Shane Lemieux started off as the Giants’ left guard in their season opener loss to the Broncos, but has only played 17 of 61 offensive snaps as he continues to deal with a knee issue. Lemieux on Wednesday was ruled out of Thursday night’s game in Washington, which means there will be a reshuffle on the offensive line.
Close end Evan Engram (calf) was also ruled out. Engram didn’t play in the opening.
Lemieux’s place on the line last week was taken by Ben Bredeson, who played 44 snaps at left guard. Bredeson has only participated in six practices with his new team after arriving in a trade with the Ravens. It is not certain that Bredeson will enter the starting lineup now. The Giants have other options as they look to identify and put their top five players on the field.
One move they could make is slide Nick Gates from center to left guard and insert Billy Price in center. Price, 26, was acquired at the end of training camp as part of a trade with the Bengals. He is a former Ohio State first-round (2018) draft pick with 19 NFL starts on his resume, but he failed to retain the starting position with the Bengals and was considered consumable.
Gates, elected team captain, started all 16 games at center in 2020 but has positional versatility. He started two games in right tackle in 2019 and one in right guard. He started 25 straight left tackle games in college in Nebraska.
It would be a risk to give quarterback Daniel Jones a new center in week two of the season. The Giants can choose to go this way, or they can’t. Washington has one of the best, if not the best defensive lines in the league, with four first-round draft picks as starters, including Chase Young, ranked No.2 overall in 2020.
Engram pushed to debut in 2021 this week, but there wasn’t enough time for his calf to heal. Veteran Kyle Rudolph started in his first game with the Giants, but didn’t play a big part in his 47 shots. After foot surgery that kept him out of training camp and the three preseason games, Rudolph caught two passes for 8 yards.
Linebacker Cam Brown, a special teams contributor, was also ruled out with a hamstring injury.