Mar 242014
 
 March 24, 2014  Posted by  News and Notes
Eli Manning and Steve Tisch, New York Giants (October 21, 2013)

Eli Manning and Steve Tisch – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Steve Tisch Comments on the State of the New York Giants: New York Giants Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch spoke to media on Monday at the NFL owners meetings in Florida. Some tidbits from Tisch:

  • On the team’s approach to the offseason: “When something is a little broken, you have an opportunity to fix it. Everybody at the top levels of ownership, coaching staff and our GM realized we have to go for it. This is an opportunity. Let’s take advantage of it and refocus. Do some restructuring, make changes, some of the changes aren’t always going to be popular, but I think we have created a tremendous sense of excitement and anticipating what this team will be and how well they will perform this season.”
  • On free agency: “I think the way Jerry Reese has performed during free agency is he’s always looking for value. I think he has a great eye for matching free agents, their talent, and the needs of the New York Giants. I think this season has been an unusually strong example of that because of the amount of players we’ve brought in at this point.”
  • On Head Coach Tom Coughlin: “(With) a lot of new faces and a lot of new players and a new locker room, I think Tom Coughlin is the guy to get some rookies and some of our new players to really understand how the New York Giants perform as a team, how he wants his locker room to operate, and I think he is the best guy to accept this challenge.”
  • On what still needs to be done: “With the draft coming up in May, it’s going to be the next wave of how to build the Giants to become even stronger this season and going forward.”
  • On the departure of so many important players from the Super Bowl teams: “It’s the nature of the business. It’s the way business is run and things change, you have to move on, you can’t look back, you have to look forward. I think this is the season we’re certainly doing that.”
  • On DE Justin Tuck, who signed with the Oakland Raiders: “It’s not goodbye, I think, and this is me, I think it’s see you soon. You can’t separate New York from Justin Tuck and I don’t think Justin Tuck will separate Justin Tuck from New York…He will definitely come back to the New York-New Jersey area and I think continue to be involved in football. He’s a great guy. His contributions on and off the field are wonderful. The memories he has of his years at the Giants and that John Mara and I have and all the fans have, all the coaches have, are of an exceptional, exceptional player and human being.”

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Giants depth chart: Rashad Jennings can be the power back Tom Coughlin wants by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on the New York Giants Offensive Line: Offensive line: Have Giants done enough? by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

New York Giants and 2014 Compensatory Picks: Projecting the Giants’ compensatory picks by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on Former Giants Defensive End Justin Tuck: Justin Tuck thanks fans in newspaper ad by Giants.com

Giants.com Inside the Film Room: Video breakdowns of the following Giants players are available at Giants.com:

  • Wide Receiver Victor Cruz (Video)
  • Tight End Bear Pascoe (Video)
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Jan 242014
 
 January 24, 2014  Posted by  News and Notes
David Diehl, New York Giants (February 5, 2012)

David Diehl – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Tom Coughlin Wants to Coach Past 2014: In a taped ESPN Radio interview that is set to air on Sunday, Head Coach Tom Coughlin was asked if he still felt he could coach “well beyond” the 2014 NFL season.

“I certainly do, and I’m blessed with good health and good energy and a routine that I think puts me in the maximum opportunity to stay healthy,” responded Coughlin. “The other issue, of course, is (my wife) Judy. If Judy’s healthy, and so on and so forth, and we both feel good about continuing…then no doubt will we feel that way.”

The 67-year old Coughlin has one year remaining on his current contract. Giants President/CEO John Mara said recently, “(Coughlin is) going to be our coach here next year and hopefully for longer than that, but we haven’t sat down to even talk about that yet.”

“I haven’t sat down with John,” said Coughin, “and I do know by virtue of a couple of things that he’s said that he’s trying to pick the best time. And he knows full well that we’re in a full-court press in terms of making sure that our staff is ready to go.”

David Diehl Retires: Offensive lineman David Diehl, who has been with the team since he was drafted in the 5th round of the 2003 NFL Draft, officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday. Diehl played in 11 seasons with the Giants. Diehl’s daughter Addison was on hand when Diehl informed the team.

“She wants me to play forever,” said Diehl. “It’s not very easy for my daughter to talk about me retiring and not playing football. The Giants are just as much family to her as they are to me. She’s been going to the games and at seven years old, she understands everything. She understands the game and the players and how important it is to play in the NFL. For her, my stepping away from something she loves as much as I do is not an easy thing.”

