Mar 092016
 
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Janoris Jenkins, St. Louis Rams (November 15, 2015)

Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS AGREE TO TERMS WITH JANORIS JENKINS…
According to multiple media reports, the New York Giants have agree to terms with unrestricted free agent cornerback Janoris Jenkins (Los Angeles Rams). Early reports indicate that the deal could be worth as much or more than $70 million and average $12 million per year or more. The Rams were very interested in re-signing Jenkins and he was being heavily pursued by the Raiders and other teams.

The 27-year old Jenkins was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Rams. In his four seasons with the Rams, Jenkins played in 60 regular-season games with 58 starts. He has 49 career pass breakups and 10 interceptions, five of which he has returned for touchdowns. Jenkins is an average-sized corner with excellent speed and quickness. He is an instinctive coverman who has gotten better each year. Jenkins plays well in both man and zone coverage. Jenkins makes plays on the football, but is known as a bit of a gambler and will also give up the big play. He is not a physical run defender or strong tackler. Jenkins plays with a cocky swagger, but there are also some character concerns, including a drug charge in college.

MARCH 9, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT NEWS AND RUMORS…
March 9th marks the official beginning of free agency as teams can begin to sign free agents of other teams at 4:00 PM. Here is the latest:

  • Multiple media sources are reporting that the New York Giants are interested in unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Damon Harrison (New York Jets). The 27-year old Harrison was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. In the last three years, Harrison has started every regular-season game for the Jets. In 2015, he accrued 72 tackles and 0.5 sacks. The 6’4”, 350-pound Harrison is one of the NFL’s best run-stuffing nose tackles. He does not get much heat on the passer.
  • NJ.com reports that unrestricted free agent defensive end Olivier Vernon (Miami Dolphins) is now the top free agent priority for the New York Giants. The Dolphins removed their transition tag from Vernon on Wednesday, making him free to sign with any team without the right to match an offer. The cash-rich Jacksonville Jaguars are said to be very interested in Vernon. The 25-year old Vernon was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dolphins. In the last three seasons, he has played in every regular-season game with 46 starts, averaging 55 tackles and 8.5 sacks per year.
  • NJ.com is reporting that the New York Giants had interest in unrestricted free agent wide receiver Marvin Jones (Cincinnati Bengals). However, Jones is signing with the Detroit Lions. The 25-year old Jones was drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Bengals. Jones played in 16 regular-season games with 13 starts in 2015 and finished the year with 65 catches for 816 yards and four touchdowns.
  • The New York Daily News reports that the New York Giants had expressed interest in unrestricted free agent cornerback Sean Smith (Kansas City Chiefs). The 28-year old Smith has played for both the Dolphins (2009-2012) and Chiefs (2013-2015). Last season, he started all 13 games he played in and accrued 45 tackles, 12 pass defenses, and two interceptions. The signing of Janoris Jenkins may now mean the Giants are no longer interested.
  • Free agent defensive end Charles Johnson, who met with the New York Giants on Sunday and Monday, is re-signing with the Carolina Panthers. The contract is reportedly a 1-year, $3 million deal. He supposedly turned down $6 million from other teams. Johnson said he almost signed with the Giants. “I came pretty close, but ultimately my heart is in Carolina,” said Johnson. “It’s not about the money. Carolina is home and I wouldn’t have been happy if I went somewhere else. The Giants are a first class organization, but now I have one more year to get back where I want to be, at home.”
  • Despite initial reports of mutual interest and a possible visit, free agent defensive end Mario Williams signed a 2-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.

GIANTS RE-SIGN SAFETY BENNETT JACKSON…
According to the NFL Player Associations website, New York Giants exclusive rights free agent safety/cornerback Bennett Jackson has signed his 1-year, $450,000 tender.

Jackson was placed on Injured Reserve before the season started in September 2015 after tearing the ACL in his right knee in the second preseason game. The Giants drafted Jackson in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. During his rookie season, he was waived, signed to the Practice Squad, and then placed on the Practice Squad/Injured List with cartilage damage to his left knee injury that required microfracture surgery. Jackson converted to cornerback from wide receiver at Notre Dame. The Giants shifted him to safety during the 2015 offseason. Jackson is a bit of a corner/safety ‘tweener. While he he has good speed and coverage skills for a safety, he lacks ideal size and physicality for the position. Before he was injured, Jackson was receiving first team reps at safety and as the team’s nickel corner.

ARTICLES…

Mar 082016
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (December 6, 2015)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN DE JASON PIERRE-PAUL…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to a 1-year contract. The NFL Network says Pierre-Paul turned down more money from other teams to remain with the Giants. ESPN.com reports that the contract could be worth “up to” $10.5 million and that the Arizona Cardinals made a strong effort to sign Pierre-Paul. The New York Daily News speculates that the contract will be laden with incentives such as sacks and playing time.

Pierre-Paul suffered serious and permanent injuries to his right hand from a July 4th fireworks accident, including the amputation of his index finger and severe damage to his thumb and middle finger. He returned to the playing field halfway through the 2015 season, wearing a large club that made it impossible for him to grab and tackle with his right hand. Pierre-Paul started the eight games he played in and finished the season with 26 tackles, 1 sack, and 6 pass defenses.

Pierre-Paul had additional offseason surgery in an effort to improve the grip on his damaged hand and hopefully allow him to play without a club.

MARCH 8, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT RUMORS…
While players can not officially sign until March 9th, Monday unofficially marked the beginning of free agency as teams can now negotiate with free agents of other teams. Here is the latest:

  • FOXSports.com is reporting that the New York Jets have expressed interest in New York Giants unrestricted free agent cornerback Prince Amukamara.
  • ESPN is reporting that free agent defensive end Charles Johnson, who met with the New York Giants on Sunday and Monday, left without a contract and met with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday.
  • NJ.com is reporting that despite reports of mutual interest and a possible visit, free agent defensive end Mario Williams is “not in play for the Giants at this time.” According to multiple reports, Williams is close to signing with the Miami Dolphins.
  • ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants are “weighing the idea” of making a contract offer to transition-tagged free agent Olivier Vernon (Miami Dolphins).
  • ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in the following unrestricted free agents: defensive end Williams Hayes (Los Angeles Rams), defensive end Derrick Shelby (Miami Dolphins), defensive end Adrian Clayborn (Atlanta Falcons), cornerback Patrick Robinson (San Diego Chargers), and safety Rodney McCloud (Los Angeles Rams).

