Aug 182014
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

August 18, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Monday were RB Peyton Hillis (ankle/foot), TE Kellen Davis (Achilles strain), TE Xavier Grimble (hamstring), OT James Brewer (back), OT Charles Brown (shoulder), LB Jon Beason (PUP – foot), CB Prince Amukamara (groin), CB Jayron Hosley (foot), CB Ross Weaver (ankle), and S Cooper Taylor (foot).

Amukamara was examined by doctors who did not think his injury required an MRI. “It feels better than it did yesterday,” Amukamara said. “Yesterday I would have given it a 6 or a 7 on a scale of 1-10. Today it’s more like a 3 or a 4. I’m hoping to play as soon as possible.”

“I don’t know how good it is to have a corner with a strained groin, but he walked out here in pads,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “That told me something about where his mind is. He wants to get back out here and get going. Hopefully that will happen sooner than later.”

“Davis just has some kind of an Achilles strain or something that’s sore, tendonitis, something of that nature. I expect him back. I expect Brewer back, too,” said Coughlin. “Brewer, his back is bothering him, so they held him.”

WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring) participated in some special teams drills.

DT Mike Patterson (shoulder) and TE Daniel Fells (knee) returned to practice.

WR Odell Beckham (hamstring) participated in some team drills but left practice early after he reportedly was hit in the back of the leg. The Giants insist he is “fine.”

August 18, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Monday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

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

7 takeaways from Giants media hour by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Articles on the New York Giants Offense:

Article on OC/OG Weston Richburg: Weston Richburg moving into starting mix on Giants offensive line? by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on LB Jon Beason: Jon Beason targets Giants opener: ‘I feel like I’m really close’ by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

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

Aug 172014
 
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Cooper Taylor (30), New York Giants (November 10, 2013)

Cooper Taylor returning a blocked punt for a TD – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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:

NY Post Q&A with LB Jameel McClain: Serby’s Sunday Q&A with Jameel McClain by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on the Giants-Colts Game: Giants: 10 positives to take from victory over the Colts includes the improving linebackers by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Articles on the New York Giants Wide Receivers:

Article on DE Israel Idonije: No Longer an Impact Player, a Giant Finds a Way to Deliver a Kaboom by Zach Schonbrun of The New York Times

Article on LB Jacquian Williams: Soft-spoken Giants LB Williams ready for loud year on field by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on CB Walter Thurmond: Giants cornerback Walter Thurmond III is a filmmaker by Tom Rock of Newsday

Aug 092014
 
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Jacquian Williams, New York Giants (July 27, 2012)

Jacquian Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Article on QB Eli Manning: Eli Manning embraces major change in Giants QB preparation by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Articles on WR Marcus Harris:

Article on WR Corey Washington: Giants receiver has plenty of motivation by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Articles on the New York Giants Offensive Line:

Articles on New York Giants Defensive Ends:

Article on LB Jacquian Williams: NY Giants LB Jacquian Williams ready to take next step toward being an every-down player by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Articles on New York Giants Cornerbacks:

New York Giants Training Camp Sights and Sounds Video: A sights and sounds video from training camp is available at Giants.com.

Aug 052014
 
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Craig Johnson, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Running Backs Coach Craig Johnson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

August 5, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Tuesday were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring), Daniel Fells (knee), TE Xavier Grimble (hamstring), DT Mike Patterson (shoulder), LB Jon Beason (PUP – foot), and CB Bennett Jackson (ankle).

RB Peyton Hillis left practice early with an ankle injury.

LT Will Beatty (headache), Eric Herman (hip), DE Robert Ayers (ankle), Spencer Paysinger (concussion), and Trumaine McBride (hip) all practiced.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin clarified that some players coming off of offseason surgery were never going to play in last weekend’s Hall of Fame preseason game.

“It was a plan that Beatty wouldn’t play in the opening game, just like it was a plan that McBride and a couple of others, Herman, wouldn’t play in this game,” said Coughlin. “(Beatty) didn’t do anything to set himself back.”

