Shaun Rogers out with blood clot in calf; suddenly short at DT
ALBANY -- The Giants thought Shaun Rogers would provide them with depth, veteran leadership and a strong inside presence this season. He will offer none of those.
The veteran defensive tackle was diagnosed with a blood clot in his calf Monday, a condition that will end his first season with the Giants and likely his career. Rogers was one of three defensive tackles whose injuries the Giants were monitoring. They also announced that Martin Parker will have surgery to fix a herniated disc in his back and is out for the season. Marvin Austin was sent to Manhattan for tests on his sore back.
With Chris Canty still on PUP recovering from offseason knee surgery, the Giants had only four available defensive tackles at Tuesday's practice. The same number were unavailable. The depth chart has literally been halved.
"I thought we were as deep there as we were at any position on the team," Tom Coughlin said. "It's not that way right now."
While the Giants hold out hope for Austin -- "I'm praying that when the phone call comes, it's a good one, that [the injury] can be controlled and all that business," Coughlin said -- they were despondent about Rogers.
"He was really excited about being a part of this team," Coughlin said of Rogers, who lost 50 pounds and reported in shape at 334 pounds. "He got along really well with our defensive linemen. He actually asked to go play some more snaps the other night [against Jacksonville], which I thought was really neat. It's just a shame."
Players said that defensive line coach Robert Nunn expressed to them in meetings Tuesday morning how a player never knows when his final game will come. Just the same, a player never knows when his first big opportunity will show up. That's the case for rookie Markus Kuhn and second-year player Dwayne Hendricks, who was in uniform for one game last season and did not make a tackle.
"They're working really hard and they're learning really fast," veteran Rocky Bernard, who missed Friday's preseason opener with a knee injury but has been practicing since, said of the two young players. "They have to learn faster [now]. A lot of those guys don't have a lot of game experience besides preseason, so it's a lot different once you start really playing games. They'll just have to learn on the run."
Coughlin has been extolling Hendricks for several days, noting Tuesday how he "works his ever-loving off." With the injuries, he may have to perform that way in games now.
"I know anybody that's going to line up or watch the film is obviously going to know about or have heard those comments [from Coughlin], so obviously, I have to pick my game up, also," Hendricks said. "Now hopefully, I've made somewhat of a name for myself and I can continue to build off of that and go in the right direction."
Hendricks was asked earlier this week how he figured he might find a place on the roster with such a crowded, deep field of defensive tackles. Now the question is whether he'll be ready to take on a larger role in the defense. Things change quickly in the NFL.
"It takes one play and a guy can go down," Bernard said. "We went from a lot of depth to not much in a sequence of days. We're just going to try to get everybody going."