NFL Nation: jayron hosley

Injuries could force the New York Giants' defense to look a little bit different in the weeks that follow this week's bye. Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins strained his right calf in Sunday's loss in Dallas. Middle linebacker Jon Beason might need surgery to repair the toe injury that's been limiting him since June. And injuries at cornerback could lead the Giants to bring back the three-safety look they used on their way to their most recent Super Bowl title three seasons ago.

"The game plan last week was to have Stevie Brown in the game with the three-safety package versus certain personnel groupings," safeties coach Dave Merritt said Tuesday. "That worked out for us, because Stevie went in and did his job and did what we asked him to do. The fact that we used to play the three-safety package a ton back in the day was because of the fact that we had three veterans who were able to play. I'm talking about Kenny Phillips, Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant. Right now, we feel like we've tested the waters and we have the same right now in our camp here."

[+] EnlargeStevie Brown
AP Photo/Seth WenigStevie Brown could see more playing time as the Giants adapt to injuries in their secondary.
The plan coming into this year was to play three cornerbacks most of the time. The team signed Walter Thurmond to play the nickel spot, but he suffered a season-ending injury in September, and Trumaine McBride, who took over, suffered his own season-ending injury in Week 6. So they are down to their third-string nickel cornerback, Jayron Hosley, and they don't seem comfortable leaning on him to the extent that they leaned on Thurmond or McBride.

Brown entered the season as a starting safety, but he lost his job in Week 4 after a poor start to the season and was replaced by Quintin Demps. Coaches have been pleased with the work Brown has put in since the demotion, and they believe there are situations in which it's better to have him, Demps and Rolle on the field at the same time than it is to have three cornerbacks. This arrangement could force Rolle into the nickel spot, a position he has said in the past he's willing to play but prefers not to, but Merritt said they are comfortable with Brown in there as well.

On the defensive line, Jenkins' absence for at least a few weeks leaves the Giants thin at defensive tackle. But they have had success playing defensive ends Robert Ayers and Mathias Kiwanuka at interior positions in pass-rush situations this season, and they might decide to do that more going forward to augment the defensive tackle rotation. Rookie defensive tackle Jay Bromley likely will be elevated to the active roster in Jenkins' absence, but there's also a chance second-year defensive end Damontre Moore could get more looks on the outside when Ayers and/or Kiwanuka move inside.

"Damontre needs to continue to improve and stay focused on what we're doing on first and second down," defensive line coach Robert Nunn said. "He can do it. He's a lighter body, not ideal, but he can play it. He has to stay focused and continue to improve in that area, and he will get more at-bats. He's going to get more opportunities on third down, so he just has to keep coming along and improve on first and second down. If he does that, then he's going to get those opportunities in pass-rush situations."

Moore has shown exciting ability in pass-rush situations and on special teams. But he has yet to earn the complete trust of the coaching staff as a player who can stop the run (and avoid jumping offsides).

No trust issues at linebacker, though. When Beason missed time early in the season, Jameel McClain filled in for him in the middle. At the time, rookie Devon Kennard was hurt, so Mark Herzlich replaced McClain on the strong side. This time, if Beason is out a while, Kennard could be the one who sees more playing time.

"Now that he's healthy, he's contributing on special teams, and last week was able to go in the game and do some good things," linebackers coach Jim Herrmann said of Kennard. "It was good to see him get out and get some game experience, because that is invaluable for a young linebacker. The other guys love him. He's got a great personality, and he wants to be great. I think we'll see some really good things out of him."

Giants could be thin at CB in Dallas

October, 16, 2014
10/16/14
1:30
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie missed a second straight day of practice Thursday, casting significant doubt on his availability for Sunday's game against Dez Bryant and the Cowboys in Dallas.

Rodgers-Cromartie
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday morning that Rodgers-Cromartie would practice on a limited basis. But Rodgers-Cromartie did not practice at all Wednesday, and he was not on the field for the portion of Thursday's practice that was open to the media.

Rodgers-Cromartie has been struggling for weeks with a leg problem that has been described at various times as an ankle, hip or hamstring injury, and he left Sunday night's game in Philadelphia with back problems. His official listing on Wednesday's injury report was "Did not practice (back/hamstring)."

If Rodgers-Cromartie can't play, Zack Bowman likely would take his place as a starting outside cornerback along with Prince Amukamara, who likely would draw Rodgers-Cromartie's usual assignment of covering the opposing team's top wide receiver. For the Cowboys, that means Bryant, who's one of the best and most physically dominating wide receivers in the game. Amukamara is having a strong season, but he does tend to look better when Rodgers-Cromartie is on the field.

