New York Giants: James Brewer

The New York Giants don't like to build their team through free agency, so the fact that they have signed 19 free agents in the past two weeks indicates they have felt they had little choice. Theirs was a roster in such an extensive state of disrepair that they had to go out and apply as many free-agent band-aids as possible. No way the draft was going to fix all of their immediate needs. No one has enough picks for that.

The signing Friday of John Jerry, one of the former Dolphins offensive linemen who was implicated in the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal last month, is an indication of just how difficult things get when you have to be as active in free agency as the Giants have.

Time was, the Giants would have steered way clear of anyone involved in what happened in Miami because they don't need the issues that could arise from inviting potential discord into their locker room, and they had other options for filling whatever hole they were trying to fill. But right now, with cap space dwindling and significant needs still looming with the pass rush and passing offense, the Giants are on the lookout for bargains. And in large part because of what happened last year in Miami, Jerry comes at a bargain price.

Our man Adam Caplan reports that Jerry's deal is for one year and $770,000, with only $25,000 guaranteed. That makes this a no-risk signing for the Giants from a financial standpoint. He'll come in and compete for a roster spot with guys like James Brewer and Brandon Mosley, and if he makes it he could be a useful backup at several positions or even a potential starter if Chris Snee can't answer the bell. Jerry is 27, turning 28 this summer like almost every other free agent they've signed, so he fits the age profile to which they have tried very hard to adhere. (The only player they've signed who is over 30 is kicker Josh Brown.) There are reasons the Giants can convince themselves Jerry makes sense for them, but if he had cost any more to sign than he did, they likely couldn't have brought him in.

This is a tough game the Giants are playing, and it's one in which they are justifiably uncomfortable. There is no way to sign 19 or more free agents and expect them to all work out for you. At best, they are going to end up hitting on maybe half of these signings and have to address the holes left over from the misses again a year from now. Free agency is an imperfect science, fraught with imperfect solutions to larger problems. That is the state of the Giants right now, and the fact that they had to go out and sign someone like Jerry from the pool of backup guards because the Raiders signed Kevin Boothe illustrates it as well as anything yet has.

Injury report: JPP out

December, 20, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jason Pierre-Paul will miss his fourth straight game because of a shoulder injury.

Pierre-Paul joins WR Victor Cruz (knee), S Cooper Taylor (hamstring) and RB Peyton Hillis (concussion) as Giants who were ruled out against Detroit.

"The doctor won't clear him unless certain things happen and so far, they haven't," Coach Tom Coughlin said.

G David Diehl did not practice on Friday and is listed as doubtful to play Sunday.

"Right now he is just not able to go out there and practice the way that we would like him to," Coughlin said. "We'll see. Maybe another day will help. We thought today would be a day he would be able to do some work and he actually came out and did some things, but we just didn't put him in our practice."

G James Brewer (ankle) and WR Jerrel Jernigan (knee) are listed as questionable.

Here's the Giants injury report:

WR Victor Cruz (knee)
RB Peyton Hillis (concussion)
DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder)
S Cooper Taylor (hamstring)

G David Diehl (knee)

G James Brewer (ankle)
WR Jerrel Jernigan (knee)

DT Cullen Jenkins (shin/quad)
CB Trumaine McBride (groin)
CB Terrell Thomas (knee)

Injury report: Anyone healthy?

December, 18, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants didn't have enough stationary bikes for all their injured players Wednesday.

Ten players did not practice as the team prepared for Sunday's game in Detroit. The most notable absences were wide receiver Victor Cruz (knee/concussion), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), and guards James Brewer (ankle) and David Diehl (knee).

Here's the full injury report:


OG James Brewer (ankle)
WR Victor Cruz (knee/concussion)
OG David Diehl (knee)
RB Peyton Hillis (concussion)
DT Cullen Jenkins (shin/squad)
WR Jerrel Jernigan (knee)
CB Trumaine McBride (groin)
DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder)
WR Cooper Taylor (hamstring)
CB Terrell Thomas (knee)


S Louis Delmas (knee)
WR Calvin Johnson (knee)
LB DeAndre Levy (foot)
P Sam Martin (groin)
TE Brandon Pettigrew (ankle)
CB Darius Slay (knee)
S John Wendling (ankle)

CB Chris Houston (toe)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It has been a tough year for the New York Giants' offensive line, which has lost starting center David Baas, starting right guard Chris Snee and backup center Jim Cordle to season-ending injuries. Now, with a game looming Sunday against the formidable defensive front of the Detroit Lions, the Giants are dealing with more injuries along the line. Starting right guard David Diehl missed practice Wednesday with a knee injury, and left guard James Brewer missed practice with an ankle injury.

