EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants operate under the time-honored football philosophy of next man up regarding injuries, but will they have enough players to take a stand when they visit the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday?
Twelve players were listed on the team's injury report today, either as did not participate (seven) or limited participation (five). In lieu of a full practice on a short week, the Giants held two walk-throughs, so practice participation was again a projection.
But the Giants are projected to be short-handed, particularly on the offensive line (six players on the report) and secondary (four) when they two 7-3 teams square off.
Despite the surfeit of injuries, coach Brian Daboll's message to the team is the same as it is every week.
"Prepare to play a game," Daboll said. "It's really that simple: prepare to play a game. (It's) a short week; everybody plays them. So, do a good job in the walk-throughs. Do a good job on studying the team that we're playing, and make sure that we're ready to go. Take care of our bodies and get ready to go to Dallas."
Daboll said cornerback Adoree' Jackson will not play because of the knee injury he suffered two days ago against Detroit. Jackson has started every game this season and often covers the opposition's best receiver. Tight end Daniel Bellinger will miss his fourth consecutive game since injuring his eye on Oct. 23 in Jacksonville.
"Everybody else is going to come right up to the last second what we decide to do – treatment, talk to the doctors, the athletic trainers," Daboll said. "So, relative to where everybody else is at, it's going to be a last second decision that we make."
Cornerback Fabian Moreau (oblique), who has started the last six games did not practice. Safeties Dane Belton (clavicle) and Jason Pinnock (jaw were limited). The Giants will play their third game without free safety Xavier McKinney, who fractured fingers on his left hand in a bye-week accident.
If Moreau does not play, the available cornerbacks – aside from slot corner Darnay Holmes - will be Nick McCloud, who was awarded off waivers to the Giants on Aug. 31 and has played nine NFL games, second-year pro Rodarius Williams, who returned to the field against Detroit after being sidelined for more than a year with a knee injury suffered last season, and rookie Cor'Dale Flott, whose 22 defensive snaps against the Lions were his first since Sept. 26, when he sustained a calf injury in the first Cowboys game.
"They're preparing to be ready to play," Daboll said. "That's why they're on the roster."
On the offensive line, center Jon Feliciano (neck), left tackle Andrew Thomas (illness) and guards Joshua Ezeudu (neck) and Shane Lemieux (toe) did not practice. Guard Evan Neal (knee) and Tyre Phillips (neck) – who took over at right tackle when Neal was hurt in Jacksonville – were limited.
"I'm just making sure that whenever I do go out there, I'm 100 percent ready to go," Neal said. "I really don't want to leave a stone unturned and make a premature decision and something bad happen. So, just making sure I'm crossing every 'T' and dotting the 'I's, pretty much.
The healthy linemen are right guard Mark Glowinski and reserves Matt Peart, Nick Gates and Jack Anderson.
"It's tough, but that's football," Neal said. "We're not the only line in the league that's dealing with stuff, guys going down and stuff like that. It's the nature of this game, and it's pretty much next man up."
The offensive line and defensive backfield are not the only position groups that have required injury replacements. Nine wide receivers and four tight ends/fullbacks have caught passes this season.
"I think those guys who have stepped in have done a great job learning what they have to, to get up to speed and catch up and then stepping in and making a lot of plays," quarterback Daniel Jones said. "I've got a lot of confidence in our guys and in those groups. They've done a great job all year."
Is it challenging for a quarterback to get accustomed to so many new faces on the fly?
"I think it can be in certain situations," Jones said. "I think our coaches have done a good job getting everyone up to speed, helping everyone learn what they need to learn and then when guys have gotten out there, they've made plays. I think it can be, but in our situation the guys have done a really good job in those spots."
Wideout Richie James, who scored his first Giants touchdown against the Lions, was limited today with a knee injury.
"His knee was bothering him," Daboll said. "So, he's kind of another guy in that boat. We'll see where he's at."
And where a lot of the other players on the injury report are Thursday afternoon in Dallas.
"It's going to go right to the end," Daboll said. "We'll see who we have healthy."
View rare photos from the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
*The Giants today signed tight end Lawrence Cager off their practice squad and added tight end Nick Vannett to their practice squad.
Cager was signed to the practice squad on Oct. 18 and has elevated to the roster three times, the maximum allowed in one season. He's caught four passes for 29 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown against Houston.
Vannett, 6-6 and 261 pounds, was released by the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. A seven-year veteran, he has played in 80 regular-season games with 35 starts for Seattle, Pittsburgh, Denver, and New Orleans, plus one postseason game for the Seahawks. His career totals include 86 receptions for 826 yards and six touchdowns.
*Jones has been named the Giants' nominee for the 2022 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. Each NFL team nominated one of its players for the award, which recognizes players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.
The winner of the Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players. From the eight finalists, each team's players will submit a consensus vote of their choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.