St. Louis – Henry Hynoski remembers the first time he saw Aaron Donald.
“He was a freshman,” the Giants fullback said of his former teammate for one year at the University of Pittsburgh. “I remember he came in and he made a statement from Day One. He was one of those guys who, you lined him up and nobody could really block him. A tremendous high-motor guy, had great speed and great power combination. He played with a lot of heart and desire. You can kind of see that. He’s only a young guy in the NFL but you can see that carrying over. I knew just as a freshman he had flashes of being a great player. He was just raw at that time.”
He’s not very raw any longer. Donald leads all rookies with eight sacks and likely will be the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
On Sunday, though, Hynoski won’t be marveling at Donald. He’ll be part of the crew that tries to stop him. Starting running back Rashad Jennings did not make the trip because of an ankle injury, leaving the team with an experience void at the position. While the Giants have three running backs active – rookies Andre Williams and Orleans Darkwa along with Chris Ogbonnaya who is active for the first time as a Giant – they could decide to trust a veteran such as Hynoski more on third downs and other situations that call for a wily but physical presence standing next to Eli Manning as a protector.
Hynoski said Williams has done really well in pass protection and raved about the other backs, both mid-season acquisitions, and how they have picked up the system. But if it comes down to it …
“I’m always ready,” Hynoski said. “I’m always prepared if I get called on in that third down running back responsibility.”
Jennings is the only Giants player inactive due to injury (most of the other banged up players have already been exiled to injured reserve). The other inactives are CB Jayron Hosley, OL Adam Gettis, OL Eric Herman, TE Jerome Cunningham, LB James Davidson and DT Dominique Hamilton. Of those seven inactive players, only one – Jennings – was on the active roster in Week 1 of this season.