PHILADELPHIA — There is certainly reason to question the quality of the coaching the Giants are getting on the offensive side of the ball, based solely on the lack of production. There is no reason to question the coaching the Giants are getting this season on defense.
One area that deserves special attention heading into Sunday’s game against the Eagles is the secondary, which has gone through massive disruptions this season caused by injuries and COVID-19 absences.
Last week, the Giants were without two of their top three cornerbacks, Adoree’ Jackson and Aaron Robinson. The unit has been playing since Week 8 without strong safety Jabrill Peppers. Last week, practice squad elevation Jarren Williams played 70 snaps in the 21-6 loss to the Cowboys.
The defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham, has been excellent in devising plans to protect the back end. Jerome Henderson, the defensive backs coach, is also top-notch, helping in the development of several young players.
“Well, the focus for the DBs is always the same as the focus for any other part of the organization,’’ head coach Joe Judge said. “We always talk about ‘next man up’ and preparing all the players. We truly work to prepare every player on the team. Our guys have the expectation and they get in there for the game — I don’t care if you’re on the practice squad, I don’t care if you’re a rookie, I don’t care if you just got here, it doesn’t matter. You’re expected to play. You’re expected to know what to do, expect to have your number called.’’
The Giants need a new right tackle. Starter Nate Solder on Saturday was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, meaning he is out for the game. Defensive tackle Danny Shelton will also miss the game after going on the list.
Matt Peart, unable to supplant Solder as a starter this season, is next in line at right tackle. Peart in a disappointing second NFL year started four games earlier this season, filling in at left tackle for injured Andrew Thomas. Recently, Peart has been splitting time with Solder on the right side — Peart played 32 snaps (Solder played 31) in last week’s loss to the Cowboys.
This will be the first game Solder has missed this season.
In other Giants moves, OT Isaiah Wilson — a 2020 first-round pick of the Titans — was activated off the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement. CB Aaron Robinson and LB/ST Cam Brown return after missing last week’s game on the COVID-19 list. Also, CB Darqueze Dennard, WR David Sills and DT David Moa were added to the active roster from the practice squad.
There are reasons why Kenny Golladay has been a dud in his first season with the Giants that have nothing to do with Golladay. Yet in the 11 games he has played for his new team, the warning when he was signed — he does not get open as often as other so-called elite wide receivers — certainly has been validated.
Golladay has just 31 receptions for 477 yards and has yet to score a touchdown.
“He’s never been a guy that’s created a whole lot of separation, but he gets separation because of his body and his catch radius,’’ receivers coach Tyke Tolbert said. “Sometimes, you have to have the ability just to throw it up to him and let him go make a play. All the catches that he’s made this year so far — I say all of them, most of them — are on contested catches.’’
Sometimes it is interesting to hear from the other side. Here is how Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon views TE Evan Engram: “Big, tall, fast, ball skills, can run away from people, good catch radius, gets in and out of the cut extremely fast. He really looks like a big receiver out there, the way he moves. And then you walk by him in pregame warm-ups and you’re like, ‘Whoa, this guy is built like a tight end, but moves like a receiver.’ ’’
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni cleared the NFL’s COVID-19 testing protocols on Saturday and has rejoined his team. He will coach from the sideline Sunday against the Giants.