FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Shane Lemieux, after playing in just one game in 2021, spent the rest of the season on injured reserve. He returned and took his place as the Giants’ starting left guard this summer, but he did not make it out of their preseason opener Thursday night unscathed.
Lemieux was forced out in the first quarter with a toe injury and was replaced by rookie Josh Ezeudu. Lemieux spent the second half of the Giants’ 23-21 win over the Patriots wearing a walking boot on his left foot.
Depending on the severity of the injury, it could be another tough blow for Lemieux. He started nine games as a rookie in 2020, but needed knee surgery to repair a patellar tendon issue after the season opener last year. He was thrilled when he did not open up training camp on the physically unable to perform list and was working in concert on the left side of the line with tackle Andrew Thomas.
Ezeudu, taken in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft out of North Carolina, was called for a holding penalty in the second quarter.
Another offensive lineman, veteran Jamil Douglas, departed early with an ankle injury.
Former Giants head coach Joe Judge, wearing a red Patriots hoodie, chatted with several individuals from his former team, including an extended conversation with Kevin Abrams, the Giants’ senior vice president of football operations and strategy, and Tim McDonnell, the director of player personnel. After two years with the Giants, Judge returned to the Patriots as an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach.
Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, auditioning for the play-caller role, signaled in the plays from upstairs in the press box.
“I thought he did a great job, put us in some good situations,’’ quarterback Daniel Jones said.
C.J. Board got the first call as the kickoff and punt returner … LB Austin Calitro tipped the ball to himself for a fourth-quarter interception. … Rookie CB Cor’Dale Flott left with a groin injury. … Brian Daboll, in his head coaching debut, challenged a Patriots reception with 6:26 remaining, but lost the challenge. “I was upset about that, my first one,’’ he said.
The following players are dealing with physical issues that kept them out of the game: S Dane Belton, RB Matt Breida, LB Carter Coughlin, DL Justin Ellis, LB Blake Martinez, TE Andre Miller, WR Austin Proehl, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, WR David Sills, WR Kadarius Toney, DL Leonard Williams and CB Rodarius Williams.
Martinez, coming off reconstructive knee surgery, is being brought back slowly. Rookie Darrian Beavers started in place of Martinez.
LB Azeez Ojulari is on the non-football injury list. WR Sterling Shepard, OL Nick Gates and OL Matt Peart are on the physically unable to perform list.
New general manager Joe Schoen came to the Giants with 21 years of NFL scouting and front office experience on his résumé, with the Panthers, Dolphins and Bills. For Schoen, these summer games are a litmus test of how good a job he did finding and procuring talent. He has pointed to the Bills’ unblemished record in the preseason since his arrival in Buffalo in 2018 as part of the draft process.
“To me that was a sense of pride, being on the personnel side because our depth players are better than your depth players,’’ Schoen said of the Bills’ preseason success.