The NFL’s 23rd-ranked pass defense just got a bit thinner. The New York Giants announced late Tuesday night that safety Adrian Colbert has been placed on injured reserve due to a lingering shoulder injury.
Colbert, who joined the Giants in early-September following final roster cuts, has seen injuries quickly overshadow his meteoric rise up the team’s depth chart. The former seventh-round pick supplanted Julian Love in the team’s secondary by Week 4, notching back-to-back starts and collecting 10 total tackles and one tackle for loss on 93 defensive snaps over that span.
Unfortunately, Colbert hasn’t seen the field since. The safety has missed the previous three games due to his aforementioned shoulder injury, bringing his missed-game count up to five this season, due to a number of various injuries.
Colbert will now, at the very least, miss the team’s next three games before New York is permitted to reactivate him. If and when they do choose to bring Colbert back to the active roster, it’s reasonable to question whether or not his role within the Giants’ secondary will still remain.
During Colbert’s two-game run as a starter, Julian Love was delegated to benchwarmer, notching just 17 defensive snaps over that span. However, since Colbert went down with his injury, Love has since seen his usage skyrocket, averaging 58 snaps over the past three weeks.
On top of Love’s reinsertion into the defensive back rotation, a certain second-round pick is inching closer to his NFL debut.
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Xavier McKinney Update
The No. 36 selection in this past April’s draft, Xavier McKinney entered training camp with colossal hype. Unfortunately, the 2019 first-team All-SEC selection left camp with a fractured foot, landing him on injured reserve and halting his NFL debut.
Now in early-November, we are approaching the loosely projected return date for McKinney, and while head coach Joe Judge refused to commit to McKinney taking the field this season, he did admit that the team is “optimistic” on the prospect.
“We’ll see where he is in terms of the long-term, getting him back on the field,” Judge said of his rookie safety late last week. “We’re all very optimistic and eager to get him back on the grass.”
“He’s doing a really good job in his rehab. I know the trainers are pleased with the progress he’s making,” Judge told reporters late last week. “Obviously, everyone is on their own individual timetable, but I do know I see him in the weight room making progress. This guy’s in good spirits. He does a tremendous job for us in meetings, staying engaged, staying up on scouting reports of other teams.”
Judge added, “We give him some projects internally to make sure he improves his own football IQ in terms of how to look at the other teams, that he’s mentally preparing and mentally advancing while he can’t physically be on the field for us.”
The Athletic’s Dan Duggan shared this clip of McKinney rehabbing his injury during a recent practice session, via Twitter:
Xavier McKinney rehabbing his broken foot during practice. Appears to be in the early stages pic.twitter.com/FUKHPPXk7Z
— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) October 30, 2020
McKinney’s Timetable to Return
Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals, following the team’s bye, is likely the earliest we could see McKinney take the field. However, with the Giants currently sitting at 1-7 on the season, don’t expect New York to rush things with a key part of their long-term plan defensively. For that reason, early to mid-December may prove to be a more realistic target date.
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