Apr 292015
 
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Giants Talking to Browns About Trading Down in Draft?: According to BleacherReport.com, the New York Giants have had initial discussions with the Cleveland Browns about the Giants trading down from the #9 spot in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The Browns have two selections in the first round at #12 and #19. The Browns are supposedly interested in trading up for University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota if he slips in the draft.

Giants Targeting Offensive Tackle Andrus Peat?: According to DraftInsider.net, the New York Giants are targeting Stanford University offensive tackle Andrus Peat in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. DraftInsider writes: “League insiders tell me right now it looks as though the first round selection for the New York Giants will be Andrus Peat of Stanford. The game plan would be to line up Peat at right tackle then push 2013 first round pick Justin Pugh into guard.”

Articles on the New York Giants Safety Position:

Articles on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft:

Article on Giants Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Chris Mara: Giants Exec’s Kentucky Derby-draft dream day of chaos by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Apr 272015
 
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New York Giants Waive Running Back Michael Cox: The New York Giants have waived running back Michael Cox.

Cox was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. In 2013, he played in 14 games as a rookie with one start, carrying the football 22 times for 43 yards (2.0 yards per carry) and catching three passes for 12 yards. Most of his work came on special teams where he returned 20 kickoffs for a 21.8 yards-per-return average.

In 2014, Cox was on the Practice Squad of the team until October, played in four games, and was then placed on Injured Reserve in November 2014 with a fractured lower leg. He finished 2013 with four carries, two catches, and 11 kickoff returns.

The Giants now are currently carrying five halfbacks on the roster, including Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, and Chris Ogbonnaya.

Because of this move, we have updated the Transactions, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on QB Eli Manning and WR Victor Cruz: Eli Manning hopeful Victor Cruz will be able to return by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on WR/Returner Dwayne Harris: What the Giants saw in Dwayne Harris by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: Giants look for attitude in linemen, not necessarily finesse or beef by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on Former New York Giants OG Chris Snee: Chris Snee helps Giants evaluate offensive linemen by Tom Rock of Newsday

Apr 232015
 
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Jerry Reese, New York Giants (February 21, 2015)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Jerry Reese’s 2015 Pre-Draft Press Conference: New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese held his annual pre-draft press conference today. The following is the transcript from the event (video is also available courtesy of Giants.com):

Q: Who are you picking?

A: A good player at nine.

Q: In a year like this and with some of the things that went on last year in the NFL, how much more important or different is the way you look at a player’s character and behavior when you are assessing them? Has that changed?

A: I think we are always mindful of a player’s character and background. That always goes into the equation. It is not really anything new for us. Obviously, like all teams, we have taken some guys on the back end of the roster, more risk-reward kind of situations on the back end of the roster. We are very conscious and have been for a long time about backgrounds and character.

Q: That seems to have changed last year when you guys wanted a lot of clean players… Whereas in the past you would have taken…?

A: The thing you have to think about when you are thinking about these young players is that they are young. They do young kid stuff. You can’t just absolutely kill them. You wouldn’t have anyone to draft. Kids do kid things and do college things and it happens. If a guy has a long list of issues, that is when you have to throw the red flag in there. Is this guy going to stop? If you have a couple things that college kids do, you can’t just throw it away.

Q: Is there anything concrete you do with that or is it just an eyeball test?

A: We do all the background checks and our scouts go out and dig the information that we can. We interview them and try to put it all together and make a decision on it.

Q: Is it kind of three strikes and you are out?

A: Not necessarily, it depends on how egregious the off-field issues are, more than anything else probably.

Q: Last year you seemed to have a guy pegged or a couple guys you thought would be available… Is it more unpredictable being at nine?

A: I think you always have a good idea, but it is always unpredictable. You never know what is going to happen. You can look up and some of those quarterbacks they think are going to be in the first couple picks could be – not off the board until 15 or 20. You never know. I learned that a long time ago in the draft. Funny things can happen, so expect everything to happen.

Q: Last year the wide receiver corps turned out to be a really good group… There are a lot of thoughts that this wide receiving corps could be just as good… Thoughts?

A: I think there are good receivers, just as there were last year. I think that is every year. I think there are good players at every position every year. I don’t know if that is a good answer or not, but I think there are good wide receivers…I think there are good players at every position.

Q: Given you have a lot of depth at receiver, would you have any qualms about drafting another receiver?

A: First of all, as soon as you say you have a lot of depth at any position, you don’t have depth. I know better than to say that. We will draft the best player available for us. It really doesn’t matter what position it is.

