Monthly Archives: July 2017

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The New York Giants open training camp on July 27 at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Here’s a 53-man roster projection:

QUARTERBACKS (3): Eli Manning, Josh Johnson, Davis Webb

The plan is to carry three quarterbacks after selecting Webb in the third round. He’ll likely serve as the third-string QB this season. The question is whether Johnson or Geno Smith wins the backup job behind Manning. It could hinge on how quickly Smith picks up the offense.

RUNNING BACKS (5): Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, Wayne Gallman, Orleans Darkwa, Shaun Draughn

Perkins has already been pegged the starter and Vereen remains the passing-down back after missing most of last year with a torn triceps. Darkwa and Draughn stick because of their all-around skill set, including their ability to play special teams.

FULLBACK (1): Shane Smith

The Giants want to have a fullback, despite not carrying one last season. It’s between Smith, a rookie out of San Jose State, and converted running back Jacob Huesman. The more experienced blocker and natural fullback, Smith earns the job.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5): Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall, Tavarres King, Dwayne Harris

This is going to be among the fiercest competitions. Roger Lewis and Darius Powe can contribute as receivers, but they miss out because the Giants see Harris as their special-teams ace. King, meanwhile, proved late last season that he was underutilized and deserves more opportunities to make plays. He looked good again this spring.

TIGHT ENDS (4): Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, Matt LaCosse, Jerell Adams

The Giants have depth at tight end with Engram being selected in the first round, Ellison signed as a free agent and LaCosse returning from injury. Something tells me Will Tye becomes expendable (via trade) late this summer, as long as this group can remain healthy. His pass-catching skills aren’t needed with Engram on the roster.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Ereck Flowers, Bobby Hart, Adam Bisnowaty, Chad Wheeler, John Jerry, D.J. Fluker, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Adam Gettis

Not a lot of change in this group from last year. Only a sixth-round pick (Bisnowaty) and undrafted free agent (Wheeler) are added to the mix. It’s a risky approach considering the line’s struggles in 2016. Pressure is on Flowers and Hart, especially with mostly inexperienced options in reserves. Guard/center Brett Jones is the odd man out in this group. Gettis’ ability to play center allows him to serve as Richburg’s backup.

DEFENSIVE ENDS (5): Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Devin Taylor, Avery Moss, Romeo Okwara

The Giants’ roster is heavy on defensive ends. As a result, Kerry Wynn and Owa Odighizuwa, who spent the spring handling personal issues, aren’t on the list. The Giants are especially high on Okwara and Moss, and if Taylor proves to be a quality rusher from the interior on passing downs, he’ll have a spot. Pierre-Paul and Vernon are the unequivocal starters and rarely come off the field.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES (4): Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, Corbin Bryant, Jay Bromley

It comes down to Bromley or Robert Thomas for the final spot. This is a make-or-break season for Bromley, a third-round pick in the 2014 draft. Thomas was claimed off waivers last year and was active for eight games. Bryant’s ability as a run-stuffer makes him more likely to stick after Johnathan Hankins left as a free agent this offseason.

LINEBACKERS (5): Jonathan Casillas, Devon Kennard, B.J. Goodson, Keenan Robinson, Mark Herzlich

Herzlich will face competition from rookie Calvin Munson and Deontae Skinner for a special-teams role. But it’s hard to bet against the veteran at this point. Herzlich seemingly finds a way to stick every season, and this year is no different. The rest of the Giants’ linebacking corps is set. Casillas, Kennard, Goodson and Robinson are locks.

CORNERBACKS (5): Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Valentino Blake, Michael Hunter

The top three are set. Jenkins and Apple start on the outside and Rodgers-Cromartie has settled into a nickel role. Behind them it’s a free-for-all. Hunter looked solid this spring and should make a jump in his second season, and the Giants seem to like Blake. Donte Deayon could earn a backup nickel role, but his lack of size (5-foot-9, 158 pounds) hurts on special teams. It is possible the Giants will add another veteran corner this summer.

