Top pick on shelf nothing new for Giants

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

USATSI_7995726_110579513_lowresWe learned Monday that the Giants’ top pick in this year’s NFL Draft, WR Odell Beckham Jr., will not be ready to play for several more weeks. He keeps aggravating his ailing hamstring, delaying his NFL debut.

Waiting for first-round picks to make an impact on the field is nothing new to the Giants. Since Jerry Reese became the GM in 2007, he’s drafted a slew of talented players in Round One of the NFL Draft, but few have been able to get on, and stay on, the field.

Reese’s first two top selections (CB Aaron Ross, 2007 and S Kenny Phillips, 2008) both had injury-riddled stints with the club (Ross had two of them, btw). Phillips’ chronic knee kept him from becoming a star. In five seasons with the Giants, Phillips dressed for only 56 games, starting 41. He is currently out of football.

Ross started 24 games in his first two seasons with the Giants, but only managed to start two games over the following two seasons. He bounced back and was a big part of the Super Bowl-winning defensive squad in 2011. After a season with Jacksonville in 2012, Ross returned to the Giants in 2013 only to find himself on IR after four games with a back ailment. Ross was signed as a free agent by the Ravens this past June, but will miss the year with a torn Achilles tendon.

To read more of this story, click here

Tuesday Morning Notes: Beason’s back

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

No practice today for the Giants as it’s “Players’ Day Off” across the league. They were, however, out on the field yesterday. LG Geoff Schwartz (toe), OL Brandon Mosley (back) and Odell Beckham, Jr. (hamstring) did not practice on Monday.

Schwartz will be out several weeks and the Giants are deciding whether to use the short-term IR label on him. That can be done as soon as today. Head coach Tom Coughlin said he hoped to have Mosley back by Thursday.

Beckham, the club’s top pick in last April’s draft who missed the majority of the offseason program and training camp, is still not ready to practice and the Giants are reluctant to push him at this point. Coughlin estimated Beckham could be as many as three weeks away from returning.

“Let’s just let this kid get better. Everybody settle down and let the kid get better,” said Coughlin when probed if there was any progress with Beckham. “I mean, I went to him and said, “Let’s not have any more setbacks.” Whatever it takes to get over this, let’s do this. Let’s encourage him, let’s not let him feel like he is an outsider, let’s get on with it. But, I mean, to talk about him every day. I will let you know when he is ready to do something, I will let you know.”

One player that was on the field yesterday, was MLB Jon Beason, who many consider the heart and leader of Big Blue’s defense. Beason suffered a ligament tear and a small fracture to the sesamoid in his foot during an OTA workout in June and had been sidelined ever since.

“I feel pretty good,” Beason told reporters Monday. “Just happy to be back out there. Working for one common goal with my teammates. Doing what I love. It feels good to get my feet wet again.”

Coughlin is also happy Beason is back. After being acquired from the Panthers on October 4th last season, Beason recorded 93 tackles (65 solo) in just twelve games with the Giants.

“His presence on the practice field is going to change things. That is going to change a lot of things,” said Coughlin. “The love to play, fly around a million miles per hour, encouraging other people to do the same or better, and just how hard he plays. He shows great example in what he does, he loves the game, so it is great to have him back out there.”

GEICO SportsNite: SNYGiants insider Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News discusses Jon Beason’s return from injury as well as Odell Beckham Jr.’s status with the 2014 season on the horizon.

The Wire: Giants sign OT Asper to PS

OT Mark Asper, cut by the Giants on Saturday, was signed to the practice squad today. He is the eighth player the club has added to the PS. The have two open spots to fill

WR Willie Snead, a UDFA out of Ball State who spent the summer with the Cleveland Browns, tweeted he has a tryout with the Giants on Tuesday.

G/C Adam Gettis will also reportedly visit the Giants Tuesday. Gettis was the Redskins’ fifth-round draft pick back in 2012 and was waived over the weekend.

Monday Morning Notes: Regular season begins today

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

The Giants will put their slimmed-down 53-man roster to work today at QDTC as they begin preparations for their regular-season opener one week from tonight in Detroit vs the Lions.

Yesterday, they began filling out their 10-man practice squad. Seven players were signed:

RB Michael Cox, WR Julian Talley, CB Chandler Fenner, DE Jordan Stanton, LB Dan Fox, CB Bennett Jackson and OT Nick Becton. All but Becton, who was released last week by the Chargers, were in training camp with the Giants this summer.

