Two days after Giants kicker Graham Gano tested positive for the coronavirus, the team on Wednesday also placed punter Riley Dixon and long-snapper Casey Kreiter on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The move does not necessarily mean the two latest specialists tested positive, though, as that designation is also for those who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive. All three will remain in quarantine until cleared.
The Giants are on their bye this week and had been meeting virtually since Tuesday. They scrapped plans for on-field practices that were originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday after Gano’s diagnosis. The players will be off until Monday.
When those eligible to participate do return, the Giants – along with every other team in the NFL – will be operating under the league’s intense COVID-19 protocols. The NFL sent a memo to all clubs on Wednesday announcing the decision to implement league-wide rules that require all meetings to be held virtually and masks to be worn at all times, including on the practice field. It also prohibits team or player gatherings away from the facility, a particularly important prohibition with Thanksgiving next week just ahead. Those rules will begin on Saturday.
Until now, the intensive protocol was only for teams that had active positive tests or had been exposed to a team with positive tests. With a surge in numbers nationwide as well as in the league, the NFL decided to put everyone under the same guidance.
As for the Giants, they have contingencies in case any of the three on the reserve list are unable to play in their next game on Nov. 29 in Cincinnati. Ryan Santoso, who was a kicker and a punter in college, was signed from the practice squad on Tuesday. The Giants also have a backup long-snapper, Carson Tinker, on their practice squad.
Joe Judge said on Wednesday that there is an opening for Gano to return in time for the game against the Bengals, but he also suggested the team might not push for that.
"He’s sitting in a hotel room for a couple weeks," Judge said. "In fantasy football, yeah, plug him in and we’re good to go. In reality, are we doing the fair thing by him individually and the team collectively to take someone who hasn’t had two weeks of an opportunity to prepare to put him out there to do a job?"
Judge also said of Santoso: "If he’s got to go, we have a lot of confidence he will be able to go out there and do the job effectively."
BAKER TO KC. DeAndre Baker has gone from facing possible life in prison to a shot at the Super Bowl. The former first-round pick of the Giants, who earlier this week was cleared of the four armed robbery charges against him in Florida, is expected to be signed to the Kansas City practice squad once he clears the COVID-19 protocols, a source confirmed. The New York Post was first to report the move.
Baker, who was released by the Giants in September while facing the legal issues, was a free agent eligible to sign with any team. He still may face discipline from the league under the personal conduct policy, but if he is cleared of that he could soon find a place in the Kansas City secondary. Kansas City, the defending Super Bowl champion, is 8-1 with the second-best record in the NFL behind Pittsburgh (9-0).