SAFETIES (4): Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, Andrew Adams, Nat Berhe

Safety, like tight end, has suddenly become a deep position for the Giants. The fourth spot will have Mykkele Thompson — because of his ability to play nickel corner — Berhe and Eric Pinkins in the mix. Watch out for Pinkins. His special-teams ability makes him a threat. Berhe sticks as long as he’s healthy, because he’s still the best contingency plan in case anything happens to Collins. But Berhe has missed 25 games the past two seasons with injuries and was sidelined for more than half of last season with a concussion.

SPECIALISTS (3): Kicker Aldrick Rosas, punter Brad Wing, long-snapper Zak DeOssie

No surprises here. The Giants don’t even have another kicker on the roster. It’s Rosas’ job to lose. And if he does lose it, his replacement is coming from the scrap heap. DeOssie and Wing are set in their roles.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — One of the biggest competitions for a starting job with the New York Giants this summer will be at the last level of their defense. The free safety position is up for grabs, and second-year players Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams are both in the mix. Thompson was slated to start last season before injuries ruined his rookie year. Adams was an undrafted free agent who did enough in 13 games and this offseason to garner serious consideration for a starting spot come September. “Yes, that is the thing,” secondary coach/safeties David Merritt said. “That is what I’m saying about him and Darian Thompson. To sit up here and say that Darian Thompson is going to be the starter with Landon … Andrew Adams has proven that he at least has a chance to compete for that job. And that is what he is doing every day. I’m excited.” The Giants have always had high hopes for Thompson, taking him in the third round of last year’s draft and expecting him to contribute immediately before a foot injury spoiled his rookie season. Merritt raved about the way he plays and take notes. If Thompson’s performance this offseason mirrors that of last spring and summer, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be opposite Landon Collins in the starting lineup come Week 1. Thompson’s skills complement Collins well: The former is known as a natural center fielder, while the latter plays all over the field and thrives in the box and near the line of scrimmage. “Darian’s skillset is suited really for the pass,” Merritt said. “But he has come so far in understanding run fits and understanding gap schemes. But I think he’s more suited for the pass. So that kid understands route concepts, he understands a leverage position, so he does a very nice job with that.” Thompson’s chances at starting hinge on his ability to stay healthy. While he’s been practicing pain-free at OTAs this spring, he has to last through the summer, because Adams’ skillset extends well beyond his Herculean softball talents. The Giants coaches believe he went to work this offseason and added quickness. “That is one thing I’ve seen already, his transitional skills,” Merritt said. “His ability to stick his foot in the ground and transition from a break. He actually has worked on that and gotten better.” The Giants spent several years searching for safeties. Now it appears they have several starting-caliber players. Nat Berhe, when healthy, has also shown flashes of brlliance over the past few years. But Collins is the secondary’s centerpiece. He’s coming off an All-Pro season where Merritt believes he played at a 9-9.5 out of 10. The Giants are hoping for something similar this year. Finding the right complementary piece to patrol the secondary alongside Collins will be a goal for the Giants’ coaching staff this summer. Thompson and Adams both have their upsides. “Any guy out there with Landon right now will be an asset,” Merritt said. “Landon’s skillset, we’re going to always constantly make sure that Landon is in a position where it is going to be best suited for him. Is it suited for Darian Thompson to go down and play as a linebacker in the box? Maybe or maybe not. We have to see him on the field and see what he can do. “Right now, Landon’s skillset will, no matter who the safety is, it’s going to be a complement to his ability to roam around where the other guy can play a little more deeper, a little more centerfield.” Thompson is the more natural center fielder. Regardless, the Giants feel they are in a no-lose situation with the Thompson-Adams competition. “Either guy back there,” Merritt said, “is going to be an added bonus for our defense.”

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The six-week summer respite between the end of minicamp and start of training camp can be handled with varied approaches. This is the time of year when players are allowed to stray from the team’s organizational structure and create their own programs, which ultimately provide different paths to the same summer finish line.

