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Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Before the season, many had anticipated that the secondary might not only be the strength of the defense, but the strength of the entire team. The Giants had parted ways with long-time contributors such as Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, and Terrell Thomas and had reinforced the unit with free agents Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie (DRC), Walter Thurmond, Quintin Demps, and Zack Bowman. The team also re-signed Trumaine McBride and Stevie Brown. As for those already under contract, Prince Amukamara appeared primed for his best season, Antrel Rolle was coming off his best season, and Will Hill appeared to be a budding star.

But these high expectations soon began to turn to dust. Will Hill failed yet another drug test and was cut in early June. Jayron Hosley also failed a drug test and was suspended for the first month of the season; when he returned, guys signed off the street quickly passed him on the depth chart. Cooper Taylor looked sharp in the preseason but broke his foot in August and was lost for the year. Injuries then struck hard at corner once the regular season began. Nickel corner Walter Thurmond was placed on Injured Reserve after only two games, followed by  Trumaine McBride and Prince Amukamara. The loss of Amukamara – who indeed was having his best season – was particularly a hard pill to swallow. Without two of their top three corners, more pressure was placed on DRC, who was also dealing with a litany of injury issues to the point where he could not play a full game. A year after playing his best season, Rolle may have played his worst, failing to make many impact plays. And Stevie Brown and Quintin Demps were both disappointing at the other safety spot, both losing the starting job to the other at different points of the season. Stevie Brown’s 2012 season – where he led the team with eight interceptions – appears to have been a mirage.

The Giants were quickly left to scramble and made in-season roster moves including signing Chykie Brown, Mike Harris, and Chandler Fenner. Chykie Brown and Harris performed reasonably well given the circumstances, but overall, the secondary failed to fulfill their preseason boasts as one of the best units in the NFL. The Giants finished 18th in the NFL in pass defense.

THE CORNERBACKS

Although Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played in all 16 games, hamstring, back, side, and shoulder injuries limited practice and game snaps for much of the season and impacted his play on the field. Nevertheless, Rodgers-Cromartie remained the team’s most physically-talented defensive back and he often shut down his opponent. Rodgers-Cromartie finished the season with 38 tackles, two interceptions, and 12 pass defenses. Rodgers-Cromartie was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 and signed with the Broncos as an unrestricted free agent in 2013 and the Giants in 2014. Rodgers-Cromartie combines superb size and overall athletic ability, including speed, size, and leaping ability. When motivated and focused, Rodgers-Cromartie is one of the better cover corners in the NFL. But he needs to be more consistent, and he s not a very physical player as a hitter or tackler.

Prince Amukamara, New York Giants (September 25, 2014)

Prince Amukamara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Prince Amukamara was having his best season before being placed on Injured Reserve in November 2014 with a torn biceps muscle. Amukamara started eight games and finished the season with 45 tackles, three interceptions, and 11 pass defenses. Amukamara was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants, but his initial season was a virtual wash due to a broken foot that required surgery. Amukamara also battled a high ankle sprain and hamstring injuries in 2012. Amukamara is a well-built corner with good overall athleticism and speed. He usually does a good job of keeping his opponent quiet during a game and he finally started making more plays on the football in 2014. Amukamara flashes in run defense with his hitting and tackling.

Walter Thurmond III was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2014 with a torn pectoral muscle that required surgery after playing in only two games. Thurmond was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Seahawks. He missed much of the 2011 and 2012 seasons recovering from a broken leg (fibula), playing in only eight regular-season games. In November 2013, he was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s drug policy. That year he played in 12 regular-season games, with three starts, and finished with 33 tackles, six pass defenses, and one interception that he returned for a touchdown. The Giants signed Thurmond as an unrestricted free agent in March 2014. Thurmond combines decent size with good speed and quickness. Smooth in coverage, Thurmond is considered one of the better slot corners/nickel backs in the NFL. Thurmond obviously has off-the-field concerns.

