Feb 172015
 
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Jameel McClain and Jon Beason, New York Giants (September 8, 2014)

Jameel McClain and Jon Beason – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Ever since the New York Giants shifted from the 3-4 to the 4-3 defense in 1994, there have been some glimpses of outstanding linebacker play from players such as Michael Brooks, Jessie Armstead, Michael Barrow, and Antonio Pierce. But outside of Armstead, New York simply hasn’t been able to draft any long-term impact players at the position. Instead fans have been subjected to a long list busts or journeymen who have included Ben Talley, Scott Galyon, Doug Colman, Pete Monty, Ryan Phillips, O.J. Childress, Dhani Jones, Brandon Short, Quincy Monk, Wesley Mallard, Nick Greisen, Reggie Torbor, Gerris Wilkinson, Zak DeOssie (who was not drafted as a long snapper), Jonathan Goff, Bryan Kehl, Clint Sintim, Phillip Dillard, Jacquian Williams, and Greg Jones. If that list wasn’t so painful, it would be comical. Because the Giants have drafted so poorly at this position, they have repeatedly had to address the linebacker spot in free agency, or in the case of Jon Beason, by trade. While they have had more success there, these older players haven’t remained on the team very long.

Before the season, it was hoped that the linebacking position would be reasonably improved. Jon Beason was a major positive in-season addition to the team in 2013 and it was believed with a full offseason, his impact would increase even more so. The Giants added Jameel McClain in free agency and the coaching staff was talking up the improvements Jacquian Williams had made. But linebacker remained a weakness for the Giants in 2014 and was a significant factor in the team’s near dead-last rankings in overall defense and against the run. Beason broke his foot during June OTA’s and never recovered and was placed on Injured Reserve after playing in only four games. Williams, who also ended the season on IR with a concussion, simply has not developed, along with fellow 2011 rookie class members Spencer Paysiner and Mark Herzlich. All three of those players have been here four years and the Giants have very little to show for it. Jameel McClain was the best of the bunch, but he most likely looked better than he really was simply by being compared to poorer quality teammates.

The only true bright spot on the horizon is Devon Kennard, a defensive end-linebacker tweener who flashed with his ability as a line-of-scrimmage player and pass rusher. However, it remains to be seen if he really can fit in as a true 4-3 linebacker who can cover tight ends and backs.

Mark Herzlich and Devon Kennard, New York Giants (November 16, 2014)

Mark Herzlich and Devon Kennard – © USA TODAY Sports Images

“For a rookie, (Kennard is) very mature,” said Perry Fewell in December. “He’s very serious about his work and his business. He has a very professional attitude every single day in the classroom and on the field about his work and how he can improve for a rookie. We always talk about the rookie wall or what have you. It doesn’t seem to faze him. We’re giving him more in the classroom and he’s able to take it on the field. He loves to talk football and he loves to visualize what he’s doing and how he’s doing it. He takes the critiquing not personally, but he takes it as a learning experience and for a rookie, that’s very mature.

“It’s kind of tough (to determine his ideal position). He’s a powerful man that can play at defensive end and rush and do that type of thing. He’s also skillful enough to play a linebacker position. He’s not as fleet-footed as you would like for him to be and so we put that in the term of a tweener. I think after the season and over the next training period, if he works on his burst and his explosion, that he can be an ideal linebacker. We call him a SAM linebacker. That would be his ideal position and he can also transition and put his hand on the dirt and rush, but I think linebacker would be his natural position.”

