By Curt Macysyn
The last thing that the New York Giants needed this week was another injury along the offensive line. The unit, which was fairly healthy for the first part of the team’s schedule, has now become a hodge-podge of players instead of a conhesive unit. That cohesiveness might be tested further if right tackle Marshall Newhouse (back) cannot play on Sunday. Previously, the Giants pushed Justin Pugh back out to the tackle position when Ereck Flowers was injured, but head coach Tom Coughlin indicated that rookie Bobby Hart would be at right tackle in place of Newhouse. Hart is a natural tackle, and if Newhouse cannot go on Sunday, then both players occupying the tackle position for the G-Men would be rookies.
Big Blue is hopeful of getting both left guard Justin Pugh (concussion) and center Weston Richburg (ankle) back this weekend. Pugh is listed as probable and was a full participant at practice on Friday, so he is likely to be in the line-up. On the other hand, Richburg has only been a limited participant in practice as he recovers from a high ankle sprain, and remains questionable for this contest. Dallas Reynolds played all 70 snaps last week against the Washington Redkins at center in place of Richburg.
Larry Donnell will once again miss this game due to a neck injury, and word has surfaced that his season may be over. Rookies Will Tye and Jerome Cunningham have been getting plenty of on-the-job training at the tight end position over the last several weeks in place of Donnell and that will continue at least through this week.
Defensively, starting safety Brandon Meriweather has been declared out of the game with a knee injury. Reserve safety Craig Dahl played 40 percent of the snaps against the Redskins, so he gets thrust into the starting position. In the three-safety sets, Cooper Taylor will get the call.
Outside linebacker Devon Kennard will miss the game this week with hamstring and foot injuries. Kennard played a majority of snaps on defense last week, so both J.T. Thomas (27 snaps) and Jonathan Casillas (38 snaps) will have to pick up the slack. Kennard provides stout defense in run support, so he will be missed greatly against hard charging Jets’ running back tandem of Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell.
Finally, the Giants anemic pass rush can ill afford to lose defensive end Robert Ayers, so hopefully Ayers toe injury does not largely impact his play on the field.
Robert Ayers, DE (Toe)
Justin Pugh, OG (Concussion)
Nikita Whitlock, FB (Not Injury Related)
Marshall Newhouse, RT (Back)
Weston Richburg, C (Ankle)
Larry Donnell, TE (Neck)
Devon Kennard, LB (Hamstring/Foot)
Brandon Meriweather, S (Knee)
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past four seasons for Examiner.com, and he is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). Born and raised in New Jersey, Curt attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, N.J. and is a graduate of Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Follow him on Twitter @CurtMac23 for the latest NFL and New York Giants news.