Q: How do you look at your offensive line at this point? Do you look at it saying you need to supplement it at least during one day of the draft?

A: Every position. We want to try and upgrade every position as best we can every opportunity we get. Offensive line won’t be excluded from that as well.

Q: In your mind right now, what does your offensive line look like? Is Justin Pugh still at right tackle?

A: That is something for Tom. You have to talk to Tom about that. Obviously Pugh has been a starter and is going to be a starter somewhere more than likely. [Geoff] Schwartz is coming back from injury. Hopefully he can fit in there somewhere. What we want to do is get as many good players as we can and create as much competition as we can in the offensive line.

Q: When you are picking as high as you are, is there a sense of a guy having to fit in at a premium position? In the past, you wouldn’t have drafted linebacker in the first round, but guys like defensive backs, wide receivers and left tackles… Is that part of your thinking when you are as high as you are?

A: If you draft at nine, whoever it is, is a premium position, regardless of the position that he is. If you draft at nine, it is a premium position, regardless of what it is. It doesn’t matter what position. If you draft him at nine, he is a guy you expect to come in and play and play quickly.

Q: Has the profile of offensive linemen changed at all in the last decade at all?

A: We just look for good players. Good profiles. Good players. Strong. Big, strong, fast and smart.

Q: The big lineman from Iowa is a guy everyone seems to love as a guard prospect… What do you see from him?

A: I think he can play both. I think he can play tackle and he can play guard. I think he can play somewhere.

Q: Where do you see him?

A: The coaches will have to figure that out.

Q: How do you look at this group of pass rushers?

A: There are some good pass rushers and edge rushers available.  Are you asking me to stack them or something like that? I can’t do that, but I do think there are some good pass rushers in this draft.

Q: You haven’t made a ton of trades as compared to other teams throughout the years… How do you explain that? Is that the way things worked out?

A: We will keep all of our options open on the draft. We can trade up and we can trade down. That doesn’t change. We are not looking to trade just to try to be cute to trade up or down. If we think we have an opportunity to move up, then we will move up. If we have an opportunity to move back, then we will do that as well.

Q: Back around the combine, in regards to Victor Cruz, you said you couldn’t think of him as a sure thing… Have you seen anything from him where you can have some kind of certainty of how he will be when he comes back?

A: I don’t think you can have certainty. [Cruz] looks good. He is running pretty good right now. He is scheduled to be back for the opener for us, but until you get out there and turn it loose, you never know what a guy is going to do. He looks great right now.

Q: Are you still approaching whatever he can give you guys next year as a ‘bonus?’

A: I am not counting it as a bonus, but I want to be prepared if he is not here.

Q: Is there any change in your perspective in the preparation on your part when you pick ninth instead of 12th like last year and going back to the Super Bowl when you picked last?

A: We just stack the board. Whoever we think the best player is in the first row, it doesn’t matter what position, which is how we do it. We stack them the same way. If you pick inside 12 picks, you should get a good football player.

Q: Does the expectation change as far as impact goes?

A: The higher you pick – that is how the system is. If you pick high in the draft – that is the way the whole system is built. If you pick high in the draft, you are supposed to get better players to help you have a better football team. If you are picking last in the draft, you get penalized for being successful. You get penalized, so you get lesser players. Whoever you pick at nine should be a better player than you pick at 32. That is the way the system is and obviously we are picking nine and expect to get a good player.  A really good player.

Q: Another general manager said there were eight to ten players who were real difference makers above other guys… Do you have a point in your estimation of how many guys are at a higher level than the rest of the group?

A: I think there is always a break. Everyone in the first row – that is why we call them rows; they are not first round picks. There are natural breaks. There may be eight and then there may be five more players, then there is another break. There are always breaks in the first row where you stack them, but you have to have 32 players in the first round.

Q: Where is that first break?

A: We’ll see.

Q: How are you looking at your safety position right now? Do you think it is a position of need?

A: We are not going to make do, just like any position, we are going to try to upgrade that position. Just like the rest of the positions. We are not going to make do. We have some young players that we think have some talent, but we are going to continue to try and upgrade that position as well.

Q: Last year we were saying you needed to get a tight end and you felt confident with some of the young guys… Is it the same thing now?

A: Every position we want to upgrade. We want to upgrade safety. We want to have competition at that position like we want to have at every position and we will try to do that.

Q: Tom talked about the possibility of converting Chykie Brown or Bennett Jackson to safety… Is that realistic in your mind and what goes into that?

A: It happens all the time. One of the best players we tried to get in free agency was the corner from New England. He was a corner and played safety. You see those conversions. That is not new to see something like that happen. That is a possibility as well.

