Aug 312013
 
 August 31, 2013  Posted by  News and Notes
Tyler Sash, New York Giants (August 24, 2013)

Tyler Sash – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Reduce Roster to 53: The Giants have reduced their roster from 75 to 53 players.

As expected, due to his previously-announced drug suspension, the Giants placed S Will Hill on the Reserve/Suspended List. Hill will not be able to practice or play with the team for four weeks. Hill will be eligible to return to the active roster on September 30.

Also, as expected, the Giants placed DT Markus Kuhn (knee) on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. Kuhn was placed on the Active (preseason) PUP at the start of training camp. Kuhn is required to remain on the Reserve/PUP for at least six weeks.

WR Ramses Barden (knee) was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve.

The team also released the following 19 players:

  • QB David Carr (contract terminated)
  • RB Ryan Torain (contract terminated)
  • WR Kevin Hardy (waived)
  • WR Marcus Harris (waived)
  • WR Julian Talley (waived)
  • OL Selvish Capers (waived/injured)
  • OL Matt McCants (waived)
  • OL Stephen Goodin (waived)
  • OL Bryant Browning (waived)
  • OL Eric Herman (waived)
  • DE Adrian Tracy (waived)
  • DE Matt Broha (waived)
  • DE Adewale Ojomo (waived)
  • DT Marvin Austin (waived)
  • LB Kyle Bosworth (waived)
  • CB Charles James (waived)
  • CB Terrence Frederick (waived)
  • S Tyler Sash (waived with injury settlement)
  • S David Caldwell (waived)

“This is not my favorite day by a long shot,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “It never gets easier, because every year the principals involved are different. My gut starts bothering me about two days before. The day of it I get the headache and the whole bit that goes with it. When you speak to these kids and you work with them and you see them, you do see their effort and what they put forth and how important it is to them. It’s not an easy thing to stand there when a young man walks into his office and as soon as you put your hand out, he starts crying. It’s always difficult to let a guy go that you’ve had with you for a while.”

Coughlin made comments on the following players:

  • QB David Carr: “We simply based it on the preseason. From the standpoint of all the evaluations, it pointed to the fact that (Curtis) Painter had a better preseason. We’ll miss David Carr around here, to be honest with you. He’s done an outstanding job directing our second offense and our scout team. He has the ability to do whatever we ask of him in that regard. He can run the option, he can be the running quarterback if you want him to do that. Ryan Nassib is going to have to step up and be that guy when you’re talking about the teams we play that have a running quarterback.”
  • QB Ryan Nassib: “When we drafted (Nassib), then you have an idea that you’re going to have to develop young quarterback. That’s what his role is. So be it if that’s what it takes. From the standpoint of strategy, you have to understand that many times the balancing act stops at the quarterback position, because there is no way to trade off if in fact you are developing a young man. In our case, you have a veteran player to go along with it.”
  • DE Justin Trattou: “Trattou has the ability to help us out in a lot of different ways both from scrimmage and special teams. There were four young men who were very much in contention for that job. (Matt) Broha was very much involved in that, too. Quite frankly, it was very, very close. We made a decision really based on an individual that was ranked a little bit higher on special teams.”
  •  DTs Shaun Rogers and Mike Patterson: “They played well. They deserve it. The other night (in the preseason finale in New England) they played 20-something plays and did a nice job not only in changing the line of scrimmage, but we brought them back after the half, so they demonstrated the ability to do that.”
  • RB Michael Cox: “He has demonstrated outstanding ability as a kick returner. We put him at gunner and he was a good gunner. You send him down on kickoffs and he did a nice job with that. He has shown endurance and power and strength and the attitude anywhere you put him. We preach it all the time. You make the team because of your contributions on special teams. You have a great chance. That’s what he did.”

Article on the Giants’ Defense: Rolle Confident in Giants’ D Revival by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

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Aug 302013
 
 August 30, 2013  Posted by  News and Notes
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (August 29, 2013)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Must Reduce Roster to 53: By 6:00PM on Saturday, the Giants must make at least 22 roster moves in order to reduce their roster from 75 to 53.

August 30, 2013 New York Giants Injury Report: Various press sources are reporting that RB Andre Brown, who fractured his left leg in the preseason game against the Patriots, will miss 4-6 weeks. Head Coach Tom Coughlin was less definitive. “Not really (any timetable), said Coughlin. “Not until I hear some more information. There’s MRI’s and that type of stuff going on so, when we know, you’ll know.”

