August 23, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Four New York Giants were injured in the team’s 35-24 victory over the New York Jets on Friday night: OG Geoff Schwartz (toe), WR Marcus Harris (shoulder), DT Markus Kuhn (ankle), and CB Zack Bowman (arm).
The injury to Schwartz is serious. According to press reports, his dislocated big right toe has been examined or will be examined by a number of specialists. The most optimistic scenario is that he could be out 4-6 weeks; the worst-case scenario is he will need surgery and will miss the entire season.
Harris’ should injury could also be severe enough to cause the Giants to place the upstart talent on Injured Reserve or waived/injured.
“The Schwartz injury, the Harris injury, those are injuries that are going to be a long while, probably,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin on Saturday. “Then we got Markus Kuhn with a little bit of an ankle sprain that may hobble him this week, which I am disappointed if that is the case. Quite frankly, I wanted to have the chance for Markus to be able to finish strong here in the preseason based on not being able to go last year… The Bowman injury, I hope is not much, but the disappointment of losing the two players for some length of time is not what preseason is about.”
“We don’t want to lose anybody and losing Geoff is, as I said, a major disappointment,” said Coughlin. “Let’s not jump to conclusions, let’s see what happens when the evaluation is completed as to what the length of time is involved.”
Geoff Schwartz hearing 4 different opinions of dislocated toe recovery time-frame. Will get clarity from specialist Dr. Robert Anderson.
August 17, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Four New York Giants were injured in the team’s 27-26 comeback victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night: CB Prince Amukamara (groin), S Cooper Taylor (foot/toe), OT Charles Brown (shoulder), and DT Markus Kuhn (elbow).
Taylor sustained an injury to the sesamoid bone in his foot.
“Cooper is significant and he has an injury that will require quite a bit of time,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “That is most unfortunate for the young man…It is a foot injury again. It is one of those sesamoid deals up under the toe. It’s excessive enough that they are saying he will be out for quite some time.”
Regarding Amukamara, Coughlin said, “I believe he will (an MRI). It is a groin and whenever you have something like that with a position that of course Prince Amukamara plays you are concerned. We will see, I don’t know that it is day to day but he is sore.”
On Brown, Coughlin said, “I’m not sure exactly how much time Charles Brown will miss, but there may be some time in there. I know the normal deal here is to put them in a brace or fit them for a brace as soon as he is capable with playing without the soreness, so we will see.”
Coughlin said Kuhn hyperextended his elbow but will likely be able to play with the injury.
August 17, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript from Sunday’s media conference call with Head Coach Tom Coughlin is available at BigBlueInteractive.com. Some tidbits from Coughlin:
“We continue to not really have very many big plays. We had some at the end of the game. There are not enough plays being made by our starters on the offensive or defensive side of the ball…All of the sudden the preseason is flying by here, and we do have an awful lot still to accomplish.”
“I think we have to work on a lot of things. Basically we have to work on everything. Last night we didn’t run it, we certainly didn’t throw the ball with any consistency. We don’t have people who are definitely running open. Our protection does break down from time to time and we don’t react well under pressure when we do realize that there has to be a hot or sight adjustment involved in getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hand and trying to accomplish a positive play in the face of pressure.”
“We are not stuck with anything (on the offensive line). As I said, just because five guys trot out there doesn’t mean that’s the starting unit.”
“(The starters) better (play with a sense of urgency). It’s not written in stone about what you do with the last preseason game either (in terms of the starters not playing much).”
August 16, 2014 Tom Coughlin Post-Game Press Conference: The transcript of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s post-game press conference on Saturday night is available at Giants.com.
New York Giants Post-Game Player Media Sessions: Transcripts and video clips of the post-game media Q&As on Saturday night with the following players are available at Giants.com:
August 4, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report:As reported earlier today, RB David Wilson’s NFL career with the New York Giants is over. Doctors have advised Wilson to never play football again. The Giants will place him on season-ending Injured Reserve.
“You naturally feel bad, you feel down,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “It is just a natural thing. I have to say when David came in and we sat and talked, he is such an up-beat young man. He is so positive. The smile is still on his face, even though he has received this kind of news…The way he expressed it was, ‘God must have something in mind for me. I want no pity. I want no one feeling sorry for me. I am not going to be down about this. No one will catch me in that frame of mind.’…I thought that was a wonderful thing for him to say and a great lesson for all of us.”