Q: Are [Brown and Jackson] guys who could possibly convert in your eyes?

A: I think so. You never know. You have to experiment in the spring. Obviously you would like to get a guy who has played there and done the job, but you have to be creative in this day and age with your personnel.

Q: You went after [Devin] McCourty, so you wanted to upgrade that position… What happened after that? Do you look at Josh Gordy as a safety?

A: That is what he plays.

Q: What was the plan at that position after McCourty?

A: We thought he was the best player in free agency [at his position] and after that we thought there was a drop off and that is what happened.

Q: Now that Eli is back in the building and he said his attitude is to play the year and go from there… What is your thought on his contract?

A: It is inappropriate to talk about a contract right now. Eli is back in the building. He looks great. He is happy to be back. We are glad he is back. We will address that when it is appropriate.

Q: Do you sense that this a real opportunity for Eli this offseason, given that he is not coming off ankle surgery and he has already been in this offense for a year?

A: Yeah, I am excited. It should be a big year for him. He is not learning the offense. A lot of the players were in the offense last year. He’ll get another piece back hopefully with Victor Cruz coming back. The tight ends will have a little bit more experience. I hope the offense – we got [Shane] Vereen, who we think is a good piece to help our offense as well. I think our offense should be a pretty good offense.

Q: Re: Thought process in the signings of Vereen, [Dwayne] Harris, [J.T.] Thomas… What were you after?

A: We were trying to upgrade some positions that we already had. We knew we were going to lose some players. We felt Vereen was a really nice piece. Everyone knows what he does as a receiver out of the backfield, he can run the ball. He is a professional football player back there. He is really good on third down. Really good on any down, to be honest. We thought he would be a nice piece. Went after him and the two linebackers. We thought they were upgrades. They will battle for starting positions. Dwayne Harris, we thought the guy was kind of a four to five tool type player for us. We thought we were getting a lot of players out of one position. We played against him for a long time and he has been a good player for [Dallas]. Hopefully he will bring it over here to us and he will play for us in those capacities.

Q: Where do you view J.T. Thomas’s best position?

A: I don’t know. It is up to the coaches. He looked like a WILL linebacker to me, but that is up to the coaches.

Q: Are you still hoping to get Stevie Brown back?

A: We are going to keep all our options open.

Q: As one of the teams in the league that isn’t quarterback-needy, do you even look at those top two guys?

A: We look at everybody. You never say you aren’t quarterback-needy. You can’t say those kinds of things. Ralph just said we were deep at receiver and you are saying we don’t need a quarterback. I know better than to say something like that.

Q: What is your take on the two quarterbacks at the top of the draft?

A: They are good players. They are both good players. They are both different, but I think they are both, in what they do, I think they are both good players.

Q: Is your expectation that they are going to go one and two?

A: I don’t expect anything. Expect the unexpected in the draft. They may not go until 15, who knows?

Q: You have gone offense the last three years in the first round… Does that go into any decision making?

A: I didn’t even know that. Whoever the best player is at nine – we are going to pick them.

Q: Do you have any concern over Jason Pierre-Paul not being here for the offseason program and not signing the tender yet?

A: It is voluntary and it is inappropriate to talk about player contracts at this point in time. It is not mandatory that he should be here.

Q: After you get an Odell [Beckham Jr.]  and everything that he did in his first season and now you are picking at nine, are there heightened expectations?

A: You always want to get good players in the draft. Sometimes you hit on a guy like Odell and he is a terrific player, but the higher you pick, the better the player should be. When you are picking on the back end, it is obviously not the same caliber.

Q: When you look back at last year’s draft, from top to bottom, how do you evaluate it?

A: We don’t really look back on that draft that much. We draft them and that draft is over. We are moving on to this draft and we are excited about the players in this draft. We go back after two or three years and look and see why a guy made it or why a guy didn’t make it. After one year, it is really hard to evaluate.

Q: Was the approach different in the past two drafts?

A: No.

Q: This week, have you checked in with Odell and how his hamstring is feeling?

A: I just saw Odell a couple of minutes ago down in the weight room. He looks great and he didn’t say a word about his hamstring.

Q: Do you have any injuries that are long-term concerns?

A: There will be a couple guys we have concerns with, but we feel good about the vast majority of our players being ready to go for training camp.

New York Giants Player Q&As: Video clips of Thursday’s media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Apr 232015
 
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Larry Donnell, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Larry Donnell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Re-Sign Tight End Larry Donnell: The New York Giants have re-signed exclusive rights free agent tight end Larry Donnell. Terms of the deal are not yet known but Donnell most likely signed his 1-year, $585,000 tender.

