Oct 302015
 
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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Victor Cruz (calf), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (hamstring), LB J.T. Thomas (ankle), and CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral) have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. OT Will Beatty (pectoral – PUP) and DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand – roster exemption) also will not play.

LB Jon Beason (ankle/knee) is “questionable” for the game.

WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), RG Geoff Schwartz (ankle), and LB Uani ‘Unga (neck) are “probable” for the game.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with Tom Coughlin are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

JASON PIERRE-PAUL ADDRESSES PRESS…
New York Giants defensive end addressed the media for the first time on Friday since maiming himself in a July 4th fireworks accident. The transcript of his media session is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

For those with stronger stomachs who want to see what’s left of Pierre-Paul’s right hand, see JPP reveals mangled right hand as he relives fireworks mishap by Howie Kussoy of The New York Post.

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WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants will have a 45-minute, up-tempo “walk-thru” practice on Saturday that is not open to the media. The Giants play the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday.

Oct 252015
 
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Jonathan Casillas, New York Giants (October 25, 2015)

Jonathan Casillas – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS 27 – DALLAS COWBOYS 20…
It wasn’t pretty, but the New York Giants found a way to win a game where they were very much out-played on both lines of scrimmage on Sunday at MetLife Stadium as the Giants defeated the Cowboys 27-20. With the victory, the Giants improved their overall record to 4-3 and their divisional record to 2-2.

The Cowboys vastly out-gained the Giants in first downs (27-13), third-down efficiency (55 percent to 27 percent), total net yards (460 to 289), net yards rushing (233 to 132), net yards passing (227 to 157), and time of possession (38:04 to 21:56). But the Giants won the turnover battle (4 to 0) and scored touchdowns on defense and special teams.

The Giants received the football to start the game, picked up a couple of first downs, but were then forced to punt. The Cowboys drove 68 yards in 11 plays on their first possession but settled for a 30-yard field goal to go up 3-0 early.

After both teams exchanged punts, the Giants scored their only offensive touchdown of the game by marching 79 yards in seven plays to take a 7-3 lead on running back Orleans Darkwa’s 15-yard touchdown run. The Cowboys immediately cut into that advantage after the ensuing kickoff went out-of-bounds and the Cowboys managed to gain 30 yards in six plays to set up a 48-yard field goal. Giants 7 – Cowboys 6.

The Giants went three-and-out on their ensuing possession and Dallas then regained the lead by driving 72 yards in just six plays. The drive was aided by three defensive penalties and culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Darren McFadden, who would finish the game with 152 yards rushing on 29 carries. Cowboys 13 – Giants 7.

With 2:17 to go before halftime, the Giants did manage to cut into that score with an 8-play, 51-yard drive that set up a 47-yard field goal by place kicker Josh Brown. The big play on the drive was a 38-yard pass from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Dwayne Harris. At the half, the Cowboys led 13-10.

The Cowboys received the football to start the second half and turned it over on their first three possessions after the break. First, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie picked off quarterback Matt Cassel at the Giants’ 42-yard line and returned the interception 58 yards for the defensive score. The Giants were now up 17-13.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants (October 25, 2015)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Dallas crossed midfield on their second possession but a deep pass by Cassel was underthrown and intercepted by safety Brandon Meriweather at the Giants’ 1-yard line. Aided by a 44-yard reception by wide receiver Rueben Randle and a 39-yard run by running back Shane Vereen, the Giants were able to extend their lead to 20-13 on Josh Brown’s 34-yard field goal.

Cassel threw his third interception of the game on the Cowboys’ third possession of the half. Rodgers Cromartie picked off his second pass of the game at the Giants’ 22-yard line and returned it 12 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Giants picked up only one first down and were forced to punt. Dallas then proceeded to tie the game at 20-20 by driving 80 yards in nine plays with Cassel finding wide receiver Devin Street for a 25-yard touchdown midway through the final quarter.

Then came the play of the game when Dwayne Harris returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Dwayne Harris, New York Giants (October 25, 2015)

Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Dallas still had two opportunities to tie the game. The Cowboys drove from their own 31-yard line to the Giants’ 30-yard line with just over two minutes to play. After two plays picked up no yards, the Cowboys went for it on 4th-and-8 but failed to convert when tight end James Hanna was stopped two yards short of the first-down marker.

The Giants were not able to run out the clock but they did force the Cowboys to spend all three of their timeouts before punting. Brad Wing’s punt was muffed by Dallas returner Cole Beasley and recovered by Giants’ wide receiver Myles White with 1:26 to play. The Giants then knelt on the ball to win the game.

