Jul 072015
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (October 28, 2012)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © 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: Defensive Ends

2014 YEAR IN REVIEW: Ever since the New York Giants transitioned to the 4-3 defense from the 3-4 in 1994, the defensive line has been the heart of a New York Giants defense. But for the third time in the last four seasons, the defense gave up over 6,000 yards (the only times in franchise history the defense has done so). Everyone is to blame, including the defensive ends.

The headliner up front, Jason Pierre-Paul (JPP) started the season off slowly and didn’t really impact games the way he should until the Giants were already out of playoff contention. Mathias Kiwanuka started 11 games at left defensive end, but did not play well and finished the season on Injured Reserve. Free agent acquisition Robert Ayers flashed as a pass rusher at both defensive tackle and end, but was inconsistent against the run and also finished the season on IR. The coaching staff did not appear to trust Damontre Moore, who did not start a game. By year’s end, he was surprisingly passed on the depth chart by undrafted rookie Kerry Wynn. Jordan Stanton was a rookie free agent who spent a couple of stints on the Practice Squad.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants waived Mathias Kiwanuka in February. The team signed George Selvie (1-year, $1.2 million) in free agency. The Giants drafted Owamagbe Odighizuwa in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft and signed Brad Harrah as a rookie free agent after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Even before the July 4th fireworks accident that caused severe burns to one of his hands, Pierre-Paul was going to be the main focus given that it was likely (now certain) that he was going to play out the season on his $14.813 million Franchise tender. JPP had a bounce-back year in 2014 but everyone is still looking for the 2011 version of the player who dominated. The Giants are most likely concerned about his inconsistency, previous back injury issues, dedication and focus, and now judgement if he signs a huge, multi-year contract. At this time, it is unknown how Pierre-Paul’s hand injuries will impact his availability and performance in training camp, the preseason, and the regular season. ESPN is reporting that JPP may not return to the line-up until after the beginning of the regular season.

That all said, Pierre-Paul is still one of the very best defensive ends in the NFL, the best player on the Giants defense, and one of the few impact players on the team. How well he plays in 2015 will most likely determine if he remains a New York Giant after the season.

“If you just watch tape with JPP out there, it is evident to me that he is an elite defensive end and fits a 4-3 system, which is exciting,” said Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo in June.

The other big issue is who starts at left defensive end opposite of Pierre-Paul? Mathias Kiwanuka is no longer in the picture. Though he has bulked up to about 255 pounds, Damontre Moore appears to lack the size and strength to anchor the strongside. So unless Steve Spagnuolo moves JPP to left end, Moore will probably be relegated to a situational pass rusher when JPP returns to the starting lineup. Moore does believe his pass rushing skill set is better suited to Spagnuolo’s system.

Robert Ayers was arguably the team’s best pass rusher until he got hurt and JPP improved down the stretch, but he was up and down in run defense in 2014.

George Selvie was a solid strongside run defender in Dallas who occasionally flashed on the pass rush. “George is going to fill in that gap that we have on that other side,” said Pierre-Paul, who played with Selvie in college. “He is going to fight for that starting spot. That’s a good thing. That will make everybody work harder.”

The dark horse could be Kerry Wynn, the 2014 rookie free agent with a nice combination of size, strength, and athletic ability. He received significant playing time in the final month of the 2014 season. The initial impression of his overall game is that he is a better run defender than pass rusher.

Physically-speaking, Owa Odighizuwa may be the most talented of the group. It would be difficult for a rookie to win the starting job, but Odighizuwa has the tools to become a very good two-way defensive end. He could surprise early.

ON THE BUBBLE: There will be some extremely tough decisions at defensive end. Normally the Giants would only carry four or five defensive ends. Barring injury, the only sure bets to make the roster are Pierre-Paul and Odighizuwa. Complicating matters is that JPP may not be on the active roster early in the season. It would be difficult to see the Giants giving up on Moore and Wynn just yet. Ayers is on the bubble, but he is a very good situational pass rusher. If Selvie plays in camp like he did with Dallas in 2013, he will be difficult to cut. Jordan Stanton has talent, but he and Harrah are extreme long shots.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Robert Nunn on Jason Pierre-Paul: “You would hope (JPP starts 2015 like he finished 2014). His numbers increased there at the end. I thought he did some good things throughout but just didn’t have the numbers to show for it, and I have said that over and over, sacks are a little overrated, but his quarterback hits and his pressures, he was doing some good things. They were counting for him in a lot of different ways and he took advantage of some opportunities there at the end and got his numbers up. His tackles had to be up there in the top of the league. I don’t know where he was, but he had to be top two or three as far as the production and as far as in the run game and his pass production there at the end. I think it is just coming in healthy and in the right frame of mind and getting ready to start, he is going to be behind (due to missing the spring offseason work) but that is where we will start.”

Nunn on George Selvie: “Selvie is solid, he is a solid pro. He played well last year in Dallas and he has been steady.”

