What's Next for the Giants Following Will Hernandez's Positive COVID-19 Test?

Hernandez will almost certainly not play Monday night against the Bucs. So what will the Giants do to replace him in the lineup? Keep an eye on rookie Shane Lemieux as a possibility.
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With left guard Will Hernandez landing on the team's Reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday after it was announced an offensive lineman tested positive for the virus, the Giants are now facing a dilemma about how to shuffle their offensive line against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Hernandez's absence could mean rookie fifth-round pick Shane Lemieux might make his NFL starting debut Monday night.

"We were planning on really working him in throughout the games anyway," head coach Joe Judge said. "We have confidence in Shane. He'll be in the mix of different guys that may factor in that position. We'll see where it goes by the end of the week and where everything leads going into Monday.

"I would expect him to play regardless of what the scenario is."

Lemieux, who was praised for his hand power and raw strength as a prospect coming out of Oregon, was drafted as a fit for the gap/power scheme that offensive coordinator Jason Garrett brought to the Giants offense this season. 

Offensive line coach Marc Colombo has described the young Lemieux as a brawler in the trenches at this stage. The main priority has been instilling discipline and technique into his aggressive playstyle.

"Early on he was a little bit out of control," Colombo said. "He's tough he wants to get out there and fight everyone, a little bit out of control with his footwork, trying to be too aggressive and we love that about Shane. What we've seen the last few weeks is a guy that's starting to be a little bit more patient with everything."

Colombo also suggested on Wednesday that the Giants were looking to get Lemieux involved sooner rather than later. With Hernandez landing on the Reserve/COVID-19 list could grant the rookie that opportunity. 

The Giants have worked fellow rookie Matt Peart into game action over the past few weeks at left tackle, and the Giants are hoping to do the same now with Lemieux as they work toward putting together a long-term offensive line solution with their young core. 

"As we get going down the stretch, like we did with Matt, kind of mixing [Lemieux] into these games and get him some game experience is going to be important," Colombo said. "I could see Shane getting some snaps here and seeing what he's got.

"I like where he's headed with this thing and Shane will do a good job."