Donnell went from a little-known player to the team’s primary tight end in 2014, playing in all 16 games with 12 starts. Donnell finished the season with 63 catches for 623 yards and six touchdowns. His 63 catches were tied for ninth-most in the NFL among tight ends.

Donnell originally went undrafted and unsigned in 2011. The Giants signed him as a street free agent in March 2012 and Donnell spent 2012 on the team’s Practice Squad. Donnell made the 53-man roster in 2013 and was active for all 16 games, starting one contest. He finished the season with only three catches for 31 yards.

Cornerback Chandler Fenner was the only other exclusive rights free agent of the Giants and he was re-signed earlier this week. For a complete listing of the Giants’ free agent activity, see the 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Stevie Brown Visits the Texans: According to NFL.com, unrestricted free agent safety Stevie Brown (New York Giants) visited the Houston Texans on Tuesday. Per an earlier update, the Giants are believed to still be interested in re-signing Brown, but at what the team considers a reasonable price.

Giants.com Q&A with CB Prince Amukamara: The video of a Giants.com interview with CB Prince Amukamara is available at Giants.com.

Article on LB Jonathan Casillas: Jersey City native Jonathan Casillas hopes to start for Giants by Yueh Ho for NJ.com

Article on Super Bowl XLII: Spike Lee film looks back at David Tyree’s ‘Greatest Catch Ever’ by Neil Best of Newsday

Apr 212015
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 23, 2014)

Odell Beckham and Giants face Cowboys in opener – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2015 Schedule Released: The New York Giants 2015 regular-season schedule has been released. The schedule includes two Sunday night games (the season opener in Dallas and a home game vs. San Francisco), two Monday night road games (at Philadelphia and at Miami), and a Thursday night home game vs. Washington.

The Giants will play three of their first five games at home and four of their first six games at night.

  • Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13 – at Dallas Cowboys, 8:30 p.m.
  • Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20 – vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 3: Thursday, Sept. 24 – vs. Washington, 8:25 p.m.
  • Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4 – at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11 – vs. San Francisco 49ers, 8:30 p.m.
  • Week 6: Monday, Oct. 19 – at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:30 p.m.
  • Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25 – vs. Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m.
  • Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1 – at New Orleans Saints, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8 – at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:05 p.m.
  • Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15 – vs. New England Patriots, 4:25 p.m.
  • Week 11: BYE WEEK
  • Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29 – at Washington, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6 – vs. New York Jets, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 14: Monday, Dec. 14 – at Miami Dolphins, 8:30 p.m.
  • Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 20 – vs. Carolina Panthers, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27 – at Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3 – vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 p.m.

“This is a difficult schedule that includes many formidable opponents,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. “We will face a challenge every week, not only in who we play, but with the different elements of our schedule. In the first six weeks of the season, we play two Sunday night games, a Thursday night game and a Monday night game.

“We open the season in the NFC East at Dallas, which won the division last year. We’re playing some teams that are growing with new coaches. The AFC East includes the Super Bowl champions, a Miami team that just missed the playoffs last year and two teams, the Jets and Bills, which have new coaches. We have an unusually late bye this season, which we will hopefully use to our advantage.”

Giants.com Q&A with Odell Beckham: A video of a Q&A session with WR Odell Beckham is available at Giants.com.

Article on DE Damontre Moore: Giants defensive end Damontre Moore will not attend offseason program while finishing classes by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Apr 212015
 
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Chandler Fenner (48), Kansas City Chiefs (August 30, 2012)

Chandler Fenner (48) – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants have re-signed exclusive rights free agent cornerback Chandler Fenner. Terms of the deal are not yet known but Fenner most likely signed his 1-year, $510,000 tender.

The Giants signed Chandler Fenner in August 2014 and he was signed to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad in October 2014. Last season, Fenner played in 11 games, mainly on special teams, and finished the season with seven tackles.

Fenner was originally signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but the Seattle Seahawks signed him to their Practice Squad in December 2012. He missed all of 2013 with a knee injury that landed him on Seattle’s Injured Reserve.

The only other remaining exclusive rights free agent of the Giants who remains unsigned is tight end Larry Donnell.

For a complete listing of the Giants’ free agent activity, see the 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Apr 202015
 
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Steve Spagnuolo, New Orleans Saints (January 22, 2013)

Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Defensive Players Meet With Steve Spagnuolo: The New York Giants defensive players who participated in today’s first offseason program workouts met with new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and the other defensive coaches, including new cornerbacks coach Tim Walton.

