New York Giants: Marvin Austin

Giants' last five drafts: 2011

April, 16, 2014
With the NFL draft still a relatively painful three weeks and one day away, we're taking a look this week at the New York Giants' last five drafts to see how much they've helped. Today we look at the 2011 draft, which saw the Giants pick a defensive back in the first round and then kind of flail around a bit.

The Picks

First round (19th overall): Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

Second round (52): Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina

Third round (83): Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy

Fourth round (117): James Brewer, OT, Indiana

Sixth round (185): Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State

Sixth round (198): Tyler Sash, S, Iowa

Sixth round (202): Jacquian Williams, LB, South Florida

Seventh round (221): Da'Rel Scott, RB, Maryland

Still with Giants: Amukamara, Jernigan, Brewer, Williams

Still in NFL: Austin (Cowboys), Jones (Titans),

Games played with Giants

Amukamara: 36

Austin: 8

Jernigan: 36

Brewer: 24

Jones: 20

Sash: 29

Williams: 46

Scott: 20

Review: The Giants have already received more in terms of playing time and production from the second half of their 2011 draft class than they did from their 2009 and 2010 draft classes. Williams was a strong performer during the 2011 playoff run, especially in the NFC Championship Game victory in San Francisco, and could end up being a starter at linebacker this year with a good camp. Jernigan showed something as a Victor Cruz replacement in the final weeks of 2013. And Amukamara is a legitimate starting NFL cornerback. But all of that said, Austin was a swing-and-a-miss in the second round as an injury guy they hoped would work out. Brewer hasn't turned into anything in spite of repeated opportunities. And Jones, Sash and Scott were bit players at best at their peaks. Again, as we've discussed all week, you don't assume you're getting anything in those fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. But if you go three or four years without hitting on anything at all in those rounds, your roster gets thin in a hurry. If you've been following this series all week, you've seen that the Giants haven't turned up many helpers in the late rounds in the last half-decade. This draft was about Amukamara, a guy who fell to No. 19 in spite of pre-draft projections that had him in the top 10, and not much else.

Grade: D.

New York Giants cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
Most significant move: It was 2011 second-round draft pick Marvin Austin who was the odd man out of the numbers game at defensive tackle when the New York Giants announced their final roster cuts Saturday night. Austin was beaten out for a roster spot by former Eagle Mike Patterson, whose final two years in Philadelphia were negatively impacted by a brain condition for which he underwent surgery. Patterson and veteran Shaun Rogers were impressive in camp and will join a deep defensive tackle rotation along with starters Linval Joseph and Cullen Jenkins as well as 2013 second-rounder Johnathan Hankins. The reason the move is possibly significant is that this was the position from which the Giants were most likely to cut someone who could be of use to another team. If I'm the Dallas Cowboys, who are banged-up and shorthanded on the defensive line and play the Giants eight days from right now I'm looking into Austin if only for some intel on the enemy. Austin showed potential, but early-career injury issues held back his development, and he didn't perform well enough this offseason to earn a place on the team.

Shorthanded September?: Obviously, there are always more moves to come in the next few days as the Giants sort through the waiver process and see which players who just became available today could be of use to them. One spot where the Giants likely will look to beef up is at running back. They terminated the contract of Ryan Torain, leaving them with four running backs on the roster -- starter David Wilson, backups Michael Cox and Da'Rel Scott and "co-starter" Andre Brown, who's likely out four to six weeks with a fracture in his left leg. Keeping Brown indicates that the Giants do indeed expect him back at some point during the season, but it also leaves them with only three healthy backs to start the season. It's possible they could put Brown on injured reserve with a designation to return this season, but they can't do that until Tuesday. If they did, they could add a running back (or a player at some other position). Brown is one of at least seven players (along with Victor Cruz, Henry Hynoski, David Baas, David Diehl, Jason Pierre-Paul and Damontre Moore) whose status for the early part of the season is in doubt or worse due to injury, so there may not be a lot of wiggle room in picking inactives for the opener.

