Apr 012016
 
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Steve Spagnuolo, New York Giants (October 11, 2015)

Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS POSITION COACH MEDIA SESSIONS…
Transcripts and video clips of Monday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

GIANTS MEET WITH JERRAUD POWERS, BUT NO DEAL …
According to press reports, unrestricted free agent cornerback Jerraud Powers (Arizona Cardinals) did meet the New York Giants on Thursday and Friday. However, NJ.com is reporting that Powers apparently left without a deal.

The 28-year old Powers was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent in March 2013. In seven NFL seasons, Powers has played in 87 regular-season games with 82 starts. In 2015, he started all 13 regular-season games he played in, and finished the season with 52 tackles, one sack, nine pass defenses, and one interception. Powers has 11 career interceptions.

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Mar 292016
 
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Jasper Brinkley, New York Giants (November 15, 2015)

Jasper Brinkley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JASPER BRINKLEY RE-SIGNING OFFICIAL…
Although it had been originally announced on March 18th, the re-signing of unrestricted free agent linebacker Jasper Brinkley was made official on Tuesday. Jasper signed a 1-year contract.

The Giants originally signed Brinkley in September 2015 after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys. He played in 15 games, starting nine at middle linebacker, and finished the season with 67 tackles, 1 sack, and 4 forced fumbles. Brinkley was drafted in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Since that time, he has spent time with the Vikings (2009-12, 2014), Cardinals (2013), and Cowboys (2015). Brinkley has played in 94 regular-season games with 42 starts. He missed the 2011 season due to hip surgery.

“This is where I wanted to be,” Brinkley said. “I had a good season last year. Just given the opportunities I had, and given the guys that are here and the mentality the coaches have, there’s definitely a winning mentality here, and I want to be a part of that.

“I came here week one and my head was spinning. There was smoke coming out of my ears. I leaned on (Jon) Beason and Mark Herzlich. Those guys helped me a lot. I owe a great deal to those guys…I was tested last year, and being patient paid off for me in the end. When you’re number’s called, you have to be able to go out there and perform, and I feel I did that.”

Brinkley noted the Giants’ free agent acquisitions on defense, including defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

“I can see we made great strides this offseason,” Brinkley said. “We brought some top-tier quality players in here on the defensive side of the ball. That’s going to take us a long way. I’m excited to get back out on the green grass with those guys.”

Brinkley will have to compete for the starting middle linebacker spot with newcomer Keenan Robinson.

“There’s always competition,” Brinkley said. “Nothing has ever been given to me. I have to earn it. Keenan is going to give great competition.”

The video of an exclusive Giants.com interview with Brinkley is available at the team’s website.

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Mar 232016
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (February 24, 2016)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MORE FROM BEN MCADOO AT NFL SPRING MEETINGS…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo answered questions from the press on Wednesday at the NFL spring meetings in Florida. McAdoo made the following comments (video is available at Giants.com):

