Apr 282014
 
Curtis Painter, New York Giants (December 29, 2013)

Curtis Painter – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Curtis Painter to Miss a Month Due to Knee Surgery: The New York Giants announced on Monday that quarterback Curtis Painter underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Friday. Painter is expected to be out at least four weeks as he recovers.

The Giants currently have five quarterbacks on their roster, but two of them are currently out of service. In addition to Painter, Eli Manning is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle. Manning is not expected to start running until sometime in May. It is believed he will be held out of on-the-field activities until training camp in July.

The only healthy quarterbacks to throw passes to the receivers during the team’s offseason workout program are Ryan Nassib, Josh Freeman, and Rusty Smith. Smith was signed by the Giants on Monday.

The first two weeks of the team’s offseason workout program consists mainly of strength training and conditioning work. However, on-field workouts will begin on May 5. The team will also hold 10 Organized Team Activity (OTA) workouts (various dates from May 28 – June 13) and a mandatory mini-camp June 17-19.

Article on the New York Giants and the 2014 NFL Draft: 2014 NFL Draft primer: Giants by Nick Klopsis of Newsday

Apr 282014
 
Rusty Smith, Tennessee Titans (August 17, 2013)

Rusty Smith – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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New York Giants Sign QB Rusty Smith: The New York Giants announced on Monday that they have officially signed unrestricted free agent quarterback Rusty Smith (Tennessee Titans). Terms of the deal are not yet known.

BBI scouting report on Smith:

The Giants signed Rusty Smith as an unrestricted free agent from the Tennessee Titans in April 2014. Smith was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Titans. In his four seasons with the Titans, Smith was only activated on game day three times, starting one game his rookie season. The Titans waived him August 2013, but re-signed him to their Practice Squad and later 53-man roster. In the three regular-season NFL games that Smith has played in, he completed 23-of-45 passes for 234 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. Smith has excellent size and a strong arm, but he could not nail down the #2 quarterback position in Tennessee.

The Giants now have five quarterbacks on their roster, the others being Eli Manning, Curtis Painter, Ryan Nassib, and Josh Freeman. Manning underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery on April 10 and is not expected to return to the practice field until training camp in July.

Because of this move, we have updated the New York Giants Free Agent Signings (with scouting report), New York Giants 2014 Free Agency Scorecard, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

New York Giants Re-Sign OL Dallas Reynolds: According to NFL Player Association records and CBSSports.com, the Giants re-signed exclusive rights free agent offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds on April 21. Newsday had reported that Reynolds was re-signed in early March, but that report apparently was premature.

Because of this move, we have updated the New York Giants Free Agent Signings (with scouting report), New York Giants 2014 Free Agency Scorecard, and Roster sections of the website.

Article on LT Will Beatty: Will Beatty, unsure of return date, says ‘who knows the future? by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

BBI on Giants.com Big Blue Kickoff Live: The audio of Eric Kennedy being interviewed on Giants.com’s Big Blue Kickoff Live podcast on Monday is available at Giants.com. Eric joins the show at the 30-minute mark of the broadcast.

Apr 282014
 
Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt Commodores (October 5, 2013)

Jordan Matthews – © USA TODAY Sports Images

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

*NOTE: I lengthened and changed the format of this piece for a few reasons….mainly because this is the deepest WR group I’ve ever seen and NYG needs to bring someone in at the position. There are so many directions they can go with this talented, deep group. A few of you have requested this, and here you go….

Current Wide Receivers on NYG Roster:

Victor Cruz – 28 – Signed through 2018

Rueben Randle – 23 – Signed through 2015

Jerrel Jernigan – 25 – Signed through 2014

Mario Manningham – 28 – Signed through 2014

Trindon Holliday – 28 – Signed through 2014

Julian Talley – 25 – Signed through 2015

Marcus Harris – 25 – Signed through 2015

Kris Adams – 27 – Signed through 2014

Preston Parker – 27 – Signed through 2015

Travis Harvey – 24 – Signed through 2014

Where They Stand:

