Feb 232015
 
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Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Before the season, many had anticipated that the secondary might not only be the strength of the defense, but the strength of the entire team. The Giants had parted ways with long-time contributors such as Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, and Terrell Thomas and had reinforced the unit with free agents Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie (DRC), Walter Thurmond, Quintin Demps, and Zack Bowman. The team also re-signed Trumaine McBride and Stevie Brown. As for those already under contract, Prince Amukamara appeared primed for his best season, Antrel Rolle was coming off his best season, and Will Hill appeared to be a budding star.

But these high expectations soon began to turn to dust. Will Hill failed yet another drug test and was cut in early June. Jayron Hosley also failed a drug test and was suspended for the first month of the season; when he returned, guys signed off the street quickly passed him on the depth chart. Cooper Taylor looked sharp in the preseason but broke his foot in August and was lost for the year. Injuries then struck hard at corner once the regular season began. Nickel corner Walter Thurmond was placed on Injured Reserve after only two games, followed by  Trumaine McBride and Prince Amukamara. The loss of Amukamara – who indeed was having his best season – was particularly a hard pill to swallow. Without two of their top three corners, more pressure was placed on DRC, who was also dealing with a litany of injury issues to the point where he could not play a full game. A year after playing his best season, Rolle may have played his worst, failing to make many impact plays. And Stevie Brown and Quintin Demps were both disappointing at the other safety spot, both losing the starting job to the other at different points of the season. Stevie Brown’s 2012 season – where he led the team with eight interceptions – appears to have been a mirage.

The Giants were quickly left to scramble and made in-season roster moves including signing Chykie Brown, Mike Harris, and Chandler Fenner. Chykie Brown and Harris performed reasonably well given the circumstances, but overall, the secondary failed to fulfill their preseason boasts as one of the best units in the NFL. The Giants finished 18th in the NFL in pass defense.

THE CORNERBACKS

Although Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played in all 16 games, hamstring, back, side, and shoulder injuries limited practice and game snaps for much of the season and impacted his play on the field. Nevertheless, Rodgers-Cromartie remained the team’s most physically-talented defensive back and he often shut down his opponent. Rodgers-Cromartie finished the season with 38 tackles, two interceptions, and 12 pass defenses. Rodgers-Cromartie was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 and signed with the Broncos as an unrestricted free agent in 2013 and the Giants in 2014. Rodgers-Cromartie combines superb size and overall athletic ability, including speed, size, and leaping ability. When motivated and focused, Rodgers-Cromartie is one of the better cover corners in the NFL. But he needs to be more consistent, and he s not a very physical player as a hitter or tackler.

Prince Amukamara, New York Giants (September 25, 2014)

Prince Amukamara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Prince Amukamara was having his best season before being placed on Injured Reserve in November 2014 with a torn biceps muscle. Amukamara started eight games and finished the season with 45 tackles, three interceptions, and 11 pass defenses. Amukamara was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants, but his initial season was a virtual wash due to a broken foot that required surgery. Amukamara also battled a high ankle sprain and hamstring injuries in 2012. Amukamara is a well-built corner with good overall athleticism and speed. He usually does a good job of keeping his opponent quiet during a game and he finally started making more plays on the football in 2014. Amukamara flashes in run defense with his hitting and tackling.

Walter Thurmond III was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2014 with a torn pectoral muscle that required surgery after playing in only two games. Thurmond was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Seahawks. He missed much of the 2011 and 2012 seasons recovering from a broken leg (fibula), playing in only eight regular-season games. In November 2013, he was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s drug policy. That year he played in 12 regular-season games, with three starts, and finished with 33 tackles, six pass defenses, and one interception that he returned for a touchdown. The Giants signed Thurmond as an unrestricted free agent in March 2014. Thurmond combines decent size with good speed and quickness. Smooth in coverage, Thurmond is considered one of the better slot corners/nickel backs in the NFL. Thurmond obviously has off-the-field concerns.

Trumaine McBride, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

Trumaine McBride – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Trumaine McBride was placed on Injured Reserve in October 2014 after thumb surgery. He finished the 2014 season 21 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 pass defense, and 2 forced fumbles in six games with one start. McBride was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. The Bears waived him in September 2009. He has also spent time with the Cardinals, Saints, and Jaguars. The Giants signed McBride to a Reserve/Future contract in January 2013. That season, McBride played in 15 games with 10 starts, and he finished the season with 37 tackles, 15 pass defenses, 2 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble. McBride lacks ideal size and speed, but he plays with good quickness and instincts.

The Giants claimed Chykie 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. Brown has decent size and athletic ability. While he struggled in Baltimore, Brown held his own for the Giants in the final month of the season.