“Once a Giant, always a Giant,” said Coughlin. “He heard it earlier in the week and it is true. He’s a Giant. He’ll always be a Giant.”
The Giants did survive an injury scare to TE Daniel Fells, who is battling for a starting spot. It was thought Fells had sprained his knee or worse, but Coughlin said the injury is a bone bruise to the knee.
August 4, 2014 Tom Coughlin Conference Call: The transcript from Monday’s conference call with Head Coach Tom Coughlin is available at BigBlueInteractive.com.
August 3, 2014 Tom Coughlin Post-Game Press Conference:Video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s post-game press conference on Sunday night is available at Giants.com.
New York Giants Post-Game Player Media Sessions: Video clips of the post-game media Q&As on Sunday night with the following players are available at Giants.com:
Notes and Quotes: Head Coach Tom Coughlin on WR Corey Washington:
Wasn’t that some play by that kid? He has done that in practice a couple of times, where he has done some things that were pretty spectacular that got our attention – one as a gunner, just flat-out running and splitting the double-team and then moving on down the field to make a play on the punt returner. He did that in practice and was recognized and very noticeable, and he has made some of those catches here on the practice field, where he has gone up over the top of people and caught the ball.
The Giants will return to practice on Tuesday from 5:40-7:50 at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. The workout is closed to the public because of the One Direction concert at MetLife Stadium.
July 27, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: LB Jon Beason (foot – PUP), WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), WR Trindon Holliday (leg), and TE Xavier Grimble (hamstring) did not practice.
Head Coach Tom Coughlin was asked if it was a little disappointing that Beckham has not practiced yet at camp. “It’s more than that,” replied Coughlin. “You’re trying to put a team together. We saw too much of that in the spring. It’d be nice to get him back practicing. He actually looks pretty good moving around, catching the ball, not favoring anything. I’m just hoping it’s a real short amount of time.”
“(The trainers are) not going to let him go if he’s in the danger of hurting himself,” said Coughlin. “That’s all there is to it. I can stand there and fight all I want, but it’s not going to happen. When they feel he can go and not risk any recurring injury, they’ll let him go…I think there has been (some improvement).”
Coughlin on Holliday: “He did something catching a punt. Hopefully, it’s not much.”
Coughlin on Grimble: “Minor hamstring strain a couple of days ago.”
July 27, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Sunday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.
July 27, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of Sunday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:
With the New York Giants reporting to camp in less than two weeks, BigBlueInteractive.com is breaking down each of the team’s positional groups from now until July 21. Today, let’s take a look at this year’s defensive line.
2013 YEAR IN REVIEW:The 2013 defensive line performed adequately, helping the New York Giants finish 8th in total defense (10th against the pass and 14th against the run). But those figures may have been inflated by the Giants facing some incredibly poor quarterbacks/passing offenses. The chief problem for the Giants was their best player up front, Jason Pierre-Paul, had his second subpar season in a row. Pierre-Paul had surgery in June 2013 to repair a herniated disc in his lower back and he never seemed to fully rebound from that procedure. He flashed some of his old form in Week 10 but also suffered a shoulder injury in that game which caused him to miss the last five games of the season. He finished 2013 with only 27 tackles and 2 sacks in 11 games. Statistically, the most productive player was Justin Tuck, who rebounded with a strong season (63 tackles, 11 sacks, 1 interception, and 2 forced fumbles) after two down seasons in a row. Mathias Kiwanuka played in all 16 games, with 10 starts at right defensive end. He finished the season with 41 tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. Damontre Moore was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft. However, an early preseason shoulder injury disrupted his development, and while Moore flashed on special teams, he did not make much noise at defensive end when given a limited number of snaps.
The Giants were pretty stout inside with Linval Joseph (59 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble) and Cullen Jenkins (31 tackles, 5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles). Backing them up were Mike Patterson (23 tackles), Shaun Rogers (9 tackles), Johnathan Hankins (16 tackles), and Markus Kuhn (1 tackle). Rogers started two games but was placed on Injured Reserve in November in a move that appeared to be designed to give Hankins more snaps as well as keep Kuhn, who had been on the PUP recovering from an ACL tear he suffered in 2012.
