EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today placed Zak DeOssie, their second-longest tenured player, on season-ending injured reserve and signed off their practice squad long snapper Colin Holba, who will make his debut for the team tomorrow against the Green Bay Packers.
Holba, 6-4 and 255 pounds, was signed to the practice squad on Nov. 12. He has played in 13 NFL regular-season games, including the first two this season with San Francisco. Holba also played seven regular-season and three postseason games with Jacksonville in 2017 and four games with the 49ers last year.
DeOssie did not practice Thursday or yesterday because of knee and wrist injuries and yesterday he was declared out of the game vs. Green Bay.
“I think in the Jets game (on Nov. 10) he got banged up a little bit,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “He was just fighting through it being a tough guy. He was just unable to go Thursday and Friday.
“Zak’s been a guy around here who has played at a high level. He’s a big-time Giant, and I’m sure he’s played through soreness in his career. This is just something that’s kind of revealed itself.”
DeOssie, a 13-year veteran, played in 199 regular-season games – the fifth-highest total in franchise history - since joining the Giants as a fourth-round draft choice in 2007. He also played in 10 postseason games. DeOssie, 35, has missed only four games in his 13 seasons. He was a Pro Bowler in 2008 and 2010 and was elected a special teams captain by his teammates in each of the last nine seasons. DeOssie and Eli Manning are the only Giants players remaining from the teams that won Super Bowls XLII and XLVI,
DeOssie had 88 regular-season special teams tackles, including one this year, one forced fumble and seven postseason special teams tackles
He is one of the last 13 players from the 2007 NFL draft still in the league (either on an active roster or injured reserve).
With DeOssie’s departure, wide receiver Sterling Shepard and cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who are in their fourth seasons with the team, are second in seniority among Giants players. The longest-tenured player, of course, is Manning, who is in his 15th Giants season. Manning was replaced as the starting quarterback by rookie Daniel Jones in Week 3.
As a rookie on the Super Bowl XLII championship team, DeOssie was the snapper on punts, while fellow first-year player Jay Alford snapped for placekicks. In 2008, DeOssie assumed all snapping duties and held those positions for the next 12 years (except for the final four games in 2015, when he had a wrist injury that required surgery).
The Giants’ special teams have not been as proficient this season as they were in 2018. Kicker Aldrick Rosas has missed two field goal attempts and three extra point tries and at least one kick in each of the last five games – including two field goal attempts in a five-point loss to the Bears last week. In 2018, Rosas made 63 of 65 combined kicks and was selected to the NFC Pro Bowl team.
A look at the New York Giants' current active roster
Holba entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft choice (213th overall selection) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017, from Louisville. He was waived at the end of training camp and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 14 that year. Holba made his NFL debut at Cleveland on Nov. 19 and played in the final 10 games of the season, three of them in the postseason, including the Jaguars’ AFC Championship Game loss at New England.
In 2018, Holba was waived by the Jaguars on June 14 and signed on Dec. 5 by the 49ers, for whom he played in four games last year and two this season before he was released on Sept. 17.
“We’ve liked what he’s done in practice to this point - short and long snaps,” Shurmur said. “…We’re confident that he’ll do a good job.”
Holba will be snapping to Riley Dixon on punts and as the holder on placekicks for Rosas.
“I think snap, hold, kick is a process where you have to build trust,” Shurmur said. “The last couple of days with Zak not being here, they’ve had an opportunity to practice. That’s the reality of a player out, new player in. You have to get up to speed quickly.”
Holba played three seasons (2014-16) as the long snapper at his hometown university, Louisville. As a senior in 2016, he served as the team’s long snapper in all 13 games and registered two special teams tackles. Holba played in 12 games as a junior and one as a sophomore. He was a two-year snapper at Eastern High School, where he also played three seasons of baseball.
*The Giants will face the Packers without their two leading receivers (tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Golden Tate, who have combined for 80 catches and seven touchdowns), two top tight ends (Engram and Rhett Ellison), and leading tackler (safety Jabrill Peppers).
Engram will miss his third consecutive game with a foot injury and Elliott his second in a row with a concussion. Tate (concussion) and Peppers (back) were hurt last week in Chicago. Rookie Julian Love will make his first NFL start in place of Peppers. “We’re sort of glad he’s been able to get reps here the last few weeks,” Shurmur said. “We look forward to him playing well.”
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