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.

Jan 262015
 
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Odell Beckham Says He Tore His Hamstring Twice in 2014: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham played in the Pro Bowl on Sunday and finished the game with five catches for 89 yards. After the game, Beckham revealed that he tore his right hamstring twice before the 2014 season began. Beckham missed most of training camp, all of the preseason, and the first four games of the regular season. But he finished the season with 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Odell Beckham, New York Giants (January 25, 2015)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Beckham originally hurt his right hamstring during Organized Team Activity (OTA) workouts in the spring. He suffered the second injury in practice during the preseason. Beckham tore the semitendinosus muscle and the hamstring belly.

“Well, I was never really healthy this season anyway,” said Beckham on Sunday. “I was just trying to manage and maintain it the best I could all year.

“It’s still not right. I’m still wrong on it, trying to get it 100 (percent) for next year…I could never really have that last gear that I wanted to have. If you go look at the Colts game and the Philly game, every time I went to break away I was stumbling and tripping, trying to fall over just because my hamstring wasn’t strong enough to maintain all that. That is something I’m working on today and I’ll keep working on throughout the offseason.

“Just make sure you get it full healthy. A hamstring (injury) is something that never really goes away. It’s very hard to get over. I’ll do my best to get it to 100, but if it’s not there, it’s not there.

“I should be good by training camp. The plan is to play at full strength next season, and I definitely hope to do it. I’m just looking forward to getting healthy.”

Video highlights of Beckham’s play are available at Giants.com.

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

  • WR Odell Beckham (Video)
  • FB Henry Hynoski (Video)

Article on RB Andre Williams: 2014 Rookie Recap: RB Andre Williams by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Pro Bowl QBs impressed with Beckham Jr. by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on S Nat Berhe: 2014 Rookie Recap: Safety Nat Berhe by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on the New York Giants Special Teams: Progress? Giants finish 25th in Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Giants.com “Building Blocks” Feature on Players: Video features on the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on the 2007 New York Giants: Giants have fond memories of last Super Bowl in Arizona by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Jan 202015
 
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Mark Herzlich (58) and Jay Bromley (96), New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Mark Herzlich and Jay Bromley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants.com Q&A With DT Jay Bromley: A video of an exclusive Giants.com interview with DT Jay Bromley is available at Giants.com.

Giants.com Q&A With OT Justin Pugh: Know Your Giants: OT Justin Pugh by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Articles on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Salary Cap:

Editorials on Hiring of Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo:

Articles on the New York Giants Defense:

Article on the 2014 New York Free Agent Class: Giants free-agent contracts, one year later by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Giants.com Feature on Players: Video features on the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • RB Andre Williams (Video)
  • OT Justin Pugh (Video)

Article on the 2007 New York Giants: Tedy Bruschi on Super Bowl XLII: Giants were the better team by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Dec 302014
 
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Danny Langsdorf, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Danny Langsdorf – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Quarterbacks Coach Danny Langsdorf is leaving the team in order to become the offensive coordinator at the University of Nebraska. Langsdorf joined the Giants’ coaching staff in January 2014 when Sean Ryan was demoted to wide receivers coach. Langdorf had been the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Oregon State University from 2005-2013.

Under Langdorf’s tutelage, quarterback Eli Manning had one of the best seasons in his career. Manning finished the season with 4,410 yards (second-highest total in franchise history), 30 touchdowns (one shy of his career-high in 2011), and 14 interceptions (13 fewer than he threw in 2013). Manning’s completion percentage (63.1) was a career-high. His passer rating of 92.1 was the second-highest of highest of his career (93.1 in 2009).

For a complete listing of the current Giants coaching staff, see the New York Giants Coaching Staff section of the website.

QB Eli Manning on WFAN Radio: The audio of Monday’s WFAN Radio interview with QB Eli Manning is available at CBS New York.

Article on New York Giants President/CEO John Mara: NY Giants must tell Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese: win now or else by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Articles on the 2014 New York Giants:

Articles on Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell:

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on RB Andre Williams: Giants’ Andre Williams tries not to get psyched out as receiver by Kevin Kernan of The New York Post

Article on WR Odell Beckham: The ‘biggest’ challenge now awaiting Odell Beckham by Kevin Kernan of The New York Post

Article on OT Justin Pugh: Giants’ Justin Pugh insists he’s a better player … and a tackle, not a guard! by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Sights and Sounds from Giants-Eagles Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-Eagles game is available at Giants.com.

Dec 292014
 
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Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin to Return, But Some Assistants Might Not: According to The New York Daily News and The New York Post, Jerry Reese will not be fired by team ownership and will return as general manager of the New York Giants for the 9th season.

In addition, according to ESPN, The Bergen Record, and The New York Post, Tom Coughlin will not be fired and will return as head coach of the Giants for the 12th season. ESPN is also reporting that Coughlin will meet with team President/CEO John Mara at 3:00PM on Monday to discuss potential coaching staff changes.

Unconfirmed BigBlueInteractive.com sources have said that Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell and Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn will be let go.

December 29, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

Article on Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell: Perry Fewell’s status with the Giants uncertain, but players show support for the defensive coordinator by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Giants’ Eli Manning wants to improve timing with his receivers in second year of new offense by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on RB Andre Williams: Andre Williams thinks the Giants need to pick an identity and run with it by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on OT Justin Pugh: Justin Pugh wants to stay at right tackle for Giants by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on LB Jameel McClain: Jameel McClain believes Giants are positioned to make a run in 2015 by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on the New York Giants Cornerbacks: Giants defensive backs want a chance to gel…and be healthy by Tom Rock of Newsday