NFC East: Adam Koets
The Giants, who are about $6 million over the cap, will save about $5.3 million with those two cuts. How they replace their starting center of the past seven years and one of the guys who filled in for him when he was injured last year remains to be seen. Backup center Adam Koets is coming off knee surgery himself.
There has been some talk of left tackle David Diehl moving inside, but that assumes Will Beatty is ready to take over the starting left tackle position. And we're still waiting to see what happens with Shawn Andrews, who filled in at a couple of different positions along the line in 2010 and could be the starting left tackle if Beatty isn't ready. Many have assumed that Andrews was at risk to be cut, since he stands to make $7.5 million this year. But if he agrees to restructure, it appears as if they have a couple of ways they could still use him.
Regardless, it appears as though they will be needing some new bodies for the offensive line in New York. Expect this, along with linebacker, to be the position they look to address in free agency.
O'Hara, incidentally, was the Giants' NFLPA player rep and, along with Giants owner John Mara, a key figure in the negotiations between players and owners. Got to think it burns him up to have sat across the table from Mara those many months only to be blindsided like this on the first day after the lockout ended. O'Hara was the Giants' starting center for every game but one from 2005-09. He missed 10 games last year with foot and ankle injuries.
Readiness factor: The Giants didn't hold as many player workouts as some other teams did during the lockout, but quarterback Eli Manning organized a few camps here and there, and did some work in various locations with some of his receivers. The good thing for the Giants is that they're bringing back the same coaching personnel they had last year and won't have to spend an inordinate amount of time learning any big new schemes. They're a veteran team that knows how to get itself ready for the season, and Manning and the other team leaders have basically trusted that the guys were keeping themselves in shape and would be ready to go whenever the lockout ended. We'll find out whether that trust was justified.
Biggest challenge: The Giants' biggest post-lockout challenge is in the front office, where contracts must be signed for several key free agents of their own before they can hit the market and figure out what they need. Ahmad Bradshaw, Mathias Kiwanuka, Steve Smith, Kevin Boss and Barry Cofield are among the key 2009 and 2010 contributors who can be free agents, and it's unlikely the Giants will be able to keep them all. Of that group, Cofield is the most likely to leave, as they consider him more replaceable than Kiwanuka and their key offensive players. It'll be interesting to see whether another team comes hard after Boss and/or Bradshaw, because losing one or both of those guys could dramatically alter the Giants' offseason priority list. And then there's the Osi Umenyiora issue. He says he wants a new contract or a trade. They can and probably will tell him, "Tough luck," but if they do, they have to wonder how much trouble he'll make for them in training camp.
Bill of health: There are a number of health and injury issues worth watching as the Giants get back to business. Smith is coming off a major knee injury, and they don't know how ready he'll be. He's a key component in the passing game, and Manning looked a bit lost at times last year when Smith wasn't available to him. The offensive line also had health issues in 2010, and it's an aging unit that probably could use a reinforcement or two in free agency, lest the health problems flare up again and threaten to sink a whole season. Being a veteran team is likely to help the Giants from a readiness standpoint in this shortened offseason, but with age and experience come other potential pitfalls. The Giants will need to make sure to ease some guys into training camp so they don't end up hurt.
Key players without contracts for 2011: TE Kevin Boss, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, LB Keith Bulluck, DT Barry Cofield, S Deon Grant, DE Mathias Kiwanuka, C/G Adam Koets, WR Steve Smith.
NFC East teams in need
Redskins: There is still Casey Rabach in the middle, but the Redskins' interior offensive line is a muddle. They could let Rabach go and move Will Montgomery or even Kory Lichtensteiger to center. They could stick with Rabach for another year and see what develops at guard on either side of him. Or they could go out and get a replacement for Rabach, who was something of a disappointment in 2010.
Giants: This isn't a real "need," but give me a break. I can't just put one team here. Shaun O'Hara remains one of the best in the business when healthy, but he wasn't healthy last season and is no sure bet to be fully healthy in 2011. The Giants were able to cover the injury thanks to the versatility of Rich Seubert, but O'Hara did just turn 34, and the Giants might soon be looking to their future at that position.
Top five potential free-agent centers
1. Olin Kreutz. His age (34) and the legendarily poor performance by the Bears' offensive line in 2010 work against Kreutz on the open market, but he's still a durable and effective run blocker who can help someone. He doesn't, however, look like a fit in Washington or New York, where they're likely seeking longer-term solutions if any.