Overall, the slow-but-sure aging and departure of past stalwarts such as Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck – combined with two down season by JPP – has largely taken the bite out of the once-formidable outside pass rush. Tuck had 11 sacks in 2013, but six of those came against the Redskins. The other ends combined for only eight sacks on the season while the tackles chipped in with only eight as a unit.
ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants did not show much interest in re-signing 31-year old Justin Tuck and he is now in Oakland. Gone too is the Giants best defensive tackle of the last couple of seasons, Linval Joseph, who signed a big contract with the Minnesota Vikings. Again, it did not appear that the Giants made much of an effort to re-sign him. The Giants also did not choose to re-sign Shaun Rogers, who remains an unrestricted free agent.
The main additions are DE Robert Ayers (UFA from Denver Broncos) and DT Jay Bromley (3rd round draft pick). The Giants also have brought in rookie free agents ends Kerry Wynn, Emmanuel Dieke, and Jordan Stanton as well as tackle Kelcy Quarles. Practice Squad DE Kendrick Adams, who has spent time with the Jaguars, Buccaneers, Lions, Browns, and Bengals, was re-signed. DT Everett Dawkins, who has spent time with the Vikings, Cowboys, and Buccaneers, was added as street free agent in June 2014.
TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Will Jason Pierre-Paul regain his 2011 form? Who will start opposite of him – Mathias Kiwanuka, Robert Ayers, or Damontre Moore? Who will start at defensive tackle with Cullen Jenkins? How many defensive tackles will the Giants keep?
“(Moore) made good, steady progress,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin in June. “He’s, naturally, a year later, a year more into it so he’s more comfortable with what’s going on. It’s not one of those things where you don’t notice that he’s out there because he does have a correction here or there. We like what we see. His continued development in the weight room with just some added muscle and strength, a little bit more size is something that will help a lot.”
ON THE BUBBLE:Barring injury, it would seem that JPP, Kiwanuka, Ayers, and Moore are locks to be the four defensive ends. Jenkins, Hankins, and Bromley are probably sure bets at tackle. Do the Giants keep four or five tackles? It could come down to a serious battle between Markus Kuhn and Mike Patterson.
FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Robert Nunn on Damontre Moore and Johnathan Hankins: “I thought Damontre really took a step forward (this offseason) and Hankins really took off at the end of last year and has done a great job in the offseason working out, coming in in really good condition…I like where they are at now.”
Mike Patterson (93) and Kelcy Quarles (97) – Photo by Connor Hughes
Nunn on Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson: “They’re solid guys, solid veteran guys. And they understand where they are in this stage of their career and we’ll have to take care of them through training camp. Both of those guys have had outstanding offseasons, I thought Mike came in here in really good shape. Cullen’s always been in good shape ever since I’ve been around him. We’ll see where it goes. Again, it’s so hard to tell, we’re so limited in what we can do in the offseason now but they’re in great shape and a really good frame of mind and have done a really good job with leadership with the younger players. We’ll see where it goes.”
Nunn on Markus Kuhn: “He had an outstanding offseason, really outstanding practices. He and Hankins, they’ll definitely get more reps in training camp than Mike P and Cullen if everything goes as planned. He showed up every day. When we go out there and go in team situations Markus was, there wasn’t a day that went by that we didn’t call his name out in a positive manner.”
Nunn on Jay Bromley: “You know, he’s come in very willing to learn. He’s very green, very raw but hey, he’s got to get started. Those guys are the ones that really suffer as far as how limited we are with what we can do. He needs all the work he can get but he’s shown enough that hey, he’s got to show up when the pads come on. We’ll see when that happens.”
Eric Kennedy – The Giants will have problems rushing the quarterback. Unless Kiwanuka, Ayers, or Moore can get to the passer on a consistent basis, Jason Pierre-Paul may be in for a rough season. Without a viable threat opposite of him, JPP will be the focal point of other teams’ blocking schemes. Kiwanuka and Ayers have flashed throughout their veteran careers, but they have yet to become (and may never become) guys who the other teams really worry about. To be frank, when Moore played DE last year, he didn’t look good. Perhaps he will show more now that he is healthier and stronger. I think Hankins has the tools to be better than Linval Joseph and if the Giants can get another good, solid season out of Jenkins, they’ll be fine inside. I’d prefer to keep only four defensive tackles, but I think 2014 will be a redshirt season for Bromley and thus the Giants will be forced to keep both Patterson and Kuhn.