If neither can suit up Sunday, the most likely offensive line combination, left to right, would be Will Beatty/Dallas Reynolds/Kevin Boothe/Brandon Mosley/Justin Pugh.

Diehl said he hurt his knee during Sunday's loss to Seattle but kept playing in spite of feeling it swell up. He sounded optimistic about recovering in time for Sunday's game in Detroit.

"Hopefully I can keep making progress and I'll be rolling out there Sunday like normal," Diehl said.

When training camp started, Diehl was projected as the starting right tackle. But he broke his thumb in the preseason and rookie Pugh took over that spot. Diehl took the right guard spot when Snee got hurt. Boothe, originally the starting left guard, moved to center after the injuries to Baas and Cordle, and that elevated Brewer to a starting role.

It's been a season-long game of musical chairs, and quarterback Eli Manning has already taken a career-high 36 sacks. But the Giants continue to express confidence that they'll find reinforcements if they need to.

"It's the NFL," Boothe said. "So if you couldn't play, you wouldn't be in this room. We'll have five guys out there Sunday and we'll make it work."

Cruz, nine others miss Giants practice

December, 18, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin walked to the podium for his regular Wednesday news conference, someone mentioned something to him about the roster.

"What roster?" Coughlin joked, before reading a list of 10 players who would not practice Wednesday due to injuries.

The biggest name on the list is wide receiver Victor Cruz, who left Sunday's game with a concussion and a knee sprain. Coughlin said Cruz was going through the league-mandated concussion protocol but that the knee injury "will probably prevent him from doing anything." It does not sound as though Cruz can be expected to play Sunday in Detroit.

Cruz's backup at slot receiver, Jerrell Jernigan, also wasn't practicing, as he has a knee injury. Coughlin said he was "inspired" by the toughness Jernigan showed when thrown into Sunday's game as Cruz's replacement. The Giants put cornerback Corey Webster on injured reserve Tuesday so they could elevate wide receiver Julian Talley from the practice squad due to the numbers problem at that position.

Guards James Brewer (ankle) and David Diehl (knee) are missing practice Wednesday, which is another potential issue as both are currently starters. Brandon Mosley replaced Brewer in Sunday's game, but they'd have to use someone else (Stephen Goodin? Dallas Reynolds?) at right guard if Diehl were to miss the game Sunday.

Cornerbacks Terrell Thomas and Trumaine McBride and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins are out with knee, groin and shin/quad injuries, but all three missed practice last Wednesday and still played Sunday. Running back Peyton Hillis is missing practice due to his concussion. Safety Cooper Taylor missed Sunday's game with a severe hamstring injury and remains out.

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul also remains out with the shoulder injury that has kept him out of the last three games.

Coughlin said he would have to adjust the way the team practices since only 43 members of the roster were able to work. He said the teaching portion of practice would be the same but that the "speed work" would be cut in half due to lack of numbers. Coughlin also said he hoped to have three or four from that group of 10 back at practice Thursday, though he couldn't say which specific three or four offered the most hope.

"Whoever comes through the door," Coughlin said, "we'll be happy to have them."

Giants injury report: No news on Cruz

December, 16, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Monday afternoon that he had no new information on the injury status of wide receiver Victor Cruz, who left Sunday's game with a concussion and a knee sprain. While that's tough to believe, the Giants have their own way of doing business, and any injury update on Cruz likely has to wait until Wednesday.

Cruz's status for Sunday's game in Detroit and the season finale a week later at home against the Washington Redskins is, to some degree, out of the Giants' hands. Since he has a concussion, he'll have to go through the league-mandated concussion protocol before being cleared to play by independent doctors. We've seen a wide array of recovery times on this around the league. It's possible he'll be cleared to play Sunday. It's possible he won't be cleared until the following week. It's possible he won't be cleared in time to play again this season. The Giants can only wait and see.

The knee sprain, however, is another matter. If Cruz were cleared by the concussion protocol, the extent of the knee problem would be something the Giants and their team doctors would have to evaluate before deciding whether to allow him to practice and/or play. With two games left and no hope of finishing .500, let alone making the playoffs, it's possible the Giants could decide to shut Cruz down for the rest of the season if his knee is at all in question. Cruz has 998 receiving yards, leaving him just two short of cracking the 1,000-yard mark for the third year in a row.

