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Five things we learned at Giants practice (12/8)

12-8-apple-practice.jpg's Dan Salomone highlights five takeaways from the latest team practice and media hour: **


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After Thursday's practice, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said the players have not blinked since hearing the news on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who underwent surgery yesterday morning for a core muscle injury that he suffered in last week's loss to Pittsburgh. Aside from Olivier Vernon, who has a sack in five consecutive games, Romeo Okwara, Kerry Wynn and Owa Odighizuwa will have to help fill the void.

"This is a confident, bold group," Spagnuolo said. "Look, guys that make it in this league are prideful guys. Every one of them thinks that they should be starting, should be a great player. They don't get to this level if they don't do that, so every guy, to a man – I haven't seen anybody blink. I go in those meetings and out on the field and I don't see anybody blinking. So hopefully we can put something together on the field without JPP that is going to make everybody proud."

"Really it's just about adapting," Vernon said. "Hopefully we can get back sooner than we think. Just play ball. We can't control anything that's happening right now. All we can do is just adapt."


For the Giants, safety Nat Berhe (concussion), tight end Larry Donnell (illness) and linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion) did not participate in practice. Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (quadriceps), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (ankle), Odighizuwa (knee), left guard Justin Pugh (knee) and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh (ribs) were limited.

For the Cowboys, cornerback Morris Claiborne (groin), offensive tackle Chaz Green (back), defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (back) and safety J.J. Wilcox (thigh) did not practice. Defensive end Jack Crawford (foot), linebacker Justin Durant (hamstring), cornerback Orlando Scandrick (foot/not injury related) and offensive tackle Tyron Smith (back) were limited. Safety Barry Church (forearm) was full-go.


Last week, running back Shane Vereen was designated for return from injured reserve, opening a 21-day window for the Giants to activate him or keep him on I.R. for the remainder of the season. Vereen was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 27 after injuring his triceps in the Giants' Week 3 loss to the Washington Redskins.

"I'm hoping that he's able to return," offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. "We're going to see how that plays itself out. Obviously the things he did before he got injured really helped our offense a great deal from a pass game perspective and he was also running the ball quite well. So obviously we've got to wait and see where he's going to be at physically. Hopefully he's going to be there for us and certainly he can be a weapon that can help us get back to where we need to be."


Stemming from Pugh's injury in Week 9, four different guards have started in between left tackle Ereck Flowers and center Weston Richburg this season. That list includes Brett Jones, Adam Gettis, and now Marshall Newhouse. In that time, the Giants are 29th in averaging 310 yards per game and 20th in scoring 21 points per game. Sullivan was asked how that affects the left side of the line. "Continuity is very, very important," Sullivan said. "The communication, the calls, the anticipation, there's no substitute for having consistency, having the same guys on your left and on your right. So it's been a challenge for those guys."


Rookie cornerback Eli Apple, the 10th pick in the draft, recorded his first NFL interception last week in Pittsburgh. He nearly had one the week before in Cleveland, but his heel fell just out of bounds on the sideline. But what impressed Spagnuolo more was that the pick in Cleveland came right after Apple drew a penalty, epitomizing the short memory that players at his position must have in this league. "I know he was out of bounds, but to me that tells me a lot about him," Spagnuolo said. "He is resilient and you have to be like that as a corner. So it was good to see him step in front of that play and pick it off [against the Steelers]."

Photos from the all-time series between the Giants and Cowboys

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