What's next: Based on performance, the release of Tyler Sash isn't overly surprising, but it does leave the Giants thin at the safety position and leads you to believe they'll try to acquire another safety at some point this week. The first name that will jump to mind is that of former Giant Kenny Phillips, who obviously knows the defense and was released by the Eagles last week. But don't assume they'll view Phillips as their best option. The main reason they let him go this offseason was their concern that he'd never be able to get his knee fully healthy, and the reason the Eagles (who aren't exactly strong at safety themselves) let him go was because he couldn't get healthy enough to practice. The Giants like what rookie Cooper Taylor has shown lately, and they like Will Hill as an option at safety, so they may decide they only need to weather the four games for which Hill is suspended to start the season. While Phillips is a possibility, there will be other choices, and likely a few the Giants like better.

Giants moves:

Waived: DE Matt Broha, OT Stephen Goodin, S David Caldwell, OL Matt McCants, CB Charles James, CB Terrence Frederick, WR Julian Talley, LB Kyle Bosworth, DE Adrian Tracy, DE Adewale Ojomo, DT Marvin Austin, OL Eric Herman, OL Bryant Browning, WR Kevin Hardy, WR Marcus Harris

Contracts terminated: QB David Carr, RB Ryan Torain

Waived/injured: S Tyler Sash, OL Selvish Capers

Reserve/physically unable to perform list: DT Markus Kuhn (knee)

Injured reserve: WR Ramses Barden (knee)

Suspended: S Will Hill

Welcome to cut-down day

August, 31, 2013
Ah, yes. That gloriously inexplicable day for fans to obsess over players who are either not good enough or barely good enough to make their team. NFL teams must trim their rosters from 75 to 53 by 6 p.m. ET, and I shall, of course, be here to track all of the New York Giants' moves. The agent for defensive end Matt Broha, for instance, has already tweeted that Broha will be hitting the waiver wire. Possible practice squad candidate if he gets through waivers, but certainly not a surprise cut.

The interesting story of the day to me is what the Giants do with regard to running back Andre Brown, who fractured his left leg in Thursday night's preseason game in New England. The early timetable for Brown's recovery is four to six weeks, which would seem to indicate they could keep him on the 53-man roster and wait it out. But if they're concerned the recovery might last longer than that, they could place him on injured reserve.

Now, there are two types of injured reserve. The first is the season-ending type. If the Giants put Brown on IR today, he's out for the year, no questions asked. The other type is the injured reserve with a designation for return, which would allow Brown to return as long as he sits out at least six weeks of practice and at least eight weeks' worth of games. But teams can't use that designation until Tuesday, which means Brown would have to first make the 53-man roster today and then be designated Tuesday. At that time, the Giants could add a player, but they'd have to cut someone today to hold a spot for Brown. Also, teams may only use the IR/designated for return on one player per season, so if they used it on Brown and someone else suffered a six-week or eight-week injury in September, they would face a tough decision on that player.

Other key decisions loom at backup quarterback, where Curtis Painter and David Carr have fought it out for one spot, and at defensive tackle, where the team may be debating whether to give up on 2011 second-round pick Marvin Austin in favor of impressive veteran Mike Patterson.

As I said, I'll keep you posted throughout the day.
A look at some of the tough decisions confronting the New York Giants in advance of Saturday's 6 p.m. ET deadline to reduce their roster to 53 players.

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

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

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

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

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

Notebook: Torain and Scott ready to fill in

August, 30, 2013
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Saturday's final cuts day will be a nerve-wracking one for Da'Rel Scott.

But the New York Giants backup running back hoped he showed he might help fill the void left by when Andre Brown suffered a broken leg in Thursday's 28-20 loss to the New England Patriots.

Scott rushed for 25 yards on four carries and scored a touchdown on a six-yard catch in the third quarter.

The Giants will have a decision to make as to what to do about Brown's injury and how many running backs to keep on the active roster. Brown feels he can be back soon and won't need the temporary injured-reserve designation. The Giants, though, will need to keep a few running backs behind David Wilson. Scott and Ryan Torain hope they will be able to stick.

"We are definitely a great running-back group and will help pick up the slack," said Torain, who rushed for 14 yards on six carries. "I most definitely know we can get the job done. We will keep Dre in our prayers."

Seventh-round pick Michael Cox has impressed the coaching staff in camp and has been returning kickoffs. Cox had just four carries on for minus-2 yards, but he might have shown enough to stick. Scott hopes he will return for a third season.

"It’s always a numbers game," he said. "Nothing is guaranteed. I am still worried about (Saturday's cuts), so it is in God’s hands right now. Just hope and pray on Saturday I don’t get a call."

