Jun 222015
 
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Prince Amukamara, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Prince Amukamara – © 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: Cornerbacks

2014 YEAR IN REVIEW: The Giants dramatically overhauled the cornerback position in the 2014 offseason, saying goodbye to long-time contributors Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, and Terrell Thomas while adding free agents Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie (DRC), Walter Thurmond, and Zack Bowman. These new additions were to support former-first rounder Prince Amukmara and the re-signed Trumaine McBride. It was believed by many that not only were the Giants exceptionally strong at corner, but that this could be the strongest group of corners on the team in recent memory.

But those expectations vanished quickly due to injury. Nickel corner Walter Thurmond was placed on Injured Reserve after only two games, followed by Trumaine McBride in mid-October and Prince Amukamara in early November. The loss of Amukamara – who was having his best season – was particularly a hard pill to swallow. Without three of their top four corners, more pressure was placed on DRC, who was also dealing with a litany of injury issues to the point where he could not play a full game.

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

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Most of the significant roster changes at corner have been subtractions. Somewhat surprisingly, the team did not make much (if any) of an effort to re-sign Thurmond and he signed with the Eagles. The Giants also appear not to have made an effort to re-sign Bowman, who signed with the Dolphins.

The Giants made few additions at corner, choosing instead to re-sign free agents Chykie Brown and Chandler Fenner. The team signed the uninspiring corner/safety ‘tweener Josh Gordy from the Colts and journeyman street free agent Trevin Wade. Because of this, it was expected that the Giants would probably take a corner in the 2015 NFL Draft. However, not only did the Giants not draft a corner, the team also did not sign a rookie free agent at the position after the draft.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants (June 8, 2015)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: If Rodgers-Cromartie and Amukamara can stay healthy, the Giants may have the best duo of corners in the NFL. However, Amukmara has been an injury-prone player since being drafted in 2011, missing significant time in three of his first four seasons. Rodgers-Cromartie did not miss a game in 2014, but was nagged all season long with a variety of injuries that affected his game and the number of snaps he could play. Assuming these two stay healthy, the media will focus much of its preseason attention on how good these two can be playing together.

But the more important story line could be the apparent lack of depth. The third (nickel) corner is a de facto starter in today’s NFL. Who will be the team’s nickel corner? The early favorite is McBride, but he could be pressed by Mike Harris. Also, what if DRC or Amukamara miss time due to injury? Who will be the first corner off of the bench to replace the missing outside guy? Again, the early favorite is probably McBride, but Chykie Brown could factor into the equation.

Other contenders for roster spots include Josh Gordy, Jayron Hosley, Chandler Fenner, and Trevin Wade. None of these names inspire. Indeed, on paper it appears that corner is the shallowest position on the team. An injury or two here could spell disaster.

A longer-term focus is Amukmara’s contract situation. The Giants are currently set to have three of their very best players hit the open market in 2016 (Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Amukamara). And the team can only Franchise tag one of them. Prince has made it very clear via his Twitter feed that he wants to get paid. Will he be able to play a full schedule for just the second time since he was drafted? If he does and plays as well as hoped, will the Giants be able to re-sign him?

ON THE BUBBLE: The Giants normally keep five or six corners. Barring injury or unforeseen circumstances, DRC and Amukamara are locks, leaving three or four roster spots open. The early favorites to make the team are McBride, Harris, and Brown. Gordy, Hosley, Fenner, and Wade are clearly on the bubble. Gordy could be helped by his position flexibility, being able to play safety in a pinch.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Tim Walton on Prince Amukamara: “He definitely can improve just in techniques in general. When we play press technique, that is always a constant thing because with his talent, he is going to see different guys, he is going to see smaller receivers and bigger receivers, and you have to be able to change that up based on the guys you see and be effective with it. Also just on his ability to play fast and trying to show him to be able to see formations, see tendencies, see splits and being able to let that put you in the right position and be able to play up to his maximum potential all the time. That has a lot to do with the understanding of the situations, of formation or splits and things like that, because he has played a lot of football so he understands and those are the things that can help him grow so he can play fast all the time because he has some real talent.”