The loss of Hakeem Nicks to free agency was something I personally didn’t even give a second thought to. He underachieved for the past two seasons and his weekly approach wasn’t something you want on a winning team, plain and simple. With his departure opens up a spot for a lot of targets in the passing game. There are in-house options in Randle and Jernigan, both of whom have at least shown flashes of being productive. They are battle tested to an extent and they will receive the opportunity to be go-to guys for Manning. The signing of Manningham is a hopeful shot in the dark that he could rekindle his level of play now that he is back in a familiar setting. Holliday is almost completely a return specialist that may see some action for trick plays. Beyond that, the rest of those names are bodies for training camp. Could one of them break through and be part of the rotation? Sure. I actually like Talley and/or Parker to potentially make this team. While there are worse groups of WRs in the league, I’m not overly confident that these guys are going to scare anyone. There isn’t a real speed/deep threat, nor is there a guy that will win one-on-one battles against quality corners outside of Cruz. They could really use someone for the outside that can get downfield and catch the ball in traffic.

Top 20 Grades

1 – Sammy Watkins – Clemson – 6’1/211: 85

2 – Jordan Matthews – Vanderbilt – 6’3/212: 85

3 – Brandin Cooks – Oregon State – 5’10/189: 83

4 – Odell Beckham – LSU – 5’11/198: 81

5 – Corey Latimer – Indiana – 6’3/215: 79

6 – Martavis Bryant – Clemson – 6’4/211: 79

7 – Mike Evans – Texas A&M – 6’5/231: 78

8 – Marqise Lee – USC – 6’0/192: 78

9 – Kevin Norwood – Alabama – 6’2/198: 77

10 – DaVante Adams – Fresno State – 6’1/212” 75

11 – Josh Huff – Oregon – 5’11/206: 75

12 – Robert Herron – Wyoming – 5’9/193: 75

13 – Jarvis Landry – LSU – 6’0/205: 75

14 – Jared Abbrederis – Wisconsin – 6’1/195: 74

15 – Bruce Ellington – South Carolina – 5’9/197: 74

16 – Allen Robinson – Penn State – 6’3/220: 74

17 – Kelvin Benjamin – Florida State – 6’5/240: 73

18 – Devin Street – Pittsburgh – 6’3/198: 73

19 – Jeremy Gallon – Michigan – 5’8/185: 73

20 – Damian Copeland – Louisville – 5’11/184: 73

Day One Target:

Sammy Watkins – Clemson (85)

Watkins is widely considered the top WR in this draft. He is an explosive playmaker with tremendous ability once he gets the ball in his hands. There isn’t an elite, blue chip receiver in this class but Watkins is pretty close. He lacks the ideal size you look for in a number one guy, but he can’t be considered small by any means. What I like most here is the ability to make things happen after the catch. He looks and moves like a running back, breaking tackles and finding the cutback lanes to gain extra yards. While I would bet he’ll end up in the top 5 overall, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him slip a bit. This WR group is so strong and deep which could force teams in to attacking their other needs at the top of the draft. Trading up for Watkins from the #12 slot may be over-aggressive, but he may be worth sending a day three pick over to someone if he falls near the #10 slot.

Runner Up: Jordan Matthews – Vanderbilt (85)

I actually started off cold on Matthews, thinking he was a product of easy statistics via a friendly offensive scheme. But the more I watched, the more tools I saw to work with. Matthews has the height and length to go with a thick, strong frame that leads me to believe he’ll be one of the more physical receivers in the game. He too plays with the aggressive style that will make defensive backs alter their game. Matthews is an outstanding route runner that can get himself open no matter where on the route tree he is placed. I love the short area burst and ability to change direction. I realize I have a higher grade on Matthews than most, but I think we are talking about a first round pick here that has a high floor/high ceiling type status. His game will translate very well to the next level.

Runner up #2: Brandin Cooks – Oregon State (83)

I’ve been calling Cooks a first rounder since last September. He was better than Markus Wheaton in 2012 and after a year of gaining some weight while maintaining his elite movement ability, Cooks performed his way in to potential top 15 talk. If you liked Tavon Austin last year, you have to see the high ceiling in Cooks. Where he fits with NYG is the only question, though. I think he works best out of the slot, where Cruz and Jernigan will be playing. He has some very accomplished tape playing on the outside, however. He can run by anyone and he’s a big time competitor in traffic. He’ll come down with more balls than you think. Simply put, the NYG offense needs more athletes that can run themselves open, giving Manning space to work with. There may not be a better WR in this class at doing it than Cooks.

