The ears of Giants players must have been ringing throughout their day off.
As players enjoyed their mandatory weekly time away from the facility Saturday, Giants coaches and personnel evaluators gathered for a six-hour discussion of the roster — an extended version of a weekly conversation. There is one more scrimmage scheduled for Thursday before the cut down to 53 players.
“At this point, there’s a lot of things that can happen,” coach Joe Judge said after Sunday’s 90-minute light practice. “There are a lot of guys who have left strong impressions. We want to make sure we take advantage of the remaining time to give everyone a fair shot and make sure we don’t oversee someone’s ability and make an assumption too quick.”
In order to make roster space for newly signed defensive backs Brandon Williams and KeiVarae Russell, undrafted rookie running back Javon Leake was cut. That was a surprise given Leake earned Judge’s praise after showing good burst in both scrimmages.
“We kind of had to … address different positions with depth,” Judge said. “With the way the rosters move throughout the year, every player we have here through camp, we express to them that we’ll have all of them on a list as far as possibly being brought back for roster or practice squad spots when available.
“He’s a guy that came in and worked his tail off for us. He made a lot of progress and I enjoyed coaching him.”
As always with the Giants, in good times and bad, the offensive line is under the microscope.
The starters allowed five sacks in the scrimmage, but Judge said some parameters restricted what could be done to help fend off the pass rush led by Lorenzo Carter.
“Nick Gates did a good job in the middle commanding the calls and getting everyone on the same page. I thought he played with a lot of toughness,” Judge said. “I thought [Will] Hernandez and [Kevin] Zeitler did a good job really playing physical.”
Judge said starting tackles Cam Fleming and Andrew Thomas did a “decent job,” and singled out rookies Shane Lemieux, Matt Peart and Tyler Haycraft on the second wave for position coaches Marc Colombo and Ben Wilkerson.
“I was pleased with the way the offensive line worked,” Judge said. “Marc coaches those guys hard. Him and Ben get after it pretty good. I’ve seen those guys improve because they come to work every day with their lunch pail.”
Inside linebacker Blake Martinez and tight end Evan Engram, neither of whom participated in the scrimmage, practiced Sunday alongside cornerback Darnay Holmes, who exited early from the scrimmage.
Unlike when he noted Engram’s workload management, Judge cited HIPPA health privacy laws when declining to reveal what sidelined Martinez.
“He’s fully healed. He’s ready to go,” Judge said. “I’m relieved to have Blake back out there with us.”
Tight end Rysen John and safety Jaquarius Landrews were held out, and center Spencer Pulley did not participate in team periods.