Apr 302011

Giants Draft James Brewer, Greg Jones, Tyler Sash, Jacquian Williams, Da’Rel Scott : The 2011 NFL Draft is officially in the books. On the third and final day of the draft, the New York Giants selected the following players:

  • 4th Round: OT James Brewer, Indiana
  • 6th Round: LB Greg Jones, Michigan State
  • 6th Round: S Tyler Sash, Iowa
  • 6th Round: LB Jacquian Williams, South Florida
  • 7th Round: HB Da’Rel Scott, Maryland

For analysis of the selections as well as reaction from Giants’ officials, see the Draft Review section of the website.

Apr 292011

New York Giants Draft Marvin Austin and Jerrel Jernigan: The Giants selected DT Marvin Austin (ex-North Carolina) in the second round and WR Jerrel Jernigan (Troy) in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft on Friday.

For analysis of the selections as well as reaction from Giants’ officials, see the Draft Review section of the website.

The final four rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft will begin at noon on Saturday.

Lawrence Tynes Had Post-Season Surgery: PK Lawrence Tynes revealed on Friday that he underwent hernia surgery immediately after the season. He also had minor surgical procedures performed on his left his left ankle and right heel. “A bunch of clean-up stuff,” Tynes said. “No surgery is minor but they were all pretty relatively small-type deal. I am not hurting half as much as all these other guys but I felt like I had to get it taken care of to be pain-free.”

Ramses Barden Says He’s Ahead of Schedule: WR Ramses Barden, who fractured his ankle last season in the second game against the Cowboys, said on Friday his rehab is ahead of schedule. Barden did need surgery during the offseason to cleanup the ankle.

“I’m definitely ahead of schedule right now and feeling a lot better now than I was a couple of months ago before I had everything done,” Barden said. “So all the trainers are impressed with the progress and they are excited to see how fast it is going.”

Barden has not begun to run yet.

Some Giants Players Returned to Work on Friday: Despite the fact that the NFL labor dispute is unresolved, NFL players were at least temporarily allowed to return to team facilities on Friday.

According to press reports, the following Giants showed up at the team’s facility today: HB Brandon Jacobs, HB D.J. Ware, WR Ramses Barden, WR Victor Cruz, WR Devin Thomas, RT Kareem McKenzie, OC Adam Koets, DT Rocky Bernard, CB Brian Jackson, and PK Lawrence Tynes.

However, by early evening the NFL had decided to impose the lockout again so players again cannot access team facilities for now.

Apr 282011

NFL Draft Begins Tonight: The 3-day 2011 NFL Draft begins tonight and will continue through Saturday. For regular updates on who the Giants have selected, with analysis and quotes from Giants’ officials, please check our Draft Review section of the website throughout the evening.

The start times for each day are as follows:

  • Thursday: Round 1 starts at 8:00PM
  • Friday: Rounds 2-3 start at 6:00PM
  • Saturday: Rounds 4-7 start at noon.

Articles on the New York Giants and the 2011 NFL Draft:

Article on OG/OC Rich Seubert: Giants Offensive Lineman Rich Seubert Stops by Team’s Facility to Say Hello by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Article on HB Brandon Jacobs: Giants’ Brandon Jacobs on Tiki Barber’s Return, His Health and Ahmad Bradshaw’s Situation by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Apr 272011

Articles on the New York Giants and the NFL Labor Dispute:

Articles on the Giants and the 2011 NFL Draft:

Video Feature on S Chad Jones: A video feature on S Chad Jones’ rehab is available at CNN.com.

Apr 242011

Articles on the New York Giants 2011 NFL Draft:

Article on the New York Giants and Past NFL Drafts:

Article on Former Giant HB Tiki Barber: As It Turns Out, Tiki Was True to Blue by Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork.com

Apr 202011

2011 New York Giants Regular-Season Schedule Released: The Giants’ 2011 regular-season schedule was released yesterday.

“As always, we face a very challenging and difficult schedule,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “Two of our first three games are division road games, so we have to start well, because your divisional games count twice as much. We have to be ready to play. But our deal is how we finish and we play three of our last four games in the NFC East. We need to play good football at the end of the season. Part of our objective for the 2011 season is going to be how our football team plays in the fourth quarter and how we finish. And it’s an extremely challenging finish.”

