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

Dec 062014
 
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Paul Hazel, Houston Texans (August 9, 2014)

Paul Hazel – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Sign LB Paul Hazel to 53-Man Roster, Waive DT Dominique Hamilton: The New York Giants signed linebacker Paul Hazel to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad on Saturday. To make room for Hazel, the Giants waived defensive tackle Dominique Hamilton.

The signing of Hazel is a rapid promotion for a player who was just signed to the Giants’ Practice Squad on Tuesday. But with both Jacquian Williams and Mark Herzlich out with concussions, the Giants are thin at linebacker with only Jameel McClain (who is also battling a knee injury), Devon Kennard, Spencer Paysinger, and James Davidson available. In addition, Davidson was only signed to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad on Tuesday.

Hazel was originally signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as a rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft. He was claimed by the Browns after the Jaguars waived him and he played in 13 games in 2013 for Cleveland. The Texans then claimed Hazel off of waivers from the Browns in March 2014, but he did not make the team. Hazel is a tall, thin pass rusher.

On Friday, Herzlich had been ruled as officially “questionable” for the game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, but he did not make the trip.

RB Rashad Jennings Makes Trip to Tennessee: New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (ankle) remains officially “questionable” for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, but he did make the trip to Tennessee with the team. However, linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion), who was also listed as “questionable” on Friday, did not make the trip and will not play.

Also not playing are OT James Brewer (concussion) and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion).

NJ.com Q&A with DT Johnathan Hankins: Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins explains breakout year, next sack dance | Giants four downs by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants and Injuries: Tom Coughlin going ‘mental’ trying to figure out NY Giants’ injury problems by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Giants running back wants to teach younger teammates lesson about finishing strong by The Associated Press

Articles on WR Odell Beckham:

Articles on TE Larry Donnell:

Dec 032014
 
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December 3, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RB Rashad Jennings (ankle), OT James Brewer (concussion), and LB Mark Herzlich (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.

DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), LB Jameel McClain (knee), LB Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder), and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/shoulder) practiced on a limited basis.

OT Justin Pugh (quadriceps) fully practiced.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin said four of the five players placed on Injured Reserve yesterday – OG Geoff Schwartz (ankle), OG Adam Snyder (knee), DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee), and LB Terrell Manning (ankle) – will need surgery. DT Robert Ayers (pectoral) will not.

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (November 30, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

December 3, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Wednesday’s press conference are available at Giants.com.

December 3, 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:

7 takeaways from Giants Media Hour by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on S Antrel Rolle: Antrel Rolle says Giants won’t give up by Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on the Giants-Jaguars Game: How Eli Manning, Giants offense managed to blow 21-point lead to 1-10 team | Film review by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Sights and Sounds from Giants-Jaguars Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-Jaguars game is available at Giants.com.

Dec 012014
 
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Robert Ayers Out for Season With Torn Pectoral Muscle: According to various media reports, New York Giants defensive end Robert Ayers will miss the remainder of the 2014 NFL season with a torn pectoral muscle. Ayers has been one of the Giants’ best defensive players, accruing five sacks on the season as a key rotational player and back-up.

December 1, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Monday conference call is available at Giants.com.

December 1, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts of media conference calls on Monday with the following players are available at Giants.com:

QB Eli Manning on WFAN Radio: The audio of Monday’s WFAN interview with QB Eli Manning is available at CBS New York

Article on Giants President/CEO John Mara: It’s time for co-owner John Mara to shake up his pathetic Giants by Steve Politi for NJ.com

Articles on the New York Giants Head Coaching Position:

Article on TE Larry Donnell: Giants tight end Larry Donnell not sure what he can do to avoid costly fumbles by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on the Giants-Jaguars Game:

Notes: The Giants’ seven-game losing streak is their longest since they lost eight in a row in 2004. The 3-9 record is their worst after 12 games since 1995. The Giants will have consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 2003 and 2004, when they were 4-12 and 6-10.

The Giants have lost their last three games in which they led at the half – 17-14 at Seattle (where they lost, 38-17), 21-10 last week vs. Dallas (lost, 31-28), and at Jacksonville. Prior to this streak, they had won nine consecutive games in which they held a halftime lead. The Giants also lost the game against Arizona on September 14 when they led 14-10 at the end of the 3rd quarter and lost 25-14.

The Giants led in the fourth quarter, 21-16, and again at 24-22. It was the second game in a row they didn’t hold a fourth-quarter lead. Last week vs. Dallas, they took a 28-24 lead before losing, 31-28.

This was the third time the Giants held a 21-point lead and lost in Tom Coughlin’s 11 years as head coach. On November 26, 2006 at Tennessee, they led 21-0 in the fourth quarter but lost, 24-21. On December 19, 2010 in MetLife Stadium, they led Philadelphia, 24-3 and 31-10, but lost 38-31.

Nov 222014
 
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Charles Brown, New Orleans Saints (September 8, 2013)

Charles Brown – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Waive OT Charles Brown, Sign LB Justin Anderson: The New York Giants waived offensive tackle Charles Brown on Saturday. Brown played at right tackle last Sunday against the 49ers when Justin Pugh left the game early with an quadriceps injury. Brown struggled in the game. A former 2nd round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints, Brown was one of the veteran free agent offensive linemen General Manager Jerry Reese signed in the offseason in an attempt to shore up the offensive line.

With Justin Pugh still unavailable for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, it is expected that Geoff Schwartz will start at right tackle, though James Brewer also remains a possibility.

Anderson was signed from the team’s practice squad. He was originally signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. The Giants added him to the 53-man roster last Saturday too before waiving him and re-signing him to the practice squad on Wednesday. Last week against the 49ers, Anderson did not see time on defense but played on special teams.

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

NJ.com Q&A with OT/OG Geoff Schwartz: Four Downs with Geoff Schwartz: A few butterflies expected for his first game as a Giant by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Articles on TE Larry Donnell:

 

Nov 192014
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 16, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

November 19, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RT Justin Pugh (quadriceps), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.

I don’t know (if Pugh will practice this week), we will see, he’s day to day,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee) practiced on a limited basis.

OG Geoff Schwartz (toe) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) fully practiced.

LB Justin Anderson Re-Signed to Practice Squad: The New York Giants have re-signed linebacker Justin Anderson to the Practice Squad. Anderson was signed off of the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster last Saturday but waived on Monday when the Giants activated offensive guard Geoff Schwartz from short-term Injured Reserve.

November 19, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Wednesday’s press conference are available at Giants.com.

November 19, 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:

ESPN Radio Interview with RB Rashad Jennings: The audio of Wednesday’s ESPN Radio interview with RB Rashad Jennings is available at ESPN.com.

Articles on the New York Giants Upcoming Offseason:

Articles on Head Coach Tom Coughlin:

Article on Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo: McAdoo wasn’t brought in as Coughlin’s head coach-in-waiting by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on CB Walter Thurmond: Injured cornerback Walter Thurmond III ‘wouldn’t mind’ re-signing with Giants in the offseason by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Articles on QB Eli Manning and the Giants-49ers Game:

Nov 182014
 
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New York Giants on WFAN RadioThe audio of WFAN interviews with the following players from Monday and Tuesday are available at CBS New York:

Weston Richburg and Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 16, 2014)

Weston Richburg and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on TE Larry Donnell: Larry Donnell joining ranks of top Giants tight ends by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on the New York Giants Offensive Line: Offensive line short of the mark by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: What Tom Coughlin must show John Mara in final 6 games by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on Tom Coughlin and Steve Spagnuolo: Reuniting Tom Coughlin with Steve Spagnuolo could be perfect blueprint for NY Giants by Gary Myers of The New York Daily News

Sights and Sounds from Giants-49ers Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-49ers game is available at Giants.com.

Nov 172014
 
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Giants Activate OG Geoff Schwartz Off Short-Term IR: The New York Giants activated offensive guard Geoff Schwartz off off  Injured Reserve/Designated for Return or short-term injured reserve. Schwartz was placed on Injured Reserve on September 3 because of the dislocated right big toe he suffered in the preseason game against the New York Jets on August 22. Today was the deadline for the Giants to activate Schwartz or place him on season-ending Injured Reserve.

To make room for Schwartz, the Giants waived linebacker Justin Anderson, who was signed off of the team’s Practice Squad on Saturday.

Geoff Schwartz, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Geoff Schwartz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

“I am ready to go,” Schwartz said. “I had a couple good weeks of practice. Last week was real good. I took every rep for the scout team. I felt good out there. I expect I’ll be ready to go…It was a pretty significant injury. It takes a little time for it to heal. Once you get it healed, it takes a little bit of time to get your strength back and that is kind of what it took.”

Schwartz was starting at left guard before he got hurt. He has experience at right guard and right tackle as well.

“I have no preference (about what position he will play), other than getting him going,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said about Schwartz.

“I’ve started 11 games at tackle.” Schwartz said. “I played three and a half quarters last year at tackle in the last game of the season. I can play tackle. Obviously, I was signed as a guard, but I think they like my versatility, and I feel comfortable definitely playing tackle.”

That versatility should serve the Giants well as RT Justin Pugh was forced to leave the game on Sunday with a strained quad. His replacement, Charles Brown, was terrible, as was starting RG John Jerry.

November 17, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Monday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

November 17, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on the New York Giants Upcoming Offseason: With playoffs unlikely, here are 10 questions NY Giants must address by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on the New York Giants Offensive Line: As boring as it sounds, it’s still all about the offensive line by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on the Giants-49ers Game: Giants snap counts vs. 49ers: Andre Williams’ snaps vanish, Devon Kennard gets more playing time by Nick Powell for NJ.com