Golden Tate figures to be on the field for the Giants in some capacity when they play the Eagles on Sunday.
Coach Joe Judge, who kept the veteran wide receiver home over this past weekend and listed him as inactive for the game against Washington as punishment for Tate’s public gripes over how he is being used in the offense, said Tate was back with the team on Monday and will be on the field when they practice on Wednesday. The players are off on Tuesday.
"If you are asking me specifically about him being active for the game, I would anticipate Golden being active," Judge said on Monday. "I have no reason to believe he wouldn’t be active at this point."
That seems to indicate that Tate’s sentence to the scout team in practices has ended. He spent two practices there last week leading up to the game. From all indications he served his time with good behavior and played a significant role in the workouts helping the defense prepare for Washington receiver Terry McLaurin.
What his place in the offense will be upon his return remains to be seen. Undrafted rookie Austin Mack replaced Tate in the game plan on Sunday. He played about half of the team’s offensive snaps – which is what Tate had been doing in recent weeks -- and led the team in receiving yards with 72 on four catches and five targets. He also nearly scored his first NFL touchdown, ruled down just outside the end zone.
Tate had scored a touchdown in each of his previous two games, but by contrast had been targeted just six times in the previous three games.
Judge made no promises that Tate would return to his role as the team’s No. 3 receiver behind Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. In fact, given Judge’s proclivity for sprinkling young players into situations throughout games there is a chance Tate and Mack share reps.
"We’re going to go through this week and see how everything goes with everybody on the team and see where everything lays out," he said. "Like all of our players, we’re going to have plans for these guys within the gameplan."
The Giants have several players poised to return from injured reserve and begin practicing, including LB Oshane Ximines (shoulder), LB Tae Crowder (hamstring) and S Xavier McKinney (foot). Judge said the Giants may wait until the other side of their Week 11 bye to begin that process, though.
"We want to be very calculated in when we start their clock," Judge said. "You get that 21-day window [between being designated to return and being added to the 53-man roster]. If you start it too early and you lose a week with the bye anyway, that may set them back. There is a benefit of getting them going with us right away, getting their legs back under them, getting them back into playing football. And then there is also the benefit of holding a little bit knowing there is really no advantage of getting them to a game next week anyway."
The Giants also are expected to have G Will Hernandez rejoin the team from the reserve/COVID-19 list this week. Judge said they will ease Hernandez back into practices and games to be "fair" to him.
"That’s a lot of football he has missed," Judge said of the two weeks since he tested positive. "It’s not like this guy spent the last two weeks lifting weights and running and doing individual drills in his back yard. This guy has been quarantined and fighting a virus."