  • On the offseason strength and conditioning program: “We’re making some renovations in the weight room. We wanted to be a little more forward thinking down there. I hired Aaron Wellman, who’s a guy – he and I go back a long ways. Open it up a little bit down there, do a little bit more movement-based, little more stick and move, so to speak, like you play the game. It’s going to reflect the way we practice, as well, with that mentality. We want to hit the ground running. When we step into the weight room, when we step onto the field, treat it all the same that way.”
  • On reducing injuries: “When you look at injuries, I don’t think you can just point your finger at one area. I think it’s something that we’re going to take a look at a variety of areas – whether it’s the way we practice, it’s how we practice, the intensities and the loads that we use there, the duration of practices. Again, take a look at the weight room as well, nutrition will play a factor. Sleep is huge, and probably the best tool for recovery. So we’re going to take a look at everything, (including) scheduling. Everything is a factor…First things first, in the season we’re going to give players Monday off. We’ll bring guys in on Tuesday to keep things a little more consistent that way, to give them an opportunity to get their rest. Because the NFL schedule now, on Sunday’s you play at a variety of different times. We’re on the East Coast, we’re not centrally located, so flying in and out, you get back at different times on Sundays if you do have a later game. We’ll take a look at that. We’ll vary the times that we’re on the field. Our end time will always be the same, what time we hit the field will be a reflection of the load of that day or the workload that we’re going to have that day. Just things like that.”
  • On convincing DE Olivier Vernon to come to the Giants: “We felt like we were recruiting in college again. We had everybody in the room passing the phone around, and just letting him know what we think of him. For me, it was simple. Going into the game on Monday night (vs. Miami last December) when we came down here to play, he was one of the most disruptive players I saw on film last year. We wanted him to be a part of it. QB rating differential is big in the game today, and the more you can impact the quarterback from a defensive standpoint, from that defensive end standpoint, from his blindside, the tougher it makes it on the opponent. We feel that he’s going to make a big impact for us, obviously.”
  • On QB Eli Manning: “Eli, I still think his best football is in front of him. I still think he’s going to take another jump. He really bought into the system and likes the controls that he has there. The fundamental part of things was probably the toughest thing for him to get used to, but he’s bought into the footwork and the training. Having another year under his belt with the reads is going to clean things up for him. He knows what he likes now, and it’s natural for him. He’s not thinking as much as he was the first year, and even toward the early part of the last year. It comes a little more naturally for him. Eli puts a lot of time and effort into making sure he’s prepared and ready to go. He did some things last year that changed up his upper body routine, the way he trained his upper body, the way he warmed up his upper body, and the way he cooled it down. It made an impact, it was noticeable. I think that he finished last year stronger than he did at any point in time in ’14. That was encouraging. I’m sure he’s out there right now working to get better.”
  • On what he wants Manning to work on: “Before he left, he and I had a conversation about some different things that we liked, that we didn’t like, and what we can make better. Eli’s a pro. He’s no spring chicken, so he knows what he needs to do to get ready. The only thing I ask him not to do is don’t mess with that throwing motion, because his throwing motion is pretty flawless. But anything else, anything he can do to get better and get stronger and stay healthy, we’re all for it and we’ll support it.”
  • On Manning’s durability: “Let’s knock on wood on that one. He is a durable guy. He’s a tough guy. He doesn’t get a lot of credit for that, and that factors in that as well. He plays through a lot. We need to do a good job of keeping him upright. To be able to push the ball down the field a little more, it takes a little longer to do that, so we would like to do that, so we need to keep him upright. We are throwing the ball down the field because we have some guys who can make plays down the field for us. Again, he’s in the office every day in the season. He’s in there every day. He’s like a coach on Tuesday’s in the past, and I assume he’ll be that way on Monday this year. The way he prepares, the way he takes care of his body. He’s a tough, gritty guy that he probably doesn’t get enough credit for.”
  • On whether WR Odell Beckham, Jr. should have been ejected from last year’s game against the Carolina Panthers: “That’s an interesting question. There are some things that I would have liked to have done different in that game. I look in the mirror first, and I feel that I could have helped that situation better…Odell and I have talked. A few weeks ago we sat down, we were talking about things; not football, just about life in general. I’m excited for Odell going into his third year. He really has an opportunity to put himself in that upper tier of player. He’s had some great production. And I also look forward to him growing into a leader. I feel that he can do that for our organization and for our team.”
  • On whether he has concerns about Tom Coughlin’s occasional visits to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center: “No, I don’t have those concerns. As long as Tom’s around, we want to welcome him and use him as a resource. We welcome him…Tom’s a phenomenal resource and was a mentor of mine. Anytime I can use him, I’m going to use him.”
  • On who will be the team’s play caller: “Am I going to call plays? There’s a possibility…I love calling plays…I think as an offensive play caller, you’re part of game management right from jump street; it’s a natural part of things. When defensive coaches get an opportunity to be coaches, it’s a little different. I think they may have to spend a little more time preparing themselves for the game management part of things. Being in the same room as the quarterback for years, I think that part of it comes natural. As far as who’s going to call plays for us this year, that hasn’t been determined. You’ll know the first Sunday of the season…I’m not willing to disclose. It’s a competitive advantage or disadvantage.”