“I love football,” Diehl said. “I love being in the game, I love watching film, I love doing all of that and I’m going to miss that aspect of it. But I know I’m ready to start the new and next chapter of my life. I’m ready to not only be a bigger part of my daughter’s life, but I’m ready to spread my knowledge and help other people with the game and continue to do stuff throughout our community and charity work and be involved with the New York Giants in any way possible. I’ve accomplished everything I could possibly dream of as a football player. If in 2003, anyone would have said that Dave Diehl, a fifth-round draft pick out of Illinois, would win two Super Bowls, play in the Pro Bowl and win every single Giant award possible, people would have said you’re crazy. I have a lot to be proud of.”

During his career with the Giants, Diehl started at every offensive line position except center. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2009. Most importantly, he was the starting left tackle on two Super Bowl teams.

Diehl only missed 12 games in 11 seasons. He played in 164 regular-season games, tying Phil Simms for 12th on the franchise’s all-time list. “To be able to sit here and say I tied Phil Simms for 12th all-time on the list, I mean that’s crazy,” Diehl said. He started 160 of those 164 games, plus all 11 postseason games in which he played. In the regular season, Diehl started 65 games at left tackle, 42 at left guard, 26 at right tackle, and 27 at right guard. In the postseason, Diehl has 10 starts at left tackle, and one at left guard.

“When I think of David Diehl what comes to mind is his indomitable spirit,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He got the most out of his God-given ability and that’s the best way that you can judge any individual. He took the talent that he had and he used it to the extreme, to the utmost of his ability. What more can you ask of the guy? And he gave great effort. He always gave great effort, there was no doubt about that. You knew exactly what you were getting.”

“He played so many different positions along the offensive line and never complained and never made an excuse,” QB Eli Manning said. “He was a guy who practiced in training camp and was prepared to play right tackle and then all of a sudden in the middle of the season, it’s, ‘Hey, now you have to go play left tackle.’ He just went over there and did it. He never made an excuse and he’s never looked for a reason not to. He just did his job and did it well for a long time. He protected me for a long time. He’s one of my great buddies and just a true warrior. A guy you wanted out there. He would play injured and he wanted to be out there for every practice, for every play in every game. Just a great teammate, a guy with that type of attitude is the kind of attitude you want all your teammates to have. He was just a true professional.”

Diehl was the only Giants player whose arrival predated that of Coughlin and Manning. With his retirement, the longest-tenured Giants are guard Chris Snee and Manning.

“You play for 10 years, you’re going to have some great relationships and make some great friends,” Manning said. “Unfortunately, you’re going to see some great friends retire. Obviously, you’re happy for them that they have had a great career and they can end it on their own terms, like David’s doing. It’s sad to have a friend that you’re used to seeing every day, to no longer have that presence in the locker room. He will be missed. But I think for the other linemen and other teammates who have been fortunate to be around him, he’s set a great example of how to be a professional, how to go about your business and be a true competitor. I think his presence will be felt. He’s made an impact on a lot of the players on the Giants.”

“I’m just very, very blessed and happy to have had the teammates and the guys around here and the coaches and the organization and to be able to do it for 11 years in one place – that’s unheard of,” Diehl said. “You never hear that any more. I’m a New York Giant through and through.”

“Whatever you wanted him to do, he did,” Coughlin said. “The weight room, practice, meetings, jibber and jab at guys that weren’t doing what they should be doing. He was the huddle guy, he helped get things going. You always knew where he was coming from. He was a tremendous competitor and a guy you always wanted on your team, because he was so positive and so up front and he agreed with everything you did as a coach.”

“At one point, it’s going to be bittersweet,” Diehl said. “At one point, I’m going to miss the camaraderie, being around the guys, being in the locker room, sharing stories of the summer. Most importantly, grinding and working for the season. That’s where you start setting the groundwork after OTAs and mini-camp. Training camp is when you’re getting ready for the season, for what we’re here for and that’s to win championships. So I’m going to miss being around the guys. It’s tough, physically, as an offensive lineman to play as long as I have. I’m not going to miss the cold tubs and the physical part and all of that stuff, but I’m definitely going to miss being around here and being part of it. I’ve been here for so long, it’s been such a routine and such a part of my life, so it’s going to be an adjustment not being a part of it, sweating in 100 degree weather and doing all of that stuff with these guys.

“Guys like Kareem (McKenzie) and Shaun (O’Hara) and Rich (Seubert) would laugh and say once they were done, ‘I’m going to come with a lawn chair’ and watch practice. They never come back and watch mini-camp and sit out there in the heat. They don’t want to watch training camp, they don’t want to see that stuff. It’s definitely going to be interesting and going to be different for me. But I’m going to be here, I’m still going to be involved with the team in any way possible with different things in the charity work that I’m always involved in. I’m never not going to be a Giant, I’m never not going to be in this area. It’s just for the first time in my career it’s not going to be as a player.”

For more on Diehl’s retirement, see David Diehl reflects on life in football at Giants.com. Also from Giants.com, the following videos/graphics are available:

  • David Diehl reflects on career (Video)
  • Players & Coaches: David Diehl Shoutouts (Video)
  • David Diehl’s Career Highlights (Video)
  • David Diehl Career Infographic (Graphic)

Article on Quarterback Curtis Painter: Giants free agents: Any chance backup QB Curtis Painter returns? by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on Fullback Henry Hynoski: Healthy again, Hynoski looks forward to future by Chuck Souders of NewsItem.com

Article on Wide Receiver Hakeem Nicks: Hakeem Nicks: The NFL’s perception of the Giants’ free-agent wide receiver by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on Tight Bear Pascoe: Giants free agents: Bear Pascoe does it all for Big Blue by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger

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Jul 152013
 
 July 15, 2013  Posted by  Articles, Roster Thoughts
Bear Pascoe, New York Giants (October 28, 2012)

Bear Pascoe – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Offseason Breakdown: New York Giants Tight Ends

If a tight end can’t block, he won’t play for the New York Giants. It’s that simple. In the Giants’ system, blocking is as critical, if not more important, than pass receiving. The traditional down tight end (hand in the dirt, lined up next to the offensive tackle) is often called upon to block not only linebackers, but defensive ends as well. The problem is that quality two-way tight ends are hard to find. With the proliferation of spread offenses in college, the two-way tight end is disappearing at many schools. There are 32 NFL teams and a very limited supply of quality prospects coming out in the NFL Draft. One-dimensional, pass-receiving, H-Back types (motion tight ends who often do not line up in a down position) are more plentiful, but the Giants’ offense does not tend to feature these types of players.

The good news is the Giants have 71-year old Mike Pope, arguably the best tight ends coach in the NFL. He’s been with the Giants seemingly forever (1984-1991, 2000-present) under head coaches Bill Parcells, Ray Handley, Jim Fassel, and Tom Coughlin. Pope has a history of developing players with good size and just enough athletic ability into solid, two-way tight ends.

The tight end position has been a bit of turnstile for the Giants since Jeremy Shockey (2002-2007) was traded to the Saints in July 2008. Since then, the primary tight end on the Giants has changed from Kevin Boss (2008-2010) to Jake Ballard (2011) to Martellus Bennett (2012) and now to Brandon Myers (2013).

Including Myers, there are six tight ends on the Giants’ current training camp roster. Historically, the team tends to keep three tight ends on the 53-man roster.

Brandon Myers: Myers was signed by the Giants as an unrestricted free agent from the Oakland Raiders in March 2013. He was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Raiders. Myers had a breakout season for the Raiders in 2012, catching 79 passes for 806 yards and four touchdowns. His 16 regular-season starts in 2012 were more than all of the starts he had combined his first three years in the NFL. His 79 catches also dwarfed the 32 he had from 2009-2011.

Myers lacks the size that the Giants usually look for in their primary tight end. He’s only listed at 6’3’’, 256 pounds. The Giants usually like their tight ends an inch or two taller and 15-20 pounds heavier. He’s also not very fast or quick for the position – the Raiders used him more as a short- to intermediate-receiver. But Myers seems to be a smart, heady player with just enough athleticism, a feel for getting open, and good hands. His blocking was reportedly subpar in Oakland last year. A painful shoulder injury (sprained AC joint) could have been a factor. Still his lack of size and strength is worrisome in the blocking department.

“We think he’ll be a great piece to our offense and I think (Eli Manning) will have a relationship with him really quickly,” said General Manager Jerry Reese.

“He is a good receiver,” said Pope. “I think at the Raiders he was more of an intermediate receiver. And now our passing game does allow the tight end to get more vertically down the field – flag routes – double seam routes – post routes – that kind of thing. And he appears to have the skills to get those balls. He has a little bit of a jet that can accelerate and go get a ball that is a little deeper. You may not think he is going to reach it, but he has that little bit. So we are very interested to see him in pads.”

“I’m with a great organization, a proven team with a proven quarterback, in an offense that if you’re a tight end and you can get open, you’ll get a lot of opportunities to catch the ball,” said Myers.

“Obviously, my blocking (in Oakland) wasn’t up to par,” said Myers. “But we kind of went over some things, (Pope’s) technique that he could teach me to help me out, so I think it will be a good fit.”

Coughlin doesn’t appear concerned about his blocking. “He’s a well-rounded tight end,” said Coughlin. “He’s a blocker in the running game as well. We’re looking forward to that.”

Bear Pascoe: The Giants picked up Pascoe in 2009 after the 49ers cut him as a rookie. Pascoe is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type of player whose strength is his overall versatility. Pascoe plays tight end, H-Back, and even some fullback for the Giants. In fact, he filled in at fullback for the bulk of the 2010 season when Madison Hedgecock was placed on Injured Reserve. And Pascoe may have to do so again in 2013 with Henry Hynoski’s knee injury casting doubt on his availability.

Pascoe does not really stand out as a blocker or receiver, and needs to improve his productivity and consistency in both areas. But Pascoe is big (6’5”, 283 pounds), solid, and dependable. Pascoe finished the 2012 with only four catches for 35 yards and one touchdown. In four seasons with the Giants, he has 26 catches for 252 yards and one score.

“We’re very confident that Bear, no matter what role we place him in, he does an outstanding job,” said Coughlin. “Bear has had opportunities to play in that slot, B tight end, Y tight end, and he’s always done a nice job.”

“This is kind of what I do. This is my role,” Pascoe said. “The more I can do, the better it is for the team. It’s one of the reason I’ve been here for five years, is I have versatility.”

“(Pascoe) has had to do that for us whenever the fullback has been hurt,” said Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride. “It hasn’t been Henry (Hynoski) but it was Madison Hedgecock before. And so he has done a great job with that. It is not an easy thing. He is not a natural fullback but he is one of those guys that just whatever you ask him to do, he goes out and does it with as much courage and determination as anybody. As a result of that he plays above – sometimes – what your expectations might be. We asked him to do a very difficult role – he does it very well.”

Pope thinks having Pascoe playing fullback may make the Giants’ offense less predictable. “Bear has played a good bit of fullback for us,” said Pope. “Actually he played about 160 snaps at fullback last season. So he is aware of the assignments. There are still some finite things that he can get better at there. But it gives us a great deal of flexibility because when Hynoski is in the game they pretty well know that there are some limitations as to where he will line up. He is pretty much a backfield player. When we can put Bear in with one of these other guys, now we can do a lot more things as far as open formations – a little more difficult for the defense to predict where they can’t just key on one of the those guys and say the ball is going there. So that helps us.”

Adrien Robinson: 2012 was mainly a redshirt year for Adrien Robinson, who the Giants drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Robinson made the 53-man roster, but was only activated for two games. He did not catch a single pass. Robinson combines good size with excellent athleticism. He has very good speed and agility for a big tight end. However, he is a very raw player who will need a lot of coaching up. He was not targeted much in college (only 29 receptions in four years), but he displayed an ability to get down the field, adjust to the football, and make the difficult catch. Robinson has the physical ability to be a good blocker.

Because Robinson’s college has trimesters, he missed Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices his rookie season. “I think going through OTAs this year, seeing how slowly the coaches install the plays and understanding how everything feeds off each other, I realize that I did miss a lot last year by coming in so late and trying to jumpstart everything,” Robinson said. “I’ve been here since the (offseason) program started, and it’s a new year. I’m just trying to work my way up.”

“I think the biggest improvement I’ve made is in my understanding of the offense and knowing the plays, my assignments, where to line up, and how to read the defenses,” said Robinson. “Last year, I didn’t get many game reps, so I had to watch a lot, which helped, but it’s not the same as lining up on the field.”

“The biggest thing I want to show the coaches is that I fully understand the offense,” said Robinson. “I understand everything that’s going on, and I want to earn their trust. Once they are confident that you know what you’re doing, you’ll get on the field.”

“Adrien Robinson appears to have gone into the Land of the Believers and yes he has been making some good progress,” said Pope. “He is understanding assignment-wise. But the plays are still not the lines on the page that we give them for instruction. So he is doing a lot of the assignment things correctly. Now we have to get him to adjust to the way the defense is playing on each particular play and to make the best decisions based on how the defense is playing. But he is running well and he has his weight down some. The quarterback is starting to find him. He is hard to miss – he is the tallest tree in the forest out there. So he is a good target. But we are more than mildly pleased with the progress that he has made from an assignment standpoint.”

