By Curt Macysyn
As the season winds down to its final two weeks, the New York Giants (5-9) have been able to gather their sea legs and utilize a consistent starting line-up on both sides of the football. Overall, New York’s season has been a disappointment in terms of the team’s competitiveness, as well as its inability to stay healthy as evidenced by 20 players being placed on injured reserve.
This week’s opponent, the St. Louis Rams (6-8), have also struggled through some rough patches, due to injuries to starting quarterback Sam Bradford and left tackle Jake Long. The Rams’ defense is stout, but offensively, the team has become a hit-or-miss proposition, mainly due to the lack of a true field general.
New York Giants
Veteran running back Rashad Jennings has been ruled out for this game with a lingering ankle injury, so reserve Andre Williams will again see the bulk of the action. Williams averages a meager 3.2 yards per carry this season. The team has gotten a long look at Williams, and it does not appear that he is the long term solution at halfback. The rookie from Boston College has only two games this season when he averaged more than four yards per carry (at Washington, at Tennessee). Mid-season acquisition Orleans Darkwa only played three snaps last week against the Redskins, so maybe he will get more opportunities against the Rams. Otherwise, Eli Manning will have to become one dimensional against a pretty fierce pass rush.
The Giants need to bolster the running back position in the off season, or risk entering 2015 with injury-prone Rashad Jennings and ineffective Andre Williams as the primary rushing attack.
Linebacker Jameel McClain has been nursing a knee injury, and he typically takes a maintenance day on Wednesday. He did so again this week, and he was a full practice participant on Thursday and Friday. Officially, McClain is listed as probable for Sunday. With linebacker Jacquian Williams placed on injured reserve, Mark Herzlich will get repetitions in the three linebacker set. Herzlich played 33 snaps against the Redskins.
St. Louis Rams
According to Nick Wagoner, ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter, “Rams coach Jeff Fisher has made a habit of giving some of his veterans time off as the season winds down and he did so again Thursday when guard Davin Joseph sat out Thursday’s practice. There’s no injury to report, just a chance for Joseph to get a little extra rest.”
Interestingly enough, center Scott Wells received his day off on Wednesday, which means both players have to show up on the injury report, despite the fact that neither has an injury. At the end of the day, it means that the Rams will make their game-day roster decisions with a full contingent of 53 healthy players on Sunday.
NEW YORK GIANTS
LB Jameel McClian (Knee)
RB Rashad Jennings (Ankle)
ST. LOUIS RAMS
G Davin Joseph (No Injury)
C Scott Wells (No Injury)
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.