Walton on Rodgers-Cromartie and Amukamara being elite corners: “(DRC) definitely has to be that guy. The thing about it that we feel good about is hopefully we have two guys that can be that and that is the confidence and level of expectation that we have is that he definitely will be that guy and a guy that has that ability, and we need to build on a consistent basis. We also feel that Prince has the ability to do that, also, and that is where we become better as a football team where we can have that with both guys because that gives you the ability that you can handle the match-ups.”

Walton on Jayron Hosley:  “He has the talent. The thing we talk about is confidence. We have to make sure the confidence is there and the consistency is there and all of those things, so that the talent is showing on a daily basis. We don’t want to be up and down with it, so that is the thing we talk about and we work on, is trying to be consistent with it and getting confidence so you can play at a level that you would like to play at on a daily basis… He would probably be outside right now. Who knows what he may end up doing, but right now, to get confidence, you also want to start at one spot and kind of go from there and grow with it. You don’t want to throw a ton on his plate, start with one thing, let’s do that well and we’ll progress from there.”

PREDICTIONS: Provided they stay healthy, the Giants are in great shape with Rodgers-Cromartie and Amukamara. They are clearly the best two corners in the NFC East and one of the two could end up in the Pro Bowl.

Nevertheless, the biggest weakness on this roster may not be the offensive line or linebacker or safety, but cornerback due to the overall lack of quality depth. When teams like the Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins play 3- and 4-wide receivers sets, the Giants will be forced to counter with the likes of McBride, Harris, and Brown. And God help the Giants if either one of the two top guys get hurt.

The fear here is that while DRC and Amukamara largely handle their business, opponents will feast on the third and fourth corners. The Giants desperately need one or two of these former castoffs to surprise. McBride did start 10 games for the Giants in 2013 and did a respectable job. Harris is a guy who the team thinks can play nickelback.

Chykie Brown, New York Giants (November 16, 2014)

Chykie Brown – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The wild card could be Brown. He was a 2014 in-season cut by the Ravens, when he was ironically being coached by Steve Spagnuolo. Before he was fired, Perry Fewell said of Brown, “He is a young man that is very conscientious. He takes very good notes, and when I say takes good notes, he is a good film study guy. He doesn’t have all of our techniques down pat, but he has the long arms. We like that, for jams, he has really good speed, so we like the speed that he can possess when he runs down the field. He is a pretty tough guy as a corner. Most corners are not physically tough guys, I think he is a pretty tough guy. I think he is a really nice addition to come in and help play in our secondary. We just like the speed factor, and some of the intangibles of what I just mentioned in his play.”

If the reserve corners struggle, the Giants will be scanning the waiver wire.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Unless there is another roster addition, the top five corners look to be Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Prince Amukamara, Trumaine McBride, Chykie Brown, and Mike Harris. To me, the bigger question is do the Giants go with five or six corners. My early guess is they will carry one more safety and one fewer corner and go with only five cornerbacks.

Jun 082015
 
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Rueben Randle, New York Giants (July 28, 2013)

Rueben Randle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 8, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…

The New York Giants completed their seventh 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 two weeks ago. 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 three OTA practices will be held this week on June 9 and June 11-12. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 16-18.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…

Wide receiver Odell Beckham (hamstring), wide receiver Victor Cruz (recovering from knee surgery), wide receiver Marcus Harris (unknown), tight end Larry Donnell (Achilles tendinitis), offensive tackle Will Beatty (recovering from pectoral surgery), offensive guard Geoff Schwartz (recovering from ankle surgery), DE Robert Ayers (sprained ankle), defensive end Damontre Moore (recovering from shoulder surgery), defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa (leg), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (injection), linebacker Jameel McClain (back), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice or fully practice.

“Some days are good and some aren’t,” said Schwartz of why he did not participate in team drills on Monday.