The New York Giants, like the rest of the teams in the NFL, have 90 players spread across the country, going about their business of preparing for the season and/or taking time off to reboot. That many variables can be dangerous, keeping coaches up at night thinking about the possibilities of what could go wrong.

But it’s the offseason. This is summer break. There is no right or wrong approach. Only … different.

Here’s how a few Giants will spend their break:

WR Odell Beckham Jr. — Some Giants returned to their offseason homes and began training on Monday, several days after minicamp ended. Beckham is one of them. He returned to Los Angeles to work with his trainer, Jamal Liggin. He will grind until a “taper down” phase later in the summer that is designed to keep his body fresh heading into training camp.

Beckham held his second-annual Citi camp on Saturday in New Jersey. That night, he hopped a flight home and was preparing for the season less than 48 hours later. He views it as a continuation of the work he put in earlier this offseason.

“I’ve really been training,” Beckham said after noting he never felt better entering a season. “And to have these next six weeks to get another opportunity to train, it’s going to be great.”
Other than during the Fourth of July holiday, Jason Pierre-Paul is planning on being in the gym nearly every day until training camp. Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
DE Jason Pierre-Paul — Pierre-Paul was also in the gym Monday. He is in South Florida with his long-time trainer, Mike Alessi. There are few off days scheduled for Pierre-Paul this summer, aside from a trip out of the country for the July 4th holiday. That became a tradition after he lost his right index finger and parts of several others in a fireworks accident two years ago. Once he returns, he will jump right back into his routine.

“I work out every day, mostly,” Pierre-Paul said. “I probably take one day off, probably, in all the days I work out, but then I start unloading when training camp is about to start.”

LB Devon Kennard — He started his offseason with a cruise to the Bahamas. Some players need this downtime. They find it cathartic.

“I need this time away before camp starts to really clear my mind to get things back in order and just spend some time with my loved ones, because once the season comes, it’s grind all the way until September,” Kennard said over the weekend in a FOX Sports PROCast while on the cruise.

Kennard was back training at Parabolic Performance and Rehab in New Jersey by the middle of the week.

Former Giants and current Chicago Bears wide receiver Victor Cruz has a similar approach. He spent time in Paris this week, and seems to travels to Europe just about every offseason for some downtime.

WR Brandon Marshall — After minicamp, Marshall returned to his home in Florida, where he plans to work out at a Fit Speed Athletic Performance facility that he owns. Marshall is spending his first week post-Giants offseason workout program getting his body in alignment. At 33 years old, he handles the time away differently from some of the younger players. Marshall spends an inordinate amount of time attending to his body.

QB Davis Webb — Webb doesn’t think he can afford to take more than a few days off. He planned to help out at former roommate Bradley Marquez’s football camp over the weekend in Odessa, Texas, before returning to New Jersey to spend the rest of his summer digesting the Giants offense.

Webb, the Giants’ third-round pick out of Cal, still hadn’t moved into a permanent apartment as of late last week. That was on his “Things to Do” list. Webb was in a temporary residence studying furiously to bridge the gap between the Air Raid offense he ran in college and the West Coast offense he must master with the Giants.

That will continue over the next six weeks. Webb is taking his summer break business seriously. His schedule includes a lot of work on and off the field.

“This month is huge. … I plan on studying the script and playbook just about every day,” Webb said. “This is important to me, like I’ve said plenty of times. This is obviously a good time to get away, but for me I’m in no situation to do that. I can take a couple days off here and there, but I don’t really plan on doing that.

“I plan on learning as much as I can and grabbing this playbook by the bull of the horns and running with it.”

OL John Jerry — Jerry isn’t a rookie like Webb, but he also believes the time between minicamp and training camp is vital to success. The veteran offensive lineman committed to LeCharles Bentley’s O-Line Performance last offseason and considered the offseason program “career changing.” He had one of his best professional seasons.

The program includes working through the summer in Arizona. Jerry, who recently celebrated his 31st birthday, flew there with his family over the weekend and began training again alongside center Weston Richburg this week with barely any time off. This is what he believes is best for his body, his technique and his overall game.