Trumaine McBride, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

Trumaine McBride – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Trumaine McBride was placed on Injured Reserve in October 2014 after thumb surgery. He finished the 2014 season 21 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 pass defense, and 2 forced fumbles in six games with one start. McBride was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. The Bears waived him in September 2009. He has also spent time with the Cardinals, Saints, and Jaguars. The Giants signed McBride to a Reserve/Future contract in January 2013. That season, McBride played in 15 games with 10 starts, and he finished the season with 37 tackles, 15 pass defenses, 2 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble. McBride lacks ideal size and speed, but he plays with good quickness and instincts.

The Giants claimed Chykie Brown off of waivers from the Baltimore Ravens in November 2014. He ended up playing in eight games with four starts and finished the season with 31 tackles and two pass defenses for the Giants. Brown was originally drafted by the Ravens in the 5th round of the 2011 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Ravens, Brown played in 46 regular-season games with two starts. Brown has decent size and athletic ability. While he struggled in Baltimore, Brown held his own for the Giants in the final month of the season.

The Giants signed Mike Harris off of the Practice Squad of the Detroit Lions in October 2014. He ended up playing in five games with one start, mainly at slot/nickel corner where he performed at a reasonable level. Harris finished the season with 21 tackles, one interception, and two pass defenses. Harris was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. In two seasons with Jacksonville, Harris played in 31 games with eight starts. Harris was waived by the Jaguars in August 2014 before signing with the Lions in October. Harris has decent size and athleticism. He is a good tackler and special teams player.

Zack Bowman, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Zack Bowman – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Zack Bowman played in all 16 games with five starts but saw his playing time decrease as the season progressed despite all of the injuries that hit the secondary. He finished the year with 24 tackles, two interceptions, and six pass defenses. Bowman was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Bears. In six seasons with the Bears, Bowman played in 73 regular-season games with 23 starts. The Giants signed Bowman as an unrestricted free agent in March 2014. Bowman is a big, physical corner who can make plays on the football. He lacks ideal speed and quickness and can be beat deep. Bowman is a good special teams player.

Chandler Fenner was signed to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad in October 2014. He played in 11 games, mainly on special teams, and finished the season with seven tackles. Fenner was originally signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2012 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but the Seattle Seahawks signed him to their Practice Squad in December 2012. He missed all of 2013 with a knee injury that landed him on Seattle’s Injured Reserve. The Giants signed Chandler Fenner in August 2014. Fenner has a nice combination of size and athleticism and he plays a physical game.

Jayron Hosley has not developed since being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He not only received a 4-game suspension for drug use at the start of the season, but he was quickly by-passed on the depth chart by guys signed off of the street when injuries hit the secondary hard. Hosley ended up playing in just six games with two starts. He finished the season with eight tackles and one pass defense. Hosley lacks ideal stature, but he is athletic with good speed and quickness. However, despite his athletic ability, Hosley’s play against the pass actually seems to have deteriorated since being drafted. He has also been very injury prone, missing significant time in both 2012 and 2013.

Bennett Jackson was signed to the Practice Squad in August 2014 and placed on the Practice Squad/Injured List in October 2014 with cartilage damage knee injury that required microfracture surgery. The Giants drafted Jackson in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Jackson converted to cornerback from wide receiver at Notre Dame and could project to safety. He has good size and decent speed for a corner, but may lack ideal quickness for the position. He is a good hitter and tackler. Jackson was a team captain at Notre Dame and a good special teams player.

Josh Victorian was signed to the Practice Squad in November 2014. Victorian was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Since then, he has spent time with the Patriots (2011), Saints (2012), Steelers (2012-13), Texans (2013), and Lions (2014). He has played in 12 NFL games, four for the Steelers with one start in 2012 and eight for the Texans in 2013. Victorian has average size and lacks ideal overall athleticism, but he is a hard working, instinctive football player.