Day Two Target:

Corey Latimer – Indiana (79)

Latimer caught my eye the first time I watched Indiana in October. His size and movement ability are easy to notice, as he can run away from some defensive backs but bull over others. He is a matchup problem for a lot of defenses. In addition, Latimer does a lot of the little things right. He sees the ball in to his hands, rarely using his body to bring the ball in. He runs crisp routes and understands how to use the field to his advantage. Often I would see Latimer be the guy to come to the rescue on broken plays, working towards his quarterback and finding the vacant areas of a defense. On top of all that, Latimer is a high-effort blocker. He is a borderline first round talent that can be had on day two, perhaps even in round 3.

Runner Up: Montavious Bryant – Clemson (79)

Bryant is a high risk/high reward prospect that I gave a really high grade to considering that kind of status. I think he was overshadowed the past two seasons at Clemson because of Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. Those two were outstanding receivers for the Tigers, but Bryant may be the best pro of them all. His height and length are assets that every QB wants to have to work with when throwing their receivers the ball. Bryant is a much better mover in space and in short areas than you would think. There is some legit explosion to this kid and I think he could be a big time downfield threat in the league. NYG could really use a receiver like this on the outside. I think there are some raw parts to his game, thus it might take some extra time for him to evolve in to am every down threat. But would be a great value grab in round 3.

Marquis Lee – USC (78)

I’m not sure where to put Lee in relation to where he will actually be drafted. I think he can be a first rounder, but he had a rough 2013 injury-wise and a lot of people will question how well his frame can hold up in the NFL. That said, there is some hidden value here. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him being the top WR in this class a few years from now. Lee is as explosive as you’ll find in the open field. He is smart, tough, and savvy. He can wear a few hats in the passing game, making him a guy that can exploit matchup problems against every defense in the league. A quality offensive scheme can get him 100+ receptions every year if he can stay on the field. Let’s not forget what he did in 2012 as a WR and return man.

Day Three Target:

Kevin Norwood – Alabama (77)

This kid could be one of the top draft weekend steals because of where you can get him. I wouldn’t classify Norwood as an elite receiver by any means, but a lot of people don’t give him credit for what he is. He is a big, physical receiver that runs great routes and will come down with a lot of balls in traffic. The Alabama offense is so stacked with young receivers and running backs to a point where Norwood was almost being forgotten about. I think his game translates very well to the next level, especially for a team that needs someone for the outside.

Runner Up: Josh Huff – Oregon (75)

It can be easy to lose track of Huff when watching the Oregon offense. That unit was so strong and so diverse with a lot of individual star power. But if you watched closely, Huff was one of the more reliable and consistent parts to that group. He doesn’t have the elite size, nor will be blaze by anyone. But Huff is tougher than nails and can do a lot of the little things for an offense. He somewhat reminds be of a young, undrafted Victor Cruz. He has the short area burst the separate himself from defensive backs and he’ll catch anything near his body. After the catch, Huff has a elite burst and quickness. I think he can be had mid-day 3 and considering everything he can do for a team, that’s a steal.

Jared Abbrederis – Wisconsin (74)

Abbrederis broke out a couple seasons ago when he was the go-to guy for Russell Wilson. He evolved in to a deep threat for him that made a lot of big plays. What intrigues me the most here however, is the ability to get open and consistently catch the ball whenever his hands can get to it. He may have some of the best hands in the draft. His routes are always clean and crisp and there is some underrated movement ability here. His performance against Bradley Roby (Ohio State) was one of the best ones I saw all year. He abused him all over the field despite having less physical ability. I think you are talking about a limited upside prospect here, but one that will be dependable. Sometimes that’s all you need.

Most Overrated:

Donte Moncrief: Ole Miss (72)

I want to like a WR like Moncrief because of the size and timed speed, but I just can’t get past the lack of ability to get himself open. Moncrief is a poor route runner that takes too long to change direction. The weaknesses in his game are the ones I don’t want to see when scouting receivers. He has trouble locating the ball when running downfield with a defensive back, and he won’t run away from anybody on game day. The size and after-the-catch toughness are intriguing, which is mainly why he still earned a 3rd/4th round grade from me. But round 2 is where I see most projecting him, and I just don’t see it.

