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Giants vs. Bengals: First career start puts Brett Jones in spotlight

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Former CFL lineman will replace injured Justin Pugh

NFL: New York Giants-OTA
Brett Jones (right) during OTAs.
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The eyes of Canada will be upon New York Giants offensive lineman Brett Jones when he makes his first NFL start on Monday night. The former Canadian Football League Most Outstanding Rookie and Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman will replace the injured Justin Pugh against the Cincinnati Bengals.

He knows fans in Canada will be tuning in.

“It’s an excuse to hang out with the guys and do stuff,” Jones said. “That’s what we would do. The CFL doesn’t play Sunday or Monday. Sometimes they do, but not often. Those are the NFL days. Those are the games we always watch. Thursday night’s, we watch them all. You dream about playing here. When you get a chance, it’s very cool.”

“I just try and look at it as any other game,” Jones said. “It’s a big game because it’s the next game. Definitely being in Canada, everyone would get excited for Sunday and Monday Night Football. Especially at university. We would go after practice and watch. It’s a big game. It’s just a big game because it’s the next one. My teammates are riding with me. I’ll go out and do the job, whatever that job is. … It’s a Monday night game, so definitely excited for it.”

Jones, 25, came to the Giants after two highly-decorated seasons as a center for the Calgary Stampeders. He spent last season on injured reserve. He filled in at center admirably Week 3 when Weston Richburg was ejected, and did well last week after Pugh was injured.

“I thought Jonesie did a nice job when he went in there,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “He played physical. He’s been playing more center for us, but was ready to go in the ballgame at guard.”

Jones will often be lined up against All-Pro Geno Atkins, Cincinnati’s best interior lineman.

“The guy is a student of the game, he's a grinder, he's a tough guy and he's going to be put to the test this week,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said.

Yes, he will. And he will have both Giants’ fans and football fans in Canada paying close attention to how well he does.