Travis Howard was waived/injured and placed on Injured Reserve in August 2014. Howard was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Houston Texans after the 2013 NFL Draft. He spent some time on the Practice Squad of the Patriots that season before the Giants signed him to their Practice Squad in December 2013. Howard is a physical corner with good ball skills. He has good size and long arms, but lacks ideal speed and quickness. Howard is a good hitter, but he needs to become a more consistent and reliable tackler.

Antrel Rolle, New York Giants (December 14, 2014)

Antrel Rolle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE SAFETIES

Despite starting all 16 games, Antrel Rolle did not have the same impact on the playing field that he did in 2013. Rolle finished the season with 87 tackles, three interceptions, nine pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Rolle was steady but did not make many big plays. Rolle was originally drafted as a cornerback in the 1st round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. After three inconsistent seasons at corner, the Cardinals moved him to free safety in 2008. Rolle was signed by the Giants in March 2010 after the Cardinals cut him in a salary-related move. One of the better coverage safeties in the game, Rolle has good speed and range. Due to his experience as a cornerback, unlike most safeties, Rolle can play man coverage and has often been called upon to play the slot corner position. He is a good tackler and run defender. Rolle has become one of the key leaders of the defense. He also has been very durable, never missing a game in his five seasons with the Giants. Rolle has been voted to the Pro Bowl twice (2009 and 2010) and named All-Pro twice (2010 and 2013). He also played in the 2013 Pro Bowl as a second-alternate.

Stevie Brown played in all 16 games. He started the first three games of the season, lost his starting job for eight weeks, then regained it for the last five weeks of the season. Brown finished with 38 tackles, one sack, and one pass defense. Brown was originally drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 7th round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The Raiders released him in September 2011 and he then spent time with the Panthers and Colts. The Giants signed him in April 2012. Brown had a tremendous season in 2012, intercepting more passes in a single season by a Giant in 44 years. He was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2013 after tearing the ACL in his left knee in the preseason. Brown has superb size for a safety, but lacks quickness and range. Despite his size, he does not stand out as a run defender and tackler. Against the pass, Brown lacks range and quickness, and is prone to making mental mistakes. Contrary to 2012, he rarely made plays on the football in 2014.

Quintin Demps, New York Giants (September 25, 2014)

Quintin Demps – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Quintin Demps begain the season as the Giants’ third safety, was promoted to the starting job for half the season, then lost it again the final month of the season. Demps finished the year with 57 tackles, four interceptions, seven pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Demps was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He has spent time with the Eagles (2008-09), Houston Texans (2010-12), and Chiefs (2013). The Giants signed Demps in March 2014. Demps has a nice combination of size and athletic ability. He’s a frustratingly inconsistent player who flashes play-making ability but also makes too many mistakes in coverage. He does not stand out against the run either.

Nat Berhe, a 5th round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, played in all 16 games. Although he was mainly relegated to special teams, he did see some time on defense and finished the season with 10 tackles. Berhe lacks ideal size and speed, but he is a smart, aggressive competitor who plays hard all of the time. In college, Berhe made a ton of tackles against the run, but was not as active in pass defense.

Cooper Taylor was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2014 with a semasoid bone issue in his foot that required surgery. Cooper was impressing with his play during training camp and the preseason. Cooper was selected in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. A heart condition caused him to slip in the draft. Taylor has an excellent combination of size and athleticism. Taylor missed six games in 2013 with shoulder and hamstring injuries. He played in 10 games that year, serving almost exclusively on special teams.

Thomas Gordon was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. The team waived Gordon in August, but re-signed him to the Practice Squad in December 2014. Gordon lacks ideal height, but he is well-built and a decent athlete. He is a good run defender who hits and tackles well. He started 38 games at Michigan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Articles on New York Giants Wide Receivers:

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

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

Oct 162014
 
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Perry Fewell, New York Giants (October 16, 2011)

Perry Fewell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

October 16, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) and RB Rashad Jennings (knee) did not practice on Thursday. Jennings has already been ruled out of the game against the Dallas Cowboys this weekend.

“I think they’re working on trying to get him to where he can do something,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin about Rodgers-Cromartie.

It is the same thing. Problems down my leg on the entire right side. I am just trying to rest it and get it right,” said Rodgers-Cromartie. “I definitely thought I would be back by today. You want Thursday and Friday to get that time in, but definitely looking to push forward and (practice) tomorrow…(I am at) 60 percent.”

LB Spencer Paysinger (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.

LB Jon Beason (toe) and P Steve Weatherford (left ankle) fully practiced.

October 16, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video clips of Thursday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

October 16, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

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

Articles on WR Odell Beckham:

Article on WR Victor Cruz: Injured WR Victor Cruz can become NY Giants source of inspiration by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on CB Jayron Hosley: Giants CB Jayron Hosley: I’m at a much better place mentally than I was in the preseason by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on the Giants-Eagles Game: Giants film review: Did Eli Manning have a chance on any of the sacks? by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

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

Sep 102014
 
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Steve Weatherford, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Steve Weatherford – © USA TODAY Sports Images

September 10, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Wednesday were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), OT James Brewer (back), DT Cullen Jenkins (hip), DT Markus Kuhn (ankle), LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), and P Steve Weatherford (ankle).

The Star-Ledger is reporting that Weatherford suffered several torn ligaments in his left ankle, but he will not require surgery.

“Just trying to get healthy at this point, trying to reduce inflammation, get the range of motion back and get ready and try to go on Sunday,” said Weatherford. “It’s my plant foot, so it’s weight bearing…Right now we’re not looking for me to just get the ball off. I’m not going to tell Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin that I’m ready to go unless I know that I can help my team and I can be as good as I can be. At the same time you don’t want to have another punter come in here that’s not used to this stadium, it’s not an easy place to play. I’m going to do what’s in the best interest of the team and if I don’t feel like I can help my team, I’m going to tell them that I need another week. It’s progressing well. It actually felt better yesterday than it did on Monday night.”

“His ankle actually looks better today than it did yesterday and he’s doing jumping jacks and stuff in there now,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “Hopefully, that will continue.”

LB Jon Beason (foot) and OT Charles Brown (shoulder) practiced on a limited basis.

DE Jason Pierre-Paul, who suffered a neck stinger during the game on Monday, was not listed on the injury report and fully practiced.

September 10, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Wednesday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

September 10, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Wednesday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on New York Giants President/CEO John Mara: Giants president John Mara will make changes if necessary by Bob Glauber of Newsday

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Giants’ O’s problem talent, not tactics by Johnette Howard of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Cardinals coach: It’ll take half a season to ‘re-program’ Eli by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Odell Beckham feels good but doesn’t want to rush back again by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants Secondary: Giants’ secondary eager to get past Motor City meltdown by Zach Braziller of The New York Post

Sep 062014
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

September 6, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Saturday were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring) and DT Markus Kuhn (ankle). Beckham and Kuhn have both been officially ruled out of the game against the Detroit Lions on Monday night.

Jon Beason (foot), OG Brandon Mosley (back), OT Charles Brown (shoulder), and OT James Brewer (back) practiced on a limited basis. Brewer has been ruled out of the game. Beason, Mosley, and Brown are “probable.”

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

Article on the 2014 New York Giants: New Offense Features Old-School Run Game by Alex Raskin of The Wall Street Journal

Article on Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo: McAdoo not dwelling on awful preseason by Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on the New York Giants Offense: NY Giants offense may not be a force, but maybe it doesn’t need to be by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Article on WR Victor Cruz: Giants make wise choice by naming Victor Cruz a captain by Tara Sullivan of The Bergen Record

Article on the New York Giants Tight Ends: Giants Show Little Promise at Tight End by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on LB Jon Beason: Jon Beason set for season opener after offseason foot surgery by Bart Hubbuch of The New York Post

Article on S Stevie Brown: Giants’ Brown confident he can thrive again after latest injury by George Willis of The New York Post

Aug 222014
 
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Andre Williams, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Articles on the New York Giants Offense:

