New York Giants: Tyler Sash

Tyler Sash appears to have been cut

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
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We may have our first surprise New York Giants cut of the day. At 11:17 am ET, safety Tyler Sash posted the following on his Twitter account:

This is the sort of thing players tweet when they learn their opportunity with the team is at an end. And if that's the case for Sash, it's a surprise because of the Giants' current lack of depth at safety. Starting Stevie Brown is out for the season with a torn ACL in his knee, leaving Ryan Mundy to start opposite Antrel Rolle and unproven fifth-round rookie Cooper Taylor as the only backup. Will Hill will eventually join the group, but he's serving a four-game drug suspension to start the season.

If Sash is indeed cut, that indicates to me that the Giants are impressed with the strides Taylor has made in recent weeks, that they're comfortable playing cornerback Terrell Thomas at safety in a pinch, that they may go out on the market and get a veteran safety (sure, Kenny Phillips is possible and makes some sense, but he's hurt and there are and will be other names out there), and that they feel they can hold it together for the first month without Hill.

Sash also suffered a concussion in Thursday's preseason finale, and with all of the players who are on the bubble, health-wise, for the early part of the season (Victor Cruz, Jason Pierre-Paul, Henry Hynoski, David Baas, etc.), it's possible the chance of not having Sash available to start the season played a part. Cold business, this NFL.

I had nine defensive backs making the team when I was trying to work out the 53-man roster Friday, and Sash was one of them. So was cornerback Charles James, who also just tweeted that he'd been cut.

Various reports Saturday morning indicate that the Giants also have released offensive linemen Matt McCants and Stephen Goodin, defensive end Matt Broha, safety David Caldwell and wide receiver Ramses Barden, none of which is a surprise. Barden is a 2009 third-rounder who got every chance in the world and never panned out.

That's seven of the 22 cuts the Giants needed to make by 6 p.m. today. Obviously, more to come.
A look at some of the tough decisions confronting the New York Giants in advance of Saturday's 6 p.m. ET deadline to reduce their roster to 53 players.

Defensive tackle: Could they keep six? Linval Joseph, Cullen Jenkins, Shaun Rogers and Johnathan Hankins look like locks. They may not be ready to give up on 2011 second-round pick Marvin Austin. And veteran Mike Patterson has played well in the preseason. (Markus Kuhn, we assume, will start the season on the physically unable to perform list.) To keep both Austin and Patterson, the Giants likely would have to give up a roster spot at linebacker or defensive back, and honestly my current 53-man projection doesn't include a spot for defensive end Adrian Tracy. So the odds say the Giants will have to cut at least one defensive lineman they like, and who could be snatched up quickly by another team (cough * Cowboys * cough) looking for help on the defensive line.

Running back: The Andre Brown injury clouds this, because he may or may not need a 53-man roster spot depending on the severity of his injury. But assuming Brown and his fractured left leg aren't on the 53, there's no reason they can't keep all five from the group of David Wilson, Henry Hynoski, Ryan Torain, Da'Rel Scott and Michael Cox. Torain is a guy they like as a pass protector, and Cox may well be the new kickoff returner. If they cut someone from the Scott/Torain/Cox group, it's likely because they decided they needed a sixth wide receiver or a fourth tight end.

Offensive line: I have them keeping nine, including injured David Diehl, and if they only keep nine, that likely means good-bye to prospect Eric Herman, whom they like as a project guard.

Quarterback: Assuming they keep fourth-round pick Ryan Nassib, they have to take three quarterbacks, because Nassib isn't ready yet to fill in as the backup if something happens to Eli Manning. The competition for QB2 is between David Carr and Curtis Painter. Flip a coin, honestly. And part of me even wonders how sure we should be about Nassib's spot. He didn't show a lot in camp or preseason. Are they really so bound and determined to develop a young quarterback behind Manning that they'd spend that roster spot on a guy who probably won't play all year?

Defensive back: Charles James was getting a lot of punt-return work in the preseason and would give the Giants 10 defensive backs (six cornerbacks and four safeties) if they kept him. They'll need a spot for Will Hill after Week 4, so somebody from this group could be a short-timer. Tyler Sash's concussion bears watching, but if he has to miss time, they probably have to go and get a safety from somewhere else.

Injury report: Andre says he'll be back soon

August, 30, 2013
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Andre Brown doesn't think the temporary injured-reserve spot will be necessary for him.

The New York Giants running back broke his left leg for the second straight year but he says he will not require surgery for "just a little tiny, a little crack in it." Brown is set to undergo more tests Friday.

The Giants had some other injuries that could potentially affect their decision-making for depth on Saturday's final cut day.

Backup tight end Adrien Robinson injured his left foot on the opening kickoff and was on crutches and in a walking booth after the game. Robinson will undergo further tests Friday but said his foot is not broken.

