Aug 192015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 19, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

ELI MANNING DENIES HE WANTS TO BE HIGHEST PAID QUARTERBACK…
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning denied the earlier NFL Network report that he wants to be the NFL’s highest paid quarterback. Manning is entering the last year of his current contract.

“Reports are all wrong and I don’t know where they’re getting their information from, I just kind of laugh at it,” said Manning. “Never been said. Never come out of my mouth. Never said it to my agent, never said it, so I don’t know where the reports are coming from.”

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham (dental work), wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf strain), wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis), left guard Justin Pugh (dental work), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), defensive end George Selvie (knee), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), and cornerback Jayron Hosley (neck/concussion) did not practice.

Beckham and Pugh are expected to return to practice on Thursday. Both are recovering from dental procedures.

“Selvie, no ligament damage,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “Had a little tissue, little strain. He gives everything he’s got. I don’t really think he’ll be too long. He can’t go today, but I think he’ll be back soon.”

“Cruz has had a little strain in the calf area, so he’s not going to practice today,” said Coughlin. “Randle’s not ready. We thought Randle was going to be ready to go today, but he’s not going to practice today.”

Safeties Landon Collins (knee sprain) and Nat Berhe (calf strain) participated in the walk-through portions of practice.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) and safety Cooper Taylor (sore toe) returned to practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
The Giants practiced in full pads. Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With George Selvie out, Cullen Jenkins received reps at first-team defensive end.
  • Bennett Jackson and Jeromy Miles were the first-team safeties. Jackson broke up a pass intended for tight end Daniel Fells.
  • Prince Amukamara participated in full-team drills as a starter along with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at cornerback.
  • With Justin Pugh out, the Giants worked quite a few combinations with the first-team offensive line, including John Jerry at left and right guard. Geoff Schwartz practiced at both right guard and right tackle. Adam Gettis also saw time at right guard.
  • Mike Bamiro received some reps at right tackle with the second-team offense, but was promptly beat by defensive end Robert Ayers. Bamiro was moved backed to guard and did a good job of picking up linebacker Jameel McClain on a blitz.
  • Wide receiver Geremy Davis made a leaping sideline catch during 11-on-11 drills.
  • Tight ends Larry Donnell, Jerome Cunningham, and Will Tye each dropped a pass.
  • Running back Orleans Darkwa made a nice catch of a low pass.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver James Jones for a touchdown, but Geoff Schwartz had a false start on the play.
  • Unai Unga worked with the second-team defense at middle linebacker with Jameel McClain playing outside linebacker.
  • The nickel linebackers were Jon Beason and Jonathan Casillas.
  • Wide receiver Dwayne Harris got behind cornerback Trevin Wade and safety Cooper Taylor for a long touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning. (Video)
  • Linebacker J.T. Thomas knocked away what would have been a touchdown pass to tight end Larry Donnell.
  • Wide receiver Julian Talley beat cornerback Trevin Wade for a touchdown.
  • One defensive line package had Devon Kennard and Damontre Moore at defensive end, and Kerry Wynn and Owamagbe Odighizuwa at defensive tackle.
  • Newcomer Jimmy Staten received third-team defensive tackles reps along with Dominique Hamilton. Staten penetrated into the backfield twice against the run during team drills.
  • Cornerback Trevin Wade ended practice by intercepting a pass intended for wide receiver Geremy Davis from quarterback Ryan Nassib. Wade returned the pick for a defensive score. (Video)

Pads be poppin during run drills #giants

A video posted by Jordan Raanan (@jraanan) on

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media in the early afternoon before the evening practice (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: Can you update us on George Selvie?

A: You know [George] Selvie, no ligament damage. Had a little tissue, little strain. He gives everything he’s got. I don’t really think he’ll be too long. He can’t go today, but I think he’ll be back soon.

Q: Do you expect Prince Amukamara or Nat Berhe to be back today at practice?

A: They’re little by little. Little by little, they’re doing it. You don’t see much of them in the team stuff, but they’re working their way back in there, which is good. They take all the jog-through and all that business, they take. And some of the individual. Hopefully we can advance that part of it.

Q: Are Victor Cruz or Rueben Randle ready to get any action Saturday?

A: [Victor] Cruz has had a little strain in the calf area, so he’s not going to practice today. [Reuben] Randle’s not ready. We thought Randle was going to be ready to go today, but he’s not going to practice today. So we’ll have a couple receivers down today.

Q: Is it beneficial right now to be extra cautious with him, sit him down, and let that build back up? Randle, I’m talking about.

A: Well, we’ve been out a while. I mean, yes, but he needs to practice. That’s the one thing I’m anxious about. Everybody wants to talk about our passing game. Unless we get out there and practice together, what passing game? So that’s something that has to be considered. We have to work together on the field to get to where we’re going. So advancing some of these young guys, yeah, that’s a plus. But we certainly aren’t cohesive with the other guys, either.

Q: Is Victor’s calf related to his knee at all?

A: No. No, not at all. No. Probably dehydration, little bit of that.

Q: Assuming your cast can be together, what are the steps you expect to make in this second year of Ben McAdoo’s offense?

A: You know, like I said before, I think the going back with the installation has been better for the players. Obviously, they’ve done it before. So they’ve had it in the spring, they’ve had it last year in the spring and fall. So the advancement of that is good. What we expect from them, they have a pretty good idea of that. They’ve got to go see everything on the field, and all the different coverages and the techniques that are going to be employed against them. But I expect it to be—we’re going to improve, we’re going to improve in all areas, and we’re going to be able to complement each other by hopefully having a lot of weapons on the field that people are going to have to decide what they’re going to defend.

Q: We all know how smart Eli is. How much in tune is he with Ben the second year into the offense?

A: He’s very much in-tune with what’s going on. His opinion is asked for and shared in the quarterback meetings. He’s anxious. He knows the offense well and he’s very much interested in moving forward.

Q: What difference do you see in the offense between now and last summer?

A: I don’t see enough right now, to be honest with you. I don’t see enough yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

Q: You’ve tried different offensive line combinations for different reasons. In your mind, is there a point when you want to decide on the five moving forward?

A: I read about that when I read about other teams. They’ve got this point and they’ve got—I just want to find the five guys that work best together, as soon as we can. Whether it’s the second, third preseason game. There’s a certain number that we’re going to have to depend on, and they’re going to have to be versatile enough to play in some different spots. And so, obviously, I’d like it to happen fast, but you’ve had a guy like [Geoff] Schwartz that hasn’t practiced much. You have Marshall [Newhouse] who has been out a day or so. So we’ve had some of that. Plus, the young guy, we’re trying to bring a couple of young guys around. [Bobby] Hart, we’re trying to get Hart going. And he’s had some good days, and days that are not as good. So I’m looking for some consistency in his play as well.

Q: What went into that decision of bumping Hart out? You bumped him back out last week to tackle.

A: That’s where he’s played. He’s played there in college, so we wanted to take a look at him.

Q: But you started him at guard.

A: Yeah. You’ve got to line them all up somewhere. He’s playing some guard and he’s playing some tackle.

Q: Did Orleans Darkwa impress you the other night?

A: Darkwa’s had a couple of good weeks, yeah.

Q: A guy like that who is behind a bunch of players who have been around for a while, do you think he fits in the mix or does he have to impress you on special teams?

A: Last year his special teams were outstanding. He’s always been a pretty good—he’s run the ball on scout team for us, and done a nice job of that, too. So he has some power, he has some punch, he’s run the ball up in there for us. You know he gives you some more flexibility. Thinking about having a guy who can run behind the line of scrimmage and can play special teams.

Q: You’ve played against and had to game plan against Dwayne Harris for several years. When you watched him, what did you see?

