The Giants will start the season without their first two draft picks on the active roster. Prince Amukamara and Marvin Austin are injured. It’s looking more and more like their third-round pick won’t be making much of an impact either.
Jerrel Jernigan, who seemed to be progressing towards becoming the team’s punt returner, muffed three punts and fumbled a third in Monday’s loss to the Jets. The Giants had been resistant to using Domenik Hixon as their punt returner because he is coming off of knee surgery over a year ago. But after Jernigan’s performance, the Giants might not have much of a choice.
“We tried to do the best we can during the preseason staying away from that because of the obvious,” Tom Coughlin said of using Hixon. “Obviously we’re going to have to rethink that.”
Jernigan said he lost one punt in the lights, but the other two were because he did not concentrate and look the ball all the way in. He had not been explosive in his returns this preseason, but he had at least been catching the ball. His grasp on the offense has been less than impressive, too. Which is why Jernigan will likely wind up inactive for the opener and might even get waived and brought back on the practice squad if the Giants feel they can risk putting him out there on waivers.
“I’m always concerned about losing my job,” Jernigan said. “This is the NFL. Coaches are going to do what they have to do.”