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Giants vs. Rams Storylines: What to watch for

Posted Nov 1, 2017

Here are the storylines to follow as the Giants get set for a Week 9 matchup with the Rams:  



1. FLUSHING THE FIRST HALF
Like it tends to do, the NFL humbled the 2017 New York Giants, who are 1-6 after last year’s 11-5 campaign. So there was plenty to reflect on over the bye week, which the Giants returned from on Monday. The second half begins this Sunday at home against the Los Angeles Rams, who are 5-2 under the youngest head coach in NFL history, Sean McVay.

“One thing I wanted them to keep in mind is don’t forget how badly you once wanted what you now have,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said of the message to his team. “It’s a blessing to be here and to work with these guys each and every day, and they had an opportunity to get away from it for a little bit and reflect on the first half of the season.

“But we need to flush the first half. We need to move onto the second half. It’s important for us to get better as a football team and the thing I asked of these guys is just take it one game at a time and one play at a time. Don’t hold onto what we did the first half, but let’s go out here and be the best team we can be in the second half of the season.”



2. JENKINS SUSPENDED; ROSTER MOVES

Janoris Jenkins has been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules, becoming the second Giants cornerback to be so punished in the last three weeks. Jenkins, who will miss this week’s home game against the Rams, was not in attendance when the Giants returned to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Monday after the break.

“As a member of this team, there are standards and we have responsibilities and obligations,” said coach Ben McAdoo, who will review the status of the suspension at the beginning of next week. “When we don’t fulfill those obligations, there are consequences. As I have said before, we do not like to handle our team discipline publicly. There are times when it is unavoidable, and this is one of those times.”

Without the Pro Bowl cornerback, the Giants will turn to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Ross Cockrell and Donte Deayon. Rodgers-Cromartie was suspended for a violation of team rules in Week 6 and missed the Broncos game, the Giants’ only win of the season. He returned the following week against the Seahawks but played only 16 defensive snaps.

To fill Jenkins’ roster spot, the Giants promoted defensive end Jordan Williams off their practice squad. The 6-foot-4, 272-pounder had six solo tackles, including a nine-yard sack, in the preseason for the Giants. He was the second defensive end signed in as many days. The team brought back Devin Taylor on Tuesday after placing Nordly “Cap” Capi on injured reserve.

3. INJURY REPORT

The Giants held a short practice on Monday to get everyone going again, but the following players did not participate because of injuries: defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle), center Weston Richburg (concussion protocol) and offensive tackle/guard Justin Pugh (back).

Meanwhile, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who has missed the last two games with an ankle injury, is hoping to be ready this Sunday after remaining in the area over the break to receive treatment. Linebackers Jonathan Casillas (neck) and Calvin Munson (quad) have also missed time.



4. STEPPING UP AT RECEIVER

The pending return of Shepard will boost a wide receiver corps that accounted for just seven catches against the Broncos and Seahawks, the franchise’s lowest two-game total by receivers since 1996. That group has included Roger Lewis, Tavarres King, Travis Rudolph and Ed Eagan, who were bumped up following season-ending injuries to Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris.

The bright spot in the season has been the play of rookie tight end Evan Engram. At the break, the first-round draft choice led all NFL rookies with 342 receiving yards, while his 30 catches were second behind Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.

5. CHANGES COMING TO PERSONNEL, SCHEME?

The Giants’ eight remaining opponents (they play the Redskins twice) won’t be feeling sorry about their nightmarish start as the calendar turns to November. The reality is that Big Blue still has more games ahead of it than it has played this season, which means there is still a lot of football left in 2017. The first priority for Ben McAdoo and his staff over the bye was evaluating personnel.

“Is there an opportunity moving forward for us to interject maybe some younger players or even some veteran players into different roles that we haven’t been using them?” McAdoo said of the evaluation. But personnel usage [was the first thing]. Wanted to take a look at things schematically. The schemes that have been working, the things that haven’t been working and emphasizing what’s been working for us and the things that haven’t been working, either throw them out or is it a quick fix. Is it something we can fix over the second half of the year being smart with our time? Those are some of the things that we took a look at.”