Runner Up: Kelvin Benjamin – Florida State (73)

I spoke highly of Benjamin throughout the fall. I even labeled him a potential top 15 pick after watching him in passing. He makes some of the most difficult catches you’ll ever see and there is some ability with the ball in his hands that has to intrigue you. But on closer examination, Benjamin does a lot of little things wrong. His route tree was so limited at FSU and his quick-twitch just isn’t there when trying to get open. Now, a receiver his size doesn’t need to excel at running himself open which is why he still earned a late 3rd/4th grade. I can see and understand the upside, but Benjamin seems to be one of those one-trick ponies that someone will overdraft based on upside. Receivers like this exist in every draft and they rarely work out. I always prefer speed/agility/smarts over size and length. There is more to the position that jump balls in the red zone.

NYG Approach

I am very interested to see how NYG will handle this position in the draft. There isn’t a right or wrong way, so let me get that out there. Part of me says, wait a couple rounds because with such a deep group, it’s almost a sure thing that a great value will be around in the middle rounds, allowing them to address other areas with their high picks. The other part of me would really struggle to pass on a Watkins, Matthews, or Cooks. This offense has lost it’s big play ability and there isn’t anyone outside of Cruz that will scare the defense. The quickest way to change that is bringing in a WR that can torch a defense all over field; short, intermediate, and deep. I wouldn’t go in to the weekend restricting myself to taking a WR early, or ignoring the position early. Let the board play out and see what happens. But I would say one of these top 10-15 WRs needs to be brought in. The opportunity will be there.

Apr 272014
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 1, 2013)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Sans Boot, Eli Manning Says 100% Offensive Participation in Offseason Program: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning told NJ.com on Sunday that every offensive player on the roster participated in the first week of the team’s 9-week offseason workout program. Per the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), teams are forbidden to make activities during the offseason workout program mandatory. In fact, the only mandatory team activity before training camp is the full-team mini-camp on June 17-19.

It’s an important offseason for the Giants because new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is installing a new offensive system. In addition, the Giants have added 15 veteran free agents from other teams.

“I’m not quite sure the numbers on what the percentage of participation is, but I feel it is very high,” said Manning. “All the offensive guys are there. We have a lot of work to do learning the new offense. We have a lot of new players also. I’m trying to put a lot of faces with names and getting to know your teammates on a personal side. I thought we had a good first week.

“We got a lot of information (from the coaches), learned a lot asking a lot of questions about the offense. We made some strides, just got to keep working.

“(Change) bring a sense of urgency to this time of year, to the offseason. For me, (is its) getting healthy, meeting teammates, and learning a new playbook. We have a lot of work to do. But [I’m] enjoying the competition of it all, the urgency we’re having right now.”

Manning underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle on April 10 and it is expected that he will not be able to return to practice until training camp in July. On Tuesday during a team-organized media day, he was still in a walking boot. But when talking to NJ.com on Sunday, Manning was not wearing the boot.

Apr 272014
 
Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders (November 28, 2013)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Q&A With Running Back Rashad Jennings: Serby’s Sunday Q&A with… Rashad Jennings by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on Wide Receiver Rueben Randle: Victor Cruz wants Giants to draft WR; what does it mean for Rueben Randle? by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Articles on New York Giants Defensive Ends:

Article on Linebacker Jon Beason: Giants linebacker Jon Beason doesn’t want to be an agent after playing days by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on Former Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw and WR Hakeem Nicks: Bradshaw sympathizes with Nicks by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Apr 242014
 
Mike Evans, Texas A&M Aggies (October 12, 2013)

Mike Evans – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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New York Giants High on WR Mike Evans?: According to The New York Daily News, unidentified sources have told the paper that Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans is “near the top of the Giants’ draft board and a player they very seriously have their eye on at No. 12″ in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The 6’5”, 225 pound player is widely considered to be one of the top two wide receivers available.

Evans also has a fan in Giants’ wide receiver Victor Cruz. Speaking on The NFL Network, Cruz was asked about his team’s draft needs.

“If I had my choice, if I had my pick, I think we should go receiver,” said Cruz on Thursday. “I think we definitely need some help, especially losing a guy like Hakeem Nicks, such a big-play guy in our offense. I think that’s something we need back in this offense to be successful. An outside guy that can do the job and that can help fuel all the other receivers in the locker room and put some fire up under them to get them where they have to be.”

