May 232016
 
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Eli Apple, New York Giants (May 6, 2016)

Eli Apple – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MAY 23, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
Phase Three (Weeks 6-9) of the New York Giants voluntary nine-week offseason program started on Monday. During Phase Three of offseason programs, NFL teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activities, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The OTA practices will be held May 23-24, May 26, June 1-3, June 6-7, and June 9-10. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 14-16.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Safety Cooper Taylor had surgery last week to repair a sports hernia injury and will be out until training camp begins on July 28.

Working on the side were wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf), running back Orleans Darkwa (leg), offensive tackle Byron Stingily (unknown), and defensive end Romeo Okwara (unknown).

“Right now, we’re looking for (Cruz) to get back here and he’s working to get back to training camp,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “Small steps.”

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was a no-show for the voluntary OTA. “DRC wasn’t able to make it today,” said McAdoo. “We look forward to getting him back here as soon as we can…It’s a voluntary opportunity, OTA’s. If he’s here, we’ll coach him. If he’s not, we wish him nothing but the best…We want all of our guys here. We feel it’s important to developing the team and building fundamentals and working on communication and we can’t wait to get DRC back.”

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The first-team safeties were Landon Collins and Nat Berhe. The second-team safeties were Bennett Jackson and Darian Thompson.
  • The first-team wide receivers were Odell Beckham, Jr. and Geremy Davis outside, with Dwayne Harris playing in the slot.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple received time with the first unit and did a nice job against receivers such as Geremy Davis and Dwayne Harris. He worked both outside and in the slot.
  • Offensive lineman Bobby Hart appeared to work exclusively at right tackle, even receiving some first-team reps.
  • Nikita Whitlock lined up at fullback with second team in drills. Will Johnson appeared to work with the second team at H-Back.
  • Adam Gettis was working with the second-team offensive line at center.
  • Brad Bars appears to have been shifted from defensive end to linebacker.
  • Cornerback Janoris Jenkins had a nice pass breakup of a deep pass from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Wide receiver Geremy Davis made a diving catch of a deep ball from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Wide receiver Roger Lewis beat cornerback Tramain Jacobs on a deep pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib.

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

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

ARTICLES…

May 182016
 
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Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans (November 1, 2015)

Zach Mettenberger – © USA TODAY Sports Images

REPORT – GIANTS PUT IN CLAIM FOR ZACK METTENBERGER…
The New York Post and New York Daily News report that the New York Giants put in a waiver claim for quarterback Zack Mettenberger, who was recently cut by the Tennessee Titans and claimed by the San Diego Chargers off of waivers.

The 24-year old Mettenberger was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Titans. In his two NFL seasons, Mettenberger has started 10 regular-season games, completing 60.3 percent of his passes for 2,347 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions.

The Giants currently have three quarterbacks on their roster: Eli Manning, Ryan Nassib, and B.J. Daniels.

ARTICLES…

Apr 272016
 
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Owamagbe Odighizuwa, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Owamagbe Odighizuwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

APRIL 27, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The second day of the New York Giants 3-day, voluntary mini-camp was held on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. There will be no media access on the third and final day of the mini-camp on Thursday.

On-field workouts allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 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. Players will wear helmets, but no shoulder pads.

“Second day back on the field, had a chance to work on the fundamentals a little bit, do some team periods, get a little offense and defensive action and we have a lot of work to do, but we are excited for the process,” said Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Wide receiver Ben Edwards was carted off of the field after reportedly suffering an injury to his left knee. He appeared to be in a lot of pain. No word yet on the severity of the injury.

Several players are still recovering from injuries suffered last year and are slowly being brought along. Wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf) was kept out of drills and spent time with the trainers.

“We threw routes the past couple of weeks and he seemed good,” said quarterback Eli Manning of Cruz. “He was running routes. He seemed sharp and he was able to come out of breaks. He looked the same. Hopefully he can get back out here soon.”

Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (pectoral), linebacker Devon Kennard (foot) and safety Bennett Jackson (knee) were spotted working on the sidelines.

