Oct 122013
 
 October 12, 2013  Posted by  Articles, The Salary Cap
David Baas' Contract Details - Courtesy by OverTheCap.com

David Baas’s Contract Details – Courtesy of OverTheCap.com

Three Ways of Dealing with David Baas’s Contract: I’ve seen people ask me questions here on The Corner Forum about Center David Baas’s contract, and it’s impact on the team going forward. His contractual breakdown is pictured above, courtesy of Baas’s salary cap page from overthecap.com. Let me point out the three most likely ways how his contract can be dealt with (meaning ’86ed). Baas has two years left on his deal after this season. He restructured this past off-season, moving dead money further down into his last two years, making it more difficult to cut him. One way that the Giants could deal with his situation is to cut him after this season, and gain $1,775,000 in cap space this off-season. The second course of action that they can take is to wait until after 2014 to cut him, when they could gain significantly more cap space – $5,250,000 to be exact – and have less dead money on the books as well ($3,225,000 compared to exactly double that amount if the Giants cut him after this year).

This brings me to the third option…(somehow Heisenberg’s voice during his conversation with Gustavo Fring from Breaking Bad out in the desert is rattling around in my head as I type this).

If Baas continues to be a liability by not being able to stay healthy, or play well when healthy, then they might have to go with the first option – something which is becoming increasingly apparent. A third way that they could do this AND gain MORE THAN $1,775,000 in cap space would be by releasing him this off-season and designating him as a post-June 1st cut. Teams can do this with up to two players a year. The Dolphins did this with two of their own this past off-season when they designated Linebackers Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby as such; you can read about it by clicking HERE.

Teams that use this strategy won’t reap the cap benefits right away though. They have to wait until June 2nd to do so; however, the players who are released under this designation are free to sign elsewhere as free agency starts when more money is available, and teams are ready to flex their wallets, so to speak. This is advantageous to the player in that it gives them a much better opportunity to find a job elsewhere at a higher salary, instead of waiting until after June 1st when teams have shot their collective wads.

As of June 2nd, the team can then gain room from not only the regular cap savings (which after 2013 in Baas’s case would be $1,775,000), but they’d also be able to spread out the remaining dead money - provided the player has at least 2 years left on his deal and has not completed his 4th year with the club (as per the present CBA, NFL contracts can’t be prorated more than 5 years). If the Giants were to exercise this option with Baas this coming off-season, they’d be able to split up his Dead Money over the course of two seasons – 2014 and 2015.

That Dead Money amount, if he were to be released this off-season would be $6,450,000. The Giants would be able to evenly spread this amount out over those two years of 2014 and 2015. They would also GAIN an extra $3,225,000 in cap space in addition to the regular amount of cap savings mentioned above ($1,775,000) if they were to release him under normal non-post-June 1st standards. Their cap savings in this case would be $5,000,000 in 2014 with only $3,225,000 in Dead Money remaining on the books for 2014 – half the original amount. The other $3,225,000 will be added to the 2015 season’s Dead Money total.

This third option that I described in detail above will be seriously considered after the season, as the Giants evaluate Baas’s future on the team. Suffice it to say, due to a combination of his injuries and consequent sub-par performance in comparison to this contract, he won’t be here past 2014 at the LATEST. Hell, he’ll be lucky to be here next year the way things are going. To wrap this up, and paraphrase Heisenberg in the process, let me go on record as saying that as of this moment, I prefer option 3.

Share Button
Oct 012013
 
 October 1, 2013  Posted by  Articles, History
Ray Flaherty (1), Mel Hein (7), Butch Gibson (11), Bill Morgan (27), Red Badgro (21), Dale Burnett (18), Bo Molenda (23), Ed Danowski (22), Ken Strong (50), New York Giants (1934) - Photo Courtesy of Rev. Mike Moran

Ray Flaherty (1), Mel Hein (7), Butch Gibson (11), Bill Morgan (27), Red Badgro (21), Dale Burnett (18), Bo Molenda (23), Ed Danowski (22), Ken Strong (50), New York Giants (1934) – Photo Courtesy of Rev. Mike Moran

The 1934 New York Giants

by Larry Schmitt for BigBlueInteractive.com

The New York Giants surprising victory over the Chicago Bears in the 1934 NFL Championship Game is noted in professional football’s lore as “The Sneakers Game.” Most fans today are vaguely aware that the underdog Giants switched to sneakers at halftime, gained better traction on a frozen field and walked off victors after a fourth quarter romp.

What many people do not remember is how dominant the 1934 Bears were and how shocking an upset that game was. The 1934 campaign also served as portent for two future Giants teams: the 1990 and 2007 Super Bowl Champions.

The Streak Starts

The year before the championship run, the Giants dealt the Bears a 3-0 loss in November 1933 at The Polo Grounds. Notable not only as the Bears’ final loss that season, but for the unusually difficult circumstances imposed on Giants FB/K Ken Strong. After being stopped inside Chicago’s 5-yard line, Strong kicked an 11-yard field goal. The Giants were penalized for a false start, Strong was good again from 16 yards, but the Giants were penalized for another false start. The third attempt from 21 yards was good, and after a scoreless second half, the field goal proved to be the margin of victory. The Giants and Bears went on to win their respective divisions in the newly realigned league and met in the NFL’s first official championship game. Chicago won 23-21 in a game that featured six lead changes and ended with a game saving tackle by Red Grange on the final play.

New York Giants Center/Linebacker Mel Hein in 1933 - Photo Courtesy of Rev. Mike Moran

New York Giants Center/Linebacker Mel Hein in 1933 – Photo Courtesy of Rev. Mike Moran

There were two major factors responsible for transforming George Halas’ 1934 Chicago squad from very good to almost invincible.  These were the addition of rookie HB Beattie Feathers and the concept of putting a man-in-motion laterally to the line of scrimmage prior to the snap of the ball.

Feathers proved to be the ultimate backfield compliment for the bruising FB Bronko Nagurski. Feathers had speed to get around the ends, and once Nagurski took out the first level of defense, Feathers would kick into the next gear. Feathers was the NFL’s first 1,000-yard rusher that year, gaining 1,004 on only 101 carries, an amazing 9.9 yard-per-carry and a league leading eight TDs. {Feathers also happened to be a bit of an eccentric, he disliked socks and played barefoot in his cleats.} Nagurski brutalized defensive fronts with plunges between the tackles, usually unblocked. Giants Head Coach Steve Owen noted with admiration, “He’s the only man I ever saw who ran his own interference.”

Halas and assistant coach Ralph Jones boasted the NFL’s deepest playbook with over 150 plays. Among the usual wing variations was the T-formation. The T had been around since the early 1920’s, but three things set the Halas/Jones version apart from the standard versions in use at the time: wider splits by the offensive line, the quarterback taking the snap from under center, and the man-in-motion. Defenses were confounded and slow to adapt. Halas recalled years later, “Our modern T-Formation with man-in-motion was the most successful strategy in football. Even so, very few coaches and players yet saw the lessons. They still continued with the wings and boxes. That was fine with me.”

Chicago had more going for them than concepts, they had size. The Bears front line was formidable, outweighing defenses on average by 20 pounds per man. Behemoths George Musso, Link Lyman, and Carl Brumbaugh tromped the opposition. Chicago went 13-0 and outscored their victims by a whopping 286-86 margin, while playing just five games on their home field.

Meanwhile, the 1934 New York Giants started off slowly, dropping their first two games while scoring a meager six points in total. A five-game winning streak saw New York improve incrementally and build confidence. Their first encounter with the Bears came at Wrigley Field, and the Chicago fans watched a 27-7 whipping of the visitors.

The Giants recovered with a hard fought 17-3 win at home versus Green Bay, where TB Harry Newman rushed for 114 yards on an NFL record 39 carries. After the game, Newman quipped that none of the Giants other backs would take the ball from him because Green Bay tackle Cal Hubbard was knocking the stuffing out of them. With their confidence restored, the Giants prepared for a rematch with the Chicago juggernaut.

The Giants enjoyed the support of the largest crowd at the Polo Grounds since the 1930 game versus Knute Rockne’s Notre Dame All Stars. Giants had won 12 straight at home, and lead 7-0 after Ken Strong’s 4-yard run on the first play of 2nd quarter. The Giants added to their lead with a safety after Chicago’s return man fielded the ball on the 1 yard-line, ran backward and was tackled in the end zone. Chicago, however, assumed control of the game with their powerful lines.

The Giants lost their starting TB and leading passer. Newman was injured on a tackle by Bill Hewitt and Musso. Hewitt’s knee hit Newman in the back and he lied motionless on the field for several minutes. X-Rays later revealed two fractured vertebrae, ending his season.

Despite Chicago’s physical dominance, the Giants nursed their 9-0 advantage into the fourth quarter. Nagurski and Feathers churned out yardage on a long touchdown drive to cut the lead to 9-7. The Giants were in position to run out the clock when an untimely error foiled their bid for the upset win. Carl Brumbaugh recovered a Max Krause fumble on the Giants 33-yard line with less than two minutes to play. “Automatic” Jack Manders sealed the Giants fate when he connected on a 24-yard field goal with seconds left on the clock giving the Bears a 10-9 win.

Chicago swept their remaining three games to complete the first undefeated and untied regular season in NFL history (13-0), while the Giants finished 2-1 in their last three games with rookie Ed Danowski ably filling in for Newman. The Giants finished the regular season 8-5. Their season ending loss at Philadelphia was costly. All Pro end Red Badgro fractured his knee cap and would be unavailable for the championship match. The Bears also lost HB Feathers to a shoulder injury.

Mr. Everything

The player the Giants counted on most to shoulder the load with the depleted backfield was FB/LB/K Ken Strong, who incidentally came into the championship game with an injured ankle of his own. Strong was a multi-talented local hero, and graduate of NYU.

The Giants thought very highly of Strong, who boasted many of what would be considered today as “impressive measurables.” He was a powerful runner who ran the 100 in less than 10 seconds and was an effective lead blocker, could kick 45-yard field goals and punt 70 yards. It’s no wonder famed sports writer Grantland Rice selected Strong as an All Time HB alongside the legendary Jim Thorpe.

In 1929, Giants Owner Tim Mara instructed head coach LeRoy Andrews to offer Strong $4,000 to play for the Giants. The duplicitous Andrews offered Strong $3,000 – with the intention of pocketing the difference. Strong signed with the rival Staten Island Stapletons instead. (This unscrupulous practice of skimming player contracts cost Andrews his job during the 1930 season.)

New York Giants Ken Strong Kicking and Bo Molenda Holding in 1934 - Photo Courtesy of Rev. Mike Moran

New York Giants Ken Strong Kicking and Bo Molenda Holding in 1934 – Photo Courtesy of Rev. Mike Moran

Strong also had a promising baseball career on the horizon. The Detroit Tigers thought so highly of him that they traded five players and $40,000 to the New York Yankees for his rights. Unfortunately, while playing in the minors, Strong broke his wrist running into an outfield wall. His surgery was botched when the physician removed the wrong bone from his wrist, ending his baseball career. The Stapletons’ franchise folded after the 1932 season and the Giants were pleased to finally acquire the player they had coveted in time for the 1933 season. “It was a big boost when Strong joined the club”, Giants center Mel Hein recalled, “I had read about him in Grantland Rice’s stories and, frankly, I was a little doubtful when he was compared to Ernie Nevers and Bronko Nagurski. But when I saw him in action I became a believer. He was that good.” Strong’s first season in a Giants uniform was impressive. He led the NFL in scoring as the Giants won the NFL Eastern Division and was named to the All Pro team. He went on to score a touchdown and three extra points for the Giants in their 23-21 loss at Chicago in the NFL’s first championship game.

NFL Championship Game Redux

Noting the state of his team with substitute players at key positions, as well as the prospect of facing an awesome Bears team that had physically battered the Giants twice during the regular campaign, Owen somewhat optimistically said, “I know it doesn’t look so good, but we’ll give ‘em a battle.”