The Giants also are down to their third option at nickel cornerback. With Walter Thurmond and Trumaine McBride out for the season with injuries, Jayron Hosley will draw that assignment Sunday, though it's possible safety Antrel Rolle could play that spot as he has in the past. If that happened, the Giants might have to revive their old three-safety look, which could bring benched starter Stevie Brown back into the mix.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's foolish to read anything into preseason results or even stats, for that matter. But there are aspects of these games that can ring alarm bells. For the New York Giants so far this preseason, penalties have been a major issue.

The Giants were called for 10 penalties for a total of 109 yards in Saturday's exhibition victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. That brings their two-game preseason total to 16 penalties for 158 yards.

Of those 16 flags, eight have been thrown downfield in the secondary, where the Giants were hit Saturday night with two defensive holding penalties, two pass interference penalties on Jayron Hosley and an illegal contact penalty on Prince Amukamara that was declined. With officials emphasizing downfield contact this year, it's clear the Giants' defensive backs are going to have to alter something about the way they're playing.

"There's no contact allowed at all," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "You bump into each other shoulder to shoulder, and it's going to be a penalty. We've got to do a better job of coaching it. There are a couple of situations I think the officials are going to have to get sorted out as well, but it's something we're going to have to address."

Earlier in the week, Giants cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta said the coaches were spending time reviewing practice tape with the defensive backs and addressing plays that are going to be called as penalties this year that may not have been in the past. Amukamara said the officials have told the players "there's not going to be a 'healthy five,'" anymore -- meaning that officials will strictly enforce the prohibition against contact more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, as opposed to letting things go at maybe six or seven as they have in the past.

Now, to Coughlin's point about the officials, it's preseason for them too. And NFL games are increasingly difficult to officiate in real time. When new rules and points of emphasis are installed each year, the preseason is the time for the officials to figure out how to enforce and administrate them. Just because so many of these calls are getting made around the league in these preseason games doesn't automatically mean you're going to see flags flying on every play come the season. But the Giants' defensive backs are playing an aggressive style, and this year it's one that might get them in more trouble than it used to.

Observation Deck: New York Giants

August, 9, 2014
8/09/14
10:50
PM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants right guard Brandon Mosley pulled left and helped center J.D. Walton open up what Rashad Jennings would later call a "gaping hole." Jennings ran through it and all the way to the end zone, 73 yards for a touchdown on the Giants' second possession of Saturday night's 20-16 exhibition victory over the Steelers.

It was a beautifully designed and executed play. It was all the Giants' first-team offense did well.

Eli Manning was on the field for 12 snaps and threw two passes, completing neither. The Giants' new offense remains a work in progress with 30 days to go until their "Monday Night Football" opener in Detroit.

Some other thoughts on the Giants' second preseason game:
  • You want to know who's leading the race for starting tight end? The Giants ran 26 offensive plays in the first half, and Larry Donnell was on the field for 25 of them. The only other tight end who even played in the first half was Kellen Davis, who was in on four plays, all of which also included Donnell. I think the Giants would like to be able to give Daniel Fells a longer look, but he is injured and did not play. Adrien Robinson is doing nothing in practice to help himself.
  • Rookie defensive tackle Jay Bromley, the team's third-round pick, looked good in the second half against the Steelers' backup line, getting into the backfield to snuff out a run play and putting pressure on the quarterback.
  • Cornerback Charles James muffed a punt in the third quarter -- not the kind of thing that's going to help the feisty return man make a team that has this many good cornerbacks. Preston Parker replaced him on the next punt return.
  • The "NASCAR" package of four pass-rushers on third downs featured Cullen Jenkins and Robert Ayers at defensive tackle, with Mathias Kiwanuka and Jason Pierre-Paul at end when the first team was in the game.
  • The Giants were flagged for 10 penalties for a total of 109 yards. Of those, two were Jayron Hosley pass-interference penalties of 12 and 47 yards. Zack Bowman was called for illegal contact and Mark Herzlich was called for defensive holding (though he wasn't on the field that play, so it's unclear which Giants defender was flagged). Bennett Jackson received a five-yard holding call. And Prince Amukamara was whistled for an illegal-contact penalty that was declined. Giants defensive backs continue to struggle with the new rules/points of emphasis governing illegal downfield contact.
  • Amukamara made a great play to run down speedy Pittsburgh rookie Dri Archer on a 46-yard screen pass that looked to be a sure touchdown. It's the second time in two games Amukamara has shown the speed to keep up with a touted rookie, as he covered Buffalo's Sammy Watkins well Sunday night.
  • Jerrel Jernigan struggled badly with the first-team offense, and the Giants are eager for rookie Odell Beckham Jr. to get healthy and take over that spot.
The New York Giants have reached an agreement with cornerback Trumaine McBride on a two-year, $3.1 million deal, per ESPN and media reports.