Article on QB Eli Manning:

Article on General Manager Jerry Reese and WR Odell Beckham: Odell Beckham may add to NY Giants GM Jerry Reese’s draft duds by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Rashad Jennings hoping for diverse offense after years where run was expected by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Articles on the New York Giants Tight Ends:

Articles on the New York Giants Defensive Line:

Articles on the New York Giants Linebackers:

Article on S Stevie Brown: Giants’ Stevie Brown comes full circle by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Aug 042014
 
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Daniel Fells, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Daniel Fells – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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:

  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • QB Ryan Nassib (Video)
  • RB Andre Williams (Video)
  • WR Corey Washington (Video)
  • OT Justin Pugh (Video)
  • DE Damontre Moore (Video)

Sights & Sounds from Giants-Bills Game: A sights & sounds video from the Giants-Bills preseason game is available at Giants.com.

Article on the Giants-Bills Game: 5 Giants takeaways from Hall of Fame Game vs. Bills by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on the 2014 New York Giants: Victor Cruz, NY Giants won’t be looking ahead, but still have plenty of confidence by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Article on QB Eli Manning and Former Giants DE Michael Strahan: Eli Manning appreciates Michael Strahan’s words and accomplishments by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on QB Ryan Nassib: Giants QB Ryan Nassib out to prove he can be Eli Manning’s backup by Arthur Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Articles on New York Giants Running Backs:

Article on WR Corey Washington: Giants long-shot wideout Corey Washington finds strength from a special fan by Conor Orr of The

Article on DT Markus Kuhn: After torn ACL, Giants’ Markus Kuhn gets fresh start by Zach Braziller of The New York Post

Article on S Stevie Brown: Giants’ Stevie Brown looking to pick up where he left off by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on PK Josh Brown: Brown knows Giants job not guaranteed by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

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.

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 172014
 
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Antrel Rolle, New York Giants (November 17, 2013)

Antrel Rolle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With the New York Giants reporting to camp next week, 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 safeties.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWNS: Safeties

Will Hill, New York Giants (October 27, 2013)

Will Hill – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2013 YEAR IN REVIEW: Things truly couldn’t have started much worse for the Giants’ safety unit in 2013. In the team’s third preseason game versus the Jets, Stevie Brown injured his knee returning an interception and was lost for the year.

Shades of C.C. Brown began to dance in the minds of fans… then Will Hill happened.

Hill returned from a four-game suspension to take over as the Giants’ starting safety opposite Antrel Rolle. Hill recorded 77 tackles, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and scored a game-winning touchdown versus the Lions. For 12 weeks, Hill flashed the play-making ability that made him one of the more coveted recruits out of high school. The safety played with reckless abandon, a never-ending motor and was constantly around the ball. As was the case versus the Redskins when Hill ripped the ball out of the hands of Pierre Garcon on fourth-and-1, preserving a Giants victory.

While the 24-year-old’s season was impressive, so was that of his safety counterpart.

Finally being allowed to play safety full time, Antrel Rolle put together his best season in a Giants’ uniform. The former first-round pick earned Pro-Bowl honors, finished with the team lead in tackles (98) and interceptions (6), recorded two sacks and forced fumble a fumble.

Behind Hill and Rolle, Ryan Mundy was solid in Perry Fewell’s signature three-safety package. The 29-year-old was a force down in the box and recorded 77 tackles, good for fifth on the team. Rookie Cooper Taylor saw limited action, mostly on special teams.

Quintin Demps, Kansas City Chiefs (December 15, 2013)

Quintin Demps – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Get this one out of the way early: After captivating the hearts of fans, Will Hill’s unbelievable season won’t get an encore. For the third consecutive year, Hill faced a drug-related suspension after his urine came up positive for marijuana. While the third-year player claimed it was for ‘second-hand pot,’ the six-game suspension was the last straw in a troubled career. The Giants cut ties with Hill, having warned him over and over again he was on his last strike. Ryan Mundy also left when the Giants’ chose not to renew his one-year contract.

