Sep 302015
 
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INJURY REPORT – VICTOR CRUZ SUFFERS SETBACK…
TE Daniel Fells (ankle), TE Jerome Cunningham (knee), and LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP) did not practice on Wednesday.

WR Victor Cruz (calf), RB Orleans Darkwa (knee), LT Ereck Flowers (ankle), DE Robert Ayers (hamstring), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (foot), and DT Markus Kuhn (knee) practiced on a limited basis.

Cruz tried to practice for the first time since August 17, but apparently suffered a setback. “Victor came out and tried to do individuals,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He felt the calf again and that’s all he did.”

“(Cruz) did some individual stuff, ran a few routes and that was about it,” QB Eli Manning said. “We’ll see how it goes…Hopefully, it’s just minor.”

“It sucks, to say the least,” said WR Rueben Randle. “We could see a little limp in him a little bit once he tried to turn up and run. We could tell that he wasn’t quite ready yet to play full speed. I’m pretty sure if we needed him to play he could play, but he still can sit out a little bit and rest up…We were just running routes in individual, it wasn’t a play. We could just see once he tried to turn up a little bit, he kind of looked a little gimpy, kind of holding back a little bit. I don’t think he’s too far away, but I don’t think he’s quite there yet.

“He wasn’t the Cruz that we know. That’s what we want to see, we don’t want to rush him back and hurt it even more. We were trying to tell him, ‘Don’t try to stress it too much, take as much time as possible,’ because we didn’t want him to hurt it even worse than what it is and have to be out even longer. As his teammates, we care for him and want him to come back as healthy as possible.”

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion) fully practiced.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The Giants have terminated the Practice Squad contracts of WR Julian Talley and OG Vinston Painter. The team also signed QB G.J. Kinne and WR Tavarres King to the Practice Squad.

Kinne was on the Giants Practice Squad for a week earlier this month. Kinne was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New York Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Jets (2012), UFL – Omaha Nighthawks (2012), AFL – Antonio Talons (2013), and Philadelphia Eagles (2013-15). After spending two years on Philadelphia’s Practice Squad in 2013-14, the Eagles converted him from quarterback to wide receiver and running back. Kinne lacks ideal size for a quarterback but he is a very good athlete with a decent arm.

King was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He has spent time with the Broncos (2013), Panthers (2013-14), Jaguars (2014), and Buccaneers (2014-15). King was waived by the Buccaneers in early September. King lacks ideal size, but he is a fast receiver who can get deep. He is not a physical player and is best suited as an outside receiver.

WORKOUT TUESDAY…
As normal, the New York Giants held workouts for a number of unsigned players on Tuesday. But this week, there were a number of high-profile players in attendance including WR Hakeem Nicks, WR Wes Welker, and TE Chris Cooley. The only workout player signed was WR Tavarres King.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
The transcript of Tom Coughlin’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video of player media sessions on Wednesday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

The audio of radio interviews on Tuesday are also available at ESPN Radio and WFAN Radio:

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday and hold physical recovery cycles on Friday in advance of Sunday’s away game against the Buffalo Bills.

Sep 072015
 
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JASON PIERRE-PAUL MEETS WITH GIANTS…
Unsigned defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will meet with the New York Giants on Monday, his first meeting with team officials since the July 4th fireworks accident that caused serious injuries to his right hand and arm.

NFL.com is reporting that Pierre-Paul is taking a physical and will meet with team President/CEO John Mara, General Manager Jerry Reese, and Head Coach Tom Coughlin on Monday night “to clear the air and discuss how to proceed.”

Pierre-Paul currently remains the Giants Franchise player, with a 1-year, $14.813 tender. NFL.com says “before he signs his contract, however, there will be some negotiations between the two sides to arrive on a financial solution for a player who might miss some games because of his non-football injury.”

Pierre-Paul wants to avoid being placed on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) List which would sideline him six games and cost him about $5.5 million in salary if the Giants choose not to pay him for games missed. On the other hand, the Giants are unlikely to want to give the seriously-injured Pierre-Paul almost $15 million. A compromise deal based on performance incentives and playing time might be reached.

