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Fantasy Football: New York Giants Edition

The 2015 NFL season is nearing, with the first preseason game on August 9. With the season rapidly approaching, many fantasy football drafts will be conducted over the next few weeks. Continue reading Fantasy Football: New York Giants Edition

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Giants Make Final Cuts, Announce 53-Man Roster

It is never easy to decide who deserves to make a team in the National Football League, even for veteran coaches like Tom Coughlin. Coughlin’s hefty task wasn’t helped out by an abundance of critical position battles in which there were no clear-cut winners.

“There were a lot of good, competitive positions, even going into Thursday night’s game with New England,” Coughlin said. “Many of the young guys were competing, not only for roster spots but for the practice squad. That is an important concept as well. It is in the best interest of the clubs to be able to go to their practice squad, if the need is there, for a player who has been in your meeting rooms the entire summer and fall.”

Alex Trautwig/Getty Images North America
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images North America

QB Curtis Painter, FB John Conner, TE Kellen Davis and DE Israel Idonije all had their contracts terminated on Saturday. Painter lost the backup quarterback job to Syracuse alum Ryan Nassib after Nassib appeared impressive in the preseason, leading to a game-winning drive and a couple of successful performances.

“Ryan Nassib made big strides,” Coughlin said. “I think that his third and fourth preseason games were outstanding. You see definite improvement. You see the work that he’s put in. He’s been a very good student and he’s applied that to the field. What I really liked is he did have a poor preseason game and he came back with two good ones. That showed me, he didn’t do it by talking, he did it by working.”

Conner lost the starting fullback job to Henry Hynoski, even though he possesses a superb work ethic and seemed solid in the preseason. “Two very good players,” Coughlin said. “Both guys can play in this league. Very, very close. Both of them are physical. They’ll knock the heck out of you. Utmost respect for John Conner, I think he’s a heck of a player and a great competitor and a good man. He doesn’t say a word, just goes and does his job. Give me all of those you can find.”

Veteran tight end Kellen Davis’s contract was terminated on Saturday, and to much surprise. Davis appeared to be the best blocker of the tight ends competing to make the committee. Daniel Fells, Adrian Robinson and Larry Donnell now compose of the Giants committee. “Hard decisions, they’re very hard decisions,” Coughlin said of the tight ends.

The termination of Idonije’s contract should also come as a big surprise. OT Mark Asper, RB Michael Cox, DB Chandler Fenner, LB Dan Fox, RB Kendall Gaskins, DB Thomas Gordon, OT Adam Gress, DB Bennett Jackson, G Jamaal Johnson-Webb, LB Terrell Manning, DT Kelcie Quarles, DE Jordan Stanton, WR Julian Talley and CB Bennett Jackson were all released from the team.

Veteran wide receivers Mario Manningham (calf) and Trindon Holliday (hamstring) were placed on injured reserve.

Bennett Jackson was the only 2014 Draft pick not to make the roster. It appeared that Coughlin had cut Charles James earlier in the week to clear up a roster spot for Jackson, but with a surplus of studs in their secondary, there was no need.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Kendall Gaskins was released in favor of Peyton Hillis, while Kelcie Quarles didn’t make the team despite a good preseason. Tackle Rogers Gaines (shoulder) was also waived due to injury, and both Guard Eric Herman and Cornerback Jayron Hosley were placed on the reserve/suspended list.

Herman violated the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances and was suspended for four games, and Hosley did the same.

Jon Beason, a key component to the Giants defensive success last season, passed his physical and is on the 53-man roster. Beason has been sidelined since June 12th after he suffered a foot injury during an offseason practice.

This is the Giants 53-man roster, via Giants.com, which is subject to change:

Offense (25)
QB (2): Eli Manning, Ryan Nassib
RB (3): Rashad Jennings, Peyton Hillis, Andre Williams
FB (1): Henry Hynoski
WR (6): Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan, Odell Beckham Jr., Preston Parker, Corey Washington
TE (3): Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells, Adrien Robinson
OL (10): Will Beatty, Geoff Schwartz, J.D. Walton, Brandon Mosley, Justin Pugh, John Jerry, Weston Richburg, Charles Brown, James Brewer, Dallas Reynolds

Defense (25)
DL (10): Mathias Kiwanuka, Jason Pierre-Paul, Cullen Jenkins, Johnathan Hankins, Robert Ayers Jr., Mike Patterson, Markus Kuhn, Damontre Moore, Jay Bromley, Kerry Wynn
LB (6): Jon Beason, Jameel McClain, Jacquian Williams, Devon Kennard, Spencer Paysinger, Mark Herzlich
DB (9): Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Walter Thurmond III, Trumaine McBride, Quintin Demps, Nat Berhe, Zack Bowman

Special Teams (3)
Kicker (1): Josh Brown
Punter (1): Steve Weatherford
Long Snapper (1): Zak DeOssie

Making Impressions: Giants Training Camp

It has been the most strenuous few weeks of their lives. Every August, over 1,000 players compete for one of the coveted 53 roster spots on each of the NFL’s 32 teams. For the New York Giants, Training Camp has a whole different meaning.