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:

  • Rueben Randle, Preston Parker, and Corey Washington saw first-team reps at wide receiver. Washington had another good practice.
  • Ereck Flowers continues to see reps with first- and second-teams at left tackle. John Jerry started at right guard.
  • On first-team defensive line, Cullen Jenkins continues to work at right defensive end with George Selvie at left defensive end. Johnathan Hankins and Markus Kuhn were the first-team defensive tackles. Kerry Wynn also received some first-team defensive end reps and had a good practice.
  • In nickel defense, Jon Beason and Devon Kennard were the linebackers with Trumaine McBride the slot corner and Cooper Taylor and Landon Collins the safeties. Mark Herzlich also saw some first-team reps in lieu of Beason.
  • Cole Farrand saw some first-team reps at linebacker along with Beason and Kennard.
  • Cornerback Prince Amakamara picked off a pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib.
  • Tight end Jerome Cunningham continues to impress, including catching a 20-yard pass from Manning.
  • “Running back Shane Vereen…had a busy day. He caught a short touchdown over the middle from Eli Manning during the first portion of team drills. The two later connected on a pair of completions in the final two-minute drill. ” (Giants.com)

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

Q: You have had a bunch of time with the rookies now… How are they integrating?

A: Whenever you throw something new, it is the same as if, obviously it is the first time they have heard it. There are a bunch of installations. When you have an installation and a review, they do fine with that. Add something new and it is a little bit more difficult, so that is how you see it. They have hung in there and worked hard and they are obviously making progress. They have to.

Q: Is it hard for guys like Landon Collins and Ereck Flowers when you throw them in there with the first team? Does it make it harder for them because they are trying to catch up to the veterans?

A: I don’t think so. I think, if anything, if you put yourself in that situation, that really makes it interesting. Holy cow, here I am. They have to earn those spots. They have the opportunity right now.

Q: What can you tell about offensive line play in general without pads?

A: It is not easy. You look at every tape and try to be as technical as you can, but there are obvious restrictions for both defense and offense without the pads.

Q: How is Odell Beckham Jr. doing?

A: Seem to be better. Seems to be a little bit better today. They did more with him.

Q: Did he do anything last week?

A: He did some individual stuff, but that was it.

Q: Is he going to be okay for next week?

A: I don’t know. I only know what they tell me. They probably won’t be able to project that until we see this week.

Q: Do you still expect Jason Pierre-Paul next week?

A: Yes.

Q: Have you noticed if Prince Amukamara is out there trying to play at a faster speed?

A: I thought he was playing at a nice speed last year, too, when he was injured, so I think he is just trying to pick up from there. It started out as it normally does. He was under control. He has been enticing people to try to throw it over his head because he has broken on the underneath stuff very well.

Q: How does Kerry Wynn look to you?

A: Kerry Wynn works hard and makes plays. He is very consistent.

Q: Re: Nat Berhe?

A: We have been standing here. This would have been the ideal time for him. Unfortunately, he has not been able to get to where he can really drive, so it has been very slow.

Q: That helps Cooper Taylor and Landon Collins get reps?

A: It helps them, but it doesn’t help Berhe any, and he was here as a rookie and got to play a little bit. He also did a nice job on special teams. He has a lot of things of that nature, but this would have been ideal for him. Crying over spilled milk there.

Q: Do you ever leave an OTA day in June like this thinking big picture?

A: That is the problem with being a coach. The good things pop up and then you quickly talk about the things that weren’t so good, so you kind of get back to the balancing it off. You like to see something go well and be enhanced and when it does, you are glad about that, but then you are thinking ‘we do have to stop the run’ or something like that. You start to look at a little bit more scope, but really on a daily basis, practice to practice, as I just told everybody – coaches this morning and players this afternoon — what they should be doing right now is deciding how do they want to finish the spring and what are their goals and what impression do they want to have? What have we accomplished when we finish up the mini-camp? Hopefully that is where they all are.

Q: When you gathered them before today’s session it seemed like they had a spirited response… Did you say something in particular?

A: I just said we need to have four solid practices and a good mini-camp to wrap the spring up.

Q: You have seen the flashes from Corey Washington in the past. Have you seen more from him this spring?

A: Yeah, he has had a nice spring. He has worked hard. He has had a good attitude. He has had a smile on his face. He has done most everything we have asked him to do. I think every time he has been called upon he seems to have responded.

