Oct 12, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) grabs his knee in the end zone against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. He was carted off the field with an injury. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
While the New York Giants‘ offense is showing the understanding of offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s west coast scheme, the unit is reeling with the losses of their two-best play-makers in running back Rashad Jennings and wide receiver Victor Cruz – the latter being gone for the year. Cruz has let it be known that he will be back and be just as productive — offering fans hope via his social media accounts.
“In other news. Week 1 in the books! Be back in no time! #Just”- Victor Cruz, @teamvic
The last from what was heard regarding the status of Jennings, head coach Tom Coughlin remained hopeful that he would return following the bye week. Ever since Jennings has missed the last two games entirely, Andre Williams has been ineffective while trying to carry the load by rushing for 110 yards on his last 35 carries. Williams has not shown the big-play burst that he displayed back during the preseason, which is fairly expected given that he is now facing first-team defenses during the thick of the NFL season.
With the First Pick
Losing Victor Cruz, a week after Rashad Jennings, was even more of a blow. The first-year team captain is the leader of the Giants’ receivers in terms of production and locker room presence. The Giants are now hoping that 2014 first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. can become a veteran quickly.
The Giants offense without these two have become baron in terms of talent. Despite the season that quarterback Eli Manning is quietly producing, losing the production of Jennings and Cruz hurts not just Manning but everyone else with most notably the emergence of tight end Larry Donnell who had a viciously effective start to this season.
After the finish of the last two games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, the Giants were an overall putrid 7-27 on third-down conversions. It does not help that Williams has been ineffective running the ball, and it is putting the Giants in tough third-down positions where defenses do not need to worry about Cruz patrolling the middle of the field. Beckham still has the legitimate excuse of still being a rookie.
However, Rueben Randle’s stunted growth is being magnified now more than ever because this should be a time where he makes himself a staple in Big Blue’s offense. By year-three is when teams hope that their high draft picks from years past start contributing in active roles. The career-ending injury for running back David Wilson is also a draft pick that is killing the Giants to this day. Randle and Wilson, both from the same 2012 NFL Draft class, are picks that have paid nearly zero dividends to general manager Jerry Reese. It is imperative going forward that Beckham and Williams do not follow suit to the two players previously mentioned.