Connor Hughes - For all the questions concerning the Giants’ roster heading into training camp, the regular season and beyond, I don’t believe any have as many unknowns as the defensive line. Throughout the course of the offseason, the Giants put their emphasis on the secondary. Gone were the days of loading up on pass rushers. Instead, the team signed and signed again big-name and high profile defenders in the secondary. I agree with the change in philosophy, but I have very little faith in those up front.
Mathias Kiwanuka appears to be in the tail end of his career, who knows what JPP will take the field (if he even gets on it), Cullen Jenkins is older, Johnathan Hankins has yet to be an every-down player and Mike Patterson doesn’t have much ability outside stopping the run. Justin Tuck is in Oakland, Jay Bromley is a rookie. If one or two injuries hit the group…things could get ugly fast.
Granted, things could go the complete other/positive way. Robert Ayers could excel in a new location, JPP could be the Pierre-Paul of 2011, Kiwanuka could revitalize his career, Hankins could be a force and maybe Bromley steps up. I’ve thought long and hard about the positives of the defensive line, and I’ve come up with a bunch, but for every one good there are two negatives. Who knows, maybe the secondary can mask the guys up front. That philosophy certainly worked in the reciprocal fashion over the last seven years.
FINAL DEPTH CHART:
Eric Kennedy – Mathias Kiwanuka (LDE), Johnathan Hankins (LDT), Cullen Jenkins (RDT), and Jason Pierre-Paul (RDE). Reserves: Mike Patterson, Markus Kuhn, Jay Bromley, Robert Ayers, and Damontre Moore.
Connor Hughes – Mathias Kiwanuka (LDE), Johnathan Hankins (LDT), Cullen Jenkins (RDT), Jason Pierre-Paul (RDE). Reserves: Mike Patterson, Markus Kuhn, Jay Bromley, Robert Ayers, and Damontre Moore.
November 8, 2013 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Friday were RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring/knee) and CB Corey Webster (groin/ankle). Webster has officially been ruled “out” of the game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday; Jacobs is “doubtful.”
The Star-Ledger is reporting that the issue keeping Jacobs from practicing and playing is a chronic knee condition that flared up this week.
CB Terrell Thomas (knee), CB Trumaine McBride (groin), and CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis. McBride and Hosley are “questionable” for the game; Thomas is “probable.”
“I feel good right now,” said McBride after practice. “I went out there today and I felt good running. I felt good turning. I felt good playing, so I’m ready to go for Sunday.”
WR Victor Cruz (neck) and TE Adrien Robinson (foot) fully practiced and are both “probable” for the game.
November 8, 2013 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Friday media session are available at Giants.com
Giants Place David Wilson and Shaun Rogers on Injured Reserve; Activate Andre Brown and Markus Kuhn: The New York Giants placed RB David Wilson (neck) and DT Shaun Rogers (knee) on season-ending Injured Reserve on Thursday. To fill their roster spots, the Giants activated RB Andre Brown off of the short-term Injured Reserve list and DT Markus Kuhn off of the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list.
November 7, 2013 New York Giants Injury Report: Aside from RB David Wilson and DT Shaun Rogers, not practicing on Thursday were CB Trumaine McBride (groin) and CB Corey Webster (groin).
“(McBride has) got some soreness in the groin kind of area, so we decided to hold him and see if he’s better and ready to go (on Friday),” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin.
RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), WR Victor Cruz (neck), CB Terrell Thomas (knee), and CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.
“(Jacobs) did some,” said Coughlin. “We’ll see what (his hamstring is) like (on Friday)…I don’t think you’d call it a setback. He just has some issues and you’re going to have to deal with them.”
TE Adrien Robinson (foot) fully practiced.
November 7, 2013 New York Giants Coach Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of Thursday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:
October 17, 2013 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Thursday were RB David Wilson (neck) and CB Terrell Thomas (knee). Wilson has already been ruled out of the game on Monday against the Minnesota Vikings. Thomas, as has been customary, is held out of one practice each week.
Practicing on a limited basis were RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), TE Adrien Robinson (foot), OC David Baas (neck), CB Corey Webster (groin), CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring), and S Cooper Taylor (shoulder).
RB Andre Brown (leg fracture) and DT Markus Kuhn (2012 knee surgery) also began practicing for the first time this season. Brown is currently on the Injured Reserve/Designated-for-Return List. Brown will not be allowed to play until the November 10 game against the Raiders. Kuhn has been on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List since the beginning of the season. Now that he has returned to practice, the Giants have 21 days to decide on whether to activate him, waive him, or place him on season-ending Injured Reserve.
