New York Giants: Rocky Bernard

Positional analysis: Defensive line

February, 11, 2013
2/11/13
5:30
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We've been taking a look toward 2013 with a position-by-position breakdown of the Giants leading into the scouting combine and free agency.

So far, we have analyzed quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end. and offensive line.


DEFENSIVE LINE

2012 depth chart:
DE Jason Pierre-Paul, DE Justin Tuck, DE Osi Umenyiora, DE/LB Mathias Kiwanuka, DE Adrian Tracy, DE Adewale Ojomo, DT Linval Joseph, DT Chris Canty, DT Rocky Bernard, DT Marvin Austin, DT Markus Kuhn.

[+] EnlargeJason Pierre-Paul
Larry French/Getty ImagesOffenses keyed on Jason Pierre-Paul, who dropped from 16.5 sacks in 2011 to 6.5 in 2012.
Overview: Sacks were down as the Giants went from 48 in 2011 to 33 last season. Offenses keyed in on the Giants' pass rushers; JPP gained a lot of attention after his breakout season and was held to just 6.5 sacks. Umenyiora had six sacks and Tuck collected just four. The Giants finished 31st in total defense, 28th against the pass and 25th against the run. They couldn't get enough pressure on quarterbacks when they needed to, and stopping the run was problematic. Joseph continued to get better with 59 tackles and 4.0 sacks. Canty played in just nine games due to his knee.

Free agents: Umenyiora, Bernard, Tracy (exclusive rights free agent), DE Justin Trattou (exclusive rights free agent).

2013 personnel preview: The Giants will need more production from Pierre-Paul and Tuck, especially if Umenyiora isn't back. ... The Giants could always potentially move Kiwanuka back to defensive end. ... The Giants could sign another pass rusher in free agency or draft one. ... Tracy could emerge as the Giants' extra pass rusher. Ojomo also showed potential last preseason. ... The Giants will have to figure out who will start alongside Joseph now that Canty was let go. They re-signed Shaun Rogers to plug the middle. After missing all of last season due to a blood clot, Rogers will attempt a comeback. Austin should get opportunities in camp to show that he is ready for a bigger role. Kuhn exceeded expectations last season before tearing his ACL. ... Bottom line is that the Giants' defensive line has to be more dominant in 2013.

Salary-cap situation: Umenyiora is a free agent and is looking for more a lucrative contract and a starting job –- two things the Giants likely cannot give him. But he did leave the door open for a potential return. ... Tuck is entering the final year of his contract and vows to have a vintage Tuck year. ... The Giants shaved cap space by releasing Canty and re-signed Rogers to a cheap low-risk deal. There's always the possibility they could add another veteran defensive lineman in free agency.

Tell us what you think of the Giants' defensive line going into 2013 and what you want to see happen in the offseason.

Filling the gap: Giants re-sign Rogers

February, 7, 2013
2/07/13
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The New York Giants took the first step of trying to fill the gap left in the defensive middle after releasing Chris Canty by re-signing Shaun Rogers on Thursday.

[+] EnlargeShaun Rogers
AP Photo/Evan PinkusShaun Rogers
Rogers played in the team’s preseason opener last year but was placed on injured reserve on Aug. 31 with a blood clot in his leg.

The 6-4, 350-pound Rogers will try to help the Giants replace Canty, who was released on Wednesday. The Giants cut Canty, linebacker Michael Boley and running back Ahmad Bradshaw this week in an effort to create salary cap space and move in a different direction after missing the playoffs last season.

So let's take a quick look at what the Giants have on the roster as of now to replace Canty, Boley and Bradshaw:

DT: Rogers will compete with Marvin Austin and Markus Kuhn to start opposite Linval Joseph. Rocky Bernard, who was a valuable reserve this past season, is a free agent. The Giants still could draft a defensive tackle or sign another relatively cheap veteran.

LB: The natural candidate to replace Boley is Jacquian Williams. Mathias Kiwanuka could potentially play more defensive end so Spencer Paysinger could get plenty of opportunities to show what he can do in camp. And the Giants could re-sign Keith Rivers, who can fill the Boley role when healthy. Drafting or signing a free agent linebacker is a possibility.

