New York Giants: Chris Canty

Will the Giants re-sign Linval Joseph?

December, 25, 2013
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We looked Tuesday at the issues the New York Giants face this offseason on the offensive line, but there are thorny questions on the defensive line as well. Chief among them is the status of pending free-agent defensive tackle Linval Joseph, who is one of the best players on the team, but plays a position that doesn't get a lot of attention.

I believe Joseph is an extremely important player to the Giants, and that they should make re-signing him a top priority. He's everything they need in the middle of the line. He eats up double teams to allow others to penetrate. He stops the run. He can collapse the pocket from the interior and generate pressure on the quarterback himself. He's big and strong and mean on the field, and an absolute pleasure of a teammate off of it. If I were the Giants, I'd want him on my team until he retired.

However.

[+] EnlargeMatt Barkley
AP Photo/Matt RourkeNeeds at other positions could prevent the Giants from keeping pending free agent Linval Joseph.
The Giants have a ton of questions all over the roster, and money they need to spend at wide receiver, defensive end, offensive line, cornerback ... pretty much everywhere. They'll get some cap relief with a likely contract extension for quarterback Eli Manning and the possible cuts of veterans like Mathias Kiwanuka, David Baas and Chris Snee. But even if cut, those guys will have to be replaced, and whatever fresh cap room shows up could vanish quickly. The Giants have Cullen Jenkins under contract next year at a cap cost of $3.27 million, and 2013 second-round pick Johnathan Hankins has shown enough as a rookie to merit a larger role. It's possible they could decide they can't fit Joseph into their budget at a position where they are already strong. It's likely that Joseph, knowing he plays a position that wears a man down quickly, will seek as large a contract as possible knowing he might never get another.

I asked some people what Joseph could expect to get. Former player agent Joel Corry said he would constantly be reminding the Giants that they themselves set a high market for defensive tackles when they gave Chris Canty a six-year, $42 million deal with $16 million guaranteed five offseasons ago. Canty was 26 at that time. Joseph is 25. Not crazy for him to ask for more than that, right?

Two offseasons ago, the Giants let a 27-year-old Barry Cofield leave without making an effort to keep him, and he signed for six years and $36 million (with $12.5 million guaranteed) with the division-rival Washington Redskins. Does that indicate the Giants have changed their position on the market value for defensive tackles in their prime? Or did they believe they had coverage at that position when they let Cofield walk?

All of it makes Joseph's a fascinating case, especially considering the premium the Giants put on the defensive end position in their 4-3 scheme. Justin Tuck is a free agent who needs re-signing. Kiwanuka would have to be replaced if he left, to maintain depth. Jason Pierre-Paul is a year away from his own free agency, and injury issues the past two seasons have made him a short-term question mark as well as a long-term one. So it's easy to imagine the Giants spending their defensive line budget on the outside and letting Joseph seek a big deal elsewhere. I think that would be a mistake.

Canty, former Giant, throws jab at Tuck

October, 3, 2013
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Chris Canty took a verbal swing at former teammate Justin Tuck on Wednesday, three days after Tuck threatened to punch in the mouth anyone who turns on New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.

Canty
Tuck
“Justin needs to worry about punching opposing offenses in the mouth,” Canty said, in an interview on NFL Network. “The way you show that you have your coach’s back is by going out there on that football field and performing.”

Canty spent the past four seasons with the Giants, before being cut by the team back in February. He’s now starting for the Baltimore Ravens, with two sacks in the first four weeks of the season.

The Giants have just four sacks as a team, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the lowest total in the league. Tuck has half a sack.

Canty was also asked about Giants safety Antrel Rolle's comments earlier this week, in which he questioned the confidence of some of his teammates.

“There are probably guys in that locker room that probably lack the confidence that they can win football games, but as we know confidence comes from demonstrated performance,” Canty said. “So they just have to go out there and win a football game to show themselves that they can overcome the adversity in that game and be successful as a team.”
Eli ManningTim Farrell/THE STAR-LEDGER/USA TODAY SportsEli Manning and the Giants report to camp in East Rutherford, N.J., on Friday.
It's that time of the year again.