“I did some individuals, cut, catch,” Brown said. “I even ran down there on special teams a little bit on kickoff. Just getting back into things. I’m going to take it day-by-day and if my number’s called, I’ll be ready to go. They held me back. I ran over to (Giants Senior Vice President of Medical Services) Ronnie (Barnes) and asked if I could do this and he was like, ‘No, junior.’ He calls everybody ‘junior.’ He was like ‘No, junior, individual, that’s all you have today.’ I’m definitely eager to get back out there and get with the fellas. I just can’t wait but they want me to relax a bit. We’ve got time. As long as I’m in shape and I’m continuing to show progress, I feel like it’s going to be beneficial at the end…It’s an eternity, but I really feel that way, that I’m going to be ready in Week 10.”
Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Thursday press conference is available at Giants.com.
Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:
New York Giants Reduce Roster to 53: The Giants have reduced their roster from 75 to 53 players.
As expected, due to his previously-announced drug suspension, the Giants placed S Will Hill on the Reserve/Suspended List. Hill will not be able to practice or play with the team for four weeks. Hill will be eligible to return to the active roster on September 30.
Also, as expected, the Giants placed DT Markus Kuhn (knee) on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. Kuhn was placed on the Active (preseason) PUP at the start of training camp. Kuhn is required to remain on the Reserve/PUP for at least six weeks.
WR Ramses Barden (knee) was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve.
The team also released the following 19 players:
QB David Carr (contract terminated)
RB Ryan Torain (contract terminated)
WR Kevin Hardy (waived)
WR Marcus Harris (waived)
WR Julian Talley (waived)
OL Selvish Capers (waived/injured)
OL Matt McCants (waived)
OL Stephen Goodin (waived)
OL Bryant Browning (waived)
OL Eric Herman (waived)
DE Adrian Tracy (waived)
DE Matt Broha (waived)
DE Adewale Ojomo (waived)
DT Marvin Austin (waived)
LB Kyle Bosworth (waived)
CB Charles James (waived)
CB Terrence Frederick (waived)
S Tyler Sash (waived with injury settlement)
S David Caldwell (waived)
“This is not my favorite day by a long shot,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “It never gets easier, because every year the principals involved are different. My gut starts bothering me about two days before. The day of it I get the headache and the whole bit that goes with it. When you speak to these kids and you work with them and you see them, you do see their effort and what they put forth and how important it is to them. It’s not an easy thing to stand there when a young man walks into his office and as soon as you put your hand out, he starts crying. It’s always difficult to let a guy go that you’ve had with you for a while.”
Coughlin made comments on the following players:
QB David Carr: “We simply based it on the preseason. From the standpoint of all the evaluations, it pointed to the fact that (Curtis) Painter had a better preseason. We’ll miss David Carr around here, to be honest with you. He’s done an outstanding job directing our second offense and our scout team. He has the ability to do whatever we ask of him in that regard. He can run the option, he can be the running quarterback if you want him to do that. Ryan Nassib is going to have to step up and be that guy when you’re talking about the teams we play that have a running quarterback.”
QB Ryan Nassib: “When we drafted (Nassib), then you have an idea that you’re going to have to develop young quarterback. That’s what his role is. So be it if that’s what it takes. From the standpoint of strategy, you have to understand that many times the balancing act stops at the quarterback position, because there is no way to trade off if in fact you are developing a young man. In our case, you have a veteran player to go along with it.”
DE Justin Trattou: “Trattou has the ability to help us out in a lot of different ways both from scrimmage and special teams. There were four young men who were very much in contention for that job. (Matt) Broha was very much involved in that, too. Quite frankly, it was very, very close. We made a decision really based on an individual that was ranked a little bit higher on special teams.”
DTs Shaun Rogers and Mike Patterson: “They played well. They deserve it. The other night (in the preseason finale in New England) they played 20-something plays and did a nice job not only in changing the line of scrimmage, but we brought them back after the half, so they demonstrated the ability to do that.”
RB Michael Cox: “He has demonstrated outstanding ability as a kick returner. We put him at gunner and he was a good gunner. You send him down on kickoffs and he did a nice job with that. He has shown endurance and power and strength and the attitude anywhere you put him. We preach it all the time. You make the team because of your contributions on special teams. You have a great chance. That’s what he did.”
