NFC East: Michael Clayton

New York Giants cutdown analysis

September, 3, 2011
9/03/11
7:01
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Click here for a complete list of the New York Giants' roster moves.

Biggest surprise: Four rookie linebackers made the team. And yes, I know some of you were telling me that would happen Friday, but I expected Adrian Tracy to make the team and I was wrong. He was one of three 2010 draft picks -- including fellow linebacker Phillip Dillard and punter Matt Dodge -- among Saturday's cuts. But in part because of the way they played on special teams, rookies Mark Herzlich, Greg Jones, Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger made the team. That's the corps of backup linebackers behind starters Jonathan Goff, Mathias Kiwanuka and Michael Boley.

Running backs D.J. Ware and Da'Rel Scott made the team while 2009 draft pick Andre Brown was cut. Devin Thomas made the team as a wide receiver over Michael Clayton based on a strong preseason showing. And the Giants basically keep three tight ends -- Travis Beckum, Jake Ballard and Bear Pascoe -- with rookie Henry Hynoski slated to be the starting fullback.

No-brainers: Dodge had a very good preseason, has a lot of talent and probably will find work somewhere. But once the Giants brought in Steve Weatherford, who has been one of the best punters in the league the past two years, Dodge's days were numbered. Weatherford will be the punter, and the bad memories of Dodge and DeSean Jackson can begin to fade. Health issues cost Sage Rosenfels the backup quarterback job, which goes back to David Carr.

What's next: I think they need to sort through the Eagles' castoffs. In particular, tight end Donald Lee and nickel cornerback Joselio Hanson make a lot of sense for the Giants, as the former would fill a huge hole and the latter would allow them to keep Antrel Rolle at safety. Personally I always think they need linebacker help, but they disagree and they like their rookies, so I guess we'll see.

NFC East Tuesday: How was your day?

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
11:15
PM ET
Time once again for our nightly check-in, where we look back over the 24 hours that have just transpired and ask the open-ended question: How was your day ...

Dallas Cowboys?

"You know, fine." Got to be getting old watching the Eagles sign half the world, but the Cowboys did finally lock in one of the two starting safeties they need, bringing back Gerald Sensabaugh on what appears to be his third one-year contract. Wonder what that says about a guy. They keep wanting him back, but ... not that much. I'd be surprised if Abram Elam weren't the Cowboys' next move, and after that, maybe a No. 3 receiver. But everybody who's been harping on the Cowboys to sign free agents seems to forget how many good players they already have. Rob Ryan's coaching could be enough to fix what went wrong on defense last season, even with similar personnel. And the offense is loaded with talent. The Cowboys don't need star-caliber pieces. They just need to fill holes. They'll do it. By the way, they also signed another kicker -- Kai Forbath, who was really good at UCLA but is hurt now and might or might not be a factor in the David Buehler/Dan Bailey kicking competition that has the Metroplex riveted.

New York Giants?

"Restful." The Giants' players had the day off, to their coach's chagrin, but the front office made itself busy with minor moves, such as signing defensive tackle Gabe Watson, who'll be a solid backup or rotational guy in the middle of the line, and bringing back Michael Clayton to help the receiver depth. Nothing new on Osi Umenyiora, who still wants a new deal or out and isn't any more likely today than he was yesterday to get either. Nothing new on Steve Smith or Kevin Boss, although the signing of Zach Miller by the Seahawks could get the Raiders interested pretty quickly. The Giants signed Ben Patrick on Monday to give them insurance in case Boss left, but they're not similar players. Patrick doesn't block the way Boss does, and they surely want Boss back.

Philadelphia Eagles?

"Oh, you know. Typical, three-signing day." The Eagles were off, too, but they were at it again, agreeing to new deals with Ronnie Brown as a backup running back, Ryan Harris as a right tackle and Jarrad Page to add to their safety mix along with all the young guys they have back there. All three came on one-year deals because apparently the whole league wants to play for the Eagles now and will take anything to do it. Jeremy Maclin also arrived in camp after missing the first five practices due to an illness the team won't discuss, so hopefully he's OK. And nothing new on DeSean Jackson, who has to be wondering how much money is left for him.

Washington Redskins?

"Humbling." Yes, they're paying attention in Ashburn to what's happening at Lehigh with the Eagles. The whole league is. And if you're the Redskins, it can't escape your attention that your current starters at quarterback and running back are John Beck and Ryan Torain while the Eagles' backups at those spots are Vince Young and Ronnie Brown. But hey. Rex Grossman showed up Tuesday, which means it might not have to be Beck. Phillip Buchanon showed up, too, although we also learned he's suspended for the first four games of the season. Once he's back, I think the Redskins' defense has a chance to be good. The offense, with question marks at quarterback, running back, receiver and offensive line ... that's another story.

