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Not quite 'business as usual' as Golden Tate returns to Giants practice

Golden Tate #15 of the New York Giants

Golden Tate #15 of the New York Giants hauls in a reception for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Credit: Jim McIsaac

A day after his absence from the facility stemming from his frustrations with the Giants’ offense, wide receiver Golden Tate was back with the team for meetings and on the field for Thursday’s practice.

Asked if everything was "business as usual," as he had promised it would be upon Tate’s return, coach Joe Judge simply said, "Yes."

It wasn’t quite.

According to reports from the portion of practice open to the media, Tate’s participation in drills was limited, and he even spent time with the scout team rather than the starting offense during team drills.

That certainly leads to speculation that Tate could see a diminished playing role — or even be benched entirely — in Sunday’s game against Washington, the exact opposite of what he had hoped to accomplish.

Judge and Tate spoke "at length" on Wednesday regarding the 11-year veteran’s unhappiness with his role in the offense and the ways he has been demonstrating that displeasure, a conversation that resulted in Tate not participating in the team’s activities that day.

Tate yelled several times during Monday night’s loss that the Giants should "throw me the ball," including after his touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter. His wife also posted a long complaint on Instagram expressing her frustrations over the way he is being used in the offense.

Tate has not spoken publicly in several weeks.

On Thursday, Judge said he understands that as a first-time head coach, he is setting precedent with every decision he makes regarding player discipline. That includes everything from not starting rookie Andrew Thomas after he was late for a team meeting to dealing with players being videoed in a Manhattan restaurant without masks to this Tate situation.

"I’m conscious of how my decisions will be looked at throughout the building," Judge said. "With every decision I make, the biggest thing I have to do is be consistent in the decisions I make based on the circumstances involved. I’ve got a philosophy. We have team rules that are clearly laid out to our players. There is not a lot of gray area in anything we do as a program. It’s what it is."

Judge also said he addressed the issue with other players, though he did not say he spoke to the entire team about it.

"I address decisions with the team on a regular basis," he said. "If something happens, I’ll talk in the squad meeting or I’ll address the captains individually or as a group. Whoever needs to be communicated with, I always keep them in the loop."

Of course, for Tate, "business as usual" would mean a continued secondary or even tertiary role in the passing game. He has caught two touchdown passes in the past two games but has been targeted only six times in the past three games.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said on Thursday that he would let Judge speak on the dynamics of the situation, but as for the root of it, he said: "Obviously, Golden had done a good job for us when given opportunities."

Garrett also called a play on Monday that asked Tate to throw a pass, which he completed.

"We try to get opportunities for all of our guys and give them chances to help contribute," Garrett said. "I think what you try to do as a coach is communicate with all of your players and have those conversations and communications be daily.

"Honestly, guys’ roles on teams change day by day, week by week. We’re doing everything we can to try to win a ballgame and we as coaches, our players have to understand, you have to embrace every role that you are in."

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