Discipline is what Tom Coughlin preaches, and anyone unable to live up to the legendary coach’s expectations should expect to take a train for a rough ride. Jayron Hosley has failed to live up to Coughlin’s hype. The 2012 third-round pick has played so poorly that he might not even be worth stashing on the reserve/suspended list. There might be a better option on the street.

But with the disappointments come the surprises. Besides for the usual tweaks in the gameplay, Ben McAdoo’s willingness to play around with his tight ends and fullbacks, the abundance of hamstring tweaks; many players have impressed at camp.

Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Corey Washington, a 6-4, 214-pound undrafted receiver out of Newberry College, has impressed team personnel with strong performances in the teams first two preseason games. Back-to-back late touchdowns that ended up being game winners headlined the rookie’s impressive preseason resume.

“Corey is a big man that can run and go get the football,” offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said this week. “That’s a good place to start. He is a young guy who has a lot to learn but he has done some special things over the last week. It will be exciting to see him grow.”

Andre Williams, the Giants 2014 fourth rounder, was a 2013 Heisman Trophy finalist out of Boston College, and added to his strong resume with a solid Training Camp and preseason. He is nearly averaging six yards per rush with a three-yard touchdown through two preseason games.

“I think he’s running hard,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “He’s picked up the offense quickly for a rookie and understands all his routes and blocking assignments and run techniques.”

AP Photo/Seth Wenig
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Marcus “Soup” Harris, 39, has managed to catch nearly every pass in camp for New York. Injuries to Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle have permitted the receiver to practice with the Giants “first team,” and has failed to disappoint.

“He takes his job very seriously and learning the offense but his flexibility that he gives us is pretty impressive,” wide receivers coach Sean Ryan said. “We can move him to any position within the offense in terms of receiver, inside or outside. He’ll execute, he doesn’t make any excuses at all. The details in his routes and his precision have been good. And his ball skills, too. That guy, he doesn’t have many drops.”

Devon Kennard, a linebacker out of USC who was drafted by the Giants in the fifth round this year, has been the “wow” player of camp while filling the injured Jon Beason’s shoes. His big hits and quality play has helped the 6-3, 249-pound monstrosity stand out in camp, and likely receive a starting job this season.

“I think Kennard is very smart,” linebacker Jameel McClain said. “I think he is very smart and physical. I am excited about him. I have seen a lot of good rookies, and he is definitely one of the most impressive young guys that I have seen maturity-wise and professionalism. I gave him a lot of compliments in that one sentence. I usually don’t do that much.”

Nat Behre, one of the Giants two fifth round picks in 2014, has lived up to his hype as “The Missile” this preseason. The flashes that he showed for safeties coach David Merritt in Training Camp were translated into in-game production this preseason.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Jacquian Williams, a now semi-veteran linebacker on the team, is finally healthy, and is showing progress. The above-average special teamer and superb tackler has had a strong Summer, drawing praise from Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell:

“I think Jacquian Williams has made great strides since his rookie year,” Fewell said. “And he’s performed like he’s a three-down player thus far in this camp.”

Brandon McManus, an undrafted rookie out of Temple, has impressed for Special Teams coordinator Tom Quinn this preseason. With every kick, the competition with Josh Brown is only shifting towards a McManus victory. So far in camp practices he had shown long leg range, and through two preseason games, he remains perfect.

Only fifty-three players will make the Giants opening day roster, and a multitude of these guys are sitting on the roster bubble, even following their stellar preseason campaigns. The Giants don’t have to make their decision until August 30th, leaving an ample amount of time for head coach Tom Coughlin to make his decision.

A lack of discipline won’t be tolerated. Strong performances will.

Expectations for Giants Rookies

A multitude of injuries have hit Giants Training Camp in Quest Diagnostic Center in East Rutherford, NJ, and the rookies were not spared from the epidemic.

Although they may possess fantastic attributes and skills, the Giants 2014 Draft picks need to prove to coaches and team personnel that they contain the durability aspect, as well as the playmaking ability that they were drafted for.

