With starting left guard Shane Lemieux ailing with a knee injury that could keep him out multiple weeks, the New York Giants plan to roll the dice with a newly configured offensive line for their Thursday night meeting against the Washington Football Team.
New York is reportedly planning to move Nick Gates from center to left guard and insert Billy Price at center, whom the team acquired in a trade with the Bengals on August 30 for defensive lineman B.J. Hill.
Price, a first-round pick chosen by the Bengals in 2018 out of Ohio State, has been a solid run blocker for the Bengals throughout his career. But with the change at center during a week in which the Giants had two walk-through practices, there is concern about the quarterback-center exchange and how smoothly that process might be during live competition.
A switch for Gates might be the smoother of the two moves. Gates spent some time this summer working at guard to beef up his position flexibility. He also played guard in 2019 in the pros after spending his college career at Nebraska, mostly at left tackle.
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The last time Gates started an NFL game at guard was in 2019 against the Dolphins. Running back Saquon Barkley finished with 112 yards and two touchdowns in that game.
Lemieux, who initially suffered a partially torn patellar tendon early last month, tried to treat the injury with rest and rehab. However, after appearing in 17 snaps for the Giants in the Week 1 opener, his knee didn't hold up, and he was relieved by former Ravens offensive lineman Ben Bredeson, also acquired via trade at the end of August.
Bredeson, who played in 44 snaps at left guard, participated in six practices with the Giants. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed two pressures in his Giants debut for a 96.9 pass-blocking efficiency rating.
Lemieux's long-term status isn't known, but with an unlimited number of players allowed back from IR after a minimum of three weeks, don't be surprised if the Giants shut Lemieux down for a stint to give his knee more time to heal.
Update: The Giants have indeed placed Lemieux on injured reserve.
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