  • On the team’s late-game time-management issues: “We’re going to have a game management team, so to speak. We’re going to meet, as we iron it out, it’s either going to be on Saturday mornings or Friday afternoons, depending on the schedule, and make sure we’re on the same page going into the game, and we’re seeing the same things as the game develops…It’s like anything else. It starts with communication first. We need to have open lines of communication. We need to be on the same page, especially at the end of games. You want to end each half with the ball. So the more we can be on the same page, have open lines of communication and have guys being willing to speak up at the end of games to make sure that gets done, it’s important.”
  • On DE Jason Pierre-Paul: “He came in and signed, sat down across the desk from me, and I really liked the look in his eye. It seems like he’s motivated, he has a chip on his shoulder, he’s going to have his legs underneath him. He’s going to have an offseason and a training camp under his belt. What he went through last year, for him to jump in and be as disruptive as he was says a lot about him. As far as the hand goes, we know he’s going to be a disruptive player. He’s going to get used to playing his hand in the condition that it is. Like I said before, I liked the look in his eye. He’s going to have a chip on his shoulder. He’s going to have an opportunity to train with his hand being in that condition, which will give him an opportunity to experiment and see how he can play with it and what’s best to put on it.”
  • On WR Victor Cruz: “What we need to do with Victor is we need to be smart. I think his knee feels pretty good and he’s just rehabbing the calf and when he’s ready to go we’ll put him out there. But it’s a little early to tell right now.”
  • On the Giants’ running backs: “Looks a lot, at this point, like we left it last year. Rashad (Jennings) took the bull by the horns, and that was great to see at the end of the year. Shane (Vereen) was a good addition; (he was) second on the team in receiving, played about 38 percent of the snaps. So that part was encouraging. A lot of guys are giving up on Andre (Williams). Don’t give up on Andre. He’s going into his third year and he’ll continue to grow. No one is going to outwork him. And then Orleans (Darkwa) is a guy who is a natural runner. He’s a good special teams player for us, he’s a core guy. He’s going to be in the mix as well.”
  • On the right side of the offensive line: “John Jerry is a battler now. He’s going to go out there, he’s going to give you what he has, and he’s going to fight you. We like John Jerry. Marshall Newhouse was a guy that we brought in for depth reasons. He stepped up when he had his opportunity and he played well for us. We’re glad to have Marshall back. He’s a smart guy who’s played a lot of football and he has some flexibility there. He’s just not a right tackle, he can play on the left side and he can play inside as well. At one point in time in Green Bay he had the ball in his hand a little bit just learning to snap, so he does have some flexibility for a veteran, which is nice to have.”
  • On Justin Pugh playing left guard: “I like having Justin at left guard. I think having that interior side of the pocket on the left side nice and solid for a right-handed quarterback is pretty important. We’re going to look at things and if we need to make adjustments we’ll make adjustments, but you’d hate to keep moving Justin. Give him a chance to grow at one spot.”
  • On offensive lineman Bobby Hart: “He’s a young guy who is developing and he has some flexibility, which is nice. He’s a player who likes to play football, he gets ball, so that gives him an opportunity to be flexible. He’s done a lot of work on himself physically to get in good condition. He’s a guy who has some opportunity for growth.”
  • On who might step up at safety: “(Nat) Berhe is definitely one of them. (Bennett) Jackson is one of them. There are a lot of guys who can factor in there. (Mykkele) Thompson. We’re going to get them healthy and get them out there and let them compete for it. We need to get them in and take a look at them, but to a certain degree they’ll each be able to contribute (in the spring workouts).
  • On young players who may surprise: “Guys going from their first year to their second year can make a jump, but also guys going from their second year to their third year like Andre Williams is a guy who can make a jump for us. Geremy Davis is a guy on the offensive side of the ball that I know it’s important to him. He works his tail off and I’m sure he’s out there right now working his tail off to get better and can help us and make a jump on special teams as well. On the defensive side Jay Bromley is a guy who can make a jump for us.”
  • On unrestricted free agent PK Josh Brown: “We’re looking at all our options. Being an offensive coach the last couple years, Josh has been great, he’s been money, he’s been accurate. We definitely value that part of his game…You look at everything that’s available and you make your decisions from there. It’s not a one guy thing, it’s, ‘Here’s what’s out there, here’s what’s available,’ and you take a look at everything and you weigh your options.”
  • On the new rule that spots the ball at the 25-yard line after a touchback on a kickoff: “Touchbacks at the 25, I think it’s probably good for safety reasons, because the kickoff is a play that, even taking the wedge out of things, there are some big collisions right there. But I think it would encourage returners to stay in the end zone maybe a little bit more.  I like the kickoff as a part of the game, but with that being said, we do have to take the injury part of things into consideration. Maybe I like it a little more, because we have Dwayne Harris and he’s an exciting player back there for us. Shane Vereen does a nice job as well. We’ve been pretty good in the return game…I think it would make the end of games interesting. If it’s a two-score game and you score, on the kickoff do you use a mortar kick, what type of kick do you use to give you a chance to get the ball back? I think it would make an impact.”
  • On the NFC East: “I think the division is getting better, and I think it’s getting more competitive. You see the turnaround that Washington made last year, they’re going to be a formidable opponent. Obviously Dallas, when they get their quarterback (Tony Romo) back, is a pretty darn good football team and has a good roster. Philadelphia, that’s a team right there that we’ve struggled with and we need to play better against.”
  • On whether he’s started working on the logistics for the Giants’ trip to London: “Absolutely. The week I got the job. We’re still finalizing some things. Look forward to the trip, should be a great experience for the organization, for the players. It will be great for our game.”