These are New York Sports Hub’s predictions for how the Giants rookie class of 2014 will perform:

1. Odell Beckham Jr. – Wide Receiver

2013 Stats: 59 REC, 1152 YDS, 19.5 AVG, 63 LNG, 8 TD

Photo courtesy of nj.com.
Photo courtesy of nj.com.

Scouting Report: Beckham Jr. is a smooth athlete with very good acceleration, terrific shake, and the ability to burst out of cuts. The LSU product was drafted 12th overall by New York for an apparent reason. He has good footwork, timing and depth in his routes, and was known around the SEC last season as the premier route runner in the division. Unfortunately, the New Orleans, LA, native has an average frame (5’11”, 198 pounds), and is not even close to the fastest player on the football field. He often appears timid up-the-middle, and repeatedly failed on his blocking assignments for LSU.

Projection: Beckham Jr. enters the league as a playmaker who runs good routes, but recent injuries to his hamstring and a brutal first day of Training Camp suggests that the potential stud will receive limited playing time from discipline-oriented head coach Tom Coughlin.

Projected Stats: 35 REC, 450 YDS, 2 TD

Projected Depth Chart:

1. Victor Cruz
2. Odell Beckham Jr.
3. Rueben Randle
4. Jerel Jernigan

2. Andre Williams – Running Back

2013 Stats: 355 ATT, 2177 YDS, 6.1 AVG, 80 LNG, 18 TD

Photo courtesy of USA Today.
Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Scouting Report: Williams has a thickly put together frame with good bulk, which contributes to his grinding-it-out style of play. He possesses a large lower body which he uses to attack the line of scrimmage and run through contact. He runs with balance and toughness, but most importantly, runs angry. He uses that in-game attitude to deliver hits, utilize good build-up speed, and grind up yards in short yardage. The biggest concern with the senior is that he has amassed a mediocre 10 receptions in his four seasons in college. His durability, as well as wear in late-game situations, are big concerns as well.

Projection: Williams was fourth in Heisman Trophy voting last season for Boston College. He also managed to win the Doak Walker Award for the Golden Eagles. He may run an unexciting game, but Williams will surely bring back memories of Brandon Jacobs, a fellow fourth-round pick. Big things are awaiting the stud.

Projected Stats: 85 ATT, 314 YDS, 3 TD

Projected Depth Chart:

1. Rashad Jennings
2. Andre Williams
3. Peyton Hillis

3. Weston Richburg – Offensive Lineman

2013 Stats: 13 GP, Offense: 461.2 YDS

Photo courtesy of USA Today.
Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Scouting Report: Richburg has a prototypical build for an interior lineman, and utilizes that to be one of the top linemen in the country. He uses his powerful, square frame as well as good initial quickness and athleticism on the move to deliver mean, powerful blocks and hits. He has superior strength and proved to be one of the most durable players in college football last season. As far as pessimists are concerned, Richburg does not play with enough nastiness on the line, and played against lackluster competition for Colorado State in the MWC. Although he is a solid run blocker, he isn’t a mauler with a dominating leg drive.

Projection: Richburg pioneered Colorado State’s offense into one of the top in the nation last season. He projects to be a backup guard or center in the NFL, and could see serious playing time for New York this season if John Jerry or Brandon Mosley get injured.

Projected Stats: 12 GP, 1 Holding

Projected Depth Chart:

1. JD Walton
2. Weston Richburg
3. Dallas Reynolds

4. Devon Kennard – Linebacker

2013 Stats: 35 SOLO, 26 AST, 61 TCKL, 9.0 SCK

Photo courtesy of Newsday.
Photo courtesy of Newsday.

Scouting Report: Kennard fully utilized his stout frame last season for the USC Trojans. His long arms and thick trunk helped him record 9 sacks as a senior last season. He has good initial quickness off-the-snap, and makes good use of his hands, has good flexibility, and has good bloodlines. He mixed that all together to become effective in coverage and good at chopping away at could-be blockers. The problems range high and wide for him though, which is most likely why he was drafted in the fifth round. He has long been an injury-prone player, doesn’t possess ideal strength for the position, and is not a master of any particular trait.

Projection: Every Training Camp has its “wow” player, and for the Giants, this year it was Kennard. He will definitely benefit from the lack of ideal linebackers and pass rushers on the team, and will take advantage of his opportunity.

