If Leonard Williams is Iron Man of the Giants, then the twisted MCL should be Marvel’s latest villain.
Williams’ odds-defying 112-game winning streak is likely to end without losing a single due to injury after that He walked off the field limping in Sunday’s win against the Panthers.
An MRI of Williams’ right knee on Monday revealed that the extent of the damage was “better than it could be” — essentially ruling out a season-ending ACL tear — coach Brian Dabol said. But the NFL Network reported a crooked MCL (which generally carries a two- to four-week recovery timeline) and not “a lot” of expected downtime.
Williams’ teammate Kayvon Tebodeau suffered a sprain at the MCL on August 21 – four weeks ago – and has not fully exercised or played since. The Giants play every week of the next six weeks before saying goodbye.
Not only was Williams available in every game despite his trench physique, he was among the NFL leaders in shots played on the defensive line last season (888) and headed for 87 repeats in seven quarters this season.
“Hopefully he’s a quick healer,” Daboll said.
The Giants replaced Williams with Justin Ellis against the Panthers, but there’s really no substitute for an early 80-percent labor like Williams.
“When you’re one of the best players, that’s where you’ll end up,” defense line coach Andre Patterson told The Post last week. “He gets a lot of money [$19 million cash in 2022] for some reason. When the game is on the line, you want your best players.”
Williams fought seven tackles over two games and was a big part of limiting Derek Henry’s bucketloader to 3.9 yards per carry in the season opener. Patterson said Williams is doing a good job of “impressing the quarterback” with his fast passes.
“We tuned it up to be in good shape,” Patterson said. “He doesn’t say anything bad about the people behind him. It’s just a matter of being an elite player. You want to keep players on the field who have a chance to make game-changing plays.”
Receiver Kenny Goladay played only twice in Sunday’s game.
When asked if he should implement that decision by General Manager Joe Schoen or co-owner John Mara given that Golladay is worth $18 million this season, Daboll said, “Joe and I collaborate on just about everything on the premises.
“The thing we want to create is a team that is as competitive as possible. No matter where you’re recruited, how you got here, how much money you make, we believe everyone gets out there and competes – and plays with the players who earn the right to play that week” .
RB Gary Brightwell’s first run in the third series as a quarterback – at any level of football – earned him 14 yards to convert third and one in game-winning driving. The Giants sent Matt Breda in a pre-snap move and pitched a pitch to Sacon Barkley after an internal handover to Brightwell.
“It was just a typical short-term play that I knew I had to have that one yard and whatever comes after that is extra,” Brightwell said. “I’m not really sure what they expected. If Saquon was in the backcourt, they should expect him to get the ball – one of the best running defenders in the NFL.”
LB Jaylon Smith is back to rejoin the Giants as a member of the coaching squad, according to sources. Pro Bowler with the 2019 Cowboys, he played four games (two games) for the Giants at the end of last season and returned as a group of players who trained with the Coppers on Monday.