Giants Confirm Major Darren Waller News: Report

Darren Waller

Getty The New York Giants confirmed major news about the status of tight end Darren Waller.

One of the worst-case scenarios for the New York Giants in the 2023 NFL season has come true. Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller has landed on injured reserve with the hamstring problem he suffered against the New York Jets in Week 8.

Waller’s new status was confirmed by ESPN’s Field Yates, who also reported backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor will join the pass-catcher on IR, on Saturday, November 4.

Taylor also left the game against the Jets, due to a rib injury that landed him in hospital, but Waller’s loss will be felt more keenly. Head coach Brian Daboll, who wouldn’t rule out injured reserve as a possibility when speaking to reporters earlier in the week, needs a plan for life without his most talented receiver.

Waller hasn’t quite lived up to the billing since the Giants sent the 100th pick in the 2023 NFL draft to the Las Vegas Raiders during the offseason, but he was starting to show a few glimpses of his playmaking talent.

The 31-year-old’s growing comfort as a go-to receiver could have transformed a pedestrian Giants passing game. Instead, Big Blue will be without Waller’s versatility and physical mismatch skills until after their bye week on December 3 at the earliest.

His absence will leave Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka needing to rely on backup players like Daniel Bellinger and the returning Lawrence Cager to fill the void.

Giants Don’t Have Another Receiver as Versatile as Darren Waller

The Giants don’t have another receiver who can beat defenses in as many ways as Waller. No. 12 can line up anywhere, split out wide, flexed into the slot, attached to the line or even in the backfield.

Waller was in multiple spots when he snagged eight catches from 11 targets against the Miami Dolphins in Week 5. The tight end’s move skills and sure hands were highlighted by Nick Falato of SB Nation’s Big Blue View.

Using Waller as a roving option across formations not only added nuance to Daboll and Kafka’s pass attack. It also created obvious matchup advantages for a 6-foot-6, 238-pounder too big for cornerbacks to jam, as well as too swift for linebackers and safeties to track in space.

Those mismatches made things easier for Giants’ quarterbacks Taylor and Daniel Jones. The latter is back in the lineup after three weeks out with a cervical neck problem, but Jones will be counting on Waller’s replacements to lend helping hands.

Giants Bring Back Familiar Darren Waller Replacement

Cager being elevated off the practice squad, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, was the obvious move given his familiarity with the Daboll and Kafka playbook.

The Giants used Cager in six games last season and he caught 13 passes from 18 targets. Like Waller, Cager is a flexible tight end with wide-receiver-type skills.

His move skills were put to good use for this touchdown reception against the Houston Texans, highlighted by Bobby Skinner of Talkin’ Giants.

It was a cleverly designed play involving a play-action fake and rollout from Jones, as well as motion by Cager. This many moving parts usually creates easy targets in the red zone, while Daboll and Kafka can also find ways to isolate Cager’s 6-foot-5 height on the perimeter between the 20s.

Using Cager as a roving complement to traditional, in-line tight end Bellinger can help the Giants offset losing Waller, but the timing of the latter’s injury is still a bitter blow.