“I just think I felt stronger throughout the whole season with no fatigue and wearing out and those things,” Jerry said. “At the same time, staying in shape, that was probably the biggest thing for me. Not taking too much time off and coming in and ready to roll.”

S Landon Collins — The third-year safety isn’t resting on his laurels after an All-Pro season. Next week he is headed back to Ryan Clark’s Traction Sports Performance in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he works out in the offseason. Collins plans to drop almost 10 pounds over the next six weeks because he wants to be even lighter than during his breakout season. Collins, who wants to play in the 210-pound range, was close to 220 pounds at minicamp.

“I want to work on my muscle endurance and I want to run all over the field and definitely keep my weight down,” he said. “I’ve got to keep my weight down so I can fly. Working out, eating right, dieting right and film study. Film study is the biggest key of it all so we recognize formations and stuff like that. That would be the biggest thing to take my play to the next level.”

Coach Ben McAdoo — For most, summer break isn’t exactly a break, and that’s true for coaches. Like his players, McAdoo has a goal to improve this summer. He doesn’t believe that happens by sitting on the beach or hitting the club (can you imagine?) with his new slicked-back hair.

The Giants head coach is going to work on preparing for training camp and the season.

“I don’t shut it down very easily,” McAdoo said. “I am going to stay engaged and get a little bit done each and every day, whether it is on the offensive side of the ball, reflecting on the pieces that we added, or taking a look at the defensive side of the ball and what we can do to help the defense there. Looking at players and personnel and taking a look at the schedule and looking at how we can tweak things and make them a little bit better.

“You never really shut it off; you just work from a different place.”

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The six-week summer respite between the end of minicamp and start of training camp can be handled with varied approaches. This is the time of year when players are allowed to stray from the team’s organizational structure and create their own programs, which ultimately provide different paths to the same summer finish line.

The New York Giants, like the rest of the teams in the NFL, have 90 players spread across the country, going about their business of preparing for the season and/or taking time off to reboot. That many variables can be dangerous, keeping coaches up at night thinking about the possibilities of what could go wrong.

But it’s the offseason. This is summer break. There is no right or wrong approach. Only … different.

Here’s how a few Giants will spend their break:

WR Odell Beckham Jr. — Some Giants returned to their offseason homes and began training on Monday, several days after minicamp ended. Beckham is one of them. He returned to Los Angeles to work with his trainer, Jamal Liggin. He will grind until a “taper down” phase later in the summer that is designed to keep his body fresh heading into training camp.

Beckham held his second-annual Citi camp on Saturday in New Jersey. That night, he hopped a flight home and was preparing for the season less than 48 hours later. He views it as a continuation of the work he put in earlier this offseason.

“I’ve really been training,” Beckham said after noting he never felt better entering a season. “And to have these next six weeks to get another opportunity to train, it’s going to be great.”
Other than during the Fourth of July holiday, Jason Pierre-Paul is planning on being in the gym nearly every day until training camp. Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
DE Jason Pierre-Paul — Pierre-Paul was also in the gym Monday. He is in South Florida with his long-time trainer, Mike Alessi. There are few off days scheduled for Pierre-Paul this summer, aside from a trip out of the country for the July 4th holiday. That became a tradition after he lost his right index finger and parts of several others in a fireworks accident two years ago. Once he returns, he will jump right back into his routine.

“I work out every day, mostly,” Pierre-Paul said. “I probably take one day off, probably, in all the days I work out, but then I start unloading when training camp is about to start.”

LB Devon Kennard — He started his offseason with a cruise to the Bahamas. Some players need this downtime. They find it cathartic.

“I need this time away before camp starts to really clear my mind to get things back in order and just spend some time with my loved ones, because once the season comes, it’s grind all the way until September,” Kennard said over the weekend in a FOX Sports PROCast while on the cruise.