A: Powerful, nifty, tough, do a lot of things for you. It’s kind of interesting that in studying him, you saw him as a gunner on kickoff coverage, running punts back, running kicks back, and doing a lot of things. Coming into [the Dallas Cowboys] offensive sets and blocking at the perimeter, or being a guy who catches the ball underneath—short pass, long run kind of a guy. So he’s versatile. We’re trying like heck to get the punt return team going, which is something I’m hoping will advance come Saturday night.

Q: He filled four very big roles for the Cowboys. He was a big identity for them. Do you need an identity on special teams and can he bring that identity to you guys?

A: I think he certainly could. As one of some guys that are obvious special teamers, you take great pride in that. Yes, he could.

Q: Speaking of special teams, Geremy Davis has obviously gotten some work on that. How has he looked to you in that role?

A: He’s got to get better. We like him, he’s big and strong and fast. But he’s got to define some of the things that he can do for us. But, obviously, we’re always looking for gunners, gunner help. If he does that for us, as one of those people who can work in a rotation out there, that would help a lot.

Q: There was a lot of stuff about Eli’s contract yesterday. Would you think that would impact him or have you seen anything in that regard?

A: No. I haven’t seen one thing about it. It’s not going to affect him.

Q: How would you describe his professionalism overall as a leader for this team?

A: How high does it go? What’s the number you want, 1-10? (Yes.) 11.

Q: How did you think Geoff Schwartz did the other day?

A: So-so. He did so-so. Trying to get him to go every day. His second day wasn’t as good as his first. But hopefully he gets better.

Q: Any news from Jason Pierre-Paul in terms of when he might be showing up?

A: No.

Q: He’s been tweeting and on Instagram a lot lately.

A: I think he’s talked to more of our people, but it’s conversation.

Q: You guys didn’t have any incidents in your joint practices with Cincinnati last week. That’s not been the case in some other places. There’s a lot that goes into it, you practice, you play a game. Is it something moving forward that you think you would look into doing again?

A: Yes. Yes. How’s that?

Q: Why?

A: Because we got a lot out of it.

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BEN McADOO…
Ben McAdoo addressed the media on Wednesday (video is available at Giants.com):

I hope everyone is having a good camp. With that, let’s fire away.

Q: Has the starting offense made progress this week?

A: We made some progress this week. We were disappointed in our performance last week. We had two productive days of practice, got to the game, and it seemed like we were a little flat. The details, the play speed wasn’t there, and we addressed the issue head on and we’re working to fix it. You don’t fix mistakes overnight, it takes time to do that, and we’re working at it every day.

Q: What kind of expectations do you have in your second year?

A: We met a couple times as an offense on this, in the offseason, and now in training camp. We set our expectations very high. We set parameters, I’m not going to spell those out for you, the players may be able to help you figure those out, but we do set them high. We have high expectations for ourselves. There is one goal in this business and we all know what that goal is, but you can measure the parameters each week as you go to make sure you’re on track.

Q: How much faster do you want the offense to be?

A: My mother told me not to put all my eggs in one basket. I like to change up speeds, and I think it’s important to be able to do that. You don’t want to just have a fast tempo, you don’t want to slow things down, you don’t always want to be no-huddle, and you don’t always want to be in the huddle. I think it’s good to be able to change your pace and change your tempo as long as it’s on your terms. It has to be on our terms.

Q: What are you looking to accomplish in the second game with your first group?

A: Execution. We’re not out there to chase numbers, that’s not good offense. We’re out there to execute, put ourselves in position, to take care of the ball and put puts on the board.

Q: How do you view your RT position right now?

A: Marshall [Newhouse] has been getting a lot of work in there. He’s growing, he’s getting comfortable with the men around him, and he and John Jerry are working well together. After that, we have a couple guys in the mix. One guy isn’t practicing at this point in time and we’re going to continue to develop and see really how the preseason games go. Practice is practice, but when the lights come on we need to see guys play and play well. I have confidence in Marshall, I’ve been around him at a different spot before, and he’s an athletic guy. He’s a smart guy and I look forward to him growing in the offense.

Q: Where does Geoff Schwartz stand?

A: I need to see Geoff play. He’s coming off of a major injury. He needs to get back out on the field and needs to do it on a consistent basis. It’s tough to answer that question.

Q: Is it difficult when you have to continue to swap guys in and out on the offensive line? Would you want to have five in there so they can jell?

A: In a perfect world, that’s how things work but this isn’t. It’s far from a perfect world and our philosophy here is next man up. We don’t think twice about it.

Q: How fortunate do you feel to be in a situation with an established QB? Do people sometimes take for granted how indispensable Eli [Manning] has been?

A: I don’t take him for granted. I’ve been fortunate since 2006 to be around a franchise quarterback. Men that have carried themselves well, prepared well, and can rally the team in their own way. They’re comfortable in their own skin, so we’re very fortunate to have Eli.

Q: Has WR James Jones been a pro since he’s been here? Do you like what you see from him?

A: Absolutely, he’s been a pro. He was out of work for a little bit, he’s getting his football legs underneath him, the last two days of practice he’s stood out a little bit, and it’ll be exciting to see him over this next week get out there a perform.

Q: Does it help in any way to have some former Green Bay guys here like Jones and Newhouse?

A: It’s probably a better question for the players.

Q: Are you aware of the rule changes that seem to favor the offense when you’re scheming or coming up with plays?

A: We try to teach things from a fundamental perspective and a read perspective. Is it the passing game that you’re referring to?

Q: Some of the defenders can’t do the things they used to do?

A: It goes back to fundamentals. Any benefit that you get from a flag, we’ll take that. From a fundamental perspective, we can’t go out there, and from a mentality perspective, we can’t go out there and coach players on this pass interference. You have to fight through all contact and any contact and can’t rely on the referees to make those calls to get us a first down. It’s up to you to come and compete and win your one-on-one matchup to make those plays.

Q: Do you think too many players are trying to make one-handed catches these days?

A: I’m not in favor of it. I would like to see two hands on the ball.

Q: Have you seen more in the last couple of years?

A: I think maybe it’s come to light a little bit more. Guys are always out there trying to work on catching the ball with one hand, whether it’s pre-game, pre-practice, and challenging each other. I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with that, but the game situation, you’d like to see guys catch the ball with two hands out in front of their eyes.

Q: How in tune are you and Eli now as opposed to last year?

A: Last year we spent a lot of time together, we had to have a conversation on just about every play, and make sure we were on the same page there. This year it’s a little bit more natural for him and as we go, things will gravitate to what he likes and what he does well and what he feels that the players around him do well.

Q: Has Dwayne Harris shown you anything as a receiver?

A: Yes, Dwayne is a guy that when the lights came on the other night, you could see some physicality from him. He’s a guy that doesn’t mind getting mixed up in the run game. He’s working to learn the offense from a couple different positions inside and outside. He’ll have some opportunities here over the next few weeks moving forward. It’ll be good to see him out there.

Q: Can you do what you need him to do as far as running routes and catching the ball?

A: Absolutely.

Q: You have three capable guys in Rashad [Jennings], [Andre] Williams, [Shane] Vereen. Do you have to find a way to give all three a way to contribute? Is it a blessing or a burden?

A: Each of them has a unique skillset. They’re all different and you can add Darkwa [Orleans] in there as well. They’re all different and you have to use their skillset to our advantage but at the same point and time, we have to push them out of their comfort zone. We can’t let them fall into a niche, ‘I’m this guy or I’m that guy.’ You have to be a complete player and we’re going to push them that way.

Q: Do you have more of an idea of what [Victor] Cruz you’ll get on September 13?

A: Yeah, I’m excited for Victor. He came out early on and didn’t seem tentative at all about sticking his foot in the ground. The other day he made some nice plays, made one in the back of the end zone similar to the one the injury was on, and that’s a big step, that’s a major step. He made a b-line play down the middle at the beginning of the no-huddle period of last practice. It’s good to have him out there and I can’t wait until he’s out there full time and ready to go.

Q: How do you view that WR position?

A: I see it as it’s all up in the air right now. There’s a lot guys in, a lot of guys out, a lot of opportunities for young guys. It’s who takes advantage of it is going to get the nod, I would think.