Coughlin was asked if Brown could be placed on Reserve/Designated-to-Return List (temporary Injured Reserve). “He could be. Yeah. Sure,” replied Coughlin. If Brown is placed on the Designated-to-Return List, he would be ineligible to return until for eight weeks. And the Giants could only put him on temporary IR after he is first on the 53-man roster, meaning another player would have to lose a roster spot first. Teams can only use the temporary IR option once per season.

TE Adrien Robinson sprained his left foot in the preseason game against the Patriots. “Supposedly a sprain,” said Coughlin. “At this point in time and, again, you could come back in five minutes and I could say it’s a different story. There’s no surgery or anything like that to talk about…It’s not exactly mid-foot (sprain), it’s off to the side a little bit. I think he tried to turn around at halftime and go last night, but he couldn’t really get up on his toes well enough to be able to do that. ”

LB Dan Connor suffered a burner in the preseason game against the Patriots, but is not expected to miss any time. “Just shoulder tightness, nothing terrible,’’ Connor said. “I could play today, I could have played a lot more (against the Patriots).’’

S Tyler Sash suffered a concussion in preseason game against the Patriots. No word yet on how much time he might miss.

WR Victor Cruz, who suffered a heel contusion in the preseason game against the Jets, says he hopes to be able to play in the season opener against the Cowboys but is unsure if the team will let him. “I hope so,” said Cruz. “We’re still going to gauge it throughout the weekend. I’m still going to be coming in for treatment or whatnot, so we’ll see how it goes. Still doctors that have to say it’s OK. The training staff is taking it slow, but I’d like to practice and get some live work in on Monday if possible.”

OC David Baas, who sprained the MCL in one of his knees in the preseason game against the Colts, says he is improving but Baas is not sure if he will be ready for the season-opener against the Cowboys. “It’s responded really well,” Baas said. “My doctors have said they are very happy with my progress. And, like I said, this is something that we’re just going to continue to work on and keep pushing it to its max and hope for the best. We’ll take it day-to-day.”

Surgery for S Stevie Brown, who tore the ACL in his left knee in the preseason game against the Jets, has not yet been scheduled. “It’s very disappointing,” said Brown. “You work all summer getting ready for the season and just a freak accident like that to happen definitely sucks.”

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Friday press conference are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com.

Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: A Kinder, Gentler Coughlin Still Makes the Giants Stand Up Straight by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on RB David Wilson: RB David Wilson Ready for Primetime Role by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on S Ryan Mundy: How Will the Giants’ Defense Use Ryan Mundy? by Jonathan Clegg of The Wall Street Journal

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Aug 052013
 
 August 5, 2013  Posted by  News and Notes
Stevie Brown (27), Antrel Rolle (26), New York Giants (August 4, 2013)

Stevie Brown and Antrel Rolle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Return to Practice on Tuesday: The Giants did not practice on Monday. The next practice is on Tuesday from 1:30-3:45PM. For a complete training camp schedule and Giants.com Q&A guide, see the Training Camp section of the website.

A sights and sounds video from training camp is available at Giants.com.

Hakeem Nicks Tells Fans to Relax: WR Hakeem Nicks, who has missed the last four practices with a groin injury, answered questions from the press at a commercial shoot on Monday. Nicks said that staying healthy for all 16 regular-season games in 2013 is not only important for the Giants, but also for his future contract situation. In his four seasons with the Giants, Nicks has never played a full 16-game regular-season schedule.

“It’s important,” said Nicks. “My career counts on it, this season counts on it. The offense, just being what I am to the team, I think it is going to make a big difference…This is a critical season for me. I just look at it like I am going out here to play ball. Stay healthy, change my diet a little bit, those are things that I am focused on. I just want to have fun and win every game if we can. That is the main focus.”

Suffering foot and knee injuries in 2012, Nicks said he was feeling good before injuring his groin. “I felt real good,” said Nicks. “Honestly, I felt like I had my burst again, I felt like I was in and out of my breaks. I felt my timing was back with Eli the way it normally was.”

“Honestly I feel like (the critics) are just on the outside looking in, so they really don’t know the situation,” said Nicks. “I know the situation. I’m the one wearing these shoes. So to all the fans, like I said before, it’s not about me being lazy or anything like that. It’s about making the right decisions, about making sure that when it is time to go for the season opening game, I will be full ready to go and it’ll be on.”

