NFL Team Report - New York Giants - INSIDE SLANT
Forget motivating his team for the final two games of the season coming off a shutout home loss to last week, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin has more pressing matters - beginning with finding healthy bodies.
"It will be adjusted," he said. "We'll do half speed work and half jog-thru. We'll get all the learning in, but probably half of the speed stuff."
With a little bit of luck, Coughlin said, the team hopes to get back three or four of those key players who missed Wednesday's session, though he joked when asked which players might return.
"Wanna roll the dice?" he said.
Upon closer inspection of the team's injury report, there are three areas that could potentially create issues for the Giants if the players in question aren't able to go.
The first is at receiver, as Victor Cruz (concussion/knee) and Jerrel Jernigan (knee) are both banged up to the point where the team promoted Julian Talley from the practice squad as backup depth.
Cruz is unlikely to play this week, even if he passes the concussion protocol and returns to practice.
"He's going through the concussion protocol, but he does have a knee that will probably prevent him from doing anything," Coughlin said of Cruz.
Jernigan, who last week led the team with receptions (seven) and receiving yards (67) is also the team's kickoff returner.
If he can't go against the Lions, the Giants could look to cornerback Charles James to handle the kickoff return duties as well as the punt return duties, the latter of which are currently handled by receiver Rueben Randle, who figures to have a bigger role in the offense this weekend.
At running back, Peyton Hillis has yet to pass the concussion protocol and his status for Sunday in question.
With Brandon Jacobs on injured reserve, the Giants might be forced to go with a rotation of Andre Brown and Michael Cox, with Brown getting the bulk of the planned rushes. Fullback John Conner, who has had a few touches at the NFL level but who has yet to carry the ball for the Giants, could also be an option in an emergency.
The biggest worry, though, is on the offensive line, where guards David Diehl and James Brewer are both nursing injuries. As it is, the offensive line hasn't played well as a whole all season. Diehl, who was held out Wednesday due to some swelling he experienced in his knee during the game, might have a better chance of being in the lineup on Sunday.
Brewer is another story, though in his case he has struggled so badly that even if he was healthy the coaches might go in another direction. If Brewer can't play, presumably the Giants would stick with Brandon Mosley, who relieved Brewer last week, at the left guard spot.
"We've got to regroup and compete like heck, and play much better and do a better job at protecting the quarterback," Coughlin said.
The status of the offensive line naturally raised a question regarding whether Coughlin might consider sitting quarterback Eli Manning, who has started 149 consecutive games.
"We've talked about this," Coughlin said. "He wants to play. He looks forward to playing competing and having a better game. I wouldn't expect any different.