Pierre-Paul believes he can play early in the season but it remains to be seen if the Giants agree.

NFL.com reports that the flexibility and range-of-motion in Pierre-Paul’s right hand is improving and that his broken bones have healed. That said, if allowed to play, Pierre-Paul would play with a cast on his right hand at least early in the season.

GIANTS SIGN CRAIG DAHL, RELEASE STEVIE BROWN…
The Giants signed safety Craig Dahl on Monday and released safety Stevie Brown.

Dahl was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2007 NFL Draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Giants (2007-08), Rams (2009-12), and 49ers (2013-15). The 49ers waived him last week. Dahl has started 43 regular-season games in his career, but only one in the last two seasons with the 49ers, where he was primarily a back-up safety and special teams player. Dahl has decent size but lacks ideal overall athleticism.

The Giants signed Stevie Brown on August 31 after he was cut by the Houston Texans.

MORE PRACTICE SQUAD SIGNINGS…
The Giants have signed tight end Will Tye and defensive tackle Montori Hughes to the Practice Squad. The team still has two openings left on the 10-man squad.

Will Tye was signed as a rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants on May 11. The Giants waived him on September 1st in the first round of cuts.

Montori Hughes was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. In his two seasons with the Colts, he played in 16 games with one start. Hughes is a strong, mammoth nose tackle-type lineman who can hold his ground against the double team. He is a decent athlete for his size with some quickness to his game.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Monday due to injuries were WR Victor Cruz (calf), LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP), and DE/DT Cullen Jenkins (hamstring).

“(Cruz is) working in the pool,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He does run on the treadmill underwater, but that’s as far as I know…I don’t know anything. When he practices, I’ll let you know.”

DE Robert Ayers (ankle) and LB Jon Beason (knee) returned to practice. LB Jonathan Casillas (neck) and CB Trevin Wade (back) also practiced.

“We’re hoping (Beason can play Sunday),” said Coughlin. “We have to get him out there again and get him going. He’s excited and we’re excited.”

“Ayers actually looked pretty good today, hopefully that’s behind him,” said Coughlin.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: What was your message to the team out there?

A: When you have a practice like this…to be able to really talk about team, about responsibility, and about taking a look around. This is it, there’s no 100 guys, there’s 10 practice squad guys this year, and 53. We have to service each other, we have to help each other get better, and that’s the whole purpose of this thing. There is a responsibility to each other and we always talk about unity over self and so on and so forth, team above self, and that’s what this was about.

Q: You brought back safety Craig Dahl. Was it because of the relationship he has with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo?

A: That was part of it. We looked at him, obviously, on tape and so on and so forth, the fact that he’s played back there, he’s a veteran, he knows the system, and he can communicate well. He’ll have a few bumps in the road just to get going, but he’ll know what we’re doing and he’ll get us lined up.

Q: Special teams?

A: And special teams, I think he had 11 special teams tackles last year.

Q: What did you like about defensive tackle Louis Nix III and cornerback Asa Jackson?

A: Well, Jackson, a guy that’s played the nickel position, he started to play on the outside in Baltimore a year ago, so we thought that it was a good fit for us. The big tackle, we, of course, knew about him, discussed him thoroughly when he was coming out, and a couple years later he was available so we thought that this would be a good time to take him and work in. He had been at nose tackle, don’t really think that’s what he is, a three-technique, big guy who can move and who can run, so we were interested.

Q: There have been reports that Jason [Pierre-Paul] is going to be here today.

A: I have no idea. When Jason comes and he’s here, I’ll be glad to talk to you about it. I don’t have any information.

Q: Does your defense need him [JPP]?

A: We need a healthy Jason Pierre-Paul, certainly. He’s a guy that would add to our team provided he’s healthy and he can play at the level he’s played at.

Q: How much catching up would he have to do?

