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5 things we learned at Giants practice (11/17)


*'s Dan Salomone highlights five takeaways from the latest team practice and media hour: *


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In East Rutherford, N.J., RB Orleans Darka (lower leg), LG Justin Pugh (knee) and OL Brett Jones (calf) did not participate in Thursday's practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. OL Adam Gettis (calf), WR Victor Cruz (ankle) and WR Dwayne Harris (toe) were limited.

"Sunday at 1 o'clock, I plan to be out there helping my team win," said Cruz, who missed last week's game.

In Lake Forest, Ill., DL Eddie Goldman (ankle), DB Deiondre' Hall (ankle), OL Bobby Massie (concussion) and DL Mitch Unrein (back) did not practice. DB Bryce Callahan (hamstring), LB Pernell McPhee (knee), DB Tracy Porter (knee), WR Eddie Royal (toe), OL Josh Sitton (ankle), WR Marquess Wilson (foot) and LB Willie Young (ankle) were limited. OL Mike Adams (illness) was full-go.


Hampered by injuries in the first half of the season, rookie cornerback Eli Apple struggled in the first game after the bye week against Philadelphia. Coach Ben McAdoo said in his postgame remarks that the 10th overall draft pick would bounce back, and that's just what he did a week later against the Bengals. Cincinnati mustered only 12 first downs and 186 passing yards.

"Anytime you're a corner out there pressing as much as we do, there's some unnoticed really good plays," defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. "There were some really good snaps in there where both him and Rabbit [cornerback Janoris Jenkins] took away the wide outs. It was good to see."


The NFL suspended Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery this week for four games without pay for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. The suspension began immediately for the former Pro Bowler, who has 40 receptions for 630 yards and a touchdown this season. His average of 15.8 yards per catch is tied for 13th in the NFL. However, that doesn't mean quarterback Jay Cutler can't carve up a defense without him.

"We have a couple of guys here that were with Chicago, and this is an interesting statement: When you have a Jeffery, as a quarterback, you tend to throw to him," Spagnuolo said. "When you don't have him, you tend to spread the ball. The statement that was made was that Jay Cutler is really good when he spreads the ball. I think we have to be careful. Just because an elite player isn't playing for them doesn't mean they're going to miss a beat. The beat might go up. I thought that was an interesting statement."


Before being inducted into the team's Ring of Honor, former defensive end Justin Tuck told a group of reporters that the current pass rushers "need to learn how to play with each other" and used Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and himself as examples. The Giants went out that night and notched three sacks, including back-to-back takedowns of Andy Dalton on Cincinnati's final drive to help seal the victory. That was in large part due to the disruptiveness of Olivier Vernon, who had his second sack in as many games, and Jason Pierre-Paul, who batted down two passes.

"That's one hell of a teammate right there," Vernon said of JPP. "Just as far as his preparation. He never complains about anything despite everything he's had to battle. He goes out there and makes plays. All you could do is respect that. He comes in the building and works hard. He works hard in practice each and every day."

Photos from the all-time series between the Giants and Bears

Added Vernon: "That's what you need to build good defenses. To build a good team, you need that type of good chemistry. All the guys, they make it easy. I'm still a new guy in the building. As far as all the guys, they've welcomed us with open arms."


From tackle to guard to an extra offensive lineman/tight end, Marshall Newhouse has done it all for the Giants in the past couple weeks. After missing five games with a calf injury, the veteran returned after the bye week in a limited role but was pressed into service at left guard when Brett Jones went down with a calf as well last week. Jones was already replacing starter Justin Pugh (knee), so Newhouse has to be ready to go again on Sunday.

"From Marshall, there's a versatility as a guy who'd been, for the most part, a tackle since he's been here at least," offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. "Just being able to go in and not miss a beat in terms of assignments. There's an athleticism that he has that translates well, particularly pulling in a gap scheme. I think when you look at someone that was pressed into service, that responded and that's expected all of our players at every position, has to be ready."

A look at the expected starters for the Giants' Week 11 opponent

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