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Rookie Lorenzo Carter, 10-year veteran Connor Barwin must combine to fill in for injured Olivier Vernon

Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter prior to the start

Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter prior to the start of a game at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 30, 2018. Photo Credit: Daniel De Mato

Lorenzo Carter and Connor Barwin hit it off almost immediately, one a rookie and the other heading into his 10th NFL season. On Sunday, they may need to combine forces to plug up one of the only real holes in the Giants’ lineup that is due to injury.

Olivier Vernon (high ankle sprain) missed Thursday’s practice, and the likelihood of his playing against the Jaguars is bleak.

“Certainly when we don’t have OV in there, we’ve got to compensate and maybe two or three guys have to do what he does,” Pat Shurmur said.

Enter Carter and Barwin, who figure to play big parts on the committee to replace Vernon.

“I just have to be ready when my number is called,” said Carter, who was limited in Thursday’s practice with an illness. “I don’t know when it will be, I don’t know how much it will be, but I have to be ready and that’s just the mindset I have. It’s here now. I’m ready.”

Carter had an impressive preseason. Barwin hasn’t played in a game since the preseason opener. He missed several weeks of practice with what the team called “soreness.”

“Yeah, I’m ready to go,” Barwin said. “My body feels good.

“It’s funny. When people talk about Lorenzo and me, I’m obviously closer to the end of my career and he’s right at the beginning of his, but the majority of my career, I’ve played maybe 90 percent of the snaps for every season, so I’m used to getting a lot of snaps. However things unfold here, whatever they ask me to do, I’m confident I’ll be able to do it, whether it’s all those snaps like I’ve done in the past or a little bit less.”n    

Spreading the ball around

On Sunday, for the first time, the Giants will be able to trot all of their offensive pieces onto the field at the same time. Now they just have to figure out how to incorporate them all.

“We want to make sure we have enough stuff that gets the ball around to all those guys,” coordinator Mike Shula said.

“We want to be versatile with our scheme, whether we’re running it, throwing it, quick game, drop back, play action, misdirection, but also versatile with where the ball’s going based on our personnel.”   

Runback fantasy

Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey was asked what he would say if Shurmur told him Odell Beckham Jr. will return punts and Saquon Barkley will return kickoffs. “Thank God,” he said, laughing. Shurmur has suggested that both will be available for return duties, but the Giants figure to use them there sparingly and strategically . . . Defensive coordinator James Bettcher doesn’t think the absence of injured wide receiver Marquis Lee will prevent the Jaguars from running max-protect plays and chucking the ball deep, so they’ll keep a close eye on Dede Westbrook and Donte Moncrief. “Whoever it is that’s their guy that they’re going to try to hit down the field, those are the guys that we’re going to have to be aware of and just adjust during the first part of the game,” he said.

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