Before the start of the 2021 season, the New York Giants were ready to shed their rebuilding label and become a winning franchise once again. Instead, the team has stumbled and bumbled their way through another disappointing start. But the Giants have time to find the winning formula or they will have to endure another frustrating losing season. The New York Giants injuries have held them back but the season can still be salvaged.
New York Giants Injuries Playing Big Part in 2021 Struggles
Barkley the Biggest Loss
The team’s current situation is perplexing to everyone (players, coaches, front office staff, and fans) involved. All have to be held accountable for the poor play. Even though a 2-5 start and devastating injuries (Saquon Barkley’s high ankle sprain, Kenny Golladay’s knee, and Blake Martinez’s torn ACL) to key personnel, the G-Men’s locker room still is optimistic of turning this season around.
The biggest blow to the Giants lineup has been the loss of Barkley from the offensive unit. His injury occurred when the talented back stepped on the foot of Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis in a Week 5 road loss.
New York misses his presence in the passing and running game. He is more physical than you may think. A majority of his yards gained come after contact. Barkley is expected to return to the lineup in Week 9. But he will need time to get himself acclimated back onto a football field. It is tough to generate a consistent performance level when you have played only seven games in a little over one year.
Kenny Golladay’s Absence Has Been Noticeable
The Giants offense is erratic. Injuries to multiple Giants offensive starters has taken a toll on the unit’s ability to put points on the scoreboard. The absence of Golladay has been noticeable in the passing game. He signed a big-money free agent contract in the offseason, then sustained two separate leg injuries that limited his participation on the practice field and in games. The Giants could have used Golladay’s experience when it mattered the most in close games.
Add Andrew Thomas, Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney, Shane Lemieux and Nick Gates to the list of key contributors who have missed playing time. The Giants had more than their share of injuries, but no team wants to use it as the reason their season has derailed. However, the Giants offense has become a non-factor in most games because of the absence of their playmakers.
Giants Need to Re-Gain 2020 Winning Formula
Let’s not get too crazy, there is a significant gap between the Giants and the best teams in the NFL. Still, it is disappointing that the team has not shown any improvement at all. At times, the Giants have failed to show any fight when matched against a legit playoff contender.
Last season when the team was playing well, the winning formula was to stay close and rally late to win dramatically. That has not been the case in the first seven games in 2021. Opposing offenses have scored regularly, while their defense has kept the Giants offense in check. The results have been several lopsided losses.
The reality is the Giants winning formula is becoming more consistent on both sides of the ball. The team must play competitive football before considering themselves a playoff contender. It’s time to learn how to walk before running. Too many preseason pretenders fail to learn this valuable lesson.
Fans Growing Frustrated
Even if the players insist they do not hear the boos from the crowd at MetLife, it cannot be misinterpreted as anything else but a hostile environment. The fans are getting restless with the aspect of witnessing another losing season. Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch may have to explore options to rectify the situation. Some of those decisions come with long-term ramifications that may have to wait until the season concludes.
The Giants are not ready to contend. Thankfully, there is still time on the clock for Big Blue to find some second-half magic. The Giants injuries healing would be a big first step. If that magic found, it could carry the team into the next phase of the rebuild.
Granted, playing competitive football will hurt the G-Men’s draft position for next spring’s NFL Draft. But finding that winning formula could put the Giants on the path of becoming a playoff contender.
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