The Giants had high hopes of a record turnout on the heels of the large crowd that had attended the regular season matchup. Six thousand temporary field level seats were installed after box seats had sold out in advance. The Maras had their fingers crossed for a walk-up turnout to fill in the upper deck and bleachers. A nor’easter the night before kept most last-minute ticket buyers at home, but the turnstile count of 40,120 was still quite good for that era.

Jack Mara called Owen early that morning, “It’s bad, you can’t even walk without slipping. I don’t know what we’re going to be able to do.” Upon inspecting the field himself, Owen half-jokingly asked Danowski, “Think you can pass downfield to someone sliding on his belly?” Danowski replied, “With Musso on my neck and me sliding too?”

Once the frozen tarp was pried form the field, the game began with the Giants surprisingly moving the ball down the field. The promising drive ended with Danowski throwing an interception, but the New York defense held its ground. Bo Molenda blocked the Chicago punt and Strong put the first points on the board with a field goal. Chicago reestablished their physical dominance and controlled the remainder of the first half.

1934 New York Giants

1934 New York Giants

If the Giants left the field feeling dejected, as some of the freezing fans expressed their disappointment with boos, the Bears walked off frustrated. Although they lead 10-3, the damage could have been far worse. Nagurski had two touchdowns called back on penalties in the second quarter that were both followed by missed field goals from inside 30 yards – the first Manders misses from that range all season. Aside from Bill Morgan, who Owen would cite for having “played the finest game at tackle I’ve ever seen,” the Giants had been beaten on almost every block on offense. The results on defense were not much better, as Hein said, “Nagurski was three-yarding us to death.”

Few, if any of the Giants, players were aware that help was already on the way. On the advice of End Ray Flaherty, Owen had dispatched part-time equipment man/Manhattan College tailor Abe Cohen on a quest for basketball sneakers to give the Giants better traction on the slick Polo Grounds playing surface. Flaherty had recalled that while playing at Gonzaga his team had switched footwear with great success on a frozen field at the University of Montana.

Cohen arrived in the Giants locker room just before the start of the second half with nine pairs of sneakers, all he could manage to carry. Tackle Bill Owen was the first to try a pair out, and reported to brother Steve that the rubber soled sneakers were an improvement over the plastic-bottomed cleats. Halas was not impressed as he watched the Giants change footwear on the sidelines, and was overheard commanding his players to step on the Giants toes.

The early returns were not immediately apparent however. Strong lost the toe nail from his right big toe when it split in two on the kickoff. Danowski had started the third quarter with his cleats, but after slipping on two rushing attempts he switched to the sneakers. The one Giant able to play well with the cleats was their best player, Hein. Nevertheless, despite the change in footwear, the Bears were able to add a Manders’ field goal during the third quarter and extend their lead. The 13-3 score felt like an impossible deficit to overcome to Tim Mara, who did not foresee the turn of events that were about to unfold, “Everyone was thinking of going home, and to tell you the truth, I was seriously thinking of joining them.”

The tide slowly began to turn the Giants way just before the end of the quarter. Danowski, now with good footing, found a rhythm and completed successive passes to receivers who were able to get separation from slipping defenders. An errant pass was intercepted near the Chicago goal line, but the Giants defense was stout, forcing a punt that Strong returned 25 yards to keep the Giants momentum surging. Danowski completed three short passes, two to Flaherty, one to Strong, and rushed on a keeper, then capped the drive with a 28-yard scoring pass to Ike Frankian, cutting the Bears lead to 13-10.

Danowski intercepted a pass on defense, enabling Strong to exhibit his athletic talents in the game’s pivotal play. As he took the handoff from Danowski toward left tackle, Strong headed upfield, cut to the sideline, reversed field {a move that would’ve been impossible in the cleats} and raced into the end zone for a 17-13 advantage. That 42-yard rushing touchdown remained a Giants post season record until Joe Morris scored from 45 yards in 1986 against San Francisco. Halas exhorted his team to rise to the challenge and reestablish their authority, but one player feebly replied, “Step on their toes? I can’t even get close enough to those guys to tackle them!”

The Bears did finally manage a drive that crossed into New York territory with a heavy dose of Nagurski rushes. On a fourth-and-two, Morgan fought off a block and dropped Nagurski short of a first down. Strong then closed another successful New York drive with an 11-yard sweep around right tackle. Officials paused the game to give the police time to clear delirious fans from the field. When play resumed, Strong was denied his PAT attempt when holder Bo Molenda mishandled the snap and had his drop kick attempt blocked. Following another Giants defensive stand, Danowski finished off the day’s scoring with an 8-yard touchdown run. The 27 point outburst by the Giants remains an NFL fourth quarter post season record to this day.

A secondary hero who remained somewhat in obscurity might have been Giants trainer Gus Mauch. Upon noticing the Giants water buckets had frozen early in the third quarter, he shared whiskey with players in paper cups filled from his flask, ostensibly to keep them warm. After the Giants had taken the lead 17-13 and his flask had emptied, Mauch walked over to the stands for a resupply from patrons. Members of the sideline staff urged Mauch not to give the players any more liquor in fear of them becoming inebriated.

Naugurski attributed the difference late in the game to the footwear provided by Cohen, “They were able to cut back when they were running with the ball and we weren’t able to cut with them. We feel that everyone has to lose some time, but this is a pretty hard time to start. The Giants, though, were a fine ball team and their comeback in that second half was the greatest ever staged against us. Ken Strong, I thought, was the best man on the field.”

The formerly pessimistic Tim Mara was jubilant after the game, “I never was so pleased with anything in all my life. In all the other contests with the Bears, I always have hoped the whistle would blow and end the game. Today I was hoping it would last for a couple of hours.” Although Halas may have known deep-down that the Bears had the better team, he was gracious in defeat, “They deserved to win because they played a great game in that second half. The only bad break we got was when that touchdown was called back in the first half. It would have made the score 17-3 and put us way out in front. My team was under a terrific strain, however, trying to maintain a winning streak which extended over 31 games. After all, we’ve caused a lot of heart-aches, so I suppose we can stand one ourselves.”

Ed Danowski (22), John Dell Isola (2), Ken Strong (50), Len Grant (3), New York Giants (1935) - Photo Courtesy of Rev. Mike Moran

Ed Danowski (22), John Dell Isola (2), Ken Strong (50), Len Grant (3), New York Giants (1935) – Photo Courtesy of Rev. Mike Moran

Manhattan College basketball coach Neil Colhanan joined in the Giants revelry, possibly with a slight lament, “I’m glad our basketball shoes did the Giants some good. The question now is, did the Giants do our basketball shoes any good?”

Share Button
Sep 032013
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 3, 2012)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Will Need to Make More Room Under the Salary Cap: Before I explain what needs to be done, let me display the cap numbers for all 53 players on the roster:

CAP # RANK
PLAYER
POSITION
2013 CAP NUMBER
1Eli ManningQB $20,850,000.00
2Chris SneeOG $11,000,000.00
3Antrel RolleSS $9,250,000.00
4Justin TuckDE $6,150,000.00
5Corey WebsterCB $5,345,000.00
6David BaasC $4,725,000.00
7Mathias KiwanukaDE $4,125,000.00
8Hakeem NicksWR $3,755,000.00
9William BeattyOLT $3,550,000.00
10David DiehlOT/OG $3,125,000.00
11Jason Pierre-PaulDE $2,825,000.00
12Victor CruzWR $2,530,000.00
13Steve WeatherfordP $2,500,000.00
14Prince AmukamaraCB $2,231,154.00
15Andre BrownRB $2,023,000.00
16Cullen JenkinsDT $1,816,666.00
17David WilsonRB $1,519,205.00
18Justin PughOT/OG $1,517,436.00
19Terrell ThomasCB $1,450,000.00
20Brandon MyersTE/H-BACK $1,125,000.00
21Zak DeOssieLONG SNAPPER $1,049,000.00
22Linval JosephDT $1,012,000.00
23Bear PascoeTE/H-BACK $892,500.00
24Keith RiversOLB $800,000.00
25Rueben RandleWR $748,166.00
26Johnathan HankinsDT $732,852.00
27Jerrel JerniganWR $723,813.00
28James BrewerOG/OT $663,023.00
29-30Trumaine McBrideCB $630,000.00
29-30Curtis PainterQB $630,000.00
31-38Kevin BootheOG $620,000.00
31-38Josh BrownK $620,000.00
31-38Dan ConnorMLB $620,000.00
31-38Louis Murphy, Jr.WR $620,000.00
31-38Ryan MundyS $620,000.00
31-38Mike PattersonDT $620,000.00
31-38Shaun RogersDT $620,000.00
31-38Aaron RossCB $620,000.00
39Jayron HosleyCB $616,250.00
40Adrien RobinsonTE $576,413.00
41Jacquian WilliamsOLB $574,670.00
42Da'Rel ScottRB $568,988.00
43-44Mark HerzlichOLB/MLB $560,000.00
43-44Henry HynoskiFB $560,000.00
45Spencer PaysingerOLB $556,000.00
46Brandon MosleyOG/OT $555,146.00
47Jim CordleC/OG $555,000.00
48Damontre MooreDE $548,813.00
49Ryan NassibQB $518,400.00
50Justin TrattouDE $480,000.00
51Cooper TaylorS $451,813.00
52Michael CoxRB $416,474.00
53Larry DonnellTE $405,000.00
$112,196,782.00

The total for the Top 51 cap numbers, as indicated above, is $111,375,308.

  • The total for the Top 53 cap numbers is $112,196,782.
Teams are operating under the Top 51 Rule until 4 pm ET on Wednesday. At midnight ET on Thursday, September 5th, regular season salary cap rules will be in effect. Regular season cap rules will include the following cap expenses besides those which are already in effect that include a team’s top 51 cap numbers:
  • The entire 53-man roster will count on the cap instead of just the to 51 cap numbers.
    • at minimum this will take up an extra $810,000 in cap room.
  • The Practice Squad will count.
    • at minimum this will count an extra $816,000.
  • Players on the Reserve/PUP List
    • Markus Kuhn’s 2013 cap number is $491,474.
    • He very likely has a salary split though which reduces his cap hit $177,000 down to $314,474.
  • Players on Injured Reserve.
    • The Giants have two right now: Stevie Brown (his cap number is $2,023,000) & Ramses Barden (who has a cap number of $620,000).
    • Barden is probably going to receive an injury settlement in the coming weeks though instead.
    • Right now, the total amount for the Giants is $2,643,000.

