New York Giants: Deon Grant

New York Giants draft wrap-up

May, 10, 2014
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NFC wrap-ups: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A wrap-up of the New York Giants' draft. Click here for a full list of Giants draftees.

[+] EnlargeWeston Richburg
AP Photo/G.M. AndrewsWeston Richburg, a center out of Colorado State, should be in a good position to compete for the Giants' starting job this season.
Best move: The Giants addressed an immediate and long-term need with the selection of Colorado State center Weston Richburg with the 11th pick of the second round. Richburg played multiple positions and in a variety of different offensive schemes in college, and his versatility, athleticism and intelligence make him a strong fit for the center spot in the Giants' new Ben McAdoo offense. I don't see any reason he can't beat out J.D. Walton for the job right away, and having a center who can handle a variety of responsibilities before the snap and after it should help the offensive line play on either side of him. Richburg's play can also offer the Giants a number of ways to jump-start a running game that never got going in 2013.

Riskiest move: The selection of LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with the 12th pick of the draft isn't "risky" in the traditional sense -- meaning, I don't think he's a threat to be a bust. I think Beckham is likely to be a very good player for the Giants. But passing on offensive lineman Zack Martin for a potential game-breaking receiver was a risky move. The Giants have let the offensive line decay too much in recent years, and Beckham's ability to separate from defenders isn't going to help them much if the line can't get the play blocked and Eli Manning doesn't have time to get him the ball. The Richburg selection mitigates things somewhat, but adding a first-round talent to the offensive line mix was the best move the Giants could have made in this draft, and they chose not to make it. There's a decent chance that will come back to bite them.

Most surprising move: It was surprising that Boston College running back Andre Williams was still available for the Giants in the fourth round, but it's not surprising they took him. He'll fill a role right away as a power back who can fight for tough yards in the middle of the line -- doing the dirty work while Rashad Jennings and maybe David Wilson get the highlight-reel work. The biggest surprise was the selection of Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley in the third round, with the No. 74 pick. This was a clear reach for a player who mainly had fifth- and sixth-round grades. And, although the Giants cited his 10 sacks from an interior line position in his senior season and the fact he was a team captain as support for the pick, even Bromley said he was shocked to be picked on the draft's second day.

File it away: San Diego State safety Nat Berhe was the Giants' pick in the fifth round, at No. 152. It's the second year in a row they took a safety with the No. 152 pick (Cooper Taylor in 2013). Berhe was also a reach but also a team captain/leader type, like almost everyone they picked. Scouting director Marc Ross said the Giants can envision Berhe as a hybrid safety in what Ross called a "Deon Grant role" in the defense. He wasn't necessarily talking about this year, but if Berhe develops, he could have a path to playing time. Taylor is the only Giants safety under contract beyond 2014 at this point. Antrel Rolle is in his final year; Stevie Brown is coming off ACL surgery; and Will Hill is facing a third drug suspension in as many years.
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.

W2W4: Giants rookie camp

May, 9, 2013
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Rookie camp opens on Friday, the day we eagerly get our first look at potential future Giants stars.

I'll be tweeting (@NotoriousOHM) and blogging from the first day of Giants rookie camp. In the meantime, here's some things to watch for on Friday and Saturday:

Nass appeal: Obviously Eli Manning won't be there, but we will get a first glimpse at Ryan Nassib.

Remember, the Giants did something rare in last month's draft. Not only did they trade up, but New York did so for a quarterback.

Yes, it will be his first professional baby steps and there's zero pressure on him since he is being groomed to back up Manning. But we still want to see what the kid has to offer.

Even though he won't be throwing to Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz, Nassib will have a lot of eyes on him.

Pugh debut: Besides Nassib, we'll be looking at that big guy protecting him -- Justin Pugh. Nassib's Syracuse buddy will make his Giants debut as well, and it will be interesting to see where the coaches line up their first-round pick. Will the versatile Pugh start off at right tackle?

If Pugh spends the majority of his rookie camp there, the Giants very well could be prepping their top pick to compete with David Diehl and James Brewer for the starting right tackle spot. Of course, it's a long, long way to go before training camp. But we'll get to see exactly how long -- or short -- those arms are on the field. Let's hope he doesn't get smothered by defensive linemen the way his boys piled on him on draft night.

Taylor made: One of the more intriguing draft picks is safety Cooper Taylor. He's got size (6-foot-4, 228 pounds) and was clocked at 4.49 in the 40-yard dash at Richmond’s pro day. The Giants say he can be a hybrid safety/linebacker and play that Deon Grant third safety role, but let's see how Perry Fewell uses him this weekend.

