The New York Giants had their first positive COVID-19 case of the season this week. Starting left guard Will Hernandez tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the Giants’ Week 8 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
According to reports, rookie guard Shane Lemieux is expected to start in place of Hernandez this week. This will be Lemieux’s first start of his career. The Giants drafted Shane Lemieux out of Oregon in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Week 8 will be Shane’s first opportunity to prove himself as a long-term starter on New York’s young offensive line.
The New York Giants have kept veteran guard Kevin Zeitler involved in their trade talks ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline. Moving on from Kevin Zeitler would leave the Giants with a major hole at right guard. This hole, potentially, could be filled by Shane Lemieux, depending on his performance on Monday night. If Lemieux is able to perform at an impressive level against Tampa Bay’s fierce defensive front, he could elevate into a starting role and sway the Giants to trade Kevin Zeitler.
Shane Lemieux and the Giants’ offensive line have a tall task ahead of them in Week 8. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have quietly built one of the NFL’s best defenses. Their defensive front, in particular, has been special in 2020.
Long-time veteran Ndamukong Suh is continuing to excel in his second year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Suh will be a handful lining up in front of the Giants’ rookie offensive lineman.
Tampa Bay is allowing the third-fewest yards per game (291.3 yards). The Buccaneers’ defense is allowing only 66.3 rushing yards per game so far this season, the best in the NFL. Wayne Gallman will have a tough time running the ball on Tampa Bay’s defense.
Shane Lemieux and the Giants’ offensive line will not only be challenged in the running game but in the passing game, too. The Buccaneers have totaled 25 sacks through 7 weeks, the second-highest total in the NFL behind only the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.
This will be a “welcome to the NFL moment” for Shane Lemieux. In the first professional start of his career, the rookie out of Oregon will face one of the best defenses in the NFL that features a star-studded front-seven. If Lemieux can manage to hold his own against Tampa Bay, it will bode well for his future as a starter on the Giants’ offensive line.