With Jason Pierre-Paul’s recent back surgery, Victor Cruz’s contract dispute and Hakeem Nicks’ continued absence, the New York Giants are without three of their key stars that compose the nucleus of their football club.
Pierre-Paul—the team’s leading pass rusher over the past two seasons—is expected to miss about 12 weeks as he recovers from the reparations made to his herniated disk.
Meanwhile, Cruz’s return will likely be ushered in by a contract that he deems satisfactory. Nicks will most likely enter the Giants’ facility when the mandatory minicamp starts on June 11.
With a large portion of the Giants’ core group of star players absent, New York must turn to their younger talent on the roster—players whose roles and pressures that have been amplified exponentially in the event of the three aforementioned key absences.
Enter players like Damontre Moore and Rueben Randle. Both players now may have increased roles going into training camp. Moore, who was occupying the spot behind Pierre-Paul on the Giants’ depth chart, may now be forced to take first team reps opposite Justin Tuck, the latter being the teams defensive leader, and the player who left a note in Moore’s locker saying, “I hope you’re ready to work.”
Meanwhile, Randle has spent a season in the Giants’ offensive system. And, his rise during the end of the Giants’ season will likely bode well for his likelihood to start if Nicks or Cruz don’t return.
There are many teams that have acquired the “next man up” mentality and succeeded. This may be a season where the Giants will have to acquire the previously stated philosophy in order to thrive.