Teams will need to be cap compliant with regular season salary cap rules though by 4 pm ET on Wednesday, when league business hours cease. The Giants will need to make some moves based on the numbers I have below. First here is the Salary Cap breakdown with respect to the Top 51 Rule:

Giants' Cap Hits from player 1 to 53 as of 9-3-2013 - 5 of 6

Now here are the Salary Cap Calculation projections with the Regular Season Salary Cap Rules in effect:

Giants' Cap Hits from player 1 to 53 as of 9-3-2013 - 6 of 6
  • As can be seen in the Regular Season Salary Cap Rule projections, the Giants are going to over the cap if they don’t make a move or two.
  • The negative figure if $1,803,236 does not include additional cap space due to Andre Brown being placed on Temporary IR; his cap number will still count in full, but another player’s cap number will be added that which will cost around $555,000 for the season.
  • If you add that to the figure then you get $2,358,236.
  • In addition to this there are the Injury Settlement amounts.
  • If you estimate each one to roughly $100,000 per player for 8 players, then you get another $800,000.
  • The overage total would then be $3,158,236.
  • If you add another $1,000,000 in emergency funds/fudge money, then that total comes out to $4,158,236.
  • This amount of $4,158,236 is pretty close to how much cap room that the Giants will need to create by no later than 4 pm tomorrow, which is roughly 24 hours from the time of this post.
  • They will have to restructure or extend the contract of a player or two in order to create this cap room; the question then inevitably becomes who can they agree to this with on the team now?
There are three prime candidates that can help the Giants out: Chris Snee, Antrel Rolle, & Eli Manning. The Giants could also turn to Justin Tuck & Steve Weatherford, but they are not as ideal. Here are the contractual breakdowns for each of these five players courtesy of the Giants’ salary cap page from overthecap.com (click HERE to see the Giants’ page with the list of each player’s contractual breakdown):
Chris Snee - contractual breakdown as of May 26, 2013 Antrel Rolle - contractual breakdown as of February 18, 2013Eli Manning - contractual breakdown as of September 3, 2013Justin Tuck salary - as of 4-7-2013Steve Weatherford contract - July 10, 2013
  • Justin Tuck is in the last year of his deal, so the Giants’ only option with him would be to tack on a voidable year and create some cap room that way (they gave Osi Umenyiora this kind of deal last year, only not for the puupose of creating cap room), but then that would create Dead Money for the team on it’s 2014 salary cap, so that option is not the best.
  • Steve Weatherford’s contract would up to $738,750 in cap room, which wouldn’t be enough for the Giants to get by. It would help, and could be a complimentary option in addition to restructuring another big money player, but is not a primary option to create the necessary $4,158,236 in cap room, although it would reduce the total to $3,419,486 making it easier to restructure the deal of a guy like Snee, Eli, or Rolle.
  • Eli Manning’s contract could be restructured or extended to help this year, but it is more likely that the Giants will wait to change his contract around by extending him next year, giving the Giants the much needed room that they will need then to attempt and re-sign players like JPP, Nicks, and Joseph. I wouldn’t be surprised if they turned to Eli for help this year, but I think it’s more likely that they wait until next ear to do so, and instead turn to Snee or Rolle.
  • Antrel Rolle is a guy who does not like to get his contract restructured; he hasn’t had it changed since he has signed here a little over 3 years ago, so while he would be an ideal candidate for a restructure, it may not be the most realistic. An extension is possible with him, but may not be optimal due to his age. This then leaves us with one more option: Snee.
  • Chris Snee has consistently helped the Giants out in recent years when it comes to restructuring his deal. He did it last year by agreeing to having his contract restructured on September 8th, just before the Top 51 Rule ceased and the Giants’ season opener against Dallas at MetLife Stadium. I think he’s the logical choice to help out again this year.

Teams are allowed to restructure the contracts of players as many times as they like during a season. The one year rule of not changing a player’s contract that people sometimes misunderstand has to do with salary increases only, as former NFL agent Joel Corry of the National Football Post wrote to me in an email. This makes Snee eligible to help the Giants out again this year.

Snee has two years left on his contract, including this season. His $6,700,000 base salary this year can be reduced to as little as $840,000. This is the veteran minimum for a player who has 9 accrued seasons, such as Snee. The difference of $5,860,000 would then be divided in two, creating $2,930,000 in added cap space. It would also increase his 2014 cap number by $2,930,000 from $9,000,000 to $11,930,000 and would also decrease his cap savings amount in 2014 by that amount from $7,000,000 to $4,070,000.

The odds are that there will be two restructures, in any of these two combinations:

  • Snee/Rolle + Weatherford/Tuck
  • Snee + Rolle

All these permutations and combinations are a moot point unless the Giants go to the Bank Eli tomorrow. They could simply restructure or extend his deal now, and gain the room they need as a result. Eli’s cap number of $20,850,00 is by far the highest on the team. He has 3 years left on his deal, including this season, so there’s room for them to work with if they go that route. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next 24 hours or so in this regard. During the season, the Giants can also go back to any of the same players that they restructured before (if they still have enough leeway in their contracts of course), and ask them for more cap help if the need should arise. One way or the other, we’ll see an announcement made about what happens with regards to these possible contractual restructures or extension(s) by Wednesday for sure.

Share Button
Aug 182013
 
 August 18, 2013  Posted by  Articles, The Salary Cap
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (November 11, 2012)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

August 18, 2013 NFL Salary Cap Update: Here are the latest NFL salary cap space figures for all clubs throughout the league courtesy of the NFLPA’s Top 51 League Cap Report website.

Official Salary Cap Space – 8/18/2013

CAP SPACE RANK
TEAM
PREVIOUS YEAR CARRYOVER
TOTAL CAP SPACE
17Arizona$3,600,110.00$6,603,058.00
14Atlanta$307,540.00$7,469,186.00
20Baltimore$1,182,377.00$5,529,459.00
3Buffalo$9,817,628.00$21,910,064.00
7Carolina$3,654,825.00$13,803,380.00
29Chicago$3,236,965.00$922,767.00
5Cincinnati$8,579,575.00$17,091,631.00
1Cleveland$14,339,575.00$26,645,339.00
12Dallas$2,335,379.00$8,480,326.00
11Denver$11,537,924.00$10,249,438.00
22Detroit$466,992.00$5,013,453.00
8Green Bay$7,010,832.00$13,416,330.00
30Houston$2,422,689.00$763,445.00
18Indianapolis$3,500,000.00$6,566,134.00
2Jacksonville$19,563,231.00$22,691,605.00
32Kansas City$14,079,650.00$7,492.00
6Miami$5,380,246.00$16,187,685.00
24Minnesota$8,004,734.00$4,292,090.00
10New England$5,607,914.00$10,394,769.00
21New Orleans$2,700,000.00$5,173,260.00
27NY Giants$1,000,000.00$2,650,728.00
16NY Jets$3,400,000.00$6,676,562.00
19Oakland$4,504,761.00$5,976,452.00
4Philadelphia$23,046,035.00$19,341,101.00
23Pittsburgh$758,811.00$4,352,684.00
25San Diego$995,893.00$3,110,725.00
15San Francisco$859,734.00$7,116,765.00
26Seattle$13,265,802.00$3,090,007.00
31St. Louis$247,347.00$113,676.00
9Tampa Bay$8,527,866.00$11,588,471.00
13Tennessee$12,867,893.00$8,338,238.00
28Washington$4,270,296.00$1,338,440.00

If you would like to compare the figures listed to today to those which I posted two weeks ago for each club on Sunday, August 4th, then simply click HERE to do so. After you do that, take a look at the teams in the NFC East. The Giants have $2,650,728 in cap room as of now, making them one of the “almost running on empty teams” that I listed below. The Eagles (ranking 4th in the league) and Cowboys (ranked 12th) are in solid shape to start the regular season, while the Giants (who are ranked 27th) are on the border of having to make some financial moves to be able to have some breathing room under the cap. The Redskins (who rank 28th) definitely have to make a move or two with respect to the restructuring a contract or two in order to be able to operate in the regular season as well once the Top 51 Rule expires 18 days from now on Thursday, September 5th at 12:00 am New York time.

To make an automotive parallel, generally speaking, teams with less than $3 million worth of cap room are basically almost running on empty. Right now, according to this list, there are six clubs who fit into this category: the Giants, Redskins, Bears, Texans, Rams, & Chiefs. These six clubs, and possibly two of the clubs slightly ahead of them (the Seahawks & Chargers), will have to make some extra room under the cap in order to cover regular season operational expenses which are not included now, but will be factored in to the salary cap equation once the Top 51 rule expires in slightly less than 18 days. These factors include the following:

  • cap room for players on Injured Reserve.
  • players who have received Injury Settlements.
  • additional dead money as the result of players who are cut to reach the 53-man roster limit.
  • the 8 players on the Practice Squad ($6,000 a week x 17 weeks x 8 players At MINIMUM).
  • and of course all 53 players on the 53-man roster; right now only the top 51 players on the roster count (this will add two extra salaries to the equation).

Keep in mind that the roster moves that teams make going forward when the upcoming rounds of player cuts take place – the cut-down to 75 on August 27th, and the final cut-down to the final 53 on August 31st – will also factor in each individual club’s cap situation. If say for example the Chiefs, who have the least amount of cap space in the league, have a player who has a higher cap number than a similarly ranked player, but is better than him, he’ll very likely be the one to get released due to the club’s tight cap situation. Keep your eyes out for situations like this around the league, particularly from the eight clubs mentioned above, as we near the end of training camps and preseason throughout the league in the coming two weeks.

Share Button
Aug 152013
 
 August 15, 2013  Posted by  Articles, Roster Thoughts
Cullen Jenkins, New York Giants (August 10, 2013)

Cullen Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Offseason Breakdown: New York Giants Defensive Tackles

In part one, we covered how important the defensive line is to the overall defense of the New York Giants, and focused on the defensive ends. In part two, we’ll focus on the defensive tackles.

4-3 defenses usually employ two different types of tackles: a 1-technique (or nose tackle) and a 3-technique (or under tackle). The 1-technique tackle usually will see a lot of double teams from the guard and center and usually has to be the bigger, stronger, and stouter player. These types of players usually lack ideal quickness. The 3-technique is usually less stout, but the quicker, more active penetrator. If Linval Joseph and Cullen Jenkins start as expected, Joseph will play the 1-technique and Jenkins the 3-technique given their physical characteristics. Johnathan Hankins is better suited to the 1-technique while Marvin Austin is better suited to the 3-technique. Also keep in mind that in obvious pass rush situations, the Giants have moved defensive ends – including Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Mathias Kiwanuka – inside to rush from the tackle spots.

There are currently eight defensive tackles on the Giants’ 90-man preseason roster. At most, the Giants will be able to keep five defensive tackles on the 53-man regular-season roster.

Linval Joseph: Joseph was drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Giants. He did not play much as a rookie but became a full-time starter in 2011. Joseph has an excellent combination of size (6’4’’, 323 pounds), strength, and athletic ability. He flashes as run defender due to his size and strength, and as a pass rusher because of his quickness. But one gets the sense that Joseph should be a more consistent, more dominating player than he has shown to date.

“Linval is really good,” said DT Cullen Jenkins. “He’s a strong man; really strong. I can’t even workout with Linval in the weight room. But he’s one of the first people in here every day. Out in practice he’s always busting his butt and you have to respect it. He’s got some bright years ahead of him and I think he can do a lot of things in the league.”

“From looking at Linval in all the practices you wonder why he is not a Pro Bowler,” said Jenkins. “He’s got a tremendous amount of ability, the strength he possess, quickness, speed. He’s had a couple dings here and there that have hampered him, but if he can stay healthy I think he’ll be a Pro Bowler.”

“I’m just ready to step up,” said Joseph. “I’m going to be the anchor of this team and I’m ready to go.”

Cullen Jenkins: Jenkins was signed by the Giants in March 2013 after he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles in February. Jenkins was originally signed by Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent after the 2003 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but spent time in NFL Europe and then re-signed with the Packers in 2004. From 2004-10, Jenkins played with the Packers until he signed with the Eagles in 2011.

Jenkins lacks ideal size (6’2’’, 305 pounds) and is on the downside of his career, but he still is a solid two-way defensive tackle who can play the run and rush the passer. Versatile, he has experience in the 4-3 as a defensive tackle and as an end in the 3-4. The Giants have also been playing him at defensive end in the 4-3. In the last four seasons, he’s averaged over five sacks a year. Jenkins is a tough guy who plays with an attitude.

“Cullen, I was with four years in Green Bay, he’s a very explosive guy, talented guy, has matured a lot,” said Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn. “He’s a different guy than he was in Green Bay. He’s a guy that has gotten better and better as time has gone on, very explosive player both in the run game and the pass game and he is going to bring a lot of versatility to us. I think he can go inside, he can play outside, we can do some different things, which, in turn, will allow us to different things with some of our other guys. He really adds some versatility to what we’re doing…When we get to our pass rush stuff he can free up Justin and JPP and Kiwi to move around so there are several things he brings. The passion he plays with and the toughness, he’s another guy that plays tough. On Sundays, he’s a tough guy. We need that in that room.”