"Somebody hit me from behind," Robinson said. "I don’t know if somebody stepped on it or fell on it. I got caught up on a tackle."

"I don’t think it is that serious," he added. "I will find out more tomorrow. But I know it is not broke."

Robinson was behind Brandon Myers and Bear Pascoe on the depth chart. Larry Donnell saw added snaps in the game. If Robinson has to miss significant time, that will affect what the Giants will do Saturday at tight end.

Also, safety Tyler Sash suffered a concussion in the first half. The Giants have been hit hard at safety after losing Stevie Brown to a torn ACL for the season. With Will Hill having to serve a four-game suspension to start the season, the Giants have some depth concerns if Sash is sidelined for a while. Rookie Cooper Taylor would be the next man up after starters Antrel Rolle and Ryan Mundy. David Caldwell also is on the roster.

Rapid Reaction: Patriots 28, Giants 20

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. –- The New York Giants suffered yet another significant preseason injury Thursday, as running back Andre Brown broke his left leg during the Giants' 28-20 loss to the New England Patriots.

What it means: One week after losing safety Stevie Brown for the season to a torn ACL in a preseason game, Andre Brown breaks his left leg. It’s the same leg on which Andre fractured his fibula against the Packers on Nov. 25 last year. The Giants said Andre could have returned that season if they made it to the Super Bowl, so he could be a candidate for the injured reserve/"designated to return" spot that would allow him to come back after eight weeks.

Andre Brown’s injury is a blow to the running game. Coach Tom Coughlin wanted a one-two punch with David Wilson and Brown, who is the Giants’ most well-rounded running back. Brown could run with power and speed and catch out of the backfield and was the team’s best pass-protecting back. The team will now have to depend on and trust Wilson even more. Seventh-round pick Michael Cox might move up to the backup spot. Ryan Torain’s and Da’Rel Scott’s chances of making the team have increased with Saturday’s final cuts looming.

The Giants could also always look outside and see what is available, especially after teams make final cuts on Saturday.

More injuries: Brown wasn’t the only Giant to suffer an injury. Backup safety Tyler Sash suffered a concussion, and the Giants were already smarting there with the loss of Stevie Brown for the year. With Will Hill having to serve a four-game suspension to start the regular season, the Giants can’t afford to lose Sash for an extended amount of time. Rookie Cooper Taylor will be behind starters Antrel Rolle and Ryan Mundy if Sash has to miss time.

Also, tight end Adrien Robinson suffered an injury to what appeared to be his left foot. The severity of the injury wasn’t immediately known. Already this preseason, the Giants have watched starters such as Victor Cruz (heel), David Baas (left MCL), David Diehl (thumb) and the two Browns suffer injuries in preseason games.

Offense awakens: On a very small side note, the starting offense finished the preseason strong by scoring a touchdown in the red zone. After struggling in the preseason inside the opponent’s 20, Eli Manning orchestrated a 10-play, 91-yard drive that resulted in a 3-yard touchdown strike to Hakeem Nicks.

Manning opened the drive with a 37-yard completion to Louis Murphy. Manning also hit tight end Brandon Myers on a 10-yard gain, and Wilson had a 16-yard run as well on the drive.

One more time: Several Giants tried to make a final impression in the last preseason game. Defensive tackle Mike Patterson looked good, applying pressure to the quarterback several times and getting a sack and a half. Patterson might have solidified a roster spot with that performance. Marvin Austin, a second-round pick in 2011, might be fighting for a roster spot.

Middle linebacker Mark Herzlich also had a strong outing, snatching an interception off a deflection right before it hit the turf. Defensive ends Matt Broha, Justin Trattou and Adewale Ojomo all had sacks on Tim Tebow as well.

What’s next: The Giants will make final cuts on Saturday and play in Dallas in the season opener on Sept. 8.

W2W4: Giants at Patriots

August, 29, 2013
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Even though the starters will play sparingly, there should be plenty to watch for when the New York Giants visit the New England Patriots for the preseason finale (7:30 p.m. ET).

What have you done for me lately? It's a meaningless final preseason game, but the real drama will be at certain position battles. Tonight is one final opportunity for some players to stake a claim for a roster spot.

I broke down the roster position-by-position and who could be on the bubble entering tonight. Keep a close eye on defensive tackle, where guys like Marvin Austin and Mike Patterson could be fighting for a roster spot. Can fan favorite Adewale Ojomo or fellow defensive end Justin Trattou make the final 53 with a sack or two in the finale? Also, will Dan Connor hold on to the starting middle linebacker job or can Mark Herzlich do enough tonight to get back in the mix there?

David Carr is expected to hold off Curtis Painter for backup quarterback while Ryan Nassib could be taking the last live snap of the season with the second team.