NJ.com reports that running back Orleans Darkwa (leg) has a small fracture in his tibia and is expected to be held out of football activities for about a month.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • NJ.com reports that once again, John Jerry was the starting right guard and Marshall Newhouse the starting right tackle. Bobby Hart was at right tackle and Sean McDermott at center with the second unit. Brett Jones was the third-team center.
  • In a three-wide receiver set, Odell Beckham and Myles White started outside with Dwayne Harris in the slot.
  • Trevin Wade lined up at slot cornerback.
  • Newsday reports that wide receiver Anthony Dablé looked more comfortable today and that his skill set is obvious.
  • Wide receiver Myles White beat cornerback Janoris Jenkins on a dig route.
  • Wide receiver Geremy Davis made a long, jumping touchdown catch on a pass from Ryan Nassib.
  • Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie picked off a pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib, but Rodgers-Cromartie was then beat for a touchdown by wide receiver Odell Beckham on a stop-and-go route.

GIANTS PICK UP 5TH-YEAR OPTION ON JUSTIN PUGH…
The New York Giants have picked up the fifth-year option on the contract for offensive guard Justin Pugh. The base salary in his fifth year is expected to be $8.821 million.

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

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

ARTICLES…

Apr 262016
 
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Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

APRIL 26, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants opened a 3-day, voluntary mini-camp on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

On-field workouts allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 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. Players will wear helmets, but no shoulder pads.

“It’s good to get back out here on the field,” said new Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “Third week of the offseason program, so we really just got out here and knocked the rust off a little bit, getting the guys orientated to the way we’re going to go about the business and we’ll build on it each day. We’ll do a little bit more tomorrow, a little bit more on Thursday and off we go.

“The building has been buzzing here for a few weeks, and the guys are excited to get back and get going. I think you felt that out here a little bit today. It was a good first day. We didn’t do much out here other than train the fundamentals. We didn’t do any offense or any defense, but the guys were into it.”

Video of practice highlights is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Several players are still recovering from injuries suffered last year and are slowly being brought along. Wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf) was kept out of drills and spent time with the trainers.

“(Cruz) looks good,” said McAdoo. “He’s moving around. He’s doing a lot of things. He’s certainly ready to go if we needed him to go today, but he’s going to go when we deem him ready to go…Victor has come a long way and we’re going to take small steps with him. It’s the third week of the offseason program. We don’t want to rush into anything there. We want to take our time and when he’s ready to go, we’ll put him back out there when we deem him ready to go…He’s running routes. He’s working hard. He feels he’s 100 percent, but we’re going to take it slow and we’re going to take small steps with him. When we deem him ready, we’ll put him on the field.”

Linebacker Devon Kennard (foot) and safety Bennett Jackson (knee) were limited; they participated in some drills. Running back Orleans Darkwa (unknown) and place kicker Josh Brown (personal business) did not participate.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Newsday reports that defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa looked quick, wide receiver Geremy Davis looked bigger, and safety Mykkele Thompson looked agile.
  • NJ.com reports that Jason Pierre-Paul lined up with the first unit at left defensive end and Olivier Vernon at right defensive end.
  • John Jerry lined up with the first team at right guard and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle. Bobby Hart saw reps with the second-team unit at both right tackle and right guard.
  • Jasper Brinkley was with the first team at middle linebacker.
  • NJ.com reports that Landon Collins and Cooper Taylor started at safety with the first unit and that Nat Berhe and Bennett Jackson were with the second unit.

Good sign for #Giants: Safeties Nat Berhe and Mykkele Thompson back working with team after missing all of 2015

A video posted by Jordan Raanan (@jraanan) on

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

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

ARTICLES…

Apr 122016
 
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Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (November 8, 2015)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ORLEANS DARKWA SIGNS EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TENDER…
New York Giants running back Orleans Darkwa has signed his 1-year exclusive rights free agent tender.

Darkwa was the #4 running back on the Giants in 2015. He played in all 16 games with no starts and finished the season with 36 carries for 153 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and one touchdown.