Big Hank and Da'Monster: The Giants, who wanted to get bigger and younger on the defensive line, drafted Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins and Texas A&M's Damontre Moore. Hankins is the big, wide-bodied defensive tackle whom the Giants hope will eat up a ton of space inside to stuff running backs. And Moore is the young productive sack machine the Giants hope will provide the pass rush a boost. Both are really young, with Hankins just 21 years old and Moore only 20.

Mr. Pancake: Seventh-round pick Eric Herman was credited with an amazing total of 335.5 pancakes in his career at Ohio. Needless to say, I will be on the lookout for any more pancakes delivered on Friday by the 6-foot-4, 320-pound guard.

Tell us who you are most curious about in this weekend's rookie camp.

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.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Antrel Rolle may have to cover slot receivers again after all.

After coming into camp thinking he would be able to play like more of a traditional safety, and be more of a ball hawk, Rolle likely will be covering slot receivers again this season due to Terrell Thomas' injury.

"That loss was painful," Merritt said of Thomas re-injuring his right ACL. "It happened last year. And Antrel went back and studied some of his cornerback skills when he was in Arizona and he had to go down and play in that slot area."

"We’d love to have him at safety," Merritt added, "but we’re going to put him in the best position we can afford to help ourselves as a team."

Merritt had a conversation with Rolle two days ago and told the safety the Giants wanted him to get more reps against the slot. Rolle said that wasn't a problem.

"And then of course, after the Terrell Thomas situation, I went back to him again," Merritt said. "I said, 'OK Antrel, you need to think of yourself as a starter at that position." He said, 'Whatever it takes.' Antrel has been a tremendous leader for us. His ability to be able to play on the slot, in the box as a deep-field safety ... it’s something that you just don’t have on each team."

Of course, Merritt admits that in order to put Rolle down against the slot, the team will need a third safety, like they had last season in Deon Grant. And that has become a bit problematic now with Tyler Sash suspended for the first four games of the season.

In order to keep Rolle at his traditional safety spot, the Giants would need a cornerback like Prince Amukamara, Michael Coe, Justin Tryon, Jayron Hosley or Bruce Johnson to emerge as an option to cover the slot. That is a possibility. But Rolle is the best option -- at least the one they trust the most right now.

Merritt also said the Giants could use a linebacker, like Jacquian Williams or Keith Rivers, to play the Grant role from last year when Rolle is in the slot, unless there are three receivers on the field.

"We won a Super Bowl with that one," Merritt said of using Rolle on slot receivers. "So it wasn’t too bad."

Steppin' to the A.M.: Love Jones

August, 1, 2012
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- The Giants go back to work today at 1:30 p.m., but before then they surely will be asked about their reaction to Jerry Jones' remark.

The Giants surely will love Jones providing them with this bulletin board material: "Y'all should come to that (Cowboys) stadium and watch us beat the Giants' ass," Jones told fans during a ceremony to open Cowboys training camp Monday, according to ESPNDallas.com.

Stay tuned for reaction later today.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Terrell Thomas headed west to consult with a doctor about his injured right ACL. Michael Boley's hamstring injury also is not considered serious, according to a source.

If Thomas is out indefinitely or for the season, here's a look at some of the Giants' options.

And perhaps the one scenario the Giants would like to see come to fruition is Prince Amukamara stepping up. Is the Prince ready?

The Giants also might be in the market for another safety after the NFL suspended Tyler Sash for four games due to violation of the performance enhancing substance policy. Could Deon Grant be coming back soon?

Plan B: Thomas contingency options

July, 31, 2012
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Terrell Thomas is heading west to consult with Dr. Arthur Ting on his injured right ACL.

Ting performed an allograft reconstruction of the ACL last September and Thomas likely will undergo an arthroscopic procedure to determine the full damage to his knee.

A source said Monday that Thomas' knee has at least a partial tear. Considering this is the third time he has injured his right ACL since 2005, Thomas could miss significant time, if not the entire season. We'll still have to wait for final word.

While we wait, let's take a look at what the Giants might do if Thomas is out indefinitely or for the season.