THE PLAYERS

Jon Beason’s 2014 NFL season was basically wiped out due to a ligament tear and fracture to the sesamoid bone in his right foot during an OTA practice on June 12. He aggravated the injury in Week 2 against Arizona, missed the next three games, and aggravated the injury again in Week 7 against Dallas. After that, the doctors decided he needed season-ending surgery and Beason was placed on Injured Reserve in October. In the end, he only played and started in four games and finished the season with 11 tackles. Beason was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Panthers. He is a three-time Pro Bowler (2008-2010). Beason missed most of the 2011 season with a ruptured left Achilles tendon. He also missed most of the 2012 season with a torn right ACL, an injury that required microfracture knee surgery. The Giants acquired Beason in a trade with the Panthers in October 2013. He played in 12 games with the Giants in 2013, starting his last 11 at middle linebacker. In those 12 games, he finished with 93 tackles and one interception. Beason lacks ideal size, but he is a decent athlete with very good intangibles. He is smart, instinctive, energetic, and productive, and brought leadership and gravitas to a linebacking corps in 2013 sorely needing all of those qualities. Beason is a better run defender than in coverage, where he sometimes struggles against better athletes in space. Beason is a good hitter and tackler. He obviously has been a very fragile, injury-prone player in recent years.

Jameel McClain, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Jameel McClain – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Jameel McClain played in all 16 games in 2014 with 14 starts, primarily at middle linebacker. He finished the season as the team’s leading tackler with 116, and also had 2.5 sacks, three pass defenses, and one forced fumble. McClain was originally signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2008 NFL Draft. In six seasons with the Ravens, McClain started 55 regular-season games. A serious neck injury (spinal contusion) suffered late in 2012 caused him to miss the first six games of the 2013 season on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. The Ravens released him in February 2014 and the Giants signed him in March. A defensive end in college, McClain has good size and he is versatile, being able to play both inside and outside linebacker. He is an aggressive, hard-working, tough, physical player who is solid against the run and a decent blitzer. McClain lacks ideal overall athleticism, quickness, and speed. He is not as strong in pass coverage. McClain is a good leader.

A fifth round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Devon Kennard was a pleasant surprise. Kennard missed three games in September with a hamstring injury and the season-finale with a toe injury, but he played in 12 games, starting six. He finished the season with 43 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one pass defense, and two forced fumbles. A bit of a ‘tweener who lacks ideal speed and quickness for linebacker, Kennard has collegiate experience playing both 4-3 defensive end and 3-4 outside linebacker. He played at outside linebacker in the 4-3 for the Giants. Kennard has good size and strength for linebacker. He is a stout player against the run and flashes as a blitzer. He is not as good in pass coverage. Kennard is a very smart player, but he has been injury prone at both the college and pro level.

Jacquian Williams, New York Giants (July 22, 2013)

Jacquian Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Jacquian Williams started the first nine game of the season, but suffered a serious concussion in early November and was placed on Injured Reserve in December 2014. He finished the season with 78 tackles and three pass defenses. Williams was drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants. His 2012 season was sabotaged by a PCL knee injury that caused him to miss six games. Williams lacks size, but he is extremely athletic. He is more of a run-and-chase run defender and coverage linebacker than physical presence due to his lack of size and overall physicality. While Williams gets in on a lot of tackles, he rarely makes big plays in any phase of the game.

In his fourth season with the Giants, Mark Herzlich had his most productive season, playing in 15 games with eight starts at outside linebacker. He finished the season with 52 tackles, one sack, and two pass defenses. Herzlich was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. Herzlich was regarded as one of the better collegiate linebackers in the country before missing the 2009 season with bone cancer, which led to him having a titanium rod inserted into his left femur. Herzlich has very good size but is a sup-par athlete for the position. He is a good run defender, but struggles in coverage and is not much of a blitzer.

Spencer Paysinger, New York Giants (September 8, 2014)

Spencer Paysinger – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Spencer Paysinger saw his playing time dramatically decrease in 2014. He played in 15 games with one start, but only had 15 tackles. The year before in 2013, Paysinger started 10 games and finished with 74 tackles. Paysinger was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. Paysinger is a decent athlete who has gotten bigger and stronger. He doesn’t make many plays.

