Giants still mixing and matching receivers
In a season where they have suffered more season-ending injuries
than any other team in the NFL, the New York Giants will face the
rival Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) on Sunday with a depleted and
devastated receiving corps.
After losing Domenik Hixon to a torn ACL – his second in two
years – for the season and Mario Manningham to a concussion this
week, the Giants (1-1) will have to patch things together to give
quarterback Eli Manning some reliable targets for their showdown in
”We have some different people we can use,” Giants coach Tom
Coughlin said after a practice that saw regular starter Hakeem
Nicks paired with second-year player Victor Cruz with the first
unit. ”We have a few ways we can go.”
Manningham did not practice Friday. He was away from the Timex
Performance Center, receiving the mandatory league tests to see if
he can be cleared to play Sunday. Since he had not practiced all
week and had not received clearance, Manningham is doubtful.
The Giants signed veteran Michael Clayton to replace Hixon, who
was placed on injured reserve. Clayton was with the team last year
and in training camp before being waived. Clayton was a former No.
1 draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who caught two passes in
six games with the Giants in 2010.
Clayton was asked if he could help the team’s plight at wide
receiver right away.
”Whatever they need me to do,” Clayton said. ”I stayed active
and was working out every day. I was anticipating a call. You never
know what’s going to happen and you never know how long it’s going
to last. I’m just here to play.”
Nicks, the team’s leading receiver with 11 receptions, doesn’t
think that there’s any added pressure on him being the lone healthy
”I don’t want to try to do too much,” said Nicks, who was also
battling a knee injury last week and into the Giants’ 28-16 win
over the St. Louis Rams Monday. ”I don’t want to overdo anything.
I just have to stick to the gameplan and contribute whatever I can
to the team. I’m approaching this game like I always do. I think if
you look at it that I’m the only one, then it could be a problem.
But the other receivers have practiced well and look good.”
Cruz, who was signed as a free agent out of UMass last year,
missed all of last season with a knee injury. He has two career
receptions for 17 yards. It’s more than likely he’ll get the start
against the Eagles.
”I’m definitely going to be more involved in the offense,”
Cruz said. ”I guess I expected that. I think I’ve had a great week
of practice and I’m up for the challenge. I feel comfortable both
as a wide out and in the slot and I played both this week in
practice. It’s definitely a challenge for me. I just have to be
ready. I know my responsibilities are higher and I understand that
role. I have to prepare as if I’m going to start.”
Brandon Stokley, the 13-year NFL veteran, was brought in just
last week to help the injury-riddled receiving corps. The
35-year-old Stokley had 31 receptions last year for the Seattle
”He’s learned the game plan pretty well and knows what to do,”
Coughlin said. ”We would prefer to have him (in the slot), but he
has to play the other spot as well. He can do it.”
Coughlin hinted that rookie Jerrel Jernigan, the team’s
third-round draft pick out of Troy, would be activated for Sunday’s
game and could also be in the mix.
”It’s a great opportunity for these guys,” Coughlin said.
”I feel like we have the talent to get the job done,” Cruz
said. ”We’ll be there and we’ll be ready.”
Meanwhile, defensive end Osi Umenyiora will not play Sunday.
Umenyiora, recovering from knee surgery, had hoped to return for
the critical game against the Eagles. Rookie cornerback Prince
Amukamara, recovering from a broken foot, was also declared
Center David Baas (lower leg), tight end Travis Beckum
(hamstring) and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy (knee) are probable.
Defensive end Justin Tuck did not practice due to a death in his
family, but he is expected to play Sunday.
Eagles QB Michael Vick is listed on their injury chart as
questionable after suffering a concussion, but Coughlin expects
Vick to play. After practice in Philadelphia on Friday, Vick
pronounced himself ready.
”I think you have to plan to face him, because he’s
practicing,” Coughlin said.
Second-year defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is ready to face the
”He’s going to be pretty vulnerable (after the head injury), so
we’re going to go after him,” Pierre-Paul said. ”We know we’ve
had a lot of success in the past against him. We’re going to
dominate the line and continue to get after him. If it takes all 11
of us, we’ll get him. I’d rather him stay in the pocket against us
”If he stays in the pocket, he’s in trouble.”