Fresh off last Thursday night’s convincing win against the Panthers, the Giants at least know that if they have to go into Philadelphia shorthanded, there shouldn’t be much of a drop-off in production.
“That’s what it’s all about, to turn to some guys who were very anxious for their opportunities,” head coach Tom Coughlin said, specifically naming running back Andre Brown and wideout Ramses Barden. “They’ve put themselves in position where they prepared well [because] you never know when it’s going to come, and it did come for a couple of guys [Thursday] night.”
What Brown (113 yards and two scores) and Barden (nine receptions for 138 yards) did was help offset the losses of Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks, who were left home with an ailing neck and foot, respectively.
Neither Bradshaw nor Nicks practiced yesterday, so there could be a chance that even if the two starters return to action, the reserves will still be needed.
Barden said he’ll be ready for whatever role he needs to fill this weekend against the Eagles.
“I think it just adds to our depth, and it adds to our strength as a team to know that regardless of the position, there’s depth there,” Barden said. “If somebody goes down, we can fill in or you can game plan for another person.”
Coughlin said it’s not a shock to anyone on the team about their depth, because he’s been instilling into every player’s mind the virtue of being ready.
“I’m not surprised about the quality of [the reserves’] contribution,” Coughlin said. “I even think we left a couple plays on the field [against Carolina] that we could’ve had too.Each one of those guys who contributed probably could’ve added even more.… As far as them preparing themselves, and not being big-eyed, wanting the opportunity, going and doing it for our team, it’s very gratifying.”
Whether Brown’s or Barden’s next appearances will be as gratifying remains to be seen, as the extra time between last Thursday and next Sunday night will be substantial in the healing process for both Bradshaw and Nicks. Coughlin wasn’t going to reveal this early in the week whether the starters will return to action but did say “it’s easier to regroup and rest guys” during the extended layoff.
But whatever happens going forward, both Brown and Barden said they will not just rest on their laurels.
“I’ve still got a lot of improving to do, couple of assignments, couple of holes I missed, but I’m going to grow,” Brown said. “I’m going to continue to learn, relentlessly chasing perfection. That’s what my coach [Jerald Ingram] told me to do.”
Big Blue notes
»While Coughlin has been pleased with Brown’s production, he didn’t sound too pleased in discussing the progress of rookie running back David Wilson. The coach seemed to be passing along a cryptic message to the rookie whose fumbling and blown assignments have landed him in the doghouse: “The pressure, it better be there. It is there. [For] a guy that is taken in the first round, much is expected.That’s the way it is. David is going to have many opportunities, [but] there’s a little bit more to go in terms of his learning curve.As he continues to do that and develop, he’s going to have to take his place here.In our history here, you’re always in need of at least two [running backs].And one year that we had a lot of success (2007 Super Bowl season), we had three.”
»Bradshaw and Nicks weren’t the only ones to miss out on Monday’s workouts. Right tackle Davis Diehl (knee) and safety Antrel Rolle (knee laceration) also did not fully go. Wideout Domenik Hixon (concussion) was seen mostly riding the stationary bike with Nicks. Linebacker Keith Rivers and cornerbacks Michael Coe and rookie Jayron Hosley, who all have hamstring injuries, were working together off to the side of the practice field. Cornerback Corey Webster (hand) was doing individual drills, practicing catching balls with his non-broken left hand.
»Nicks said had it not been a shortened week, he felt like he could’ve played. But it was better to rest his foot, especially in hindsight knowing how well the team played without him: “If it was a regular Sunday and it was a normal week, I think I would’ve been able to go out there and compete. “I don’t think it was a setback. I think it was more of a cautious situation where it was just too quick of a turnaround on the foot.”
» Coughlin noted he thinks both Bradshaw and Diehl will play on Sunday night: “I hope we can see some progress and maybe have them this week.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.