Manning finished the game 13-of-24 for 170 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. The leading receivers were wideout Odell Beckham (4 catches for 35 yards), tight end Larry Donnell (4 catches for 18 yards), Randle (2 catches for 68 yards), and Harris (2 catches for 43 yards). The leading rushers were Vereen (4 carries for 56 yards) and Darkwa (8 carries for 48 yards).

Rodgers-Cromartie had two interceptions, one for a touchdown. Meriweather had the other interception. Linebacker Jon Beason led the team with 11 tackles. Defensive end Georgie Selvie and defensive tackle Markus Kuhn shared the team’s only sack. Selvie was credited with three quarterback hits and defensive Robert Ayers with two.

Video highlights/lowlights and post-game locker room celebration are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (finger) and DE Robert Ayers Jr. (concussion evaluation) left the game but returned. DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (hamstring) and LB J.T. Thomas (ankle) were both injured during the game and did not return.

POST-GAME REACTIONS…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Tom Coughlin and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
Inactive for the Giants were WR Victor Cruz (calf), LB Uani ‘Unga (neck), CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral), CB Brandon McGee (back), DE Damontre Moore, DT Louis Nix, and OT Bobby Hart.

The Giants broke a five-game losing streak to Dallas. It was their first home victory vs. the Cowboys since January 1, 2012, the night they clinched the NFC East title on their way to Super Bowl XLVI.

The Giants have won their first two NFC East home games for the first time since 2009.

This was first game in which the Giants scored on both an interception return and a kickoff return since November 4, 1951. Tom Landry returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown, and Emlen Tunnell brought back a kickoff 100 yards for another score in a 37-31 victory over the New York Yanks.

The Giants rushed for 132 yards, their first 100-yard game since they ran for 128 yards at St. Louis on December 21, 2014. They had not rushed for 100 yards in seven consecutive games, and had been the only NFL team without a 100-yard rushing game this season.

The Giants did not commit a turnover in two games vs. the Cowboys this season.

Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning each reached milestones with the victory. Coughlin won his 100th regular-season game with the Giants, and Manning his 95th. Coughlin joined Hall of Famer Steve Owen as the only coaches in the 91-season history of the franchise to reach 100 regular-season victories. Owen had 153 victories from 1930-53. Manning’s 95th regular-season victory tied Phil Simms’ franchise record. The veteran quarterback and team captain presented a game ball to Coughlin in the postgame locker room.

Coughlin became the seventh coach in NFL history with at least 100 victories and at least two Super Bowl wins with one franchise. The others are Bill Belichick, Joe Gibbs, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Mike Shanahan, and Don Shula.

Harris tied the franchise record for longest kickoff return touchdown. Tunnell returned a kickoff 100 yards vs. the New York Yankees on November 4, 1951, and Clarence Childs matched him against Minnesota on December 6, 1964. It was Harris’ first career kickoff return touchdown.

Josh Brown kicked field goals of 47 and 34 yards. He has now made 19 consecutive field goal attempts, breaking the team record of 17 he set from October 6 – December 29, 2013.

ARTICLES…

Oct 122015
 
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Larry Donnell, New York Giants (October 11, 2015)

Larry Donnell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS 30 – SAN FRANCISCO 49ers 27…
The New York Giants rallied late in the fourth quarter to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 30-27 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night. The victory improved New York’s overall record to 3-2 and first place in the NFC East.

All looked lost when the 49ers drove 80 yards to score the go-ahead touchdown with just 1:45 left in the game. At this point, San Fransisco led 27-23. But quarterback Eli Manning orchestrated an 8-play, 82-yard drive that culminated with a dramatic, game-winning 12-yard touchdown throw to tight end Larry Donnell with 21 second to play.

The 49ers received the football to start the game and moved 55 yards in eight plays to set up a successful 43-yard field goal. The Giants tied the game on their first possession by traveling 76 yards in nine plays to set up a 22-yard field goal as the drive stalled inside the 10-yard line. Manning found wide receiver Odell Beckham for a 49-yard gain on this initial possession.

Shane Vereen, New York Giants (October 11, 2015)

Shane Vereen – © USA TODAY Sports Images

After forcing San Francisco to punt on their second possession, the Giants put together a 14-play, 81-yard drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Manning to running back Shane Vereen on 3rd-and-goal. The big play on the drive was a 31-yard pass to Beckham on 3rd-and-7. Giants 10 – 49ers 3.

After another San Fransisco punt, the Giants moved the ball 43 yards in 10 plays to set up place kicker Josh Brown’s second successful field goal, this one from 41 yards out. Giants 13 – 49ers 3. However, the 49ers cut into that lead by driving 76 yards in 11 plays and kicking a 22-yard field goal late in the first half.

