*The Giants must overcome a short-staffed cornerback room as they take on the Rams this Sunday: *
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –The Giants, already down one cornerback because of Janoris Jenkins' indefinite suspension, had another one leave practice today when Donte Deayon injured his ankle.
The severity of the injury was not immediately known. But defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has a backup plan should Deayon be forced to miss the Giants' home game Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.
"I got a couple of plays in me," said Spagnuolo, who approximates Deayon's 5-9, 163-pound dimensions. "I asked him the other day, 'Who weighs more, you or me?' So if I weigh a little bit more, that's an interesting one. We'll find out. Hopefully, he'll be okay there."
If not, Spagnuolo has other options.
"Ross (Cockrell) has done a nice job moving inside. If I can talk about Ross Cockrell for a second. He comes in (via a trade with Pittsburgh on Sept. 2). We didn't have him in OTA's. You don't have him in training camp. That's difficult for a player to do, but he has done a great job picking up our system, playing outside when we've asked him to, which is really what he's been, and then moving inside and doing things that we needed him to do in there. I think (secondary /cornerbacks coach) Tim Walton and Ross have done a great job getting himself ready to be an inside player, which is not a natural position for him. He didn't do a lot of that with some of the teams he was with. So, he could slide in there. DRC (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) could slide. We got some options, so we'll see."
If Deayon does play, which corners get the heavier workload in Jenkins' absence?
"All of them," Spagnuolo said. "All. It gives us really four corners (including Eli Apple) right now. You're going to go into a lot of games depending on packages – I'm not going to reveal all the packages we got. But we're going to need all four corners. We're going to need them on special teams. We're going to need them to play coverage-wise especially when you get to third down."
*Apple, who struggled at times earlier in the season, played noticeably better in the two games prior to the Giants' bye. But don't ask Spagnuolo why that happened.
"I don't know," he said. "Even when you all ask, would ask, because he was struggling and had a couple bad plays here and there, I would always go to the plays that I thought he was doing really well, where you don't notice it because it takes somebody out of the play. But he's a solid player. He's got size, speed. He's got all natural ability, and I think he's a focused football player now. He's always been a really good tackler. Maybe confidence, a couple plays and I forget which game, but I remember one game saying that's the best game he's played. I don't know if it was this past one or the one before, but just if he can build on it and stack good plays, guys get confidence."
*Spagnuolo didn't have Rodgers-Cromartie in Denver because of a suspension, and now he has to line up without Jenkins. Both were named second-team All-Pro last season.
"It makes it tough," Spagnuolo said. "But look, I've been in this business long enough to know that these things happen during the year. By that I mean, you lose guys, they come, they go, whether it's injury, whatever it is. I know you get sick of hearing it, but the next guy up. We've got to keep moving up. It doesn't change what we have to do here as coaches and players, we've just got to keep going forward."
*The number of Giants players not practicing was reduced from seven yesterday to five today as safety Nat Berhe (calf) and tight end Rhett Ellison (not injury related) returned to work. In addition, wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle) and defensive tackle Robert Thomas (calf) returned to full-time duty after they were limited yesterday. Running back Paul Perkins (ribs) was also a full participant.
Those missing practice were offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), center Weston Richburg (concussion), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), and defensive ends Olivier Vernon (ankle) and Kerry Wynn (knee).
Linebackers Jonathan Casillas (neck) and Calvin Munson (quad) were limited. Deayon was officially listed as limited.