Dec 302015
 
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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
RT Marshall Newhouse (concussion), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (ankle), LB J.T. Thomas (ankle), S Craig Dahl (concussion), and S Cooper Taylor (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.

Pierre-Paul said he will have additional surgery after the season on the right hand that he originally injured during a July 4th fireworks accident. Pierre-Paul lost his right index finger (amputated) and seriously damaged his right thumb and middle finger in the accident. The goal of the surgery is to improve flexibility in his middle finger so he can grip better and rid himself of his protective club.

“On film, you can see the club is preventing me from making tackles,” Pierre-Paul said. “People see it, I see it, and once I can move away from the club, I’ll be perfectly fine.”

WR Dwayne Harris (back and shoulder) practiced on a limited basis.

GIANTS SIGN TWO TO PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have signed linebacker Glenn Carson and cornerback T.J. Heath to the team’s Practice Squad.

Carson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in five games as a rookie and finished the season with 11 tackles. The Cardinals waived him in August 2015. Carson is a an instinctive, intense, blue collar player who lacks ideal athleticism.

Heath was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2011 NFL Draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Jaguars (2011), Bengals (2012), Bills (2012-13), Browns (2013-14), Dolphins (2014), Panthers (2015), and Falcons (2015). Heath has only played in seven NFL games.

TRYOUT TUESDAY…
According to NJ.com, the following players worked out for the New York Giants on Tuesday: QB Pete Thomas, WR Aldrick Robinson, TE Mike McFarland, LB Glenn Carson, LB Cole Farrand, S Tyrequek Zimmerman, PK Quinn Sharp, and P Spencer Roth.

TOM COUGHLIN AND THE COORDINATORS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video of player media sessions on Wednesday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday and hold physical recovery cycles on Friday in advance of Sunday’s home finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Nov 042015
 
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Rueben Randle, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Rueben Randle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Rueben Randle (hamstring), WR Victor Cruz (calf), TE Larry Donnell (neck), RG Geoff Schwartz (ankle), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (ankle/knee), LB J.T. Thomas (ankle), and S Craig Dahl (neck) did not practice on Wednesday.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin was asked if there was any indication that Cruz would practice this week. “None that I know of,” replied Coughlin who also said there was no timetable on Cruz’s return.

“(Donnell is) week to week, I’m sure,” said Coughlin. “Day to day, week to week, I don’t know.”

“I’ll be back in no time,” Donnell said. “I’m a country boy from Alabama, I’ll be back soon…I’m just taking it until I get motion back in it. We’re just taking it day-by-day. So no timeframe, just whenever I’m able to get all my motion back in it. I can move it. It’s just I want to be 100 percent when I’m dealing with my neck when I get back out there.”

“(Randle) won’t practice today, but we feel like he’ll move along,” said Coughlin of Randle, who is back on the injury report with his nagging hamstring injury.

“It’s a little sore still today,” Randle said. “Usually gets a little better throughout the week. So just have to see how it goes. I’ve been pushing it out for these last three weeks, so I don’t see why not play this week. (I) kind of re-aggravated it a little bit. Just trying to find a way to keep it manageable where I can play.”

RB Orleans Darkwa (back), LB Uani ‘Unga (neck), and CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral) practiced on a limited basis.

“Prince is going to work, but he’s going to work individual and then have a couple of snaps as a scout team corner just to get his footwork going again,” said Coughlin before practice.

OT Will Beatty (pectoral – PUP) continued to work on an undisclosed basis. However, the Giants said DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand – roster exemption) was a FULL participant in practice.

“(Beatty is) going to work this week and then the decision is forthcoming (after the Tampa Bay game),” said Coughlin. “He’ll work a little bit with both (the offense and scout team).”