Projected Stats: 32 SOLO, 8 AST, 40 TCKL, 2.5 SCK

Projected Depth Chart:

1. Jameel McLain
2. Devon Kennard
3. Spencer Paysinger
4. Mark Herzlich
5. Jacquian Williams

The Others:

When the Giants selected Jay Bromley in the third round, it seemed like a reach, but following the departure of veteran defensive back Linval Joseph, it only makes sense that the Syracuse product should fill the void. Bromley shows a relentless pursuit of the football and a quick get-off when he plays. Unfortunately for the 6’3, 306 pound tackle, the competition at the position (Hankins, Jenkins, Kuhn, Patterson) is heavy. Nat Behre may make the team solely because he is a strong special teamer. One of two fifth round picks, Behre possesses good awareness, physicality and motor. He would give the Giants depth at safety, although he isn’t a spectacular deep-ball safety thanks to his mere 5’10”, 193 pound frame. CBS Sports didn’t like the Giants sixth-round selection of Bennett Jackson, and his recent ankle injury and lack of instincts and awareness justifies their doubts.

It will be a long season for Giants fans. Although the regulars will show up like they always do (Manning, DRC, Cruz, Rolle), many players will play below their hype- paving the way for the Giants rookies to overachieve.

Giants Edge Bills 17-13 in Hall of Fame Game

Football is finally back! Yes, it’s just preseason but, its the beginning of a new season and another opportunity to bring home the hardware. Preseason is also a great time to forget about last season and look forward to the new one. It also gives you a taste of how good or bad your favorite team will be this upcoming season.

This season the New York Giants got the opportunity to play an extra preseason game against the Buffalo Bills and participate in the Hall of Fame Game since Giants Hall of Famer, Michael Strahan and Bills Hall of Famer, Andre Reed were recently inducted into the Hall of Fame.

There were many battles for the Giants coming into this season and one preseason game will not decide if a player makes the roster or not but it does give a good indication if a player has what it takes to make the NFL.

Usually in the Hall of Fame Game starters don’t play the majority of the game, but Tom Coughlin let Eli Manning play the whole first quarter with a total of three possessions. The first offensive possession seemed like the same Giants from last season by going three and out and struggling to move the ball.

The next possession was worse when Eli Manning got hit and stripped of the ball and it was a turnover. Just like the defense did much of last season they once again bailed out the offense and held the Bills to a field goal making it 3-0 Bills.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.
Photo courtesy of USA Today.

In the Giants third offensive possession the Giants finally got on a roll and drove down the field with the combination of Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams. Andre Williams punched it in the end zone on the twelfth play of the drive. On this possession everything was clicking and the Giants had that quick, no huddle, and up tempo offense with many shorter routes. The score was now 7-3 Giants heading into the second quarter.

In the second quarter the starters for both teams came out of the game. Back up Bills quarterback Jeff Tuel came in and gave the Bills a 10-7 lead on a fourth and goal touchdown to Robert Woods. Now it’s Ryan Nassib’s turn to play and he set up a 47 yard field goal for Brandon McManus and he connected evening up the score at 10. Late in the quarter Steve Weatherford’s punt was blocked and Buffalo started their drive at the Giants 38.

Duirng the drive, Cooper Taylor intercepted a deflected ball in the end zone keeping the score tied going into halftime.

On Buffalo’s first possession in the third quarter Zack Bowman intercepted Jeff Tuel in the end zone for a touchback. On the next Bills possession Dan Carpenter hit a 51 yard field goal making it 13-10 Bills. There was not much that went on in the third quarter so the score remained the same heading into the final fifteen minutes of the game.

Two plays into the fourth quarter Ryan Nassib hit Corey Washington for a 73 yard touchdown and the Giants took a 17-13 lead. That was Ryan Nassib’s last play of the game and then Curtis Painter took over and the score remained the same for the rest of the game giving the Giants their first win of the preseason.

Photo courtesy of nj.com.
Photo courtesy of nj.com.

There were many positives to take out of this game for the Giants. The Giants offense started moving the ball well on the third possession and the no huddle, shotgun offense worked well for the Giants. Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams ran the ball great with a combined total of 71 yards. There were also many screens set up for Rashad Jennings and he did a great job in the open field gaining yards. Eli Manning had a good game going six for seven for a total of 43 yards.

The defense played very well last night especially the secondary. Prince Amukamara did a great job shutting down Sammy Watkins preventing him from making a catch. Zack Bowman also had an impressive game last night. The Giants defense did a great job in the red zone and only gave up one touchdown.

That one touchdown was on a fourth and goal and if it were the regular season the Bills wouldn’t have gone for it and would have settled for a field goal. With Jon Beason returning soon the defense will only get better and that means big things for the Giants this season.