The Giants are in the midst of preparing for their game Monday night versus the Bears, but are in need of some key guys getting healthy.
Besides kicker Lawrence Tynes, who suffered a right leg injury after having a field goal blocked in Saturday’s loss to the Panthers, linebacker Michael Boley and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul are both experiencing back soreness.
Of the three, Tynes’s injury looks to be the most serious as head coach Tom Coughlin admitted he might not be ready for Monday night. Rhys Lloyd was added to the roster late Tuesday as insurance. Coughlin wouldn’t go as far as admitting he’d have two kickers on the 53-man roster, only saying that Lloyd is “the kicker on record right now” and that “he’s here by necessity.”
Lloyd, 29, is a four-year undrafted veteran who spent some time with the Panthers, Ravens and in NFL Europe. He knows this is basically a temporary job, but added he’ll make the best of it.
“I don’t know what my role will be. I just know I’ll be kicking in practice the next few days,” said the Dover, England native, adding he thinks the new kickoff rule plays to his advantage. “I think I could make 50 percent of my kickoffs be touchbacks from the 35.”
Although he possesses a strong leg, Big Blue fans would feel much more comfortable if Tynes was back there. Lloyd, who led the league with 30 touchbacks on 88 kickoffs (34 percent) in 2009, has never even attempted a field goal or extra point in his career.
As green as Lloyd is in some areas, another player who’s even more inexperienced is rookie Spencer Paysinger. The undrafted linebacker from Oregon may see his role expand in the coming days due to Boley’s plight. Paysinger made a huge jump from special teams ace and third-string linebacker to first team reps due in large part to his versatility. Like fellow ‘backer Mathias Kiwanuka, Paysinger is able to play multiple linebacker positions. Paysinger, who was a four-year starter for the Ducks on special teams, has caught the attention of Coughlin (“He’s been good all around.”) and said he’s anxious to reward Coughlin’s faith.
“I was excited and equally nervous when I went from the third team to the first team in [Thursday’s] practice,” said the wide-eyed Paysinger, who noted how much faster the play is from third team to starter. “The ones are doing light speed.”
Coughlin said Boley will ease back into things by lightly participating in drills (“He’s feeling better.”) and Pierre-Paul will also be monitored over the next couple of practices. Coughlin noted that it helps the Giants would be off Thursday as both Boley and Pierre-Paul are expected to play against the Bears.
Kiwanuka is one guy who’s savoring every bit of action and is looking forward to playing Monday. After recently getting a new lease on his football life — following last year’s season-ending herniated disc in his neck — Kiwanuka is ecstatic and “blessed” for getting to play again, albeit at a new position.
“Once I got cleared by all the doctors, because I knew how serious a neck can be, I knew I’d be OK,” Kiwanuka said, adding he saw at least five neck specialists. “I know now to not take things for granted. You have to be able to see every day for what it is, a blessing. It’s a game and I enjoy every minute of it … the most special part was just putting the pads on again.”
Big Blue notes
» Coughlin made a rare joke to start yesterday’s media session when he said “it must be a slow news day” following numerous queries about the kicking situation.
Lloyd was 6-of-6 in field goals, Wednesday, and has basically solidified his spot to start against the Bears.
» Tipped interceptions still haunt Manning and his wideouts as Mario Manningham didn’t do his QB any favors with a tipped pick. Backup David Carr didn’t have the excuse of a tipped ball when he gift-wrapped a pass to rookie safety Tyler Sash, who then promptly took it to the house. Sash, a sixth-round pick from Iowa, has definitely impressed the coaching staff.
» Cornerback Terrell Thomas has had his share of the dropsies in practice this week, including at least three sure-fire interceptions in the past two days. As inconsistent as Thomas has been this week, cornerback Aaron Ross has had a bigger dip in performance — beginning with his atrocious tackling efforts against the Panthers last Saturday. Ross hasn’t even gotten close enough in coverage to drop passes.
» Wednesday's practice had a few missing pieces: Boley [back], WR Ramses Barden [PUP, ankle], C Adam Koets [PUP, knee], WR Darius Reynaud [hamstring] and safety Jarrard Tarrant [shoulder] … Pierre-Paul [back] was in pads but did not appear to be participating and DE Justin Tuck limped off the field a few times with what was later labeled as a “sore Achilles.” It’s not unknown if he will practice on Friday.
» QB Sage Rosenfels has been hospitalized in Hackensack, N.J. with strep throat, a team spokesman said. It's unknown how serious his condition is exactly, but he did play in Saturday’s game with the illness. Rosenfels better get well soon, though, because Carr and Ryan Perrilloux have looked good at times in camp.
» Kiwi said while he’s primarily the strongside [SAM] linebacker he can also flip to the weakside [WILL]. He’s played both spots in this week’s practice as Boley nurses his sore back: “We’re trying to do a lot of different things right now. Wherever I line up [doesn’t matter]. We have a lot of guys who can play different positions, myself included, so we’re just trying to mix it up.”
The veteran linebacker said he’s thinking like one now but “things are fluid here,” meaning things can change. “I’ll always keep those pass rushing skills because I’ve been [a defensive end] since I was young, but mentally I’m a linebacker now.”
He also joked that linebackers are every bit as “crazy” as defensive linemen and they’re “not that far behind”: “Jonathan Goff is crazy,” Kiwi said jokingly about the very soft-spoken middle linebacker. “If he hasn’t said it, I’ll say it.”
Kiwi had high praise for another fellow linebacker — and fellow Boston College star — Mark Herzlich: “He’s a great kid. It’s great being in the meeting room with him. As a player and individual he personifies what it’s all about, overcoming obstacles [Ewing’s Sarcoma, a bone cancer]. He works hard and has a passion and fire … He’s right on the doorstep [to being his old self again]. If you watch him move around and didn’t know his story, you’d think he was a regular player out there running to the ball. I’m pulling for him and know he’ll be successful.”
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