“That’s nothing I really worry about,” Nicks said. “It’s football. It happens to the best of us. I think it’s the media market that I’m in, they like to put it on blast a little bit more. It comes with the territory. You just got to know, it’s football, anything can happen when you step on the field…There is nothing you can really get upset about. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. You can never change that. But I know what I am obligated to do. I know the way I am going to play this game. And I am going to be playing it for a long time.”

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Canton Will Call on Tom Coughlin by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on Tight Ends Coach Mike Pope: A Longtime Giants Coach’s Weird Ways by Jonathan Clegg of The Wall Street Journal

Article on RB David Wilson: Giants’ David Wilson Intent on Showing Pass-Catching Abilities This Season by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on TE Brandon Myers: Giants’ Brandon Myers the Next in Line by JJ Conrad of The Bergen Record

Article on DE Damontre Moore: NY Giants Rookie Damontre Moore Proving Worth the Risk So Far by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Articles on LB Kyle Bosworth:

Articles on the Defensive Backs:

Article on PK Josh Brown: Giants’ Josh Brown Building Up Toward the Big Field Goals by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on the Impact of Winning NFL Championships: Parcells’ ‘Blood Kinship’ Strikes Chord with Giants by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

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Jun 172013
 
 June 17, 2013  Posted by  Articles, Roster Thoughts
Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (August 18, 2012)

Mark Herzlich – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Offseason Breakdown: New York Giants Linebackers

The linebacker position on the Giants has been unsettled for quite some time. For the older fans, who had the pleasure to watch players such as Sam Huff, Harry Carson, Brad Van Pelt, Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks, and Jessie Armstead, it has been frustrating.

When the Giants shifted from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense in the 1990s, the personnel emphasis naturally shifted from spending premium resources on linebackers to defensive linemen. And that trend has continued under General Manager Jerry Reese.

Since Reese became general manager of the Giants in 2007, in seven drafts, the Giants have drafted seven linebackers, including players in the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. Only two remain on the roster – sixth-rounders Adrian Tracy and Jacquian Williams. Tracy, a defensive end in college, was drafted as a linebacker and has since been moved back to defensive end. Gone by the wayside are Bryan Kehl, Jonathan Goff, Clint Sintim, Phillip Dillard, and Greg Jones.

In free agency under Reese, the Giants have signed Kawika Mitchell, Danny Clark, Michael Boley, Keith Bulluck, Dan Connor, Aaron Curry, and Kyle Bosworth. The latter three were signed this offseason.

The Giants also traded away their fifth round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft for Keith Rivers.

It’s obviously too early to comment on Connor, Curry, and Bosworth, but of all of the rest, since 2007, only Boley became an established, multi-year starter for the Giants. (After four seasons as a starter, Boley was released this offseason). If we’re being honest, to date, Reese’s track record in addressing the linebacking position has not been good.

With Boley and free agent departure Chase Blackburn no longer on the roster, and Mathias Kiwanuka moving back to defensive end, the Giants will have three new starters at linebacker in 2013. That’s quite a turnover. And it is conceivable that the three new starters in 2013 will be castoffs Rivers, Connor, and Curry. In fact, if you could turn back the clock and tell a Giants fan in April 2008 that the Rivers, Connor, and Curry would be starting for Big Blue in few years, the response would have been, “How the hell did Reese pull that off?” We’ll have to see if they can turn their careers around and regain former collegiate glory.

The Giants currently have nine linebackers on the roster. They will probably keep seven on the 53-man roster, especially since linebackers usually make good special teams players. But it is possible that they could keep as few as six.

“(Our linebackers) actually had a good spring,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin at the end of mini-camp. “And the good thing about them, they are very unselfish. They work hard; they study hard. If I called for a one hour meeting, those guys were probably going to meet for an hour and a half to two. It is just the way that group is. They have been good. So we’ll see. I have seen some growth and I have seen a lot of good things happen out here. They are going to have to. It’s going to have to happen.”

Let’s look at each of these nine players:

Dan Connor: A highly-regarded Penn State linebacker coming out of the 2008 NFL Draft, Connor was originally selected in the 3rd round by the Carolina Panthers. He signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in March 2012. Connor was then signed by the Giants in March 2013 after he was released by the Dallas. In five NFL seasons, Connor has played in 56 regular-season games with 27 starts. In 2012, Connor started eight games for the Cowboys and finished the season with 56 tackles and one pass defense. Connor has decent size, but lacks athleticism. He is more of a tough, blue-collar, two-down run defender who sometimes struggles in pass coverage. Connor is not overly physical at the point-of-attack, but he is quick to locate the ball, avoids blocks well, and is a good, solid tackler. He can play inside or outside, but he definitely is more comfortable in a 4-3 scheme. Connor’s biggest problem has been staying healthy.

“I think (middle linebacker is my best) position,” Connor said. “That’s the position where I’m comfortable. I played it in college, I was in the middle of a 4-3 in Carolina. So I feel most comfortable in the middle. But I do have some experience on the outside.”

“It’s all about being technique-perfect and being able to call the defense, make the checks and be spot on,” Connor said. “As a new guy in the locker room, that’s how I’m going to earn respect – by knowing not only my position but everyone else’s position. So studying is big for me right now, being vocal on the field, and basically earn the respect of guys who I met (only recently).”

Connor’s chief competition at middle linebacker, Mark Herzlich, has been impressed by Connor. “Dan is a very intelligent player,” said Herzlich. “He’s very good with his reads and his fits. He’s very precise.”

“Run fits have been a point of emphasis, making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time,” said Connor. “The coaches have done a great job teaching us the mistakes that were made last season.”

“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Connor. “We have a lot of young guys. They’re hungry. Each one of us feels like we want to put our name on the map. I really like this defense. It lets you play fast and play aggressive.”

Aaron Curry: In the 2009 NFL Draft, Curry was widely-regarded as one of the best linebacking prospects in years and “the safest pick” in the draft. The Seattle Seahawks made him the fourth player selected overall in that draft, but Curry never lived up to his draft hype and was traded to the Raiders during the 2011 season for a 7th round pick and conditional 5th round pick. Curry played better in Oakland, but he was hampered by chronic knee issues and was cut.

Physically, Curry has excellent size and strength. Although he lacks ideal lateral agility, when healthy, he is a very good athlete who runs well. For some reason, it hasn’t come together for Curry at the pro level. Critics have pointed to the lack of big plays, inconsistency, poor coverage, and too often being out of position.

Curry says his problem in Seattle was that he was not focused on football. “Early in my career, I was just selfish and self-centered,” said Curry. “I was more about me than I was about the Seahawks. It was immaturity, and I’m glad I got past that stage…It was like I knew I could do it and I knew I would do it. I just don’t think at the time I was interested in doing it. I think I was interested in other things and at the time football just wasn’t my top priority, just to be honest…(Now) I approach everything differently. I see details now. Football is important now. It has a priority in my life that I’m willing to do whatever it takes that’s going to help the Giants be successful and I’m not so selfish…Now I’m more about finding a way to just put out a lot of effort and a lot of energy and just cause havoc.”

Curry’s biggest issue now may be the health of his knees. Curry underwent stem-cell therapy on both of his knees during the 2012 offseason. He only played two games before he was cut in November. He then underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in December.

Curry’s former linebacker coach in Seattle, Ken Norton, is still a believer if Curry is healthy. “He was a 4-3 linebacker playing off the ball and you’re not going to get sacks,” Norton said. “He’s probably the best linebacker I’ve ever had to play over the tight end and just dominate him. There were a whole lot of expectations. You don’t see the sack numbers and people say this guy isn’t doing what he’s supposed to be doing. At the end, his legs and knees were hurting a lot and he was unable to stop on a dime. He couldn’t do all the things he was supposed to do.”

“If Aaron’s health isn’t an issue, if he can run and stop and hit, I mean, this kid hasn’t scratched the surface,” Norton said. “He can do a lot of amazing things. He does things that Carl Banks used to do on the tight end. Once he gets his mind set on something, he can do it. The only issue with him has been what’s going on between the ears. If everything is in order and he’s to the point where he has something to prove, the Giants might have caught him at the right time.”

“I hope to be able to offer some positive energy (to the defense),” said Curry. “I just want to run around and hit things that are moving and I want my teammates to get excited. I want the defense to be excited at all times and I hope to be able to just uplift everybody and do what’s asked of me and do it full speed…My job and my only motivation is to go out there, play hard, play fast, be physical and get my teammates to just be fired up with me and just bring a positive energy every day.”

Keith Rivers: If Curry was supposed to be a “sure thing”, then Rivers was pretty damn close. Rivers was the ninth player taken in the 2008 NFL Draft. But the injury-prone linebacker was traded by the Bengals to the Giants in 2012 for a 5th round draft pick.

