John Fennelly, Lead WriterAfter the Giants signed CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in free agency last month, head coach Tom Coughlin said DRC would be assigned to the opponents’ No. 1 receivers. The other day, the incumbent No. 1 CB, Prince Amukamara, was asked for his reaction to that statement.
“I would just say that it doesn’t really affect me; it doesn’t really affect my goals of how I come into the season,” Prince said. “I’m always competing and I’m always just trying to be the number one corner on this team and in the league. It really doesn’t affect how I prepare.”
Amukamara did not sound insulted by the coach’s remark. He was asked if he took it as a challenge.
“No, I’m not insulted at all. Of course it’s a challenge but Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie isn’t my standard. He isn’t my standard that I have to try to get to. I’m my standard, I’m trying to always be the best corner I can be. Gosh, I like that answer. Sorry.”
DRC is the more experienced player, so Coughlin does have a point. But one thing Prince would be insulted by is if the Giants do not pick up his fifth-year option (worth $6.898 million) by the May 3rd deadline.
From Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger:
It’s a sensitive decision that needs to be made some time in the next 10 days. If the Giants exercise the option, they have another large cap number on the books for next season. If the Giants elect to pass on the option year, they’re left with an insulted starting cornerback.
“I would say naturally [I'd be insulted], maybe a little bit,” Amukamara conceded Tuesday. “But I’ve been hearing this NFL thing is all a business, so I definitely can’t take it personal.”
Bob Glauber from Newsday joins Mike Florio to discuss Eli Manning’s declaration that he wants to reinvent himself. Glauber believes the biggest aspect that needs to be reinvented is the 27 interceptions Manning threw a year ago, but Glauber is also optimistic about the passer’s stats for the upcoming season.
John Fennelly, Lead WriterFor openers, in a normal year, today would be Round One of the NFL Draft but the league was forced to move it two weeks back due to availability issues. The Rockettes had the Hall booked for their spring show, which was subsequently cancelled last month. It was too late, however, for the league to change it’s plans.
The NFL dropped their 2014 regular season schedule last night and the Giants will open the season on a Monday night in Detroit. They will play a total of five nationally-televised contests this season and play 12 of their 16 games in the Eastern Time Zone.
SNYGiants insider Ralph Vacchiano on the 2014 schedule:
As for difficulty, the schedule is ranked the 26th toughest in the league, but that is no comfort to head coach Tom Coughlin.
“It’s a difficult and challenging schedule, as we knew it would be,” Coughlin said. “We play a lot of very good teams. We’re playing some teams that we haven’t played for a while that feature some key, key ingredients, some teams that are building and growing and teams with new coaches, guys I have a lot of respect for.”
“We do have any number of outstanding games in a row, because in addition to the NFC East, (we face) the NFC West and the AFC South. The NFC West is a very strong division and certainly continues to be strong. Seattle won the Super Bowl, San Francisco played in the NFC Championship Game, you look at the improvement in the Arizona team and the way they played, particularly toward the end of the year. And the way in which the St. Louis defensive team has played, their quarterback (Sam Bradford) being injured but coming back.”
“That’s a very tough challenge and that’s to say nothing about the fact that we really haven’t been in that AFC South for a while. We played Atlanta a couple years ago. They’ve made drastic changes with their team. You saw Jacksonville improve. Houston has a new coach and with (Bill) O’Brien there and the first pick of the draft…so there are a lot of interesting factors that go into taking a look at this.”
The Giants will open their season Monday night, Sept. 8, at Detroit against the Lions at 7:10 p.m.
“We’re not opening in the division, which is kind of a rarity,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “We know how talented Detroit is.”
The opener will be the Giants’ second consecutive road game in Detroit; they defeated the Lions, 23-20, in overtime in Ford Field last Dec. 22. But whatever advantage they might have gained from their familiarity Detroit is likely mitigated because the Lions have a new head coach in Jim Caldwell.
The game will be the Giants’ first Monday night season opener since Sept. 10, 2001, when they lost at Denver, 31-20.
