Apr 272015
 
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New York Giants Waive Running Back Michael Cox: The New York Giants have waived running back Michael Cox.

Cox was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. In 2013, he played in 14 games as a rookie with one start, carrying the football 22 times for 43 yards (2.0 yards per carry) and catching three passes for 12 yards. Most of his work came on special teams where he returned 20 kickoffs for a 21.8 yards-per-return average.

In 2014, Cox was on the Practice Squad of the team until October, played in four games, and was then placed on Injured Reserve in November 2014 with a fractured lower leg. He finished 2013 with four carries, two catches, and 11 kickoff returns.

The Giants now are currently carrying five halfbacks on the roster, including Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, and Chris Ogbonnaya.

Because of this move, we have updated the Transactions, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on QB Eli Manning and WR Victor Cruz: Eli Manning hopeful Victor Cruz will be able to return by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on WR/Returner Dwayne Harris: What the Giants saw in Dwayne Harris by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: Giants look for attitude in linemen, not necessarily finesse or beef by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on Former New York Giants OG Chris Snee: Chris Snee helps Giants evaluate offensive linemen by Tom Rock of Newsday

Apr 202015
 
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Steve Spagnuolo, New Orleans Saints (January 22, 2013)

Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Defensive Players Meet With Steve Spagnuolo: The New York Giants defensive players who participated in today’s first offseason program workouts met with new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and the other defensive coaches, including new cornerbacks coach Tim Walton.

None of the defensive players who played under Spagnuolo with the Giants in 2007-08 remain on the current roster.

“It was great meeting the new coaches and learning about the tradition of the Giants,” said cornerback Prince Amukamara. “(They talked about) getting back to the pillars starting with the Maras and the Tisches and the players who went before us – the Jessie Armsteads, the Tom Landrys, the LT’s. All of that has been really educating.

“Learning a new defense is definitely a challenge. It is like learning a whole new language every year if that is happening. It is definitely a challenge, but it is a good challenge for all of us.”

Linebacker Jameel McClain was with the Ravens in 2013 when Spagnuolo was a defensive assistant with Baltimore.

“Everyone on the defense is going to find out about Spags,” McClain said. “There isn’t really anything I have to tell them. He is a smart man. He is an honest man. He is a fair man. That is everything that every player wants all together. That is all they need to know about him. The rest of that is that they just go out there and play and we will be great.

“I think everybody will love Spags, not just people on the team, but fans. They already know about Spags. They know what he brings to the game. Everybody will buy in and we will have a great defense off of what he brings to the game, too.”

“It’s very exciting,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “If you know anything about Spags and what he has done in this league, you know his defenses get after it. He’s already gone to the Super Bowl with this team. You are excited to play for him and get back to playing that type of defense.”

“I was always a fan of his from afar,” linebacker Jon Beason said. “Now having the opportunity to play for him is something I really look forward to it. I did have a conversation with Antonio Pierce and Jonathan Vilma (linebackers who played for Spagnuolo) and they all had good things to say about him. I am looking forward to it and just trying to do my part and make sure I live up to the hype.”

Pierce played under Spagnulo with the Giants in 2007 and 2008.

“(Pierce) said, ‘You are going to be able to run, which you love,'” Beason said. “He is going to coach you hard. He is very detailed and he is very in the trenches with his guys. He loves what he does. Anytime you have a coach that is passionate about what he does and he loves the game, you want to play hard for him. I am on board. That is what I want to do.”

Injury Update on CB Prince Amukamara: New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara commented on his rehab from the torn right biceps muscle that caused him to miss the final eight games of the 2014 NFL season.

“I would say I am about 90 percent,” Amukamara said. “I have been doing everything. I have been doing the lifts. I have been coming in for treatments, so I should be good.”

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

Notes and Quotes: Running back Rashad Jennings on the difference between his first and second offseason programs with the Giants: “It is a night and day difference. (I am) not coming in and trying to figure out names and where the bathroom is and the little things that take some thought and energy. It is all about football and executing and making plays. I think (offensive coordinator Ben) McAdoo hit it on the head, saying, ‘Last year we installed a system, and this year we are molding ours.’ It is full speed ahead. The only thing on our minds is doing what we need to do to get into the Super Bowl.”

Giants.com video: Behind the Scenes: Shane Vereen’s first day

Apr 202015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants offseason program began today at Quest Diagnostic Training Center and will continue through late June. The voluntary offseason workout program is intended to provide training, teaching, and physical conditioning for players. Video highlights from today’s workouts are available at Giants.com.

Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), each team’s official, voluntary nine-week offseason program is conducted in three phases:

  • Phase One (Weeks 1-2): Activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
  • Phase Two (Weeks 3-5): On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
  • Phase Three (Weeks 6-9): Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The Giants will hold a rookie mini-camp on May 8-9 after the 2015 NFL Draft. The OTA practices will be held May 27-29, June 1-2, and June 8-11. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 16-18.

Not unexpectedly, free agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who has yet to sign his Franchise Tag tender did not participate in today’s workout. However, he did show up at the facility today according to The New York Daily News.

Quarterback Eli Manning, linebacker Jon Beason, and running back Shane Vereen addressed the media by conference call on Monday.

Quarterback Eli Manning:

Q: Last year was the first year under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, what is the next step this offense can take?

A: I think there is definitely room for improvement. We can still cut down on the turnovers. I think we need to score more points as an offense. I think the second half of the season we showed improvement from the first half, especially those last six games we were doing some good things offensively and scoring more points and [being] more efficient on third down. Anytime you are in a new offense, you want to see improvements and you want to see a progression of getting better and having a better understanding of concepts and eliminating some of the bad plays. I thought we did a good job of doing that, so we have to build off that and understand that we have to work our tails off this time of year and into training camp to make sure we are making those improvements to have a great understanding of the offense and [having] everyone playing at a high level so we can play the way we need to [in order] to win more games.

Q: Last year the 70 percent completion rate was an early season goal… Have you sat down with the coaching staff and set any similar goals?

A: That is kind of what we are doing right now. I think the turnovers from interceptions…I had 14 last year. I would like to get that in single digits. I think that is kind of a goal every year. That eight number. You would obviously like to have zero, but understanding football and funny things can happen, so one every two games (is the) mindset. Overall completion percentage, you aim for that 70 percent again. I think of that from a game to game standpoint. I want to be 70 percent for this game. It might not happen every single game, but if you can go for that by game, sometimes you might not get it, and for the season it might not be 70 percent, but each game shoot for that 70 percent.

Q: How was the mood there today coming in, especially with this year being a win or out opposition this year for you guys?

A: I thought the mood was good. Everybody was excited to be back. I recognize more faces this year than last year. Last year we had a lot of new players, on offense and defense. I thought coming in last year my first priority was to learn my teammates, which was ahead of learning the offensive playbook. This year you still have some new guys, which you always do. [There are] more familiar faces all around and you should be able to build a pretty good understanding of the offense going in and now [we] can keep learning that and get better with it.

Q: What was Victor [Cruz] able to do when you guys were down at Duke?

A: I asked Victor. I told him we were going down and I obviously wanted him to come if he wanted to and he felt it would beneficial. I didn’t want to take away from his rehab. He was able to rehab down there, but I think just getting back into the meetings and seeing the plays run and hearing the verbiage of everything. Obviously we were doing some different things those last ten games than we did the first six. Just hearing the verbiage, hearing everything again, the ins and outs of the whole offense. He was able to spot-up for some things, some light jogging. I didn’t want him to push anything or do anything that [he] would have any setbacks, but just catching passes and hearing plays called and thinking about what he has to run. We would split up at times where it was just Giants players and go over signals, go over checks and just get the mind back into football and what this new offense is for him also.

Q: Odell Beckham and you had an amazing relationship looking at the numbers, but what improvement do you feel the two of you still have to make?

A: I think there is definitely room for improvement. There are still some miss throws. There are still some – a lot of things we didn’t get the reps on the timing, so some of the timing throws because we didn’t have a whole lot of time to practice. We didn’t have an offseason. We didn’t have a training camp to practice those things. Odell was doing a great job of getting separation and winning on things, and he does have great body control and he is precise in his route running, so it makes it easier to be on the same page without a whole lot of practice. I think we can definitely get better with our timing. There were still some miscues and definitely room for improvement.

Q: Going back to the workouts at Duke… Jon Beason was talking about how it was difficult because of the new CBA rules to study the playbook and brush up on Spagnuolo’s playbook… Was this workout designed to work around the rules?