The lack of an outside threat to complement Cruz is something that former Giants’ offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has talked about publicly a few times since he retired. “Victor Cruz still played very well on the inside for us, but it became readily apparent to defenses that we weren’t playing as well with the outside receiver position,” said Gilbride back in January. “That became an area that people just, they had no reservation about lining up just bump and run and getting an extra guy into the box, making it more difficult and challenging to run and forcing you to throw the ball vertically a little bit. You try to throw some three-step fades and fade stops, but they’re sitting on those things. I think if the Giants can get the wideout position straightened out – the outside position, not the inside because between Victor Cruz and the emergence of Jerrel Jernigan at the end, that will help.”

The comments by Cruz and Gilbride seem to be an indirect knock against wide receiver Rueben Randle. He played in all 16 games of the 2013 season with three starts, and finished with 41 catches for 611 yards and six touchdowns. But Randle only averaged 2.5 catches per game, did not score in the last six games of the season, and only had one 100-yard receiving game all year.

On The NFL Network, Cruz talked very positively about Mike Evans. “He’s a guy that’s a big body that can get down the field, that can catch the ball with strength over his head, around defenders,” Cruz said. “He’s a guy that I watched a lot during his college tenure and that I’m excited about.”

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Puzzled but Positive, Giants Learn Offense That Has Shades of Green Bay by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Articles on Quarterback Eli Manning:

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Giants’ Rashad Jennings looking to become a ‘complete’ back by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger

Article on Offensive Tackle Justin Pugh: Justin Pugh adds 10 pounds of muscle, looks to build on strong 2013 by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Apr 242014
 
Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (September 22, 2013)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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When Jason Pierre-Paul arrived for Giants’ training camp last year, there was a lot of him to love.

285 pounds worth.

The hefty JPP caught the ire of Tom Coughlin as the coach let media know at the 2013 NFL’s annual meetings that the standout defensive end reported to camp over weight, a circumstance that potentially contributed to an off year.

“He was big when he came to camp,” Coughlin told The New York Post.

So when Pierre-Paul spoke to media for the first time this season during the second day of the Giants’ offseason conditioning program, he made sure to let all those in attendance in on a little secret.

“I’m lighter,” Pierre-Paul said. “I’m 270 pounds, and I feel good at the weight I am.”

Since recording 16.5 sacks his sophomore season, one of the league’s best defensive ends has been playing at a level far below the one displayed on New York’s Super Bowl Championship run. In the last two seasons, Pierre-Paul has managed just 8.5 sacks.

Last year’s total of two in 11 games were the lowest of his career. Even as a rookie playing behind Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora, the former first-round pick was able to muster 4.5.

Despite this, Pierre-Paul said he feels no added pressure to show doubters he’s the JPP of old.

“I think I have a job to do,” Pierre-Paul said. “It’s not showing people what player I can be. I know what player I am and what I bring to the team. I just have to go out there and we have to make the playoffs and try to get back to the Super Bowl.”

There’s also little question in the 25-year-old’s mind that he can return to the player that once garnered “Defensive Player of the Year” consideration.

“I’m going to go out there and play the game like I was 21 again,” Pierre-Paul said. “This whole offseason I’ve just been training and thinking that I want to get back on the football field. It’s coming.”

With Justin Tuck playing on the opposite coast, New York will need JPP more than ever. Throughout his career, Pierre-Paul has always had proven veterans to look up to in the meeting room.

Umenyiora is gone, Linval Joseph too, leaving just Pierre-Paul and Kiwanuka to lead a group that is otherwise occupied by unproven commodities.

“Most of the D-line is going to look up to me and Kiwi,” Pierre-Paul said. “We’ve got young guys in there, guys from other teams, but we’ve been here the longest, so they have to follow us. We’ve got to lead.”

The Giants spent the offseason rebuilding, retooling and upgrading a secondary that had long be an after thought to Jerry Reese. Throughout his tenure, the GM operated under the belief a strong past rush could mask a weakness in the last line of defense.

While the strategy worked for two championships, teams have found a counter to the Giants’ ferocious pass rush. Quarterbacks have worked to get rid of the ball quick, well before the cornucopia of defensive ends reached the opponent’s passer.

After bringing down the quarterback 46 times in 2010 and 48 in 2011, the Giants haven’t recorded more than 34 sacks in either of the last two seasons.

Aside from signing run-stopper Robert Ayers, the Giants have yet to truly make a splash to upgrade its pass rush. Sure, there’s Damontre Moore, but for now last year’s third-round pick is more of potential than anything proven.