The Giants blew an opportunity for more points before intermission as New York drove 66 yards in less than a minute to reach the 49er 14-yard line. But Manning was picked off in the end zone on an ill-advised pass with five seconds to play. At the half, the Giants led 13-6.

The Giants received the ball to start the second half but punted after picking up one first down. The 49ers then tied the game on their initial possession of the second half by driving 88 yards in 10 plays. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick found wideout Anquan Boldin for a 3-yard score. Giants 13 – 49ers 13.

After the Giants and 49ers exchanged punts, New York drove the ball 61 yards in seven plays near the end of the third quarter and Manning found Beckham for a 17-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. Giants 20 – 49ers 13. However, the Giants defense could not hold the advantage as San Fransisco responded with another long touchdown drive, this time 80 yards in 11 plays with Kaepernick hitting tight end Garrett Celek for a 5-yard score on 3rd-and-goal.

The Giants responded with a long scoring drive of their own, marching 74 yards in 14 plays. However, the Giants had to settle for another short field goal, this time from 24 yards out as the Giants went ahead 23-20 with 4:29 to play.

New York’s defense fell apart again, as the 49ers scored their third long touchdown drive of the second half. In just seven plays, San Fransisco went 80 yards with running back Carlos Hyde scoring from two yards out to put the 49ers up 27-23 with 1:45 to play.

Then came the dramatic game-winning drive. Manning scrambled for 11 yards and then threw to Vereen for 11 and 16 yards. Disaster almost struck on 1st-and-10 from the 49er 44-yard line when Manning’s deep pass initially appeared to be intercepted, but replay overruled the pick as the ball hit the ground. Two plays later, on 3rd-and-10, Manning hit Vereen for a 24-yard gain. After an 8-yard pass interference penalty was called on the 49ers against Beckham, Manning found Donnell for the game winner from 12 yards out with 21 seconds to play.

Offensively, the Giants accrued 30 first downs and 525 total yards (84 rushing, 441 passing). The team was 9-of-14 (64 percent) on third down, but only 3-of-6 (50 percent) in red zone opportunities. Manning finished the game 41-of-54 for 441 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. His leading receivers were Vereen (8 catches for 86 yards and a touchdown), Beckham (7 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (6 catches for 72 yards), and Donnell (6 catches for 35 yards and a touchdown). Running back Rashad Jennings carried the ball 11 times for 46 yards and Vereen five times for 24 yards.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 22 first downs and 380 total yards (124 rushing, 256 passing). The 49ers were 8-of-14 (57 percent) on third down and 3-of-4 (75 percent) in the red zone. Defensive end Damontre Moore had both of New York’s sacks, but the Giants rarely pressured Kaepernick. The Giants did not force a turnover.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com. A video of the locker room celebration is also available.

INJURY REPORT…
WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), WR Rueben Randle (hamstring), LG Justin Pugh (ankle), LB Jon Beason (concussion), CB Trumaine McBride (possible aggravation of groin injury) all left the game with injuries. Beckham returned to the game.

“Sure, I was (reluctant to put Beckham back in the game),” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “We were trying to win a game. He wanted to go. The medical people said let him go. I let him go. We’ll see what he is like tomorrow.”

POST-GAME REACTIONS…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Tom Coughlin and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
Inactive for the Giants were WR Victor Cruz (calf), TE Jerome Cunningham (knee), DE Robert Ayers (hamstring), DE George Selvie (calf), LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), LB Jonathan Casillas (calf), and OT Bobby Hart.

The Giants broke a three-game losing streak on Sunday Night Football and improved their Sunday night record to 20-26-1, including 10-12 at home.

QB Eli Manning’s 41 completions and 54 pass attempts were career highs. Manning’s 41 completions were a franchise record. His 441 yards were the third-highest total of his career. Manning completed a career-high 15 consecutive passes over three series spanning the third and fourth quarters.

The victory was the 102nd of Manning’s career (94 regular season, eight postseason). That is a franchise record. Manning had been tied with Phil Simms (95 regular season, six postseason).

This was the 27th time that Manning has rallied the Giants from a fourth-quarter deficit or tie to win a regular-season game. He’s also done it five times in the postseason, including two Super Bowls. It was Manning’s first game-winning drive since October 5, 2014 vs. Atlanta.

DANIEL FELLS MRSA UPDATE…
According to an NFL.com report on Sunday, tight end Daniel Fells’ health situation had become far more serious. Fells, who has been hospitalized with a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) staph infection since last weekend, was moved to the Intensive Care Unit on Friday. He has undergone five surgeries to treat the infection with additional surgeries planned. There is a chance that Fells’ foot may need to be amputated.