A: Yeah, because of the CBA rules it is difficult to work out with your guys. You can’t come to our facility and work out at the Giants facility and throw routes and throw a ball. This is a place where instead of trying to go to local high schools where you just don’t know what the field conditions are or what the timing is and having a chance to get into meeting rooms. It is a chance to go and have three days where you are going to have the facilities you need, the fields and the trainers. Everything you would have at the Giants facility, we can do it at Duke and get great work in. It is just a way to get a jumpstart on what we are about to get into in those OTA’s. Just get the mind back on football and receivers to catch passes and for me to be throwing routes to my guys and for me to get my mind back into the football things of calling plays, going over signals and those types of things. I think because of the rules it makes it hard to work with your guys, which I think is a little ridiculous at this level that that is the case, but those are the rules that we decided on, so we have to abide by them. This is a way for us to work and still have all the facilities that we need.

Q: How much of a comfort is it for you to have a safety valve in Shane Vereen now in the fold?

A: I’m excited to work with Shane and see how he can help out our offense. I think Rashad Jennings and Andre [Williams] did a great job last year and can do that. Shane, from what I have seen on film and from watching the Patriots, has a unique skill set that we will have to find ways to get him touches out of the backfield and move him around. I am excited to see how we will use him in different ways and how it will help us out.

Q: Has there been any progress on a contract extension and are you comfortable going into this season in the last year of your contract?

A: Yeah, I am comfortable. I have a job to do and that is to play football and that is my only concern, so I have never got too caught up with contract stuff. The way I look at it is that I have one more year and I am going to play that one more year and go from there.

Linebacker Jon Beason:

Q: Where do you stand health-wise?

A: The problem with training is it is hard to simulate pushing into another man or making a tackle. That is the toughest part about trying to get ready to gauge where you are physically, but in terms of training, I have had an outstanding offseason. I am in great shape. I am running around and changing directions. Everything feels good. I am just being smart and continuing to focus on those little muscles and not do too much and a lot is based on recovering. You hit it a little bit, recover and see how it feels the next day. I was rehabbing every day back home. I was training every day. I was able to double up some days. It has been a process, but it’s been a good one. I feel good about where we are today. Obviously, we start preparing to win a championship now, but the season starts in September.

Q: Are you cleared to do whatever is asked of you during OTA’s and the whole offseason program?

A: I didn’t do a bulk of my rehab, I am sure I will have to check in with Ronnie [Barnes] and the gang and get cleared based on what they say. I feel good, but obviously I am going to listen to them based on my limitations or what they want me or not do.

Q: Do you make any changes this year? There have been some injuries in the past… Do you do anything different to try and stay healthy throughout the season?

A: Football is a tough sport. You look at a guy like London Fletcher, a guy who never missed a game. It never happens, but he takes care of himself obviously. Injuries are by chance. Some of the best players never made it to the NFL because they got hurt in college or high school and that is just part of the deal. You go into it and you try to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s and make sure you do everything possible to make sure that you are addressing the injury, but also what are the compensation patterns, what is the muscle that something else could happen to or other body part? Everything is connected and it is tough to gauge what is next, but you feel like you knock on wood and hopefully this year everything works out because you do your due diligence and do your part and hopefully it does. That is my approach. That is how I feel. I feel when healthy, I am the best in the game, and that is my motto going into the 2015 campaign. It is no different. I am going to be healthy every game and instead of talking about every game, my focus is the opener and have practiced the whole week and go out there and play prepared as opposed to just playing for will and your mental capacity based on how long you have been in the league and just being a veteran. I am looking forward to having the mental part meet the physical preparation and going out there and being the best I can be.

Q: What kind of offseason have you had learning this new defense?

A: As much as I would like to, I wish I could. You go into the offseason and ask to keep the iPad, but unfortunately if they let you keep the iPad then they still have to wipe it clean, so in terms of what I have done on my own from a mental standpoint, you really can’t do much in terms of being with the coaches or getting the scheme. We got in today and you get a chance to kind of see [Spagnuolo’s] style, in terms of preparing for a team and going over some philosophies and core principles and some objectives that we want to get done in this offseason. [Spagnuolo] is very sharp. He is passionate about what he is doing and he is never going to limit himself to just doing one thing. You have to be able to change on the fly. Be a thinker and think outside the box and that part of it puts a lot of pressure on you now. We can’t be [at the facility] but for so long, so [we] are going to have to go home and study like a rookie. It is going to be interesting, but sometimes it is good to learn new things and new terminology and that part of it is part of the offseason and the way it is constructed now because of the new CBA.

Q: Did you have a conversation with Antonio Pierce or any of Spags’ former players to get a sense of what the role is going to be?

