OG Adam Gettis looks to make his first NFL start in Sunday's matchup with the Browns:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Playing left guard has been hazardous duty for the Giants this season. But Adam Gettis is thrilled to give it a shot.
Who can blame him? He last started a game on Dec. 30, 2011, when his Iowa Hawkeyes lost to Oklahoma in the Insight Bowl. Since entering the NFL four years ago, Gettis has played in a grand total of 16 games, including two this year. He has been cut five times in his career, including four times by the Giants.
None of that will matter on Sunday, when Gettis anticipates making his long-waited first pro start as the Giants try to extend their winning streak to six games against the 0-11 Browns in Cleveland. He will be the fourth player to start for the Giants at left guard this season.
"It's been a culmination of everything I've been through," Gettis said today. "Being with the different teams and seeing so many different fronts. Just preparing like I prepare. I know I'm ready to go. I'm going to play well for the guys in the locker room."
"He's been around the offensive system," coach Ben McAdoo said. "We brought him here and he's been in and out and he's done a nice job for us. He can snap the ball, so he can play center, he can play both guards, play a little tight end if we need him to."
Since it's apparently a league rule that no Giants left guard can be completely healthy, Gettis is officially listed as questionable with a sore calf.
"He practiced this week, he's fighting through some soreness, but we'll see how he does tomorrow," McAdoo said.
The other players that have started at left guard for the Giants this season have all been declared out of the team's game Sunday in Cleveland. Justin Pugh, the starter in games 1-8, will miss his third consecutive game with a knee injury.
"He had a little setback (in practice this week), and we'll wait to see where he is next week," McAdoo said.
Brett Jones, who started against Cincinnati on Nov. 14, will miss his second straight with a calf injury. And Marshall Newhouse, who made his first career start at guard in the victory over the Bears last week, will miss the Browns game because of a knee injury he suffered vs. Chicago.
To McAdoo, it means the next man steps up.
"We're very confident in the players that we have up that will be able to go out and play good offensive football," he said.
"In the past couple of weeks, when he (Gettis) had his opportunities, he has a finish mentality," offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. "He's a tough guy, he's a strong guy and also very smart. He has good versatility in terms of being able to snap the ball if necessary or play on the inside. Confident that if he's given his opportunities, he'll make the most of them."
Center Weston Richburg said he doesn't feel the need to introduce himself to whoever lines up to his left in practice.
"We've been in the same meeting rooms talking about the same plays and communication," Richburg said. "It's the next guy up. We have to handle it."
Gettis started 16 of his 27 games at Iowa, including all 13 at right guard in his senior season. Washington selected him on the fifth round of the 2012 draft. He didn't play in any games as a rookie before appearing in 13 in 2013. But his duty was mostly on special teams, and he played in just 17 snaps in two games on offense.
Washington released Gettis at the end of training camp in 2014. He spent two months on the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice squad before the Giants signed him on Dec. 16 of that year. Gettis was inactive for the final two games. Last year, he was cut at the end of training camp and twice from the practice squad. After the last transaction, he joined the Oakland Raiders' practice squad before the Giants signed him to their active roster six weeks later and he played in the season finale vs. Philadelphia. This season, he was again released on Sept. 3, signed to the practice squad two days later, and to the roster on Nov. 9.
"I was cut here three times last year; that was probably the lowest moment," Gettis said. "Not being sure what was going to happen. There's been plenty of times I didn't know if I'd ever get a chance to play. I try and keep a positive outlook on it. Tell myself, 'When your time comes, you're going to play well.' That's just how it's going to be. Like I said, I kept a level head and I'm here today."
On Sunday, his primary focus will be blocking Cleveland's outstanding nose tackle, Danny Shelton.
"He's a great player," Gettis said. "He's a young player, but he's playing like he's a seasoned veteran. Big body up there. He's very strong. You just have to play like you know how to play. That's all it takes. As long as you go out there and strive for perfection, that's what you'll get.
"I do a lot of study and film work. That really calms me down. It lets me know what he's going to do and what is going to happen. I don't need to be worried about anything. I know I'm going to play my butt off and play to the highest level."
The Giants are counting on it.
*In addition to Gettis, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), running back Orleans Darkwa (lower leg) and wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr. (concussion) are all questionable.
"There are a lot of guys that this time of year we have to wait until our Saturday practice and take a look at guys and see how they're doing," McAdoo said.
"I am fine. I will be fine," Pierre-Paul said. "It is just an injury. It happened last Sunday, so I will be okay."
*Quarterback Cody Kessler was declared out for the Browns because of a concussion. Cleveland announced early this week that Josh McCown would start at quarterback.
*Special teams coordinator Tom Quinn was asked the reason for Robbie Gould's two missed extra points last week vs. Chicago.
"Wind and ball striking," Quinn said. "You see it around the league, and I think that when that rule (moving the PATs back to they became 33-yard kicks) came out, we were all concerned about a day like that in the stadium. As it gets into November and December and it gets windy, that stadium holds wind better than the old stadium, so we have to do a better job of striking the ball, so that it doesn't move as much."
Keep an eye on these five players as the Giants take on the Browns