The Giants went 1-3, but we all know that preseason records are all but irrelevant in the NFL.
The starters typically play a minimal number of snaps, and teams are experimenting with new plays, different personnel combinations, different offensive and defensive sets, etc.
The Giants preseason was not a disaster because of their 1-3 record; it was a complete and utter disaster because of the number of injuries sustained to key players over the past four weeks. New York lost center David Baas (knee) and offensive tackle David Diehl (thumb) to injuries during the very first week of the preseason.
Baas could potentially return as early as Week 2, but Diehl will be out until at least Oct. 6.
Victor Cruz, whom the Giants just signed to five-year, $43 million contract extension, injured his heel during the second preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts. Cruz is listed as probable for tomorrow night’s season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, which of course means that he “probably” won’t be anywhere near 100 percent.
During the third preseason game the Giants lost safety Stevie Brown, who ranked among the league leaders in 2012 with his team-high eight interceptions. Brown tore his ACL while returning an interception against the New York Jets and will be sidelined for the entire 2013 season.
And just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse for the Giants...running back Andre Brown fractured his leg during the final preseason game in New England.
Needless to say, the Giants will be literally limping into AT&T Stadium for their season opener.
Of course every NFL team can expect to suffer at least a few bumps and bruises during the preseason, but the Giants will be entering the 2013 season with a handful of vitally important players on the sidelines.
Although Stevie Brown is a huge loss to the defense, injuries to the offense could be particularly devastating for a couple of reasons.
First and foremost, the Giants ability to protect Eli Manning could be severely weakened tomorrow night. With Baas and Diehl gone, the offensive line is already becoming a shell of its former self. Add in the loss of Andre Brown, who is a strong pass-protecting back, and Manning could be on the run for much of the game.
Second, the Giants now will also have a very difficult time creating running lanes for David Wilson.
Many were wary to begin with of Wilson’s ability to carry the bulk of the running load this season due to his size and inexperience. Add in the injuries to Baas and Diehl and the absences of Andre Brown and fullback Henry Hynoski and Wilson may feel more like he is running for his life tomorrow night than trying to run his way into the end zone.
Player departures and an inexperienced linebacker crew were supposed to make the Giants defense a question mark heading into the season. Stevie Brown's injury and the fact that Jason Pierre-Paul, who is questionable for tomorrow night’s game, is still in the process of returning from back surgery means the defense could struggle quite mightily this season.
Projecting how the offense would do in 2013 has been a different story. Sure, there are questions surrounding Wilson’s ability to handle the running load, but the Giants still have Manning behind center and a fairly strong receiving corps. Having said that, the aforementioned injury pandemic now makes the offensive unit a big question mark as the first week of the season approaches.
The Giants are 4-0 at AT&T Stadium. But considering what the team has already endured before this season has even gotten underway, it would be a minor miracle if New York's undefeated record on Dallas' home turf remains intact after tomorrow night.