2. Chris Spencer. A former first-round pick who started all 16 games for the Seahawks in 2010, Spencer is not yet 30 and is a solid option at the position for now and the near future.
3. Lyle Sendlein. The Cardinals will make it a priority to re-sign their emerging 27-year-old offensive line mainstay.
4. Samson Satele. Another young talent who becomes unrestricted if the threshold moves back to four years. He's been a reliable starter for Oakland the past two seasons and could draw open-market interest.
5. Casey Wiegmann. He's as reliable as anybody on this list, but he's also 38 and more likely to go back with Kansas City than he is to generate any free-agent market buzz.
Predictions that mean nothing: Redskins dabble with Spencer but ultimately commit money elsewhere (most likely defense) and give their line a year to shake out. The Giants do nothing, confident that they have good potential replacements in Seubert and Adam Koets and that they're better off addressing long-term offensive line needs at tackle if at all.
Writes Youngmisuk: Center Shaun O'Hara, guard Rich Seubert and backup center Adam Koets are all rebounding from surgeries. Shawn Andrews dealt with back issues and David Diehl had a hamstring injury last season.
But what worries coach Tom Coughlin the most entering the draft is the center position. O'Hara, Seubert and Koets are the top three centers on the depth chart and Coughlin made it no secret at the NFL scouting combine that he was concerned.
Read the rest of the story here.
Coach Tom Coughlin said Diehl had a hip injury when he visited with reporters Tuesday. Center Adam Koets, who has played well in the absence of Shaun O'Hara (foot) is out for the season with a torn ACL. It looks like Shawn Andrews could make his second consecutive start at left tackle and Kevin Boothe may be promoted straight from the physically unable to perform list to starting left guard.
We'll keep you updated on the situation throughout the week.
The New York Giants' first possession of the second half set the course for a meltdown. With the score tied at 10, the Titans pinned the Giants at their 1-yard line. On third-and-10 from the 1, Eli Manning dropped back to pass and found wide receiver Mario Manningham streaking down the left sideline for a 43-yard gain. It could've been one of those game-changing plays and, in fact, it was.
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw went low to take out a Titans defender. What he didn't realize was that center Adam Koets was already engaged with the player and actually had him by the face mask. Bradshaw was called for the chop block in the end zone and the result of the play was a safety for the Titans.
Tennessee returned the ensuing free kick to midfield and marched down for a touchdown to make it 19-10 in the third quarter.
On another note, Titans punter Brett Kern deserves a special mention for pinning the Giants deep on the possession. Titans safety Michael Griffin waited to down the punt near the 1-yard line. That's why I support Tom Coughlin's idea of putting more starters on special teams. Griffin made huge plays on defense and he still had the energy to play well in coverage. New York could use a little bit of that action.
The Titans love to play games at the line of scrimmage with twists and stunts, so there will be a lot of pressure on Koets to make the right calls. Look for the Giants' starting guards to help him out quite a bit. The most significant inactive for the Titans is defensive end Jacob Ford who sprained his right knee and ankle last Sunday.
Here are the Giants' inactives:
WR Ramses Barden, S Michael Johnson, LB Phillip Dillard, LB Chase Blackburn, O'Hara, T Will Beatty, WR Duke Calhoun, DT Linval Joseph.
General manager Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin had hoped that Joseph would play a significant role in the tackle rotation, but he hasn't been able to earn a uniform.
Safety Michael Johnson's inactive with an injury and he'll be replaced by C.C. Brown. In other news, the Eagles just took a 27-0 lead on the Falcons with a Sheldon Brown pick-6. And the Skins are clinging to a 20-17 lead over the Saints after a goal-line stand.
