Jan 212015
 
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Larry Donnell, New York Giants (September 25, 2014)

Larry Donnell led Giants tight ends with 63 catches – © USA TODAY Sports Images

As the New York Giants entered training camp in July 2014, the tight end position appeared to be a pending disaster. The Giants had parted ways with the disappointing Brandon Myers and jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none Bear Pascoe. The only returning players were Larry Donnell (16 games, 3 catches in his two NFL seasons) and Adrien Robinson (3 games, no catches in his two seasons), both of whom had demonstrated very little to date. The Giants had only added Kellen Davis (unrestricted free agent from the Seahawks), Daniel Fells (who was out of football in 2013), and Xavier Grimble (undrafted rookie free agent). Late in training camp, the Giants also signed Jerome Cunningham (who was out of football in 2013).

The only tight ends drafted by the Giants in recent years were the disappointing Travis Beckham (2009 3rd round pick) and Robinson (2012 4th round pick). In free agency, the Giants let Kevin Boss walk in 2012 most likely due to a combination of salary cap and concussion concerns. His replacement Martellus Bennett was a good addition, but he departed in free agency the following offseason in 2013. Bennett’s replacement, Brandon Myers, was clearly a free agent mistake.

Exacerbating the legitimate concern about the lack of headline talent was the adoption by the Giants of new offensive system that would feature the tight end position. In a West Coast Offense, the tight end is a critically important component as a pass receiver. Mini-camp, OTA, and training camp reports confirmed that new Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system would not only rely heavily on the tight end, but often employ two- and three-tight end formations. The fullback position was marginalized. And rather than use more three- and four-wide receiver sets, the multiple tight end packages were more prominent. It began took as if McAdoo would not adapt his system to the strengths and weaknesses of the given roster.

So pessimistic were many fans about the prospects for Donnell, Fells, and Robinson that they had penciled in Davis and Grimble as the two most likely to make the team. However, by late August, Davis and Grimble had been cut. Cunningham was cut too but then signed to the Practice Squad. Larry Donnell had won the starting tight end position, followed by #2 tight end Daniel Fells, and #3 tight end Adrien Robinson.

Overall, while the tight end was not a position of strength on the 2014 New York Giants, it certainly was not the mess many had expected. Donnell had a breakout year as a receiver. He finished tied for 9th in the NFL among tight ends in terms of catches (63), 13th in terms of yards (623), and tied for 7th in terms of touchdowns (6). Blocking was not a strength of his game, but Donnell appears to be an ascending player with enough physical talent to get better. Fells proved to be less dynamic, but was more reliable as a blocker. And he did chip in with four touchdowns. Robinson remained buried in last place on the depth chart, but at least he finally saw some playing time and caught his first NFL touchdown.

THE PLAYERS

Larry Donnell went from a little-known player to the team’s primary tight end in 2014, playing in all 16 games with 12 starts. Donnell finished the season with 63 catches for 623 yards and six touchdowns. Donnell originally went undrafted and unsigned in 2011. The Giants signed him as a street free agent in March 2012 and Donnell spent 2012 on the team’s Practice Squad. Donnell made the 53-man roster in 2013 and was active for all 16 games, starting one contest. He finished the season with only three catches for 31 yards. Donnell combines very good size and overall athleticism. A very raw player when he came to the Giants, Donnell is still a work in progress. In the passing game, Donnell is a big target, adjusts well for the football, and is capable of making the circus catch. He needs to do a better job of holding onto the football (four fumbles in 2014) and gaining yards after the catch. While Donnell gives a good effort, he still has a lot of work to do to improve as a blocker.

Daniel Fells was the #2 tight end for the Giants in 2014. He played in all 16 games with nine starts and finished the season with 16 catches for 188 yards and four touchdowns. Fells was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Atlanta Falcons after the 2006 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Falcons, Raiders, Buccaneers, Rams, Broncos, and Patriots. The Giants signed Fells to a reserve/future contract in January 2014. Fells has good size and average athletic ability. He is a decent blocker. He does not really threaten defenses as a receiver, but he is reliable.

Adrien Robinson has not developed as hoped since being drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Giants. In 2014, he was the team’s #3 tight end and played in all 16 games with one start. Robinson only caught five passes for 50 yards on one touchdown. In the previous two seasons, Robinson only played in three games and had no catches. He missed virtually all of the 2013 season with a foot injury he suffered in the preseason. Robinson has a good combination of size and athletic ability, but to date he has been unable to put it all together at the pro level as a blocker and receiver.

