When Devin Taylor was cut by the Giants, they were Super Bowl contenders.
He returned to the team this week, less than two months later, to find them at 1-6 and all but eliminated from contention.
The defensive end who spent the offseason and preseason with the Giants was re-signed on Tuesday to help bolster an injury-riddled position, and he came back with an outsider’s perspective on what has already been a disappointing and trying season for the team.
“It was just a bunch of random stuff that always seemed to keep happening to them in different losses,” Taylor told Newsday on Wednesday. “At times it seemed like they were about to get going and then something would happen and then they would fall back again.”
He’s likely talking about the loss to the Eagles in which the Giants allowed two field goals in the final 51 seconds to lose, 27-24. Or the loss to the Bucs on a field goal as time expired. Or the loss to the Chargers in which the Giants lost three starting wide receivers to injury and then lost the game when Eli Manning fumbled at his own 11-yard line with a 22-20 lead in the final minutes of the game.
All of those heartbreaks add up to where the Giants are now, a far cry from the stature they held when they cut Taylor at the end of the preseason and were getting ready to take on the Cowboys in the regular-season opener.
Taylor said he’s not exactly surprised that the Giants have flopped.
“I felt confident in the team doing well,” he said. “But everything is always a year-by-year thing, game by game, so you really can’t determine what’s going to happen whenever you start a season.”
While the Giants were losing, Taylor was working out, staying in shape, and waiting for a team to sign him. He had a few workouts around the league and said he was on a few short lists for teams, but it wasn’t until he worked out for the Giants last week that he was able to return to the NFL. He’ll add depth to a defensive end rotation that has lost Romeo Okwara and Nordly Capi to injured reserve and has been without Olivier Vernon for the past three games.
“Honestly, when you don’t play, you do miss it a lot more than you realize you think you do,” he said. “You find out if you miss it or if you love the game or not by how much you miss it. So that’s one of those things I was traversing through.”
Neither he nor the Giants thought they’d find themselves in the position they are currently in. Now they can traverse the rest of this season together.