Here are the Giants' inactives: WR Ramses Barden, S Michael Johnson, RB D.J. Ware, DB D.J. Johnson, TE Travis Beckum, T Adam Koets, T Guy Whimper, WR Sinorice Moss
Cowboys' inactives: Emergency QB Stephen McGee, S Ken Hamlin, CB Cletis Gordon, LB Jason Williams, G Montrae Holland, C Duke Preston, T Marc Colombo, LB Curtis Johnson
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who had 104 yards in Sunday's win over the Bucs, showed up on the pre-practice injury report this morning. It's listed as an ankle/foot injury, but we'll wait and see if Bradshaw practices. Here's the rest of the injury list:
DL Chris Canty (calf)
CB Kevin Dockery (hamstring)
WR Domenik Hixon (knee)
OL Adam Koets (ankle)
OT Kareem McKenzie (knee)
WR Hakeem Nicks (foot)
CB Aaron Ross (hamstring)
LB Clint Sintim (groin)
DE Justin Tuck (shoulder)
RB Danny Ware (elbow)
Coach Tom Coughlin would start easing Ross and Dockery back into practice this week. And Nicks has told reporters that he'll be practicing today. The best news is that linebacker Chase Blackburn (ankle) and guard Rich Seubert (shoulder) didn't show up on the list.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants will be thin at cornerback and heavy on wide receivers. I just secured a copy of the inactives and it appears that Terrell Thomas, Corey Webster and undrafted rookie Bruce Johnson will be the only cornerbacks in uniform Sunday.
In a surprise move, the Giants will take six receivers into today's game. Rookie Ramses Barden is the only receiver on the 53-man roster who's not active. Here's the complete list of Giants inactives:
WR Ramses Barden, CB Aaron Ross, T Adam Koets, T Tutan Reyes, T Guy Whimper, DL Leger Douzable, LB Clint Sintim
The Washington Redskins put reserve running back Marcus Mason on the inactive list. He's had an excellent preseason, but Jim Zorn decided he couldn't take more than three running backs to the game. Here are the other inactives for the Redskins:
RB Marcus Mason, CB Kevin Barnes, C/G Edwin Williams, LB Robert Henson, G Chad Rinehart, T/G D'Anthony Batiste, DT Anthony Montgomery, Renaldo Wynn.
|Rich Kane/Icon SMI|
|Osi Umenyiora is back from an injury and the Giants have high expectations for him.|
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
ALBANY, N.Y. -- The Giants are in desperate need of a preseason game, which will happen Monday night against the Panthers. In recent weeks, practices on the lower fields at the University at Albany have featured brawls on a daily basis.
On Wednesday evening, I watched Tom Coughlin leave his post during a goal-line drill to wade into a fight that had broken out away from the action. Earlier that day, it was Coughlin who provided the fireworks when he launched into a tirade when an offensive lineman didn't finish a block during a brutal 9-on-7 drill. Is this the same cuddly grandfather character who we read so much about leading up to Super Bowl XLII?
Everyone seems angry around here, and for the most part, I think Coughlin's pretty comfortable with that atmosphere. At this time last year, players and coaches were being asked how difficult it would be to defend a Super Bowl title.
Now, the focus is on making amends for a season that went belly-up in December and January because of the infamous Plaxico Burress incident and a host of injuries along the defensive line. The Giants won't be able to replace a unique talent such as Burress right away, but third-round draft pick Ramses Barden is doing his part. Barden, who played at Cal Poly, was supposed to have a tough adjustment to this level. Instead, he has become the toughest player to cover in camp, providing daily highlight-reel catches that included a one-hander in the end zone Aug. 8 that folks in Albany are still talking about. General manager Jerry Reese tried to temper all of the enthusiasm for Barden, but the huge grin on his face suggested those were just words.
"He's big and he catches everything," Reese said of Barden. "He's a quick learner and he's gigantic. He's got a huge strike zone. He had the stigma of the small school, but so did [Kevin] Boss. If a guy doesn't jump off the screen at a small school, he can't play at this level. Barden jumped off the screen. And he didn't look out of place at the combine. And if you talk to him, he's very bright. We expect him to play right from the start."
|Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images|
|Rookie Ramses Barden is turning heads in his first training camp.|
Reese's first priority this offseason was to re-stock a defensive line that wore down last December. The Giants' rotation along the defensive line in '07 was the biggest factor in taking down the Patriots -- at least in my opinion. And by adding Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard in free agency, the Giants are once again loaded. It doesn't hurt that the lone Pro Bowler from the Super Bowl team, defensive end Osi Umenyiora, is back from a knee injury that knocked him out for '08. I asked Reese what he learned from the '08 season.
"Well, I learned a lot of things," he said. "We got hit right out of the gate last year with a Hall of Famer retiring [Michael Strahan] and a Pro Bowler [Umenyiora] going down. We made it through three quarters of the season, but then we got worn down. I'll try not to let that happen again. We have to sustain the madness up front."
