Golden Tate missed one game for putting his foot in his mouth and might miss more because of a knee injury.
Tate was hurt late in Thursday’s practice, according to the Giants. Originally scheduled to speak to the media after practice for the first time since his de facto one-game suspension for selfish behavior, Tate instead was undergoing evaluation and testing with the medical staff.
After he was punitively buried on the scout team most of last week, Tate took snaps alongside the rest of the starters during the viewing window early in Thursday’s practice. He later banged his knee and walked off with the trainers as what is hoped to be a precautionary measure because it was not the kind of scary scene that immediately raises a serious red flag.
Whenever Tate plays next – Sunday against the Eagles or down the road – it sets up a sticky situation for play-caller Jason Garrett: Should he calm the waters by forcing a play early in the game on which Tate is quarterback Daniel Jones’ first look? Or will the Eagles expect that and be ready to jump the route?
Should Garrett call the game like nothing happened and risk an unhappy receiver if Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Evan Engram are commanding more targets? Tate yelled “Throw me the damn ball!” at the Giants sideline in a loss to the Buccaneers.
“When we’ve given Golden opportunities, he had the ball come his way, he’s done a good job making plays for us,” Garrett said. “All those guys, we like to feature them at some point to give them opportunities. At the same time, everyone just plays within the system. Typically, quarterbacks play their best when they read things out and throw the ball to the right guy based on coverage.”
Giants coach Joe Judge has been pleased with Tate’s practice and preparation since he was taught a lesson in humility.
“We’re totally past the whole situation last week,” Judge said before the injury. “I look forward to getting Golden on the field with us. We’ll roll him in fast.”
After his monster eight-catch, 129-yard performance against Dallas, it’s been a relatively quiet few weeks for Slayton, who has 10 catches for 125 yards and one touchdown in the past four games combined, including one catch for six yards last week.
“We’re trying to run the ball a little bit more,” Garrett said. “That’s been good for us against some of these real good defensive lines to quiet them down a bit. We feel great about Slay.”
Defenses have noticed Jones definitely has a favorite target.
“I’d certainly say he’s a guy that people have seen make a lot of plays over the course of the year,” Garrett said. “Often times, they’ll put who they regard as their best defender on him for portions of the game, or they’ll roll coverage to him. That’s really just a tribute to him and the success he’s had.”
RB Devonta Freeman (ankle) and WR Sterling Shepard (toe/hip) were limited in practice. Concern is greater for Freeman because he left the field with a trainer after appearing to re-aggravate the injury that has caused him to miss two straight games.
TE Kaden Smith (concussion) was a full participant and should be available Sunday.
S Logan Ryan and DL Leonard Williams returned to practice after excused absences for personal reasons on Wednesday.
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