THE REPLACEMENTS: GM Jerry Reese knew there was a risk with Thomas' knee. That is why Thomas only got $1 million guaranteed in a signing bonus when he re-signed this offseason, and why the Giants have a $6 million option on Thomas next March. It is also why he brought so many cornerbacks into camp. Here's a look at some of the guys who could start opposite Corey Webster:

Amukamara
Amukamara
Prince Amukamara: Reese says his expectation is for Amukamara to play like the 19th overall pick of the 2011 draft. And if Prince does that, he'll be the starter if Thomas is out for the season. It may take some time, though, for Amukamara to win the job. The lockout last year cost him his first offseason of vital classroom time with coaches. He missed pretty much all of camp and most of his rookie season due to a foot injury. So this is his first true year of NFL training and coaching. He has flashed some of his skills so far with an interception and some tight coverage the past couple of days in camp. Prince is the guy the Giants would like to become the starter, but they won't rush him into that spot.

Coe
Coe
Michael Coe: The veteran cornerback is attempting a comeback from a season-ending shoulder injury suffered last year. He has pretty much been the guy starting at corner when Thomas wasn't on the field in practice during OTAs, minicamp and training camp. Coe is a solid veteran presence and he might be the front-runner for the job until Prince emerges.

Tryon
Tryon
Justin Tryon: Tryon is scrappy and quick, works hard and the Giants like him. He is coming off a season-ending broken arm suffered last year. He and Coe have impressed in OTAs and minicamp and he definitely is in the mix to replace Thomas as the starter and could be right there on the depth chart with Coe. Tryon is a good special teams player as well.

Johnson
Johnson
Bruce Johnson: Johnson was off to a great start at camp last year before he ruptured his Achilles tendon. He is back and has been working with the second-team defense. He is solid and the Giants have always liked him.

Jayron Hosley: The Giants drafted Hosley in the third round this year and Reese likened him to Pacman Jones on the field, as far as how he plays bigger and stronger than his 5-10 frame. Hosley might need more time to get acclimated to the defense and pro game, but he has flashed speed during camp. He also could be a special teams factor eventually. He suffered a laceration to his knee, though, on Monday and required stitches.

Other options in camp (but more likely depth) include Antwaun Molden, Brandon Bing, Dante Hughes and CB/S Janzen Jackson.

Grant
Grant
POTENTIAL MOVE: If Thomas is out for the year and the Giants place him on IR, they could always bring back veteran safety Deon Grant. Grant isn't a cornerback, but he was a pivotal piece in Perry Fewell's defense. He would allow the Giants to play their three-safety look again and perhaps use Antrel Rolle on slot receivers again if there isn't a cornerback to emerge that they trust against slot receivers.

Last year, when Thomas and so many other corners were lost for the season, the Giants went with three safeties and Grant would provide them with one more guy to help the coverage team. Grant's knowledge of the defense is excellent and he was one of the most respected leaders in the locker room.

The Giants also could wait to see what else becomes available later in camp and if any cornerbacks are released by other teams. If they don't bring Grant back, they could use Thomas' roster spot to keep another safety like Stevie Brown or Will Hill if Thomas is out for the season.

In the meantime, we'll wait to see the final word with Thomas. Fewell has said in the past that the team had a Plan B in place in case Thomas wasn't ready to come back.

Tell us who you want to replace Thomas if he is out indefinitely below.
The news out of New York Giants training camp in Albany on Monday was not good. The team announced that cornerback Terrell Thomas, who is attempting to come back from a second tear of the ACL in his right knee, has suffered another injury to that ligament. They have not announced that it is torn again -- only that he'll have arthroscopic surgery to determine the extent of the injury. But should they go in there with the scope and find that it's torn again, Thomas will have to miss the 2012 season and possibly worry about the remainder of his career.

Thomas
Thomas
"Terrell re-injured his ACL," Giants senior vice president of medical services Ronnie Barnes said in a statement released by the team. "At this point, he will most likely undergo an arthroscopic procedure to determine the extent of the injury to the ACL. However, no decision has been made at this point. Terrell is going to consult with Dr. (Arthur) Ting, who performed an allograft reconstruction of the ACL in September."

The first and most important thing to note about this is that it would be awful news for Thomas personally. The main reason players generally don't come back from a second torn ACL is that most of them aren't able to get through the grueling, one-year rehab for a second time. Thomas did that and went to training camp determined to reclaim his status as a Giants starter and an emerging star cornerback. If he's torn it again, he'll be devastated, and the prospect of a third rehab just for a chance at a comeback will appear staggeringly difficult. No matter who your favorite team is, if you're human, you have to hurt for a guy in this situation. The game is just very cruel.

