Friday Morning Report: Rookies Moving to the Front of the Class
John Fennelly , Executive Editor
Welcome to a new era of Giants football. Looks a lot like the old era of Giants football, except the faces keep changing. That’s the sign of a great organization. Continuing to excel and getting the same results with different personnel. That’s where the Giants are right now.
In 2007, they lost several key players to injury down the stretch. RB Derrick Ward, TE Jeremy Shockey and DE Mathias Kiwanuka all sustained season-ending injuries. The Giants seemed doomed. But in stepped some rookies: Ahmad Bradshaw, Kevin Boss, Aaron Ross, Zak DeOssie, Steve Smith and Michael Johnson. They went on to win the Super Bowl.
This year, the Giants need their rookie class to step forward once again. With WR Hakeem Nicks, Bradshaw, S Kenny Phillips and Prince Amukamara dealing with ailments and injuries, rookies David Wilson, Rueben Randle and Jayron Hosley will be asked to assume prominent roles the rest of the way this season.
Randle seems to have gotten himself into DC Kevin Gilbride and Tom Coughlin’s doghouse. Eli Manning threw 35 passes against the Saints last week, none in Randle’s direction. He was also relieved of his punt return duties by Domenik Hixon and by Jerrel Jernigan on kickoffs. The Giants “stole” Randle in Round 2 of the draft this year, so he needs to get going, In fact, they will need him to get going. He’s got break out of the doghouse like Wilson did.
Nicks is going to play, but he’s practicing lightly. When Coughlin was asked how Nicks looked yesterday, all he would say is “not bad, he’s working his way back.”
Bradshaw, however, is a different story. He is suffering from both knee and foot ailments. Although he will tell anyone who’ll listen he’s going to play this week, the medical staff will be making that call. The Giants are expecting a thumbs-down on that one. Coughlin seemed confident that RB David Wilson was ready to carry the load in Bradshaw’w absence.
“He’s been well prepared in terms of building his load up. I’m sure he’s ready for it,” the coach told reporters yesterday.
GEICO SportsNite has reaction from David Wilson on his expanded roll, and Tom Coughlin on dealing with injuries.
Hosley has the speed the Giants have been lacking in their secondary. He has been injured quite often himself this season. When he has played, he’s been wildly inconsistent. He is out of time. He must play more and play well starting this week.
The rookie out of Virginia Tech began the season with a lot of promise, then his play tailed off. He was asked yesterday of the game has slowed down for him:
“Definitely. It’s Week 13. It’s definitely starting to slow down for me and I’m catching on, but I’m still humble, still focused in and trying to finish the season out strong.”
“He’s progressed and he’s practiced all week,” Coughlin said of Hosley. “He’s done a good job of paying attention and he made a nice interception in practice today. He’s building up towards the game.”
Phillips’ knee has been a huge problem for him throughout his career. He can’t seem to shake injury. He apparently had a setback in Washington two weeks ago and now his season could be in jeopardy.
“I really don’t know what to comment on that,” Coughlin revealed. “He was back and then obviously had a setback, and now he’s working his way back again. The nature of the injury is such.”