Q: How many receivers is the max that you think the roster can handle?

A: That’s probably a better question for Tom [Coughlin] and Jerry [Reese], but we’ll take as many as we can get.

Q: You would take ten if you could?

A: If we could.

Q: Does the new extra point rules change the amount of time you spend on the two-point play?

A: We always put a lot of time on the two-point plays because the information is hard to get. They weren’t very prevalent but now they’re going to be more prevalent, so your time may be a little bit better spent because you’ll have more options, and more recent tape to look at. You won’t have to dig back four or five years at a time to find something. You’ll be able to be smarter with your time. We’ll be ready. We’ll have plenty of options down there.

Q: Overall, do you think the quality of your offensive line will equip you to do the things that you want to do with the rest of your ball club?

A: I’m excited for the offensive line. I think they’re growing and they’re ahead of where they were last year. The saying is, ‘We’re not where we want to be but thank goodness we’re not where we use to be.’ From a physicality standpoint and communication standpoint, they’re growing.

Q: What was the thinking behind moving Bobby Hart from guard to tackle?

A: Bobby is a young talented man. He’s a rookie and has to figure some things out, but I think he has some ability and at some point in time may be able to help us.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video clips of player media Q&As are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The next training camp practice will be held on Thursday. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only two remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Aug 182015
 
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Jimmy Staten, Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (October 20, 2012)

Jimmy Staten (#90) – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Claim DT Jimmy Staten Off of Waivers; Release DT Carlif Taylor: According to multiple press sources, the New York Giants have claimed defensive tackle Jimmy Staten off of waivers from the Seattle Seahawks. To make room for Staten, the Giants waived rookie free agent defensive tackle Carlif Taylor.

Staten was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Seahawks. He spent his rookie season on Seattle’s Practice Squad. Staten has decent size (6’3”, 311 pounds) with good strength. He is a better run defender than pass rusher. Staten is a raw, developmental type, but he is hard worker.

Injury Update on DE George Selvie and S Mykkele Thompson: According to NJ.com, the knee injury suffered by defensive end George Selvie in practice on Monday is thought to be a relatively minor knee strain.

Meanwhile, safety Mykkele Thompson, who suffered a season-ending torn Achilles’ tendon injury in the preseason game last Friday, tweeted he underwent successful surgery. Recovery from Achilles’ ruptures can be tricky and it remains to be seen if the injury is career-threatening.

Articles on Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo:

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on RB Andre Williams: How Giants’ Andre Williams is fixing his biggest weakness by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on TE Larry Donnell: Giants’ Larry Donnell: Game vs. Cincinnati Bengals was ‘best I’ve felt blocking since I’ve been here’ by James Kratch for NJ.com

Articles on New York Giants Defensive Ends:

Articles on S Brandon Meriweather:

Article on the 2015 New York Giants: Latest Giants 53-man roster prediction doesn’t include James Jones, Adrien Robinson by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Aug 162015
 
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Brandon Meriweather, Washington Redskins (October 12, 2014)

Brandon Meriweather – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 16, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another training camp practice on Sunday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

GIANTS SIGN SAFETY BRANDON MERIWEATHER, WAIVE KICKER CHRIS BOSWELL…
The New York Giants have officially signed unrestricted free agent Brandon Meriweather, who has played with the New England Patriots (2007-10), Chicago Bears (2011), and Washington Redskins (2012-14). The 31-year old Meriweather is a two-time Pro Bowler (2009 and 2010) who has a history of being suspended by the NFL for illegal hits.

The Giants also waived place kicker Chris Boswell and placed safety Mykkele Thompson (torn Achilles’ tendon) on season-ending Injured Reserve. Because Thompson is not a vested veteran, he will continue to count toward the Club’s 90-man roster limit.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (stiff neck), cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (neck/concussion), safety Landon Collins (knee sprain), and safety Nat Berhe (calf strain) did not practice.

The Giants provided the following updates on those who did not practice:

  • WR Rueben Randle (day-to-day)
  • CB Prince Amukamara (day-to-day)
  • CB Chykie Brown (week-to-week)
  • CB Jayron Hosley (concussion protocol; cervical issue still being evaluated)
  • S Landon Collins (day-to-day)
  • S Nat Berhe (day-to-day)

Amukamara and Berhe worked with the trainers on the side before practice.

Right guard Geoff Schwartz (ankle) and linebacker Jameel McClain (neck) returned to practice. Right tackle Marshall Newshouse left practice after overheating.

PRACTICE NOTES…
The Giants practiced in full pads today. Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Cornerback Trevin Wade received some first-team reps.
  • Geoff Schwartz saw reps both at right guard and right tackle, filling in for either right guard John Jerry or right tackle Marshall Newhouse.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw touchdown passes to wide receiver Odell Beckham, tight end Larry Donnell, and wide receiver Victor Cruz.
  • Wide receiver Victor Cruz looked quick and decisive in and out of cuts.
  • Quarterback Ryan Nassib threw a long completion to wide receiver James Jones.
  • Cornerback Mike Harris, playing left cornerback, had nice deep coverage on wide receiver Odell Beckham.
  • Left tackle Ereck Flowers looked good handling defensive ends George Selvie and Damontre Moore in team drills.
  • Wide receiver Corey Washington made a diving sideline catch on a pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib.
  • Safety Cooper Taylor intercepted a slant pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib to wide receiver James Jones in the red zone.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham made a leaping sideline catch over cornerback Trevin Wade.
  • Cornerback Trevin Wade then deflected a deep pass to wide receiver Preston Parker that safety/cornerback Bennett Jackson dove to intercept to end practice.

RUNNING BACKS COACH CRAIG JOHNSON…
Craig Johnson addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: How much does Shane Vereen give you maybe a different dimension in regards to the backfield?

A: I think Shane brings a lot to the table. He’s a veteran, he knows what he’s doing, he’s smart, he’s tough, he can make a lot of plays both in the run game and the pass game. I think he brings a lot to the table from his experience and we can use him in a lot ways. We can use him on early downs, we can use him on third down, and so far he’s really acclimated to our system.

Q: With three talented running backs, how hard is it to get them all snaps and be able to even out playing time?

A: That’s a work in progress. We’re still trying to get through all that in the preseason and find out just how we’re going to get that done. It probably won’t be arrived at until we get ready to play our first game, but what we’re trying to do right now is put every guy in situations and find out what their strengths and weaknesses are in each situation and then when we get closer to game time, we’re going to try and figure out close to a rotation and try to make sure everybody gets their touches so they can help us win.

Q: It’s good to have this depth compared to last year, right?

A: There’s no coach that I know of who doesn’t want competition at their position. So yes, I think they all bring a lot to the table.

Q: Does Rashad Jennings look any different to you? Is there anything he did in the offseason that you look at him and say he’s taken his game up a notch at all?

A: I would probably say this about Rashad, he is one of the hardest workers I know. He trains religiously. I would say, like myself, both of us are second year in the offense. I think from that alone, he works hard for the game both on and off the field and that is where I think he is probably going to make his greatest improvements. It’s just being more comfortable in our system in his second year.

Q: What do you think about Andre Williams’ progression so far?

A: I think Andre did a really good job. He was our leading rusher as a rookie last year. I thought he started off kind of slow. He started understanding the game, understanding his pace and timing to get into the hole, he found out that in the NFL, holes close really quickly, but I think he’s done a really good job. He has tirelessly worked on the stuff he needed to work on. We all knew that when he came out of college he did not have a catch his last year and I can’t tell you how many hours he spent on catching the football. He knew that was something he had to get better at, he’s done that and he is walking around with the confidence of a guy that’s played (and) knows that he can get it done on this field and he’s continued to do that.

Q: What were your takeaways from the preseason game of your unit?

