Jul 132015
 
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Adrien Robinson, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Tight End Adrien Robinson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Tight Ends

2014 YEAR IN REVIEW: 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 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).

Few predicted correctly that Donnell would win the starting job followed by Fells as the #2 tight end and Robinson as the #3 tight end. Cunningham was also signed to the Practice Squad.

Overall, while the tight end was not a position of strength for 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 is 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 on the depth chart, but at least he finally saw some playing time and caught his first NFL touchdown pass.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants signed undrafted rookie free agents Matt LaCosse and Will Tye after the 2015 NFL Draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The main focus will be on Larry Donnell and whether or not he can take another major leap forward in his development. He jumped from a career 3-catch target to the NFL’s 9th-leading receiving tight end in one season. But Donnell needs to improve his consistency, blocking, and ball security. The good news is he knows that and has been working hard to improve his overall game. A potential fly in the ointment is that Donnell missed most of the spring work with Achilles tendinitis.

Assuming Donnell gets and stays healthy, the other story line is which tight ends will round out the unit. Fells is the steady but unspectacular leader of the group. Cunningham really flashed as a receiver during spring practices. Robinson also made some noise in the spring and LaCosse and Tye appear to have more talent than your typical rookie free agents.

ON THE BUBBLE: Ideally, the Giants would probably like to carry four tight ends, but three is more likely. Barry injury, the only sure bet is Donnell. Fells, Robinson, Cunningham, LaCosse and Tye are probably fighting for two roster spots.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Kevin M. Gilbride on Adrien Robinson: “Adrien has made tremendous progress this spring. He’s the one who has made the most progress as far as his understanding and grasping of how to get his job done. He could always tells you what his assignment was, but he didn’t necessarily know how to go about doing it. Or he had been taught how to do it, and then moved onto something else, taught how to do that, and then lost what he had learned. He’s made a lot of progress and it’s showed up more this spring than it ever has before. And I’m not talking about making catches because he could always make catches or get open on a particular route. We’re talking about how to execute when he is working with a tackle on the front side of a zone scheme and when to come off on the backer and the angle to take and where to place his hands and how he should pressure his hands and things like that. He’s made the most progress in that area. It’s good to see because we need him to come around.”

Gilbride on Jerome Cunningham: “What stands out is his effort. He is going to give great effort, no matter what. Whether he knew what he was doing or not, he was going to be going 100 miles per hour, whether he knew what block he was supposed to make or not. He was going to be doing it as well as he could. That gives them a chance. It gives every person who plays this game a chance to be successful, or at least to be noticed as far as staying on the squad in some capacity, which certainly he did. He has carried it over throughout the season and then now through the spring where he has made some good strides.”

Gilbride on Larry Donnell: “It is technique and confidence (with his blocking). Having him miss this offseason was not good for him in that regard. He is going to have to come into training camp and pick up where these other guys have left off in the improvements we have made in that area. We focused on certain things this offseason in the run game. It really started to show towards the end of the spring, which we were happy about. Happy to see. Still have a ways to go overall, but much improved. We were happy with where it went. We just want him to be a part of it.”

Gilbride on Will Tye: “Talented kid. He has very, very soft hands. He can run straight-line very well and for as tall as he plays – because he doesn’t play with great bent knees all the time – he can get in and out of breaks very smooth. What he needs to improve is his quick-twitch and his true effort at the snap to the end of the whistle…It’s not instinctual for him to play fast…He’s got a ways to go as far as learning the offense…He has made too many mental mistakes, but that doesn’t mean he won’t eventually get it. We’ve thrown a lot at all of them.”

Gilbride on LaCosse: “Different skillset. He’s a linear guy, a long-legged guy who can get down the field. Very, very bright. Talk about Will (Tye) making too many mistakes, Matt didn’t make many mistakes, which is impressive. We had him in a role where we moved him around all the time as far as motioning and shifts.”

PREDICTIONS: I like this group of tight ends more than most. If Donnell’s Achilles tendonitis isn’t a problem, I truly think he has the ability to develop into one of the better receiving tight ends in the NFL. He looked like a budding star in his Week 4, three-touchdown performance against the Washington Redskins. Donnell can do it. He has an excellent combination of size (6’6”, 265 pounds), athletic ability, and hands. I love the way he adjusts to the football for a big man. He’s a match-up problem for linebackers. So is Jerome Cunningham, but for different reasons. Cunningham is smaller (6’3”, 250 pounds), but even faster and more athletic. He can be a match-up problem for safeties. There were whispers about him being pretty darn good as a Practice Squad player last year and his performance in the spring was impressive.