The Giants signed Mike Harris off of the Practice Squad of the Detroit Lions in October 2014. He ended up playing in five games with one start, mainly at slot/nickel corner where he performed at a reasonable level. Harris finished the season with 21 tackles, one interception, and two pass defenses. Harris was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. In two seasons with Jacksonville, Harris played in 31 games with eight starts. Harris was waived by the Jaguars in August 2014 before signing with the Lions in October. Harris has decent size and athleticism. He is a good tackler and special teams player.

Zack Bowman, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Zack Bowman – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Zack Bowman played in all 16 games with five starts but saw his playing time decrease as the season progressed despite all of the injuries that hit the secondary. He finished the year with 24 tackles, two interceptions, and six pass defenses. Bowman was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Bears. In six seasons with the Bears, Bowman played in 73 regular-season games with 23 starts. The Giants signed Bowman as an unrestricted free agent in March 2014. Bowman is a big, physical corner who can make plays on the football. He lacks ideal speed and quickness and can be beat deep. Bowman is a good special teams player.

Chandler Fenner was signed to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad in October 2014. He played in 11 games, mainly on special teams, and finished the season with seven tackles. Fenner was originally signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but the Seattle Seahawks signed him to their Practice Squad in December 2012. He missed all of 2013 with a knee injury that landed him on Seattle’s Injured Reserve. The Giants signed Chandler Fenner in August 2014. Fenner has a nice combination of size and athleticism and he plays a physical game.

Jayron Hosley has not developed since being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He not only received a 4-game suspension for drug use at the start of the season, but he was quickly by-passed on the depth chart by guys signed off of the street when injuries hit the secondary hard. Hosley ended up playing in just six games with two starts. He finished the season with eight tackles and one pass defense. Hosley lacks ideal stature, but he is athletic with good speed and quickness. However, despite his athletic ability, Hosley’s play against the pass actually seems to have deteriorated since being drafted. He has also been very injury prone, missing significant time in both 2012 and 2013.

Bennett Jackson was signed to the Practice Squad in August 2014 and placed on the Practice Squad/Injured List in October 2014 with cartilage damage knee injury that required microfracture surgery. The Giants drafted Jackson in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Jackson converted to cornerback from wide receiver at Notre Dame and could project to safety. He has good size and decent speed for a corner, but may lack ideal quickness for the position. He is a good hitter and tackler. Jackson was a team captain at Notre Dame and a good special teams player.

Josh Victorian was signed to the Practice Squad in November 2014. Victorian was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Since then, he has spent time with the Patriots (2011), Saints (2012), Steelers (2012-13), Texans (2013), and Lions (2014). He has played in 12 NFL games, four for the Steelers with one start in 2012 and eight for the Texans in 2013. Victorian has average size and lacks ideal overall athleticism, but he is a hard working, instinctive football player.

Travis Howard was waived/injured and placed on Injured Reserve in August 2014. Howard was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Houston Texans after the 2013 NFL Draft. He spent some time on the Practice Squad of the Patriots that season before the Giants signed him to their Practice Squad in December 2013. Howard is a physical corner with good ball skills. He has good size and long arms, but lacks ideal speed and quickness. Howard is a good hitter, but he needs to become a more consistent and reliable tackler.

Antrel Rolle, New York Giants (December 14, 2014)

Antrel Rolle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE SAFETIES

Despite starting all 16 games, Antrel Rolle did not have the same impact on the playing field that he did in 2013. Rolle finished the season with 87 tackles, three interceptions, nine pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Rolle was steady but did not make many big plays. Rolle was originally drafted as a cornerback in the 1st round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. After three inconsistent seasons at corner, the Cardinals moved him to free safety in 2008. Rolle was signed by the Giants in March 2010 after the Cardinals cut him in a salary-related move. One of the better coverage safeties in the game, Rolle has good speed and range. Due to his experience as a cornerback, unlike most safeties, Rolle can play man coverage and has often been called upon to play the slot corner position. He is a good tackler and run defender. Rolle has become one of the key leaders of the defense. He also has been very durable, never missing a game in his five seasons with the Giants. Rolle has been voted to the Pro Bowl twice (2009 and 2010) and named All-Pro twice (2010 and 2013). He also played in the 2013 Pro Bowl as a second-alternate.

Stevie Brown played in all 16 games. He started the first three games of the season, lost his starting job for eight weeks, then regained it for the last five weeks of the season. Brown finished with 38 tackles, one sack, and one pass defense. Brown was originally drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 7th round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The Raiders released him in September 2011 and he then spent time with the Panthers and Colts. The Giants signed him in April 2012. Brown had a tremendous season in 2012, intercepting more passes in a single season by a Giant in 44 years. He was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2013 after tearing the ACL in his left knee in the preseason. Brown has superb size for a safety, but lacks quickness and range. Despite his size, he does not stand out as a run defender and tackler. Against the pass, Brown lacks range and quickness, and is prone to making mental mistakes. Contrary to 2012, he rarely made plays on the football in 2014.