However, NJ.com is reporting that Fells has responded better this weekend to a new antibiotic and FOXSports is reporting is reporting that his fever has dipped.

“We dedicated the game to Daniel Fells and his family, and thank God we were able to give him the game ball,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin after the Giants’ 30-27 victory over the 49ers. “Fells has had two very good days in a row…His MRI came back without any issues. Thank God and hopefully he will just continue in that direction and have this cleared up so he can go home and see his kids.”

ARTICLES…

Oct 092015
 
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INJURY REPORT – CRUZ, AYERS, SELVIE, KENNARD OUT…
WR Victor Cruz (calf), DE Robert Ayers (hamstring), DE George Selvie (calf), and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring) have officially been ruled out of Sunday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.

“(Kennard has) had a very good start to the season, so obviously we lose his energy, his enthusiasm, his love of the game, his physical play,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “It’s unfortunate that he’s out this week, but hopefully he’ll be back soon.”

LB Jonathan Casillas (calf), CB Jayron Hosley (concussion), and CB Trumaine McBride (groin) are “questionable” for the game.

TE Jerome Cunningham (knee), LT Ereck Flowers (ankle), and DT Markus Kuhn (knee) are “probable.”

Meanwhile, NJ.com is reporting that TE Daniel Fells, who is on Injured Reserve, underwent a fourth surgical procedure on Thursday to treat his methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) staph infection in his ankle. A fifth procedure is also scheduled for this weekend. The Giants had thought Fells was getting better and thought he might have been released from the hospital on Thursday.

“(Fells is) still (the hospital) and from what I understand, he’s still running a temperature,” said Coughlin. “We’re all praying for him, believe me.”

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with Tom Coughlin are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants will hold a 45-minute, full-speed practice on Saturday that is not open to the media. The Giants face the San Francisco 49ers at home on Sunday night.

Sep 282015
 
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Andre Williams, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

INJURY REPORT…
The Giants held a walk-through practice on Monday and were not required to issue an official injury report. However, it did not appear as if WR Victor Cruz (calf), RB Orleans Darkwa (knee), TE Jerome Cunningham (knee), LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP), and DT Markus Kuhn (knee) did much work.

“(Cruz) worked on the side,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin, who said Cruz was scheduled to work on the side on Monday. “Hopefully he’ll be able to practice (on Wednesday).”

“I’m convinced I’m playing Sunday,” said Cruz. “I feel good. I’m excited to be out there, excited to run some routes again today. The calf felt great…I ran about 20 routes just to kind of get myself used to running routes again, get my body used to running them again, seeing how the calf felt running routes. It felt good, there were no setbacks, everything felt fluid.”

Darkwa said an MRI taken on his knee on Friday showed no structural damage and that he should be fine.

It appeared that LT Ereck Flowers (ankle), DE Robert Ayers (hamstring), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (foot), and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion) all participated in at least some of the walk-through practice.

“It feels better,” said Flowers. “Yeah, (the extra time) was really helpful…(This week) is what I’m working toward.”

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
The transcript of Tom Coughlin’s press conference on Monday 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 Monday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES

GIANTS-REDSKINS: SIGHTS AND SOUNDS…
A sights and sounds video from the Giants’ 32-21 victory over the Washington Redskins is now available at Giants.com.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s game in Buffalo against the Bills.

Sep 252015
 
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HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media by conference call on Friday:

We’ve talked to our team this morning and we’ve had a chance to look at the tape, and we did a lot of good things and we left some things out on the field that need to be corrected. I spent some time, obviously, congratulating our team and telling them that the effort for the most part was outstanding, and that’s got to remain right where it is. The passion, the effort, the believing, the rallying around each other and realizing the importance of the game, not only the divisional game, but just to get on the board here to become hopefully relevant. But once all those things were pointed out, I did spend some time talking about the end of the game, and how I realize we’re under construction, but the patience factor is really—we’re into our third game here. We do need to understand how to finish better than we did. I pointed out that with 11 (minutes) and some seconds left in the fourth quarter with a 25-6 lead, the Washington team ran something like 39 plays, our offense ran 10. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. You’d like to think you can finish the game with the ball in your hands and we would certainly like to erase the kickoff return against.