RB: Is the coaching staff ready to hand over the load to David Wilson? Wilson was drafted in the first round to eventually replace Bradshaw. That time has come. Restricted free agent Andre Brown should also be in the mix pending his recovery from a broken leg. Da'Rel Scott could be the third back but the Giants could sign another veteran back.

Tell us what you think of the Rogers signing below and what you want to see the Giants do at DT, LB and RB.

Giants '13 free agent list

January, 1, 2013
1/01/13
2:28
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Happy New Year! It's 2013 and the New York Giants can officially start looking forward to this upcoming season.

GM Jerry Reese believes the Giants still have a championship contending core but he also promises that the roster will look slightly different next season.

Here is the unofficial Giants' unrestricted/restricted/exclusive rights free agent list:

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

T Will Beatty -- Hard to find starting left tackles. Might be most important Giants free agent.
DE Osi Umenyiora -- Won't rule out return but sounds ready to move on.
G Kevin Boothe -- Versatile and solid. Giants should bring him back.
TE Martellus Bennett -- Should only get better but will another team offer more money?
S Kenny Phillips -- Would like to see him back but for right price.
LB Chase Blackburn -- Solid vet is an asset but is NYG ready to go with Mark Herzlich?
LB Keith Rivers -- When healthy, showed glimpses of speed and athleticism.
K Lawrence Tynes -- Best NFL kicker until shaky finish. Should still be re-signed.
DT Rocky Bernard -- Cheap and reliable but Marvin Austin needs snaps.
WR Domenik Hixon -- Solid veteran provides depth and a punt returner.
WR Ramses Barden -- Shined in start vs. CAR but didn't get many other opportunities.
QB David Carr -- Knows system and works well with Eli.
TE Travis Beckum -- Injuries hampered Giants career.
T Sean Locklear -- Great until suffering ugly knee injury.
CB Justin Tryon -- Invite to camp?
RB Kregg Lumpkin -- Saw some third-down duties.
DT Shaun Rogers -- Blood clot kept him out of '12.
CB Brian Witherspoon -- Has to come back from another ACL tear.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

WR Victor Cruz -- Time to pay the salsa.
S Stevie Brown -- The surprise of 2012 could be starting safety next season.
RB Andre Brown -- On the mend after broken leg derailed best season.
TE Bear Pascoe -- Versatile and needed for blocking.
RB Ryan Torain -- Didn't play much.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

DE Adrian Tracy -- 'Yosi' (Young Osi) might see bigger role.
C Jim Cordle -- Good for depth/special teams.
DE Justin Trattou -- Giants like his potential.

Tell us what you want to see happen with the Giants' free agents below.

Injury report: Bradshaw questionable

November, 2, 2012
11/02/12
3:26
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) did not practice Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. The veteran has been on a once-a-week practice schedule and had his lone day of work this week on Thursday.

Safety Antrel Rolle (concussion) is probable for the game after a full practice Friday. Rolle left last Sunday’s game after attempting to make a hit on Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant. He has started at free safety in all eight games thus far this season.

The Giants secondary should get a boost this weekend from strong safety Kenny Phillips (knee). Phillips is questionable but said he will play. The safety missed the past four games with a knee sprain he suffered against Philadelphia on Sept. 30. He practiced all week, including a limited workout on Friday.

Keith Rivers is doubtful with a calf injury he suffered in the fourth quarter against Dallas. The linebacker has struggled through several injuries this season that have limited his time on the field. When asked about playing Sunday, Rivers said, “we’ll see what happens.” He had a limited practice Friday.

“Calf isn’t too bad. I’ve been able to practice here and there. Feeling alright,” Rivers said. “I know it’s not 100 percent but it’s getting there.”

Tight end Bear Pascoe is questionable for the game despite suffering an ankle sprain against the Cowboys. He missed Wednesday and Thursday’s practice but was able to get out there Friday. He said his ankle feels a lot better than it did a week ago, and described it as a low-high ankle sprain.

“I’m very optimistic,” Pascoe said. “It would be great if I can. But it’s coach (Tom) Coughlin’s decision and Ronnie (Barnes) decision. So we’ll see how it feels on game day.”

Linebackers Chase Blackburn (hamstring) and Jacquian Williams (knee) are the only two Giants that have been ruled out. Mark Herzlich will start in Blackburn’s place. Williams is going to miss his third straight game since suffering the injury against San Francisco on Oct. 14.

Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (quad), who has missed the past four games, is probable.
GIANTS

OUT
LB Chase Blackburn (hamstring)
LB Jacquian Williams (knee)

DOUBTFUL
LB Keith Rivers (calf)/(limited)

QUESTIONABLE
RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot)/(dnp)
TE Bear Pascoe (ankle)/(limited)
S Kenny Phillips (knee)/(limited)

PROBABLE
C David Baas (ankle/elbow)/(full)
DT Rocky Bernard (quad)/(full)
WR Victor Cruz (calf)/(full)
S Antrel Rolle (concussion)/(full)

STEELERS

OUT
OT Marcus Gilbert (ankle)/(dnp)
S Troy Polamalu (calf)/(dnp)
LB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring)/(dnp)

DOUBTFUL
RB Jonathan Dwyer (quad)/(dnp)
RB Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles)/(dnp)

PROBABLE
RB Baron Batch (shin)/(full)
S Ryan Clark (concussion)/(full)
LB Brandon Johnson (hamstring)/(full)
RB Isaac Redman (ankle)/(full)
LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring)/(full)

Injury report: The latest on Bradshaw

October, 26, 2012
10/26/12
12:19
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw is questionable for Sunday’s game with a foot injury. He had a limited practice on Friday and practiced just once this week -- just like he did leading up to last week’s game against the Redskins. Bradshaw said he’s “good” to play Sunday against the Cowboys.

While safety Kenny Phillips (knee) and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (quadriceps) practiced on Thursday and Friday, they are both doubtful for Sunday, and it doesn’t appear either will suit up. Next week's game may be a more reasonable goal for those two, who would both be missing their fourth straight game if they can’t go against the Cowboys.

Here’s the full injury report:

GIANTS

Out

LB Jacquian Williams (knee)

Doubtful

S Kenny Phillips (knee/limited)
DT Rocky Bernard (quadriceps/limited)

Questionable

RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot/limited)

Probable

C David Baas (foot/limited)
WR Hakeem Nicks (knee/foot/full)

COWBOYS

Out

C Phil Costa (ankle)
S Matt Johnson (hamstring)
DT Sean Lissemore (ankle)
RB DeMarco Murray (foot)

Questionable

RB Felix Jones (knee/limited)

Probable

C/G Ryan Cook (hamstring/full)
LB Anthony Spencer (shoulder/full)
LB DeMarcus Ware (illness/did not practice)

Injury report: Bradshaw out again

October, 25, 2012
10/25/12
12:53
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw sat out practice for the second straight day on Thursday.

Bradshaw was planning to practice just one day this week, as he tries to rest his sore foot. That day was supposed to be Thursday, but he decided to push it back to Friday. Nevertheless, he expects to play Sunday against the Cowboys.

"I just don’t want to go out and get it sore during the week," Bradshaw said. "I don’t want any setbacks or anything prohibiting me from being 100 percent (on Sunday)."

The Giants do have a capable backup in Andre Brown, who already has a 100-yard rushing game this season while filling in for Bradshaw. But Bradshaw maintains he can handle his usual workload, despite the injury.

"The foot is no problem when my adrenaline is running," Bradshaw said. "I don’t even think about it."

On the bright side for the Giants, center David Baas was back on the field after sitting out practice on Wednesday, and also said he expects to play against the Cowboys. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was on the field too, for the second straight day.

Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard and safety Kenny Phillips also practiced, albeit on a limited basis. The status of Bernard and Phillips for Sunday's game is still up in the air. Each of them has missed the team's past three games.

Linebacker Jacquian Williams did some very light work on the side, but officially did not practice.

Here is the Giants' official injury report for Thursday:

OUT

None

DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE

RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot)
LB Jacquian Williams (knee)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

C David Baas (ankle)
DT Rocky Bernard (quadriceps)
S Kenny Phillips (knee)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

WR Hakeem Nicks (knee/foot)

Canty's status for Sunday still up in air

October, 19, 2012
10/19/12
5:06
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants have not made a decision yet on whether they will activate defensive tackle Chris Canty from the physically unable to perform list. Canty had offseason knee surgery.

"I prepare like I'm going to play, that's a decision that's totally up to the coaches," Canty said.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said "we'll see" when asked about Canty possibly being activated for Sunday's game against the Redskins, and praised the veteran for being in shape. Canty last played in the Super Bowl, before the team decided to put him on the PUP list to start this season.