What the group seems to be lacking is someone who excels at blocking. Fells is the most consistent and reliable. But he may be pressed by Robinson, provided Robinson finally “gets it” in his fourth year.

I also have a feeling that the Giants are going to like what they see in LaCosse and Tye.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Donnell remains the starter, but Cunningham is going to press for serious playing time as more of an H-Back type tight end. Ben McAdoo will find a role for him in his TE-centric offense. The difficult decision here for me is Robinson versus Fells. I think Robinson will do enough in camp to convince the Giants to keep their 3-year investment. But if Robinson continues to falter, Fells retains his job and provides leadership. While the Practice Squad may be the most realistic option for both LaCosse and Tye, if one excels at blocking, he has a shot at the 53-man roster.

May 292015
 
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Marcus Harris, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Marcus Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MAY 29, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…

The New York Giants completed their third of ten Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Friday. The Friday session was not open to the media, but Giants.com did report some of the following tidbits:

  • WR Rueben Randle had a good day, including a one-handled catch on a pass from QB Eli Manning.
  • WR Chris Harper made a couple of nice receptions, including a 20-yard touchdown catch from Manning (video).
  • S Landon Collins broke up a pass from Manning to RB Rashad Jennings.
  • CB Prince Amukamara broke up a pass intended for WR Julian Talley.
  • S Bennett Jackson almost intercepted a pass from QB Ryan Nassib that tipped off of TE Matt LaCosse.
  • The Giants worked on their blitz packages – both offensive and defensively.

Phase Three (Weeks 6-9) of the New York Giants voluntary nine-week offseason program started this week. During Phase Three of offseason programs, NFL teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTAs. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The final seven OTA practices will be held June 1-2, June 4, June 8-9, and June 11-12. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 16-18.

Article on TE Larry Donnell: Giants tight end Larry Donnell pinpointed his weakness this offseason and attacked by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Apr 232015
 
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Larry Donnell, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Larry Donnell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Re-Sign Tight End Larry Donnell: The New York Giants have re-signed exclusive rights free agent tight end Larry Donnell. Terms of the deal are not yet known but Donnell most likely signed his 1-year, $585,000 tender.

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. His 63 catches were tied for ninth-most in the NFL among tight ends.

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.

Cornerback Chandler Fenner was the only other exclusive rights free agent of the Giants and he was re-signed earlier this week. For a complete listing of the Giants’ free agent activity, see the 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Stevie Brown Visits the Texans: According to NFL.com, unrestricted free agent safety Stevie Brown (New York Giants) visited the Houston Texans on Tuesday. Per an earlier update, the Giants are believed to still be interested in re-signing Brown, but at what the team considers a reasonable price.

Giants.com Q&A with CB Prince Amukamara: The video of a Giants.com interview with CB Prince Amukamara is available at Giants.com.

Article on LB Jonathan Casillas: Jersey City native Jonathan Casillas hopes to start for Giants by Yueh Ho for NJ.com

Article on Super Bowl XLII: Spike Lee film looks back at David Tyree’s ‘Greatest Catch Ever’ by Neil Best of Newsday

Mar 052015
 
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Chandler Fenner (48), Kansas City Chiefs (August 30, 2012)

Chandler Fenner (48) – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Tender Cornerback Chandler Fenner: The New York Giants have tendered exclusive rights free agent cornerback Chandler Fenner. By tendering him with a 1-year, $510,000 contract, Fenner is now locked into re-signing with the New York Giants. Other teams cannot offer him a contract.

Fenner was originally signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but the Seattle Seahawks signed him to their Practice Squad in December 2012. Fenner missed all of 2013 with a knee injury that landed him on Seattle’s Injured Reserve. The Giants signed Chandler Fenner in August 2014. He did not make the team but was signed to the Giants Practice Squad. In October, the Giants signed Fenner to the 53-man roster in October. Fenner played in 11 games for the Giants in 2014, mainly on special teams, and finished the season with seven tackles.

Both of the Giants only two exclusive rights free agents – Chandler and tight end Larry Donnell – have now been tendered.

A complete list of New York Giants free agents is available in the New York Giants 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Antrel Rolle on ESPN Radio: The audio of Thursday’s ESPN Radio interview with S Antrel Rolle is available at ESPN.com.

Article on TE Larry Donnell: Giants’ Larry Donnell on plane that skidded at LaGuardia Airport by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Mar 042015
 
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Larry Donnell, New York Giants (December 21, 2014)

Larry Donnell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Tender Larry Donnell: The New York Giants have tendered exclusive rights free agent tight end Larry Donnell. By tendering him with a 1-year, $585,000 contract, Donnell is now locked into re-signing with the New York Giants. Other teams cannot offer him a contract.