Mar 072016
 
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George Iloka, Cincinnati Bengals (September 20, 2015)

George Iloka – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MARCH 7, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT RUMORS…
While players can not officially sign until March 9th, Monday unofficially marked the beginning of free agency as teams can now negotiate with free agents of other teams. Here is the latest:

  • ESPN is reporting that free agent defensive end Charles Johnson, who was recently cut by the Carolina Panthers in a salary cap-related move, met with the New York Giants on Sunday and Monday. If the Giants and Johnson do not agree on a contract, he is reportedly scheduled to meet with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next. From 2010-2014, Johnson averaged 43 tackles and 10.5 sacks per year. Those numbers plummeted in 2015 when Johnson missed seven regular-season games with a hamstring injury and finished the year with 12 tackles and one sack. He had an excellent game in the Super Bowl with five tackles, one sack, and a forced fumble. Overall, Johnson accrued nine tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles in three post-season games last season.
  • Following up on yesterday’s update, there is no new information on free agent defensive end Mario Williams visiting the Giants. BleacherReport.com is reporting that the Giants, Dolphins, and Jaguars are interested in Williams, who supposedly is seeking a $10 million-per-year contract. The 31-year old Williams was recently released by the Bills. Miscast in a 3-4 defense, Williams started 15 games for the Bills in 2015 and finished the season with just 19 tackles and five sacks. From 2012-2014, Williams averaged 34 tackles and 13 sacks per season. He is a four-time Pro Bowler (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014) and was first-team All Pro in 2014.
  • The New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Giants are interested in Atlanta Falcons unrestricted free agent defensive end Adrian Clayborn. Several other teams are also said to be interested in Clayborn, who was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He missed most of the 2012 season with a knee injury and most of the 2014 season with a biceps injury. The Falcons signed Clayborn as a free agent in 2015. Last season, he played in all 16 regular-season games with four starts, finishing the year with 15 tackles and three sacks.
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that the New York Giants are one of several teams interested in Cincinnati Bengals unrestricted free agent safety George Iloka. The 25-year old Iloka was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He has started all 44 regular-season games he played in the last three seasons, including 12 games in 2015 where he accrued 47 tackles and one interception.
  • The Cleveland Plains Dealer is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in Cleveland Browns unrestricted free agent Mitchell Schwartz, the brother of recently-waived guard Geoff Schwartz. The 26-year old Schwartz was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Browns. He has started every game during his first four years in the NFL.
  • The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in Minnesota Vikings unrestricted free agent offensive guard Mike Harris. The 27-year old Harris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers after the 2012 NFL Draft. He started all 16 regular-season games for the Vikings in 2015.
  • A media report out of Arizona says the Cardinals are interested in signing New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
  • BleacherReport.com is reporting that New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive end Robert Ayers is seeking a $10 million-per-year contract.

GIANTS AND VICTOR CRUZ TALK RESTRUCTURING…
ESPN.com is reporting that the New York Giants had discussions last week with the representatives for wide receiver Victor Cruz about restructuring his contract. Cruz is currently set to count $9.9 million against the team’s 2016 NFL cap, the second most by a player after quarterback Eli Manning. It has been speculated that if Cruz does not accept a pay cut, he may be released from the Giants. Cruz recently said that he believed there was an “80 percent” chance he would return to Giants.

Cruz did not play in any preseason or regular-season games in 2015. Cruz was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2015 due to a left calf injury suffered in August that never healed and required surgery. It is the third leg injury that Cruz has suffered since signing his big 6-year contract in July 2013, including arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in 2013 and career-threatening patellar tendon surgery on his right knee in 2014.

ARTICLES…

Mar 022016
 
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JOHN JOHNSON PASSES AWAY…
John Johnson, who served as an athletic trainer with the New York Giants for 60 years, passed away on Sunday at the age of 98. Johnson retired after the 2007 season and was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor just last year.

“Johnny Johnson was one of the finest men I have ever known,” said team President and CEO John Mara. “He spent 60 years with our team caring for players from Charlie Conerly and Frank Gifford, right on up to Eli Manning. Nobody was more loved and respected than Mr. J. We were so pleased to be able to include him in our Ring of Honor this past season. He was part of the family and we will miss him terribly.”

“We have lost a great Giant,” said team Senior Vice President of Medical Services Ronnie Barnes. “Johnny looked after our players for over a half century. He was compassionate and caring and a true professional. His dedication to his profession and his poise and class were recognized by all.

“John had a stellar career with the Giants. He traveled with the team and was an indispensable member of the medical staff. He had so many stories about the early NFL and medicine before the arthroscope and advanced diagnostic technology.

“Leaving a legacy is something that we all strive to do, and John Johnson achieved that and more. He was a licensed massage therapist and physical therapist with tremendous hands. Michael Strahan sought him out and made John his personal athletic trainer. He cared for him with the same compassion that he had for Y.A. Tittle, Frank Gifford, and Charlie Conerly.”

For more on Johnson, see Remembering Giants Trainer John Johnson (1917-2016) by Michael Eisen of Giants.com.

TOM COUGHLIN CONFIRMS HE WAS FORCED OUT…
During a Tuesday FOXSports radio show, Tom Coughlin confirmed that he did not really resign as head coach from the New York Giants in early January. “Hey, do I agree with the move? Of course not,” said Coughlin. “I don’t, it hurts, it hurts. ‘Former’ is not a good word. I don’t like the word. But, nevertheless, that’s the way it is.”

