Giants' defensive front banged up ahead of Sunday's game vs. 49ers


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants are working this week on trying to contain mobile 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as well as they contained mobile Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor last week. But when they show up for Sunday night's game, the Giants could be without a couple of key pieces in their defensive front seven.

Defensive end Robert Ayers, who's missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, hasn't practiced this week and doesn't seem likely to play. Linebacker Devon Kennard, who's been one of the Giants' best defensive players this season, also has been out this week with a hamstring injury and looks unlikely to play Sunday as well. Add in defensive end George Selvie (calf) and linebacker Jonathan Casillas (calf), neither of whom practiced Thursday, and things are thinning out quickly on the Giants' front.

The return to practice of defensive tackle Markus Kuhn helps from a depth perspective, and Owa Odighizuwa's debut last week after he missed the first three games with injury was encouraging as well. But Kennard's absence would be felt both in the Giants' top-ranked run defense and in their No. 32 pass defense.

"Whoever goes in there, we represent the New York Giants defense. That's it," middle linebacker Jon Beason said. "Obviously, he's going to be missed. He's been playing outstanding for us. He can do so much rushing the passer, being extremely consistent against the run and showing he can cover some guys last week with the interception. It's unfortunate, and it's the nature of the business, so it's the next-man-up mentality."

Cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion) also did not practice Thursday, though he was out on the sideline, which is a good sign for his recovery. Cornerback Trumaine McBride (groin) was a limited participant. Tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) has been a full practice participant all week.