“Practice, (Pierre-Paul is) going to practice,” said Coughlin. “He’ll practice today, he’ll practice tomorrow. He’ll get a good amount of reps and we’ll take it from there…He’ll be with our defense, he’ll also get some scout team reps…He’s in outstanding physical condition…We had him in pads on Saturday morning, we had him in pads on Monday, so we’re feeling good about accelerating him along. There’s nothing unusual about it when a guy who is in his position is in the condition that he’s in and prepares himself to play — that’s what he’s done.”

“I was out there last week, but it felt even better this week, actually getting into a rotation, knowing the plays and executing my plays.” said Pierre-Paul. “I am going to play on Sunday…Maybe…It’s going to be a big adjustment…But there’s nothing that I can’t do…I’ve been able to grab and shed tackles…I know for a fact that I’m still the same JPP…If I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

MORE PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
In addition to signing tight end Matt LaCosse to the Practice Squad (see Tuesday’s update), the Giants have also signed safety Cooper Taylor to the Practice Squad. Taylor, the Giants’ 5th round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, was waived on October 20 after he had been on the active game-day roster three-of-six games.

To make room for Taylor, the Giants terminated the Practice Squad contract of offensive guard Adam Gettis.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
The transcript of Tom Coughlin’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video of player media sessions on Wednesday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday and hold physical recovery cycles on Friday in advance of Sunday’s away game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Sep 092015
 
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TOM COUGHLIN COMMENTS ON JASON PIERRE-PAUL…
Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the situation with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul on Wednesday. Pierre-Paul remains an unsigned Franchise player due to the serious hand injuries he suffered from a July 4th fireworks accident.

“As you know, JPP was here for a couple of days,” said Coughlin. “Went through all the medical. Was in an outstanding frame of mind. Was not ready to play, returned to South Florida. Optimistic about going forward and feeling better, and continuing to work towards being able to come back. So we’ll monitor that, and I don’t have anything further to add.

“He’s worked pretty hard. We actually saw a tape that showed him working. He’s done a lot of conditioning type work. So I don’t think there’s anything to worry about there. Obviously, it’d be great if he was all healed and ready to go, but he’s not.”

ANOTHER REPORT SAYS GIANTS AND ELI MANNING NEARING DEAL…
Supporting NJ.com’s earlier report that the New York Giants and Eli Manning are nearing a new contract, NFL.com is reporting that there is “significant progress on a long-term extension” and that there is “confidence it gets done before Sunday.” Manning is entering the final year of the 6-year contract he signed in August 2009.

MORE PRACTICE SQUAD SIGNINGS…
The Giants have signed quarterback G.J. Kinne and linebacker Gerald Rivers to the Practice Squad. These moves complete the team’s 10-man squad.

Kinne was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New York Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Jets (2012), UFL – Omaha Nighthawks (2012), AFL – Antonio Talons (2013), and Philadelphia Eagles (2013-15). After spending two years on Philadelphia’s Practice Squad in 2013-14, the Eagles converted him from quarterback to wide receiver and running back. Kinne lacks ideal size for a quarterback but he is a very good athlete with a decent arm. Tough, hard working, and competitive. While the Giants list him as a quarterback, he did line up at safety at practice on Wednesday.

Rivers was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2013 NFL Draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Rams (2013), Jacksonville Jaguars (2013), Miami Dolphins (2014), and Denver Broncos (2014-15). Rivers has only played in two NFL games – both in 2013 with the Rams. He has one career tackle. A former defensive end, Rivers has a nice combination of size and athletic ability.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday due to injuries were WR Victor Cruz (calf) and LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP).

“Nothing has come across my desk to indicate that (Cruz’s status has changed),” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “Obviously, if this was strictly the knee or whatever, I think he’d be out there. The calf is what set him back. It’s not the knee, it’s the calf. There’s been some communication around the league with other clubs. For whatever reason, these things are very, very hard to get over. And we’ve experienced it before, obviously (Nat) Berhe is a great example of that.”