Offseason Breakdown: New York Giants Defensive Tackles
In part one, we covered how important the defensive line is to the overall defense of the New York Giants, and focused on the defensive ends. In part two, we’ll focus on the defensive tackles.
4-3 defenses usually employ two different types of tackles: a 1-technique (or nose tackle) and a 3-technique (or under tackle). The 1-technique tackle usually will see a lot of double teams from the guard and center and usually has to be the bigger, stronger, and stouter player. These types of players usually lack ideal quickness. The 3-technique is usually less stout, but the quicker, more active penetrator. If Linval Joseph and Cullen Jenkins start as expected, Joseph will play the 1-technique and Jenkins the 3-technique given their physical characteristics. Johnathan Hankins is better suited to the 1-technique while Marvin Austin is better suited to the 3-technique. Also keep in mind that in obvious pass rush situations, the Giants have moved defensive ends – including Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Mathias Kiwanuka – inside to rush from the tackle spots.
There are currently eight defensive tackles on the Giants’ 90-man preseason roster. At most, the Giants will be able to keep five defensive tackles on the 53-man regular-season roster.
Linval Joseph: Joseph was drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Giants. He did not play much as a rookie but became a full-time starter in 2011. Joseph has an excellent combination of size (6’4’’, 323 pounds), strength, and athletic ability. He flashes as run defender due to his size and strength, and as a pass rusher because of his quickness. But one gets the sense that Joseph should be a more consistent, more dominating player than he has shown to date.
“Linval is really good,” said DT Cullen Jenkins. “He’s a strong man; really strong. I can’t even workout with Linval in the weight room. But he’s one of the first people in here every day. Out in practice he’s always busting his butt and you have to respect it. He’s got some bright years ahead of him and I think he can do a lot of things in the league.”
“From looking at Linval in all the practices you wonder why he is not a Pro Bowler,” said Jenkins. “He’s got a tremendous amount of ability, the strength he possess, quickness, speed. He’s had a couple dings here and there that have hampered him, but if he can stay healthy I think he’ll be a Pro Bowler.”
“I’m just ready to step up,” said Joseph. “I’m going to be the anchor of this team and I’m ready to go.”
Cullen Jenkins: Jenkins was signed by the Giants in March 2013 after he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles in February. Jenkins was originally signed by Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent after the 2003 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but spent time in NFL Europe and then re-signed with the Packers in 2004. From 2004-10, Jenkins played with the Packers until he signed with the Eagles in 2011.
Jenkins lacks ideal size (6’2’’, 305 pounds) and is on the downside of his career, but he still is a solid two-way defensive tackle who can play the run and rush the passer. Versatile, he has experience in the 4-3 as a defensive tackle and as an end in the 3-4. The Giants have also been playing him at defensive end in the 4-3. In the last four seasons, he’s averaged over five sacks a year. Jenkins is a tough guy who plays with an attitude.
“Cullen, I was with four years in Green Bay, he’s a very explosive guy, talented guy, has matured a lot,” said Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn. “He’s a different guy than he was in Green Bay. He’s a guy that has gotten better and better as time has gone on, very explosive player both in the run game and the pass game and he is going to bring a lot of versatility to us. I think he can go inside, he can play outside, we can do some different things, which, in turn, will allow us to different things with some of our other guys. He really adds some versatility to what we’re doing…When we get to our pass rush stuff he can free up Justin and JPP and Kiwi to move around so there are several things he brings. The passion he plays with and the toughness, he’s another guy that plays tough. On Sundays, he’s a tough guy. We need that in that room.”
“I’m very impressed with Jenkins,” said Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell. “He is a seasoned veteran, a proven veteran and I just see that for him to come to our football team and bring the type of energy that he displayed down at his previous team and then bring that to us, I think that’s a positive for our defense.”
“We’re going to take advantage of his versatility,” said Fewell. “He’s very explosive. He’s much stronger than I initially thought he was and he is violent in his reactions and so that’s a good thing for us and it’s very pleasing.”
“He’s a tough guy to block no matter where he is,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He’s very effective, very good. Moves well. Just gives us a nice piece of versatility to be able to play him basically wherever we need.”
“Once you hit 30, everyone starts talking about how you’re getting older and missing a step,” said the 32-year-old Jenkins. “I see it as a challenge. My whole career, my whole life, has been about proving people wrong.”