After their trip to Detroit, the Giants will come home for a pair of 1 o’clock games against Arizona and Houston.
On Thursday night, Sept. 25, the Giants will play their first NFC East game, against the Redskins in Washington. It is the third consecutive season the Giants will play a night game in FedEx Field. They won a Sunday night game there, 24-17, last Dec. 1.
“We’re on our fourth game before we do get a divisional game. I think that’s an interesting thing,” Coughlin said.
The Giants will return home on Sunday, Oct. 5 to face the Atlanta Falcons in MetLife Stadium at 1 p.m.
After the Falcons visit, the Giants will play two more division road games, Sunday night, Oct. 12 at Philadelphia at 8:30 and Sunday, Oct. 19 at Dallas, a 4:25 kickoff.
The Giants will have their annual bye on Sunday, Oct. 26.
“The bye, again, is in a good spot for us,” Coughlin said. .
They will return with perhaps their toughest stretch of the season. On Monday night, Nov. 3, the Giants will host quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m.
The Giants will then have a quick turnaround before taking their longest trip of the season. The following Sunday, Nov. 9, they will be in Seattle to face the champion Seahawks at 4:25. A week later, they will host the San Francisco 49ers, the team Seattle beat in the NFC Championship Game, at 1 p.m.
On Nov. 23, the Giants will host the rematch with Dallas in their final scheduled prime time game at 8:30.
The Giants then head back out on the road, with a game in Jacksonville on Nov. 30 and in Tennessee on Dec. 7.
A week later, the Giants will return home to face Washington at 1 p.m. On Dec. 21, they will play their final road game of the season in St. Louis at 4:05. The Giants will end their season at home against Philadelphia on Dec. 28.
Some highlights from the Giants’ 2014 schedule:
*The Giants will play five games against 2013 playoff teams: Philadelphia, San Francisco and Indianapolis at home and the Eagles and defending Super Bowl champion Seattle on the road.
*The Giants will play four teams with new head coaches: Washington (Jay Gruden), Houston (Bill O’Brien), Tennessee (Ken Whisenhunt) and Detroit (Jim Caldwell).
*The Giants this season play the NFC West and AFC South, the divisions that had the best and worst combined records, respectively, in the NFL in 2013. The four teams in the NFC West were 42-22 (.656), five games better than the next best division, the AFC West (37-27, .578). The NFC West was the only division with three clubs reaching double-digit victory totals (Seattle 13-3, San Francisco 12-4 and Arizona 10-6), and the lone division that featured four teams with winning records at home (7-9 St. Louis was 5-3 in the Edward Jones Dome).
The AFC South (Indianapolis, Houston, Jacksonville and Tennessee) were a combined 24-40 (.375).
*The Giants will start the season with a prime time game for the third season in a row. They lost to Dallas at home in 2012 and on the road last year.
*The Giants will open their season against an opponent outside the NFC East for the first time since 2010, when they defeated Carolina in the first regular-season game in MetLife Stadium.
*The Giants will open their season both in Detroit and against the Lions for the first time since Sept. 17, 1972, a 30-16 loss.
*They will open the season on a Monday night for the first time since a 31-20 loss in Denver on Sept. 10, 2001.
*The Giants are 23-33-1 on Monday night, including 8-8 at home and 15-25-1 on the road. They won their only Monday night game in 2013, defeating Minnesota, 23-7, on Oct. 21.
*The Giants are 19-23-1 on Sunday night, including 9-11 at home and 10-12-1 on the road. Last season, they lost at Dallas and won at Washington on Sunday night.
*The Giants will play all three of their NFC East road games – at Washington, Philadelphia and Dallas – in a four-week span from Sept. 25 to Oct. 19.
*The Giants’ final three home games are against NFC East foes Dallas, Washington and Philadelphia.
*When the Giants last visited Jacksonville and Tennessee in 2006, they did so on consecutive weeks on Nov. 20 and 26. Eight years later, they will again travel to the same cities in the same order on Nov. 30 and Dec. 5.
