These Giants need to step up with Logan Ryan likely out for Monday night against Buccaneers

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Julian Love intercepting a pass Giants white uniform
Julian Love intercepting a pass Giants white uniform

The Giants have not been strangers to injuries and illness this season. Their latest victim came on Friday morning when the team announced that safety Logan Ryan tested positive for COVID-19.

With Ryan, who head coach Joe Judge said is still awaiting the results of another test, likely out for Monday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, others will have to step up in his absence.

One player in particular is Julian Love.

“Love has a significant role in the game for us anyway, so Love will be out there playing a lot,” Judge said. “Obviously, if you have Logan (out) there’s several guys on the practice squad who will be in effect, as well.”

Love, a fourth-round draft pick out of Notre Dame, has played in all nine games for the Giants this season, compiling 23 combined tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.

The 23-year-old, along with Xavier McKinney, James Bradberry and Adoree' Jackson will have some big shoes to fill with Ryan out as the nine-year pro had been consistently and reliably hawking down team's top receivers all season long. That task becomes even harder this week with the Bucs throwing players like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on the field.

“We don’t want to be without any of our guys, especially a captain, a leader, but that’s something we’ve already gone through as a team,” Judge said. “Everyone has to prepare every week, we have to get the team prepared every week. Doesn’t matter who we’re playing, you want to have all your players out there, but the most important thing is everyone has to be prepared that when they go out there, they can produce.”

Another player to keep an eye out for is J.R. Reed. The Georgia-product has only played in two games this season for the Giants – Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams and Week 9 against the Las Vegas Raiders – but has begun to impress at practice.

“He’s a guy that’s obviously gotten more familiar with our system these last few weeks,” Judge said. “He’s definitely a competitive guy, he’s an intelligent guy and he’s a physical player. Those three things right there really help you when you play in the deep part of the field in that safety position… He’s done a good job progressing for us. He’s a guy that as you get more comfortable, you play more aggressive and we’ve seen that from him.”

On the offensive side of the ball, it’s still uncertain whether Saquon Barkley will make his return to the field. Barkley injured his ankle back in Week 4 after stepping on another player’s foot awkwardly and has been trying to get back on the field ever since.

This ankle injury, of course, comes a year after Barkley suffered a season-ending knee injury early last season.

“The only thought process is getting back, getting back with my team, getting back playing the sport that I love,” Barkley said. “Obviously, right when I felt like I started getting back, obviously, I got injured. But we’ve got, what, eight, nine games left in the regular season? Everything we want to accomplish is still out there and just try to get back as healthy as I can to go out there and try to make a run at this thing in the second half of the season.

“Right now, I’m just focused on practicing and leading and trying to get better and trying to get back for my team.”

In Barkley's absence, Devontae Booker has shown he can carry the load and has been a welcome and pleasant surprise this season.