“I’m very impressed with Jenkins,” said Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell. “He is a seasoned veteran, a proven veteran and I just see that for him to come to our football team and bring the type of energy that he displayed down at his previous team and then bring that to us, I think that’s a positive for our defense.”

“We’re going to take advantage of his versatility,” said Fewell. “He’s very explosive. He’s much stronger than I initially thought he was and he is violent in his reactions and so that’s a good thing for us and it’s very pleasing.”

“He’s a tough guy to block no matter where he is,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He’s very effective, very good. Moves well. Just gives us a nice piece of versatility to be able to play him basically wherever we need.”

“Once you hit 30, everyone starts talking about how you’re getting older and missing a step,” said the 32-year-old Jenkins. “I see it as a challenge. My whole career, my whole life, has been about proving people wrong.”

“Two things I’ve been working on: my strength and my quickness,” said Jenkins. “Quickness has helped me since I’ve been in the league and it’s one of the reasons I’ve put so much emphasis in making sure my weight stays at a good level for me this year. At the same time, I’m trying to get as strong as I can because getting older I know you have to put a lot more time into your body to make sure you stay healthy. These last few years that’s what I’ve been trying to do to make sure I stay on the field every week.”

Shaun Rogers: The Giants signed Rogers as an unrestricted free agent in April 2012, but he missed the entire 2012 season due to a blood clot in his leg. Rogers was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. In 11 NFL seasons, Rogers has played for the Lions (2001-07), Browns, (2008-10), and Saints (2011). He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2004, 2005, and 2008.

Rogers is a huge (6’4’’, 350 pounds), powerful player. In his prime, he was a very strong run defender who could also push the pocket on the pass rush. However, the 34-year old Rogers is nearing the end of his career and it remains to be seen how much he has left in his gas tank. He started four games for the Saints in 2011 and finished with just 22 tackles and no sacks. Amazingly, Rogers has blocked 14 field goal attempts in his career.

Johnathan Hankins: Hankins was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Hankins is a big (6’2’’, 320 pounds), strong, run-stuffing defensive tackle with good athletic ability and agility for his size. He is a better run defender than pass rusher. Hankins is very stout at the point-of-attack and can take on double-team blocks. When he plays with leverage and proper technique, Hankins is very difficult to move off of the line of scrimmage. Hankins also has the athletic ability to pursue down the line and will flash occasionally on the pass rush with quickness and power.

“He has really surprised me coming in,” said Nunn. “I thought he did an outstanding job between when he started until now with his body. He’s worked, he’s trimmed up, he’s gotten stronger, if he continues to do that I think he’s another young player that’s going to contribute to us. He really has looked good.”

“He’s been running second team,” said Nunn. “He’s picked up everything physically and from a mental standpoint, he’s right where he needs to be. We’ll see what happens when we start shooting real bullets.”

“The two rookies we have on our D-Line have stood out,” said Tuck. “Hank is quiet and he is more polished. You can tell he’s obviously had a great coach and played big-time football (at Ohio State).”

Marvin Austin: The Giants have not received much in return from Marvin Austin ever since drafting him in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Austin missed his last season in college due to an NCAA violation. Austin then missed his second football season in a row when the Giants placed him on Injured Reserve in August 2011 after he tore his pectoral muscle. In 2012, Austin fell to fifth on the defensive tackle depth chart, behind 7th round rookie Markus Kuhn. Austin ended up playing in eight games, but only saw limited time at defensive tackle and finished the season with only eight tackles. He hurt his back in training camp before last season and had offseason knee surgery (torn meniscus) in January 2013.

Austin has good tools to work with. Although he lacks ideal height (6’2’’, 312 pounds), he is a very athletic tackle with fine size and strength. He moves very well for a big man and could develop into a very good pass rusher. However, to-date, he has trouble getting off blocks and simply has not made many plays.

“Marvin…he is another one who has had his best offseason,” said Nunn. “He’s been healthy for the first time. He’s never been able to go through a true offseason because of different ailments that he’s had. He’s where he needs to be right now, he just can’t disappear when the pads come on. He knows what he’s got to do. I’ve spoken to him about it. When the pads come on he’s got to produce. When he gets out there under the lights he’s got to produce. Right now, he’s got himself in the position to give himself the best opportunity since he’s been here of having a productive year.”

“I thought Marvin performed well this past Saturday (in the preseason game against the Steelers),” said Fewell. “He’s progressed each week in practice. He’s had a full offseason with the OTAs, which he didn’t have in the past. I look for good things from him this Sunday in the football game. This will be a really good opportunity for him to showcase his quickness and his abilities. I think Pittsburgh is really a big massive offensive line. Indy, they’ll play more to the strengths of Marvin and so it will be exciting to see him in this game Sunday.”

“He’s a defensive tackle that, really, we need to see him in the fashion that we anticipated when we drafted him,” said Coughlin. “He’s done well this camp rushing the passer and we really would like to see him do a good job against the run.”

Austin believes he will be fine if he can stay healthy. “It seems like one thing after another,” Austin said. “I’ve been hurt the whole time I’ve been here. I feel like as long as I can stay healthy, I’ll be able to help this team.”

“I’ve watched film with Cullen and Mike Patterson,” said Austin. “They’re very quick and good guys and I feel like I can play in that same mode as them. But one of the vets who has helped me and kept me honest, per say, has been Shaun Rogers. He always checks me out, looks at my technique and tries to help me with different stuff.”

Austin sees all of the new defensive tackles the Giants have brought in. “At the end of the day, the National Football League is about competition and is a business,” said Austin. “I haven’t performed since I’ve been here. They’re looking to see if I can play at the high level they drafted me, and they’re going to protect themselves. They’re giving me a chance to compete, and that’s all I could ask for.”

“If you sit there and dwell on it and be negative, you’re not going to help yourself,” said Austin. “You’re either going to stand up or sit down. You can be a man about it or a coward. That’s all it is. And this game is a man’s game.”

“You see the competition (at defensive tackle),” said Austin. “I want to make this team. I’ve got to show them what I can do. I haven’t shown them anything. Some things don’t have to be said.”

Mike Patterson: Patterson was signed by the Giants in April 2013. Patterson was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. In eight seasons with the Eagles, Patterson played in 115 regular-season games with 99 starts. Patterson underwent brain surgery in January 2012 to repair an arteriovenous malformation. He played in just five games in 2012 before being placed on the reserve/non-football illness list last year with pneumonia. The Eagles waived Patterson in February 2013.

Patterson lacks ideal size (6’1’’, 300 pounds), but he is a good athlete who can be disruptive with his quickness. He has experience in both 1- and 2-gap schemes. Tough, Patterson is a steady run defender and has 16.5 career sacks.

“I thought I was going to still be (with the Eagles), but you never know how things are going to turn out,” said Patterson. “I’m just happy I was able to land on my feet with the Giants. Even though I didn’t play that much last year, it wasn’t due to football injuries. It just came down to me getting sick and me recovering from my surgery. It was nothing to do with on-the-field stuff, so I know I’m perfectly healthy when it comes to playing football.”

Frank Okam: The Giants signed Frank Okam in May 2013 after he impressed at the rookie mini-camp as tryout player. Okam was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Okam has spent time with the Texans (2008-10), Seahawks (2010), and Buccaneers (2010-12). The Buccaneers released Okam in August 2012 and he did not play last season. From 2008-11, Okam played in 25 games with six starts.

Okam is a huge (6’5’’, 350 pounds), strong player with limited overall athleticism and agility. He is a run-stuffing nose tackle type who does not get much heat on the quarterback. Okam has very good tools, but he needs to become a more consistent effort player. Very smart.

Markus Kuhn: Kuhn was selected by the Giants in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Kuhn is German and was only a one-year starter in college. Kuhn was an active member of the defensive tackle rotation last season before tearing the ACL in one of his knees. He was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2012. Kuhn played in 10 games with one start and finished the season with eight tackles and four pass defenses.

Kuhn has a nice combination of size (6’4’’, 299 pounds) and athletic ability. He is a high-energy effort player who can be disruptive with his quickness and intensity. Kuhn is a better run defender than pass rusher.

Kuhn has been on Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List since training camp started as he continues to rehab from his ACL injury. With training camp ending next week, it’s becoming more likely that Kuhn will start the season on the in-season PUP as well, meaning he will have to miss at least the first six games of the regular season. Then a decision will need to be made on whether to activate him, put him on Injured Reserve, or waive him.

Summary: It appears Linval Joseph and Cullen Jenkins will start. Based on the way the coaches and players are talking about Jenkins, he may have a much bigger impact on this team than first realized when he signed. Johnathan Hankins has been everything advertised. The real surprise is Shaun Rogers. He did not have a stellar year in New Orleans in 2011 and is now 34 years old, but he’s been receiving snaps with the first team and definitely seems to be in the team’s plans.

I have a hard time seeing the team parting ways with Marvin Austin at this point. He has a lot of talent and has been improving. Unless he flops the rest of the preseason, I think he’s going to be the fifth defensive tackle.

Markus Kuhn could probably be activated off of the PUP now, but I think the Giants realize that if they did so, they would have to end up cutting him. Look for him to be added to the regular-season PUP.

I think Mike Patterson and Frank Okam can play in this league, but it’s a numbers game for them.

Share Button
Aug 122013
 
 August 12, 2013  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
Michael Cox, New York Giants (August 7, 2013)

Michael Cox – © USA TODAY Sports Images

August 12, 2013 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor djm

This won’t be a very detailed 2013 New York Giants training camp report but I figured I’d share my experience at camp today. I was lucky enough to catch practice today from the VIP area behind the end zone. First off, I Got to see the trophy case inside the Timex Center. Four shiny trophies all in a row. Awesome. We then ventured out to the area behind the End Zone where they had some food and drink available. Had some pulled pork on a roll, a hot dog and some cole slaw. Food was actually pretty damn good.

Players emerged to the cheers of many and went into their stretching and warm up routine. Being so close to them was pretty cool. As they were walking towards us the players acknowledged our calls and cheers. The best thing I took from the stretching phase was Shaun Rogers had the most awesome stretching routine I’ve ever seen…and when I say awesome I mean he basically goes through the motions in hilarious fashion. Everyone else is stretching things out in unison and then there’s big old Shaun kind of just kicking a leg out or moving an arm…pretty funny sight. He’s a gigantic man. This routine went on for a few minutes and then the players went into drills.

I managed to see Cruz, Randle and Wilson all fielding punts. All fielded them without a hitch. Paysinger was barking out cadence as the ball was snapped to the punter.

On to the fun stuff…I guess it was 11 on 11 drills? Not sure but the offense was going against the defense and everyone was wearing upper pads.

