Giants Demote WR After Surprising Healthy Scratch

Giants cut WR Austin Mack

Getty Austin Mack #81 runs drills at NY Giants Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Tantalizing rookie wide receiver Austin Mack was slated to make his NFL debut in Week 4…until he wasn’t. The former Ohio State University standout was promoted from the New York Giants‘ practice squad to their active roster on October 3rd, a day prior to Big Blue’s bout against the Los Angeles Rams. However come game time, rather than donning the Giants’ white and red road unis for the first time, Mack was draped in street clothes, as the wideout was deemed inactive.

The day after Sunday’s 17-9 loss at the hands of the Rams, Mack was removed from the team’s active roster, returning to the Giants’ practice squad. There have been some rumblings of Mack’s ascension to the active roster being a ploy by New York to keep him away from other teams who may have shown interest in signing the wideout, although that has yet to be confirmed.

Mack’s presence in the Giants’ Week 4 loss certainly wouldn’t have hurt. New York’s passing attack has been horrendous of late, failing to eclipse 190 yards in back-to-back games. The perceived top target at the position, Sterling Shepard still remains out with a turf toe injury. Darius Slayton hasn’t topped 53 yards nor found the endzone since Week 1. C.J. Board and Damion Ratley have combined for a mere 10 receptions on the year. When Golden Tate isn’t throwing postgame haymakers over family feuds, he’s averaging less than 35 receiving yards per game.

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Sterling Shepard Pushing Towards Return

The aforementioned Shepard isn’t eligible to come off injured reserve until after this weekend’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. With that said, the veteran pass-catcher has been doing everything he can in order to avoid prolonging his return to the Giants’ lineup.

“Sterling’s working hard every day right now,” head coach Joe Judge said on Wednesday. “I just saw him in the weight room a minute ago. He’s with the trainers for the large part. Obviously, he’s in the meetings with us and staying on the game plans, staying mentally involved. We hope to get Sterling back as soon as possible. We’ll see what that timetable is, but he’s progressing at a good rate for us every day.”

Speaking of staying involved, Shepard was one of three prominent injured players, alongside Saquon Barkley and Jabrill Peppers, who made the flight to Los Angeles last weekend to join their fellow teammates despite not being able to take the field.

“With where Shep was, we thought it would be good for him to stay with the rehab on that mutli-day trip,” Judge said. “The fact it was more than one day [in Los Angeles] added a different curve to it.”

In terms of Barkley and Peppers, Judge believes that even when out of the lineup, they can continue to make a positive difference on the roster.

“Everybody on our team that is in a different injury protocol is in a different position,” Judge claimed. “Saquon and Pep are captains on our team; we can count on those guys for leadership and being involved.”

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