“We’re going to need our fans to be on board for all of these home games,” Coughlin said. “And when you look at some of these opponents, we don’t know them very well. We haven’t played Buffalo or Miami (since 2007).”

Some schedule notes:

  • The Giants will play seven games against 2010 playoff teams.
  • This will be the third time in four seasons the Giants will open against Washington.
  • Against each of their three NFC East opponents, the Giants play the first game on the road and the second at home.

Articles on the Giants and the 2011 NFL Draft:

Articles on the Giants and the 2011 NFL Draft:

Article on the Giants’ Running Backs: Giants’ Backfield One of the Many Remaining Questions by Zack Berman of The Star-Ledger

Articles on OL Rich Seubert:

Article on Former Giants’ WR Plaxico Burress: Giants Should Heed Vick, Reconsider Big-Play Burress by Clark Judge of CBSSportsline.com

Article on PK Lawrence Tynes: The NFL’s ‘Honey-Do’ Offseason by Aditi Kinkhabwala of The Wall Street Journal

Apr 042011
New York Giants 2011 NFL Draft Needs

The Giants proved to be one of the NFL’s elite teams in 2007 and 2008. Those Giants’ teams were very balanced offensively and defensively with respectable special teams units. In 2009, the Giants nose-dived to an 8-8 finish after a 5-0 start as the Giants’ defense became a laughing stock. In 2010, the team rebounded to 10-6 and a second-place finish in the NFC East. The defense was vastly improved, but it still came up short at key moments in big ball games, including both games against the Eagles, the second Cowboys game, and the embarrassing defensive performance against the Packers. Special teams were an abomination.

The strength of the team in 2009 and 2010 was the offense. However, the foundation of that offense – the offensive line – is now very much in transition. The running game has solid backs but no one special. A potential top-tier receiving corps could be sabotaged by Steve Smith’s injury status.

The Giants very much have the feel of a team in transition. To have a successful 2011 season, they are going to have to find a way to quickly retool the offensive line, hope Steve Smith hasn’t lost too much mojo, become mentally tougher and physically more talented on defense, and dramatically improve their special teams play. That’s a lot to ask for in one offseason with no free agency.

Quarterback: The Giants are in excellent shape with Eli Manning and Sage Rosenfels. Spending a draft pick on a developmental quarterback seems like a waste.

Draft Priority: Low

Running Back: If the Giants did nothing at running back, they would still be in good shape with Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, and D.J. Ware. However, it would not be shocking to see the Giants draft a running back high, even in the first round, if the team feels it can acquire a better player than what they have. A truly special running back would make the Giants’ offense very dangerous and none of the current Giants’ halfbacks seem particularly adept in short-yardage or catching the football out of the backfield.

The bigger actual “need” may be at fullback. Madison Hedgecock has had two subpar and injury-plagued seasons in a row. Bear Pascoe was moved to fullback and flashed at times, but also struggled at the position. If the Giants feel Hedgecock is unlikely to regain his 2007-08 form, then fullback is a significant need.

Draft Priority: Medium

Wide Receiver: Much depends on the health status of Steve Smith. The problem is the Giants won’t know if Smith can regain his old form until months from now. My guess is the team won’t go wide receiver high unless someone is clearly ranked very high on their draft board. Other than Smith, the Giants are in good shape with Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden, and Victor Cruz.

Draft Priority: Low

Tight End: Kevin Boss is a good two-way tight end. The problem for the Giants is a lack of depth. If Boss were to go down with an injury, the Giants would be in serious trouble at the position. Travis Beckum has done very little in two years and really is not a typical, hand-in-the-dirt tight end. Jake Ballard went undrafted and is still an unknown. Bear Pascoe did not look good at the position in 2010.

