Five New York Giants players, including three starters, will not play when the team hosts the New Orleans Saints Sunday.
Outside linebacker Olivier Vernon will miss his fourth consecutive game with a high ankle sprain while cornerback Eli Apple will miss his second game with a groin injury suffered in the Week 3 win over the Houston Texans.
Vernon, who initially suffered the sprain in the final week of the preseason, was a limited participant in practice Wednesday and Thursday. He did not practice on Friday.
“No setback. (Vernon has) made great progress this week and he’s close,” head coach Pat Shurmur said. “Just wasn’t quite ready.”
Apple practiced all week in a limited capacity. He said he wasn’t at full speed.
“Gotta run faster,” Apple said, before adding the Giants were being cautious with him. “Gotta get back to my normal speed and I’m not there.”
Vernon and Apple just missed the cutoff for playing against the Saints. The Giants are hopeful both players can return in Week 5 against the Carolina Panthers.
New Orleans features one of the NFL’s most potent passing attacks, averaging 345.3 passing yards per game. Drew Brees has thrown eight touchdown passes without an interception. The Saints average 34.7 points per game.
Connor Barwin and Lorenzo Carter will fill in Vernon while B.W. Webb will start in place of Apple for the second straight week. Donte Deayon and Michael Thomas will see time at the slot cornerback position.
The Giants are missing their best pass rusher in Vernon. Coming into Week 4, the team has just four sacks. They also have a lack of depth at the cornerback position which is concerning for a team facing Brees. In spite of these issues, the Giants defense have allowed 20.7 points in their first three games.
Engram suffered an MCL sprain in his right knee against the Texans and is considered week-to-week. Latimer has been dealing with wear and tear while Stewart was placed on injured reserve.
Rhett Ellison moves into the starter’s spot in Engram’s absence. The Giants moved Scott Simonson into the No. 2 spot and promoted Garrett Dickinson from the practice squad. Latimer has been the team’s No. 3 wide receiver and has handled return duties.
Wide receiver/return specialist Stacy Coley is questionable with a hamstring injury. The likelihood of Saquon Barkley or Odell Beckham Jr. returning kicks increases with Latimer out and if Coley is unable to go. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton (groin) is also listed as questionable.
Nose tackle Damon Harrison was a limited participant in practice Friday but is expected to play against New Orleans. The extent of Harrison’s injury is unknown because he has not spoken to the media.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.