If Pierre-Paul returns to form, it may be a bigger upgrade to the Giants’ defense than any free-agent signing or draft pick. To Pierre-Paul, that means staying healthy.

“I’m still continuing to rehab no matter what,” Pierre-Paul said. “I just want to be the guy that helps my team out, be out there as much as possible and stay healthy.”

Apr 232014
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 8, 2013)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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New York Giants 2014 NFL Schedule Announced: The NFL announced the 2014 regular-season schedule for the New York Giants and the other 31 NFL teams on Wednesday. The details are as follows:

Date Day Opponent Time Network
Sep 8 Mon at Detroit 7:10 PM ESPN
Sep 14 Sun Arizona 1:00 PM FOX
Sep 21 Sun Houston 1:00 PM CBS
Sep 25 Thu at Washington 8:25 PM NFLN
Oct 5 Sun Atlanta 1:00 PM* FOX
Oct 12 Sun at Philadelphia 8:30 PM* NBC
Oct 19 Sun at Dallas 4:25 PM* FOX
Bye
Nov 3 Mon Indianapolis 8:30 PM* ESPN
Nov 9 Sun at Seattle 4:25 PM* FOX
Nov 16 Sun San Francisco 1:00 PM* FOX
Nov 23 Sun Dallas 8:30 PM* NBC
Nov 30 Sun at Jacksonville 1:00 PM* FOX
Dec 7 Sun at Tennessee 1:00 PM* FOX
Dec 14 Sun Washington 1:00 PM* FOX
Dec 21 Sun at St. Louis 4:05 PM* FOX
Dec 28 Sun Philadelphia 1:00 PM* FOX

* Times subject to change due to NFL flexible scheduling policy.

“It’s a difficult and challenging schedule, as we knew it would be,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “We play a lot of very good teams. We’re playing some teams that we haven’t played for a while that feature some key, key ingredients, some teams that are building and growing and teams with new coaches, guys I have a lot of respect for.

“We do have any number of outstanding games in a row, because in addition to the NFC East, (we face) the NFC West and the AFC South. The NFC West is a very strong division and certainly continues to be strong. Seattle won the Super Bowl, San Francisco played in the NFC Championship Game, you look at the improvement in the Arizona team and the way they played, particularly toward the end of the year. And the way in which the St. Louis defensive team has played, their quarterback (Sam Bradford) being injured but coming back. That’s a very tough challenge and that’s to say nothing about the fact that we really haven’t been in that AFC South for a while. We played Atlanta a couple years ago. They’ve made drastic changes with their team. You saw Jacksonville improve. Houston has a new coach and with (Bill) O’Brien there and the first pick of the draft…so there are a lot of interesting factors that go into taking a look at this.

“We’re not opening in the division, which is kind of a rarity. We know how talented Detroit is…We’re on our fourth game before we do get a divisional game. I think that’s an interesting thing…The bye, again, is in a good spot for us.”

Some items of note from the schedule:

  • The Giants will play five games against 2013 playoff teams: Philadelphia (twice), San Francisco, Indianapolis, and Seattle.
  • The Giants will play four teams with new head coaches: Washington (Jay Gruden), Houston (Bill O’Brien), Tennessee (Ken Whisenhunt), and Detroit (Jim Caldwell).
  • The Giants will play all three of their NFC East road games – at Washington, Philadelphia, and Dallas – in a four-week span from September 25 to October 19. The Giants’ final three home games are against NFC East foes Dallas, Washington, and Philadelphia.
  • The preseason schedule has also been finalized. For details, see the Schedule section of the website.

Flex scheduling will commence earlier than it has in the past, with modifications. For the first time, flexible scheduling may be applied in Weeks 5-10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time. Also, for the first time, a select number of games are being “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences.

“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17 as it has been in recent years. In Weeks 11-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday, or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 28. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot.

Articles on the New York Giants Passing Game:

Article on New York Giants Defensive Backs:

BBI on Giants.com Big Blue Kickoff Live: The audio of Eric Kennedy being interviewed on Giants.com’s Big Blue Kickoff Live podcast on Wednesday is available at Giants.com. Eric joins the show at the 30-minute mark of the broadcast.

