EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The spate of injuries that has sidelined several of the Giants' best offensive players this season has now struck the team's special teams captain.
Kicker Graham Gano, who has uncharacteristically missed 35% of his field goal attempts this season, was placed on injured reserve with a left knee injury that is scheduled to be surgically repaired next week.
The Giants responded to losing Gano by signing two kickers – Cade York to the active roster off the Tennessee Titans' practice squad and Randy Bullock to their practice squad. Bullock, who has 10 seasons of NFL experience, kicked for the Giants in the 2016 season opener.
What has yet to be decided is who will be the Giants' kicker Sunday, when they face the Raiders in Las Vegas.
"We'll have both guys out here today (at practice) and do some kicks and see where we're at for Sunday," coach Brian Daboll said. "We'll see where they're at here when they kick and snap with (long snapper) Casey (Kreiter) and hold with (punter) Jamie (Gillan) and do all those things. We'll do a bunch of that today."
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York, 22, was the Cleveland Browns' kicker for all 17 games in his 2022 rookie season. He made 24 of 32 field goal attempts (75%), including four of seven tries from 50+ yards. York also hit 35 of 37 extra-point tries for 107 points.
He also had touchbacks on 50 of 78 kickoffs (64.1%).
York said he was playing golf when he received the ball from the Giants, telling him they needed him in New Jersey.
"I am a better kicker than I am a golfer, so (I) wouldn't take too much from my golf game," York said. "But the ideas definitely translate. Smooth swing, stuff like that.
"I feel good. Just coach's decision who plays, and if it's my call, I'm going to go out there and do what I do."
The Browns selected York in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, from LSU. At No. 124 overall, York was the highest-drafted kicker since Tampa Bay drafted Roberto Aguayo from Florida State 59th overall in 2016.
In his NFL debut in Week 1 last year, York made all four of his field goal attempts, including a 58-yarder with eight seconds remaining to give the Browns a 26-24 victory against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte. He later booted a 55-yarder against Cincinnati and 51-yarders vs. New England and Tampa Bay.
In this summer's preseason, York was four for eight on field goal attempts. The Browns opted to bring in a more experienced kicker and traded for nine-year veteran Dustin Hopkins. They released York, who quickly joined the Titans' practice squad.
Bullock, 33, has played in 138 regular-season games for Houston, the Jets and Giants, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Tennessee. He has made 211 of 253 field goal attempts (83.4%), including 14 of 28 from 50+ yards, and 285 of 298 PATs. Bullock has 357 touchbacks on 639 kickoffs (55.9%). He made his only postseason field goal attempt with Tennessee in 2021.
"I feel like I'm prepared, I've done it for a long time, and I feel like I can do it again when given the opportunity," Bullock said.
Bullock has memorable experiences with and against the Giants.
In 2016, Josh Brown, the Giants' veteran kicker, was suspended for the regular-season opener in Dallas for violating the NFL Personal Conduct Policy. To replace him, the Giants signed Bullock, who didn't attempt a field goal but missed an extra point try in the Giants' 20-19 victory. Bullock was released two days later. On Dec. 4 that year, Bullock kicked three field goals for the Steelers in their 24-14 victory against the Giants.
Last year, his second with the Titans, Bullock was wide left on a 47-yard attempt as time expired in the season opener in Nashville, enabling the Giants to celebrate a 21-20 victory in Brian Daboll's debut as head coach.
But Bullock made 15 of his last 17 attempts on the season and finished with an 85% success rate. In Week 7, he was selected the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after kicking four field goals in Tennessee's 19-10 victory against Indianapolis.
Bullock had been a free agent since his release by the Titans on Feb. 22.
Gano has established himself as one of the finest kickers in Giants history in his four seasons with the team. In his first three years with the team, Gano made 89 of 97 field goal attempts (91.8%), including 20 of 25 (80.0%) from 50+ yards, with a long of 57 yards, tying the franchise record. His 91.8% success rate was the highest in Giants history among kickers with at least 50 attempts.
Gano has the franchise's second and sixth-highest single-season field goal percentages with 96.9 (31 of 32) in 2020, and 90.6 (29 of 32) in 2022.
His 23 field goals of 50 or more yards are more than twice as many as any other kicker in Giants history. Joe Danelo is second with nine.
This season, Gano has kicked three long field goals, including another 57-yarder. But overall, he has made just 11 of 17 field goal attempts (64.7%), though he has made three of four from at least 50 yards. Last week against the Jets, Gano kicked a 31-yarder that was his 100th field goal with the Giants. But he also hooked 47 and 35-yard tries wide left, the latter with 24 seconds remaining.
"One hundred percent, if I make those kicks, we win the game," Gano said after the game. He dismissed questions about his health. "I felt fine today," he said. "Everybody deals with pain. That's a conversation for another time. It's not why I missed today. The reason I missed is I didn't kick it well and no other excuse."
Gano has been listed on the Giants' injury report for two weeks because of his knee. Now, he will miss games for the first time since he joined the Giants in 2020.
"(Gano) had a good Friday (last week)," Daboll said. "Kicked good in pregame and things change, obviously. So, went out and played and had a few meetings with I'd say doctors this week, a couple times during the week and then decided to do the surgery."
"A few weeks ago, when we looked into my knee, my biggest thing was that I don't want it to get worse," Gano said. "We looked at it, as long as I could manage the pain, the swelling and be successful, I was going to try and give it a go. I've fought through pain my whole career and it just got to a point where the swelling was too great, the stability in my knee was not great at all, and that's the biggest thing for kicking a field goal. You've got to have a good, solid plant and stability in your leg, so once that was compromised, I was just trying to fight through it. It got to a point I was just hurting the team. I signed a three-year extension, and my goal is to get back as soon as I can, but also be great for the next three years. That's my biggest focus, try to help the team win games and be a great leader in the locker room."
*Daboll remains hopeful that tackles Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal will return to the field Sunday. Both were limited in practice and are listed as questionable. Thomas has missed seven games with a hamstring injury and Neal two with an ankle injury.
"They've had good days," Daboll said. "We'll see how they do today. I think they're making progress, getting close. We'll let them go out there and practice today and see where they're at.
"I'd say both of them are improving, so we'll see where they're at. They've taken some team reps, which is good. We'll give them a little bit more today, and we'll see where they're at after practice today."
Thomas was asked after practice if he thinks he'll play Sunday.
"We'll see," he said. "This is the most I've done. If I respond well, I have a good chance. We'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow, but I've been doing more and responding well."
*Quarterback Tyrod Taylor (ribs) and tight end Darren Waller (hamstring) are out. Daniel Bellinger is the only healthy tight end on the roster. Lawrence Cager and Tyree Jackson are on the practice squad.
"They've been working through some things and obviously we'll bring most likely one of them up," Daboll said.
*Running back Jashaun Corbin is questionable with a hamstring injury.
*The Giants have signed wide receiver Gunner Olszewski to the active roster from the team's practice squad. Olszewski was signed to the team's practice squad last week and was elevated to the active roster for the Jets game. He averaged 9.3 yards on six punt returns last Sunday. He was released on Monday and re-signed to the practice squad on Tuesday.
View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 9 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders.