EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Logan Ryan has played in 131 NFL regular-season and postseason games, which means he has participated in many hundreds of practices. But today the eight-year veteran experienced a practice first – he wore a mask.
"(It was) not too comfortable, but this is 2020," Ryan said in a post-practice Zoom call. "A lot of things we have to adjust for, a lot of curveballs. I'm not complaining, got the best job in the world. I got used to it pretty quickly."
Giants players were required to wear masks as part of the more intensive protocols mandated by the NFL after guard Will Hernandez was today placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The Giants practiced in a downpour as they began preparing for their game Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The new protocols include a mandate that meetings must be conducted virtually unless they are in an area large enough to allow social distancing.
The Giants, like all teams, are used to such requirements and are unfazed by them.
"So far, everything has been normal," Ryan said. "Practiced out there on the field, meeting as normal. How we have to adjust is just what the NFL protocols will be. I wasn't here in the spring, but I am familiar with the Zoom app, I am a millennial. I'll turn it on and make sure my kids aren't doing backflips. I'll have to mute myself a little bit. I'll be super locked in. It's important, it's a big game. It's Tom Brady and the crew coming to town. I'll definitely be in the meetings, prepared and ready to go."
The protocols are an enhanced extension of the regimen the players have followed since the spring, when team facilities were closed, learning was remote and on-field instruction was prohibited.
Ryan was a free agent who didn't join the Giants until Sept. 4, but that hasn't precluded him from appreciating the COVID-19 induced weirdness.
"It's a year I'm going to remember, for sure," Ryan said. "Everybody is going to remember this. Everyone has to adjust in every walk of life. That comes to NFL players, that comes to NFL practice. That's definitely been an adjustment with a lot of things. You know you have to take it for what it is. This is what we signed up for. I didn't opt out, I signed up to play. I knew there was going to be some curveballs in there.
"I think that (coach) Joe (Judge) has been extremely flexible. I think the Giants have done a great job handling everything the best they can. We just have to go with what the NFL protocol is. Whatever they tell us is what we have to do, is what we've done. We're not the first team to go through this, we won't be the last. We just have to handle it the best we can, which I feel like we have. It's definitely going to be a year I remember."
He's not alone.
*The seven Giants on the injury report included one player who was actually injured and six whose absences were COVID-related. The injured player is running back Devonta Freeman, who hurt his ankle last week in Philadelphia.
In addition to Hernandez, five other linemen were instructed by the Giants to remain home, including three starters – right tackle Cam Fleming, center Nick Gates and left tackle Andrew Thomas, plus reserves Spencer Pulley and Shane Lemieux.
Four players were limited: wide receivers Sterling Shepard (toe) and C.J. Board (concussion, non-contact) and defensive backs Darnay Holmes (neck) and Adrian Colbert (shoulder).
*The only offensive linemen available to practice were starting right guard Kevin Zeitler, reserves Matt Peart and Jackson Barton (who has yet to appear in a game) and practice squad rookie Kyle Murphy.
"Missing anyone causes you to adjust a little bit and prepare for it," quarterback Daniel Jones said. "But I'm confident that we'll have guys step up and play well. They'll be prepared going into the game. I think that's the case when anyone goes down. We've dealt with that this year at times at other positions, so we'll be ready for it and we'll be ready to go.
"We have to be prepared regardless of the circumstance. It's tough to predict what's going to happen. But as players and certainly in my position, all you can do is take advantage of the time you have and attack the opportunity or the challenge and get the most out of it. I thought guys did a good job today at practice doing that and brought a lot of energy. I thought we were able to get a lot done."
*Wide receiver Chris Godwin was the only Buccaneers player who didn't practice. He is not expected to play after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured finger.
Tight end Ron Gronkowski (shoulder), wide receiver Scotty Miller (hip/groin), outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) and safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. (shoulder/groin) were limited.
*The Giants will wear their all-white uniforms Monday night, including the darker blue helmet with the "GIANTS" logo. That was the team's predominant road uniform from 1980-99.