A: Yeah, my rookie year was that year in 2007. I was a big fan of Antonio Pierce. When I watched him it was more so what he did for his fellow teammates. The way he got them in the right defense and was able to not be dictated by the offense and that made me a big fan of Spags. Obviously [the Giants] were one of the top defenses that year and they won the whole thing. In my opinion, based on being led on a great defensive team and I was always a fan of his from afar. Now having the opportunity to play for him is something I really look forward to it. I did have a conversation with Antonio Pierce and Jonathan Vilma and they all had good things to say about him. I am looking forward to it and just trying to do my part and make sure I live up to the hype.

Q: With Antrel [Rolle] no longer with you guys… There has been talk about a leadership void. Do you have to do anything differently from a leadership perspective to get this defense up and running?

A: You harp on leadership and it is important. I think leadership boils down to want-to. People follow the guy who is really there for a purpose and a reason. If that reason is to be productive and win football games at all costs, then guys tend to follow you. For me and this team, especially losing a great player, great person and a true competitor like Antrel Rolle, I am challenging guys to lead by being on time, staying late and studying, by trying to be blameless and do their job at a high level and be consistent at it. That is the leader that I am looking to follow. All the stuff about necessarily being vocal and the ‘rah rah’ guys, at the end of the day that is not what leaders are. You lead by example first and that is what I have always done. I concern myself by always trying to be blameless, playing hard and throughout the course of my career, guys have followed that and that is what I want. All 90 guys at this point — you are a leader, come out and be that person.

Q: Last year a couple of your teammates said the chemistry didn’t come together until later in the season… Are you guys planning to do anything differently to facilitate or expedite the chemistry coming together?

A: Last year is last year. You talk about chemistry; from top to bottom we are different. Obviously a new coordinator who everyone has to adapt to and you hit your stride late because you spend that much time together throughout the course of the season and at some point, you hope a light bulb goes off and we start playing all in unison. The things that we can do differently this year are – we have to start all over again. We have to completely reset. Don’t worry about where you played or how you played in college, just buy into a system and say whatever my coach asks me to do, that is what I am going to do. I think if we do that, we will be on the same page and we will get guys at one time doing one thing right as opposed to 11 guys doing something different at one time.

Running Back Shane Vereen:

Q: What has this offseason been like for you? What went into your decision to talk to the Giants?

A: This offseason has been great. I was fortunate enough to be part of a championship team last year and since then, everything has kept moving in a forward direction. I am fortunate enough to be here and be a Giant now. I am looking forward to it. I was excited to get the news.

Q: Who do you know around there and what made that decision feel like the right one?

A: I know a couple of the guys, not too many compared to other teams in the league. There are a couple guys I worked out with out in California. We work out in the same area and now that I am in here and getting to know even more – I actually prefer not knowing that many because it will force me now to step outside my comfort zone and meet some new faces. I am looking forward to it.

Q: Have the coaches given you an idea of what your role is going to be?

A: They haven’t defined any roles yet. I am coming in just trying to work hard and make a role for myself. I am trying to improve this team in any way I can. I know it is a very talented running back group. I am just looking forward to adding my talents to an already talented crew.

Q: Are you going to the White House with the Patriots this week?

A: Yeah, I will be.

Q: Excited about that?

A: Yeah, very excited, very excited. It always has been something I have wanted to do. I can check it off my bucket list. I am looking forward to meeting the president.

Q: What was that like for you to leave New England? Did you seriously contemplate going back or was it not going to work out financially?

A: I contemplated going back because I am so close and so tight with those teammates. I had been there for four years, it is comfortable for me and it is what I have known. At the same time, I am excited to step out of that comfort zone. I am excited to experience something new with another fantastic organization. I don’t see any wrong with either decision I could have made.

Article on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: Which NFL Draft prospects have visited with the Giants? by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Apr 032015
 
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Victor Cruz, New York Giants (November 4, 2012)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Victor Cruz Begins Running: New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz posted a photo on his Instagram account yesterday showing him running inside the team’s indoor practice facility at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

This is the first public evidence that Cruz is running again since tearing the patella tendon in his right knee on October 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles and subsequent surgery. Team officials such as General Manager Jerry Reese and Head Coach Tom Coughlin have said a number of times this offseason while they remain optimistic that Cruz will return to full strength, there are no guarantees.

“When a guy has a big injury like Victor had, you can’t put all your eggs in his basket,” said Reese on February 21. “Our doctors said he looks good. I see him down in the training room working out with our trainers and doctors and he looks good. Until you get out there – his game is quickness. Until you get out there and move around, you never know how he is going to recover from that. We are hoping and praying that he comes back 100 percent and be the Victor Cruz that we know, but you can’t put 100 percent in that basket.”

“I think (Cruz) will be back to the player that he was and hopefully better,” said Coughin on March 25. “Victor looks really good, he’s starting to run, I was in the field house watching him rehab, he’s coming along well… I don’t know (when he will be able to fully practice). I shouldn’t say this, because medically I really do not have a definite answer, but by training camp, hopefully. He will work his way through.”

Good morning world! Not the greatest quality but I think the screen shot speaks for itself. #TheReturn

A photo posted by Victor Cruz (@teamvic) on

“Big Four” Together at Duke: New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz also posted a photo on his Instagram account showing fellow wide receivers Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle as well as quarterback Eli Manning hanging out with him at Duke University. The extent of their athletic interaction is not known.

Mar 312015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants.com senior writer Michael Eisen interviewed Eli Manning for a story on the quarterback’s thoughts on the upcoming season. The 34-year old Manning will be entering his 12th season, and second under Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo’s West Coast Offense-based system.

Manning finished the season with 4,410 yards (second-highest total in his career and in franchise history), 30 touchdowns (one shy of his career-high in 2011), and 14 interceptions (13 fewer than he threw in 2013). Manning’s completion percentage (63.1) was a career-high. His passer rating of 92.1 was the second-highest of highest of his career (93.1 in 2009).

“I’m excited about this upcoming season,” said Manning. “Last year during the offseason, I was coming off an injury and going into a situation with new coaches. And the way the (Collective Bargaining Agreement) works now, you don’t get much, if any, communication with the coaches. There were a lot of uncertainties and I didn’t know how quickly I would heal. I had to learn a new system and new mechanics. There was a lot of anxiousness.

“This year I feel great about the system. My body feels good. I am excited about coming in and knowing what I need to improve on and make strides in, rather than learning a complete new system. I have been working hard and looking at some stuff from last year and keeping the plays fresh and in my head. I’m trying to keep it all fresh in my mind and I am excited about getting back.

“This year will be a much easier transition, knowing that we have been through so much of it already. It’s definitely a different starting point. I feel good about it. I feel that I have a good understanding of it, but there is still room to grow and that is why I try to keep it as fresh in my mind as possible. Looking at old game-plan sheets and calling plays in my head – throwing routes with receivers trying to call out plays to myself, so you don’t let it slip away. It was new last year and it wasn’t something I have been doing for 10 years, so you want to keep it fresh and go through your reminders and all your checks. So when we come back I haven’t taken a step backwards and have to re-learn things. It is still all there. There will be new stuff and we will be taking it to another level.

“I’m not pleased with the amounts of wins (last year). That is the important thing. There are still some situations that we need to get better at and that I need to improve on and, as an offense, we need to improve on. (We need to make sure) we are taking care of what needs to be done during the course of the game to put us in a situation to win, or if we got opportunities in the fourth quarter, to be at our best and win our games in those situations. There is definitely still some room for improvement, but I feel good that I can play at a high level in this system and can definitely make improvements and we can win a lot of games and play a lot better this year.”

Manning also addressed the following topics:

  • How he physically approaches the offseason: “Your arm needs rest and your body needs rest. I didn’t start throwing again until mid-February. Just to keep the arm in shape and making sure it has all the strength and everything that it needs when we get back in April. As I get older, I take less time off, especially from my workouts and my conditioning (because) it is harder to get back into shape. It takes a little longer to get your strength back up. Take two weeks off, but even then I still enjoy the workout part of it. It is still exercising and moving around just to keep loose.”
  • How he reviews his play from the previous season: “I look at everything. I look at games to see situations we need to improve on, whether it is a two-minute before a half or it is a red-zone or try to analyze certain games (to see) if there is a common trend we need to improve on from aspects of circumstances of the game. Then look a lot of cut-ups of the same play. If it is a play you ran 20 times in a season, you’re seeing trends, what coverages it worked well against. Why it had success or why it didn’t have success. So you can learn from those and get a great feel for it going into the season.”
  • Wide Receivers Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz: “The good thing about having guys that are smart and versatile is that you can move them around in different positions. Victor and Odell can do a lot of the same things. The more guys you can have that are great athletes, the more you want to try to get the ball in their hands. You can change up formations, you can move them inside or outside. Victor can play outside, he can play in the slot. Odell can do both of those things, so I think that is an advantage to us. You can run similar plays or the same play, but having different guys do it disguises things.”
  • Running Back Shane Vereen: “I have talked to Shane a little bit and I have seen him play over the years in New England. He is very versatile. He can catch the ball well out of the backfield, run routes very well (when he is) split outside and he runs the ball well when you use him as a running back. I think it gets you excited because you can use him in a lot of different ways and move him around and create mismatches.”
Mar 252015
 
