By Curt Macysyn
The good news for the New York Giants (4-9) this week was that the team did not have to place anyone on the injured reserve list. New York already has a whopping 20 players lost for the season to the injured list. With so many players out for Big Blue, veteran coach Tom Coughlin has been forced to utilize several young players who have out-produced many veterans on the roster.
For example, if Jacquian Williams had not been out with a concussion, would Devon Kennard be out there as much as he has been? Kennard was just named NFC defensive player of the week, the first time a Giants’ rookie has ever received the honor. With Coughlin’s general dislike of playing rookies, even over under-performing veterans like Charles Brown, Jayron Hosley and Mathias Kiwanuka, the injuries have forced the old dog into playing some new tricks.
New York Giants
Quarterback Eli Manning rarely shows up on the injured list, and when the conversation turns to the quarterback position, New York has the most durable one in the NFL. He did undergo an ankle debridement in the off season after injuring himself against the Redskins in the season finale last year. Manning does not even believe he belongs on the list, and he will play on Sunday. He is listed as having a back injury.
Linebacker Jacquian Williams will miss another game with a concussion, but rookie Kennard has proven, even in limited time, that he may be an every-down linebacker. He had six tackles and two quarterback sacks against the Tennessee Titans last week. Mark Herzlich looks like he will return from his own concussion woes, and he represents an upgrade at linebacker over Spencer Paysinger at this point.
Middle linebacker Jameel McClain has been steadily accumulating tackles on the defense, despite a sore knee. McClain took a maintenance day on Wednesday, but has been a full participant in practice on Thursday and Friday. He will also play on Sunday.
How far has RG3 fallen? It now looks like the team will find a reason to not start him against the Giants. According to John Keim of ESPN.com, “[McCoy] will get examined by doctors Friday, and if they clear him then he will start. If he does not, then Robert Griffin III will start. Both he and Kirk Cousins have taken first-team reps and I know there was consideration given to Cousins possibly starting. It’s a moot point because it looks like McCoy will start.“
Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Washington reported that head coach Jay Gruden addressed the McCoy injury today. “He’s going to see the doctor this afternoon and get his final deal, that’s why he’s listed as questionable,” Gruden said after practice. “Once he sees the doctor and gets the clearance we’re pretty positive he’ll be okay. But one more doctor to see to make sure.”
Gruden has also said that he does not want wide receiver DeSean Jackson playing unless he is 100 percent. Jackson has been limited in practice all week leading up to the Giants’ game and is listed as questionable with a shin injury. Combative Andre Roberts would get the start in place of Jackson. Roberts squared off against cornerback Bashaud Breeland at open practice this week in front of the Washington media.
Starting linebacker Keenan Robinson will miss the game again this week because of a sprained MCL, and Will Compton will once again get the start. Robinson intercepted Eli Manning in the team’s first contest on Sept. 25th at FedEx Field.
Strong safety Brandon Meriweather has a sprained toe, and youngster Phillip Thomas gets another start. Look for the Giants to exploit Thomas by looking Larry Donnell’s way more so than they have recently. It is up to Donnell, however, to hang onto the ball.
NEW YORK GIANTS
LB Mark Herzlich (Concussion)
QB Eli Manning (Back)
LB Jameel McClian (Knee)
OT James Brewer (Concussion)
LB Jacquian Williams (Concussion)
DT Barry Cofield (Illness)
DT Chris Baker (Chest)
DE Kedric Golson (Back/Foot)
DE Jason Hatcher (Knee)
WR DeSean Jackson (Shin)
QB Colt McCoy (Neck)
RB Roy Helu (Toe)
SS Brandon Meriweather (Toe)
OT Morgan Moses (Foot/Ankle)
LB Keenan Robinson (Knee)
For more Giants news and updates, visit Giants Central. Follow me on Twitter @CurtMac23
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.