Get offensive: The starters may only play 12-to-15 snaps but Tom Coughlin desperately wants to see a spark from his starting offense. After struggling in the red zone repeatedly this preseason, Eli Manning would love nothing more than to punch it into the end zone on one of his two or three drives.

The new line: After the first revamped offensive line struggled against the Jets, Coughlin opted to move Kevin Boothe to center and insert James Brewer in at left guard. Justin Pugh will remain at right tackle alongside right guard Chris Snee. And Will Beatty will stay at left tackle.

We'll get to see how this line does and if the communication will be better than it was against the Jets. We fully expect this to be the offensive line moving forward until David Baas and David Diehl get healthy.

Safety dance: This will be the Giants' first game without the injured Stevie Brown. Antrel Rolle and Ryan Mundy are now the starters, but the Giants will need to figure out the depth behind them. Tyler Sash, Cooper Taylor and Will Hill should all get an opportunity to show what they can do against the Patriots. For Hill, this will be his last action before serving a four-game suspension when the regular season begins.

Get lucky: More than anything, the Giants just need to finish the preseason without another notable injury. So far, Baas, Victor Cruz, Diehl and Brown are among the starters who have suffered injuries during preseason games. It would be nice to leave Foxborough in one piece.

Coughlin report: Safety dance

August, 26, 2013
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Tom Coughlin said Sunday that he will take a look at what combinations work best for the Giants at safety after losing Stevie Brown.

[+] EnlargeRyan Mundy
AP Photo/Damian StrohmeyerCan Ryan Mundy replace Stevie Brown? We'll soon find out.
But Ryan Mundy is the next man up, and Coughlin said the veteran safety can play both safety positions and be a physical presence.

"We’ll see about that,” Coughlin said, on whether Mundy can fill Brown's shoes. “He has played well. We just have to get the people out there and get the right combination here. Ryan has played well and he certainly has proven that he can be physical and be dominant in the box. From that standpoint, yes.”

Coughlin broke down a few of his other safeties as well. Will Hill has lots of talent, but he is also facing a four-game suspension to start the season.

“(Hill) has been playing and playing well," Coughlin said. "He’s an outstanding special teams player and he’s very physical. He’s played pretty well all the way along. The fact of the matter is, we’re not going to have him for four games. While we acknowledge what he brings to the table, we certainly can’t be lured into thinking that we’re OK in any shape or form because he’s not going to be here. That’s a shame.”

Tyler Sash will have a major opportunity to show what he can do. Sash has a safety, a fumble recovery and 10 tackles thus far this preseason.

“Certainly (Sash) is going to get a lot of playing time," Coughlin said, referring to Thursday's preseason finale against the Patriots. "Quite frankly, it’s really up to the production. That goes for anybody. The opportunity is certainly going to be there this Thursday night. We’ve got to take advantage of it."

Coughlin said he wants to get a good look at rookie safety Cooper Taylor as well. Taylor has been hampered by a hamstring injury.

TC on TT: Coughlin sounded more inclined to keep Terrell Thomas at cornerback rather than consider moving Thomas to safety after the Brown injury.

Thomas logged 23 snaps in his first preseason game since 2011, when he tore his right ACL for a second time in a preseason game. He is currently coming back from a third ACL surgery.

“That came up in the spring,” Coughlin said, of a possible position move for Thomas. “The No. 1 thing is to get Terrell Thomas on the field and get him to where he’s playing well and his confidence is up and that type of thing. That has been first and foremost on our minds.

"Quite frankly, we haven’t thought a lot about another spot for him other than getting him out there. Getting him confident, getting him playing again. He certainly is a talented guy and we’ll do the best we can to utilize all of the talent that we have.”

RB snaps: David Wilson had the 84-yard touchdown run. But the starter only got 13 snaps against the Jets compared to Andre Brown's 25 snaps. Brown was used quite a bit on passing downs as well.

"He’s worked a lot with our pass protection situation," Coughlin said of Brown. "You might say that happened a lot last night, even our early downs. It’s been a pretty good ratio between first/second down and then on third down, Andre’s got more of that than I think David has. Both of them are capable of first/second down, or third down. We’d like to have more production consistently and hopefully we’ll get to that."

When asked if he is more confident with Brown in pass protection than Wilson, Coughlin replied, "Not necessarily."

TC on O-line: Coughlin was asked whether he might make any changes to the already revamped offensive line, which had some communication issues against the Jets.

"We’ll see," Coughlin said. "I wouldn’t say one way or the other. I’m not about to say what we’re going to do that and you’ll just have to wait and see."

Specials impress: Coughlin may not be happy with his offense right now, but he has liked what he's seen on special teams.

“We continue to be impressed by Josh Brown and his kickoffs and his field goals as well," Coughlin said.

Brown has converted 11 of 13 field goals, with his misses coming from 38 and 53 yards out. Coughlin also praised running back Michael Cox, who had 79 yards on three kickoff returns Saturday.

