Apr 222014
 
 April 22, 2014  Posted by  News and Notes
Victor Cruz, New York Giants (April 22, 2014)

Victor Cruz – Photo by Connor Hughes

Day Two of the New York Giants Offseason Program: Tuesday was day two of the New York Giants nine-week offseason workout program. The Giants are currently in “phase one” of the program (April 21 – May 4) with activities limited to voluntary strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation.

BigBlueInteractive.com will soon publish a number of feature articles based on today’s content, but here are some brief highlights:

  • Guard Chris Snee wasted no time before cracking the first joke of the day. When the 32-year-old was asked about all of the new faces, he responded, “I requested a team photo” in order familiarize himself with the team. Snee said the new offense is “different” from what he’s used to. Snee said he has been given no indication that he will be held back as he recovers from offseason hip and elbow surgery. Snee said has no limitations and is 100 percent.
  • Safety Antrel Rolle said he “loved” what has been done with the secondary this offseason and the goal during this portion of the offseason program is to build chemistry. When asked about cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Rolle said he feels that Rodgers-Cromartie, in his seventh year, has matured, and is a huge addition to the defense. With defensive end Justin Tuck in Oakland, Rolle was asked if he will take on any additional leadership roles: “I’m just go out there and play ball. I just know how to be Antrel…I think there should be 53 leaders on this team.”
  • Will Hill, who reportedly will be suspended by the NFL for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing or abusive substances, was was not made available to the media. Several players offered their support to the troubled safety.
  • Defensive end Robert Ayers said one of the main reasons that he decided to come to New York was the tradition and opportunity. Also, his late father, who passed away last year, said he used to wish Ayers would play for the New York Giants. Ayers also said that he plans on playing a bunch of different positions as it is what the management and coaches want. “They ask everyone to do everything….I look forward to doing whatever they ask me to do.”
  • Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul caught the attention of everyone when he alerted the media that he now weighed in at 270 pounds, down from the 285 pounds he played at last season. If you remember, Head Coach Tom Coughlin has made several comments in the past about Pierre-Paul being overweight. “I feel good at that weight,” said Pierre-Paul. After rehabbing his shoulder over the offseason, Pierre-Paul said he’s 100 percent right now and expects no limitations. Also, when asked if his role will change with Tuck in Oakland, Pierre-Paul said, “Not at all.” Pierre-Paul said he “didn’t get the memo” on Will Hill. Pierre-Paul said if Hill misses time, losing Hill would be a blow, but the defense would be “alright.”
  • Quarterback Eli Manning talked to the media in a walking boot. He said the surgery on his ankle went well and things are progressing very quickly. Manning told the media that with this being his first surgery, he’s being smart with it. Manning said when he started his training and running for the season he could tell something wasn’t right. He went for some additional MRI’s and developed a plan to see what was the best way to approach the injury. After consideration, he and the doctors felt surgery was best bet rather than waiting. “This will ensure I’m back at 100 percent for training camp,” said Manning. Prior to his informal workouts at Duke University, Manning had gotten a cortisone shot. He felt that once that wore off the injury and pain would return.
  • Left tackle Will Beatty said that the doctors have all given him positive reports and he’s “out here moving around.” Beatty said that he is hanging on every word from the doctors and doing whatever they say. He said that because the team has not gone full-contact, he hasn’t tested himself in that regard. Beatty said he plans on being 100 percent by the start of the season but was more non-committal about being ready for the start of training camp. Beatty talked about new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, saying he’s very “Energetic” and has “a lot of positive things to add to the team.” Beatty said that McAdoo came in the first day and told the team, “Our goal is to be a top-four offense, have an elite top-four QB, make it to the Super Bowl.”
  • Right tackle Justin Pugh talked to the media and said the new offense is similar to the one he ran in Syracuse and “I’m very comfortable in it.” He said, “It’s up-tempo and we’re going to be moving the ball.” Coughlin had told Pugh that he wanted him heavier, so he gained 10 pounds, he’s up to 315. “I’m stronger than ever,” said Pugh.
  • Cornerback Walter Thurmond III may have brought some of Richard Sherman’s personality with him to New York. The corner said he views himself as “the best slot corner in the league” and said the Giants secondary can be as good, if not better, than Seattle’s “Legion of Boom.”Thurmond says he looks forward to matching up with the Redskins now that they have Desean Jackson. He also said the difference between New York and Seattle: “Guys are a bit older here.” Thurmond got a solid laugh out of the media when asked the similarities between cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Richard Sherman saying, “They’re a little different,” before bursting into laughter.
  • Wide receiver Rueben Randle has a very, very soft voice, and it was a little tough to make out everything he was saying. What he did say is that his original plan was to attend Duke University with fellow wide receivers Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz, but “something came up.” From listening to Victor Cruz talk later in the day it seemed to be a family issue. He contacted Eli Manning to inform him once he became aware he could not participate in those workouts. Randle also went on to say that he is “ready” to step up as the starter. As far as the offense, Randle does not see much difference aside from the terminology.
  • Linebacker Jon Beason seems very comfortable with the New York media. He stated that he does feel that this is his defense as it “comes with the territory of being the signal caller and mike linebacker.” Beason said that he did his research before representing himself as his own agent in free agency. He said one of the reasons he wanted to be his own agent was he wanted to be “directly involved” and not “a little kid playing telephone.” There were other teams interested in Jon Beason’s services, but the Giants contacted Beason at 3:52 on Tuesday, only minutes before free agency began.
  • Quarterback Josh Freeman talked to the media for an extended period of time. He said he feels great coming in and last year, “Didn’t turn out how I had hoped.” He said he can’t pinpoint what has caused his career to go downhill since being considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league. “A couple things just didn’t go my way.” One of the things that drew Freeman to New York was the history and tradition, but also to learn things from Eli Manning.
  • Wide receiver Victor Cruz said he enjoys the new offense. It’s a “high-powered offense” and “high octane.” Also, Cruz said the offense in similar with the type of routes and compared it to Green Bay’s offense. Cruz was asked if he could tell at Duke University if Eli was impacted by his ankle injury. He said he could not and “it may have been something he was battling internally.”Cruz said he has taken on a stronger leadership role, including grabbing some of the younger guys, taking them off to the side, and “letting them know how valuable they are to this team and the receiving corp.” Cruz went on to say that the new offense is based less off of body language.
  • Running back David Wilson was excited and as animated as ever. In January, Wilson underwent a surgical procedure to fuse vertebrae to repair a herniated disc in his neck. Wilson said he expects to be cleared for Organized Team Activities (OTAs) but admitted it will come down to the doctors. Wilson said he feels great, and all that is holding him back “is a picture” (MRI) allowing him to resume his football career. Wilson was asked if he sees himself as a No. 1 back and he said he does, but in today’s NFL the feature back doesn’t exist. “Way the game is played today, it’s not gonna be one guy,” said Wilson.
  • Running back Rashaad Jennings said that he thinks the backfield has a lot of talent and potential. He said all are trying to “mesh into the system” and they will “spend a lot of extra time as a unit.”

