The Giants will have a key backup available for the season opener, but there is still at least one hole in the starting lineup.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is “good to go” if needed Sunday in relief of Daniel Jones against the Tennessee Titans, head coach Brian Daboll revealed. Taylor suffered a back injury when he was slammed to the turf in the preseason finale and did not practice last week.
But the Giants have not yet decided on the fifth starter to block for the quarterbacks. Left guard Shane Lemieux is sidelined for at least the first three games, and Devery Hamilton, Ben Bredeson, Josh Ezeudu and Max Garcia (who could be elevated from the practice squad) all took first-team reps in his absence during training camp.
“We have a week to move guys in and out and let those guys compete,” Daboll said.
Daboll said starting pass rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) and Azeez Ojulari (calf) are “day-to-day,” but he would not specify whether either player’s rehab has progressed to where he will be on the field during Tuesday’s practice.
The Giants signed cornerback Fabian Moreau, who has played 76 career games with 34 starts, to the practice squad and cut cornerback Harrison Hand. Moreau compiled 181 tackles and six interceptions over four seasons with Washington and one with the Falcons before he was released last month by the Texans.
With Adoree’ Jackson locked in as one starting cornerback, the Giants are hoping second-year pro Aaron Robinson seizes the job on the other side of the field. That didn’t happen in training camp, when Robinson was targeted by opposing quarterbacks and penalty-flag-throwing officials. Moreau, 28, provides insurance.
By putting Moreau on the practice squad at the start, the Giants could use one of their two weekly game-day elevations on him Sunday. Keeping him off the 53-man roster until at least Week 2 allows the Giants, in a tight spot with the salary cap, to avoid fully guaranteeing Moreau’s salary for the season.
Daboll refused to shed any light on the curious decision to release two-time captain and starting inside linebacker Blake Martinez — including whether it was related to injury or the depth chart since it offered no salary cap savings, and what changed between Martinez surviving Tuesday’s initial roster cut and Thursday’s parting of ways.
“Every decision we make releasing a player is always difficult,” Daboll said. “Just like all our guys, I’d say good luck to Blake.”
Tae Crowder tops a depth chart that includes journeyman Austin Calitro, rookie Micah McFadden and special teams-first former draft picks Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown. The Giants play a base 3-4 with two inside linebackers but figure to spend a lot of time in nickel packages.
“The guys we have on the roster, we have confidence in,” Daboll said. “The inside linebacker spots are interchangeable.”
Fan-favorite running back Sandro Platzgummer was released Monday in a procedural move. The Austrian medical student is expected to join the practice squad for the third straight year with an international exemption, so he does not count against the 16-player limit.