Another week, same ol’ injury story. You could make a case that no team has been ravaged by injuries quite like the New York Giants this season. At the helm of their injury woes has been the receiver position, as Big Blue’s reworked receiving corps has spent more time in the tub than they have on the gridiron.
Leading receiver Sterling Shepard missed two games earlier this year with a hamstring. Darius Slayton continues to be sidelined as he nurses a hamstring injury of his own. Big-ticket free-agent Kenny Golladay was inactive in Sunday’s Week 6 blowout due to a hyperextended knee, while rookie Kadarius Toney lasted less than one quarter before exiting the Rams contest with a tweaked ankle. To make matters worse, it looks as if the Giants will be without the services of C.J. Board for an extended period of time moving forward.
Head coach Joe Judge confirmed to reporters following the team’s 38-11 loss, that the third-year pro suffered a broken arm.
“C.J. (Board), I was told he broke his arm,” said Judge. “I don’t know exactly where that’s going to put everything timetable-wise, but he’s a tough kid (and) he does a really good job competing. You hate it for any of the guys, but you hate it for a guy like C.J., who really has pushed through every situation he’s been asked to be in and just keeps finding a way to make himself necessary as a player on the roster.”
Board, the team’s primary kick return specialist this season, sustained the injury on a 38-yard return in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss — his longest return of the season.
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Darnay Holmes Gets Look as Returner, Remains a Defensive Afterthought
In a somewhat surprising move, the Giants turned to second-year cornerback Darnay Holmes to shoulder return duties after Board was carted off to the locker room. The UCLA product fielded two kickoffs on the day, totaling 33 return yards (16.5 average), including a 22-yard scamper.
This marked not only Holmes’ first look as a return specialist in his NFL career, but essentially the first real run he’s ever had on special teams. Despite playing a prominent role on defense as a rookie (442 snaps), he logged a meager 10 special teams snaps in 2020.
Holmes has been used sparingly this season, becoming an afterthought in the G-Men’s secondary. Even with rookie Rodarius Williams placed on season-ending injured reserve with a torn ACL, Holmes manned just nine defensive snaps vs. the Rams. The most mind-boggling part of that number is that it actually marks his highest defensive usage since Week 2. After averaging nearly 37 defensive snaps per game as a rookie, the 23-year-old has averaged just 3.5 defensive snaps over his last four games.
Judge Talks Little Picture
Heading into a Week 5 bout with the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants had the look of a team potentially on the up-and-up. Riding high after an upset victory over the New Orleans Saints, and being a tough out for all other opponents up that point, hype was undoubtedly building in East Rutherford. However, a compilation of injuries and back-to-back blowout losses have plummeted the Giants back into the cellars of NFL teams as we near the midway point of the season.
Asked by reporters what message he shared with his players following their fifth loss of the season, Judge had this to say:
Right here and right now? We’re coming back and we’re going to work. We’ve got things we’ve got to improve on. When we come back on Wednesday, it’s time to get going to work. Get your bodies right, get your minds right. We’re not going to be licking our wounds around here. There’s a lot of ball left to be played. Our goal every week is to go 1-0. Our goal is to get better as a team as the season progresses. That goal doesn’t change.
You talk about the big picture – the big picture is the little picture, that’s next week. The big picture is how we handle next week, how we practice, how we improve, how we prepare and how we come out and we execute. That’s where our focus has to be seven days from now. We’ve got seven days to get ready for another good opponent coming in here and that’s where our focus has to be.