McBride
It's a nice re-signing for the Giants. After a year out of the league in 2012, McBride joined the Giants in 2013 and found himself a starting cornerback following injuries to Corey Webster and Aaron Ross, and he played much better than expected. He was likely to draw interest from other teams had he hit the open market at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, so if he's a guy the Giants liked, good for them for keeping that from happening. If nothing else, he's an insurance policy in case they get shut out in their pursuit of a top free-agent cornerback or can't find one early in the draft.

But signing McBride should not deter the Giants from those pursuits. They have expressed interest in several of the top cornerbacks on the market, and they would be much better off in the secondary if they could land someone like Alterraun Verner or Captain Munnerlyn or one of the many cornerbacks hitting the market Tuesday afternoon. That would enable them to use McBride as the nickel corner or as a reliable backup to their inside and outside starters. That's the ideal role for a guy like McBride. The Giants used him as a starter in 2013 and know they can do it again in a pinch, but their preference would be to get a premier guy who pushes McBride down the depth chart a bit, strengthening them overall at this important position.

It appears as though veteran Terrell Thomas, who served as the Giants' nickel corner in 2013, will hit the open market. 2012 third-round pick Jayron Hosley is still looked at as a guy who can play the nickel, but injuries have hampered his development.

Keep an eye on the DBs in Giants draft

February, 26, 2014
2/26/14
2:15
PM ET
I saw that Michael Rothstein, our Detroit Lions team reporter, took a look at the way the defensive backs performed at this year's NFL scouting combine. So, since the New York Giants are picking two picks behind the Lions in the first round (and two picks ahead of them in the second), and since the Giants have drafted a total of six defensive backs in the first three rounds over the past nine years, I figured I'd steal Mike's post and let you guys look at it for some possible names.

Yes, the Giants' primary focus this offseason is going to be on fixing what John Mara called a "broken" offense. And yes, I still think the best use of their prime resources (meaning free-agent dollars and early-round draft picks) would be on the offensive line. But if they get to the draft with a lot of their offensive questions answered via free agency, and if the value dictates that they pick defense early, their history indicates that they will select a cornerback or a safety in one of the early rounds.

Could they use that No. 12 overall pick on a defensive back? It's not a crazy idea. They seem deep at safety right now, but they are looking for a starting cornerback to pair with Prince Amukamara. Corey Webster is surely gone, and while Trumaine McBride did a decent job as a starter last year, he's not likely a long-term answer. Jayron Hosley, their third-round pick from 2012, showed some flashes as a rookie, but health issues have kept him from developing into anything more than a possible answer in the slot.

Anyway, from more than two months out, the guys to keep an eye on in the first round would be Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert and Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard. And I know my "NFL Insiders" colleague Louis Riddick likes Lindenwood's Pierre Desir, the broad-jump star, as a later-round pick. You guys always ask for names, Mike has hooked you up. Enjoy.

Giants' inactives are as expected

December, 1, 2013
12/01/13
7:25
PM ET
LANDOVER, Md. -- No surprises on the New York Giants' list of inactive players for Sunday night's game against the Redskins here at FedEx Field. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, running back Brandon Jacobs and cornerbacks Corey Webster and Trumaine McBride were all ruled out Friday, quarterback Ryan Nassib is always inactive and the other two are backup offensive lineman Stephen Goodin and tight end Adrien Robinson, who's been inactive all year.

Jayron Hosley starts at the left cornerback spot that used to be Webster's and has been McBride's in recent weeks. Mathias Kiwanuka starts at right defensive end in place of Pierre-Paul, though you can probably look for rookie Damontre Moore to get into the mix at defensive end at some point. And with centers David Baas and Jim Cordle both on injured reserve and out for the season, Kevin Boothe will start at center while James Brewer replaces Boothe at left guard. Peyton Hillis, inactive the past two weeks, will replace Jacobs as the backup running back when starter Andre Brown needs a break.

