On the same day the New York Giants placed starting left tackle Andrew Thomas on injured reserve, they looked to the free agency pool to find some depth at the position. Per the team’s transaction report, the Giants have signed offensive tackle Derrick Kelly to the mix. The move comes one day after Kelly was hosted for a tryout in East Rutherford. The 26-year-old will kickstart his Giants career on the team’s practice squad, as will fellow new signees linebacker Benardrick McKinney and wide receiver Travis Toivonen.
Undrafted out of Florida State in 2019, Kelly spent the past two-plus seasons in New Orleans, bouncing between the Saints’ active roster and practice squad. In 2020, the 6-foot-5-inch, 320-pound Kelly appeared in six games, earning a 64.2 overall Pro Football Focus grade. He reverted back to the Saints’ practice squad in 2021, where he spent the first six weeks of this season before ultimately being waived on October 12th.
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Giants Turn to Nate Solder & Matt Peart
While which side each player lines up on may remain up in the air, it’s almost certain that the Giants will trot out the combination of Nate Solder and Matt Peart as their starting tackles come Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers. Hopefully, for Daniel Jones’ sake, they hold up a bit better than they have in recent weeks.
Since Week 5’s Dallas loss, Solder and Peart have combined to surrender three sacks and 15 quarterback pressures (h/t Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post). This past Sunday, Peart was thrust into the lineup, giving up two sacks and two pressures on 44 pass-blocking snaps. As for Solder, he was put on skates for much of the afternoon by Leonard Floyd and company. Yet, he somehow still managed to escape with a respectable 67.0 PFF grade — take that as you will.
Solder: ‘It’s Going to Be Really Hard’
Asked by reporters if a unit coming off such a woeful performance can regroup and bounce back against the Panthers, Solder had this to say:
You work at it, obviously. Pass protection is difficult in the NFL because you’ve got great pass rushers, so that’s our challenge every week to be really good. This next week is going to be similar challenges because they’re going to watch the same film, and they’re going to do the same things. So yeah, it’s going to be really hard, but that doesn’t mean we step down from the challenge. We step towards the challenge and continue to improve, do the things that we’ve been taught, get better at the things that we’ve been taught and go forward.
The silver lining in this situation is that while the Giants will be without the services of their best offensive lineman for the next few weeks, Thomas looks to have thankfully escaped serious injury.
“The good news on Andrew Thomas is it’s not believed to be a high ankle sprain. He now has three weeks and then bye to get himself healthy,” tweeted ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. “The right move considering he’s been limping around for weeks with a foot injury even before the ankle sprain.”