With the Giants coming out of Monday night’s loss to the Chiefs more hobbled than they already were in both the passing and return game, the team has opted to add some reinforcement to both areas with one new addition. On Wednesday, November 3rd, New York added former Rams wideout, Pharoh Cooper, as a practice squad veteran signing.
Cooper, 26, was a fourth-round pick for Los Angeles back in 2016 after two first-team All-SEC selections at South Carolina. His most prolific receiving campaign in the pros actually came with the Cardinals in 2019, when he hauled in 25 receptions for 243 yards. However, where Cooper can be truly special is as a return specialist. Back in 2017, Cooper ranked first in the NFL in return yard average (27.4) and second in return yards (949) en route to an NFC Pro Bowl berth. He was also one of just seven players to return a kickoff for a touchdown that season, scoring from 103 yards out.
Joining Cooper on the practice squad will be a familiar face in receiver Alex Bachman. Much like the recently re-signed David Sills, Bachman has become somewhat of a fan-favorite during his past two training camps in East Rutherford, constantly flaunting a knack of getting open. Undrafted out of Wake Forest in 2019, Bachman finished his collegiate career with 1,162 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on 82 receptions. The Giants have also experimented with the former Demon Deacon in the return game during camp, although he totaled just 14 (kickoff and punt) returns in his four years at Wake Forest.
Sterling Shepard Could Be Out Through the Bye Week
The additions of Cooper and Bachman come on the heels of Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney and Dante Pettis all suffering injuries in the team’s Week 8 loss. According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, Shepard is “expected to miss some time” with a quad injury and could be sidelined through Big Blue’s Week 10 bye.
The team’s primary slot receiver has been near-brilliant this season when healthy, leading the team with 32 receptions. However, injuries continue to plague Shepard as they have throughout the majority of his career. His latest injury is his third lower-body injury of the season. Hamstring issues have caused him to miss three of the Giants’ past five games.
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WR Injuries Continue to Pile Up
Toney, who was already dealing with an ankle injury, sustained a thumb injury against the Chiefs. The 2021 first-rounder has been electric in spurts this season, leading all Giants pass-catchers in receiving yards with 343. However, he’s seen sporadic usage offensively, playing no more than 57% of the team’s offensive snaps since the Giants’ Week 4 victory over the Saints.
“For K.T., I know he got stepped on,” head coach Joe Judge said of his rookie wideout. “It looked like he had a slice in his glove, pretty good gash on his hand, but he was able to return and play. I haven’t gotten anything final on that, whether that will be limiting this week or not. It seems like he came out okay (otherwise) on that.”
Pettis left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury after attempting to recover his own muffed punt. The NCAA’s record-holder for career punt return touchdowns (9), Pettis had been filling in for Jabrill Peppers in the return game after the team’s primary punt returner and starting safety’s 2021 campaign was prematurely cut short with a season-ending knee injury.