The Giants might get two key players back from injury Sunday against the visiting Baltimore Ravens: defensive lineman Leonard Williams and rookie wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson.
Robinson, 21, who hasn’t played since Week 1, said it’s been tough to stay patient while rehabbing a sprained MCL in his right knee.
“It’s been really hard,” Robinson said. “Never in my football career missing more than two games in a row, I’ve just been itching to get back out there.”
Williams hasn’t played since Week 2 due to the same injury: a sprained MCL in his right knee. He’ll help reinforce an interior that just lost rookie D.J. Davidson to a torn ACL.
“Leonard has had a good week,” head coach Brian Daboll said Friday.
The Giants (4-1) beat the Green Bay Packers in London last week despite being decimated by injuries at receiver.
Marcus Johnson was elevated from the practice squad and led the team in receiver snaps with 47, making three catches for 35 yards.
The sixth-year vet, who originally signed to the practice squad on Sept. 6, earned the coaching staff’s trust through diligent studying of Daboll’s playbook, which translated to reliability in practice.
Familiarity with receivers coach Mike Groh from Philadelphia (2017) and Indianapolis (2020) didn’t hurt, either.
“Marcus has really come along,” Daboll said. “I think Coach Groh has done a good job with him. He had some familiarity with him. He has a good skill set.”
Meanwhile, Darius Slayton emerged from an early-season doghouse to lead the Giants with six catches for 79 yards against the Packers – though Slayton insisted the praise should go to Daniel Jones.
“He’s playing some great ball right now,” Slayton said. “It’s pretty easy to be a receiver for us at the moment.”
“I was proud of the way Slay competed and produced,” Daboll said. “Richie [James] has done a great job for us all year. So I feel confident in those guys.”
With Kadarius Toney (hamstrings) and Kenny Golladay (knee) out again, Robinson gives offensive coordinator Mike Kafka more options in both the passing and running games against the Ravens (3-2).
Richie James, who leads the team with 171 receiving yards, is the primary slot. But the shifty Robinson played both running back and receiver in college. So he can run the ball out of the backfield, sprint horizontally on a jet sweep, or catch passes as a receiver.
Whatever helps Daboll, Kafka and Jones most.
DOWN WITH JPP
Longtime Giant Jason Pierre-Paul returns to MetLife Stadium on Sunday as a new member of the Ravens’ defense. The two-time Super Bowl winner signed in late September after a long offseason rehab program on a surgically repaired shoulder.
He promptly started, played 55 snaps, and made four tackles in a Week 4 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Then he started and played 45 snaps in last week’s win over the Bengals, picking up a sack, a tackle for a loss, and two passes defended.
“My energy says it all, especially when it comes to gamedays,” Pierre-Paul said before his Ravens debut. “My energy is just going to take over, and you’re going to see the reason why everybody loves me and likes to have me on their team.”
This will be JPP’s second time coming back to MetLife Stadium as an opponent to face the Giants. He helped the Buccaneers to a 25-23 win here on Nov. 2, 2020.
ODDS AND ENDS
Jones was asked this week if he thinks the Giants should start talking to him about a new contract. “No, I don’t think – it’s certainly not my focus,” he said. “I think we’re all focused on whatever the next opponent is and making sure we go 1-0 that week. That’s been my focus and that doesn’t change. I think that’s consistent across the locker room.” … For the second straight Friday practice, the offensive linemen practiced catching passes during individual drills. Could be for fun, could be for practice.
GIANTS GAME STATUSES
OUT: WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), WR Kenny Golladay (knee), S Tony Jefferson (foot), S Jason Pinnock (ankle), CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf). DOUBTFUL: OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf). QUESTIONABLE: Robinson (knee), DL Leonard Williams (knee), TE Tanner Hudson (illness).
The Giants also had four others limited: RB Saquon Barkley (shoulder), CB Adoree Jackson (knee/neck), TE Chris Myarick (ankle), CB Darnay Holmes (quad). But all of them will play, and Daboll said Barkley will be full go.
RAVENS GAME STATUSES
OUT: WR Rashod Bateman (foot), G Ben Cleveland (foot), OLB Justin Houston (groin). DOUBTFUL: RB Justice Hill (hamstring).