The Giants’ secondary has been decimated by injuries this season.
Which could mean Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott tearing up coordinator Wink Martindale’s Giants defense on Thanksgiving in Dallas.
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The last big blow: No. 1 cornerback Adoree Jackson is out for four to six weeks with a sprained MCL in his knee. The 7-3 Giants, losers of two of their past three, have just seven games left in the regular season as they push for their first playoff appearance since 2016.
So what next for this ailing secondary, with a short week turnaround?
First, Jackson should never have returned punts, which is how he got hurt in Sunday’s loss to the Lions. That was a mistake by rookie head coach Brian Daboll, to put Jackson back there on punt returns, even though Daboll will never admit it publicly.
The state of the Giants’ roster means this team has a small margin of error. That’s been the case all year. And the secondary is now under serious pressure. It’s a bad situation.
Aaron Robinson would start on the outside corner opposite Jackson. But in the end he only played two games and is likely to be out for the season with a knee injury. The Giants initially replaced Robinson with third round rookie Cor’Dale Flott and then Fabian Moreau.
But Moreau injured his oblique muscle in Sunday’s game and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play on Thanksgiving. So the Giants would look to Flott, Nick McCloud and Rodarius Williams – who just came off injured reserve last week – for their two outside corner spots.
And remember, free safety Xavier McKinney – who hurt his hand in an ATV accident (another silly mistake) – is out at least two more games while on the non-football injury list. Fourth round rookie Dane Belton replaced him in the spot next to Julian Love.
Really, Love is the last man standing in this Giants secondary, in terms of Week 1 starters, though closing corner Darnay Holmes remains healthy as well.
Belton failed two games as a replacement for McKinney – Pro Football Focus marks of 39.8 against both the Texans and Lions. But right now, with Jackson permanently out this week and Moreau possibly out, the Giants have more to worry about than just Belton.
So here’s a look at Flott, McCloud and Williams, with PFF numbers for this season alone…
• Cor’Dale Flott (rookie): played four games (three in which he got defensive snaps), 82 snaps, 64.1 overall PFF rating, 69.9 coverage rating
• Nick McCloud (year 2, not drafted): nine career games (seven this year), 138 snaps (124 this year), 68.8 overall PFF mark, 65.3 cover mark
• Rodarius Williams (year 2, round 6): six career games (one this year), 77 snaps (27 this year), 49.6 overall PFF mark, 52.3 cover mark
Yeah, not much experience there, among that trio. And two of those guys could end up in the outside corner for the Giants in Dallas.
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Flott played 22 snaps against Detroit, McCloud 39 and Williams 27 – of 67 total defensive snaps for the Giants.
Of course, one of the Giants’ outer corner spots will be a big question mark for at least a month, with Jackson sidelined. At best, Moreau—a sixth-year pro with 40 career starts—is forced into the No. 1 corner job. He didn’t join the Giants until just before Week 1.
None of this is ideal as the Giants reached a critical point of Daboll’s first season.
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Darryl Slater can be reached at [email protected].