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Mark Herzlich in danger of not making Giants’ 53-man roster

Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich  talks to coaching intern

Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich  talks to coaching intern Antonio Pierce during training camp on Aug. 4, 2017. Credit: Brad Penner

The Giants have four players on the roster from the 2011 Super Bowl champions, but they are getting perilously close to being down to three.

Mark Herzlich, who earned his ring as a rookie, has been unable to practice for the last few weeks because of what initially was diagnosed as a stinger in his neck. His place on the 53-man roster could be in jeopardy.

“Mark has to get healthy right now, that needs to be his focus,” Ben McAdoo said this week when asked about Herzlich’s status with cutdowns approaching on Saturday.

When the option of placing Herzlich on injured reserve was broached, McAdoo said: “It’s early. We haven’t had those discussions at this point.”

They could soon. If the Giants think Herzlich may recover by midseason, they would have to put him on the initial 53-man roster, then put him on injured reserve to keep him eligible to come off it later in the year. If he is placed on IR before then, his season — and perhaps his career — will be over. Herzlich has not been made available to the media in recent days.

Herzlich, 30, is a valuable, versatile player. He is a key special-teamer and backs up at linebacker. Those roles, though, could be filled by a seemingly healthy J.T. Thomas, who is coming off a torn ACL. Herzlich also dabbled in offensive roles this summer, lining up at fullback and tight end in early practices. But he has not appeared in any preseason games this summer and is not expected to be cleared to participate in Thursday’s finale against the Patriots.

McAdoo likes new cut rules

The objectives for a fourth preseason game are vastly different than any other on the schedule. McAdoo will rest Eli Manning and likely a few other starters against the Patriots, who almost certainly will do the same.

“We want to give every player who’s on the bubble an opportunity to show what they can do,” McAdoo said.

There are a lot more of them this year because rules regarding cutdowns have changed. Teams used to go from 90 players to 75 after three preseason games before landing at 53. Now, for the first time, they will go directly from 90 to 53 this weekend. McAdoo said he likes that change.

“I think it gives the players who are out there doing a lot of work, getting a lot of work, an opportunity to show well for your team and for other teams in the league,” he said.

Giant steps

McAdoo would not say explicitly who will sit out Thursday’s game, saying only that it will be similar to last year’s preseason finale. In that game the Giants rested Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., C Weston Richburg, CBs Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DEs Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, and DTs Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins. The four starting offensive linemen who did play lasted just nine snaps.

New York Sports