What to watch for: Giants vs. Texans storylines

Posted Sep 17, 2014's Dan Salomone gets you ready for Week 3 as the Giants prepare to face the Texans

1. Finding Walter Thurmond III’s replacement.
> WR Jernigan, CB Thurmond on IR
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> NFC East Roundup: Week 2
> CB Walter Thurmond out for Season
> Top-10 Giants Sack Leaders
> Giants-Cardinals Sights and Sounds
The cornerback, who signed with the Giants this offseason after winning Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seattle Seahawks, tore his pectoral muscle in Sunday’s 25-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. It was decided he must undergo surgery and will miss the remainder of the season. As for replacing one of the best nickel corners in the game, the Giants plugged in veteran Trumaine McBride once Thurmond went down in the game, which could be the case moving forward. Meanwhile, safety and defensive co-captain Antrel Rolle is more than capable of playing many roles, including the slot. “It’s always a consideration,” coach Tom Coughlin said Monday. “He’s always ready to do that. It may not be preferred but we’ll see.”


2. The state of the linebacker corps.
With rookie Devon Kennard already sidelined heading into last Sunday, starting middle linebacker Jon Beason was forced to leave the game with an injury game after spending all summer rehabbing his foot. After tests, it was revealed that Beason did not suffer a new injury but aggravated his previous foot issue. Meanwhile, Coughlin said that it “didn’t sound great” that Kennard, who had an impressive training camp for a rookie, will return to the field this week. The Giants also bolstered the position on Tuesday by signing Dan Fox off their practice squad. The undrafted rookie out of Notre Dame played in all five preseason games this year for the Giants but was waived before the start of the regular season.


3. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.
Like Coughlin said the day after the Giants’ loss to the Cardinals, you pay a tremendous price when you turn the ball over. The Giants are not only doing that, but they are also not forcing any of their own on the other side of the ball. This is the first time since 1972 that the Giants do not have a takeaway through the first two weeks while the offense has given away the ball six times.

4. How the Giants prepare for J.J. Watt.
For the second straight game, the Giants prepare for one of the best defenders in the NFL when the Texans come to town. A week after facing Arizona’s All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson, the Giants host former AP Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, who even lined up at tight end last week for a play and caught a one-yard touchdown. The defensive end has three tackles and one sack for undefeated Houston, which is allowing a league-best 10 points per game. Meanwhile, the Giants’ protection showed improvement in Week 2 but not enough to come away with a victory. “If we don’t take care of what we have to take care of, it doesn’t matter if they had the worst defensive player of the year because we weren’t doing what we need to do to succeed,” left tackle Will Beatty said Monday. “That’s what I’m focused on now.”


5. Larry Donnell is the leading receiver through two games.
Under the microscope placed on the tight end position this offseason, Donnell, a second-year undrafted player out of Grambling State, worked his way to the top of the depth chart this summer. And through the first two weeks, it’s clear he earned it. Donnell leads all Giants in targets (17), receptions (12), and receiving yards (137) in addition to a touchdown in the season opener against Detroit. The 6-foot-6, 260-pounder has been one of Eli Manning’s most reliable weapons so far, having caught 10 passes for first downs, which are seven more than the next player on the team (Victor Cruz, Rashad Jennings, and Rueben Randle are tied with three).