The Giants could be without their top two tacklers on Sunday. Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins (96) has already been on injured reserve for several weeks, but he still leads the team in the defensive stat. In second place? Linebacker Alec Ogletree (93), who is in the concussion protocol and unlikely to play against the Colts.
That means somebody will have to pick up the slack in a task that last week was a glaring issue for the defense. The Giants missed upwards of 10 tackles in the 17-0 loss to the Titans.
“We talked about a lot of things from the game and some particular plays, but overall, we have to tackle better,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said. “There were over 100 yards rushing in last week’s game after missed tackles.”
So how does a team improve that? In Week 16?
“It’s one of those things where you kind of worry about the fits because at this time of year you don’t hit in practice anyway,” linebacker Kareem Martin said. “You just have to go out there and trust your technique.”
In terms of potentially replacing Ogletree, Bettcher said it would be up to a number of players to step in. That would include B.J. Goodson, rookie Tae Davis and possibly veteran Nate Stupar. Goodson will likely be making the calls in the huddle, but he’s been nursing a sore throat and may not be able to communicate as loudly as normal.
In terms of replacing Ogletree’s production, the Giant with the third-most tackles is safety Curtis Riley (66). Besides Ogletree, no front-seven player on the team has more than 51 tackles this season (DT Dalvin Tomlinson).
Notes & quotes: Odell Beckham Jr. shrugged off being named a second alternate for the Pro Bowl. “You just have to work harder, that’s all I can say,” he said. “The guys who did make it are all very talented people who had incredible seasons. You just have to tip your hat to them. They made it in. It’s just motivation. You keep working. Work harder to where you can be in that next year.” . . . Safety Michael Thomas, who was excused from Wednesday’s practice dealing with a family situation, returned on Thursday and is expected to play on Sunday . . . Besides Beckham and Ogletree, wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle) and center Spencer Pulley (calf) also did not practice on Thursday.