"Steppin' to the AM" means only one thing -- training camp is here. For those of you who don't know, I'm an old school hip-hop head. So the daily camp morning prep blog is named after 3rd Bass' song. We're all family here at the Giants blog so leave comments, let me know what you want to read about in camp and ask any questions you may have.

In case you missed it: So, it's time to get you ready for camp. Here's 10 issues facing the Giants heading into camp.

Also, John Mara believes this team can be as good as the 2011 team that at one point was 7-7 but got hot and won it all.

And, Antrel Rolle plans on being even more of a leader this season with vets such as Chris Canty, Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Boley, Kenny Phillips and Chase Blackburn gone. I believe Rolle is going to have to have a major impact on and off the field for the Giants this season.

Finally, the Giants also signed their two remaining unsigned draft picks -- Justin Pugh and Ryan Nassib.

On deck: The Giants report to camp Friday and have a conditioning evaluation test scheduled for 4 p.m. We'll talk to Tom Coughlin and select players afterward, so check back at the blog throughout the day and later in the afternoon.

In the meantime, celebrate the start of training camp, which officially begins on Saturday with the first practice.

Camp preview: Defensive line

July, 22, 2013
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Justin TuckJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesJustin Tuck did everything to stay strong this offseason but walk on hot coals. Wait, never mind ...
We're counting down to training camp with a look at the Giants, position by position.

Position: Defensive line

Projected starters: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (injured), DE Justin Tuck, DT Linval Joseph, DT Cullen Jenkins

Projected reserves: DE Mathias Kiwanuka, DT Mike Patterson, DE Adrian Tracy, DE Damontre Moore, DT Shaun Rogers, DT Johnathan Hankins, DE Justin Trattou, DE Adewale Ojomo, DT Marvin Austin, DT Markus Kuhn, DE Matt Broha, DT Frank Okam

New faces: Jenkins, Patterson, Moore, Hankins, Okam

Going, going, gone: DE Osi Umenyiora, DT Chris Canty, DT Rocky Bernard

Player to watch: Pierre-Paul. The team and fans will have to hold their breath until JPP returns healthy from offseason back surgery. His projected timetable for recovery takes him right up to the season opener. Kiwanuka is starting at defensive end until JPP is healthy and could potentially be the starter against Dallas in the opener. If Pierre-Paul doesn’t return to full strength later this season, the defense will be dealt a mighty blow. The Giants likely will take every precaution with the foundation of the defense. In order to contend, the Giants need their best defensive player to be healthy and dominant again.

Potential strength: The run defense was a weakness last season as the Giants finished 25th against the run and 31st in total defense. But GM Jerry Reese beefed up his front line by adding Jenkins and Patterson, re-signing Rogers and drafting Hankins. With Austin and Kuhn, as well, the Giants will have some serious competition at DT in camp. If Jenkins pans out the way they envision and the Giants can slow down opposing running backs, that will be a major start for a defense looking to rebound from a disappointing season.

Potential weakness: It’s hard to believe it, but in a worst-case scenario, the Giants’ pass rush could be a weakness. What if JPP doesn’t return to form after back surgery? What if Tuck doesn’t regain his old dominant level of play in a contract year? What if the Giants miss Osi more than they think they will and a young player (such as like Tracy, Moore or Ojomo) doesn’t emerge as an extra rusher? The Giants must get back to harassing quarterbacks and establishing an intimidating pass rush. If not, it could be another long season for Perry Fewell’s defense.

Wild card: Tuck. This is a big year for the defensive captain. If Tuck has a monster year in a contract year, the Giants' defense will simply be better. Tuck has certainly worked hard this offseason and is in tremendous shape. He even tried improving his mental game by seeing motivational speaker and coach Tony Robbins and walking over hot coals. With JPP’s back on the mend, Tuck can give the Giants a major boost by getting back to his double-digit sacks level.

Tell us what you think of the Giants' defensive line entering the season.
Justin Tuck knows the New York Giants will go as far as Eli Manning takes them.