DT Kelcy Quarles, waived by the Giants on Saturday, was claimed by the New England Patriots.

The new offense will continue to work out it’s “kinks” (for the lack of a more stinging word) this week in the hopes they can perform with some semblance of order next Monday in Detroit.

OL Geoff Schwartz (toe) will likely learn his fate on Tuesday on whether the team plans to place him on short-term IR or not. WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (hamstring) doesn’t appear as if he’s ready to practice or play yet. Ugh.

Some good news… To read more of this story, click here

Sunday Mailbag: Practice Squad; Roster moves

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

A few answers to some questions that are coming in…

The practice squads can now accommodate ten players instead of eight. All first-year players and anyone who has not been on a practice squad for more than two seasons or does not have a full accrued season (active for nine games) of NFL service are eligible. Others could be eligible as well. The league will have to approve those players who have more than two accrued seasons of free agent credit on a case-by-case basis.

Players added to a practice squad can be elevated to active duty by any of the league’s 32 teams. They cannot be poached from PS to PS. If a team wishes to sign a PS player, they must be added to an active 53-man roster.

Any player placed on IR before 4pm yesterday, is gone for the season. Any player who began training camp on PUP, is eligible for regular-season PUP. If they participated in training camp, they are not eligible for PUP.

Teams can place players “short-term” IR beginning Tuesday.

Will the Giants’ pursue Michael Sam?

Fennelly: No. Where would they put him? He’s not better than any of the DEs or LBs on their roster. He will likely end up on the Rams’ practice squad. They are the only team that has shown any public interest in him to date.

The Giants need OL help. Will they look to find some this week?

Fennelly: They’ve been looking, and I assume they will continue. The problem is the players they have are still in the process of gelling with each other and acclimating to the new offensive system. The player, or players, they add would need to have a background in a west coast-style system along with being an upgrade over the player they are replacing on the roster.

Sunday Morning Notes: Roster set; Practice squad to be named today

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Today is August 31, which is Player’s Day Off. Today is also the day NFL teams can begin to assemble their 10-man practice squads (after 12 p.m.).

Yesterday, the Giants announced their 53-man roster with little fanfare or surprise. I was pretty much on target in my prediction, missing only the cutting of TE Kellen Davis and the retaining of UDFA DE Kerry Wynn.

“There were a lot of good, competitive positions, even going into Thursday night’s game with New England,” head coach Tom Coughlin said Saturday as per the Giants’ website. “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.”

The only real surprise to me was Wynn. He played quite a bit this preseason (mostly in the second half of games) and the coaches apparently liked what they saw out of him. He is only one of two UDFAs to crack the roster this season (WR Corey Washington is the other.)

“I like the fact that he has very good size (6-5, 264) and he runs well,” Coaughlin said of Wynn. “He flashed in the preseason and he is a young prospect that works hard, studies hard. We think he has a lot of upside.”

Washington and Wynn are the kind of young players with stories that keep Coughlin, who turns 68 today, coming back year after year.

“They’re great stories and that’s what this thing is all about,” Coughlin said. “Your needs are much deeper than seven picks in the draft or sometimes you’re not in position to help yourself in free agency because of the cap, so this is still the source. And when a young guy comes along and they look like they’ve got a high end, you’re excited about it. Especially when they work hard, they study hard, it’s important to them and they have great desire. You can see it on some of these kids’ faces that this means so much to them, and quite frankly it re-energizes me.

The majority of the players waived by the Giants the past few days are eligible for that practice squad under the new rules. We will report on that as it develops.

The roster is now at 53, but it is in no way the final cut. During the week, the team will surely make a few changes to accommodate for injuries i.e. OL Geoff Schwartz may be placed on short-term IR.

The team begins Week One of the regular season with a morning practice on Monday. MLB Jon Beason, who spent the summer on the PUP list, is expected to be on the field.

“He’s ready to practice,” Coughlin said. “You need that kind of dynamic leadership. The guy loves the game, he loves to play it. He’ll have the biggest smile on his face come Monday when he trots out there.”

Saturday Morning Notes: Cutdown day is upon us

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

The Giants, like every other NFL club, will be reducing their roster from 75 to 53 players by 4pm this afternoon.

Decisions on 20 players will take place over the next few hours. Two roster moves we already know: OL Eric Herman and CB Jayron Hosley will both be placed on the Reserve/Suspended list for violating the NFL’s PED policy. Each will serve a four-game suspension.