Apr 232014
 
Kony Ealy, Missouri Tigers (January 3, 2014)

Kony Ealy – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive Ends

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

*DISCLAIMER: These are Defensive End grades/rankings for the NYG 4-3 scheme. Barr and Mack are NOT included, as I have put them in my LB preview.

Current Defensive Ends on NYG Roster:

Jason Pierre-Paul – 25 – Signed through 2015

Mathias Kiwanuka – 31 – Signed through 2015

Damontre Moore – 21 – Signed through 2016

Robert Ayers – 29 – Signed through 2015

Kendrick Adams – 26 – Signed through 2015

Where They Stand:

Long gone are the days of NYG defensive ends wrecking havoc on opposing offenses week in, week out. 2013 was a rough year for this group and their leading sack artist (Justin Tuck) is no longer a part of it. The five players listed above combined for 11.5 sacks last season (Adams did not play in any games) and they are going to be counted on to all reverse their production in the right direction. Pierre-Paul may get a little pass because of his back injury that certainly lingered and prohibited him from ever playing at 100%. His talent and upside are still up there. Kiwanuka and Ayers are reliable veterans that play a physical style, but won’t scare anyone off the edge. They don’t have the explosion and neither will demand double teams. Moore could be the wildcard here. His combination of youth and tools will get him the chance to make consistent contributions to this defense. Can he handle the physical side of the game well enough? We’ll find out. He could be the guy that makes this group as a whole much better. These five guys can get the job done but as I said earlier, they are nowhere near the echelon of domination NYG fans were watching just a few years ago.

Top 10 Grades:

1 – JaDeveon Clowney – South Carolina – 6’5/266: 93

2 – Kony Ealy – Missouri – 6’4/273: 80

3 – Aaron Lynch – South Florida – 6’5/249: 76

4 – Will Clarke – West Virginia – 6’6/271: 76

5 – Marcus Smith – Louisville – 6’3/251: 76

6 – Jeremiah Attaochu – Georgia Tech – 6’5/252: 75

7 – Trent Murphy – Stanford – 6’5/250: 74

8 – Adrian Hubbard – Alabama – 6’6/257: 74

9 – Dee Ford – Auburn – 6’2/252: 70

10 – Kareem Martin – North Carolina – 6’6/272: 70

Day One Target:

JaDeveon Clowney – South Carolina

I don’t think there is any DE worthy of taking in round one other than Clowney, although I understand this is completely unrealistic, I didn’t want to leave this blank. Clowney is one of a few prospects that I would make an aggressive trade up for. However the price for NYG to move up in to the top 5, let alone top 3, will likely be astronomical and likely counterproductive. That said, if he somehow slips to the 6-8 area, I would make an aggressive move up for him. He is a once-in-a-generation type talent that could be one of the top defenders in the NFL within two years. NYG could really use a guy like this but I am fully aware the chances of this happening are almost zero.

Runner Up: Kony Ealy – Missouri

Ealy is a borderline first rounder on my board and even that may be a bit high. His grade is based purely on upside because of his size and movement ability. He looked raw in a lot of games I saw. Just unaware of the action around him and showed inability to get off blocks effectively. He is a top-notch kid though with some tools to work with and he plays really hard. I think he can mold himself in to a fine player.

Day Two Target:

Will Clarke – West Virginia

Clarke comes from a different kind of scheme but I think he is a guy that moves well enough to play DE in this scheme. He doesn’t have the elite burst but he does have short area quickness and he plays a physical brand. Clarke consistently showed the ability to get off blocks and make plays. His size appears to be NFL ready and I think he gives NYG a better version of what they have in Kiwanuka right away. If he can be had in the third round, you are talking about a big time value grab.

Runner Up: Marcus Smith – Louisville

I have a higher grade on Smith than most do. His lack of height and length hurt his grade a bit, but this versatile pass rusher plays fast and strong. He is a tough guy to block because of his relentless pursuit and incredibly strong and balanced lower half. I think he’ll prove to be a consistent 7-9 sack per year guy that also defends the run.

Day Three Target:

Aaron Lynch – South Florida

Lynch may be one of the most polarizing prospects in this entire class. Talent wise, he may be the number two guy in this class. He can make some impressive plays in a variety of ways, using his short area burst and length to gain an advantage over the blocker. When he plays hard and focused, he can change a game by himself. Not many defensive ends can say that in college. His issues off the field downgraded him quite a bit, but his potential is too high to pass on throughout day three. He is a year or two away from playing with dominant ability in the league much like Greg Hardy from the Panthers.