But that having been said, we did do a good job against the number one rushing team in the NFL, and we played solid defense. We took care of the ball, we were plus-three, we got a punt block for a safety which was an outstanding play, we got Rueben Randle involved in the offensive scheme. We had some rushes that we thought were going to come right out the other end, but the ball carrier was tripped up and didn’t advance as far as we had hoped we would have. We did hold the ball longer than the number two team in the league in time of possession, which was a good thing. We ran the ball 31 times, which was something I was glad to see. We threw it 32 and ran it 31, I liked that balance completely. We were not sacked, our offensive line did a good job. Justin Pugh in a midstream-type adjust type thing went out to left tackle and did a nice job. I thought Marshall Newhouse against a very, very good outside rusher in Kerrigan did a good job as well. So that having been said, we were pleased with a lot of the contributions made by a lot of people on the defensive side of the ball on a night in which we had to rise up and play well. Their play action pass game was outstanding off the run, and they opened the game up opening and breaking some formations, going to empty and doing some things that they hadn’t necessarily shown. We did a pretty good of adjusting to that.

Q: What about Victor Cruz’s status coach?

A: He’s improving and we’re hoping. He’s running. He’ll be running all weekend and we’re hoping that there’s nothing but straight ahead positives in all his activities and we’ll see next week if we can get him on the practice field.

Q: Tom, right after the two-minute warning, you guys faced a third down and Eli threw the ball downfield. The Redskins did not have any timeouts left. Looking back, should you guys have maybe run the ball and drained the clock with an 11 point lead?

A: No. We threw a ball on third and 10 for a touchdown in the series before that. We ran the ball twice, we milked as much of the clock as we could. I wanted a first down that we might keep the ball even longer, and I felt confident that we would be able to achieve that. We put the quarterback in as safe as possible position. We ran a very conservative route with Odell Beckham. It just didn’t work out. I think the quarterback probably had to release it a little bit earlier than he wanted to. I understand the strategy you’re trying to get at just as much as you do. Believe me, it went through my mind, but we’ve got to get this thing flipped around a little bit. We’re going to have to play to keep the ball as much as we can in those situations and not just punt the ball back to the defense.

We did have an 11 point lead, as you said. It’s not as safe as earlier on when we had a 16 point lead and they couldn’t touch us with two touchdowns, or at least it would have been very difficult. We’re trying to win the game and keep the ball, and have the ball at the end of the game. I weighed all of those things and I felt like this is the way we should play it. As I said, we had thrown a touchdown pass—a much-needed touchdown pass—prior in a third and 10 situation as well. You ask a strategic question, which certainly is something that should be considered, and I did consider it, but I did not agree that that’s the way we should play. I would want this offensive team to feel more responsibility. We’ve been in this situation before this year. There’s something about shifting gears and playing like that, it bothers me. If you can dominate the run, it’s very difficult this day to do that because you’re going to face eight, nine people in the box, it’s going to be very hard to run. The four-minute concepts that you and I both had 10 years ago, those things have pretty much come and gone. It’s most difficult to do just that.

A few years ago, the naked bootleg was a part of the four-minute package and gave you a chance to throw the ball as safely as you possibly could. I still agree with that to a certain extent. If you make a mistake and they come off the edge on you and you’re unprotected there, that can be disaster, too. But there does come a point in time, I think, today where you change formations and you open up a little bit—as safe as you can be—don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about some foolish throw, I’m just saying you want to end the game with the ball in your hands, you don’t want to keep putting your defense in a position where they have to make stop after stop when you know what’s coming. People are opening up and just throwing the ball all over the place trying to get back in the game. So I mean, that’s just the way I feel about it. I normally would entertain any thought you might have about that, I do understand it’s a strategy call, but I don’t bat an eye about what we did last night and I would defend our actions to anybody.

Q: In a relatively short period of time, how far do you think Landon Collins has come?

A: You can see him improve in confidence and play each week. You can see him become more aggressive, you can see him more confident in communicating with the other members of the secondary each week. So from that standpoint, I think he’s made progress each and every time he’s played. I think he gets a little bit better at his position each week.

Q: How did you determine the rotation between Jon Beason and Uani ‘Unga? Is that going to change going forward?

A: You know, I don’t know. They’re both outstanding players and we need them both. We had personnel combinations that we had Jon in, and Uani was in other combinations. And Jon was coming back for his first actual playing time, and we wanted to make sure that he was extended and got a chance to line up next weekend in anticipation of some more snaps. We have a young player that’s made two outstanding interceptions, that’s athletic, that is fast, and is growing into the position. And we have a veteran that is so extremely well-thought of, he’s voted captain of the defensive team, and we feel like we’re fortunate in that we’ll be able to utilize both of these players.

Q: Your run defensive is obviously something you wanted to improve this offseason. What did you see yesterday that made it so effective, and why has it been so much improved this season in general?

