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
Last weekend I went to Toronto, Canada. I drove up with my dad on Friday and we went home on Sunday. We visited some family and friends and had a great time. It was about an eight hour ride each way, so that means about sixteen hours of driving just to be there for about forty hours (I just did the math). Some may not find that to be worth it, but I think it definitely was. Canada is a terrific country. You know all that stuff they say about “cleaner air”? All true. It tasted different. But it was good air. And definitely cleaner.
Anyway, my dad and I were planning to leave Toronto around 11:00am on Sunday morning, ensuring we would be over the border into the United States by that time. The hope was that, being back in the U.S., we would be able to listen to the Giants’ game by streaming it with my phone (we couldn’t use data in Canada, as it was way too expensive – thanks, Verizon). Long story short, we didn’t leave Toronto until about 2:00pm. My brother sent me a score update via text at halftime, while I was still in Canada, telling me that the Giants were up 14-10. I looked at my dad and screamed, “WE MIGHT WIN A GAME.” (Spoiler alert: we didn’t.)
We got back to the United States at around 3:30pm. I was crushed to have missed most of the game, but excited that I would be able to listen to the ending of it on my phone. I finally loaded the radio feed and plugged my phone into the car’s speaker system after a few minutes frantically searching through Google looking for a way to listen to the game. I hear the announcer’s voice and become excited to hear my G-Men possibly win a game. I’m about thirty seconds into listening the game when I hear the announcer scream. Rashard Jennings lost a fumble, which meant the Giants would lose the game. I shut off the radio feed, and went to see how many points Jimmy Graham got me for my fantasy team. It was 23 points. Not bad.
Giant Rant of the Week: How do you lose a game like that to a team that was missing their starting quarterback? HOW!? (No literally, how? I missed the entire game.) I really, really wish I could rant about this loss, but I can’t. I don’t know exactly what happened. And I never want to know. Ever. I am mad about it.
Giant Player of the Week: Again, I was in Canada for most of the game, so I’ll just have to base this solely off the box score. I think I’ll go with Larry “Who?” Donnell again. He had 7 receptions for 81 yards. I also read a tweet that said he “is really involved with this new Giants’ offense.” That sounds good. Player of the week.
Giant Picture/Video of the Week: Want to know something funny? I went to Google Images and searched for “Giants Cardinals 2014.” All baseball pictures. Every single one of them. Teams in different sports shouldn’t be allowed to have the same name. Get rid of them. Anyway, Reuben Randle caught a pretty awesome touchdown, and someone got a pretty awesome picture of it, so here you go:
Why My Fantasy Teams Suck: Actually, my teams didn’t really suck this week. I won in two out of my three leagues, and was barely edged out by fellow writer William Botchway in our New York Sports Hub Fantasy Football League. He beat me with Darren Sproles’ ridiculous Monday Night Football performance. THANKS A BUNCH, DARREN!
Interesting Non-Giants Game to Watch this Week: Broncos vs. Seahawks. The Super Bowl re-match. You knew I would have to pick this game. ESPN and every other sports media outlet in the country will be over-hyping this matchup. But you know what I think? A terrible game. Seattle will win 2-0 on a late safety. Guess who will sack Peyton Manning for that safety? That’s right, none other than Richard Sherman. And then ESPN will lose their minds because RICHARD SHERMAN IS JUST THE BEST EVER, WOW! Mark my words. If this happens, I will look like an absolute genius.
My Giant Prediction for Week 3: Giants 23, Texans 17. Is this just wishful thinking? No. Despite what everyone may believe, the Texans aren’t that good. But neither are the Giants, so this could be fun. Another 2-0 game perhaps.
Enjoy the game this Sunday and all the games across the NFL. Let’s go Giants!
“A Giant Take” is a weekly New York Giants column that will run every Friday during the NFL season on New York Sports Hub. It is written by Giants columnist Matt Tomaszewsky. You can reach Matt on Twitter or by leaving a comment in the comment section below.
And then there were five.
Injury plagued, underperforming and inconsistent, the unit that was supposedly the deepest on the Giants offense is now the weakest.
“Catch the ball, that’s what you are being paid for,” frustrated Giants head coach Tom Coughlin told a bewildered media following Big Blue’s disappointing loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. “Professional wide receivers, someone has to make the play,” the former receivers coach continued.
The Giants receiving unit that features perennial star Victor Cruz and solid pass-catchers Odell Beckham Jr., Jerel Jernigan and Rueben Randle should be one of the best in the league, but instead has been a lackluster mess.
The Giants have a near-league high 7-dropped passes this season, including four during Sunday’s loss. Victor Cruz has been a nonevent factor for the Giants, catching 7 passes for 84 yards and failing to score a touchdown, while dropping two key passes at the end of the game for the G Men.
Rueben Randle has been nonexistent for the Giants, amasing 6 catches for 40 yards and racking up one of the units’ mediocre two touchdowns this season.
Corey Washington, 22, was NFL.com’s preseason MVP, but has not caught a pass in the regular season. Neither has Preston Parker been a force, managing a measly one reception in 2 contests.
But the biggest blow to the unit has come in the injury department, even as the rest of the receiving brigade struggles immensely.
Jerel Jernigan, 25, was placed on the season-ending injury reserve on Tuesday, after obtaining a mild-foot sprain. It comes as a shock to the Giants, who lose Pro Football Focus’ best New York Giants offensive player in 2013, accumulating a +8.3 grade.
Odell Beckham Jr., the teams first round pick in 2014, has been dealing with hamstring issues since he was selected with the 12th pick in the draft, and has failed to truly practice with the team throughout the preseason and the regular season.
Plagued by injuries, the Giants were forced to retaliate and call up Julian Taley from their practice squad. But the fact is clear, and that is that Talley, like Washington and Parker, have never played in the NFL before. The inexperience will harm them, and so will the idea that they aren’t what you would call the, um… Ideal receivers?
So the ‘Jints are faced with the daunting task of replacing two of their top four receivers with, um… Who? Look no further then veteran receivers Earl Bennett and Davone Bess, who would provide the Giants with irreplaceable experience and talent at the receiver position.
Bennett, 27, caught 32 passes for 243 yards and 4 touchdowns last season for the Chicago Bears, and possesses an abundance of talent swathed in his enormous 6-0, 206 pound frame. He has been a consistent threat in his 6-year career.
Bess, 29, snatched 42 receptions for 362 yards and 2 touchdowns last season for the Browns, before getting released for off-the-field difficulties. He has the talent, but has to deal with the problems that no team wants in their players.
It will a be a long, difficult season for the Giants, and fans have to be ready to embrace any challenges that come their way. The depleted receiving unit is just the first on a long line of problems prominently facing the team.
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