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Notebook: 5 Giants ruled out for MNF; Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney questionable


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants announced that five players have been declared out of their game Monday night in Kansas City due to injuries, but two key receivers who were inactive last week were not among them.

Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney are both listed as questionable with hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively, though each is optimistic he will play in Arrowhead Stadium. Tight end Kaden Smith (knee) is also questionable.

More definitive but less fortunate are wide receiver Kenny Golladay (knee) and running back Saquon Barkley, linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Carter Coughlin, and safety Nate Ebner, all with ankle injuries. Golladay and Barkley will miss their third consecutive game, Ebner his second of the season and the two linebackers their first of the year.

Coach Joe Judge continued to express caution when asked if he was optimistic Toney would play. The rookie wideout aggravated an ankle injury two weeks ago against the Rams and sat out the victory against Carolina last week.

"He's got a little bit of extra time this week, obviously, with it being a Monday Night game," Judge said. "The plan is to bring him on the trip and see where he's at, but he moved around well enough yesterday that we plan on taking him on the trip."

Judge was asked about Toney's performance in practice.

"He moved around well when we had him out there," Judge said. "He was limited obviously, wasn't close to a full practice for him, but we were able to get him off the trainers' field and move him around a little bit and see how he looked. It was positive."

*Devontae Booker, who has received most of the playing time at running back in Barkley's absence, spent his first five NFL seasons in the AFC West with Denver and Las Vegas. He has played five games in Arrowhead, which has long been one of the NFL's noisiest venues.

"The fans are crazy, it's very loud there," Booker said. "It's big. It's a Monday night game. I can't recall if we played there in any Monday night games when I was with previous teams before, but it definitely gets loud there. It's nothing we can't handle. We've just got to go out there and do what we need to do on our side of the ball."

*Booker has averaged 7.6 yards a carry (28 for 213) in Arrowhead and 5.5 yards an attempt vs. the Chiefs (61-333).

*Judge visited Arrowhead twice when he was an assistant coach in New England, including the Patriots' victory in the 2018 AFC Championship Game.

"When you talk about the environment anywhere, which we touch on – that's something that's kind of evolved throughout my experience in this industry," Judge said. "I've coached for a lot of guys who you never touched on where you were going, you never even focused on, whether it be specifics of the other team, you never really worry too much about the stadium, the environment, whatever it is. Then, I worked for a couple of guys who (said) it's part of what you're going into. You talk about the weather, you talk about the officiating crew, you talk about the stadium, you talk about the fan base, let them know everything going into it so it's not a surprise on Saturday afternoons at times, Sunday, Monday night, whatever it is. You kind of address that more, so we talk about everything from, 'Hey, these are tight sidelines, the fans are right on you there,' to some guys, they can relate it more to the college they played at. If you played at Florida, the Swamp, they're tight sidelines. A lot of our guys have experienced playing in the SEC and those stadiums."

"You talk about the noise in the stadium, it's a very loud atmosphere. How does that affect you? You're still only playing 11 on the field, but there is noise you have to mitigate. You have to communicate through that – substitutions coming off the sidelines, communications on the field, communications within checks and the plays, communications post-snap or whatever it may be, so you've got to make sure the communication is right. That's why we use noise at practice, just to make sure that we're fighting to make that communication and really overemphasizing (that) every detail is important. Ultimately, it comes down to the players on the field and how they execute, but in terms of the atmosphere out there, this is a great fan base."

Judge considers Arrowhead one of the NFL's premier venues.

"There are certain stadiums in this league that are very neat to walk out to," he said. "I've only been in Lambeau once, but I can tell you this, it was kind of built up to me beforehand. I went out there before the game, walked out there and you say, 'Yeah, it's a special place.' It's just different being there. Arrowhead is one of those places. You walk out there, it's got a different feel from some of the new stadiums, got a lot of history to it, the fan base is out there, they've got the drums banging. A whole lot of things kind of tie into it, so it's a pretty cool atmosphere."

*The Giants lead the all-time series with the Chiefs, 11-3. They are 4-3 in Kansas City. The teams last met on Nov. 19, 2017, when the Giants held the Chiefs' pre-Patrick Mahomes offense without a touchdown in a 12-9 overtime victory. Aldrick Rosas provided the decisive points with a 23-yard field goal with 13:06 elapsed in the extra period. The Giants will visit GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since Sept. 29, 2013, when they lost, 31-7, ending their four-game winning streak in the series.

*The Giants are 25-43-1 on Monday Night Football, including 16-30-1 on the road. This is their first Monday night game as visitors since Dec. 9, when they lost in overtime in Philadelphia, 23-17.

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