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Injuries continue to hit Giants linebackers corps



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** On Monday night in Philadelphia, Jon Beason and Uani 'Unga split the snaps at middle linebacker for the Giants. Today, they were together – standing off the side, watching practice. Beason rested a sore knee and 'Unga had a sore neck.

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Two other linebackers, Devon Kennard (hamstring), and Jonathan Casillas (neck) were limited.

"Status quo for the defense, right?" coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said at his weekly news conference. "Things as normal, hasn't changed. Look it, everybody is going through that in the league, I think. It's that time of year past game six. Guys getting dinged up and sometimes you got to take some time off. The hope is you get them all back for Sunday, sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. But it's tough, it's difficult when you can't get the reps under their belt and certainly have them ready for the game. What it does is you have to pull back on some things you might want to change because you can't change things if guys aren't out there working on it. It affects us."

Beason didn't comment publicly, but 'Unga said he will play Sunday, when the 3-3 Giants host the Dallas Cowboys.

"I'm playing unless somebody holds me out," said 'Unga, the first-year pro who leads the Giants with 42 tackles (31 solo).

Kennard has missed the last two games, but his return is one reason 'Unga is bullish on the team's linebackers.

"It seemed like everything is good," he said. "D.K. is back, and seems like he's been doing really well out there. It looks like we'll be fine. Jon and I should be both back and ready to go by Sunday, anyway."

  • Defensive end Damontre Moore had the Giants' only sack in their 27-7 loss to the Eagles. But he also had a costly roughing-the-passer penalty that enabled Philadelphia to retain possession on what became a touchdown drive. Moore has exciting potential, but has been undisciplined at times.**>> EXPERTS MAKE PICKS FOR GIANTS-COWBOYS**

"That's a double-edged sword, in my opinion," Spagnuolo said. "You love the high motor, you love the fact that he loves to play the game, and he plays it hard. Look it, the flip side is there are a number of plays that happened this year where his hustle and determination and going full speed all the time has helped us. He's made tackles down the field after rushing the passer and certainly in the run game. But having said that, I think Damontre realizes that really hurt. That's the kind of penalty you can't afford. It's hard to stop anybody in this league in three downs, and when you do it you want to get off the field and be proud of that. However, when you do have to go back out - I'm sure all our defensive guys have probably talked about this - all you should be looking at is a maximum of another three plays; it shouldn't be a 60 or a 70-yard drive. So that was disappointing, too. Yeah, we'd like to be off the field on that."

  • In Philadelphia, the Giants drove 80 yards to a touchdown on their first offensive series, but totaled only 167 yards on their final 12 possessions.

"You didn't see much after that first series," offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said. "You didn't really see much of anything after that first series. We didn't execute very well, we didn't execute long enough to play the way we wanted to play."

"I don't see it as a lack of effort," McAdoo said. "When you turn the ball over three times you put yourself - you put a sour taste in your mouth when you need to fight through that sour taste, you come out in the second half and the game changes. We need to be able to execute better in the second half."

  • McAdoo was also asked for an explanation of the Eli Manning pass that was intercepted by Nolan Carroll and returned 17 yards for a touchdown.

"It's fundamentals," he said. "We need to listen to our feet their and go on to number two. That was his first read in the progression and it wasn't there, so he needs to go to number two."

The Cowboys had their bye last week. It's the third year in a row the Giants are playing Dallas coming off its bye.

The Giants are 8-6 since 1990 when their opponents are coming off a bye and the Giants are not, including losses to the Cowboys each of the last two years.

  • Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring), and Victor Cruz also missed practice. In addition to Kennard and Casillas, four players were limited: wide receiver Rueben Randle (hamstring), defensive end Robert Ayers (hamstring), and cornerbacks Trumaine McBride (groin), and Trevin Wade (concussion)
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