A: I would say because we did not win the game, I’m never happy. I would say that our guys, I thought, were okay. I don’t think they really stood out. They didn’t not lose the game, but they didn’t help win it. I told them all they need to pick it up as a unit. I think we can do a better job. One thing I will certainly single out is I thought Orleans Darkwa really had a good game in every phase. He did a good job running the ball, which everybody can see those stats, but he also did a really good job in his pass protection and his passing game routes where he was supposed to be. As I told him, that’s the kind of play I want to see out of all of them this year. Orleans was good last week, but as I told him, I don’t want to see one-week wonders, I want to see him continue to improve.

Q: Talking about how you want them to pick it up, it seems to be the underlying theme of the entire game. What did they need to do that you didn’t see them do on the field?

A: Well, I’d like to see them, if there’s something there, make more of it. If there’s nothing there, still have a positive play so we’ll stay on track on down and distance. So make sure we can get ourselves in the 2nd and 6 and 3rd and 2 and so on and so forth. So all a back can do is when his number is called to make the right read if it’s a run or the right protection or the right catch. I just think that we were playing at a higher level in practice and I’d just like to see that get carried over to the game.

Q: What is it about Orleans that sort of stood out to you about his game the other day?

A: I thought he really showed good speed to the hole, but I think even more so, I think he did a great job of setting up his blocks. And if you really go back and watch the film and verified that, that he was really in good timing with his line, and he knew how to get right to the hole and explode it through the hole and he had really good finishes. He did a really good job—all backs want to do is finish forward and get the extra yardage. That helps add up, it helps put that 3rd and 6, maybe a 3rd and 3 or 3rd and 2. I thought he really did a good job with that.

Q: You mentioned the work Andre’s done on improving as a receiver. Has it worked?

A: When I watch him, I can just tell you I got a chance to watch him in the Combine and I would say he’s a much changed player from the player I saw in the Combine coming out from Boston College to the player I see today. I think one of the greatest examples happened was the swing pass that he caught. It’s a very difficult catch in that he did not see the ball thrown, so when he turned around the ball was on him and as a back, that’s a tough situation. I would probably say in Boston College coming here, that would probably be a dropped pass. I think he’s worked really hard on his hands, he’s going to continue to work at that and he was able to execute the catch, which allowed him to catch the ball and run. As the backs know, I don’t care how they get the yardage, whether it’s in the pass catching game or the run game, I want anything they can do to help us win.

Q: We see him after practice on the Juggs machine, but something like you’re talking about, that’s a game situation. How does he simulate that and get better at that?

A: We try to put him in situations like that all the time in practice. I know he does a lot of work with catching tennis balls, he’s got a little thing he does that with someone in the training room and we have some drills that we do in the pregame. As I told him in our meeting today, we practice that exact scenario on the practice field. We do it as one of our pregame warmups and basically it’s a blind and draw ball drill and so the backs have got to turn around and locate the ball as it’s in the air, which is exactly what he had to do. So we were fortunate that sometimes you like as a coach when your drill carries over to the field. In that example it did.

Q: Did you throw the ball to him in that drill or is it a machine?

A: No, I actually throw the ball. I was a quarterback in my other days, but it’s only about a four or five-yard distance because I know my limitations.

LINEBACKERS COACH JIM HERRMANN…
Jim Herrmann addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: What did you see from your group, what is your overview of them this summer?

A: The biggest thing that I was looking at when we went in the game, as a group, we were talking about block destruction. Getting off blocks and getting to the ball. There’s quite a few plays in there where we did that. We can always improve. There were spaces in there where we can get better at, that was what I was looking for—block destruction, being where you’re supposed to be, knocking guys back, getting off the ball and making some plays. A couple of the guys did a good job in there, and we’re always looking to improve, but that was the biggest thing going into the game was, knock back and getting off and making plays.

Q: Looked like Unga had a good night for you guys. Can you talk about his development?

A: He did a great job, as a young player. I don’t know how long exactly it’s been since he’s actually played in a game because he was hurt his senior year, didn’t play last year. So it’s been about a year and three quarters since he’s played in a true game. I thought he did a great job of taking over the role as the Mike backer and making calls, he made a great call in there and got the guys lined up. Did a good job, and I like his development. I think he’s doing a great job of—he got in on a few plays, made a hell of a play tipping the ball. I think he’s going to get better and better as he goes.

Q: Do you have any idea of when you’re going to get Jameel McClain back?

A: You have to ask the medical guys. I’m not a doctor, unfortunately.

Q: Unga seems like he’s got some athleticism.

A: He does, he’s got some range. He’s a stocky young man, but he has range. He can move around in there, so that’s what we saw on his college film prior to his injury coming out of college. That’s why we brought him in, he showed some good stuff.

Q: How did Jon Beason look to you?

A: Good. I think Jon [Beason]—it’s been awhile since he’s played, too. He did a great job of commanding the defense and getting the calls out and getting himself in position to make plays. Made a couple plays, and I like what I saw in his limited snaps.

Q: What are your options at middle linebacker if Jameel isn’t there behind Jon? Who would you move around if you needed to? Devon Kennard or J.T. Thomas or Mark Herzlich?

A: What we’ve always done, to me, every guy has their position and they all have alternate positions based on what we know about different guys. So there’s a lot of different options you can go to. Normally you go into a game maybe five, maybe six backers on the 46 [game day roster.] So everybody is going to have to play dual roles. You just have to, each week that changes because of injuries. All the guys know how to go in there and do it. I feel confident that all those guys could take over that role. The guys that are alternates, they could do it.

Q: Is that an option for Devon, or would you rather keep him outside?

A: Yeah, but this past spring and even some of last year, we put him some at Mike. He has an ability, he does a great job of getting the calls out, and knowing where to play. He’s a big backer, big man. He does a good job with that.

Q: How much has Kennard’s pass rush improved?

A: I think it’s better and better now that we’re asking him to do some of that. The quandary that you come into is he’s got to cover and do cover stuff, and then we want him to rush. You’ve just got to be able to balance that as a staff and decide when he can go down and do some rush stuff and when he can do the coverage stuff, because you can’t do all just, so he’s got to do both. He does a good job. He’s played out there in college, so it’s not like it’s foreign to him. Very similar to Victor Butler, he’s played out there, he’s done that, so it’s not foreign to him. Just have to keep getting their reps when they can.

Q: What do you see from J.T.? What are some of his strengths and some of the things that you’re trying to work on?

A: I think both those new guys, J.T. [Thomas] and [Jonathan] Casillas, both have a lot of range, they can run, their speed, they’re both tough guys. Just the ability to have a speed guy out there, it helps when we go to sub [package], if they have to cover down on a tight end. That’s really what you see out of those type of guys, they can walk out on a guy and not feel uncomfortable. So that’s what you get. Then, the fact that they can run. In this game you have to be able to run, and you’re a backside pursuit guy—being able to run the ball down and do those types of things. Both those guys show that kind of stuff.

Q: You see Casillas in certain packages and J.T. as well, is that the way you’re looking at it? You’re going to try and fit these guys in based on their skill as much as possible?

A: Right now we’re just trying to get our stuff in, our package in, and where they fit and that kind of stuff. As we narrow it down, it’s going to about, ‘Okay, who best fits where? How are we going to play this game? It is going to be a three-backer game, two-backer game? How are we going to play that?’ A lot of that will depend on the opponent. So they give you a lot of flexibility because they can play either-or, so the flexibility is nice as a coach.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video clips of player media Q&As are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The next training camp practice will be held on Monday but is closed to the public. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only three remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Aug 062015
 
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Jameel McClain, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Jameel McClain – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 6, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…

The New York Giants held their sixth summer training camp practice on Thursday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…POTENTIALLY SERIOUS INJURIES FOR McCLAIN AND BERHE
Left tackle Ereck Flowers (hip flexor), right guard Geoff Schwartz (coming off of ankle surgery), center Weston Richburg (knee tendinitis), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice.