“Don’t think that there aren’t some hard feelings there. There are,” Coughlin said during another interview on ESPN Radio. “That’s just natural. I just try to control them when the moment is right.”

The audio to the ESPN Radio interview is available at ESPN.com.

GIANTS DO NOT USE FRANCHISE OR TRANSITION TAGS…
The deadline for NFL team’s to designate an unrestricted free agent a “franchise” or “transition” passed on Tuesday. The New York Giants chose not to protect any of their 19 remaining unrestricted free agents. For a complete list of the 19 players, see the 2016 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website. Since the current system of free agency was inaugurated in 1993, the Giants have protected the following players:

  • OT Jumbo Elliott (franchise) in 1993
  • LB Carl Banks (transition) in 1993
  • TE Howard Cross (transition) in 1994
  • RB Rodney Hampton (transition) in 1996
  • RB Brandon Jacobs (franchise) in 2009
  • P Steve Weatherford (franchise) in 2012
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (franchise) in 2015

BOB PAPA INTERVIEW WITH QB ELI MANNING…
The audio of a Bob Papa podcast interview with quarterback Eli Manning is available at at PodBean.com.

ARTICLES…

Feb 292016
 
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Robert Ayers, New York Giants (November 15, 2015)

Robert Ayers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

LATEST NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT RUMORS…
NFL free agency begins on March 9th, although teams can are officially allowed to start talking to players on other teams on March 7th. NJ.com is reporting the following:

  • The New York Giants would like to re-sign unrestricted free agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to a 1-year, “prove it” contract. If Pierre-Paul can get a longer term deal on the open market, he is likely gone. Pierre-Paul’s camp believes he will be offered $10 million per year on the open market.
  • There may be a strong market for unrestricted free agent defensive end Robert Ayers, who the Giants would also like to re-sign.
  • There is not much noise about unrestricted free agent cornerback Prince Amukamara. The Giants want Amukamara to gauge his value on an open market that may have a number of quality cornerbacks available. The Giants are first focusing on addressing their front seven on defense in free agency.
  • The Giants are going to let unrestricted free agent place kicker Josh Brown test the market. They would like to re-sign Brown, but if he can get a multi-year deal from another team, they will apparently let him go.

ARTICLES…

Feb 252016
 
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Jerry Reese, New York Giants (February 25, 2016)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JERRY REESE PRESS CONFERENCE AT NFL COMBINE…
New York Giants Senior Vice President and General Manager Jerry Reese addressed the press at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday. The video of the media session is also available at Giants.com.

Good afternoon. We finally got our coaching staff together – got a full roster of coaches now. Coach McAdoo and the coaches have hit the ground running and they’ve been working hard looking at free agents and obviously starting on the Draft. Our personnel department is working hard as well. Our scouts are here and our pro personnel guys are working hard on free agency back at Quest (Quest Diagnostics Training Center). I’ll open up for any questions.

Q: Is one of the challenges of having a lot of cap space are that maybe the best players don’t make it to the market?

A: Well whoever makes it to the market makes it to the market. We have a little bit of money to spend this time, and we’ll try to spend it wisely on the players that make it to the market. I’m sure there will be plenty of players that don’t make it, people try to keep their best players. But whoever is out there, we’ll try our best to get some of the best players available.

Q: When it comes to the draft right now, are you thinking more you’re going to go with the best available player or you’re going to go with a need position?

A: We’re going to try to go with the best player available.

Q: What’s your evaluation of the running back position group on your roster as it stands?

A: Our running backs on our roster as it stands? We have some solid runners on our roster. We have four good guys, I think we have four pros on our roster. We’ll continue to look in the draft, look in free agency, but we think we have four capable guys.

Q: You have 50 or 60 million dollars under the salary cap, what is it you try to accomplish in free agency with that space?

A: We’re going to try to get good players. Like always, we’ll try to look out there and see what’s available for us. First, see who hits the market, and we’ll try to get the best players available.

Q: What are the Lions getting in Matt Harriss, and how excited are you to replace him with a guy like Martin Mayhew?

A: Matt Harriss is a guy that cut his teeth with us. Young kid that came in and really did a tremendous job. We’re happy and proud for him that he’s going over to the Lions, they really have a good employee with Matt. He’ll do a tremendous job for the Lions. In turn, we were able to hire Martin Mayhew, who is completely qualified to do any job in the front office. We think he’ll bring a lot to the table for us.

Q: With that money you have available, is extending some of the younger guys you have on your roster something you would consider doing?

A: Yeah, we’ll keep all our options open with respect to that.

Q: Just like shopping, the more you have, the more counters you can go to. Do you think you can be a big player for a certain number of guys if you wanted to?

A: Again, we’re pretty healthy with our cap situation right now. We have to wait and see who’s going to hit the market. We’ll definitely look in the market and see if there’s players available for us to recruit. Hopefully we will be able to land some guys if some guys are available.

Q: Ben said yesterday Victor Cruz will absolutely be on the roster. First, do you agree with that? Second, do you anticipate any sort of restructure?

A: I’m not going to talk about the contract. Victor is under contract right now. Victor is working hard to get healthy. From everything I understand right now, he’s headed in the right direction and we’ll worry about the contract. But right now, he’s under contract. I’m not really going to talk about the contract situation with Victor right now.

Q: Do you expect he’ll be back?

A: Well he’s under contract right now. We’ll see where the process goes.

Q: Do you have any updates on the health status of Mykkele Thompson?

A: Well Mykkele Thompson, he blew out his achilles during the preseason. Everything right now, he’s getting closer, he’s working hard. Actually we had three safeties to go out before the regular season started — Mykkele Thompson, Bennett (Jackson), and (Nat) Berhe — those three young guys. So we’re hoping those guys can come back and be healthy and help us out in the secondary.

Q: At the end of the season you talked about analyzing the draft process and how you guys did that and there could be changes there. Were you able to implement anything or a little bit too quick of a turn around?