Still, the defensive captain wants his unit to start thinking that it must carry the Giants and not have to rely on the offense to lead the way to victory.

“I hope this defense can carry the team,” Tuck said last week at the Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic at Oheka Castle in Huntington, N.Y. “Every time we go out on the field this year, we can’t think that [the offense will carry the team].”

[+] EnlargeJusin Tuck
Elsa/Getty ImagesJustin Tuck has a new task for the defense to tackle.
“We have to think like we are going to carry this team,” Tuck added.

Last season, the Giants averaged 26.8 points, sixth best in the NFL. The defense allowed 21.5 points to finish 13th among defenses. But the Giants finished 31st in total yards allowed (383.4), 28th in passing yards allowed (254.2) and 25th in rushing yards allowed (129.1).

GM Jerry Reese made changes to the defense in the offseason. Osi Umenyiora, Michael Boley, Kenny Phillips, Chase Blackburn and Chris Canty are gone.

Reese focused on beefing up his defensive line by adding defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson and drafting Johnathan Hankins. He brought back Aaron Ross and Shaun Rogers and signed Aaron Curry and Dan Connor, among other moves.

But Tuck thinks the Giants can also improve from within by altering their mindset. He wants his defense to adopt an old school Giants' defensive mentality and stop relying so much on the offense.

“That might be something we lack because our offense is so good, thinking to ourselves that we can kind of give up this and that,” Tuck said. “[We have] to kind of get away from that and approach the game in a way that those '80’s teams did with [Lawrence Taylor] and all those guys.

“They went out into a game trying to kill an offense and not give them anything,” Tuck continued. “We have to get back to that on defense. I don’t care if our offense puts up 40 points a game. We have to put up six.”

Tell us what you think of the Giants' defense this season.

Canty prefers Flacco over Manning

May, 25, 2013
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One thing to love about Chris Canty is his candid and often direct point of view.

The former Giant usually doesn't hold back anything he says, like when he declared that the Giants suffered from a Super Bowl hangover last year.

So when Canty was asked on NBC Sports which Super Bowl MVP quarterback he prefers between Joe Flacco and Eli Manning, the defensive tackle went with Flacco over his former two-time Super Bowl-winning teammate.

“Joe Flacco," Canty said when asked Flacco or Manning on NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk. "Because he won a Super Bowl and he’s one of the best deep-ball throwers in the National Football League. Absolutely. Take a look at the tape.”

Of course, Canty predictably picked his new quarterback in this case. He signed with the Ravens in the offseason after being a cap casualty cut by the Giants.

“He throws a beautiful deep ball," Canty said. "He puts it only where the receivers can get their hands on it when you talk about the vertical passing game. And they’ve got some vertical pass threats. They got Torrey Smith. They’ve got [Dennis] Pitta. They’ve got [Ed] Dickson. They’ve got some good weapons for him to use down the field.”

Canty did praise Manning for proving time and time again that he is one of the clutch quarterbacks in the NFL.

"Eli is good in clutch situations," he said. "When you got to have that fourth-quarter drive, that two-minute drill, Eli can deliver."

At least Manning isn't Canty's favorite former teammate to sack. Canty said Tony Romo is his favorite quarterback to sack "by far."

"I'm on Tony Romo more than the Dallas media," Canty said of being inspired when facing his first team.

OK, guys, Eli or Flacco? Let me know what you think!
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.

Canty: 'Super Bowl hangover is real'

April, 25, 2013
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Chris Canty believes in the Super Bowl hangover.

The former Giants defensive tackle and new Raven plans to share what he learned from the Giants' failed title defense with the new defending champs.

"I've talked to the guys about that," Canty said at Wednesday night's ESPN Pre-Draft party. "That Super Bowl hangover deal is real. I'll start by saying that."

Now that Canty can look back on it, he sees how winning the Super Bowl and the ensuing euphoria can impact a team's preparation and title defense.