Terrell Manning was placed on Injured Reserve in December 2014 with an ankle injury after playing in only one game with the Giants in Week 13. He was with the Giants in training camp before being waived on August 30. The Giants re-signed him off of the Bengals’ Practice Squad in late November 2014. Manning was originally drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Manning has spent time with the Packers (2012-13), Chargers (2013), Vikings (2014), Dolphins (2014), Bears (2014), and Bengals (2014). In three seasons, Manning has played in 10 NFL games with no starts. Manning lacks ideal overall athleticism and size, but he is an instinctive, aggressive, physical player who hits and tackles well.

The Giants signed James Davidson to the Practice Squad in September 2014 and the 53-man roster in December 2014. Davidson was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft, but waived in August. Davidson was an undersized collegiate defensive end who projects to linebacker at the pro level. Whether he has the overall athleticism and instincts for the position remains to be seen. Obviously, he is a project.

Uani Unga was signed to the Practice Squad in late December 2014. Unga suffered a serious injury to his right knee (ACL, MCL, and meniscus) his last year in college in 2013 and was not drafted. Unga lacks ideal size and overall athleticism but he is a smart, instinctive, physical, and competitive football player who plays the run well.

Jan 292015
 
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Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (October 5, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

RB Rashad Jennings on the NFL Network: The video of Thursday’s NFL Network interview with RB Rashad Jennings is available at Giants.com.

P Steve Weatherford on ESPN Radio: The audio of Wednesday’s ESPN Radio interview with P Steve Weatherford is available at ESPN.com.

DE Justin Tuck on WFAN Radio: The audio of Thursday’s WFAN Radio interview with former Giant DE Justin  Tuck is available at CBS New York.

Article on LB Mark Herzlich: LB Mark Herzlich ready for new defense; SBXLIX prediction by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on CB Prince Amukamara: Checking in on Prince Amukamara by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on Former Giant WR David Tyree: Catching up with Super Bowl hero David Tyree by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on Former Giant OG Chris Snee: Chris Snee reflects on career and plans for life after football by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Jan 072015
 
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Ricky Stanzi, Jacksonville Jaguars (August 28, 2014)

Ricky Stanzi – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants have signed quarterback Ricky Stanzi and place kicker Chris Boswell to reserve/future contracts. Stanzi and Boswell are the 13th and 14th players signed by the Giants to future/reserve contracts since the 2014 regular-season ended.

Stanzi was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs waived him in August 2013 and he has since spent time with the Jaguars and Texans. He has never thrown a pass in a regular-season game. Stanzi has very good size and is a good athlete with a strong arm. Stanzi has inconsistent pocket toughness and accuracy. He will make some risky throws. Stanzi is not really a scrambling threat.

Boswell was originally signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft and spent time on the team’s practice squad. Boswell has experience both place kicking and punting. Boswell has a strong leg, which also aids him on kickoffs. He needs to improve his overall consistency.

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

LB Mark Herzlich on ESPN Radio: The audio of Wednesday’s ESPN Radio interview with LB Mark Herzlich is available at ESPN.com.

Articles on New York Giants Defensive Coordinator Candidates:

Dec 122014
 
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December 12, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: OT James Brewer (concussion) and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion) did not practice on Friday. Both have officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins.

QB Eli Manning (back), LB Jameel McClain (knee), and LB Mark Herzlich (concussion) fully practiced. All three players are “probable” for the game.

December 12, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Friday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com.

Giants.com Q&A with Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The Coughlin Corner: Goals for Week 15 by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

December 12, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com:

Article on RB Andre Williams: Giants rookie: Near death at 2, near stardom at 22 by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

Articles on New York Giants Wide Receivers:

Article on LB Mark Herzlich: Giants’ Herzlich protected by concussion guidelines by Jeff Roberts of The Bergen Record

Article on S Stevie Brown: Once again a starter, Stevie Brown looks to make impact in secondary by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Dec 052014
 
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December 5, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: OT James Brewer (concussion) and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder) did not practice on Friday. Both Brewer and Williams have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.