GIANTS.COM INTERVIEW WITH VICTOR CRUZ…
A video of a Giants.com “Insider” interview with wide receiver Victor Cruz is available at Giants.com.

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Mar 222016
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BEN MCADOO DISCUSSES FREE AGENTS, JPP, AND CRUZ…
Michael Eisen of Giants.com caught up with New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo at the NFL spring meetings in Florida. McAdoo made the following comments:

  • On DE Olivier Vernon: “OV is a guy that’s very disruptive. He jumped off the film when we played them, when we had to go down there on Monday night. There were some concerns going into that game because of how disruptive he’s been. He’s someone that’s going to have be accounted for.”
  • On DT Harrison “Damon’s a guy that is a handful in the run game and can push the pocket inside-out in the pass game, and is going to create some problems for quarterbacks there. He’s hard to keep blocked for long periods of time, and is going to make you better on first down and second down, obviously, but then on third down, too, for as well as he does on first and second down at stopping the run.”
  • On CB Janoris Jenkins: “Jackrabbit, as we call Janoris, he’s a guy that is a very talented, instinctive player. He’ll take some shots on the ball, make some plays for you there, and we do like that. He’s a talented guy.”
  • On LB Keenan Robinson: “Keenan, we’re looking forward to getting up to speed and having him with a rebound year.”
  • On DE Jason Pierre-Paul: “Sitting down with JPP the other day, you could tell he’s got a great look in his eye and he’s motivated and he’s hungry. Being able to train for an entire offseason and get out there for the offseason and for camp, he’ll be full-go, he’ll be disruptive, and we look forward and we’re glad we have him back.”
  • On WR Victor Cruz: “We sat down the other day. I mentioned to him when he went to Cincinnati last year in training camp to practice against them, it was probably the most I’ve been excited about our offense in two years in that practice. He was out there playing well, he looked good, was moving around well. He wasn’t 100 percent, but he was out there with Odell (Beckham Jr.). We had some guys out there playing who were healthy and executing. Unfortunately, that’s the last time we had them on the field together. Glad to have Victor back. He’s motivated and there’s nothing like a motivated player who’s been counted out by a lot of people in a lot of regards. We look forward to the impact he can make.”
  • On improving as a team: “It’s no secret how you build a good team. You have to have a quarterback, which we do. On both sides of the ball upfront, you have to be physical, and we have to have guys that play to our identity – sound, smart and tough, committed to discipline and poise. We’re getting there. We have to develop some young guys as well. All the answers aren’t in free agency. We added some nice pieces there, but we have some young players on the roster now we have to develop, and do our due diligence in the draft as well.”

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Mar 102016
 
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Keenan Robinson, Washington Redskins (October 4, 2015)

Keenan Robinson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS SIGN LB KEENAN ROBINSON…
Multiple media sources are reporting that the New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent middle linebacker Keenan Robinson (Washington Redskins). The contract is reportedly a 1-year deal worth up to $3.5 million.

The 26-year old Robinson was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He has been an injury-plagued player who has missed time in 2012 (four games with right pectoral tear), 2013 (entire season with left pectoral tear), 2014 (three games with a knee injury), and 2015 (four games with shoulder and injuries). Robinson’s best season was in 2014 when he started all 13 games he played in and finished the year with 109 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one interception. He played in 12 games with eight starts in 2015 and finished with 63 tackles and one interception.

Robinson has a nice combination of overall athleticism and size. Versatile, he can play inside and outside linebacker. Robinson is an instinctive, productive player who plays with a reckless style. He is more of a run-and-hit linebacker than stout run defender at the point-of-attack. He needs to improve his overall tackling consistency. Robinson is solid in pass coverage.