Starvin' Marvin: Marvin Austin, fighting for a roster spot in a crowded defensive-tackles unit, hopes he has shown to either the Giants or another team that he can play in the NFL.

"I went out there, I left it on the field," said Austin, who had one tackle against the Pats. "The opportunities that I had, I tried to go out there and make plays. I played within the scheme of the defense. I think technically I played my best game, just as a technician. I didn’t make as many plays as I would love to make."

The Giants have a really difficult decision to make ahead of Saturday's deadline with their defensive tackles. After starters Linval Joseph and Cullen Jenkins, the Giants have Shaun Rogers, second-round pick Johnathan Hankins, Mike Patterson and Austin. There's also Markus Kuhn, who is on the physically unable to perform list.

"We’ve got dogs," said Austin, the Giants' second-round pick in 2011. "Everybody on that D-line can play, as you can see. Pro Bowlers. Former Pro Bowlers. ... At the end of the day I can be happy with the effort that I gave. I went out there, gave everything that I could’ve for this organization because they gave me an opportunity when another organization wouldn’t."

Austin was hoping to end the preseason with a sack on Tim Tebow. He did end up delivering a shot to Tebow on an interception in the second half.

"I wanted him," Austin said. "They’re trying to go out there, get your sack and do the Tebow. That’s what everybody was talking about, going out there and putting their hands around Tebow because he’s a guy who’s gotten a lot of media attention and stuff like that. If you’re trying to make a team, you go out there and put your hands around him, that could get your name out there."

Austin did put the shot on Mark Sanchez that knocked him out last week. Austin hopes he has shown enough this preseason to stick with the Giants.

One more time: Mark Herzlich finished the preseason strong, with eight tackles, an interception and a pass batted down... Patterson was a presence with 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hits... Defensive ends Matt Broha, Justin Trattou and Adewale Ojomo each had a sack on Tebow... Cornerback Trumaine McBride had an interception and a hit that led to Herzlich's interception, but also missed a tackle that led to a Patriots touchdown.

Rapid Reaction: Patriots 28, Giants 20

August, 29, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

W2W4: Giants at Patriots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Austin delivers knockout blow to Sanchez

August, 25, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Rex Ryan was the one who put Mark Sanchez at risk. Marvin Austin was the one who knocked Sanchez out.

On Sanchez's first snap Saturday night, early in the fourth quarter, the 6-foot-2, 312-pound Austin slung the New York Jets quarterback to the ground for a sack and a 9-yard loss. Just a few minutes later, Austin drilled Sanchez into the ground immediately after a throw -- a clean-looking hit, but one that resulted in Sanchez leaving the game with a right shoulder injury.

[+] EnlargeMarvin Austin and Mark Sanchez
Jim O'Connor/USA TODAY SportsMarvin Austin got to Mark Sanchez twice.
Both Austin and fellow New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins were chasing Sanchez. "Coach called a play, and I just pretty much overlapped over Hankins," Austin said. "And then when I saw [Sanchez], s---, I just hit him. I hit him hard. I felt it."

Austin said he didn't realize Sanchez was hurt right away. "Nah, I didn't know," Austin said. "I was hurt -- when I hit him I felt it in my chest. I played it off, tried to run off, but it was a pretty hard hit. Hopefully he's healthy or whatever, I wish nobody to be hurt, but it was a hard hit."

It was the most memorable play of a rather ugly game between New York's two football teams. It also may have been the biggest play of Austin's NFL career, despite the fact that it came in a preseason game.

Austin, 24, has thus far failed to live up to the Giants' expectations after they drafted him in the second round (52nd overall) in 2011 out of North Carolina. Austin missed all of his rookie year after tearing a pectoral muscle in a preseason game, and played in just eight games last season, with eight tackles.

Austin is literally playing for his job right now. He's currently listed as a third-stringer, and the Giants arguably have more depth at defensive tackle than any other position. He knows that his time to prove himself is running out.

"I gotta be more productive, I know that, to be a part of this team," Austin said. "So I just wanted to go out there, have fun, and make plays."

Well, mission accomplished. And the Jets' coach did Austin a favor by putting Sanchez in the game, behind a backup offensive line no less. Knocking out Matt Simms or Greg McElroy wouldn't have garnered Austin nearly as much attention.

Austin admitted he was surprised to see Sanchez on the field in the fourth quarter.