Jerome Cunningham was signed to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad in December 2014. Cunningham played college football at Southern Connecticut State University from 2009-2012, but he was not with an NFL team in training camp until August 2014 when the Giants signed him. He did try out with the Indianapolis Colts in May 2013 and Arizona Cardinals in May 2014, but was not signed by either team. Cunningham lacks ideal size for the position; he’s built more like an H-Back. But he is a good athlete who catches the ball well.

Dec 202014
 
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Odell Beckham Named Rookie of the Week: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham was named NFL Rookie of the Week for his performance against the Washington Redskins last Sunday. In the Giants’ 24-13 victory, Beckham caught 12 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns.

Article on the New York Giants Head Coaching Position: Giants job the ‘gold standard’ of the coaching profession? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo: Tom Coughlin praises job Ben McAdoo has done with NY Giants offense by Mitch Abramson of The New York Daily News

Article QB Ryan Nassib: When do the Giants take a look at quarterback Ryan Nassib? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on RB Andre Williams: The headway of Andre Williams, Giants RB and soon-to-be author by Kevin Kernan of The New York Post

Article on TE Jerome Cunningham: From club bouncer to Giants tight end | Four downs with Jerome Cunningham by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on OT Justin Pugh: Justin Pugh finding his rhythm before facing major test by Brian Lewis of The New York Post

Article on DE Kerry Wynn: Undrafted DE Kerry Wynn makes most of opportunity by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on LB Devon Kennard: Rookie Devon Kennard keeps turning heads by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Dec 172014
 
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Giants Sign TE Jerome Cunningham to 53-Man Roster: The New York Giants signed tight end Jerome Cunningham to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad on Wednesday. Cunningham fills the roster vacancy created when the Giants put linebacker Terrell Manning on Injured Reserve on December 2. Per an obscure NFL rule, Manning could not be replaced on the 53-man roster for three weeks after he was signed from the Bengals’ Practice Squad on November 25.

Cunningham played college football at Southern Connecticut State University from 2009-2012, but he was not with an NFL team in training camp until August 2014 when the Giants signed him. He did try out with the Indianapolis Colts in May 2013 and Arizona Cardinals in May 2014, but was not signed by either team. Cunningham lacks ideal size for the position; he’s built more like an H-Back. But he is a good athlete who catches the ball well.

Giants Sign FB Nikita Whitlock to Practice Squad: To fill the vacancy created when the Giants signed TE Jerome Cunningham to the 53-man roster, the Giants signed fullback Nikita Whitlock to the Practice Squad on Wednesday.

Whitlock, who played defensive tackle in college, was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He was cut by the Bengals in their final round of cuts and then signed by the Dallas Cowboys to their Practice Squad. The NFL suspended Whitlock in November for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and the Cowboys terminated his Practice Squad contract. Whitlock was converted to fullback by the Bengals and he flashed in the preseason as a lead blocker with good size.

December 17, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) and LB Jameel McClain (knee) did not practice on Wednesday.

December 17, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Wednesday’s press conference are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com.

December 17, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of media sessions on Wednesday with the following players are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

ESPN Radio Interview with WR Odell Beckham: The audio of Wednesday’s ESPN Radio interview with WR Odell Beckham is available at ESPN.com.

Article on Giants President/CEO John Mara: NY Giants owner John Mara will be able to tune out fans if he doesn’t fire Tom Coughlin by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Kevin Gilbride still questions overhaul of Giants offense by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on DT Johnathan Hankins: Giants’ Johnathan Hankins steps up by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article son S Antrel Rolle:

Article on the Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: NY Giants need help on offensive and defensive lines this draft by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Sep 022014
 
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Jerome Cunningham, Indianapolis Colts (May 10, 2013)

Jerome Cunningham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Add TE Jerome Cunningham to Practice Squad: Though not officially announced, the Giants have added TE Jerome Cunningham to the Practice Squad. The Giants have now filled nine of their 10 available Practice Squad vacancies.

Cunningham played college football at Southern Connecticut State University from 2009-2012, but he was not with an NFL team in training camp until August 2014 when the Giants signed him. He did try out with the Indianapolis Colts in May 2013 and Arizona Cardinals in May 2014, but was not signed by either team. Cunningham lacks ideal size for the position; he’s built more like an H-Back. But he is a good athlete who catches the ball well.