YouTube video highlights of Robinson:

  • Keenan Robinson 2014 Season Highlights (Video)
  • Keenan Robinson Highlights (Video)

MARCH 10, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT NEWS AND RUMORS…
The official NFL free agency signing period began on Wednesday. Here is the latest news and rumors regarding the New York Giants:

  • New York Giants unrestricted free agents defensive end Robert Ayers and cornerback Prince Amukamara are visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • The New York Giants had reportedly expressed interest in unrestricted free agent cornerback Sean Smith (Kansas City Chiefs), but he has signed with the Oakland Raiders.

GARY JETER PASSES AWAY…
Gary Jeter, who played defensive end for the New York Giants from 1977 to 1982, has passed away at the age of 61. Jeter was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 1977 draft by the Giants. He finished his playing career with the Los Angeles Rams (1983-1988) and New England Patriots (1989).

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Mar 092016
 
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Victor Cruz, New York Giants (November 24, 2013)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

VICTOR CRUZ AND GIANTS AGREE TO RE-STRUCTURED CONTRACT…
Multiple media outlets are reporting that New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz has agreed to a re-structured contract. Cruz has three years left on his current contract and was scheduled to make $7.9 million in base salary in 2016 and count $9.9 million against the 2016 salary cap.

The Bergen Record is reporting that Cruz’s 2016 base salary will drop from $7.9 million to $1.3 million. The paper says playing-time incentives of up to $5.5 million plus production incentives could recoup the full value of the original $7.9 million. The NFL Network is reporting that the re-structured deal does not impact his original numbers in 2017 ($7.4 million salary) and 2018 ($8.4 million salary).

Cruz did not play in any preseason or regular-season games in 2015. Cruz was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2015 due to a left calf injury suffered in August that never healed and required surgery. It is the third leg injury that Cruz has suffered since signing his big 6-year contract in July 2013, including arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in 2013 and career-threatening patellar tendon surgery on his right knee in 2014.

“Once a Giant, always a Giant,” Cruz posted on Instagram Wednesday night. “See you in September.”

MARCH 9, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT NEWS AND RUMORS (PART IV)…
The official NFL free agency signing period began on Wednesday. Here is the latest news and rumors regarding the New York Giants:

  • The New York Giants had reportedly expressed interest in unrestricted free agent defensive end Derrick Shelby (Miami Dolphins), but he has signed with the Atlanta Falcons.
  • The New York Giants had reportedly expressed interest in unrestricted free agent defensive end Adrian Clayborn (Atlanta Falcons), but he has re-signed with the Falcons.

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Mar 092016
 
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Olivier Vernon, Miami Dolphins (January 3, 2016)

Olivier Vernon – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS AGREE TO TERMS WITH OLIVIER VERNON…
Multiple media sources are reporting that the New York Giants have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent defensive end Olivier Vernon (Miami Dolphins). The contract is reportedly a 5-year, $85 million deal that includes $52.5 million in guaranteed money. The Jacksonville Jaguars were very much in play for his services as well.

The 25-year old Vernon was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dolphins. In the last three seasons, he has played in every regular-season game with 46 starts, averaging 55 tackles and 8.5 sacks per year. Vernon is a very good two-way player who is disruptive against both the run and the pass. He can get heat on the quarterback from both the end and tackle positions, similar to Justin Tuck, and gets a lot of hits on the quarterback.

VICTOR CRUZ AND GIANTS WORKING ON NEW DEAL…
The Bergen Record is reporting that wide receiver Victor Cruz and the New York Giants are working on a re-structured contract that will keep him with the team in 2016. The Record’s source is optimistic the deal will be completed. Cruz is currently set to count $9.9 million against the team’s 2016 NFL cap. It has been speculated that if Cruz, who missed most of the last two seasons with serious leg injuries, does not accept a pay cut, he may be released from the Giants.

MARCH 9, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT NEWS AND RUMORS (PART III)…
March 9th marks the official beginning of free agency as teams can begin to sign free agents of other teams at 4:00 PM. Here is the latest:

  • New York Giants unrestricted free agent Robert Ayers is visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • The New York Giants had reportedly expressed interest in unrestricted free agents wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (Cincinnati Bengals), right tackle Mitchell Schwartz (Cleveland Browns), and right tackle Bobby Massie (Arizona Cardinals), but all three players signed with other teams.

