New York Giants are facing big problems down the left flank

New York GiantsShane Lemeiux
09/03/2020; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants guard Shane Lemieux (66) during blue-white scrimmage at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries for the New York Giants are piling up on the offensive line. Big Blue is coming off a disappointing 31-18 loss to the Detroit Lions that left the Giants suffering a series of injuries. Today’s practice report contained a long list of Giants who either did not participate in practice or only participated to a limited extent. Among those who did not attend practice were the Giants’ top two left guards, Shane Lemieux and Joshua Ezeudu. The Giants have had poor performances at left defense for the past few weeks. But now, with injuries piling up on top of poor play, the Giants face a massive problem at left guard before going into a crucial Week 12 Thanksgiving matchup.

The New York Giants are struggling with left defense

Shane Lemieux, who started left guard for the New York Giants, returned to the lineup in Week 11 to make his first appearance of the season. His first appearance wasn’t good, however, as Shane Lemieux put in a lazy performance, giving up 5 pressings and 1 sack for a total of 39 snaps. Lemieux was placed on injured reserve with a toe injury last season. That toe injury still seems to bother Lemieux, as he didn’t attend Tuesday’s practice session as a toe injury was cited as the reason (via Dan Salamone).

The Giants got even more bad news in Tuesday’s practice when second-row left guard Joshua Ezeudu was also out with a neck injury. Eseudu allegedly feels good but is commonplace. During the Giants’ Week 11 loss to Detroit, Shane Lemieux was benched in favor of Joshua Ezeudu. The rookie stepped up to play 37 snaps on Sunday and gave up two pressure points in the second half of the contest.

Neither of the New York Giants’ two options down left impressed during the team’s matchup against Detroit. Early-season starter Ben Bredeson is also unavailable as the Giants placed him on injured reserve last month with a knee injury.

The New York Giants’ top two left guards are both limping as the Giants’ next game fast approaches. The Giants take on the Dallas Cowboys in two days, a Thanksgiving Divisional matchup that could have a big impact on the postseason. With two days to go, the Giants must hope that either Lemieux or Ezeudu can recover quickly. If not, the Giants will go into scramble mode and look for a last-minute replacement.

Who will play left guard for the Giants?

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

Beyond those two options, the Giants aren’t left with many capable substitutes. Nick Gates would move up to left guard, but he’s already lined up to start on the offensive line as a backup center. Jon Feliciano missed practice today with a neck injury that will likely sideline him against Dallas. According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, Jon Felicano will be a game decider this week. Nick Gates is the expected replacement for Feliciano should he fail to pass.

The other option for the Giants on the left would be Tire Phillips. But Phillips started the right tackle on behalf of Evan Neal. Evan Neal is also a game-time decision this week, according to Jordan Raanan. But if Neal fails to start, Phillips will continue to maintain proper tackle position, leaving the Giants one less option down the left. However, Tire Phillips was a limited participant in Tuesday’s practice session.

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