A: He’s got a lot to catch up with because, in other words, the other thing is I don’t know where he is from a conditioning standpoint; you don’t know how much he has been able to do. He’ll have some time to spend to get ready. I think he’ll come quickly through the football part of it. He’s had an iPad, he’s watched, so on and so forth. Hopefully that part will be, and we’ll be able to get him up to date on that. Of course, the other thing is he’s coming into a game plan situation, so it’s very specific, so he has to learn specifically what his responsibilities are as we get into the regular season rather than the entire playbook.

Q: So just to be clear here, you anticipate conditioning to be a bigger issue than scheme stuff?

A: First of all, his health, that’s the main thing.

Q: Do you have an update on Victor Cruz?

A: No, I don’t have an update.

Q: He [Cruz] hasn’t run still, as far as you’re aware.

A: He’s working in the pool. He does run on the treadmill underwater, but that’s as far as I know.

Q: Do you think it’s going to be tough…

A: I’m not answering, I don’t know anything. When he practices, I’ll let you know.

Q: Does he [Cruz] have to be handled differently because of the knee injury on top of the calf injury?

A: I thought we worked our way pretty much through that, but that could have an effect on what’s going on with the other leg, as well. You never know about that.

Q: Does [Jon] Beason look good to go this week and Sunday?

A: We’re hoping. We have to get him out there again and get him going. He’s excited and we’re excited.

Q: The same with DE [Robert] Ayers?

A: Yeah. Ayers actually looked pretty good today, hopefully that’s behind him.

Q: Back to Victor, how much would he have to practice?

A: He’d have to practice, he’d have to practice, and he’d have to get comfortable.

Q: Would it have to be days?

A: That’s not for you to know, that’s for me to know. If he looks good in practice, we’ll decide.

Q: Who’s your starting right guard?

A: Right now people are working in and out of there, and I think we’re okay with that.

Q: Is Wednesday the first big day of trying to get the game plan in?

A: Sure, yeah, that’s the first day.

Q: Have you sort of settled on Cooper [Taylor] getting that first shot at safety?

A: We’ll have something to say later in the week, but we’d like to see them all compete again and then we’ll make that call.

Q: Was it something that you didn’t see in Stevie Brown this past week?

A: No, we didn’t have as much time as we would like, obviously. I wish we had more time in the preseason to work with him, but we just felt at this time it was the right thing for us to do.

Q: Has it been unsettling to have so many questions about the offensive line and safety going into the first regular season game?

A: It’s pretty normal. If it isn’t that, it’s something else, but I’d like to have definite answers for you on all these guys, but sometimes you don’t have that.

Q: Does Dahl’s ability to play special teams factor into him over Stevie?

A: Someone asked that over here. He had 11 tackles last year on special teams.

Q: Has it been harder for you to go about planning this year when you have so many question marks?

A: No.

Q: Are you able to plan or are you moving on as if it’s not going to happen and if it does, it’s sort of a bonus?

A: There’s always a plan, everything is planned, everything is in great detail, sometimes you adjust, but everything is planned.

Q: How do you plan for JPP and moving forward?

A: When he gets here, we’ll see, we’ll see.

Q: Is it fair to think he [Pierre-Paul] is not going to play this weekend?

A: I’m not saying anything. Maybe he comes in and he’s in great shape and the doctors clear him right way, he practices two days, and goes and plays. I don’t know, I’m not sure about any of that, but I’m not going to rule that out, either.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video of player media Q&As are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday and there is no media access to the team.

Sep 042015
 
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Steve Weatherford, New York Giants (January 22, 2012)

Steve Weatherford – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Cut Steve Weatherford, Trade for Brad Wing: The New York Giants have released punter Steve Weatherford and acquired punter Brad Wing by trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional 7th round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Weatherford signed with the Giants in 2011 after spending time with the Saints, Chiefs, Jaguars, and Jets. Weatherford tore ligaments in his left ankle last September and was hobbled with the injury for much of the 2014 season. He finished 18th in the NFL in punting average (45.5 yards per punt) and 25th in net punting average (38.6). The Giants were concerned with Weatherford’s declining directional punting, which remained an issue in the preseason.