August 5, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s press conferences with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

August 5, 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:

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

New York Giants Practice Reports:

Article on New York Giants Running Backs:

Article on WR Corey Washington: Giants WR Washington playing for family by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Articles on New York Giants Defensive Backs:

Article on the New York Giants Use of Tablets: Tablets on NFL sidelines get positive reviews from Giants by Tom Rock of Newsday

Jul 292014
 
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David Wilson, New York Giants (August 24, 2013)

The Giants are worried about David Wilson’s neck – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

July 29, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: LB Jon Beason (foot – PUP), WR Rueben Randle (hamstring), WR Trindon Holliday (leg), WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), TE Xavier Grimble (hamstring), DT Everett Dawkins (unknown), CB Ross Weaver (unknown), and CB Travis Howard (unknown) did not practice on Tuesday. The Giants said Grimble practiced, but the reporters said he did not.

Most troubling is that RB David Wilson left practice early with what is being called a “burner” to his neck. According to the Giants, the injury occurred when Wilson caught a shovel pass, turned upfield with his head down, and ran into the back of offensive lineman Eric Herman.

Wilson was only cleared for football contact on July 21 after suffering a career-threatening neck injury against the Eagles in October 2013. Wilson had surgery on January 16, 2014 to fuse vertebrae in his neck.

Wilson was sent to the Hospital for Special Surgery for a full battery of tests to determine the severity of the injury he suffered on Tuesday.

After practice, Head Coach Tom Coughlin was visibly concerned.

“He got a burner. So we’ll see,” said Coughlin. “We’ll hear what they have to say first. We were all praying that he wouldn’t have an issue and come back to work. He was cleared, as you know. We’ll see. I’m not going to speculate what it is and see what the doctors say.”

Odell Beckham, who aggravated an offseason hamstring injury at the beginning of camp and has not practiced since, talked about his injury and the tests he underwent on Monday to determine the status of the injury.

“(The tests revealed) just heavy inflammation and blood in the hamstring,” said Beckham. “The trainers are just taking it day-by-day to see. Whatever happens is what happens. It’s up to them right now on the length, however long it’s going to be…they just said it’s still day-by-day.”

“Yeah (I’m frustrated),” said Beckham. “I talked to Coach Coughlin and like he said, it’s frustrating on both ends. He wants me out there as bad as I want to be out there. It’s just kind of like you work so hard to get to where you’re at now and it’s like you can’t go out there and do the one thing that you love to do. It’s hard to just take that all the time and then have your coach, at the same time, be frustrated.”

July 29, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Tuesday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

July 29, 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:

What we found out during media hour by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

New York Giants on WFAN Radio: Audio clips of Tuesday’s WFAN Radio interviews with the following team officials and players are available at CBS New York:

  • President/CEO John Mara (Audio)
  • General Manager Jerry Reese (Audio)
  • Head Coach Tom Coughlin (Audio)
  • QB Eli Manning (Audio)
  • WR Victor Cruz (Audio)
  • S Antrel Rolle (Audio)

New York Giants Practice Reports:

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin and QB Eli Manning: Eli Manning on what makes Tom Coughlin a Hall-worthy coach by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo: New Coach Has Giants Huddling in Hurry, or Not at All by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on QB Eli Manning: NY Giants QB Eli Manning wants a career like Yankees’ Derek Jeter, playing with one team into his 40s by Gary Myers of The New York Daily News

Articles on WR Mario Manningham:

Article on TE Daniel Fells: Daniel Fells a most unlikely comeback story by Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on New York Giants Defensive Tackles:

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin and Former Giants DE Michael Strahan: Strahan, Coughlin weren’t always these Hall of Fame allies by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Jul 282014
 
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Travis Harvey, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Travis Harvey – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

July 28, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: LB Jon Beason (foot – PUP), WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), and TE Xavier Grimble (hamstring) did not practice on Monday. Beckham and Grimble were not in attendance at practice as they were undergoing further medical tests.