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Tom Coughlin Addresses Media at League Meeting: New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the media at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday. Some of key points made by Coughlin included:

  • On WR Victor Cruz’s recovery from knee surgery: “I think he will be back to the player that he was and hopefully better. Victor looks really good, he’s starting to run, I was in the field house watching him rehab, he’s coming along well… I don’t know (when he will be able to fully practice). I shouldn’t say this, because medically I really do not have a definite answer, but by training camp, hopefully. He will work his way through.”
  • On QB Eli Manning’s contract situation: “Eli knows he’s our guy. (As for) when these things get done, well, I think John (Mara) last week expressed it as well as it can be said. Yeah, it’d be great if it was done. If it isn’t done going in (to the season), it’ll be done during or shortly after or whenever… It’ll get done, I’m fully confident of that, and I think so is Eli. Why would he have any concern about that?”
  • On the safety position: “That’s an issue, no doubt. We do have one more access to bringing in personnel, obviously, the draft. And we have a couple of guys in the program including (Nat) Berhe, who we really liked as a rookie and a special-teamer. We have injured players (Cooper Taylor and Bennett Jackson) coming back that can help. But there’s concern, no doubt… (Moving Jackson to safety) is a possibility… a kid none of us know much about. He’s rehabbing. He’s doing pretty well.”
  • In addition to Bennett Jackson, Coughlin also said cornerback Chykie Brown might be moved to safety.
  • On S Nat Berhe: “(He can play free safety and) I think he can come down in the box, too. His special-teams play would lead you to believe that. We threw him into a lot of responsibility on special teams and I thought he handled it well. So he’s adaptable, he’s smart, he’s anxious and he’s eager for the opportunity, for sure.”
  • On RB Shane Vereen: “As a pass receiver coming out of the backfield, pass-protector, a guy who runs the ball in the three wide offense, the defensive run game if you will. A lot of the (Tom) Brady hook up with Vereen, the ball was almost automatically going to him. You know there would be certain first downs, if there was zone coverage, they would drop the ball off and he would scoot. So, we know that. Will we open it up to other parts of it? Well, we would like to make sure he can. He does very well at that spot. I really like the young man, he adds an experienced playmaker out of the backfield.”
  • On WR/Special Teams Player Dwayne Harris: “The idea that you have a guy of that ability — and you’ve seen the way he carries himself on the field, he’s physical — to have a guy who can kick return, punt return, cover kicks, gunner. In this day and age to have a guy at gunner who’s consistent and good, let’s face it, it’s been a while since we’ve had that. That is a very attractive deal… (David) Tyree would come in (on offense), he’d be a blocker, that’s what Harris does, but you see him on the field, you start thinking that way. And that part of it alone opens up possibilities, maybe you get back to that old fake ghost screen stuff again, maybe that becomes a better opportunity for it. Whether he’s the third receiver or fourth receiver or a special situation kind of a player, offensively he wants to contribute.”
  • On linebackers J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas: “We think Thomas can be a WILL ‘backer. Casillas is basically the same kind of guy. Both are excellent special teamers. They’ll make contributions in both ways.”
  • On what he expects out of LB Devon Kennard: “A lot. If Jon (Beason) comes back and Jon is healthy and can play, then you have Kennard maybe in a stronger position and rushing the passer more, the whole deal that way. That is going to make you better.”
  • On DE Damontre Moore: “He has to make a contribution. He has the pass rush ability and special team play.”
  • On the defensive tackle position: “(Kenrick) Ellis is a big human. The young man on our practice squad, (Dominique) Hamilton, is a big human, so I am looking forward to seeing what they can do, too… We realized that big dominating guy in the middle is a good starting point for the D-Line.”

A video of Coughlin’s remarks is also available at Giants.com.

A video of an NFL Network interview is also available at Giants.com.

Giants Receive No Compensatory Draft Picks: As expected, the New York Giants will not receive any compensatory choices in the 2015 NFL Draft. Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The Giants were pretty aggressive in signing free agents for other teams in 2014. For a complete list of free agents signed and lost by Giants in 2014, see the 2014 Free Agency Scorecard.