"Yeah, I mean, they got a huge investment in him. So I was a little surprised," Austin said. "I just knew that I gotta go out there and hit him. I gotta go out there and perform, and show 'em that I can play in this league. Who better to do it against than the Jets' quarterback?"

W2W4: Giants vs. Jets

August, 23, 2013
The all-important third preseason game is upon us –- the MetLife Bowl between the Giants and Jets.

But forget about bragging rights. (It’s the preseason, after all; who brags about a preseason win?) This is pretty much about the last real rehearsal for the starters, guys trying to win jobs and other players just trying to either keep or win a roster spot.

Here’s what to watch for:

First half: Eli Manning and the majority of the starters will play a half. Tom Coughlin said some starters could go a little bit into the third quarter if need be. The coach is hoping to play his starters about 30 snaps in the game. This will likely be the last significant playing time Hakeem Nicks will see with Manning since Coughlin likely will play his starters very little if at all in the preseason finale.

Welcome back: Terrell Thomas will play in his first football game since tearing his ACL in a preseason game against the Bears on Aug. 22, 2011. It was during that game when Thomas accidentally got leg-whipped by Jason Pierre-Paul and tore his right ACL for the second time in his career. He vigorously rehabbed only to reinjure his ACL and require a third surgery last summer in camp. Thomas is expected to see some snaps as an extra defensive back behind Prince Amukamara and Aaron Ross. Corey Webster likely will not play due to injury.

Pugh Pugh platter: The Giants will unveil a new offensive line after losing David Baas (MCL) and David Diehl (thumb) to injuries for the next several weeks. First-round pick Justin Pugh will get his first start at right tackle in place of Diehl. Jim Cordle will start at center for Baas. If this line does well, the Giants will likely start this five against Dallas in the opener on Sept. 8.

Danny in the middle: Dan Connor is expected to start at middle linebacker again and could see a significant amount of snaps with the first team. He has been battling Mark Herzlich for the starting job, and a strong showing against the Jets could give Connor a big edge. Spencer Paysinger impressed this week in practice with two interceptions and remains steady at outside linebacker. Keith Rivers mans the other outside linebacker position, and Jacquian Williams should see a fair amount of snaps on passing downs as well.

Opportunity knocks: Victor Cruz once practically became a household name off a preseason game against the Jets a few years ago. So who will be able to take advantage of the latest opportunity to star? With Cruz out with a bruised heel, the Giants will take a look at some other receivers in the slot. Also, the battle at defensive tackle has been fierce in camp. After starters Cullen Jenkins and Linval Joseph, Shaun Rogers, Johnathan Hankins, Marvin Austin and Mike Patterson have been going to work. The battle continues on Saturday and the Giants may have to find a way to keep five defensive tackles or more.

W2W4: Giants vs. Colts

August, 17, 2013

The second preseason game is upon us.

Ahmad Bradshaw will be in the building but won't play for the Colts.

Here's what to watch for on Sunday:

Ground game: In the preseason opener, the Giants' tandem of David Wilson and Andre Brown gained 39 yards on nine carries. But Tom Coughlin wants to see the running game be more consistent and productive. While the offensive line has yet to play at full strength with Chris Snee making his way back from offseason hip surgery, the Giants need to show some improvement in the running game before the preseason is over. And Brown needs to hang on to the ball after fumbling a pitch toss right against Pittsburgh in the preseason opener.

Run defense: The Giants' defense will want to improve on stopping the run. The Steelers racked up 81 rushing yards on 17 carries against the Giants in the first half, including 36 yards on a 13-play drive in the first quarter. Perry Fewell has a lot of options to play with up front with defensive tackles like Cullen Jenkins, Linval Joseph, Shaun Rogers, Johnathan Hankins, Marvin Austin and Mike Patterson.

Welcome back, Hakeem: Hakeem Nicks will make his preseason debut Sunday after missing the opener in Pittsburgh. The team has been taking a cautious approach with the receiver, who battled knee and foot injuries last season. Eli Manning worked well with Victor Cruz, connecting on a 57-yard touchdown against the Steelers. It will be nice to see how he does with Nicks. Justin Tuck is also expected to play after sitting out last Saturday with a back issue. Coughlin plans to play his starters about 20 snaps and the second team about 25 snaps.

