Some Pre-Camp Thoughts From John Mara: New York Giants President and CEO John Mara spoke briefly to the press at a charity event on Thursday. Some interesting tidbits:
- On the Giants very busy free agent period: “It’s not going to happen every year. We’re not going to have that kind of cap room every year. And listen: If you’re that aggressive every year, there’s something wrong with your organization. But you have to do it every once in awhile.”
- On the team’s secondary: “(It is) a stronger secondary than we’ve ever had before.”
- On whether RB David Wilson (career-threatening neck injury) will be able to play: “We expect him to be playing this year, but that is going to depend on what the doctors tell us. So far, all signs are that he’s going to be ready to go.”
- On new Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo: “I like what I’ve seen so far, but he hasn’t called a play in a game yet. (The new offense) looks great on the practice field.”
- On his prediction for the Giants in 2014: “I was the same idiot who said last year it was the best team we’d had in years and look what happened. So, yeah. The fans do deserve better and we did our best in the offseason. It’s not just a question of doing it on the field. We think we have the pieces in place, but until we start playing games it’s just hard to tell.”
- On DE Justin Tuck playing for the Raiders: “It’s gonna hurt seeing him in a different uniform. This one’s really gonna hurt, because he was such a great player and a great citizen for us.”
Giants.com Q&A with Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo: The video of a Giants.com Q&A with Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo is available at Giants.com.
Giants.com Q&A with QB Eli Manning: The video of a Giants.com Q&A session with QB Eli Manning is available at Giants.com.
NY Post Q&A with Giants Play-by-Play Man Bob Papa: The positional battles Bob Papa will be watching at Giants camp by Justin Terranova of The New York Post
Article on the New York Giants Quarterbacks: Giants Training Camp Battle No. 3: Ryan Nassib vs. himself and Curtis Painter by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com
Article on the New York Giants Fullbacks: Giants Training Camp Battle No. 4: Henry Hynoski vs. John Conner at fullback by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com
Article on DT Johnathan Hankins: 10 Giants you should know when training camp begins: Johnathan Hankins by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger
Article on S Nat Berhe: 10 Giants you should know when training camp begins: Nat Berhe by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger
With New York Giants training camp beginning next week, BigBlueInteractive.com concludes our break down of each of the team’s positional groups. We finish by looking at this year’s special teams.
POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Special Teams
2013 YEAR IN REVIEW: For the most part, the specials of the New York Giants in 2013 were quite poor. The exception was PK Josh Brown who made 23-of-26 field goals (88.5 percent) with a long of 52 yards. In addition, half of Brown’s kickoffs (35-of-70) resulted in touchbacks. P Steve Weatherford was inconsistent. He started off poorly but improved as the season wore on. In 2013, Weatherford, averaged 46.9 yards per punt with a net average of 38.2. The usually reliable long-snapper Zak DeOssie had a poor snap against the Eagles that resulted in a touchdown.
Punt coverage was terrible. The Giants were 3rd-worst in the NFL in opposing punt return average (13.6 yards per return) and allowed three punts to be returned for touchdowns.
Kickoff coverage was better as the Giants were 9th-best in the NFL, allowing an average of 21.8 yards per return.
The Giants return game was not good. The Giants were 26th in the NFL in punt returns, averaging only 7.2 yards per return. WR Rueben Randle was the primary punt returner, averaging 8.2 yards per return with a long of 32 yards.
The Giants were 27th in the NFL in kickoff returns, averaging only 21.2 yards per return. The Giants tried a number of players with similar results, including RB Michael Cox (21.8 yards per return) and WR Jerrel Jernigan. RB David Wilson (24.7) had a bit more success on his limited number of returns.
In sum, the return yardage differential between the Giants and their opponents was too great, making it tougher for the Giants offense and defense and easier for the oppositions’ offense and defense. The Giants also gave up four special teams touchdowns.
ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The primary punter, kicker, and long snapper all return though it appears that Josh Brown will face a bit of a challenge from strong-legged place kicker Brandon McManus.
On paper, it appears the Giants dramatically improved their stable of returners with the additions of Trindon Holliday, Quintin Demps, and Odell Beckham, Jr.
