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Giants turn to backups as injuries hit starters

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** The Giants could be thin at a couple of key positions Sunday when they face the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.

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Running back Rashad Jennings again did not practice today because of the ankle sprain he suffered last week in Jacksonville. If he can't play, rookie Andre Williams will start and the backups will be Orleans Darkwa, who joined the team on Nov. 12, and Chris Ogbonnaya, who signed on Tuesday.

Williams started four games earlier this season when Jennings was sidelined with a knee injury. He leads the team with five rushing touchdowns and has run for 393 yards, but he's averaged just 2.9 yards a carry.

"I know we had some tough matchups with Andre Williams in there," offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said today. "Not to say we didn't with Rashad, but you will learn more about that when you do the offseason studies and the scheme studies and things like that. Some guys run some things a little better than others, strengths, and weaknesses are different depending on how you matchup against the opponent."

Ogbonnaya has 158 rushing attempts in 51 career games, including 14 carries in five games with the Carolina Panthers earlier this season. Darkwa is a rookie with four professional carries, all of them for Miami at Oakland on Sept. 28.

"But he's done a nice job," coach Tom Coughlin said. "He's been good on special teams, he's impressed everybody with how fast he's picked things up."

"He is working his way into it, he has been here a little while, he is smart, conscientious, we trust him," McAdoo said. "He has a little different flavor back there for us, next man up."

Asked about that flavor, McAdoo said, "He is a shiftier type guy and we like his…..stay tuned. We will leave it at that."

At linebacker, neither Jacquian Williams nor Mark Herzlich practiced today because they have concussions. Williams, who missed the previous two games, had returned to practice yesterday.

"We thought he would (practice), but he didn't," Coughlin said.

Herzlich had replaced Williams in the starting lineup before he was injured.

"Spencer (Paysinger) is next up on the weak side," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "We're a little thin at that position right now, so we're using some different combinations."

If no one returns for the game, Paysinger will join Jameel McClain and rookie Devon Kennard as the top three linebackers. What would happen if someone else is injured?

"We brought (James) Davidson up (from the practice squad)." Fewell said. "He is a player that we brought up to try to help us. We will be using some different combinations in there to try to help. Obviously Kennard - he can play both MIKE and WILL if he has to. Those are the combinations we are using in practice in order to be more efficient."

Fewell said the safeties could also help fill the voids on the middle level of the defense.

Tackle James Brewer (concussion) was the fourth player to miss practice today.

Four players were limited, including wide receiver Preston Parker (knee), who was a new addition to the injury list. The others were cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/shoulder), defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (calf) and linebacker Jameel McClain (knee).

Tackle Justin Pugh (quad) practiced fully.

  • Tennessee's leading receiver, Kendall Wright, was added to the injury report and did not practice because of a hand injury. Tackle Taylor Lewan (ankle) and linebacker Kamerion Wimbley (hamstring) also did not work. Tackle Michael Oher (toe) returned to practice on a limited basis. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger (shoulder) was also limited.

The Giants-Titans series is tied, 5-5. But the Giants have lost the last five meetings, in 1997, 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2010.

22 of the best photos from Thursday's practice

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