The team re-signed Stevie Brown, who looks to have slid back into his starting safety position. Quintin Demps was brought over from Kansas City and Nat Berhe was drafted in the fifth round. C.J. Barnett and Thomas Gordon were brought in as undrafted rookies.

TRAINING CAMP STORYLINES: The health of Stevie Brown and his ability to ‘replace’ Will Hill may be the No. 1 question heading into camp. While Brown did record a league-high eight interceptions in 2012, many were a result of being in the right place at the right time and teams wanted to test the unproven Brown. Does he have the natural athletic ability that Hill has? No. Can he be serviceable? Yes. How serviceable? No one knows.

Cooper Taylor’s progression and the overall talent of Nat Berhe will worth keeping an eye on. Taylor has added muscle in the offseason, per the coaches request, and may be a sleeper to see increased playing time in his second year. In college, Berhe played San Diego State’s ‘Aztec’ position, a hybrid mix of the linebacker and safety positions. If he develops, he may make an immediate impact, but will need to climb the depth chart first.

ON THE BUBBLE: There really isn’t any big-name player that is in jeopardy of being cut. Right now, the Giants have seven safeties on the roster and figure to keep four or five. The odd men out? Most likely C.J. Barnett and Thomas Gordon. Cooper Taylor may be in warm water, but the odds of Jerry Reese cutting last year’s fifth-round pick are slim-to-none.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: David Merritt on what makes Quintin Demps a good candidate as the team’s third safety: “His speed, his ability to actually change directions and burst. Quintin has played back in the post for most of his career. One of the things that he told me when he first arrived was, ‘Coach, I want to be down near the box.’ So when he said that I said, ‘Well you know what, I’m going to give you all of the tools to hopefully help you be successful down around the box.’ His speed, his ability to change directions and burst is one of the valuable assets that he brings to the table.

“Because he’s played back so many years as a deep safety, being back 20 yards. When you’ve been back there for that amount of years you want to get down around the action. I think he probably has seen guys being down around the action, Berry that he played with in Kansas City, Pollard, the kid that was with him in Houston so he’s see all of these guys down around the action where he’s been back just as a safety valve. Now he’s down close to the box and he’s learning the linebacker aspect of it.”

PREDICTIONS:
Connor Hughes - I’m very, very concerned with Stevie Brown heading into the 2014 season. Not necessarily for his health, but simply because I’m not convinced he’s a starting-caliber player in the NFL.

Stevie Brown, New York Giants (October 7, 2012)

Stevie Brown – © USA TODAY Sports Images

What made Brown so good for the majority of the 2012 season was that he was allowed to play back in the ‘Kenny Phillips’ role. Brown would line up 15-20 yards behind the defense, wait for the deep ball and then track it down in the air. When Phillips played the position, teams stayed away from the deep pass. When Brown played it, they attacked him. The result? Eight interceptions.

If Quintin Demps can develop into a player that can play down in the box, as Merritt suggested he wants to do, then Brown can go back to playing the ‘Kenny Phillips’ role. It best suits him as he’s not an incredible player in the box. With that being said, can Demps play in the box? He’s unproven, just like every Giants’ safety not named ‘Antrel.’

I agreed entirely with the Giants decision to cut Will Hill. It was time. You can’t send that message to the locker room keeping him on the team. But looking over the roster, I just don’t see a viable replacement. The revamped and retooled cornerback position is going to have to carry the load. With their paychecks, that shouldn’t be a problem.

With that being said, there will be times Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie guesses wrong, it’s part of his game. Will there be a player behind him to catch his mistake? We’ll see.

Eric Kennedy – Losing Will Hill was a huge blow. The defense dramatically improved in 2013 once Jon Beason and Will Hill were inserted into the starting line-up. Hill looked like a future Pro Bowl free safety. He might have been the best player on the team last season. Now he’s bagging groceries. Stupid is as stupid does. Like Connor, I have my doubts about Stevie Brown. In 2012, he definitely had a nose for the football, but he also was missing in action on some big pass plays. In addition, he doesn’t hit or play the run like a big safety. I’d accept fewer interceptions if you could guarantee fewer big coverage breakdowns and better run defense.