"Absolutely," Canty said when asked if the Giants suffered because of a Super Bowl hangover. "I think everybody was enjoying basking in the glow of being Super Bowl champions, almost three million people on a parade through the Canyon of Heroes, it was that kind of reality for us throughout the whole offseason last year.

"And I don't think guys approached putting our team back together and going through what we needed to go through in order to be able to compete for a championship in the 2012 season," he continued. "And it worked against us. And you saw it late in the season. Teams were outplaying us, they were fundamentally more sound than us, they were better technique-wise than us, and we were outplayed, plain and simple."

Canty said he plans on making his new teammates in Baltimore understand what he learned the hard way with the Giants.

"Those are some of the lessons that I'm trying to instill in some of the guys, some of the younger guys, now," he said. "So they understand, listen, you just can't show up and win a championship. You have to go through the process, that's what it is."

Draft preview: Defensive line

April, 22, 2013
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Bjoern WernerJoe Robbins/Getty ImagesBjoern Werner might be the Giants' best selection with the 19th overall pick in the NFL Draft.
This is the seventh installment in a position-by-position analysis of the Giants as they prepare for the draft:

Position: Defensive line.

Depth chart: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, DE Justin Tuck, DE/LB Mathias Kiwanuka, DE Adrian Tracy, DE Adewale Ojomo, DE Justin Trattou, DE Matt Broha, DT Linval Joseph, DT Cullen Jenkins, DT Mike Patterson, DT Shaun Rogers, DT Marvin Austin, DT Markus Kuhn, DT Bobby Skinner, DT Michael Jasper.

The departed: DE Osi Umenyiora (Atlanta), DT Chris Canty (Baltimore), DT Rocky Bernard (free agent).

Scouting report: Defensive line, specifically the interior, is an area the Giants focused on during the offseason. The defense finished 25th against the run last year so Jerry Reese added former Eagles’ defensive tackles Jenkins and Patterson.

Joseph should continue to get better after having 59 tackles and four sacks last season. The Giants have great depth at defensive tackle with Patterson, Rogers (who missed all of last season due to a blood clot), Austin and Kuhn.

The Giants’ sacks went down from 48 in 2011 to 33 in 2012. They'll need to alleviate some of the attention on Pierre-Paul, who was limited to 6.5 sacks last year. The Giants also will need a bounce-back season from Tuck, who had only four sacks. Umenyiora’s departure will have an impact but Kiwanuka could fill that role and perhaps Tracy, Ojomo or Trattou can step up as the end in the rotation.

The last time: The Giants drafted Kuhn in the seventh round in 2012.

Potential targets: With Umenyiora gone and Tuck entering the final year of his deal, the Giants can use another young pass rusher. And considering how their salary cap is and how they want to lock up Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz to long-term extensions, the Giants probably need to go the draft route to add another defensive end to groom at an affordable rookie contract in case Tuck isn't back in '14. Remember, when thinking about what the Giants might do in the draft, always consider the team’s future and how Reese is always looking for starters/contributors for upcoming seasons, not necessarily this year.

After BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah and LSU’s Barkevious Mingo –- both expected to be gone by when the Giants pick at 19 –- Florida State’s Bjoern Werner is widely considered the next best defensive end. Werner, who had 13.0 sacks last year, is the only other first-round caliber defensive end on Scouts Inc’s draft board.

UCLA’s Datone Jones, Florida State’s Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, SMU’s Margus Hunt, LSU’s Sam Montgomery and Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore are all defensive ends who could go late in the first round or after.

Reese might have to go with a defensive end at some point with his first two picks given the depth of quality pass rushers.

“There are some pass rushers in the draft, yeah,” Reese said. “How deep it is, I’m not sure.”

Other pass rushers that could go in the mid-rounds are Texas’ Alex Okafor, Michigan State’s William Gholston, Illinois’ Michael Buchanan, Ohio State’s John Simon, Auburn’s Corey Lemonier, Georgia’s Cornelius Washington and Western Kentucky’s Quanterus Smith, who has drawn interest from the Giants according to NFL.com's Gil Brandt. Okafor finished in the top-10 in sacks in the nation with 12.5 last year.

