Jun 302013

Giants.com Q&A With TE Brandon Myers: The video of a Giants.com Q&A with TE Brandon Myers is available at Giants.com.

Star-Ledger Q&A With WR Rueben Randle: Giants Summer Questionnaire: Rueben Randle by Michael J. Fensom of The Star-Ledger

Article on S Antrel Rolle:Safety Has Sacrificed Stats by Switching Positions When Needed by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on a Giants’ Scouting Assistant: A Giant Dream Realized by Travis Lazarczyk of Kennebec Journal

Jun 282013

Hakeem Nicks Working Out With Eli Manning: As has been publicized, WR Hakeem Nicks skipped all of the Giants’ voluntary Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices this spring for unspecified reasons. But Nicks said yesterday that he has been running routes for QB Eli Manning in informal workouts.

“We’ve hooked up twice already this week,” said Nicks. “We’re gonna do it two, three more times before camp starts.”

Nicks did participate in the Giants’ mandatory 3-day mini-camp in June. “I was there when it counted,” said Nicks. “I’m going to be at training camp.”

Nicks is also coming off of offseason arthroscopic knee surgery.”I’m running full routes,” Nicks said. “I feel good. Ready to go.”

More from Vonta Leach’s Agent: The agent for free agent FB Vonta Leach continues to say the Giants are in the mix for his client’s services although the Dolphins remain the favorite to sign Leach. Leach was waived by the Baltimore Ravens earlier this month in a salary cap related move

“Nobody has been excluded,” said Leach’s agent. “You have to put Miami, Houston, and the Giants in the first three. Kansas City is also involved and Baltimore is included in this also…It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he return to Baltimore.”

“It’s difficult to get anything done right now because many club officials are gone (on vacation) and some of them are out of the country,” said the agent. “To me Miami is the best fit because of their needs and their availability of (salary) cap room. I think the best overall fit is Miami, but who knows.

“He still has an interest in Houston and the Giants, the Chiefs and the Ravens. That’s all predicated on can the deals be done based on the finances they have.”

Since all teams are now off until training camp starts in late July, there is no hurry for teams or Leach to come to an agreement. “We’re not playing football so the sense of urgency is not there for us to do it or the teams,” said Leach’s agent.

2013 Position Preview – Tight Ends:video previewing the Giants’ tight end position heading into training camp is available at Giants.com.

Article on the History of the Giants’ Uniform: Giants Uniform Breakdown & History by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Distant Replay – 1993 Giants-Vikings Playoff Game: 1993 Giants vs. Vikings by Matt in SGS of “Going Back Through the VCR…”

Jun 272013

Vonta Leach’s Agent Hopes His Client Lands With Dolphins: The Miami Dolphins have been considered the front runner for FB Vonta Leach’s services ever since Leach was released by the Baltimore Ravens earlier this month. The Dolphins have more than $17 million in cap space while the Giants are approximately $3.3 million under. Plus New York still has to sign OL Justin Pugh and QB Ryan Nassib, not to mention attempt to sign WR Victor Cruz to a long-term deal.

Leach’s agent said yesterday that he is hoping his client signs with the Dolphins. “I think (the Dolphins are the best option),” said the agent. “I hope so. It’s the right place to be. We’re trying to crunch the numbers.”

Leach’s agent did not completely rule out the Giants. “Vonta will visit if the Giants ask him to,’’ said the agent. “No team has been excluded. The Giants are a great fit also but we have to be creative.”

Giants.com Q&A With Tight Ends Coach Mike Pope: The video of a Giants.com Q&A with Tight End Coach Mike Pope is available at Giants.com.

Article on RB David Wilson: Tiki: Wilson ‘As Dynamic’ As NYG Ever Had by Ohm Youngmisuk ESPNNewYork.com

Article on Former Giants’ Punter Dave Jennings: Jeff Feagles Remembers Punter Dave Jennings by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Jun 262013

Justin Tuck Says Pierre-Paul is Doing Well: DE Justin Tuck says his linemate Jason Pierre-Paul is recovering well from offseason back surgery. “I speak to him all the time,” Tuck said. “(He’s) doing well…Everybody is (also) telling me he is doing well. I have seen him walking around and doing his rehab stuff…He does (and) I expect him back (for the start of the regular-season)…He is Superman.”

Justin Tuck Comments on Cruz: DE Justin Tuck also commented on WR Victor Cruz signing his 1-year, $2.879 million restricted free agent tender. “I really think that is going to expedite things (with long-term contract negotiations),” Tuck said. “I hope it does. Obviously, everybody wants to see Victor back and he is a huge part of our success. Hopefully everything works out and I think he did the smart thing.”

Tuck also does not worry about Cruz being focused and ready for the 2013 season. “Everybody is going to talk about what he has done off the field this offseason,” Tuck said. “He is enjoying the limelight that he has created for himself and I can’t blame him for that. But I know his trainer and I know where he has been training every day. I keep tabs on a lot of people. He will be ready to go. I am not even worried about it. And he has one of the best quarterbacks to ever play this game. Those guys will be on the same page.”

Giants.com Q&A With WR Louis Murphy: The video of a Giants.com Q&A with WR Louis Murphy is available at Giants.com.

Star-Ledger Q&A With OL Justin Pugh: Giants Summer Questionnaire: Justin Pugh by Michael J. Fensom of The Star-Ledger

Article on WR Rueben Randle: Rueben Randle Gains Confidence with Experience by Marq Mitcham of BastropEnterprise.com

WFAN Radio Interview with Former Giants’ RB Tiki Barber: The audio of yesterday’s WFAN interview with former Giants’ RB Tiki Barber is available at CBSNewYork

Jun 252013

WR Brandon Collins Suspended Four Games: The NFL has suspended WR Brandon Collins without pay for the first four games of the 2013 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Collins is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games, but if he makes the 53-man roster, he will not be able to play until after Week 4.

Vonta Leach Says Talks With Giants “Picking Up”: FB Vonta Leach, who was waived by the Baltimore Ravens earlier this month, was asked about the Giants’ interest in his services yesterday on SiriusXM Radio.

“The Giants called us on the first day,” said Leach. “Then, from what I heard, things (are) picking up a little bit more.”

However, The Star-Ledger is reporting that there has been no formal communication between the Giants and Leach’s agent since June 11.

Leach has reportedly received interest from a number of teams including the Dolphins and Texans, and the Dolphins are still considered the favorites to sign Leach. “I’m keeping all my options open right now,” said Leach. “Really not in a rush to sign anything right now. Just as long as I’m in there (with a team at training camp), learning the playbook, I’ll be all right.”

LB Desmond Bishop Signs With Vikings: LB Desmond Bishop, who was released last week by the Packers, has signed a 1-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings. Bishop had said the Giants were one of the teams interested in signing him.

Giants.com Q&A With Wide Receivers Coach Kevin M. Gilbride: The video of a Giants.com Q&A with Wide Receivers Coach Kevin M. Gilbride is available at Giants.com.

Articles on DE Justin Tuck:

Article on DT Marvin Austin: Giants Tackle Marvin Austin Keeps Montclair Music Students in Rhythm by Dave D’Alessandro  of The Star-Ledger

2013 Position Preview – Wide Receivers: A video previewing the Giants’ wide receiving position heading into training camp is available at Giants.com.

Jun 242013

Steve Owen

Steve Owen: The Rock The New York Giants Were Built On

When Steve Owen, who coached the New York Giants from 1931 through 1953, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his home in Oneida, New York, I debated for a day whether to make the trip south for the funeral. For a long time I had felt that I owed Owen such homage, and I’d never again be able to pay it… I had wanted to make the pilgrimage because it was Owen, as much as any other, who had brought me round to the Giants and made me a fan. Unable to conceive what my life would have been without football to cushion the knocks, I was sure I owed him sorrow. – Frederick  Exley, A Fan’s Notes

Other than Wellington Mara, no other individual in the history of the New York Football Giants has had a bigger impact on the franchise than Stephen Joseph Owen. Yet sadly, Steve Owen is largely unknown and rarely remembered by fans.

Steve Owen was a four-time All-NFL, two-way tackle who played for the Giants from 1926 to 1931. Continuing as a player-coach, Owen became co-head coach with Benny Friedman for the final two games of the 1930 season. In 1931, he assumed sole head-coaching duties of the Giants for the next 23 years until 1953. In 1954 and 1966, Owen served as a scout with the Giants.

Thus for 30 years, during the crucial formative years of the franchise, Owen was the most pivotal figure within the organization not named Mara. As a player, he captained the 1927 team that won the team’s first NFL title and held opposing teams to a single-season, record-low total of 20 points. Then an entire generation of Giants’ fans grew up knowing no other head coach than Steve Owen. The first “golden age” of Giants’ football was not from 1956-63, but from 1933-46 when, during that 14-season time span under Owen, the Giants played in eight NFL Championship games, winning two.

“Steve Owen was really the rock that we built on,” said Wellington Mara. “He was like my second father…I admired him, was greatly attached to him, and respected him. He kind of brought me up in the football business.”

A Wrassler from the Indian Territory

Steve Owen was born on the same day – April 21, 1898 – that President William McKinley asked Congress to declare war on Spain. Owen was born in Cleo Springs in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), where his father had claimed land when the Cherokee Strip was opened to settlers. Owen’s father farmed the land while his mother became the area’s first schoolmarm.

Owen’s high school did not have a football team. “Outside of wrasslin’, we didn’t have any time for sports,” said Owen. “We were too busy with chores and schoolin’ and watchin’ the marshals chase outlaws across the Cimarron River.”

By the time he was 16, Owen already weighed 220 pounds. Apparently, his father was so proud of his strength that he would wake up Steve in the middle of the night to wrestle some stranger he had brought home. “I wasn’t allowed to go back to bed until I whipped the fellow Pop brought home,” said Owen.

In the summer as a high school teenager, Owen would travel to Texas to work the oil fields, making $3 a day for 12 hours of work. Owen wanted to return to Texas after graduating. However, Owen’s mom convinced him to attend Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma where Owen enlisted in the Student Army Training Corps with America’s entry into the First World War. In college, Owen wrestled professionally under the alias “Jack O’Brien” in order to protect his amateur standing.

It was also at college where Owen was introduced to football. His college coach told him, “Son, you now have the secret. It’s a rough game and you’ll get hurt if you let the other fellow hit you harder than you hit him. That’s why football is a good game. It won’t let a man play easy. You’ll learn the rules fast enough. Just remember this: respect every other boy on this squad and work with him. Never lose respect for your opponent or he’ll hit you harder than you hit him.”

A Champion as a Giants Player

In 1924, Owen signed with the Kansas City Blues for $50 per game. He also played for the Cleveland Bulldogs and Kansas City Cowboys in 1925. The Giants were so impressed with Owen that they bought Owen from the Cowboys in 1926 for $500.

“I had seen a lot of fat hogs go for more than they paid for me,” said Owen, “but in those days a fat hog was a lot more valuable than a fat tackle. I was going to New York even if I had to walk there.”

Steve Owen

Owen rapidly became one of the best players on the Giants. He played for the Giants from 1926-1931, plus a one-game return in 1933. ”Stout Steve” captained the 1927 Championship team that went 11-1-1. He anchored a defense that incredibly held opposing offenses to 20 points all season. The Giants shutout 10 teams that year and out-scored their opponents 197-20.  Owen was named All-NFL four times during an era when tough men played 60 minutes on both offense and defense. Depending on the source, Owen ranged anywhere from 5’10’’ to 6’2’’ and 215 pounds to 260 pounds. (Most sources say 5’10” and around 245 pounds). “Stout Steve” Owen was known as a brutal tackler.

“If a boy isn’t willing to get off the ground and hit back a little harder than he was hit, no coach can help him,” said Owen.

“It was a one-platoon game then,” said Wellington Mara. “As Steve Owen used to say, men were men in those days.”

“Football was a different game then,” said Owen. “The ball was bigger and harder to pass, you couldn’t pass from closer than five yards behind the line of scrimmage, and, in 1927, they moved the goal posts back ten yards from the goal line. But the big difference was the way we played the game. We were pretty much a smash-and-shove gang. We were bone crushers, not fancy Dans.”

A Champion as a Giants Coach

Owen and QB Benny Friedman took over head coaching duties from LeRoy Andrews for the last two games of the 1930 season. In 1931, Owen became the Giants’ sole head coach, despite sometimes still putting on the uniform.

“Steve Owen was the Giants’ head coach when I joined the team in 1931,” said Hall of Fame Giants’ center/linebacker Mel Hein. “It was his first full year as head coach. Actually, Steve was player-coach that year, but he only suited up for about three games. He was about 33 or 34 then. Steve was a very good coach, though, and all the players respected him.”

As a head coach, Owen never signed a contract with the Mara family. At the end of each season, from 1931 to 1953, he coached on a simple handshake agreement.

“Life and football were similar to Owen,” said journalist and author Gerald Eskenazi. “Neither was complicated. Appearances were not deceiving. He judged a man by his actions, and it was as simple as that.”

Owen was the first NFL coach to emphasize defense, and thus, Owen really is the grandfather of the franchise’s defensive tradition. Upsetting fans, Owen would often go for the sure field goal rather than gamble on the touchdown. “Steve was the first to stress the importance of defense and the advantage of settling for field goals instead of touchdowns,” said the Chicago Bears’ legendary George Halas in 1953. “Every team strives today to do what Owen was doing twenty years ago.”

Owen believed in solid, physical, fundamental football. He made sure his players knew how to block and tackle. Owen was not splashy and his run-oriented offenses were criticized as being too conservative.

“If it’s new,” wrote a sportswriter, “Close-to-the-Vest Owen won’t try it.”

“Football is a game played down in the dirt and it always will be,” said Owen. “There’s no use getting fancy about it.”

The NFL did not start playing championship games until 1933. Owen’s first two seasons as head coach were underwhelming as New York finished 7-6-1 in 1931 (fifth in the NFL) and 4-6-2 in 1932 (fifth in the NFL).

Everything changed in 1933. The NFL inaugurated the divisional structure combined with the NFL Championship Game. Under Owen, the Giants became perennial contenders and would play in eight of NFL’s first 14 championship games.

In 1933 and 1934, the Giants finished first in the NFL’s new Eastern Division with 11-3 and 8-5 records, respectively. The Giants lost the 1933 Championship to the Chicago Bears in a nail biter 23-21. The following season, New York enacted their revenge on the undefeated 13-0 Chicago Bears by winning 30-13 in the famous “sneakers” 1934 Championship Game. The Giants won the Eastern Division again in 1935 with a 9-3 record, but lost the 1935 Championship Game to the Detroit Lions 26-7.

1934 New York Giants

After a two year hiatus from the playoffs, the Giants won Eastern Division in 1938 (8-2-1) and 1939 (9-1-1). The Giants beat the Packers 23-17 in a thrilling Championship Game in New York in 1938, but lost the 1939 Championship Game in Milwaukee to the Packers 27-0.

In the next seven seasons, the Giants would win the Eastern Division three more times and tie for the division lead in another season. But the Giants would lose all four post-season games, including the three Championship Games and the division tie-breaker. The Bears beat the Giants in the Championship Game in 1941 (39-7) and 1946 (24-14), and the Packers beat the Giants in the 1944 Championship Game (14-7). The Giants also lost the divisional tie-breaker 28-0 to the Redskins in 1943. From 1942-45, many of the Giants’ best players had gone off to fight the Germans and Japanese.

Appearing in eight NFL Championships in 14 years was a remarkable run. However, Owen’s luster began to fade after the 1946 season. The Giants fell to 2-8-2 in 1947, 4-8 in 1948, and 6-6 in 1949.

“I still didn’t know much about football,” said Giants’ owner Tim Mara, “but I knew from what my sons told me that what was happening to us wasn’t the coach’s fault. We just weren’t giving Owen the players to win, and that was our fault, not his.”

Steve Owen (Middle) at 1941 Pro Bowl

Despite the introduction of the powerhouse Cleveland Browns into the Giants’ division, Owen’s Giants rebounded in 1950 (10-2, first-place divisional tie), 1951 (9-2-1, second place), and 1952 (7-5, second place). Nevertheless, when the Giants fell to 3-9 in 1953, the writing was on the wall for Owen and the Giants. It had been seven years since the Giants played in a Championship Game and 15 years without a post-season victory. The game was entering the modern era, with more attention to detail and complex new offensive innovations. It was clear the NFL was changing but Owen wasn’t. It was time to go.

In the waning moments of his last game as head coach of the Giants – a 27-16 loss to the Detroit Lions in December 1953 – television cameras showed Owen standing alone on the sidelines in tears.

Officially, Owen “resigned” but he was forced to do so. Wellington Mara said the decision to let Owen go was extremely difficult. “It was like telling your father you’re putting him out of your home,” said Mara.

“You’ve got a place with the Giants as long as you live, Steve,” said Jack Mara to Owen. “I hope you know that.”

Owen served as a scout with the Giants briefly, but then he moved on. “He was hurt and wanted no part of that,” said Wellington Mara.

The Innovator

Owen was criticized for being unimaginative. But not only is he recognized as the first NFL head coach to focus on defense, Owen is credited with several important innovations.

In the old NFL, player substitution was restricted. If a player left the field, he couldn’t return until the next quarter. There were no separate offensive, defensive, and special teams units. Most teams played their 11 two-way starters until they dropped. By the fourth quarter, the best players were usually hurt or out of gas. In 1937, Owen was the first head coach to develop a two-platoon system by maintaining two relatively equal squads and substituting 10 starters at the end of the first and third quarters. (Because he was so valuable, center/linebacker Mel Hein continued to play a full 60 minutes).

Steve Owen, Ken Strong, and Ward Cuff in 1939

“To start with, (the two-platoon system) lessens the wear and tear on the individual player,” said Owen. “He doesn’t play enough to get tired and therefore is better able to absorb the bumps that go with the play. But more important I think is the effect on team morale. I find that a rivalry has risen between my A and B squads. Each one wants to outdo the other and that’s incentive to keep ’em driving. So long as I can keep my two squads intact, I’m convinced the Giants will continue to win.”

Owen also devised the A-formation in 1937, which at the time was considered a radical offensive concept. After showing one offensive set, the Giants would then shift into the single wing, double wing, punt formation, or the A-formation. In the A-formation, the Giants would unbalance their line to one side and overbalance the backfield to the other side.

“He split his lineman and placed four on the right side of the center and just an end and tackle on the left,” said Giants’ fullback/safety Hank Soar. “He put the wingback behind the weak side end, the blocker behind the weak side tackle, the tailback four yards behind the center with the quarterback a yard in front of him and to his right.”

The A-formation was difficult to defend because the center could snap the football to one of three players – the quarterback, fullback, or blocking back. And either the quarterback or fullback could throw the football. The Giants were the only team to use the A-formation because it required having a great center, and the Giants were fortunate enough to have the best in the game, Mel Hein.

Steve Owen at the Blackboard in 1939

Owen was at heart a defensive coach and he was not afraid to innovate on defense. Teams traditionally used seven-man defensive lines, but Owen experimented with six- and five-man fronts. In 1937, he moved the Giants to a 5-3-3 defense.

“Even as a player Steve was conscious of the importance of a good defense,” said Soar. “He tried to convince his coach to use such radical departures from the standard defenses as five and six-man lines. When he became coach of the Giants he put his ideas into action. We had stunting linemen, rushing linebackers although we did not call it the blitz, and as the safety man I often performed what is now called the safety blitz. We had a very good pass defense and fellows like (Sammy) Baugh, (Cecil) Isbell, and (Don) Hutson seldom had good days against us.”

In 1950, Owen is also credited with creating the umbrella defense, which was largely designed to stop the dynamic passing attack of QB Otto Graham and the Cleveland Browns. The umbrella employed a 6-1-4 formation that would have the ends drop into coverage, placing the defensive emphasis on coverage rather than the pass rush. It was a novel concept at the time and it worked like a charm against the super-talented Browns for a few years. In fact, Owen’s Giants won four of their six regular-season meetings against the Browns from 1950-52. The 10-2 Giants were the only team to beat the Browns (twice) in 1950, including shutting Cleveland out for the first time ever, but New York lost the divisional playoff to the Cleveland 8-3. This was the start of the great Giants-Browns rivalry of the 1950’s as New York proved to be Cleveland’s greatest nemesis.

Tom Landry was a defensive back in Owen’s umbrella defense, along with Hall of Fame defensive back Emlen Tunnell. A few years later, as Giants’ defensive coordinator, Landry would tweak Owen’s umbrella defense, creating the modern 4-3 defense.

Owen Comes Home

After Owen “resigned,” he remained with the Giants briefly as a scout in 1954. He went on to do some coaching with South Carolina, Baylor, and the Eagles. Owen then served as head coach for the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts (1959), Calgary Stampeders (1960), and Saskatchewan Roughriders (1961-62). Owen was named CFL Coach of the Year in 1962.

Owen suffered a heart attack late in 1962 and he resigned from the Roughriders in January 1963. Unable to stay away from football, Owen became the head coach of the United Football League’s Syracuse Stormers in March 1963. But the Stormers finished the season winless at 0-12.

After coaching the Stormers, Owen came home. “Do you think you could find a job for a broken down old coach?” Owen asked Jack Mara. “I know we can,” said Mara. “We can always make room for another scout.”

Steve Owen died on May 17, 1964 at the age of 66 after suffering a terminal cerebral hemorrhage. He was survived by his second wife Miriam who passed away in 2001 at the age of 90. Both are buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Oneida, New York. (Owen’s first wife Florence passed away in 1933 in Boston, during training camp).

Steve Owen and Miriam Sweeney in 1935

At the time of his death, Arthur Daley of The New York Times wrote, “It was only fitting that stout Steve should have been a member of the Giant organization when he died yesterday…It is quite possible that no professional coach ever inspired more love, devotion, and admiration among his players than did Steve. The only counterpart was Knute Rockne at Notre Dame. A might stout fella was Owen. The Giants and all professional football owe him much for his contributions.”

Owen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame two years later in 1966. The Hall later named him to the “All-NFL Team of the 1920’s.”

As a player, Steve Owen anchored and captained the Giants’ 1927 Championship team. As head coach for nearly a quarter century, Owen’s Giants accrued a 153-100-17 regular-season record. No other Giants’ head coach comes close to matching Owen’s win total. His Giants won eight division titles and two NFL Championships. He began New York’s storied defensive tradition, and created the two-platoon system, the A-formation, and the umbrella defense.

As a Hall of Fame player and a coach, Steve Owen was a Giant among men.

Jun 232013

New York Giants May Make Stronger Push for FB Vonta Leach: According to The Daily News, the Giants might make a more aggressive effort to sign unrestricted free agent FB Vonta Leach, who was released by the Ravens earlier this month. The paper says the Giants had hoped to sign Leach to a 1-year, veteran-minimum type contract, but to lure Leach, it will take more a more attractive offer. Leach has supposedly drawn interest from eight teams, including the Miami Dolphins, who have over $17 million in salary cap room and who are still considered the favorites to sign Leach. The Daily News is reporting that the Giants have remained in contact with Leach and are considering raising their offer.

It remains to be seen if the Giants can compete financially for Leach’s services. The Giants are believed to be only about $3.3 million under the salary cap and they still have to sign OL Justin Pugh (1st round pick) and QB Ryan Nassib (4th round pick) and attempt to re-sign WR Victor Cruz to a long-term deal. The Daily News says Leach has no intention of signing a 1-year contract, nor a veteran minimum deal.

The Daily News reports the reason for the Giants’ more aggressive stance is the injury concern with FB Henry Hynoski. Hynoski injured the MCL and fractured the lateral plateau in his left knee on the first day of Organized Team Activity (OTA) workouts on May 22. Hynoski underwent surgery two days later. He hopes to return by the start of the regular season but The Daily News is reporting that the Giants are not sure he can return by that time.

