new york giants oshane ximines
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The New York Giants have designated Oshane Ximines to return to practice. What could he bring to this defense when activated?

It’s a pandemic-impacted NFL season in which injuries and health-related setbacks are very much alive and existent. And because of that, depth is key, regardless of position.

When it comes to the edge rusher spot, the New York Giants were once rich in depth. Third-year player Lorenzo Carter, second-year player Oshane Ximines, free-agent pickup Kyler Fackrell, and veteran Markus Golden were all rotating through and manning these crucial spots en route to applying consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

But throughout the last three games, just one of those four players remained — Fackrell. Golden was traded to the Cardinals after the Week 7 loss, Carter suffered a season-ending Achilles rupture in Week 5, and Oshane Ximines hasn’t played since Week 4, citing a shoulder injury.

Nonetheless, on Monday, good news arrived in regard to the latter-most aforementioned player. According to the organization itself, the team designated Ximines to return to practice and now possesses a 21-day window to activate him off injured reserve.

And why is the eventual return of Ximines so important, you ask?

Well, there’s a notable reason.

It’s certainly understandable to argue Ximines hasn’t made the impact many thought he would…mostly because it’s true. Considering he ended up becoming one of the return pieces in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade back in 2019, you probably thought he was going to grow into an integral part of this defense. However, he’s been next-to-average and prone to injury.

But Ximines provides the important quality we previously discussed — depth.

When it comes to the general aspects of rushing the passer, it’s not as important who specifically pressures the quarterback. What’s become paramount is the number of bodies involved. Simply speaking, it’s better to have five decent players overwhelm a quarterback into making a mistake than one superstar attempt to go through a triple-team.

Opposing offensive lines will (hopefully) soon have one more body to worry about when facing Big Blue. Instead of just focusing on Fackrell and Trent Harris — the latter of which started the last two games for the Giants — there will likely be another rotating figure in the mix that needs attention from opposing blockers. That confusion in regard to who is and who isn’t coming on the rush keeps offensive linemen guessing, and is what ultimately leads to mistakes in the protection.

The hopeful return of Ximines will additionally be important for Patrick Graham’s scheme-based defense. And why is that the case?

Because utilizing rotations, keeping everyone fresh, and playing certain guys based on matchups are substantial principles of this defense and also extremely important in today’s fast-paced NFL, and you can only do all that if you employ the right number of resources.

For a while, the Giants’ once-significant pass-rushing depth had vanished. But thankfully, Ximines’ eventual return will be a step towards ultimately changing that when the Giants need to the most — en route to a potential division title.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.