DE/DT Cullen Jenkins (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (knee), and LB Jonathan Casillas (neck) practiced on a limited basis.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Wednesday (video is available at Giants.com):

Good morning. Two things quickly right off the bat. As you know, JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] was here for a couple of days. Went through all the medical. Was in an outstanding frame of mind. Was not ready to play, returned to South Florida. Optimistic about going forward and feeling better, and continuing to work towards being able to come back. So we’ll monitor that, and I don’t have anything further to add.

The second thing is the shock of the death of Tyler Sash. I haven’t seen Tyler in a couple of years. But one of the players texted me yesterday afternoon, and I didn’t see that coming, obviously. I know a lot of our players have responded. It’s very sad. Most difficult to try and understand. But nevertheless, our condolences go out to his family and his friends, and all those that cared for him. He was an outstanding teammate, now. During the time he was here, the players really enjoyed Tyler Sash. So I’m dumbfounded by this, and I’m very sad.

Having said that, the start of the 2015 season. We’re excited to go on the field this afternoon, or late-morning here, and prepare for the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys, having won our division a year ago, an outstanding football team. A strong team in a lot of categories. So we’ve got our work cut out for us.

Q: Have you spoken to or are you planning on speaking to the team about Tyler?

A: I did not mention that this morning. There were a couple players around yesterday. Eli was around. I spoke to him about it. He was taken aback as well.

Q: Everyone was so excited to see Jason Pierre-Paul on Monday. Do you have to worry about a dip in the morale?

A: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I think the fact that he came in the way he did, Mr. Personality, was there and he felt good about himself, obviously, and where he’s been. He’s worked pretty hard. We actually saw a tape that showed him working. He’s done a lot of conditioning type work. So I don’t think there’s anything to worry about there. Obviously, it’d be great if he was all healed and ready to go, but he’s not.

Q: So it was his hand or his conditioning that won’t allow him to play?

A: The thing that had to be evaluated was his hand, yes.

Q: You said you have a plan for everything. How do you plan for that situation going forward?

A: Keep going, right where we are. Nothing’s changed. We’ve taken this path and we’re on it, and we’ll stay on it. Hopefully at some point in time, Jason will be ready to play, and we’ll get the green light. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll stay where we are.

Q: Did you get any sense of how close he is in terms of weeks?

A: I wouldn’t put any kind of time frame on it. It’s not going to be something that I have anything to say about anyways. It’s going to be the medical people.

Q: Has Victor Cruz’s status changed at all?

A: Nothing has come across my desk to indicate that.

Q: So he won’t be out there today?

A: [Shakes head no]

Q: You’ve been through your share of season openers as head coach here.

A: And everywhere else.

Q: Do they feel any different?

A: No, not at all. Just as excited, just as nervous, just as anxious to get started. Just as anxious to see our team on the field. So, no, nothing, no emotion. All the same.

Q: Are there specific areas or things with this team that you are particularly excited about?

A: Well, I’m excited to see how they respond, obviously, to going to Dallas and opening the season there. There’s a few guys that have been through that experience when it was a positive thing, a plus. But basically, it’s seeing our team come together, seeing us pull together now that we’re at 53, plus the 10 practice squad kids. I’m looking forward to that part of it.

Q: You added Jasper Brinkley to the roster. What kind of role do you see for him? Inside, outside, both?

A: Well, probably inside to start with. But I’m sure he’ll learn to play more than one, perhaps all three [linebacker positions].

Q: Is this at all a reflection on Jon Beason’s availability?

A: No, but we thought it was a necessity.

Q: Is Beason ready?

A: He’s going to practice today.

Q: What about Jonathan Casillas?

A: He’s going to practice. He practices today.

Q: Is he cleared to play, though? We didn’t see him the last three preseason games.

A: He practices today.

Q: Is he cleared to play in a game though?

A: He practices today. He’ll have a helmet on, and shoulder pads, those things.

Q: The last several weeks he’s practiced, but he’s been limited. You’ve kept him out of contact, so obviously there’s a concern there. Is there still a concern there?

A: I hope not, but we’ll see.

Q: Has Dallas changed much?