Quintin Demps, New York Giants (September 25, 2014)

Quintin Demps – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Quintin Demps begain the season as the Giants’ third safety, was promoted to the starting job for half the season, then lost it again the final month of the season. Demps finished the year with 57 tackles, four interceptions, seven pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Demps was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He has spent time with the Eagles (2008-09), Houston Texans (2010-12), and Chiefs (2013). The Giants signed Demps in March 2014. Demps has a nice combination of size and athletic ability. He’s a frustratingly inconsistent player who flashes play-making ability but also makes too many mistakes in coverage. He does not stand out against the run either.

Nat Berhe, a 5th round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, played in all 16 games. Although he was mainly relegated to special teams, he did see some time on defense and finished the season with 10 tackles. Berhe lacks ideal size and speed, but he is a smart, aggressive competitor who plays hard all of the time. In college, Berhe made a ton of tackles against the run, but was not as active in pass defense.

Cooper Taylor was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2014 with a semasoid bone issue in his foot that required surgery. Cooper was impressing with his play during training camp and the preseason. Cooper was selected in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. A heart condition caused him to slip in the draft. Taylor has an excellent combination of size and athleticism. Taylor missed six games in 2013 with shoulder and hamstring injuries. He played in 10 games that year, serving almost exclusively on special teams.

Thomas Gordon was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. The team waived Gordon in August, but re-signed him to the Practice Squad in December 2014. Gordon lacks ideal height, but he is well-built and a decent athlete. He is a good run defender who hits and tackles well. He started 38 games at Michigan.

Feb 212015
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants and Jason Pierre-Paul Have Not Talked Contract: According to NJ.com and ESPN.com, the New York Giants and representatives of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul have not begun talking about a new contract. Pierre-Paul is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 10 (players can actually begin talking to new teams on March 7).

Media speculation continues that the Giants will designate Pierre-Paul the team’s Franchise player, which the Giants can do during a two-week period from February 16 to March 2. By doing so, Pierre-Paul is all but certain to remain a Giants through the 2015 NFL season. He could play out the year on the near $15 million tender or still possibly sign a long-term deal.

“We are convinced that we want (Pierre-Paul) back, without a doubt,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin on Thursday. “There has been a lot of different discussions, and hopefully he is going to remain a Giant…The goal is for him to be a Giant and play as a Giant forever, and retire as a Giant. How that works out is another issue.”

Free Agent Rumors: According to ESPN.com, the New York Giants have expressed interest in re-signing soon-to-be unrestricted free agents cornerback Walter Thurmond and defensive tackle Mike Patterson.

ESPN.com is also reporting that soon-to-be unrestricted free agent safety Antrel Rolle is looking for a bigger contract than the Giants are willing to offer.

“Certainly we would like him to come back. Obviously we do have financial restrictions involved,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin of Rolle on Thursday.

Salary Cap Expected to Be Near $143-145 Million: According to press reports, the 2015 NFL salary cap is expected to be near $143-145 million, which would be a $10-12 million increase over the 2014 NFL salary cap.

Article on the New York Giants and the NFL Combine: An updated list of players visiting with the Giants at the 2015 NFL Combine by Nick Powell for NJ.com

BBI on CBS Sports Radio (940 AM) on Sunday: BBI’s owner Eric Kennedy will be on CBS Sports Radio’s GameFace this Sunday at 9:20 AM on 940 AM in the NY/CT market and on www.940sportsradio.com. GameFace is America’s longest running, year round, NFL radio show.

Jan 072015
 
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Giants Fire Perry Fewell and Peter Giunta: The New York Giants have officially announced that they have fired Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell and Cornerbacks Coach Peter Giunta. Fewell had been the team’s defensive coordinator since 2010 and Giunta the cornerbacks coach since 2006.

Tom Coughlin and Perry Fewell, New York Giants (December 14, 2014)

Tom Coughlin and Perry Fewell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Giants finished 29th on defense in 2014 in terms of yards allowed. In other seasons under Fewell, the defense finished 7th (2010), 27th (2011), 31st (2012), and 8th (2013).

“These are two outstanding men and outstanding football coaches,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said in a press release. “It is very hard in this business to find people that are not only good football coaches but outstanding human beings who are trustworthy, loyal and honest. Perry and Peter are all that.

“No one person is responsible for what happened in this year. That has to be loud and clear. If there is any one person responsible, it is me. It is not Perry Fewell. It is not Peter Giunta. Both of them are outstanding football coaches in their own way. The simple fact of the matter is in the circumstance that we find ourselves, change is necessary. That may not be the most eloquent way of saying it, but that is what I am confronted with. The hope always is invigoration. You are going to stimulate. It is with great deliberation over a lengthy period of time throughout a thorough investigation and evaluation of what went on that I came to the conclusion that change was necessary.