None of the defensive players who played under Spagnuolo with the Giants in 2007-08 remain on the current roster.

“It was great meeting the new coaches and learning about the tradition of the Giants,” said cornerback Prince Amukamara. “(They talked about) getting back to the pillars starting with the Maras and the Tisches and the players who went before us – the Jessie Armsteads, the Tom Landrys, the LT’s. All of that has been really educating.

“Learning a new defense is definitely a challenge. It is like learning a whole new language every year if that is happening. It is definitely a challenge, but it is a good challenge for all of us.”

Linebacker Jameel McClain was with the Ravens in 2013 when Spagnuolo was a defensive assistant with Baltimore.

“Everyone on the defense is going to find out about Spags,” McClain said. “There isn’t really anything I have to tell them. He is a smart man. He is an honest man. He is a fair man. That is everything that every player wants all together. That is all they need to know about him. The rest of that is that they just go out there and play and we will be great.

“I think everybody will love Spags, not just people on the team, but fans. They already know about Spags. They know what he brings to the game. Everybody will buy in and we will have a great defense off of what he brings to the game, too.”

“It’s very exciting,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “If you know anything about Spags and what he has done in this league, you know his defenses get after it. He’s already gone to the Super Bowl with this team. You are excited to play for him and get back to playing that type of defense.”

“I was always a fan of his from afar,” linebacker Jon Beason said. “Now having the opportunity to play for him is something I really look forward to it. I did have a conversation with Antonio Pierce and Jonathan Vilma (linebackers who played for Spagnuolo) and they all had good things to say about him. I am looking forward to it and just trying to do my part and make sure I live up to the hype.”

Pierce played under Spagnulo with the Giants in 2007 and 2008.

“(Pierce) said, ‘You are going to be able to run, which you love,'” Beason said. “He is going to coach you hard. He is very detailed and he is very in the trenches with his guys. He loves what he does. Anytime you have a coach that is passionate about what he does and he loves the game, you want to play hard for him. I am on board. That is what I want to do.”

Injury Update on CB Prince Amukamara: New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara commented on his rehab from the torn right biceps muscle that caused him to miss the final eight games of the 2014 NFL season.

“I would say I am about 90 percent,” Amukamara said. “I have been doing everything. I have been doing the lifts. I have been coming in for treatments, so I should be good.”

Giants.com Player Q&As: Video clips of Giants.com interviews with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Notes and Quotes: Running back Rashad Jennings on the difference between his first and second offseason programs with the Giants: “It is a night and day difference. (I am) not coming in and trying to figure out names and where the bathroom is and the little things that take some thought and energy. It is all about football and executing and making plays. I think (offensive coordinator Ben) McAdoo hit it on the head, saying, ‘Last year we installed a system, and this year we are molding ours.’ It is full speed ahead. The only thing on our minds is doing what we need to do to get into the Super Bowl.”

Giants.com video: Behind the Scenes: Shane Vereen’s first day

Apr 202015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants offseason program began today at Quest Diagnostic Training Center and will continue through late June. The voluntary offseason workout program is intended to provide training, teaching, and physical conditioning for players. Video highlights from today’s workouts are available at Giants.com.

Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), each team’s official, voluntary nine-week offseason program is conducted in three phases:

  • Phase One (Weeks 1-2): Activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
  • Phase Two (Weeks 3-5): On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
  • Phase Three (Weeks 6-9): Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The Giants will hold a rookie mini-camp on May 8-9 after the 2015 NFL Draft. The OTA practices will be held May 27-29, June 1-2, and June 8-11. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 16-18.

Not unexpectedly, free agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who has yet to sign his Franchise Tag tender did not participate in today’s workout. However, he did show up at the facility today according to The New York Daily News.

Quarterback Eli Manning, linebacker Jon Beason, and running back Shane Vereen addressed the media by conference call on Monday.

Quarterback Eli Manning:

Q: Last year was the first year under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, what is the next step this offense can take?

A: I think there is definitely room for improvement. We can still cut down on the turnovers. I think we need to score more points as an offense. I think the second half of the season we showed improvement from the first half, especially those last six games we were doing some good things offensively and scoring more points and [being] more efficient on third down. Anytime you are in a new offense, you want to see improvements and you want to see a progression of getting better and having a better understanding of concepts and eliminating some of the bad plays. I thought we did a good job of doing that, so we have to build off that and understand that we have to work our tails off this time of year and into training camp to make sure we are making those improvements to have a great understanding of the offense and [having] everyone playing at a high level so we can play the way we need to [in order] to win more games.

