Aug 012014
 
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Chandler Fenner (48), Kansas City Chiefs (August 30, 2012)

Chandler Fenner (48) – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants made four roster moves Friday as the team announced the signings of cornerback Chandler Fenner and offensive tackle Adam Gress. To make room for these two, the Giants placed offensive tackle Troy Kropog on Injured Reserve with a foot injury and waived/injured cornerback Travis Howard with a knee injury.

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 Seahawks waived him last Tuesday. Fenner has a nice combination of size and athleticism and he plays a physical game.

Gress is an undrafted rookie free agent out of Penn State. Gress tried out with the Steelers in May after the 2014 NFL Draft but was not signed. Gress has good size but lacks athleticism.

The Giants signed Kropog to a reserve/future contract in January 2014. Kropog was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. The Titans waived him in September 2012 and he then spent time with the Jaguars (2012), Vikings (2012-13) and Redskins (2013). He had been seeing some second-team reps at right tackle in training camp.

The Giants signed Howard to the Practice Squad in late December 2013. Howard was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Houston Texans after the 2013 NFL Draft. The Texans waived him in August 2013 and Howard spent some time on the Practice Squad of the New England Patriots in October 2013.

Because of these moves, we have updated the TransactionsRoster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

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).

Dec 302013
 
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Tom Coughlin, John Mara, New York Giants (November 24, 2013)

Tom Coughlin and John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

December 30, 2013 John Mara Press Conference: The transcript and video of Giants President/CEO John Mara’s Monday press conference are available at Giants.com.

December 30, 2013 Jerry Reese Press Conference: The transcript and video of General Manager Jerry Reese’s Monday press conference are available at Giants.com.

December 30, 2013 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Monday press conference are available at Giants.com.

Injury Update on LT Will Beatty and RB David Wilson: General Manager Jerry Reese was asked about LT Will Beatty, who broke his leg in the game against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. “We think he’ll be back and he’ll be ready to play next season. We do think that,” said Reese. “From early reviews, we think Will will be back. We think he will be back and hopefully he will be back and he can get going and have a good offseason as well. He didn’t play as well as we hoped he’d play. I think he’d own that as well. Hopefully he can get back, get healthy and go on and have a great off-season and be a good left tackle.”

Reese was also asked about the future status of RB David Wilson, who was placed on Injured Reserve in November with a potentially career-threatening neck injury.

“Those neck things, you have to wait around,” said Reese. “Those discs they have, sometimes they can shrink and it takes time for them to shrink. They did that and we’re waiting. At the beginning of the year, we’ll have another consultation with him, to see if surgery would be a possibility for him. That could be a possibility and if he has the surgery, I think the prognosis is that he’ll be ready to play next fall, if he has his surgery.”

Reese was then asked if the injury was career-threatening. “When you talk about necks, there’s always a possibility,” responded Reese. “We’re hopeful and the earlier reports that I’ve gotten, doctors do think they can fix this and he’ll be able to play…I think we’ll have to have some contingency plans at the running back position. I don’t think you go into the next season saying David Wilson’s going to be our number one, starting running back. I don’t think you can do that. The guy is coming off of a neck surgery, if he decides to have it.”

Giants Sign Eight Players to Reserve/Future Contracts: The Giants signed the following eight players to reserve/future contracts on Monday:

  • RB Kendall Gaskins
  • WR Marcus Harris
  • OT Steven Baker
  • DE Kendrick Adams
  • CB Travis Howard
  • CB Junior Mertile
  • CB Chaz Powell
  • CB Ross Weaver

All eight players ended the season on the Giants’ practice squad.

December 30, 2013 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s media sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Articles on the New York Giants Coaching Staff:

Articles on New York Giants Wide Receivers:

Article on DE Justin Tuck: Stay or go, Justin Tuck always embraced New York by Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post

Dec 252013
 
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Tom Coughlin, Prince Amukamara, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

Tom Coughlin and Prince Amukamara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Place S Cooper Taylor on Injured Reserve, Sign OG Eric Herman from Practice Squad: The Giants placed S Cooper Taylor (hamstring) on season-ending Injured Reserve on Wednesday. To fill Taylor’s roster spot, the Giants signed OG Eric Herman from the Practice Squad.

New York Giants Sign CB Travis Howard to Practice Squad: To fill the vacancy created with the promotion of OG Eric Herman to the 53- man roster, the Giants signed CB Travis Howard to the Practice Squad.

December 25, 2013 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Wednesday were WR Victor Cruz (knee/concussion), TE Adrien Robinson (knee), OG Brandon Mosley (hand), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), CB Trumaine McBride (groin), and CB Terrell Thomas (knee).

RB Andre Brown (concussion), RB Peyton Hillis (concussion), OG David Diehl (knee), and DT Cullen Jenkins (shin/quad) were limited in practice.

Article on New York Giants President/CEO John Mara: Predicting who will bear brunt of Giants owner’s letdown by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Articles on the New York Giants Defensive Line:

Article on CB Prince Amukamara: Giants’ Prince Amukamara steps up by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record