Analysis: Stevie tears ACL

August, 25, 2013
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As initially feared, Stevie Brown tore his left ACL on Saturday night when he fell to the turf untouched on an interception return.

It's a big blow for a veteran who was finally hoping to show what he can do as a full-time starter in a contract year. And it's going to be yet another obstacle for a Giants defense that already has major injuries to deal with.

What it means: Brown was a playmaker on a defense that needs playmakers in the secondary. Last year, he led the team with eight interceptions and had 307 yards off those interceptions. While it remained to be seen whether or not Brown could have duplicated those numbers or not, the Giants felt Brown was good enough to be their starter full time and let Kenny Phillips and his troublesome knee walk in free agency in the first place.

[+] EnlargeStevie Brown
Al Bello/Getty ImagesStevie Brown suffered an ACL tear in Saturday's preseason game.
Antrel Rolle is already nursing a sprained ankle, but he should be back in practice this week and will be ready for the season opener. Rolle made a concerted effort to spend as much time as he could with Brown on and off the field to develop chemistry and rapport. Now Rolle will have two weeks to get to know Ryan Mundy, Brown's replacement, even better on the field together.

The Giants' defense was already banged up. Jason Pierre-Paul, the star of the defense, is currently making his way back from back surgery in the offseason, and the hope is he will be ready for the opener on Sept. 8 at Dallas. The linebackers are healthy, but there's a question mark since the Giants lost a lot of experience in the offseason with Michael Boley and Chase Blackburn gone. And in the secondary, Corey Webster has been nursing groin and knee injuries but could practice soon. Tom Coughlin thinks Webster will be able to play in the opener. Cornerback Terrell Thomas is still making his way back from a third ACL injury as well.

What's next: Mundy will start and has experience filling in for an injured starter. In Pittsburgh, he played behind Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark. The Giants have been impressed with Mundy's professionalism -- something Rolle described as a "militant" approach.

The depth at safety will be tested. Will Hill has to serve a four-game suspension to start the season. Rookie Cooper Taylor has been hampered by a hamstring injury most of camp, and Coughlin said today on a conference call that he wants to see what Taylor can do. Tyler Sash will have every opportunity to continue a solid preseason and become perhaps the third safety when the season starts.

Coughlin said the team has not discussed the idea of converting Thomas to safety since early in the offseason. The head coach reiterated that the goal is to get Thomas back on the field and feeling confident in his knee. But the coach added that he wants to get through the final preseason game and did not rule out anything.

As far as the three-safety look Perry Fewell has used in the past, the Giants have been using two linebackers and an extra defensive back more during passing situations in camp. Now with Brown gone, the Giants may go more with extra defensive backs like Aaron Ross, Thomas and/or Jayron Hosley to go with Rolle and Mundy in the secondary.

Outside possibilities: Perhaps there is always the possibility that the team could look to add a veteran safety released by another team in the near future. But any safety that comes in will have to learn a whole new system with little time left before the opener.

Many Giants fans are wondering about Phillips, who was released by the Eagles according to ProFootballTalk.com. But as Dan Graziano tweeted earlier, the Giants had concerns about Phillips' knee when they let him sign with the Eagles, and you'd have to wonder if Phillips' health is the reason why things didn't work out in Philadelphia. Perhaps the Giants will give Phillips a look soon or later down the road since he knows the system and personnel. But the Giants have typically been right when letting a veteran player walk in free agency, especially when considering somebody with a previous health concern.

Tell us what you want to see the Giants do now that Brown is out.

Notebook: Nassib's rocky start; Adams out

August, 11, 2013
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Kris AdamsJason Bridge/USA TODAY SportsGiants receiver Kris Adams was carted off the field with a broken leg.
PITTSBURGH -- Ryan Nassib's preseason debut got off to a shaky start.

The rookie quarterback's first drive in the fourth quarter started with a 5-yard false-start penalty on Stephen Goodin. Nassib was sacked on the next play for a 3-yard loss. Two plays later, Nassib was flagged for delay of game on a third-and-17. Then, on the ensuing third-and-22 from the Giants' 16, a bad snap sailed past Nassib and Pittsburgh recovered for a touchdown to cut the Giants' lead to 15-13 with 12:04 remaining.

Nassib would take another sack on the next possession. But with 8:19 remaining, the fourth-round pick led the Giants on a 10-play, 54-yard drive that resulted in a field goal with 4:32 left. Nassib also completed a pass for 29 yards to Julian Talley on the drive.

[+] EnlargeRyan Nassib
Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY SportsThe Steelers swarmed Ryan Nassib in the fourth.
"We'll have to let Ryan play some," said coach Tom Coughlin, who used Nassib behind Eli Manning, David Carr and Curtis Painter. "He was chased all over the place. He made the one play down the sidelines. We thought he might have gotten another one but he didn't have a whole lot of time. We need to work on that.