The Giants are set at defensive tackle for this season but Joseph is entering the final year of his deal. Patterson and Rogers are also on one-year deals. Reese can opt to keep plugging defensive tackle with cheap one-year veterans in free agency if Austin isn't ready in '14 or he could select one in a draft that is considered to be deep at defensive tackle.

If a stud defensive tackle that is expected to go high falls to 19, Reese’s best player available formula will be tested. Scouts Inc. has five defensive tackles – Utah’s Star Lotulelei, Florida’s Sharrif Floyd, Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson, North Carolina’s Sylvester Williams and Georgia’s Johnathan Jenkins as worthy first-round talent.

The Giants, though, could find value later if they feel they need a DT. Alabama’s Jesse Williams, Ohio State’s Johnathan Hankins, LSU’s Bennie Logan, Georgia’s Kwame Geathers, South Florida’s Cory Grissom, Mississippi State’s Josh Boyd, Michigan State’s Anthony Rashad White and Bowling Green’s Christopher Jones, who had 12.5 sacks last year, are all defensive tackles who could be drafted.

Maryland’s A.J. Francis, Mississippi’s Gilbert Pena and Mississippi State’s Dewayne Cherrington are on the Giants’ radar according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

Need rating (scale of 1 to 10): 9 (for a pass rusher for the future).

Draft preview: Giants defense/special teams

April, 16, 2013
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At the end of the Giants' failed 2012 title defense, Jerry Reese made it clear that he felt the roster was not "that far off" from contending again.

But the disappointed general manager said his team "will look a little differently" in 2013. As the Giants near next week's draft, Reese's defense will definitely sport a different look.

Osi Umenyiora, Kenny Phillips, Chris Canty, Michael Boley and Chase Blackburn are gone.

Former Eagles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson are now Giants run-stuffers. Dan Connor is projected to start at middle linebacker and Aaron Ross is back in the secondary.

Despite cap constraints, Reese made a concerted effort to try to fortify a defense that finished 31st overall and 25th against the run last season. That effort will continue next week when Reese will add more defensive players.

When Reese selected running back David Wilson and wide receiver Rueben Randle last year, it was the first time the Giants did not draft a defensive player in the first two rounds since 2004.

It would be a surprise if Reese goes offense again with his first two picks. While the Giants have a need at offensive line and could opt to take a lineman early, Reese can use another pass-rusher.

Umenyiora is gone and Justin Tuck is entering the final year of his deal. And we know how much Reese values his defensive ends and how he has no issue spending a first-round pick on one.

The Giants pick 19th overall and it remains to be seen what the caliber of defensive ends will be when Reese is on the clock.

Ends like BYU's Ezekiel Ansah and LSU's Barkevious Mingo are expected to be long gone. But Florida State's Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine, UCLA's Datone Jones, SMU's Margus Hunt and LSU's Sam Montgomery are among the defensive ends who could go in the first two rounds.

If Reese feels the quality of pass-rushers available at 19 are not that much better than what he might be able to get in the second round, the GM could opt to plug another area at 19.

The Giants are stocked at defensive tackle with Linval Joseph, Jenkins, Patterson, Shaun Rogers, Marvin Austin and Markus Kuhn. But Reese has never been one to shy away from taking the best player available on his board, regardless of position, and the defensive tackle position is considered to be deep in this draft.

But Reese has other areas of concern on defense. The cornerback play was shaky last season and the future at the position remains a concern with Corey Webster, Ross and Terrell Thomas, who is making a third comeback from an ACL injury, all on one-year deals.

So drafting a cornerback, potentially high, to go with young corners Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley makes sense for the future. That's why Washington’s Desmond Trufant, who could be available at 19, is intriguing. Houston's D.J. Hayden, Boise State's Jamar Taylor, UConn's Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Florida State's Xavier Rhodes, Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay all could be options in the first three rounds. And of course, there's LSU's Tyrann Mathieu, who comes with his share of talent and baggage.