Q: Last year the 70 percent completion rate was an early season goal… Have you sat down with the coaching staff and set any similar goals?

A: That is kind of what we are doing right now. I think the turnovers from interceptions…I had 14 last year. I would like to get that in single digits. I think that is kind of a goal every year. That eight number. You would obviously like to have zero, but understanding football and funny things can happen, so one every two games (is the) mindset. Overall completion percentage, you aim for that 70 percent again. I think of that from a game to game standpoint. I want to be 70 percent for this game. It might not happen every single game, but if you can go for that by game, sometimes you might not get it, and for the season it might not be 70 percent, but each game shoot for that 70 percent.

Q: How was the mood there today coming in, especially with this year being a win or out opposition this year for you guys?

A: I thought the mood was good. Everybody was excited to be back. I recognize more faces this year than last year. Last year we had a lot of new players, on offense and defense. I thought coming in last year my first priority was to learn my teammates, which was ahead of learning the offensive playbook. This year you still have some new guys, which you always do. [There are] more familiar faces all around and you should be able to build a pretty good understanding of the offense going in and now [we] can keep learning that and get better with it.

Q: What was Victor [Cruz] able to do when you guys were down at Duke?

A: I asked Victor. I told him we were going down and I obviously wanted him to come if he wanted to and he felt it would beneficial. I didn’t want to take away from his rehab. He was able to rehab down there, but I think just getting back into the meetings and seeing the plays run and hearing the verbiage of everything. Obviously we were doing some different things those last ten games than we did the first six. Just hearing the verbiage, hearing everything again, the ins and outs of the whole offense. He was able to spot-up for some things, some light jogging. I didn’t want him to push anything or do anything that [he] would have any setbacks, but just catching passes and hearing plays called and thinking about what he has to run. We would split up at times where it was just Giants players and go over signals, go over checks and just get the mind back into football and what this new offense is for him also.

Q: Odell Beckham and you had an amazing relationship looking at the numbers, but what improvement do you feel the two of you still have to make?

A: I think there is definitely room for improvement. There are still some miss throws. There are still some – a lot of things we didn’t get the reps on the timing, so some of the timing throws because we didn’t have a whole lot of time to practice. We didn’t have an offseason. We didn’t have a training camp to practice those things. Odell was doing a great job of getting separation and winning on things, and he does have great body control and he is precise in his route running, so it makes it easier to be on the same page without a whole lot of practice. I think we can definitely get better with our timing. There were still some miscues and definitely room for improvement.

Q: Going back to the workouts at Duke… Jon Beason was talking about how it was difficult because of the new CBA rules to study the playbook and brush up on Spagnuolo’s playbook… Was this workout designed to work around the rules?

A: Yeah, because of the CBA rules it is difficult to work out with your guys. You can’t come to our facility and work out at the Giants facility and throw routes and throw a ball. This is a place where instead of trying to go to local high schools where you just don’t know what the field conditions are or what the timing is and having a chance to get into meeting rooms. It is a chance to go and have three days where you are going to have the facilities you need, the fields and the trainers. Everything you would have at the Giants facility, we can do it at Duke and get great work in. It is just a way to get a jumpstart on what we are about to get into in those OTA’s. Just get the mind back on football and receivers to catch passes and for me to be throwing routes to my guys and for me to get my mind back into the football things of calling plays, going over signals and those types of things. I think because of the rules it makes it hard to work with your guys, which I think is a little ridiculous at this level that that is the case, but those are the rules that we decided on, so we have to abide by them. This is a way for us to work and still have all the facilities that we need.

Q: How much of a comfort is it for you to have a safety valve in Shane Vereen now in the fold?

A: I’m excited to work with Shane and see how he can help out our offense. I think Rashad Jennings and Andre [Williams] did a great job last year and can do that. Shane, from what I have seen on film and from watching the Patriots, has a unique skill set that we will have to find ways to get him touches out of the backfield and move him around. I am excited to see how we will use him in different ways and how it will help us out.

Q: Has there been any progress on a contract extension and are you comfortable going into this season in the last year of your contract?

A: Yeah, I am comfortable. I have a job to do and that is to play football and that is my only concern, so I have never got too caught up with contract stuff. The way I look at it is that I have one more year and I am going to play that one more year and go from there.

Linebacker Jon Beason:

Q: Where do you stand health-wise?

