Despite being undermanned, the Giants administered a beating to the 49ers in San Francisco on Sunday. And adding to the euphoria of such a commanding win, they received some good news on Monday in regards to their health.
The Giants (4-2) plan on having defensive tackle Chris Canty return to practice this week.
Head coach Tom Coughlin, never one to publically tip his hand, did acknowledge that Canty’s return “could be” this week, as he’s now eligible to come off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Any player who was on the PUP list at the start of the season was required to sit out the first six weeks of the regular season.
Canty, who has been on the PUP list since undergoing offseason knee surgery, said he would “absolutely” be ready to practice this week, which undoubtedly will give the once-sagging Big Blue pass rush a boon. While the hulking 6-foot-7 Canty isn’t necessarily known for large sack totals (his career high is four, last season), his presence as a double-team magnet will help free up the Giants’ “Big 3” pass rushers — Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. Pierre-Paul had two sacks against the 49ers, but prior to that performance, he combined with Tuck and Umenyiora for just 2.5 sacks.
While the Giants haven’t officially activated Canty, he is eligible, which made Umenyiora smile, as the pass-rush specialist noted he’s “looking forward” to the day Canty is officially activated to the 53-man roster.
Any player who is finally activated from the PUP list will then have a three-week window to begin practicing, followed by a three-week window to be added to the 53-man roster.
“It’s kind of like when you have all your pieces in place, there’s just something about the chemistry of it,” Canty said. “Understanding how each one of us works together, we definitely got used to that last year. When you have to make some adjustments on the fly because you don’t have some certain guys available, it’s tough. But hopefully when I come back, we can kind of get things back to the way they used to be around here.”
Canty said he was “frustrated” when he saw the 49ers’ rematch would happen one week before he was eligible to return. He said he would’ve “relished the opportunity to go into that type of environment and compete on that stage against that level of competition. … I mean any competitor worth his salt wants the opportunity to do that.”
Canty, who acknowledged he was frustrated for about a week after the team placed him on the PUP list, now says his knee felt better at the start of the season than it did down the stretch of last year’s Super Bowl run, and now feels even better than it did at the start of the season.
Big Blue notes
»Coughlin said the Giants’ other PUP player, tight end Travis Beckum, is not ready to return to practice. Beckum suffered a torn ACL in the Super Bowl.
»Left tackle David Diehl returned to action on Sunday for the first time since suffering an MCL sprain in Week 2. He worked as a jumbo tight end, which is essentially a third tackle, instead of resuming his starting right tackle job. Coughlin said he was encouraged in seeing Diehl back out there: “He game into the game, and it was good for him to play, and good for him to work, and be in a competitive aspect of it. I think he enjoyed that part of it, and I think it answered a lot of questions for him.”
Diehl left a struggling situation and has now come back to a steady one, as the offensive line has been playing well. Quarterback Eli Manning has not been sacked in three games, and Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 200 yards and 116 yards in back-to-back games.
»Safety Kenny Phillips, who sprained his MCL against the Eagles three weeks ago, will have some more opportunities” to practice this week, according to Coughlin, but the team will decide just how much he can do Tuesday afternoon.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.