Kennard was back training at Parabolic Performance and Rehab in New Jersey by the middle of the week.

Former Giants and current Chicago Bears wide receiver Victor Cruz has a similar approach. He spent time in Paris this week, and seems to travels to Europe just about every offseason for some downtime.

WR Brandon Marshall — After minicamp, Marshall returned to his home in Florida, where he plans to work out at a Fit Speed Athletic Performance facility that he owns. Marshall is spending his first week post-Giants offseason workout program getting his body in alignment. At 33 years old, he handles the time away differently from some of the younger players. Marshall spends an inordinate amount of time attending to his body.

QB Davis Webb — Webb doesn’t think he can afford to take more than a few days off. He planned to help out at former roommate Bradley Marquez’s football camp over the weekend in Odessa, Texas, before returning to New Jersey to spend the rest of his summer digesting the Giants offense.

Webb, the Giants’ third-round pick out of Cal, still hadn’t moved into a permanent apartment as of late last week. That was on his “Things to Do” list. Webb was in a temporary residence studying furiously to bridge the gap between the Air Raid offense he ran in college and the West Coast offense he must master with the Giants.

That will continue over the next six weeks. Webb is taking his summer break business seriously. His schedule includes a lot of work on and off the field.

“This month is huge. … I plan on studying the script and playbook just about every day,” Webb said. “This is important to me, like I’ve said plenty of times. This is obviously a good time to get away, but for me I’m in no situation to do that. I can take a couple days off here and there, but I don’t really plan on doing that.

“I plan on learning as much as I can and grabbing this playbook by the bull of the horns and running with it.”

OL John Jerry — Jerry isn’t a rookie like Webb, but he also believes the time between minicamp and training camp is vital to success. The veteran offensive lineman committed to LeCharles Bentley’s O-Line Performance last offseason and considered the offseason program “career changing.” He had one of his best professional seasons.

The program includes working through the summer in Arizona. Jerry, who recently celebrated his 31st birthday, flew there with his family over the weekend and began training again alongside center Weston Richburg this week with barely any time off. This is what he believes is best for his body, his technique and his overall game.

“I just think I felt stronger throughout the whole season with no fatigue and wearing out and those things,” Jerry said. “At the same time, staying in shape, that was probably the biggest thing for me. Not taking too much time off and coming in and ready to roll.”

S Landon Collins — The third-year safety isn’t resting on his laurels after an All-Pro season. Next week he is headed back to Ryan Clark’s Traction Sports Performance in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he works out in the offseason. Collins plans to drop almost 10 pounds over the next six weeks because he wants to be even lighter than during his breakout season. Collins, who wants to play in the 210-pound range, was close to 220 pounds at minicamp.

“I want to work on my muscle endurance and I want to run all over the field and definitely keep my weight down,” he said. “I’ve got to keep my weight down so I can fly. Working out, eating right, dieting right and film study. Film study is the biggest key of it all so we recognize formations and stuff like that. That would be the biggest thing to take my play to the next level.”

Coach Ben McAdoo — For most, summer break isn’t exactly a break, and that’s true for coaches. Like his players, McAdoo has a goal to improve this summer. He doesn’t believe that happens by sitting on the beach or hitting the club (can you imagine?) with his new slicked-back hair.

The Giants head coach is going to work on preparing for training camp and the season.

“I don’t shut it down very easily,” McAdoo said. “I am going to stay engaged and get a little bit done each and every day, whether it is on the offensive side of the ball, reflecting on the pieces that we added, or taking a look at the defensive side of the ball and what we can do to help the defense there. Looking at players and personnel and taking a look at the schedule and looking at how we can tweak things and make them a little bit better.

“You never really shut it off; you just work from a different place.”