“Well, (Schwartz) obviously wasn’t doing well enough to stay out there for two days in a row,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “It looks like one of those things that’s got to be managed. We hope to get him where he can practice hard a couple days a week, but we’ll have to see how that goes.”

McClain suffered a serious spinal contusion neck injury late in 2012 that caused him to miss six games in 2013. The Ravens released him at the end of that season.

“Tests on McClain, but chances are, because of the extent of the trauma, he’s going to have to sit for a while,” said Coughlin. “I wouldn’t be able to even guess on what they will do.”

“(Berhe) had some kind of a muscle tear in the calf area,” said Coughlin. “They’re treating it…I don’t have a timeframe.”

Wide receiver Preston Parker left practice early with a hamstring or quad injury to his right leg.

PRACTICE NOTES…
The Giants were in full pads again for the second day in a row. Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With Ereck Flowers, Geoff Schwartz, and Weston Richburg out, the starting offensive line was left tackle Justin Pugh, left guard Adam Gettis, center Dallas Reynolds, right guard John Jerry, and right tackle Marshall Newhouse.
  • With Prince Amukamara out, Chykie Brown started at corner in his place.
  • Bennett Jackson started at safety again. He returned an interception from quarterback Ricky Stanzi for a defensive touchdown.
  • Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa beat offensive tackle Emmett Cleary for a sack.
  • Running backs Shane Vereen and Andre Williams saw quite a bit of action with the first-team.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw his first interception of training camp when a deep pass to wide receiver Victor Cruz was intercepted by a leaping cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. In a real game, Manning may not have gotten the pass off as defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis was bearing down on Manning for a sack. (Giants.com is also saying the ball hit the ground). (Video)
  • Left tackle Justin Pugh and fullback Henry Hynoski made good blocks on a running back Shane Vereen run that picked up good yardage.
  • Defensive end Damontre Moore gave right tackle Marshall Newhouse problems with his speed off of the edge.
  • Tight end Larry Donnell had his best practice and made a leaping catch over safety Cooper Taylor.
  • Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record said his three stars of practice were tight end Larry Donnell, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, and safety Bennett Jackson.

Kerry Wynn … meet running back. #Giants

A video posted by Jordan Raanan (@jraanan) on

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media after the afternoon practice (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: How’s Geoff Schwartz doing?

A: Well, he obviously wasn’t doing well enough to stay out there for two days in a row. It looks like one of those things that’s got to be managed. We hope to get him where he can practice hard a couple days a week, but we’ll have to see how that goes.

Q: Tests on Jameel McClain?

A: Tests on McClain, but chances are, because of the extent of the trauma, he’s going to have to sit for a while. I wouldn’t be able to even guess on what they will do.

Q: Because of his history with that injury?

A: Yes. I’m sure that’s part of it.

Q: Did you get results on Nat Berhe’s MRI, he said he had one earlier?

A: He had some kind of a muscle tear in the calf area. They’re treating it.

Q: When you say tear it sounds kind of serious.

A: That’s all I know. I can’t tell you anymore, I don’t know what it means either.

Q: No timeframe?

A: I don’t have a timeframe.

Q: It looked like Dallas Reynolds was working with a couple units out there.

A: Yeah, he’s come back a stronger player, no doubt. We needed him to do that. He’s gotten a lot of time on the field with our issues with [Weston] Richburg. It’s good that he did.

Q: Is he upping his stock with you guys?

A: I hope so. When we look at tape, ask me again.

Q: Where do things stand with Weston Richburg and Ereck Flowers?

A: When I hear day-to-day, I don’t know. I can’t tell you. It looked like they were doing okay, especially [Ereck] Flowers. He looks like he’s really coming on—I saw him out of the corner of my eye, saw him running. He looked like he was doing okay.

Q: Missed practices at this point in training camp for him, can you get him up to speed?

A: Very difficult. Very tough. You miss time and you really have a difficult time making it up because there’s all kinds of stuff being thrown at him. The defense has got a sophisticated disguise and pressure package. He would benefit, definitely, from being out here. So he’s had his work in the spring, there’s no doubt he’ll pick it up, but it’s not good to miss practice. That’s that we’re here for.

Q: At some point are you going to move Justin Pugh back inside so he gets those guard reps, too?

A: We’ll have to share some time there, depending on how long he [Flowers] is out.

Q: We talked about the offensive line gelling and that being important. Three guys are out already, how much does that set you back and how do you speed it up if you have to?

A: Not really. You’ve got to go on the field and do your work on the field. You certainly want them all out there together every day, but that’s not the way it is.

Q: How about Prince Amukamara, we didn’t ask you about him?

A: Same kind of deal. He’s got a little groin, but because of the position he plays, how long he’ll be, I don’t know.

Q: Are you seeing Larry Donnell looking more explosive? You see him getting back to where he was before?

A: He’s coming along. He made a really nice play. I think every day he gets a little bit more mobility and he looks like he’s moving better. That’s what we’re hoping to get at. He’s also had a couple of good blocks in there.

Q: He had a pretty good season last year, but it was overshadowed by some mistakes. How hard has he worked on eliminating those?

A: He’s obviously worked hard at it. He’s also worked hard to try and hang onto the ball.

Q: You see anything different from Marcus Kuhn? Cullen Jenkins said he sees a significant difference in him.

A: He’s a big, strong kid that is moving his feet a little bit better. We need him to make a strong contribution.

Q: You said earlier on the radio that you thought Eli’s best football was ahead of him. Can you kind of expand on what you see that would lead you to say that? 34 year olds usually don’t have–

A: I base it on his offseason, his strength, the way he threw the ball in the spring, his knowledge—his continuing knowledge of the offense. And the fact that, God willing, we’ll have some production around him.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video clips of player media Q&As are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

The following Giants were also interviewed by ESPN Radio:

  • RB Andre Williams (Audio)
  • WR Victor Cruz (Audio)
  • DE Robert Ayers (Audio)
  • DT Johnathan Hankins (Audio)
  • S Landon Collins (Audio)

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The seventh training camp practice will be held on Friday from 2:30-4:30PM but it is not open to the public. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only four remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Jul 202015
 
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Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Running Back Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Running Backs

2014 YEAR IN REVIEW: 2014 was a major transition year for the New York Giants at the running back position. The two backs most-associated with the team’s recent Super Bowl seasons – Brandon Jacobs (2005-11, 2013) and Ahmad Bradshaw (2007-12) – were both completely out of the picture. Heading into training camp, it was anticipated that free agent acquisition Rashad Jennings, 2012 first-round draft pick David Wilson, and 2014 fourth-round draft pick Andre Williams would form the core of the new running attack. However, Wilson’s NFL career prematurely ended when he re-aggravated a neck injury he originally suffered in the 2013 season. He was forced to retire from the NFL in training camp. It was a major blow for the Giants as not only was Wilson particularly well-suited for Ben McAdoo’s West Coast Offense, but he was one of the few home-run hitters on the team and a dynamic kickoff returner.

Without Wilson, the Giants were largely a between-the-tackles and off-tackle team that was unable to consistently threaten the perimeter of the defense. With a group of blockers on the line and at tight end who were not very physical and often struggled to move defenders off of the line of scrimmage, the running backs did not have much room to operate. Exacerbating the situation was the fact that Jennings was limited to nine starts due to knee and ankle injuries. Reserves Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox also ended up on Injured Reserve in November. The Giants were forced to scramble by picking up Orleans Darkwa and Chris Ogbonnaya.

At fullback, Henry Hynoski beat out John Conner in training camp and the preseason. However, the fullback position was de-emphasized in McAdoo’s system in favor of multiple tight end sets. Nikita Whitlock was signed to the Practice Squad in December.

