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Giants-Cardinals injury report: Giants’ LT Andrew Thomas tests injured hamstring
New York Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas tested his injured hamstring on Thursday as the Giants practiced in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.
“See what he can do,” head coach Brian Daboll said before practice. “He’s a tough guy. He said he wants to come out and do some stuff and see how he feels. Good to have him out. See how much he does.”
Edge defender Azeez Ojulari, dealing with his own hamstring injury, was limited in practice as he tested what he was able to do. Ojulari was injured in a 1-on-1 rep during practice on Wednesday. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard, being managed after suffering a torn Achilles tendon and a torn ACL in the last two seasons, received a veteran rest day.
For the Cardinals, Both defensive lineman L.J. Collier (biceps) and linebacker Josh Woods (ankle) did not practice. Offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum, running back James Conner, and defensive lineman Leki Fotu were limited participants.
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Other Giant observations
Waller conceded Sunday it's the same hamstring (his right leg) that kept him out a chunk of last season and suggested it was more a nerve issue then a muscle injury. But it's a different type of problem and they're not even comparable, he says.
"No, not really just because as far as the severity of last year and the time it forced me to miss, it's nowhere near that," Waller said. "Last year there was legit times where I couldn't run because my hamstring is pulled. But I can run at practice [Thursday], run routes and do it for two hours, so I'm like, 'I feel great.'"
RB Saquon Barkley: Good teams recover
Saquon Barkley on moving past Sunday’s opening loss pic.twitter.com/GjuWUSDZLT— Charlotte Carroll (@charlottecrrll) September 14, 2023
Evan Neal usually speaks evenly and calmly during interviews, almost never revealing — in his words and tone — the ferocity that comes with being an NFL offensive lineman.
But on Wednesday, it was quite clear Neal is understandably sick of answering questions about the Giants’ line struggles — and that he is hell-bent on doing everything he can to change this group’s shoddy reputation.
First in line could be Matt Peart, a 2020 third-round draft pick. Josh Ezeudu, selected in the second round last year, has been taking snaps at left tackle the past two weeks or so. The only other tackle on the roster is Marcus McKethan, a 2022 fifth-round pick who spent his entire rookie year on injured reserve with a torn ACL.
Since the 2014 draft, the Giants have drafted six offensive linemen within the first two rounds, tied with the Houston Texans for the most in the NFL during that span. They’ve also drafted three offensive linemen within the top 10 picks with Neal (2022), Thomas (2020) and Ereck Flowers (2015). No other team has taken more than one offensive lineman in the top 10 in that span.
After Giants offensive line got its ‘(butt) kicked’ vs. Cowboys, what changes must be made? | The Athletic
Mark Schlereth, a three-time Super Bowl-winning offensive lineman and FOX analyst who will be calling Sunday’s game in Arizona, saw what he thought was a lack of connection between the two and a lack of communication. He saw Evan Neal get beat a few times, because he wasn’t sure where the help was coming from.
“I saw him a couple times do some things to try to make it more solid up front, and that created him being a little bit late. And when you’re a little bit late, you’re edged and when you’re edged, you’re giving up soft pockets and hits on the quarterback.
“They hurt themselves, like (when Cowboys rushers were playing) games and other situations, a lot of it because they weren’t on the same path; they weren’t on the same levels,” Schlereth said of Neal and guard Mark Glowinski. “One of the things you have to realize when you’re playing next to another guy is that guy needs to know what I’m thinking.”
The cavalry isn't coming anytime soon, which means the Giants might just have to ride or die with their current offensive line. But there are some things they can do to help the unit.
Kafka: Urgency is always going to be the same
Appearing on the “Bleav in Giants” podcast with Bob Papa, Banks warned the Giants about why Jones’ reaction to pressure can be “dangerous.”
While taking a porous offensive line that surrendered seven sacks to task, Banks explained: “Your quarterback got hit a lot. His judgement was impaired. Even when he wasn’t getting hit, his decision-making was impaired. Now that’s dangerous too because you don’t want to be the quarterback that teams say, ‘hey, you hit him a little bit and you start getting pressure around him, he’s gonna panic and he’s gonna make some bad decisions. Or he falls apart. He’ll miss his reads.”
The Giants simply need to achieve a level of competency at their key positions to beat the Cardinals in Week 2. And frighteningly, it is difficult to imagine they will be able to do that on their offensive line.
Jones expects the Cardinals to duplicate the Cowboys’ plan.
“I’m sure they’ll come out ready to go and come out aggressive,” Jones told reporters on Wednesday. “They’re a fast defense, they play really hard and fly to the ball. So, I would certainly expect them to do that, and we intend on coming out the same way.”
This was not the start the Giants were hoping for. They spent big in retaining stars, much like the Cowboys, but they didn’t see an immediate reward for that. They did look to add in free agency with Rakeem Nunez-Roches (48.6), Bobby Okereke (72.1), Darren Waller (64.0) and Parris Campbell (43.8). Okereke was impressive in coverage, but the rest failed to make much of an impact — even with Waller leading the team in targets. It was a game best forgotten.
Wink says defense is focused on Arizona
PFF focuses in Edge defender for the Giants with the team drafting Alabama’s Dallas Turner and signing Dallas Cowboy’s Dante Fowler Jr. in free agency.
“I already knew it,’’ Shepard said. “When they slowed it down and I heard they said it was an ankle injury, the only thing I could think of when I saw the force was Achilles. That’s when I said to my uncle, ‘Nah, I don’t think it’s just his ankle.’
“If you look at the force and they slowed it down and you could sort of see his leg jiggle. That’s what it feels like, it feels like somebody just kicked you right in the back of the heel. I was praying it wasn’t that.’’
This week’s opponent
"When (Dobbs) first got here, I wouldn't say it felt discombobulated but anytime you have a new quarterback in the first day, the cadence isn't as sound as it needs to be, the decision-making and the chemistry isn't quite there," wide receiver Michael Wilson said. "So if you watch the tape from last week, it does feel like night and day as a whole. I definitely would consider it growing pains. We have a lot of guys in our room that operate on a high level and will be their own biggest critics."
A BaldyBreakdown of the Cards defense
.@AZCardinals @ZavenCollins @KyzirWhite8 @DGardeck &Co all played hard. Aggressive. Made life tough on @Commanders No one can complain about the #AZC EFFORT. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/zYJLWHRpM7— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 14, 2023
The team many see as future holders of the No. 1 overall pick in 2024, the Cardinals weren’t big players in free agency, instead finding ways to rid themselves of players they no longer wanted over the course of the offseason. Perhaps the biggest incomer was Kyzir White (61.6), who is an immediate every-down player, playing every snap on defense. He earned the highest run-defense for the team (79.8) in Week 1 but failed to have the same impact in the passing game.
Around the league
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