It included multiple quarterbacks, offensive linemen, defensive backs and edge rushers. Starting quarterback Daniel Jones (ankle) highlighted the list. His backup, Tyrod Taylor (concussion), was there as well.
It looked for a moment like Davis Webb, who has never started a game or thrown a pass in his NFL career, might start Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in London. Jones’ status remains in doubt (although he’s trending in the right direction) and Taylor is still in the concussion protocol.
And that’s just the start. All these early-season injuries have put an even bigger emphasis on the depth of the Giants’ roster, already a serious concern coming into the season.
“Could we have done better? Yeah, if we had $40 million in cap space,” general manager Joe Schoen said this summer before the start of training camp.
Schoen and coach Brian Daboll were surprisingly forthright heading into the season about the prospects of the team in Year 1 of this new regime. They seemed to be setting the bar low. They made seven waiver claims after final cuts; landed four new players. They’ve continually turned over the roster since.
Yet the Giants (3-1) have managed to survive this season despite a string of injuries. They’ve had 12 players make an appearance on their active game day roster who weren’t on the team when training camp began. It has been an endless juggling of the bottom of the roster.
The wide receiver position has been hit hardest by injury. Kadarius Toney (hamstring) is set to miss his third straight game, rookie Wan'Dale Robinson (knee) hasn’t been on the field since the opener and is likely looking to return next week, veteran Sterling Shepard tore the ACL in his left knee in a Week 3 loss and Kenny Golladay left Sunday’s win with a sprained MCL that is expected to keep him out several weeks.
Who is even left at this point to face the Packers? The injuries have the Giants starting the likes of David Sills and Richie James -- and struggling to throw the football. Practice squad receiver Marcus Johnson could be asked to play a significant role against the Packers.
Still, Daboll insists their lack of throwing the football (31st in the NFL) and getting just three catches for 25 yards against Chicago from their wide receivers was more a product of the environment than the personnel.
“No, I’d say we catered [our game plan] to playing the Bears -- what we thought we needed to do,” Daboll said.
It can’t be exactly what the Giants had planned entering the season. Daboll and Schoen came from the Buffalo Bills, who were a top-three passing offense each of the past two years. Their explosive offense was built around their quarterback and their passing game.
The Giants are relying on star running back Saquon Barkley and their quarterback’s legs to produce just enough offense for them to win. Jones has 31 rushes for 198 yards over the first four games.
The Giants are simply making the best of what they have at the moment. This is the result of being left strapped against the salary cap and without much talent because of the sins of the previous regime, which was led by general manager Dave Gettleman.
New York entered the offseason approximately $10 million over the cap. They had to go the no-name route.
It’s not just the wide receiver position that has been put to the test the first four weeks of the season. The Giants' defense has perhaps been hit even harder by injury. It also has proven more resilient.
They Giants have been injury-riddled at cornerback, outside linebacker and on their defensive line. Starting defensive lineman Leonard Williams, outside linebackers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, cornerbacks Aaron Robinson, Cor'Dale Flott and Nick McCloud have all missed games. Robinson (knee) is on injured reserve and could miss the remainder of the season.
Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has still managed to put out a successful unit that is second in red-zone and third-down defense.
“I think it’s the culture that Joe [Schoen] and Brian [Daboll] that we’re building here, No. 1,” Martindale said. “No. 2 is the group of guys in that room that have that ‘next-man up’ mentality of just being ready to go. The other part is I think the assistants do a great job of preparing all those guys to be ready to go into the game. That’s not as easy as it’s said. It’s not as easy to do as how I just said it there, but you can see when you put them in there, they’re knowing what to do.”
Coaching deserves some of the credit. No doubt. So do some of the players who have filled in admirably. Veteran Nick Williams has quietly done a good job in place of Leonard Williams with 10 tackles and a pass defended. Cornerback Fabian Moreau and linebacker Jaylon Smith have gone from the practice squad to the starting lineup and have contributed.
Safety/linebacker Landon Collins, signed Thursday to the practice squad, could be next to make that jump.
“You can see the practice squad has changed a lot since we first started,” Daboll said. “Will probably change more. Get [Collins] in, let him learn our system and see how it goes.”
That seems to be how the Giants are getting by these days despite their lack of depth.