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Spagnuolo: Injuries in secondary will affect game plan

Defensive coordinator will have to adjust vs. Vikings

NFL: New Orleans Saints at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo admitted Friday that he will likely have to simplify his game plan with cornerbacks Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie not playing Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings.

“Those two guys, along with Jackrabbit and the others, have really allowed us to do some things that, quite honestly, you wouldn’t be able to do,” Spagnuolo said. “When you can trust and rely on guys on the edge there, that can get things done that you need to do in this league, it gives you a lot of a lot of versatility inside and makes everyone else better, so we will miss them. We will miss them. We need to get somebody else to step up in there and hopefully they can get healthy quick.”

The Giants will likely be without Apple (hamstring), Rodgers-Cromartie (groin), and safeties Darian Thompson (foot) and Nat Berhe (concussion) on Monday.

Here are a few other takeaways from Spagnuolo’s weekly session with the media.

On rookies Michael Hunter and Andrew Adams ...

“Well, Mike hasn’t gotten a lot of work out there, but we are watching him this week. He is a long guy. We always liked his length. He is a bigger, taller corner. Andrew, I remember back in training camp being impressed with Andrew on how assertive he was, so to speak. Sometimes those young safeties don’t like to – they are supposed to control it and do all the communication and sometimes they think, ‘I don’t want to tell that vet to do this or do that.’ But I think right from the beginning he has had the confidence to do it, so I will be anxious to see how he does. We will see where we go with whoever is back there, but I think we only have about six of them practicing. We are going to need them all.”

On the high numbers of snaps played by Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon ...

Pierre-Paul has played 97.6 percent of the defensive snaps thus far, while Vernon has played 93.8 percent. Spagnuolo knows he needs to get them more rest.

“We need to take a few snaps off of those guys. Especially with the injuries they're kind of dealing with. It's a good point and it's hard to take those guys out and they don't really want to be out. None of those guys do. But I think you make a really good point because when you get down to the end, we really need to step up and those guys need to be fresh. And we've talked about that because we've looked at the snaps that Kerry Wynn and Owa Odighizuwa and Romero Okwara had and they probably didn't have enough.”

On Sam Bradford being comfortable just weeks after being traded to the Vikings ...

“You put the tape on, the pass game I'm talking about now. It looks like there are a couple of routes in there from Philadelphia last year. It's stuff that I know Sam likes, that he's comfortable with. So, I think that they've done the right thing in putting some things in there that they know he's used to and he's comfortable with. I think with doing that and they run the football and they play really good defense. I think all of that has helped Sam. He looks really comfortable.”

On the defense not having any takeaways after three games ...

“I'm really shocked that we don't have any right now, I am. I don't remember, other than I think Jackrabbit last week had a chance at an interception, but I don't remember many that we dropped. Now, I think there were a couple of balls that have been on the ground that we have to go get, there's one I can think about last week. But, you’ve got to be patient. If you force that, you start missing tackles, and you start putting your eyes where they're not supposed to be. So, we'll play good, sound football, rely on relentless and hopefully those will come because we need them.”