The New York Giants are off to a rough start in 2014, starting 0-2 for the second consecutive season. Things aren’t looking any easier for them as Walter Thurmond injured his pectoral on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals and will require season-ending surgery. The loss is a big one for the Giants, but if they could afford an injury at any position it is at defensive back.
Thurmond was a big part of the Giants’ defensive scheme, as he was constantly on the field with opposing offenses using more and more three and four wide receiver sets. He saw a large amount of plays, and it will take a team effort to replace his snaps and production.
The Giants made sure to beef up their secondary this offseason with a number of acquisitions in free agency and the draft. In addition to Thurmond, the Giants signed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Zack Bowman as free agents. They also re-signed Trumaine McBride and drafted Bennett Jackson. So while an injury is never a good thing, the Giants have the depth to replace Thurmond.
McBride replaced him in the game on Sunday against the Cardinals and will more than likely get the first shot. Bowman is a special teams ace for the Giants, but he should see an increased role on defense as well. Another sleeper to help replace Thurmond is former third-round pick Jayron Hosley. Hosley is currently serving a four-game suspension for a failed drug test as he was in violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Hosley is a player the Giants have liked in recent seasons. He has been a solid special teams performer for the Giants since they drafted him in 2012. Hosley also has had his moments playing CB showing flashes and may have a chance to showcase why he deserves to stick around. Hosley has a big opportunity in front of him, as he was on the chopping block in the offseason but could now find himself in an expanded role with the team once he returns for their Week 5 game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The injury bug once again is hitting the Giants early and often, and it is making things difficult for a team already struggling on the field. The defensive backfield was supposed to be the strength of this team, and losing Thurmond will hamper that as his skills defending the slot are above average. But the Giants made it a point to make sure an injury wouldn’t ruin them completely at the position, and the depth they have should make up for the loss of Thurmond. It is an injury that hurts, but it’s not one they can’t survive with a team effort.