An “all-access” video of Monday’s activities is available at Giants.com. If you have any follow-up questions on today’s events, ask our camp reporter on Twitter at @92Hughes92.

New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips from Tuesday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on Today’s Offseason Program Media Day: Player interviews: 10 things we learned by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Eli Manning, Giants envision their offense being similar to the Packers by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: QB Eli Manning: I’ll be ready for camp by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on RB David Wilson: David Wilson ‘expects to’ be cleared for OTA’s next month by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on CB Walter Thurmond: Walter Thurmond: Giants secondary can be better than Seahawks ‘Legion of Boom’ by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Share Button
Apr 222014
 
 April 22, 2014  Posted by  News and Notes
Will Hill, New York Giants (October 27, 2013)

Will Hill – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Will Hill Fails Drug Test Again and Giants May Cut Ties: According to multiple press reports, New York Giants safety Will Hill has failed yet another drug test. Hill now faces a potential 6-game, 8-game, or even full-year suspension by the NFL. Hill will appeal the results of the drug test.

Worse for Hill, according to The New York Daily News, a team source says the Giants are “livid” with Hill and that Hill is likely “done with the team, whether he wins his appeal or not.”

Hill was first suspended in October 2012 for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. It is believed the substance was Adderall. Hill was suspended for four games of the 2012 season.

Hill was suspended as second time in July 2013, this time for violating the NFL’s policy on abusive substances (illegal drugs), which was believed to be marijuana. Again, Hill was suspended for four games.

According to press reports, if Hill tested positive again for performance-enhancing substances and loses his appeal, he now faces an 8-game suspension. There are conflicting reports on how long the suspension would be for illegal drugs. The Daily News is reporting it would be for six games while other media sources say it would be a full-season suspension if he loses his appeal.

The 24-year old Hill was one of the best defensive players on the team in 2013. In 12 games, he accrued 77 tackles, 2 pass defenses, 2 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), and 2 forced fumbles.