Who will sparkle: In the opener, Damontre Moore stole the spotlight with an impressive debut that included a blocked punt. Who will step up Sunday and make a statement for either more playing time or a spot on the roster? Moore was bothered by a shoulder contusion this week. So perhaps another defensive end like Adrian Tracy or Justin Trattou could make some noise. Or will it be one of the many defensive tackles fighting for a spot? Or how about the linebackers? Coughlin said the linebackers did a good job in the opener but nobody really stood out.

Mundy Mundy: Antrel Rolle won't play after spraining his ankle. That means former Steelers safety Ryan Mundy will start alongside Stevie Brown. The Giants have been showing more formations with two nickel linebackers and an extra defensive back in practice as opposed to three-safety looks. But if Fewell goes to three safeties in games, Mundy would likely be the third safety.

Steppin' to the AM: Marvin's chance

August, 16, 2013
Marvin Austin knows how big of a summer this is for him.

The former second-round pick understands this likely could be a make-or-break camp for him.

"I think this is a pivotal point for me in my career," Austin said.

On Sunday, the Giants play the Colts in the second preseason game, and Perry Fewell thinks this could be a nice opportunity for Austin to show what he can do against Indy. He and Adrian Tracy are hoping to show their value with three preseason games left. Read their story here.

In case you missed it: Are the Giants better than they were last season? We debate this and I give my side. And you need to vote here.

Prince had a big summer. He dressed up as one of the Jabbawockeez and proposed to his girlfriend. I've already told him I want to see him show me the Jabbawockeez dance routine he had to learn, and I will record it.

Ahmad Bradshaw is still adjusting to life as an ex-Giant. On Sunday, he will be on the opposite sideline at MetLife Stadium. He describes it as a "strange" feeling.

The 411: The Giants get back to work and practice today from 1:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m. The offensive line unit will sign autographs after practice.

For Austin and Tracy, the time is now

August, 15, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Marvin Austin and Adrian Tracy got their first taste of NFL game action in 2012.

[+] EnlargeMarvin Austin
AP Photo/Don WrightMarvin Austin
They could see more in 2013 -- or they could be looking for another job.

Austin, a defensive tackle, and Tracy, a defensive end, are currently listed as third-stringers on the New York Giants' depth chart. They could move up, but right now rookies Damontre Moore and Johnathan Hankins are ahead of them.

"I think this is a pivotal point for me in my career," Austin said Wednesday. "I've been hurt the whole time I've been here, and I feel like as long as I can stay healthy, I'll be able to help this team."

Austin was the Giants' second-round draft pick in 2011 out of North Carolina, and the team had high hopes for him. But Austin missed all of his rookie season with a torn pectoral muscle. He played in eight games last year and had eight tackles. He did not record a tackle last Saturday in Pittsburgh as the Giants opened the preseason, but defensive coordinator Perry Fewell liked what he saw nonetheless.

"I thought Marvin performed well," Fewell said earlier this week. "He's progressed each week in practice. He's had a full offseason with the OTAs, which he didn't have in the past. I look for good things from him this Sunday in the football game [against the Indianapolis Colts].

"This will be a really good opportunity for him to showcase his quickness and his abilities. I think Pittsburgh is really a big, massive offensive line. Indy, they'll play more to the strengths of Marvin and so it will be exciting to see him in this game."

[+] EnlargeAdrian Tracy
Jason Bridge/USA TODAY SportsAdrian Tracy
"He's done well this camp rushing the passer," head coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday, "and we really would like to see him do a good job against the run."

Tracy, the Giants' sixth-round draft pick in 2010 out of William & Mary, was viewed as more of a project. He's small for a defensive end -- 6-foot-2, 245 pounds. But after missing his rookie season due to injury and spending 2011 on the practice squad, Tracy played in all 16 games last year, with 12 tackles and one sack.

"Adrian Tracy is much improved," Fewell said. "I think he's going to contribute to our football team. We're going to be a better defense if he continues to get better."

Tracy has been compared to former Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, even being given the nickname "Yosi" (short for "Young Osi"). But Moore, the Giants' third-round pick this year, outshone him against the Steelers, with four tackles, a quarterback hit and a blocked punt.

Tracy is still optimistic that he'll get plenty of chances to show what he can do this year.

"We have a wide array of defensive ends, and we all have different skill sets that can be plugged in throughout the season," Tracy said. "And with that, all opportunities are still on the table."