A: Well, in preseason you don’t see a whole lot. But the playoff games were, obviously, very good football. I don’t see any real radical change in the way that their approach is. Some of the names have changed.

Q: When did you start studying them?

A: 2014.

Q: How do you do it when they have such a big change in their backfield? How do you study that?

A: Well, there’s no doubt that they talk mostly about their offensive line, and the strength of their offensive line. I think that’s where you start. You start on their offensive line, and their defensive line. And there hasn’t been any real changes there.

Q: What’s the challenge with the safeties on the road in Dallas?

A: Communication. Communication. That’ll be a concern. We’ll have noise today. We’ll have officials today. We’ll do that for a couple days. Hopefully that will help focus in on the hand signals and the things of that nature that they have to utilize to communicate even though they’re perhaps a few yards apart.

Q: You’re aware the team hasn’t won an opener the past few years. How much does that put you behind? You come out the first week, lose that first game.

A: I don’t know. I don’t want to go there. We’re trying to win. We’re looking forward to the opener. I don’t remember a loss. We won a few, too. I don’t know, Paul. I’m not interested in that part of it right now. All I’m interested in is getting these people ready to play. I’m excited about playing, and let’s go see what we’ve got.

Q: Do you remember coming into a season with so many unanswered questions in your mind on what you have, what you are?

A: I don’t know, I don’t keep track of the count. There are some areas where we expect some people to step up and gain significant recognition in terms of the quality of their play. We look forward to working with those guys. So we have a few things, obviously, that need to be ironed out and need to be clarified. Hopefully that’s what will happen right here.

Q: For a long time, Victor was so optimistic on playing the first game. I don’t know if you’ve ruled anything out. I don’t know if that’s accurate. But has his situation unfolded the way you expected, or have there been frustrations on your part? Is this what you expected?

A: Oh, no. Obviously, if this was strictly the knee or whatever, I think he’d be out there. The calf is what set him back. It’s not the knee, it’s the calf. There’s been some communication around the league with other clubs. For whatever reason, these things are very, very hard to get over. And we’ve experienced it before, obviously [Nat] Berhe is a great example of that. But that’s what is holding him back, not the other.

Q: You’re a little thin at defensive tackle, obviously you expected Louis Nix to be here. Do you expect to add another body in there?

A: Yeah, we will. But don’t forget, we’ve worked some other people in there. [Kerry] Wynn has worked in there, for example, to give us another athlete that can certainly play in there on second and long and third down.

Q: Will Cullen Jenkins go back in there as well?

A: Cullen plays in there—in and out, in and out. He can certainly play in there.

Q: How’s he doing physically?

A: Okay. We’ll see what he does today on the field.

Q: You spent a lot of time and energy this offseason in rebuilding the offensive line. Where do you stand going into the season, and what are your expectations for that group?

A: I expect us to improve throughout the entire season. Not only for the young guy that’s in there in the new position etc… Westy [Weston Richburg] being in there at center. I think we’re going to improve and get better each time we play. We hopefully have got some things solved, and others to come. I do expect that we will have a starting point and get better from there.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video of player media Q&As are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday and hold physical recovery cycles on Friday in advance of Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Jun 302015
 
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Jon Beason, New York Giants (June 8, 2015)

Jon Beason – © 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: Linebackers