1. How will the Giants replace Burress at wide receiver?
It's not like Burress was putting up big numbers last season, but his presence alone opened things up for the rest of the offense. Without him, the offense became easier to defend -- as the Eagles showed twice in December and January. I don't think the Giants have a true No. 1 receiver, although third-year player Steve Smith will take on a larger role. Quarterback Eli Manning is gaining faith in Mario Manningham by the day and Sinorice Moss is quietly putting together a pretty nice camp.
The Giants will have to make some tough decisions because there are at least seven players in the mix for a roster spot, and that seems excessive. Barden could immediately be a threat in the red zone and remember that veteran David Tyree's still on the roster. He's known for the catch in the Super Bowl, but he's also a former Pro Bowl special-teams player. I think there's a chance first-round pick Hakeem Nicks will have a hard time seeing the field early in the season. He's been slowed by a hamstring injury, and those things annoy Coughlin to no end. I think Domenik Hixon and Smith will be the starters, but they will face some major competition throughout
2. Who will replace Derrick Ward as No. 2 running back?
Unfortunately, the player who most reminded Reese and Coughlin of Ward, rookie Andre Brown, ruptured his Achilles' tendon in Friday's practice and will miss the season. That leaves Danny Ware and Ahmad Bradshaw in competition for the backup role. Ware has looked solid in camp, but Reese tells me that it's Bradshaw's job to lose. A lot of it has to do with who's willing to pick up the blitz. When Jacobs first came into the league, he just wanted the ball. He didn't have any interest in picking up the blitz. Now he's become an excellent blocker and the Giants are hoping Bradshaw and Ware follow that path.
Bradshaw has some power to go along with his speed, but there are people who still wonder how he'd do if Jacobs misses a game or two. There's a good chance that will happen at some point, so Bradshaw must be ready. I think he'll be up to the task.
3. With Michael Boley suspended for the first game, who's stepping up at linebacker?
The Giants have created an intense competition at linebacker while Boley recovers from a hip injury. Former BYU standout Bryan Kehl has always had the physical tools to make an impact as weakside linebacker, but he needed to become a more physical player. He seems to be taking that next step in this camp. Gerris Wilkinson is also in the mix to start in that first game. He's a talented player who's never been able to stay healthy.
Boley was brought in so that he could cover running backs such as Brian Westbrook and Felix Jones. He's an excellent coverage linebacker, but he needs to get back on the field soon and start playing his way into game shape. I like what Chase Blackburn's been doing in practice. He's one of those players who's always around the ball. I saw him leap to pick off a David Carr pass in last Wednesday's evening practice.
As I've written before, I think second-year safety Kenny Phillips is about to become a star in this league. He's a graceful player with a knack for arriving at the right moment. He's made some outstanding plays on the ball in camp and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up in the Pro Bowl. At cornerback, second-year player Terrell Thomas out of USC is making a move in this camp. I don't know how much longer Kevin Dockery can hold him off at the nickel spot.
Newcomer to watch
I've already mentioned him once, but keep your eye on Barden in the preseason. He's been unstoppable in training camp. The one-handed, twisting grab he made Aug. 8 has already become part of Giants training camp lore -- if there is such a thing. Even when he's tightly defended, Barden will climb the ladder and use his 6-foot-6 frame to block out the defensive back. The starting corners were out with injuries when I was in Albany, but he was tearing up the other defenders. If you asked Manning what's been the most pleasant surprise at camp, I think Barden's the direction he goes. And I'm ready to see more of Stoney Woodson at cornerback. He's a seventh-round pick who already looks like he belongs.
