Mar 202017
 
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Geno Smith, New York Jets (October 17, 2016)

Geno Smith – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS SIGN GENO SMITH, VALENTINO BLAKE, AND MARK HERZLICH…
The New York Giants have officially announced that they have signed unrestricted free agents quarterback Geno Smith (New York Jets) and cornerback Valentino Blake (Tennessee Titans). The team has also officially re-signed unrestricted free agent linebacker Mark Herzlich. Smith reportedly signed a 1-year, $2 million contract.

“Geno has a great, positive attitude, and he’s looking forward to learning and competing in our QB room,” said General Manager Jerry Reese.

“I think the opportunity to learn from (quarterbacks) coach (Frank) Cignetti, coach (Ben) McAdoo, and to be alongside Eli (Manning) and learn from him, a two-time Super Bowl champion and, in my opinion, a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Smith said. “I think it will work out tremendously for me. And it’s also an opportunity to be on a real good team, a winning team, get healthy – it’s just a perfect scenario for me. I couldn’t have written it up any better myself.

“I want to carry my notepad around and whatever I see Eli doing, whether it’s in the classroom, on the field or off the field, I want to write it down. Because he’s a guy you can model yourself after. If you learn from a guy like that, we can all do a lot better.”

Smith tore the ACL in his right knee in October 2016. “Right now, it’s doing great,” he said. “We’re being cautious. But I’m at that stage where I’m feeling healthy enough that I can push it. But I have to be smart about it and not do anything that will cause me setbacks.

“I have tons of good football ahead. The key is just staying healthy. If I can just stay healthy, the future is pretty bright. But I just look forward to this year and having an opportunity to get healthy and learn and become a better quarterback.”

The 26-year old Smith was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. Smith has started 30 regular-seasons games, with 29 of those starts coming in 2013-2014. He lost his starting job to Ryan Fitzpatrick in August 2015 after his jaw was broken by a teammate. Smith started one game in 2016 but tore the ACL in his right knee in that game. Smith has completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 5,962 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 36 interceptions. Smith has good size and is a good athlete with a strong arm. He has struggled with his accuracy and mental aspects of the game. Smith needs to protect the ball better (36 interceptions, 7 fumbles). He also has had some off-the-field immaturity issues.

The 26-year old Blake was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jaguars (2012), Pittsburgh Steelers (2013-2015), and and Tennessee Titans (2016). In five seasons, Blake has played in 78 regular-season games with 18 starts (16 of which came with the Steelers in 2015 when he was credited with 12 pass break-ups and two interceptions). Blake is a short but well-built corner with very good speed. He has experience in playing the nickel slot position, but he is not regarded as a good cover corner. Blake is a good gunner on special teams (38 career special teams tackles), but he has had lapses of on-field judgement.

Herzlich remains primarily a reserve linebacker and special teams player who occasionally is called upon to play on defense (one percent of defensive snaps in 2016). Herzlich played in 14 regular-season games, missing two with a concussion. He finished with seven tackles on defense. Herzlich was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. He has started 17 regular-season games in his six seasons with the Giants, eight of which were in 2014. Herzlich has very good size but is a sub-par athlete for the position. He is a good run defender, but struggles in coverage and is not much of a blitzer. Herzlich is a good special teams player.

For a listing of all of the team’s free agent activity, see the New York Giants 2017 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

COTY SENSABAUGH SIGNS WITH STEELERS…
The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed unrestricted free agent cornerback Coty Sensabaugh from the New York Giants to a 2-year contract. Sensabaugh was signed by the Giants in October 2016 after he was waived by the Los Angeles Rams. He played in 10 regular-season games with no starts and finished the year with 15 tackles. Sensabaugh was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. The Rams signed him to a 3-year, $15 million contract in March 2016. Sensabaugh has played in 72 regular-season games with 29 starts. Sensabaugh is an average-sized corner whose strength is playing the slot nickel corner spot.

Sensabaugh is the third Giants free agent to leave the team this offseason, joining place kicker Robbie Gould (San Francisco 49ers) and offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse (Oakland Raiders).

KEENAN ROBINSON VISITS THE BUFFALO BILLS…
ESPN is reporting that unrestricted free agent linebacker Keenan Robinson (New York Giants) has visited the Buffalo Bills. Robinson also visited the Cincinnati Bengals last week.

Robinson officially only started 6-of-16 regular-season games, but he was second in playing time on the team among all linebackers (71 percent of all defensive snaps). Robinson finished 2016 with 83 tackles and seven pass defenses. Robinson was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, where he missed time in 2012 (four games with right pectoral tear), 2013 (entire season with left pectoral tear), 2014 (three games with a knee injury), and 2015 (four games with a shoulder injury). The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2016. Robinson has decent size and is a good athlete who runs well. Versatile, he can play inside and outside linebacker. Robinson is more of a run-and-hit linebacker than stout run defender at the point-of-attack. Robinson is solid in pass coverage. He only has 1.5 career sacks and has been injury prone. Robinson does not make many impact plays.

GIANTS.COM PLAYER INTERVIEWS…
Video clips of exclusive Giants.com interviews with the following players are available at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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