*The Giants will end their regular season at home for the fourth consecutive season and for the second time in three years vs. the Eagles.
*The Giants will open their five-game preseason schedule on Sunday night, Aug. 3 at 8 p.m., against the Buffalo Bills in the NFL/Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio’s Fawcett Stadium.
The remainder of the preseason schedule has been finalized. They will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday, Aug. 9 at 7:30. The following week, Saturday, Aug. 16, they will face the Colts in Indianapolis at 7 p.m.
The Giants will be the visiting team when they face the Jets in their annual preseason meeting on Friday, Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m. They will conclude the preseason on Thursday, Aug. 28, at home vs. New England at 7:30.
The Giants were 1-3 in the preseason in 2012, beating Pittsburgh in their opener before losing to Indianapolis, the Jets and the Patriots. They are 19-21 in the preseason in Coughlin’s 10 years as head coach.
*Flex scheduling will commence earlier than it has in the past, with modifications.
For the first time, flexible scheduling may be applied in Weeks 5-10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time.
Also, for the first time, a select number of games are being “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences.
“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17 as it has been in recent years. In Weeks 11-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 28. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into primetime.
Think the Giants have a tough schedule this season? Think again.
Based on 2013 results and the fact they finished third in the NFC East last season, Big Blue has drawn the 26th toughest in the league (119-137, .465).
But that doesn’t mean they’re in for a cakewalk in 2014, either. They will be playing on national television five times, have games vs the Seahawks and 49ers and will face four of the top six teams selecting atop this year’s draft (Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville and Atlanta).
The most difficult stretch of the Giants’ schedule comes in November after their Week 8 bye:
Week 9: Monday, Nov 3rd vs. Indianapolis (MNF)
Week 10: Sunday, Nov 9th at Seattle
Week 11: Sunday, Nov 16 vs. San Francisco
Week 12: Sunday, Nov 23rd vs. Dallas, Nov. 23 (SNF)
Three of the four are at home, but the most difficult game is away at Seattle after a short week. That trip is only one of four out of the Eastern Time Zone and the only cross-country jaunt. The Giants play three games in Central Time: Dallas, Nashville and St. Louis.
The Giants will open their season on Monday Night Football.
New York will play at the Detroit Lions on Monday, September 8 (Vacchiano, April 23).
The Giants will have a bye after Week 7, have another Monday night matchup with Indianapolis and play the Eagles and Cowboys on Sunday nights, according to the report.
The full schedule will be released on Wednesday night. For the moment, here is the full schedule without the times, which are yet to be confirmed:
John Fennelly, Lead Writer
“No doubt, no doubt. I’m going to go out there and play the game like I was 21 again. This whole offseason I’ve just been training and thinking that I want to get back on the football field. It’s coming.” – DE Jason Pierre-Paul on if he’ll be the player he was before back and shoulder ailments slowed him down.
“I’m 100 percent, ready to go. My knee feels great. I’m just excited to be back in this building, back smelling this grass again and being around you beautiful people so I’m excited.” – WR Victor Cruz, recovering from knee surgery.
“Right now I’m trying to be healthy for the season, I’m looking forward to getting cleared and being ready to go for training camp and OTAs so that’s basically it…the doctors are giving me limitations on certain things for right now just to help the healing process speed up.” – RB David Wilson, who is rehabbing from neck surgery.
John Fennelly, Lead Writer
“I’m the best slot corner in the league. I’ll say that for sure.” - Giants CB Walter Thurmond.
Last season, the Seattle Seahawks’ secondary dominated opponents en route to a Super Bowl championship. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond formed the “Legion of Boom,” shutting down the league’s best passing attacks on a weekly basis.
Thurmond is now a Giant, and in his first rap session with the NY beat pool yesterday made that bold statement printed above. He’s new. In time, he’ll realize his whereabouts.
The truth is, Thurmond could very well become the best at what he does, but he’s not there yet. Last year, he registered just one INT to go along with a modest 33 total tackles. By contrast, the Eagles’ Brandon Boykin had six INTs (Kempski).