The other moves will not come so easily to the front office. The Giants went 5-0 during the preseason due to the depth, talent and strength of their second and third-stringers. Many of those players impressed both fans and the staff.

“You come to the end of preseason and you evaluate where you are,” Head coach Tom Coughlin said on a conference call Friday. “The big thing today is obviously personnel and having to get to the number. There is a lot of work to be done, a lot of tasks that go into this, so you’ll have to accept my apology of putting you off a little bit, but that is where we are.”

Today’s Need to Know

→FB Henry Hynoski has a “contusion” in his shoulder, but Coughlin said he felt much better on Friday. His position appears safe. WR Mario Manningham, who injured a calf in the game vs New England, may have a harder time making the team.

“Anytime you have an injury that occurs at the final hour, it does add another dimension to the selection that perhaps you didn’t want to deal with,” Coughlin said. “I will leave it at that.”

→The Giants will decide what to do with LG Geoff Schwartz (toe), who will miss anywhere from 3-6 weeks. Short-term IR seems to be in his future, but whether or not that happens before or after roster cuts remains to be seen.

→Coughlin said MLB Jon Beason (foot) would be coming off PUP and could return to practice as soon as Monday. CB Prince Amukamara (groin) is also scheduled to resume practicing Monday. OL Brandon Mosley (back) has responded to treatment and could be back on Wednesday.

→The TE position remains wide open and Coughlin has yet to rule out keeping all four players currently in camp.

→The PR position is also still wide open, even though WR Preston Parker has taken most of the reps there this summer. Coughlin called him a “courageous returner” but cited ball security issues. The coach said almost all of the WRs on the roster could be used at the position.

→The starting offense is still a “work in progress” but Coughlin explained the club’s mindset and dedication to making the new system work:

“There are only so many answers. I am very confident we are going to get the passing game straightened around. Have we sat back and flat out thrown the ball in one game? No, we haven’t because we are not going to get away from the run because last year we were so poor in the run game that it ruined our balance and in result, we turned the ball over at ridiculous rates. So that is not going to happen and we wanted to make sure of that throughout the course of the preseason. Perhaps there should have been a time where we did nothing but throw the ball, but that really was not something that I wanted to entertain during this preseason.”

From GEICO SportsNite: Eli Manning discusses how hard the offense is working to execute Ben McAdoo’s scheme this season and says the Giants are ready for Week 1.

It’s not all bad news, Giant fans

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Beating up on the Giants’ starting offense is becoming a parlor game here and although it’s worrisome, it’s also getting tiresome. It’s not all bad at QDTC these days. There are some good things that came out of this camp and preseason, such as….

1. The RBs are beasts. No matter who carries the ball for Big Blue, they are going to give you your money’s worth. Rashad Jennings. Andre Williams and Peyton Hillis are all big, tough, strong bodies that will keep the Giants’ offense afloat until the passing game sorts out their shortcomings.

2. Hey, we got some LBs. Jon Beason (foot) didn’t play a snap in preseason but the LB corp didn’t seem to miss him much. Jameel McClain was a gift in FA this spring and he has been nothing less than solid. Whoever scouted Devon Kennard should get a promotion. He got it right, big time.  Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger are both healthy and played like demons this summer.

3. Damontre Moore. When Moore is on the field, he’s hard to miss. Look for the ball and you will find him. While everyone is focusing on JPP, Damonster (as he is known) will be the one stirring things up on the defense. I’m predicting a double-digit sack season for Moore in 2014.

4. The offensive line. Yes, the Achilles heel of the Giants’ roster. Had Geoff Schwartz not gotten hurt, the Giants’ offensive line would actually be a strength now.  The Giants have practically run the ball at will this summer. They still need to get the protection schemes down, but I’m pleased with how the club has transitioned the line after saying goodbye to David Baas, Kevin Boothe, Chris Snee and David Diehl. Justin Pugh is becoming a solid pro. Has anyone seen Brandon Mosley, JD Walton and Weston Richburg play? No? Maybe these pundits who keep banging on the O-Line should shut up and watch them play for once.

5. Ryan Nassib. The traded up for Nassib in the 2013 draft. What a waste. Uh, wait a minute. A new OC comes through the door and Nassib suddenly blossoms into the Giants’ primary backup. Who would have thought that he would grasp Ben McAdoo’s system faster than Eli Manning would?

