Jun 16, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin addresses the media during minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Steven Ryan-USA TODAY Sports

Giants sit 20th in ESPN Future rankings

The New York Giants came in at No. 20 on ESPN’s NFL Future rankings.

The Giants were ranked third out of the NFC East teams behind the Dallas Cowboys (sixth) and Philadelphia Eagles (15th).

ESPN dished the Giants out a 62.7 grade for their roster, a 74.7 grade for quarterback, a 63.3 grade on their draft, a 68.3 grade to the front office and a 67.3 grade to the coaching staff.

Here’s the overview of the rankings:

Tom Coughlin could eventually find himself in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he turns 69 in August, and it’s unclear what the longer-term future holds. That could explain why the Giants fell from seventh to 23rd in the coaching category, which contributed to a two-spot drop in the overall standings. The Giants now rank between 20th and 22nd in every category but quarterback, where a bounce-back season from Eli Manning helped the team secure its only high ranking (10th overall, up from 11th in 2014).

Additionally, the analysts inferred the Giants must deal with a 35-year-old quarterback who is an impending free agent.

Sam Spiegelman

As rigid of a ranking as it is, the score is fitting.

The Giants have a lot of big question marks entering the 2015 season, beginning and ending with how Eli Manning does in 2015, a contract year. Should Manning stumble out of the gate like he did in 2014, the franchise quickly has a big decision to make at season’s end. Otherwise, if Manning plays like he did once Odell Beckham Jr. entered the lineup, the team is a big contract away from remaining competitive and contending for the playoffs the next few years.

In addition, this year’s draft class includes safety Landon Collins and tackle Ereck Flowers, both of whom have major tasks ahead of them as rookies. Collins is going to be an immediate starter in the secondary where the Giants lost Antrel Rolle, a team captain. Flowers is going to have to start at tackle — not guard — as Will Beatty is sidelined due to injury.

If those rookies and Manning play as expected, the Giants should see a rise in these rankings in a year’s time. Ultimately, if that scenario played out, they’d continue to take claim to one of the steadiest quarterback situations in the NFL, a stout offensive line and a young, talented wide receiving corps. On the other side of the ball, Collins would have cemented an already improving secondary, leaving only the defensive line and Jason Pierre-Paul‘s contract situation a question mark.


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Giants update medical practices

The Giants, who have been hampered by injuries in recent seasons, have updated their medical practices (Alpher, July 1).

Former Giants defensive back Walter Thurmond, who currently plays for the Eagles, spoke critically of the Giants approach to modern medical practices compared to other organizations he has played for.

“He doesn’t believe in the sport-science aspect like Coach Carroll or Coach Kelly and the new found technology for the players,” Thurmond said. “His style takes a hit, because he doesn’t believe in this aspect. He believes in winning, but he doesn’t believe in the modern medicine to progress the players to that next level.”

However, according to Giants team spokesman Pat Hanlon, the organization has begun practicing new medical techniques in recent years.

“You would have to ask Walter what he is referring to specifically when it comes to comparing and contrasting,” Hanlon said. “But the fact is, over the past 2-3 years, we have adopted and implemented a few programs: the GPS system we employ to monitor workload, diet in terms of offerings and preparation in the dining hall, and sleep studies. Those are a few of the things we have done as we continue to evolve.”

Head Coach Tom Coughlin is notorious for remarking injuries are “a mental thing” when he began with the Giants. It appears Coughlin, or at least the organization, has come around to the modern times of sports science.

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

The Giants’ injury situation seems to be getting worse every season. The website Football Outsiders produce a statistic called “Adjusted Games Lost”, which gauges “how much teams were affected by injuries based on two principles: (1) Injuries to starters, injury replacements, and important situational reserves matter more than injuries to benchwarmers; and (2) Injured players who do take the field are usually playing with reduced ability, which is why AGL is not based strictly on whether or not the player is active for the game, but instead is based on the player’s listed status that week (IR/PUP, out, doubtful, questionable, or probable).”