A: We’ve looked at a few things of how we’ve operated with respect to the draft. We’ll try to implement some things as we go through draft, yeah.

Q: Ben talked a lot yesterday about the run game. What’s your thoughts on the run game right now? Do guys like Andre Williams and Orleans Darkwa have a future here in New York?

A: The run game came on late the last quarter of the season. I thought the run game came on pretty strong. Hopefully we can carry over into next season and keep the run game. I think that was part of the late season, along with some defensive issues. I didn’t think we were able to run the ball like you should to close those games out. Rashad Jennings had more carries and got in a better rhythm. I think the run game will continue to progress and help us into the next season.

Q: When you look at your roster during free agency and the draft, what do you need?

A: We need good players, that’s what we need the most. We need good players, and we’ll try to look for good players at every level—offense, defense and special teams. That’s what we’ll do, that’s what’s important to us. We need help all over the roster and we’ll work hard to do that.

Q: Is signing an offensive lineman starter in free agency something you feel needs to be done now that you made those cuts last week?

A: We may have the starter on the team right now. We’ll look for a good player in free agency in the offensive line, we’ll look for good players on the offensive line in the draft. Every position, draft and free agency, we’ll look for good players.

Q: With Johnathan Hankins last year looking back, was it even a bigger blow than you thought? Where is he physically? Do you still expect him to be a major contributor?

A: Well yeah, it was tough to lose one of your big guys inside. No blow is like the blow we got in July when we got the news about Jason, that was probably the biggest blow going into the season. During the season, obviously when you lose a defensive tackle the caliber of Hankins, that’s a blow too. You got to have enough depth to continue to play football, and that’s what we need to do. We need to acquire more depth on our football team.

Q: He was viewed going into last year as one of those young cornerstone players. Do you still see him like that?

A: Yeah, he was doing a good job for us and unfortunately he had the injury. We hope that young guys like him can continue to develop and be good players for us for a long time.

Q: In free agency, how do you assess the value of players that perform well but weren’t always on the field?

A: It’s all a process. We look at what’s available in free agency, we look at what their value is to us, we look at what’s in the draft, and it’s all a process. It’s hard to explain to you exactly how we value those guys, and it’s not right to stand up here and talk about how we value players, because we don’t want to hurt anybody, any kind of way in free agency.

Q: — Inaudible—

A: Well we know him (Jason Pierre-Paul) better I think, than anybody else would know him. We’re hopeful that this procedure that he had after the season helps him with respect to the hand injury that he has. I know he’s working hard at it. After you look at that injury, it’s really, for me, people like to throw miracle around, I think it’s a miracle that he was able to walk out there and play eight games for us. It’s really unbelievable after you really see what happened to his hand.

Q: Do you have any thoughts so far about Jason’s dispute with Adam Schefter?

A: Whose dispute? No, I don’t want to comment. I don’t even know what you’re talking about.

Q: Talking about releasing Jason’s medical files.

A: Yeah, I’m not going to get into that.

Q: When your roster when you look at it, does it feel like a 6-10 club or do you think you might have something better?

A: Again, if we close out a couple of games, we could be 10-6 last season. We lost a lot of games close we had the lead going in late in the fourth quarter in a few games. We just didn’t close them out, and that’s for a number of reasons. It’s personnel, we made some bad decisions. But those kind of things — we couldn’t run the ball like we wanted to at the end of some games — and we just got to make some plays sometimes at the ends of games to close games out. A few plays here and there, we could be 10-6 instead of 6-10. That’s the way the National Football League is, there are not a lot of blowouts. You have to go in there and finish games out and we didn’t do that enough. We want to do that better this time.

Q: How realistic do you think it is to fill all your needs in free agency and having the flexibility when it comes to the draft?

A: This is the National Football League, you can get well pretty quickly in the National Football League. You can get players in free agency, you can get players in the draft, you can get players in trades. Again, we lost a lot of close games. A couple snaps here and there, our season could have went a different way, but it didn’t. We have work to do obviously, but I think we’re close enough to believe that we can compete for the NFC East. I don’t think anybody is running away with it, I think the NFC East is a close division still. I think we can put together a team that can challenge for that NFC East crown next year.

Q: Your evaluation of your group of tight ends and specifically, what is the status of Will Tye?

A: Will Tye who came on, was on the practice squad, we brought him up and he really did a nice job for us. We expect him to continue to develop and grow and be a good piece for us at that position. Larry Donnell had the neck injury, he’s coming back and hopefully he’ll be able to continue to play. We’re expecting him to be back, but necks can be tricky so we’ll have to wait and see where that goes. There’s a couple of young tight ends on the roster that we like.

Q: Is Donnell cleared right now?

A: Not yet. No.

Q: Who are the young tight ends?

A: There’s a kid named (Jerome) Cunningham…a kid named (Matt) LaCosse that’s on our roster right now.

Q: Just following up on Larry…is that something that’s a long-term concern with him?

A: Again, necks can be tricky and we’ll just see where it goes. We’ll respect what our doctors say about the neck and we’ll take extreme precaution with that. Hopefully he can get healthy and come back and continue his career.

Q: Is Ereck Flowers your left tackle moving forward?

A: Yeah, we think Ereck Flowers is a left tackle. We think he’s going to be our left tackle moving forward. He was up and down a little bit during the season. He really looked good at times, then he looked like a rookie at times. I think that rookie wall, I think he hit that at some point as well. But he’s a tough kid that stayed out there the whole time. Mike Solari is our new offensive line coach and we’re looking forward to see what he can do with him moving forward.

Q: Does Pugh stay at guard in your mind or might he move back to tackle?

A: Pugh is kind of flexible for us. He can play, obviously, both guard and both tackles. We’ll put him in the best place available for us to be successful. I’m not sure exactly where—that’s Coach McAdoo and Coach Solari—those guys will make that decision.

