Sep 022017
 
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Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (November 27, 2016)

Mark Herzlich – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS REDUCE ROSTER TO 53; TRADE FOR CORNERBACK…
On Saturday, in order to meet the NFL’s 53-man roster limit, the New York Giants made 29 roster moves.

Players who were placed on Injured Reserve included:

  • LB Mark Herzlich (burner)
  • DT Josh Banks (shoulder – torn labrum requiring surgery)

Players who were cut included:

  • QB Josh Johnson
  • RB Shaun Draughn
  • RB Khalid Abdullah
  • FB Jacob Huesman
  • WR Travis Rudolph
  • WR Jerome Lane
  • WR Canaan Severin
  • WR Marquis Bundy
  • WR Ed Eagan
  • TE Will Tye
  • OT Adam Bisnowaty
  • OT Jarron Jones
  • OG/OC Jon Halapio
  • OG Matt Rotheram
  • DE Devin Taylor
  • DE Jordan Williams
  • DT Bobby Richardson
  • LB Deontae Skinner
  • LB Stansly Maponga
  • LB Curtis Grant
  • CB Donte Deayon
  • CB DaShaun Amos
  • CB Nigel Tribune
  • S Ryan Murphy
  • S Trey Robinson
  • PK Mike Nugent

The Giants also sent a conditional draft pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for cornerback Ross Cockrell. The 6’0”, 191-pound Cockrell was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The Bills cut Cockrell in August 2015 and he then signed with the Steelers. In two seasons with the Steelers, Cockrell played in 31 regular-season games with 23 starts. He started all 16 games in 2016 and finished the year with 62 tackles and 14 pass defenses. He had two interceptions with the Steelers in 2015. Cockrell struggled with the Steelers this preseason.

“Today was a challenging day. This week was a challenging week,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “You have to hand it to the players. They really worked hard in camp. And then Thursday night really made it tough on us. It’s a tough day every time you go through it. The second year is probably harder than it was last year, considering the relationships you build with the men on the team.”

Regarding the competition between quarterbacks Geno Smith and Josh Johnson for the primary back-up job behind Eli Manning, McAdoo said,  “It was a close call. Both men earned an opportunity and can play in this league. We wish Josh the best and thanked him for everything he’s done for us.”

Aldrick Rosas beat out veteran Mike Nugent for the team’s place kicker. “We know Aldrick has a big leg, and we really liked the way he responded throughout training camp and in the preseason games,” McAdoo said. “Mike Nugent was a guy that came in and was a great teammate and was a pro. He pushed Aldrick, which made him better, and it made Aldrick better. I think at the end of the day you go with the players who’s been here (since January) and has the biggest upside.”

Five of the team’s six 2017 draft choices made the 53-man roster. Bisnowaty was waived despite being drafted in the 6th round. In addition, three rookie free agents are on the team: FB Shane Smith, OT Chad Wheeler, and LB Calvin Munson.

“Munson is a guy we were excited about from a special teams perspective,” McAdoo said. “He’s also a guy that can add depth at linebacker. We had a lot of guys nicked at the linebacker position, so he got to play a lot of football for us, which is good for him. We need to get him going on the special teams as well. It’s a credit to Munson, he’s done a nice job jumping in with both feet and really taking advantage of his meeting time and his field time.

“Wheeler probably should have been drafted in the middle rounds somewhere. He slid on the board and we were fortunate enough to get him as a free agent. He’s a talented player who has a little bit of a mean streak in him, which we like. Fundamentally, he’s coming along, and we feel he has a bright future for us.

“Shane Smith – we wanted to take the best 53 and not be concerned about which position they play. It just happens to be he’s a fullback and he really fits in well with the tight end group as far as his skill set. He can do a variety of things for us on special teams and on offense. It adds another piece to your board. You can move him around. He has some flexibility.”

Last year, in his second season, Will Tye was promoted to the starting tight end spot at midseason after the bye week. He played in all 16 regular-season games, with 10 starts, and finished the year with 48 catches for 395 yards (8.2 yards per catch) and just one touchdown. Tye was originally signed as a rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. In 2015, he played in 13 games with seven starts, and finished the season with 42 catches for 464 yards and three touchdowns. Tye was voted to the Pro Football Writers NFL All-Rookie Team.

“Will is a guy that played a lot of football for us and played well,” McAdoo said. “That was a tough decision to make, but we feel we chose the best four (tight ends) for our football team moving forward. We’re excited to get going with those guys.”

Herzlich was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. He has started 17 regular-season games in his six seasons with the Giants, eight of which were in 2014. Last year, Herzlich played in 14 regular-season games, missing two with a concussion. He finished with seven tackles on defense.

“We felt it was best to put Mark on IR this year and give him an opportunity to get healthy,” McAdoo said. “He’ll still be involved with the team, whether it’s in the locker room, or in the meeting rooms. Mark will still be around to help the guys.”