“Two things I’ve been working on: my strength and my quickness,” said Jenkins. “Quickness has helped me since I’ve been in the league and it’s one of the reasons I’ve put so much emphasis in making sure my weight stays at a good level for me this year. At the same time, I’m trying to get as strong as I can because getting older I know you have to put a lot more time into your body to make sure you stay healthy. These last few years that’s what I’ve been trying to do to make sure I stay on the field every week.”
Shaun Rogers: The Giants signed Rogers as an unrestricted free agent in April 2012, but he missed the entire 2012 season due to a blood clot in his leg. Rogers was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. In 11 NFL seasons, Rogers has played for the Lions (2001-07), Browns, (2008-10), and Saints (2011). He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2004, 2005, and 2008.
Rogers is a huge (6’4’’, 350 pounds), powerful player. In his prime, he was a very strong run defender who could also push the pocket on the pass rush. However, the 34-year old Rogers is nearing the end of his career and it remains to be seen how much he has left in his gas tank. He started four games for the Saints in 2011 and finished with just 22 tackles and no sacks. Amazingly, Rogers has blocked 14 field goal attempts in his career.
Johnathan Hankins: Hankins was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Hankins is a big (6’2’’, 320 pounds), strong, run-stuffing defensive tackle with good athletic ability and agility for his size. He is a better run defender than pass rusher. Hankins is very stout at the point-of-attack and can take on double-team blocks. When he plays with leverage and proper technique, Hankins is very difficult to move off of the line of scrimmage. Hankins also has the athletic ability to pursue down the line and will flash occasionally on the pass rush with quickness and power.
“He has really surprised me coming in,” said Nunn. “I thought he did an outstanding job between when he started until now with his body. He’s worked, he’s trimmed up, he’s gotten stronger, if he continues to do that I think he’s another young player that’s going to contribute to us. He really has looked good.”
“He’s been running second team,” said Nunn. “He’s picked up everything physically and from a mental standpoint, he’s right where he needs to be. We’ll see what happens when we start shooting real bullets.”
“The two rookies we have on our D-Line have stood out,” said Tuck. “Hank is quiet and he is more polished. You can tell he’s obviously had a great coach and played big-time football (at Ohio State).”
Marvin Austin: The Giants have not received much in return from Marvin Austin ever since drafting him in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Austin missed his last season in college due to an NCAA violation. Austin then missed his second football season in a row when the Giants placed him on Injured Reserve in August 2011 after he tore his pectoral muscle. In 2012, Austin fell to fifth on the defensive tackle depth chart, behind 7th round rookie Markus Kuhn. Austin ended up playing in eight games, but only saw limited time at defensive tackle and finished the season with only eight tackles. He hurt his back in training camp before last season and had offseason knee surgery (torn meniscus) in January 2013.
Austin has good tools to work with. Although he lacks ideal height (6’2’’, 312 pounds), he is a very athletic tackle with fine size and strength. He moves very well for a big man and could develop into a very good pass rusher. However, to-date, he has trouble getting off blocks and simply has not made many plays.
“Marvin…he is another one who has had his best offseason,” said Nunn. “He’s been healthy for the first time. He’s never been able to go through a true offseason because of different ailments that he’s had. He’s where he needs to be right now, he just can’t disappear when the pads come on. He knows what he’s got to do. I’ve spoken to him about it. When the pads come on he’s got to produce. When he gets out there under the lights he’s got to produce. Right now, he’s got himself in the position to give himself the best opportunity since he’s been here of having a productive year.”
“I thought Marvin performed well this past Saturday (in the preseason game against the Steelers),” said Fewell. “He’s progressed each week in practice. He’s had a full offseason with the OTAs, which he didn’t have in the past. I look for good things from him this Sunday in the football game. This will be a really good opportunity for him to showcase his quickness and his abilities. I think Pittsburgh is really a big massive offensive line. Indy, they’ll play more to the strengths of Marvin and so it will be exciting to see him in this game Sunday.”
“He’s a defensive tackle that, really, we need to see him in the fashion that we anticipated when we drafted him,” said Coughlin. “He’s done well this camp rushing the passer and we really would like to see him do a good job against the run.”