The issues in the secondary, where the Giants' only healthy cornerbacks are Hosley, Prince Amukamara, Terrell Thomas and raw rookie Charles James, could be helped by the injury issues the Redskins are having on offense. Dynamic rookie tight end Jordan Reed, who missed last week's game with a concussion, was initially expected to play tonight but was ruled inactive after experiencing a pregame headache. And fullback Darrel Young, an unsung key to the running game and the success of Alfred Morris, is also inactive due to a hamstring injury. Evan Royster is listed as the starter at fullback in Young's place, but that likely means the Redskins will change some things about the way they call plays in the run game.

Reed is the No. 2 target of quarterback Robert Griffin III in the passing game, and his absence means the Giants should be able to commit extra attention to top wideout Pierre Garcon due to the lack of scary options behind him.

Much more as the night progresses here at FedEx Field.

Jordan Reed, Darrel Young inactive

December, 1, 2013
12/01/13
7:25
PM ET
The Washington Redskins expected tight end Jordan Reed to play Sunday night against the New York Giants, but a pregame headache will sideline the rookie for a second consecutive game. Earlier in the day, a team official told ESPN's Adam Schefter that Reed would play. But after warming up the Redskins decided he would be inactive.

Reed
Fullback Darrel Young also will be inactive for a second consecutive game because of a hamstring injury. Young expressed optimism throughout the week that he would play. Compounding matters at this position is that tight end Niles Paul will be inactive after missing three practices this week with an undisclosed illness.

Paul served as Young's replacement last week, but now when the Redskins need a fullback they'll have to use one of the two tight ends active Sunday night: Logan Paulsen or Fred Davis. They'll also miss Paul and Young on special teams. However, it will be a good chance for Davis to show what he can still do. The problem is, quarterback Robert Griffin III had developed a strong level of trust in Reed, especially on third down.

The other Redskins inactives: quarterback Rex Grossman, cornerback Chase Minnifield, linebacker Brandon Jenkins and guard Josh LeRibeus.

The Giants' inactives: quarterback Ryan Nassib, cornerback Corey Webster, running back Brandon Jacobs, cornerback Trumaine McBride, tight end Adrien Robinson, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and offensive lineman Stephen Goodin. Also, James Brewer will start at left guard for Kevin Boothe, who shifts to center to replace injured Jim Cordle. With McBride and Webster out, Jayron Hosley will start at corner.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The news that New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and cornerbacks Trumaine McBride and Corey Webster are out for Sunday's game against the Redskins means the Giants will have to do some interesting juggling of their defensive lineup. Webster's injury doesn't sound like it matters much by now, as he's missed almost the whole year, but the Giants had been hoping he could practice enough to fill in for an injured McBride, who has become the starter in Webster's absence. He did not, and now the Giants are left with four healthy cornerbacks for Sunday's game -- Prince Amukamara, Terrell Thomas, Jayron Hosley and untested rookie Charles James.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said starting Hosley in McBride's place (and, presumably, leaving Thomas in the slot) would be a "strong consideration." Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said he thinks Hosley could handle it.

"Jayron has good cover skills," Fewell said. "I think he's a good matchup for some of the quick guys they have in their lineup. So I don't think we'll miss a beat from that standpoint, as far as the quickness and the matchups are concerned."

The issue may be one of depth, as the Giants have very little behind their starters right now if one of them gets hurt or if they decide to go into the kind of dime package that found safety Antrel Rolle overwhelmed in coverage on the Cowboys' final drive of the game Sunday. But the Redskins aren't as loaded with scary receiving threats as the Cowboys are. After top wideout Pierre Garcon, their No. 1 weapon in the receiving corps is rookie tight end Jordan Reed, who missed last week's game with a concussion and is questionable for Sunday.

Up front, where they will look to pressure Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III into the types of mistakes everyone watched him make Monday night against the 49ers, the Giants will obviously miss Pierre-Paul. They could move defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins out to play defensive end (and activate defensive tackle Markus Kuhn for the first time all year to spell Jenkins in the DT rotation), or they could imply increase the snap counts for defensive ends Mathias Kiwanuka or Damontre Moore. But Fewell doesn't think it's as simple as someone stepping into Pierre-Paul's spot.

"Theirs is a difficult offense for any defensive end, because it's a read-option offense, a play-action offense," Fewell said. "They do a number of different things to make the defensive ends think. So it's quite difficult."

The key for the 49ers against Griffin on Monday was their ability to invade the backfield quickly on seemingly every play. The Giants don't have the same kinds of players in their defensive front seven that the 49ers do. (Few teams do, if any, now that Aldon Smith is back in the lineup.) But they'll still need to find a way to get pressure and take some of the burden off their depleted secondary.