Moore has missed practice time this week with a shoulder contusion, so it sound like both Austin and Tracy will have a big opportunity come Sunday night against the Colts.

They need to take advantage of it.

Practice report: Moving defensive parts

August, 13, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said Tuesday that he'll get creative with his defense this season.

Tuesday's practice gave us a glimpse of what Fewell might have in store for the Giants' opponents:

• In 11's, the Giants opened with DE Mathias Kiwanuka and LB Keith Rivers standing up on the edges. DT Cullen Jenkins, DT Shaun Rogers and DT Linval Joseph were all inside with their hands in the dirt. Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger were at linebacker inside.

• Throughout practice we saw some defensive ends, like Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck, Adrian Tracy and Justin Trattou all drop back on some plays.

• Interestingly, in one 7-on-7 portion, Tuck worked as a linebacker with Paysinger and Jacquian Williams. Tuck dropped back into coverage. Trattou and Tracy also got 7-on-7 snaps with the linebackers.

• Tuck got some snaps at defensive tackle with Jenkins while Kiwanuka and Tracy were at the defensive end spots. In another formation, Tuck, Jenkins and Kiwanuka were up front, and Williams, Paysinger and Tracy were at linebacker. Aaron Ross and Prince Amukamara were on the outside at cornerback with Corey Webster sitting out due to injury. Terrell Thomas covered the slot.

• One passing defense package had Tracy, Tuck, Jenkins and Kiwanuka up front, with Paysinger and Williams at linebacker and Thomas in the slot.

• It wasn't just the starters moving all around. DT Marvin Austin, DT Frank Okam and DE Adewale Ojomo played up front while LB Kyle Bosworth and Trattou were standing up on the edges. Herzlich and LB Etienne Sabino were the inside linebackers. On another squad, DT Johnathan Hankins, DT Mike Patterson and DE Matt Broha were up on the line with LB Aaron Curry and Tracy standing up. Herzlich and Williams were the inside linebackers.

So Fewell is getting creative and seeing what his different pieces can do.

The 411: David Carr hit Ramses Barden in stride on a nice 25-yard pass play on the left sideline. ... Rueben Randle was temporarily shaken up after going for a bomb from Eli Manning with Ryan Mundy and Stevie Brown in coverage. Randle was fine and later caught a bullet pass from Manning over the middle. ... Manning hit Andre Brown on a nice little delayed dump-off pass to counter a blitz and Chris Snee did a good job of getting out as lead blocker. ... Amukamara picked off Manning on a nice play while blanketing Hakeem Nicks. ... Jayron Hosley had a strong practice, picking off Curtis Painter in 7's and breaking up a quick deep pass from Manning to Victor Cruz in single coverage in 11's. ... David Wilson showed some serious speed to the outside in what could've been a big gain in the non-tackling practice. ... Ryan Nassib threw a perfect bomb to Kevin Hardy down the left side for a touchdown on Charles James. ... Justin Pugh got some snaps at first-team right tackle while Brandon Mosley got some snaps at right guard in the team's final hurry-up drill. ... Cruz beat Thomas but couldn't haul in what would've been a touchdown catch and run.

Fewell experimenting with Giants' defense

August, 13, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has been very creative with his defensive personnel this preseason.

Several times, the Giants have shown formations where a defensive end is standing up, opposite a standing-up linebacker, close to the line of scrimmage -- the formation looks like a 3-4 alignment.

[+] EnlargeCullen Jenkins
Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY SportsCullen Jenkins is getting snaps at both defensive tackle and defensive end.
Other times, Fewell has moved his defensive ends around on the line of scrimmage -- pass-rushers like Justin Tuck will line up at right or left defensive end.

Also, Fewell has used versatile defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins at defensive end as well.

"Schematics," Fewell said, explaining moving his defensive ends from side to side. "Looking at the offseason, I thought this would be a good change for us. Just schematics."

When asked if the Giants will utilize some 3-4 looks this season, Fewell said he will take advantage of the personnel he has.

"We’ll be very multiple," Fewell said. "Personnelwise, we have guys that fit a 4-3, we have guys that fit a lot of different defensive combinations. So I’m going to build a defense that fits our personnel."

On Tuesday in practice, the Giants used defensive ends like Tuck, Adrian Tracy and Justin Trattou with the linebackers in 7-on-7 drills. Those defensive ends also dropped back in coverage in certain looks as well.