2014 YEAR IN REVIEW: As was the case with every other area of the defense, the linebackers were a disappointment in 2014. It was expected that Jon Beason would headline and lead an improved linebacking corps. But Beason broke his foot during June OTA’s and never recovered. The 2011 rookie class of linebackers – Jacquian Williams, Spencer Paysinger, and Mark Herzlich – continued to largely disappoint in their fourth season together. Jameel McClain was a decent free agent addition and led the team in tackles. Rookie 5th round draft pick Devon Kennard flashed in the second-half of the season. In the end, the Giants finished 30th in the NFL against the run and dead-last in the NFL in yards-per-rush defense.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: There were significant changes made at linebacker. The Giants said good-bye to Jacquian Williams (still unsigned) and Spencer Paysinger (signed with Dolphins) in free agency. The team signed J.T. Thomas (3-years, $10 million) from the Jaguars and Jonathan Casillas (3-years, $8 million) from the Patriots. The Giants also signed street free agent Victor Butler and rookie free agents Cole Farrand and Tony Johnson.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The primary focus at linebacker in training camp is can Jon Beason stay healthy? Beason was a major shot in the arm for the entire defense when he joined the team during the 2013 season, but the injury-prone linebacker missed almost all of the 2014 season with a foot injury. Not only is Beason a good run defender, he is an intelligent, inspirational leader who is needed to help orchestrate Steve Spagnulo’s new complicated defense on the field. The complexion of the entire defense changes with Beason in or out of the lineup. The good news? Beason made it through the OTAs and mini-camp this year, something he didn’t do last year.

Assuming Beason can stay healthy, the main story lines will be who mans the two outside linebacker spots, and how well do they perform? It is assumed J.T. Thomas will start at one position. But Devon Kennard and Jonathan Casillas may split snaps at the other spot depending on the opponent, in-game down-and-distance situations, and who has the hot hand. Kennard’s strength is attacking the line of scrimage and rushing the passer while Casillas is better in pass coverage. The Giants seem to be higher on Thomas and Casillas than their former teams, whose coaching staffs saw them more as back-up types. It remains to be seen if the Giants made the right decision to spend $18 million over three years on both. Where Jameel McClain – a respected team leader but castoff from the Ravens – fits in remains to be seen as well.

It’s important to note that Linebackers Coach Jim Herrmann says this is the most talented group of linebackers he has had with the Giants since he joined the team in 2009.

ON THE BUBBLE: The Giants will probably keep six linebackers and assuming everyone stays healthy, the six will probably be Beason, Thomas, Kennard, Casillas, McClain, and Herzlich. The one most vulnerable could be Herzlich. Herzlich had his best pro season in 2014 and appears to remain a Tom Coughlin favorite and decent special teams player. But he’s not the most athletic guy in the world and has only performed so-so or worse when called upon to start. That said, it’s not likely that one of the lesser known players such as Victor Butler, Uani Unga, Cole Farrand, or Troy Johnson would surpass Herzlich on the depth chart. Butler has talent, but a 4-game PED suspension hurts his cause. Farrand looks like he needs work in the weight room.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Jim Herrmann on J.T. Thomas: “He is very athletic. That is what I like about him. He will be a great addition to our (special) teams. Special teams and athletically as a linebacker he can cover. He is tough. He is going to fill that role, both in base and in sub. We can do a lot of different things with him…In our base, he is an outside linebacker and in sub, we play him some in the middle. It is a very fluid deal in sub defense, so he can play in or out.”

Herrmann on Thomas and Jonathan Casillas: “They are both very athletic guys. They are different kinds of players, but they are both very athletic and can move well. You like that. It is hard right now for me because you don’t have pads on. You will find out a lot more once the pads go on. With their body of work in the NFL, they are both tough guys who can play.”

Herrmann on Devon Kennard: “I think number one, he is more confident in himself as a player. He knows now he can play in the league. That takes you a long way. Just refining his technique and his footwork and trying to get the best of both worlds.”

Herrmann on Jameel McClain: “I think Jameel is versatile enough. He has played all three positions, so he can play in and out. He is a tough guy, which is good, so you want him in there in the run game. He is athletic enough to play in subs. It gives us a big luxury because we have a lot of guys that have played NFL snaps and to me as a coach, that is luxury to have because a lot of times you don’t have that as a linebacker coach. It is nice to have them where you can do anything.”

Herrmann on Jon Beason: “Yeah, he is a born leader. He has always been that way since the day he got into the league. Since he was at Miami, he was a leader. I think he likes that role and he wants that role. You want a guy like that.”