Veteran DE Devin Taylor, who the Giants signed in the offseason, was also cut. “We have a lot of talented players in that defensive line room, a lot of depth in the room,” said McAdoo. “Devin Taylor can play in the league – he’s played in this league and he’s started in this league. He’ll probably go somewhere else and do the same thing. We’re confident with the group of men we have in the room.”

ARTICLES…

Aug 222017
 
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Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, New York Giants (August 21, 2017)

Odell Beckham walks off of the field after ankle injury – © USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND BROWNS 10 – NEW YORK GIANTS 6…
The New York Giants’ offense continued to struggle in the second preseason game as the Giants fell to the Cleveland Browns 10-6 on Monday night at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. But the more alarming news for New York was on the injury front as wide receiver Odell Beckham (ankle), wide receiver Brandon Marshall (shoulder), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), and cornerback Michael Hunter (concussion) were all forced to leave the game. X-rays on Beckham’s ankle were negative, but he will undergo further evaluations on Tuesday. The Giants did not provide an update on Marshall after the game. King, who has missed a couple of weeks with an ankle injury, appears to have re-injured it. And Hunter will now enter the NFL’s concussion protocol.

For the second game in a row, the Giants failed to score a touchdown. Quarterback Eli Manning was a respectable 10-of-14 for 80 yards, but the offensive line again had issues pass and run blocking. Despite accruing 16 yards on one run, starting halfback Paul Perkins finished the night with 10 yards on six carries. Overall, the Giants were held to an embarrassing 212 total net yards (147 yards passing, 65 yards rushing) and 13 first downs. The offense also turned the football over three times, including an interception by quarterback Geno Smith and fumbles by wide receiver Sterling Shepard and running back Wayne Gallman. The Giants were 3-of-12 on third down and 0-for-2 in red zone opportunities.

On the positive side, the Giants’ defense continues to play well. The Browns were held to 242 total net yards (134 yards passing, 108 yards rushing) and 18 first downs. Defensive end Olivier Vernon tipped one pass that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul intercepted. Both ends also split a sack. Linebacker B.J. Goodson also picked up his second sack in two preseason games.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. left the game with an ankle injury. X-rays were negative, but the Giants said he will undergo further evaluation. Beckham was also evaluated for a possible concussion, but cleared.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall injured his shoulder in the game. Cornerback Michael Hunter left the game in the 3rd quarter with a concussion. Wide receiver Tavarres King left the game early with an ankle injury.

Not playing in the game were running back Shaun Draughn (ankle), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (upper body), wide receiver Darius Powe (hamstring), wide receiver Andrew Turzilli (hamstring), offensive lineman Adam Gettis (eye), offensive lineman Michael Bowie (arrest warrant), linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), and linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger).

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Ben McAdoo (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (Video)
  • LG Justin Pugh (Video)
  • S Landon Collins (Video)

ARTICLES…

Jul 272017
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (June 13, 2017)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP BEGINS…
New York Giants players reported to summer training camp on Thursday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The first practice will be held at 11:40AM on Friday and will be one of eleven practices open to the public, weather permitting. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

All 90 New York Giants players, including defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, reported to camp. Odighizuwa missed all of the team’s spring work due to unspecified “personal issues.”

SHAUN DRAUGHN TO PUP, J.T. THOMAS BEING EVALUATED…
New York Giants running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) was placed on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List at the start of training camp. Meanwhile, linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) is still being evaluated.

“J.T. is taking a physical right now,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “He’s going to be here, you know, right now, he’s going to be here. But, we have to make some decisions on how he comes out of the physical.”

GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE…
The transcript of Jerry Reese’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

Jul 052017
 
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Paul Perkins, New York Giants (October 3, 2016)

Paul Perkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) 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: Running Backs

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW:  Two years ago – in 2015 – the Giants running backs finished 18th in rushing with 100.6 yards per game and averaging 4.0 yards per rush. The Giants rushed for only five touchdowns. The leading rushers on the team that year were Rashad Jennings (863 yards, three touchdowns), Shane Vereen (260 yards, zero touchdowns), Andre Williams (257 yards, one touchdown), and Orleans Darkwa (153 yards one touchdown). In addition, Vereen proved a significant weapon in the passing game with 59 catches for 494 yards and four touchdowns. Jennings also contributed with 29 catches for 296 yards and one touchdown.

Despite the mediocre rushing numbers, there was optimism entering the 2016 season. Half of Jennings’ 2015 yardage (432 yards) came in the last four games of the season. The ground game – led by Jennings – seemed to peaking behind a young and improving offensive line that would remain intact coming into 2016. In addition, replacing the disappointing Andre Williams with 5th rounder Paul Perkins appeared to an upgrade. Vereen was coming off of his best pro season and expected to continue to serve a duo-purpose threat. And the Giants signed veteran hybrid fullback/tight end Will Johnson to mount a significant challenge to fullback Nikita Whitlock.