PREDICTIONS: With the signing of George Selvie, the drafting of Owa Odighizuwa, and the likelihood that Jason Pierre-Paul will miss training camp, I am guessing that Pierre-Paul will stay at right defensive end. Because of that, I have a hard time seeing Damontre Moore starting once Pierre-Paul returns to the starting line-up. Ultimately, Owa Odighizuwa will start at left defensive end, but I doubt it happens early in the 2015 season and may not happen until 2016. Unless Ayers dramatically improves his consistency against the run or Odighizuwa really surprises early, I think the starting left defensive end job will be between George Selvie and Kerry Wynn.

JPP was in great shape and looked primed for a big season before the July 4th accident. Now it remains to be seen how the hand injuries will impact his game. Even if he is ready physically for the season opener, the time he missed with the team in the spring and now potentially in the summer will set him back in the new defense. Another question is will the Giants get a solid consistent pass rush on first and second down from the player opposite Pierre-Paul? Selvie and Wynn have flashed in that area but their overall pass-rush ability remains a question mark. Situationally, Ayers proved to be a disruptive pass rusher particularly from the defensive tackle position and I think Spagnuolo will use Moore far better than Perry Fewell did.

If the Giants can get opposing teams into a lot of third-and-long situations, they will present problems with pass rushers like JPP, Moore, Ayers, and Odighizuwa, not to mention Devon Kennard and possibly Jay Bromley. But first and second down could be a problem. All three NFC East rivals like to run the football.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Even before Pierre-Paul’s accident, I was going to go out on a limb and say the Giants would keep six defensive ends: Pierre-Paul, Odighizuwa, Moore, Wynn, Ayers, and Selvie. Now I’m even more convinced. All six can have important roles on the team. Ayers is too good of an inside pass rusher to cut. The Giants were really high on Wynn when they signed him as a rookie last year and thus far he hasn’t disappointed. Selvie could be vulnerable if he does not flash in the preseason and Wynn does, but my guess is the coaches will be more comfortable with his veteran presence in the line-up on opening night. I’m really hoping things work out for Pierre-Paul and the Giants long term because replacing JPP in 2016 would be extremely difficult.

Jun 012015
 
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JUNE 1, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…

The New York Giants completed their fourth of ten Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Monday.

Phase Three (Weeks 6-9) of the New York Giants voluntary nine-week offseason program started last week. During Phase Three of offseason programs, NFL teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTAs. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The final six OTA practices will be held June 2, June 4, June 8-9, and June 11-12. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 16-18.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…

Tight end Larry Donnell (Achilles tendinitis), DE Robert Ayers (sprained ankle), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice.

Wide receiver Victor Cruz (knee) did not practice but worked on the side.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham (sore hamstring, not the same one as last year) was limited.

“It’s always frustrating when you have to miss what you love doing,” Beckham said. “Just not practicing today was enough for me. But it’s part of the game. The good thing is that it’s just precautionary.”

Linebacker Devon Kennard (ankle) returned to practice.

Linebacker Jon Beason missed the voluntary practice due to a cancelled flight.

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who has yet to sign his Franchise tender, has not been participating in the voluntary OTA workouts.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The starting offensive line currently remains LT Ereck Flowers, LG Justin Pugh, OC Weston Richburg, RG Geoff Schwartz, and RT Marshall Newhouse.
  • George Selvie, Kerry Wynn, and Cullen Jenkins rotated at defensive end on the first-team unit.
  • Jameel McClain practiced with the first team at middle linebacker with J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas playing outside. Devon Kennard also saw first-team reps in lieu of Casillas.
  • Jerome Cunningham and Adrien Robinson saw first-team reps at tight end. Cunningham looked sharp catching the football. (Giants.com video)
  • WR Rueben Randle caught two touchdown passes from QB Eli Manning.
  • Others who flashed catching the ball were WR Corey Washington, TE Will Tye, and RB Orleans Darkwa (Giants.com)
  • With Odell Beckham out of team drills, wideouts Preston Parker, Washington, Marcus Harris, and Dwayne Harris saw extra work in his spot.
  • P Steve Weatherford practiced despite being in an early-morning car accident.

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

Q: Re: Larry Donnell?

A: He has tendinitis, so they put him in a boot.

Q: Is this something that happened last week?

A: It is ongoing. He had a little bit of that in college.

Q: Where is the tendonitis?

A: It is his Achilles.

Q: Re: Odell Beckham Jr.?

A: Odell is sore. Precautionary.

Q: Hamstring?

A: Yeah, not the same side.

Q: Re: Jon Beason’s absence?

A: His flight was cancelled this morning from Charlotte. He will be here this afternoon.

Q: You brought in an offensive lineman (Jake Long) last week… What was the thinking behind that?

A: Just a visit. It was a good visit. He ate well. He had a nice time visiting with us.

Q: Re: Joint practices with the Cincinnati Bengals?

A: At one time, we did it a lot. I just think going out and having a couple practices against somebody else, [there will be] a little more intensity, especially going into that first game. Maybe have your ones take a few more reps than they normally would because of the way the game will be played. It will really benefit our team.

Q: Jerome Cunningham looked like he took advantage of his playing time today?

A: Yeah, he made a couple plays today. He has gotten plenty of playing time. Hopefully he will continue to benefit from it.

Q: How is the offensive line looking as you configure it?

A: It is obvious you throw an awful lot at them – the young guys are doing okay. Progress is being made and this is what [OTA’s] are all about. Throwing them in there and letting them go. See how they do.

Q: Can you gauge where this offense is a year later?

A: We are way ahead in terms of that. The familiarity as the different installations go and the familiarity by the players, at least the guys that have been here, so what we are talking about here is obvious. There is an awful lot of information being thrown at them. They seem to being handling it well. Some of the new guys have done well with it. I haven’t seen a lot of issues with that. It is natural. They have heard it. They have played it. They have been involved with adjustments. As we do more and more adjusting, they are picking that up as well.

Q: What do you like about adding Shane Vereen on the field and in the running backs room?

A: He is a solid, solid young man. A very positive young man who’s happy to be here and looks forward to contributing. When we brought him in we thought here is a guy that catches the ball out of the backfield and would be another obvious weapon that would have to be defended as well as some of the other people we have here.

Q: What were your immediate thoughts when you heard of Steve Weatheford’s accident?

A: Thank goodness that he is okay. That was a scary, scary thing.

Q: Did you say anything to the players about that?

A: No, I didn’t. As a matter of fact, we were well into meetings when I found out about it. I am sure they all know about it by now.

Q: Does that put life into perspective? He goes from the birth of his baby girl to possibly losing his life?

A: Difficult thing to talk about. That is the first thing that popped into my mind as well. He rushed to get back here. Obviously the weather caused a different set of plans. Then there was another set of plans when he was in Washington. He is close to finally arriving here and he runs into the water.

Q: He could have stayed home for a few days after his wife just had the baby?

A: He has been home quite a while. They anticipated, so he was anxious. We shared the fact that it was a difficult thing under those circumstances to leave your wife and newborn, but he wanted to get back here and he wanted to get back on the field with his teammates. He was saying all along when the baby was born he would be on a plane the next day.

Q: How is Robert Ayers Jr. doing?

A: His ankle is swollen. He is still limping a little bit. Sprained ankle. Lateral ankle sprain. Quite a bit of swelling.

Q: Is Cooper Taylor getting an extensive look at safety because Nat Berhe isn’t available or do you see something?

A: Those that are here are going to get a good look. There are not that many guys working right now and they all are getting a lot of reps. We are looking for Nat to get back in there and help balance it out.

Q: Re: Cooper Taylor?

A: He flashed a few times today and I was glad to see that. Big, strong man. If we can keep him healthy and he can stay out there.

Q: Has Damontre Moore caught up?

A: I don’t think he is all the way caught up, but I was impressed. I was in the training room watching them exercise that shoulder and he has done well with that. I think he is starting to grasp – going back over, he has individual meeting times. He is catching up.

Q: Is Cullen Jenkins playing defensive end something you guys would do or are you doing that because you are short?

A: He is flopping around largely because of the [number of ends], but it is something that could happen.

Q: Are you alright with the offensive line you have now or are you going to add something?

A: We’ll see what happens. We’ll see how we finish the spring here and so on and so forth.

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

May 282015
 
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Ryan Nassib (9), Ben McAdoo, and Eli Manning (10), New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Ryan Nassib, Ben McAdoo, and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MAY 28, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…

The New York Giants completed their second of ten Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Thursday. The Thursday session was not open to the media, but Giants.com did report some of the following tidbits:

  • The starting offensive line was LT Ereck Flowers, LG Justin Pugh, OC Weston Richburg, RG Geoff Schwartz, and RT Marshall Newhouse.
  • QB Ryan Nassib apparently had a very sharp practice and completed two nice sideline throws to WR Marcus Harris (video) and another pass to TE Adrien Robinson (video). “The Syracuse product showed great touch on a handful of perfect passes throughout practice,” reported Dan Salomone of Giants.com.
  • QB Eli Manning continued to connect with WR Corey Washington. He also hit WR Preston Parker for a touchdown.
  • The tight ends apparently had an active day, including Adrien Robinson, Daniel Fells, and Matt LaCosse.
  • While there were no interceptions in practice on Thursday, CB Prince Amukamara broke up a pass and DE Keryy Wynn batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.

Phase Three (Weeks 6-9) of the New York Giants voluntary nine-week offseason program started this week. During Phase Three of offseason programs, NFL teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTAs. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The OTA practices will be held May 27-29, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-9, and June 11-12. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 16-18.

Articles on the New York Giants OTAs:

Article on QB Eli Manning: Eli surprises with bold proclamation by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Articles on LG Justin Pugh:

Article on DE Damontre Moore: Damontre Moore gets new opportunity with Giants by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Giants expect Jason Pierre-Paul to be at team’s minicamp in June by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on Former Giants OT Kareem McKenzie: From OT Kareem McKenzie to Dr. Kareem McKenzie by NFLPlayerEngagement.com

May 272015
 
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Ryan Nassib (9) and Eli Manning (10), New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Ryan Nassib and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MAY 27, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…

Phase Three (Weeks 6-9) of the New York Giants voluntary nine-week offseason program started this week. During Phase Three of offseason programs, NFL teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activities, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The OTA practices will be held May 27-29, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-9, and June 11-12. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 16-18.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…

Linebacker Devon Kennard (ankle) and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice. Head Coach Tom Coughlin indicated that neither injury was serious.

Wide receiver Victor Cruz (knee) did not practice but worked on the side. “(Things) are going well,” Cruz said. “I moved into running more routes and running some more patterns. Feeling more confident in that regard. It is feeling really good right now. I think the guys are just going to take it slow. I think I am going to do some individuals later on. I think sometime in June and then we will take it from there.”

Offensive guard Geoff Schwartz (still recovering from ankle surgery) was limited, but practiced.

Defensive end Robert Ayers left practice early with injuries to his left ankle and knee. “He hurt his ankle and his knee,” said Coughlin. “We don’t know too much about it, except it seems like the ankle right now…It was the first play and he, for some reason, went low and got pushed down into the ground. How he did that, I am not exactly sure. This is a time when if you really understand what phase three is, which they have been told there is not any live contact and they have to play with their hands and their feet. I am disappointed in that, but I am hoping what it turns out to be is not serious.”

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who has yet to sign his Franchise tender, did not make an appearance today and is not expected to participate in the voluntary OTA workouts. Punter Steve Weatherford, whose wife is expecting, also did not attend.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The initial first-team offensive line was LT Ereck Flowers, LG Justin Pugh, OC Weston Richburg, RG John Jerry, and RT Marshall Newhouse. Geoff Schwartz also got some work at right guard.
  • Second-team offensive line was LT Michael Bamiro, OG Brandon Mosley, OC Dallas Reynolds, RG Adam Gettis, and RT Emmett Cleary.
  • First-team safeties on defense were Landon Collins and Cooper Taylor. Bennett Jackson also received some first-team reps.
  • Giants nickel defense had Collins and Taylor at safety, Jon Beason and J.T. Thomas at linebacker, Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at corner, and Trumaine McBride at the slot corner position.
  • “With [Devon] Kennard sidelined, I thought it was interesting that the coaches had Jonathan Casillas line up at the SAM instead of Jameel McClain, who lined up as the Mike with the second-string unit. Anyway, the rest of the first-team linebackers were J.T. Thomas at the WIL, and Jon Beason in the middle.” (InsideFootball.com)
  • Wide receiver Corey Washington made two nice goal-line touchdown catches against cornerback Prince Amukamara.
  • “Tight end Adrien Robinson got into the mix throughout practice, catching a touchdown in the right corner of the end zone from Manning to end the first period of team drills.” (Giants.com)

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

Q: What does the Will Beatty news from last week do to your offensive line?

A: Obviously it is a loss for our team in terms of the quality of player being available for us, but we just have to move on. Our plans are to continue to try to figure out how this line is going to fall out, who is going to be where. We will probably try some different combinations to get there. Hopefully, it has to happen…if a team is going to make a move, perhaps somebody that we didn’t really count on originally, because of the number of reps they are going to get, will benefit from that.

Q: What do you think of Ereck Flowers at left tackle?

A: I thought he was heck of a football player or he wouldn’t be here. Outstanding feet, nifty for a big man. Yes, all the above.

Q: Many people said in time he might be a left tackle, but not right now… Your thoughts about that?

A: I don’t subscribe to that – what people, what they say – he is our kid. He is an outstanding young player. He is going to do nothing but get better. Sure, there are going to be things that happen to him that haven’t happened before. We knew there were a couple of things we need to clarify and work on him, but he will work.

Q: Re: Robert Ayers Jr. leaving practice?

A: He hurt his ankle and his knee. We don’t know too much about it, except it seems like the ankle right now. I wouldn’t say anything…

Q: Three of the last four years you have had a serious injury in the spring practice period. Have you adjusted anything for that?

A: When you take the field, just like when you walk across the street, you don’t expect anything to happen. It is under control. There are no pads on. It was the first play and he, for some reason, went low and got pushed down into the ground. How he did that, I am not exactly sure. This is a time when if you really understand what phase three is, which they have been told there is not any live contact and they have to play with their hands and their feet. I am disappointed in that, but I am hoping what it turns out to be is not serious.

Q: What about weight room injuries? Are those things that are just going to happen some times?

A: He (Beatty) was trying to get better. What he was trying to do was get strong, which I think our team has to do and I have said that. He was working with ‘x’ amount of weight. I am not going to tell you what it was, and he was in the middle of his second rep when this unfortunate thing happened. Why did it happen? Who knows, but it is most unfortunate.

Q: Did you look into the Beatty injury the same way you have studied other injuries?

A: Yeah, we can do that. We have talked about that and made some adjustments.

Q: How would you characterize [Justin] Pugh at guard, an experiment or something permanent?

A: I think it is an attempt to take advantage of a very versatile, gifted athlete. I guess ‘experiment’ would be a word you could say because he hasn’t played there. We moved him there with the full intent that he would be able to play there. Do we have to take another look? Perhaps.

Q: Was Pugh moved to guard prior to Will Beatty’s injury?

A: Yeah, sure. He was out there and he was playing it.

Q: What do you say to the notion that the only thing holding back your offense from being explosive is the play of the offensive line?

A: Having said that, I don’t think that would be the case. 28 sacks – if that is the case, then we will coach them up and they will play and they will play well. I really believe that. There are a lot of pieces that you well know. There is nothing to be assumed about anything. A lot of things have to happen to get right back where or above where we played last year. It wasn’t good enough.

Q: Is there something with Devon Kennard?

A: A little bit of an ankle.

Q: What about Nat Berhe?

A: He was out here a week ago and he had a knot in his calf that came about after his work, so [medical] is just holding him.

Q: Has anyone communicated with [Jason Pierre-Paul]?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you anticipate him for the mandatory mini-camp?

A: I do.

Q: How about Victor Cruz?

A: He has progressed. He is beyond the straight-ahead stuff. He has started to maneuver and cut. He has come along well.

Q: Are you hopeful JPP will be here or has he communicated that he will be?

A: The question that was asked of me was do I expect him to be here and I said, ‘Yes.’  It is not hopeful. It is I expect him to be here. Could it be that he won’t be here? That could happen, sure.

Q: What is the goal on the defensive side here in terms of what you are trying to do with installing the new defense?

A: The goal is to – what new terminology there is, what new identifications, whatever aspect of the defense that may be something that we have done before, but that name may have been changed. We introduced all of these things to [the players] to allow for [Defensive Coordinator] Steve [Spagnuolo] to get to work with all these players and have good impact in how we use them. It is a good period of time for Steve to get to know our players and for our players to be introduced to the terminology that we will use this year.

Q: Do you see any similarities from last year when you put in a new offense in terms of having to install a new defensive system?

A: You have to start somewhere and we are introducing as much as we can in the spring. In the fall we will continue to come back with a microscope this time and add whatever we think we need to go out and defend.

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

QB Eli Manning on his second offseason in Ben McAdoo’s offense: “It was big. It was important having this last month – watching the film, talking a lot about the mechanics, the footwork, being able to go outside with him and working on a lot of drill work. A lot of it is stuff I wasn’t able to do last year. I was coming off the ankle surgery, I had a new offense – of lot of things going through the mind, trying to figure out concepts. This year, I understand the concepts. I’m still working on it, but I’m concentrating on the footwork and the mechanics and the timing of everything. It was great to have that this year and kind of get back to the basics of everything. I feel comfortable, I feel real good right now.”

OL Justin Pugh on why he likes playing guard: “Having the ability to get free shots on guys, going up to the linebackers, I can utilize my ability to pull. I am embracing it. I am going to be the best left guard that I can be and help produce for this team. We have to run the ball and we have to be stout…My left tackle is going to love playing next to me.”

OL Weston Richburg on playing center: “Today felt right. I like center because it gives me a little more control, per se. I am directing the offensive line. I like that leadership role. I really enjoyed being there today and being in charge of making those calls and communicating with Eli. It was fun.”

OL Marshall Newhouse on the team’s offensive line: “This is a strong group. It is just a smart, tough group that is very gritty and ready to fight. I have definitely seen that and I only expect that to get better.”

RELATED ARTICLES…

Apr 212015
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 23, 2014)

Odell Beckham and Giants face Cowboys in opener – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2015 Schedule Released: The New York Giants 2015 regular-season schedule has been released. The schedule includes two Sunday night games (the season opener in Dallas and a home game vs. San Francisco), two Monday night road games (at Philadelphia and at Miami), and a Thursday night home game vs. Washington.

The Giants will play three of their first five games at home and four of their first six games at night.

  • Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13 – at Dallas Cowboys, 8:30 p.m.
  • Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20 – vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 3: Thursday, Sept. 24 – vs. Washington, 8:25 p.m.
  • Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4 – at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11 – vs. San Francisco 49ers, 8:30 p.m.
  • Week 6: Monday, Oct. 19 – at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:30 p.m.
  • Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25 – vs. Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m.
  • Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1 – at New Orleans Saints, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8 – at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:05 p.m.
  • Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15 – vs. New England Patriots, 4:25 p.m.
  • Week 11: BYE WEEK
  • Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29 – at Washington, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6 – vs. New York Jets, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 14: Monday, Dec. 14 – at Miami Dolphins, 8:30 p.m.
  • Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 20 – vs. Carolina Panthers, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27 – at Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 p.m.
  • Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3 – vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 p.m.

“This is a difficult schedule that includes many formidable opponents,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. “We will face a challenge every week, not only in who we play, but with the different elements of our schedule. In the first six weeks of the season, we play two Sunday night games, a Thursday night game and a Monday night game.

“We open the season in the NFC East at Dallas, which won the division last year. We’re playing some teams that are growing with new coaches. The AFC East includes the Super Bowl champions, a Miami team that just missed the playoffs last year and two teams, the Jets and Bills, which have new coaches. We have an unusually late bye this season, which we will hopefully use to our advantage.”

Giants.com Q&A with Odell Beckham: A video of a Q&A session with WR Odell Beckham is available at Giants.com.

Article on DE Damontre Moore: Giants defensive end Damontre Moore will not attend offseason program while finishing classes by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Feb 152015
 
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Cullen Jenkins, New York Giants (December 14, 2014)

Cullen Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Contract Re-Structure for New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins: According to OverTheCap.com, the New York Giants and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins have agreed to a contract re-structure. According to NFL Players Association (NFLPA) records, Jenkins’ 2015 salary was reduced from $2.2 million to $1 million. OverTheCap.com says the re-structure will create $825,000 in additional cap space for the team.

In 2014, Jenkins was troubled by a calf injury, missed four games, and had a sub-par season, finishing with only 16 tackles and one sack in 12 games with 11 starts.

Article on New York Giants Recovering from Injuries: Giants offseason injury updates: Victor Cruz, Cooper Taylor, Geoff Schwartz and more by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on the Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: Giants hoping they can make another pick like Odell Beckham Jr. by Tom Rock of Newsday

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

Feb 092015
 
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Johnathan Hankins, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Johnathan Hankins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Ever since the New York Giants transitioned to the 4-3 defense from the 3-4 in 1994, the defensive line has been the heart of a New York Giants defense that had made eight playoff appearances in 21 seasons, and has helped the team reach three NFL Championship games, winning two. Yet with the free agent losses of defensive end Justin Tuck and defensive tackle Linval Joseph before the season, and a free agent spending spree at cornerback, the Giants entered training camp with the expectation by some that the defensive backfield might surpass the defensive line as the strength of the team. In the end, injuries sabotaged the secondary and the defensive line did indeed regress.

The Giants finished 29th in defense in terms of yards allowed and 22nd in points allowed. The Giants were 30th against the run in terms of total yards allowed and 32nd in terms of yards-per-rush allowed (4.9). New York was 18th against the pass. The good news was they finished 4th in the NFL in terms of sacks with 47. But after Perry Fewell’s defense gave up over 6,000 yards for the third time in four seasons (the only times in history of the franchise that has occurred), he was fired in January.

The best players up front were clearly defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. But Pierre-Paul started the season off slowly and didn’t really impact games the way he should until the Giants were already out of playoff contention. Hankins had a breakout year in his sophomore season. But it wasn’t enough.

Mathias Kiwanuka started 11 games at left defensive end, but did not play well and finished the season on Injured Reserve. Free agent acquisition Robert Ayers flashed as a pass rusher at both defensive tackle and end, but was inconsistent against the run and also finished the season on IR. The coaching staff did not appear to trust Damontre Moore, who did not start a game. By year’s end, he was surprisingly passed on the depth chart by undrafted rookie Kerry Wynn.

At tackle, Cullen Jenkins was bothered by a nagging calf issue and was barely noticeable. Mike Patterson and Markus Kuhn were easily blocked and rarely made any plays. Jay Bromley saw more action down the stretch, but his rookie season was a wash.

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (December 14, 2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

DEFENSIVE ENDS

In his fifth NFL season, Jason Pierre-Paul had his second-best season, starting all 16 games and finishing with 77 tackles, 12.5 sacks, six pass defenses, and three forced fumbles. Pierre-Paul played the run well most of the year and finished up strong as a pass rusher after a slow start, with nine of his sacks coming in the last five games of the season. Pierre-Paul was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2010 NFL Draft. His best season came in 2011 when he accrued 86 tackles and 16.5 sacks. 2012 and 2013 were down seasons for him with a total of only 8.5 sacks. Pierre-Paul had surgery in June 2013 to repair a herniated disc in his lower back and suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the last five games of that season. Pierre-Paul has an excellent combination of size, strength, and athleticism. When healthy and focused, Pierre-Paul can be an explosive, disruptive difference-maker. His tremendous wingspan helps him to bat passes down at the line of scrimmage (28 career pass defenses and 2 interceptions). As a pass rusher, he can beat blockers with both power and movement skills. He could improve his initial quickness off the snap. Pierre-Paul is a very good run defender both at the point-of-attack as well as in backside pursuit. He can be vulnerable to misdirection such as on read-option plays. To become a truly great player, Pierre-Paul needs to be consistently great on a game-to-game basis and not disappear in some contests.

Mathias Kiwanuka started the first 11 games of the season, but he was placed on Injured Reserve in December 2014 with a knee injury that troubled him much of the year. Kiwanuka had a disappointing season, finishing with only 28 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Kiwanuka has shifted between defensive end and linebacker ever since he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He primarily played linebacker for the Giants in 2007 and 2010-12, and defensive end in 2006, 2008-09, and 2013-14. Kiwanuka combines good size and overall athleticism, but he never really developed as expected and now may be slowing down. Kiwanuka has never been a consistent pass rusher and his play against the run deteriorated in 2014.

Robert Ayers, New York Giants (November 16, 2014)

Robert Ayers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Robert Ayers proved to be one of the team’s best pass rushers as key rotational player who could play both end and defensive tackle in pass rush situations. Before he was placed on Injured Reserve in December 2014 with a torn pectoral muscle, in 12 games with one start, Ayers accrued 22 tackles, five sacks, one pass defense, and one forced fumble. Ayers was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL by the Broncos. In five seasons with the Broncos, Ayers played in 72 regular-season games with 27 starts. He signed with the Giants as a free agent in April 2014. Ayers has good size for a defensive end and his quickness and overall athleticism presents problems for guards and centers when he lines up at tackle in pass rush situations. He is an average run defender at best and would earn more playing time if he could improve in this area.

More was hoped for and expected from Damontre Moore in 2014. Moore played in all 16 games but he had no starts and finished the year with 32 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two pass defenses. Moore was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Moore lacks ideal size and timed speed, but he flashes as a pass rusher. His biggest issues are his sub-par play against the run and mental mistakes, the latter two causing him to be by-passed on the depth chart.

Kerry Wynn, New York Giants (December 21, 2014)

Kerry Wynn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

An undrafted rookie free agent signed after the 2014 NFL Draft, Kerry Wynn was a pleasant surprise. Not only did he make the 53-man roster but he received significant playing time in the final month of the season and finished the year with 17 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one pass defense, and one interception. Wynn has a nice combination of size, strength, and overall athletic ability. He appears to be a smart, heady player who performed well against the run. He did not really stick out as a pass rusher and will need to improve in this area.

Paul Hazel was signed to the Practice Squad and then 53-man roster in December 2014. Hazel was originally signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as a rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft. He was claimed by the Browns after the Jaguars waived him and he played in 13 games in 2013 for Cleveland. The Texans then claimed Hazel off of waivers from the Browns in March 2014, but he did not make the team. Hazel is a tall, thin pass rusher who has spent time at linebacker.

Jordan Stanton was signed to the Practice Squad in August 2014, cut, and then added to the Practice Squad again in December 2014. Stanton was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. Stanton has decent size and flashes some ability, but he did not really standout in the 2014 preseason.

Johnathan Hankins, New York Giants (December 14, 2014)

Johnathan Hankins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

Johnathan Hankins became a full-time starter in 2014, a year after he was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft and playing in 11 games as a reserve. Hankins started all 16 games and finished the year with 51 tackles, seven sacks, three pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Hankins has a nice combination of size, strength, and overall athletic ability. He is a stout run defender. Hankins surprised with his ability to rush the passer both in terms of his power and agility. Hankins has the ability to become one of the NFL’s better defensive tackles.

In 2014, Cullen Jenkins was troubled by a calf injury, missed four games, and had a sub-par season, finishing with only 16 tackles and one sack in 12 games with 11 starts. Jenkins was originally signed by Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent after the 2003 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but spent time in NFL Europe and then re-signed with the Packers in 2004. Jenkins played with the Packers (2004-10) until he signed with the Eagles (2011-12). He was signed by the Giants in March 2013 after he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles. Jenkins lacks ideal size and is on the downside of his career. In his prime, he was a solid two-way defensive tackle who could play the run and rush the passer. Versatile, he has experience as a defensive tackle and defensive end in the 4-3, and as a defensive end in the 3-4.

Mike Patterson played all 16 games in 2014, starting eight, but he only finished the season with 27 tackles and no sacks or other big plays. Patterson was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2005 NFL Draft by Philadelphia, where in eight seasons he played in 115 regular-season games with 99 starts. Patterson underwent brain surgery in January 2012 to repair an arteriovenous malformation. He played in just five games in 2012 before being placed on the reserve/non-football illness list with pneumonia. Patterson was signed by the Giants in April 2013 after being cut by the Philadelphia Eagles. Patterson lacks ideal size. He is a non-factor on the pass rush and his run defense deteriorated in 2014.

Markus Kuhn, New York Giants (December 7, 2014)

Markus Kuhn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

In his third season with the Giants, Markus Kuhn saw his most playing time, playing in 14 games with one start. He finished the season with 19 tackles and one sack. Kuhn was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Giants. He suffered a torn ACL knee injury that season and began the following season on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List before being activated to the 53-man roster in November. Kuhn was born in Germany and was only a one-year starter in college. Kuhn has good size and he is a hard worker, but he does not really stand out as either a run defender or pass rusher.

The Giants drafted Jay Bromley in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft. While active for eight games, he did not see a lot of snaps and only finished the season with five tackles and no sacks. Bromley combines decent size and strength with good athletic ability. Bromley is more of a 3-technique disruptor than 1-technique run stuffer. He needs to improve his play against the run.

Dominique Hamilton spent most of the season on the Practice Squad but was signed to the 53-man roster twice in December 2014. 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. Hamilton looks the part with excellent size and long arms. He’s not overly quick or agile. Hamilton is a better run defender than pass rusher.

Dec 052014
 
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December 5, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: OT James Brewer (concussion) and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder) did not practice on Friday. Both Brewer and Williams have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.

RB Rashad Jennings (ankle), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), LB Jameel McClain (knee), LB Mark Herzlich (concussion), and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/shoulder) practiced on a limited basis. Jennings and Herzlich are “questionable” for the game; Jenkins, McClain, and Rodgers-Cromartie are “probable.”

“I don’t know (if Jennings will play),” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “We are going to have to watch that. I think we listed him as questionable, but he’s got a couple of days. We will see.”

WR Preston Parker (knee) and OT Justin Pugh (quadriceps) fully practiced. Both Parker and Pugh are “probable” for the game.

December 5, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Friday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com.

Giants.com Q&A with Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The Coughlin Corner: Goals for next four games by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

December 5, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com:

Article on the New York Giants Offense: How Odell Beckham Jr. is being moved around to get open | Giants weekly offensive observations by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Perry Fewell emptying his bench this week vs. Tennessee Titans | Giants defensive observations by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants Offensive Line: Believe it or not, Giants offensive line markedly improved from 2013 disaster by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Articles on Damontre Moore:

Dec 042014
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 30, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Odell Beckham Wins NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month Honors: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. has won “NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month” honors for his performance during the month of November 2014. Last month, in five games, Beckham caught 38 passes for 593 yards and two touchdowns.

The last and only other Giants wide receiver to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month honors was Hakeem Nicks in October 2009.

December 4, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RB Rashad Jennings (ankle), OT James Brewer (concussion), LB Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder), and LB Mark Herzlich (concussion) did not practice on Thursday.

WR Preston Parker (knee), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), LB Jameel McClain (knee), and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/shoulder) practiced on a limited basis.

OT Justin Pugh (quadriceps) fully practiced.

December 4, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com:

December 4, 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 Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com:

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

Article on the New York Giants and the NFL Draft: Poor Drafting At Core Of New York Giants Deficiencies by Curt Macysyn for CBS New York

Article on QB Eli Manning: How will Eli pay for this season? by Johnette Howard of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on RB Orleans Darkwa: With Rashad Jennings looking like a long shot, Giants may turn to a ‘different flavor back’ by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on TE Larry Donnell: Are Giants more worried about Larry Donnell fumbling or his health? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on New York Giants Defensive Ends:

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

Nov 262014
 
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November 26, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee), LB Jameel McClain (knee), S Antrel Rolle (personal excuse), and OG Adam Snyder (knee) did not practice on Wednesday.

RT Justin Pugh (quadriceps), OG Geoff Schwartz (toe), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder) practiced on a limited basis.

WR Odell Beckham (back) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) fully practiced.

Giants Sign Michael Bamiro to Practice Squad: The New York Giants have signed offensive tackle Michael Bamiro to the Practice Squad. Bamiro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2013 NFL Draft. He spent the 2013 season on the Eagles’ Practice Squad before being waived in August 2014. Bamiro is a very raw player with an intriguing combiation of size (6’8”, 340 pounds) and overall athleticism.

“We found the biggest man we could,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. “No, I’m just kidding. He is huge, he’s a big man. He worked out yesterday, worked out well. He’s in outstanding shape, so he’s here.”

November 26, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Wednesday’s press conference are available at Giants.com.

Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham, and Eli Manning;New York Giants (November 23, 2014)

Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham, and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

November 26, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of media sessions on Wednesday with the following players are available at Giants.com:

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

Article on the 2014-2015 New York Giants: There are reasons to be thankful, Giants fans (yes, really) by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Here’s the right way for the Giants to part with Tom Coughlin by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Articles on the New York Giants Defensive Line:

Article on the Giants-Cowboys Game: Film Room Week 12: Cowboys’ offensive line vs. Giants’ pass rush on final drive by Nick Klopsis of Newsday

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