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The New York Giants ended their offseason program on June 15. Here’s a look at how they fared:

Offseason goals/grade: The offense struggled to score points last season. Only six teams (all without a proven franchise quarterback) scored fewer than their 19.4 points per game. So the Giants went into this offseason looking for fixes on offense while trying to keep their defense together. They significantly upgraded their weapons by adding wide receiver Brandon Marshall in free agency and tight end Evan Engram in the draft. They improved their blocking — even if they failed to address the offensive line — by adding tight end Rhett Ellison and Marshall. They even upgraded at running back by cutting Rashad Jennings and elevating Paul Perkins into a starting role. No excuses now. They should be a better offense this season. On defense, the Giants bring back nine of 11 starters. Their only significant loss was defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins — whom they tried to keep — but they drafted his replacement, Dalvin Tomlinson, in the second round. Grade: B

Move I liked: Re-signing Jason Pierre-Paul. There seems to be mixed views on his deal, given the amount of money ($40 million guaranteed) for a player with an injury history and just one double-digit sack season in the past five years. For one, our own Bill Barnwell was not a fan. But while Pierre-Paul may not be a great pass-rusher, he is a good one. And those are hard to find. Pierre-Paul teamed with Olivier Vernon gives the Giants one of the best defensive end and pass-rushing duos in the league. That’s invaluable, especially without a serious interior pass-rushing threat on the roster. The Giants survived for a while without Pierre-Paul late last year, but it showed in the playoffs when Aaron Rodgers had all day to throw. Re-signing Pierre-Paul was a move the Giants had to make in order for their defense to not experience a drop-off. Instead, bringing almost everyone back should make them better and possibly even a special unit.
At 33, Brandon Marshall still has what it takes to threaten defensive backs, but will Eli Manning have enough time to get him the ball? Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
Move I didn’t like: It’s easy to say in retrospect after the Giants went on to select Engram in the first round, but given the choice between an offensive tackle or Marshall, I would’ve gone tackle. Quarterback Eli Manning and the Giants need at least one proven tackle. It’s not that Marshall isn’t a good player who at 33 years old will still help them. He is. Watching him run past Pro Bowl cornerback Janoris Jenkins deep down the sideline during OTAs validated to me that there is still something left in his tank. He will be a factor in 2017, especially in the red zone. It’s just that wide receiver is an easier spot to fill than left tackle, and the Giants ended up adding a weapon and red-zone target with Engram in the draft. Sure, veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth (who signed with the Rams) cost twice the money, but the Giants could’ve made it work if they were so inclined — just at the expense of Marshall. That would’ve been my preference.

Biggest question still to be answered in training camp: Oh, it always seems to be that offensive line. The Giants return the same starting offensive line that did not play well last year. They couldn’t run the ball (29th in the NFL) and allowed relentless pressure off the edges. Their only additions this offseason were 2013 Chargers first-round pick D.J. Fluker and their own sixth-round pick this year, Adam Bisnowaty. Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart are still projected to start at left and right tackle, respectively. The Giants have done their best to sell a leaner and improved Flowers this offseason, but even they acknowledge that nobody will know if their tackles won’t be a problem again until we see them playing at full speed in pads this summer.

Salary-cap space: $8,118,600 (source: Overthecap.com)

2017 draft picks: 1. TE Evan Engram; 2. DT Dalvin Tomlinson; 3. QB Davis Webb; 4. RB Wayne Gallman; 5. DE Avery Moss; 6. OT Adam Bisnowaty
Undrafted rookie free agents signed: OT Chad Wheeler, OL Jessamen Dunker, TE Colin Thompson, WR Travis Rudolph, CB Nigel Tribune, S Jadar Johnson, DT/OL Jarron Jones, LB Calvin Munson, FB Shane Smith, DE Josh Banks, DE Evan Schwan, WR Keeon Johnson, CB DeShaun Amos

Unrestricted free agents signed: WR Brandon Marshall, TE Rhett Ellison, OL D.J. Fluker, CB Valentino Blake, RB Shaun Draughn, DE Devin Taylor, DT Corbin Bryant, S Duke Ihenacho, LB Keenan Robinson, LB Mark Herzlich, QB Josh Johnson

Restricted free agents signed: DE Kerry Wynn

Players acquired via trade: None