The Giants lost two key defensive players, Chris Canty and Terrell Thomas, before the season started and in the opener, they were without their replacements, Marvin Austin and Prince Amukamara respectively. Both are, however, expected to play this week, though the latter is listed as questionable. The two players were their 2nd and 1st round picks in the 2011 NFL Draft respectively.
Austin, the 2nd round pick, has not played in a football game that counted since December of 2009, missing all of 2010 with suspension and the missing all of last season with a torn pectoral, before missing the opener with a back problem. He’s expected to go this week and will either start at defensive tackle or figure heavily into the rotation behind starter Rocky Bernard.
Amukamara, meanwhile, missed most of his rookie year with injuries and opened the year as the slot cornerback. However, when Thomas tore his ACL for the 2nd straight season, Amukamara was set to step into the starting lineup, before suffering an injury of his own, a high ankle sprain. In his absence, Michael Coe and Justin Tyron saw significant action in the opener. Ironically, neither of them was as bad as Corey Webster, an entrenched starter, who was torched repeated by the Cowboys. He’ll need to clean that up this week. With Amukamara and Austin coming back, things are looking up defensively for the Giants, now close to 11 days removed from their week 1 loss.
The bad news, however, is that Keith Rivers is listed as doubtful with an injury. However, the Giants use so much rotation at linebacker that it doesn’t really matter much. Rivers had a nice debut, but 5 Giants linebackers played 24 snaps or more in the opener. In fact, Rivers played the fewest, playing 24. He won’t be missed too much as the Giants take on the Buccaneers this week. Chase Blackburn will start in the middle, with Michael Boley and Mathias Kiwanuka on the outside, and Jacquian Williams will continue to rotate in on passing downs.