Oct 132016
 
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Mike Sullivan and Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 30, 2016)

Mike Sullivan and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

OCTOBER 13, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Cornerback Eli Apple (groin), safety Darian Thompson (foot), safety Nat Berhe (concussion), wide receiver/returner Dwayne Harris (toe), and offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse (calf) did not practice on Thursday.

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (groin), defensive end Olivier Vernon (wrist), cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin), linebacker Devon Kennard (concussion), running back Rashad Jennings (thumb), and tight end Jerell Adams (ear) were limited in practice.

Tight end Larry Donnell (concussion) fully practiced.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed linebacker Eric Pinkins and cornerback Michael Hunter to the Practice Squad. To make room for these two, the team placed cornerback Donte Deayon on Practice Squad/Injured Reserve and terminated the Practice Squad contract of quarterback Logan Thomas.

Pinkins was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Pinkins was waived by the Seahawks in September 2016. He has played in six regular-season NFL games with no starts. Pinkins has a nice combination of size and speed, but his instincts have been questioned.

Hunter has spent time on both the Practice Squad and 53-man roster in 2016. The Giants originally signed Hunter as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. Hunter has a nice combination of size and speed.

Deayon was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2016. The Giants originally signed Deayon as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft.

Thomas was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. The Dolphins claimed Thomas off of waivers from the Cardinals in September 2015 and the Giants claimed him off of waivers from the Dolphins in June 2016.

THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo and select position coaches and players will address the media on Friday.

Sep 252016
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (September 25, 2016)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

WASHINGTON REDSKINS 29 – NEW YORK GIANTS 27…
Sloppy and undisciplined football cost the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon as they fell to the division-rival Washington Redskins 29-27 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the loss, the Giants overall record now stands at 2-1 (1-1 in the NFC East).

The Giants out-gained the Redskins in first downs (28 to 20), total net yards (457 to 403), net yards rushing (120 to 90), and net yards passing (337 to 313). But for the third game in a row the Giants lost the turnover battle (3 to 1). They also committed 11 penalties for 128 yards. There were untimely mistakes in all three phases of the game.

The game was going New York’s way for most of the first half as the Giants led 21-9 with 4:12 remaining in the 2nd quarter. But the Redskins out-scored the Giants 20-6 the rest of the game.

The Giants went three-and-out on their first possession but immediately got the ball back when wide receiver/special teams ace Dwayne Harris recovered a muffed punt at the Washington 28-yard line. Three plays later, running back Shane Vereen scored from one yard out and the Giants were quickly up 7-0. The ensuing kickoff went out-of-bounds, giving the Redskins the ball at the 40-yard line. They gained 29 more yards to set up a successful 49-yard field goal. Giants 7 – Redskins 3.

The Giants went up 14-3 on the their third possession as the team drove 75 yards in eight plays. Quarterback Eli Manning found running back Bobby Rainey for a 24-yard gain, and two plays later hit wide receiver Sterling Shepard for a 23-yard score. The Redskins responded with another field goal as they drove 60 yards in 11 plays to set up a 33-yard effort. The Redskins held on the next Giants possession and Washington returned the punt 50 yards to New York’s 36-yard line. The Redskins could only gain nine yards but it was enough for a 45-yard field goal that cut the score to 14-9.

The Giants scored their last touchdown of the day on their fifth possession as New York drove 75 yards in eight plays, culminating with a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Orleans Darkwa. This was the high-point of the afternoon for the Giants as they now led 21-9 with 4:12 to go before intermission. Yet in two plays, the Redskins cut the score to 21-16 as quarterback Kirk Cousins found wide receiver DeSean Jackson for a 31-yard gain and then a 44-yard touchdown.

The Giants quickly drove to the Washington 30-yard line with two minutes to go, but two negative plays pushed the Giants into a 2nd-and-27 where Vereen fumbled the ball away after a 12-yard gain. The Redskins then threatened late in the half, driving to the Giants 4-yard line, but with only seconds to go, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul sacked Cousins and the clock expired. At the half, the Giants led 21-16.

