Feb 232015
 
Share Button
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.

Oct 132014
 
Share Button
Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 12, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

October 13, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: WR Victor Cruz (torn patella tendon) and CB Trumaine McBride (thumb) will need surgery. Cruz’s season is over and he faces a long road back from a serious and potentially career-threatening injury.

Coughin was asked if McBride’s season was also over. “That will be decision we will have to make here,” replied Coughlin.

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the game with a back injury that is apparently related to the previous ankle/hamstring (“IT band”) issue. “I would hope that we can figure out some way to try to take care of (DRC’s) medical issue,” said Coughlin. “If it has to be this week, fine; if it isn’t, it will be after this game here with the bye in front of us. That is a medical decision that is going to have to be made.”

October 13, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Monday conference call is available at BigBlueInteractive.com.

October 13, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts of media conference calls on Monday with the following players are available at Giants.com:

QB Eli Manning on WFAN Radio: The audio of Monday’s WFAN interview with QB Eli Manning is available at CBS New York

Article on WR Victor Cruz:

Article on the New York Giants Wide Receivers: With Victor Cruz done for season, who will step up at wide receiver for NY Giants? by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on the Giants-Eagles Game: Giants snap counts: Andre Williams/Peyton Hillis split workload; Odell Beckham gets heavy usage by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Oct 042014
 
Share Button
Chandler Fenner (48), Kansas City Chiefs (August 30, 2012)

Chandler Fenner (48) – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Sign CB Chandler Fenner from Practice Squad; Waive LB Dan Fox: The New York Giants signed cornerback Chandler Fenner off of the team’s Practice Squad on Saturday. To make room for Fenner, the Giants waived linebacker Dan Fox.

Fenner was signed to the Practice Squad on August 31, 2014. 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 Fenner on August 1, 2014. He has a nice combination of size and athleticism and he plays a physical game.

Fox is a rookie free agent who was also signed to the Practice Squad on August 31. He was signed to the 53-man roster in mid-September when linebackers Jon Beason (foot/ankle) and Devon Kennard (hamstring) got hurt. If he clears waivers, the Giants will likely re-sign him to the Practice Squad.

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

NY Post Q&A With S Quintin Demps: Serby’s Sunday Q&A with Quintin Demps by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on the 2014 New York Giants: In the Giants’ Locker Room, Leadership Sits All in a Row by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Eli Manning’s New York Giants enjoying offensive revival by Bucky Brooks of NFL.com

Article on RB Peyton Hillis: Peyton Hillis talks Pro Bowl by Tom Rock of Newsday

Articles on TE Larry Donnell:

Article on CB Trumaine McBride: Giants’ CB McBride small in stature, big in ability by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Sep 182014
 
Share Button
Trumaine McBride and Jon Beason, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

Trumaine McBride and Jon Beason – © USA TODAY Sports Images

It didn’t take long for the phone call to be made.

Shortly after New York Giants cornerback Walter Thurmond III found out his injured pectoral muscle was torn, sidelining him for rest of the 2014 season, the self-proclaimed best nickel corner in the game dialed fellow corner Trumaine McBride.

Trumaine McBride, New York Giants (December 15, 2013)

Trumaine McBride – © USA TODAY Sports Images

McBride, who last saw sporadic nickel snaps six years ago, saw his phone light up with Thurmond’s name and answered.

“He just told me if I need anything, as far as tips about playing nickel, to reach out to him,” McBride said.

While McBride may be lacking experience as a nickel cornerback, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been preparing for this moment throughout the offseason.

Back on March 12, after enjoying a breakout season, McBride re-signed with the New York Giants. With Corey Webster and Aaron Ross gone, McBride was expected to compete for the starting position opposite Prince Amukamara.

But the ensuing months were filled with moves that pushed McBride further and further down the depth chart. Zack Bowman, Thurmond and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were signed and Bennett Jackson drafted.

The group of Amukamara, Thurmond and Rodgers-Cromartie began boasting claims as the league’s best trio. Last year’s surprise star was suddenly rendered an afterthought.

With every addition the Giants made to the secondary’s meeting room, McBride took notice. Despite playing nearly his entire career as an outside cornerback, he knew his opportunity to play may not be at the place he’d been most comfortable at. During the offseason, McBride began studying some of the best nickel cornerbacks in the league and working specifically with the group. He wanted to be prepared for anything.

If Amukamara went down, McBride wanted to fill in outside. If Thurmond went down, he wanted to have his named called there, too. One of the best ways to do that? Watch and learn from Thurmond himself.

“Walt’s a guy that plays hard every down and is a very smart, physical cornerback,” McBride said. “Just watching the way he approaches the game. He’s a great guy and a great player on the field.”

