New York Giants head coach Joe Judge confirmed to the media on Friday that three of the team’s most important players won’t be on the field against the New England Patriots.
The Giants confirmed that running back Saquon Barkley, wide receiver Kenny Golladay, and tight end Kyle Rudolph have been ruled out of Sunday’s preseason game. The decision to rule the three players out as they continue to come back from injury isn’t surprising. In each case, the team is being cautious as the players rehab from injury, trying to avoid unnecessary risk before the games matter.
Rudolph was only activated off of the PUP list this past week and has had all of two practices since returning from foot surgery. Likewise, Golladay has been working his way back from a hamstring injury suffered back on August 4th. Hamstring injuries can be notoriously tricky, and caution has been the watchword since the injury occurred. Those injures can be prone to setbacks even if the muscle feels “better”, and giving it time to be well and truly healed is always prudent.
And while Saquon Barkley was back on the practice field this week, the team is still taking it slow with him. He did take a few reps in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods on Thursday, but did to with the red “non-contact” jersey on. The question now is what this means for Barkley’s availability to start the 2021 season.
Judge said earlier this week that he wouldn’t let Barkley — or any player — on the field in a regular season game if they hadn’t been able to take contact in drills or a regular season game. The team only has a limited number of padded practices left before they take on the Denver Broncos in week 1. While it wouldn’t be surprising to see Barkley take part in full contact drills during the next two weeks and be on the field against Denver, the team should be as cautious as they need to be. As Judge put it “We’ve got to do right by him.”
Finally, Judge did not make a statement either way regarding rookie receiver Kadarius Toney’s status for Sunday’s game. Toney has been dealing with what has been described as a “process” following his bout with COVID-19 at the start of training camp, and has only had limited participation in practice to date. Judge said that they would see where Toney “is today” and that the team “has to consider everything.”