  • David Wilson had some nice grabs out of the backfield. I guess they would be labeled as swing passes? Sort of like the Jacobs TD in Philly, 2011. He had a few of those. He’s a natural pass receiver – very fluid. I didn’t really see him do much in the running drills. I kind of missed if he did run the ball at all. I saw one nice run up the gut but missed anything else.
  • Andre Brown had one run that stood out but I didn’t really see much else. At the end of practice he started singing an Eddie Money song. And I gotta say the dude has a good voice and I think GiantFilthy should get his jersey based on that info alone. First “he got a ring” and now Eddie Money? Guy’s a ham.
  • The guy I did notice was Cox. I got to see a lot of him. The difference between Cox and Scott was pretty easy to see. Cox had a number of nice runs…twisting and bouncing his way to daylight on a few occasions while Scott really didn’t stand out to me at all. Kind of hard to kill or praise a guy watching these drills but I saw Cox break free a few times while I can’t remember seeing Scott break free at all. Gun to my head I think Cox makes this team. Looks like he belongs.
  • Adrien Robinson. This dude was why I posted this report. I know it’s early but it looks like he has arrived. He made a number of nice plays today. Caught balls in traffic. Got separation. Used that big old frame of his very well and just absolutely shined out there today. Mike Pope has worked his magic once again. Adrien looks very very good. He’s a real big specimen and it looks like the game is slowing down for him. I was hyping Adrien up before practice to my father-in-law and after practice he was fully on board.
  • Speaking of weapons, Mr. Cruz looks dynamite out there. Caught everything in site and just makes it look so easy. His route running and cutting is second to none. Nothing else to say other than Cruz looks to be rounding right into regular-season form.
  • Nicks practiced and had one drop that I remember but also had a nice TD in the corner of the end zone on a sweet pass from Eli. Nicks beat Prince on the play. Nicks practiced all day and that’s all that matters.
  • Randle once again had another good practice. Had a few nice grabs over the middle, in traffic, and like Robinson really seems to be learning how to use that body of his to generate separation and shield himself from the defender.
  • I saw Pugh on the field wearing pads and a helmet but I actually forgot to look to see if he actually practiced? I didn’t notice him until near the end but he was definitely out there in pads and wearing the helmet. But when I saw him he was just standing with some other players watching the action. I would think he practiced since he was wearing the pads.  (Editor’s note: Pugh did practice).
  • Saw JPP walking around. Couldn’t see if he was running or anything but he was out there. Same goes for Webster.
  • Nassib had some nice balls today. And he wasn’t on the run when he threw those balls so that’s probably a positive step for him. He can definitely sling the rock. Really all the QBs had some decent throws but I saw Painter miss one or two that he’d probably like to have back.
  • Eli as mentioned had the perfect pass to Nicks and he was pretty much money the entire practice. Nothing to see here.
  • I really didn’t get a chance to see much of the defense. The only thing I did notice was Ross had a nice play on the outside, I think on Nicks and Fewell really seemed to enjoy that action as he ran all the way up to Ross and high-fived him. I saw Ross make 2-3 other plays as well. He’s happy to be home. Fewell really gets animated during practice as he is one of the loudest guys on the field. The other guy who gets fired up and seems to be having a good time is Marvin Austin. That’s really all I can offer on the D.
  • I saw the Rolle injury. It was a tough, physical play on the outside. I think he was covering Pascoe? They got tangled up on a pass to the outside and I think Rolle broke it up but sadly it came with a cost. He was in a lot of pain. He came over to the end zone area where we were and sat on a cooler while the trainers checked him out. He looked pretty miserable. I heard someone say ankle which is obvious by now…Barnes patted him on the shoulder and away he went on the cart. Fingers crossed.

That’s about it…I met and got Tuck and Wilson to sign a football. The football will now be a good luck charm never to leave my living room. Great day. Great weather. Only complaint was Rolle’s injury.

Share Button
Aug 092013
 
 August 9, 2013  Posted by  Articles, Roster Thoughts
Jason Pierre-Paul (90), Justin Tuck (91), New York Giants (January 22, 2012)

Pierre-Paul and Tuck – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Offseason Breakdown: New York Giants Defensive Ends

For better or worse, the mindset of the New York Giants front office, coaches, and players in recent years is that the play of the defensive line will determine the play of the overall defensive unit. When the New York Giants defensive line plays well, the defense plays well; when the defensive line doesn’t, the overall defense can look putrid.

The Giants are the team that first rolled out the 4-3 defense in the 1950s and used the 4-3 as a base defense until 1978. The team went back to its 4-3 roots in 1994. Since that time, the Giants have done a good job of stocking and restocking the defensive line position with players such as Keith Hamilton, Michael Strahan, Robert Harris, Christian Peter, Chad Bratzke, Cornelius Griffin, Kenny Holmes, Fred Robbins, Osi Umenyiora, Barry Cofield, Justin Tuck, Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, and Jason Pierre-Paul.

In nine seasons under Tom Coughlin, the Giants have made the playoffs five times, and have won three NFC East division titles, two NFC championships, and two NFL championships. In those nine seasons, the Giants have finished 13th, 24th, 25th, 7th, 5th, 13th, 7th, 27th, and 31st in overall defense (yards allowed). Obviously, there has not been a lot of defensive consistency on that side of the ball. Yet, for brief and critical moments, the defense has risen up to excel and even dominate explosive offensive opponents. This is especially true of the playoff runs in 2007 and 2011. Indeed, there seems to be a direct correlation with respect to the performance of the defense (defensive line) and the team’s overall success.

Barring significant injuries to key personnel, the Giants’ offense should remain among the NFL’s best. But for the Giants to win the NFC East and win playoff games, the defense must play better. And given the mindset of this team, the greatest onus will be on a defensive line that saw a certain degree of turnover this past offseason. Gone are Osi Umenyiora, Chris Canty, and Rocky Bernard. Reinforcements include Mathias Kiwanuka (moved from linebacker), Cullen Jenkins, Shaun Rogers (spent last season on IR), Johnathan Hankins, and Damontre Moore.

“We obviously have a quarterback in place who has won a couple of Super Bowls, who is in his prime,” said Giants’ President/CEO John Mara. “But he needs a little bit of help and we need to play better on defense and we need to play better up front and we think we’ve added some pieces that are going to allow us to do that.”

Much focus has been on the Giants’ pass rush. The Giants only had 33 sacks last season (22nd in the NFL). Teams like the Browns, Titans, Cardinals, and Panthers had more sacks. But more focus should be placed on the shoddy run defense. The Giants’ defense allowed 4.6 yards per rush (28th in the NFL). That means that opposing teams regularly found themselves in very manageable 2nd-down and 3rd-down situations, making it more difficult to rush the passer. Also, Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell did not appear to be able to successfully strategize against teams that got rid of the ball quickly or max-protected. In other words, the Giants’ defense was not only out-muscled, it often appeared out-smarted. That is obviously not a good combination.

“We’ve got to be more physical,” said Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn. “We’ve talked about that as a unit and, you know, there’s no way to shy away from that. We weren’t as physical as we wanted to be last year…When the pads come on, that’s where you’ve got to evaluate our toughness, the energy, the passion we’re playing with and how physical we are. I think that’s the number one thing that we’ve got to improve on is being more physical, which will in turn stop the run, which will in turn allow for us to rush the passer…We’ve got to get back to playing with an edge and playing with some nastiness…We can’t just talk.”

There are currently eight defensive ends on the 90-man preseason roster. It’s hard to see the team being able to keep more than five on the 53-man regular season roster.

“Honestly, there’s been times this season, times in my career, you look at guys we’ve got in (the defensive line) room and you just say, he shouldn’t be here,” Tuck said. “But out of all the guys we have in that defensive line room, I don’t see anybody that doesn’t have the potential, (doesn’t) have the talent, to make a team somewhere, if it’s not here.”

Jason Pierre-Paul: Pierre-Paul is regarded by most as the best defensive player on the Giants. However, he did not play as well in 2012 as he did in 2011, and more importantly, he had back surgery (microdiscetomy) in early June. His back issues obviously affected his play in 2012. There are questions on not only how soon will he be able to return to the football field, but also how effective will he be once he does return? Bad backs can be tricky. And even if healthy, Pierre-Paul will probably have missed all of training camp and the preseason.

Pierre-Paul was voted to his second Pro Bowl in 2012, but his sack numbers declined from 16.5 in 2011 to 6.5 in 2012. More troubling was that he did not register a sack during the last seven games of the season. Pierre-Paul’s overall tackle total also declined from 86 to 66.

Pierre-Paul has an excellent combination of size (6’5’’, 278 pounds), strength, and athleticism. An explosive and disruptive player, Pierre-Paul is fast, quick, and agile. His tremendous wingspan helps him to bat passes down at the line of scrimmage. Pierre-Paul is also athletic enough to drop into coverage. As a pass rusher, he can beat blockers with both power and movement skills. However, he would become a more productive pass rusher if he would improve his initial quickness off the snap. He’s often the last lineman to move and this hurts his ability to quickly pressure with an outside rush. Pierre-Paul is a very good run defender both at the point-of-attack as well as in backside pursuit. In order for him to reach the next level, Pierre-Paul must learn how to deal with double teams on a consistent basis.

“JPP’s on schedule,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “He’s looking good, he’s running around a little bit. He’s going to be out on the field a little more than usual as we move along. We expect him to hopefully be back, ready to go for the (Week 1) Dallas game.”

Pierre-Paul isn’t sure when he will return. “I’m rehabbing, I don’t know when my return will be, but at the end of the day I’m going to go out there when I feel comfortable,” said Pierre-Paul. “I’ve been doing some running lately, and it feels good. Like I said, it’s basically day-by-day.”

“It’s not really the doctor’s decision (on when I return),” said Pierre-Paul. “I say it’s not the doctor’s decision anymore because it’s basically on me. It all depends on my recovery and how my back feels and if I can go out there and practice with the team but I’m going to have to get a couple practices in before, if, I decide to come back before the first game. I already know I’m going to be taking on two guys, double team, triple team maybe so, I’m not in a rush to come back and put myself in that position…And right now I’m still at that stage that I know I can’t go out there and perform. So, I’m not going to try and rush back.”

“At the end of the day, you know that your coaches and general manager and head coach want you out there, to help the team out, but, it’s all on me, like I said,” said Pierre-Paul. “I’m focused on coming back 100%, not being like 85%, you know what I’m saying? And I know I’m going to be a big factor of the defense, so I’d rather come back 100% and that’s it.”

Justin Tuck:  It may be an unfair observation, but there appears to be a direct correlation between how well Justin Tuck plays and how the Giants’ overall defense plays. Tuck had double-digit sack totals in 2007 (as a reserve), 2008 (Pro Bowl), and 2010 (Pro Bowl). He was also strong against the run in those seasons. Tuck did not play well for the bulk of 2011 (and neither did the defense), but he came on during the 6-game stretch run (as did the overall defense), resulting in an NFL Championship.

Tuck appears to be a reluctant team leader and somewhat moody. He has had two down seasons in a row, raising questions whether injuries (especially in the shoulder/neck area) have taken their toll on his game or whether his heart is still in football. Tuck started 14 games in 2012 and finished the season with only four sacks, his lowest figure since 2006.

Tuck has an excellent combination of size (6’5’’, 268 pounds), strength, and athleticism. In his prime, when healthy, Tuck was a very good two-way player who could rush the passer and stuff the run.

On the surface, Tuck appears re-energized and re-dedicated this offseason. Of course this being a contract year for Tuck should help to inspire him.

“I’ll be the first one to tell you the last couple years, I’ve had a lot of distractions that draw away from being the dominating player I’ve been, whether it be deaths in the family, newborns, me trying to do too much in the community, charity appearances, whatever,” said Tuck. “You don’t even think of it as a bad thing while you’re doing it, that you can multitask and do it all, but when I get an opportunity to step back, I know it wasn’t the best thing.”

“Justin has probably had his best offseason since I’ve been with him,” said Nunn. “In the fourth year I’ve been with him, he’s probably in the best physical shape, seems to be in a great frame of mind. The injuries were a factor last year. I think if he can keep himself clean with injuries, I am totally confident that Justin will be a big contributor for us and will be a very effective defensive lineman.”

“(Tuck) wasn’t as bad as everyone thought he was, but he wasn’t as good as he usually is so we’ve got to just keep building,” said Nunn. “He’s approached the offseason, I thought it was just outstanding how he approached the OTAs in the offseason, he’s in very, very good shape. I think he’s got to prove it when the pads come on but I think he’s prepared to have an outstanding season.”

“I’ve had two years that were not up to my caliber of play, two years that I’m nowhere pleased with,” Tuck said. “One of them we won a Super Bowl, but last year was a bad year. No one gives a damn what you did three, four, five years ago. I understand that. I’ll be the first one to tell you I have to play better than last year. I understand what I mean to this team and what me playing well can do.”

Tuck is also taking his leadership role even more seriously. “He’s checking up on everybody,” said S Stevie Brown. “He’s holding everybody accountable.”

