It is five weeks into the season and the New York Giants seem resigned to their reality. This season is lost.
The Giants (0-5) are winless and their lone offensive difference-maker, star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., is out for the season. We've seen what the offense looks like without Beckham (see: Week 1) and it's not pretty. It doesn't bode well for the final 11 games of this season, especially with a boatload of other Giants also struggling with injuries.
Naturally at some point (maybe even now) the Giants will turn their attention to the future of the franchise. They will feel obligated to see what they have, and provide long looks to some of the younger players who could have substantial roles moving forward.
"Yeah, we are going to take a look. At this point, we have some guys that are nicked up, so it's going to create opportunities just naturally for some younger players and for some other players to jump in there and play," coach Ben McAdoo said. "And that sort of takes care of itself when you have the type of guys nicked up that we do. But we don't shy away from playing young players, regardless."
McAdoo has been adamant about throwing young players into the mix since taking over as head coach last year. He's brought a Green Bay Packers approach to the Giants. They began the season with seven starters either in their first or second seasons.
Still, there could be more. Will McAdoo go all the way if this season continues to spiral out of control?
QB Davis Webb: This is the ultimate dilemma. Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Giants and has a streak of 204 consecutive regular-season starts. Webb is a rookie who wasn't supposed to be close to NFL ready when he was drafted in the third round this year. He is serving as the third-string quarterback and a weekly inactive.
But Manning will be 37 years old at the end of the season. He's on the "back nine" of his career, in the words of general manager Jerry Reese. It would seem to make sense for Webb to get some game action late in the season if the Giants are, say, 2-10 or 3-11. Let's see if McAdoo pulls the trigger. He should at some point so they can have an idea of what Webb brings to the table at the NFL level. This will be a tough decision.
RBs Wayne Gallman and Paul Perkins: Gallman is a fourth-round pick this year. Perkins was a fifth-round pick last year who is off to a brutal start (1.9 yards per carry) this season. The Giants have to see if either of them are feature back material, or even worthy of being in a two-back mix. The more carries the better. This isn't especially promising for Orleans Darkwa, who is a free agent this offseason and has been the Giants' most productive back (5.8 yards per carry) this season.
WR Roger Lewis: With Beckham out, the Giants are going to need some playmakers to step up. There will be plenty of opportunities at wide receiver with Beckham, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard currently injured. Lewis received an extended look Sunday that will continue through the season. He made a nice grab for a 29-yard touchdown against the Chargers. Maybe the Giants can find something with Lewis? Maybe he can prove to be a consistent contributor when receiving regular opportunities?
OT Chad Wheeler: The Giants have seen what they have with Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart. The returns don't appear overly optimistic. Wheeler is an undrafted rookie out of USC who had a strong summer. What can the Giants lose at this point, or somewhere in the near future, by throwing him in there at left tackle? He can't be much worse than Flowers was in the first four games of the season.
DE Avery Moss: The fifth-round pick out of Youngstown State made his NFL debut Sunday with Olivier Vernon sidelined by an ankle injury. Moss played 29 quiet snaps. But as the season progresses, it's worth getting him more involved than he was in the first quarter of the season, when he sat behind Romeo Okwara and Kerry Wynn and was a weekly inactive. It makes sense to have Moss in the mix to see what he can do. The Giants need to find more pass-rushers, especially on the interior. Maybe they can try Moss in there. Or maybe he can pressure the quarterback when Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul get spelled.