CB Janoris Jenkins is optimistic about a possible return on Sunday vs. the Redskins:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – One week after he was declared inactive following a pregame workout in Philadelphia, Pro Bowl cornerback Janoris Jenkins doesn't know if he will return to the field for the Giants' regular-season finale in Washington.
"We'll see what the coaches say," Jenkins said today. "I've been practicing a little bit, getting in a rotation and getting a lot of reps. Continue to get the treatment."
Jenkins, who started each of the first 14 games, hurt his back early in the second quarter of the Giants' victory against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 18. After undergoing a battery of tests, and participating in jog through practices on a limited basis on a short week, Jenkins had hoped to play against the Eagles. Two hours before the game, he worked out and ran, backpedaled and cut before a foursome that included coach Ben McAdoo, general manager Jerry Reese, secondary/cornerbacks coach Tim Walton, and strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman. Shortly after the audition ended, the Giants released their list of game inactives, and Jenkins was on it.
"I didn't feel he was ready," McAdoo said yesterday. "We didn't feel he was ready." Asked about the upcoming game, McAdoo said, "We'll have to see if he's ready to go."
Although his practice status remains limited, Jenkins said this week is different.
"I feel better than I did last week," he said. "Coach made the decision not to play me and I went with it. I feel better this week."
The Giants are 10-5 and locked into the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs. But McAdoo has made it clear he is playing this game as he would any other – to win. It appears no players will be rested to keep them out of harm's way. Less certain is how he handles injured players. For example, would another week of rest benefit Jenkins entering the playoffs?
"I'm not going to say yes or no," he said. "Just preparing on getting ready. Take this week as a game week as if I'm starting. Just going to continue to come out.
"I play this game as if anything can happen at any time. You just have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I got the best out of my situation."
The Giants could use him against a Washington team that has the NFL's second-ranked passing attack (300.8 yards a game), and a collection of wide receivers and tight ends that can strafe a defense. As evidenced by the first Pro Bowl selection of his five-year career, Jenkins has been the Giants' best cover corner this season, one normally assigned to the opponent's best wideout.
If Jenkins doesn't play, the Giants will likely repeat what they did against the Eagles last week, when Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie started and Trevin Wade and Coty Sensabaugh played larger roles in the sub packages.
*McAdoo brought the team together before the beginning of practice, and linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas addressed the players.
"I think that was the first time this year where we kicked off practice with that," linebacker Mark Herzlich said. "It's a day where you're in Week 17 and you have pads on. That's rare for a lot of guys. I think what Jon was saying (is) it doesn't matter, the circumstances. We go out there and do what we need to do to create momentum going into the playoffs to get a win. We set our goals singularly and that's one week at a time. Just getting a win one week at a time. This week is no different."
Asked what he got out of the address, linebacker Devon Kennard said, "Just the importance of this moment. We have an opportunity. This is my third year and I haven't had an opportunity to be in the playoffs. And to have that opportunity now and taking the mindset to where the playoffs start this week, it is not next week and the momentum that we can get from this win when we know they are going to give their best shot. This is completely a playoff game for them, so it is exciting."
Casillas is a two-time Super Bowl winner (with New Orleans in Super Bowl XLIV and New England, two years ago in Super Bowl XLIX).
"I think it is just huge for us to have the opportunity to listen to guys that have been there before," Kennard said. "Those are some of the leaders on our team, guys who have won; he has won two Super Bowls, so for him to take the time to address the team like that before a padded practice, I think it is important."
Herzlich recalled a similar talk in his rookie season when the Giants were on their way to Super Bowl XLVI.
"Every guy that has been to the playoffs and to the Super Bowl shares their experience," Herzlich said. "It's so rare to get there. I remember in 2011 when we went to the Super Bowl and the playoffs, there were a lot of guys. I think Deon Grant got up and spoke the opposite way. It was his 12th year and he hadn't been to the playoffs yet. There were guys like that on the team. There were other guys like Mathias (Kiwanuka) and Eli (Manning) who already won one with the Giants."
*Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle injury) continues to be the only Giants player not practicing. Rookie tight end Jerell Adams (shoulder) was added to the injury list as a limited participant. Also limited were safety Nat Berhe and linebacker B.J. Goodson, both with concussions, and Jenkins. Tight end Will Tye (illness) practiced fully.
Three Redskins did not work today: safety Su'a Cravens (upper arm), cornerback Quinton Dunbar (concussion) and offensive lineman Vinston Painter (calf).
*Victor Cruz has been named the winner of the 16th annual George Young Good Guy Award, as voted on by the Giants' chapter of the Professional Football Writers of America.
The award, named for the late general manager of the Giants, is given annually to honor a Giants player for his consistent and outstanding cooperation with the writers who cover the team on a daily basis. Cruz, who also won the award in 2011, is the first two-time winner in the history of the award – a well-deserved honor considering the wide receiver has been one of the most accessible and cooperative players throughout his entire Giants career.
Safety Landon Collins finished second in the voting and quarterback Eli Manning – who won the award back in 2008 – finished third. Eight different players received votes from members of the Giants media.
Previous winners of the award were:
2016 – WR Victor Cruz
2015 – CB Prince Amukamara
2014 – RB Rashad Jennings
2013 – CB Terrell Thomas
2012 – S Antrel Rolle
2011 – WR Victor Cruz
2010 -- DT Barry Cofield
2009 -- DE Mathias Kiwanuka
2008 -- QB Eli Manning
2007 -- DE Justin Tuck
2006 – WR Plaxico Burress
2005 -- RB Tiki Barber
2004 -- QB Kurt Warner
2003 -- WR Ike Hilliard
2002 -- QB Kerry Collins
2001 -- OL Lomas Brown
These five players could make a key impact in Sunday's matchup with the Redskins