“They were in treatment and went over to the doctor,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

July 28, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s press conferences with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

July 28, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

7 things we found out during media hour by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

New York Giants Practice Reports:

Article on New York Giants Training Camp: Giants: Before first full-padded practice, veterans hope for safe summer by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on WR Odell Beckham and CB Prince Amukamara: Prince Amukamara can relate to injured NY Giants rookie Odell Beckham Jr. by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on the New York Giants Tight Ends: Giants’ TE situation not getting any clearer by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on LT Will Beatty: Giants practice spotlight: Will Beatty has up and down day; leg still an issue? by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Articles on DE Robert Ayers:

Jul 262014
 
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Cullen Jenkins and Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Cullen Jenkins and Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

July 25, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: LB Jon Beason (foot – PUP) and WR Odell Beckham (hamstring) did not practice. 

Beason remains optimistic that he will be ready for the regular-season opener. “There is no reason now to think I won’t be there, based on how I feel and how I’m progressing,” Beason said. “The biggest thing is getting back to football shape. Right now, we’re dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s.”

“We’re just being really smart about it,” said Beason. “You have bench marks, like, ‘Hey, we’re going to start doing this at six weeks, get a little more aggressive.’ I think I’m a little superhuman. I heal a little faster. At the end of the day, six weeks, that’s what the timetable calls for so you listen and try to do right.”

Beason said he would like to play in a preseason game. “I would hope so,” said Beason. “Based on how I feel, the way things are going you want to keep making baby steps. If you go too fast, you have a setback and now all of a sudden you’re pushing that timetable of September 8th so we want to be smart about it. Obviously I’m going to do what they tell me, but I would love to get in during the preseason and get some reps.”

When asked about Beckham, Head Coach Tom Coughlin said, “You’ll know before I’ll know, probably. He seems like he’s frisky enough out here. Today he was catching the ball from the machine and seemed to be moving around okay. So hopefully it’s not going to take too long.”

July 25, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Q&As: The transcripts and video from Friday’s press conferences with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

July 25, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of Friday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

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

New York Giants Practice Reports:

Article on the 2014 New York Giants: Giants Report: The Short Story of Eli’s New Offense by Peter King of SI.com

Article on RB Andre Williams: Budding Author and Inventor Emerges Quickly in Giants’ Backfield by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Articles on WR Rueben Randle:

Articles on the New York Giants Tight Ends:

Articles on the New York Giants Offensive Line:

Article on LT Will Beatty and DE Jason Pierre-Paul: How Jason Pierre-Paul and Will Beatty motivate each other by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Articles on the New York Giants Defensive Backs:

Jul 232014
 
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Corey Washington and Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Corey Washington and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

July 23, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: LB Jon Beason (foot – PUP) and WR Odell Beckham (hamstring) did not practice.

Beckham aggravated the same hamstring that bothered him in OTA’s and the mini-camp on the first day of practice on Tuesday.

“He missed part of spring ball with a hamstring and he tweaked it yesterday,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “Obviously there is a concern…This guy has that track speed so hopefully he can get back out there pretty quickly because we’re expecting big things from him.”

“He didn’t go and who knows how long (until he returns),” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. “Don’t ask me. I have no idea.”

Jameel McClain (foot) returned to practice. “He did well,” Coughlin said. “He came out and practiced and went the whole practice, so I think he’s fine. A little sore, but he was able to go.”

July 23, 2014 Jerry Reese Press Conference: The transcript and video from Wednesday’s press conference with General Manager Jerry Reese are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com.

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

July 23, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Q&As: The transcripts and video from Wednesday’s press conferences with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

July 23, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of Wednesday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

New York Giants WFAN Interviews: Video and audio of Wednesday’s WFAN interviews with the following New York Giants are available at CBS New York:

New York Giants Training Camp Reports:

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Eli Manning and the Giants are embracing their new direction by Mike Garafolo of FOXSports.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Eli Manning’s career at a crossroads by Johnette Howard of ESPNNewYork.com

Articles on RB Rashad Jennings:

Article on WR Victor Cruz: NY Giants Victor Cruz studying up on Jerry Rice as Big Blue installs West Coast offense by Gary Myers of The New York Daily News

Article on TE Adrien Robinson: Adrien Robinson the Giants’ version of Julius Thomas? That’s what they’re hoping by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (June 18,2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul says sack record a possibility by Lorenzo Reyes of USAToday.com

