By Ralph Vacchiano
FOX Sports activities NFC East author
This has been a decade of despair for the New York Giants, with insults consistently piled on high of accidents. But it surely’s the accidents which have actually been maddening for them.
Any plans they may have needed to rebuild their franchise have been consistently undermined by a line of broken-down, unhealthy gamers.
Their run of horrible luck has continued this summer time, with far too many key gamers caught on the sidelines. It was as if the Giants could not catch a break.
Then, on Monday morning, they lastly did.
In a considerably unfamiliar reversal of fortune, New York received excellent news when an MRI confirmed edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux — their first of two excessive first-round draft picks — solely suffered a sprained MCL within the Giants’ preseason victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday evening. It certain appeared worse than that when he took a cut-block to his proper knee from Bengals tight finish Thaddeus Moss. The preliminary concern was that he had suffered a season-ending torn ACL.
As an alternative, Thibodeaux is simply anticipated to be out three or 4 weeks, which — “fingers crossed,” as coach Brian Daboll mentioned — retains the season opener Sept. 11 at Tennessee theoretically in play (although the house opener Sept. 18 towards Carolina would appear like a greater guess).
That is actually excellent news for a few causes. For one, Thibodeaux is the anticipated savior of a Giants cross rush that has been dormant for many of the final decade. They have not had a stud cross rusher to strike concern into opposing offenses since Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora have been nonetheless on their roster.
The 6-foot-5, 258-pound Thibodeaux — who some thought is likely to be the perfect cross rusher within the 2022 draft — is anticipated to be that man.
And the way in which the Giants envisioned it, his presence in defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s aggressive scheme, was going to show the pass-rushing group from first rate to harmful.
Leonard Williams has been a terrific participant for the Giants, however he by no means has been the pass-rusher he was anticipated to be. In actual fact, he had solely 6 ½ sacks final season — down from a career-high 11 ½ the 12 months earlier than. Loads of that was on account of all of the double-teams he confronted, at the same time as rookie linebacker Azeez Ojulari was getting eight sacks on the opposite facet.
Thibodeaux was anticipated to alleviate a few of that stress, to assist confuse offenses that now needed to basically decide their poison. They theoretically would not be capable of double-team Thibodeaux, Williams and Ojulari whereas nonetheless worrying about Martindale’s penchant for calling a secondary blitz.
However Thibodeaux was the important thing. He wanted to be pretty much as good because the Giants anticipated — pretty much as good as so many scouts thought he’d be early within the draft course of, earlier than he started to slide down some draft boards across the league. The Giants spent lots of money and time scouting Thibodeaux. GM Joe Schoen even made the journey all the way in which out to Oregon to fulfill with him over dinner. They have been completely satisfied he was the actual deal and doubtlessly a star participant.
Behind the prized rookie on the Giants’ depth chart — particularly with veteran Jihad Ward nursing his personal harm — there’s actually nothing there.
So there have been positively sighs of reduction contained in the Giants’ facility that, within the phrases of Daboll, Thibodeaux was “day to day.”
And actually, it was greater than only a sigh, as a result of good harm information is so uncommon across the Giants nowadays. Already, six of their 11 draft picks are injured, together with two — offensive lineman Marcus McKethan (fifth spherical) and linebacker Darrian Beavers (sixth) — who’re out for the season with torn ACLs. And greater than two-dozen gamers missed Sunday’s second preseason recreation with at the least minor accidents, together with receiver Kadarius Toney, heart Jon Feliciano, guard Shane Lemieux, Leonard WIlilams, Jihad Ward and tight finish Ricky Seals-Jones.
That is the tightrope they have been strolling for years now, but it surely was imagined to be completely different beneath the brand new regime of Schoen and Daboll. Nevertheless, it took lower than a month into coaching camp for everybody to begin questioning: What number of extra hits can they take?
The lack of Thibodeaux would’ve been a giant one, however at the least that is one they managed to duck. Getting him again for the season opener appears formidable, however at the least he is not misplaced for the season and will not want surgical procedure that may maintain him out for a month or longer.
There’s nonetheless uncertainty. Daboll, as is his approach, dodged specifics on Thibodeux’s anticipated return, saying solely “hopefully his rehab goes well.”
However that is ok information for a group that has been cursed, snake-bitten and besieged with accidents for a lot too lengthy. They consider the brand new regime is properly on its solution to altering issues across the Giants franchise for the higher. However they merely cannot do this if their finest gamers cannot keep on the sphere.
Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports activities, overlaying the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the earlier six years overlaying the Giants and the Jets for SNY TV in New York, and earlier than that he spent 16 years overlaying the Giants and the NFL for the New York Each day Information. A Lengthy Island, N.Y. native and graduate of Syracuse College, he may be discovered on Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.
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