"He's in outstanding shape condition-wise," Coughlin said. "He hasn't been hit, obviously. We'll come up with the right formula."

Canty, 29, was surprised when the team placed him on the PUP list, saying his knee felt better in late August than it had during the final few months of the 2012 season. He said earlier this week that it's been tough to miss all this time, but he's kept a positive outlook while watching from the sidelines.

Canty practiced with the team this week, but has to wait to find out if he will be activated. There's a three-week window for the Giants to do so, which began this week.

"Obviously I'm excited about having the potential opportunity to play in a football game," Canty said. "I don't know which way the coach is going to decide and we'll find out. It's tough."

The Giants are currently stretched thin and inexperienced at the defensive tackle spot as Rocky Bernard, who had been playing very well in Canty's absence, will miss his third straight game with a quadriceps injury. That leaves starter Linval Joseph, seventh-round pick Markus Kuhn and second-year player Marvin Austin as the team's defensive tackles. Austin is essentially in his rookie season after missing all of last year with an injury.

Even if Canty is active Sunday, there's no guarantee he could go back out there and give the team starting reps in his first game back. If he can get on the field, though, Canty believes he can aid the team.

"I always feel I can help this team and contribute in some fashion so from that perspective, I feel like I would be an asset, but that's the coach's decision, that's not my decision," Canty said. "I don't get paid to make that decision, I just get paid for performance."

Injury report: Nicks working, again

October, 18, 2012
10/18/12
12:42
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Wideout Hakeem Nicks was on the practice field for the second straight day on Thursday, a promising sign that he'll start on Sunday against the Redskins.

Running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who missed practice Wednesday, was on the field Thursday, too. Both Nicks and Bradshaw were officially listed as "limited" on Thursday.

Defensive tackle Chris Canty, who came off the PUP list this week, was also practicing, as were linebacker Michael Boley and cornerback Corey Webster -- both of whom sat out Wednesday. Boley and Webster were also officially listed as "limited."

Safety Kenny Phillips, defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, linebacker Jacquian Williams and running back Da'Rel Scott were not practicing.

Here is the official injury report for Thursday:

OUT

None

DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE

DT Rocky Bernard (quadriceps)
S Kenny Phillips (knee)
RB Da'Rel Scott (knee)
LB Jacquian Williams (knee)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

LB Michael Boley (hip)
RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot)
WR Hakeem Nicks (foot/knee)
CB Corey Webster (hand/hamstring)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

RB Andre Brown (concussion)

Injury report: Nicks on the field

October, 11, 2012
10/11/12
1:20
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It looks more promising that wideout Hakeem Nicks will be back on the field Sunday in San Francisco.

Nicks was in pads and participated in practice Thursday, albeit on a limited basis.

Among the six other players who sat out practice Wednesday, TE Martellus Bennett, LB Chase Blackburn and CB Corey Webster were back to work Thursday, also on a limited basis.

RB Andre Brown, DT Rocky Bernard and S Kenny Phillips sat out again Thursday.

Offensive tackle David Diehl was limited for the second consecutive day.

Here's the team's official injury report for Thursday:

OUT

None

DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE

DT Rocky Bernard (quadriceps)
RB Andre Brown (concussion)
S Kenny Phillips (knee)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
LB Chase Blackburn (hip)
T David Diehl (knee)
WR Hakeem Nicks (foot/knee)
CB Corey Webster (hand/hamstring)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

WR Ramses Barden (concussion)
LB Michael Boley (hip)
CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring)
LB Keith Rivers (hamstring)
S Antrel Rolle (knee)

Injury report: Diehl and Rivers inactive

October, 7, 2012
10/07/12
11:44
AM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' inactive list for the game against Cleveland is filled with starters and key contributors.

Tackle David Diehl (knee) and linebacker Keith Rivers (hamstring), who were listed as doubtful, are inactive for the game. They join wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee/foot), wide receiver Ramses Barden (concussion), safety Kenny Phillips (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring) and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (quadriceps) on the inactive list.

Rookie Markus Kuhn will replace Bernard at defensive tackle and Marvin Austin could see some snaps as well. Domenik Hixon will start in place of Nicks and Rueben Randle should move up to be the third receiver.

