The New York Giants are in serious trouble at the wide receiver position heading into their Week 5 matchup with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Wide receiver Kenny Golladay has an MCL sprain, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, leaving the Giants with just three healthy wide receivers on the roster.
New York’s healthy receivers are Richie James, David Sills and Darius Slayton. James leads the team with 155 receiving yards (38.8 yards/game), Sills is a former practice-squad receiver and Slayton just caught his first pass of the season in Week 4 against the Bears. It’s difficult to see how this unit can keep the passing game afloat moving forward.
There is a chance the Giants get Kadarius Toney (hamstring) and/or Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) back this week. Head coach Brian Daboll provided an encouraging update on them earlier this week.
“We’ll see where those guys are at as the week goes on,” Daboll said. “They’re all making progress.”
Even if Toney and Robinson return for Week 5, it’s not like either player is guaranteed to make an instant impact. Toney has caught two passes for zero yards this season, and Robinson is a rookie who only has one NFL reception under his belt.
How the Giants Offense Has Survived Without Reliable WRs
The Giants have made it to 3-1 without reliable wide receivers, thanks in large part to the efforts of running back Saquon Barkley. Not only does Barkley lead the NFL in rushing yards through four games (463), but he’s also tied with Richie James for the team lead in receptions (15).
Barkley’s impact can be felt even when he does not touch the ball. Watch how he draws the attention of the entire Chicago Bears defense in the video clip below, allowing quarterback Daniel Jones to roll out freely and find his wide-open tight end Daniel Bellinger.
Bellinger led the Giants with three receptions for 23 yards against the Bears. The entire wide receiving corps — Slayton, James, Sills and Golladay — combined for 25 yards on three receptions in that game (8 total targets).
The play fake to Barkley has also helped Jones succeed as a runner. He is on pace for over 800 rushing yards this season, but the ankle injury he sustained against the Bears could significantly flatten that projection moving forward.
With only a few healthy receivers on the active roster and a starting quarterback who may be somewhat hobbled on Sunday, the Giants will likely call on Barkley to carry the offense yet again in Week 5.
Do the Giants Have Practice Squad Options at Wide Receiver?
If the Giants do not turn to outside help at the position, it’s very possible that the Giants elevate one of their three practice squad receivers for Sunday. Their options are Marcus Johnson, Kalil Pimpleton and Makai Polk. Pimpleton and Polk are both rookies, but Johnson has been in the NFL since 2017 and has 51 career receptions for 839 yards and three touchdowns.
Although former Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was reportedly in the team facility earlier this week, that was not considered an official free-agent visit. He is still rehabilitating from a torn ACL suffered last February and is not expected to sign with a new team until November when he is fully healthy.
Why in the world is Joe Schoen refusing to sign Alex Bachman, who would help the offense greatly?