PREDICTIONS: I am going to go out on a limb and say Beason stays healthy and Thomas has a break-out season as a respectable three-down NFL starter. Fans will push for more playing time for Kennard but much will depend on the opponent and in-game match-ups. Casillas may be a better option at times against teams that throw the ball more to the backs and tight ends. Spagnuolo will use Kennard far more imaginatively than Perry Fewell did, having him rush the quarterback from a variety of spots. Contrary to popular belief, this unit could be one of the better ones in the NFL if Beason stays healthy and Kennard develops.

“I can’t praise Kennard enough,” said Beason. “He prepared better than any rookie I’ve ever seen, and that’s including myself. He just really wants it. He gets it. He understands it…The thing I’ve noticed the most this offseason, he’s a step or two faster. He’s quicker. He’s not afraid anymore.”

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Barring injury, Beason, Thomas, Kennard, Casillas, McClain, and Herzlich.

Mar 182015
 
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Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson, New York Giants (September 25, 2014)

Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Re-Sign Tight End Daniel Fells: According to NJ.com, the New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent tight end Daniel Fells. The contract is reportedly a 1-year, $870,000 deal with $80,000 in guaranteed money.

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.

For a list of all of the Giants free agents, see the 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Giants.com Q&A with DE Kenrick Ellis: A video of a Giants.com interview with DT Kenrick Ellis is available at Giants.com.

Notes and Quotes: The following players have had their jersey numbers changed:

  • QB Ryan Nassib #12
  • RB Orleans Darkway #26
  • LB Mark Herzlich #94
  • CB Bennett Jackson #24

Defensive tackle Kendrick Ellis on his game: “I am a run-stopper and I like doing it. That is the strength of my game. I look forward to helping the Giants get back to their glory… By default, that’s who I am. I’m a journeyman. I come in and do my job. You don’t get much recognition for it, but you get the job done and it helps out the team. I’ll take on the double-teams and take on the work no one else wants to do. It’s just who I am. I take pride in what I do, which is being a big man in the middle and try to make sure no one runs the ball.”

Article on the New York Giants Ownership: New York Giants ownership at a glance by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Mar 112015
 
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Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (November 16, 2014)

Mark Herzlich Recovers Onsides Kick – © USA TODAY Sports Images


New York Giants Re-Sign Linebacker Mark Herzlich: The New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent linebacker Mark Herzlich. The contract is reportedly a 2-year deal.

In his fourth season with the Giants in 2014, 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.

For a list of all of the Giants free agents, see the 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Other New York Giants Free Agent News: Here is the latest news on the free agent front:

  • Unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Dan Williams (Arizona Cardinals), who the Giants had expressed interest in, has signed with the Oakland Raiders.
  • Unrestricted free agent safety Rahim Moore (Denver Broncos), who the Giants are reportedly interested in, is visiting the Houston Texans.
  • The New York Daily News reports that the Giants remain interested in unrestricted free agent safety Ron Parker (Kansas City Chiefs). Parker is reportedly scheduled to visit the Bears.

Mar 082015
 
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Jerry Hughes, Buffalo Bills (December 21, 2014)

Jerry Hughes – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants are interested in unrestricted free agents defensive end Jerry Hughes (Buffalo Bills), defensive end/linebacker Pernell McPhee (Baltimore Ravens), defensive end/linebacker Brandon Graham (Philadelphia Eagles), and defensive tackle Dan Williams (Arizona Cardinals).

The 26-year old Hughes (6’2”, 254 lbs) started 16 games in 2014 and finished with 53 tackles, 10 sacks, and three forced fumbles. The 26-year old McPhee (6’3” 280 lbs) did not start a game but was a key reserve for the Ravens, accruing 27 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and one force fumble. The 26-year old Graham (6’2”, 265 lbs) started one game for the Eagles, and finished the year with 47 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles. The 27-year old Williams (6’2”, 327 lbs) started nine games, accruing 31 tackles and one sack. He is considered one of the better run-defending tackles in the game.