“Adrien was in that group of guys who came in, didn’t really know much about working with an offensive tackle on a double team block or how do you read coverages, what happens if they blitz here, what do I do?” said Pope in June. “It has taken him some time to learn and feel a little more comfortable. His speed and athletic skills did not surface as quickly as we hoped because he was thinking his way through every single play which slowed him down. Now he’s developing some confidence and he knows a little bit more about what he is doing. These last three or four weeks have been the very best weeks of his Giant career.”

“Wish we could have gotten him in some games more last year, but it just didn’t work out for us to get him in some games,” said Reese. “But we really think – the guy is 280 pounds, he ran a 4.57 (40-yard dash) at his Pro Day, and we think he can really develop into a terrific blocker. In practice, he flashed some things that were really like some ‘Wow’ things in practice. So we’re expecting him to make a jump this season and get in and get going and give us some contributions as our big blocking tight end. And he can catch the ball really nice. So we expect to bring him along, and hopefully he’ll contribute for us.”

Larry Donnell: Donnell went undrafted and unsigned in 2011. The Giants signed him as a street free agent in March 2012 and Donnell spent 2012 on the Giants’ Practice Squad. Donnell has excellent size (6’6”, 270 pounds) and is a good athlete. However, he is raw and needs a lot of coaching. Unfortunately, Donnell missed most of the spring work with a right foot or ankle injury that forced him to wear a walking boot.

Jamie Childers: The Giants signed Jamie Childers to a Reserve/Future contract in January 2013. Childers was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2012 NFL Draft. The Rams waived him in August. Childers needs a lot of technique work not only because of his small school background but because he played both quarterback and tight end in college. Lacking bulk (6’5”, 250 pounds), Childers is built more like an H-Back than true tight end. He’s athletic and has good hands. He probably will never be more than a finesse blocker. According to press reports, Childers did flash as a receiver in spring workouts.

Chase Clement: Clement was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2013 NFL Draft. In college, Clement converted to tight from defensive end. He has good size (6’6”, 262 pounds) and strength and could develop as a blocking-type tight end with better technique. He was not used much as a receiver in college with only 14 career receptions in four seasons. Clement isn’t overly fast.

“When I first looked at (Clement) I had visions of Jake Ballard,” said Pope. “Just because he was a good blocker on the goal line. (LSU) seldom ever threw him the ball. But when the ball was snapped he had kind of that tough-guy mentality – old school. But he really had a motor…He is not going to be an all-world receiver way down the field as far as being explosive and flexible, but he has pretty good football savvy…I think there is something to work with there.”

Summary: Brandon Myers is clearly the #1 guy heading into training camp and will likely be the Giants’ primary tight end, though due to his size, it would be easy to see the Giants using him some at H-Back too. Myers could be the type of receiver who Manning quickly develops chemistry with. But Myers needs to block better than he did last year in Oakland. Pascoe is a limited athlete and his attention will be split between fullback, H-Back, and tight end. The real question is how fast can Adrien Robinson develop? He has the size to be a good blocker and the athletic abiity to be a good receiver. Can he put it all together, and if so, how quickly? Don’t completely discount Donnell (two-way tools), Childers (receiver), and Clement (blocker) either, but their best shot is probably the Practice Squad unless someone gets hurt.

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Jul 142013
 
 July 14, 2013  Posted by  News and Notes

Article on S Antrel Rolle: Antrel Rolle Reinvigorated by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on S Stevie Brown: Giants Safety Stevie Brown Preps for a Big Season in 2013 by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Quotes: CB Terrell Thomas on WR Victor Cruz: “He’s explosive. He’s very powerful and strong – a lot of people don’t understand that. He’s very compact, and I think it helps him. He has a great Pro Bowl quarterback that gives him the option to do whatever he wants, so it makes it challenging. So you’ve really got to be on your toes guarding him.”

Thomas Cruz and WR Hakeem Nicks: “They’re both hard to guard. They’re both different. Hakeem is more strong, smooth, very confident, long arms, strong hands, real aggressive. Victor is the opposite. He’s in the slot. He has more of a two-way go, very explosive out of his breaks, and really that option route is what kills you because he can go in or out. And in the slot, you really have no help in that nickel, so he does a great job in there.”

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