Giants.com Q&A with OT Justin Pugh: A video of a Giants.com interview with OT Justin Pugh is available at Giants.com.

Article on RB Shane Vereen: Shane Vereen gives Tom Coughlin and Giants more options in passing game by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Jennings: Giants offense can be “dominant” by Arthur Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on the New York Giants Wide Receivers: Do the Giants have enough wide receiver depth to protect against Victor Cruz being healthy? by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on LB J.T. Thomas: Why didn’t Jacksonville Jaguars re-sign J.T. Thomas and what does he bring to Giants defense? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Mar 232015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (February 5, 2012)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Right now, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning ($19,750,000 in base salary and bonuses) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul ($14,813,000 franchise tag) take up over 24 percent of the team’s $143,411,883 adjusted 2015 salary cap. That’s two players taking up almost a quarter of the franchise’s cap space. Most teams facing such a situation would look to re-structure or extend the contracts of players placing so much pressure on the cap.

However, with the free agent market drying up and the Giants still roughly $9 million dollars under the 2015 salary cap, the team appears to have the option or “luxury” to carry these two huge cap numbers, allowing both Manning and Pierre-Paul to play out the final year of their contracts. Why would the Giants do this?

Both Manning and Pierre-Paul have proven to be inconsistent players. After having a career season in 2011, Manning was on a downward spiral for two years before bouncing back with a strong 2014 season. The 2013 season was particularly alarming as Manning arguably had his worst season as pro. Pierre-Paul also had his best year in 2011 and was also trending downward until bouncing back in 2014. And although Pierre-Paul had his second-best season as a pro last year, he did not make a big impact in games until the Giants’ post-season hopes were already dead.

Before the Giants extend or re-sign Manning and Pierre-Paul, they may want to see how both perform in 2015. The odds are Manning should do well as he will be in the second season of Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo’s quarterback-friendly offense. Odell Beckham is arguably the best wideout in the game. Victor Cruz may not be the same player after his October 2014 knee injury but he should be back. And most of the surrounding offensive talent base should be better, including the offensive line, a running back corps that now includes pass-catching back Shane Vereen, and a more mature Larry Donnell and Rueben Randle.

But what if the 34-year old Manning has a bad year in 2015? Signing him now to a contact similar to Ben Roethlisberger’s new 5-year, $99 million deal could sabotage any rebuilding process.

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (November 17, 2013)

Jason Pierre-Paul Returns an INT for a TD – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The same set of circumstances applies to Pierre-Paul, who is looking to become one of the highest paid defensive players in football despite only accruing a combined total of 8.5 sacks in 2012 and 2013. If the Giants pay Pierre-Paul a huge, long-term contract and he remains an inconsistent player, the team would be severely limited in what it could do to improve the overall state of the defense.

In short, and to be brutally frank, if the Giants extend Manning and Pierre-Paul with mega-contracts, and both do not perform like impact players, then the team’s future would be bleak. The contracts would prove to be an albatross, making it difficult to not only retain and pursue other talent, but probably even preclude the option of releasing either player in a worst case scenario.

Of course, there is a risk here for the Giants. If Manning and Pierre-Paul play extremely well in 2015, the Giants may be faced with the daunting prospect of their franchise quarterback and one of the league’s best pass rushers hitting the open market next offseason at the same time. The Giants can only use the franchise tag on one player per offseason. If the Giants cannot re-sign Manning before free agency begins, they would have to franchise him (over $23 million). Pierre-Paul would then likely hit the open market. And once a player hits the open market, it is a 50-50 proposition on whether he returns.

Nevertheless, right now, it appears this is a gamble the New York Giants are prepared to take.

“There are no guns to anyone’s head, no ticking clock (with respect to Manning),” said team Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch on Monday. “I have not heard he has been putting any pressure on us. So I think let’s just wait and see.”

As for Pierre-Paul, Tisch said, “A lot depends on how he performs this season.”

The New York Post is also reporting that team President and CEO John Mara said on Monday that an extension for Manning is “preferable” but the Giants are willing to let him play out his contract.

Of course, this could be all negotiation posturing, a way for the team to encourage Manning and Pierre-Paul to reduce their respective contract demands. Without new contracts, there would be a lot of unpleasant pressure on Manning and Pierre-Paul to play well in 2015 for their own financial welfare. Some players do not respond well to such pressure, as we saw with Hakeem Nicks in 2013 and Antrel Rolle in 2014. Both Manning and Pierre-Paul cannot discount the fact that the team appears to at least have the financial option to force them to play well in 2015 in order to get paid well.