Practice report: Victor Cruz not in red

November, 8, 2013
11/08/13
12:32
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants receiver Victor Cruz (neck) practiced Friday without a red non-contact jersey during the portion of practice open to the media, a great sign for his availability for Sunday's game against Oakland. Cruz had worn the red jersey on Thursday for a limited practice, and didn't work out on Wednesday.

Cornerback Trumaine McBride (groin), who missed Thursday, was working out and should be set for Sunday. Corner Corey Webster (groin) did not practice and it appears he won't play Sunday. McBride has replaced Webster as the starter.

Running back Brandon Jacobs (hamstring/knee) was not working out and his status for Sunday could be in doubt. He was limited the previous two days.

Jayron Hosley (hamstring), Terrell Thomas (knee) and Adrien Robinson (foot) were practicing during the open portion.

Any cornerbacks available?

October, 4, 2013
10/04/13
1:02
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It appears the New York Giants might be without three cornerbacks on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles as Corey Webster (groin), Aaron Ross (back) and Jayron Hosley (hamstring) all were not practicing during the portion of practice open to the media on Friday. Webster and Hosley were in the bike area.

Webster
Hosley and Ross have not practiced all week, and Webster had a limited practice Wednesday before missing Thursday. If they can't go Sunday in what's essentially a must-win game, it leaves the team with just three cornerbacks in Prince Amukamara, Trumaine McBride and Terrell Thomas. The Giants could always make a move to bring Charles James up from the practice squad.

On the positive side for the Giants, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (knee/Achilles) was practicing after missing the previous two days. Jenkins said Thursday that Friday would be a big day for him in terms of getting the work in, but still expects he'll be a game-time decision against his former team.

Jenkins could be without his fellow starting defensive tackle Linval Joseph (ankle/knee) as he missed his third straight day of practice. If Joseph doesn't go, it opens the door for more playing time for second-round pick Johnathan Hankins. Hankins has been inactive for the first four games of his career.

Offensive guard Chris Snee (hip), center David Baas (neck), and tight end Adrien Robinson (foot) also were not practicing. Snee could possibly be put on season-ending IR on Friday, according to sources.

Offensive lineman David Diehl (thumb) was working for the third straight day.

There was also no sight of Jon Beason, who was scheduled to take a physical in the morning. The Giants are close to acquiring the Carolina linebacker, provided he can pass a physical. He could possibly replace Snee on the active roster.

Injury update: Jenkins in walking boot

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
6:12
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants starting defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins was wearing a protective walking boot on his lower right leg Monday in the Giants locker room, a day after the team's 31-7 loss to the Chiefs.

When asked to describe the injury, Jenkins said, "I think just a little tendon something, knee and Achilles. ... Hopefully like I said, just a couple days, get this thing treated, and get back going."

Head coach Tom Coughlin did not have further updates yet on the other players injured against the Chiefs. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) and cornerbacks Aaron Ross (back) and Jayron Hosley (hamstring) all left the game early and did not return, plus linebacker Mark Herzlich was wearing a walking boot after the game due to a toe injury.

The same goes for starting center David Baas (neck) and right guard Chris Snee (hip), who sat out Sunday's game. "I’m waiting to hear on those kinds of things," Coughlin said. "The treatment is being conducted today as usual. We’ll see."

Jim Cordle and James Brewer started for Snee and Baas, respectively. Cordle was making his first NFL regular-season start, while Brewer was making his second.

"They played against a very good front and, for the most part, they did a good job," Coughlin said. "We did have a holding penalty up there and there were some occasions where we could have obviously done a better job or finished a block better than we did. They scrapped and I was pleased with what they accomplished. I wish obviously, it would have been perfect, but they did OK."
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jason Pierre-Paul is listed as questionable for Sunday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys.

The defensive end will travel with the New York Giants to Dallas and says he will be a game-time decision.

Pierre-Paul
"I got three days under my belt of practice," said Pierre-Paul, who practiced on a limited basis all week. "And I will go out there, and come game time I will ask the trainer how I feel and see where it is at."

"I have been getting better," he later added. "My back feels strong. Been getting a couple of reps. Feeling good right now. No soreness."

Head coach Tom Coughlin, though, made it sound as if the team will know before game time if its star defensive end will play.

"Whenever we make our minds up ... it is not going to be game time," Coughlin said before Pierre-Paul talked to reporters in the locker room after practice. "We will make our minds up before that. The medical people will have more to say about that I am sure."