After the Redskins and Giants exchanged punts to start the 3rd quarter, Washington went up 23-21 when Cousins found wide receiver Jamison Crowder for a 55-yard score on 3rd-and-15. The Giants responded with a drive to the Redskins 10-yard line, but were forced to settle for a 29-yard field goal by place kicker Josh Brown. Giants 24 – Redskins 23.

The Redskins then regained the advantage 26-24 early in the 4th quarter after a lengthy 15-play, 68-yard drive ended with a 25-yard field goal. This drive was aided by a successful 31-yard pass on 4th-and-12 out of a punting formation.

The mistake-prone Giants quickly drove to the Redskins 5-yard line on the ensuing possession, but an 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on center Weston Richburg (which caused him to be thrown out of the game) pushed the Giants back. Manning was then intercepted in the end zone, ending the threat. The Giants then blew a big opportunity after a blocked punt was wiped out due to an unnecessary roughness penalty on safety Andrew Adams. Instead of getting the ball inside the Washington 20-yard line, New York had to start their possession at their own 30. They did drive to the Washington 12-yard line but were forced to settle for a 30-yard field goal that gave the Giants a 27-26 lead with 7:53 to go in the game.

Nevertheless, New York’s defense could not hold the lead as Washington managed another long possession, driving 56 yards in 10 plays and taking over six minutes off of the clock. The 37-yard field goal gave Washington a 29-27 lead with 1:51 to play. After the Giants converted on 3rd-and-14 with an 18-yard pass from Manning to wide receiver Victor Cruz, the game was ended when Manning was picked off over the middle by defensive back Su’a Cravens with just over a minute to play.

Offensively, Eli Manning completed 25-of-38 passes for 350 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. His leading receivers were wideouts Odell Beckham (7 catches for 121 yards), Sterling Shepard (5 catches for 73 yards), and Victor Cruz (3 catches for 70 yards). The only backs to carry the ball were Shane Vereen (11 carries for 67 yards) and Orleans Darkwa (10 carries for 53 yards).

Defensively, defensive tackle Damon Harrison led the team with 10 tackles and 1 tackle for a loss. Defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon each had sacks and the two combined for 3 tackles for a loss and 4 quarterback hits as well.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were running back Rashad Jennings (thumb), offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse (calf), free safety Darian Thompson (foot), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (illness), quarterback Josh Johnson, wide receiver Roger Lewis, and defensive tackle Montori Hughes.

Cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin) and Eli Apple (hamstring) left the game with injuries and did not return. There is no official word yet on the severity of either injury although Rodgers-Cromartie had a noticeable limp in the locker room after the game.

Running back Shane Vereen said after the game he had to see the doctor, but he did not disclose what his injury was.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants three games have been decided by a total of six points.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham caught his 200th career reception in his 30th game. That is the fewest number of games a player needed to reach 200 catches in NFL history. Beckham increased his career total to 3,035 receiving yards in, again, 30 games. That is an NFL record.

GIANTS SIGN ANDREW ADAMS TO 53-MAN ROSTER, CUT MICHAEL HUNTER…
The New York Giants signed safety Andrew Adams to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad on Saturday. To make room for Adams, the Giants waived cornerback Michael Hunter.

ARTICLES…

Aug 202016
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 20, 2016)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BUFFALO BILLS 21 – NEW YORK GIANTS 0…
The New York Giants were shutout by the Buffalo Bills 21-0 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York on Saturday. The Giants are now 0-2 in the preseason under new Head Coach Ben McAdoo.

The offense was pathetic, accruing only 166 total net yards, 64 net passing yards, and seven first downs. And 67 of those yards came on one run by back-up running back Bobby Rainey in the 4th quarter. In four series, the starting offense gained only 23 net yards and one first down. Both pass and run blocking was terrible and the Giants turned the football over four times. The only time the offense seriously threatened – in the fourth quarter – kick Tom Obarski missed a 27-yard field goal.

The individual offensive stats also tell a horrific story.

Eli Manning completed 4-of-9 passes for 44 yards, Ryan Nassib 2-of-12 passes for 25 yards and one lost fumble, and Logan Thomas 2-of-4 passes for 17 yards and two interceptions. Rainey had 70 yards rushing (with 67 yards coming on one late run). Four other running backs carried the ball 14 times for 29 yards with one lost fumble (by Andre Williams).