"He did make the play, though, that got the drive going to kick the field goal that kept it out of field goal range for [the Steelers]."

Injury report: Coughlin's mood after the Giants' preseason-opening win was subdued because of two injuries.

Kris Adams, a second-year wideout from UTEP, suffered a fractured lower leg in the third quarter. Adams was competing for a roster spot behind Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Louis Murphy and Jerrel Jernigan.

Also, backup guard Chris DeGeare suffered an MCL injury, according to the Giants, when a teammate unintentionally rolled up on DeGeare's right leg.

Brown fumble: Coughlin wasn't pleased to see Andre Brown fumble a pitch right early in the second quarter to give the Steelers the ball at the Giants' 44.

"His eyes never went to the ball," Coughlin said. "He was looking at the rush and fumbled. By the time he got to where he started looking for the ball, the defenders were on him. That was disappointing."

Brown and starter David Wilson combined for a total of 39 yards on nine carries. Seventh-round pick Michael Cox led the team in rushing with 33 yards.

"It wasn't much to talk about," Coughlin said of the running game. "I don't know how many chances we had. It wasn't anything great. We played that first offensive line a few more plays than we intended. We'll have to improve in that area. No question."

The 411: S Tyler Sash helped his cause for making the team. He had a safety and a fumble recovery on a muffed Pittsburgh punt. He also added four tackles and batted a pass down. ... Backup TE Larry Donnell saw some snaps at fullback behind fellow TE Bear Pascoe, who has been filling in for the injured Henry Hynoski. ... Spencer Paysinger led the Giants with five tackles. ... DE Adewale Ojomo continued his preseason sack magic by adding 1.5 in late-game action. ... DE Justin Trattou and CB Charles James each had one sack.

Camp preview: Defensive backs

July, 24, 2013
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As training camp approaches, we're counting down to camp by taking a look at the Giants, position by position.

Position: Defensive backs.

Projected starters: CB Corey Webster, CB Prince Amukamara, S Antrel Rolle, S Stevie Brown.

Projected reserves: CB Aaron Ross, CB Jayron Hosley, CB Terrell Thomas, S Ryan Mundy, S Will Hill, S Cooper Taylor, S Tyler Sash, CB Terrence Frederick, DB Laron Scott, CB Antonio Dennard, DB Trumaine McBride, DB Charles James, DB Junior Mertile, DB Alonzo Tweedy, DB David Caldwell.

New faces: Ross, Mundy, Taylor, Dennard, McBride, James, Mertile, Tweedy, Caldwell.

Going, going, gone: Kenny Phillips, Justin Tryon, Brian Witherspoon.

Player to watch: Webster. The Giants need a big-time bounce-back season from Webster. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Webster allowed eight touchdown receptions, tied for second-most among cornerbacks. The website also had Webster ranked last against the run with one tackle for a loss among the 26 cornerbacks on the field for 75 percent of run plays. Webster, who broke his hand early in the season but kept playing, is still considered the Giants’ top corner and has to play like it for Perry Fewell’s defense to improve upon last year’s 31st ranking in total defense.

[+] EnlargeCorey Webster
Jim O'Connor/USA TODAY SportsCan Corey Webster bounce back in the Giants' secondary? Big Blue needs him to rebound.
Potential strength: The Giants have the ability to create turnovers in the secondary. Brown had eight interceptions and 307 return yards last season, and Webster added four picks. Rolle hopes to roam and be more of a playmaker and cover less in the slot. If Webster plays closer to his normal form, Prince and Hosley continue to improve and Thomas can come back healthy, the Giants’ secondary has the potential to be much better. Safeties coach Dave Merritt said the Giants might use a defensive back to play the third safety role but added that Mundy impressed in OTAs and minicamp.

Potential weakness: Health and depth at corner. Without knowing how Thomas’ comeback will play out, the Giants basically have four cornerbacks with experience in Webster, Amukamara, Ross and Hosley. One or two injuries to that group will seriously hurt the Giants' secondary. Losing Phillips’ experience at safety also could have an impact, especially with the chemistry in the back of the defense. Hill will have to serve a four-game suspension to start the season. And if Webster is on the decline and doesn't rebound from last year, the Giants' secondary could be in for a long season.

Wild card: Thomas. If Thomas’ third comeback from an ACL injury is a successful one, the Giants’ secondary will greatly benefit. Thomas can help at corner, in the slot and even perhaps as a third safety. Before getting injured, Thomas was one of the Giants’ best tacklers. Thomas could be the difference between a solid secondary and a good one. "The Giants have a great plan for me this upcoming season," Thomas blogged on his website. "We are going to start off slow like counting my reps and going in that direction. I am excited about camp starting this week, I feel like a big question mark on defense and I love it... I feel like I am the X factor for the defense, I think I can be a big key for our defense this year as far as my physical play combined with my knowledge, communication and leadership skills."

