s game. Rookie Andre Williams averages less than 3.0 yards per carry in the rushing attack, and the Giants may have to use late season pick-up Orleans Darkwa, who at least brings a speed element to the backfield. In addition, Darkwa’s pass catching ability should be better than Williams.
Reserve tackle James Brewer will miss the game with a concussion, so he shows up on the injury report yet again. This week, the Giants also added two offensive linemen to the injured reserve list in Adam Snyder (knee) and Geoff Schwartz (ankle). Right tackle Justin Pugh will return to the line-up after missing the past two weeks with a quad injury, so the Giants will actually go back to their original offensive line. When Schwartz was injured against the Jaguars on Sunday, and then Brewer got hurt, the Giants had to slide John Jerry to the tackle spot, and insert Dallas Reynolds at guard. Draft pick Eric Herman makes his return to the active roster for the Giants, after spending the better part of his career on the practice squad.
Wide receiver Preston Parker is dealing with a knee issue, but he is listed as probable and took in a full practice on Friday. Parker doubles on kickoff return duty, but the Giants have Quintin Demps and Odell Beckham, who can fill the void if necessary. Veteran wideout Kevin Ogletree had some targets at the wide receiver position in the passing game and made two catches last week.
The linebacking corps gets thinner every week. The Giants placed reserve Terrell Manning on injured reserve; meaning his season is done. Mark Herzlich is questionable for the Titans’ game with a concussion, but he was able to practice on a limited basis on Friday. Herzlich has become more important because Jacquian Williams will miss his third straight game with a concussion. Reserve Spencer Paysinger will likely see the most action that he has all year, which is not a good thing for the G-men.
Middle linebacker Jameel McClain is dealing with a lingering knee issue, but did practice on a limited basis all week. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been on the injury report for several weeks now, but he has been a gamer and played in every contest this season. With Robert Ayers and Mathias Kiwanuka going onto the injured reserve list, look for second-year man Damontre Moore and rookie Kerry Wynn to see more action. Kiwanuka may have played his last game with the Giants, and it is hard to see what the team might miss in his absence. The veteran lineman had a (-18.2) grade through Pro Football Focus (subscription required), which was next to last (53rd) for defensive ends in a 4-3 scheme.
Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger left last week’s loss to the Houston Texans with a right shoulder injury as a result of a J.J. Watt tackle. But Mettenberger has practiced on a limited basis all week, and he should be able to go on Sunday. Mettenberger replaced an ineffective Jake Locker earlier this season, so it is clear that the Titans do not want to go back there.
Rookie offensive tackle Taylor Lewan missed practice all week with a high ankle sprain, and starting right tackle Michael Oher, of the movie Blind Side fame, has missed time this week with a turf toe injury. If Lewan cannot go, then reserve Byron Stingily will have to step up.
According to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com, “Byron Stingily is the replacement at left tackle, and I think he’ll be playing. Guys don’t generally make it back from a high ankle sprain like Lewan’s in a week. If Oher is out, Will Svitek is the guy.”
A late addition to the injury report is wide receiver Kendall Wright, who has not practiced the past two days with a hand injury. Wright’s place would be taken by veteran receiver and former New York Giant Derek Hagan.
Defensively, starting cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson has a back injury, but has practiced on a limited basis all week. Wreh-Wilson is officially listed as questionable for the game, and Coty Sensabaugh would take his place in the line-up. Another defensive back, Marqueston Huff, is listed officially as probable, even though he has practiced fully all week with an apparent hamstring injury.
Starting linebacker Kamerion Wimbley is ruled out with a hamstring injury, so journeyman Quentin Groves becomes the next man up at the outside linebacker position. Groves has played for five teams in his eight-year career.
NEW YORK GIANTS
DT Cullen Jenkins (Calf)
LB Jameel McClain (Knee)
WR Preston Parker (Knee)
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Back/Hamstring)
RB Rashad Jennings (Ankle)
LB Mark Herzlich (Concussion)
OT James Brewer (Concussion)
LB Jacquian Williams (Concussion/Shoulder)
CB Marqueston Huff (Hamstring)
QB Zach Mettenberger (Right Shoulder)
OG Chance Warmack (Ankle)
LB Kamerion Wimbley (Hamstring)
For more Giants news and updates, visit Giants Central.
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for three yearsfor CBS Local, and you can follow him on @CurtMac23
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 aExaminer.com.