One can’t help but to be optimistic about the Giants’ revamped secondary that includes players such as Antrel Rolle, Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Stevie Brown.
“We have the potential to be the best in the league,” added Thurmond. “That’s going to come down to our preparation now, really understanding how we all play in our different talent sets and stuff like that and really moving forward and really challenging each other during practice. That’s where it starts during that competition in practice. That just transfers over to the game. If one person makes a play, I know for sure the next person will make that play. You just rise to the level of your competition. I think we’re all capable of that.”
The time for talk will be over soon. We’ll see if Thurmond can live up to his boasts.
John Fennelly, Lead Writer
QB Eli Manning met the media on Tuesday sporting a walking boot to protect his surgically-repaired left ankle. The big question: When will he be able to take the field again?
“I just don’t know,” Eli said. “Obviously I’d like to be but we just have to see kind of what the process is and see how quickly I can heal and what the trainers and everyone, how quickly they want to push me.”
Manning is expected to start running again the end of May, but nothing is certain. He was asked if Giant fans should be concerned about the ankle and his return.
“I think that was kind of the reason for doing this at this time, to prevent any uncertainty. For me and for the Giants organization, fans as well, it’s to go ahead and do this where it’ll give me plenty of time to heal and be 100 percent healthy for the season.”
Safety Antrel Rolle commented on the changing dynamic in the Giants’ locker room: “I recognize a lot of faces. Some new, some old. Faces change, goals don’t.”
He is “excited” about what the Giants have done with their roster this offseason, but the excitement was tempered by the news that teammate Will Hill failed another drug test.
“We don’t know what’s going to take place with that yet,” said Rolle. “We’re just here to support Will and make sure we keep his spirits up high. Whatever happens with the league office and obviously with Will Hill has to take its course. I’m not really going to speak on the matter if he’s not here. We’ll hit that once that time approaches.”
He was asked if it was tough to see a close friend and teammate going through such a difficult time…
“That’s always tough. Will Hill is a phenomenal guy, not only an athlete but also a great guy and a great teammate. He’s like a little brother to myself. Obviously you don’t like to hear those things, especially… my main concern is Will Hill. Not so much even the Giants. My focus is Will Hill. Like I said, we’re just going to keep on encouraging him and embracing him and lift his spirits up and hopefully it’s nothing.”
But the buzz is that Hill may get hit with a minimum suspension of 6-8 weeks. On the back end of that, the Giants, who are rumored to be “livid” with Hill, are set to cut the cord on him.
RB Rashad Jennings, who was one of the Giants’ big ticket free agent signings last month, was asked what he can bring to the Giants’ offense…
“Something I always pride myself on is being a complete back. That’s never having to come off the field. First down, second down, third down, fourth-and-short, goal line, pass protection… just molding and perfecting my craft of becoming a complete back is something that I’m going to continue to strive for as long as I’m in the NFL. What I bring to the table is completion.”
GEICO SportsNite covers Eli Manning at the Giants’ offseason training camp as he recovers from ankle surgery.
The 2014 NFL schedule will be released on NFL Network, NFL.com, and NFL Mobile from Verizon on Wednesday, April 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
NFL Total Access: Schedule Release ‘14 will include reports and interviews from Seattle, where the season will kick-off on September 4, and Arizona — the site of Super Bowl XLIX. The show will also feature reporters, guests and players at a handful of additional remote locations around the NFL, weighing in on the 2014 schedule—the road map to Super Bowl XLIX.
Giants 2014 Opponents
Home: Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, Arizona, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis
Away: Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, St. Louis, Seattle, Detroit, Jacksonville, Tennessee
Giants Preseason Schedule:
Sunday, Aug 3 @ 8 p.m. vs Buffalo at Canton (Hall of Fame Game – NBC)
August 7-10 vs. STEELERS TBA
August 16 at Indianapolis 7 p.m.
August 22 at Jets 7:30 p.m.
August 28 vs. PATRIOTS 7:30 p.m.