The Giants lost a key reserve on their defensive line yesterday when rookie tackle Markus Kuhn tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Kuhn will undergo surgery and miss the remainder of the season, a development Tom Coughlin called, "sad."
"He plays a big role," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "Markus Kuhn's done a really nice job. Nobody really talks about him and that's good, because he just comes in and does his job. That's probably why you don't talk about him, because he's done his job.
"Markus played anywhere from 10-15 plays and those 10-15 plays he would take off Chris Canty, or Rocky Bernard, or Linval Joseph were key plays that he didn't really make a lot of mistakes. He was very solid in what he was doing. Before he exited the game yesterday, Markus had a pass breakup. I think if you look, he might have two, three, four pass breakups that nobody mentions."
Kuhn said nothing extraordinary happened when he was hurt.
"It was just during a play," he said. "It was honestly nothing too major that happened. I pushed to the center. I know my knee locked down and I twisted it a little bit and I just felt something pop and then I knew something wasn't right, right away, but I didn't think it would be obviously as bad as it ended up being."
Kuhn, a North Carolina State product, was the Giants' seventh-round draft choice this year. He played in each of the first 10 games, including a start vs. Cleveland on Oct. 7. Kuhn had eight tackles (four solo) and knocked down four passes.
Kuhn is a native of Germany, but he will remain in New Jersey to rehab his knee.
"I'll definitely stay here," he said. "Here I have the best possibility to get healthy and to get better and I live here, so this is my only home in the U.S. I'm not going to Germany. For me, there's no question but staying here."
Marvin Austin will get the first opportunity to step in for Kuhn as the fourth defensive tackle. Austin has played in six games in his debut season. He did not play in either of the last two games and was inactive for the second time on Sunday.
"We have to look at the next man up and Marvin is the next man up," Fewell said. "We hope that Marvin can come in and contribute."
*Fewell said the secondary made "two mistakes on one play" when Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green just 2:26 into the first quarter yesterday. No Giant defender was near Green when he caught the ball at the 20-yard line.
"(Safety) Stevie Brown should've been over the top, half-field coverage," Fewell said. "He saw (the) number two (receiver) block, he bit on the run fake, he's secondary force in that coverage and he just let his coverage responsibility go."
Fewell said cornerback Corey Webster, who was the nearest player to Green, was also responsible for giving up the score.
"He played his assignment," Fewell said, "but you would expect a veteran like that to say, 'He's not there,' and realize he wasn't there, and to keep running and continue on the play."
*The Giants entered their bye week today searching for answers to their recent struggles on offense (They have one touchdown in their last six quarters of play). They will spend this week analyzing their play and looking for avenues to improvement.
"The coaches will start on our research and studying ourselves," Coughlin said. "We call it a worst-to-best. We'll look at that. We'll look at ourselves, we'll self-scout, then we'll go on to looking at some of the teams that are very good in the league in those particular situations."
"We're going to try and take advantage of it, there's no question," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. "As you go through that ongoing process of seeing what people are doing against you defensively, you're trying to adapt what your basic plays are to fit more effectively against what people are doing. You're also constantly judging as to what your guys are doing and what they're capable of doing. Sometimes that's an ongoing process too. Things that they were able to do at one time, they are not able to do now. It's a very critical time. It's an important time for us to: a) see what people are doing against us, which we pretty much have a handle on; and b) see what it is that we can do within the framework of our personnel to effectively attack what people are doing."
The Giants players are off until next Monday.