Just got done with Tom Coughlin and a couple of players about last night's game. The big news is that DE Justin Tuck and WR Domenik Hixon are getting their respective left shoulder and right knee tested. Who knows whether either will be available for Sunday's game in Tampa. But Coughlin knew one thing for sure. When a player like Tuck can't complete a game, it's cause for concern.
"Anytime you've got a player of that caliber who can't complete a game, I would think something's going on there to prevent him from continuing," Coughlin said. "We'll just have to wait and see."
Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka didn't sound as if he wanted to be patient with anything Tuck related. In fact, he wouldn't mind running into Flozell Adams right about now for the trip that caused the injury.
"It looked like a pretty bad play," Kiwanuka said. "I understand you do anything to save the quarterback, but that's not an excuse.
"It's absolutely not an excuse. This is the NFL. People put their careers on the line every day and every game. You don't want to risk somebody getting hurt off something cheap like that. Obviously they have a job to protect their quarterback. But there's rules to the game for a reason. For it to be a play like that is bad enough. But that's inexcusable.
"They were obviously frustrated. But you play within the rules of the game. If you can't play within the rules of the game, there's no need to be out there."
As far as Hixon goes, he was actually lobbying the training staff to go back into the game in the second half. But his availability will depend on the tests.
CB Aaron Ross (hamstring), DT Chris Canty (calf), and CB Kevin Dockery all remain iffy at best -- Ross and Canty are probably out -- for Tampa Bay.
"The prognosis isn't much changed from the end of the week," Coughlin said.
Oh, Coughlin and defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan are going to have a time of it in the meeting room going over a run defense that allowed more than 200 yards last night. Their highest allowance last season was 158 ground yards against Carolina. And this is a defense that has perennially taken pride in not allowing individual 100-yard rushing games. The Cowboys fell just four yards short of getting two of them, as Marion Barber had 124 and Felix Jones had 96.
"Do we have work to do?" Coughlin asked rhetorically. "You bet we have work to do. Our inability to stop the run and our inability to run the ball the way we want to are issues that are first and foremost with our team. We'll be working hard to make the necessary corrections to that."
Coughlin noted that several players were out of position on some of Barber's and Jones' long runs. But what he didn't mention is that most of them occurred when Tuck was on the bench with his arm in a sling. That had to have had a lot to do with it. Osi Umenyiora has never exactly been a monster against the run, and Kiwanuka tends to get over-aggressive on the other side, making a cutback runner like Barber all the more effective.
There will undoubtedly be a lot of blackboard work on that this week.
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