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Coughlin: Giants focused despite Sandy distractions

The SportsXchange

New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich will make his first start of the season in the middle with Chase Blackburn ruled out of Sunday's home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a hamstring injury.

Fellow linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee) was also ruled out, with linebacker Keith Rivers doubtful with a calf injury.

Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), tight end Bear Pascoe (ankle) and safety Kenny Phillips (knee) are all questionable.

Bradshaw did not practice Friday as part of his weekly routine to manage his ongoing foot issue. If Phillips is available Sunday, he's expected to play limited snaps with Stevie Brown starting.

Herzlich said Sunday's game has bigger meaning in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

"It's kind of interesting; the first game of my career was against the Redskins on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. You felt that emotion that day in Washington and I think that when we go on the field this Sunday," Herzlich said. "You're going to feel that emotion again where, this is a strong country and everybody in the stadium, whether they're Pittsburgh fans or New York fans, they're going to be pulling for the people who are fighting back from the storm."

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said he's not concerned about his team lacking focus due to the events surrounding the storm.

"I think they'll come back and be focused and I think that not only will they be focused, I think the mission will be quite clear," he said. "Trying to provide a few hours of enjoyment for so many that have been devastated. I think they'll do a good job of that."

Coughlin said he never considered not playing the game, but did applaud the Steelers for choosing to come up the day of the game to leave hotel rooms open for New York-area people.

"The word that comes to mind is 'noble,'" he said. "They were very noble about that. They wanted to do their part to help the folks, the people in our area."
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