|The Giants' Linval Joseph has gone from up-and-comer to one of the stalwarts of the defensive line. (US Presswire)|
Before training camp started, third-year Giants player Linval Joseph was seen as the up-and-comer in a veteran defensive tackle rotation.
But after Chris Canty went on PUP with a knee injury, Shaun Rogers went on IR because of a blood clot and Rocky Bernard was declared out for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns because of a quadriceps issue, Joseph is suddenly the most experienced player at defensive tackle.
“If you want to call it that,” Joseph said.
Joseph has an interesting point. Even though defensive tackles Markus Kuhn and Marvin Austin have appeared in a combined six regular season NFL games, they’re not exactly Joseph’s little brothers.
Kuhn, 26, is three years older than Joseph and Austin, who are both 23.
Of course, Kuhn got a late start to football (when are you expected to start playing American football in Germany, anyway?) and Austin missed his rookie season with a torn pectoral muscle, so the bulk of the experience is still owned by Joseph.
And because he is that senior voice at the position, he says he won’t hesitate to get vocal with the other two.
“I still got to do the same thing out, I just got to be a leader and help the young guys out,” Joseph said. "It’s called, 'getting the pups ready.' "
Kuhn has been active every week and has been disruptive at times, but Austin has yet to record an NFL tackle.
“He’s done okay, he’s done okay,” coach Tom Coughlin said of Kuhn on Friday. “He’s a good, young prospect. He works hard, he’s physical. He’s done alright.”
When it came to Austin, Coughlin simply said that he’s going to have to step up, which isn’t anything the former North Carolina Tar Heel didn’t already know.
“I’m ready,” Austin said. “I ain’t got no other choice but to go out there and try and put a better performance on film.”
The good news is that Kuhn and Austin performed well with their increased snap counts in practice this week and the former feels confident that there won’t be any of the communications issues that sometimes arise when young players step in for veterans.
“In practice, we’ve been rotating all along,” Kuhn said. “I’m sometimes in the game with Linval, with Rocky, so [the communication is] pretty on-point. We know the plays and we know when we have to communicate, so that’s not really the issue.”
The real issue is production. The Giants are facing a “power runner” in Trent Richardson, according to Joseph, and they’ll have to hold up against the Brown’s “active” offensive line. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy gained 123 yards against the Giants last week and another performance like that would be devastating for a 2-2 team like New York.
Don’t worry, Osi’s having fun: On Thursday defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck said they weren’t happy with their production so far this year (1.5 sacks for JPP, none for Tuck), but Osi Umenyiora isn’t having the same experience:
“It’s too early in the season to be talking about that,” said Umenyiora, who has two sacks. “I think I’ve handled my responsibilities, I’ve done the best that I can and I’ll pretty much leave it at that. Would I have liked to have put up more numbers? I think everybody around here would, but at the end of the day, you can only do what you can do.”
All in the Family: Fullback Henry Hynoski has his father’s full support heading into Sunday’s game against the Browns. Usually that wouldn’t even be in question, but Henry Sr. did play for Cleveland in 1975.
“It’s neat because there’s a little bit of history there, but you've just got to treat it like any other game,” Henry Jr. said Friday.
Henry Sr. had eight kick returns, two punt returns, four catches and seven rushes for the Browns that season.
“He had a trophy room with all of his awards, especially from college and everything,” Henry Jr. said. “He had his helmet on display, kind of like a motivational thing. I would always go through and put his jerseys on when I was younger.
“Now the Browns helmet is down in the basement and my Super Bowl helmet is in its place,” Henry Jr. added.
Is the weakside getting weaker? Weakside linebacker Michael Boley (hip) is questionable and fellow weaksider Keith Rivers (hamstring) is doubtful for Sunday, but Boley insists he can play and Coughlin says there’s another possibility at the position: Spencer Paysinger.
"He can run, he’s physical, he’s smart,” Coughlin said. “Same type of things you see on his special teams’ play, which has been very good.”
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