Mathias Kiwanuka:  Since he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Giants, Mathias Kiwanuka has split his time between defensive end and linebacker. He played primarily defensive end in 2006 and 2008-09, and he played primarily linebacker in 2007 and 2010-12. For the last three seasons, under Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell, Kiwanuka has played a hybrid linebacker/defensive end “joker” role – starting at linebacker but often also being rushed from a down position in obvious pass rushing situations.

Kiwanuka has had two major injuries with the Giants. In November 2007, he suffered a fractured fibula and ligament damaged in an ankle. In September 2010, a potentially career-threatening neck injury (herniated cervical disc) ended his season.

In 2012, Kiwanuka played in all 16 regular-season games, starting five, and finished with 37 tackles and three sacks. Kiwanuka’s tackle number was way down from a career-high 84 in 2011.

With the departure of Osi Umenyiora, the Giants have once again moved Kiwanuka back to his more natural defensive end position. And Kiwanuka seems thrilled with the switch. Kiwanuka combines very good size (6’5’’, 267 pounds) and overall athleticism. Nevertheless, in seven seasons, Kiwanuka has only averaged slightly over four sacks per year, with his career-high being eight in 2008. Obviously, the Giants would like him to set a new career-high in 2013.

“He was off to a great start (in 2010),” said Nunn. “He was really doing a good job and had four or five sacks there before he had the neck issue. And then when he came back we had a logjam there with Osi and Justin and JPP. And so we moved him around a lot. And he came up big down the stretch there when we made the Super Bowl run. Kiwi came up big in San Francisco, and against Atlanta, the roles we asked him to play. But I think it is going to help him and help us to have him in one position, especially with JPP being out.”

“Kiwi and Tuck, since I’ve been with them, have had their best offseason,” said Nunn. “And the OTA work that Kiwi had was outstanding; he’s off to a great start these first few days of (training camp) practice…The toughness he brings, the leadership he brings to that group in that room, I’m looking forward to that. We need some toughness in there…He’s a tough person naturally and I’m excited about it.”

“You see the physicality, he plays with an edge on him,” said Nunn. “When he’s playing confident he’s got an edge on him, which spreads into that room. You talk about toughness, (he) brings toughness to our room. We need that because last year, for whatever reason, whether it be injuries or whatever it was, we didn’t play with that edge at times. At times we did and at times we didn’t. We want to play all 16 games with a little edge and Kiwi brings that to us.”

“It’s great,” said Kiwanuka. “(Defensive end is) the position I was kind of born to play…It’s definitely easier (playing one position) because you’re not worrying about what you’re missing in the other meeting room and what’s being said and trying to track coaches down, in their off time, to get all the rest of the information…Sitting in one room, you can focus on one job and one task. I feel like it puts you in a much better competitive advantage to watch film, to study, to work on your own technique.”

Adrian Tracy: Tracy was drafted by the Giants in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL Draft, but missed all of his rookie season due to a preseason elbow injury. In 2011, he was on the team’s Practice Squad. In 2012, Tracy made the 53-man roster and was active for all 16 games. He finished the season with nine tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble.

The Giants have played Tracy both at linebacker and defensive end, but he is back at defensive end in 2013. Tracy lacks size (6’2’’, 245 pounds) for an end, but he is strong for his size and very athletic for the position.

“I’m really pleased with…Adrian Tracy,” said Nunn. “He is further along right now than he has ever been in his career at this time, this point. He has got to keep moving forward…He always takes care of himself…He has got to go out there and be consistent playing the run and pass on Sundays on defense.”

“I’m a smaller guy, so I think one of my best attributes is speed and keying the ball,” said Tracy. “To get off at the snap is one of the best things that I can do. That gives me an advantage over offensive linemen. But then again, being a smaller guy, people think I’m not as stout and strong, and I think putting in the work with the strength and conditioning stuff has allowed me to prove them wrong as far as being a power rusher as well.”

“I do have strength so hopefully that can translate into me being a run stopper as well,” said Tracy. “I know I have to get off the pass rush and when it’s a run, I have to be stout at the point of attack.”

Tracy’s teammates have nicknamed him “Yosi” (for young Osi Umenyiora). “(Tracy is) playing with a lot more confidence, playing with a lot more purpose and it’s very nice to see,” said Fewell. “Osi did a nice job in training him. He was kind of his mentor, so to speak, and he has flashes of Osi in him at times.”

“There are times when you squint and it could be Osi out there,” said TE/FB Bear Pascoe. “Just the speed, the quickness and then the same sort of moves too.”

Damontre Moore: Moore was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Moore has the frame (6’5’’, 250 pounds) to get bigger and stronger, which he needs to do. His 40-time isn’t great, but Moore is an athletic disruptor who plays hard and makes a lot of plays in the backfield. He has good first-step quickness, agility, and change-of-direction skills.

The scouting report on Moore is that he is a better pass rusher than run defender. He’s relentless at getting after the quarterback, but he can be handled at the point-of-attack on running plays, which is why he needs to get stronger and add some bulk. Moore tested and interviewed very poorly at the NFL Combine, and he has had some drug issues, but he reportedly has been a good soldier thus far with the Giants. He’s very quickly impressed his coaches and teammates with his ability. Moore has already been elevated to the second-team defense.

“He’s handled everything we’ve given him, both in OTAs and starting off training camp,” said Nunn. “I think he’s going to give us a lot of versatility and do some different things for us and I really see him contributing as a rookie. He’s got some growing up to do, he’s got to help us on special teams, he’s got to contribute on special teams when he’s called to do so but the guy is off to an outstanding start and we have to see what happens when the pads come on. He’s off to a pretty good start.”

“(In college), he’s always close to the quarterback, he’s always a physical player, he came in here in the OTAs and minicamp, he showed that again,” said Nunn. “He’s got some rookie in him, there’s no doubt, but it’s the good kind of rookie. He’s someone you have to tell to slow down, you never have to tell him to speed up. He’s off to an outstanding start and, like I said, I really believe the guy is going to contribute early.”

“I think the jury is still out (on Moore),” said Kiwanuka. “I think for a young guy who is physically gifted, he is very talented, he pays attention, and he’s got that drive and that power. You see him flying around the field. For a young guy like that it’s about staying in tune with the material. He’s got all the physical gifts and he’s got to stay healthy.”

“The two rookies we have on our D-Line have stood out,” Tuck said. “Moore has been explosive, he is still very raw. But you can see the talent and the potential there…the potential of Moore is off the radar right now.”

“He’s been a young man that’s gotten our attention,” said Coughlin.

Matt Broha: Adewale Ojomo and Justin Trattou have received more attention from fans and the media, but right now, it’s Broha who is higher on the depth chart. Broha was signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft. He spent the season on the team’s Practice Squad. Broha has a nice combination of size (6’4’’, 255 pounds) and athleticism. He plays hard and flashed during the 2012 preseason as a pass rusher.

Justin Trattou: Trattou was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. He split his rookie season on the Practice Squad and 53-man roster. Trattou played in six regular season games in 2011, serving mainly on special teams. Trattou was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2012 after he suffered ankle and heel injuries in training camp. He flashed in training camp last year before he got hurt. Trattou has decent size (6’4’’, 255 pounds) and athleticism. H has good quickness but he is not an explosive edge rusher.

Adewale Ojomo: Ojomo was signed as a rookie free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft. Ojomo was the surprise of the preseason as he accrued four sacks and made the 53-man roster. He was only active for one game in 2012. Ojomo has a nice combination of size (6’4’’, 270 pounds) and athletic ability. He is a confident player who seems to have a knack for rushing the passer even though he was not productive in doing so at the collegiate level. There have been some whispers that he has been having a disappointing training camp this year.

Summary: So much at defensive end depends on the health of Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck. When will JPP return and how effective will he be when he does, coming off of back surgery and missing the preseason? Tuck has been beat up the last few years and now his back has been bothering him too. Mathias Kiwanuka is a nice replacement for Osi Umenyiora. He should be a better run defender, but he has not proven yet he is in Umenyiora’s league when rushing the passer. Tracy is drawing comparisons to Umenyiora. Those are hard to believe but we shall see. The early news on Moore is exciting, but he’s still growing into his body. The other guys have talent, but there doesn’t seem to be room for any of them unless someone gets hurt or they dramatically out-play Tracy.

Share Button
Aug 042013
 
 August 4, 2013  Posted by  Articles, The Salary Cap
Jerry Reese, New York Giants (August 24, 2012)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

August 4, 2013 NFL Salary Cap Update: Before I list everything a quick FYI about the New York Giants’ cap number. They are not what the NFLPA Top 51 League Cap Report website says they are right now. I don’t want to repeat myself about what I wrote regarding this situation already on my Giants cap blog. You can read about it HERE.

The Giants are currently $2,656,846 under the NFL salary cap (disregard the $2,251,846 figure seen on their website). Here’s how they stand in comparison to the rest of the league (assuming their numbers are accurate, which I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t because of the simple errors that I’ve seen there this past week):

Click on a column to sort

NFL Team Cap Numbers - 8/4/2013

RANK
TEAM
CARRYOVER
TOTAL CAP SPACE
19Arizona$3,600,110.00 $5,755,040.00
15Atlanta$307,540.00 $7,683,068.00
17Baltimore$1,182,377.00 $6,904,459.00
3Buffalo$9,817,628.00 $21,810,064.00
8Carolina$3,654,825.00 $12,808,380.00
28Chicago$3,236,965.00 $1,637,767.00
5Cincinnati$8,579,575.00 $17,017,219.00
1Cleveland$14,339,575.00 $27,070,339.00
14Dallas$2,335,379.00 $8,480,326.00
11Denver$11,537,924.00 $9,287,063.00
22Detroit$466,992.00 $5,113,453.00
6Green Bay$7,010,832.00 $14,564,348.00
29Houston$2,422,689.00 $1,446,769.00
18Indianapolis$3,500,000.00 $6,163,781.00
2Jacksonville$19,563,231.00 $22,916,605.00
32Kansas City$14,079,650.00 $82,492.00
7Miami$5,380,246.00 $14,374,685.00
24Minnesota$8,004,734.00 $4,400,972.00
10New England$5,607,914.00 $10,092,269.00
21New Orleans$2,700,000.00 $5,173,260.00
27NY Giants$1,000,000.00 $2,656,846.00
13NY Jets$3,400,000.00 $8,648,580.00
20Oakland$4,504,761.00 $5,558,452.00
4Philadelphia$23,046,035.00 $19,261,143.00
23Pittsburgh$758,811.00 $4,476,513.00
26San Diego$995,893.00 $3,127,666.00
16San Francisco$859,734.00 $7,436,766.00
25Seattle$13,265,802.00 $3,352,772.00
31St. Louis$247,347.00 $139,088.00
9Tampa Bay$8,527,866.00 $11,513,471.00
12Tennessee$12,867,893.00 $9,245,356.00
30Washington$4,270,296.00 $1,338,440.00
  • Keep in mind that the Giants probably still have to make a little bit more room under the cap before the Top 51 Rule expires in a little over a month.
  • In the Giants’ case, it may not be for much; as things stand now, it may only be for about $1 million, maybe even less.
  • Someone like Steve Weatherford could be an ideal restructure, since doing so could add as much as another $738,750 in salary cap space to the Giants’ present total without doing too much damage to their long-term salary cap structure (something that the Cowboys, to give a pertinent example, have become notorious at doing lately).
  • They have until midnight New York time on Thursday, September 5th to do so (this is when the Top 51 Rule expires).
  • Teams will have to include the cap numbers of the 52nd and 53rd players on their 53-man rosters at that point.
  • By that time, clubs will have reduced their rosters to a maximum of 53 players; this will have taken place no later than by 6:00 pm New York time on August 31st.
  • After the Top 51 rule ceases to be clubs will also have to count the players on IR, the 8-man Practice Squad, the PUP list, and those players who have received Injury Settlements in training camp/preseason as the result of any injuries that prevented them from continuing to play (this is the case for Antonio Dennard & Jeremy Horne at this point).
  • Any additional Dead Money that results from players being cut in training camp will also factor into this equation.
  • A conservative guess is that this will cost teams between 2 and 3 million dollars around the league depending on their specific situations; this is why teams with less than $2 million dollars could be swimming in dangerous cap waters as September 5th approaches.
  • This is why late summer cuts, especially to middling veteran players on teams who still need to make cap room – like the Bears, Texans, Redskins, Rams, & Chiefs - should not come as a surprise towards the end of August.
  • Check out an article from overthecap.com by Jason Fitzgerald regarding the subject of late Summer cuts.