Pierre-Paul had back surgery on June 4 to alleviate pain that he played with last season. The team's best defensive player says he is playing pain-free now, but wanted to see if his back will hold up against double-team blocking.

Pierre-Paul traveling with the team is a positive indication of the likelihood of him playing, barring an unforeseen setback. However, he said he has not been on a plane since flying back from Los Angeles this summer after seeing the specialist for his back.

Coughlin said a decision will be made later as to how many snaps Pierre-Paul will play if he is cleared for action.

Cruz control: Wide receiver Victor Cruz is listed as probable, and it appears his bruised heel is ready for game action. Cruz practiced on a limited basis all week. The wide receiver said he was going to talk to the medical staff Friday afternoon to get clearance, but Cruz said he feels strong.

"I am confident," he said. "I feel good, I feel like I am in shape. I feel like the heel is much better. I am not leaning or favoring the other leg. Feels good. I am anxious to go out there and see what I can do on game day."

Cruz said he might test his bruised heel on the turf in the Giants' indoor facility on Saturday morning.

The questionable: Fullback Henry Hynoski (knee) and defensive end Damontre Moore (shoulder) are also listed as questionable. Both were limited on Friday. Hynoski, who had surgery on his knee during OTAs, said he will travel to Dallas, but it is possible the team will hold the fullback out for another week to be safe.

Cornerback Jayron Hosley (ankle) is listed as probable. Center David Baas (knee), tackle David Diehl (thumb) and tight end Adrien Robinson (foot) are out for the game.

Here's the full injury report:

OUT
C David Bass (knee)
T David Diehl (thumb)
TE Adrien Robinson (foot)

DOUBTFUL
None

QUESTIONABLE
FB Henry Hynoski (knee, limited practice)
DE Damontre Moore (shoulder, limited practice)
DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back, limited practice)

PROBABLE
WR Victor Cruz (heel, limited practice)
CB Jayron Hosley (ankle, full practice)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Victor Cruz is still awaiting official medical clearance but he says only something unforeseen can keep him from playing against the Cowboys on Sunday night.

"Something catastrophic has to happen for me not to play," Cruz said. "But we are taking it one day at a time and still got to go in and see docs and stuff like that. They just want to gauge and see how I am progressing but it is going to take a lot for me not to play in this game."

Cruz was limited in practice on Wednesday but his bruised heel feels good and he says all he needs to do is regain his timing with Eli Manning.

Friday deadline: Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul also was limited in practice but said his back is feeling good. JPP said he will decide Friday whether he is playing against the Cowboys.

"I am getting better and better every day," Pierre-Paul said. "I got to get my conditioning up and that is the main part of my game. Still on track. By Friday I should know if I am playing or not."

Pierre-Paul also said that if he plays, he does not want to play a limited amount of snaps.

"On this team, I feel it is a big thing for me to take most of the snaps," said Pierre-Paul, who added his playing time will be up to the coaches. "[Twenty snaps] is not enough. When it comes to games, I want to be a big factor.

"I don't want to put myself out there and I only do 20 snaps and those 20 snaps (don't) really count to winning the game, know what I am saying? I am not a third-down guy only. I like to go out there and take all the snaps if I can."

Hakeem's plan: Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said his plan of playing it safe in the offseason and preseason has paid off. He's ready for the season opener and says he will be at full speed.

"I definitely feel like I am as good as I can be at this point," he said. "It is game time now. Everything counts. It’s time to get it."

"Definitely benefited from it," Nicks added of his plan after laboring through knee and foot injuries last season. "Same time, it helped me get to this point to where my body feels the best it has felt in a long time."

Here's the official Giants injury report for Wednesday:

OUT
RB Andre Brown (leg temporary IR)

DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
C David Baas (knee)
T David Diehl (thumb)
TE Adrien Robinson (foot)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
WR Victor Cruz (heel)
FB Henry Hynoski (knee)
DE Damontre Moore (shoulder)
DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
CB Jayron Hosley (ankle)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Damontre Moore is expected to miss another preseason game with a shoulder injury.

Moore was on the Giants' list of players not expected to play tonight against the Patriots in the preseason finale. Wide receiver Ramses Barden (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (ankle), fullback Henry Hynoski (knee), center David Baas (knee), tackle David Diehl (thumb), defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (knee/PUP), wide receiver Victor Cruz (heel) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (back) are not expected to play.

Safety Antrel Rolle (ankle) is in uniform and likely will play.

SPONSORED HEADLINES