In the end, the Giants were tied for 28th in the NFL with only 3.6 yards per rushing attempt and 23rd in the NFL with 100.2 rushing yards per game. New York was tied for 12th in rushing touchdowns with 13. For a team that was 10th in the NFL in rushing attempts, these figures simply were not good enough.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants cut David Wilson and Peyton Hillis in February, Michael Cox in April, and Chris Ogbonnaya in May. The Giants signed unrestricted free agent Shane Vereen from the New England Patriots in March. After the draft, the team signed rookie free agents Akeem Hunt and Kenneth Harper.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Provided everyone stays healthy, the Giants appear to have a nice triumvirate in Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, and Andre Williams. The main focus, of course, will be if the team can dramatically improve its ground game productivity. It’s been a common misperception by national media and fans that the Giants have been a running back-based offense. Nothing could be farther from the truth as the Giants have ranked 32nd (Super Bowl team), 14th, 29th, and 23rd in yards per game since 2010. Obviously much of the success or failure of the running game will depend on the blocking of the offensive line and tight ends. But the primary unknown is how good can Jennings, Vereen, and Williams really be? Is this a middle-of-pack, average group of runners or something more than that?

Not enough attention has been focused on comments made late in the season by Andre Williams who made it clear he felt some of the team’s running game issues were the fault of the coaching staff.

“We were dabbling a lot between schemes, whether we were outside zone, whether we were a zone team or a power team, what fit our personnel the best,” Williams said. “As we continue to learn the offense and learn what we’re good at, we’re bound to get better…I just don’t know if we knew when and where we were supposed to do what.”

Hopefully, with a full first season together under their belt, Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo have decided what scheme the team should employ and stick with. The clarity should dramatically facilitate better execution and results.

ON THE BUBBLE: The Giants will keep three or four halfbacks and one fullback. Henry Hynoski is heavily favored to retain his fullback roster spot over Nikita Whitlock. Orleans Darkwa has a good shot to make the team if the team keeps four running backs, but won’t make it if they keep three. The best shot for Akeem Hunt and Kenneth Harper is the Practice Squad.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Craig Johnson on Shane Vereen: “He is a very smart player. I kind of figured that was the way he was and the way he played before seeing him on tape. He really picked up our system well, has done a good job of understanding, and has a really good rapport going on with Eli right now, so I really like where he is at and I think he has done a good job. He ended up the spring like I had liked him to.”

Johnson on Rashad Jennings: “Rashad Jennings, who obviously had a very good year for us a year ago. He again has continued to develop, he is a great leader, very versatile, can play all the downs and does a good job. I really like what I saw from him this spring and he felt good, is fit and is running around, so I think he brings a lot to the table also.”

Johnson on Andre Williams: “Andre Williams played a lot of football for us last year, was our leading rusher, had a really good offseason and has worked diligently. A lot of people asked about, what about catching the ball. When he came to us out of Boston College, he didn’t have a catch his last year of playing in college and he has worked diligently at working on his hands and continues to improve dramatically in that area. He can run very well and can block.”

Johnson on Orleans Darkwa: “Orleans Darkwa, who played for us a lot last year, played a lot of teams and has done a good job. He picks up the offense, very smart, very smart player, has very good speed, is good on the edge runs and has done a good job inside. I put him in there in the two-minute situation today and we didn’t miss a beat in the two-minute, so I thought he did a really good job.”

Johnson on the fullbacks: “(We also) have two good fullbacks: Henry Hynoski, who has played for us for quite a while and continues to thrive in his role and brings a lot to the table for us, and then we have Nikita Whitlock, a player that has played some on offense and defense for various teams. (He) is a very strong player, very low to the ground, has good hands and he has really expressed himself well.”

PREDICTIONS: Vereen is going to have a major impact on the offense as a receiver out of the backfield. Ben McAdoo’s West Coast system is heavily dependent on a running back who can catch the ball. Rashad Jennings can do it too, but he missed half the season last year. Plus, Vereen is simply a better receiving target. The Giants are already thrilled with what they see from him.

“(Vereen) can be a quarterback’s best friend in a way in the passing game,” McAdoo said during the June mini-camp. “Similar to the way tight ends can be. He has great body language coming out of the backfield. He usually does not fool (Eli Manning) and they seem to be on the same page.”

With opposing defense’s concentrating on Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz, and Rueben Randle, Vereen should feast on the soft under-coverage. Indeed, Vereen may be the best running back outlet that Manning has had since Tiki Barber. Many fans forget that Barber caught over 100 passes and almost 1,000 yards from Manning in 2005-2006, including many well-executed screens. Vereen’s receiving skills are so good that we’ll even see the Giants split him out wide. Vereen may also be used as a runner more than many expect. He gives the Giants more outside quickness.

A lot of fans don’t think Andre Williams is very good. I’m not one of them. He was far too productive in college and flashed too much late in the season for me not to still be excited about his potential. I don’t think he was scapegoating but being being honest about the coaches not sticking with one scheme last year. I also think he realizes that he needs to develop better patience as a runner in McAdoo’s offense.

“I’m always about accelerating,” said Williams late last season. “In college and in high school, that’s what I watched a lot of other backs do. They got from 0 to 60 as quick as possible and it caught people off guard. But it’s a little different in this scheme. It’s all about timing and being in the right place for things to open up the way they should. That’s what I’m working on right now.”

“All young players, they have a tendency to really get in a hurry, but I think that he is getting more patient as he continues to go,” said Johnson of Williams late last year. “What he is going through, the process of right now, getting more carries and so on, is timing and rhythm with the offensive line. That’s the bottom line. They block in a certain rhythm and a certain pace, he runs at a certain rhythm and a certain pace. Everybody’s trying to mesh that together to make sure we have an effective running game.”

“I tell him,” Jennings said of Williams, “you don’t necessarily want to be quick to the hole, you want to be quick through the hole.”

I really like Jennings as a runner and receiver, but I think Williams is going to push for major playing time. He’s a punishing, physical runner who once he has a feel for the scheme is going to give a physicality to the offense that it desperately needs similar to what Alfred Morris brings to the Redskins.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Jennings, Vereen, Williams, and Hynoski. The team would like to keep Darkwa too, but roster spots are short.

Jul 182015
 
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New York Giants Helmets (October 27, 2013)

New York Giants Helmets – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Bill Arnsparger Passes Away: Bill Arnsparger, who was head coach of the New York Giants from 1974-1976, passed away on Friday at his home in Alabama. Arnsparger was 88 years old.

While the Giants were tough on defense under Arnsparger, his time in New York was the low-point of his long and successful coaching career. With Arnsparger the head coach, the Giants’ overall record was only 7-28. Arnsparger was fired during the 1976 season after a disastrous 0-7 start. He was replaced by John McVay.

As a defensive coordinator, Arnsparger coached in six Super Bowls during his time with the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, and San Diego Chargers. He was also head coach of LSU for three years in the 1980s.

Marcus Harris Added to Injured Reserve: One day after he was waived/injured, New York Giants wide receiver Marcus Harris was added to Injured Reserve on July 16. Harris underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee after the June mini-camp.

Giants.com Q&A with LB J.T. Thomas: The video of a Giants.com interview with linebacker J.T. Thomas is available at Giants.com.

Article on RB Andre Williams: How Giants’ Andre Williams and some NFL players prepare for the season by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Important Dates Section Updated: We have updated the Important Dates section of the website.

Mar 172015
 
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Kenrick Ellis, New York Jets (November 24, 2014)

Kenrick Ellis – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Defensive Tackle Kenrick Ellis Visiting New York Giants: According to The New York Post, unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis (New York Jets) is visiting the New York Giants today.

The 27-year old Ellis is a huge (6’4”, 346 pound) run-stuffing defensive tackle who was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Jets. Ellis did not start a game for the Jets in 2014, but he was a valuable reserve on a talented defensive line.

Other New York Giants Free Agent News:

  • Unrestricted free agent safety Ron Parker (Kansas City Chiefs), who the Giants were rumored to be interested in, has re-signed a 5-year, $30 million contract with the Chiefs.
  • The deal that offensive guard John Jerry re-signed with the Giants is reportedly a 2-year, $3.3 million deal that includes $1 million in guaranteed money.
  • The deal that cornerback Chykie Brown re-signed with the Giants is reportedly a 2-year, $2 million deal.