As for the impact on the team, the Giants are actually fairly well positioned to handle the loss of Thomas again. It's not ideal, certainly, and one of the main reasons they so easily parted company with free-agent Aaron Ross (who started in Thomas' place last season) was because of their belief that Thomas would come back healthy. But they always knew there was a chance he wouldn't, and 2011 first-round pick Prince Amukamara waits in the wings as the most likely replacement. The Giants also drafted cornerback Jayron Hosley in the third round of April's draft, and have depth on the roster in the form of guys like Michael Coe, Justin Tryon and Antwaun Molden.

There's also the chance that they could bring back veteran safety Deon Grant, who re-signed during training camp last season once injuries began to deplete the secondary. After Grant signed last year, they were able to use safety Antrel Rolle as their nickel cornerback with Grant and Kenny Phillips at safety. So keep an eye on that possibility.

As for money, the only guaranteed money in Thomas' new contract, per Mike Garafolo, is his $1 million signing bonus. The contract was structured in such a way as to protect the Giants financially in case Thomas got injured again.

Obviously, their preference would be for the news to come back better than expected so they could pay him the full amount of his contract to start and play for them. But right now, it doesn't sound good.

Camp Confidential: New York Giants

July, 29, 2012
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- The task for New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, as he works this summer to keep his Super Bowl champions from getting complacent, is to remind them of all of the things about which they have no right to be complacent.

In a meeting on the first day of camp, Coughlin showed his team a few stats. Under the heading "Worst to Best," he reminded the Giants that they ranked last in the league in rushing offense in the 2011 regular season and 27th in total defense. He put up the number 400, which is the number of points the Giants allowed en route to a 9-7 regular-season record -- more than all but seven teams in the league, not one of which reached the playoffs.

"There's a lot of improvement to be made," Coughlin said after Saturday's practice. "And the challenge has been, 'Which team are we?' Are we the 7-7 team, or are we the Super Bowl champions?"

They are both, of course. They are the team that went 7-7 in its first 14 games, playing inconsistent defense, running the ball into the backs of its linemen and asking quarterback Eli Manning to bring it back from behind in the fourth quarter almost every week. But they are also the team that galvanized itself after its Week 15 loss to the Redskins and won six in a row, including the Super Bowl. Coughlin wants his charges to remember both parts and give them equal weight. The latter part, he says, gives the Giants the confidence to know they can fight through any challenge. The former reminds them of how much work they have to do.

"I think last year was a tale of two teams," defensive end Justin Tuck said. "The first half was the tale of a team that didn't play well together, had egos, was injured, didn't have a full complement of players. And the second half was us coming together. 'All-in' became our slogan, and guys really checked their egos at the door and sacrificed whatever personal things we had to become that great team."

The knowledge that they're capable of being the best team in the league is a helpful thing for the Giants to carry with them. But the tone here at Giants training camp is not one of cockiness or a Super Bowl hangover. The Giants are a serious, professional bunch whose hope is to maintain the intense focus of those final six games and apply it over the course of at least 16 this time around. Tuck said the Giants can trust in "the mental compass of this team" to make sure the issues that plagued them last year don't resurface, and as they go through their preparations for 2012, that is the priority.

"We've got to find a way to get our work done," Tuck said. "That's the only way you win championships."

THREE HOT ISSUES

[+] EnlargeWill Beatty
AP Photo/Evan PinkusInjuries have kept Will Beatty from establishing at left tackle, making him the biggest uncertainty on an uncertain offensive line.
1. Can Will Beatty play left tackle? The offensive line is the biggest question, and the key to the line is Beatty, who still has yet to establish himself as the reliable starter the Giants believe he can be at left tackle. He missed the final six games of the regular season with an eye injury and says the good thing about that is he didn't beat up his body as badly as the rest of his teammates did, but he did miss the reps and the experience he would have accrued had he been able to complete his first year as a starter. So he remains a question.

"That's definitely something that he's got to work at," right tackle David Diehl said. "When you miss that much time of football, you've got to get back at things, and he missed some time during minicamp due to a back injury, so he's got his work cut out for him to come into this season. But we all know he's physically capable."

2. Who replaces Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham? They weren't starters, but Jacobs had 167 touches last year and Manningham caught 39 passes. They will need to be replaced, and the candidates to do so are young and unproven. First-round pick David Wilson is competing with D.J. Ware and Da'Rel Scott to be the backup running back behind Ahmad Bradshaw. Second-round pick Rueben Randle is competing with Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan and Ramses Barden to be the No. 3 wide receiver. Training camp and the preseason will be a tryout camp for the guys at those positions. Starting wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are excellent, as is Bradshaw if he can keep his feet healthy all year. But this offense likes to spread it around, and some of the players in these competitions must step up as reliable options.