Draft Priority: High

Offensive Line: Once a strength of the team, this area is now filled with question marks. Starting center Shaun O’Hara has age and injury concerns and it is not out of the realm of possibility that the Giants may cut him before training camp. Rich Seubert looked like he had a couple of more years left in him as a guard/center swingman, but his serious knee injury now very much clouds his future. Adam Koets was respectable, but not stellar, in his limited action at center before he tore up his knee. So the Giants have major question marks at center where Mitch Petrus may have a future.

What we do know is that Chris Snee will start at right guard and David Diehl will start at left tackle, or right tackle, or left guard. We don’t know if William Beatty will be good enough to win a starting tackle position. Kareem McKenzie still played well in 2010 but only has one more year left on a big contract. He’s also getting up there in years. Shawn Andrews is due a huge roster bonus and continued to struggle mightily with career-threatening back issues. He might be cut soon after the new CBA is agreed upon.

The Giants are hoping they can build around Snee, Diehl, Beatty, and Petrus. But they need a lot of young, talented bodies here.

Draft Priority: Very high

Defensive Line: It’s not recognized by many fans, but the defensive line is about to undergo a pretty significant transition too. Last year, I said the defensive line was the #1 need area of the team and many fans thought I was nuts. Then the Giants drafted a defensive end in the first round and a defensive tackle in the second round. Guess what? Don’t be shocked to see history repeat itself.

You can talk about linebackers all you want, but a 4-3 defense is predicated on the defensive line. If your defensive line isn’t any good, then you won’t have a good defense. It’s the same with a 3-4 defensive and the linebacker position. If the Giants had a 3-4, they’d spend a lot more high draft picks on linebackers. But they don’t. Accept it.

You ask why the hell would the Giants need another defensive tackle? It’s a good question. Barry Cofield will likely be an unrestricted free agent and there is a good chance he will not re-sign with the Giants. The Giants likely see Chris Canty and Linval Joseph as their formidable inside wall. But Rocky Bernard is too expensive and Dwayne Hendricks is not a serious prospect. The Giants must have a quality 3-man rotation at defensive tackle. The third defensive tackle is critical.

End? C’mon Eric, the Giants have Umenyiora, Tuck, Pierre-Paul, Kiwanuka, and Tollefson!  Umenyiora’s contract situation could become Shockey-like and he’s had a lot of wear-and-tear on the lower half of his body. Kiwanuka and Tollefson will likely be unrestricted free agents. The neck injury could actually work in the Giants favor and scare off other teams, but at best, Kiwanuka probably only has one more year with this team. I see Tuck and Pierre-Paul as being the starting duo in 2012, but so much of this defense is based on having a super-strong 3-man rotation at defensive end that enables Tuck or Pierre-Paul to shift inside on passing downs.

Either in 2011 or 2012, the Giants will have to take another end high. If Cofield leaves, tackle is a big need unless the Giants want to keep Bernard around one more year.

Draft Priority: High

Linebackers: Everyone’s favorite need position on defense. And it is a big need area, but I just don’t get the sense that it is as huge of a need as many fans think.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it 100 times – the third linebacker does not see the field all that much in today’s NFL. In the Perry Fewell’s system, we’re talking about Keith Bulluck’s and Clint Sintim’s weakside spot. Bulluck will probably not be back and Sintim has been a disappointment and is now coming off of a serious knee injury. I would not count out Adrian Tracy, but it is obvious that another body is needed for competition. But at this particular spot, we’re talking about a guy who will see less playing time than the third safety and/or third corner.

In the middle, much depends on what the Giants truly think of Jon Goff and Phillip Dilliard. My gut tells me that the Giants are likely to give both another year and deal with more pressing matters.

That leaves the strongside spot. Michael Boley did well in coverage, but he did not make many impact plays. He’s in the prime of his career and should be doing more. If the Giants draft someone high, I think it is a guy who they hope will replace Boley in a year or two – someone who can cover, play the run, and blitz (in that order). Depth behind Boley is shaky too with the disappointing Gerris Wilkinson.