Giants.com Interview with RB Andre Williams: The video of a Giants.com interview with RB Andre Williams is available at Giants.com.

Articles on the New York Giants and Free Agency:

Article on QB Eli Manning: How Ben Roethlisberger’s new deal affects Giants, Eli Manning by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Mar 122015
 
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Chykie Brown, New York Giants (November 16, 2014)

Chykie Brown – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Chykie Brown Re-Signed by New York Giants: According to NJ.com, the New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent cornerback Chykie Brown. Terms of the deal are not yet known.

The Giants claimed Brown off of waivers from the Baltimore Ravens in November 2014. He ended up playing in eight games with four starts and finished the season with 31 tackles and two pass defenses for the Giants. Brown was originally drafted by the Ravens in the 5th round of the 2011 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Ravens, Brown played in 46 regular-season games with two starts.

“He is a young man that is very conscientious,” said former Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell in December 2014. “He takes very good notes, and when I say takes good notes, he is a good film study guy. He doesn’t have all of our techniques down pat, but he has the long arms. We like that, for jams, he has really good speed, so we like the speed that he can possess when he runs down the field.

“He is a pretty tough guy as a corner. Most corners are not physically tough guys, I think he is a pretty tough guy. I think he is a really nice addition to come in and help play in our secondary. We just like the speed factor, and some of the intangibles of what I just mentioned in his play.”

For a list of all of the Giants free agents, see the 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Other New York Giants Free Agent News:

  • Unrestricted free agent safety Rahim Moore (Denver Broncos), who the Giants reportedly were interested in, has signed with the Houston Texans.
  • Unrestricted free agent defensive end Adrian Clayborn (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), who the Giants were reportedly interested in, has signed with the Atlanta Falcons.
  • The Giants are reportedly interested in unrestricted free agent safety Darian Stewart (Baltimore Ravens). However, according to the The Daily News, while Stewart is visiting the Broncos and Falcons, he has no visit scheduled with the Giants.

Article on the New York Giants and Free Agency:

Articles on the New York Giants Defense:

Article on the New York Giants Running Backs: Andre Williams welcomes Shane Vereen, says three’s not a crowd in Giants’ backfield by Tom Rock of Newsday

Feb 032015
 
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Andre Williams, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2014 was a major transition year for the New York Giants at the  running back position. The two backs most-associated with the team’s recent Super Bowl seasons – Brandon Jacobs (2005-11, 2013) and Ahmad Bradshaw (2007-12) – were both completely out of the picture. Heading into training camp, it was anticipated that free agent acquisition Rashad Jennings, 2012 first-round draft pick David Wilson, and 2014 fourth-round draft pick Andre Williams would form the core of the new running attack. However, Wilson’s NFL career prematurely ended when he re-aggravated a neck injury he originally suffered in the 2013 season. He was forced to retire from the NFL in training camp. It was a major blow for the Giants as not only was Wilson particularly well-suited for Ben McAdoo’s West Coast Offense, but he was one of the few home-run hitters on the team and a dynamic kickoff returner.

Without Wilson, the Giants were largely a between-the-tackles and off-tackle team that was unable to consistently threaten the perimeter of the defense. With a re-vamped offensive line that was not very physical and often struggled to move defenders off of the line of scrimmage, the running backs did not have much room to operate. Exacerbating the situation was the fact that Jennings was limited to nine starts due to knee and ankle injuries. Reserves Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox also ended up on Injured Reserve in November.

At fullback, Henry Hynoski beat out John Conner in training camp and the preseason. However, the fullback position was de-emphasized in McAdoo’s system in favor of multiple tight end sets.

In the end, the Giants were tied for 28th in the NFL with only 3.6 yards per rushing attempt and 23rd in the NFL with 100.2 rushing yards per game. The team was tied for 12th in rushing touchdowns with 13. For a team that was 10th in the NFL in rushing attempts, these figures simply were not good enough.

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (September 21, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE HALFBACKS

The Giants signed Rashad Jennings as an unrestricted free agent from the Oakland Raiders in March 2014. Anointed the starting running back, Jennings was limited to 11 games with nine starts due to knee and ankle injuries. He finished the season with 639 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 167 carries (3.8 yards per carry) and 226 receiving yards on 30 receptions (7.5 yards per catch). Jennings was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He signed with the Raiders in 2013. Jennings is a big, physical, no-nonsense, north-south runner who does his best work between-the-tackles or off tackle. He is solid pass blocker and has good hands as a receiver. Jennings only has lost two fumbles in his career. He is a hard worker and a good presence in the locker room.

The Giants drafted Andre Williams in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Williams began the season as the #2 back behind Rashad Jennings, playing in all 16 games with seven starts. He finished the season with 721 yards and seven touchdowns on 217 carries (3.3 yards per carry). He also caught 18 passes for 130 yards (7.2 yards per catch). Williams is a big, powerful, north-south runner with decent speed. He is not terribly quick or elusive, and does not present much of a threat as an outside runner. Williams seemed less instinctive running the ball at the pro level his rookie season than he did in college. Smart. Williams improved as a pass protector as the season progressed. He’s not a natural pass receiver, but he works at it.

Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson, New York Giants (September 25, 2014)

Peyton Hillis – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Peyton Hillis was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2014 with a concussion, his second in two seasons. Hillis played in nine games in 2014 as the #3 back and finished the season with 26 carries for 115 yards and 10 receptions for 87 yards. Hillis was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He has since played with the Browns (2010-11), Chiefs (2012), and Buccaneers (2013). Tampa Bay waived him in September 2013 and the Giants signed him the following month. With the Giants in 2013, Hillis carried the ball 73 times for 247 yards and caught 13 passes for 96 yards. Hillis’ best season was in 2010 when he rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Browns and caught 61 passes for 477 yards and two touchdowns. Hillis is a big back and a decent athlete for his size. He’s a tough, physical runner between the tackles and has very good hands in the passing game. He is not quick, elusive, or fast and thus does not present an outside running threat. Ball security (15 career fumbles) and durability have been issues.

Michael Cox was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2014 with a fractured lower leg. He was on the Practice Squad of the team until October. Cox played in four games and finished the season with four carries, two catches, and 11 kickoff returns. 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. But he only carried the football 22 times for 43 yards (2.0 yards per carry) and caught the ball three times for 12 yards. Most of his work came on special teams where he returned 20 kickoffs for a 21.8 yards-per-return average. Cox is a big, strong back with decent speed and elusiveness. He catches the ball well, but needs to work on his pass protection.

Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (December 21, 2014)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Giants signed Orleans Darkwa off of the Practice Squad of the Miami Dolphins in November 2014. He played in seven games with the Giants, mostly on special teams, but he did carry the ball five times for 21 yards and one touchdown as well as catching two passes for 17 yards. Darkwa was originally signed by the Dolphins as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in four games in September before being waived in October and signed to the team’s Practice Squad. Darkwa has average size and overall athletic ability, but he is a steady, hard-working football player with good intangibles.

Chris Ogbonnaya was signed to the 53-man roster in December 2014. Ogbonnaya was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. Since then he has played for the Rams (2009), Texans (2011), Browns (2011-13), and Panthers (2014). Ogbonnaya has played in 51 games with 12 starts and has carried the ball 158 times for 710 yards and two touchdowns. He also has 96 catches for 714 yards and two touchdowns. Ogbonnaya is a big back with good speed. He has good hands catching the ball.

Henry Hynoski, New York Giants (December 7, 2014)

Henry Hynoski – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE FULLBACKS

Henry Hynoski played in all 16 games in 2014, with four starts. Although he saw his playing time reduced in the new West Coast system, Hynoski actually had a career-high seven carries for 13 yards as the Giants used him more as a short-yardage runner. However, 2014 was the first season he did not catch a pass. That all said, the strength of Hynoski’s game is still his run blocking. Hynoski originally signed with the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. Hynoski missed virtually all of 2013 with knee and shoulder injuries. A bit of a throwback, Hynoski is a big, physical player. He is not overly athletic as he lacks speed and agility.

