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.”
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.
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:
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
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