Tell us what you think of the secondary going into camp.

Hill suspended for first four games

July, 20, 2013
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Will Hill has been suspended for four games by the NFL.

The Giants safety violated the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Backup wide receiver Brandon Collins was also suspended for the first four games of the season last month for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

This is the second time Hill has been suspended by the NFL. Last season, Hill served a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substances policy. Hill said he took Adderall.

Hill, 23, is eligible to return to the active roster on Sept. 30, after the Giants play the Chiefs. The second-year safety remains eligible to participate in offseason and preseason practices and games.

The Giants like Hill's potential, but the young athletic safety has competition in camp. The Giants added Ryan Mundy in free agency, and safeties coach Dave Merritt said Mundy is the leader for the third safety spot heading into camp. The Giants also have Tyler Sash, and they drafted Cooper Taylor. Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown will start.

The Giants will see how the competition shakes out in camp and may have some tough decisions to make on final cut day.
Charles Woodson is one of the many veteran free agents still available, and the Giants are always in the market for veterans on the cheap.

Woodson's agent, Carl Poston, told ESPN's Josina Anderson that "The Giants have just put their toe in the water again for Charles Woodson."

If Woodson, 36, is willing to accept an affordable deal, the move makes sense. If healthy, Woodson would be an intriguing piece.

He could instantly be one Perry Fewell's top three safeties. He would provide the kind of veteran voice and leadership that the team had when Deon Grant was roaming around as the third safety. Woodson would immediately add to the leadership in a locker room that lost Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty, Osi Umenyiora, Chase Blackburn, Michael Boley and Kenny Phillips this offseason.

And if he's still playing at a high level, Woodson could challenge Stevie Brown to start opposite Antrel Rolle. He could also provide the team with a veteran who can play corner if needed, be but my guess is he would be a safety and help cover if needed in certain packages or in case of injuries to other corners.

Woodson recently left a visit with the Broncos without a deal, according to the Denver Post. And he also reportedly has the Panthers and Raiders interested in him. So he might have options.

It remains to be seen just how interested the Giants are, but it certainly doesn't hurt to look.

Hightower update: Another veteran free agent the Giants have been interested in is running back Tim Hightower. The Washington Post reports that the Giants and Redskins are interested in Hightower. The Post says that the Giants could meet with Hightower again in a couple of weeks, according to a source.

Hightower tore his ACL in 2011 with the Redskins and attempted a comeback, but was released last year in final cuts. If healthy, Hightower could provide the Giants with a third running back who can catch out of the backfield. At the moment, the Giants have Da'Rel Scott, Ryan Torain and seventh-round pick Michael Cox behind David Wilson and Andre Brown.

Tell us if you want to see the Giants go after Woodson and how you think he might help.

What they're saying: Cooper Taylor

May, 3, 2013
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We're taking a little closer look at each draft pick and what the Giants' brass is saying about the newcomers.

Fifth-round pick: S Cooper Taylor, Richmond

Here's our rapid reaction on Taylor and what the Giants' brass is saying about him:

Marc Ross: Just at that point in the draft we think we got a hidden gem there. This guy is big, fast, smart, plays the game the right way. He does a lot of things for Richmond. They line him up at multiple positions. You’ll see him in the box; you’ll see him back deep. He covers the slot. Productive there. He transferred from Georgia Tech, but we think this guy has got a lot of upside. Sent our (safeties) coach (Dave) Merritt down there to work him out-a private workout and he was really impressed by him. We had him in for a visit. The kid is really smart. Loves football, so we think he has a ton of upside.

Tom Coughlin: Young safety who has the great, great numbers –- 6-4 plus, 228. Really good test score –- 44.5 range. He had four interceptions, 78 tackles this past year. We are hoping that he is going to come in and apply all of the tools that he has right away there in the secondary for us. He is a safety by trade but you drop him down in that three-safety package or whatever you want to do... whether he plays an outside backer or whatever. That is all going to have to be determined when we get him in here.

Jerry Reese: Big size-speed safety that we think has a really nice upside. I can envision him honestly on special teams with that size and speed. I can envision him being that third safety in some of the three-safety looks that (defensive coordinator) Perry Fewell likes to use sometimes... (Taylor's heart condition is) nothing significant for our trainers and doctors right now. They cleared him and they don’t really have any real concerns.

Analysis: Taylor is perhaps the most intriguing draft pick of the '13 class. He ran a 4.49 in the 40 at the Spiders' Pro Day. He reportedly performed well in the East-West Shrine game and was considered by some pro teams to be a potential Cover-2 outside linebacker prospect. Health, though, has been a concern in the past. He was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome and had surgery to correct the heart condition in 2009. He's dealt with knee and pectoral injuries along with two broken hands since 2011 as well. But best-case scenario is he becomes an instant special teams contributor and perhaps challenges for Fewell's third safety spot. Will Hill, Ryan Mundy, Taylor and Tyler Sash will all compete for that spot.

So, you guys excited about what Taylor might be able to do? Who do you want to see as the third safety this season?

Rapid Reaction: Cooper Taylor, fifth round

April, 27, 2013
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PLAYER: Cooper Taylor
SCHOOL: Richmond
POSITION: Safety
HEIGHT: 6-4
WEIGHT: 228

After stunning everybody and trading up for quarterback Ryan Nassib in the fourth round, the Giants went back to focusing on defense. They took a super-sized safety in the fifth round in Taylor.

The Giants like versatile safeties, and it appears Taylor may be able to play linebacker as well. He is big and quick, and could be another piece defensive coordinator Perry Fewell uses in his three-safety look.

THE 411: Like Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, Taylor has had a heart issue. While at Georgia Tech in 2009, Taylor was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (abnormal electrical pathways in the heart). He underwent a corrective procedure in Nov. 2009. Taylor eventually transferred to Richmond and played his final two years for the Spiders.

Taylor started 18 games at Richmond and had 141 tackles, 1.5 sacks and five interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. He had 90 tackles and two interceptions in 20 games at Georgia Tech.

Taylor was clocked at 4.49 in the 40 at Richmond’s pro day. He does have a history of injuries, ranging from his heart condition, to a knee issue in 2011, to a torn pectoral and broken hands suffered in 2012. He still played in 10 games in 2012.

His father, Jim Bob Taylor, was a quarterback for Georgia Tech and the Baltimore Colts.

HOW HE FITS IN: The Giants have a lot of safeties on the roster with Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Will Hill, Ryan Mundy and Tyler Sash. But Taylor also might be able to help at outside linebacker, where the Giants have Jacquian Williams, Keith Rivers and Spencer Paysinger. Perhaps he can be a Deon Grant-type for the defense. With Kenny Phillips gone, the Giants are looking for a versatile safety for the future.

PROJECTED IMPACT: Taylor sounds like the type of guy who projects as the third safety the Giants like to use. A big, quick body who can play hybrid safety/linebacker, cover and tackle. His impact this coming season would likely come on special teams, but he could push Hill, Mundy and Sash as the third safety with an impressive camp. His biggest impact may come in 2014, since Brown is on a one-year tender and Rolle will be entering the final year of his contract.

Draft positional preview: Defensive back

April, 24, 2013
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This is the ninth and final installment in a position-by-position analysis of the Giants as they prepare for the draft:

Position: Secondary.

Depth chart: CB Corey Webster, CB Prince Amukamara, CB Aaron Ross, CB Jayron Hosley, CB Terrell Thomas, S Antrel Rolle, S Stevie Brown, S Will Hill, S Ryan Mundy, S Tyler Sash, CB Antonio Dennard, CB Buddy Jackson, DB Laron Scott, DB David Caldwell, DB Trumaine McBride, DB Terrence Frederick.

The departed: S Kenny Phillips (Philadelphia), CB Justin Tryon (free agent), CB Brian Witherspoon (free agent).

Scouting report: Webster needs a bounce-back season. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Webster’s eight touchdowns surrendered through the air were tied for second-most at his position.

Amukamara was solid last season and continues to look like a player who is steadily improving. Jerry Reese re-signed Ross to provide an experienced third cornerback although Hosley could compete for that spot as well. Thomas is attempting a third comeback from ACL surgery and will work as hard as anyone. But the Giants and Thomas must take things slow and whatever he can contribute should be a bonus.

The Giants let Phillips walk after seeing Brown lead the team with eight interceptions last year. With Phillips gone, Rolle’s status as a leader will increase even more. Reese added another young player with potential by signing Mundy to add depth. Hill flashed glimpses of being the athletic third safety Perry Fewell can use. Sash is a key special teams player and will push Mundy and Hill in camp.

The last time: The Giants drafted a defensive back in Hosley in the third round in 2012.

Potential targets: Since taking over as GM in 2007, Reese has drafted more defensive backs in the first round (Ross, Phillips and Amukamara) than any other position. While the Giants need an offensive lineman like Alabama's D.J. Fluker, it would not be a surprise to see Reese grab a safety at 19 if his top target is gone.

The Giants have a need for a safety in 2014. Phillips is gone, Brown is on a one-year tender and Rolle will be entering the final year of his deal in 2014. Drafting a safety high gives the Giants a safety to groom and insurance in case Brown isn't the answer or Rolle's contract ($7 million base salary for next season) becomes to big a burden on the cap (remember, the Giants want to sign Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz to extensions).

Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro is considered to be the best and the Giants like Vaccaro. The Giants need an offensive lineman but if their target is not there, they could go for Vaccaro. Vaccaro, though, may not not be there at 19. The Giants also like LSU’s Eric Reid. If Reese doesn't think Reid will be there in the second round, he could take the LSU safety in the first round if his other targets are gone.

If the Giants don't get one of those two safeties, Florida’s Matt Elam, FIU’s John Cyprien and South Carolina’s D.J. Swearinger are other safeties that could go in the second round.

Syracuse’s Shamarko Thomas, Fresno State’s Phillip Thomas and Georgia’s Bacarri Rambo could be mid-round options. Other possible safeties for later rounds are USC’s T.J. McDonald, Georgia’s Shawn Williams and Notre Dame’s Zeke Motta. California (Pa.) S Rontez Miles is on the Giants’ radar according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

The Giants definitely need another cornerback for depth and one who could be a potential starter or third corner for 2014 and beyond. Ross and Thomas are on one-year deals and, for all intents and purposes, so is Webster. The top corners are Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Washington’s Desmond Trufant and Houston’s D.J. Hayden. Milliner is not expected to be there at 19 but then again Amukamara dropped to Reese a few years back.

Trufant has reportedly had impressive showings at the combine and his pro day and Hayden’s stock reportedly is on the rise.

Other corners who could be available after 19 are Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes, Boise State’s Jamar Taylor, UConn’s Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks.

If the Giants opt to take a corner in the second-to-fourth-round range, the most intriguing name is LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu. The former Heisman candidate is a risk-reward case but the Giants have a built-in mentor in Webster. And Mathieu could help bolster the Giants’ return game. Another corner that might help with the return game is William and Mary’s B.W. Webb.

"I love B.W. Webb," NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said in a conference call. "Great feet, change of direction, competed at the Senior Bowl. I think what's going to keep him in the late second round discussion is his return skills. It's not a great punt return class, and he's one of the top three or four punt returners in the country."

Mississippi State’s Darius Slay, Southeastern Louisiana’s Robert Alford, Rutgers’ Logan Ryan, UConn’s Dwayne Gratz, USC’s Nickell Robey, Iowa’s Micah Hyde, Miami’s Brandon McGee and Michigan State’s Johnny Adams are other cornerback prospects for later in the draft.

But keep an eye on what the Giants do at safety in this draft and perhaps as early as 19 if an offensive lineman like Fluker is not available.

Need rating (scale of 1 to 10): 9.

Phillips has to 'learn to hate" the Giants

March, 16, 2013
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Kenny Phillips admits "it's weird" being on the other side of a bitter NFC East rivalry.

And he is going to "have to learn to hate" the Giants. Phillips left the Giants for the Eagles on Thursday for a one-year deal.

"I just knew I didn't like the Eagles," Phillips said at his introductory news conference on Friday, according to CSNPhilly.com. "You're playing against them for so long, that's what you were taught as a Giant. Just like the Eagles were taught, you don't like the Giants. That's just how it goes.

"It's weird. It's definitely weird," he added. "But at this point I can't say I hate the Giants. When I was with the Giants I kind of disliked the Eagles. But I can't just say right now I hate the Giants. I guess I'll have to learn to hate them."

Phillips, 26, was drafted by the Giants in the first round in 2008. He underwent microfracture surgery on his knee in 2009 and has been trying to regain the explosive playmaking abilities he had prior to the surgery.

The Giants, who are limited by their salary cap, let Phillips walk in free agency with bigger priorities, like free agent left guard Kevin Boothe, still unsigned.

The Giants have Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown (a restricted free agent who was tendered a second-round RFA tender), Will Hill, newly signed Ryan Mundy and Tyler Sash at safety.

"Just basically a new start," Phillips said when asked why he left New York for Philadelphia. "I'm thankful that the Giants drafted me. I won a Super Bowl with the team, had some great friendships and they're a great organization.

"But it's just time for a new start," he continued. "I looked at the season (the Eagles} had last year, and I heard a lot of good things about (them) before I signed. And they're bringing in guys to make this team better, and I just want to be a part of it."

So now Phillips has the next several months to try to develop some hatred for his old team.

One thing he hopes to show this coming season is that his knee is healthy.

"It feels good," said Phillips, who also missed nine games last season with an MCL injury. "Since the season ended, I’ve been rehabbing five days a week and continue to get strong.

"I took my physical (Friday), and the doctors liked what they saw," he added. "If they didn't, I wouldn't be sitting here. I'm 100 percent right now, and I'm just ready to get back to work."

Connor visit: CSNPhilly.com also reported that linebacker Dan Connor will visit with the Giants.

Connor started eight games in 2012 for the Cowboys and had 56 tackles. He played in Carolina from 2008-11 and has a total of 212 tackles in five seasons.

The Giants are in the market for linebackers with middle linebacker Chase Blackburn a free agent.

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