“Pay Cut or Be Cut: The Reality of August Football” – August 2, 2013

Share Button
Aug 022013
 
 August 2, 2013  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
Victor Cruz, New York Giants (July 28, 2013)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

August 2, 2013 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

Hello muddah, hello faddah,
Here I am at Camp Granada.
Camp is very entertaining,
And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining!

Yeah, yeah, I know. Camp is at the Timex Quest Diagnostic Training Center (hopefully no medical testing kits!) now, not Camp Albany. Still, I’ve been to the Garden State before (I attended several games at Giants Stadium, and I have relatives in Bloomfield), so no big deal, right? So I figure, I’m going to Quest down and spend a day at camp!

So I pack up the usual gear…Small Giants Cooler, Duffel bag with Laptop, MiFi, notebooks, umbrella, large print edition “Art of War” (it’s hell on flies, bugs, and non Giant fans, Sun Tzu rules!), gum, old smelly towel, stale jokes, old digital camera, batteries, etc. I’m going to light up that metal detector like nobody’s business!

It has been a while, though…I should check directions. Should be easy in this age of GPS, Internet and Tom Tom’s…

2013 New York Giants Training Camp Report

Wait a second….W-a-i-t a s-e-c-o-n-d…let me try another map…

Ah, THAT’s better! I’ll get a nice early start in the Honda, get my Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (extra large, this is a longer trip), and ramble down the Thruway. Should be a piece of cake…

Why does this ALLWAYS happen when I get off of exit 15 instead of 16????

Ok, let me get a good seat in the stands, so I can see (I’m missing the hills back home already, sigh), and it’s time for

BITS AND BYTES COUNTDOWN EDITION

Oh, did I tell you I got an exclusive from Ralph V? Now, we all know Ralph is famous for his “doom and gloom articles” about the giants (see here), but let us look at his shot of the Giants much talked about “Countdown Clock”:

Enough of the small talk, let’s go!!

For those of you coming to camp, it’s a bit different this year. There’s a fence outside the complex; the gap in the fence is where Security checks your bags and wands you. They are actually very professional and nice, by the way. They let me know about the new game policy (won’t affect me since I don’t do game reports, so on the rare occasion I go down, I travel very light.)

Even so, it’s still feels disturbing when someone has to check you with a wand for a practice. I over heard the staff talking about all the push back they were getting over this.

I arrived later than I wanted to, so the prime spots (the two stands on my left) were full. I went over to the first stand on the right corner of the field (there are three over there, though the last one has obstructed view), facing the VIP tables on the opposite side which are outside the administration offices and kitty korner to the indoor playing field.

In effect, from my view there are three fields, and a small annex field that goes around the right side of the Timex Indoor Field. Yes, I said Timex, as they haven’t changed the huge print on that roof! So I’ll call the fields in front of me 1, 2, 3 (three being next to the VIP tables/administrative building), and the annex field continuing for about 30 yards from the end of field 1.

Enough of that! I scarf down my lunch, just in time to see the first players coming out to applause by the fans (5 minutes early, of course!) The QB’s lead the group, with Painter in the lead (oh, it’s great not to have to spell Perrilloux this year Eric…just sayin!) Cruz and Diehl were chatting as they come out.

The Oline was knocking around the sleds next the extreme right of the Timex Indoor (you could hear the banging from a distance). Mosley, Boothe, McCants and Browning were with the QB’s snapping the ball. I saw the Dline (boy they look bigger this year…not fat, just wide!). I think Michael Jasper lost his waist somewhere (or they found a living Lego player, as he was built like a box!).

Wow, who shrunk #27? Oh, that’s Stevie Brown with Jacob’s old number. Silly me!

Horn…er… Let’s try 184 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes till SB XLVIII!

The usual limbering up (wave arms, stretch, etc) on Field 3. Not so much to watch since Mitch Petrus isn’t around.

Weather Report: 86 degrees, partly cloudy, humidity 50%, wind supposedly at 10 mph (but it starts to gust a LOT later on!).

So, now everyone’s Jumping, Hopping, Skipping, then back to Leg Stretches.! I know most of the action will be on Field 3, since that’s where the camera towers are. They are sneaky, though, since they don’t bring the towers out till the last minute.

Hey, the NFL refs are here! With NFL approved shorts! Let’s check out the injured players…I see Kuhn stepping around horizontal pylons, moving pretty well for a big guy (he’s bigger this year, and yeah, he looks like Shockey’s lost brother). Must have been on the Schnitzel diet.

Hynoski is moving gingerly, but I can’t tell how well he’s walking, as he has some sort of rubber band contraption strung between his ankle. He’s not bending very well, and looks uncomfortable. T2, on the other hand, is stretching gingerly, but looks in a better mood.

184 days, 8 hours, 13 minutes till SB XLVIII

The team splits up into groups.

Field 1: LB’s are covering TE’s/RB’s.

Field 2: Dline is getting coaching; Austin looks lighter, but I still think he needs to grow the dreads back. Sampson would agree.

(Note here…I’m not anywhere near the action, so I can’t be as detailed as last year. Think of trying to report using binoculars from the stands in Albany near the Lacrosse Field all the way over to the field next to Western Avenue; but then not having that elevation, and looking either through a 10 foot chain link fence. The stands I’m on has a cover, but the cover has poles holding it up.

Also, with binoculars you have a limited field of vision, so I had a hard time seeing the action when they had 11 on 11).

184 days, 8 hours, 8 minutes till SB XLVIII

Field 1: Ok, the Defense is going into “circle drills”. Think of a diamond….on each corner of the diamond, you have a different drill. The defensive players rotate, so they are exposed to each drill.

Drill 1. Coach tosses ball to player who’s back pedaling.
Drill 2. Coach fumbles ball, player picks it up, runs with it and hands it to another coach.
Drill 3. Player blitzes dummy that looks like a QB, then picks up fumble.
Drill 4. Player fights off blocker, to fill hole in line.

Field 2: The QB’s are doing pitch and catch (QB’s to Receivers). The TE’s are in another group, where they practice technique blocks (influence blocks on other TE’s who pretend to be Dline guys); for example, blocking under a Dlineman shoulder to “influence” him to go in the direction you want, as he thinks he’s penetrating, but it’s not where he should be.

The Olinemen are doing crab walks across horizontal pylons.

Field 1: Now the QB’s are practicing play action fakes, using the RB’s..they either hand off or play action and throw. The TE’s and RB’s practice trying to catch passes head level or somewhat higher…you have to use your hands, no body catches!

Field 3: Olinemen now are practicing staying low through their blocks, using a metal bar cage that allows them to block through, but not raise their backs. DB’s in another group are back pedaling and breaking to a ball thrown by the coaches. The safeties are in another group…they are following the ball as the coach moves it side to side, working on their footwork. The LB’s are hitting a blocking dummy.

Field 1: More pitch and catch between QB’s and RB’s/TE’s.

Field 3 (Annex): The DL is hitting the blocking sled.

Field 1: The Oline is working on blocking DL twisting (two O Linemen with plastic shields are blocking 2 O Linemen who pretend to twist rush).
Field 1: The Safeties are working on inside coverage technique (WR doing a post or curl in). The LB’s are working on outside coverage (WR doing a flag, or curl to sideline).

Field 3: All the defensive players are gathered. It’s “O” vs “D”, with defensive players simulating offensive players by wearing red or yellow caps against the rest of the defense playing their normal positions. Looks like drop-back coverage and man to man drills.

Field 2: RB’s and TE’s hit the blocking dummy. More Oline practice against twist blitzes by the defense, or hitting LB’s in the hole.

Field 1: Way off to the corner, Weatherford, DeOssie and Brown are practicing snaps for FG’s or Punts.

Field 2: Just Dline and Oline now, coach is playing QB. They are doing a lot of pushing and grunting.

184 days, 7 hours, 48 minutes till SB XLVIII

Everyone goes to Field 3 (by the VIP’s).

Field 3: 11 vs 11, Offense vs Defense.

We start off with run only plays.

Eli hands off to Wilson up middle (x2).
Eli in shotgun shovel passes to Wilson.
Carr hands off to Torain (middle).
Carr hands off to Scott, OT Left through a nice hole.
Carr hands off to Wilson OT Right.
Carr hands off to Torain OT Right.

The NFL Refs become obvious, looking down the line for off sides. I scan left to the sideline, and see Nicks chatting with Corey Webster…both are not practicing, though both are smiling.

184 days, 7 hours, 28 minutes till SB XLVIII

Ok, I can’t see anything for a while. The players are lining up on Field 1 up and down, blocking my view. I think they are going through plays, as I see yellow and red caps.

Field 2: more snap practice with Brown, Weatherford and DeOssie.

Field 3: (way to the right) The DL/LB’s/Safeties are working together on drop back coverage. Now they break out the red and yellow caps, so it’s defensive “O” vs “D”, 11 on 11.

I look at the water station and Nicks and Snee (also not practicing). Snee has a large wrap on one leg (no, I’m not telling you which one). Nearby, Reese and John Mara are talking, but I don’t see Pat Hanlon (sigh, I wanted to do a style report!!!).

184 days, 7 hours, 18 minutes till SB XLVIII

Everyone to Field 3: 11 on 11, O vs D.
Eli pass to Wilson no gain up middle.
Nassib pass to Randle in the Left Flat (I notice Tuck is doing a lot of standing up and rushing).
Eli pass to Pascoe, nice touch pass over defender. Pascoe has good hands today!
Carr pass to Wilson, middle screen.
Eli handoff to Scott, OT Left stuffed.
Nassib pass to Barden, who does a nifty slide over the middle to catch a wormer.
Painter hands off to (can’t see) OT R stuffed.
Nassib throws ball away under pressure.
Nassib to (can’t see) OT R stuffed.
Nassib shows some nice touch on a pass to Carlos in L Flat.

KO’s (hmmm, didn’t see Punt returns, which is unusual in a TC practice). Brown is kicking across Field 2 to Field 3.

Wilson and Randle (up left sideline) with nice returns. Cox does a return, but gets shoved to ground (one of the harder hits today). Jernigan slithers up the right sideline for a return.

Brown then does FG’s on Field 2, starting at the 5, and working back (he hit all of them, though a couple tended to his left). One looked near 50 yds, just making it over the upright (with the NFL refs holding their hands up, good!!!).

Field 2: Oline is banging on Dline (or is it visa versa?)

Field 1: The crowd perks up as we see some long passing.

Eli with a nice bomb to Randle up the L Sideline.
Eli with a L Flat pass to Scott, then throws the next one away after pressure.
Eli tries a long middle seam pass to Myers, but a group of DB’s knock it down.
Carr tries a L Flat pass, almost picked off by J. Williams, who does pushups.
Carr launches a long pass up middle to Barden, but McBride with a nice knockaway.
Carr tries a L Flat, but Scott gets caught up in the “wash” and the ball falls to the ground.
Nassib nearly gets picked off by Charlie James in L Flat.
Nassib tries to hit Kevin Hardy, but a NICE cover by Laron Scott, who knocks the ball away.

Ugh.. the stands are shaking…it’s not those meddling kids behind me, in the playground is it? Nope..the “Hawk” makes its appearance. It’s gusting badly now, and it’s hard to see through the binoculars.

