If there was one spot the NY Giants could not afford to suffer any injuries at it would be the secondary, but that appears to be the case heading into Week 4.
The NY Giants’ defense started off the season looking more promising than most anticipated, but also as most anticipated the secondary was likely going to be the Achilles’ Heel of the unit even before highly-thought of rookie safety Xavier McKinney went down with a serious injury at the end of training camp.
Now, the unit limps into Week 4 as the safety unit has three of its five players battling injuries that are putting them in serious jeopardy of not playing against the dynamic LA Rams passing attack.
Currently, the Rams lead the league in passing yards per attempt at a gaudy 8.9, and Jared Goff and company could blow that already high number out of the water should even just a couple of these safties aren’t able to play which is starting to look more and more likely.
Luckily, Jabrill Peppers’ ankle injury doesn’t seem to be as bad as it initially looked but that won’t help the NY Giants this week if he isn’t able to suit up.
In addition, Julian Love is dealing with knee and ankle injuries that are putting his status very much up in the air for Sunday, Lastly, reserve safety Adrian Colbert is nursing a quad injury that could keep him out of action instead of him sliding into one of the starter’s spots.
Do the NY Giants have anyone to step up should the injured safeties can’t go?
According to NY Giants’ injury report released today on their website, Jabrill Peppers was not able to practice at all while Love and Colbert were both very limited.
Should all three of them not be able to go, it would be a disaster-type situation for Big Blue as Logan Ryan and Nate Ebner (gulp) are the only other two healthy safeties on the active roster. And, for what it’s worth, Ebner is not really even an NFL-level safety as he’s made his bones in the NFL as a ‘special teams ace’.
Ebner played just 1 defensive snap for the Patriots over the past three seasons and has already had to play 18 snaps for the NY Giants’ defense in 2020 which is not a good thing, Ebner has just 97 tackles in 118 career games which a majority of those coming on special teams; he also has zero interceptions of passes defended in his nine-year career speaking to his limitations as a defensive player.
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Bottom line; if Nate Ebner is forced to play meaningful snaps against the explosive Rams’ offensive it’s going to be a long day for the Big Blue ‘D’.
Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is going to have to get creative – to say the least – to slow down this Rams’ passing attack and that was going to be the case even if the secondary was at full strength.
On the practice squad, the NY Giants only have one true safety in Sean Chandler, and he has been mediocre at best when his number has been called ever since the NY Giants signed him as a UDFA out of Temple in 2018.
Chandler has played just 174 career snaps on defense, most of which coming as a rookie in 2018 where he was torched to the tune of 8-10 for 167 yards and a touchdown, ‘good’ for a 152.7 QB rating allowed. In other words, the NY Giants would almost have been better off without him on the field as the maximum QB rating a quarterback can achieve is 158.3.
He didn’t fare much better in 2019 as he allowed a QB rating of 118.7 over just 30 snaps as the NY Giants’ coaching staff clearly realized he is a liability, further questioning why he’s still on this team to begin with (as you could say for a bunch hf the players on the back-end of this roster).
Having Chandler or Ebner playing safety for any meaningful snaps would be a disaster for the NY Giants against any NFL team, but It would be downright pitiful to watch against the LA Rams offense.
This late in the week, the NY Giants can’t really bring in anyone off the street and hope for them to contribute, so all we can do right now is pray that the injury prognoses of the NY Giants’ injured safeties can improve before Sunday.