It may be another week for the Giants to see one of their top overall selections make his debut.
Kayvon Thibodeaux and fellow pass rusher Azeez Ojulari are listed as doubtful in the final injury report before Sunday’s week one contest against the Tennessee Titans.
Thibodeaux has been recovering from an MCL sprain he suffered in the team’s second preseason game against the Bengals. Ojulari on the other hand has been dealing with a calf injury.
While the “doubtful;” designation leaves little hope that either will be playing on Sunday, the Giants, and head coach Brian Daboll have not ruled anything out.
“If we have to work them out before the game, we’ll work them out before the game if that’s something we need to do. But we’re going to give them as long as they can to see if they are ready to go.” Daboll said before Friday’s practice.
Either edge rusher not playing would be a significant blow to the Giants’ defense. Ojulari led the team in sacks with eight in his rookie season last year, while Thibodeaux is the team’s fifth overall selection in this year’s draft.
Against a Tennessee Titans team with the NFL’s top rusher in Derrick Henry and a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, pressure and gap discipline from the edge will be vital if New York is to pull off a potential upset.
For their youngsters, it will be a gametime decision made by not just the training staff either.
“It’s a collective. It’s collective. I think you’ve got to put the player’s health and safety first and foremost. So, lean on Ronnie, but also at the same (time) do some things out on the field, whether that’s a workout before the game or not. So, if they’re ready to go, they’ll be ready. And if not, the other guys will.” Daboll added.
Jihad Ward and Oshane Ximines are listed as backups to Ojulari and Thibodeaux on the Giants’ depth chart and will be expected to help a defensive line filled with interior talent.