Running back Peyton Hillis also left Sunday's game with a concussion, and Coughlin also said he had no update on him. Likewise guard James Brewer, who left with an ankle injury that he indicated wasn't too serious. Given the way Brewer has played since being elevated to a starting guard spot, it's possible they could take a look at Brandon Mosley at left guard in the final two games even if Brewer is healthy.

Also no news Monday on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who has missed the last three games with a shoulder injury and appears unlikely to play again this season.

Giants must juggle offensive line again

November, 27, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It has been going on since the preseason. The New York Giants, due to injuries along the offensive line, have repeatedly had to reconfigure their starting five at those crucial positions. A season-ending knee injury to center Jim Cordle, who'd been filling in for injured center David Baas, is the latest issue to be resolved.

As of now, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday, the team will stick to the arrangement it used Sunday when Cordle had to leave the game against the Cowboys. Kevin Boothe moves from left guard to center, and James Brewer comes off the bench to start at left guard. Boothe has no problem with the move. He says he takes practice reps at center anyway, and he's played it in games for the Giants as well. Brewer is the question mark.

"My plan is to make the most of it and play well," Brewer said. "I already played before. I started against Dallas in the first game and against Kansas City at right guard. I've already done it. For me, it's to show the coaching staff I'm the right man for the job."

There's pretty much nothing behind Brewer on the depth chart at this point, so unlike the spot starts to which he referred, this is likely to be a longer-term audition. The Giants have five games left, and unless there's another injury or he's completely incompetent, Brewer looks likely to start all five.

The new alignment looked very good as a run-blocking unit Sunday, when the Giants racked up more than 200 rushing yards against the Cowboys. But they know they have to play a more complete game together and do a better job of blocking for Eli Manning and the passing game.

"We have to make sure we do a better job of protecting Eli and give him enough time," left tackle Will Beatty said. "We all work together in practice and in the meeting rooms, so it's not a big change with a new guy to my right or to Kevin's left. We just have to make sure we're still all communicating."

Beatty and rookie Justin Pugh have started every game at the tackle positions, but the interior of the line has seen a great deal of upheaval, with David Diehl having replaced the injured Chris Snee at right guard and the shuffling as mentioned at left guard and center. As a result, the Giants have often found themselves vulnerable to interior pass-rush pressure from opponents. That's not likely to change, even with people lining up at different positions. The task will remain the same, and likely not more or less challenging as a result of the shifts.

"It's unfortunate that Jim went down," Boothe said. "But we have worked too many different combinations in practice for anyone to think it's going to be a big problem to adjust."

Big Blue Morning: Woe-line

November, 27, 2013
Your daily morning check-in on news and notes about and of interest to the New York Giants

The news of the day: The Giants placed center Jim Cordle on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury. Since Cordle was playing in place of starting center David Baas, and Baas is also on injured reserve, this sends the Giants to Plan C at center. And no, the fact that "center" begins with "C" does not make it all okay. The most likely arrangement is Kevin Boothe moving from left guard to center and James Brewer taking over at left guard, which is what the Giants did Sunday when Cordle left the game. But that is neither certain nor ideal, and it's possible the Giants have some other plan of which we'll learn today. Either way, it's not likely to help with the problems they're having against the interior pass rush. The line did a heck of a job blocking for the run Sunday, but they need to find some way to keep the defense off of Eli Manning better than they have. On a marginally related note, I cannot wait to hear what Hakeem Nicks has to say today.

Behind enemy lines: As poorly as this season has gone for the Giants, it's gone worse for the Washington Redskins, the team they'll face Sunday night. Mike Shanahan has one year left on his contract as the Redskins' coach and is spending much of his time these days defending the work he's done in the first four.

Around the division: Eagles coach Chip Kelly officially named Nick Foles the team's starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. As Phil Sheridan writes, the decision was an obvious one based on the numbers Foles has put up in his five games since stepping in for the injured Michael Vick. Now, Kelly gets to find out how Foles operates knowing he's the guy, as Kelly continues to try to figure out whether he'll need to go quarterback shopping in the offseason or if he already has his answer.

Around the league: Drug suspensions don't just hurt the suspended players. They hurt their teams. Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate is 100 percent right when he says the drug violations that will cost his teammates significant time are the results of selfishness. The Seahawks have the best record in the league and the biggest of dreams. That program needs to run a little bit tighter, no?
The greatest in-season NFL travel schedule of all-time rolls along, which means I don't have to drive to Philadelphia until Sunday morning. So let's take some New York Giants Twitter questions, shall we, on this lovely autumn Saturday? Anyone who's tagged a question with #nygmail in the past week is eligible to have his or her question answered right here, and these are the ones that made this week's cut.


