In some potentially discouraging news, the New York Giants will most likely be without Keith Rivers for the team's Week two bout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rivers was all over the field in the Giants first game, and he was well on his way to becoming an integral aspect of the Giants linebacker core. Staying with the injury theme, Adewale Ojomo has been ruled out of Sunday's matchup. Both players have hamstring injuries.
Although the Ojomo injury will only impact the Giants on special teams, Rivers' absence would be a significant blow to the linebacker core. With Michael Boley nursing a hamstring injury of his own, the Giants may be heading into their second game relatively thin at a position that was supposed to be extremely deep for the duration of the year.
With Rivers' potential absence and Michael Boley most likely playing limited amount of snaps, the Giants are going to rely on Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger to provide depth at the weak side and strong side linebacker positions, respectively. Although the Giants still have a fast linebacker core capable of defending the pass, Rivers' absence raises question marks in the team's ability to stop Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin.
After giving up 143 yards on the ground to the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants have some serious issues to work out in terms of their run defense. It's going to need to start up front with the defensive line, but the linebackers and safeties need to show an increased physicality if the team wants to stop the run.
It will be interesting how defensive coordinator Perry Fewell goes about utilizing the linebacker core this week, as well as seeing how he decided to defend Doug Martin. Although the NFL is now a pass-first league, Tampa Bay possesses an average passing attack, at best. Stopping the run should be this defense's top priority heading into their second game.
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