Peter Giunta, New York Giants (November 6, 2011)

Peter Giunta – © USA TODAY Sports Images

“There are no hard feelings on my part about anything that anybody has done. The hard feelings are the six wins. That is the reality. It is unfortunate, but it is true.

“The decision here gives us the ability to revive our defensive people, to introduce, if you will, a new, different system, perhaps not that big a change, but nevertheless there will be some change involved and create an opportunity. I just think it is an opportunity for us, to a certain extent, to stimulate our defensive team due to the fact that you will end up with a new coordinator. Those people will bring a new system, a new focus and a new area of concentration.”

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

Giants.com Q&A With CB Prince Amukamara: Giants.com Q&A with Prince Amukamara by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: The competitive burn that fuels DRC by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on S Antrel Rolle: Antrel Rolle: ‘I’d ride or die with Coach Perry Fewell all day’ by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on the New York Giants and the Salary Cap: Giants face salary-cap decisions on defense by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Articles on Former Giants Head Coach Allie Sherman:

Best of 2014 Sights and Sounds Video: Giants.com has produced a “Best of 2014″ sights and sounds video.

Dec 282014
 
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 34-26 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the defeat, the Giants finished the 2014 NFL season with a 6-10 overall record and 2-4 in the NFC East.

Despite the score, the Giants had advantages total net yards (505 to 426), net yards passing (429 to 262), and time of possession (34:37 to 25:23). But the Eagles scored on special teams (blocked punt) and dramatically out-rushed the Giants (164 to 76). The Giants also were flagged eight times for 106 yards, including a holding penalty that wiped out a a touchdown pass. Each team’s quarterback threw one interception.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Statistically, quarterback Eli Manning and wide receivers Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle had big games. Manning completed 28-of-53 passes for 429 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Beckham caught 12 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown, while Randle caught six passes for 158 yards.

The Giants drove 80 yards in six plays on their first possession of the game to take a 7-0 lead. Randle caught back-to-back passes of 43 and 18 yards, setting up running back Andre Williams’ 1-yard touchdown run.

But the Eagles scored touchdowns on their first two drives of the game and went up 14-7. First the Giants’ defense surrendered a 3-play, 80-yard drive ending with a 44-yard touchdown pass. Then the defense allowed a 7-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass.

The Giants had three more scoring possessions in the first half, but each ended with field goals instead of touchdowns. The Giants cut the Eagles lead to 14-10 on a 38-yard field goal by place kicker Josh Brown after the Giants stalled at the Eagles’ 20-yard line. After two three-and-outs by New York, the Giants drove 47 yards in 10 plays, but stalled at the Eagles’ 2-yard line and settled for a 20-yard field goal. Then the Giants drove 71 yards in 10 plays but were forced to settle for a 36-yard field goal after reaching the Eagles’ 3-yard line. At this point, the Giants were up 16-14 with just over two minutes to play in the half.

However, the Giants’ defense allowed the Eagles to drive 66 yards in 11 plays to regain the lead 17-16 by kicking a 32-yard field goal as time expired.

The Giants’ defense forced a three-and-out on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half. The Giants could not gain a first down and sent out the punt team. Disaster struck when punter Steve Weatherford’s punt was blocked and returned 27 yards for a touchdown and Philadelphia went up 24-19 early in the third quarter.

After both teams exchanged punts, the Giants cut the lead to 24-19 after an 8-play, 46-yard drive set up a successful 53-yard field goal by Brown. However, a 34-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Randle was wiped out on this possession due to a holding penalty on left tackle Will Beatty.

Both teams exchanged punts again. The Eagles then drove 65 yards in eight plays, scoring a rushing touchdown from one yard out to extend their advantage to 31-19.

Odell Beckham, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Giants responded with a Manning-to-Beckham special. On the fifth play of the possession, Manning hit Beckham for a 63-yard touchdown pass and the Giants pulled to within five points at 31-26.

But the New York defense could not hold. A 10-play, 53-yard march by the Eagles set up a 39-yard field goal as the Eagles went up by eight points at 34-26 with just under eight minutes to play.

Both teams exchanged punts and the Giants got one more chance with 3:45 to play. But Manning’s deep pass to Randle was intercepted at the Eagles’ 42-yard line and returned 40 yards to the Giants’ 18-yard. The Eagles then ran out the clock to end the game.

Video highlights/lowlights of the game are available at NFL.com.

Injury Report: Safeties Nat Berhe (knee) and Stevie Brown (foot sprain) both left in the first quarter and did not return. Tight end Larry Donnell left later in the second half with an ankle injury and did not return.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Post-Game Press Conference: The transcript and video of Tom Coughlin’s post-game transcript are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com.