3. Is Terrell Thomas back? The Giants' secondary was more good than bad last year, but it did have its bad moments. Thomas, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the preseason and missed all of 2011, believes he's healthy and ready to reclaim his position as an emerging star at cornerback. If he's not, the Giants will look to 2011 first-round pick Prince Amukamara to man the cornerback spot opposite Corey Webster. But Amukamara comes with plenty of his own questions, and the Giants need this camp to help them figure out exactly what they have on the back end of that defense. The pass rush remains excellent and the linebacking depth is improved, but if there's a spot at which the defense is a bump or a bruise away from being very wobbly, it's that secondary.

REASON FOR OPTIMISM

Where the Giants are strong, they are as strong as anyone in the league. The pass rush, led by defensive ends Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora, is fearsome when only two of that threesome are healthy. If all three can stay healthy this year, they should be devastating. "That's our strength, no question," Tuck said. "We know it. It's a lot of pressure on us, but we thrive on it, and hopefully we can build on last year and play 16 games together this year so we can see how scary that can be."

They're also obviously quite strong at quarterback, where Manning has established himself as the most clutch player in the league. He led seven fourth-quarter comebacks last year, including one in the NFC Championship Game and one in the Super Bowl. He never misses a game, works hard at making those around him better and has become the unquestioned leader of the team. In a quarterback-driven league, the Giants wouldn't trade their guy for anyone.

REASON FOR PESSIMISM

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
Elsa/Getty Images"Let's not overuse it," Eli Manning says of his abillity to lead late comebacks, something he did seven times last season.
The one potential downside to that last thing, however, is that the Giants may have come to count on Manning too much. Manning himself said that, while knowing you can make a fourth-quarter comeback is nice, the Giants need to stop making them so necessary.

"It kind of means, when you're doing that a bunch, that you're not playing real well the first three quarters," Manning said. "So let's step it up and play with that kind of energy and enthusiasm and that 'Hey, we need to score here' kind of attitude in the first three quarters. Obviously I still want it at the end, and there's going to be some games where you need it. But let's not overuse it, because sometimes you're going to get a bad break. Sometimes the ball's going to get tipped. Sometimes a bad play is going to happen and then you're just out of time. So let's not always put ourselves in that situation."

The Giants didn't actively go out and get many solutions to the problems that put Manning in those situations so often last year. They're relying on the guys they have to play better and stay healthier. And if they don't ... well, you just can't count on seven fourth-quarter comebacks every year, no matter how good your quarterback is.

OBSERVATION DECK

  • It looks as though Chase Blackburn will begin the season as the starting middle linebacker, though newcomer Keith Rivers could overtake him if he shows the ability to play the middle. The second-team middle linebacker right now is Mark Herzlich, who also could overtake Blackburn if healthy and leave Rivers in a utility linebacker role. This is suddenly a position of great depth for the Giants, who have four second-year linebackers they like as well as Rivers and starting outside linebackers Michael Boley and Mathias Kiwanuka.
  • Don't assume rookie Wilson wins the backup running back job just because he was picked in the first round. The Giants love him, but they'll be perfectly willing to keep him in the background and develop him if he doesn't show enough in camp and someone such as Ware does. Wilson is getting a lot of practice reps, so they will be able to make a thorough judgment on him, but he's still behind Ware on the depth chart.
  • Former Giants safety Deon Grant said last week that he expects to re-sign with the Giants at some point during camp, but I did not get that vibe from the Giants. They feel good about their linebacker and cornerback depth, and barring injury, I don't think they'll feel the need to bring back Grant and run all of those three-safety sets they ran the past couple of seasons.
  • Beatty said he came to camp lighter this year (310 pounds) than last (319). He believes he can put the weight back on as muscle now that he's able to work out again. After he injured his back and developed a sciatic nerve problem during minicamp last year, he was unable to work out the way he usually does in the summer.
  • While the Giants' pass rush is keyed around their defensive ends, they believe second-year defensive tackle Marvin Austin can help them generate more pressure up the middle on first and second downs. "He's a fast-twitch guy, especially for a 320-pounder," Tuck said of Austin, who missed his senior season at North Carolina in 2010 due to suspension and his rookie NFL season in 2011 due to injury.
  • Should something happen to Beatty or Diehl, the Giants hope 2011 fourth-round pick James Brewer can be a reliable first option as backup at either tackle position. Their hope is that he develops into a reliable right tackle who can eventually replace Diehl, though they're not expecting that this season.
  • Fullback Henry Hynoski caught passes out of the backfield early in camp. He's good at it, and especially given the Giants' questions at tight end, it's an option you should probably expect them to use in the passing game.