The Giants will move forward this season at linebacker without Boley and Blackburn –- two players who helped the Giants win the Super Bowl in 2011 and were valuable extensions of Perry Fewell on the field in the past.

Fans will continue their annual call for Reese to add a stud linebacker early. Georgia's Alec Ogletree and Notre Dame’s Manti Te'o have been linked often by draft prognosticators to the Giants. But the franchise hasn't spent a first-round pick on a linebacker since selecting Carl Banks in 1984. So if the Giants opt to pass on linebacker in the first round, they could look to take one later in the draft.

The Giants seem set at safety for this season with Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Will Hill, Ryan Mundy and Tyler Sash. But Brown is playing this season on a one-year restricted free-agent tender and it is always possible Reese could draft a safety for the future with Phillips gone and Rolle's contract expiring after 2014.

On special teams, the Giants are moving on without Lawrence Tynes after signing kickers Josh Brown, David Buehler and kicker/punter Jake Rogers in the offseason. Punter Steve Weatherford and long-snapper Zak DeOssie return.

The Giants, though, can always use a dynamic punt returner and they could look to add a receiver or cornerback with return skills in the draft with Domenik Hixon gone. A returner on kickoffs also makes sense since Wilson's workload at running back will increase.

Tell us how you feel about the defense and special teams entering the draft.

Polian breaks down Reese

April, 9, 2013
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As is often the case, Jerry Reese didn't make any huge, sexy splashes in free agency.

But the Giants general manager still managed to address the areas of need for his roster all while managing a tight salary cap.

ESPN's Bill Polian recently wrote about his top six NFL talent evaluators and it should be no surprise that Reese is among them. He based his top six in part on "the ability to first assess what you have on the roster -- that helps guide the continued building of rosters through the draft."

Polian on Reese: He goes out and finds players who fit what head coach Tom Coughlin wants, which points to one of his greatest strengths as a GM: Not only is Jerry a terrific judge of talent, he's also an excellent manager in the way he includes his staff and the coaches in the process. Throughout the organization, every scout is working from the same script and knows that their voice will be heard in the player-evaluation process.

Another defining characteristic for Jerry is that he's not afraid to take a chance on a player who he believes will fit their system. Mark Herzlich is a good example. Many teams were scared of his battle with cancer, but he's helped the Giants. And identifying Victor Cruz as a player to develop can't be overlooked -- remember, they kept him through an entire season where Cruz sat on IR. Reese and Coughlin will now unearth last year's first-rounder, RB David Wilson. While the former Virginia Tech back had a rough start following a Week 1 fumble, he should be a strong asset for the Giants going forward after the team had to make financial decisions at the position this offseason.

Reese results: Just to recap this offseason, Reese re-signed the left side of his offensive line (Will Beatty and Kevin Boothe), got Corey Webster and David Diehl to accept pay cuts, got safety Stevie Brown back on a second-round RFA tender, added defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson, signed linebacker Dan Connor and tight end Brandon Myers and brought back Aaron Ross. He plugged some starting positions and added depth, some experience, muscle and guys who could shine with more opportunities. And Reese made the majority of his signings for one-year veteran minimums.

He did lose Martellus Bennett to Chicago, who signed the tight end to a four-year, $20 million deal -- more than the Giants were willing to spend. Reese had to release Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty and Michael Boley to free up cap space and Osi Umenyiora and Kenny Phillips were allowed to walk in free agency.

But, Giants who have left in recent years haven't always fared well elsewhere. Reese has had a good offseason considering his cap constraints. His offseason isn't complete yet with the draft coming up -- an area he and his staff usually excel at. And his moves in free agency allow him to take the best player available and not necessarily have to draft for need like he might have had to do if he had lost a guy like Beatty or Boothe.

His offseason can get even better if he is able to lock down Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, who is entering his final year, to long-term extensions.

Tell us what you think of Reese and if you agree with Polian's assessment.

Reaction: Patterson adds more muscle

April, 3, 2013
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John Mara said he wanted to see his team get stronger against the run. Clearly, GM Jerry Reese heard the team's co-owner.

