When New York Giants prized free agent acquisition Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left early in each of the last two games due to what was originally called by the team as a “lower body injury,” many fans started to worry about a Giants secondary that was supposed to be the strongest unit of the team. So far, it has suddenly become very thin with fellow cornerbacks Trumaine McBride and Walter Thurmond III already on season ending injured reserve.
Now with the news coming out of Giants practice that Rodgers-Cromartie has yet to practice this week, it looks like he will not play if he cannot practice on Friday. Rodgers-Cromartie stated today that he is “currently playing at 60 percent” and the team has acknowledged that their best cover corner is dealing with an ankle injury as well. All of which could cause him to miss significant amount of playing time if he cannot get on the practice field to shake off the rust.
This latest injury couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time for the Giants as they are already dealing with significant injuries on both sides of the football. With the most crushing blow being dealt last Sunday during an embarrassing 27-0 beat down courtesy of the rival Philadelphia Eagles, wide receiver Victor Cruz was lost for the rest of the season with what was diagnosed as a torn patella tendon.
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Many were already wondering how the Giants would respond after such a disheartening injury to one of their team captains and now they have even more to worry about with this latest injury to one of their best players on defense. With a huge division game on the road against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants must find ways to win without some of their star players.
Even if Rodgers-Cromartie is able to suit up on Sunday, he clearly will not be 100 percent and fans will have to hold their breath every time he steps on the field. Not just because of his physical ailments limiting his impact on the field, but also because at any moment he can injure himself even worse than he already is and could possibly find himself with McBride and Thurmond on injured reserve that would make the Giants’ secondary a huge weakness on the team.
If he cannot play on Sunday, than whoever is called upon to step up on the outside next to Prince Amukamara will have the daunting task of replacing one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Against a talented Cowboys offense there can be very little to no room of error if the Giants want to leave victorious.
In the event Rodgers-Cromartie cannot play, the Giants would have essentially no choice but to move Zack Bowman to the outside corner position opposite Amukamara while Jayron Hosley who has been a disappointment for Big Blue so far this season, moves to nickel corner. Bowman, a former starting corner for the Chicago Bears, recorded an interception last week versus the Eagles and has played well in his limited playing time this season.
The Giants also signed corner Chandler Fenner this week for depth purposes in case Rodgers-Cromartie misses a step or ends up missing this ever important NFC East rivalry game. It will be a huge matchup to watch on Sunday if the Giants banged up secondary can hold its own against the Cowboys talented receivers as well as well-known Giant killer, tight end Jason Witten.
The pressure now with all the injuries to the Giants secondary falls upon the Giants defensive line that has been just aboutaverage this season. It will be essential for Big Blue to get pressure with their defensive front four and force opposing quarterbacks like Tony Romo who is turnover prone when he has pressure in his face. A solid pass rush will go a long way to covering up the holes in the secondary.
In order to even force Romo to throw most of the game will rely on the Giants ability to stop running back DeMarco Murray who is on pace to rush for over 2,000 yards this season behind one of the biggest offensive lines in football. It will be a tough task for the Giants as they will need their entire front seven on defense to step up in a major way and shut down the Cowboys’ offensive attack to force Romo to throw more than he would like to and force key turnovers.
Overall, the Giants cannot get to their week 9 bye fast enough where afterwards their schedule becomes much more favorable. To get there though, they have to survive two tough games first with the Cowboys this Sunday, then a Monday Night Football matchup at home versus a red-hot Andrew Luck and his Indianapolis Colts.
Having Rodgers-Cromartie on the playing field even at only 60 percent will help the Giants chances of winning these big games coming up. If he is out then the pressure could be too much to handle for the Giants defense that is trying to regroup from last Sunday’s loss.
The time is now for the Giants to either make a statement and grind out some tough wins and keep their season alive, or go down as another year of missing the playoffs yet which could spell major changes to this Giants team in the distant future.