Day 3: Steppin' to the A.M.

July, 29, 2012
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- It's another overcast morning here in Albany with a 40-percent chance of rain when the Giants practice at 1:30 p.m. again.

Saturday they almost got in a full practice in dry conditions before rain came down in the last half an hour.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: GM Jerry Reese met with reporters yesterday and said that a Victor Cruz extension is a possibility.

Reese also said he would be open to bringing Deon Grant back but wants to see how some of his young safeties in camp do first.

Jerrel Jernigan looked good in the team's second practice. But Cruz put on a show for the fans.

And Chris Canty says the Giants are motivated by how some "peers" believe that the Giants got lucky winning it all last season.

Notebook: Reese keeps Grant option open

July, 28, 2012
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ALBANY, N.Y. –- Jerry Reese left the door open for the possibility of a Deon Grant reunion.

The veteran safety remains unsigned but recently said he expects to re-sign with the Giants sometime during camp.

“We keep the book open on everything and keep all our options open,” Reese said. “You never know what (will) happen, but we have some young safeties we want to take a look at. Deon’s still out there and he did a really nice job for us last year, so we’ll keep those options open.”

Grant was one of the most respected voices in the locker room last season and a vocal leader on defense. He was a pivotal part of the Giants’ three-safety look used often over the past two seasons.

This season, the Giants have Tyler Sash, Stevie Brown, Will Hill, Chris Horton, S/CB Janzen Jackson and Jojo Nicolas behind Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips at safety.

If the Giants don’t like what they see behind Rolle and Phillips, they could opt to bring Grant back.

Reese was also asked about the possibility of bringing back right tackle Kareem McKenzie if there is an injury on the line.

“We’ll keep all our options,” Reese said.

WILSON TALKS: David Wilson met with reporters for the first time in camp and the first-round pick was asked about how he has impressed many with his speed.

“That’s crazy because a lot of great players have come through here,” Wilson said. “Me having a so-called speed advantage over them, it makes me wonder how my career will turn out.”

Wilson has displayed terrific quickness and the ability to stop, cut and change direction in a flash.

On Friday, he had to wait to get some carries as he was behind Ahmad Bradshaw, D.J. Ware, Andre Brown and Da’Rel Scott.

“It’s good because I get to watch them and make sure I do it right,” Wilson said. “I’m the new guy and that’s the way it was everywhere I started.”

THOMAS RETURNS: Terrell Thomas returned to practice after his back tightened up and kept him from finishing practice on Friday.

“I feel a lot better,” said Thomas, who also distributed Thomas T-shirts to fans on Saturday at practice. “It’s just a freak accident, something I haven’t had since college. I pretty much just had a back spasm that locked up on me.”

Grant expects to return to Giants

July, 23, 2012
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Deon Grant remains unsigned as the Giants near training camp. But he told his hometown newspaper that he expects to return to the defending Super Bowl champions.

According to the Augusta Chronicle, Grant expects to re-sign with the Giants at some point during camp. Last season, Grant didn't sign until a few weeks into camp.

The Giants currently have Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips as their starting safeties. Grant was the team's third safety in Perry Fewell's three-safety look which was used often over the past two seasons. Grant is a highly-respected voice in the locker room. At the moment, Tyler Sash is considered the third safety with Stevie Brown, Chris Horton and Will Hill among the safeties competing for a roster spot.

Grant, 33, is entering his 13th season but says he feels better than he has in a few years.

“This is the first year in three or four years –- and this was the longest one -– that I can say I came out completely healthy,” Grant told the Chronicle after being honored with an exhibit at the Augusta Museum of History. “I revamped everything and my body feels wonderful right now.”

The coaching staff has been impressed by Brown and Hill so far. But Grant provides veteran experience and knows Fewell's defense.

Camp preview: Defensive backs

July, 18, 2012
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As training camp approaches we're taking a look at the defending champions, position by position.

Position: Defensive backs.

Projected starters: CB Corey Webster, CB Terrell Thomas, S Antrel Rolle and S Kenny Phillips.

Win McNamee/Getty ImagesTerrell Thomas, who signed a new contract in the offseason, is returning from a knee injury.


Projected reserves: CB Prince Amukamara, CB Jayron Hosley, CB Michael Coe, CB Justin Tryon, S Tyler Sash, S Stevie Brown.

New faces: Hosley, Brown, CB Antwaun Molden, S Chris Horton, S Will Hill, DB Janzen Jackson, DB Dante Hughes and S JoJo Nicolas.

