Giant opportunity for Marvin Austin, Markus Kuhn on D-line

Giants defensive tackle Marvin Austin practices rushing the

Giants defensive tackle Marvin Austin practices rushing the passer at the Giants OTA. (May 30, 2012) (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

To a most appropriate question around Giants camp lately -- Does anything hurt? -- both Marvin Austin and Markus Kuhn said "no'' on Friday. Which puts the two of them, both little-used defensive linemen, in a position to see plenty of action against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Because 11th-year pro Rocky Bernard's thigh hurts, Austin and Kuhn are expected to share time at right defensive tackle as the Giants' season proceeds with its understudy theme. As an elixir in Bernard's absence, "we'll play with what we have,'' coach Tom Coughlin said.

Meaning Austin and Kuhn? "That's what we have,'' Coughlin said.

Besides Bernard, also unavailable for the game are wide receivers Hakeem Nicks (foot/knee) and Ramses Barden (concussion), cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring) and safety Kenny Phillips (knee).

Listed as doubtful are tackle David Diehl (knee) and linebacker Keith Rivers (hamstring). Listed as questionable are linebacker Michael Boley (hip), safety Antrel Rolle (knee), guard Chris Snee (hip) and cornerback Corey Webster (hand/hamstring).

Center David Baas (hand) and cornerback Michael Coe (hamstring) are probable.

"As we always say,'' Coughlin said, "it's always an opportunity for the next guy. So here we go.''

Austin first: A second-year pro, he spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle after missing his senior year at North Carolina, suspended for receiving improper payments.

But he is fully healthy and available.

"I'm good,'' he said. "I'm ready. Opportunity is everything. For Markus and I, this is a big opportunity, and to whom much is given, much is expected.

"Physically, I don't think it'll be too bad. It just helps to get acclimated to the game, get used to the speed and the intensity and effort. I know I'm a good football player. Now it's time for me to show it. But it's a lot of different things, the little things -- use your hands, use your feet -- the little things that people don't talk about.

"Somebody like Rocky's been out there for years. For me, somebody that hasn't done it in a while, it's something I have to actually work at. When I'm in the game, I'm not thinking, 'I've got to make this play.' I'm thinking, 'I've got to get my hands on the center, get my hands on the guard,' sometimes thinking too much."

To Kuhn, the German-born rookie who played for North Carolina State, "Marvin and I are here for a reason. When older guys are down, the younger guys have to step up. The coaches trust us enough to let us play. Marvin and I have been pushing each other since camp, and whenever there's competition, it makes people, overall, better.

"I'm excited. I'm ready."

And (so far) healthy.

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