Linebacker Blake Martinez was a homerun free-agent signing this offseason by the New York Giants. In fact, according to NFL.com’s Nick Shook, he was among the top-10 additions in all of football. Safe to say, the G-Men would welcome his presence in a near must-win matchup against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
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Martinez’s Status vs. Ravens Up in the Air?
On Friday, his presence for gameday appeared to be on the rocks. As NJ.com’s Art Stapleton originally reported, Martinez seemingly tweaked his ankle in practice “at some point this week” leading to a limited practice participant on Friday and eventually a questionable designation. Stapleton noted that the linebacker’s status could remain uncertain up until kickoff, deeming Martinez’s availability for Sunday “legit questionable.”
However, a light workload appears to have worked near-wonders for the NFL’s fourth-leading tackler. Stapleton gave an update on Martinez’s health on Saturday, claiming he’s “hearing more optimism” that the Giants’ defensive captain will give it a go on Sunday. Stapleton added that the “Giants made decision to not push him yesterday (Friday) and he’s feeling good.”
That sentiment was not only shared but expanded on by The Athletic’s Dan Duggan, who has reported that Martinez is “expected to play” vs. the Ravens.
“The ankle injury that landed him on the injury report is not considered serious,” Duggan tweeted.
As GiantsWire noted on Twitter the “varying reports” on Martinez is “something worth keeping an eye on” as we inch closer to game time.
Daniel Jones to Start vs. Ravens: Report
Head coach Joe Judge hinted at this outcome earlier in the week and while the Giants have yet to make the move official, reports around the league point towards quarterback Daniel Jones returning under center for Big Blue on Sunday.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero have reported that Jones “is starting” vs. the Ravens, noting that “it was headed that way all week.”
Jones has missed two of the Giants’ last three games dealing with hamstring and ankle injuries. In his absence, veteran Colt McCoy has manned the team’s starting quarterback spot, splitting his two starts down the middle with a 17-12 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13 and a 20-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns this past Sunday night.
The last time we saw Jones on the football field he was a shell of himself, as his lower body ailments stripped a key attribute of his playstyle, his mobility. Against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14, Jones failed to log a single rushing attempt in a game for the first time in his NFL career. From the sound of it, we can likely expect a much more typical dual-threat performance against the Ravens on Sunday, as the quarterback continues to improve.
“I’m further from that hamstring injury and I’ve continued to improve every day,” Jones told reporters this week. “I’m feeling better, feeling better this week. Like I said, my focus is to keep improving that way and to continue to progress through the program that the trainers and doctors have laid out for me.”
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In Other Injury News…
Cornerback Darnay Holmes and wide receiver Golden Tate have each been ruled out for Week 16 with injuries.
Holmes, the team’s primary slot-corner, will miss his third consecutive game as he continues to deal with a knee injury. He did log three consecutive days of limited practice this week, which may open the door for a return in the season finale. Expect fellow rookie Xavier McKinney to continue to receive a hefty workload out of the slot in Holmes’ absence.
Tate, the team’s fourth-leading receiver, suffered a calf injury on Wednesday and may have potentially played his last game in a Giants uniform depending on how the remainder of the year plays out. New York has a potential out from underneath his contract following the conclusion of this season.
With Tate unable to go, rookie Austin Mack will likely slide into the team’s WR3 role. The former Ohio State Buckeye has not recorded a reception since Week 10.
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