Injury update: Jenkins in walking boot

September, 30, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants starting defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins was wearing a protective walking boot on his lower right leg Monday in the Giants locker room, a day after the team's 31-7 loss to the Chiefs.

When asked to describe the injury, Jenkins said, "I think just a little tendon something, knee and Achilles. ... Hopefully like I said, just a couple days, get this thing treated, and get back going."

Head coach Tom Coughlin did not have further updates yet on the other players injured against the Chiefs. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) and cornerbacks Aaron Ross (back) and Jayron Hosley (hamstring) all left the game early and did not return, plus linebacker Mark Herzlich was wearing a walking boot after the game due to a toe injury.

The same goes for starting center David Baas (neck) and right guard Chris Snee (hip), who sat out Sunday's game. "I’m waiting to hear on those kinds of things," Coughlin said. "The treatment is being conducted today as usual. We’ll see."

Jim Cordle and James Brewer started for Snee and Baas, respectively. Cordle was making his first NFL regular-season start, while Brewer was making his second.

"They played against a very good front and, for the most part, they did a good job," Coughlin said. "We did have a holding penalty up there and there were some occasions where we could have obviously done a better job or finished a block better than we did. They scrapped and I was pleased with what they accomplished. I wish obviously, it would have been perfect, but they did OK."
KANSAS CITY -- No big surprises on the New York Giants' inactives list for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Four of the seven -- cornerback Corey Webster, center David Baas, right guard Chris Snee and tight end Adrien Robinson -- had already been ruled out for the game and didn't fly here with the team.

The other three inactives are third quarterback Ryan Nassib, rookie defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (who has been inactive for all four games so far) and safety Cooper Taylor, who suffered a shoulder injury last week in Carolina. Without Taylor, the only two active safeties for the Giants this week are starters Antrel Rolle and Ryan Mundy.

It's possible that cornerback Terrell Thomas could work some at safety if they need him to. He has said he knows the plays and has some experience there. The Giants have been using Thomas as a nickel cornerback this year, but the need for that position may not be as great in this game as it was against teams like the Cowboys and Broncos, who lean hard to three-receiver sets.

The Giants announced that Jim Cordle would get his first career NFL start as he replaces Baas at center. Cordle struggled in a preseason start at center against the Jets. James Brewer, who started at left guard in the season opener when Kevin Boothe slid over to play center, will start at right guard in place of Snee.

Veteran offensive lineman David Diehl, who missed the first three games of the season following thumb surgery, is active but is not listed as a starter. It's possible they could use Diehl as a second tight end in "big" short-yardage or goal-line packages, or that he's an emergency plan in case of an injury to one of the starting tackles, but it remains unclear to what extent he can help with his thumb still not fully healed and since he missed five weeks of practice prior to last week.

A lot of people ask about Hankins, who was the team's second-round pick. I don't think there's any reason other than the depth chart that he continues to be inactive for the games. The Giants have been happy with what Shaun Rogers and Mike Patterson have done at the backup defensive tackle spots, and there's no need for them to carry five at that position on gameday. Hankins is still developing his technique and his lower-body strength, and the Giants can carry a developmental player at defensive tackle right now.

One bit of potential good news for the Giants is that Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers is inactive due to a knee injury, which should help the Giants' receivers get open down the field. Of course, many of you may remember that last week in Carolina, the Panthers were missing three members of their starting secondary and none of the Giants receivers had a chance to get open because Eli Manning was getting sacked immediately on every play.

Giants report: Baas, Snee, Webster out

September, 27, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants will need several backups to help them win their first game of the season.

The Giants will be without starters David Baas (neck), Chris Snee (hip) and Corey Webster against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

David Diehl is also listed as doubtful. He was able to practice on a limited basis this week so perhaps he will be able to make his season debut as he makes his way back from thumb surgery.

Jim Cordle could get the start at center against the Chiefs. If that happens, Kevin Boothe will remain at left guard and James Brewer will likely play right guard for Snee. The Giants could always slide Boothe to center and perhaps use Brandon Mosley at left guard.

Aaron Ross is expected to start for Webster. Safety Cooper Taylor (shoulder) and linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee) are questionable for Sunday but both practiced on a limited basis.


