New York Giants Face New Obstacle with Underrated Safety Will Hill Suspended

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistOctober 8, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 18:  Will Hill #38 of the New York Giants runs before the preseason game against the New York Jets at Metlife Stadium on August 18, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Adderall has taken down a New York Giants safety for the second time this season. Just as Tyler Sash returns from a four-game suspension for failing to clear the popular ADHD and narcolepsy drug with the NFL before testing positive for it prior to the season, Will Hill has been busted for the same offense, per ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk.

And as a result, the Giants secondary will continue to be significantly shorthanded over the next few crucial weeks.

Naturally, it'd be easy to pile on the team here, but since both Sash and Hill tested positive in the offseason, it's possible the league staggered the suspensions to provide relief for the Giants defense, but then it's also odd that this didn't go into effect in Week 5, when Sash was technically eligible to return. 

Regardless, this is just bad luck. Sash and Hill were both careless during the same time period, so there was no chance for one to learn from the other. 

"I received a doctor's prescription for Adderall prior to signing with the Giants," Hill explained today, via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. "Shortly after signing with the team, I was in a meeting with (director of player development) Charles Way, who reviewed the list of the league's banned substances. I knew at that point that this may be an issue. I was tested and the results came back that Adderall was in my system. I appealed but lost the appeal. I accept full responsibility for this situation."

The problem is that the trade-off from Hill to Sash might result in a net loss for the Giants. Sash played just 41 snaps as a rookie in 2011, recording 17 tackles and getting beat in coverage for a touchdown. His ceiling isn't as high as the talented Hill, who went undrafted last year because of character concerns, but signed this offseason and has received higher Pro Football Focus grades this year than starters Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle. 

Phillips and Rolle are both dealing with knee injuries. Phillips is out, probably for a few more weeks, while Rolle is playing but less than 100 percent. With Corey Webster struggling and with guys like Michael Coe, Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley failing to stay healthy on a consistent basis, Rolle and Hill have been forced into coverage. It hasn't been pretty.

Now, they'll be forced to use a potentially rusty and unreliable Sash alongside Rolle and Stevie Brown at safety. If Hosley remains out, the Giants could have a very difficult time providing nickel help to a depleted group of cornerbacks. Rolle can't be sacrificed by the safety group, and Justin Tyron is the only other remotely healthy defensive back on the roster who has taken reps in the slot this season...with a grand total of three.

Sash has never played the nickel spot during his short NFL career, and two valuable nickel contributors from 2011, Aaron Ross and Deon Grant, are no longer on the roster. 

Unless they sign a veteran like Grant, the best thing the Giants can do now is hope and pray that guys like Phillips and Hosley get healthy quickly, because the schedule could present some serious issues in the short term. The 49ers have scored 79 points in two games, with Alex Smith suddenly looking like Montana. And that defense won't give the Giants a chance to mask the problems in the secondary by simply turning the game into a shootout.

And beyond that, that thin defensive backfield will have to deal with Robert Griffin III, Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton before their Week 11 bye.

Obviously, the Giants have overcome more serious losses than Will Hill, but the 22-year-old was an underrated presence on that defense, and his suspension couldn't have come at a worse time. It's possible this is the thousandth cut. Either way, it's another obstacle which the champs will have to overcome in an effort to defend their title.