JASON PIERRE-PAUL COMMENTS ON HIS RETURN TO THE GIANTS…
As previously reported, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has re-signed with the New York Giants. The contract was reportedly a 1-year, $10.5 million deal. Pierre-Paul suffered serious and permanent injuries to his right hand from a July 4th fireworks accident, including the amputation of his index finger and severe damage to his thumb and middle finger. He returned to the playing field halfway through the 2015 season, wearing a large club that made it impossible for him to grab and tackle with his right hand. Pierre-Paul started the eight games he played in and finished the season with 26 tackles, 1 sack, and 6 pass defenses.

“I have one year to prove myself, but all I need is one,” Pierre-Paul said. “I appreciate the Giants allowing me to come back and play here. But it was my decision. I have unfinished business. I know for a fact that I can play better than I did last year. My main goal is to get on the field this year without the club and play some good football. We’ll see from there.”

Pierre-Paul underwent additional surgery on his right hand after the season in the hopes that he can shed the club and wear a glove.

“It’s definitely going to help,” Pierre-Paul said of the surgery. “I’ll be able to grab. Now I’ll be able to open my hand up. My fingers are straight, and I’ll be fine. You’re limited with the club. I’d rather play with one finger than have a club on. Even with the club, even with my injury, I’m still the best at my position. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here. I think I played pretty well. With the club, people didn’t expect me to play the way I played. I played every down. It was just eight games – I was just getting started.

“I want to be a part of the turnaround. I want to bring my game to another level. With the injury I had, I want to show people that at the end of the day, no matter what happens, you can overcome it in life. I missed training camp (last offseason), I missed a lot of things. As much as I hate training camp, you need it. That’s two years that I missed training camp, one with my back surgery and another with my hand. Hopefully, this will be an injury-free season, and I’ll be out there playing great football.”

Mar 072016
 
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George Iloka, Cincinnati Bengals (September 20, 2015)

George Iloka – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MARCH 7, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT RUMORS…
While players can not officially sign until March 9th, Monday unofficially marked the beginning of free agency as teams can now negotiate with free agents of other teams. Here is the latest:

  • ESPN is reporting that free agent defensive end Charles Johnson, who was recently cut by the Carolina Panthers in a salary cap-related move, met with the New York Giants on Sunday and Monday. If the Giants and Johnson do not agree on a contract, he is reportedly scheduled to meet with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next. From 2010-2014, Johnson averaged 43 tackles and 10.5 sacks per year. Those numbers plummeted in 2015 when Johnson missed seven regular-season games with a hamstring injury and finished the year with 12 tackles and one sack. He had an excellent game in the Super Bowl with five tackles, one sack, and a forced fumble. Overall, Johnson accrued nine tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles in three post-season games last season.
  • Following up on yesterday’s update, there is no new information on free agent defensive end Mario Williams visiting the Giants. BleacherReport.com is reporting that the Giants, Dolphins, and Jaguars are interested in Williams, who supposedly is seeking a $10 million-per-year contract. The 31-year old Williams was recently released by the Bills. Miscast in a 3-4 defense, Williams started 15 games for the Bills in 2015 and finished the season with just 19 tackles and five sacks. From 2012-2014, Williams averaged 34 tackles and 13 sacks per season. He is a four-time Pro Bowler (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014) and was first-team All Pro in 2014.
  • The New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Giants are interested in Atlanta Falcons unrestricted free agent defensive end Adrian Clayborn. Several other teams are also said to be interested in Clayborn, who was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He missed most of the 2012 season with a knee injury and most of the 2014 season with a biceps injury. The Falcons signed Clayborn as a free agent in 2015. Last season, he played in all 16 regular-season games with four starts, finishing the year with 15 tackles and three sacks.
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that the New York Giants are one of several teams interested in Cincinnati Bengals unrestricted free agent safety George Iloka. The 25-year old Iloka was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He has started all 44 regular-season games he played in the last three seasons, including 12 games in 2015 where he accrued 47 tackles and one interception.
  • The Cleveland Plains Dealer is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in Cleveland Browns unrestricted free agent Mitchell Schwartz, the brother of recently-waived guard Geoff Schwartz. The 26-year old Schwartz was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Browns. He has started every game during his first four years in the NFL.
  • The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in Minnesota Vikings unrestricted free agent offensive guard Mike Harris. The 27-year old Harris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers after the 2012 NFL Draft. He started all 16 regular-season games for the Vikings in 2015.
  • A media report out of Arizona says the Cardinals are interested in signing New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
  • BleacherReport.com is reporting that New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive end Robert Ayers is seeking a $10 million-per-year contract.

