New York Giants: Charles James

New York Giants cut-down analysis

August, 26, 2014
Aug 26
12:10
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Most significant move: Marcus Harris had done enough to make the New York Giants at wide receiver, but he suffered an injury in Friday's preseason game and has been placed on season-ending injured reserve. The Giants and Harris said Friday his injury was to his shoulder, but in placing him on IR on Tuesday they announced it as a hip injury. Harris will have to miss the entire 2014 season. The injury and resulting move open up a spot for someone such as Corey Washington or Preston Parker to make the team at receiver. Veteran wide receiver Mario Manningham, who continues to struggle with a knee injury, also survived Tuesday's cuts, though he remains likely to be cut when the roster is reduced to 53 on Saturday.

Injuries change the plan: Usually, players cut in this first wave aren't practice squad candidates, but guys such as Charles James and Jerome Cunningham could be exceptions. The Giants certainly didn't want to cut James on Tuesday. But they've had so many injuries on the offensive line in the past week -- Geoff Schwartz, Brandon Mosley, James Brewer, Charles Brown -- that they find themselves having to keep back-of-the-roster offensive linemen (A) so that they have enough to use in Thursday's preseason finale and (B) in case one of them (Rogers Gaines?) ends up having to be on the final roster. So there could be an offensive lineman or two cut Saturday who's a less likely practice squad candidate than someone who was cut Tuesday.

Giants' cuts: K Brandon McManus, CB Charles James, TE Xavier Grimble, TE Jerome Cunningham, LB Spencer Adkins, DE Emmanuel Dieke, LB Justin Anderson, S Kyle Sebetic, CB Ross Weaver, WR Travis Harvey, OL John Sullen, S C.J. Barnett, DT Everett Dawkins, S Cooper Taylor (placed on season-ending injured reserve), WR Marcus Harris (placed on season-ending injured reserve).

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants right guard Brandon Mosley pulled left and helped center J.D. Walton open up what Rashad Jennings would later call a "gaping hole." Jennings ran through it and all the way to the end zone, 73 yards for a touchdown on the Giants' second possession of Saturday night's 20-16 exhibition victory over the Steelers.

It was a beautifully designed and executed play. It was all the Giants' first-team offense did well.

Eli Manning was on the field for 12 snaps and threw two passes, completing neither. The Giants' new offense remains a work in progress with 30 days to go until their "Monday Night Football" opener in Detroit.

Some other thoughts on the Giants' second preseason game:
  • You want to know who's leading the race for starting tight end? The Giants ran 26 offensive plays in the first half, and Larry Donnell was on the field for 25 of them. The only other tight end who even played in the first half was Kellen Davis, who was in on four plays, all of which also included Donnell. I think the Giants would like to be able to give Daniel Fells a longer look, but he is injured and did not play. Adrien Robinson is doing nothing in practice to help himself.
  • Rookie defensive tackle Jay Bromley, the team's third-round pick, looked good in the second half against the Steelers' backup line, getting into the backfield to snuff out a run play and putting pressure on the quarterback.
  • Cornerback Charles James muffed a punt in the third quarter -- not the kind of thing that's going to help the feisty return man make a team that has this many good cornerbacks. Preston Parker replaced him on the next punt return.
  • The "NASCAR" package of four pass-rushers on third downs featured Cullen Jenkins and Robert Ayers at defensive tackle, with Mathias Kiwanuka and Jason Pierre-Paul at end when the first team was in the game.
  • The Giants were flagged for 10 penalties for a total of 109 yards. Of those, two were Jayron Hosley pass-interference penalties of 12 and 47 yards. Zack Bowman was called for illegal contact and Mark Herzlich was called for defensive holding (though he wasn't on the field that play, so it's unclear which Giants defender was flagged). Bennett Jackson received a five-yard holding call. And Prince Amukamara was whistled for an illegal-contact penalty that was declined. Giants defensive backs continue to struggle with the new rules/points of emphasis governing illegal downfield contact.
  • Amukamara made a great play to run down speedy Pittsburgh rookie Dri Archer on a 46-yard screen pass that looked to be a sure touchdown. It's the second time in two games Amukamara has shown the speed to keep up with a touted rookie, as he covered Buffalo's Sammy Watkins well Sunday night.
  • Jerrel Jernigan struggled badly with the first-team offense, and the Giants are eager for rookie Odell Beckham Jr. to get healthy and take over that spot.

Upon Further Review: Giants Week 14

December, 9, 2013
12/09/13
8:00
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SAN DIEGO -- An examination of four hot issues from the New York Giants' 37-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers.