The Bills scored all of their points in the first half, with their scoring drives starting from the Bills 48-yard line, Giants 49-yard line, and Giants 19-yard line – the latter coming after Nassib’s fumble with 24 seconds left before halftime. Overall, the Giants defense allowed 343 total net yards (70 rushing and 273 passing) with 216 of those yards coming in the first half.

Safety Landon Collins saved more humiliation when he forced a fumble on 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the first quarter. The ball was recovered by defensive tackle Damon Harrison in the end zone. Cornerback/safety Cooper Taylor also intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins, defensive end Olivier Vernon, and defensive end Romeo Okwara each had sacks.

Video lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Not playing were WR Victor Cruz (groin), WR Geremy Davis (hamstring – did not make trip), TE Will Johnson (burner – did not make trip), LG Justin Pugh (shoulder), DE Kerry Wynn (groin – did not make trip), LB J.T. Thomas (hamstring – on the PUP – did not make trip), CB Eli Apple (strained leg muscle), and CB Leon McFadden (bruised lower leg – did not make trip).

WR Dwayne Harris (knee, x-rays were negative) and S Mykkele Thompson (concussion) were injured in the game. No word yet on the severity of the injuries or how much time either will miss.

POST-GAME REACTIONS…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Ben McAdoo (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • RT Marshall Newhouse (Video)
  • OL Bobby Hart (Video)
  • DE Olivier Vernon (Video)
  • S Darian Thompson (Video)

ARTICLES…

Aug 022016
 
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New York Giants Training Camp (July 30, 2016)

New York Giants Training Camp – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 2, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fourth summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

INJURY REPORT – DAMON HARRISON OFF OF THE PUP…
New York Giants defensive tackle Jay Bromley (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (hamstring) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

Defensive tackle Damon Harrison (knee swelling) was activated from the PUP and practiced on Tuesday.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (left leg) did not practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The Giants wore their shoulder pads but were in shorts, not full pads just yet.
  • Giants have used no-huddle offense in every practice.
  • Quarterback Logan Thomas has a strong arm and connected with some receivers, but he also looked indecisive at times and ran with the ball instead.
  • Defensive tackle Damon Harrison worked with the first-team defense and was a noticeable presence in run defense.
  • Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie did a nice job of breaking up passes intended for wide receivers Tavarres King and K.J. Maye.
  • The first-team wide receivers were Geremy Davis, Myles White, and Sterling Shepard (slot). Wide receiver Victor Cruz also received some first-team snaps. Davis and Shepard looked sharp.
  • Roger Lewis and Tavarres King flashed at wide receiver.
  • Wide receiver Sterling Shepard looked good running after the catch and also made a nice diving reception.
  • Wide receiver Geremy Davis beat cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie downfield, but quarterback Eli Manning missed him.
  • Cornerback Trevin Wade had a nice breakup against wide receiver Roger Lewis.
  • Tight end Matt LaCosse had a big catch-and-run over the middle of the defense against safety Landon Collins.
  • Tight end Jerell Adams beat linebacker Kelvin Sheppard over the middle for a nice gain. (VIDEO)
  • Running back Orleans Darkwa had several nice runs.

THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

TOM COUGHLIN NAMED NFL SENIOR ADVISOR TO FOOTBALL OPERATIONS…
The NFL announced on Monday that Tom Coughlin, who served as head coach of the New York Giants from 2004-2015, has been named Senior Advisor to Football Operations.

“We are incredibly pleased to add someone of Coach Coughlin’s experience and character to our staff,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “His passion for football is evident and we are confident he will contribute a great deal to the betterment of the game for current and future players as well as for fans at every level of our sport.”

According to the NFL press release, “Coughlin will advise game-related league committees, including Competition, Health and Safety, Coaches Subcommittee, General Managers Advisory, Combine Review and NCAA Rules and Oversight. He will provide strategic guidance on other matters, including playing rules, coaching techniques, and the development of football personnel, while also providing insight on the operation of the NFL Draft and Pro Bowl.”

“I am looking forward to working with Commissioner Goodell and the talented people representing the National Football League,” Coughlin said.  “My purpose is to serve for the betterment of the great game of football.”

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The fifth training camp practice will be held on Wednesday, but it is not open to the public. Only seven remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public (weather permitting) this year:

  • Thursday, August 4: 10:40 AM – 12:45 PM
  • Friday, August 5: 10:40 AM – 11:40 AM
  • Saturday, August 6: 10:40 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Monday, August 8: 11:10 AM – 12:40 PM
  • Tuesday, August 9: 10:40 AM – 12:55 PM
  • Wednesday, August 10: 10:40 AM – 12:20 PM
  • Sunday, August 14: 11:10 AM – 12:50 PM
Jun 012016
 
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Darian Thompson, New York Giants (May 6, 2016)

Darian Thompson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 1, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their fourth voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Wednesday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

The six remaining OTA practices will be held June 2-3, June 6-7, and June 9-10. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 14-16.

DARIAN THOMPSON SIGNED…
The New York Giants have signed safety Darian Thompson, their 3rd round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Linebacker B.J. Goodson – the team’s 4th round pick – remains the only unsigned draft pick.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
As previously reported, safety Cooper Taylor had surgery in May repair a sports hernia injury and will be out until training camp begins on July 28.

Continuing to work on the side were wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf) and running back Orleans Darkwa (leg). Defensive tackle Montori Hughes (unknown) did not practice.

“(Cruz is) progressing, but he’s still in a holding pattern,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We’re looking forward to getting him back to training camp.”

“(Darkwa is) working through it,” said McAdoo. “He’s making progress. He’s not back yet, but hopefully we have a chance to see him at training camp.”

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul did not attend the voluntary practice on Wednesday.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The first-team wide receivers were Geremy Davis and Myles White. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard also worked some with the first-team offense.
  • The starting offensive line remains Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, Weston Richburg at center, John Jerry at right guard, and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle.
  • Adam Gettis was the center and Bobby Hart the right tackle with the second unit.
  • Center Shane McDermott received first-team reps at right tackle, right guard, center, left guard, and left tackle during walk-through team drills.
  • Tight end Matt LaCosse saw some first-team reps and made some plays.
  • The first-team defensive ends were Owamagbe Odighizuwa (left) and Olivier Vernon (right).
  • The starting linebackers were Jasper Brinkley (middle), Jonathan Casillas, and Devon Kennard.
  • Cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie all worked with the first-team defense. Trevin Wade received reps as slot corner with the first team.
  • Cornerback Donte Deayon made a couple of nice plays in team drills.
  • Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, and Nat Berhe saw time with the first unit at safety.
  • Linebacker B.J. Goodson made a juggling, diving interception.

Sterling Shepard makes plenty of plays | Giants OTA observations by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

NY POST Q&A WITH STERLING SHEPARD…
Meet Giants’ Sterling Shepard: Self scouting report, NY wonder, unflinching mom by Steve Serby of The New York Post

ARTICLES…

Apr 042016
 
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Will Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers (August 29, 2015)

Will Johnson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN WILL JOHNSON…
ESPN reports that the New York Giants are signing unrestricted free agent H-Back/fullback Will Johnson (Pittsburgh Steelers) to a 2-year contract.

The 27-year old, 6’2”, 240-pound Johnson was not drafted and signed with the Steelers in 2012. In four seasons with the Steelers, Johnson only missed one regular-season game, and started 20 contests. He has 31 career receptions for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson is versatile with the ability to play H-Back, tight end, and fullback. He is a good lead blocker who can also catch the football. Johnson is a solid special teams player.

Johnson will likely compete with Nikita Whitlock for the team’s sole fullback spot.

ARTICLES…

Dec 112015
 
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Damontre Moore, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Damontre Moore – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS WAIVE DAMONTRE MOORE…
In a surprise move, the New York Giants have waived defensive end Damontre Moore, the team’s 3rd round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

“We made the move today in the interest of both parties,” said General Manager Jerry Reese.

NFL.com is reporting that Moore was waived, in part, because he got into a fight with a teammate before practice. According to ESPN.com, Moore’s release was “due to repeated violations of team rules and behavior and maturity issues that have not improved during his three years in the NFL” and “that the decision to waive him was based on the accumulation of issues, not just one fight.”

ESPN.com also said that Moore repeatedly responded poorly to efforts by teammates, coaches, and team officials to take practice more seriously and “feuded openly with some team officials, including general manager Jerry Reese, when confronted about his behavior.”

Moore played in 11 games in 2015 with no starts, accruing 23 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Despite being healthy, Moore was inactive in Week 7 against Dallas, presumably for his late hit against the Eagles the week before.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
DE Robert Ayers (neck) and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring/foot) did not practice on Friday. Ayers was a new addition to the injury report after fully practicing on Thursday.

LT Ereck Flowers (ankle), RT Marshall Newhouse (back) and S Brandon Meriweather (knee) were limited in practice. Flowers returned to practice after not practicing on Thursday.

TOM COUGHLIN AND THE COORDINATORS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Instead of practicing, the Giants will hold a “recovery day” on Saturday. The players will select two of six recovery stations, based on seniority. Their choices are massage, yoga, FMS (Functional Movement Screen) exercises designed for the individual, air compression boots, contrast bath (between a hot and cold tub), and self-massage with stick rollers and elastic bands.

The Giants will also have a 45-minute, up-tempo “walk-thru” practice on Sunday that is not open to the media. The Giants play the Miami Dolphins on Monday.

Dec 022015
 
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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
TE Larry Donnell (neck), RT Marshall Newhouse (back), and S Brandon Meriweather (knee) did not practice on Wednesday.

OC Weston Richburg (ankle), LG Justin Pugh (concussion), DE Robert Ayers (toe), and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring/foot) were limited in practice.

“After today, I’m pretty encouraged; (it’s) much better than last week,” Richburg said. “Last week, it was pretty tough, but today’s been much better. I did quite a bit more than I did last week, so it was good. It was very positive…I don’t want to wear it out too early in the week, but I think we’ll just continue to treat it how we treated it today and do the same thing tomorrow. Hopefully, it will feel better on Saturday.”

DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) fully practiced.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
The transcript of Tom Coughlin’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video of player media sessions on Wednesday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday and hold physical recovery cycles on Friday in advance of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.

Aug 292015
 
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Prince Amukamara and Stevie Brown, New York Giants (September 8, 2014)

Prince Amukamara and Stevie Brown – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Express an Interest in Safety Stevie Brown: According to multiple press reports, the New York Giants have expressed an interest in safety Stevie Brown, who was released by the Houston Texans on Friday. Brown was with the Giants from 2012-14, although he missed the entire 2013 season with an ACL tear. An unrestricted free agent this past offseason, Brown signed a 1-year, $3 million deal with the Texans in late April.

Brown played in all 16 games for the Giants in 2014. He started the first three games of the season, lost his starting job for eight weeks to Quintin Demps, then regained it for the last five weeks of the season. Brown finished with 38 tackles, one sack, and one pass defense.

Article on RT Bobby Hart: Bobby Hart rookie check-in: Giants OT analyzes his game, compares Jameis Winston to Eli Manning by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa: Rookie Owa Odighizuwa aspires to be the Giants’ next great pass rusher by James Kratch for NJ.com

Article on CB Jayron Hosley: Jayron Hosley knows it’s now or never to prove himself with Giants by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Article on S Brandon Meriweather: New Giants safety Brandon Meriweather insists aggressive play isn’t dirty by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Jul 092015
 
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Brad Harrah and Bobby Hart, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Brad Harrah and Bobby Hart – © 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: Offensive Line

2014 YEAR IN REVIEW: The overall play of the New York Giants offensive line improved in 2014 from its dreadful performance in 2013 but the unit was still sub par. The Giants were tied for 28th in the NFL with only 3.6 yards per rushing attempt. Pass protection was better as the Giants gave up 30 sacks on the season, which was 9th-best in the NFL. But that figure is a bit misleading given the offense’s new emphasis on getting rid of the ball quickly (West Coast Offense) and quarterback Eli Manning’s long-established tendency to get rid of the ball quickly and not take the sack (which he probably actually should do more often when under duress).

The improvement that did take place not only had to do with the individual components playing better, but the Giants had greater cohesion up front due to far fewer injuries. In 2013, the Giants used seven different starting offensive line combinations, the second-highest total in the NFL that season. In 2014, the same players started all 16 games at left tackle (Will Beatty), center (J.D. Walton), and right guard (John Jerry). Weston Richburg started 15 games at left guard and Justin Pugh started 14 games at right tackle.

That all said, it is widely-recognized that the offensive line was once again a sore spot in 2014. Chris Snee retired before training camp. The Giants counted on high-priced free agent acquisition Geoff Schwartz to be a major building block, but Schwartz only played in two games due to injuries. Beatty had a decent year, but Walton and Jerry really struggled at times. Pugh regressed after a strong rookie season and Richburg experienced the expected growing pains, especially since he was playing out of position. Overall, the line was more finesse than power, which usually is not good for any offense, but especially so for one predicated on balance and the ability to run the football.

Another issue was the overall poor depth situation. James Brewer, Brandon Mosley, Eric Herman, Dallas Reynolds, and Adam Snyder were complete non factors and did not push the weaker links on the line. Adam Gettis was signed late in the season from the Steelers practice squad and ex-Eagle Michael Bamiro was signed to the Giants practice squad.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants released center J.D. Walton in March. Tackle James Brewer signed with the Jets in free agency and the Giants have made no effort to re-sign guard Adam Snyder. The Giants signed CFL All-Star center Brett Jones and street free agent tackle Emmett Cleary early in the offseason and then signed unrestricted free agent tackle Marshall Newhouse from the Bengals.The Giants drafted tackle Ereck Flowers in the first round and guard Bobby Hart in the seventh round. The team also signed rookie free agent tackle Sean Donnelly.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The Giants will enter training camp with no 2014 starter remaining at the same position. Will Beatty tore his pectoral muscle in an offseason weight-lifting accident and will probably miss at least half of the regular season. Because of that, the Giants are starting Ereck Flowers at left tackle at least one year sooner than they anticipated (post-draft comments by Giants officials made it clear that they saw Flowers as Beatty’s eventual replacement). Flowers had been penciled in at right tackle but now Marshall Newhouse – a player benched by the Packers and Bengals – gets first crack at the position. Weston Richburg moves to his more natural position of center. Justin Pugh has shifted from right tackle to left guard. Geoff Schwartz moves from left guard to his more natural right guard position.

The Giants have now invested two first-round draft picks (Pugh and Flowers), two second-round draft picks (Beatty and Richburg), and a high-priced free agent (Schwartz) on the offensive line. Even though Beatty is out, much improvement is expected. On paper, the Giants look strong inside (Pugh-Richburg-Schwartz) with significant question marks at tackle (Flowers and Newhouse). Flowers should eventually excel, but growing pains should be expected. Newhouse’s track record during the last few years has not been good and he appears to be the obvious weak link. The Giants may be forced to move Schwartz to right tackle and start John Jerry at right guard if Newhouse can’t handle the position. The situation should improve when Beatty returns mid-season, but long-term, Beatty may have sealed his fate with the team, especially if Flowers shows steady improvement at left tackle.

Another area of focus is the depth situation and if one of the younger players could possibly surprise and push for a starting job. Brandon Mosley apparently had a good spring as he received some first-team reps during OTAs. The Giants have some very big, young tackles including Michael Bamiro (6’8”, 340lbs), Emmett Cleary (6’7”, 324lbs), and Sean Donnelly (6’7”, 333lbs). The team drafted guard Bobby Hart (6’4”, 334lbs). Brett Jones was a CFL All-Star who is now adjusting to the NFL game.

Overall, the Giants need the line to become a much more physical and intimidating presence. Flowers has a reputation as a bad ass and should help. Pugh and Richburg worked hard in the offseason to get bigger and stronger. The Giants need Schwartz to rebound from a serious ankle injury and be a tough veteran inside.

ON THE BUBBLE: The Giants will probably carry nine offensive linemen. Beatty will probably start the season on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List and not count against the 53-man roster limit. Flowers, Pugh, Richburg, and Schwartz are the locks. Newhouse and Jerry are on shaky ground, but one will likely start and the other will likely provide veteran depth. The other nine offensive linemen will probably be fighting for three spots. Those linemen include Mosley, Bamiro, Cleary, Donnelly, Hart, Jones, Dallas Reynolds, Eric Herman, and Adam Gettis. Troy Kropog is also currently on a PUP List.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Pat Flaherty on Weston Richburg: “Right now the progress is good, it really is. He learned an awful lot last year but I knew that he was going to be a player for a very long time and I know I’m using that, but I believe it because he likes the game of football. He really has embraced the center position because you are the voice of everybody to start out and the quarterback may change things, but you are telling everyone what to do. I think that Weston has a little bit of bossman in him and he likes that.”

Flaherty on Michael Bamiro: “I’ll tell you he is the Kevin Garnett of the football players, that guy is huge. He is a good worker, he really is. He has some position versatility from being a tackle to a guard and we worked out with him. We have to really find out a little more about him when we get on pads, but I like his attitude.”

Flaherty on Justin Pugh: “I think that he likes playing and I love guys who like playing. I think any position that you put him at, he would play it. He would like to be a guy that is settled in one position. Most guys are that way. I think you probably get that feeling from him more than anything. He would only get better at the tackle position for us. Is he a better guard than tackle? He is going to be a good football player…Justin has very good feet, he is a very good athlete, has tremendous lower body strength and when you get closer to the ball at the guard position, you are going to be blocking bigger people, so I think that is going to be an advantage for us. He will be able to block those people.”

Flaherty on Geoff Schwartz: “Geoff wants to do it and he has worked awful hard to get back from his injury and he just needs to have the good luck charm on his side for once. Once he is able to do that, here is a guy that can be in the next half dozen years and have a tremendous finish to his career.”

PREDICTIONS: While there will be growing pains with Ereck Flowers, 4/5ths of the Giants offensive line could be set for a few years provided there are no more injuries and Schwartz recovers well from his ankle injury. Flowers will bring much-needed toughness and physicality to the line. Richburg seems primed to develop into a good one at center and the Giants seem to think Pugh will excel at left guard. In fact, these three players could not only be solid, but very good.

“We like (Flowers) as a future left tackle of the New York Giants. I am very comfortable with him being out there right now,” said Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo during the mini-camp.

“(Pugh) is a football-smart guy,” said McAdoo. “He is a hard worker. He brings a nice level of physicality that we like. Some grit to the position right there. It is probably a position that doesn’t get as much glamor as a tackle, but when you are on the left side, it is important position to protect the backside of the quarterback away from his vision. The left guard position is especially important because a lot goes on there on the inside. When one becomes two and two becomes three and when zero becomes one and all the movement happens, you have to make quick decisions and we feel Justin can do that.”

“Weston is a natural center,” said McAdoo. “I am excited for him. I am excited for the offense. I think he brings some energy to the position and to the offense. He’s a guy who likes to have control of things and likes to have his hand on the football. He works very hard at it. I like Weston.”

The obvious question mark is Newhouse at right tackle. He could be the Achilles’ heel for the entire line. Given his struggles in the league the last few years, it’s hard to imagine him being the answer. If he has problems early, the Giants may have to pull the plug and scramble to fill the position. While fans knock John Jerry, he may be an important piece of the short-term puzzle. The pie-in-the-sky hope is that someone like Mosley or Bamiro presses for starting time.

“Marshall has played a little bit of everywhere,” said McAdoo. “I was with him in the past when he first got into the league. He has played just about every position. I believe he even snapped the ball at one point. He is a smart guy. He gets the game. He is very nimble-footed. We need to get some pads on and get out there and get a look at him with the defense moving and be physical. He has done it before and he has done it at a high level before and he will have an opportunity to be a major contributor this year.”

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Flowers, Pugh, Richburg, Schwartz, Newhouse, Jerry, Mosley, Hart, and Jones.