Q: Can you assess where Washington has come growth-wise on special teams?

A: Not on special teams yet, but I think the opportunities he has had offensively, he has taken full advantage of his year to learn, and I think he has matured a little bit. He has had a solid spring.

Q: We haven’t seen Damontre Moore or Owa Odighizuwa in the team drills. Is that them needing to catch up or something physical?

A: They are being held back. We want to get Damontre in some, but we don’t want to do anything that is going to set him back. He may get a little bit more work than he is getting, but not a lot. Owa is being held out. It is a leg.

Q: Re: Jonathan Cassillas and Jameel McClain absence from practice?

A: Cassillas just had some kind of injection where they have to hold him. McClain did something to his back the other day and it is not going to be anything major. They held him out today.

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

  • QB Eli Manning on WR Corey Washington: “I think Corey has had a good camp. He has made some plays and has a better understanding of the offense in his second year and playing faster, and I think he has always had the ability to make the great catch and run the go routes and fades but just kind of adding the complete package to his game. I think that he has had a good camp and done some good things.”
  • LB Jon Beason on the new defense: “The beauty of it is we won’t be able to be dictated to. We will be able to get lined up and no matter what they do, we are going to be ready for it. That should cause a lot of problems for opposing offenses…The overall scheme (is different). We have some things that are unsound, but based on the pressure, that is the illusion. When you send eight and it looks like an all-out pressure, but really you are dropping some linemen in coverage. Some man pressures. We do it all. I would say, more so than any other scheme I have been in, we do more than anything else.”

RELATED ARTICLES…

Jun 032015
 
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Jon Beason, New York Giants (September 8, 2014)

Jon Beason – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Jon Beason on SiriusXM Radio: The audio of New York Giants linebacker Jon Beason’s interview on SiriusXM Radio on Tuesday is available at SoundCloud.com. Some points made by Beason:

  • Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnulo’s system: “It’s the most complex system I’ve been in. This is my fifth defensive coordinator. It is the most complex because we will not sit back and be dictated to by anybody…Offenses create problems by formations, moving people around, shifts and motions…Every call we can make a change…It’s a great system. We’re going to be aggressive and we’re going to be ready for whatever an offense does.”
  • Linebacker J.T. Thomas: “I think he is an exceptional player. He is savvy…I think he loves to play football…He wants to work, he wants to learn.”
  • Linebacker Devon Kennard: “I can’t praise Kennard enough. He prepares better than any rookie I’ve ever seen…The thing I’ve noticed the most this offseason is I think he is a step or two faster, he’s quicker.”
  • Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul: “He’s working extremely hard. He’s getting the information. He will be ready to roll.”

Giants.com Q&A with LB Jonathan Casillas: A video of a recent Giants.com interview with linebacker Jonathan Casillas is available at Giants.com.

Number Changes: New York Giants safety Landon Collins has changed his jersey number from #27 to #21 in honor of late Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor. To accommodate Collins, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie changed his number from #21 to #41. Linebacker Ryan Jones switched from #41 to #46. A listing of all current jersey numbers is provided on the Roster and Depth Chart sections of the website.

Giants.com Feature on Linebackers: A video feature on the New York Giants linebackers is available at Giants.com.

Jun 022015
 
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Preston Parker, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Preston Parker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 2, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…

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

  • Play of the Day: “A bomb from [quarterback] Ryan Nassib to Ben Edwards during 11-on-11s. Edwards, an undrafted wide receiver from Richmond, broke free down the middle, and Nassib dropped it right into his hands in stride for the longest play of OTAs so far. Wide receiver Victor Cruz ran out to give him a high-five as he was running back to the huddle.”
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Preston Parker in 7-on-7 drills.
  • Tight end Adrien Robinson made a nice gain on a pass from Nassib. (Video)
  • Cornerback/safety Josh Gordon picked off a pass from Nassib. (Video)
  • Wide receiver Dwayne Harris made a few nice catches.
  • Wide receiver Victor Cruz – who is recovering from a torn patellar tendon – continued to work on the sidelines, running routes and catching some passes.

