1) LB Mark Herzlich –
Due to a hamstring injury, middle linebacker Chase Blackburn
is officially out of Sunday’s contest against Pittsburgh. That makes Mark Herzlich the likely replacement. In his rookie season last year, Herzlich started two games in Weeks 11 and 12 before an injury sidelined him for the rest of 2011 and the playoff run.
“I think Mark will do an outstanding job for us,” defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. “He’s been right there; he sits beside Chase in the meetings. When I ask questions, if he gets it wrong, Chase looks at him like, ‘What are you talking about?’ He feels the pressure in the meetings, okay. I think he’ll do an outstanding job. He’s done it before, so it’s not like it’s new to him. He’ll just be more excited to do it.” 2) OT David Diehl –
The longest-tenured Giant currently on the roster had his streak snapped of starting all 142 games in which he played earlier this season. For the past three games, Diehl has come in as the jumbo tight end after missing three weeks with a knee injury. Meanwhile, Sean Locklear
started at right tackle for six weeks, but that will change come Sunday. Tom Coughlin confirmed Diehl will start in place of Locklear against the Steelers.
“Sean has done a great job, a great service to our team,” Coughlin said. “He came to be the third tackle, if you will. He was elevated to the role that he has played in and played so well, be it left or right. He helped us win, and will continue to do that. We’re going to need all of these guys as we go forward. We brought David along trying to make sure that he was okay, and that his strength was there, his confidence was there. He started out in the same role that Sean will be in this weekend. That’s where we are on that.” 3) S Kenny Phillips –
The Giants are on a four-game winning streak in large part due to safety Stevie Brown
, who has filled in for the injured Kenny Phillips over that stretch. But Phillips made more progress this week and practiced fully on Wednesday. While limited Thursday and Friday, Phillips is questionable for Sunday and could be used in a three-safety package that Fewell often used last season. The more talented players, the better.
“It wasn’t weird,” Phillips said when asked about watching Brown become the NFL leader in takeaways. “I was trying to figure out why they couldn’t see him. Half of the time he would be sitting in the middle of the field and they would just throw the ball and he’s making them pay for it. He’s done a great job for us and he’s made a whole lot of plays.” 4) K Lawrence Tynes –
Named the Special Teams Player of the Month of October, Tynes is right up there for team MVP at the midway point of the season. The nine-year vet (sixth with the Giants) leads the NFL with 94 points, 14 more than runner-up Stephen Gostkowski of New England. Tynes has made five field goals in a game twice this season, against Carolina and last week in Dallas. 5) QB Eli Manning –
With two Super Bowl rings apiece, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have added to the legacy of the 2004 NFL Draft Class. Each one reiterates Sunday is “Giants vs. Steelers” and not “Eli vs. Ben” but both have admitted to following the other’s career.
“I think you always kind of take pride in your draft class and guys who have done well,” Manning said. “So you look at Ben and see two championships, played in three Super Bowls, been to some Pro Bowls. So I think you’re proud when your other guys in your draft have done well and had success.”