The Giants don't sound overly concerned about Shawn Andrews making the start at left tackle against the Eagles on Sunday, but the flare up of his chronic back problems has caused him to miss two practices and makes for some bad memories.
Tom Coughlin's habit of overseeing second half swoons has been well documented, and one of the things that always seems to contribute to the drop-off is injuries. They need not be self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the thigh, they can just be the kind of nagging wounds of attrition that churn through your depth and leave you without enough capable players by the time the end of the season rolls around.
That's what we're staring at right now. Corey Webster has joined Andrews on the sidelines this week, which means that a list that already includes Ramses Barden, David Diehl, Shaun O'Hara and Steve Smith is getting disconcertingly long. Typical coachspeak is that the next man in line just has to step up and get the job done, but that's emptier rhetoric than you'll hear in your typical campaign address.
Players who fill out the lower rungs of the depth chart do so for a reason. They may be good special teams players or prized for one or two attributes, but they don't have bigger roles because, by and large, they aren't good enough to play bigger roles. Some will surprise you, but others will play like the backups they are and make the bleeding worse.
An increase in bleeding would be the worst case scenario for the Giants. Last week's game, ugly as it was, can just be a blip on the radar screen borne of a potent mix of arrogant overconfidence and renewed spirit from the Cowboys. A loss to the Eagles this weekend, especially a one-sided one, can't be explained away as easily.
The mounting injuries play a role in that, because, as mentioned, they always play a role in the decline phase of Giants season. It is a secondary one to just the deja vu that would arise after taking a thumping from the best team you've played since Week Three. Over the last three seasons, the Giants have made a habit of cleaning the floor with mediocre opponents before becoming the mop against more skilled opponents. There's no way that a bad loss to the Eagles this weekend won't bring those memories front and center for everyone who works for or cares about the Giants.
As if battling Michael Vick wasn't enough for one NFL weekend.