Injury-Riddled Giants Must Take Measures To Maintain Player Health
For two seasons in a row, the New York Giants have had the notorious honor of being the team with the most injuries in the NFL.
With the start of the preseason, New York already looks on track to keep the streak alive―prior to Saturday's preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Giants were already four safeties short: Mykkele Thompson is gone for the season after tearing his Achilles heel in the preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, Nat Berhe tweaked his calf and now needs surgery, Cooper Taylor is sidelined due to a toe injury, and Landon Collins suffered a knee injury in the opener.
After their 22-12 victory against the Jaguars, two more safeties were added to the Giants' ever-growing injury list. Rookie Justin Carrie fractured his ankle, and starter Bennett Jackson will be out for the season after tearing his ACL―a huge blow since Jackson is a key role player on the secondary, an area the Giants cannot afford to lose any players in.
Since winning Super Bowl XLVI in the 2011 season, the Giants have failed to make the playoffs and finished with only six wins last year. This underwhelming performance can be attributed to a lackluster at best, incompetent at worst, offensive line that allowed quarterback Eli Manning to get sacked 28 times, and made it impossible for running backs to gain any yardage at the line of scrimmage.
But the Giants have adopted the persona of "Big Blue Wrecking Crew" for good reason. With the likes of Lawrence Taylor, Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan, and Justin Tuck, elite defenses have long been a hallmark of the Giants. Manning can have the best statistical season of his career―which he did in 2014―but with a shoddy, injured defense, combined with an underwhelming offensive line, the Giants will once again find themselves sitting at home come playoff time.
That is why it does not bode well with the Giants continuing to lose several players seemingly each week, especially on defense. On-the-field injuries are unpredictable, but with the Giants' depth getting thinner and thinner, the team and its personnel have to play it safer.
Head coach Tom Coughlin seems to agree with that sentiment, replacing the final day of training camp with a "recovery day" which allowed players to choose two from a lineup of stress-relieving, health-promoting activities. These included massages, yoga, and pressure boot therapy.
If using an off day to proactively reduce and prevent injuries works in the team's favor, i.e. they continue to win while avoiding injuries, Coughlin is open to scheduling more recovery days throughout the regular season.
Coughlin's willingness to allow his players to substitute practice with downward dogs underscores exactly how serious the Giants' injury woes are. Before, the team's injury predicament was something that was being continually discussed, but little had actually been done to contain the problem. Now steps are finally being taken to actively reduce the probability of injury. Hopefully, these strategies will work, and combined with a little luck, will give the Giants the opportunity to reclaim their reputation as a top team in this league.