Austin believes he will be fine if he can stay healthy. “It seems like one thing after another,” Austin said. “I’ve been hurt the whole time I’ve been here. I feel like as long as I can stay healthy, I’ll be able to help this team.”
“I’ve watched film with Cullen and Mike Patterson,” said Austin. “They’re very quick and good guys and I feel like I can play in that same mode as them. But one of the vets who has helped me and kept me honest, per say, has been Shaun Rogers. He always checks me out, looks at my technique and tries to help me with different stuff.”
Austin sees all of the new defensive tackles the Giants have brought in. “At the end of the day, the National Football League is about competition and is a business,” said Austin. “I haven’t performed since I’ve been here. They’re looking to see if I can play at the high level they drafted me, and they’re going to protect themselves. They’re giving me a chance to compete, and that’s all I could ask for.”
“If you sit there and dwell on it and be negative, you’re not going to help yourself,” said Austin. “You’re either going to stand up or sit down. You can be a man about it or a coward. That’s all it is. And this game is a man’s game.”
“You see the competition (at defensive tackle),” said Austin. “I want to make this team. I’ve got to show them what I can do. I haven’t shown them anything. Some things don’t have to be said.”
Mike Patterson: Patterson was signed by the Giants in April 2013. Patterson was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. In eight seasons with the Eagles, Patterson played in 115 regular-season games with 99 starts. Patterson underwent brain surgery in January 2012 to repair an arteriovenous malformation. He played in just five games in 2012 before being placed on the reserve/non-football illness list last year with pneumonia. The Eagles waived Patterson in February 2013.
Patterson lacks ideal size (6’1’’, 300 pounds), but he is a good athlete who can be disruptive with his quickness. He has experience in both 1- and 2-gap schemes. Tough, Patterson is a steady run defender and has 16.5 career sacks.
“I thought I was going to still be (with the Eagles), but you never know how things are going to turn out,” said Patterson. “I’m just happy I was able to land on my feet with the Giants. Even though I didn’t play that much last year, it wasn’t due to football injuries. It just came down to me getting sick and me recovering from my surgery. It was nothing to do with on-the-field stuff, so I know I’m perfectly healthy when it comes to playing football.”
Frank Okam: The Giants signed Frank Okam in May 2013 after he impressed at the rookie mini-camp as tryout player. Okam was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Okam has spent time with the Texans (2008-10), Seahawks (2010), and Buccaneers (2010-12). The Buccaneers released Okam in August 2012 and he did not play last season. From 2008-11, Okam played in 25 games with six starts.
Okam is a huge (6’5’’, 350 pounds), strong player with limited overall athleticism and agility. He is a run-stuffing nose tackle type who does not get much heat on the quarterback. Okam has very good tools, but he needs to become a more consistent effort player. Very smart.
Markus Kuhn: Kuhn was selected by the Giants in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Kuhn is German and was only a one-year starter in college. Kuhn was an active member of the defensive tackle rotation last season before tearing the ACL in one of his knees. He was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2012. Kuhn played in 10 games with one start and finished the season with eight tackles and four pass defenses.
Kuhn has a nice combination of size (6’4’’, 299 pounds) and athletic ability. He is a high-energy effort player who can be disruptive with his quickness and intensity. Kuhn is a better run defender than pass rusher.
Kuhn has been on Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List since training camp started as he continues to rehab from his ACL injury. With training camp ending next week, it’s becoming more likely that Kuhn will start the season on the in-season PUP as well, meaning he will have to miss at least the first six games of the regular season. Then a decision will need to be made on whether to activate him, put him on Injured Reserve, or waive him.
Summary: It appears Linval Joseph and Cullen Jenkins will start. Based on the way the coaches and players are talking about Jenkins, he may have a much bigger impact on this team than first realized when he signed. Johnathan Hankins has been everything advertised. The real surprise is Shaun Rogers. He did not have a stellar year in New Orleans in 2011 and is now 34 years old, but he’s been receiving snaps with the first team and definitely seems to be in the team’s plans.
I have a hard time seeing the team parting ways with Marvin Austin at this point. He has a lot of talent and has been improving. Unless he flops the rest of the preseason, I think he’s going to be the fifth defensive tackle.
Markus Kuhn could probably be activated off of the PUP now, but I think the Giants realize that if they did so, they would have to end up cutting him. Look for him to be added to the regular-season PUP.
I think Mike Patterson and Frank Okam can play in this league, but it’s a numbers game for them.