GIANTS KEEP ON KEEPING ON WITH MAKESHIFT LINEUP
The Giants (1-6) will literally stagger into their meeting with the Los Angels Rams (1:00 p.m. FOX) with a shell of the roster they went in the season with.
The Giants will literally stagger into their meeting with the Los Angels Rams (1:00 p.m. FOX) with a shell of the roster they went in the season with . And that’s coming out of a bye week.
“We’ll have 46,” head coach Ben McAddo said on Friday. “We’ll have 46 available.” He was serious.
Out for the season are wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris, plus linebackers Mark Herzlich an J.T. Thomas.Linebackers B. J. Goodson, Jonathan Casillas, offensive linemen Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg plus defensive ends Olivier Vernon and Kerry Wynn have not practiced at all and are likely out this week.
Starting cornerback Janoris Jenkins is suspended and won’t play against the Rams budding star quarterback Jared Goff (133-222, 1,719 yds, 9 TDs, 4 Ints 90.3 QBR).
McAdoo admitted his options across the board are limited. When asked about playing without Pugh, who had been playing well before getting hurt against Seattle, he said some of his players looked good during the week.
“Again, Bobby (Hart) had a good week of practice,” the coach said. “He had a productive day yesterday in pads. Expect him to play his best game as a pro this week.”
McAdoo was asked about where do things stand with CB Donte Deayon, who is also dinged up.
“He tweaked his ankle yesterday,” McAdoo said. “We’ll take a look at him today inside and then tomorrow will be a big day for him.”
And he can’t go?
“If he can’t play, somebody else will play,” the coach said which is about all he could say.
The Giants used inexperienced wide receivers against Seattle two weeks ago and it showed. Sterling Shepard is back but the corps is thin. McAdoo was asked if his wide receivers picked up on the offense over the bye week and are they acclimating to QB Eli Manning and the offense.
“We completed the ball at a high percentage this week in practice,” the coach said. “That was encouraging to see. Monday was a good day for us to get out here and get some work. It’s always good to get extra work during the bye week. You look at some wrinkles during the bye. Look at yourself. But, it’s good to get that extra week, especially when you have some new guys and not necessarily the new guys but guys need to develop chemistry with the quarterback.”
McAdoo was asked if the bye week gave him a chance to put in different things on offense to fit the players you now have at wide receiver.
“You don’t reinvent the wheel over the bye week,” He said. “It gives you a chance to get players who are playing in the game healthy. It gives them a chance to get away from things mentally. And look at some wrinkles. But more so, what you do is you flush the things that aren’t going well and you have to make a decision on what things you can fix that can be easy fixes and are you using players the right way.”
McAddo was finally off the injury questions and on to the Rams (5-2) and how much this Rams team resemble the team you saw last season.
“Defense, they wreak havoc all over the field, they always have as far as I can remember,” McAdoo said. “They play good defense, they have speed at all three levels. Their defensive line is tremendous, their front seven – they have five of seven of those guys who were first-rounders. Their linebackers can run, they’re really instinctive after the football. [Lamarcus] Joyner’s a hard hitting safety, he was last year. They played him in a different role, their configuration is different on defense, but they’re loaded there. Offensively, they’re a little bit different. They still use some short passing game stuff, but it’s more off of the [former NFL head coaches] Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan families. So, they’ll match up a little bit. [New Orleans Saints Head Coach] Sean Payton in there, as well, they’ll match up their spacing concepts with their downfield stuff and they’ll try to make them look the same. A lot of window dressing in the run game to try to give [running back Todd] Gurley a crease. So, they’re a little bit different that way, on the offensive side of the ball. But Gurley has been a good player for them, you can’t have him wreck the game.”
SHEPARD TO TAPE ANKLES AGAIN
Sterling Shepard is going old school in an attempt to stay on the field for the Giants. After twice spraining his ankle since the start of training camp, including the injury that kept him out of uniform for the two games prior to last week’s bye, Shepard has once again started to tape his ankles, as he did at the University of Oklahoma.
“They were both non-contact,” the second-year pro said of the ankle sprains, the first of which he suffered on Aug. 2 and the second against the Chargers on Oct. 8. “Two different routes, but it was just weird how it rolled over. I learned from it. I wasn’t taping my ankles, and I taped my ankles all throughout college. I stopped taping my ankles when I got here, but now I’m back to it and I feel a lot better.”
Shepard played in 50 games and caught 233 passes, including 26 for touchdowns, in four seasons at Oklahoma. And no, he never had an ankle injury in college.
“I think that’s a sign that somebody was trying to get me,” Shepard said.
That begs the question, why did he stop taping his ankles? “I started listening to other guys in the locker room, saying it made you a little more free, a little more elusive,” he said. “So I tried it out, I started doing it and liked it a little bit. But I don’t see much of a difference in taping your ankles. So just go back to it.”
With his ankles taped, Shepard will return to action on Sunday when the Giants host the Los Angeles Rams. That’s a rare bit of good injury news for the Giants.
Because it is well-documented by now that Shepard is the Giants’ No. 1 receiver after the season-ending injuries to Odell Beckham, Jr. and Brandon Marshall. When Shepard was inactive in the victory at Denver and the loss to Seattle two weeks ago, the Giants’ wide receivers caught a total of only seven passes.
“Shep’s one of our more experienced players at this point in time on offense,” McAdoo said. “He’s an experienced player, he’s a valuable playmaker, he knows the offense inside and out and he and Eli have quite the chemistry together.”
To recap, a receiver who has played all of 22 career games is one of the Giants’ most experienced offensive players.The Giants will every bit of what experience he does have. *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii