Oct 032014
 
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Jon Beason, New York Giants (September 8, 2014)

Jon Beason – © USA TODAY Sports Images

October 3, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Everyone on the 53-man roster practiced on Friday.

LB Jon Beason (foot/ankle), LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), and P Steve Weatherford (left ankle) practiced on a limited basis. Beason, Kennard, and Beckham are officially listed as “questionable” for the game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Weatherford is “probable.”

Giants Receive 7th Round Pick for PK Brandon McManus: In late August, the Giants traded PK Brandon McManus to the Denver Broncos for a conditional 7th-round draft pick. The Broncos waived their other kicker on Friday, meaning the Giants will receive that 7th rounder in the 2015 NFL Draft.

October 3, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Friday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

Giants.com Q&A with Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The Coughlin Corner: How to maintain momentum by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

October 3, 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:

  • WR Odell Beckham (Video)

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Rashad Jennings has the write stuff by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Articles on WR Odell Beckham:

Article on CB Prince Amukamara: NY Giants’ Prince Amukamara, no matter the reason, is developing into a star by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Oct 012014
 
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October 1, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Everyone on the 53-man roster practiced on Wednesday.

LB Jon Beason (foot/ankle), LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), and P Steve Weatherford (left ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

Odell Beckham, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

“We had a limited number of snaps that (Beckham) went through and he did some really nice things today,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “We’ll just have to see how it turns out later this afternoon and tomorrow.”

“(Beckham has) been in every meeting,” said Coughlin. “I would expect him to know everything. I wouldn’t shy away from (limiting him in the game plan). He’s demonstrated an ability to handle whatever’s thrown at him. He’s done that throughout, so I would expect that. Now, under fire with adjustments and signals and things of that nature, we’ve got to see where we are with regard to that, too.”

October 1, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Wednesday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

October 1, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Wednesday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

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

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: How Tom Coughlin has brought this Giants team together so quickly by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on LT Will Beatty: This high-priced Giant has rediscovered dominant form by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on Former Giants DE Osi Umenyiora: Osi Umenyiora sounds unsatisfied in Atlanta by Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com

Sep 192014
 
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Jon Beason, New York Giants (September 8, 2014)

Jon Beason – © USA TODAY Sports Images

September 19, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Friday were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (foot/ankle), and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), and P Steve Weatherford (ankle). Weatherford is officially listed as “questionable” against the Houston Texans on Sunday while Beckham, Beason, and Kennard have been ruled out of the game.

“Our medical people, after listening to the conversation (with the specialists), just figured that this wouldn’t be a week to put (Beason) out there,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He’ll probably have to fight through something like this for the duration (of the season), let’s put it that way.”

OT Charles Brown (shoulder) and OT James Brewer (back) practiced on a limited basis. Both are listed as “questionable” for the game.

DT Markus Kuhn (ankle) fully practiced and is “probable.”

Giants Waive OG Eric Herman: The Giants have waived OG Eric Herman, who returned to the team Wednesday after serving a two-week suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances (PEDs). The suspension was originally four weeks, but Herman was reinstated early as a result of the terms of the League’s new PED Policy. The Giants had been granted a two-day roster exemption for Herman that expired at 4:00PM Friday. Herman is eligible to join the practice squad.

September 19, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Friday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

Giants.com Q&A with Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The Coughlin Corner: Eliminating turnovers by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

September 19, 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:

Article on LB Mark Herzlich: Giants’ Mark Herzlich prepares to start by Jeff Roberts of The Bergen Record

Sep 182014
 
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September 18, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Thursday were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (foot/ankle), and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring).

“It’s feeling better, surprisingly better, I would say,” said Beason. “In the game I stepped on someone’s foot and it felt like… I felt a pop. It scared me right away, we went and got some pictures, but it’s feeling a lot better right away, so it’s an indication that it’s probably just scar tissue moving. I head down to Charlotte tomorrow to see Dr. Anderson and get his opinion. There are some things that he can do that you can’t see in the imaging with the MRI in terms of active movement and then we’ll determine how severe it is. But it feels good, so that’s a good indication.”

Asked if he definitely was not playing on Sunday, Beason replied, “I’m not sure. I feel like I could go out there and take care of business. I’m active in the meetings, I know the game plan, I’m still studying and preparing as if I’m playing on Sunday.”

OT Charles Brown (shoulder), OT James Brewer (back), and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

DT Markus Kuhn (ankle) fully practiced.

Eric Herman’s Suspension Cut to Two Games: OG Eric Herman, who was originally suspended for the first four games of the 2014 NFL season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, has had is suspension reduced to two games. He is now back with the team. The Giants have been granted a roster exemption for Herman until 4:00PM on Friday.

Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Odell Beckham Jr. getting training tips from Rashad Jennings by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Antrel calls Rolle call for confidence boost by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

Giants Online – Week 3 Preview: The video of this week’s Giants Online is available at Giants.com.

Sep 102014
 
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Steve Weatherford, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Steve Weatherford – © USA TODAY Sports Images

September 10, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Wednesday were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), OT James Brewer (back), DT Cullen Jenkins (hip), DT Markus Kuhn (ankle), LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), and P Steve Weatherford (ankle).

The Star-Ledger is reporting that Weatherford suffered several torn ligaments in his left ankle, but he will not require surgery.

“Just trying to get healthy at this point, trying to reduce inflammation, get the range of motion back and get ready and try to go on Sunday,” said Weatherford. “It’s my plant foot, so it’s weight bearing…Right now we’re not looking for me to just get the ball off. I’m not going to tell Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin that I’m ready to go unless I know that I can help my team and I can be as good as I can be. At the same time you don’t want to have another punter come in here that’s not used to this stadium, it’s not an easy place to play. I’m going to do what’s in the best interest of the team and if I don’t feel like I can help my team, I’m going to tell them that I need another week. It’s progressing well. It actually felt better yesterday than it did on Monday night.”

“His ankle actually looks better today than it did yesterday and he’s doing jumping jacks and stuff in there now,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “Hopefully, that will continue.”

LB Jon Beason (foot) and OT Charles Brown (shoulder) practiced on a limited basis.

DE Jason Pierre-Paul, who suffered a neck stinger during the game on Monday, was not listed on the injury report and fully practiced.

September 10, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Wednesday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

September 10, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Wednesday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on New York Giants President/CEO John Mara: Giants president John Mara will make changes if necessary by Bob Glauber of Newsday

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Giants’ O’s problem talent, not tactics by Johnette Howard of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Cardinals coach: It’ll take half a season to ‘re-program’ Eli by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Odell Beckham feels good but doesn’t want to rush back again by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants Secondary: Giants’ secondary eager to get past Motor City meltdown by Zach Braziller of The New York Post

Aug 142014
 
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BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Updates: In case you missed it, articles from BBI today:

August 14, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Thursday were RB Peyton Hillis (ankle/foot), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring), TE Daniel Fells (knee), TE Xavier Grimble (hamstring), and LB Jon Beason (PUP – foot).

“(Fells) is not out here,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He started back, but we couldn’t get him all the way back. We are supposed to have him next week.”

FB John Conner (concussion) worked in individual drills.

WR Odell Beckham (hamstring) participated in individual and some team drills.

“(Beckham) is not going to play (on Saturday against the Colts),” said Coughlin. “Expect him next week, but not this week. There is not enough work…We have had him for individuals and we have had him for a few plays. When the few plays are run, he looks to be doing fine, but like everybody, they need more repetition, more time on the field. They need to be in that fatigued state to see how they perform then. We need all of those things to take place.”

August 14, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Thursday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

Victor Cruz, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

August 14, 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:

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

ESPN Radio Interview with DE Mathias Kiwanuka: The audio of ESPN Radio’s interview with DE Mathias Kiwanuka on Thursday is available at ESPN.com.

Article on 2014 New York Giants: Selecting the most important Giants for 2014 by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Why Tom Coughlin doesn’t plan to stop coaching any time soon by Steve Politi of The Star-Ledger

Article on FB Henry Hynoski: A new name in Giants tight end mix: fullback Henry Hynoski by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on WR Victor Cruz and CB Walter Thurmond: Inside Victor Cruz and Walter Thurmond III’s practice battles by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Articles on the New York Giants Offensive Line:

Articles on LB Devon Kennard:

Articles on CB Walter Thurmond:

Article on S Antrel Rolle: Antrel Rolle has the preseason highlight to prove he’s back at safety by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Notes: Lef tackle Will Beatty will see his first action in football game this weekend since breaking his leg in the 2013 regular-season finale.

Curtis Painter will be the second quarterback on Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts. Ryan Nassib will come in last.

Jul 302014
 
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Devon Kennard, USC Trojans (October 13, 2011)

Devon Kennard – © USA TODAY Sports Images

He walks around with the same bashful smile, soft spoken voice and bubbly attitude everywhere he goes.

He’s kind, welcoming and open hearted to any that cross his path. There isn’t a person that walks by that doesn’t get a handshake, sheepish grin or ‘Hello, how are you?’ greeting from Giants’ rookie linebacker Devon Kennard. Kennard’s been that way for as long as he can remember. Growing up, in high school and at USC.

But when Kennard steps foot on the football field, it all changes.

“When you step in between the lines, you need to flip that switch,” Kennard said. “It’s either hit, or be hit.”

Through the early portions of Giants’ training camp, Kennard’s been doing the hitting.

It’s become a fairly regular occurrence, actually. All in attendance—players, coaches, fans—keep their eyes glued on the 23 year old, waiting for what they know is coming, just not when. Then, it’s heard. A large collision of pads followed by a warrior-like bellow from Kennard before being swarmed by teammates.

It happened when Kennard pancaked Bennett Jackson in the team’s first practice with pads, and then it was David Wilson the next day followed by Henry Hynoski. Day in and day out, Kennard continues to stand out.

The team has awarded his physicality with praise and playing time. Despite being drafted in the fifth round, Kennard has been running with the first team ever since middle linebacker Jon Beason was injured during the offseason conditioning program.

“It’s an honor,” Kennard said. “But at the same time it’s not like I’v’e done much of anything yet. We haven’t played any game, any preseason game or anything like that. I still have a long ways to go.”

A Championship Pedigree

From an early age, Kennard always had an idea of what it would take to make it in the NFL. Just as early, he wanted nothing more than to make it there.

Devon Kennard, USC Trojans (August 29, 2013)

Devon Kennard – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Kennard’s father, Derek, played 11 seasons of professional football from 1984-1996 as an offensive lineman. Derek was most known for his four-year stint with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he spent the majority of his career, while also earning a ring in Super Bowl XXX with the Dallas Cowboys.

“I just always wanted to play football,” Kennard said. “My dad played it for a long time so I always wanted to.”

Where on the field would he play? Well, that didn’t matter any to him. As long as it was him between the lines, Kennard was happy. He was physical, fiery and had a relentless work ethic. It was nearly impossible for him not to succeed.

But there was one game in particular where he says he took the jump from good to great. It happened when he was a junior in high school playing his, at the time, ‘natural’ defensive end position.

“I came around and I had this huge sack,” Kennard said, smiling. “I ended up having five sacks that game. That was the big moment that rocketed my career.”

The Preparation

After being drafted by the Giants, Kennard wasted no time in diving headfirst into the team’s playbook from the moment he got his hands on it. Some of the schemes, tendencies and terminology came natural, but others he had to work on.

While some rookies enjoy the limelight of being NFL super stars, Kennard hides from it. Sure, he could go out to clubs, or he could put to use his tireless work ethic and perfect his craft. The same work ethic his father taught him when he was younger. The same work ethic his father had throughout the duration of his career.

“I spent a lot of time in the playbook,” Kennard said. “Over the summer, I spent hours and hours all day during (organized team activities). Then, I’d come home and I’m in the playbook for hours until I go to sleep.

“Then I wake up and I’m doing it all over again. Even when we’re off, I’m doing the same thing. It’s the same thing now. I’m trying to learn as much as I can and get the full understanding of the entire defense so I can play multiple roles and do whatever they ask me.”

Kennard’s hard work didn’t go unnoticed. With the team unable to wear pads in spring workouts, it was Kennard’s head that had coaches and teammates turning theirs. Quickly it became evident New York got a bit more than they bargained for in the fifth-round pick from USC.

“He was able to retain a lot of that information,” Giants’ defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. “He was able to go out on the field and execute and earn some of the trust of his fellow teammates and the trust of his coaches.

Devon Kennard, USC Trojans (August 29, 2013)

Devon Kennard – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Everywhere Man

While at USC, Kennard played four different positions. He began his career as a defensive end playing primarily in pass situations. Then came the switch to strong side linebacker, followed by middle linebacker and finally the weak side.

There were different meeting rooms, different expectations and different assignments. But none of it bothered him. Sure, it was a lot for anyone to take in. Then again, Kennard isn’t like many others.

“I’m a very selfless player,” Kennard said. “I want to do whatever it takes to help the team win.”

The same versatility that Kennard displayed in college has been shown again at the professional level. Throughout the offseason, Kennard has spent time at every one of the positions he played in college.

When Beason went down with an injury, it was Kennard that filled in at middle linebacker. When Jameel McClain took over in the middle for Beason, Kennard slid over to the outside. He’s played weak side linebacker in the team’s three-safety package and even saw  a few snaps at defensive end.

“Kennard’s a very smart kid,” McClain said. “He’s taken advantage of the opportunity in front of him. When opportunity comes, we all have to take advantage of it. This is a prime example of what you’re seeing from him.”

McClain admitted that throughout his six-year NFL career, he’s never seen a player come in and play as many positions as Kennard, having been converted from another position entirely. But when looking at the way he plays, there’s one name that pops into his mind.

“To be honest, if I was to compare him to anyone I’d compare him to me and how I came up in this league. “McClain said. “I came in as a converted linebacker in Baltimore. I played all the positions and got thrown around a bit. It’s pretty unique in that aspect.”

It’s one thing to see a first-round pick get instant reps with the first team. Even a second or third rounder to contribute immediately is expected in today’s NFL. But a fifth rounder? One that was considered by some a reach? One who scouts thought would contribute strictly on special teams early in his career?

Well, there’s not much normal about that.

“Pittsburgh, I think, started Jack Lambert, right away?” Linebackers coach Jim Herrman said. “He turned out pretty good. “

Kennard admitted that while he has a history at defensive end, right now he’s enjoying his time at linebacker. He always liked to hit people, sack people, control the run and help his team win. Linebacker allows him to do that.

But when asked what position he enjoys most, there was no hesitation, no second thought and no pause. The answer was given before the question was done being asked.

“I love playing defense,” Kennard said.

Jul 232014
 
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Corey Washington and Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Corey Washington and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Updates: In case you missed it, original-content articles from BBI today:

July 23, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: LB Jon Beason (foot – PUP) and WR Odell Beckham (hamstring) did not practice.

Beckham aggravated the same hamstring that bothered him in OTA’s and the mini-camp on the first day of practice on Tuesday.

“He missed part of spring ball with a hamstring and he tweaked it yesterday,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “Obviously there is a concern…This guy has that track speed so hopefully he can get back out there pretty quickly because we’re expecting big things from him.”

“He didn’t go and who knows how long (until he returns),” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. “Don’t ask me. I have no idea.”

Jameel McClain (foot) returned to practice. “He did well,” Coughlin said. “He came out and practiced and went the whole practice, so I think he’s fine. A little sore, but he was able to go.”

July 23, 2014 Jerry Reese Press Conference: The transcript and video from Wednesday’s press conference with General Manager Jerry Reese are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com.

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

July 23, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Q&As: The transcripts and video from Wednesday’s press conferences with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

July 23, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of Wednesday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

New York Giants WFAN Interviews: Video and audio of Wednesday’s WFAN interviews with the following New York Giants are available at CBS New York:

New York Giants Training Camp Reports:

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Eli Manning and the Giants are embracing their new direction by Mike Garafolo of FOXSports.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Eli Manning’s career at a crossroads by Johnette Howard of ESPNNewYork.com

Articles on RB Rashad Jennings:

Article on WR Victor Cruz: NY Giants Victor Cruz studying up on Jerry Rice as Big Blue installs West Coast offense by Gary Myers of The New York Daily News

Article on TE Adrien Robinson: Adrien Robinson the Giants’ version of Julius Thomas? That’s what they’re hoping by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (June 18,2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul says sack record a possibility by Lorenzo Reyes of USAToday.com

Article on LB Devon Kennard: Giants may be onto something in rookie Devon Kennard by Howie Kussoy of The New York Post

Article on Former Giant DE Michael Strahan: Michael Strahan ready to join elite company by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Jul 132014
 
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Jacquian Williams (57), New York Giants (January 22, 2012)

Barring injury, Jacquian Williams will be the Giants starting WILL linebacker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With the New York Giants reporting to training camp in just a couple weeks, BigBlueInteractive.com is breaking down each of the team’s positional groups from now until July 21. Today, let’s take a look at the linebackers.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWNLinebackers

Jon Beason, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

Jon Beason was solid in the middle for New York last year – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2013 YEAR IN REVIEW: In a year of mostly downs, the Giants’ linebackers were one of the team’s few bright spots in 2013. After acquiring Jon Beason via trade from the Carolina Panthers, the middle linebacker established himself as a force in the middle of the Giants’ defense. Beason finished with 93 tackles and an interception in 11 games. Outside Beason, Keith Rivers and Spencer Paysinger were solid in the team’s base 4-3 set while Jacquian Williams continued to establish himself as one of the better coverage linebackers in the game.

In 2012, the Giants defense was one of the worst against the run, finishing 25th in the NFL, but rebounded nicely last year. Coupled with a rebuilt interior defensive unit, the Giants rushed allowed an average of 108.9 rushing yards per game, good for 14th in the NFL.

Against some of the league’s best, the Giants played their strongest. New York held Jamaal Charles (KC) to 65 yards rushing, Matt Forte (CHI) to 67, Adrien Peterson (MIN) to 28, LeSean McCoy (PHI) to 94 in two games, Eddie Lacey (GB) to 27 and Marshawn Lynch (SEA) to 47.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Not much has changed at the linebacker position for the Giants. Beason was re-signed and Rivers was allowed to walk. The lone notable addition via free agency was that of ex-Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain. Devon Kennard was drafted in the fifth round out of USC and has earned early praise from the coaching staff.

Devon Kennard, USC Trojans (September 21, 2013)

Devon Kennard has impressed coaches – © USA TODAY Sports Images

TRAINING CAMP STORYLINES: Little disclaimer early on: not going to count the health/return of Jon Beason (broken bone/torn ligament in foot) as a ‘training camp storyline’ simply because it doesn’t involve camp. If and when he returns will be well after the team breaks on Aug. 14.

Devon Kennard is easily one of the biggest camp storylines this year. Throughout the offseason conditioning program, Giants’ coaches ranted and raved about the progress of the rookie USC linebacker. While words are often meaningless, their faith in the 23-year-old was put on display when Kennard was inserted in as starting linebacker after Beason went down in OTAs.

Injuries have stunted the growth of Jacquian Williams, but it appears he’s ready for a breakout. The former sixth-round pick is no longer a situational player as the Giants have named him their full-time starting WILL. Williams progression, and ability to stay healthy, will be worth following during the summer.

Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (August 18, 2012)

Could this season be Mark Herzlich’s last with the Giants? – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ON THE BUBBLE: It looks like the premier camp battle will be between undrafted linebacker Dan Fox and formerly undrafted Mark Herzlich. In the early stages of his career, Herzlich was all but given the keys to the Giants’ MIKE linebacker position, but never capitalized and struggled mightily on defense. When Beason went down during OTAs, it was Kennard that filled in at the middle…not Herzlich. If Dan Fox can match what Herzlich can do on special teams, there’s a chance he’s given the spot on the final 53. Fox has good speed, is very intelligent and versatile.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Linebackers coach Jim Herrmann on Kennard: “His college career he played everywhere. He had like I think three different coordinators at USC. When he was there with Monte Kiffin he was a MIKE. He played in that system. So for him, he’s played all over so he’s got multiple talents and he’s a smart guy so it’s not anything new for him. And he gives us a lot of flexibility. He has some rush ability so on third down he could actually be a rush-type guy. The flexibility helps us. As you go into the season there are 46 guys out there, normally the linebackers get maybe five guys so somebody has to know dual roles and we’ve always had guys that could do that. He’ll give us that ability.”

On progression of Jacquian Williams: “This OTA and mini-camp he did a great job in our base stuff as a WILL. He’s a natural WILL in nickel, he did a great job with our WILL stuff in base. To me he made a big jump and big improvement this spring.”