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. His 63 receptions were tied for 9th-best among all NFL tight ends in 2014.

The only other exclusive rights free agent on the team is cornerback Chandler Fenner. It is not known yet if the Giants will tender Fenner.

A complete list of New York Giants free agents is available in the New York Giants 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Victor Cruz Talks About Recovery: New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz spoke about his recovery from the torn patella tendon he suffered last October on SiriusXM Radio on Wednesday.

“The injury’s going well, the rehab’s going very, very well,” Cruz said. “I’m a little more than halfway there, we’re building the strength back in my leg. The rehab’s been hard, it’s been difficult, it’s been long, it’s been grueling, but I’ve been going through it, man, and it’s definitely paying off now. The strength is coming back slowly but surely.

“I started running on this cool machine called the Alter-G, where it lets you run with a certain percentage of your body weight. And I just started doing that yesterday so it’s only a matter of time before I get out there on that field, so I’m excited about that.

“(The Giants’ medical staff does) a good job of when I’m feeling good, they still tell me things I need to hear to bring me back down to earth a little bit. So they do a good job of keeping me humble and keeping me mindful of the fact that I still have a little ways to go. These steps that I’ve taken so far have been great ones, and they always remind me to send me videos of myself eight weeks ago, ten weeks ago just to remind me how far I’ve come.

“Obviously the next couple of months are very, very important in terms of building the strength (in my knee) and continuing to mold my body back into running shape and things like that. And I just want to take these next couple of months to do that and really focus on that. Training camp is definitely the timetable. More importantly, even before training camp, I’ll be feeling almost 100 percent around May-ish, June-ish and I can really start rehabbing and strengthening it and start running routes and things like that, hopefully.”

Feb 062015
 
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Giants.com Q&A With TE Larry Donnell: Know Your Giants: TE Larry Donnell by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on the 2015 New York Giants: 5 things the Giants must do to make the Super Bowl in 2016 by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants and Potential Salary-Cap Cuts: Looking at potential Giants cap cuts by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on P Steve Weatherford: NY Giants punter Steve Weatherford recalls Ann Mara as ‘beautiful spirit’ by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Giants.com Feature on Players: Video features on the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • TE Larry Donnell (Video)
  • TE Adrien Robinson (Video)

Articles on Former New York Giants Co-Owner Ann Mara:

Giants.com Video Tribute to Ann Mara: A video tribute to former New York Giants co-owner Ann Mara is available at Giants.com.

Article on Former Giants LB Lawrence Taylor: Lawrence Taylor at 56: ‘Hard to believe‘ I’m still alive by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Articles on “The Fumble”:

Jan 312015
 
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Andre Williams, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

by Brendan Cassidy and Eric J. for BigBlueInteractive.com

While the wide receiver and quarterback positions were bright spots for the Giants in 2014, the same couldn’t be said for the running back position, and to some extent, tight ends. Going into the 2015 NFL Draft, these are both prime positions to be considered in rounds two through four (there most likely isn’t a player at either position deserving of the 9th overall selection.) Some players who we like that Big Blue could potentially take include: TE Max Williams out of Minnesota, TE Clive Walford and RB Duke Johnson from the University of Miami, and Todd Gurley out of Georgia. All of these players would have an opportunity to make an immediate impact and dethrone the current starters.

The biggest crutch for the running game seemed to be the offensive line. While both Jennings and Williams are talented, it proved difficult to find holes to run through. If the offensive line is improved via the draft and/or free agency, we can expect their production to go up next season. As mentioned earlier, don’t be surprised if a rookie back gets added to the mix for the upcoming season. The tight end position flashed during the season, but failed to have the consistency needed throughout the season. Regardless, here is a very early look at how the positions will stack up in 2015.

Running Backs:

Running back for the most part was a two-man show, with newly signed free agent running back Rashad Jennings and rookie Andre Williams. Jennings was coming off a career year with the Raiders where he ran for 733 yards, good for a respectable 4.5 YPC. The Giants liked what they saw and signed him to a 4-year, $10 million dollar contract. Andre Williams was a 4th-round pick of the Giants out of Boston College, fresh off a Heisman Trophy-nominated season. Williams lead college running backs with 2,177 rushing yards during the 2013 college season; however his lack of quickness, shortcomings in the receiving game, and trouble blocking caused him to slip in the draft.