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

Giants.com Q&A with OC Weston Richburg: The video of a Giants.com Q&A session with center Weston Richburg is available at Giants.com.

Articles on the New York Giants OTAs:

Article on RB Shane Vereen: Shane Vereen could be more prominent than expected in Giants’ backfield by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Articles on CB Prince Amukamara:

Articles on CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie:

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…

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

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

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

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

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

THE CORNERBACKS

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

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

Prince Amukamara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

Trumaine McBride – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

The Giants claimed Chykie Brown off of waivers from the Baltimore Ravens in November 2014. He ended up playing in eight games with four starts and finished the season with 31 tackles and two pass defenses for the Giants. Brown was originally drafted by the Ravens in the 5th round of the 2011 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Ravens, Brown played in 46 regular-season games with two starts. Brown has decent size and athletic ability. While he struggled in Baltimore, Brown held his own for the Giants in the final month of the season.

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

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

Zack Bowman – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Antrel Rolle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE SAFETIES

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

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

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

Quintin Demps – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Coughlin and Perry Fewell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

Peter Giunta – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Articles on Former Giants Head Coach Allie Sherman:

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

Dec 122014
 
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December 12, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: OT James Brewer (concussion) and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion) did not practice on Friday. Both have officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins.

QB Eli Manning (back), LB Jameel McClain (knee), and LB Mark Herzlich (concussion) fully practiced. All three players are “probable” for the game.

December 12, 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 Week 15 by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

December 12, 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 RB Andre Williams: Giants rookie: Near death at 2, near stardom at 22 by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

Articles on New York Giants Wide Receivers:

Article on LB Mark Herzlich: Giants’ Herzlich protected by concussion guidelines by Jeff Roberts of The Bergen Record

Article on S Stevie Brown: Once again a starter, Stevie Brown looks to make impact in secondary by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Nov 212014
 
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Justin Pugh, New York Giants (November 10, 2013)

Justin Pugh – © USA TODAY Sports Images

November 21, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RT Justin Pugh (quadriceps), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion) did not practice on Friday. All three players have been officially been ruled out of the Giants-Cowboys game on Sunday night.

DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee) practiced on a limited basis and is “probable” for the game.

OG Geoff Schwartz (toe) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) fully practiced. Both are “probable” for the game.

November 21, 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: Mindset of the team by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

November 21, 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:

New York Post Interview with Former Giants Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride: Kevin Gilbride: Tom Coughlin will resurrect Giants again by Justin Terranova of The New York Post

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: Rodgers-Cromartie went from free-agent coup to afterthought by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Nov 202014
 
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Shake Up on the Offensive Line?: According to NJ.com, offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz will start at right tackle this weekend against the Dallas Cowboys for the ailing Justin Pugh (quadriceps). Schwartz was activated off of short-term injured reserve on Monday after missing the first 10 games of the season with a toe injury he suffered in the preseason.

More surprisingly is that left guard Weston Richburg has reportedly been benched for ex-49er Adam Snyder. Richburg was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Giants.

Snyder was signed by the Giants in September 2014. He was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. During his career, he’s played eight seasons with the 49ers (2005-11, 2013) and one with the Arizona Cardinals (2012). Snyder is extremely versatile, having starting experience at all five offensive line positions. He’s started 87 regular-season games in nine seasons. However, despite having very good size, Snyder was considered the weak link of the starting units in San Francisco and Arizona in recent years.

November 20, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RT Justin Pugh (quadriceps), DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion) did not practice on Thursday.

OG Geoff Schwartz (toe) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) fully practiced.

November 20, 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:

November 20, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Video clips of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • WR Rueben Randle (Video)
  • OG Geoff Schwartz (Video)
  • DT Cullen Jenkins (Video)
  • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Video)
  • S Antrel Rolle (Video)

Article on QB Eli Manning: Why Giants have to pay Eli Manning big bucks again by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on OG John Jerry: Changes on the horizon? Giants guard John Jerry hopes to rebound from ‘horrible’ game by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on Former Giants Head Coach Bill Parcells: Bill Parcells: Tom Coughlin can still coach by David Rieder for ESPN.com

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