On UDFA Dan Fox: “To me he’s another guy, one of the young guys who’s got a lot of intelligence. He can play multiple roles. He actually played all three spots this spring, MIKE, SAM, WILL, he plays in our sub. Any time you’ve got a smart guy like that who football just comes natural to him, that gives him a chance. He’s got to make the team on special teams, obviously, that will be his biggest deal when he comes back. For me, as a position coach, being able to say, ‘Hey look, he has multiple roles on defense, he can play a lot of positions,’ that helps his chances. To me, that’s what you want.”

PREDICTIONS:
Connor Hughes - I believe this linebacking unit may be the best (when healthy) that the Giants have had in quite some time. Jameel McClain is a force against the run, intelligent, savvy and a vocal leader. Jacquian Williams (when healthy) has proven he has the raw and natural athletic ability that few at his position possess. Beason (again, when healthy) showed last year he’s an every down linebacker in the NFL and arguably the best in the middle the Giants have had since Antonio Pierce.

Despite all the above, the one player that most intrigues me is the one no one has seen in pads yet: Devon Kennard. The amount of praise Kennard has been given from the coaching staff is noticeable. Everyone from Tom Coughlin, to Perry Fewell, to Jim Herrmann has raved about the rookie. The fact the coaching staff already seems to have locked him in as a starter if McClain is forced to the middle with Beason out is telling. To get Kennard on the field – in pads – against the speed and talent level of the NFL will be a true tell if the Giants snagged a steal in the draft.

Eric Kennedy - Maybe it’s more wishful thinking than a realistic scenario, but I expect Jon Beason to be back by the opener. But obviously, the Giants need him back soon and they need him close to 100 percent. The way he impacted the overall defense with his presence last season was a pretty serious indictment on the Giants’ organization on their de-emphasis of the linebacker spot. If Beason is OK, the good news for the Giants is they now have two confident, cerebral leaders at the position in Beason and Jameel McClain. I’m curious to see McClain on the field. The Ravens said nice things about McClain, but they didn’t make a big effort to keep him. I wasn’t overly impressed in the limited 2013 film I’ve seen of McClain. But he was coming off of a serious neck injury so he may do better a couple of years removed from the injury.

Jacquian Williams has excellent tools but he has to stay healthy and play more physically than he has in the past against the run to prove he is an every-down linebacker. I actually like Spencer Paysinger more than most; at the very least, he is a very good special teams player.

STARTING UNIT WEEK 1?

Stevie Brown and Jon Beason, New York Giants (June 12, 2014)

Will Jon Beason be available for Week 1? – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Connor Hughes - I’m sticking with the fact I don’t believe Beason will be ready versus the Lions. WILL – Jacquian Williams; MIKE – Jameel McClain; SAM – Devon Kennard.

Eric Kennedy – My gut says Beason will do everything he can to be out there on opening day. Starters will be Jameel McClain, Jon Beason, and Jacquian Williams.

WHO MAKES THE TEAM?
Connor Hughes – Jacquian Williams, Jameel McClain, Devon Kennard, Jon Beason, Mark Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger. Dan Fox (PS).

Eric Kennedy – Jacquian Williams, Jameel McClain, Jon Beason, Spencer Paysinger, Devon Kennard, and Dan Fox.

Jul 112014
 
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Video: SI – Top 5 NFL Teams Before Training Camp

Inside Football Q&A with Cornerbacks Coach Peter Giunta: The transcript of a Q&A session with RB Andre Williams is available at InsideFootball.com.

Giants.com Q&A with Safeties Coach David Merritt: The video of a Giants.com Q&A with Safeties Coach David Merritt is available at Giants.com.

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

  • DE Mathias Kiwanuka (Video)
  • LB Devon Kennard (Video)

Article on WR Trindon Holliday: Trindon Holliday film review: Giants return specialist overrated, underrated, as expected? by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on DT Kelcy Quarles: The 10 Giants you’ll know when training camp begins: Kelcy Quarles by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on S Cooper Taylor: 10 Giants you should know when training camp begins: Cooper Taylor by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on the New York Giants Return Game: Fresh legs could bring new life to Giants’ shoddy return game by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post