184 days, 6 hours, 53 minutes till SB XLVIII

Eli tries a long pass up the middle to Talley, but Prince will have none of it.
Eli then hands off OT Right to Andre Brown.
Nassib flips a pass to Wilson in the L Flat…then Wilson “flickers” up the L Sideline for a big gain. It’s hard to see this guy when he starts multiple cuts!

Eli hands off to Wilson OT Right, nice gain up the R Sideline.
Eli then throws the ball away, nobody’s open (but he does not see nobody, I guess…).
Carr with a pass to Scott in the Right Flat, no gain.
Carr passes to Scott up the middle.
Painter hands off to Torain, OT Right.
Nassib tries to pass to Scott, but Curry smells him out (can’t be too hard this late into practice) and stuffs the play, no catch.
Nassib tries to pass to Jernigan in the R Flat, but Caldwell (I think) skies over him to deflect the pass. This might make camp highlights.
Nassib (he’s getting a lot of work, eh?) passes to Cox up the middle.
Nassib tries a pass up the middle, but Bosworth with a nice defensive knock down of the pass!
Nassib with his best pass of the day, a pass to Talley in the R Sideline, lofting it over Mertile, who had no chance despite tight coverage.

Ok, time for 2 Minute Drill!!!

Eli’s back, and goes for Bear in the middle flat (and hits him!)
Eli to Randle in the middle flat.
Eli to Scott Right sideline.
Eli to Barden, who gets the pass in the right flat.
Time Out!
Eli to Bear in the Left Flat.

We start the drill again with Carr.

Carr to Barden, R Flat.
Carr to Kris Adams, L Flat.
Carr to Jernigan, L Flat.

(ugh, Hawk is back..the stands are really shaking!)

Carr, throws ball away with pressure.
McBride knocks down a Carr pass in the L Flat.
Carr to Jernigan who comesback in the R Flat.

184 days, 6 hours, 33 minutes till SB XLVIII

Hey, do I hear the Spinners?

Hey, y’all prepare yourself
For the Rubberband man
You never heard a sound
Like the rubberband man
You’re bound to lose control
When the Rubberband starts to jam

Yep, the rubber band stretch is out, end of practice. After the stretches, the team goes to a big group, then splits into smaller groups, who have their yell/chant, then break up.

Eli looked good today, Nassib is interesting, but he’s hesitating a bit…you can see him holding the ball for a split second or so when he has it by his head. Hopefully, this is just processing the speed of the game, and his delivery will be more natural.

No real impressions from the rookies, but I’ll leave that to the first pre-season game. The way practice is now, you really don’t get the hard hitting that pads used to inspire.

What you didn’t see after practice:

Bear working out with Keith Rivers, working on footwork.

J. Williams doing some extra work with Sam Madison (who was wearing shades, Red shorts AND a Red top…stylish!).

Myers, Childers and Sabino doing some football “pepper” next to the Timex Indoor.

Tuck kick a football like a soccer ball, (to his kid?).

Sam Madison coming to the fence (for autographs and chat), to a small group of fans. They were doing the usual “hey Sam, you were the best Dolphin player ever!”. Sam laughed and said Marino was.

Sam’s cool, I hope they hire him as full time coach.

*******************************************

This session of camp is over, it’s time to move on. The sun declines in the west, casting shadows that hint of fall, even though it’s still summer. I pack up the binoculars, put away the notebook where I scratched my notes. Camp isn’t over…but I have to go.

I’ve talked many times about football camp. For some of us, it brings back memories of our own time when you could smell the grass from the stains on your uniform, leather pads heavy with sweat, salt pills and wind sprints. Others remember a cool drink, sitting on the grass next to a tree and peering through binoculars, trying to pick out your favorite player, or getting that precious autograph or kind word from an athlete.

Every sport has its time. Baseball has spring training, and the promise of summer. Football has training camp, where its season starts, and you know fall is coming. Every player thinks he will make the team, or start. Every one holds on to hope; the promising rookie, the grizzled veteran, the coaching staff with their long hours away from their families. Every camp has surprises and disappointments, injuries to players, and players coming back from injuries.

Camp is where championships start, or where they might be lost. Every player is a story, and camp is a symphony of stories, common themes with endless variety under the master conductor, the head coach.

For fans…for us…camp is what we make of it. As fans, we can share a common experience, at camp, at the stadium, at home with friends and family. There’s something special that happens when people have a common cause, a common interest, and share a common history.

I’m back at my Honda Accord, time to turn the key and travel north, to home. Home, where the old ghosts are, ghosts of camp past. The Quest, in time, will spawn it’s own stories, it’s own ghosts. Stories never die, as long as there are fans around to tell those tales to other fans, young and old.

I switch on the radio, scan for a tune to match my mood. I hear snatches of a Springsteen song, fading in and out…

(well, it IS Jersey…)

We played king of the mountain out on the end
The world come chargin’ up the hill, and we were women and men
Now there’s so much that time, time and memory fade away
We got our own roads to ride and chances we gotta take…

Now the hardness of this world slowly grinds your dreams away
Makin’ a fool’s joke out of the promises we make
And what once seemed black and white turns to so many shades of gray
We lose ourselves in work to do and bills to pay
And it’s a ride, ride, ride, and there ain’t much cover…

Now on out here on this road
Out on this road tonight
I close my eyes and feel so many friends around me
In the early evening light
And the miles we have come
And the battles won and lost
Are just so many roads travelled
So many rivers crossed
And I ask God for the strength
And faith in one another

‘Cause it’s a good night for a ride
Cross this river to the other side

Share Button
Jul 282013
 
 July 28, 2013  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
Rueben Randle, New York Giants (July 28, 2013)

Rueben Randle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

July 28, 2013 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor UberAlias

Note: If you want to cut through the intro and get to the meat of this 2013 New York Giants training camp report, skip down to Practice Observations.

So I’m on my way to the practice wondering of the weather is going to hold up when sure enough it starts to rain. They have been predicting thunderstorms and if they the team decides to head indoors practice won’t be open to the public. But the rain is not coming down hard so I decide to keep going.

When I get to the facility a half hour prior to the start of practice I am surprised to see groups of people in blue walking from the stadium lots to the center. This is odd I thought, until I realize the lots at the practice field have already filled up and overflowing into the stadium parking. In the practices I attended in 2011 and yesterday this was never required. To further my surprise, I see there is a huge line to get in wrapping itself half way around the lot at the center. In my other experiences here there is nowhere near this sort of crowd and you can just walk right in. The rain was still coming down and I was thinking to myself, this may not be happening today, and even if it does, there is no way I’m getting a seat with a view in the bleachers. That’s autograph day on a weekend for you, I guess.

I knew if I was patient I could eventually get a spot on the bleachers once people started leaving their seats to get a spot in the area they do autographs, but that could take a while and the masses of people by the fence was four or five deep already, and I’m not particularly tall, so I needed a strategy, and fast. I knew they didn’t permit people to stand in front of the bleachers, so I figured if I could get myself on the edge of that area I might be able to get some limited portion of that view, just not all of it, and not straight on. Not bad – it worked, to an extent.

So as practice was starting, they were having some challenges keeping people away from the fence in front of the bleachers. There were just too many people and not enough spots with a view. There was one man pushing a boy of, maybe 14, who was in a wheel chair with a big cast on his leg. He was in this area trying to get his boy a spot where he could see. I thought for sure they would find him a spot and asked the man and he said they told him to move because they were blocking the views from the bleachers. I could not believe it. They should have offered to let him come to the other side of the fence, or have some kind of handicapped accommodations, but apparently they didn’t and the security guys weren’t going to cut this man and his boy any slack. Not cool. In the end, they seemed to give up yelling at people to move away from in front of the bleachers and started letting kids sit there and only asked them to sit. I think eventually this man got a spot near the fence and it worked out, but this was all not well managed.

Anyway, onto the practice.

Practice Observations:

My initial views were limited to only what was right in front of me, but what I could see was right in front of me permitting me to make some physical observations of players, mostly on the defensive side. Here are some of those impressions (most of them we already know):

Mathias Kiwanuka is no longer that slender kid he was when he first came in. Maybe he’s bulked up a bit with his return to the trenches, but he looks bigger and thicker than I recall.

Kevin Boothe is a big boy. We all know his lower half, but he’s got big powerful looking arms and upper body bulk to go with it.

Prince Amukamara looks big enough to play safety.

Aaron Curry is huge. He’s not one of those athletic narrow-waist broad-shoulder types, he’s thick and powerfully built.

Ryan Mundy has good size and looks like a Kenny Phillips clone physically.

Michael Jasper looks absolutely massive. (Is there an adjective to describe bigger than massive?) He makes every other big guy look small.

If anyone has any ideas of Cooper Taylor playing LB, you can forget it. Maybe that 3rd safety role, but there is no way he can be taking on blockers and playing the run play in play out. He’s got the weight because he is tall, but he’s narrow and built nothing like a LB. We can check back in a few years if he fills out, but for now, he’s all safety and specials.

In team drills I got some good views of the defense. They seemed to be working a lot of turnover drills. First where they would practice stripping the ball from behind the runner. Most of them would strip it out and then pick it up off the ground, but Kiwi, with his long arms, would simply reach around and take the ball from the guy’s hands. They were later doing work with the secondary playing your man but then breaking off to make a play on the ball in the air. They did a lot of work on playing your man and focusing on keeping proper positioning.

Soon after they worked on specials. Josh Brown has a boot. I did not know much about him and was wondering if he was a strong leg type, but he looked it to me today. The one thing I didn’t like about Tynes was too may kicks returned or not enough height on his kicks. I am wondering if this was one of the factors in deciding to make a change.

When it came to the passing portion Hakeem Nicks made a sweet catch on a deep ball early on and that was it for him. We’ve seen the reports from TC and I guess we will have to see how that plays out. As bad a sign as it is, early on, these types of tweaks are very common because you are not used to working and they aren’t going to push anything with him. Tyler Sash seemed to injure himself at the end and they were looking at his lower half. My guess at the time was that it was a cramp and I believe that is what TC ultimately reported. There was one other injury I saw where one of the young WRs (Editor’s Note: Kris Adams) looked like he jammed a finger trying to catch a ball. They were working on him and he seemed in pain.

If you were to ask me the one thing that stood out to me most today I would say it would have to be the tight ends. Both Adrien Robinson and Brandon Myers had strong practices. Myers looks on the small side to me where as Robinson is big and powerfully built, but both can catch. Robinson in one of his catches caught a TD on a fake field goal, but had others. Myers in particular looks like one of those guys sure handed guys who knows how to find the holes in coverage. I came away very impressed and if we can ever find a way to solidify the line to a point where we aren’t always having to rely on TEs chipping on guys as they release, these tight ends could end up playing a very big role in the passing game.

What else?

I reported this yesterday and will repeat again today. Rookie QB Ryan Nassib is getting a lot of reps. He is getting at least as many as Carr, possibly more. If I did not know any better I would might actually think they were going to give him a legitimate chance to compete for the back-up job. That said, he has a ways to go. He throws a good ball, but the timing is not there, as expected, and I think there are a lot of throws he needs work on. He seems to work well off of play action.

Some final notes:

Eli had a great looking TD to Cruz on the first play of red (cough cough green) zone.

The back up defensive linemen were stuffing the running plays (hard to tell with no pads though).

LBs Paysinger and Curry blitzed through the middle for what would have been as sack in 11 on 11s.

Damontre Moore looked fast off the ball.

Ever other player was wearing blue shorts except Frank Okam. He was quite silly looking in his grey work out pants. Couldn’t somebody have found the guy a pair of blue shorts to wear?

Sean OHara walked by the fence a few times and received well deserved cheers of appreciation from the crowds.

As a group, the LBs seemed to have a good day. I’ll reserve judgment until the pads come on and we see some action in the preseason, but I am starting to think it would not be surprising to see this shape up to be a relatively solid group.

Share Button