One week removed from feeling a huge surge from a surprisingly healthy Giants squad, the team has a harsh reminder of the early couple weeks of the season and injuries are beginning to mount. The biggest loss has to be star [WR] Victor Cruz, whose torn patellar tendon will end his season and could seriously affect his future productivity in the league. Cruz’s absence is impossible to fill entirely, and will change the way defenses approach the NYG offense. If there’s any bright side at all, it could be that Odell Beckham Jr. is forced into a prominent role at an accelerated rate. 13th overall picks must turn into cornerstone players for a franchise, and we’ll start to get an idea soon whether or not Beckham will be able to live up to expectation. Preston Parker will slide into the slot role for now, and remember that while Cruz was #1 there, Jerrel Jernigan (also on IR) was #2. It’s unlikely that Parker has even practiced much in the position and Coach Coughlin hasn’t been shy admitting he has ball security issues. It’ll be tough to have confidence in a passing game that has struggled behind an inconsistent line, now without their one proven NFL weapon.
On the other side of the ball, the Giants secondary is starting to disappear. After losing nickel [CB] Walter Thurmond early in the year, next-man-up Trumaine McBride is now also going to miss significant time (possibly the season) with a broken thumb. To make matters worse, [CB] Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is ailing with hip and ankle injuries, and will struggle to make it through any given game healthy. What was once the strongest and deepest unit on the team has been reduced to relying on an injured starter and an inconsistent-at-best backup in Jayron Hosley. I expect practice squad [CB] Chandler Fenner to rejoin the 53 as part of the upcoming flurry of transactions, and I wouldn’t be surprised or disappointed if he saw snaps on defense ahead of Hosley. Another possible fix to the defense is rotating Antrel Rolle back into a nickel role, and having Stevie Brown get back onto the field in a larger capacity. It’s possible Brown has found a bit more in his legs after riding the pine, and we could certainly use any help we can get at this point.
The other injury to keep in mind is the sprained MCL on [RB] Rashad Jennings. Rookie Andre Williams didn’t quite get a fair shake during the blowout in Philadelphia, but he wasn’t able to get much going with his opportunities either. If Jennings doesn’t get back to 100%, a struggling interior line is going to cripple any hope of a run game which we know has catastrophic effects. There is never need to panic after one bad game, but it’s a little too easy to see the paths to disaster with injuries to key players piling up.