C David Baas (neck)
TE Adrien Robinson (foot)
G Chris Snee (hip)
CB Corey Webster (hip)

T David Diehl (thumb, limited practice)

S Cooper Taylor (shoulder, limited practice)
LB Jacquian Williams (knee, limited practice)

LB Spencer Paysinger (hip, limited practice)
CB Terrell Thomas (knee, limited practice)
DE Justin Trattou (ankle, limited practice)

Big Blue Morning: Trying to regroup

September, 24, 2013
Your daily morning check-in on news and notes about and of interest to the New York Giants

The news of the day: On a day when Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he challenged his 0-3 team's pride, the Giants sent two of their struggling starting offensive linemen for MRIs. Center David Baas (neck) and guard Chris Snee (hip) were getting checked out Monday and it's possible the Giants will have to do some shuffling of the offensive line for Sunday's game in Kansas City. That might not be a bad thing, given the way the line played in Sunday's loss in Carolina, but there's not a lot that can be done. It's possible they could hurry David Diehl back from his thumb injury to contribute at guard or right tackle, but it's unclear at this point whether he's close to being ready, since he hasn't practiced since suffering the injury in Week 2 of the preseason. It's possible they could try James Brewer again, either at guard or tackle. Brewer played left guard in the season opener. It's possible the Giants could shuffle the line even if Baas and Snee are healthy enough to go. There's no one from outside the organization who's about to ride in and save the day, so they need to solve the puzzle with the pieces they have.

Behind enemy lines: I know you've heard this before (cough ... last week ... cough), but the Giants' opponent Sunday is a bit banged-up in the secondary. Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers injured his knee in the team's victory over Philadelphia on Thursday and has not been practicing. Which means, if the Giants could keep Eli Manning on his feet Sunday, he might be able to find some open receivers. Again, heard this before, right?

Around the division: The Philadelphia Eagles get the Manning brothers the next two weeks, as Peyton Manning and the Broncos host them Sunday and they travel to New Jersey to take on Eli Manning and the Giants a week later. Anyone who watched the elder Manning take apart the Raiders on Monday night knows the Eagles' struggling defense is going to have its work cut out for it this week.

Around the league: This Insider piece from Mike Sando attempts to answer the question, "Which 0-3 teams can make the playoffs?" The Giants are of course one of the ones mentioned, as are the division-rival Redskins and the Steelers, each of whom is also 0-3. Mike's optimism on the Giants (and the Redskins), such as it is, boils down basically to a lack of faith in the Cowboys as the type of team that can run away with the NFC East. Which is fair, given the Cowboys' history. But what we've seen so far in September indicates that they very well could do just that.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' offensive line got some good injury news Thursday. Its secondary did not.

Starting cornerback Prince Amukamara, who suffered a concussion Sunday night in the season opener in Dallas, still was not cleared to practice Thursday and is in danger of missing Sunday's home opener against the Denver Broncos. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said that, if Amukamara is able to practice Friday and gets a full day of work in, he'd likely be OK to play Sunday. But Amukamara still needs to follow the NFL's concussion protocol and pass the appropriate tests before he's allowed to practice and/or play.

If Amukamara can't go, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said, it "would be a really big blow" to a Giants' defense that will need all the help it can get against Peyton Manning and the Broncos' passing attack. Aaron Ross would likely take Amukamara's place as the starting corner opposite Corey Webster, with Terrell Thomas manning the same slot cornerback role he played in Dallas and throughout the summer.

As for the line, center David Baas was listed as a "limited" participant in practice, but he said his injured knee is feeling much better and that he's planning to be able to play Sunday.

"My plan is to be out there," Baas said. "As long as everything keeps feeling good, I should be fine."

Baas sprained his knee in the preseason game against the Colts and hasn't played since. His return would allow Kevin Boothe to move back over to left guard and send James Brewer back to his reserve lineman role.

In other Giants injury news:
  • Linebacker Dan Connor remained out of practice with a neck injury and seems unlikely to play. That would elevate Mark Herzlich to starting middle linebacker leave the Giants with only four linebackers, which may be fine since they expect to be playing a lot of nickel defense anyway against the Broncos' three-receiver sets.
  • Running back Da'Rel Scott, who injured his knee in Wednesday's practice and had an MRI, was a full participant Thursday and appears fine.
  • Defensive end Damontre Moore, who's been dealing with a pesky shoulder injury and hasn't played since the first preseason game, was a limited participant in practice.
  • Tackle David Diehl (thumb) and tight end Adrien Robinson (foot) did not practice and are not expected to play.