According to the table, the Giants had the most Adjusted Games Lost in the NFL in 2013 and then repeated the infamous feat again last season. They were also hindered in 2012 and 2011, recording the 7th-highest AGL in the league in both seasons.

Should the Giants revisit their systems and procedures regarding the health of players or are the rash of injuries just a run of bad luck and coincidence? If scores of players go down again this season, we’ll know that answer.


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Can-Am baseball league offers Odell Beckham Jr. a contract

The Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League have offered New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. a contract, according to Lohud.com.

Per the report, the Rockland Boulders were wildly impressed with Beckham’s first-pitch strike during a charity baseball game.

Shawn Reilly, the Boulders’ general manager, said he saw visions of Bo Jackson and Deon Sanders when he watched Beckham on the mound.

“It’s apparent that Odell is a very gifted athlete regardless of his sport. We think that getting experience pitching to professional hitters will give him the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Deon Sanders and Bo Jackson”, Reilly told the website.

“As we are the New York area’s only defending professional championship team, he will have the opportunity to learn in a first-class environment while still in close proximity to MetLife Stadium”

Sam Spiegelman

Obviously a funny story, this goes to show you the weeks between minicamp and training camp features a very slow news cycle.

It’s flattering for Beckham, a lot like when Russell Wilson joins the Texas Rangers after the Seahawks’ season wraps up. But let’s not be coy: I’d be surprised if Beckham even responds to this.


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Player Spotlights: Trevin Wade

Each day this summer, SNYGiants will profile a lesser-known member of the New York Giants football team. The order will rotate offensive and defensive players.

Kerry Wynn

Weston Richburg

Name: Trevin Wade

Position: DB

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 192

Uniform #: 31

College: Arizona

Experience: 4 years

Acquired: Signed to a reserve/future contract on Jan. 13, 2015

Profile: Wade, 25, was a seventh-round pick of the Cleveland Browns back in 2012, and after navigating through the NFL with the Browns, Saints and Lions, he has landed with the New York Giants.

Wade was a do-it-all star in high school where he played quarterback, running back and wide receiver at Stony Point in Round Rock, Texas. He was an All-District selection at defensive back in 2006.

In college at Arizona, Wade lettered all four years and started 35 of a possible 50 games. Wade totaled 180 tackles, 12 interceptions — two for touchdowns — and forced a fumble and finished eighth in school history with 28 passes defended.

Wade played 12 games in Cleveland as a rookie in 2012 before getting released in August prior to the 2013 season. The cornerback caught on with the Saints and was active for two games that season. He was released in September of the 2014 season. Wade was signed to Detroit’s practice squad later in the 2014 season before eventually signing a reserve/future contract with the Giants in January of this year.

In 15 career regular-season games, Wade has amassed 17 tackles, two passes defended and seven special-teams tackles. He’s also recorded two tackles in the playoffs while with the Saints.

What’s been said: “That’s one we’re trying to feel through, to be honest with you. You’ll probably see as we go through the OTA’s that there’ll be a number of guys working in and out of there. In this league nowadays, there are a lot of three wideout sets. That means you’ve got to match them in a lot of cases and put another DB out there, so I’m not sure I have an answer for that right now. There were some guys that did it a little bit last year and some guys that we added.” -DC Steve Spagnuolo on the nickel corner position


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As contract deadline nears, JPP continues strong workout regimen

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

While his teammates are enjoying their summer break, DE Jason Pierre-Paul continues to work out and reshape his body. He recently posted on social media that his weight is down to a svelte 274 pounds and he is ready to face all comers this season.

JPP, who was designated with the franchise tag this spring, missed the team portion of the Giants’ offseason program in an attempt to get a long-term deal out of the Giants. Thus far, it hasn’t worked. The parties have until July 15 to strike such a deal. If they don’t, JPP will have no choice but to play for the franchise tag salary of $14.8M this season and face free agency again in 2016. There have been no rumblings of him holding out.