The coaches have been talking up Quintin Demps more than his reputation in Philadelphia and Kansas City should indicate. Demps thinks he is better suited closer to the line of scrimmage and he may be right. Demps has the inside track on the third safety position in the Giants three-safety package. If he stumbles, Cooper Taylor has the physical tools to steal playing time.

My prediction is that 31-year old Antrel Rolle hasn’t peaked and will have an even better season in 2014. He’s the unquestioned leader of the strongest part of the defense. I expect that to motivate him, as well the fact that he’s entering the final year of his current contract. And I expect the talent at cornerback to allow him to take more chances to make plays on the football. He hasn’t returned a pick for a touchdown yet as a Giant (four times with Cardinals), but I believe he will do that twice in 2014.

FINAL DEPTH CHART
Connor Hughes - Antrel Rolle/Stevie Brown start. Quintin Demps third safety. Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe reserve. C.J. Barnett, and Thomas Gordon cut.

Eric Kennedy – Antrel Rolle/Stevie Brown start. Quintin Demps third safety. Cooper Taylor reserve. Nat Berhe, C.J. Barnett, and Thomas Gordon cut. My biggest problem is figuring out how the Giants get from 54 to 53. My gut says Nat Berhe makes the team, but I can’t see how the Giants can carry 11 defensive backs in addition to nine defensive linemen, six wide receivers, and five running backs/fullback. Something has to give. I’m guessing they try to sneak Berhe onto the Practice Squad. C.J. Barnett and Thomas Gordon have some talent too.

Jul 022014
 
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New York Giants Helmets (August 10, 2013)

© USA TODAY Sports Images

Charles Way Leaves Giants for NFL Head Office: Charles Way, the New York Giants Director of Player Development since 2000, is leaving the team to join the NFL office as the head of the league’s Player Engagement Department. Way was a fullback for the Giants from 1995-1999 until a knee injury forced his retirement. In five seasons, the Way rushed for 1,356 yards, caught 118 passes, and scored 14 touchdowns.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to continue to advance the initiatives of the Player Engagement Department,” said Way. “I am thankful to (former Giants General Manager) Ernie Accorsi for envisioning the importance and significance of the role I have had with the Giants and grateful for the support of John Mara, Steve Tisch, Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin in implementing and developing the programs we have instituted. We will continue to build on the foundation of NFL Player Engagement that has been established over the past 25 years.”

With the Giants, Way developed and managed off-field player programs, rookie orientations, and player counseling. He also advised the players regarding career planning, educational opportunities, and team and professional requirements. Way coordinated player activities in support of the public relations and community relations programs. He was instrumental in devising new programs for the Giants,  including leadership training, professional development, and team building. Way even helped coach the team’s running backs and fullbacks.

“We appreciate the contributions Charles has made here with the Giants, and we know he will bring the same commitment and energy and passion to player engagement at the league level,” General Manager Jerry Reese said. “Our players over the years have benefitted from the programs and initiatives Charles has implemented, and Charles’ concern for their well-being and his efforts to prepare them for their lives after football is one of the reasons players feel good about this organization.”

“We wish Charles well,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. “He wanted to be included in everything, and I think the opportunity to include him as almost one of the football staff was beneficial. He knew what we were thinking about individual players, and he got to know the players from the time they came out of college into the professional game and as they developed professionally. Because he was able to build relationships with the players, they had great respect for him and what he was trying to achieve, and they knew that everything he did was in their best interest.”

Giants.com Q&A with WR Odell Beckham: The video of a Q&A session with WR Odell Beckham, Jr. is available at Giants.com.

Inside Football Q&A with RB Andre Williams: The transcript of a Q&A session with RB Andre Williams is available at InsideFootball.com.

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