Giants spend Day One of workout program getting acquainted

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

The Giants opened the initial phase of their offseason workout program yesterday to an unusual ritual – introductions. With lots of new faces, including 15 veteran free agents signed over the past month, the club has a completely new look to it.

Name-Tag“It’s unprecedented, the percentage of change in this locker room,” said ninth-year DE Mathias Kiwanuka, as per the Giants’ website. “Those of us who are still here are excited for the start of a new season, but obviously it’s changed a lot. A lot of changes needed to be made, but whenever you’re a member of a team, it’s tough to see people go.”

OL Chris Snee and QB Eli Manning, both entering their 11 seasons for the Giants, are the longest-tenured players in the locker room. Snee suggested name tags be put on their t-shirts to help everyone get acquainted.

“This is the most change I’ve been part of, for sure,” Snee said. “It’s going to take me a few weeks to learn all these guys’ names.”

Manning is not expected to do a whole lot here after undergoing arthroscopic surgery last week on his ankle, said he’s going to spend the next few weeks getting familiar with his new teammates. He’s taking all the changes in stride, as expected.

“That’s just kind of become football,” said Eli. “Sometimes you need change. We have a new offense, a new quarterback coach, a new offensive coordinator. It’s a learning experience for me, getting adjusted to that, having a lot of new teammates and new faces. There’s a lot of work to be done here, not only learning an offense but getting familiar with your teammates, building relationships there. It also is exciting. I think sometimes you’ve got to mix things up and change things up a little bit in your career. It will be a great challenge, but I’m looking forward to that.”

After an injury-riddled 7-9 campaign last year, the club decided an overhaul of sorts was needed. They’re still in the process of bringing in new faces. You can expect about ten more before camp. The Giants have seven picks in the upcoming draft, plus any UDFAs they may latch on to. Get those name tags ready.

Giants players show up for voluntary workouts

Josh Freeman

Giants officially sign Freeman

The Giants have officially signed Josh Freeman, the team announced. It is a one-year deal (Vacchiano, April 16).

“I’m definitely excited about being a part of this great organization,” Freeman said in a release. “Obviously, it’s a chance to go play quality football, learn from some great coaches, learn from a great quarterback in Eli (Manning) and just be a part of a great organization. The atmosphere is great here, great facilities. Everyone I’ve met has been awesome. Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

He was released by the Bucaneers in October 2013, and was later signed by the Vikings. He appeared in four games last season, with 63 completions for 761 yards. He had two touchdowns and four interceptions.

In his career, Freeman has 80 touchdowns and 67 interceptions. He’s also rushed for four touchdowns, all coming in 2011 with Tampa Bay.

Monday Buzz: Keller, Ebron, Donald

The Giants are back at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center today to begin first phase of their offseason workout program. OL Geoff Schwartz, an active Twitter user, send this post out this morning.

In other tidbits from around the football blogoshere, SI.com’s Peter King reports that one of the Giant fans’ top targets believes he’ll be gone by the time the Giants select at No. 12:

“North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, the clear top player at the position in this year’s draft, was asked by one team he visited recently who he thought would pick him. “Detroit,’’ he said.”

The Lions have the 10th overall selection on May 8th.

The Giants and Dustin Keller? Sounds intriguing, especially if Keller has fully recovered from his extensive knee rehab:

From Rotoworld: “Keller suffered a gruesome injury during the 2013 preseason, tearing three knee ligaments and suffering a dislocation. NFL teams will have to determine exactly what “good to go” means. If Keller is anywhere near his pre-injury form, he’d be a low-risk, high-reward addition for a tight-end needy team like the Giants or Patriots.”

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks sees Pitt DL Aaron Donald as a goot fit for the Giants:

“Donald would give the G-Men a young interior rusher to feature on exotic stunts and games in nickel downs. Reese clearly understands the importance of getting after the passer in the NFL, so Donald could be squarely in the Giants’ crosshairs next month.”

Giants begin offseason program today

The Giants will begin Phase One of their “voluntary” offseason program today.

From The NFL:

As per Article 21 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each club’s official, voluntary nine-week offseason program is conducted in three phases:

Phase One (4/21-5/4) consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.

Phase Two (5/5-5/26) consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.

Phase Three (May 28-30, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-10,June 12-13) consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Mandatory minicamp will be held from June 17-19.

