By Curt Macysyn
What seems to be a simple case of bad luck may, in fact, be a case of poor planning for the New York Football Giants (3-4) as they ready themselves for the NFL's most potent offense in the form of the Indianapolis Colts (5-2). This week, Big Blue placed their 11th player on the injured reserve list (Jon Beason) and signed a player off of the Detroit Lions practice squad (Mike Harris).
Beason, who first hurt his foot in organized team activities (OTAs) in June, only played in four games and contributed 11 total tackles, not exactly the production that the team envisioned when signing him to a three-year, $17 million contract in the off season. Those who argue that this is a case of bad luck for the G-men ignore the fact that this is the fourth straight season that Beason could not play in all 16 games.
New York Giants
With Beason out for the season, the Giants will once again slide Jameel McClain over to the middle linebacker position, where he has filled in admirably. The G-men hope that rookie Devon Kennard has healed from his hamstring woes, and he will get time at the strongside (SAM) linebacker position. Kennard was impressive in training camp before going down with his injury against the Detroit Lions on opening night.
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been battling back and hamstring problems for several weeks now, and he is listed as questionable for Monday's game. Veteran Zack Bowman has been solid as a replacement at corner, but the team's depth is really being tested at this point. With DRC still on the mend, expect newccomer Mike Harris to suit up against the top rated Colts' offense.
Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins remains out with a calf injury sustained against the Dallas Cowboys. Markus Kuhn or Mike Patterson will get the start in place of Jenkins, and rookie Jay Bromley will also have to suit up for the game. Both Patterson (-5.7) and Kuhn (-6.1) have been nothing to write home about, according to Pro Football Focus. Punter Steve Weatherford has be nursing an ankle injury for several weeks now, so fully expect him to play on Monday.
Offensively, running back Rashad Jennings will miss another game due to the sprained knee he sustained against the Atlanta Falcons. Rookie Andre Williams will get the start again, but Williams has struggled his last three games, averaging 3.2 yards per carry over that time. Peyton Hillis saw the field for 28 snaps against the Cowboys in the Giants last game, but he does not bring a speed dimension to the halfback position either. Jennings was ruled out of the game on Monday by coach Tom Coughlin.
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul did not show up at practice on Saturday, but did show up on the injury report as having a shoulder injury. JPP is listed as probable for the game.
The Colts had six players who did not practice on Thursday, but that list was cut in half by Friday. Giant fans are quite familiar with Ahmad Bradshaw's "maintenance" days when he was a member of Big Blue. When Bradshaw donned the Giants' uniform, the maintenance was usually for his feet. After undergoing neck surgery last year, Bradshaw needs rest for his upper body. With the production of Trent Richardson down, Bradshaw has become a bigger part of Indy's offense, and would surely like to stick it to the team that cut him.
Wily veteran receiver Reggie Wayne missed the contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers with an elbow injury, and he also skipped practice on Thursday. According to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, "Wayne missed last Sunday's game with an elbow injury he sustained against the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 19. But his ability to practice on Friday is a strong indication he will be on the field against the Giants".
Leading tackler D'Qwell Jackson was back at practice on Friday after taking Thursday off to nurse a toe injury. Fully expect Jackson to be in the starting line-up on Monday, as he is officially listed as probable. Reserve defensive tackle Arthur Jones has been unable to practice with an ankle injury, and he will be scratched on Monday night. "[Art Jones] looked hobbled in his return to action on Sunday at Pittsburgh and has been wearing a walking boot around the locker room this week to immobilize the ankle," according to Holder. Sometimes starter at linebacker Josh McNary is in the same boat as Jones, and he will be a bigger loss for Indy on Monday.
Another linebacker, Erik Walden, will miss the game with a quad injury, which will hurt the pass rush. "Walden appears the only significant injury and his status remains in doubt ahead of Monday's game against the Giants. Pagano said Walden is still 'week-to-week'," wrote Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star on Thursday. Walden is tied for second in sacks for the Colts with three, behind Bjoern Warner's four.
NEW YORK GIANTS
P Steve Weatherford (Ankle)
DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Shoulder)
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Back/Hamstring)
DT Cullen Jenkins (Calf)
RB Rashad Jennings (Knee)
RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Neck)
LB D'Qwell Jackson (Toe)
WR Reggie Wayne (Elbow)
DT Arthur Jones (Ankle)
LB Josh McNary (Ankle)
LB Erik Walden (Quad)
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.
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