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Injuries create opportunities for next man up

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Tom Coughlin said today he can't recall a time in his long coaching career when five of his players went on injured reserve at the same time, which happened yesterday with the Giants.

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The moves further weakened a depleted roster as the 3-9 Giants began preparations for their game Sunday at the 2-10 Tennessee Titans. But they do not dampen Coughlin's legendary resolve.

"The message is keep fighting, that's what the message has been all along," Coughlin said. "The message is we've gotten the game into a position where the critical aspect of the game was on the line. Someone has to make a play or somebody, some group, some people collectively, have to make a play for us to win. The message is, quite frankly, that we're going to continue to work, we're going to continue to support one another. We're going to fight as hard as we can, prepare as well as we possibly can, and that's the message.

"The other message is opportunity. Guys who come along who have a chance at this point in the season to perform, to play, and they go into games and have an opportunity to participate at this level when perhaps they had no snaps coming in before. Now they're going to get snaps and they have a chance to prove their ability, not only to the New York Giants, but to the entire NFL.

The players put on I.R. were offensive linemen Geoff Schwartz and Adam Snyder, defensive ends Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers, and linebacker Terrell Manning. Coughlin said all but Ayers will undergo surgery.

"With Mathias, we were afraid it was going to come to this, so we had some inclination," Coughlin said. "But those that came out of the game, obviously you go into the game thinking these guys are going to be able to continue to play. Most unfortunate. I feel badly for any player who has his heart and soul in what he's doing and is denied that because of an injury. I feel badly for them and, then again, we speak to the opportunity that comes to the next in line. And we've had a lot of next in lines, I'll say that."

Coughlin was asked about the scope of the Giants' injury issues; 20 players on injured reserve is an exceptionally high number.

"You're asking me for a comment that has miffed me forever: why does it happen?" Coughlin said. "We've jumped even further into the science of staying healthy in terms of what we've done this year with our soft tissue stuff and as you can see, it hasn't been that. It hasn't been the soft tissue; it's been the injuries, the surgical repairs, the things that have knocked people completely out of the game. I wish I had an answer for you. A lot of people want to go on and on about, 'Do we have enough offseason?' I think that might be a legitimate something to bring up at some point in time. We offer no excuses, and we certainly have always maintained that position. As I said, I feel bad for the guys that are hurt. It is the nature of our business, unfortunately. We push forward."

  • Coughlin said tackle Justin Pugh (quad), defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (calf) and linebacker Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder) will practice today. Pugh has missed the last two games, while Jenkins and Williams have sat out the last three.

Running back Rashad Jennings (ankle), linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion) and tackle James Brewer (concussion) will not practice.

"Hopefully, we'll get some of these others back toward the end of the week," Coughlin said.

  • Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/shoulder) and linebacker Jameel McClain (knee) are on the early injury report, but they will practice.

Get to know the Giants' opponent for their Week 14 matchup against the Tennessee Titans

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