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Coaching Confidential: Back from the bye

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Victor Cruz will not practice today because of the neck injury he suffered 10 days ago in Philadelphia, but Tom Coughlin indicated it's nothing to be alarmed about.

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"I wouldn't call it a setback, but when a guy is not practicing, obviously, it's an issue," Coughlin said. "They're just going to hold him to make sure that he doesn't have any further incidents today. He feels better, quite frankly. I think he probably could practice if we really needed him to practice today, but we're going to err on the side of precaution here in hopes that he will be prepared to go tomorrow."

Cruz leads the Giants with 47 receptions, 677 yards and four touchdowns (tied with Rueben Randle).

The Giants, coming off their bye, return to action at home Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

Running back David Wilson (whose neck injury is expected to sideline him at least several more weeks) and cornerback Corey Webster (groin) also will not practice. Terrell Thomas, who gets one day off a week to reduce the stress on his surgically-repaired knee, will work tomorrow.

Cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring), running back Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), defensive tackle Shaun Rogers (knee) and tight end Adrien Robinson (foot) will practice. All four players were inactive when the Giants defeated the Eagles on Oct. 27.

  • If Andre Brown is activated off injured reserve, the Giants will have four running backs available to face the Raiders: Brown, Jacobs, Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox.

"We'll see how the week unfolds, but there will be a set plan," Coughlin said. "That's just the way it always is."

Brown rushed for 385 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns before fracturing his fibula last Nov. 25 vs. Green Bay. He re-injured the leg in the final preseason game at New England on Aug. 29.

"Andre Brown, all I think about is when he played a year ago," Coughlin said. "I'm looking forward to the return of that player, quite frankly. Size, speed, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, he does a good job in pass protection. You sometimes forget that the guy is 230 pounds. That's a little bit of a different dimension."

Brown has practiced for a couple of weeks, but Coughlin concedes it's a big step from that setting to running against the Raiders.

"I think he's ready to help," Coughlin said. "I think there's a big difference between game day and practice. He has made steady progress and he has developed a lot of his confidence, I think, based on what's going on on the practice field. In the very beginning you could hear him mumble things like, 'I really missed that cut, I should have slammed my foot down and gone in the opposite direction' and that kind of stuff. He got much better as we went along."

So what can the Giants realistically expect from Brown?

"Forty carries and 15 receptions," Coughlin said, almost smiling. "Run the kickoffs back. What else would you like?"

Can he sell game programs?

  • Coughlin has followed the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito situation with the Miami Dolphins and will address it with at least some of his players.

"I will do that," Coughlin said. "I have my captain group, and I plan on talking to them and then I may say something to the team only because I do see that the comments are coming forth and, as I mentioned the other day, the teamwork concept is the first thing in the door for us. We need everybody. You want everybody to be the very, very best football player that they can possibly be. When you say things like that, you need to back it up with the fact that the player has to be comfortable in his environment. He's not going to grow and develop if he isn't. Vigilance is a key issue there.

"There's enough room for everybody, but if those things take place, obviously, you have to put your foot down. I told you how we do it here. We did have an incident (last year) with one of our players, and I was concerned and I addressed the issue at that point in time. Concerned from a two-fold standpoint. One, the player could have been hurt. If the player was being asked to do something or being forced to do something that he wasn't compatible with, he could have been hurt and that would be been a major issue for us. The second thing, as you recall, I was very disappointed that there were some that thought it was funny. It obviously wasn't."

  • The Giants will host their 17th annual food drive at MetLife Stadium when they host the Raiders on Sunday. Fans are encouraged to bring canned or non-perishable foods and deposit them at any of the Shop & Shop trucks parked at each stadium entrance.

All food collected during the drive will be donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey – a member of Feeding America – for distribution to local partner agencies in the area.

Since 1997, the Giants have hosted an annual food drive and helped feed thousands of their neighbors during the holiday season. Thanks to the generosity of our fans, nearly 5,000 pounds of canned or non-perishable foods is collected each year. Once again, we ask our friends and fans to Join the Team and assist our neighbors in need.

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