McBride said that playing nickel, as opposed to outside cornerback, is vastly different. While cornerbacks have the sideline to their advantage, nickel cornerbacks need to guard both the inside, and outside, portions of the field.

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

Trumaine McBride – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Not to mention, being a nickel corner requires a different physicality. Being closer to the line of scrimmage, McBride knows he’ll have to stick his head in on some running plays, comparing nickel cornerback to a “cornerback-linebacker” hybrid position.

“It’s just an overall different game plan,” McBride said. “You aren’t going up anymore against guys that are 6-foot-2, you’re going up against guys that are 6-feet and shifty. You have to adjust to the shiftiness of an inside slot receiver.”

While Thurmond has offered help, McBride admits what may be the biggest beneficiary to him learning nickel is the fact he gets to face receiver Victor Cruz every day in practice. During his five-year NFL career, Cruz has established himself as one of the league’s best slot receivers.

“Going up against him every day definitely helps you,” McBride said. “There aren’t many guys out there better than Vic.”

The Houston Texans, who McBride and the Giants will face on Sunday, like to move each of their receivers in and out of the slot in Bill O’Brien’s new offensive scheme. Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins and Demarius Johnson have all seen over 20 reps inside this year.

There isn’t a set player McBride can expect. Does that make his life harder? Not at all.

“I’ve been preparing for this since the offseason,” McBride said. “I knew it could be a possibility of me moving inside. So as far as mentally, I have no issues.”

Sep 172014
 
Share Button
Preston Parker, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Preston Parker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

September 17, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Wednesday were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (foot/ankle), LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), and P Steve Weatherford (ankle).

Head Coach Tom Coughlin did not completely rule out Beason practicing this week. “I wouldn’t put anything past this guy, but he’s not going to practice today,” said Coughlin.

Beckham is running more aggressively, but it does not sound like he will practice this week. “Not to my knowledge,” responded Coughlin when asked if Beckham would practice. “Not with the team. He’ll be right there learning, etc., etc., working on the side, but he won’t take any snaps.”

OT Charles Brown (shoulder) and OT James Brewer (back) practiced on a limited basis.

DT Markus Kuhn (ankle) fully practiced.

September 17, 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 17, 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:

Giants Sign LB James Davidson to the Practice Squad: The Giants have signed linebacker James Davidson to the Practice Squad. Davidson was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He was waived on August 26. Davidson was an undersized collegiate defensive end who projects to linebacker at the pro level. Whether he has the overall athleticism and instincts for the position remains to be seen. Obviously, he is a project. Because of this move, we have updated the Transactions and Roster sections of the website.

Article on the New York Giants Offense: The biggest benefit of West Coast offense isn’t even working by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Articles on New York Giants Wide Receivers:

Article on OT Justin Pugh: Biggest assignment yet for Justin Pugh by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on CB Trumaine McBride: Trumaine McBride ready to step in at nickel cornerback by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Aug 072014
 
Share Button

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

Peyton Hillis, New York Giants (December 1, 2013)

Peyton Hillis – © USA TODAY Sports Images

August 7, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Thursday were RB Peyton Hillis (ankle/foot), WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring), TE Daniel Fells (knee), DT Mike Patterson (shoulder), DT Kelcy Quarles (ankle), and LB Jon Beason (PUP – foot).

The Giants have already ruled out Beckham playing in Saturday’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“(Beckham) is getting better,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. “The (training staff) is doing a lot with him, and I think he is responding pretty well the next day. He is not that sore. I think he is close.”

“I can definitely plant, I can do all that,” Beckham said. “I don’t feel like I can reach top, top speed. Just kind of holding off, trying to get some more strength, then we will be ready to go. I feel a lot better. It is kind of one of those things where you could wake up sore, wake up feeling good. It’s a day-by-day thing, so I am just taking my time on it.”

Quarles, LT Will Beatty (coming off of a fractured leg), and CB Trumaine McBride (coming off of offseason hip surgery) will also not play against the Steelers.

August 7, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s press conferences with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

August 7, 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 Media Hour by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

New York Giants Practice Report: Giants training camp report: More of the same as QB’s throw endless string of interceptions by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Giants RB Rashad Jennings in a rush to cash in on opportunity by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on New York Giants Wide Receivers: Victor Cruz becomes mentor to undrafted WRs by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on DE Mathias Kiwanuka: Mathias Kiwanuka could be a Giants key by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on New York Giants Linebackers: Linebackers have Giants feeling good by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on CB Trumaine McBride: McBride the unsung hero of Giants’ CBs by Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com

Jul 232014
 
Share Button
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
 
Share Button
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).