An Australian, the left-footed Wing was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2013 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but he made the Steelers roster in 2014. He finished that season with a 43.7 yards per punt average (38.8 net). Wing averaged 48.2 yards per punt (39.3 net) in the 2015 preseason. Twenty of his 61 punts in 2014 were downed inside the 20-yard line. Wing also held for field goals and place kicks for the Steelers.

Weatherford’s base salary in 2015 would have been $2.175 million and he would have counted $3.075 million against the cap. Wing is scheduled to make $510,000 in salary in 2015. By releasing Weatherford, the Giants are hit by $900,000 in dead money against the 2015 cap.

September 4, 2015 New York Giants Injury Update: Center Brett Jones, who left the preseason finale with a knee injury, has a MCL sprain.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin was also asked about the two players who were late scratches, cornerback Trevin Wade (back) and wide receiver Corey Washington (shoulder). “They are doing okay now,” said Coughlin.

Coughlin said he had no update on the status of wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf) and his availability for the season opener.

September 4, 2015 Head Coach Tom Coughlin Conference Call: Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Friday afternoon:

Let me start off by saying how difficult it was today to say goodbye to Steve Weatherford, who has been just an exceptional, exceptional human being, if I can put it that way, in terms of his – not only what he has contributed to the New York Giants on the football field but what he has done in the community, what he represents, the enthusiasm, the passion [and] the way that he had a unique ability to touch people in all parts of life. Whether it be a sick child, attending a funeral, just speaking to a junior high school group, whatever it might be, Steve had a very unique ability to come in to a room and be the light of the room and get people excited and emotional or speak to them in terms of remarks which showed compassion. When I spoke with Steve today, as he put it, the furthest thing from his mind at that time was to be speaking about football. He was very, very gracious in terms of speaking of his experience here with the New York Giants and what it has meant to he and his family and how he will always cherish his four years that he spent with us.

Q: What went into the decision and what do you like about Brad Wing?

A: Well, you know what, this is Steve’s day and I am going to stay away from talking about Wing or anything else, including the decision. It is not something that is done lightly, there have been evaluations that have gone on from the first day of training camp and the results are what we decided needed to be done at this time, but I am not going down that road today. I am thinking only of Steve Weatherford and what he has contributed here as a Giant.

Q: Do you talk to all players personally when you make these decisions?

A: Absolutely. I speak to every player.

Q:  With Weatherford on the field, everyone always talks about that Super Bowl run. Is that something that really sticks out to you as well?

A: Oh, no doubt about that part of it. If you remember in San Francisco, for example, when the field goal that was made that sent us to the Super Bowl – do you remember the guy that was going wild on the field? It was Steve. It was an experience unto itself because he was so excited about having that opportunity.

Q: You are going to have a lot of those conversations over this weekend. How hard is that?

A: So is everybody in the league that sits in this chair. It is not an easy thing; it is a most difficult thing. It is emotional in many ways, but every player that comes into the league – every coach understands that this is part of it, and even though it is by far one of the least popular things that has to happen, it still, nevertheless, has to be done, and we would like to think that we choose to do it with dignity.

Q: Any injuries out of last night?

A: Brett Jones had an MCL last night.

Q: Sprain?

A: Yeah.

Q: What happened with Corey Washington and Trevin Wade? You had sent out a list of guys that weren’t going to play. What happened in those last five hours that altered them being able to play and how are they doing now?

A: They are doing okay now, but there were a couple of events that came up that put it into a little different category, so they were held out of the game.

Q: Have you gotten any update on if Victor Cruz is going to be cleared anytime soon?

A: No.

Q: Is there a possibility of keeping multiple fullbacks on the roster? Is that something you have ever done before?

A: Well, first of all, there have been times when teams have kept more than one fullback; that certainly is nothing unusual. Obviously, they were then categorized as worthy in terms of being – whether you rank them 1 through 53 or however, they are worthy of being on the team, so that is not something unusual if in fact those players have fallen into the top part of your evaluation.