ESPN is also confirming the Giants interest in unrestricted free agent safeties Devin McCourty (New England Patriots), Rahim Moore (Denver Broncos), and Ron Parker (Kansas City Chiefs). However, ESPN says the cost for McCourty and Moore may be higher than what the Giants are able and willing to pay. On the other hand, NJ.com is reporting that the Giants are serious players for McCourty, who is expected to receive a contract worth $9-10 million per season. The Giants apparently reached out to McCourty on Saturday.

ESPN says the Giants are likely to re-sign linebacker Mark Herzlich, tight end Daniel Fells, and fullback Henry Hynoski, while safety Antrel Rolle, linebacker Jacquian Williams, and cornerback Walter Thurmond are unlikely to re-sign. NJ.com is reporting that safety Stevie Brown, Fells, and Hynoski are likely to be re-signed and that Herzlich and linebacker Spencer Paysinger may return.

Although teams cannot officially sign players from other teams until 4:00PM ET on March 10, the negotiating period began on March 7.

Mar 052015
 
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Jerrel Jernigan, New York Giants (September 8, 2014)

Jerrel Jernigan – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Latest New York Giants Free Agent Rumors: Teams can begin negotiating with free agents on other teams on March 7 and begin signing players on other teams on March 10. Here are the latest New York Giants free agent rumors:

  • According to a BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) source, the Giants hope to have a new, long-term deal with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul by Monday, but there are significant differences over guaranteed money.
  • According to a BBI source, the Giants and linebacker Jon Beason have agreed to a contract re-structuring that will create more cap space for the team.
  • According to a BBI source, the Giants intend to invite unrestricted free agent safeties Devin McCourty (Patriots) and Rahim Moore (Broncos) to visit.
  • According to a BBI source, the Giants rumored interest in unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is smoke.
  • The New York Daily News is reporting that while there have been talks between the Giants and unrestricted free agent safety Antrel Rolle, the discussions have not been productive and Rolle may receive much higher contract offers from other teams on the open market. NJ.com believes Rolle will sign with another team. Rolle is denying he and the Giants have talked about a new contract.

  • The Daily News is reporting that the Giants and unrestricted free agent cornerback Walter Thurmond have talked about a new contract, but he will likely test the open market. NJ.com believes Thurmond will sign with another team.
  • The Daily News is reporting that the Giants would like to re-sign unrestricted free agent safety Stevie Brown but a source told the paper that his chance to return is “50-50”. NJ.com believes Brown will re-sign with the Giants.
  • NJ.com and The Daily News are reporting that unrestricted free agent linebacker Jacquian Williams will hit the free agent market. NJ.com says it is unlikely that the Giants will re-sign him.
  • The Daily News is reporting that the Giants are not interested in re-signing unrestricted free agent wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan. NJ.com believes Jernigan will not be re-signed.
  • The Daily News is reporting that there have been talks between the Giants and unrestricted free agent tight end Daniel Fells but nothing substantial. NJ.com believes Fells will not be re-signed.
  • The Daily News says there were talks about bringing back unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Mike Patterson before defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins accepted a pay cut. Now it is unclear if the Giants want Patterson back. NJ.com believes Patterson will not be re-signed.
  • The Daily News reports there have been talks between the Giants and unrestricted free agent linebacker Spencer Paysinger, but Paysinger is expected to hit the open market. NJ.com believes the Giants will re-sign Paysinger.
  • The Daily News is reporting that the Giants have been in talks with unrestricted free agent cornerback Chykie Brown and Brown could be re-signed soon. On the other hand, NJ.com believes Brown will not be re-signed.

NJ.com also believes the Giants will re-sign unrestricted free agents linebacker Mark Herzlich, fullback Henry Hynoski, and guard John Jerry. NJ.com does not believe the Giants will re-sign unrestricted free agents cornerback Zack Bowman, tackle James Brewer, safety Quintin Demps, running back Chris Ogbonnaya, and guard Adam Snyder.

Article on the New York Giants and Free Agency: If Rolle bolts, these 4 safeties could help Giants secondary by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

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 Paysinger 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