Mar 122014
 
Share Button
J.D. Walton, Denver Broncos (August 26, 2012)

J.D. Walton (50) – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Re-Sign Jon Beason and Curtis Painter: According to The NFL Network, the New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent linebacker Jon Beason. In addition, the Giants have officially announced they they have re-signed unrestricted free agent quarterback Curtis Painter. Terms for both players are not yet known.

Because of these moves, we have updated the TransactionsNew York Giants Free Agent Signings (with scouting reports), and New York Giants 2014 Free Agency Scorecard sections of the website.

New York Giants Sign J.D. Walton: The New York Giants have officially signed unrestricted free agent center J.D. Walton (Washington Redskins). Details of the contract are not yet known.

Because of this move, we have updated the TransactionsNew York Giants Free Agent Signings (with scouting report), and New York Giants 2014 Free Agency Scorecard sections of the website.

Keith Rivers Signs with Bills: Unrestricted free agent linebacker Keith Rivers (New York Giants) has signed a 2-year, $5 million contract with the Buffalo Bills.

Because of this move, we have updated the TransactionsNew York Giants Free Agent Losses (with scouting report), and New York Giants 2014 Free Agency Scorecard sections of the website.

Geoff Schwartz and Rashad Jennings Official – Contract Details: The Giants officially confirmed on Wednesday that they have signed unrestricted free agents offensive guard/tackle Geoff Schwartz (Kansas City Chiefs) and running back Rashad Jennings (Oakland Raiders).

According to the player’s agent, Schwartz’s deal is a 4-year, $16.8 million contract with $6.2 million guaranteed. CSN Bay Area is reporting that Jenning’s contract is a 4-year, $14 million deal with $3 million guaranteed.

“When I was a rookie, I almost didn’t get drafted and I was so excited to maybe become a Giant,” said Schwartz. “Now, it finally happened. It’s one of those franchises where, when they come calling, you can’t really say no. I’m overjoyed. I think when I look back after I kind of get over the initial signing of the contract it’ll be such a pleasure.”

“I’m so excited to be here for so many reasons,” Jennings said. “One, the Giants organization and the history of it. The magnitude of it, the culture, to be a part of that red, white and blue again. It’s funny because I went to Liberty University, those are the same colors I wore. I’m back on the east coast and now I can talk on the phone with people and not feel awkward because of the three-hour time difference, it will kick you in the butt sometimes. I’m closer to home, closer to family, I’m with the team that wanted me.”

Schwartz has the ability to play at tackle and guard.

“I’m best at guard,” Schwartz said. “I’ve played right guard lots in my career and I know that (Chris) Snee is still here, so I will be starting at left guard. I just feel more comfortable there. But I’ve played tackle, I started 11 games at tackle and played lots of other games at tackle, so I can do a lot of it. It’s just nice to be able to come into a place where they want you in a position and you can kind of go from there.”

“I think part of the fun of coming into work every day is that kind of interaction between offensive linemen,” said Schwartz. “Wherever you go you want to have that bond and building that bond is through kind of joking and mocking, but also hard work and some of the other thing that O-linemen are known for. I’m excited to meet everybody and kind of get going when April comes around. I think I do a good job of integrating well in the locker room. I do a good job of trying to learn the system. It’s tough every year to do that. Now hopefully I’ve found a home and I’ll be here for many years and kind of integrate into the system.”

“I have the same attitude every year since college,” Jennings said. “Go in, earn the respect of my teammates and my coaches, lock down the playbook and go show my worth and earn a starting position. That’s my mentality every year and I look forward to being used however they see my talents fitting here. I did an interview a couple weeks ago and they said, ‘What’s your idea of going through free agency?’ I said, ‘It’s my job to show one team that they’re right.’ I’m glad to show the Giants that they’re right.”

“I always tell people there are not too many ways you can run power, there are no too many ways you can run inside/outside zone,” Jennings said. “It’s just the terminology you’ve got to pick up, understand the flow, the chemistry of the system. That does take some time and that’s why we have OTAs. I am looking forward to it. But as far as going from playbook to playbook, it doesn’t phase you. You become a student of the game.”

Interviews with both players are available at Giants.com:

  • OG Geoff Schwartz (Video)
  • RB Rashad Jennings (Video)

Peyton Hillis and Trumaine McBride Official: The New York Giants officially confirmed on Wednesday that they have re-signed unrestricted free agents running back Peyton Hillis and cornerback Trumaine McBride.