Q: How ready do you feel your team is to start the season?

A: Well, we’re going to start the season, so we better be ready. There are certainly many, many areas where we need to improve, and I think we will improve. I thought that there was – for the guys that played in the game last night – I thought they played hard and they competed well, so we certainly can learn something and take something from this. I wasn’t particularly pleased with the execution on offense for most of the night, and I think that an awful lot of that has to improve. I think we have to zoom in on a particular team and see if we can’t clean up our issues in terms of execution and finishing the play and doing the things necessary to be successful. I know everybody probably wants to talk about the green zone, but to me, it’s more than that. There are definite areas everywhere in our game that can be improved upon, but make no doubt about it – the season is underway and we’re going to have to get there in a hurry.

Q: Is there anyone that stood out for you in that game that really sort of helped their cause here maybe moving forward?

A: I thought there was any number of guys who did well and performed well in terms of their own particular game. Particularly, if you just cite individual plays – not necessarily the whole course of the game. Geremy Davis made a couple of plays, no doubt. [Jerome] Cunningham made nice plays. I thought Landon Collins made a couple of plays demonstrating, as I have told you earlier, I wanted to see him have to play the deep ball in the middle of the field and that happened. As a matter of fact, he should’ve had an interception, and he knocked the ball away on a crossing pattern way over near the far sideline, which showed me that his burst was there and he can get after it and knock the ball away. And he also got down close to the line of scrimmage and tackled and did some things of that nature. Certainly, you’d have to say George Selvie played well last night. Damontré [Moore], despite the penalties, came up with certainly a huge play at the end of the game. [Chris] Boswell – how about that kid coming in literally off the street and kicking off as well as he did, driving the ball deep and making four field goals when he hadn’t had really any time to speak of with Steve [Weatherford] as the holder since he’d been back. So there were a lot of individual plays. A lot of people had plays, and it would’ve been nice if [Uani’] Unga went up and had his hands on that ball that he ended up knocking down. You know, I’ve seen people catch that ball, and that would’ve been a nice thing to see. So there were plays throughout the game that were good examples. You had [Kenneth] Harper on the really nice cutback run. You had [Orleans] Darkwa with a couple of penetration runs up front, I thought. We went to kind of a two tight end and two back set in the second half and had some productive running opportunities, so there were plays along the line like that throughout the game.

Q: I know we seem to ask you this every week, but where do you stand now with the safety position? Did Cooper Taylor do anything to sort of solidify himself in that spot? I know he’s been playing with the first team all week.

A: Well, that was his opportunity. That’s basically what it was, and we’ll decide on those things going forward based on merit. Cooper [Taylor] did some good things last night, no doubt, and hopefully will continue.

Q: Can you just talk about your thoughts in opening Sunday night in Dallas in a situation where it’s going to be a pretty charged atmosphere and you seem to have to hit the ground running?

A: Well, it’s the opening game of the 2015 season. Everybody, we’re excited to be playing. We’re playing in the division. We’re playing against a team that was the division champion a year ago, that went deep into the playoffs. So they’re an outstanding team and we’ve been in this format before and we’re excited and look forward to going to Dallas and bringing our A game.

Q: What’s the ideal number of tight ends you’d like to carry on your roster moving forward here? If you had a perfect world and got to choose.

A: Well, if I had a perfect world, I’d… of course you’ve got to have the utilization of the tight ends, and with specific purpose. It’s a difficult position to man today in terms of the versatility that goes along with it. You’d like to have at least one tight end that can accomplish everything, and then others that are very specific, so you could have anywhere from three to four tight ends, and if you were not carrying a fullback, you might even have more depending on how they contribute to special teams.

September 4, 2015 Player Conference Calls: Transcripts of the following player conference calls on Friday afternoon are available on BigBlueInteractive.com:

Articles on DE Jason Pierre-Paul:

Article on FB/DT Nikita Whitlock: Two-way player Whitlock hoping to stick with Giants by Tom Rock of Newsday