FREE AGENT RUMORS…
The NFL’s free agent period begins on March 9th, although teams are officially allowed to begin talking to free agents on other teams on March 7. Here are the latest rumors on the free agent front concerning the New York Giants:

  • ESPN.com is reporting that the Giants are interested in re-signing unrestricted free agent defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Robert Ayers. The team is expected to meet with representatives of both players this week.
  • NJ.com is reporting that while the Giants have expressed an interest in re-signing unrestricted free agent linebacker Jasper Brinkley, he is expected to hit the open market.

NFLPA CONFIRMS $11 MILLION SALARY CAP CARRYOVER FOR GIANTS…
The NFLPA has confirmed that $11,193,231 of the New York Giants’ unused 2015 salary cap has been carried over to 2016. The Giants are believed to be about $57 million under the current $154 million cap, though there are reports that the cap could be increased to $160 million. The Giants have the sixth-most space in the NFL after the Jaguars, Browns, Raiders, 49ers, and Titans.

Q&A WITH WR ANTHONY DABLÉ…
Meet Anthony Dable, the New York Giants’ New French Wide Receiver by VICE Sports France

ARTICLES…

Feb 242016
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (February 24, 2016)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BEN MCADOO PRESS CONFERENCE AT NFL COMBINE…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo addressed the press at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday. The video of the media session is also available at Giants.com.

Q: What do you usually get out of the combine and does that change for you now that you’re head coach compared to being a position coach or even a coordinator?

A: No, what you try to do as a coach is—you’ve knocked out free agency, you’re in the middle of scheme evaluations—you come down and you want to really get a first look at these guys. Have a chance to see them, have a chance to meet them, and wrap your hands around the, I guess, the draft class.

Q: Obviously you’re more a part of the decision making process. Will it change functionally?

A: No, you’re going to try to operate the same way: just take a look at the offense, defense, and special teams.

Q: You worked for two head coaches that have won Super Bowls and you’ve rose to be a head coach. What does that mean to you?

A: Well it gives you a blueprint. You get a chance to work with Mike [McCarthy] and work with Tom [Coughlin], see a couple of different ways, really, to go about your business. There are a couple different ways to skin a cat, and Tom and Mike are great examples of that.

Q: What’s the transition been like for you going from offensive coordinator to head coach?

A: It’s really large-scale leadership. You do things on a smaller scale as a position coach—you’re the head coach of your position. Then as a coordinator, you’re the head coach of the offense. So now, you have a chance to work with different people and a variety of areas, and have a chance to wrap your hands around the entire team.

Q: Rashad Jennings got going towards the end of the season when he was getting volume and the snaps were split as much between the runners. Is that something you plan on continuing into next year or do you plan on keeping that?

A: Oh, it’s early to say. We’re still in the process of evaluating the scheme. We looked at our players and looked at the free agents. We have a chance to go back and look at the draft film, we’re early in the process there. And take a look at some different teams in this league, take a look at teams in the college league, and put that research in, go in and implement in what you want to do, and then see what your roster looks like coming out of camp. That’s really how you decide how the carries fall, how you get those touches.

Q: Have you talked much to Victor Cruz? What’s your sense on what he will able to give you?

A: Yeah, I had a chance to get in touch with Victor; he was by the office the other day just kind of bouncing around, he was doing some rehab. He seems in good spirits, looks great, feels good. Hopefully we have a chance to get him healthy.

Q: Do you expect him to be on your team next year?

A: Absolutely. Right now we’re taking a look at things and he’s on the roster right now. If anything changes, I’ll be the first to know.

Q: What did your time in Green Bay mean? Do you have anything, two or three things, you got from Coach Mike that helped you get here?

A: Time in Green Bay—Green Bay is obviously a special place for me and my family–having a chance to win the Super Bowl there and be a part of some great teams and a great organization. You take a little bit from everywhere you’ve been and obviously I’m going to take a lot from Green Bay and a lot from my experience in two years with the Giants and some other places in the past. You take that and you mold it and you make it your own.

Q: Do you know what you’re going to do as far as calling plays?

A: You know what, that hasn’t been decided yet. We’ll take a look at a couple different scenarios moving forward. But like I said in the past, that’s a schematic advantage so I’m not going to talk about that.

Q: So you think we’ll know opening day or might we not even know opening day?

A: We may give everybody a call sheet on opening day. No, that’s something that we’re going to work through that process and whatever we feel is best for the Giants, that’s what we’re going to do.

Q: You’ve talked a lot about looking back at your team over this past month or so. What did you see when you looked back and what’s your assessment?

A: We’re still right in the middle of scheme evaluation. We haven’t hit the situational part of things yet. We worked through normal down and distance, obviously, the player evaluations. What’s interesting before you get to situations and you’re looking at the normal down and distance, we’ve had a lot of leads in games in the fourth quarter when you’re looking at the scoreboard in between plays. We have to end the game with the lead, and that’s going to be important to us. That’s not something that we’re going beat into the ground with these guys, but that’s something we have to learn from last year and find a way to close these games out.

Q: Did you get any updates on Jason’s [Pierre-Paul] surgery?

A: I spoke to Jason a couple of different times so far throughout the offseason. He seems in good spirits. He went through a procedure and we’ll have to see how that goes.

Q: Is playing without a club something that might be happening or is that something that might still be used moving forward?

A: That hasn’t been determined yet.

Q: Do you have a part of the combine now when you come here as a head coach that, I don’t want to say you look forward to, but you place more emphasis on now than maybe you did as an OC?

A: I think when you look at the history of the combine, probably still the most important thing is you have the chance to get these players in front of the doctors and get them examined there so you know what you’re dealing with and get a medical grade on them. You have a chance to meet them and shake their hand and look them in the eye and talk to them, and kind of get a feel about what they’re about—they’re not just a guy on tape, they’re not just a guy on a piece of paper, but they’re a human being–and what they’re all about and what they stand for and where they came from. Those are two important parts for me. I think it’s good to get out and see them move around on the field and bend their knees a little bit, and get their hands on some footballs and see how they look there. You have a chance to put a name with a face and just take them off the sheet of paper and off the film and know who they are.

