New York Giants facing big problems at left guard

Anthony Rivardo
New York Giants, Shane Lemeiux
Sep 3, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants guard Shane Lemieux (66) during the Blue-White Scrimmage at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries are stacking up for the New York Giants on the offensive line. Big Blue is coming off of a disappointing, 31-18 loss against the Detroit Lions in which the Giants suffered a slew of injuries. Today’s practice report featured a long list of Giants either not participating or limitedly participating in practice. Among the non-participants at practice were the Giants’ top two left guards, Shane Lemieux and Joshua Ezeudu. The Giants were getting poor performances out of the left guard position in recent weeks. But now, with injuries piled on top of the poor play, the Giants are facing a massive problem at the left guard position heading into a crucial Week 12 Thanksgiving matchup.

New York Giants facing problems at left guard

New York Giants starting left guard Shane Lemieux returned to the lineup in Week 11 to make his first appearance of the season. His first appearance was not a good one, though, as Shane Lemieux turned in a putrid performance, giving up 5 pressures and 1 sack on 39 total snaps. Lemieux was placed on injured reserve in the preseason with a toe injury. That toe injury seems to still be bothering Lemieux as he did not participate in Tuesday’s practice with a toe injury cited as the reason why (via Dan Salamone).

The Giants got even more bad news at Tuesday’s practice as second-string left guard Joshua Ezeudu also sat out with a neck injury. Ezeudu reportedly feels good but is day-to-day. During the Giants’ Week 11 loss to Detroit, Shane Lemieux was benched in favor of Joshua Ezeudu. The rookie stepped in to play 37 snaps on Sunday, surrenerding 2 pressures in the second half of the contest.

Neither one of the New York Giants’ two options at left guard impressed during the team’s matchup with Detroit. The starter at the beginning of the season, Ben Bredeson, is also unavailable as the Giants placed him on injured reserve with a knee injury last month.

The New York Giants’ top two left guards are both hobbled as the Giants’ next matchup is rapidly approaching. The Giants face off against the Dallas Cowboys in two days, a Thanksgiving divisional matchup that could have major postseason implications on the line. With two days remaining, the Giants will need to hope that either Lemieux or Ezeudu is able to make a quick recovery. If not, the Giants are going to enter scramble mode searching for a last-minute replacement.

Who will be playing left guard for the Giants?

In all likelihood, the Giants will be forced to send out a hobbled duo of Shane Lemieux and Joshua Ezeudu on the field this Thursday. Big Blue could potentially rotate the two guards to keep them fresh. Lemieux could start the game and pass things off to Ezeudu in the second half, as he did in Week 11.

Outside of these two options, the Giants are not left with many capable replacements. Nick Gates would move into the left guard position, but he is already in line to start on the offensive line as the backup center. Jon Feliciano did not participate in practice today with a neck injury that will likely keep him sidelined against Dallas. According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN, Jon Felicano will be a game-time decision this week. Nick Gates is the expected replacement for Feliciano if he is unable to suit up.

The other option for the Giants at left guard would be Tyre Phillips. But Phillips has been starting at right tackle in leave of Evan Neal. Evan Neal is also a game-time decision this week, per Jordan Raanan. But if Neal is unable to start, then Phillips will continue to hold the right tackle position, leaving the Giants with one less option at left guard. Tyre Phillips was, however, a limited participant in Tuesday’s practice.

The New York Giants are dangerously thin on the offensive line. Big Blue realistically has no choice but to force either Shane Lemieux or Joshua Ezeudu onto the field this week. This Thanksgiving matchup could get ugly for Big Blue considering the overwhelming amount of injuries the New York Giants are facing.