Post-Game Player Media Q&A’s: Video clips of media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were WR Corey Washington, TE Jerome Cunningham, OG Eric Herman, OG Adam Gettis, DT Dominique Hamilton, LB Devon Kennard (toe), and CB Jayron Hosley.

The Giants finished 3-5 both at home and on the road.

The Giants allowed 400 this season. It was just the fifth time in franchise history they gave up at least 400 points.

The Giants are 1-20 in regular-season games in which they throw at least 50 passes.

QB Eli Manning finished the season with a Giants-record 601 pass attempts and 379 pass completions. Manning finished the season with 4,410 yards, which is the second-highest total in franchise history. He passed for 4,933 yards in 2011. This was his fourth career 4,000-yard season. Manning threw 30 touchdowns, one shy of his career-high in 2011. Manning finished with 14 interceptions, or 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).

WR Odell Beckham is the first rookie in NFL history and the first Giants player with two 12-catch games in a season. Beckham is also the first NFL rookie with four consecutive games with at least 130 receiving yards and a touchdown. Beckham’s 185 yards is a Giants rookie record. Beckham joins Hall of Famer Michael Irvin as the only players in NFL history with at least 90 receiving yards in nine consecutive games. Beckham’s season totals were 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns, all franchise rookie records. Beckham set NFL records for most catches and yards in the first 12 games to start a career. Beckham’s 91 catches were the second-highest total in franchise history, topped only by Steve Smith’s 107 receptions in 2009. Beckham averaged 108.8 yards a game, well ahead of Victor Cruz’s previous Giants record of 96.0, set in 2011.

PK Josh Brown finished the season with 24 successes in 26 attempts (one of the misses was a block), a 92.3 percentage that is a Giants single-season record.

The Giants finished the season with 47 sacks, their highest total since they had 48 in 2011 (they had 34 sacks last season).

DE Jason Pierre-Paul finished the season with 12.5, the highest total by a Giant since JPP had 16.5 in 2011.

NY Post Q&A with QB Eli Manning: A Q&A with Eli Manning by Steve Serby of The New York Post

NJ.com Q&A with DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul breaks down his 2014 season | Four Downs by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on General Manager Jerry Reese and Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Despite two straight losing seasons, NY Giants would be right to keep duo of Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin and QB Eli Manning: Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning still a good combination to lead the Giants by Bob Glauber of Newsday

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Why Giants phenom Beckham Jr. says best is yet to come by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on OG John Jerry: Giants offensive lineman John Jerry rebuilds reputation after bullying scandal with Dolphins by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on the Upcoming New York Giants Offseason: Giants Will Revamp, but in a Considered Fashion by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Dec 272014
 
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Antrel Rolle, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Antrel Rolle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and safety Antrel Rolle both joined the New York Giants in the 2010 offseason. Now after five seasons, with their contracts set to expire after Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, both may be leaving Big Blue during the same upcoming offseason. Free agency begins on March 7 and JPP and Rolle will surely test the free agent waters if not re-signed by that date.

Rolle signed a 5-year, $37 million contract with the Giants as a free agent in March 2010 after being cut by the Arizona Cardinals in a salary cap-related move. Pierre-Paul was the 15th player selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Both were a critical part of the 2011 Giants defense that finished 27th in term of yards allowed during the regular season but got hot by year’s end. In the last six games that season – including four playoff games – the Giants held opponents to an average of less than 14 points per contest and won an NFL Championship.

Initially Rolle had difficult accepting Tom Coughlin’s coaching methods. Yet he eventually warmed up to Coughlin and became an important leader of the defense. In five seasons, Rolle has never missed a game with the Giants. He has intercepted 14 passes and averaged over 90 tackles per season in 79 regular-season games. Rolle received All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2010 and 2013, the latter being arguably the best season of his career.

2014 has been a down season for Rolle, who turned 32 this month. While he has accrued 79 tackles and three interceptions, he has not made many big plays on a defense that is currently ranked 28th in the NFL. Rolle still has talent, but he is an aging, 10-year veteran on a defensive team that needs a shake-up, an infusion of talent and speed, and may have a new defensive coordinator in 2015.

“I would love to finish my career here,’’ says Rolle. “That’s not my call to make. This is a great fit. I feel like next year, when we get all our guys healthy and we can get on the same page at the same time, I think it’s going to be wonderful… It would be great to stay here with these guys and build something.

“I want to be with JPP and (Odell) Beckham and I can’t wait to see (Victor) Cruz come back. These are all my boys, these are my brothers who I’ve shared (the) battlefield with. (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) is someone I helped bring here, and he always tells me I ain’t going anywhere.’’

Despite his down season, Rolle firmly believes he can stay play at a high level. And because of that, the odds are he will want to be paid well in what could be his final pro contract.

“I feel like I can still go out there and definitely be one of the best safeties in this league,” said Rolle. “I’ve never worried about age. I’ll put myself up against any 32-year-old.”

How long does Rolle think he can play? “Who knows? Maybe at 13 (seasons),” said Rolle, “I’ll say two more (years). I’m just going with the flow and whatever my body tells me at this point.

“Outside looking in, I don’t know how people are going to say what, or view what. Is this my best season? No, it is not my best season. Am I playing ball? Yes, I am definitely playing ball. I am not giving up touchdowns. I am not giving up huge plays. I am playing the way I am supposed to be playing. I am playing multiple roles.’’

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Pierre-Paul situation is different. JPP turns 26 in January. His best football clearly could still be in front him. That said, Pierre-Paul has had difficulty recapturing his tremendous productivity from his sophomore NFL season in 2011 when he accrued 86 tackles and 16.5 sacks. Those numbers plummeted to 66 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 2012 and 27 tackles and 2 sacks in 2013.

Pierre-Paul had surgery in June 2013 to repair a herniated disc in his lower back and he never seemed to fully rebound from that procedure during the 2013 season. He flashed some of his old form in Week 10 that year but also suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the last five games of the season.

JPP has rebounded in 2014 with 72 tackles and 10.5 sacks. Though he can be vulnerable to misdirection, Pierre-Paul is a very stout player at the point-of-attack against the run. And after a slow start in terms of rushing the passer, Pierre-Paul has sacked opposing quarterbacks seven times in the last four games.

Much more was hoped for and expected in 2014, but JPP remains the one player in the front seven that other teams need to account for. If he leaves, the Giants will have a major hole to fill on a defense already pot-marked with holes. But bringing him back is not a no-brainer. There is a salary cap and JPP clearly believes he is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL and wants to be paid like it. The Giants know Pierre-Paul has had inconsistent productivity the last three years, as well as back surgery and shoulder issues.

JPP sounds much more intent on testing the free agent market and does not seem to be overly concerned with remaining in Giants Blue. On Friday, Pierre-Paul was asked if he expected to re-sign with the Giants.

“I don’t know,” responded JPP. “Everybody asks me that question and I really can’t answer that question truthfully. I don’t know what my future holds. Who knows if I am going to be in a Giant uniform, who knows where I am going to be in the offseason. Like I said, now, the numbers are there, I had a great season, and everybody sees it. There really is nothing else to say, just negotiations and it is coming.

“At the end of the day, it’s business, it’s business. Everyone knows that, even the fans know that, my family members know it, and I am going to make the best decision to better me and my family.

“I‘d love to be a Giant for the rest of my career, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t always fold like that. Look at Justin Tuck, look at Osi Umenyiora, look at Brandon Jacobs, it doesn’t matter.

“I think I am worth a lot of money.”

Pierre-Paul was asked if he would give the Giants a hometown discount.

“Like I said, it is going to be a business situation, it’s going to be about my family, and what I want to pursue,” replied Pierre-Paul. “At the end of the day, I’m here. Like I said earlier in the season, if I am a Giant, then I will be a Giant for my whole life. I don’t know what is going to happen.”

Changes are coming on defense. At least they ought to be. In the last four years, the Giants defense has finished 28th, 31st, 8th, and is currently projected to finish 28th. Will Rolle and Pierre-Paul be a part of the rebuilding project moving forward? Should they be? The answers to those questions will be discovered in the next two months.

Dec 232014
 
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Practice Squad Moves: The Washington Redskins have signed offensive guard Rishaw Johnson off of the Giants’ Practice Squad. The Giants had signed Johnson to their Practice Squad on December 2.

To fill the vacancy created by the departure of Johnson, the Giants signed linebacker Uani (Devin) Unga to the Practice Squad. Unga suffered a serious injury to his right knee (ACL, MCL, and meniscus) his last year in college in 2013. Unga lacks ideal size and overall athleticism but he is a smart, instinctive, physical, and competitive football player who plays the run well.

December 23, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts of media conference calls on Monday with the following players are available at BigBlueInteractive.com:

Giants on WFAN Radio: The audio of WFAN Radio interviews with the following players is available at CBS New York:

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Tom Coughlin’s not coaching like a guy who’s close to the end by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Giants’ offense on a roll by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Tom Coughlin likes Odell Beckham Jr.’s edge, but warns rookie not to go too far with celebration by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on the Giants-Rams Game: Giants vs. St. Louis Rams brawl: A picture-by-picture breakdown of what happened by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

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

Notes: This season, QB Eli Manning has played eight games with a quarterback rating of at least 100, equaling the career high he set in 2009. That is the fifth-highest total in the NFL this year, behind Ben Roethlisberger (10), Aaron Rodgers (10), Peyton Manning (9), and Tony Romo (9). In 2013, Manning had just one game with a rating of at least 100.0 (102.3 in the opener in Dallas).

Manning has thrown for over 3,800 yards for the sixth consecutive season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Manning is one of just five quarterbacks in history to accomplish that feat.

Dec 212014
 
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The Big Melee, New York Giants (December 21, 2014)

The Big Melee – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants defeated the St. Louis Rams 37-27 on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. It is the third win in a row for the Giants who have now improved their overall record to 6-9.

The 37 points scored by the Giants was the most given up this season by a Rams’ defense that is one of the best in the NFL. The Giants gained 514 total net yards on offense and controlled the clock for almost 10 minutes more than the Rams.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 21, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Quarterback Eli Manning completed 25-of-32 passes for 391 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. The leading receivers were Odell Beckham with eight receptions for 148 yards and two touchdowns and Rueben Randle with six catches for 132 yards and one touchdown. Running back Andre Williams carried the ball 26 times for 110 yards.

Passions ran high in this contest as there were a number of dirty plays and cheap shots made by Rams’ players, culminating in a sideline fight in the second quarter after Beckham was hit late of out of bounds. Three players were ejected from the contest, including wide receiver Preston Parker and defensive end Damontre Moore.

“‘That dirty shit don’t make them tough,” said linebacker Jameel McClain after the game. “God damn that is a dirty ass team. They suck as an organization.”

“They were playing nasty football,” said safety Antrel Rolle. “They were taking cheap shots. I felt like they were trying to take Beckham out of the game…You can play physical but they were going over and beyond. Everyone saw that.”

The Giants were flagged 12 times for 149 penalty yards while the Rams were flagged nine times for 76 yards.

Rueben Randle, New York Giants (December 21, 2014)

Rueben Randle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Giants scored 20 first half points, including 10 on their first two possessions of the game. New York received the opening kickoff and drove 69 yards in 10 plays to set up a 29-yard field goal by place kicker Josh Brown. The big play on this drive was a 49-yard pass to Randle.

On the ensuing Rams’ kickoff return, reserve running back Orleans Darkwa forced a fumble that was recovered by safety Nat Berhe at the St. Louis 21-yard line. Five plays later, Manning hit Beckham for a 9-yard touchdown and the Giants were quickly up 10-0.

The Rams then started with superb field position at the Giants’ 48-yard line after a return to the 37-yard line and 15-yard personal foul penalty on the kickoff. The Rams’ offense only gained 15 yards but it was enough to set up a successful 51-yard field goal to cut the New York lead to 10-3.

The Giants punted on their third possession but quickly got the ball back when rookie defensive end Kerry Wynn intercepted a pass at the Giants’ 37-yard line and returned it seven yards. New York moved the ball 37 yards in seven plays to set up Brown’s 37-yard field goal as the Giants went up 13-3.

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

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Rams punted on their next series and the Giants responded with an impressive 10-play, 80-yard drive, culminating with a 12-yard touchdown run by Darkwa.

Although the Giants were now up 20-3 and seemingly in control, the Rams scored the final 10 points of the first half, first with a 5-play, 74-yard touchdown drive and then with a 9-play, 58-yard field goal drive. In between these two possessions came the big fight that caused three players to be ejected.

At the half, the Giants led 20-13.

The Rams received the ball to start the second half but punted after gaining two first downs. The Giants then responded with another impressive drive, this one for 87 yards in 13 plays, finishing with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Randle. On this drive, Williams broke off a 45-yard run. The Giants now led 27-13.

New York’s defense could not hold, however, and the Rams responded with their own impressive drive, going 90 yards in 10 plays to cut the Giants’ lead to a touchdown again at 27-20. On 3rd-and-10 on the ensuing Giants’ possession, Manning found Beckham all alone deep for an 80-yard touchdown strike as the Giants again went up by two scores, 34-20, near the end of the third quarter.

The Rams punted on their next possession and the Giants then drove 56 yards in 10 plays to set up a successful 52-yard field goal by Brown to go up 37-20. Both teams exchanged punts. With 5:14 to play, the New York defense allowed St. Louis to drive 66 yards in just over a minute to cut the score to 37-27 as there was a breakdown in coverage on a 47-yard touchdown pass.

The ensuing Rams’ onside kick went out of bounds and the ball was awarded to the Giants. New York reached the St. Louis 11-yard line but a 29-yard field goal attempt by Brown was blocked. However, on the Rams’ next offensive snap, Wynn recovered a fumble at the 12-yard line to end the game.

Video highlights of the game are available at NFL.com.

Post-Game Player Media Q&A’s: Video clips of media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were RB Rashad Jennings (ankle), TE Jerome Cunningham, OG Eric Herman, OG Adam Gettis, DT Dominique Hamilton, LB James Davidson, and CB Jayron Hosley.