Reese added yet another defensive tackle by signing Mike Patterson on Wednesday.

Patterson is the second Eagles free-agent defensive tackle to move north in the division, joining Cullen Jenkins.

[+] EnlargeMike Patterson
Rob Christy/USA TODAY SportsMike Patterson leaves the Eagles after eight seasons.
The Giants finished 31st in total defense and 25th against the run last season, something that clearly did not sit well with Mara.

"Nobody was more disappointed than me, believe me," Mara said on a SiriusNFL radio interview last month. "We need to retool a little bit, and we have started to do that. We need to get a little better on both sides of the ball on the line of scrimmage."

"We need to re-establish that toughness on the front," Mara added. "Teams ran the ball too easily against us, in my opinion. That is an area of concern, and our offensive line ... that performance needs to get a little better, too."

While the numbers on Patterson's contract have yet to emerge, the Giants likely are taking a minimal financial risk. Their free-agency blueprint has been to add as many veterans who can help at low cost. Reese signed left guard Kevin Boothe, cornerback Aaron Ross, tight end Brandon Myers and linebackers Keith Rivers and Dan Connor to cap-friendly one-year deals.

And after releasing Chris Canty to create cap space, Reese went out and added Jenkins, Patterson and Shaun Rogers.

There is a health question, since both Patterson and Rogers come with recent medical history. Patterson underwent brain surgery in January 2012 to repair an arteriovenous malformation -- a tangle of blood vessels discovered when the defensive tackle had a seizure in camp in 2011. Patterson, 29, was cleared and played in 15 games in 2011 with the help of medication, but he played in just five games last season before being placed on the reserve/non-football illness list last year with pneumonia.

Rogers missed all of last season with a blood clot.

But by adding Patterson to the mix, the Giants now have plenty of depth and bodies up front to surround starter Linval Joseph. They also still have young defensive tackles Marvin Austin and Markus Kuhn.

Figure the Giants, who allowed 100 yards rushing or more in 10 games last season, to start Joseph and Jenkins and then rotate Patterson and Rogers if they are healthy.

We'll have to see how it all shakes out in camp. But the Giants certainly look like they beefed up their front line to stop the run.

Tell us what you think of the Patterson addition.

Notebook: Murphy is a 'knife'

March, 19, 2013
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Jerry Reese believes Louis Murphy will add a new dimension to the Giants' offense.

The Giants made the Murphy free-agent signing official Tuesday and Reese thinks his new wideout will help spread the field for Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.

"He will add another dimension to our offense," Reese said on SiriusXM NFL radio. "We have a scout named Jeremiah Davis and he talks about guys being a knife. This guy is a knife. This guy can take the top off your defense. If we have Nicks back healthy and we have Cruz back, this guy gives you a deep threat that we haven't had, like a guy who can run like this guy."

[+] EnlargeLouis Murphy
Grant Halverson/Getty ImagesThe Giants hope Louis Murphy can stretch the field.
Murphy was signed to add depth with Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden both free agents.

Mum on Cruz: As expected, Reese didn't have much to say about Cruz's contract situation.

"It is inappropriate for me to talk too much about Victor," Reese said about his restricted free-agent receiver. "One thing I can say is he is a terrific young man and a terrific football player. We are hoping for that situation to work out."

Tight end talk: Reese may have a new starting tight end for the fourth straight year, but he believes tight ends coach Mike Pope won't have to do a lot of teaching and training with Brandon Myers, who signed last weekend to replace Martellus Bennett.

"In the past, we have given Mike some young kids," Reese said. "He had Kevin Boss, he had Jake Ballard, Martellus Bennett hadn't played a lot. This guy [Myers] has played quite a bit, he caught 79 balls in Oakland. So there is not a lot of training. He is quarterback friendly. He catches 80 balls and people don't really know that much about him. We think he will be a great piece to our offense and we think Eli [Manning] will have a relationship with him really quickly."

JPP of TEs: Reese expects Adrien Robinson -- the "JPP of tight ends" -- to "make a jump" this season after spending his rookie season developing his game.