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

OT Justin Pugh NFL Network Interview: The video from Monday’s NFL Network interview with OT Justin Pugh is available at Giants.com.

Articles on the 2014 New York Giants:

Article on WR Odell Beckham, Jr.: Odell Beckham injury: Why the Giants need their first-round pick by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on the New York Giants Tight Ends: Giants 2014 roster: Will the tight end experiment work out? by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on DE Mathias Kiwanuka: Mathias Kiwanuka thinks Giants can win a Super Bowl — even if offense stumbles by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on LB Jon Beason: Beastly Beason’s return ignites Giants’ confidence by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Aug 262014
 
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Marcus Harris, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Marcus Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants made 15 roster moves on Tuesday in order to each the NFL roster limit of 75 players.

The Giants placed safety Cooper Taylor (foot) and wide receiver Marcus Harris (hip) on season-ending Injured Reserve. Taylor is expected to undergo surgery to repair the sesamoid bone in his foot. Harris will undergo surgery to repair the labrum in his hip. (Oddly, Harris’ injury had previously been described as a shoulder injury).

The Giants waived/injured linebacker Justin Anderson (hamstring) and defensive end Emmanuel Dieke (knee).

Lastly, the Giants waived the following 11 players:

  • WR Travis Harvey
  • TE Xavier Grimble (injury settlement)
  • TE Jerome Cunningham
  • OG John Sullen
  • DT Everett Dawkins
  • LB Spencer Adkins
  • CB Charles James
  • CB Ross Weaver
  • S C.J. Barnett
  • S Kyle Sebetic
  • PK Brandon McManus

(UPDATE: In a late move, the Giants have reportedly traded Brandon McManus to the Denver Broncos for a conditional draft pick, reportedly conditional 7th round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft).

Because of these moves, we have updated the Transactions, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

The final cuts to the 53-man roster must be made by 4:00PM on Saturday, August 30th, the day after the Giants-Patriots preseason finale.

Aug 222014
 
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Andre Williams, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Articles on the New York Giants Offense:

Article on QB Eli Manning:

Article on General Manager Jerry Reese and WR Odell Beckham: Odell Beckham may add to NY Giants GM Jerry Reese’s draft duds by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Rashad Jennings hoping for diverse offense after years where run was expected by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Articles on the New York Giants Tight Ends:

Articles on the New York Giants Defensive Line:

Articles on the New York Giants Linebackers:

Article on S Stevie Brown: Giants’ Stevie Brown comes full circle by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Aug 052014
 
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Israel Idonije, Chicago Bears (September 13, 2012)

Israel Idonije – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants announced on Tuesday that they have signed defensive end Israel Idonije and tight end Jerome Cunningham. To make room for Idonije and Cunningham, the Giants waived defensive end Kendrick Adams. The team also waived/injured running back David Wilson on Monday and placed him on Injured Reserve on Tuesday after he cleared waivers.

Idonije was originally signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2003 NFL Draft. He did not make the team that season but spent time on the Practice Squad of the Chicago Bears. For nine seasons, from 2004-12, Idonije was on the 53-man roster of the Bears. He started 42 games from 2010-12. In 2013, Idonije played in 11 games with the Detroit Lions as a reserve. The Bears re-signed him in March 2014 but then released him in June. The 33-year old Idonije is nearing the end of his career, but he was a fairly productive player for the Bears, including accruing 20.5 sacks in his last three seasons in Chicago. He has good size and strength. Idonije lacks suddenness and quickness as a pass rusher. He has good intangibles as he is a hard-working, high-effort player with good character.

Cunningham played college football at Southern Connecticut State University from 2009-2012, but he has not been with an NFL team in training camp. He did try out with the Arizona Cardinals in May, but was not signed. Cunningham lacks ideal size for the position; he’s built more like an H-Back.

Adams was signed to the Giants’ Practice Squad in December 2013. Adams was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2012 NFL Draft. He also spent time with the Buccaneers, Lions, Browns, and Bengals.

Wilson, New York’s 1st round draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, has been advised to retire from the NFL after re-injuring of his surgically repaired neck in training camp.

Because of these moves, we have updated the TransactionsRoster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.