Jun 222013

New York Giants Still in the Mix for Desmond Bishop: According to NFL.com, LB Desmond Bishop is deciding between the Vikings, Chiefs, and Giants. Bishop was released by the Green Bay Packers on Monday.

Giants.com Q&A With WR Rueben Randle: The video of a Giants.com Q&A with WR Rueben Randle is available at Giants.com.

Star-Ledger Q&A With OG Chris Snee: Giants Summer Questionnaire: Pro Bowl Guard Chris Snee by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger

Article on DT Marvin Austin: Giants’ Marvin Austin Has His Own Beat by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on LB Mark Herzlich: Herzlich Has Edge as Giants’ MLB by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Jun 212013

LB Desmond Bishop Says Giants Are Interested: LB Desmond Bishop, who was released Monday by the Packers, says the Giants are interested in his services. Bishop started 25 regular-season games for the Packers in 2010-2011, but missed all of 2012 with a torn hamstring. Bishop has already visited the Vikings and Chiefs.

“The Giants and Jacksonville are the next two that are interested,’’ Bishop said yesterday. “Actually, the Niners called but of course, you know, they’re kind of set over there. I appreciate their interest in me regardless. But the Giants, which is a real good situation, and Jacksonville as well.”

Article on WR Victor Cruz: Cruz Mirrors Giant Workouts While Holding Out for Bigger Deal by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Article on WR Hakeem Nicks: Nicks Skipped Giants Workouts Over Injury Concerns by Bart Hubbuch of The New York Post

2013 Position Preview – Running Backs: A video previewing the Giants’ running backs position heading into training camp is available at Giants.com.

Jun 192013

Punter Dave Jennings Passes Away: Former Giants punter Dave Jennings passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 61. Jennings had suffered from Parkinson’s disease since 1996.

Jennings played for the Giants from 1974 to 1984. He still holds the franchise record for punts (931) and punting yards (38,792). Jennings was voted to the Pro Bowl four times (1978-80, 1982) and was named All-Pro twice. Jennings was inducted into Giants’ Ring of Honor in 2011.

“Dave Jennings was one of the all-time great Giants,” said Giants’ President/CEO John Mara. “He was a valued member of the Giants family for more than 30 years as a player and a broadcaster, and we were thrilled to include him in our Ring of Honor. More importantly, he was an outstanding person who battled his illness with rare courage and dignity. We will miss him dearly.”

“Dave is and always will be a Giants’ Giant,” said Giants’ Chairman/Executive Vice President Steve Tisch. “He lived his life with class and dignity, and he was the ultimate professional as a player and commentator.”

“Dave was the very first player I met when I came to the Giants,” said former Giants linebacker Harry Carson. “When I met him I felt so welcomed. Dave was a guy that everyone not only liked, but loved. Anyone who knew Dave would say he was a great guy. He was a terrific person with a bubbly personality. The Giants were not very good when Dave and I were teammates in the 1970s. Dave was one of the few bright lights on those teams as a punter.”

“Dave could have participated in different sports, but he had punting down to a science,” said Carson. “He could position the ball where he wanted it to go. He had a terrific sense of placement. He took his job very seriously and he made it his own little science to punt the ball where it needed to be.”

Jennings also served as a radio analyst for Giants’ games from 2002 to 2007.

A video on Jennings’ career is available at Giants.com.

Article on Former Giants P Dave Jennings: Jennings Remembered as an Unlikely Giant by Mike Lupica of The Daily News

WR Hakeem Nicks Make Radio Rounds: Audio clips of yesterday’s interviews with WR Hakeem Nicks are available from the following sources:

Article on WR Hakeem Nicks: Nicks Won’t Commit to Long-Term Giant Future by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Giants.com Q&A With RB Andre Brown: The video of a Giants.com Q&A with RB Andre Brown is available at Giants.com.

Article on RB Andre Brown: View Andre Brown’s Unusual Road to Success by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Star-Ledger Q&A With S Antrel Rolle: Giants Summer Questionnaire: Antrel Rolle by Michael J. Fensom of The Star-Ledger

Article on QB Eli Manning: Ex-Giants GM Says Eli Has Earned Jeter-Like Status by Gary Myers of The Daily News