|AP Photo/Mike Groll|
|Mathias Kiwanuka has turned in a solid camp for the Giants.|
The fact that Mathias Kiwanuka hates being referred to as a backup is a good thing for the Giants. When he lines up with the second team, he's destroying offensive tackles -- both first- and second-teamers. He almost flattened the 315-pound Kevin Boothe on an inside running play. ... I guess no one's told wide receiver Derek Hagan he's not supposed to make this roster. He has had an excellent camp and taken advantage of Smith and Nicks missing time with injuries. ... Safeties coach Dave Merritt is asking players to treat incomplete passes as live balls. He wants his young players to learn how to properly recover a fumble. And that's why rookies such as Woodson will go racing to the ball after it hits the ground. By the way, I think the Giants are stacked at cornerback right now. Everyone wants to talk about the reinforcements on the defensive line, but this team is even deeper
in the secondary. ... Second-round pick Clint Sintim is a total Reese guy. Big, fast and ridiculously long arms. I saw him tip a ball at the line of scrimmage and then almost make the interception. He's a little hesitant right now, but I don't think it will take him a long time to make an impact. ... If the season started today, your starting linebackers are Kehl (in place of Boley), Antonio Pierce and Danny Clark. ... Blackburn is a fiery guy who takes practices to another level. He's certainly not the best athlete on the field, but he'll sort of blend in and then make an interception out of nowhere. Carr never saw him on a pass across the middle last Wednesday. ... I thought Andre Woodson's days were numbered as a third-string quarterback, but he's held up well against fifth-round pick Rhett Bomar. Woodson's been a lot more accurate and he's getting the ball out faster than Bomar. I'm eager to see how he plays in Monday's preseason game. ... Backup center Adam Koets must get it together before Coughlin completely loses his patience. He botched a snap in the practice I watched and I'm told that's a common occurrence. ... DeAndre Wright, a rookie cornerback out of New Mexico, made some nice plays in last Wednesday's practice. Wright and Woodson are doing a great job of soaking up what Corey Webster and Aaron Ross are telling them. Other than R.W. McQuarters, Ross and Webster didn't get a lot of help from the veterans when they were breaking into the league. And that's why they're spending a lot of time with the young guys. By the way, kudos to Dockery. He refuses to give in to the more talented Thomas.
Posted by ESPN.com staff
- Does Terrell Suggs' new contract impact negotiations with DeMarcus Ware? DallasCowboys.com breaks it down.
- The New York Times goes behind the scenes at the Cowboys' new stadium.
- Giants offensive lineman Adam Koets answers The Star-Ledger's summer questionnaire.
- Ed Valentine of Big Blue View shares his thoughts on who should return punts for the Giants this season.
- The Eagles apparently showed some interest in Jeremy Jarmon in Thursday's supplemental draft before losing out on the Kentucky defensive end to Washington.
- Is Brian Westbrook still the straw that stirs the Eagles' drink? NFL.com debates the issue.
IRVING, Texas -- We've already told you about Cowboys running back Marion Barber being active for tonight's game. The other big news is that Giants defensive tackle Fred Robbins (shoulder) won't play. With Brandon Jacobs and Robbins out, the Giants lose two excellent players.
Wide receiver Domenik Hixon is active, so that's a bit of good news for Giants fans. Here's the rest of the Giants' inactives:
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Just had a cup of coffee with Giants GM Jerry Reese. But more on that in a moment. First, let's post tonight's inactives.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Tom Coughlin spoke with reporters in Albany earlier this afternoon, and he was kind enough to forward the transcription. Judging by the length of his responses, Tom may have had other things on his mind today.
Why wasn't Amani Toomer practicing?
Toomer had a little swelling in the leg and that is all. I don't think it is anything too much.
What about Steve Smith?
Was Adam Koets out there?
No. Something overnight and he was dizzy when he got up today so they are going to watch him.
What are your thoughts on David Carr so far?
He is just starting to work. Really he is going to need some more time. He is getting limited snaps and is trying to do everything he can in the limited number of snaps. It is going to take a little time, but we have time, we are in camp.
Kenny Phillips seems to like to hit everything he sees out there?
That is why he is here.
Kevin Boss looks bigger and yet faster?
Boss? He is a big kid now and over the course of the season last year he gained strength and weight and he had a good offseason.
Is he about the same weight-wise as he was at the end of last season?
I think he is probably about where he was at the end of the year last year. Maybe 265 or something like that.
How is his blocking coming along?
He does a pretty good job of that.
The decision on Plaxico to practice or not will be a practice-day decision and seeing how he feels when he wakes up?
It is just going to be when the doctors tell us he can go.
The last drill you ran was a red zone drill?
Goal line. We didn't want to take a chance on the end line being where the cameras were so we moved the goal line up. It was goal line. Three shots each group.
He was down. He has a little hamstring.
Is Olivea just a tackle?
He can play guard, too. Right now he has been just mostly a tackle, but we started out with 13 so he is going to have to play a couple of spots. I want to get him used to a little bit of familiarity with the system before you start that stuff because it is hard enough for him to just learn one spot.