This is a flawed New York Giants team. Even after their first win, there are clear, lasting issues. Many thought this was a playoff team and were all way off. We overlooked an aging offensive line and weak secondary, hoping Eli Manning could be his 2011 self when his 2012 season is likely a more accurate example of his play.
That being said, injuries have played a role here too. In each area of weakness, the Giants have played poorly at least partially because of injuries.
The Giants’ offensive line has been atrocious in many ways because aging players have lost a step, but also because of injuries up and down the line. Chris Snee has not been 100 percent, David Baas has been in and out (now he is done for the season), and David Diehl’s injury forced the rookie Justin Pugh to get more playing time than was probably expected.
The linebacking core was never going to be a top group, but the neck burner that Dan Connor sustained really hurt them. It meant Mark Herzlich got lots of playing time and while he is a great guy, he should not be an NFL starter. Jon Beason has helped a ton and played well, but for the first six games, the Giants really struggled because of the Connor injury.
The running back situation has been a mess, but that struggle is also a product of injury. David Wilson really had issues, but if Giants fans had heard that before the season they would have said, “That’s fine, they still have Andre Brown.” Unfortunately, Brown has been out with a leg injury and will be for at least three more weeks.
Since Wilson’s injury, the Giants have flipped through replacement after replacement, none of which have really played that well. All of this could have been fixed by Brown’s health.
In the secondary, injuries have also plagued Big Blue. Neither Terrell Thomas nor Corey Webster have played amazingly, but their injuries have forced players like Trumaine McBride to get ample playing time. He has done better than expected, but no one expected much.
Additionally, the Giants have missed Stevie Brown. Fans love both Antrel Rolle and Will Hill and for good reason, but they are kind of a bad pairing. Both are excellent tacklers, but neither really feels comfortable in space with the ball in the air. They are both slightly overrated. It is hard to know when they make mistakes in the passing game, but how well opposing teams throw on the Giants suggests that they have struggled.
If Brown were healthy, both could spend more time near the line of scrimmage where they shine. The Giants could also use more three-safeties looks that they love. Those three-safety looks also use one fewer linebacker, so Brown’s health would have also aided that issue.
All in all, the Giants were never a playoff team. However, the multitude of injuries that they have had has really slowed them down. Every team deals with injuries, but the Giants have had more than usual this year and at positions where they are very thin. Again, this is a flawed Giants team, but flawed teams can go 7-9 or 8-8. Flawed, injury-riddled teams often end up at 4-12, which seems to be where the Giants are headed.