The 2016 results were a major disappointment. The Giants ground game not only worsened, but it fell to 29th with a paltry 88.2 yards per game and averaging 3.5 yards per rush. The Giants rushed for only six touchdowns. And pass receptions by running backs fell from 92 catches for 828 yards and five touchdowns in 2015 to 83 catches for 622 yards and one touchdown in 2016.

Why the drop? Inconsistent blocking by the offensive line and tight ends was a factor. The improvement by the line – under new offensive like coach Mike Solari – never occurred. There was not a strong blocking tight end on the team. In addition, both fullbacks were lost to injury for the season before it began and the team carried no fullbacks on the roster. As such, the Giants “bread-and-butter” running play was out of the shotgun formation.

But truth be told, it also became painfully clear that while a good guy and a strong locker room presence, Jennings was no more than an aging, backup-at-best halfback who rarely created yardage on his own either by elusiveness or breaking tackles. Starting 12-of-16 regular-season games, Jennings only averaged 3.3 yards per carry. Vereen missed the bulk of the season with a triceps injury that he also re-injured, and his absence in the passing game was very noticeable. Bobby Rainey replaced him but only had 20 receptions. Orleans Darkwa started two games but only received 30 carries and got hurt again. The only real bright spot was Perkins, but he was not a significant factor until December, gaining 271 of his 456 rushing yards in his last four regular-season games.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants cut Rashad Jennings in February and chose to not re-sign unrestricted free agent Bobby Rainey. It’s telling that both remain unemployed football players. While the Giants did not tender the injury-prone Orleans Darkwa as a restricted free agent, they did somewhat surprisingly re-sign him in March as an unrestricted free agent. The Giants also re-signed RB/FB ‘tweener Jacob Huesman, who the team originally added to the Practice Squad in December 2016.

The new faces include veteran free agent Shaun Draughn, 4th-round draft pick Wayne Gallman, and undrafted rookie free agents Khalid Abdullah and Shane Smith.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Head Coach Ben McAdoo somewhat surprisingly labeled Paul Perkins the starter early in the offseason. It’s his job to lose. But that does not mean there aren’t questions about his pro-level skill-set and durability. Perkins must prove he is a legit NFL starting-caliber running back. Provided he can stay healthy, Shane Vereen should regain the #2 job as the team’s primary 3rd down back. Shaun Draughn – who has a similar skill set to Vereen – was most likely signed as insurance in case the injury-prone Vereen gets hurt again. 2017 may be more of a redshirt year for Wayne Gallman unless he impresses early or someone gets hurt. The wild card is Orleans Darkwa. The coaches seem to like him, but he has not been able to stay healthy.

One of the big question marks will be whether or not McAdoo wants to carry a fullback this year. Unlike last season, the Giants are far more talented at the tight end position and it may be a number’s game in whether or not the team wants to carry an additional tight end or a fullback. Rookie free agent Shane Smith has the look of a traditional fullback while ‘tweener Jacob Huesman is actually a former quarterback.

“Anytime you have a big fullback type in the backfield it adds an element of physicality that is tough to replace when you don’t have it,” McAdoo said in March. “It just didn’t work out last year. It’s not by design… I hear that I don’t want to have a fullback on the roster, and that’s news to me. I think you want the best team you can put out there, but that position has to have special-teams value. I don’t think you just want someone on your roster who plays seven plays a game. They’re not going to play a ton of plays, but the plays they do play are impactful-type plays in the ballgame. But they need to have some value special teams-wise.”

ON THE BUBBLE: Barring injury (with this group, that is more than a passing concern), the locks would appear to be Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, and Wayne Gallman. Everyone else is on the bubble and fighting for a job.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Craig Johnson on Paul Perkins: “He was an effective runner last year. You have to be able to catch the ball. He did a good job in that and you have to be able to block people because they’re going to try you out. I thought that he probably improved the most in that situation. Guys were testing him out to get to the quarterback and he held up very good in protection… (As a runner) he really can cut sharp. He puts his foot in the ground and bursts through the hole. I like that. It helps both in the run and in the pass protection. That really helps his versatility.”

Johnson on Wayne Gallman: “Coming from college, he was a very productive runner. Stats don’t lie. So far what I’ve seen in practice is that he has been effectively able to run the ball in the runs he’s been given. The pass protection, he’s coming along in. He’s certainly made a big improvement in the last week or so. He’s been able to catch the ball effectively. Again, as a young back, he’s trying to figure it all out. The game is a little too fast for him, like they are for every back right now when they’re young. The game starts to slow down and he’s starting to get it. I’ve seen a couple bursts. I think he will continue to get it in the future.”