A: Well, it was the number one thing we had to stop, and we knew that. So that’s our number one objective, there were many objectives, but that was number one. And our guys rose up against a very, very good offensive line. They had their runs, but we did a good job. The guys in there did a nice job, whether it be Selvie, whoever it might be. The guys did a very, very nice job. Hankins did a nice job, Bromley did a nice job. Guys that were rolled in there in those roles, Kerry Wynn did a nice job. The linebackers, Kennard did an outstanding job at the point of attack. We dressed eight people on the defensive line and we dressed seven linebackers and there was a reason for it.

Q: I’m curious, when you brought the players together, did you observe a sense of relief or change in mood?

A: No, not really. Not really. I think that most players, the day after a game, certainly when you win, they’re reinforced and they feel very good about that. But they are intent on listening to what you have to say about the evaluation of the game and they did look forward to that today again. Fortunately, we could compliment a lot, but we also had a chance to do some teaching, and we did.

Q: Going back to Cruz for a second. When he’s ready, when he’s healthy enough to play, will there be less emphasis on Rueben Randle such as there was last night or can all three of them play?

A: Oh, all three of them can play. There wouldn’t any less of anything, I hope. I hope we’d have more.

Q: One in the slot and the other two split?

A: For the most part. They all move around, they all get in different spots.

Q: Victor talked about his goal of being ready for this week. Is that the way you guys are looking at it as well?

A: I hope so. That’s what we’re being told.

Q: We also saw DRC doing some running. How is he? Is he cleared?

A: Yeah, he’s going to be okay. He’s going to be fine.

Q: Is Prince alright today?

A: Yeah.

Q: How about Flowers while we’re talking about injury guys?

A: Well, we’ll see. We’ll see. Hopefully this will be a good weekend for him in the training room.

Q: You don’t find many 250-pound defensive tackles anymore in the NFL. Is Nikita Whitlock a legitimate player there or is he a desperation player there?

A: No, no, he’s legitimate. He played defensive line in college. He’s a tremendous energy player who’s very quick, very difficult for these offensive lineman to just be in position and stay with because he does have the spin moves and the acceleration and those types of things. In a limited capacity, he is an excellent change of pace, and you saw that he can generate some pressure.

Q: What did you think when you saw him play on film?

A: Pretty much just what I said. He had a couple pressures and he plays hard in there. He’s fast, he’s very energetic, and he has outstanding quickness. So that’s what people have to contend with.

Q: Was there a point, and I ask this good-naturedly, when you had to kind of get over the fact that you could play him on the defensive line but he that doesn’t weigh 300 pounds?

A: No. As a matter of fact, we had him in pass-rush circumstances during camp. Everybody wanted to see more, the defense wanted to see more. So we’ve extended a little bit as we’ve gone along here, not to a great extent, last night was the most. But he does have that unique ability, and you know what, he plays so hard on special teams. As a fullback, he’s very physical, throws his body around up in the line of scrimmage. He can wear different hats.

Q: You said before you didn’t sense a difference in the mood of the team. But don’t you feel more alive today?

A: Well, I didn’t say that part of it. I thought I was trying to answer a question, I don’t know what I was trying to answer, but I was not trying to tell you they’re not excited about having won and they’re not excited about winning a game and having a weekend off. No, they’re very much that way. I just tried to say that they present themselves in the meeting at first knowing full well we won, and looking forward to the comments that the coaching staff would make. I’m not trying to take anything away from how they react, this is certainly a lot more fun than it’s been the last couple weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say we didn’t enjoy our meeting time today.

Q: I’m guessing you’ve gotten out of Brad Wing what you hoped to get when you acquired him?

A: Well he’s gotten the ball of quickly. You saw last night we were under pressure a couple of times and he got the ball away, which was outstanding. We had a ball downed at the one-yard line two weeks in a row. His hang time has been good, his get-offs have been good, his location has been outstanding. He’s giving people a real interest in flying the field and being in position. So yeah, he’s helped us.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts or audio of Friday’s media sessions with the following players:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Saturday and Sunday and there will be no media availability to the Giants this weekend. The Giants return to work on Monday in preparation for next Sunday’s 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

Feb 032015
 
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Andre Williams, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2014 was a major transition year for the New York Giants at the  running back position. The two backs most-associated with the team’s recent Super Bowl seasons – Brandon Jacobs (2005-11, 2013) and Ahmad Bradshaw (2007-12) – were both completely out of the picture. Heading into training camp, it was anticipated that free agent acquisition Rashad Jennings, 2012 first-round draft pick David Wilson, and 2014 fourth-round draft pick Andre Williams would form the core of the new running attack. However, Wilson’s NFL career prematurely ended when he re-aggravated a neck injury he originally suffered in the 2013 season. He was forced to retire from the NFL in training camp. It was a major blow for the Giants as not only was Wilson particularly well-suited for Ben McAdoo’s West Coast Offense, but he was one of the few home-run hitters on the team and a dynamic kickoff returner.