While Rivers never lived up to his draft hype in Cincinnati, he was a solid player for the Bengals when he played. The problem was that he couldn’t stay healthy and that trend continued with the Giants in 2012. Last season, hamstring and calf injuries caused him to miss five games and limited his playing time and effectiveness. Rivers finished the season with six starts and accrued 44 tackles. In four seasons in Cincinnati, Rivers started 33-of-35 regular-season games he played in. But he missed 29 regular-season games with injuries – including nine games in 2008 with a broken jaw and all of the 2011 season with a wrist injury that required surgery. Rivers also missed time in 2009 with a calf injury and in 2010 with plantar fasciitis. Rivers is an athletic, three-down linebacker. He is more of the run-and-hit type than physical presence at the point-of-attack against the run. Rivers has the overall athletic ability and range to do well in coverage, but he needs to become more consistent in that area of his game. He only has two career sacks.

Interestingly, Giants’ beat reporter Paul Dottino, who also does some work for the Giants, says Rivers was clearly the best linebacker in training camp last year. During spring workouts, Rivers was starting at weakside linebacker in Mathias Kiwanuka’s old position. (Note: In Perry Fewell’s system, the weakside linebacker is called the strongside linebacker).

During OTAs, Coughlin said, “The other day Keith Rivers made a heck of a play.” Rivers has the ability to be a very steady performer for New York if he can just stay on the football field.

Mark Herzlich: Herzlich was regarded as one of the better collegiate linebackers in the country before missing the 2009 season at Boston College with bone cancer. Because of the illness, a titanium rod was inserted into Herzlich’s left femur. Herzlich has very good size, but the key question is whether Herzlich now has the overall athletic ability to excel at the pro level. Last year, it was anticipated that Herzlich would provide more of a serious challenge to Chase Blackburn for the starting middle linebacker position, but Herzlich underwhelmed.

Herzlich has had a very good spring. It was Herzlich, not Dan Connor, who started at middle linebacker during spring workouts and the coaches appear to have come away impressed.

“Very commanding,” said Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell. “He’s taken a leadership role out there and I think he has some good respect from his teammates in some of the things he’s done in the OTAs. Obviously, we want to find out what happens when the pads come on.”

“After the first OTA, (Spencer Paysinger and I) always go and watch the films,” said Herzlich. “Me and Spence were watching film, and we’re like, ‘We’re gonna know this defense better than the coaches.’ So we went to Costco that day, got dry erase boards. I was on the dry erase board all day, just reviewing everything from OTAs, getting ready for mini-camp. That way, when you eliminate the mental mistakes, you can play faster and more physical.”

“As linebackers, you never want to be called ‘soft,’” said Herzlich. “There were some people saying that we were playing soft last year. So we have a mentality to change that this season…We’ve talked about how we couldn’t stop the run when we needed to last season. People say, ‘It’s the defensive line.’ But it starts with the linebackers. We have to fill our gaps and play downhill.”

Connor may overtake Herzlich in training camp and the preseason, but right now, it’s Herzlich’s job to lose.

Spencer Paysinger: Paysinger was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. While serving primarily as one of the Giants’ best special teams players, Paysinger has seen his playing time on the defense increase. He actually started three games in 2012 and finished the season with 39 tackles and one forced fumble. Paysinger has a nice combination of size and athleticism.

Paysinger appears to be flying under the radar scope of many fans. In spring workouts, Paysinger has been starting in Michael Boley’s old strongside linebacker spot. If Paysinger fails, it will not be for lack of hard work. In the offseason, he initiated an intense workout program that not only included weight training, but hot yoga, acupuncture, stretching, and martial arts.

“I came into the league two years ago at 233 pounds and now I’m about 245 pounds and I feel like I haven’t lost a step,” said Paysinger. “When you get heavier, bigger, and bulkier, it’s natural for you to lose a step or two when it comes to agility. By doing yoga and acupuncture and revving up my on-field work, it’s allowed me to counteract any lost steps.”

“(Paysinger) is doing a good job,” said Linebackers Coach Jim Herrmann. “He has a great opportunity to get snaps. And he is competing for the job. He has matured over the last two years. To me, the biggest thing I have seen was his maturity level, because he is comfortable with the formation. Now he is going to go out and take the next step forward because he is anticipating the plays faster and faster. He’s not worried about ‘What do I do in this defense – What do I do in that defense?’ It is, ‘Okay, I know what I am doing – now what is the offense going to do?’ And he is anticipating. And all of those guys have done a much better job of that.”