Going, going, gone: CB Aaron Ross, S Deon Grant, S Will Blackmon and DB Derrick Martin.

Player to watch: Thomas. He has been cleared for training camp coming off the second torn ACL injury of his football career. He was having an outstanding camp last year and was poised for perhaps his best season before he suffered his season-ending knee injury in a preseason game. Thomas is motivated to prove that he can return to the level he was at before; if he can, the Giants secondary will be better than it was last season with one of its best tackling defenders back opposite Webster. Thomas may also cover slot receivers as well.

Potential strength: The secondary will be a competitive unit in training camp and might be deeper than last season if healthy. GM Jerry Reese signed Brown, Molden and Horton while drafting Hosley in the third round. Thomas said that Coe and Tryon shined during OTAs and minicamp while getting extra reps in his place as he took things slow with his surgically repaired knee. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell also praised CB Brandon Bing for his play during OTAs.

Amukamara should improve in his second season even though he missed most of his rookie year due to a foot injury. And if Amukamara isn't ready for more snaps, veterans like Coe, Tryon, Molden and potentially Bruce Johnson, who missed all of last season due to injury, can step up. Due to injuries last season, Rolle had to take on even more responsibilities such as covering slot receivers at times. With a healthier secondary, Rolle should be able to return to playing a more familiar role at safety and be the ball hawk that he yearns to be.

Potential weakness: Health. Thomas, Coe, Tryon and Johnson are all returning from season-ending injuries. If Thomas struggles to regain his form, the Giants will need someone else to step up. Amukamara required an injection to help strengthen his foot, which kept him out for half of last season. Health is always a concern for the Giants and their secondary. The Giants also lose valuable experience and leadership with Grant still unsigned.

Wild card: Amukamara. He lost most of his rookie season and valuable experience and coaching due to his broken foot suffered in training camp. The Giants drafted him in the first round in 2011 with hopes that he will become a starting cornerback soon. The hope for this season is that he will replace Ross as the third cornerback, mature and show his first-round pedigree.

Spotlight: Replacing Deon Grant

June, 22, 2012
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Now that minicamp is over, we're going to take a look at a Giants player or specific unit or issue each day this week.

SPOTLIGHT: Replacing safety Deon Grant.

THE 411: Grant remains unsigned and the Giants appear content to see what they have at safety on the roster for now. Grant is extremely popular in the locker room and not only brought veteran leadership but he had a calming presence on guys like Antrel Rolle.

He also brought some versatility on the field. He was a staple in Perry Fewell's defense as the third safety on the field. He could help cover tight ends or some receivers as Fewell trusted his three safeties.

But this season, Fewell has more options at linebacker. Chase Blackburn's knowledge of the defense and on-field leadership and the addition of Keith Rivers allows Fewell the option of playing more three-linebacker looks whether they are anticipating run or pass. On running downs, Fewell can go with Blackburn, Mathias Kiwanuka and Michael Boley. And on passing downs, instead of trotting out three safeties, he can perhaps use Boley, Jacquian Williams and Rivers.

And he still could have the option of going with three safeties with Rolle, Kenny Phillips and whoever emerges as the Giants' third safety.

THE COMPETITION: Second-year safety Tyler Sash is considered the leading candidate to replace Grant. Sash, though, battled a hamstring injury in OTAs and minicamp.

The Giants signed Stevie Brown and Chris Horton during free agency and added Will Hill, Jojo Nicholas and Janzen Jackson as undrafted free agents.

The Giants like Sash's ability and he's a valuable contributor on special teams. The 5-11 Brown has impressed the coaching staff in minicamp. The 6-1 Horton will likely have to make an impact on special teams. Hill, a New Jersey prep legend, has also impressed coaches as he tries to stick in the NFL. He left Florida early in hopes of being drafted, but off-the-field issues have overshadowed his talent and potential. Jackson also is an intriguing talent who has had to deal with off-the-field controversy that may have scared teams from drafting him. The Giants have used Jackson some as a cornerback in practices.

WHAT THE COACHES ARE SAYING: Fewell said Brown and Hill stood out as backup safeties who impressed him in minicamp.

"Brown really showed me some things that I did not see in his workout," Fewell said. "Steve did a really good job of covering some ground from the post position, from the half position. I thought he had some blitz ability when we worked on the blitzes. He was a guy that I thought, 'hey, we can do some multiple things with.' I didn't think that initially but after OTAs and minicamp, I thought he did some nice things for us."