O’Brien Schofield Deal Not Finalized: The Giants have not officially sign unrestricted free agent linebacker O’Brien Schofield because Schofield did not pass the team’s physical on Wednesday. The Giants are concerned about one of his knees and thus there is no deal. The New York Daily News and ESPN are reporting that the deal may not be ultimately dead, but the previous terms (2-year, $8 million contract) may have to be renegotiated. NJ.com is reporting that a source says the deal is dead.

March 12, 2014 New York Giants Free Agent News and Rumors: Here is the latest on the free agent front:

  • DT Linval Joseph on what the New York Giants offered before he signed a 5-year, $31.5 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings: “I know it was nowhere near the Vikings number, I can say that.”
  • ESPN is reporting that unrestricted free agents (UFAs) defensive end Just Tuck (New York Giants) and cornerback Terrell Thomas (New York Giants) are visiting the Oakland Raiders today. SFGate.com is reporting that RB Andre Brown (New York Giants) is also visiting the Oakland Raiders today.
  • According to the Lions, UFA Henry Hynoski (New York Giants) will visit the Detroit Lions on Thursday.
  • The NFL Network is reporting that UFA Tracy Porter (Oakland Raiders) arrived in New York on Tuesday to visit the Giants. He left today without a contract.
  • ESPN is reporting that UFA offensive guard Shelley Smith (St. Louis Rams) is visited the Giants on Wednesday. He is now on his way to visit with the New England Patriots.
  • The NFL Network is reporting that the Giants called the Tampa Bay Buccaneers inquiring about cornerback Darrelle Revis before he was cut by Tampa Bay Wednesday afternoon.
  • UFA wide receiver/returner Jacoby Jones, who visited the Giants on Wednesday, has re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens (4-year contract).
  • UFA cornerback Corey Graham (Baltimore Ravens), who the Giants had expressed some interest in, has signed a 4-year deal with the Buffalo Bills.

Giants.com Inside the Film Room: Video breakdowns of the following Giants players are available at Giants.com:

  • Fullback John Conner (Video)
  • Offensive Lineman Brandon Mosley (Video)
Mar 112014
 
Share Button
Trumaine McBride, New York Giants (December 15, 2013)

Trumaine McBride – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Re-Sign Trumaine McBride, Peyton Hillis, and Dallas Reynolds: According to multiple press reports, the Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agents cornerback Trumaine McBride and running back Peyton Hillis.

McBride’s contract is reportedly a 2-year, $3.1 million deal; Hillis’ contract is reportedly a 2-year, $1.8 million deal.

According to Newsday, the New York Giants have re-signed exclusive rights free agent guard/center Dallas Reynolds. No contract terms were provided.

Because of these moves, we have updated the Transactions, New York Giants Free Agent Signings (with scouting reports), and New York Giants 2014 Free Agency Scorecard sections of the website.

March 11, 2014 New York Giants Free Agent News and Rumors: Here is the latest on the free agent front:

  • The New York Daily News is reporting that unrestricted free agent safety Ryan Mundy (New York Giants) is unlikely to re-sign with the team.
  • The Star-Ledger is reporting that the Giants are one of three teams with serious interest in unrestricted free agent offensive guard/tackle Geoff Schwartz (Kansas City Chiefs). The NFL Network is reporting that the Schwartz will sign with either the Giants or Rams.
  • NJ.com is reporting that the Giants are unlikely to sign unrestricted free agent centers Evan Dietrich-Smith (Green Bay Packers) and Brian de la Puenta (New Orleans Saints). However, The New York Daily News and New York Post are reporting that the Giants are making a big push to sign Dietrich-Smith.
  • CBS and NFLNetwork are reporting that unrestricted free agent defensive end Justin Tuck (New York Giants) is likely to re-sign with Giants.
  • The Baltimore Sun is reporting that unrestricted free agent defensive end/tackle Arthur Jones, who the Giants had expressed interest in, will sign with the Indianapolis Colts.
  • CSN Bay Area is reporting that the Giants have made a contract offer to unrestricted free agent running back Rashad Jennings (Oakland Raiders).

More Details on Re-Structured Contracts for Chris Snee and Steve Weatherford: According to NFL Player Association records, right guard Chris Snee’s 2014 base salary was reduced from $6.75 million to $2 million (not the $1.1 million reported in the media). Records also indicate that punter Steve Weatherford’s 2014 base salary was reduced from $2.025 million in 2014 to $900,000. Weatherford’s base salaries in 2013 ($2.175 million) and 2014 ($2.325 million) were not changed.

Article on the New York Giants 2014 Salary Cap: Updated: Giants salary cap situation heading into free agency by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants and 2014 NFL Free Agency: NFL free agency: How Giants look by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger