If you've been following this dismal New York Giants season, you know it's been fraught with injuries to key players. But when you lock in on one team, it's easy to lose perspective. We can say, "Every team has injuries," which is true, but it's still fair to wonder whether the Giants' injury issues are somehow worse than those of other teams.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, since Aug. 1, the Giants have placed 18 players on injured reserve. This counts Justin Anderson and Emmanuel Dieke, who were waived/injured, even though Anderson returned to play for the Giants this year. It also counts Trindon Holliday and Mario Manningham, who were placed on season-ending injured reserve at the end of training camp and have since been released. It does not count guard Geoff Schwartz, who was placed on injured reserve/designated for return and did return after missing the first 10 games, or Robert Ayers, who is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle but has yet to be placed on IR.
Here are the league-wide leaders in players placed on injured reserve since Aug. 1, through Sunday:
Dallas Cowboys: 23
Seattle Seahawks: 21
New York Giants: 18
Oakland Raiders: 16
Miami Dolphins: 15
Now, the first thing you likely notice is that five of those eight teams are in playoff contention. Dallas, Seattle and Indianapolis are either in first place in their divisions or a game out. Being on this list doesn't require you to be a 3-9 mess like the Giants.
The Giants' issue has been their inability to overcome the injuries, and the reason for that is a lack of roster depth brought on by a half-decade of ineffective drafting. The team hasn't been able to find or develop players good enough to step in when starters get hurt. This is why they found themselves having to sign so many free agents last offseason, and it's why they're outmanned every week now.
A journeyman wideout like Preston Parker isn't a sufficient replacement at slot receiver for Victor Cruz, but neither was former third-round pick Jerrel Jernigan, who's also on IR. Former third-rounder Jayron Hosley hasn't developed to the point where he can even get on the field in spite of season-ending injuries to cornerbacks Prince Amukamara, Walter Thurmond and Trumaine McBride. Jameel McClain wasn't signed to be a starting middle linebacker, and his performance the past couple of weeks demonstrates why. He hasn't been a sufficient replacement for Jon Beason, and rookie fifth-rounder Devon Kennard appears to be the next-best option. Rookie second-rounder Weston Richburg wasn't a sufficient replacement for Schwartz. When starting running back Rashad Jennings missed four weeks with an injury, they didn't have former first-rounder David Wilson, who's on IR with the neck injury that forced him to retire, and rookie Andre Williams wasn't up to the task. With defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins out the past few weeks due to a calf injury, they've had to rely on Markus Kuhn.
This is a roster that clearly needs a lot more work at all levels. Even if they don't have as many injuries as they've had this year or last, there will always be a need for roster depth to overcome some sort of injury issue. This year is highlighting (as last year did) a lack of overall depth that remains this team's most significant problem.