RB Rashad Jennings (ankle), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), LB Jameel McClain (knee), LB Mark Herzlich (concussion), and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/shoulder) practiced on a limited basis. Jennings and Herzlich are “questionable” for the game; Jenkins, McClain, and Rodgers-Cromartie are “probable.”

“I don’t know (if Jennings will play),” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “We are going to have to watch that. I think we listed him as questionable, but he’s got a couple of days. We will see.”

WR Preston Parker (knee) and OT Justin Pugh (quadriceps) fully practiced. Both Parker and Pugh are “probable” for the game.

December 5, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Friday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com.

Giants.com Q&A with Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The Coughlin Corner: Goals for next four games by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

December 5, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com:

Article on the New York Giants Offense: How Odell Beckham Jr. is being moved around to get open | Giants weekly offensive observations by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Perry Fewell emptying his bench this week vs. Tennessee Titans | Giants defensive observations by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants Offensive Line: Believe it or not, Giants offensive line markedly improved from 2013 disaster by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Articles on Damontre Moore:

Oct 092014
 
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October 9, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RB Rashad Jennings (knee) and LB Spencer Paysinger (hamstring) did not practice on Thursday.

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (ankle/hamstring), LB Jon Beason (foot/toe), and P Steve Weatherford (left ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

“We will see tomorrow morning, but so far so good,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said about Beason. “I would say, yes (he’s a lot better this week).”

“I think (Rodgers-Cromartie) was a little better today,” said Coughlin.

Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (August 28, 2014)

Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

October 9, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video clips of Thursday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

October 9, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

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

WR Rueben Randle on ESPN Radio: The audio of Wednesday’s ESPN Radio interview with WR Rueben Randle is available at ESPN.com.

Articles on RB Andre Williams: Andre Williams:

Article on the Upcoming Giants-Eagles Game: Giants prepare for dangerous Eagles Special Teams by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Giants Online – Giants vs. Eagles Preview: The video of this week’s Giants Online is available at Giants.com.

Sep 192014
 
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Jon Beason, New York Giants (September 8, 2014)

Jon Beason – © USA TODAY Sports Images

September 19, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Friday were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (foot/ankle), and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), and P Steve Weatherford (ankle). Weatherford is officially listed as “questionable” against the Houston Texans on Sunday while Beckham, Beason, and Kennard have been ruled out of the game.

“Our medical people, after listening to the conversation (with the specialists), just figured that this wouldn’t be a week to put (Beason) out there,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He’ll probably have to fight through something like this for the duration (of the season), let’s put it that way.”

OT Charles Brown (shoulder) and OT James Brewer (back) practiced on a limited basis. Both are listed as “questionable” for the game.

DT Markus Kuhn (ankle) fully practiced and is “probable.”

Giants Waive OG Eric Herman: The Giants have waived OG Eric Herman, who returned to the team Wednesday after serving a two-week suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances (PEDs). The suspension was originally four weeks, but Herman was reinstated early as a result of the terms of the League’s new PED Policy. The Giants had been granted a two-day roster exemption for Herman that expired at 4:00PM Friday. Herman is eligible to join the practice squad.

September 19, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Friday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

Giants.com Q&A with Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The Coughlin Corner: Eliminating turnovers by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

September 19, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on LB Mark Herzlich: Giants’ Mark Herzlich prepares to start by Jeff Roberts of The Bergen Record

Sep 182014
 
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September 18, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Thursday were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (foot/ankle), and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring).

“It’s feeling better, surprisingly better, I would say,” said Beason. “In the game I stepped on someone’s foot and it felt like… I felt a pop. It scared me right away, we went and got some pictures, but it’s feeling a lot better right away, so it’s an indication that it’s probably just scar tissue moving. I head down to Charlotte tomorrow to see Dr. Anderson and get his opinion. There are some things that he can do that you can’t see in the imaging with the MRI in terms of active movement and then we’ll determine how severe it is. But it feels good, so that’s a good indication.”

Asked if he definitely was not playing on Sunday, Beason replied, “I’m not sure. I feel like I could go out there and take care of business. I’m active in the meetings, I know the game plan, I’m still studying and preparing as if I’m playing on Sunday.”

OT Charles Brown (shoulder), OT James Brewer (back), and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

DT Markus Kuhn (ankle) fully practiced.

Eric Herman’s Suspension Cut to Two Games: OG Eric Herman, who was originally suspended for the first four games of the 2014 NFL season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, has had is suspension reduced to two games. He is now back with the team. The Giants have been granted a roster exemption for Herman until 4:00PM on Friday.

Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

September 18, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video clips of Thursday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

September 18, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

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

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Odell Beckham Jr. getting training tips from Rashad Jennings by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Antrel calls Rolle call for confidence boost by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

Giants Online – Week 3 Preview: The video of this week’s Giants Online is available at Giants.com.

Aug 282014
 
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Giants.com Interview with S Antrel Rolle: The video of Tuesday’s Giants.com interview with safety Antrel Rolle is available at Giants.com.

Article on the 2014 New York Giants: Giants not scared to talk ‘championship’ by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Andre Williams, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Articles on the New York Giants Running Backs:

Article on TE Daniel Fells: Giants TE Daniel Fells likely to receive first-team snaps vs. Patriots team that dumped him last year by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants Linebackers:

Article on S Nat Berhe: Giants rookie check-in with Nat Berhe: ‘The Missile’ or ‘The Icebox’? by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on PK Brandon McManus: NY Giants keep Eagles from getting kicker Brandon McManus by Stephen Lorenzo and Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Aug 262014
 
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Geoff Schwartz, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Geoff Schwartz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Updates: In case you missed it, articles from BBI today:

August 26, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Tuesday were WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (hamstring), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring), OG Geoff Schwartz (toe), OG Brandon Mosley (back), OT James Brewer (back), OT Charles Brown (shoulder), DT Markus Kuhn (ankle), LB Jon Beason (PUP – foot), and CB Prince Amukamara (groin).

The Giants received relatively good news on Schwartz, who was being examined by Dr. Robert Anderson on Monday. Schwartz will not need surgery to repair his dislocated right big toe. Schwartz will be in a boot for 7-10 days before beginning a rehabilitation program. After that, he availability will be determined on a week-to-week basis.

“This is just a minor setback,” said Schwartz. “I plan on attacking the rehab program so I can get back on the field as soon as possible with my teammates and help us win games.”

“He is very optimistic and hopefully it is going to mean the recovery is going to be as fast as possible,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “You know how I am. I hear the news and I say, ‘Okay, let’s see how this goes.’ Obviously you can’t rush him back but it sure would be good to get him back ASAP rather the other way around. It is not going to be easy for him. He is a big man.

I hope (Mosley returns soon),” said Coughlin. “He is up and moving, so that is a good sign…All I know is that hopefully (Mosley and Brewer) both will be back as soon as possible. They both feel better today.”

“I think (Amukamara) is (making good progress),” said Coughlin. “He is feeling pretty good.”

Brandon McManus Traded to Denver Broncos: The Giants announced Tuesday morning that they had waived PK Brandon McManus, along with making 14 other roster moves. However, before that paperwork was finalized, the Denver Broncos made the Giants an offer and traded for McManus. Though not officially announced, the pick is believed to be a conditional 7th round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.

“I think Brandon will kick in this league,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He’s a very powerful young man. Needs a little bit of work on the finer kicks, but certainly he demonstrated his ability to kick it through the back of the end zone.”

August 26, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Tuesday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

August 26, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Tuesday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Articles on the New York Giants Offense:

Article on WR Preston Parker: Meet the Giant who was broke and building tiki huts last year by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on the New York Giants Place-Kicking Battle: Why the Giants went with Josh Brown over Brandon McManus at kicker by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com