A: The problem with training is it is hard to simulate pushing into another man or making a tackle. That is the toughest part about trying to get ready to gauge where you are physically, but in terms of training, I have had an outstanding offseason. I am in great shape. I am running around and changing directions. Everything feels good. I am just being smart and continuing to focus on those little muscles and not do too much and a lot is based on recovering. You hit it a little bit, recover and see how it feels the next day. I was rehabbing every day back home. I was training every day. I was able to double up some days. It has been a process, but it’s been a good one. I feel good about where we are today. Obviously, we start preparing to win a championship now, but the season starts in September.

Q: Are you cleared to do whatever is asked of you during OTA’s and the whole offseason program?

A: I didn’t do a bulk of my rehab, I am sure I will have to check in with Ronnie [Barnes] and the gang and get cleared based on what they say. I feel good, but obviously I am going to listen to them based on my limitations or what they want me or not do.

Q: Do you make any changes this year? There have been some injuries in the past… Do you do anything different to try and stay healthy throughout the season?

A: Football is a tough sport. You look at a guy like London Fletcher, a guy who never missed a game. It never happens, but he takes care of himself obviously. Injuries are by chance. Some of the best players never made it to the NFL because they got hurt in college or high school and that is just part of the deal. You go into it and you try to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s and make sure you do everything possible to make sure that you are addressing the injury, but also what are the compensation patterns, what is the muscle that something else could happen to or other body part? Everything is connected and it is tough to gauge what is next, but you feel like you knock on wood and hopefully this year everything works out because you do your due diligence and do your part and hopefully it does. That is my approach. That is how I feel. I feel when healthy, I am the best in the game, and that is my motto going into the 2015 campaign. It is no different. I am going to be healthy every game and instead of talking about every game, my focus is the opener and have practiced the whole week and go out there and play prepared as opposed to just playing for will and your mental capacity based on how long you have been in the league and just being a veteran. I am looking forward to having the mental part meet the physical preparation and going out there and being the best I can be.

Q: What kind of offseason have you had learning this new defense?

A: As much as I would like to, I wish I could. You go into the offseason and ask to keep the iPad, but unfortunately if they let you keep the iPad then they still have to wipe it clean, so in terms of what I have done on my own from a mental standpoint, you really can’t do much in terms of being with the coaches or getting the scheme. We got in today and you get a chance to kind of see [Spagnuolo’s] style, in terms of preparing for a team and going over some philosophies and core principles and some objectives that we want to get done in this offseason. [Spagnuolo] is very sharp. He is passionate about what he is doing and he is never going to limit himself to just doing one thing. You have to be able to change on the fly. Be a thinker and think outside the box and that part of it puts a lot of pressure on you now. We can’t be [at the facility] but for so long, so [we] are going to have to go home and study like a rookie. It is going to be interesting, but sometimes it is good to learn new things and new terminology and that part of it is part of the offseason and the way it is constructed now because of the new CBA.

Q: Did you have a conversation with Antonio Pierce or any of Spags’ former players to get a sense of what the role is going to be?

A: Yeah, my rookie year was that year in 2007. I was a big fan of Antonio Pierce. When I watched him it was more so what he did for his fellow teammates. The way he got them in the right defense and was able to not be dictated by the offense and that made me a big fan of Spags. Obviously [the Giants] were one of the top defenses that year and they won the whole thing. In my opinion, based on being led on a great defensive team and I was always a fan of his from afar. Now having the opportunity to play for him is something I really look forward to it. I did have a conversation with Antonio Pierce and Jonathan Vilma and they all had good things to say about him. I am looking forward to it and just trying to do my part and make sure I live up to the hype.

Q: With Antrel [Rolle] no longer with you guys… There has been talk about a leadership void. Do you have to do anything differently from a leadership perspective to get this defense up and running?

A: You harp on leadership and it is important. I think leadership boils down to want-to. People follow the guy who is really there for a purpose and a reason. If that reason is to be productive and win football games at all costs, then guys tend to follow you. For me and this team, especially losing a great player, great person and a true competitor like Antrel Rolle, I am challenging guys to lead by being on time, staying late and studying, by trying to be blameless and do their job at a high level and be consistent at it. That is the leader that I am looking to follow. All the stuff about necessarily being vocal and the ‘rah rah’ guys, at the end of the day that is not what leaders are. You lead by example first and that is what I have always done. I concern myself by always trying to be blameless, playing hard and throughout the course of my career, guys have followed that and that is what I want. All 90 guys at this point — you are a leader, come out and be that person.

Q: Last year a couple of your teammates said the chemistry didn’t come together until later in the season… Are you guys planning to do anything differently to facilitate or expedite the chemistry coming together?