Share Button
Apr 222014
 
 April 22, 2014  Posted by  Corner Forum Highlights
Share Button
Apr 212014
 
 April 21, 2014  Posted by  Corner Forum Highlights
Share Button
Apr 212014
 
 April 21, 2014  Posted by  Corner Forum Highlights
Share Button
Apr 212014
 
 April 21, 2014  Posted by  News and Notes
Larry Donnell, New York Giants (September 15, 2013)

Larry Donnell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Offseason Workout Program Begins: The New York Giants offseason workout program began on Monday and will continue for the next nine weeks. The offseason program is conducted in three phases:

  1. Phase One (April 21 – May 4):  Consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
  2. Phase Two (May 5 – May 26):  Consists of the next three weeks of the program. 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.
  3. Phase Three (see OTA dates below): Consists of the next four weeks of the program. The Giants may conduct a total of 10 days of OTA workouts. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Important New York Giants dates of note:

  • April 21: Start of the offseason program.
  • May 28-30: Organized Team Activity (OTA) workouts.
  • June 2-3: OTA workouts.
  • June 5: OTA workout.
  • June 9-10: OTA workouts.
  • June 12-13: OTA workouts.
  • June 17-19: Mandatory, full-team mini-camp.

A video of New York Giants players arriving for the offseason program is available at Giants.com.

This year’s offseason program is the most important in recent memory. There are 15 new veteran free agents that need to be assimilated into the New York Giants’ team culture.

“It’s unprecedented, the percentage of change in this locker room,” said defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. “Those of us who are still here are excited for the start of a new season, but obviously it’s changed a lot. A lot of changes needed to be made, but whenever you’re a member of a team, it’s tough to see people go.”

“This is the most change I’ve been part of, for sure,” right guard Chris Snee said. “It’s going to take me a few weeks to learn all these guys’ names…Name tags would be a nice addition.”

“I tried to meet a lot of guys, tried to introduce myself to a lot of guys and start learning a little bit about them – where they’re from, are they married. Just little things like that, so hopefully these next weeks I’ll get to spend more time with each of the players and get to know them on a personal side,” said quarterback Eli Manning, who is coming off of arthroscopic ankle surgery that will sideline him at least six weeks.

The New York Giants’ offensive coaching staff was also revamped in the offseason with a new offensive coordinator (Ben McAdoo), new quarterbacks coach (Danny Langsdorf), and new running backs coach (Craig Johnson). Sean Ryan moved back to coaching wide receivers while Kevin M. Gilbride is now the new tight ends coach. The Giants will also have a brand new offensive scheme for the first time since Tom Coughlin became New York Giants head coach in 2004.

“Sometimes you need change,” said Manning. “We have a new offense, a new quarterback coach, a new offensive coordinator. It’s a learning experience for me, getting adjusted to that, having a lot of new teammates and new faces. There’s a lot of work to be done here, not only learning an offense but getting familiar with your teammates, building relationships there. It also is exciting. I think sometimes you’ve got to mix things up and change things up a little bit in your career. It will be a great challenge, but I’m looking forward to that.”

“I look forward to learning the new offense,” wide receiver Victor Cruz said. “I’m enjoying the fact that I’ve got to really study again, really look into the books again. Before, (Kevin) Gilbride’s offense was so innate for me that I kind of understood it, but this time I’ve really got to hone in and study every night. It’s like I’m back in college, so I’m excited about it. It’s cool. You understand this offseason we made some changes, we got a lot of guys through free agency and we’re looking to kind of change the mold of our team a little bit, at least from a visual standpoint; different guys, different positions. I’m excited. Any time you bring in guys, new energy, new people, it’s always a good thing, so we’re excited.”

Not only do the old Giants need to adjust to change, but so do the 15 new ones.

“It’s an adjustment but not a big one,” said linebacker Jameel McClain. “My personality, I just go with the flow and see how things are done here and fit in as time goes on. But it is different. I’ve been in Baltimore for six years, so that’s a change of scenery for me. Everybody is eager to see how it all falls together. That’s every NFL season. You come into the next year with a different team. There are a lot of moving parts and it’s good to see how it all comes together. So far there are a lot of great personalities, so that’s a winning combination by itself.”

“It’s exciting to finally get here after all of the buildup of signing and everything,” left guard Geoff Schwartz said. “It was great meeting some of the guys and getting going and kind of building toward the future. Right now it’s so early that it’s the getting to know each other phase. As we continue to work and go through stuff, you bring it all together. The guys I’ve met so far today seem to fit that personality of wanting to build chemistry.”

Josh Freeman Signing Now Official: The New York Giants officially announced the signing of unrestricted free agent quarterback Josh Freeman (Minnesota Vikings) on Monday, confirming what had originally been reported last Wednesday.

“I’m definitely excited about being a part of this great organization,” said Freeman. “Obviously, it’s a chance to go play quality football, learn from some great coaches, learn from a great quarterback in Eli (Manning) and just be a part of a great organization. The atmosphere is great here, great facilities. Everyone I’ve met has been awesome. Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

“Today, having the opportunity to sit in meetings and be around the guys in the room, from Eli to Curtis (Painter), Ryan (Nassib), it’s a great group of guys,” Freeman said. “I’m excited and am looking forward to learning about everybody and getting to know the team…It’s a big thing, getting on a team and getting in the offseason program, I’m learning the offense, working and trying to fill my role as best I can.”

Article on CB Prince Amukamara: The Prince Amukamara Dilemma: Giants must decide on fifth-year option by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on WR Victor Cruz: Victor Cruz, one year later by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on the New York Giants and the 2014 NFL Draft: Giants pre-draft visits and workouts by Jordan Raanan and Conor Orr for NJ.com

Articles on the New York Giants and the NFL Draft: 

Share Button
Apr 212014
 
 April 21, 2014  Posted by  Articles, The Draft
Troy Niklas, New York Giants (November 2, 2013)

Troy Niklas – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft Preview: Tight Ends

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

Current Tight Ends on NYG Roster:

Kellen Davis – 29 – Signed through 2014

Adrien Robinson – 26 – Signed through 2015

Larry Donnell – 26 – Signed through 2014

Daniel Fells – 31 – Signed through 2014

Where They Stand:

Jerry Reese has made a few attempts to increase the quality of the group over the years without a high level of aggression. The one time he went after a quality free agent in Martellus Bennett, their passing game was elevated to another level. However both prior to him and in 2013 with Brandon Myers, there was little-to-no threat of a pass catching presence at the position. It has held the passing game back from taking a step up to the next level. Davis and Fells were signed as veteran stop gaps. Neither pose as a threat to the defense but both can be serviceable backup types that block well. Davis is the one with starting potential; as he came in to the league with a high ceiling and he’s proven to be an OK player that can be depended on to do some of the little things well. Robinson has yet to live up to even half the hype that we’ve been led to believe. He may be gifted physically, but he’s had issues staying healthy and has shown nothing that should impact the Giants approach to the position in the draft. Donnell is a name I still have some hope for, as I think he has some more football skills to work with. All in all, this is a poor group of tight ends that needs an upgrade as soon as possible.

Top 10 Grades:

1 – Troy Niklas – Notre Dame – 6’7/270: 81

2 – Jace Amaro – Texas Tech – 6’5/265: 79

3 – Eric Ebron – North Carolina – 6’4/250: 79

4 – CJ Fiedorwicz – Iowa – 6’6/265: 76

5 – Marcel Jensen – Fresno State – 6’6/259: 75

6 – Crockett Gilmore – Colorado State – 6’6/260: 74

7 – Alex Bayer – Bowling Green – 6’4/257: 71

8 – Arthur Lynch – Georgia – 6’5/258: 70

9 – Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Washington – 6’6/262: 69

10 – Colt Lylerla – Oregon – 6’4/242: 67

Day One Target:

Troy Niklas – Notre Dame

There aren’t any tight ends worthy of the #12 overall pick on my board. But if NYG somehow trades back towards the end of round one, Niklas should be a thought. Niklas if a former defensive player that came on strong at TE this year. I think his upside is limitless, as I think he is already the best at the position in this class despite not having a lot of experience there. I think his floor is very high as well because he is going to be a dominant blocker in the NFL. He is violent, strong, and agile. He can man up defensive ends or get out in to space and stick with linebackers/safeties. Niklas’ size and ball skills are something that will present major matchup problems for opposing defenses and when it comes down to building up an offense, that’s what it is all about. I think we are talking about an early contributor that could turn himself in to one of the top dual threat TEs in the game.

Runner Up: Eric Ebron – North Carolina

Day Two Target:

Jace Amaro – Texas Tech

I think Ebron will be a first round pick, thus why I put his name above and not here. Amaro is likely going to slip in to round two and I think he will present good value there. He is another big-bodied pass catcher that plays the game with a toughness that NYG has been missing out on for awhile. He put up enormous numbers within a pass-friendly offense but has limited experience as an in-line blocker. That’s an issue when it comes to being brought in to the NYG offense. That did hurt his grade quite a bit but he is still an option for this team. He built up a reputation of being one of the toughest guys in the Big 12 conference and their coaching staff raved about his leadership. I think Amaro is a guy that will find a way to make it work as a blocker. As a receiver, Amaro is another guy that creates the much needed matchup problems. In addition, he has ability with the ball on his hands to pick up extra yards. There is some sneaky athleticism to this kid and I think he is gonna be a productive player in the NFL.

Runner Up: CJ Fiedorwicz – Iowa

Day Three Target:

Marcel Jensen – Fresno State

I went in to a session looking to scout Derek Carr and DaVante Adams in October. Halfway through I was writing more notes on Jensen than both combined. Jensen is a huge frame that moves surprisingly well. Even more, he is a soft hands catcher that can change direction with ease. I think Jensen’s game will be taken to another level in the NFL and when considering he will likely be a day three pick, there is an opportunity for a big value grab here. There are some fine points to his game that need work. He isn’t a good blocker mechanically, but he does show effort. He also needs better route running underneath. But all that in mind, I think he immediately becomes the tight end of the future for NYG more so than Donnell and Robinson.

Runner Up: Nic Jacobs – McNeese State (66)

Most Overrated:

Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Washington

I saw Jenkins play a few times in passing back in 2012 and was somewhat impressed. He was definitely a name I had circled heading in to 2013 but he was deeply underwhelming in every tape I saw. The size and movement ability are there and he has shown some impressive ball skills. But when I watch an entire game of his, I can’t help but worry about the fact that he is just another guy for almost the entire game. A highlight here and there won’t do anything for this team. Jenkins shows almost no urgency as a route runner or as a blocker. He doesn’t show the toughness in traffic either. For a guy this big, he is a softy. I don’t want guys like that unless we are talking about day three. I can see the upside but I saw too much bad tape to give him a grade anywhere higher than round 5.

Runner Up: Xavier Grimble – USC (64)

NYG Approach:

There is an issue here with this class. NYG could use a fresh talent early on at the position, someone that could come in right away and make a contribution. The issue however is that the TE class as a whole lacks star power and depth. In addition, I keep track of every NFL roster and it appears to me that there will be several teams in the hunt for a quality tight end. That is going to make it tough for NYG to bring in the right value at the position considering there are several spots that need to be filled on this team via the draft. If NYG can’t find the right value in the first 3-4 rounds, I would ignore the position altogether. The last thing they should want is yet another experiment at tight end soaking up another roster spot. But if there is a chance to bring in one of those top 5-6 guys where the value is right, I would strongly consider doing it. This is a position that could really change things offensively if the right guy is brought in. As it currently stands, their current tight ends are going to struggle to make the much-needed impact.

Share Button
Apr 192014
 
 April 19, 2014  Posted by  Corner Forum Highlights
Share Button
Apr 182014
 
 April 18, 2014  Posted by  News and Notes
John Conner, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

John Conner – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Offseason Workout Program Begins Monday: The New York Giants offseason workout program begins Monday.

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

  1. Phase One (April 21 – May 4):  Consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
  2. Phase Two (May 5 – May 26):  Consists of the next three weeks of the program. 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.
  3. Phase Three (see OTA dates below): Consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTA workouts. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Important dates of note:

  • April 21: Start of the offseason program.
  • May 28-30: Organized Team Activity (OTA) workouts.
  • June 2-3: OTA workouts.
  • June 5: OTA workout.
  • June 9-10: OTA workouts.
  • June 12-13: OTA workouts.
  • June 17-19: Mandatory, full-team mini-camp.

The Giants will not hold a rookie mini-camp this year because the 2014 NFL Draft is three weeks later than usual. For more on the offseason program, see Giants offseason workouts begin Monday by Dan Salomone of Giants.com.

Sidney Rice Re-Signs With Seattle Seahawks: ProFootballTalk had reported earlier this week that the New York Giants were one of several teams to be interested in unrestricted free agent wide receiver Sidney Rice. The Seattle Seahawks released him in February 2014 in a salary cap-related move. However, Rice re-signed with the Seahawks on Wednesday.

Article on QB Ryan Nassib: With Josh Freeman on roster, should Giants look to deal Ryan Nassib? by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on WR Mario Manningham: NFL Star Mario Manningham Talks Returning to the Beast Coast by TheSource.com

Article on CB Prince Amukamara: Big Blue Morning: Amukamara’s option by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Articles on the New York Giants and the 2014 NFL Draft: Giants pre-draft visits and workouts by Jordan Raanan and Conor Orr for NJ.com

Share Button
Apr 182014
 
 April 18, 2014  Posted by  Corner Forum Highlights
Share Button