Without Wilson, the Giants were largely a between-the-tackles and off-tackle team that was unable to consistently threaten the perimeter of the defense. With a re-vamped offensive line that was not very physical and often struggled to move defenders off of the line of scrimmage, the running backs did not have much room to operate. Exacerbating the situation was the fact that Jennings was limited to nine starts due to knee and ankle injuries. Reserves Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox also ended up on Injured Reserve in November.

At fullback, Henry Hynoski beat out John Conner in training camp and the preseason. However, the fullback position was de-emphasized in McAdoo’s system in favor of multiple tight end sets.

In the end, the Giants were tied for 28th in the NFL with only 3.6 yards per rushing attempt and 23rd in the NFL with 100.2 rushing yards per game. The team was tied for 12th in rushing touchdowns with 13. For a team that was 10th in the NFL in rushing attempts, these figures simply were not good enough.

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (September 21, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE HALFBACKS

The Giants signed Rashad Jennings as an unrestricted free agent from the Oakland Raiders in March 2014. Anointed the starting running back, Jennings was limited to 11 games with nine starts due to knee and ankle injuries. He finished the season with 639 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 167 carries (3.8 yards per carry) and 226 receiving yards on 30 receptions (7.5 yards per catch). Jennings was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He signed with the Raiders in 2013. Jennings is a big, physical, no-nonsense, north-south runner who does his best work between-the-tackles or off tackle. He is solid pass blocker and has good hands as a receiver. Jennings only has lost two fumbles in his career. He is a hard worker and a good presence in the locker room.

The Giants drafted Andre Williams in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Williams began the season as the #2 back behind Rashad Jennings, playing in all 16 games with seven starts. He finished the season with 721 yards and seven touchdowns on 217 carries (3.3 yards per carry). He also caught 18 passes for 130 yards (7.2 yards per catch). Williams is a big, powerful, north-south runner with decent speed. He is not terribly quick or elusive, and does not present much of a threat as an outside runner. Williams seemed less instinctive running the ball at the pro level his rookie season than he did in college. Smart. Williams improved as a pass protector as the season progressed. He’s not a natural pass receiver, but he works at it.

Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson, New York Giants (September 25, 2014)

Peyton Hillis – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Peyton Hillis was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2014 with a concussion, his second in two seasons. Hillis played in nine games in 2014 as the #3 back and finished the season with 26 carries for 115 yards and 10 receptions for 87 yards. Hillis was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He has since played with the Browns (2010-11), Chiefs (2012), and Buccaneers (2013). Tampa Bay waived him in September 2013 and the Giants signed him the following month. With the Giants in 2013, Hillis carried the ball 73 times for 247 yards and caught 13 passes for 96 yards. Hillis’ best season was in 2010 when he rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Browns and caught 61 passes for 477 yards and two touchdowns. Hillis is a big back and a decent athlete for his size. He’s a tough, physical runner between the tackles and has very good hands in the passing game. He is not quick, elusive, or fast and thus does not present an outside running threat. Ball security (15 career fumbles) and durability have been issues.

Michael Cox was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2014 with a fractured lower leg. He was on the Practice Squad of the team until October. Cox played in four games and finished the season with four carries, two catches, and 11 kickoff returns. Cox was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. In 2013, he played in 14 games as a rookie with one start. But he only carried the football 22 times for 43 yards (2.0 yards per carry) and caught the ball three times for 12 yards. Most of his work came on special teams where he returned 20 kickoffs for a 21.8 yards-per-return average. Cox is a big, strong back with decent speed and elusiveness. He catches the ball well, but needs to work on his pass protection.

Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (December 21, 2014)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Giants signed Orleans Darkwa off of the Practice Squad of the Miami Dolphins in November 2014. He played in seven games with the Giants, mostly on special teams, but he did carry the ball five times for 21 yards and one touchdown as well as catching two passes for 17 yards. Darkwa was originally signed by the Dolphins as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in four games in September before being waived in October and signed to the team’s Practice Squad. Darkwa has average size and overall athletic ability, but he is a steady, hard-working football player with good intangibles.

Chris Ogbonnaya was signed to the 53-man roster in December 2014. Ogbonnaya was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. Since then he has played for the Rams (2009), Texans (2011), Browns (2011-13), and Panthers (2014). Ogbonnaya has played in 51 games with 12 starts and has carried the ball 158 times for 710 yards and two touchdowns. He also has 96 catches for 714 yards and two touchdowns. Ogbonnaya is a big back with good speed. He has good hands catching the ball.