A: Last year is last year. You talk about chemistry; from top to bottom we are different. Obviously a new coordinator who everyone has to adapt to and you hit your stride late because you spend that much time together throughout the course of the season and at some point, you hope a light bulb goes off and we start playing all in unison. The things that we can do differently this year are – we have to start all over again. We have to completely reset. Don’t worry about where you played or how you played in college, just buy into a system and say whatever my coach asks me to do, that is what I am going to do. I think if we do that, we will be on the same page and we will get guys at one time doing one thing right as opposed to 11 guys doing something different at one time.

Running Back Shane Vereen:

Q: What has this offseason been like for you? What went into your decision to talk to the Giants?

A: This offseason has been great. I was fortunate enough to be part of a championship team last year and since then, everything has kept moving in a forward direction. I am fortunate enough to be here and be a Giant now. I am looking forward to it. I was excited to get the news.

Q: Who do you know around there and what made that decision feel like the right one?

A: I know a couple of the guys, not too many compared to other teams in the league. There are a couple guys I worked out with out in California. We work out in the same area and now that I am in here and getting to know even more – I actually prefer not knowing that many because it will force me now to step outside my comfort zone and meet some new faces. I am looking forward to it.

Q: Have the coaches given you an idea of what your role is going to be?

A: They haven’t defined any roles yet. I am coming in just trying to work hard and make a role for myself. I am trying to improve this team in any way I can. I know it is a very talented running back group. I am just looking forward to adding my talents to an already talented crew.

Q: Are you going to the White House with the Patriots this week?

A: Yeah, I will be.

Q: Excited about that?

A: Yeah, very excited, very excited. It always has been something I have wanted to do. I can check it off my bucket list. I am looking forward to meeting the president.

Q: What was that like for you to leave New England? Did you seriously contemplate going back or was it not going to work out financially?

A: I contemplated going back because I am so close and so tight with those teammates. I had been there for four years, it is comfortable for me and it is what I have known. At the same time, I am excited to step out of that comfort zone. I am excited to experience something new with another fantastic organization. I don’t see any wrong with either decision I could have made.

Article on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: Which NFL Draft prospects have visited with the Giants? by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Apr 192015
 
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Stevie Brown, New York Giants (December 30, 2012)

Stevie Brown – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Stevie Brown Says He Will Make Decision Soon: According to ESPN, New York Giants unrestricted free agent safety Stevie Brown has received contract offers from five or six NFL teams and will make a decision soon as to which team to sign with. The teams reportedly include the Giants, Cowboys, Falcons, Raiders, and Titans.

“A person with knowledge of the negotiations” told NJ.com that the Giants are considered one of the favorites to sign Brown. NJ.com reports that there has been a standing offer on the table for Brown from the Giants for quite some time, but Brown has been looking for a better deal.

Brown played in all 16 regular-season games for the Giants in 2014. He started the first three games of the season, lost his starting job for eight weeks to Quintin Demps, then regained it for the last five weeks of the season. Brown finished with 38 tackles, one sack, and one pass defense.

Brown was originally drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 7th round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The Raiders released him in September 2011 and he then spent time with the Panthers and Colts. The Giants signed him in April 2012. Brown had a tremendous season in 2012, intercepting more passes in a single season by a Giant in 44 years. He was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2013 after tearing the ACL in his left knee in the preseason.

The only true safeties currently on the Giants roster are Nat Berhe, Cooper Taylor, and Thomas Gordon. The Giants may also shift cornerbacks Josh Gordy, Chykie Brown, and Bennett Jackson to safety.

Giants.com Videos on Linebacker Devon Kennard: The following videos on linebacker Devon Kennard are available at Giants.com:

  • Offseason Spotlight: Devon Kennard’s workout (Video)
  • Offseason Lifestyle: Devon Kennard (Video)

Article on General Manager Jerry Reese: Trade down? Not likely with Giants and general manager Jerry Reese by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Apr 152015
 
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Paul Hazel, Houston Texans (August 9, 2014)

Paul Hazel – © USA TODAY Sports Images

According to the Giants.com transaction page, the New York Giants have waived defensive end/linebacker Paul Hazel and defensive back Josh Victorian.

The Giants signed Hazel to the Practice Squad and then 53-man roster in December 2014. He was originally signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as a rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft and spent time with the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans.

Victorian was signed to the Giants’ Practice Squad in November 2014. He was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens and spent time with the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, and Detroit Lions.

Because of these moves, we have updated the Transactions, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.