Darkwa was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in four games in September before being waived in October and signed to the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants signed him off of Miami’s Practice Squad in November 2014.

Punter Brad Wing is the only unsigned exclusive rights free agent. Tight end Larry Donnell is the only unsigned restricted free agent.

NICO JOHNSON CUT AFTER FAILING PHYSICAL…
New York Giants linebacker Nico Johnson has been waived after failing his physical.

The Giants signed Johnson to the Practice Squad in November 2015 and the 53-man roster in late December. Johnson was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. Since then, he has spent time with the Chiefs (2013-14), Bengals (2014-15), and Redskins (2015). Johnson has played in 18 regular-season games with three starts, accruing 22 tackles.

GIANTS.COM INTERVIEW WITH SHANE VEREEN…
The video of an exclusive interview with New York Giants running back Shane Vereen is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

Apr 072016
 
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Markus Kuhn, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Markus Kuhn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

PRESEASON SCHEDULE RELEASED…
The 2016 preseason schedule for the New York Giants has been released. Specific times have not yet been released.

  • Friday, August 12: Miami Dolphins
  • August 18-21: at Buffalo Bills
  • Saturday, August 27: at New York Jets
  • Thursday, September: New England Patriots

The team’s 2016 regular-season opponents are listed in the Schedule section of the website.

MARKUS KUHN SIGNS WITH PATRIOTS…
New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Markus Kuhn has signed with the New England Patriots.

“I couldn’t be more happy about my time here and I’ll definitely miss that place with all the great people in this building,” wrote Kuhn. “Good byes are never fun, even if they’re just a see you later. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. It’s time to move on and I couldn’t be more excited where life is taking me next. ”

The Giants placed Markus Kuhn on Injured Reserve with a knee injury in December 2015. In his four season with the Giants, Kuhn has steadily seen his playing time increase. In 2015, he played in 10 games with nine starts, finishing the year with 20 tackles and 0.5 sacks. Kuhn was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Giants. Kuhn was born in Germany and was only a one-year starter in college.

HAKEEM NICKS VISITS BENGALS…
ESPN is reporting that New York Giants unrestricted free agent wide receiver Hakeem Nicks tried out with the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday.

Desperate for veteran wide receiver help, the Giants signed Nicks off of the street in November 2015. Unfortunately, the results were not good. Nicks played in six games with two starts, but finished with only seven catches for 54 yards. It’s been a precipitous decline for Nicks ever since his stellar 2010 and 2011 seasons when he compiled 155 catches for 2,244 yards and 18 touchdowns in 28 regular-season games.

Nicks was originally drafted by the Giants in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL Draft. After two disappointing seasons in 2012 and 2013 when Nicks’ production fell to 109 passes for 1,588 yards and three touchdowns in 28 regular-season games, Nicks departed in free agency for the Indianapolis Colts. Nicks’ production in Indianapolis was disappointing too as he caught 38 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns. He tried to catch on with the Tennessee Titans in training camp in 2015 but did not make the team. Nicks’ demise has largely been attributed to injuries, including compartment syndrome in his lower right leg in 2010 as well as a broken right foot and a poster cruciate ligament (PCL) tear in 2012.

ARTICLES…

Timing is everything. ⏱ @donellansports

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Mar 292016
 
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Will Tye, New York Giants (December 20, 2015)

Will Tye – © USA TODAY Sports Images

TIGHT END WILL TYE SIGNS EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TENDER…
New York Giants tight end Will Tye has signed his 1-year exclusive rights free agent tender.

Forced into service due to injuries to other players, Tye was a pleasant surprise in 2015. He played in 13 games with seven starts, and finished the season with 42 catches for 464 yards and three touchdowns. Tye was voted to the Pro Football Writers NFL All-Rookie Team. Tye was originally signed as a rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. The Giants added him to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad in early October 2015.

PATRICK ROBINSON SIGNS WITH COLTS…
Unrestricted free agent cornerback Patrick Robinson (San Diego Chargers) has reportedly signed a 3-year, $12 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts. The Giants were supposedly interested in Robinson’s services.

