EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Make it three defensive starters for the Giants Monday night in Atlanta who will not be in uniform for Sunday's home game against the Washington Redskins.
Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree, who joined Landon Collins as the only defenders to play all 438 snaps in the first seven games, was today declared out of the Washington game because of a hamstring injury he suffered vs. the Falcons.
"It's tough," Ogletree said. "You want to be out there playing with the guys and you hate to get injured and be on the sideline. But you also need to be healthy. I want to make sure I'm healthy when I'm out there and go from there."
The Giants this week dealt cornerback Eli Apple to New Orleans and defensive tackle Damon Harrison to Detroit. Ogletree's absence will be significant against Adrian Peterson and Washington's ball-control offense. The six-year veteran and first-year Giant joins Collins as the Giants' defensive captains. And Ogletree is the team's second-leading tackler with 48 (31 solo).
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher was asked recently about Ogletree's value to the defense.
"Special player, great character, unbelievable work ethic," Bettcher said. "We are fortunate Tree is here and Tree is going to be one of the biggest reasons that we get things turned around and going in the direction we all want to go in. Tireless worker in terms of watching film. One of the best individual leaders I've ever been around, and just love working with him."
The other inside linebackers on the Giants' depth chart are B.J. Goodson, Nate Stupar, Ukeme Eligwe and rookie free agent Tae Davis.
"It will be a job share," coach Pat Shurmur said of replacing Ogletree. "B.J. will be in there much more than he has been. He's done it before, so we are confident he's going to do a good job."
This is relatively new territory for Ogletree. He missed 12 games with a fractured fibula in 2015, his third season with the Rams, who selected him on the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. And he was one of several Los Angeles veterans who did not play in the season finale last year after the Rams had clinched the NFC West title.
"It was definitely a long season," Ogletree said of 2015. "A lot of rehab and recovery. It didn't help that we were losing, either.
"I love playing this game and if I'm able to be out there, I'm going to be out there."
Ogletree said he will be on the sideline Sunday helping his teammates and coaches as much as possible.
"I'll be there doing whatever I can to help make the transition as easy as possible for the guys and just be a helping hand, for sure," he said.
Ogletree said he's never before had a hamstring injury. "It just randomly happened," he said. "Still learning about it."
The Giants have their bye next week and Ogletree hopes to return to the field on Nov. 12 in San Francisco.
"That's the goal," he said. "We're going to see how it goes and guess we'll see then."
*Wide receiver Jawill Davis will miss his second straight game with a concussion. Ogletree and Davis are the only players listed on the Giants' final injury report.
*Running backs coach Craig Johnson spoke to the media today and was asked to provide an assessment of his prized pupil, Saquon Barkley, who leads the team with 481 rushing yards and is second with 49 receptions.
"He's progressing really well," Johnson said. "He has done a very good job in all three phases, in running, pass protection and his routes. But like all rookies, he still has to get better in his running, pass protection and his routes. In the big picture, he has had good production. I think he has done a good job of being very vocal on the sidelines in his way, and I like his leadership along with his play on the field. Like all players, there's more out there, so we've got to continue to work to get to that."
*In their first six games, the Giants averaged 2.8 yards on 14 punt returns, none longer than 15 yards. Rookie Quadree Henderson made his debut last week and returned a punt 21 yards.
"(It's the) same thing he showed in college (at Pittsburgh)," special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said. "He's a sure-handed guy, does a good job of catching the ball. He's a good young player that has a lot of potential as a returner."
McGaughey said Henderson's ability can energize the entire return unit.
"When you know you have a guy back there who has the potential to take it to the house, it just makes you play a little bit harder," McGaughey said. "They go hand in hand, and vice versa, it's hard to create momentum when you're not seeing anything, but when you see a guy that has the quickness and the burst that Quadree has and we know he has the ability to hit it, it's like, 'Look, you've got to stay on your blocks just a little bit longer, you've got to play just a little bit harder and hopefully things will work out right.'"
View photos of the unofficial starters for Sunday's game against Washington