Henry Hynoski, New York Giants (December 7, 2014)

Henry Hynoski – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE FULLBACKS

Henry Hynoski played in all 16 games in 2014, with four starts. Although he saw his playing time reduced in the new West Coast system, Hynoski actually had a career-high seven carries for 13 yards as the Giants used him more as a short-yardage runner. However, 2014 was the first season he did not catch a pass. That all said, the strength of Hynoski’s game is still his run blocking. Hynoski originally signed with the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. Hynoski missed virtually all of 2013 with knee and shoulder injuries. A bit of a throwback, Hynoski is a big, physical player. He is not overly athletic as he lacks speed and agility.

The Giants signed Nikita Whitlock to the Practice Squad in December 2014. Whitlock, who played defensive tackle in college, was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He was cut by the Bengals in their final round of cuts and then signed by the Dallas Cowboys to their Practice Squad. The NFL suspended Whitlock in November for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and the Cowboys terminated his Practice Squad contract. Whitlock was converted to fullback by the Bengals and he flashed in the preseason as a lead blocker with good size.

Dec 292014
 
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Julian Talley, New York Giants (August 10, 2013)

Julian Talley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Sign 11 Players to Reserve/Future Contracts: The New York Giants have signed 11 players to Reserve/Future contracts. Nine of the 11 were on the team’s Practice Squad:

  • FB Nikita Whitlock
  • WR Julian Talley
  • WR Juron Criner
  • WR Chris Harper
  • OT Michael Bamiro
  • DE Jordan Stanton
  • LB Unai Unga
  • CB Josh Victorian
  • S Thomas Gordon

The team also signed CB Bennett Jackson, who was on the Practice Squad/Injured List with a knee injury and street free agent P Robert Malone.

The Giants signed Nikita Whitlock to the Practice Squad in December 2014. Whitlock, who played defensive tackle in college, was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He was cut by the Bengals in their final round of cuts and then signed by the Dallas Cowboys to their Practice Squad. The NFL suspended Whitlock in November for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and the Cowboys terminated his Practice Squad contract. Whitlock was converted to fullback by the Bengals and he flashed in the preseason as a lead blocker with good size.

Julian Talley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2012 NFL Draft. He did not make the team, but the Giants brought him back for another go in 2013 and 2014. Talley spent most of the 2013 season on the team’s Practice Squad, but was signed to the 53-man roster in mid-December. He played in two games in 2013 but did not have a catch. Talley is a tall, thin receiver with good overall athletic ability. He lacks ideal speed, but is smooth and fluid with decent hands.

Juron Criner was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2014. Criner was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders waived him on August 26. In 13 games with the Raiders, Criner has caught 19 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown. He is a big receiver with good overall athleticism, but he needs to develop better technique and consistency.

Chris Harper was signed to the Practice Squad in October 2014. Harper was originally drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Harper did not make the team and has since spent time with the 49ers (2013) and Packers (2013-14). Harper played in four games with the Packers in 2013 and was cut by the team in August. Harper has a nice combination of size (6’1”, 230lbs) and athletic ability. He is a tough, physical receiver with good speed and hands.

Michael Bamiro was signed to the Practice Squad in November 2014. Bamiro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2013 NFL Draft. He spent the 2013 season on the Eagles’ Practice Squad before being waived in August 2014. Bamiro is a very raw player with an intriguing combiation of size (6’8”, 340 pounds) and overall athleticism.

Jordan Stanton was signed to the Practice Squad in August 2014, cut, and then added to the Practice Squad again in December 2014. Stanton was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. Stanton earned All-Colonial Athletic Association accolades for recording 56 tackles, 11.5 for loss, 8 sacks in 2013. Stanton has decent size and flashes some ability, but he did not really standout in the 2014 preseason.

Uani Unga was signed to the Practice Squad in late December 2014. Unga suffered a serious injury to his right knee (ACL, MCL, and meniscus) his last year in college in 2013. Unga lacks ideal size and overall athleticism but he is a smart, instinctive, physical, and competitive football player who plays the run well.

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.

Bennett Jackson was signed to the Practice Squad in August 2014 and placed on the Practice Squad/Injured List in October 2014 with an undisclosed knee injury. 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.

Thomas Gordon was signed to the Practice Squad in December 2014. Gordon was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft, but the team waived him in August. 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.

Robert Malone played 31 games for Tampa Bay, Detroit, and the Jets from 2010-13. He has 157 career punts for a 44.5-yard gross average and a 37.8-yard net average.

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