Article on LB Devon Kennard: Giants may be onto something in rookie Devon Kennard by Howie Kussoy of The New York Post

Article on Former Giant DE Michael Strahan: Michael Strahan ready to join elite company by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Jul 152014
 
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Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants (June 12, 2014)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With New York Giants training camp beginning next week, BigBlueInteractive.com continues to break down each of the team’s positional groups until July 21. Today, let’s take a look at this year’s cornerbacks.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Cornerbacks

Prince Amukamara, New York Giants (June 12, 2014)

Prince Amukamara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2013 YEAR IN REVIEW: The one steady constant at cornerback in 2013 was Prince Amukamara at right corner. In his third year with the Giants, and his second as a full-time starter, Amukamara developed into the team’s best corner. Amukamara started all 16 games and finished the year with 85 tackles, 14 pass defenses, 1 interception, and 2 forced fumbles. Things did not go as planned at left corner. Corey Webster had issues with his hip, groin, and ankle. He only started two games before the Giants finally gave up on him and placed him on Injured Reserve in December. His primary back-up, Aaron Ross, only started two games before being placed on Injured Reserve in October with a back injury. Jayron Hosley was next in line but he suffered a significant hamstring in jury in Week 4 that sidelined him for the next five games and nagged him much of the rest of the season. Hosley played in 11 games with one start, finishing the season with just 9 tackles and 2 pass defenses. The player who benefited the most from these injuries was Trumaine McBride. McBride was an under-the-radar street free agent signing who ended up playing in 15 games with 10 starts. He finished 2013 with 37 tackles, 15 pass defenses, 2 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble. Terrell Thomas, coming off back-to-back ACL tears in 2011 and 2012, was primarily used as the nickel slot corner. Though limited all year in practice, he played in all 16 games with seven starts and finished the season with 67 tackles, 1 sack, 7 pass defenses, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble. Charles James was a rookie free agent who played in 12 games, almost exclusively on special teams.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Massive changes occurred at cornerback in the offseason. The only ones returning are Prince Amukamara, Trumaine McBride, Jayron Hosley, and Charles James. The Giants have also decided to invite 2013 Practice Squad players Ross Weaver and Travis Howard to training camp.

Gone are former stalwarts Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, and Terrell Thomas. 2013 Practice Squaders Junior Mertile and Chaz Powell were also waived after initially being re-signed in January.

The major new additions are Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (from Denver, 5-years, $35 million), Walter Thurmond III (from Seattle, 1-year, $3 million), and Zack Bowman (from Chicago, 1-year, $730,000). The Giants also drafted Bennett Jackson in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: How good is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC)? Some believe he is capable of being one of the NFL’s elite corners, others say he is overrated. The Giants are expecting (and paying) him to be core impact player. If DRC plays as well as hoped, teams that avoided Prince Amukamara in 2013 will now come after him in 2014. How will he respond? Is he capable of making more plays in the football (only 1 interception per year in three seasons). Is Walter Thurmond as good as advertised as a slot corner? If DRC, Amukamara, and Thurmond live up to the hype, along the expected strong play of the safeties, the major overall storyline is the shifting of the strength of the defense from the front-end to the back-end.

ON THE BUBBLE: The Giants will definitely carry five, and quite possibly six cornerbacks. Barring injury, Rodgers-Cromartie, Amukamara, and Thurmond are locks. Another under-the-radar signing, Zack Bowman, who looked very sharp in the OTAs. Trumaine McBride had hip surgery in January and missed all of the offseason work. He may be on shakier ground than many realize. Continued injury (injury plagued in both 2012 and 2013) and drug issues (upcoming 4-game suspension) have really hurt Jayron Hosley’s chances to make the team. Charles James and Bennett Jackson have talent but will have to fight tooth-and-nail to make the team. Both are helped by their special teams ability however.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Peter Giunta on the Giants depth at cornerback:  “We’ve got 10 quality corners right now in the program…Bringing in two guys that started in the Super Bowl obviously helps…We have great depth at that position, the deepest I’ve ever had in my years in the league.

Giunta on DRC and Amukamara: “Yes (they can both cover another team’s top receiver). They both have the skill set and both have done it in their careers, gone out and played on the best guy. They’ll battle, they’ll compete and we’ll be able to have an advantage I think playing those guy.”

Giunta on Rodgers-Cromartie: “He’s got that other gear. He can run as fast as he needs to run to get up on top of a receiver, catch up to a receiver. He’s got that gear that’s incredible. He’s such a smooth athlete. His length is so good and his ball skills are fantastic. He’s got that great skill set where he’s got the speed to recover if he does beat, he’s got the quickness to recover. He’s got the length to reach out and knock balls away that other corners wouldn’t be able to get to and he’s got great hands to make plays on the ball in the air. He’s got what you’re looking for in a corner.”

Giunta on Amukamara: “He improved, he understands well, he communicates well, his instincts, his awareness are really developing. You can really see it in (OTAs) now, he’s on top of all of the stuff. Now he’s starting to gamble a bit and take some chances, which you like to see because you’re taking calculated guesses and risking, ‘Hey, I’m going to go make a play.’ That’s what you want. He’s developed that confidence in himself and the defense, he knows what’s coming.”

Giunta on Thurmond: “He does a great job of studying, he has a great awareness of what people are trying to do to him. He plays with great leverage, understands his drops as an underneath defender. He’s able to get there, get breaks off the quarterback. He’s got great vision and to play inside like that you have to have great vision of everything that’s going on around you, it happens so much quicker. Corner you’re using the sideline to help you but in (the slot) you have so much space, especially covering guys. He’s done a great job. He’s got great quickness and he’s a great (technician). You’ll see that when we’re able to put our hands on people in training camp.”

PREDICTIONS:

Zack Bowman, Chicago Bears (October 10, 2013)

Zack Bowman – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Eric Kennedy - On paper, this is the deepest unit on the team strongest group of corners the Giants have had in my lifetime. Of course, the proof is in the pudding. Moreover, each year, we have seen mental breakdowns in Perry Fewell’s secondary, often followed by a mid-season “dumbing down” in order to reduce blown coverages. Will that same issue rear its ugly head again in 2014 or will the Giants’ secondary carry this defense from the get-go?

Predictions? DRC and Thurmond become fan favorites with their play. Bowman becomes a more important addition than fans currently realize. I think Charles James is underrated but stuck behind the quality guys in front of him.

Connor Hughes - I am incredibly optimistic about the Giants’ cornerbacks heading into this season. More so this year than any year I can remember in recent memory. In the past, veterans on the last leg of their careers, bargain-bought free agents and low-end draft picks occupied the Giants’ secondary as the vaunted defensive line pressured the quarterback. As teams countered with quick-passes to reveal holes in the secondary, the Giants have countered by putting more money into the cornerback position.

I believe Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara can form one of the top three cornerback tandems in the NFL. I love the return of Trumaine McBride and the potential of Charles James. More than anything else, I can’t wait to see what Walter Thurmond III has to offer.

The first time Thurmond talked to the media, he told them he was the best slot corner in the league. He comes from a secondary the Giants’ believe they can collectively be as good and has an attitude to be the best. Of every acquisition the Giants made, the biggest I truly believe will be Thurmond.

FINAL DEPTH CHART:

Eric Kennedy - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Prince Amukamara, Walter Thurmond, Zack Bowman, Charles James, Bennett Jackson.

Jayron Hosley misses the first four games due to the drug suspension and could still be brought back depending on injuries. My longshot prediction is Bennett Jackson making it over Trumaine McBride, who was re-signed to a 2-year, $2.875 million contract this offseason. I think Jackson’s special teams play and overall potential keeps him on the roster.

Connor Hughes - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (RCB), Prince Amukamara (LCB), Walter Thurmond III (nickel), Trumaine McBride (dime), Zack Bowman (reserve), Charles James (reserve).

Jun 212014
 
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Prince Amukamara, New York Giants (August 18, 2013)

Prince Amukamara is ready to breakout in 2014 – © USA TODAY Sports Images

It’s been a good time to be Prince Amukamara.

Over the last 12 months, the former first-round pick proposed to his now-wife Pillar Davis while dressed as a member of the dance group Jabbawockeez, got married and then had his fifth-year option on his rookie contract picked up.

He’s quite literally a ‘Prince’ of a village in Nigeria and is a key component to a defensive secondary that is boasting claims as potentially the league’s best.

Reiterating: It’s a good time to be Prince Amukamara.

“It’s been really good,” Amukamara said. “Marriage is amazing, especially with my wife, she makes it easy. It can be a lot of work, but right now I’m definitely enjoying it.”

Since being selected with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2011 draft, Amukamara’s play on the field hasn’t necessarily matched his life off of it. He’s flashed the ability to be considered one of the league’s best, but has yet to do it on a consistent basis.

Injuries have marred the promising career. In his first practice his rookie year, he broke his foot. In year two, a hamstring injury cost him time. After finally remaining healthy last season, reports surfaced the Giants were ‘unsure’ if they’d exercise their option on his rookie contract.

Per the new collective bargaining agreement, each first-round pick is signed to a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth. If the team sees enough in a player and wants him back, they can have him for the fifth year. If not, the player enters free agency.

In Amukamara’s mind, the Giants’ hesitation was warranted.

“I felt I was kind of in the gray area,” Amukamara said. “I didn’t do enough like a Patrick Peterson to assure that option, but I haven’t done so small that they can count me out. I thought I was in the middle, but I’m glad they picked it up.”

Now, Amukamara hopes to pay back the Giants’ faith with his play on the field.

Tom Coughlin, Prince Amukamara, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

Tom Coughlin hopes Amukamara can be the ball-hawking cornerback they envisioned coming out of the 2011 draft – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Since hauling in an interception on his first defensive snap of his career, Amukamara’s ball-hawking capabilities haven’t necessarily been displayed. He’s recorded just one interception in each of his three seasons. The goal this year is simple: change that.

“I just want to make more plays on the ball,” Amukamara said. “What I’ve been averaging is consistent, but not consistent enough.”

Cornerbacks’ coach Peter Giunta saw a monumental jump from Amukamara last year and sees no reason why it won’t continue this season. The fourth-year player is beginning to take gambles that he hadn’t in years past. Those risks are paying off.

Giunta said he’s seen Amukamara develop a confidence in himself throughout mini-camp and OTAs. During a two-minute drill practice, Amukamara jumped a route causing quarterback Eli Manning to throw to another target. Antrel Rolle intercepted the pass.

“He read the combination, saw it and jumped inside,” Giunta said. “Antrel intercepted it because Prince cut the route off. He knew it was coming because he felt it.”

In the past, the Giants have put an emphasis on the defensive line, rendering the secondary an after thought. In the front office and coaching staff’s minds, if the line could get to the quarterback before he could release the ball, weaknesses in the secondary could be masked.

The theory worked exceptionally well in both of the Giants’ two Super Bowl runs. But then offenses adjusted. Quarterbacks started getting rid of the ball faster, quicker. The holes in the secondary were no longer hidden.

This offseason, the philosophy changed. Gone were the second-tier secondary players; in came big name, after big name. Amukamara joins Antrel Rolle as the lone starter returning in the secondary.

Prince Amukamara, New York Giants (June 12, 2014)

Prince Amukamara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Free-agent signing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will play opposite Amukamara. Walter Thurmond III will be in the nickel. Stevie Brown steps in for the recently departed Will Hill.

“We’re trying to be the No. 1 secondary, just like every secondary, in the league,” Amukamara said. “I think we have a good chance of doing that.”

Helping prepare the team for what they’ll face on Sunday are the Giants’ own group of wide receivers. A corps that has Amukamara impressed. The new offense is up-tempo, fast paced and different than in recent history. Gone are the big bodies. In their place? Speed.

“They’re all fast,” Amukamara said. “It’s like we have six different Cruzs out there. They’re just being fast and they’re able to take the top off of defenses. It’s been great working against them.”