The NFL’s fifth-ranked total defense has just been stripped of their starting outside linebacker for at least the next three weeks. The New York Giants placed edge defender Oshane Ximines on injured reserve Friday, five days after the former Old Dominion star suffered a shoulder injury in Week 4’s 17-9 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams.
Ximines, who failed to practice all week due to the injury, is now eligible to return to New York’s active roster for Week 8’s bout against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The second-year pro now joins fellow Giants starters Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard on the IR, the latter of which is eligible to return next week against Washington.
New York Still Waiting for Ximines to Break Out
A third-round pick in 2019, Ximines flashed in his rookie campaign. He tied with Lorenzo Carter for second on the team in sacks with 4.5, while also recording the sixth-best pass-rush grade among all rookie edge defenders (min. 400 snaps), per Pro Football Focus.
Ximines’ production led many outlets to heap immense projections on the 6-foot-4-inch, 252-pound defender this summer. Ximines was a favorite breakout candidate around the NFL, with some even foreseeing him as the “next king of New York.”
Four weeks into his second-NFL season and Ximines has clearly not lived up to the lofty expectations. Starting three of the Giants’ four games this year, Ximines has posted a PFF overall grade of 61.2 and has been credited with just five tackles, one tackle for loss and three quarterback hits. He’s still looking for his first sack of the season.
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The Resurrection of Markus Golden?
The loss of Ximines will likely open the door for last season’s sack leader, Markus Golden, to work his way back into the rotation. Fresh off a double-digit sack campaign in 2019, Golden has been condemned to a reserve role under the team’s new coaching staff. He’s yet to eclipse more than 34% of the team’s defensive snaps in any game this season and logged just seven snaps against the Rams this past Sunday.
Yet, despite his limited looks, Golden made the most of his playing time, as evident in the clip below shared by SNYGiants:
Goodness gracious Markus Golden 💪
— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) October 4, 2020
Ximines may not be the only injured pass-rusher Golden must pick up the slack for moving forward. Fellow outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell is dealing with a neck ailment and is currently listed as questionable for Sunday’s outing against Dallas, per The Athletic’s Dan Duggan. Fackrell has been arguably New York’s most consistent pass rush presence this season, tying with Blake Martinez and Leonard Williams for the team lead in sacks with 2.0.
After failing to garner much attention on the open market this summer, Golden’s awkward offseason ended with the veteran defender returning to New York on the rarely-used UFA Tender in August, a move that looked like a bargain at the time. Now, Golden will likely have the next three weeks to prove that sentiment correct.
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