Because there is something wrong at the Timex performance center, but it’s not something that people should be surprised about. The Giants have some key injuries most notably on the defense, that are keeping them form gaining the upper hand and beating the teams they play.
Why, you ask? They should be 8-0 or 7-1? I think some people have really missed the boat here. I have said over the summer that the Giants were poised to make another strong run this year. Then I saw three of the four pre-season games, and the way they played in the first two regular season games, even though they were wins. There are just too many key injuries on defense, especially in the secondary with the extended absences of Kenny Phillips and Aaron Ross. In the linebacking corps, Aaron Pierce is playing hurt and Michael Boley is out as well as defensive tackle Chris Canty who has a calf injury.
Not that the offense is without it’s share of the injury bug. First, rookie first round draft choice Hakeem Nicks sprains an ankle, then left tackle Kareem MacKenzie gets injured, plus running back Ahmad Bradshaw has developed a “nagging” ankle injury, and now Mario Manningham, the second year receiver who was finally “breaking out” is injured as well (shoulder). Plus Sinorice Moss has a foot injury and Dominik Hixon has a hip pointer. So you see where I’m going with this right?
More importantly, this week against the Eagles was the first time there were real breakdowns in all three phases of the game. Eli Manning contributed two picks, which led directly to Eagles touchdowns. The defense tackled like a bunch of fourth graders, and the special teams has their first bad game of the season as well. Big Blue has been a big bust so far. Last year they gave up the ball a total of 13 times with just three fumbles. This year it’s already up to 15 turnovers with 9 fumbles already.
The Giants receivers are down to Hakeem Nicks, Derek Hagan, Steve Smith, Hixon – if his hip pointer is better by the end of the week – and Ramses Barden who has yet to be given a chance to play except for two games where he was active and played special teams. Not to mention that the players on both lines are getting banged up with each game. Nicks had his first career start as a Giant, and caught 4 passes for 53 yards, including the Giants best effort of the game, a 35 yard catch.
It doesn’t matter how good a coaching staff you have, or how much talent your team has, when the injury bug bites (like the flu), all you can do is take your medication and wait for it to heal. The big question now is do the Giants have to time to wait for every player who is hurt to get healthy again? I doubt it and you shouldn’t count on it either.
The Giants won their first five games on the backs of weaker opponents. Now that their own weaknesses due to injuries have been exposed, first by New Orleans, then Arizona, and now the Eagles who aren’t really that good, The Giants are living proof that it doesn’t matter how good you are in the NFL; it matters how healthy you are over the course of a sixteen game – seventeen week season.
The players are still quite confidant in themselves and their coaches, which is a good thing, but that doesn’t matter all that much in the total picture.
What matters now is weather or not the Giants, just two years removed from an incredible post season run to a super bowl XLII win, can even make the post season, much less win the NFC Eastern Division again.