"The guy is 280 pounds, he ran a 4.57 at his pro day," Reese said. "We think he can develop into a terrific blocker. In practice, he flashed some things that were ... like some wild things in practice. We're expecting him to make a jump this season and get in there and give us some contributions as our big blocking tight end, and he can catch the ball really nice. We expect to bring him along and hopefully he will contribute for us."

Free-agency strategy: Reese says people ask him what his strategy is when it comes to free agency.

"I don't think there is a template," he said. "Some years you have more money than other years and you think. 'I can get out and strike quickly.' I remember one year we went out and got Antrel Rolle and then another year we went out and got [Chris] Canty and [Michael] Boley and we went out and got a center [David Baas] one time.

"So you have to strike when you can, but other times you have to sit back and wait and let the market settle down a little bit," he continued. "There are three levels of free agency. ... (You) have the first level; you get the guys out there who [are] going to get the money right away. Then there is a second level and then you can bottom feed on the guys left at the end."

Lawrence Tynes era likely over

March, 13, 2013
3/13/13
12:03
PM ET
The Giants will continue to lose longtime veterans this offseason.

It certainly appears that Lawrence Tynes' days with the Giants are coming to an end. A source confirmed the Giants will sign kicker Josh Brown, which was earlier reported by the Newark Star-Ledger.

Tynes is a free agent. The Giants have been preparing for life after Tynes by signing kicker David Buehler and kicker/punter Jake Rogers in the offseason.

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One thing the Giants could count on from Tynes was his ability to come through in the clutch. He helped the Giants march to two Super Bowls by making overtime field goals in the 2007 and 2011 NFC Championship Games.

Brown, 33, played in four games last year for the Cincinnati Bengals, converting 11-of-12 field goals and all eight of his extra point attempts in 2012.

He gives the Giants a big leg. Brown's career-long is from 58 yards out set back in his rookie season with Seattle in 2003. In nine of his 10 seasons, Brown has a season-high long of 52 yards or longer and has made 29-of-45 (64.4%) from 50 yards or longer in his career.

"We bring a lot of opportunities to score from a great distance," Brown said on Giants.com of what he can do with his new team. "We've kicked a number of 50-plus yarders and feel very comfortable from 55 and in, even in harsh winters and that and a lot of confidence."

So it appears Tynes will join Chris Canty, Ahmad Bradshaw and Michael Boley as veterans who are moving on after helping the Giants win a Super Bowl just over a year ago.

Canty signed with Baltimore on Tuesday and Bradshaw and Boley remain free agents after the Giants released them in February. And it's quite possible other veterans, like Osi Umenyiora, a free agent, could move on as well.

Staff moves: The Giants announced that Lunda Wells will move from offensive assistant to offensive line coach assistant. The team hired Ryan Roeder, a former Albany quarterback who spent the past three seasons coaching tight ends at Princeton, to be the team's offensive assistant. The Giants also hired Robbie Leonard, who was a defensive assistant at NC State, to be the defensive assistant. Leonard replaces Al Holcomb, who joined the Panthers as their new linebackers coach.

Tell us what you think of the Giants' new addition at kicker.

Giants bring in LB Brinkley

March, 13, 2013
3/13/13
11:37
AM ET
The Giants might not have a ton of money to spend in free agency, but they are focused on doing what they can to improve their defense.

A source confirmed that the Giants will have Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley in for a visit on Wednesday. Sirius' Adam Caplan first reported the visit.

Brinkley, 27, spent his first three NFL seasons in Minnesota, compiling 147 combined tackles and four forced fumbles. He had his best season last year with 99 total tackles and three forced fumbles.

The Giants finished 31st in total defense and 25th against the run last season. They are trying to shore up the defense, as they signed former Eagles defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins to help fill the interior after the team released Chris Canty. The Giants also added cornerback Aaron Ross, who is returning after leaving for Jacksonville last season in free agency.

The Giants have a need at linebacker after releasing Michael Boley in February. Chase Blackburn and Keith Rivers are also free agents.

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