Q: Has Jerry [Reese] decided how things will go on draft day?

A: Jerry and I, we’re attached at the hip. Lines of communication are open, we’ve had productive dialogue, and whatever he needs from me, I’m willing to do. I look forward to building that relationship.

Q: What’s your evaluation of the depth of the wide receiver position behind Odell Beckham? How is Victor Cruz doing?

A: Victor Cruz had a successful procedure done. He feels good, he looks good, he’s coming along in rehab. No hiccups there so far, we like that, we’re encouraged with that right there. We have some other guys that are going to have a chance to step up, possibly some young guys. Again, it’s still early in the process.

Q: You have an obvious need at pass rusher. Do you think that Jason can still be a dominant pass rusher in this league? And am I right that it is a priority in finding pass rushers for you this offseason?

A: It was obvious when Jason came back last year how disruptive he was without playing football for a long time. Just coming in and having a couple weeks to get his feet underneath him being able to go out and be disruptive as a pass rusher. I just think when you look at him and his ability to get off the ball and get after the quarterback, it’s easy to see and that’s something that comes natural for him. You don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon? I don’t either.

Q: Is finding guys who can get to the quarterback tops on your to-do list this offseason?

A: Yeah, I mean, the quickest way to get better is up front on both sides of the ball. You have to protect your quarterback and you have to get after the other teams quarterback. It’s directly related to the QB rating differential, which is important in winning and losing games. You want to do a better job getting after the quarterback whether it’s up front, or whether it’s coming from the secondary, putting pressure there from the linebacker level. But you have to make the quarterback comfortable, certainly.

Q: Changing the strength and conditioning program on the team, is that related to the injuries that this team has had over the last few seasons?

A: No, Aaron Wellman and I, go back a little ways. I’ve had my eye on him for a while. I think he does a tremendous job. He’s a forward thinker and that’s something that’s important to me. He can still crack the whip if need be, and that’s hard to find in today’s league. He’ll do a tremendous job. As far as the injuries go, you can’t just point to one thing. Injuries, you have to look at a variety of things that impact injuries. Whether it’s the way we practice, whether it’s the way we hydrate, the way we sleep, the way we recover—you just can’t point to one thing and say that’s going to cure everything as far as the injuries go. But we’re going to look at a variety of things there.

Q: Not just in regards to the strength and conditioning, but how much change do you expect in the organization?

A: Well we’re going to change. Like I said before, I’m not going to try to be Tom. I’m not Tom. He’s already taken. But we’re going to evolve a little bit, it’s evolution, not revolution. If something works and we feel good about it and we like it, we’re going to stick with it. If not, we’re going to make some changes. There are some things that we’ve done in the past and we’ve kicked around a lot of ideas within the staff. We’re going to implement those moving forward, and we’re going to make it our own.

Q: How far along did your talks with the Eagles get before you took the job with the Giants?

A: I went down for an interview.

Q: They never offered you the job?

A: Never offered me the job.

Q: What did you see in Patrick [Graham]? We’re you at all surprised he was available?

A: Patrick had a chance to come down for an interview, showed tremendously well. We didn’t want to let him out of the building. We feel very fortunate to have him and I look forward to working with him.

Q: Did you have a second interview schedule with the Eagles?

A: There was a potential for a second interview.

Q: You guys released two offensive line—Will Beatty and Geoff Schwartz. What was the thinking behind that? Why was there not an effort made to try and maybe renegotiate with them and the decision was made to part ways?

A: First of all, we thank those men for their contributions to the Giants. This is a business, sometimes things don’t work out. We wish them nothing but the best.

Q: I guess Tom Coughlin has spent some time around the office since the change was made. Have you had much interaction with him? Has that been helpful or awkward?

A: No, not awkward at all. I respect Tom. Have talked to him a few different times since he left. I feel we have a strong relationship. I’m going to bounce ideas off Tom as long as I can bounce ideas off of Tom. He’s someone I have a tremendous amount of respect for, and I’m grateful for everything that I learned from him.

Q: Can you talk about the run game for next year? It seemed like Rashad really got going towards the end of the year.

A: We’re going to take a look. Again, we studied our players. We’re going through, we’re studying our scheme right now. We’ll take a look at free agency, we’ll take a look at the draft, we’re going to study some other teams, and we’re going to study some college teams. We’re going to put it all in the pot, we’re going to stir it up. We’re going to get to training camp, we’re going to come out of camp, and we’re going to take a look at things there and how the roster looks and how we look up front. Coming out of camp we’ll determine that, it’s way too early.

Q: The Giants have been 6-10 the past two years…

A: Where we need to improve? The game’s about the ball, number one, so we need to take care of the ball better. The next thing we need to do is we need to extract the ball better, we need to take it away. After that, we’re going to spend a lot of time on blocking and tackling. If we can take care of those things we’ll be able to find some more wins.

Q: As far as the talent level, do you think the roster needs some major upgrades?

A: We need to add some pieces, yeah. When you look at things, we have a lot of guys right now on the roster who are free, so we need to address that. We need to add some pieces there, but they need to be the right pieces. We need to look out for the long term interest of the New York Giants and what’s best for the future of the New York Giants, number one.

Q: You’re a lot of money under the salary cap. What are you looking to accomplish in free agency as a coach?

A: Again, we evaluated guys, we had a big meeting earlier in the week. We need to do what’s in the best long term interest of the New York Giants and find some right pieces to add to the mix, whether it’s our own guys that we bring back or going out and bringing some other guys in. Again, free agency is free agency. It’s a combination between free agency and the draft on how you add players, how you acquire players. We just need to add some good pieces.

Q: During the combine, especially in the interviews, what are some things you will try to identify from players perhaps showing leadership or just showing qualities you look for?

