The Giants defense failed its last test miserably, when Tennessee’s Derrick Henry ran roughshod over them in Sunday’s loss.
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher had a pretty simple explanation for what happened.
“We didn’t tackle as well as we needed to tackle,’’ Bettcher said Thursday. “Overall, we need to tackle better. A hundred yards rushing in last week’s game came after missed tackles.”
Tennessee finished with 215 yards on the ground — 170 from Henry — and the Giants face a different challenge this weekend when they visit the Colts.
“Defensively, it’s a playoff game,’’ Bettcher said. “It’s a playoff atmosphere for us. Hopefully, we get two of those.”
The Giants close out the season against the Cowboys, who are also in the playoff hunt.
Bettcher is hoping more experience for rookie linemen R.J. McIntosh and B.J. Hill, as well as second-year lineman Dalvin Tomlinson, helps.
“With those guys, you see snaps of really good football and as young players grow, consistency is one of the key words you want to use,’’ Bettcher said.
Linebacker Alec Ogletree is in the concussion protocol.
“He came in [Wednesday] and we hadn’t had the full evaluation on him yet,’’ coach Pat Shurmur said of why he wasn’t in the protocol earlier in the week. “He had symptoms so we put him in protocol.”
Shurmur said they couldn’t pinpoint exactly what play Ogletree suffered the injury.
Spencer Pulley (calf) and Russell Shepard (ankle) were also out Thursday. Kerry Wynn remained limited with a thumb injury.
Safety Michael Thomas has seen plenty of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck from playing with Luck at Stanford, as well as his five years in the AFC with the Dolphins, and believes Luck is all the way back from back his shoulder injury.
“Just from seeing him play this year comparing to when he first came into the league, it looks like his arm doesn’t hurt,’’ said Thomas, who returned after missing Wednesday’s practice for personal reasons.
“He looked like he’s back to an All-Pro level. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the game. His arm is feeling [good] and it’s gonna be our job stop him.”
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Special-teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey credited his predecessor, Tom Quinn, with alerting the coaching staff to a rule when Ukeme Eligwe lost control of a downed punt and the ball rolled through the end zone.
Originally ruled a touchback, Quinn was the first to know that Eligwe had already downed the ball, the play should have been ruled dead. The Giants won the challenge and saved themselves 11 yards on the play.
“It’s good to have that knowledge on the sideline,’’ McGaughey said of Quinn.
McGaughey continues to be impressed with Aldrick Rosas, who was named to the Pro Bowl this week.
“He’s a lot more confident,’’ McGaughey said of the second-year kicker who struggled as a rookie. “You can tell. Last year, he was kind of all over the place. But he was a young guy, first year in the league. … They make mistakes and are all over the place. Aldrick has done a really good job. Hopefully he can keep this thing moving.”
Shurmur said receiver Cody Latimer is “ready to go” after being activated to take the place of Antonio Hamilton, who was placed on injured reserve.
“Since we’re nicked up a little bit at receiver with [Russell Shepard] and Odell [Beckham Jr.], it sort of made sense,’’ said Shurmur, who added Latimer would also play some on special teams to make up for the loss of Hamilton.
Tony Lippett could be involved, as well.