The Giants haven’t even practiced yet and they’ve already gone from having their most experienced and decorated offensive lineman projected as their starting left tackle to likely replacing him with a rookie who never has played a snap in a practice or game against another NFL player.
Veteran Nate Solder opted out of the season to avoid the risks of COVID-19 to his family earlier this week, placing even more significance on first-round pick Andrew Thomas. While the exact alignment of the offensive line will be established in training camp, Judge indicated he would be comfortable thrusting such a green player – without any preseason game experiences to boot! – into such a significant position.
“The age of a player is something that’s never really bothered me,” Judge said. “We bring guys in to play. This isn’t like college where you bring guys in and they give you a redshirt year.”
That may have been something close to the plan with Thomas had Solder played. It would have allowed the Giants to have the 32-year-old former Super Bowl champ at left tackle and the rookie on the right side.
Now Thomas will almost certainly get that left side assignment… if he can earn it over the coming weeks. Judge said all of the offensive linemen will spend time in practices on both sides, not to mention plenty who will toggle between outside and inside positions.
“We still have to get on the field and practice and evaluate, and that’s at all of the positions,” Judge said. “We’ve got to see how these guys can perform under pressure and can handle the install and see how they perform when they are tired and in direct competition.”
Especially those who haven’t done any of that yet.
Notes & quotes: Judge said he will come up with a depth chart for the coaching staff as well as the roster during training camp so there is a line of succession if any coaches – including Judge himself – are unavailable due to coronavirus protocols … Judge said he is unaware of any player beside Solder who is contemplating opting out of the upcoming season … While the rookies, injured veterans and quarterbacks have been able to do conditioning drills on the field this week, the rest of the team is expected to be allowed to participate in such activities beginning Monday. Judge said he expects to keep the roster at close to 90 players, which means separating the team into two groups to maintain social distancing standards, until they can all begin football drills on the field starting Aug. 12. At that point the Giants will have to reduce their roster to 80 to have everyone working together.