A: You have to give the agents credit, they do a great job as far as coaching these guys up. They’re well-coached when they come in here. They have a pretty good idea of what’s going to be asked of them. Most of them—I would say 90 percent-plus—do a good job and they show well. It’s hard to find the crack in guys from an interview standpoint anymore, they do a nice job. You like to throw on some football and when you get into the interviews with him and see if they can talk ball and how they can communicate, how they can take criticism, and how they take praise, and do they change? Are they willing to learn, listen and grow?

GIANTS.COM Q&A WITH MARC ROSS…
The video of a short Giants.com Q&A session with New York Giants Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

Feb 222016
 
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HARRY HULMES PASSES AWAY…
Harry Hulmes III, who served in various roles with the New York Giants for 25 years, has passed away at the age of 88.

Hulmes joined the Giants in 1984 as an assistant to then-General Manager George Young. Hulmes later became the special assistant to the general manager until 1998. From 1998 to 2008, Hulmes served as a scout for the team.

“Harry was an instrumental part of our success under George Young,” said team President and CEO John Mara. “While he may have operated behind the scenes, he was an invaluable member of our front office and was George’s right hand man for many years. He was beloved by everyone at the Giants and around the NFL. It is s very sad day for all of us.”

“Harry was one of the true gentlemen in the NFL,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “I loved hearing him read his very detailed game day scouting reports on players. Some of them would start like this, ‘It was a brisk, sunny fall afternoon and the wind was blowing out of the northeast at 10 miles-per-hour. Nonetheless, the stadium was packed, and both teams seemed ready to go.'”

“GIANTS INSIDER” Q&As…
Video clips of Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

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Feb 182016
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (December 20, 2015)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

REPORT – JASON PIERRE-PAUL UNLIKELY TO RE-SIGN…
USA Today reports that an unidentified source has said that New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March, is unlikely to re-sign with the team. The source told the paper “all signs point toward the Giants letting Pierre-Paul test free agency” and that “as of right now he isn’t going to be returning” to the Giants.

Pierre-Paul suffered serious and permanent injuries to his right hand from a July 4th fireworks accident, including the amputation of his index finger and severe damage to his thumb and middle finger. He returned to the playing field halfway through the 2015 season, wearing a large club that made it impossible for him to grab and tackle with his right hand. Pierre-Paul started the eight games he played in and finished the season with 26 tackles, 1 sack, and 6 pass defenses.

GIANTS SIGN WR ANTHONY DABLÉ …
American Football International Review (AFI Review) reports that the New York Giants have signed wide receiver Anthony Dablé. The 6’5”, 215 pound, 27-year old, French wide receiver worked out for the Giants on Wednesday. AFI Review says Dablé was set to work out with another NFL team but the Giants managed to sign him to a minimum deal.

Dablé played for the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions of the German Football League in 2015. He supposedly speaks French, German, and English. According to his team’s website, Dablé caught 145 passes for nearly 2,500 and 32 touchdowns in his two seasons with the New Yorker Lions.

The Giants also reportedly worked out English tight end Harry Innis, but there was no word on if the Giants also offered him a contract. Innis is supposedly drawing interest from a number of NFL teams.

GIANTS WILL NOT RE-SIGN WR MARCUS HARRIS…
New York Giants wide receiver Marcus Harris tweeted on Wednesday that he has been informed by the team that that they will not retain his services. The 27-year old Harris was scheduled to be an exclusive rights free agent in March had the team tendered him.

Harris was placed on Injured Reserve in July 2015 after having microfracture surgery performed on his right knee. Harris also missed the entire 2014 season after being placed on IR in August 2014 with a hip injury that required surgery on his labrum. Harris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Detroit Lions after the 2011 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Lions (2011), Tennessee Titans (2012), UFL Omaha Nighthawks (2012), and IFL Iowa Barnstormers (2013). The Giants signed Harris as a street free agent in August 2013 and he spent most of the season on the team’s Practice Squad. To date, he has not played in an NFL game. In 2014, he flashed with the Giants during training camp and the preseason before getting injured, even earning time with the first-team offense.

ARTICLES…

Feb 162016
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (January 15, 2016)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCE COACHING STAFF…
The New York Giants officially announced their complete coaching staff on Tuesday, confirming what had unofficially been previous reported:

  • Offensive Coordinator: Mike Sullivan (with team 2004-11, 2015)
  • Quarterbacks Coach: Frank Cignetti, Jr. (NEW)
  • Running Backs Coach: Craig Johnson (with team since 2014)
  • Wide Receivers Coach: Adam Henry (NEW)
  • Tight Ends Coach: Kevin M. Gilbride (with team since 2010)
  • Offensive Line Coach: Mike Solari (NEW)
  • Assistant Offensive Line Coach: Lunda Wells (with team since 2012)
  • Offensive Assistant: Ryan Roeder (with team since 2013)
  • Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo (with team 2007-2008, 2015)
  • Defensive Line Coach Patrick Graham (NEW)
  • Assistant Defensive Line Coach Jeff Zgonina (NEW)
  • Linebackers Coach Bill McGovern (NEW)
  • Cornerbacks Coach Tim Walton (with team since 2015)
  • Safeties Coach David Merritt (with team since 2004)
  • Defensive Assistant Rob Leonard (with team since 2013)
  • Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn (with team since 2006)
  • Assistant Special Teams Coach Dwayne Stukes (NEW)
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach Aaron Wellman (NEW)
  • Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Markus Paul (with team since 2007)
  • Performance Manager Joe Danos (with team since 2013)

The Giants retained their defensive and special teams coordinators while promoting Mike Sullivan to offensive coordinator. Eight of the 20 coaches are new to the organization, including three on offense, three on defense, one on special teams, and one on the strength and conditioning staff. Full resumes of each coach are available in the Coaching Staff section of the website.

