Perhaps Nate Solder might be back in Giants’ final year of his 2022 contract. He might sign an extension to his contract. Perhaps he will become a coach in the future.
One thing is clear: He has unexpected staying power, so don’t rule anything out.
Solder wasn’t cut in the offseason when that looked like the most likely solution to his unmanageable contract. He wasn’t cast aside in training camp when the Giants tried to give Matt Peart the job as the starting right tackle. And he hasn’t been benched since Andrew Thomas returned from injury to reclaim left tackle and made the Giants choose between the 33-year-old Solder and the 24-year-old Peart on the right side.
“Plain and simple, you watch every play when Andrew was out, body of work, Nate’s the better player right now,” offensive line coach Rob Sale said. “We’re playing the best players.”
Pro Football Focus — which grades Peart as the No. 54 tackle and Solder at No. 68 in the NFL — disagrees. So does a vocal segment of the fan base, though the collective opinion undoubtedly is influenced by Solder’s previous struggles since signing the richest free-agent contract for an offensive lineman in history.
One day after Joe Judge praised both Solder and Peart, — as is the norm for a head coach who saves his criticism for behind closed doors — Sale cut to the heart of the matter when he told reporters that Peart needs to be “more physical.”
“Every player responds to coaching differently,” Sale said. “You sit down and have conversations with guys. You motivate in different ways — yell, holler, scream. But at the end of the day … you have to freaking do it: Go out there and put your hands around somebody’s neck.”
Sterling Shepard (quad), and Kyle Rudolph (ankle), both returned to practice this Thursday. Shepard and Rudolph have only played two games each since Sept. 26, while Rudolph was absent for the final game.
OLB Trent Harris (ankle), FB Cullen Gillaspia (calf), CB Adoree’ Jackson (quad), TE Kaden Smith (knee) and WRs John Ross (illness/quad) and Kadarius Toney (oblique/quad) remained out of practice.
Riley Dixon has hurt the Giants with poorly executed punts late in the fourth quarter of three different games — a touchback instead of pinning the Falcons deep before the game-winning field goal, a mis-hit 34-yard directional punt before the Chiefs’ game-winning field goal and a shanked 32-yarder last week that almost fed an Eagles comeback.
“In situations where it’s a you’ve-got-to-have-it, you’re trying to get the ball out as quick as you can, and when that happens sometimes, technically, there are some things that go wrong,” special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said. “You’ve got to execute. At that stage, you want to be able execute at an extremely high level. Sometimes you don’t come through, and he’s working at it, and he’ll get better as we move on.”