No, there's no need for any kind of outright panic. The core, star-power pieces of the New York Giants' defensive line appear to be healthy. Defensive ends Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora, who form the engine of the league's most feared pass rush, are not the topic of this post. But the Giants announced Tuesday morning a number of other injuries that strike at the overall depth of their defensive line:
Shaun Rogers, the veteran defensive tackle who's been one of the surprise stars of training camp, is being treated for a blood clot in his leg. This is a very serious medical issue, and there's certainly no timetable at this point for Rogers' return.
Marvin Austin, the second-year defensive tackle who hasn't played an angry football game since 2009, is being treated for a back injury. Austin was suspended for his final season at North Carolina as part of that program's academic scandal and missed his rookie NFL season with an injury. The Giants have been hoping he could give their interior pass rush a boost, but they don't know to what (if any) extent they can count on him.
Defensive tackle Martin Parker, who missed the whole 2011 season with a foot injury, needs back surgery to repair a herniated disk.
Defensive end Justin Trattou continues to have heel and ankle problems, and the team says he's "not expected back on the field for several weeks." It seems as though Adrian Tracy, however, has been the leading candidate to replace Dave Tollefson as the reserve pass-rusher.
Defensive tackle Chris Canty remains out indefinitely following offseason knee surgery.
There is good news on defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, who has been practicing this week after missing Friday's preseason opener with a knee injury. But all in all, the Giants' depth on the defensive line -- particularly at defensive tackle -- is being challenged. Austin and Rogers were the two players the Giants were hoping could help make up for Canty's absence, and right now they don't know if they'll have either any time soon. Defensive tackle is an important position at which to be deep, since the physical demands of the position make it almost essential to rest and rotate players as much as possible.
If the issues continue, the Giants could be on the lookout for a defensive tackle as teams start to make cuts later this month. Meantime, some back-of-the-roster guys are going to get a whole lot of preseason snaps.