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (November 23, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Trying to determine which Giant’s RB to draft for your fantasy lineup at this point is very difficult. When both are healthy, it seems that Jennings would get more touches. If you are in a PPR league, Jennings has more value as Williams is known for his lack of prowess in the passing game. However, Williams has seen quite a bit of action at the goal line and the Giants may begin to shift some of the goal line work over to him. This may be contingent on whether or not he shows he is capable of picking up the blocking assignments. If you throw in the uncertainty of how the offensive line will shape up, the running game is very muddled for 2015.

It was clear the Giants struggled to run the ball as they finished 23rd in the league, with an average of 100.2 yards per game while finishing 10th in rushing attempts. Connect the dots and you have a very low yard-per-attempt average. Only the Chargers and the Cardinals had a lower average. Here is the bright spot: the Giants finished 12th in rushing TD’s, and that means fantasy points. Furthermore, another positive for the Giants RBs is that Coughlin likes to run the ball, and insists on having balance on offense. So, how do we rank the Giants RB’s for fantasy in the upcoming season? First, we must recognize that this is a split backfield, so they need to be ranked behind the twelve or so three-down backs in the NFL. If the Giants improve their offensive line, there is no reason why they cannot finish around 14th in team rushing with Rashad Jennings edging out Andre Williams in fantasy production.

Rashad Jennings Projections:

  • 900 Yards, 8 Touchdowns
  • 40 Receptions, 300 Yards
  • Fantasy Football RB Rank: 15th Overall

Analysis: Jennings appeared to be more effective than Williams when healthy. It looks to be his job to lose. He ran with power and vision and was trusted to protect Eli. Therefore, he should edge out Williams this year in terms of production. When healthy, Jennings proved to be a stellar fantasy running back. In the nine games he played (not counting the Tennessee and Washington games where he totaled three carries and was a decoy), he averaged 15.5 points per game in PPR format. That was good for 9th best in the NFL ahead of some of the elite running backs. As noted earlier, the biggest issue for him will be his health. If healthy, he is a solid RB2 with upside. He should be owned in all formats.

Andre Williams Projections:

  • 750 Yards, 8 Touchdowns
  • 15 Receptions, 100 Yards
  • Fantasy Football RB Rank: 21st Overall

Analysis: For a rookie, Andre did well in filling in as the starter for Jennings. He will continue to mature and learn the position and his blocking assignments. The Giants will begin to trust him more as his second season progresses. He is a solid runner who will be a reliable player for the next few years. He needs to use this season to develop his pass catching abilities and field vision. He can be looked at as a low end RB2 or flex option in 12 team leagues. If Jennings fails to stay healthy, look for William’s value to get a major boost. He should be owned in most if not all formats, but look to grab him in the later rounds.

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

Larry Donnell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Tight Ends:

Going into the 2014 season, the majority of fans were worried about the tight end position. Many on BBI expected the Giants to address the position through the draft with a premium pick. There was a strong backing for Eric Ebron out of North Carolina who went 10th overall to the Lions, two picks earlier than Odell Beckham. Going into the season the Giants entered with a bunch of “unknowns” at the position: Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells, and “The JPP of tight ends” Adrien Robinson. While Fells excelled at run blocking, Donnell did the majority of the damage in the receiving game.

Donnell burst onto the scene week 4 against the Washington Redskins, catching 7 passes for 54 yards and 3 touchdowns, all career highs. While many had high hopes for him following this performance, he would struggle for the majority of the season going forward. He finished the season with 63 catches for 623 yards and 6 touchdowns. This was good for the 12th most points among tight ends in PPR leagues with 157.3 points. While this was solid fantasy production for Donnell, from a football standpoint he was plagued by poorly timed drops and fumbles. It appeared that Eli and the coaching staff began to lose confidence in him as the season went on. The last six weeks of the season Donnell was held out of the end zone, while averaging a measly 31 yards per game. From a fantasy football perspective, Donnell was the more valuable tight end; however, one could argue Fells was the more effective tight end for the Giants in 2014.

Larry Donnell Projections:

  • 61 Catches, 560 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
  • Fantasy Football TE Rank: 15th Overall

Analysis: We believe the coaching staff will give Fells more of an active role in the offense, leading to a slight drop in Donnell’s production for 2015. If you take away his three-touchdown game against the Redskins, he only had three touchdowns the rest of the season. His production could drop even more if the Giants do decide to invest a premium pick at the position in April. He will most likely be looked at as a high-end back up or bye-week filler in twelve-team leagues.