"I still like Will Hill," Fewell continued. "I think he is a talented young man. The volume of things that we do, you could see taxed him a little bit. Again, we will try to put him in a position where he can have some success and not have so much to think about."

CAMP PREDICTION: This could shape up to be a two-man competition between Sash and Brown for the third safety spot. The Giants like Hill's potential and athleticism but he might not be ready yet and could be a practice squad candidate depending on how he continues to progress in camp.

No matter who wins the job, my guess is the Giants play in fewer three-safety looks this season with Grant gone and the addition of Rivers and more options at linebacker. Fewell said he still could use the look and wants to have the flexibility to do so. It sounds like Brown has done enough to impress Fewell to be utilized in certain packages. Fewell could also use an additional cornerback on the field as well.

And, I suppose we can't completely discount the notion of Grant returning. After all, the Giants re-signed Grant in the middle of training camp last year and there's always a chance they could do so again if there are injuries or the Giants don't like what they see at safety behind Rolle and Phillips.

Tell us what you think the Giants should do with their third safety spot and what you think of the candidates below.

Giants enter second week of free agency

March, 19, 2012
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The Giants enter week two of free agency having strengthened the depth in the secondary while also adding a tight end in Martellus Bennett.

They re-signed two of their biggest free agents in Terrell Thomas and Steve Weatherford. The next guy they likely want to re-sign is Jonathan Goff.

They did lose Mario Manningham in free agency, as expected, and Aaron Ross left shortly after for Jacksonville. The Giants could be looking for veterans on the cheap from here on out to remain fiscally responsible since they have to pay some of their young stars down the road.

Below is an constantly updated list of their own free agents and free agents signed from elsewhere:

Exclusive rights free agents:
TE Bear Pascoe -- Will return.

Giants unrestricted free agents:
CB Will Blackmon -- Saw some time on special teams as a returner but Giants need to upgrade at returner. Coaching staff likes Blackmon.
DE Dave Tollefson -- Looking to see what market has to offer. Visited with Seattle and Green Bay. Oakland and Tampa Bay also have interest.
DT Rocky Bernard -- Giants brought him back last year on the cheap and could again this year.
DT Jimmy Kennedy -- Largely inactive most of last season.
LB Chase Blackburn -- Huge addition late in the season. Can the Giants bring him back on the cheap? Giants have had some discussions with the linebacker.
LB Jonathan Goff -- Giants want the MLB, who is coming off an ACL injury. Visited with Cleveland as he looks to see what he can get on the market.
OT Stacy Andrews -- His brother, Shawn, tweeted that Andrews is healthy after a blood-clot scare that landed him in IR. Giants liked him as extra blocker when healthy.
OT Kareem McKenzie -- Long-time RT expected to move on in free agency. David Diehl says he will play LT or RT if needed.
OT Tony Ugoh -- Filled in for Andrews as extra blocker.
S Deon Grant -- Loved by teammates and Perry Fewell's third safety. Giants did sign safeties Chris Horton and Stevie Brown for depth and special teams.
S Derrick Martin -- Giants have added depth in secondary in free agency so far.
WR Michael Clayton -- Veteran contributed on special teams before landing on IR with injury.

Giants free agents re-signed:
CB Terrell Thomas -- Will start opposite Corey Webster once knee is ready.
P Steve Weatherford -- Punter gets five-year deal.
TE Jake Ballard -- Exclusive rights free agent re-signed.
WR Domenik Hixon -- Attempting to come back from second consecutive torn ACL.
CB Bruce Johnson -- Restricted free agent re-signed, adds depth at corner.
QB David Carr -- Re-signed.
CB Michael Coe -- Adds depth at corner.
CB Justin Tryon -- Adds depth at corner.

Giants free agents departing:
WR Mario Manningham -- Signed a two-year deal with San Francisco. Brandon Jacobs, who was released, joined Manningham in SF as well.
CB Aaron Ross -- Agreed to a three-year deal worth up to $15.3 million with the Jaguars.
WR Devin Thomas -- Signed a one-year deal with Chicago.

Free agent signings:
S Stevie Brown -- Signs one-year deal to add depth and potentially help on special teams.
S Chris Horton -- Signs a one-year minimum deal, adds depth and potential special teams contributor.
TE Martellus Bennett -- Wants to prove what he can do as a starter.
T Joel Reinders --He is 6-8 and 317 pounds, was in camp with Cleveland in 2010. Started out as a basketball player at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
TE Larry Donnell -- The 6-6, 269-pound tight end had 38 catches for 432 yards and 11 touchdowns at Grambling State from 2007-10.

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