“Me and Mark (Herzlich), we’ve taken it upon ourselves to learn the defense in and out, studying together,” said Paysinger. “Buying dry erase boards to take home and just draw up plays. Pretty much internalizing the playbook to where it becomes second nature – cause if you know your stuff, you can play that much better.”

“I feel like it’s my time, Mark’s time, even Keith (Rivers’) time to step up and show we can handle this,” said Paysinger.

Jacquian Williams: Williams was drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants. He was a very raw player coming out of the University of South Florida, having started only one season. Williams lacks bulk, but he is extremely athletic, fast, and quick for the position. However, Williams is not very physical and due to his size, he can get mauled at the point-of-attack against the run. Williams flashes as a blitzer and he could develop into a good coverage linebacker with added experience.

Williams’ 2012 season was sabotaged by a PCL knee injury he suffered in October that caused him to miss six games. He finished the year with just 30 tackles, down from the 78 he accrued in 2011. Though Williams returned to the playing field in December 2012, the PCL injury surprisingly limited him in the spring workouts this year. Hopefully, he will be closer to 100 percent when training camp starts.

Kyle Bosworth: The nephew of former Seahawks’ linebacker Brian Bosworth, Kyle was signed by the Giants as an unrestricted free agent from the Jaguars in May 2013. Eligible to be a restricted free agent, Bosworth was not tendered by Jacksonville. Bosworth was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jaguars after the 2010 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury. He also missed much of 2011 after being placed on Injured Reserve in November with a broken hand. In 2012, Bosworth played in all 16 games. He started five games but was later benched. He finished 2012 with 37 tackles and one interception.

Bosworth is smart, hard-working, and versatile – he can play all three linebacking spots. However, despite having decent size, strength, and some speed, Bosworth is a limited athlete who struggles in space. Bosworth is a very good special teams player and that – combined with his versatility and intelligence – may give him a leg up in the competition for backup spots.

“We felt like he would make a nice fit as a linebacker and a special-teamer,” said Coughlin after Bosworth was signed.

“I can definitely play all the (linebacker) positions,” Bosworth said. “I’ve still got to do a lot of learning in the playbook, but I’m able to fit in with the (weakside, middle, and strongside linebacker). I’m very versatile. I’ve played and started. I’ve been on every single special team, so basically wherever they need me I’ll be able to do it. Whatever they ask and I’ll be ready to go.”

Jake Muasau: Muasau was originally signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent after the May 2012 rookie mini-camp. The Giants waived him in late August, but decided to give him another shot in training camp this year and re-signed him in January 2013. Muasau was voted Georgia State University’s most valuable defensive player by his teammates in 2010 and 2011 when he played the “bandit” DE/LB hybrid position. Muasau has good size and plays with good intensity.

Etienne Sabino: Sabino was signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft. Sabino was a highly-recruited high school linebacker who had a disappointing overall career at Ohio State, but he started to come on as a senior despite breaking his leg. He could project to either middle or outside linebacker. Sabino is a well-built athlete with good agility, quickness, and speed. He flashes ability to run-and-hit as well as take-on-and-shed. There are conflicting scouting reports on his instincts. Sabino should do well on special teams. He supposedly has good intangibles – mature and coachable.

Summary: The starters heading into training camp are Rivers, Herzlich, and Paysinger. But they will be challenged by Curry, Connor, and Williams. It will be interesting to see if there are three viable starters and play-makers within this group, and if the three new starters can integrate themselves with each other and the other eight members of the defense quickly. Not many teams completely revamp their starting linebacking corps in one offseason. For a defense that finished 31st in 2012 and was equally bad against the run and the pass, it is imperative that the linebacking play improve.

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May 302013
 
 May 30, 2013  Posted by  News and Notes

New York Giants Complete Fourth OTA Practice – Nicks Still MIA: The Giants concluded their fourth Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice on Thursday. Their fifth OTA will be held on Friday at Timex Performance Center, but that practice is not open to the media.

OTA practices are voluntary but participation is encouraged. The Giants are currently in the final phase of their offseason workout program. During this final phase, no live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permissible.

The Giants’ final five OTA practices will be held next week, June 3-7. The following week the Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 11-13. The Giants will then be off until they have to report to training camp on July 26. The first training camp practice at the Timex Performance Center will be held on July 27.

