Not that the Giants have much choice, but they seem confident in Will Tye's ability to step into the starting tight end role this week.

"We feel like he's got to be the guy," Tom Coughlin said on Wednesday of the rookie from Stony Brook University who will see an increase in responsibilities with Larry Donnell not expected to play against the Buccaneers. Donnell sustained a neck injury in Sunday's game.

That leaves Tye as the only healthy tight end on the active roster. The Giants do have two other tight ends on the practice squad -- Jerome Cunningham and Matt LaCosse -- and it's almost certain one of them will be bumped up to the 53 for Sunday. But for now, it seems to be Tye's job. "He's played well for us these past few weeks getting more comfortable in the offense," Eli Manning said. "He's ready for it."

Tye was an undrafted free agent who began the season on the practice squad and made his NFL debut on Oct. 4. He has eight catches for 77 yards in five games. "I know my work ethic got me through this and I knew I could compete with anybody if given the opportunity to," Tye said of his journey from Stony Brook to starter.

Amukamara returns

Cornerback Prince Amukamara was limited in his first practice since suffering a partially torn pectoral muscle and missing the last three games. There is a good chance he will play against the Bucs. The Giants' defense allowed an unimpressive 384.8 yards per game when Amukamara was on the field the first five games, but 497.7 in the three games without him.

Giant steps

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Rueben Randle missed practice with a hamstring injury but said he expects to play Sunday. He's been dealing with the injury for the last three weeks . . . Coughlin said there is no timetable for the return of Victor Cruz from a calf injury.Regarding the lack of any trade deadline moves by the Giants, Coughlin said: "I'm sure there were phone calls made, there always are. They obviously didn't work out but I don't think anybody is satisfied with just sitting there."