Double Coverage: Seahawks vs. Giants
Sunday’s matchup should offer some perspective on Seattle’s injury situation.
It’s getting better with at least three starters and possibly a few more returning to face the Giants. And for all the players that the Seahawks have missed over the first eight games, fullback Derrick Coleman is the only starter that has been placed on season-ending injured reserve.
It could be much worse, especially when you consider the state of the team they’re hosting Sunday. Dan Graziano of ESPN.com details the Giants’ woes and more in this week’s edition of Double Coverage.
Henderson: I’ve seen some comments from a few prominent Giants players questioning the team’s passion and heart. What’s your sense of his team’s mindset now that its losing streak has reached three games?
Graziano: Their three-game losing streak wrapped around their bye week, so it’s been more than a month since the Giants won a game. They’re frustrated, and they’re down. I think Antrel Rolle really just thinks he’s trying to fire up the team and motivate them. (Also he’s paid for the weekly radio appearance in which he said that, so he’s kind of got to say something headline-worthy.) And Jason Pierre-Paul on Thursday was joking. But this is the New York market and the NFL, and everything gets blown out of proportion. Lack of heart wasn’t the issue Monday. The issue is lack of experience and talent relative to the opposition. They were good enough to beat the Texans, Falcons and Washington. They weren’t good enough to beat the Lions, Cardinals, Eagles, Cowboys or Colts. They’re probably not good enough to beat the Seahawks, either. The Giants are in a rebuilding phase. They’re in an early part of that phase. And they’re playing without their best receiver, their best running back, their middle linebacker and three of their top four cornerbacks due to injuries. It’s a lot easier for us on the outside to say they’re rebuilding and taking their lumps than it is for them to actually take them. And I think that’s what you see manifesting itself in the public comments.
Henderson: How depleted has the Giants’ secondary been and what will that unit look like Sunday?
Graziano: The Giants have suffered season-ending injuries to starting cornerback Prince Amukamara, nickel corner Walter Thurmond and backup nickel Trumaine McBride. Starter Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie hasn’t missed a game, but due to persistent back and leg injuries he hasn’t played a whole one since September, either. Zack Bowman missed practice Thursday due to an abdominal illness. If Bowman can play, he and Rodgers-Cromartie will start with Jayron Hosley in the slot. If Bowman can’t play, it’s Rodgers-Cromartie and Hosley on the outside, and Hosley will move inside while rookie Chandler Fenner plays on the outside in nickel packages. This was the strongest and deepest position group on the roster in camp, but it’s shredded.
Henderson: How have Eli Manning and Co. adjusted in their first season in new coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense?
Graziano: They didn’t play well Monday, and the run game’s been a mess since Rashad Jennings got hurt in Week 5. He’s likely not back this week, so they’ll probably continue to struggle. And the receiving corps is very green since Victor Cruz suffered his season-ending knee injury in Week 6. All in all, I’d say they’ve adjusted well to the schemes but are still dealing with growing pains. Rookie first-rounder Odell Beckham Jr. – who missed all of training camp, the preseason and the first four games of the season with a hamstring problem – looks fantastic and is likely to only get better. But they are thin at receiver, and that’s stalling the development of the offense during the middle part of this season.
Henderson: Where is Rashad Jennings in his recovery and what has the Giants’ running game been missing without him?
Graziano: Jennings has experience. Without him, the run game is in the hands of fourth-round rookie Andre Williams, who runs very hard and can break a big one but still hasn’t developed the patience and the timing he needs to run with consistency in the Giants’ zone schemes. Williams also struggles catching the ball out of the backfield, which is something Jennings did well. Jennings ran with the scout team on Thursday, which represented major progress, and hoped to do it again Friday. I’d still be shocked if he played Sunday. He’s targeting the Week 11 home game against San Francisco.
Henderson: It’s hard to look at any game as an easy win for the Seahawks after they lost to the then-1-4 Rams then had to hang on for a six-point win over the 0-7 Raiders last week. But injuries were a factor in both of those games. The arrow seems to be pointing up for Seattle, and it’s not only because of the players who are returning to health. The Seahawks forced five turnovers over the last two games, a significant improvement from what was one of their most glaring deficiencies over the first month and a half of the season. And up next is a quarterback that the Seahawks picked off five times when these teams met last December. Games like these haven’t been as easy as you’d expect for Seattle, but this one feels like it should be different. Seahawks 31, Giants 17.
What do you think, Dan?
Graziano: Just don’t see this Giants team having enough to go cross-country and hang with the champs in their building, given all of the issues they’re dealing with. Seahawks 21, Giants 13.