TT progressing: Cornerback Terrell Thomas' comeback is building steam.

"[On Monday] he received about 50 percent of the reps that we were planning to give him," Fewell said. "There were two situations when he was in man coverage, and he did an outstanding job. He showed burst. He showed the ability to come out of a break when he was in man coverage. We’re going to take it day by day with him. But it was exciting to see him back in action."

Thomas has gotten several snaps as a slot corner, and could fill that role as an extra defensive back along with Aaron Ross.

Linebackers assessment: Fewell continues to mix and match with his linebackers to see which combination he likes the most.

"We’re working together as a linebacking corps very well," Fewell said. "There’s no standout. I like the combinations we use in practice, and we used in the game. And I hope we can continue to grow in that respect."

He likes what both Mark Herzlich and Dan Connor have brought to the middle linebacker position.

"Both bring different things to the table for us," Fewell said. "We’ll work both combinations. The first play of the [Pittsburgh] ballgame, Mark did a great job of taking the guard off. He was very physical. He ran through the guard so hard that he could have made the tackle. Dan did an outstanding job of taking on blocks. He shedded some blocks well, he made some plays, he did well in coverage. I like the combination of both those guys."

Starvin' Marvin: Fewell said he was impressed with Marvin Austin during Saturday's win over the Steelers. He believes Austin will be able to showcase his skills more against the Colts this coming Sunday.

"I thought Marvin performed well," Fewell said of the 2011 second-round pick. "He’s progressed each week in practice. He’s had a full offseason, with the OTAs, which he didn’t have in the past. [The Colts] play a little more to the strengths of Marvin and so it’ll be exciting to see him in this game Sunday."

Tracy vs. Moore: Fewell likes the competition at fourth defensive end between Tracy and rookie Damontre Moore and thinks both will contribute this year.

"[Moore has] got a lot of football in him," Fewell said. "But as a rookie, he makes a lot of mistakes right now. Things that can hurt us. But he plays so hard, he’s having so much fun. Damontre was having a ball [Saturday night], he was playing hard."

"Adrian Tracy is much improved," Fewell continued. "He’s going to contribute. We’re going to be a better defense if he continues to get better, and if that competition continues to thrive, we’ll be better at the ends and in our pass rush."

W2W4: Giants at Steelers

August, 9, 2013
The New York Giants begin erasing the memory of last season's failed title defense with their preseason opener in Pittsburgh.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Here's what to watch for:

Start, then finished: The starters will play only about 12 to 15 snaps, according to coach Tom Coughlin. It will be interesting to see if Eli Manning is in sync with Victor Cruz after not having worked with him for much of the offseason, due to Cruz's contract negotiations. The two have appeared to be on the same page during training camp. We also get our first look at how Manning works with tight end Brandon Myers.

Wide receiver Rueben Randle looks to continue an impressive summer. It remains to be seen if Hakeem Nicks will play, as the team has been taking a cautious approach with its star receiver to make sure he will be at full strength for the season.

Wilson! We should get our first glimpse at David Wilson as the starting back. He's expected to start but share carries with Andre Brown. What might be more important than how many yards Wilson racks up is how he blocks on passing plays.

Keep an eye on the linebackers. All three starting jobs are up for grabs. Mark Herzlich will start at middle linebacker with Spencer Paysinger and Keith Rivers on the outside against the Steelers. MLB Dan Connor, OLB Jacquian Williams and OLB Aaron Curry are the second-teamers. Williams should also see snaps as a nickel linebacker.

Competition at defensive tackle. The Giants fortified their defensive interior by adding Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson, drafting Johnathan Hankins and re-signing Shaun Rogers. Jenkins could start at defensive end against the Steelers if Justin Tuck (back) does not play. If that happens, Rogers might join Linval Joseph with the first-team defensive tackles. Keep an eye on Hankins, who has impressed thus far on the second team. Marvin Austin, the 2011 second-round pick, will need to show what he can do this preseason.

Opportunity knocks: There should be plenty of chances for young players such as defensive ends Adrian Tracy and Damontre Moore. Several Giants, including Jason Pierre-Paul (back), won't play. Right guard Chris Snee (hip) and cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee) just came off the PUP list this week and will sit. First-round pick Justin Pugh (concussion) will also be out. Tackle James Brewer (head), safety Cooper Taylor (hamstring) and running back Ryan Torain (head) also might not suit up.