GIANTS AND VICTOR CRUZ TALK RESTRUCTURING…
ESPN.com is reporting that the New York Giants had discussions last week with the representatives for wide receiver Victor Cruz about restructuring his contract. Cruz is currently set to count $9.9 million against the team’s 2016 NFL cap, the second most by a player after quarterback Eli Manning. It has been speculated that if Cruz does not accept a pay cut, he may be released from the Giants. Cruz recently said that he believed there was an “80 percent” chance he would return to Giants.

Cruz did not play in any preseason or regular-season games in 2015. Cruz was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2015 due to a left calf injury suffered in August that never healed and required surgery. It is the third leg injury that Cruz has suffered since signing his big 6-year contract in July 2013, including arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in 2013 and career-threatening patellar tendon surgery on his right knee in 2014.

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Mar 042016
 
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Will Tye, New York Giants (January 3, 2016)

Will Tye – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS TENDER SEVEN EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS…
The New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Giants have tendered seven of the eight players on their roster who were eligible to be tendered as exclusive rights free agents. The players tendered cannot sign with any team other than the Giants, thus guaranteeing their return unless the tender is revoked. The seven players are:

  • RB Orleans Darkwa
  • WR Myles White
  • TE Will Tye
  • TE Jerome Cunningham
  • OG Adam Gettis
  • S Bennett Jackson
  • P Brad Wing

The player not tendered was wide receiver Marcus Harris. Scouting reports on these players are available in the Scouting Reports section of the website.

VICTOR CRUZ STARTS RUNNING…
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz revealed on Thursday that he has begun running as part of his rehab process recovering from calf surgery. Cruz did not play in any preseason or regular-season games in 2015. Cruz was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2015 due to a left calf injury suffered in August that never healed and required surgery. It is the third leg injury that Cruz has suffered since signing his big 6-year contract in July 2013, including arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in 2013 and career-threatening patellar tendon surgery on his right knee in 2014.

“I’ve been making a lot of progress,” Cruz said in a BleacherReport.com video. “The calf is feeling really, really good. I’m excited about the progress, I’m excited for what’s to come… I have a long journey ahead of me. I’m pretty much starting from scratch, building my legs up from scratch, which is what I want to do. Making sure they’re stronger than they were and they stay that way. No more setbacks.”

Cruz is currently set to count $9.9 million against the team’s 2016 NFL cap, the second most by a player after quarterback Eli Manning. It has been speculated that if Cruz does not accept a pay cut, he may be released from the Giants. Cruz recently said that he believed there was an “80 percent” chance he would return to Giants.

“I really feel like it’s paying dividends. The strength in my calf is starting to come back,” said Cruz. “Everything’s starting to come around. I’m excited to go out there with my teammates again. I’m excited to see Odell and those guys, I’m excited to play again. But I know I have a long journey ahead of me. I have some significant gains to make in terms of where I’m at with my calf, and things like that. I’m excited.”

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Feb 292016
 
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Robert Ayers, New York Giants (November 15, 2015)

Robert Ayers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

LATEST NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT RUMORS…
NFL free agency begins on March 9th, although teams can are officially allowed to start talking to players on other teams on March 7th. NJ.com is reporting the following:

  • The New York Giants would like to re-sign unrestricted free agent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to a 1-year, “prove it” contract. If Pierre-Paul can get a longer term deal on the open market, he is likely gone. Pierre-Paul’s camp believes he will be offered $10 million per year on the open market.
  • There may be a strong market for unrestricted free agent defensive end Robert Ayers, who the Giants would also like to re-sign.
  • There is not much noise about unrestricted free agent cornerback Prince Amukamara. The Giants want Amukamara to gauge his value on an open market that may have a number of quality cornerbacks available. The Giants are first focusing on addressing their front seven on defense in free agency.
  • The Giants are going to let unrestricted free agent place kicker Josh Brown test the market. They would like to re-sign Brown, but if he can get a multi-year deal from another team, they will apparently let him go.

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