“This is a new staff,” said new Head Coach Ben McAdoo said. “Nobody was retained, there were no holdovers; everyone was hired. When I sat down with everybody on the staff, that was one thing I wanted to make clear. No one was retained, no one was a holdover. Everyone was hired here as part of a new staff.

“You have a nice group of guys who I’ve worked with in the past, and then there’s some I haven’t worked with, and some I’ve admired from afar. There’s a nice mix. We talked a lot about putting a staff together that fits, number one, that has great diversity, great personality, and great character, a staff of people who can teach the game. We feel we’ve done that.

“I think we have a nice mix of youth and experience. Even our young guys tend to have some experience when you look at it. I think we have good teachers who have high character and get the game and understand what we’re looking for from a vision standpoint.”

McAdoo also made the following points regarding specific coaches:

  • On Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo: “When you look back at this past season, it was great working with Spags. He’s a tremendous leader, gets the players to play hard. We feel that if we continue to develop the young guys, add some pieces to the puzzle, and keep them playing as hard as they played last year, we’ll make progress in the second year of the system.”
  • On Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan: “He’s a guy, in my mind, who’s an experienced leader of men who has a championship background. He’s been in this system now for a year, and he’s familiar with the building and the people in the building, and a lot of the players in the locker room. I like that continuity there.”
  • On Quarterbacks Coach Frank Cignetti, Jr.: “Frank Cignetti Jr. is a phenomenal teacher. He grew up in a version of the system from the ground floor. He has a great understanding of what we’re looking for fundamentally from the quarterback position.”
  • On Wide Receivers Coach Adam Henry: “Adam Henry has worked his way up from a small school, I admire that about him. He’s done a tremendous job working with talented players and we’re fortunate to have him… (His relationship with wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. is) a positive, but that’s not why he got the job. He’s earned the job. Anyone that thinks that about him hasn’t seen his work. The way you look at it, he’s worked his way up from a small school and has had an opportunity to work in a lot of big programs, teaching a lot of talented players and has gotten a lot out of those players. We expect that to continue here.”
  • On Offensive Line Coach Mike Solari: “Mike Solari, I’ve admired his work from afar for a long time. He had a chance to come from this system last year. He’s one of the best in the business. I look forward to seeing what he brings to the table in developing our young players.”
  • On Defensive Line Coach Patrick Graham: “Patrick Graham, he’s a guy that cut his teeth working up from some tough jobs. He’s knowledgeable, has some grit to him, and a great personality for the room. We feel that those guys will rally around him and he’ll have the chance to develop them.”
  • On Assistant Defensive Line Coach Jeff Zgonina: “He fits the profile we were looking for with 17 years playing in the league in the trenches, which speaks volumes. He’ll add a passion for technique, and bring an energy boost to the field for us. We look forward to him getting out there and getting in the mix with Patrick Graham and spending a lot of time detailing the performance of the guys in that room. Jeff also has a year of coaching experience – that is valuable. There may be a little bit of a learning curve there, which is normal. But 17 years of him playing in the trenches is very valuable for him to lean on…When you have four guys out there at a time – maybe more, maybe less, depending on the personnel group you’re playing with – having a couple sets of eyes and ears comes in handy. Guys being able to play off of each other on the coaching staff will help. Most staffs now have two offensive line coaches and most staffs, if you’re a 3-4 (defense), have an interior coach and an outside backer coach. The way it’s gone with the four-down line teams, you either have two coaches there, or a coach and an assistant. But they’ll work hand-in-hand.”
  • On Linebackers Coach Bill McGovern: “He has a ton of coaching experience. He’s very familiar with the division. He’s going to bring great energy to the building, great energy to the staff room. That usually filters down to the locker room. I look forward to working with Bill.”
  • On Assistant Special Teams Coach Dwayne Stukes: “Dwayne’s a guy who has a lot of experience for the position he’s coming in for, assistant special teams coach. He’s highly qualified for it. I feel like he’ll be able to breathe some life into the perimeter of our special teams, and get those guys going a little bit more, and provide some juice there. He’s a nice addition for us.”
  • On Strength and Conditioning Coach Aaron Wellman: “I worked with Aaron back at Michigan State (in 2001) when we were both cutting our teeth in the business… Aaron’s a guy that is a forward-thinker. He’s advanced in the sports performance arena, but he also has an edge to him. He can be tough when he has to be. That’s hard to find in this business these days. He’s got a nice combination of both. We feel that he’ll provide a nice lift to our program.”

The next challenge for McAdoo is developing cohesion within the new coaching staff.

“I think that it takes a little while,” McAdoo said. “It’s a marriage in a lot of different ways for a lot of different guys, a lot of different positions. The most important thing is we have to get everyone in here and get everyone speaking the same language. It helps that we do have some guys who have been around, and the systems are staying the same on offense, defense and special teams.

“At the end of the day, that’s not what drives any of the decisions. Systems are systems. You can go to K-Mart and get a good system. It’s more about the leadership, the character, and the fundamentals that are being taught. We like what we see there. We like what we have there. We felt that going forward in that direction was the way to go. We just have to train everyone to speak the same language, and teach the same from a fundamentals standpoint. That should give us a head start.”

GIANTS WORK OUT TWO EUROPEAN PLAYERS…
NFLDraftDiamonds.com reports that the New York Giants will work out two European players next week, English tight end Harry Innis and French wide receiver Anthony Dablé. According to NFL Draft Diamonds:

“Innis is a 6’7 tight end who we have featured many times on NFL Draft Diamonds. Innis is a tall tight end with soft hands. He entered the new program assisted by the NFL and former NFL player Osi Umenyiora a few months ago. Innis has the same size/attributes as Rob Gronkowski. He has been playing American football overseas and was a stud for Kiel Baltic of the German Football League, and finished last season with Senajoki Crocodiles.

“Dablé (is a) 6’4 physical wide out… Dablé is a very quick player with great hands. Both players played overseas and both were standouts in their conferences.”

NFL Draft Diamonds reports that both players have received interest from multiple teams, but their first work out is with the Giants.

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