The former All-Pro had a solid season in 2014, recording 12.5 sacks – the most since his breakout season of 2011 – and led the team with 21 QB hits. The Giants would like to believe that JPP is past his back shoulder ailments before they commit long-term to him. 

He looks fairly fit in the below video and I’m sure the Giants have taken notice.

Gotten better since day1. Know why you work so hard foe. #90PC #KingSih

A video posted by Jason Pierre-Paul (@iamjasonpierrepaul) on


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Player Spotlight: Weston Richburg

Each day this summer, SNYGiants will profile a lesser-known member of the New York Giants football team. The order will rotate offensive and defensive players. Monday, we profiled DE Kerry Wynn. 

Today we focus on an offensive player, center Weston Richburg.

Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 298
Uniform #: 70
College: Colorado State
Experience: 2 years
Acquired: Selected by the Giants in the 2nd round (43rd overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Profile: Richburg was the first center selected in 2014, being heralded as versatile, durable smart and strong. Richburg was believed to be the team’s center of the future, but injuries forced the Giants to employ veteran J.D. Walton at center and insert Richburg at left guard, where he started 15 games in place of the injured Geoff Schwartz. As a result, his rookie season did not go as expected.

The Giants cut ties with Walton in the offseason, have recently moved Richburg back to his natural position at center and believe they will be set at the position for years to come. The club is confident that Richburg will be a significant upgrade over Walton, who was clearly overmatched in several games.

Richburg also welcomed the change after getting schooled more often than not in the LG slot. After starting the first eight games there, Richburg was benched in favor of journeyman Adam Snyder against the Cowboys Nov. 23. But Richburg was called back into duty after Snyder sustained a knee injury mid-game and finished the season as the starting LG.

On the move back to center:

“It was a great learning experience,” Richburg said of his rookie season. “Sometimes, things didn’t go the way I wanted, but I learned a lot. I really did, playing against the talent I played against in the position I did. I definitely learned things that will help me when I am inside at center.

“Everything happens a little quicker than it does at guard, because there is a guy right on you. You get hands on quicker and make contact quicker. I like that, because there is less space for the defense.”

What’s been said:

“He is a center, He will have every opportunity to compete.” – Coach Tom Coughlin

“Weston is a natural center. I am excited for him. I am excited for the offense. I think he brings some energy to the position and to the offense. He’s a guy who likes to have control of things and likes to have his hand on the football. He works very hard at it. I like Weston.” – Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo.

“He learned an awful lot last year but I knew that he was going to be a player for a very long time and I know I’m using that, but I believe it because he likes the game of football. He really has embraced the center position because you are the voice of everybody to start out and the quarterback may change things, but you are telling everyone what to do. I think that Weston has a little bit of boss man in him and he likes that.” – Offensive Line Coach Pat Flaherty


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Eli’s agent expects new deal with Giants to get done

Eli Manning‘s agent Tom Condon expects a new deal with the Giants to get done (June 27).

“The quarterbacks always get done,” Condon said. “And the Giants are not a skittish team. So it’s not one of those things where they get nervous or they jump around or anything like that. You know you’re going to go in and it’s going to get done. I’m sure at the appropriate time it’ll happen.”

Condon also pointed to the fact that Manning has been a model citizen while with the Giants, and noted that elite quarterbacks very rarely hit the open market.

“The interesting part about it is, since 1993, the inception of free agency, has there ever been an elite quarterback hit the open market?” Condon asked “Peyton (Manning), but he had four neck surgeries and no idea if he would ever be well enough to play. Drew Brees, when he went to New Orleans, he had 15 studs in his shoulder, in his throwing arm. There’s nobody else that’s ever come up. They just re-do you.”

The six-year, $97.5 million contract Manning signed in 2009 expires at the end of this coming season.

This past season for the Giants, Manning, who turned 34 in January, completed 379 of 601 passes for 4,410 yards while throwing 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.


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