GIANTS.COM INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN PUGH…
A video of a Giants.com “Insider” interview with wide receiver Justin Pugh is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

https://twitter.com/BigDame900/status/713096747082457088?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

Mar 222016
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BEN MCADOO DISCUSSES FREE AGENTS, JPP, AND CRUZ…
Michael Eisen of Giants.com caught up with New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo at the NFL spring meetings in Florida. McAdoo made the following comments:

  • On DE Olivier Vernon: “OV is a guy that’s very disruptive. He jumped off the film when we played them, when we had to go down there on Monday night. There were some concerns going into that game because of how disruptive he’s been. He’s someone that’s going to have be accounted for.”
  • On DT Harrison “Damon’s a guy that is a handful in the run game and can push the pocket inside-out in the pass game, and is going to create some problems for quarterbacks there. He’s hard to keep blocked for long periods of time, and is going to make you better on first down and second down, obviously, but then on third down, too, for as well as he does on first and second down at stopping the run.”
  • On CB Janoris Jenkins: “Jackrabbit, as we call Janoris, he’s a guy that is a very talented, instinctive player. He’ll take some shots on the ball, make some plays for you there, and we do like that. He’s a talented guy.”
  • On LB Keenan Robinson: “Keenan, we’re looking forward to getting up to speed and having him with a rebound year.”
  • On DE Jason Pierre-Paul: “Sitting down with JPP the other day, you could tell he’s got a great look in his eye and he’s motivated and he’s hungry. Being able to train for an entire offseason and get out there for the offseason and for camp, he’ll be full-go, he’ll be disruptive, and we look forward and we’re glad we have him back.”
  • On WR Victor Cruz: “We sat down the other day. I mentioned to him when he went to Cincinnati last year in training camp to practice against them, it was probably the most I’ve been excited about our offense in two years in that practice. He was out there playing well, he looked good, was moving around well. He wasn’t 100 percent, but he was out there with Odell (Beckham Jr.). We had some guys out there playing who were healthy and executing. Unfortunately, that’s the last time we had them on the field together. Glad to have Victor back. He’s motivated and there’s nothing like a motivated player who’s been counted out by a lot of people in a lot of regards. We look forward to the impact he can make.”
  • On improving as a team: “It’s no secret how you build a good team. You have to have a quarterback, which we do. On both sides of the ball upfront, you have to be physical, and we have to have guys that play to our identity – sound, smart and tough, committed to discipline and poise. We’re getting there. We have to develop some young guys as well. All the answers aren’t in free agency. We added some nice pieces there, but we have some young players on the roster now we have to develop, and do our due diligence in the draft as well.”

ARTICLES…

Mar 152016
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (December 15, 2015)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

DONALD PENN VISITING GIANTS…
The NFL Network reports that unrestricted free agent offensive tackle Donald Penn (Oakland Raiders) is visiting the New York Giants on Tuesday. (LATE UPDATE: Penn will now reportedly be visiting the Giants later this week). Penn and the Raiders are apparently in a contract stalemate.

The 32-year old Penn was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Minnesota Vikings after the 2006 NFL Draft. He has played for the Vikings (2006), Buccaneers (2006-2013), and Raiders (2014-2015). For the past eight seasons, Penn has not missed a game and been a starter in every contest. He’s a very solid pass protector and run blocker at left tackle.

JASON PIERRE-PAUL CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul addressed the press by conference call on Tuesday.

Q: Jason, obviously you had the offseason procedure which helped your grip and strength in that hand and I know you posted some workout videos. How do you expect that to help you on the field this year?

A: We just have to wait and see. I am doing everything that needs to be done to help [get] my game to the next level.

Q: How excited are you about the free agency additions that were made in the last week here?

A: I am just excited that I have a chance to play football, man. Do what I love to do, come back to New York and play one year and show the fans and show everyone in the organization that Jason Pierre Paul can still play some ball.

Q: It looked like you were able to close your hand better [based on your workout video]. Are you finding that [to be true] now that you are a couple weeks removed from your surgery and do you feel that you still have a ways to go with that?

