Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DT Injuries

Last year it was the CBs that got hammered with injuries in camp leaving the Giants with a  season long scramble to catch up and patch together sufficient coverage on the backend to provide representative defense. Coming together with the normal stream of injuries that inevitably happen during the year to other positions on the defense, it almost ruined the Giants season. Fortunately by the end of the season, some of the injured healed up and the season was saved. This year things looked quiet and relatively calm on the injury front. The one area where Reese was concerned was the DT position, because Canty was coming off serious knee surgery and Marvin Austin was in effect a red-shirted freshman who had no track record and had not played competitive football in 2 years. In response to this apparent lack of depth at DT, Reese drafted Kuhn and signed veterans Rocky Bernard and Shaun Rogers. As we blogged earlier, Reese was so concerned about this, he put Ballard at risk and lost him to the Patriots, but he felt bringing in the depth was critical. I don't know if we can say he was right or if he brought in the wrong players, but the injury bug that hit the CBs last year seems to have traveled to the DTs this year. Rogers was taken to the hospital and was diagnosed this morning with a blood clot in his leg. Martin Parker, another DT on the roster who I think had slim chance of making the roster is out with a bad back requiring surgery. Marvin Austin is also being looked at with a back problem, not really surprising because of his lack of playing time over the last two years. With Canty still on PUP and unlikely to be ready for the start of the season, if at all this year, the DT part of the roster looks thin. Bernard and Linval Jospeh are probably the current starters. Dwayne Hendricks, who has had a great camp and played very well against the Jaguars in the preseason opener will probably make the team now and get prominent playing time. I am worried about Canty - I think he will start the season on PUP and may not make it off, missing the entire season. Giants could go out and find some depth at DT after training camp cuts, or they could carry an extra DE/LB, give Tuck some extra snaps at DT and give Kiwanuka some more plays with his hands in the dirt to cover up the shortage at DT. I would not make Tuck a full time DT - his great value is his blend of strength and speed. Sticking him in the middle all the time makes him more prone to injury and mitigates his ability. We'll see.

UPDATE AT Aug 14; 16:12 -  The worst case seems confirmed; Coughlin is quoted as saying that Rogers is out for the season.

I took another look at the game the other night and came away really impressed with Herzlich. He was in on several running plays, looks very fast and physical and also showed good instincts in defending the pass.

There is so much talent and depth on this roster, the formulation of the team and the final cuts will be really tough. I wouldn't be surprised if Giants end up cutting some good players that end up on other rosters in the league. One simple example is at the WR position. It would be nice to carry 6 WRs and if the Giants do, the leading candidates are probably: Nicks, Cruz, Randle, Jenrigan, Hixon and Barden. But Stanback made a great catch the other night, has had a good camp and is a very good ST player. They also have some other WRs who look good: Douglas, Talley and DePalma, but let's assume they won't make the team. If you want to keep Stanback and can carry only 6 WRs, is there a chance that Hixon does not make the team? Or if Hixon makes the team is there a chance they cut Barden? Difficult decisions.

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