The Giants signed Nikita Whitlock to the Practice Squad in December 2014. Whitlock, who played defensive tackle in college, was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He was cut by the Bengals in their final round of cuts and then signed by the Dallas Cowboys to their Practice Squad. The NFL suspended Whitlock in November for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and the Cowboys terminated his Practice Squad contract. Whitlock was converted to fullback by the Bengals and he flashed in the preseason as a lead blocker with good size.

Jan 312015
 
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Andre Williams, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

by Brendan Cassidy and Eric J. for BigBlueInteractive.com

While the wide receiver and quarterback positions were bright spots for the Giants in 2014, the same couldn’t be said for the running back position, and to some extent, tight ends. Going into the 2015 NFL Draft, these are both prime positions to be considered in rounds two through four (there most likely isn’t a player at either position deserving of the 9th overall selection.) Some players who we like that Big Blue could potentially take include: TE Max Williams out of Minnesota, TE Clive Walford and RB Duke Johnson from the University of Miami, and Todd Gurley out of Georgia. All of these players would have an opportunity to make an immediate impact and dethrone the current starters.

The biggest crutch for the running game seemed to be the offensive line. While both Jennings and Williams are talented, it proved difficult to find holes to run through. If the offensive line is improved via the draft and/or free agency, we can expect their production to go up next season. As mentioned earlier, don’t be surprised if a rookie back gets added to the mix for the upcoming season. The tight end position flashed during the season, but failed to have the consistency needed throughout the season. Regardless, here is a very early look at how the positions will stack up in 2015.

Running Backs:

Running back for the most part was a two-man show, with newly signed free agent running back Rashad Jennings and rookie Andre Williams. Jennings was coming off a career year with the Raiders where he ran for 733 yards, good for a respectable 4.5 YPC. The Giants liked what they saw and signed him to a 4-year, $10 million dollar contract. Andre Williams was a 4th-round pick of the Giants out of Boston College, fresh off a Heisman Trophy-nominated season. Williams lead college running backs with 2,177 rushing yards during the 2013 college season; however his lack of quickness, shortcomings in the receiving game, and trouble blocking caused him to slip in the draft.

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (November 23, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Trying to determine which Giant’s RB to draft for your fantasy lineup at this point is very difficult. When both are healthy, it seems that Jennings would get more touches. If you are in a PPR league, Jennings has more value as Williams is known for his lack of prowess in the passing game. However, Williams has seen quite a bit of action at the goal line and the Giants may begin to shift some of the goal line work over to him. This may be contingent on whether or not he shows he is capable of picking up the blocking assignments. If you throw in the uncertainty of how the offensive line will shape up, the running game is very muddled for 2015.

It was clear the Giants struggled to run the ball as they finished 23rd in the league, with an average of 100.2 yards per game while finishing 10th in rushing attempts. Connect the dots and you have a very low yard-per-attempt average. Only the Chargers and the Cardinals had a lower average. Here is the bright spot: the Giants finished 12th in rushing TD’s, and that means fantasy points. Furthermore, another positive for the Giants RBs is that Coughlin likes to run the ball, and insists on having balance on offense. So, how do we rank the Giants RB’s for fantasy in the upcoming season? First, we must recognize that this is a split backfield, so they need to be ranked behind the twelve or so three-down backs in the NFL. If the Giants improve their offensive line, there is no reason why they cannot finish around 14th in team rushing with Rashad Jennings edging out Andre Williams in fantasy production.

Rashad Jennings Projections:

  • 900 Yards, 8 Touchdowns
  • 40 Receptions, 300 Yards
  • Fantasy Football RB Rank: 15th Overall

Analysis: Jennings appeared to be more effective than Williams when healthy. It looks to be his job to lose. He ran with power and vision and was trusted to protect Eli. Therefore, he should edge out Williams this year in terms of production. When healthy, Jennings proved to be a stellar fantasy running back. In the nine games he played (not counting the Tennessee and Washington games where he totaled three carries and was a decoy), he averaged 15.5 points per game in PPR format. That was good for 9th best in the NFL ahead of some of the elite running backs. As noted earlier, the biggest issue for him will be his health. If healthy, he is a solid RB2 with upside. He should be owned in all formats.

Andre Williams Projections:

  • 750 Yards, 8 Touchdowns
  • 15 Receptions, 100 Yards
  • Fantasy Football RB Rank: 21st Overall

Analysis: For a rookie, Andre did well in filling in as the starter for Jennings. He will continue to mature and learn the position and his blocking assignments. The Giants will begin to trust him more as his second season progresses. He is a solid runner who will be a reliable player for the next few years. He needs to use this season to develop his pass catching abilities and field vision. He can be looked at as a low end RB2 or flex option in 12 team leagues. If Jennings fails to stay healthy, look for William’s value to get a major boost. He should be owned in most if not all formats, but look to grab him in the later rounds.

Larry Donnell, New York Giants (September 25, 2014)

Larry Donnell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Tight Ends:

Going into the 2014 season, the majority of fans were worried about the tight end position. Many on BBI expected the Giants to address the position through the draft with a premium pick. There was a strong backing for Eric Ebron out of North Carolina who went 10th overall to the Lions, two picks earlier than Odell Beckham. Going into the season the Giants entered with a bunch of “unknowns” at the position: Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells, and “The JPP of tight ends” Adrien Robinson. While Fells excelled at run blocking, Donnell did the majority of the damage in the receiving game.

Donnell burst onto the scene week 4 against the Washington Redskins, catching 7 passes for 54 yards and 3 touchdowns, all career highs. While many had high hopes for him following this performance, he would struggle for the majority of the season going forward. He finished the season with 63 catches for 623 yards and 6 touchdowns. This was good for the 12th most points among tight ends in PPR leagues with 157.3 points. While this was solid fantasy production for Donnell, from a football standpoint he was plagued by poorly timed drops and fumbles. It appeared that Eli and the coaching staff began to lose confidence in him as the season went on. The last six weeks of the season Donnell was held out of the end zone, while averaging a measly 31 yards per game. From a fantasy football perspective, Donnell was the more valuable tight end; however, one could argue Fells was the more effective tight end for the Giants in 2014.

Larry Donnell Projections:

  • 61 Catches, 560 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
  • Fantasy Football TE Rank: 15th Overall

Analysis: We believe the coaching staff will give Fells more of an active role in the offense, leading to a slight drop in Donnell’s production for 2015. If you take away his three-touchdown game against the Redskins, he only had three touchdowns the rest of the season. His production could drop even more if the Giants do decide to invest a premium pick at the position in April. He will most likely be looked at as a high-end back up or bye-week filler in twelve-team leagues.

Daniel Fells, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Daniel Fells – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Daniel Fells Projections:

  • 26 Catches, 282 Yards, 3 Touchdowns
  • Fantasy Football TE Rank: 45th Overall

Analysis: From a fantasy football perspective, it is hard to expect much from Fells. As mentioned earlier, his bread and butter is blocking, that’s what earns him a spot on the roster. We do, however, expect his numbers to go up slightly from this past season (16 catches, 188 yards, 4 TDs), as he earns more playing time at the expense of Donnell. Nonetheless, aside from a Donnell injury, he has little to no fantasy value.

These positions will be looking to rebound in the second year of Ben McAdoo’s offense. If the offensive line is improved, the running game will surely benefit. If Donnell can increase his football IQ, he has a shot at being a TE1 going into the season. We can only hope they will continue to grow as players and increase their value for the Giants and fantasy owners alike.

Brendan Cassidy has over 15 years of experience in fantasy football in both league and daily fantasy formats and is an avid New York Giants fan.

Eric J. was born into a Giants family and is a lifelong season ticket holder.  He has dominated his fantasy leagues for the past 14 years.