PREDICTIONS: Other than Shane Vereen as 3rd-down back, this is largely an unproven group. It remains an open question whether or not the Giants have a running back on the roster that will concern opposing defenses. Paul Perkins has to demonstrate that he has the skill set and durability to be a 1,000-yard NFL rusher. As a draft prospect, Wayne Gallman was largely considered a solid, well-rounded back who didn’t excel in any one area. Vereen and Darkwa have proven to be injury-prone players. On paper, at best, this looks like a middle-of-the-pack group. Hopefully, the blocking up front by the line, tight ends, and maybe fullback improves this year. If not, offensively the Giants will remain a finesse passing team.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, Wayne Gallman, Shaun Draughn (no fullback)

Mar 232017
 
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Shane Vereen, New York Giants (August 12 2016)

Shane Vereen – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SHANE VEREEN TAKES A PAY CUT…
According to NFL Player Association records, New York Giants running back Shane Vereen has accepted a $1 million pay cut to his 2017 salary. Vereen’s salary was reduced from $3.15 million to $2.15 million. NJ.com is reporting that the reduction “is a straight pay cut with no incentives added to his contract to make up the lost income.” The Giants recently paid him a $500,000 roster bonus that was due if he remained on the team. Vereen is in the final year of his current contract.

(Late Corrrection: The NFL Network is reporting that in exchange for the $1 million salary reduction, Vereen can earn that back plus $250,000 through incentives).

Vereen was placed on Injured Reserve (IR) in September 2016 with a triceps injury that required surgery, activated back off of IR in December, and then placed on IR again that same month after re-injuring his triceps and needing surgery again. In all, Vereen played in just five games in 2016 and finished the season with 33 rushes for 158 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and 11 catches for 94 yards.

Vereen was originally selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2015. In 2015, serving as the team’s third-down back and playing in all 16 games with no starts, Vereen had his most productive year in the NFL as a pass receiver. He caught a career-high 59 passes for 495 yards and four touchdowns. It was the most receptions by a Giants running back in a single season since Tiki Barber. Vereen also carried the ball 61 times for 260 yards (4.3 yards per carry).

Vereen lacks ideal size and power, but he is an elusive back with good vision and quickness. Vereen is one of the better pass-catching backs in the NFL as he runs good routes and has good hands. He is also solid in pass protection. Vereen has proven to be somewhat injury prone.

SHAUN DRAUGHN DEAL OFFICIAL…
The New York Giants officially announced that the team signed unrestricted free agent running back Shaun Draughn (San Francisco 49ers) on Wednesday.

“I think my versatility has helped keep me in the league,” Draughn said. “(The Giants) talked about my versatility. I don’t know exactly how they’ll use me. I’m sure they’ll use me to the strengths that I have.”

The 29-year Draughn was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Washington Redskins after the 2011 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Redskins (2011), Kansas City Chiefs (2011–2012), Baltimore Ravens (2013), Indianapolis Colts (2013), Chicago Bears (2014), San Diego Chargers (2014), Cleveland Browns (2014–2015), and San Francisco 49ers (2015-2016). In six seasons, Draughn has played in 57 regular-season games with seven starts (all seven coming with the 49ers in the last two years). For his career, Draughn has rushed the ball 225 times for 723 yards (3.2 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns. He also 80 catches for 597 yards and two touchdowns.

Draughn has ordinary size (5’11”, 205 pounds), but he is a tough, hard-nosed cut-back runner who can move the chains in short yardage and catch the football. He is a good special teams player.

Video of an exclusive Giants Insider interview with Draughn is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

Mar 212017
 
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Shaun Draughn, San Francisco 49ers (November 27, 2016)

Shaun Draughn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN RUNNING BACK SHAUN DRAUGHN…
ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent running back Shaun Draughn (San Francisco 49ers) to a 1-year contract.

The 29-year Draughn was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Washington Redskins after the 2011 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Redskins (2011), Kansas City Chiefs (2011–2012), Baltimore Ravens (2013), Indianapolis Colts (2013), Chicago Bears (2014), San Diego Chargers (2014), Cleveland Browns (2014–2015), and San Francisco 49ers (2015-2016). In six seasons, Draughn has played in 57 regular-season games with seven starts (all seven coming with the 49ers in the last two years). For his career, Draughn has rushed the ball 225 times for 723 yards (3.2 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns. He also 80 catches for 597 yards and two touchdowns.

Draughn has ordinary size (5’11”, 205 pounds), but he is a tough, hard-nosed cut-back runner who can move the chains in short yardage and catch the football. He is a good special teams player.

Including Draughn, the Giants now have seven running backs under contract, including Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, George Winn, Jacob Huesman, and Daryl Virgies.