Missing from Thursday’s “voluntary” practice were WR Hakeem Nicks, WR Victor Cruz, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, and DE Justin Tuck. Head Coach Tom Coughlin said he expected Pierre-Paul and Tuck to participate in Friday’s OTA.

Coughlin was asked if he had been in contact with Nicks. “I have not. No,” replied Coughlin. “Certainly I am (disappointed that he is not here).”

Coughlin was also asked if he was given a reason why Nicks was not participating in the OTAs. “None,” said Coughlin. “Now at one point Hakeem told me that he was going to be here and then he was not here. Now the strictest interpretation, as everybody knows, is it’s a voluntary program.”

The Star-Ledger is reporting when Nicks’ agent was asked why his client was missing from OTAs and whether this had to do with his contract, the agent replied, “Everything is all good. We have no comment…We’re not talking.”

Video highlights are also available at Giants.com. A brief practice report is also available from the following site:

Roster Moves: Following up on yesterday’s “News and Notes” update, the Giants officially confirmed that they have signed rookie free agent TE Chase Clement (LSU) and unrestricted free agent LB Kyle Bosworth (Jaguars). To make room for these two players, the Giants waived S John Stevenson and TE Morgan Newton.

“I can definitely play all the (linebacker) positions,” Bosworth said. “I just got here today. It was my first day of OTAs. I’ve still got to do a lot of learning in the playbook, but I’m able to fit in with the Will, Mike and Sam (weakside, middle and strongside linebacker). I’m very versatile. I’ve played and started. I’ve been on every single special team, so basically wherever they need me I’ll be able to do it. Whatever they ask and I’ll be ready to go.”

CB Aaron Ross played with Bosworth in Jacksonville in 2012. “He’s definitely a hard worker,” Ross said. “I think he’s a player that knows the game. I think he’s a really smart player. With that combination, I think we’re getting a great player. I did (enjoy playing with him). He was easy to play with, very coachable and he picks up on the defense really well. He works really hard. He’s one of the guys that improve day to day.”

Marc Ross Promoted to Vice President of Player Evaluation: The Giants announced on Thursday that they have promoted Marc Ross to Vice President of Player Evaluation. He had been the Director of College Scouting.

“Marc has done an outstanding job of running our college scouting and the draft, and we wanted to give him a title that reflected that,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “He will continue to do that, but I also want him to work on some special projects in pro personnel along with pro personnel director Ken Sternfeld.”

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Press Conference: The transcript and video of today’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of today’s media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on RB Andre Brown: RB Andre Brown Ready to Showcase All by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on WR Rueben Randle: Coughlin: Randle’s ‘Chance to Step Up’ by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on LB Kyle Bosworth: Giants Add Nephew of ‘The Boz’ to Roster by Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com

Quotes: Head Coach Tom Coughlin commented on a few specific players yesterday:

  • WR Brandon Collins: “Collins has made a couple of plays over the last couple of days.”
  • WR Louis Murphy: “(Murphy and El Manning have) made quite a few plays. They really have. When the receivers are on the same page and he’s very confident that they’re going to maneuver according to the way they’re supposed to and he’s been very, very sharp and he and Murphy have made some plays…(Murphy has) done a good job of (picking up the offense). ”
  • TE Bear Pascoe: “We’re very confident that Bear, no matter what role we place him in, he does an outstanding job. We’re very sorry about Henry’s (Hynoski) injury. Henry’s a very optimistic young man. A day after he had the surgery he had three rehabs, so he’s ready to go. He’s trying to get ready to go and Bear has had opportunities to play in that spot, the B-Tight End and the Y-Tight End and he’s always done a nice job. He’s a guy that will learn it and he’ll be very much into what’s happening.”
  • DE Damontre Moore: “(Moore) has shown some good ability to get off on the snap.”

QB Eli Manning on WR Louis Murphy: “He’s come in and worked really hard. Back in early April, going over to Duke and working those days and learning the offense and asking questions and being here in the offseason, being there for routes and trying to pick up everything in this offense and so he’s got talent. He can really run, he can stretch the field and he’s got the desire and the commitment to be a good player and to bring another threat to this offense.”

Article on the Retirement of Former Giants WR Steve Smith: Giants React to WR Steve Smith Retirement by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on Former Giants’ Offensive Lineman and Assistant Coach Bill Austin: Remembering Former OL & Coach Bill Austin by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

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