Holliday has averaged over 27 yards per kickoff return and 9 yards per punt return in his career, including a total of six return touchdowns the last two seasons (three kickoff, three punt). Demps has also averaged over 27 yards per kick return and has two career kickoff return touchdowns. Beckham was a dynamic kickoff and punt returner at LSU.
Who will form the cover teams and blockers on returns remains to be seen. Newcomers CB Zack Bowman (ex-Chicago Bears) and CB Bennett Jackson (Notre Dame) have strong special teams reputations.
TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Trindon Holliday is a home-run threat every time he touches the football as his six career return touchdowns in the last two seasons indicate, including two returns for touchdowns against the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs. However, he has major fumbling issues (10 lost in the last two seasons). Can the Giants improve his ball security?
Will David Wilson, if he is medically cleared (neck), be allowed to compete in the kickoff return game? Just two years ago, he set a team record with 1,533 kickoff return yards, averaging 26.9 yards per return. Same question regarding Odell Beckham…will the Giants seriously allow him to compete as a punt returner?
Based on comments from the coaches, Brandon McManus is more than an extra leg so his competition with Josh Brown will be more interesting than usual.
It’s not sexy, but the Giants have to find players who can do a better job of blocking for the returners and covering opposing returners. They need some headhunters out there.
ON THE BUBBLE: Trindon Holliday if he doesn’t fix his fumbling issues or show more than he has to date at wide receiver. There will only be one roster spot for Josh Brown vs. Brandon McManus. Brown is the reliable, experienced veteran, but he’s 35. McManus has the big leg but is a big unknown.
FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Tom Quinn on the gunners: “(Zack) Bowman, (Bennett) Jackson, we’re really excited about those two. Charles James continues to do well so it will be exciting to see those guys run down and cover punts.”
Quinn on Trindon Holliday: “His speed’s an asset, that’s for sure. He’s a strong guy for his size, ball security obviously will be his biggest focus once we start putting pads on and start knocking him around a little bit.”
Quinn on Brandon McManus: “I really like McManus, I liked him coming out. He went to Indy for last training camp and preseason and I thought he was really a good kicker coming out of Temple. He’s kicked in the northeast at a high level, he did all three so I think he’s got a real big upside once it all starts clicking for him.”
Quinn on Quintin Demps: “Demps, we’re real excited to have him. He’s been consistent in this league and explosive. He’s a legitimate number one kickoff returner for us. He runs with good size and he has a real good understanding of the schemes. He’s been great with all teams. A real leader, coming in likely to start and he’ll be able to contribute on special teams.”
Eric Kennedy - I may go down in flames with this prediction but I think Trindon Holliday finds a home with the Giants both a less mistake-prone kickoff/punt returner and factor on offense as a role player. I think the Josh Brown vs. Brandon McManus battle could be very telling in terms of where this team actually thinks it is as viable Super Bowl competitor. If they believe they are rebuilding, the choice may be McManus.
Connor Hughes - It’s hard to think of a unit that was worse than the Giants’ offensive line last year, but the special teams sure give them a run for their money. Truly, things couldn’t have gotten much worse for Tom Quinn’s squad and there is only up to go from here. I’m very, very high on the addition of Trindon Holliday and Quintin Demps. While Demps may not have the touchdown returns, if he’s able to get the Giants the ball on the 30-35 yard line regularly it’ll pay huge dividends. Holliday, meanwhile, is the little spark plug the Giants have never really had on special teams.
During their prime, Willie Ponder and Domenik Hixon each were explosive, but none can match what Holliday can do when he’s ‘on.’ The ex-Bronco and Texan is electric and will take at least one to the house this year. If he can hold on to the ball…he may turn out to be one of the bigger acquisitions the Giants made this offseason.
The Giants’ coverage unit should also see improvements this year. Zack Bowman has excelled in the role throughout his career and Bennett Jackson had similar success in college. Barring injuries, I’m expecting to see vast improvements from the special teams.
FINAL DEPTH CHART:
Eric Kennedy - Trindon Holliday (kickoff and punt returner), Josh Brown (place kicker), Steve Weatherford (punter), Zak DeOssie (long snapper)
Connor Hughes - Quintin Demps (kickoff returner), Trindon Holliday (punt returner), Josh Brown (place kicker), Steve Weatherford (punter), Zak DeOssie (long snapper)
For the first time since Antrel Rolle signed with the Giants in 2010, the 31-year-old safety played, well, primarily safety.