NY Post Q&A With LB Devon Kennard: Serby’s Sunday Q&A with Devon Kennard by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Giants’ offense still a work in progress by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on WR Rueben Randle: Why Rueben Randle has been one of the Giants’ biggest letdowns by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul and S Antrel Rolle: NY Giants should bring back Antrel Rolle and Jason Pierre-Paul after late surge by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Dec 182014
 
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December 18, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice on Thursday. LB Jameel McClain (knee) fully practiced.

December 18, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

December 18, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

7 Takeaways from Giants Media Hour by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Just hand rookie award to NY Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. now! by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Articles on DE Jason Pierre-Paul:

Article on LB Devon Kennard: Devon Kennard’s future appears to be at outside linebacker by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on S Antrel Rolle: 

Article on the New York Giants Special Teams: What an astonishing stat shows about two NFL opposite coaches by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: Mulling The Giants Potential 2015 Draft Targets by Curt Macysyn for CBS New York

Article on Former Giant OG Chris Snee: For the Good of the Family, if Not the Giants by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Giants Online – Giants vs. Rams Preview: The video of this week’s Giants Online is available at Giants.com.

Dec 172014
 
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Giants Sign TE Jerome Cunningham to 53-Man Roster: The New York Giants signed tight end Jerome Cunningham to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad on Wednesday. Cunningham fills the roster vacancy created when the Giants put linebacker Terrell Manning on Injured Reserve on December 2. Per an obscure NFL rule, Manning could not be replaced on the 53-man roster for three weeks after he was signed from the Bengals’ Practice Squad on November 25.

Cunningham played college football at Southern Connecticut State University from 2009-2012, but he was not with an NFL team in training camp until August 2014 when the Giants signed him. He did try out with the Indianapolis Colts in May 2013 and Arizona Cardinals in May 2014, but was not signed by either team. Cunningham lacks ideal size for the position; he’s built more like an H-Back. But he is a good athlete who catches the ball well.

Giants Sign FB Nikita Whitlock to Practice Squad: To fill the vacancy created when the Giants signed TE Jerome Cunningham to the 53-man roster, the Giants signed fullback Nikita Whitlock to the Practice Squad on Wednesday.

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.

December 17, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) and LB Jameel McClain (knee) did not practice on Wednesday.

December 17, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Wednesday’s press conference are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com.

December 17, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of media sessions on Wednesday with the following players are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

ESPN Radio Interview with WR Odell Beckham: The audio of Wednesday’s ESPN Radio interview with WR Odell Beckham is available at ESPN.com.

Article on Giants President/CEO John Mara: NY Giants owner John Mara will be able to tune out fans if he doesn’t fire Tom Coughlin by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Kevin Gilbride still questions overhaul of Giants offense by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on DT Johnathan Hankins: Giants’ Johnathan Hankins steps up by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article son S Antrel Rolle:

Article on the Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: NY Giants need help on offensive and defensive lines this draft by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Dec 162014
 
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Jacquian Williams, New York Giants (September 8, 2014)

Jacquian Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Place Jacquian Williams and James Brewer on Injured Reserve: The New York Giants placed linebacker Jacquian Williams (concussion) and offensive tackle James Brewer (concussion) on season-ending Injured Reserve on Tuesday. Williams has missed the last five games and Brewer the last two games with their injuries.

The Giants now have 22 players on Injured Reserve.

To fill those vacant roster spots, the Giants signed defensive tackle Dominique Hamilton from the team’s Practice Squad and offensive lineman Adam Gettis from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Practice Squad.

Hamilton originally signed with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft. The Raiders cut him and he was on NFL practice squads in 2012 (Redskins) and 2013 (Redskins and Chiefs). The Chiefs waived him in August 2014 and the Giants signed him to the Practice Squad in September. He spent a few days on the 53-man roster in early December but has not played in a game this year.

Gettis was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. The Redskins waived Gettis in August 2014 and he was signed the Practice Squad of the Pittsburgh Steelers in October. Gettis lacks ideal size, but he is athletic.

The Giants also signed safety Thomas Gordon to the Practice Squad. Gordon was signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft, but the team waived him at the end of August.

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

S Antrel Rolle on WFAN Radio: The audio of Tuesday’s WFAN interview with S Antrel Rolle is available at CBS New York

Articles on the 2014 New York Giants:

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: History says it may not end well for Tom Coughlin and the Giants by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on WR Odell Beckham:

Articles on DE Jason Pierre-Paul:

Article on DE Kerry Wynn: What Kerry Wynn did vs. Redskins to impress Tom Coughlin | Giants Film Review by Nick Powell for NJ.com

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

Notes: WR Odell Beckham had 23 combined receptions vs. Tennessee and Washington, the highest two-game total in Giants history.

Beckham is the first Giant and the first NFL rookie with at least 12 catches, 140 receiving yards and three touchdown catches in a game.

Beckham has three games this season in which he caught at least 10 passes and gained at least 130 yards. No other rookie in NFL history has even two such game.