Guard Chris Snee, safety Antrel Rolle, linebacker Michael Boley and cornerback Corey Webster were all listed as questionable but they will play today.

Kuhn, Austin get chance to shine

October, 6, 2012
10/06/12
6:09
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Going into the season, defensive tackle was supposed to be a deep position for the Giants.

Not anymore.

Eleven-year veteran Rocky Bernard (quadriceps), elevated into a starting role prior to the start of the 2012 campaign due to a season-ending injury to Chris Canty, will not play on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. As a result, rookie Markus Kuhn and second-year man Marvin Austin will see increased snaps next to third-year pro Linval Joseph.

Talk about an opportunity.

“I think I will be called upon and I believe I’m ready for the challenge,” said Austin, who spent all of last season on injured reserve. “It’s just like I said, I’ve just got to go out there and play football. I know I’m a good football player, that’s what I’ve been doing. Now it’s just time for me to go out there and show it.

“I’m going to play more reps, so it will give me a chance to get more acclimated to just going out there and playing full speed. I’ll be ready.”

Said Kuhn: “I have to step up now since Rocky’s down. I’ve been practicing all week like I always have, now it’s time for me to prove I can do even more.

“I mean, I played in the first game and I’ve always played in some snaps. Now I know I’ll have increased snaps. I always felt like the more I played, I’m in there, the better I can get as well.”

Coach Tom Coughlin was asked to give his opinion on the two young tackles.

“(Marvin’s) got work to do. He’s got a ways to go,” Coughlin said. “Each week he gets a little bit better and his opportunity will be there again. For us to accomplish what we want to, he’s going to have to play well.”

“(Markus) has done okay, he’s done okay,” Coughlin said. “He’s a good, young prospect. He works hard, he’s physical. He’s done alright.”

Injury report: Several players ruled out

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
4:11
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants are going to have to overcome injuries to beat the Browns on Sunday.

A total of 13 players appeared on Friday’s injury report. Hakeem Nicks, Ramses Barden, Rocky Bernard, Jayron Hosley and Kenny Phillips are all out.

The full injury report:

OUT

WR Ramses Barden (DNP, concussion)
DT Rocky Bernard (DNP, quadriceps)
CB Jayron Hosley (DNP, hamstring)
WR Hakeem Nicks (DNP, foot/knee)
S Kenny Phillips (DNP, knee)

DOUBTFUL

T David Diehl (LP, knee)
LB Keith Rivers (LP, hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE

LB Michael Boley (LP, hip)
S Antrel Rolle (LP, knee)
G Chris Snee (LP, hip)
CB Corey Webster (LP, hand/hamstring)

PROBABLE

C David Baas (FP, hand)
CB Michael Coe (FP, hamstring)

Gilbride, Fewell on the replacements

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
8:00
AM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants could be without several starters on Sunday, when they play the Browns.

Which raises the question, who will replace these guys?

Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell were peppered with questions about this during their weekly session with reporters on Thursday.

[+] EnlargeMitch Petrus
Jim O'Connor/US PresswireMitch Petrus
On offense, it's clear that Domenik Hixon will start at wide receiver in place of Hakeem Nicks -- especially now that Ramses Barden is also hurt, suffering from a concussion.

But the Giants could also be without right guard Chris Snee, who missed practice for the second day in a row on Thursday with a hip injury.

Being without Snee is rare for the Giants. He started every game for six straight seasons, from 2005 through 2010, before missing one game last year.

Gilbride said that if Snee can't go, his spot will "probably" go to third-year vet Mitch Petrus, who appeared in 17 games (three starts) in his first two seasons with the Giants, and has seen action in two games so far this year.

As for the defense, Fewell confirmed that Stevie Brown would start at safety in place of Kenny Phillips -- Phillips is almost certainly not going to play, because of the MCL injury to his knee.

Brown, who spent his first two NFL seasons with the Raiders and Colts, was picked up by the Giants this spring.

"I thought Stevie Brown came in and did a nice job," Fewell said of Brown's performance last Sunday against the Eagles, after Phillips got hurt. "To be put in that position and that type of situation, he really didn’t have any major errors. He came in and he tackled well."

Also, defensive tackle Rocky Bernard has missed the past two days of practice with a quadriceps injury. Fewell said that if Bernard can't go, his snaps will likely be split between the very inexperienced duo of second-year man Marvin Austin and rookie Markus Kuhn, who have played in six NFL games combined.