ICYMI: Giants’ news of the week

The Giants signed Josh Freeman to a one-year deal to compete for their backup QB role…Former OC Kevin Gilbride does not believe QB Eli Manning is on the decline…Notre Dame OL Zach Martin is making more and more sense for the Giants in Round One of the NFL Draft…The Giants have until May 3rd to extend CB Prince Amukamara throughout the 2015 season…The team is getting good reports about the health of RB David Wilson…

Easter Morning Reading List: Draft talk; Prince extension

Happy Easter to all. Here are some stories that may interest you this morning…

This week’s look around the mock drafts includes names like wide receiver Mike Evans, offensive tackle Jake Matthews, and even safety Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, linebacker Ryan Shazier and defensive end Anthony Barr. Everything seems to be in play at this point of the mock draft season. (Raanan)

Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz is a guy who is rapidly gaining traction as an interesting and enticing mid-round prospect at the tight end position. The former Hawkeye was not highly productive during his collegiate career, but that had more to do with the offense he played in than his play-making capabilities. (NY Giants Rush)

As a first round pick in the 2011 draft, CB Prince Amukamara is eligible for an automatic one-year extension on his rookie contract. The deadline for the Giants to exercise that option is May 3rd. Thus far, the team has not done so. (Graziano)

WR Rueben Randle and TE Adrien Robinson are among five offensive players mentioned for “bigger roles” in 2014. (Sessler)

Following up on an angle we reported earlier, draft target Taylor Lewan of Michigan is in danger of dropping in the draft due to multiple legal issues. (Hubbuch)

John Mara, Jerry Reese

Topic: Jerry Reese’s greatest hits

Giants’ GM Jerry Reese seems to be a divisive figure among Giant fans. Some love him while others don’t. I personally think he’s one of the best GMs in the NFL. He’s brought as many Super Bowls to East Rutherford as his old boss, George Young, and he’s far from done.

The job of the GM is just not building through the draft, it involves building, maintaining and persevering as well. Finding players in the UFA and UDFA markets is just as important. This year, with the draft so deep, I can see Reese striking gold not just in the draft but on Manic Monday and beyond.

Since taking over as GM in January of 2007, Reese made some solid moves and we’d like to pay tribute to those by listing our top five:

1. 2010: Signed UDFA WR Victor Cruz

2. 2010: Drafted DE Jason Pierre-Paul with the 15th overall pick

3. 2010: Signed UFA Safety Antrel Rolle to a five-year deal

4. 2013: Drafted OL Justin Pugh with the 19th overall pick

5. 2007: Selected RB Ahmad Bradshaw in 7th round of the draft

Those are ours, what are yours?

Saturday Morning Shootaround: Nicks No. 88 no longer

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Some things of note on this beautiful Saturday morning…

Most people will be shocked if the Giants don’t grab one of these big TEs in the draft in three weeks. In his latest mock, ESPN draftnik Mel Kiper, Jr. is mocking UNC’s Eric Ebron to the Giants at No.12. Very few would be disappointed should the Giants take him. They need a big receiver to go over the middle and up the seam and that is exactly what Ebron does best. I’ll take it.

In Round Two, Kiper believes the Giants will snare UCLA OL Xavier Su’a-Filo, a player we haven’t talked about much and one that may be gone by the time the Giants pick at No. 43.

The Indianapolis Colts won’t be giving Hakeem Nicks his traditional number 88 jersey when it comes time to suit up next week. The number isn’t officially retired by the Colts, but they are reserving it in honor of their great WR Marvin Harrison and the late Hall of Fame TE John Mackey. Nicks will be wearing No. 14 instead. (PFT)

The Giants begin their offseason workouts on Monday. “Phase 1″, as it’s being called, will run through May 4th and the activities will be limited to strength, conditioning and rehab.

 

This draft is all about helping Eli

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

In a normal year, the draft would be next Thursday, but due to a scheduling conflict with the venue (Radio City Music Hall) the draft was pushed back until May 8. The Hall had planned an Easter show featuring the Rockettes to run through the end of April.

Eli ManningIronically that show has been scrapped, leaving football fans to go stir crazy unnecessarily for an extra two weeks. In the interim, mock drafts are getting a little crazy themselves. The more time passes, the more wild they’re getting.

Players haven’t gotten more or less talented over the additional time, it’s just the pundits and media have been allotted more time to study the draft pool this year. Every day, sleepers are cropping up and this very deep draft is getting more and more interesting.

The Giants, with the twelfth pick, have had players from just about every position mocked to them n the first and second rounds. The truth is, they have little control over their situation. They are relegated to the choices of the eleven teams selecting in front of them.

Evan Silva of Rotoworld came out with his two-round mock draft today. You’ll be a little surprised who he has the Giants selecting….

To read more of this story, click here