By Adam Zaki
Published: October 11th, 2017
In their continued dismantle of 2017, the 0-5 New York Giants have continued their freefall from their preseason status as Super Bowl contenders, past mediocrity and now into shamefulness. With a complete lack of core fundamentals, like blocking and tackling, the offense’s most powerful weapon, the receiving core has become its weakest component thanks to a series of injuries that took place over the course of 60 minutes against the San Deigo Chargers on Sunday.
Right before halftime, wide receiver Brandon Marshall was carted off the field after attempting a one-handed catch on the sideline. Five plays prior, Sterling Shepard went down with an ankle injury himself, and had to be assisted off the field by several Giants. Neither Marshall nor Shepard returned to the game after their departures. Marshall is now out for the season, while Shepard is being evaluated day-to-day.
To continue the trend, Giants kick returner and fourth-string wide receiver Dwanye Harris broke his foot to open the second half. This made a healthy Rodger Lewis, Jr. and an already hobbling Odell Beckham, Jr. the only available wide receivers with later in the second half, with the Giants down by one against a fellow winless team.
Outside the realm of possibility for most, the worst injury for the Giants was yet to come. With less than five minutes remaining in the game, a high pass from quarterback Eli Manning on a routine slant route caused Beckham, Jr. to distort his body, making for an awkward landing and a season-ending ankle injury. The Giants now have to weigh their options on the future of the season.
Presuming the Giants’ receiving core is substantially injured for weeks to come, they only have a few options offensively. Without an offensive line or a running back that can carry a run-dependent offense, the Giants’ offense over the next few will probably look much like it did in the final minutes of Sunday’s game: miserable.
Tight ends Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison were out on the hash and motioning across the formation from the slot in the Giants’ receiver-less attempt to come back in their final drive on Sunday. The team is going to be forced to play other position players as pseudo-wide receivers once again, unless they bring in free agents from the street.
The 36-year-old, 14-year veteran receiver Anquan Boldin is a viable option as the Giants will lack a top-tier receiver for weeks to come. A New York Post report indicates that the G-Men are going to bring back Tavarres King, who they cut in September. King showed some signs of life on special teams for the Giants and would also be coming back to the team without having to deal with a learning curve of a new offense, which would be a huge plus in a moment where there is little time to learn a playbook. The same report also tells us of the promotion from practice of Travis Rudolph, a star receiver from Florida State.
In light of the team’s woes, the Giants can focus on a group effort to compete and focus on development. With the attitudes of self-recognition over success departing from the starting lineups with these injuries, a much-needed change of attitude and culture may take place for this club.
As an organization that once prided itself on selflessness and dedication under Tom Coughlin, the team seems to accept the opposite under Ben McAdoo. The culture is based on self-gratitude, and McAdoo hasn’t proved in his demeanor, player development, or play-calling ability that he is able to take the reins of these big personalities. With the injuries removing some of these egos from the field for what looks to be quite some time, it’ll be an opportunity above all else for McAdoo and his staff to change the direction of this team’s motivations and mindset moving forward.