Injury report: Starters galore on shelf

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
1:14
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's starting to look like the Giants could be seriously short-handed on Sunday when they face the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium.

On offense, WR Hakeem Nicks (foot/knee), G Chris Snee (hip) and WR Ramses Barden (concussion) sat out practice Thursday, for the second consecutive day.

Nicks has been ruled out for the game against the Browns. (Click here to read more.)

On defense, several key players sat out Thursday, including five starters: DT Rocky Bernard (quadriceps), LB Michael Boley (hip), CB Corey Webster (hand/hamstring), S Kenny Phillips (knee) and S Antrel Rolle (knee).

The first four missed practice for the second consecutive day. Rolle practiced Wednesday on a limited basis.

Both Rolle and Webster said after practice that they plan to play on Sunday. Webster is dealing with a sore hamstring, in addition to the broken bone in his hand, but doesn't expect either injury to keep him out of game action.

On the bright side for the Giants, C David Baas (hand) practiced fully on Thursday, after sitting out on Wednesday. T David Diehl (knee) and LB Keith Rivers (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.

CB Jayron Hosley did not practice Thursday, after working Wednesday on a limited basis.

Here is the official injury report for Thursday:

OUT

WR Hakeem Nicks (foot/knee)

DID NOT PRACTICE

WR Ramses Barden (concussion)
DT Rocky Bernard (quadriceps)
LB Michael Boley (hip)
CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring)
S Kenny Phillips (knee)
S Antrel Rolle (knee)
G Chris Snee (hip)
CB Corey Webster (hand/hamstring)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

T David Diehl (knee)
LB Keith Rivers (hamstring)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

C David Baas (hand)
CB Michael Coe (hamstring)

Austin hopes Sunday is his day, finally

September, 15, 2012
9/15/12
9:00
AM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Marvin Austin is dying to play in a real football game.

Can you blame him? It's been almost three years since his last one.

The 23-year-old defensive tackle may finally get his chance on Sunday, when the Giants take on the Buccaneers.

"I’m preparing as if I am (going to play)," Austin said Friday. "When the time comes for coach Coughlin to make the decision, either way I’ll be prepared. I’ll be prepared to be out there helping my guys see whatever I see if I’m not active. If I’m active, I’m going to be out there running around, acting a fool out there. A good fool, that is."

[+] EnlargeMarvin Austin
Robert Willett/Raleigh News&Observer/Getty ImagesMarvin Austin hasn't played in a real football game since his days at North Carolina.
It's been a long, strange trip for Austin since his junior year at the University of North Carolina, which culminated in a 19-17 loss to Pittsburgh in the Meineke Car Care Bowl on the day after Christmas, 2009.

He was suspended for his entire senior season at UNC after receiving improper benefits from an agent. The Giants gambled on him with their second-round draft pick in 2011, but he missed all of his rookie season with a torn pectoral muscle. And he missed much of this preseason and the Giants' Week 1 loss to the Cowboys with a back injury.

But Austin is listed as probable for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay. Now he just has to wait and see if he makes the active roster.

Coughlin wasn't tipping his hand on Friday. "He’s missed a lot of time," Coughlin said. "So I think he’s gradually gonna get back into it -- and this was a good starting point for him, to be out here, practicing, so he could be evaluated afterwards by the medical people."

"It’s been extremely tough," Austin said, of waiting so long to play in a meaningful game again. "I try to be optimistic and stay positive. I have no reason to be mad; I’m on the New York football Giants.

"Sitting out was hard, but as I say, it’s all going to be worth the wait when I get my chance to go out there and play."

Austin could provide some much-needed depth at defensive tackle. The only other DT the Giants used against the Cowboys, besides starters Linval Joseph and Rocky Bernard, was rookie Markus Kuhn -- the team's seventh-round draft pick, who only started 15 games in college at NC State.

The Giants obviously saw a lot of potential in Austin, drafting him so high despite his college suspension. Austin hopes to deliver on that promise, and prove them right.

"I don’t need to be heard, I just need to go out there and be seen. That’s all that matters," Austin said. "That’s what this league is all about. You don’t have to be heard, you don’t have to talk, you just have to go out there and play. If you go out there and perform, trust me, there’s enough cameras out there to catch everything you are doing."

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