6. Who is this Corey Washington and how did the Giants’ get him? The short answer is: who cares, just sit back and enjoy the show. Washington had a breakout summer and has given the Giants depth during the long wait for first round pick Odell Beckham, Jr. to make his Giants’ debut.

Giants show they got miles to go in hollow win over Pats

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

The Giants wanted to give their struggling first team offense one more chance to straighten themselves out in the final preseason game vs New England Thursday night.

It didn’t happen. The timing and tentativeness was still prevalent as QB Eli Manning and his receivers continued to be on different pages. Manning was just 1-for-4 for zero yards and didn’t look good doing it.

The Giants’ first unit played two series. They ran a total of eight plays, managing to gain only 23 net yards and one first down against the Patriots’ backup defense. They won the game, 16-13, to finish the preseason undefeated but accomplished very little on offense in the process.

Head coach Tom Coughlin is growing weary of the starting offense’s inability to play cohesively.

“I thought the worst play of the night was, again, the misconnection between Rueben Randle and Eli. “I thought, he thought” – one of those kinds of things. We’re all – everyone in this room – is tired of hearing that stuff. There’s no place for that.”

He was asked why the starters played only two series.

“If they wanted to play more, they should’ve made some first downs and stayed out there,” he said.

Injuries: WR Mario Manningham (calf); FB Henry Hynoski (shoulder). Hynoski apparently injured the same shoulder he fractured last year that caused him to miss the entire 2013 season.

“I heard him say that he thought it was some kind of cuff injury or something of that nature,” Coughlin said. “But the official pronouncement from the medical team, I didn’t hear.”

This clouds the FB situation. The Giants were likely going to keep Hynoski and waive John Conner, but that probably won’t happen now.

Manningham was on the roster bubble coming into the game, and since he did not get a chance to make his case last night, will likely be among the players cut on Saturday.

Did not play: WR Odell Beckham, Jr., WR Trindon Holliday, CB Prince Amukamara, LB Jon Beason, LB Mark Herzlich, T Charles Brown, T James Brewer, G Geoff Schwartz, G Brandon Mosley and DT 78 Markus Kuhn.

Weston Richburg started at LG in place of Schwartz and John Jerry was at RG for Mosley. Walter Thurmond III started at RCB in place of Prince.

Final roster cuts are due Saturday by 4pm.

Factoid: The Giants finished with an undefeated preseason record for the first time since they were 4-0 in 2006. They last had a perfect preseason of more than four games in 1985, when they were 5-0. The Giants qualified for the playoffs in each of those seasons.

GameDay: New England at Giants 7:30 p.m.

The Giants (4-0) close out the 2014 preseason vs the New England Patriots (2-1) in a matchup between the two winningest active coaches in the NFL. The Pats’ Bill Belichick is seventh all-time in regular season victories with 199 while the Giants’ Tom Coughlin is 14th overall with 158 wins.

Kickoff: 7:30pm Eastern
Site: MetLife Stadium
Surface: Field Turf
TV: WNBC Ch 4 Bob Papa, Carl Banks, Howard Cross
Radio: WFAN 660AM and 101.9FM Chris Carrino, Roman Oben, Karl Nelson, Paul Dottino

The Series: The Giants and the New England Patriots meet for the 24th time in the preseason, with the Giants leading the series, 14-9. This is the 10th consecutive year the two teams have ended the preseason against one another. In the regular season, the Giants and Patriots have met nine times, with the Patriots leading the series, 5-4. The Giants are 2-0 against the Patriots in the postseason. The Giants defeated the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14, and Super Bowl XLVI, 21-17.

Last year, the Patriots defeated the Giants, 28-10, in Foxborough.

Key Giants players/stats in the preseason….RB Rashad Jennings is averaging 6.0 yards per carry (32 rushes for 192 yards)….QB Ryan Nassib is completing 63.3% of his passes and has a 116.0 QBR….rookie WR Corey Washington has 9 catches for 152 yards and 4 TDs (one in each game)….DE Damontre Moore leads the team in solo tackles (11), QB hits (5) and sacks (4)….LN Jacquian Williams leads in total tackles (18)….KR Quintin Demps is averaging 26 yards per return….the Giants have been flagged for 39 penalties for a total of 343 yards….they have fumbled six times, losing four….defense has allowed only 25.9% of third downs to be converted.