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesEli Manning threw two more interceptions, bringing him closer to a new career high.
Penalties a killer: The Giants were flagged for seven penalties for 72 yards. The worst may have been Charles James' offside penalty that gave Nick Novak a second chance at a field goal (he missed from 41 yards but then made it from 36), but that was just one of four offside calls against the Giants. "There's no excuse for that," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "Watch the ball. That's what you do all day long. If you watch us practice, we put a ball on the end of a stick, and the player doesn't move until the ball moves. There's absolutely no excuse for jumping offsides." It's easy to use a word like "undisciplined" to describe a team that gets called for too many penalties, but I think sometimes a team that feels overmatched can start jumping early in an effort to tilt the advantage back in its favor. The Giants have certainly felt overmatched at times this season, and Sunday was a strong example of such a game.

Chargers run wild: The Chargers rushed for 144 yards on 40 carries. Ryan Mathews had 103 yards and Danny Woodhead added 42. Justin Tuck grumbled that the total had more to do with San Diego's number of rushing attempts than anything special they did against the Giants' defense. But the 144 was the second-highest single-game rushing yardage total against the Giants this season (Carolina had 194 in Week 3), and Mathews found holes all day. The Chargers ended up possessing the ball for 36:56, which was the second-highest time-of-possession total against the Giants this season, just behind Dallas' 37:10 in the opener.

Third-down woes: The Chargers entered the game with a third-down conversion rate of 46.4 percent, which was second-best in the league to Denver, and they improved it, going 10-for-15 on third down Sunday. The Giants have struggled with third-down defense all season, and rank in the bottom third of the league in that department. But this was especially bad. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was 7-for-10 for 128 yards and two touchdowns on third down, and that was another huge reason for the time-of-possession edge.

Eli's rough year rolls on: Hakeem Nicks was able to make some plays down the field for a change, and ended up with 135 yards on five catches. But quarterback Eli Manning struggled again, missing some key throws and once again unable to get the offense into a rhythm. The Giants struggled to protect him early in the game, and he took two more sacks to raise his career-high total to 33 for the season. He also threw his 19th and 20th interceptions of the season, putting him five short of his career high in that department with three games to play. He threw a touchdown pass to tight end Brandon Myers for the third game in a row, but Nicks doesn't have a touchdown all season and Victor Cruz hasn't caught one since September.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The news that New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and cornerbacks Trumaine McBride and Corey Webster are out for Sunday's game against the Redskins means the Giants will have to do some interesting juggling of their defensive lineup. Webster's injury doesn't sound like it matters much by now, as he's missed almost the whole year, but the Giants had been hoping he could practice enough to fill in for an injured McBride, who has become the starter in Webster's absence. He did not, and now the Giants are left with four healthy cornerbacks for Sunday's game -- Prince Amukamara, Terrell Thomas, Jayron Hosley and untested rookie Charles James.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said starting Hosley in McBride's place (and, presumably, leaving Thomas in the slot) would be a "strong consideration." Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said he thinks Hosley could handle it.

"Jayron has good cover skills," Fewell said. "I think he's a good matchup for some of the quick guys they have in their lineup. So I don't think we'll miss a beat from that standpoint, as far as the quickness and the matchups are concerned."

The issue may be one of depth, as the Giants have very little behind their starters right now if one of them gets hurt or if they decide to go into the kind of dime package that found safety Antrel Rolle overwhelmed in coverage on the Cowboys' final drive of the game Sunday. But the Redskins aren't as loaded with scary receiving threats as the Cowboys are. After top wideout Pierre Garcon, their No. 1 weapon in the receiving corps is rookie tight end Jordan Reed, who missed last week's game with a concussion and is questionable for Sunday.

Up front, where they will look to pressure Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III into the types of mistakes everyone watched him make Monday night against the 49ers, the Giants will obviously miss Pierre-Paul. They could move defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins out to play defensive end (and activate defensive tackle Markus Kuhn for the first time all year to spell Jenkins in the DT rotation), or they could imply increase the snap counts for defensive ends Mathias Kiwanuka or Damontre Moore. But Fewell doesn't think it's as simple as someone stepping into Pierre-Paul's spot.

"Theirs is a difficult offense for any defensive end, because it's a read-option offense, a play-action offense," Fewell said. "They do a number of different things to make the defensive ends think. So it's quite difficult."

The key for the 49ers against Griffin on Monday was their ability to invade the backfield quickly on seemingly every play. The Giants don't have the same kinds of players in their defensive front seven that the 49ers do. (Few teams do, if any, now that Aldon Smith is back in the lineup.) But they'll still need to find a way to get pressure and take some of the burden off their depleted secondary.

