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Coach Coughlin proud of team for rebounding


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** The Giants' 5-9 record is the same as it was last season after 14 games. But in 2013, they had lost their previous two games. The current team has rebounded from a seven-game losing streak to win its last two games as it prepares to play the Rams in St. Louis in the season's final road game.


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And Tom Coughlin is pleased the players kept working hard and were rewarded with victories over Tennessee and Washington.

"They've responded probably as well as you can respond, particularly over the course of the seven weeks," Coughlin said today. "I thought they stayed together. They were, for obvious reasons, humbled. But they supported one another. They backed each other up. They did what you have to do as a legitimate team member – someone who believes in the cause, the players believing in each other, the brotherhood that takes place when you go through the things that an NFL team has to go through in order to achieve. As I've said before, I've been proud of that."

  • Under Jeff Fisher, the Rams frequently use gadget plays, particularly on special teams. Coughlin's Giants have seldom taken that route.

"It is not that we don't have it ready," Coughlin said. "If it is there and we have the opportunity like we did on Sunday (when they had a successful onside kick), we take full advantage of it. If you really know, for example, the punt return business, or the punt business, you realize that if you are anywhere near the middle of the field, you are getting eight of them in the box. It is tough to come up with things there. They have an exceptional punter (Johnny Hekker) in that he was a scout team quarterback at Oregon State when he was in college. He throws the ball very well. They do have that ability, everyone has the fullback run-type things. When properly utilized, obviously, it can be very, very, good, it can create another possession for you, literally."

Running back Rashad Jennings and linebacker Jameel McClain were the only Giants on the team's early injury report. Neither is practicing today.

  • Tight end Jerome Cunningham was signed to the Giants' active roster off the practice squad. Cunningham originally joined the team on Aug. 5 as a rookie free agent. He was waived on Aug. 26 and signed on Sept. 3 to the practice squad, where he has spent the entire season.

Cunningham, 6-3 and 214 pounds, played at Southern Connecticut State University from 2009-12. In four years, he caught 61 passes for 690 yards (11.3-yard average) and seven touchdowns. He is a native of Waterbury, Conn.

The Giants filled the opening on their practice squad by signing Nikita Whitlock, who was a defensive tackle at Wake Forest but a fullback in training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Whitlock joined the Bengals as a rookie free agent on May 12. He played in all four preseason games before being waived on Aug. 30. Whitlock did two stints on the Dallas' Cowboys' practice squad, the last of which ended on Nov. 4.

In four seasons at Wake Forest, Whitlock played in 47 games with 45 starts. He was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2013, when he had 82 tackles, including 19 for losses and nine sacks.

Know your opponent for the Giants Week 16 matchup vs. the St. Louis Rams

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