Newly signed by the Giants, Isaiah Hodgins’ wide receiver could be part of the offensive package sooner rather than later. Hodgins knows the rules of the game, as he was with the Bills last year when Giants coach Brian Dabol was the Buffalo’s offensive coordinator. A big goal at 6-foot-4, Hodgins has appeared in three games for the Bills (two earlier this season) and has four career receptions for 41 yards.
“There’s definitely a lot of knowledge of Isaiah in the attack and they have some experience with it,” said Mike Kafka, the Titans coordinator. “It was great to come and go on the offensive. There is a lot of familiarity for him in an offensive way. There are some new things we might have changed and different pronunciations, but he’s dealing with that great.”
Finally, the position of the receiver became intact. Kenny Goladay is expected to play after missing the past four games with a knee injury. Rookie Wandel Robinson missed four games earlier this season with a knee sprain, but has been on the field for 98 games in the past two games.
In addition to safety Xavier McKinney, the Giants lost another key player in defense when DT Nick Williams was put into reserve at the end of the season with a torn biceps. Williams was perhaps the most professional player on the list, starting seven of his first eight matches. Williams had 15 combined tackles and two quarterbacks, and the Giants will have to figure out how to maintain the league’s 25th-ranked defense and try to improve without it.
“Big, strong, smart guy,” Dexter Lawrence said of Williams. “Vet. It teaches you a lot of things, things to look for, and how to play different things. There will be no great loss. Now the other players have to step up. I think we will be ready. ”
The Giants aren’t deep in their line of defense, with Justin Ellis – the 334-pound, nine-year veteran – the only alternative on the list. Look for the Jihad Ward to move inward from the defensive end in impulses.
The moves the Giants made ahead of Sunday’s game don’t bode well for Landon Collins, who has yet to be promoted from the coaching staff. The coaching staff clearly does not view Collins as a viable option in safety, even with McKinney missing with broken fingers on his left hand. Collins, a Pro Bowl safety team earlier in his career with the Giants, was used in a limited role as a linebacker this season.
The Giants will promote TE Lawrence Kaiger and DL Henry Mundo from the coaching staff. They will also activate OT Matt Peart from the list of physically unable to perform.
It would be a bold move for the Giants to activate Kalil Pimpleton from the Training Squad and hand him the duties of a returning punt. There is a change brewing after Ritchie James lost two senses in a Week 8 loss in Seattle, leading to 10 points for the Seahawks. Pimpleton, an unpolished, compact junior receiver from central Michigan, averaged 19 yards on 16 returns as a senior.
“Since he’s been here, he’s been back there to pick up the kicks,” said special teams coordinator Thomas McGowee. ‘So, he’s getting his work done every day, after training. I mean, all these guys are holding back.’
Most likely, the Giants will give duty back to cornerback Darnay Holmes, who has returned once in two seasons – after James was forced off by a concussion against Seattle.
The Giants want to get some pop in the second leg, but the main focus is always the same: securing the ball.
“Obviously, you can’t put the ball on the floor,” McGoughee said. “We all know that. This is a no-brainer.”
The Giants coaching staff knows all about Jerry Hughes, who played for the Bills when he was Dabol and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson with Buffalo. Hughes, 34, leads Texas with seven bags and seven quarterback strokes.