The NFC East-leading New York Giants made a slew of roster moves on Tuesday. As they set to embark on the new practice week on Wednesday, they’ll unfortunately be doing so without the likes of starting linebacker Kyler Fackrell. The fifth-year pro has been placed on injured reserve and will miss the next three games, at minimum. Fackrell, who is tied with Dexter Lawrence for second-most sacks on the team with 3.0, suffered a calf injury in Big Blue’s 19-17 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday.
The loss of Fackrell “leaves the Giants extremely thin at the position,” as ESPN’s Jordan Raanan notes. The 29-year-old becomes the third pass-rusher the team has placed on injured reserve this season, joining the likes of Lorenzo Carter (Achilles) and Oshane Ximinies (shoulder), both of whom are done for the year.
In-season addition Jabaal Sheard drew his first start as a Giant this past week, recording three total tackles, one tackle for loss, one QB hit and one forced fumble. According to Raanan, we can likely expect Sheard to be joined in the starting lineup by either one of two rookies, as sixth-round pick Cam Brown and seventh-rounder Carter Coughlin each bide for playing time at the opposite outside backer position. Brown played a season-high 20% of the team’s defensive snaps in Week 12, yet was outsnapped by Coughlin 19-10 on the day.
Raanan highlighted the rookie tandem’s ability to get after the passer via Next Gen Stats:
Huge opportunity coming for rookies Carter Coughlin + Cam Brown. Giants need them in bigger role.
QB pressure % (Next Gen Stats)
Cam Brown 22.2
Carter Coughlin 20.0
Markus Golden 16.5
Lorenzo Carter 11.0
Trent Harris 10.0
Kyler Frackrell 8.5
Oshane Ximines 3.7
Jabaal Sheard 2.5
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) December 1, 2020
Giants Activate 3
Tight end Kaden Smith, rookie tackle Matt Peart and wide receiver/return specialist Dante Pettis have each been activated off the Reserve/Covid-19 list and are eligible to return to practice on Wednesday. All three players missed last week’s game after originally being placed on the list on November 20 for testing positive for COVID-19.
Prior to his absence, Smith had seen his snap count increase drastically over the past month, averaging 57% of the team’s offensive snaps over his last four games, a 16.2% jump from the six games prior. Likely not a coincidence, the added emphasis on two tight end looks has coincided with a resurrection of sorts for the Giants’ running game.
Many would like to see Peart unseat the incumbent Cam Fleming at right tackle, as the latter has seen his fair share of miscues throughout the season. The more likely scenario is that Peart will jump back into a rotation with Fleming, potentially eating away, yet not erasing the veteran’s presence on the offensive line.
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Giants Say Goodbye to 4…For Now
To wrap things up, the Giants said goodbye to four players. Wide receiver Derrick Dillon and tight end Nate Wieting each had their practice squad contracts terminated. Defensive back Montre Hartage and punter Ryan Santoso were waived, but have a “good chance” to return to the team’s practice squad if they clear waivers, per Raanan.
Hartage has bounced around the team’s practice squad and active roster since being re-signed on October 28 following an injury settlement the month prior. Santoso was signed to New York’s active roster last week as an insurance policy for kicker Graham Gano, who was previously on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Gano was, of course, activated ahead of game day, connecting on four field goals against the Bengals.
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