Daniel Fells, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Daniel Fells – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Daniel Fells Projections:

  • 26 Catches, 282 Yards, 3 Touchdowns
  • Fantasy Football TE Rank: 45th Overall

Analysis: From a fantasy football perspective, it is hard to expect much from Fells. As mentioned earlier, his bread and butter is blocking, that’s what earns him a spot on the roster. We do, however, expect his numbers to go up slightly from this past season (16 catches, 188 yards, 4 TDs), as he earns more playing time at the expense of Donnell. Nonetheless, aside from a Donnell injury, he has little to no fantasy value.

These positions will be looking to rebound in the second year of Ben McAdoo’s offense. If the offensive line is improved, the running game will surely benefit. If Donnell can increase his football IQ, he has a shot at being a TE1 going into the season. We can only hope they will continue to grow as players and increase their value for the Giants and fantasy owners alike.

Brendan Cassidy has over 15 years of experience in fantasy football in both league and daily fantasy formats and is an avid New York Giants fan.

Eric J. was born into a Giants family and is a lifelong season ticket holder.  He has dominated his fantasy leagues for the past 14 years.

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.

Jan 042015
 
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Articles on the 2014 New York Giants:

Article on the New York Giants 2014 Free Agent Class: NY Giants busts have new hope in 2015 by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on the New York Giants Upcoming Offseason: What the Giants need to do to regain form by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Along with spectacular grabs, NY Giants rookie Odell Beckham Jr. put passion on full display by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Article on TE Larry Donnell: Giants tight end Larry Donnell knows what he needs to work on this offseason by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Should the Giants use the franchise tag on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul? by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on LB Jon Beason: Jon Beason’s contract and whether it makes sense for Giants to bring him back by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on CB Bennett Jackson: Giants draft pick Bennett Jackson on the mend from microfracture surgery by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

WR Odell Beckham Video Highlights: Video highlights from WR Odell Beckham’s rookie season are available at Giants.com.

Dec 102014
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 7, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

December 10, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report Includes Eli Manning: OT James Brewer (concussion), LB Jameel McClain (knee), and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder) did not practice on Wednesday.

QB Eli Manning (back) and LB Mark Herzlich (concussion) practiced on a limited basis.

“I don’t know if I really got hurt,” said. “I feel good. The coach wanted to take a few reps off. It wasn’t many reps anyway, so it is not going to limit me in my practices for the week, or the game. Just kind of some of the procedures you have to go through now in the NFL.”

LB Devon Kennard Named “NFC Defensive Player of the Week”: New York Giants linebacker Devon Kennard has been named the “NFC Defensive Player of the Week” for his performance against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday in the team’s 36-7 victory.

In that game, Kennard was credited with six solo tackles, two sacks, two tackles for losses, and a forced fumble that was returned for a touchdown by defensive tackle Markus Kuhn.

“(Kennard) has been a really outstanding player for us in the last few weeks,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He has had a number of sacks, a number of hits on the quarterback and he has played well at the linebacker level, whether it is in coverage or whatever. He is a young man who…loves to play. He is physical and he is one of those guys by just looking in his eyes you know that he wants to be on the field.”

Kennard is the first Giant defender to receive a Player of the Week award since defensive end Justin Tuck in Week 13 of the 2013 season. He is the first Giants linebacker to be honored since Mathias Kiwanuka, who played linebacker that season, in Week 9 in 2011 against New England.

Kennard is the first Giants defensive rookie to be honored as a Player of the Week.

“There have been some incredible linebackers to play for this organization,” Kennard said. “So something like that, it was definitely special. But I know that I have a long way to go and a lot of things that I want to improve and continue to develop in my game. I’m just taking it one day at a time and am grateful for that accomplishment.”

“I think I played a good game, but there are always things (to improve),” Kennard said. “Route recognition, understanding formations, just allowing myself to play faster and faster. That’s all going to come with the more reps I get, the more comfortable I’m getting. I just want to continue to get better. I’m not in any way, shape or form satisfied.”

“Kennard is a phenomenal kid,” linebacker Jameel McClain said. “Kennard is focusing on his game and he focuses on details. For him to be so young and be such a professional, it is amazing.”

December 10, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Wednesday’s press conference are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com.

December 10, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of media sessions on Wednesday with the following players are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com:

7 takeaways from Giants Media Hour by Dan Salomone of 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 QB Eli Manning: The truth about the new offense’s effect on Eli by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on QB Ryan Nassib: Ryan Nassib not likely to play for Giants by Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com

Articles on RBs Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams:

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Odell Beckham is most talented ever, David Tyree says by Chris Wesseling for NFL.com

Articles on the New York Giants Offensive Line: 

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Jason Pierre-Paul wants to be a ‘Giant for life’ if it’s in the cards by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants and Injuries: Giants lead NFL with 20 players on injured reserve; are these injuries preventable? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com