Look for the Giants to draft at least one linebacker.

Draft Priority: High

Defensive Backs: Like the defensive line, this is probably a bigger area of need than most fans realize.

Let’s look at cornerback first. The Giants most likely still see Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas as their long-term starters. And Aaron Ross is a very good third corner. But both Thomas and Ross will be unrestricted free agents in 2012 and at least one of those guys will not be back. And regardless, teams need four quality corners in today’s NFL. The Giants have a lot of bodies on the roster after the top three guys, but they will be extremely fortunate if any of those other guys pan out.

Safety. In a big role reversal, Antrel Rolle was called upon to be an in-the-box safety and excelled moving forward but not making as many big plays in the passing game as has in the past. Still, he is a very athletic player in his prime. The big question here is whether Kenny Phillips is permanently-damaged goods or was 2010 the expected recovery year. While Phillips was solid, much more is expected of him.

It’s clear that the third safety in Perry Fewell’s defense is a de facto starter. In fact, I would argue the third safety is more important than the third starting linebacker. Deon Grant is near the end and is a free agent. Chad Jones was supposed to be the third guy before his career most likely ended with a car crash. The Giants did not even tender Michael Johnson.

If Grant does not re-sign, safety is a huge need.

Draft Priority: High

Special Teams: This area was a disaster in 2010. Much of this had to do with talent, but the Giants don’t seem able to block anyone in most phases of this important area of the game.

Lawrence Tynes had another good year and is entrenched as the team’s place kicker. Matt Dodge has a tremendous leg but struggled as much as any punter ever has in the NFL. He will be challenged in camp but that challenge will not likely come from another draft pick. Domenik Hixon’s return should help the return game. But the Giants may want to pick another return-type at some point late in the draft. Hopefully most of the guys who they draft will help upgrade the special teams units.

Draft Priority: Medium

Summary: Offensively, I see the major “needs” being blockers: offensive line, tight end, and possibly fullback. Defensively, the Giants could use help just about anywhere. Keep in mind that this team rightfully places more emphasis on defensive linemen and defensive backs than linebackers. If the Giants do go linebacker high, hopefully it will be someone who not only is physically talented, but someone with mental toughness and a nasty attitude. The Giants need more of that on defense.

Apr 012011

Article on DT Barry Cofield: Barry Cofield Against One-Year Tender by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on the Giants’ Coach Staff and the Lockout: Giants Coaching Staff Conducts Offseason Business Despite Lockout by Zach Berman of The Star-Ledger

O’Hara Has Second Surgery: As expected and as previously reported, OC Shaun O’Hara underwent surgery this week to clean out his left ankle and Achilles. O’Hara had a bone chip removed from the Achilles.

Quotes: Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride on QB Eli Manning’s high number of interceptions in 2010: “A combination of poor judgment and trying to force some things. Where he’s under duress a couple of times and you see him with the poor judgment, he’s spinning around and trying to make a play. You have to sometimes accept the sack. He protects the line and there’s not as many sacks statistically. But would you rather have a sack or would you rather have a turnover? That’s the way you have to look at it. We had some tips and those things…It’s a combination of a lot of things but I know that (Manning) prides himself in overcoming whatever obstacles are in his path. Every other statistic it’s his best year ever. When you think about what we accomplished, with the turnovers, with the injuries, it’s almost incredible to be the fifth-best offense in that league and set an all-time record for offensive production in the history of this organization. We did a lot of great things.”

Former Giants’ DE Michael Strahan on former Giants’ WR Plaxico Burress: “(If I were making the decisions for the Giants, Burress would) be a Giant on a private plane back here. He is a talented player, he had a great connection with Eli (Manning) a comfort level, a blanket (for Manning). (Hakeem) Nicks was phenomenal this year in filling that void as well as Steve Smith and all those guys. But I believe Plaxico is a special-type player, (who) made a mistake.”