There was enough depth to keep Rolle in his most natural position. No more need for him to player nickel corner, outside corner or down in the box.
The result? 98 tackles (career high), two sacks (career high), six interceptions (career high), a forced fumble and the acknowledgment as the third-most dynamic safety in the league.
— NFL (@nfl) July 17, 2014
NFL.com analysis Bucky Brooks has spent the last week compiling a list of ‘Bucky’s Best,’ taking a look at the NFL’s best at certain attributes. A former NFL player himself, Brooks has found the NFL’s top blind-side blockers, complete running backs, clutch quarterbacks, hybrid tight ends and players with the best hand-ball skills.
Earlier, Brooks named Giants’ cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie the seventh-best coverage safety. Rolle is the highest ranked Giant on any of his lists to date. Brooks has yet to debut his best “Defensive signal-callers.”
Brooks had the following to say on Rolle:
The cagey veteran remains one of the top playmakers in the game despite entering his 10th season in the league. In fact, Rolle is fresh off his best professional campaign. As a former cornerback, he’s comfortable manning up against tight ends and receivers in the slot, but he’s also adept at patrolling the deep middle. His versatility allows defensive coordinator Perry Fewell to use him in a variety of roles in the Giants’ sub-packages to keep quarterbacks guessing in the pocket. Rolle is a proven playmaker with a knack for picking off passes (23 career interceptions, including six in 2013) and creating disruption on the second level. He’s an ideal Swiss army knife to counter the versatile offenses setting the pace in today’s NFL.
The praise and accolades are not the first for Rolle this offseason. The former first-round pick was voted the No. 65 player in the NFL on the NFL Network’s ‘Top 100′ countdown and was named ‘Giant of the Year’ by BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI).
BBI will present Rolle with the ‘Hope Johnson’ trophy on July 25.
When Michael Strahan is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 2, it’ll be long-time friend and FOXSports reporter Jay Glazer that first welcomes him to the halls of Canton.
.@ProFootballHOF has made it official: Michael Strahan will have Jay Glazer as his presenter Aug. 2 as Glazer confirmed on Super Bowl Eve.
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) July 17, 2014
When Strahan was initially voted into the Hall of Fame, it was Glazer that broke the news to him. Sitting around friends and family, Glazer casually glanced down at is phone before beginning to talk.
“Last year was tough because I was like, ‘You’re gonna make it,’” Glazer turned to Strahan and said. “Then I thought, maybe it’s just not going to be this year.
“But, it is this year.’”
Following around Strahan during the entire week, LIVE with Michael and Kelly caught it all on film:
Strahan, who considers Glazer one of his closest friends, described the two’s relationship in an article on Deadspin.com
“We always argue and fight and scream. We’ve been in cars before, and I open the door and get out as he’s driving 60 miles per hour down the street,” Strahan told Drew Magary. “We do get to that point where it’s like most people, 99.9 percent who doesn’t know us, they would just go, ‘Oh, these guys are gonna fight, I don’t know if I really want to get into the middle of this.’ And I think we end up laughing at everybody else’s reaction.”
Glazer helped Strahan co-write his biography, “Inside the Helmet: My Life as an Afternoon Warrior.”
CineSport Video Update: Strahan – Inside His Journey to Canton
Giants.com Q&A with LB Jameel McClain: The video of a Giants.com Q&A session with LB Jameel McClain is available at Giants.com.
Article on OG Chris Snee: Chris Snee remains an unknown for Giants heading into training camp by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com
Good news is that Snee still on track for camp. Bad news is nobody can be confident he'll be able to play come Sept. http://t.co/rKhzXYC7v0
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) July 16, 2014
New York Giants Training Camp Articles:
- Eli Manning and four other NY Giants with something to prove in training camp by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News
- NY Giants training camp preview: Big Blue seeking help from several young players by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News
Article on QB Ryan Nassib: 10 Giants you should know when training camp begins: Ryan Nassib by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger
Article on WR Marcus Harris: 10 Giants you should know when training camp begins: Marcus Harris by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger
Article on OC/OG Weston Richburg: Giants training camp battle No. 5: J.D. Walton vs. Weston Richburg at center Jordan Raanan of NJ.com
Article on Former Giants Quarterback Y.A. Tittle: Awakening the Giant by Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com