For two players taking up nearly 25 percent of the 53-man roster’s cap space, this is indeed high-stakes poker.

Mar 222015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 28, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Report – Giants Willing to Let Eli Manning Play Out Final Year of Contract: According to ESPN, the New York Giants “recently had another conversation” with representatives for quarterback Eli Manning about a contract extension. Manning is entering the final year of his current contract, with a cap hit of nearly $20 million. ESPN reports that two unidentified sources say the two sides are not close to a new deal, and that the Giants are willing to let Manning play out the final year of his contract. ESPN says that an extension this offseason “doesn’t seem likely unless there’s a major change in one side’s negotiation position.”

According to ESPN’s sources, the Giants are not willing to make a larger commitment to Manning than the 5-year, $99 million deal that Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger signed recently.

ESPN says the Giants still believe in Manning and “their primary goal is to keep him a Giant for the remainder of his career.” But ESPN claims that the team has no big incentive to complete a new deal in the near future as the Giants do not currently need the additional salary cap space that an extension would create.

ESPN speculates that if a new deal is not completed this year or before free agency next year, the Giants could place the franchise tag on Manning.

This past week, team President and CEO John Mara said that a contract extension for Manning is not currently in the works but “obviously something will be done at some point.”

Giants.com Q&A with DE George Selvie: The video of a Giants.com Q&A with DE George Selvie is available at Giants.com.

Article on Former Giants TE Kevin Boss: Long-term concussion fears haunt retired former Giant Kevin Boss by Bob Glauber of Newsday

Mar 172015
 
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Kenrick Ellis, New York Jets (November 24, 2014)

Kenrick Ellis – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Defensive Tackle Kenrick Ellis Visiting New York Giants: According to The New York Post, unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis (New York Jets) is visiting the New York Giants today.

The 27-year old Ellis is a huge (6’4”, 346 pound) run-stuffing defensive tackle who was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Jets. Ellis did not start a game for the Jets in 2014, but he was a valuable reserve on a talented defensive line.

Other New York Giants Free Agent News:

  • Unrestricted free agent safety Ron Parker (Kansas City Chiefs), who the Giants were rumored to be interested in, has re-signed a 5-year, $30 million contract with the Chiefs.
  • The deal that offensive guard John Jerry re-signed with the Giants is reportedly a 2-year, $3.3 million deal that includes $1 million in guaranteed money.
  • The deal that cornerback Chykie Brown re-signed with the Giants is reportedly a 2-year, $2 million deal.

Giants.com Interview with RB Andre Williams: The video of a Giants.com interview with RB Andre Williams is available at Giants.com.

Articles on the New York Giants and Free Agency:

Article on QB Eli Manning: How Ben Roethlisberger’s new deal affects Giants, Eli Manning by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Feb 112015
 
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David Wilson, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

David Wilson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York  Giants Waive RB David Wilson: The New York Giants have waived running back David Wilson, the team’s first-round draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Wilson suffered a season-ending neck injury in Week 5 of the 2013 NFL season in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He re-injured the neck on July 29, 2014 during training camp. Soon after a joint decision by Wilson and the Giants was made that it would be best for Wilson to retire from football. Wilson was officially placed on Injured Reserve a second time in August 2014.

New York Giants Officially Sign Center Brett Jones: Following up on yesterday’s update, the Giants have indeed officially signed Canadian Football League (CFL) offensive center Brett Jones. The 23-year old Jones has played center for the Calgary Stampeders for the past two seasons. He was named the CFL’s top rookie in 2013 and top offensive lineman in 2014.

“It has always been a goal and a dream of mine to play in the NFL,” said Jones in the team’s press release. “This is the first step, and I look forward to taking many more.

“When I was in university in Canada, my goal was always to try to play in the NFL. As a kid growing up playing games like Madden, it definitely was an influence. Some of the players on my team (in the video game) that I played with, they play in the NFL now. I always thought that I wanted to earn a chance.

“I am coming from the Canadian style, where (the defensive line is) one yard off the ball. I know that there is going to be a learning curve to that… Hopefully my pro experience will help me, but I understand there is going to be a learning curve and I look forward to that.”

Article on OC Brett Jones: Newest Giant Brett Jones’ former CFL teammates and position coach call him an ‘offensive coordinator’ on the field by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Eli Manning’s Giants future: fat new contract or lame duck? by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on DT Cullen Jenkins: Know Your Giants: DT Cullen Jenkins by Michael Eisen of Giants.com