Charles James at corner for Giants?

October, 4, 2013
10/04/13
6:12
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Paging all cornerbacks.

Heading into Sunday's game against Philadelphia, the Giants could be down three cornerbacks, leaving them with just three healthy corners.

[+] EnlargeCharles James
Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty ImagesCharles James, an undrafted rookie, may play for the Giants against the Eagles.
The Giants may need to bring up a player from the practice squad, but the team had not made an official move as of Friday afternoon.

"That's an option," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. "That decision hasn't been made yet."

The Giants will be without Aaron Ross (back) and Jayron Hosley (hamstring), and starting cornerback Corey Webster (groin) is doubtful. That leaves them with just Prince Amukamara, Trumaine McBride and Terrell Thomas. Amukamara and McBride likely will start on the outside.

Big Blue has one cornerback on their practice squad in Charles James, and he's a candidate to be put on the 53-man roster. The Giants would have to make a roster move to activate him, though, and the team likely has one other roster move to make before possibly activating James.

Right guard Chris Snee (hip) has already been placed on season-ending injured reserve to make room for linebacker Jon Beason, who the team acquired from Carolina on Friday. Safety Will Hill is also eligible to return after missing the first four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. The Giants need to clear a roster spot for him by Saturday afternoon.

James may have a decent shot of being put on the roster, though, since only having three cornerbacks active for a game would leave the Giants very vulnerable if any of those players gets injured against the Eagles.

"If you're called upon you want to make the most of it and help the team any way I can," James said.

James, an undrafted rookie from Charleston Southern, didn't make the team's final roster coming out of training camp, but turned enough heads to stick with the practice squad. He's excited about potentially playing in his first game.

"It would be a big opportunity, "James said. "I've been through a lot just in my lifetime and God has been so good and has brought me through so much.

"It's been one of those things where I'd cherish it for the moment, but if I'm called upon and I break out of that locker room, it's all business and I'm trying to help the team win."

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Coughlin said he briefly mentioned to the players how the 1992 Chargers started the season 0-4 but rebounded to make the playoffs. They're the only team to do so.

Coughlin has reiterated to his team that despite its slow start, it could potentially just be one game out of first place on Sunday with a win.

"First thing Monday morning, I put the standings up there and we talked about it in our team meeting on Friday morning and reiterated where we were and where the division stood," Coughlin said. "Really what it boils down to is us. We can talk all we want. We have to play a lot better than we've been playing."

Practice report: Randle strikes twice

August, 20, 2013
8/20/13
7:57
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With Victor Cruz in a walking boot on crutches, Rueben Randle went to work with the first team on Tuesday.

Even though they were going up against a scout defense in preparation for the Jets, Eli Manning hit Randle twice on deep bombs for potential touchdowns. Randle beat Terrence Frederick on the first would-be touchdown. The second came on an impressive over-the-shoulder catch on Charles James, who had decent coverage.

[+] EnlargeRueben Randle
Jim O'Connor/USA TODAY SportsRueben Randle
Brandon Collins returned from injury and saw quite a few snaps with Louis Murphy (leg) and Ramses Barden (knee) out of practice.

Antrel's rolling: Antrel Rolle is nearing a return to the practice field. While he did not practice, he looked very good backpedaling and shuffling sideways in an individual drill (I shot a video, and I know it looks like it was taken a million miles away but hey, I tried!).

He looks like he could be back in practice perhaps as soon as tomorrow.

O-line shuffle: The Giants unveiled their new starting offensive line with David Baas out. Will Beatty was at left tackle, David Diehl at left guard, Kevin Boothe at center, Chris Snee at right guard and rookie Justin Pugh at right tackle. The second team featured Selvish Capers at left tackle, Eric Herman at left guard, Jim Cordle at center, Brandon Mosley at right guard and James Brewer at right tackle.

MLB race: Dan Connor was still working with the first team at middle linebacker, with Mark Herzlich working with the second team. We'll have to see if one can pull away from the competition on Saturday against the Jets. If Connor gets a half to work with the first team, that could work in his favor.

Elsewhere at linebacker, Kyle Bosworth got some snaps with the second team and made a nice play, rejecting a short side pass from Manning intended to go out into the flat... James just broke up a deep but slightly underthrown pass for Hakeem Nicks... After an incomplete pass to Kevin Hardy, Will Hill and James, both of them in coverage on the play, playfully jawed with Hardy.

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