Jeffery Simmons was in a rush to get to Daniel Jones, and he got there. The Tennessee defensive lineman delivered a strip sack, separating the Giants’ quarterback from the ball with a blind-side swat after blowing by a rookie at left guard playing his first regular-season game.
Welcome to the NFL, kid.
“Hey, listen, that’s not anything that guy did,” offensive line coach Bobby Johnson told Joshua Ezeudu on the sideline during the second quarter of the Giants’ 21-20 win in Week 1. “It was what you did. Get off the ball quicker. Get your eyes to your aiming point. Use the technique you practiced all training camp.”
Johnson liked the view after that. He said he was happy with both of his left guards.
The Giants decided to begin with a rotation after Shane Lemieux suffered a toe/foot injury in the preseason and went on short-term injured reserve. Third-year pro Ben Bredeson started and rotated with Ezeudu every few series.
Ezeudu said after practice Friday that they expect the rotation to continue in Sunday’s game against Carolina at MetLife Stadium, but he didn’t know for sure. Johnson made it sound as if it will.
“Both Ben and Joshua have earned that right,” Johnson said. “I have a hard time looking a grown man in the face who’s done everything you’ve asked of him and tell him he’s not playing.
“In a perfect world, would we like it to be one way or another? Sure. But right now, it’s a good circumstance . . . So we’ll continue going forward until the circumstances change.”
The left guards have handled this rotating circumstance well.
“Just part of the job, absolutely,” Bredeson said. “ . . . Whatever the situation is, you’ve always got to be ready.”
“We’re both supporting each other,” Ezeudu said. “We’re both giving each other tips.”
Bredeson was acquired from Baltimore last year and made one start at left guard.
Ezeudu was a third-round pick out of North Carolina. This was supposed to be a developmental season, but the 6-4, 320-pounder could have starting potential. Look at how he bounced back after allowing that sack.
“I’ve seen a lot of really good players crumble when they make a bad play like that,” Johnson said. “That kid sat there, took the coaching. When we went out, you watch the game later on, he made some very key blocks.”
Ezeudu’s run blocking stood out, and he had company. The Giants opened holes that led to an NFL-leading 238 rushing yards, 164 by Saquon Barkley.
Ezeudu should be calmer now blocking for the run and the pass.
“I was very nervous,” he said. “But now I feel like I’m going to be very comfortable. I think I had an OK debut, but I know I can be way better.”
Notes & quotes: OLBs Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) and Azeez Ojulari (calf) could miss a second straight game. Both are doubtful . . . WR Kadarius Toney had a hamstring tighten up during practice Thursday and was limited Friday. He is questionable . . . WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) is out.