Giants’ Azeez Ojulari set to make season debut against Cowboys

Here’s a bit of fiction: The undefeated Giants didn’t miss Azeez Ojulari’s ability to pressure the opposing quarterback.

Despite the defense-fueled 2-0 start, the Giants can certainly benefit from Ojulari’s return from a calf injury. So, is it going to happen Monday against the Cowboys?

“Done,” Ojulari said after participating in Thursday’s practice in a limited way. “You know when you’re ready for sure. You know your body. No one else knows that better than you.

It’s been a strange two months for Ojulari, who missed almost three weeks at the start of training camp with a hamstring injury, returned for seven practices, then suffered a calf injury during a conditioning drill at the end of a joint practice with the Jets in August. 26.

“We didn’t want to rush,” said Ojulari, who set a Giants rookie record with eight sacks last season. “It’s something that could come back. I took my time with it, listened to the training room. It was the right decision.”

The Giants had neither of their two starting rushers for the first two games. Kayvon Thibodeaux (MCL sprain) is moving in the right direction and seems optimistic about the game, but Ojulari left no room for interpretation – even if that means putting a cap on his shots.

“However, the coaches want me to go,” Ojulari said. “I will stay the course.”

Azeez Ojulari (right) chats with Kayvon Thibodeaux during a Giants practice earlier this month.
Noah K. Murray/New York Post

DBs Justin Layne (concussion), Nick McCloud (hamstrings) and Aaron Robinson (appendix), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) and DT Leonard Williams (knee) did not practice. DB Dane Belton (clavicle) and Jason Pinnock (shoulder), C Jon Feliciano (shin) and WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring) joined Ojulari and Thibodeaux on the limited injured list.

Toney and Belton both played last week despite those same injuries.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has told local reporters he would welcome a quarterback controversy between injured starter Dak Prescott – who signed a four-year, $160 million contract extension in September 2022 – and replacement Cooper Rush. It dates back to when Prescott shone as a rookie and stole the job from an injured Tony Romo in 2016.

“Of course that means we won,” Jones said. “If he comes in and plays as well as Prescott has played – Rush is playing well over the next few games to come – I’d walk to New York to get him.”

Can Rush do it?

“I don’t know,” Jones said. “But you can’t find in the file where I said I thought Dak Prescott could do it when he stepped in, but he did.”

Cowboys passer DeMarcus Lawrence liked to troll former Giants quarterback Eli Manning before their matchups for years, usually knowing he was about to dominate a weak offensive line. What does this say about more things change?

“I’m excited to see Little Eli again,” Lawrence told reporters of the confrontation with Daniel Jones.

Lawrence has three sacks in five career games against Jones. When asked if the Giants’ offensive line – with four new starters – is improving, Lawrence replied, “It’ll be fine.”

Lawrence was upstaged in the game by teammate Micah Parsons, who has 17 sacks in his first 18 career games. Parsons (cold symptoms) did not practice Thursday.

“He’s a football player, just like me,” Giants right tackle Evan Neal said. “He puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like me, fastens his shoulder pads one strap at a time, just like me, and he’s a really good player.”


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