Runner Up: Adrian Hubbard – Alabama

Hubbard played a hybrid rush linebacker role but I have always seen him as a potential DE in a traditional 4-3 scheme. He can explode off the edge and play a low, strong game using his length and power to keep blockers from locking on to him. He could take an extra year or two to get acclimated to the position, but that’s ok for NYG. They have enough on depth chart to allow a player to develop properly.

Most Overrated:

Scott Crichton – Oregon State (63)

I’ve watched and re-watched a few Oregon State games and I still don’t see what there is to like about Crichton. He plays hard but he doesn’t make the impact I want out of a DE. He can’t get off the good blockers and he won’t burst by anybody. Crichton is an average player across the board that you can find in the later rounds, if not undrafted free agency. By no means do I think he should be a day 2 pick.

Runner Up: Kareem Martin

The height, length and workout numbers have led some to believe that Martin is the perfect prospect for a team looking for a 4-3 DE. But when you really watch him, you see a guy that struggles to read the action and react. He is a slower mover on the field than you think and he won’t push anyone around. Martin really struggles to make a physical impact on the game and I think he’s a guy that will be doomed for permanent backup duty. Don’t spend a day two pick on that.

NYG Approach:

One look at the current depth chart and one could make the statement that bringing in a new DE to the group is not high on the priority list. I can understand that opinion but lets not forget just how valuable the abundance of pass rushing talent is for a team. That was such a major factor in the Giants past two Super Bowls. This DE class as a whole doesn’t impress me at all outside of the Clowney. A lot of these guys have a lot of potential bust factor to them. Some have glaring size issues and others simply don’t have the speed and/or quick movement ability. With that said, there will be some opportunity to bring in a guy between rounds 3-5 that present good enough value. Defensive End is NOT a position where you want to be thin on the depth chart. It can end up breaking a defense. Without a sense of urgency, NYG can be patient here but somewhere in the draft I think one of these guys should be brought in.

Apr 232014
 
Josh Freeman, New York Giants (April 22, 2014)

Josh Freeman – Photo by Connor Hughes

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He doesn’t have an excuse, a reason and honestly doesn’t know why.

Just three short years ago, Josh Freeman was considered one of the up-and-coming quarterbacks in the NFL. He’d just led his team to a 10-6 season and had Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans falling in love with him.

Now? He’s Eli Manning’s backup, and is flirting heavily with the label ‘bust.’

“I can’t really place my finger on one thing exactly, what it could have been” Freeman said. “A number of things didn’t really go my way and that’s kind of how life is.”

In 2010, his second year in the league, Freeman threw for 3,451 yards, 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions. His Buccaneers just missed the playoffs, but the former first-round pick looked to warrant is No. 17 selection in the 2009 NFL Draft.

But in the ensuing two years, Freeman never experienced the same success. He threw 22 interceptions in 2011, and 17 in 2012. The Buccaneers finished a combined 11-21.

The struggles sent a once promising career into a downward spiral entering last season.

“I was going into a contract year in Tampa, next thing you know I’m cut and playing in Minnesota,” Freeman said.

Freeman’s Viking career was short lived, as it all but started and ended in the same building his new team calls home. Versus the Giants on Oct. 21, Freeman completed 20-of-53 passes, 37.7 percent, for 190 yards and an interception. He never played another down for the Vikings.

“It was an awful game,” Freeman said. “I remember coming up here and it was a rough start and a rough outing. Thinking back, maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to be.

“Like anything in your past, it’s an experience to learn from.”

Despite still viewing himself as a “starting caliber” quarterback, Freeman elected to sign with the Giants despite little-to-no chance of earning the No. 1 spot. The 26-year-old said the chance to play behind two-time Super Bowl MVP, Eli Manning, was as appealing as any spot atop a depth chart.

“Having an opportunity to learn stuff from Eli,” Freeman said. “I have the opportunity to be behind a guy who has really had a lot of success year after year, continued to win and get his team to the playoffs consistently. It’s a really cool opportunity.

“I feel great. Honestly, last year didn’t turn out how I would have hoped, but at the same time, I’m happy to be a part of the Giants’ organization, and I’m happy to be moving forward.”