Center Catastrophe Has Giants 'Revised' Game Plan vs.  Bengals

Center Catastrophe Has Giants ‘Revised’ Game Plan vs. Bengals

The plan was for Daniel Jones and the healthy starters to play for the Giants in Sunday night’s preseason game against the Bengals, but head coach Brian Daboll said he is “rethinking” that plan after a spate of injuries on the offensive line has left the team to the sixth center.

Will Jones – or Saquon Barkley run back – get work in the game? That depends on how comfortable Daboll feels with who will snap the ball and protect the quarterback up front.

“We’re looking at it again based on what happened,” Daboll said Friday. “I would like to play as many guys as possible. I think as a staff we need to sit down and look at it again.”

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones #8, below center during training camp
Daniel Jones’ standings for Sunday’s preseason game against the Bengals are in flux after a spate of injuries at the Giants centers.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Jon Feliciano, the starting centre, is sidelined, although he is expected back soon. Shane Lemieux, the starting left guard, has taken reps in the middle, but he is out with a toe injury. Jamil Douglas, Ben Brederson and Garrett McGhin – all players who sometimes worked at the center during training camp – are all dealing with physical problems and will not be available. That leaves veteran newcomer Max Garcia as the last lineman to fill in in the middle.

Garcia, 30, has started 52 games in his NFL career – 39 on the left guard, nine on the right guard and four in the center. He signed this offseason with the Giants as a guard.

“He snapped with” [Jones] and did a good job, that’s why we do things like this,” Daboll said. “He’s played in the league, he came in as a guard for us, but he knows our stuff in the middle. That’s part of the conversation we’re going to have.”

When asked if he expects Jones to play, Daboll said: “At the moment yes, but we’re going to talk about it. We’re a little scared up front.”

In addition, rookie guard Josh Ezeudu stays out. Another rookie guard, Marcus McKethan, tore his ACL and is ready for the season, and veteran tackle Matt Gono (neck) is no longer with the team.

The plight forced the Giants to hold offensive line drills at 7 a.m. Friday. Needing reinforcements, the Giants signed rookie guard Josh Rivas, who was released from the team a few days earlier. The Giants also signed center/guard Chris Owens, who was recently eliminated by the Steelers.

The Giants bring back rookie Josh Rivas, who played for Kansas State.
The Giants bring back rookie Josh Rivas, who played for Kansas State.
Getty Images

To make way on the roster, the Giants forego wide receiver Keelan Doss and Chris Hinton defensive tackle.

“I wouldn’t say unusual, I’d say unhappy,” Garcia told The Post of the injuries on the offensive line. “It’s a training camp, though, but sometimes you get that bug. We fight through it. I have Seen it all, been in the area, things like this happen all the time in the league. Luckily for us it’s in the pre-season and not the regular season.”

Garcia said he can handle the load in the middle.

“I started competing in the center last year, so I’m really not stressed about it,” he said. “I feel like everyone is making a big deal, it’s pre-season and I’ve played in the center before. It’s obviously a new offense, but I’ve been here since spring, so I feel like I’ve got it under my belt.”

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