A: I am doing everything possible to get my hand in the best position to play football. I am still doing rehab to this day even when I go back to New York I will still be doing rehab. I am going to be doing rehab for the rest of my life but it is nowhere close where I need it to get right now but at the end of the day it will be before the season starts but I am capable of lifting weight and closing and gripping and all that so it turned out pretty well – my surgery turned out pretty well.

Q: When Olivier [Vernon] joined the team he said that he spoke with you. What kind of advice and encouragement did you give him in his first season with the Giants?

A: He asked me about the organization and how do I feel about … what was it …  how do I feel about the organization and the team? I said look, “At the end of the day if you come here you are going to be going to be coming to a great organization and we do everything the right way here.” It was just a brief talk. I didn’t even convince him of signing or anything. It was just a brief talk with him, we talked for like 30 minutes and he made the decision the next day so he is part of the team now and I am excited. That was basically it.

Q: Is it a reassuring feeling for you having a player of his caliber on the other side to help generate some pressure?

A: At the end of the day, I am more worried about myself. It starts with yourself first when you play football. You have to do all the right things and put yourself in the best position before the season starts. I think a person of his caliber is going to get the job done – even Robert Ayers [isn’t] with us anymore but he did a great job too so it is all about the person and what they bring to the team so with these news guys that we got I am happy that we got them and now it is time to do work.

Q: In 2014, you guys brought in a lot of new faces, and by the end of that year some of the guys were saying that the chemistry was the biggest challenge getting everyone on the same page and building that family atmosphere. Since you were around that year are there any lessons you can take from that as far as going into this offseason and building that chemistry quicker?

A: We have a whole new team. We have a whole new team, new coaching staff so basically we have to feel for each other but that is what training camp and OTAs and mini camps are for – for guys to build chemistry. We can’t wait too late to build that chemistry, we have to do it right away. Every face is going to be new, the team is different but we all have the same goals.

Q: When you signed, you said that you felt that New York was the place to be. What is it about New York that appealed to you so much?

A: First of all, I have only been in New York so it is hard to go somewhere for one year and try to learn the system and all of that, so I decided that I would stay for that particular reason and New York has the best fans in the world. If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere so I wasn’t really too much worried about me going anywhere and trying to make it because I know what kind of player I am. But as far as that, that was basically what decision I came upon and I feel like I had unfinished business to do. I didn’t have a full 16-game season last year. It was cut short to eight games but I returned in the final eight games and I was playing pretty well but I know what I am capable of doing on the field and how much I change the defense when I am around. I am more excited of actually getting in during training camp and OTAs and minicamp and actually starting on time and proving – well not really proving to anybody because I always prove to myself because I am doing things now that people said I couldn’t be doing – but just finishing what I started. I am already training and coming in and having a full training camp and getting into the season the very first game. When I step on the field in that first game I have to achieve everything that I want to achieve and I have to stay healthy and play the whole 16 games which I should be.

Q: I don’t want to put words in your mouth but you keep referring to: “I haven’t shown what I am capable of doing.” In terms of using a benchmark, is it fair to say that the 2011 season is what you are capable of doing?

A: That 2011 season is so old I am tired of people talking about it. That was a whole different team; we have a whole [new] team, whole new faces on this team. Like I said, each year you only get better and like I said, my season was cut short last year but I am doing what I have to do to get back to where I was at so I am not looking at 2011, I am looking at the 2015 season and only I can tell what is going to happen so you just have to wait and see. We have a whole new team and starting with myself I have to be that guy that is on that line and is going to produce so I am doing everything that is possible on my end to make me a better player so I am going to have no regrets.

Q: As far as on the field and transitioning from the club to the glove. Have you decided what you would like to use or what is going to feel best for you?

A: I can use whatever I want – whatever makes me feel comfortable. Like I said before, I am not going to use a club next year. If I feel like I want to I can but my hand can be perfectly fine and I have said that multiple times so this should be a question that shouldn’t be asked anymore.

Q: But what in your mind gives you the most comfort?

A: You are just going to have to wait and see. You are just going to have to wait and see.

Q: Do you expect to be a full participant at the OTAs and the mini camps and all of those things and are you having anymore surgeries on the hand?

A: I am expected to be there and I am going to be on time for everything. Anything can happen at any given moment so as of right now I am planning on being there and showing my face and being with the team on April 11th to on out so we just have to wait and see. Anything can happen, man.

ARTICLES…

Mar 112016
 
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PRINCE AMUKAMARA SIGNS WITH JAGUARS…
New York Giants unrestricted free agent cornerback Prince Amukamara has signed a 1-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Financial terms of the deal are not yet known.

The 26-year old Amukamara was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants. In his five seasons with the team, he has stayed healthy for a full 16-game schedule just once (2013). He missed most of his rookie season with a broken foot, battled high ankle sprain and hamstring injuries in 2012, and missed half of the 2014 season with a torn biceps muscle.

Amukamara was off to a strong start in 2015 until he tore his pectoral muscle in Week 5. He missed the next five games, and when he returned, Amukamara did not play as effectively. He played in 11 games with 10 starts, and finished the season with 63 tackles, 10 pass defenses, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble.

ROBERT AYERS SIGNS WITH BUCCANEERS…
New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive end Robert Ayers has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The contract is reportedly a 3-year, $21 million deal that includes $10.5 million in guaranteed money.

The 30-year old Ayers was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL by the Broncos. He signed with the Giants as a free agent in April 2014. In his first year with the Giants in 2014, Ayers started 1-of-12 games before being placed on Injured Reserve with a torn pectoral muscle. Despite missing four games early in the season with a hamstring injury, Ayers had his best NFL season in 2015, starting 11-of-12 games and finishing with career highs in tackles (41), sacks (9.5), pass defenses (4), and forced fumbles (2).

MARCH 11, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT NEWS AND RUMORS…
The official NFL free agency signing period began on Wednesday. Here is the latest news and rumors regarding the New York Giants:

  • Multiple media sources report unrestricted free agent left tackle Russell Okung (Seattle Seahawks) visited the New York Giants on Friday, but left without a contract. He will next meet with the Detroit Lions on Saturday. The Seahawks and 49ers are also said to be interested in his services. Okung is representing himself in contract negotiations. The 28-year old Okung was originally drafted in the 1st round (6th overall pick) of the 2010 NFL Draft. Okung needed left shoulder surgery to repair a dislocation suffered in the 2015 playoffs and reportedly is still recovering from that procedure.
  • The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants are one of three teams “in the mix” for the services of unrestricted free agent safety Chris Conte (Tampa Bay Buccaneers). The other two teams are the Buccaneers and Saints. The 27-year old Conte was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He signed with the Buccaneers in March 2015. In his five NFL seasons, Conte has played in 71 regular-season games with 65 starts, including 13 starts in 2015 when he accrued 79 tackles, six pass defenses, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles.
  • The New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent safety Reggie Nelson (Cincinnati Bengals). However, the paper also says the Giants do not consider safety a “high priority”. The 32-year old Nelson was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since 2010, he has played for the Bengals. In 2015, Nelson made the Pro Bowl after starting all 16 regular-season games and finishing with 77 tackles, 14 pass defenses, and eight interceptions.
  • FOXSports out of Indianapolis is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent linebacker Jerrell Freeman (Indianapolis Colts). Freeman is meeting with the Chicago Bears on Friday and the Atlanta Falcons are also said to be interested. The 29-year old Freeman was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tennessee Titans after the 2008 NFL Draft but he did not make the team. Freeman played for the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2009-2011 before joining the Colts in 2012. In the last four seasons, Freeman has started all 57 regular-season games he has played in with Indianapolis, including 13 in 2015, when his finished the season with 112 tackles, three sacks, and one interception.

NO COMPENSATORY DRAFT PICKS FOR GIANTS…
As expected, the New York Giants were not awarded any compensatory draft picks for 2015 free agent losses. Compensatory picks are awarded to teams that have lost more qualifying free agents than they gained the previous year in free agency.

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