My day was good. Spent some more time at Redskins camp. Had some nice conversations with Barry Cofield, Trent Williams, DeAngelo Hall, Lorenzo Alexander and others, and in the coming days I will be filling you in on the insight I gleaned from those conversations. I like getting out and talking to the players and coaches. I learn more from those conversations than I do from watching practice, although I know you guys want to know what I saw in practice. But yeah, my day was real nice. Looking forward to one more morning in Ashburn before I head home and then out to see the Eagles.

How was your day?
My wife and I were living together when it came time to propose, so I was able to hand her the ring instead of having to mail it to her. As we discussed Wednesday, not everyone is so fortunate.

We do all, however, have the links. They're going to go in backwards alphabetical order today because that's just the way I feel.

Washington Redskins

Mike Jones of The Washington Post says there's "mutual interest" between the Redskins and free-agent defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. This would be a nice pickup for Washington. Jenkins' versatility would be an asset in Jim Haslett's complex 3-4, where roles can change from play to play. And playing Jenkins at one of the defensive end spots would augment the pass rush from that side and potentially allow them to bring in a nose tackle whose job is to eat up blockers rather than penetrate.

And Rick Maese somehow managed to get Joe Theismann talking. (I kid, I kid.) Theismann says the Redskins are "pretty much set at the quarterback position," which is good enough for me.

Philadelphia Eagles

Len Pasquarelli thinks a first-round draft pick is too steep a price for Kevin Kolb. He's almost certainly right, unless Kolb is going to step in and be a reliable starting NFL quarterback for the next half-decade. If you're sure he's that, then it's not a bad price. The issue, of course, is that there's no way any team can be sure of that.

Sheil Kapadia broke it down and came to the conclusion that the Eagles have more defensive needs than just cornerback. I'm not sure who said they didn't, but what jumps out here is the 11 touchdowns allowed to tight ends. Sheil concludes that that number means linebacker needs to be a priority. We spoke about this Wednesday a bit.

New York Giants

Giants 101 thinks too many Giants were left off the NFL Network's top 100 list, and wonders if Tom Coughlin might be able to use that as motivation in the locker room this year. I'm not sure that's the kind of thing that plays in the Giants' locker room, but it's worth a shot. It's a player-voted list. If you think you should have been on it and you want to take it out on the guys who did the voting, maybe that works. Hard to imagine that's the kind of thing that drives Eli Manning, though.

Receiver Michael Clayton hopes to be in the Giants' plans this year once the lockout ends. I think he's going to need an injury to someone else to get his wish, but you never know.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys used their second-round pick on a guy with a torn ACL, but they knew that, and Bruce Carter now says his knee is at 85 percent and that he'd be "a game-time decision" if there were a game this week. As you may have heard, there is not.

And finally, because there's no good reason to let this go, Jean-Jacques Taylor makes a good point about the Roy Williams engagement-ring fiasco. Whatever happened to the two months' salary rule? Williams makes $9 million and he spent $76K on the ring? Child, please.

Enjoy your Thursday. I'll do my best to help.
HOBOKEN, N.J. –- The lockout has prevented Da'Rel Scott from showing coaches what he can do.


But the New York Giants’ seventh-round draft pick had an opportunity to leave an impression on Eli Manning on Monday.

The former Maryland running back joined Manning, tight end Travis Beckum and wide receivers Victor Cruz and Michael Clayton at Hoboken High School for another of Manning’s workouts.

“He already mentioned I have good soft hands," Scott said. "It feels good for him to even comment on that.”

The 5-foot-10 running back was able to learn some protection schemes and routes from Manning. In other words, this was a very productive morning for the seventh-round pick hoping to make the team.

Read the full story at ESPNNewYork.com.

What's in Mosley's (holiday) Mailbag?

November, 27, 2010
11/27/10
3:52
PM ET
Hope you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm preparing to board a flight bound for Chicago's O'Hare Airport because I hear it's a neat place to visit during the holidays. The Beast blog will be attending Sunday's Bears-Eagles game, but I'll also be observing the Redskins and Giants. Now, let's see if we have any leftovers in this week's special holiday Mailbag:

Drew in Chicago, what's on your mind? Love the blog and honestly, you are the reason I come to ESPN.com. We have seen Peyton Manning time and time again make average receivers into major contributors in the Colts' offense. If Eli is able to do the same with Manningham, Calhoun, Hagan and Clayton in the coming weeks, do you think he silences the naysayers that still consider him to be a slightly above average QB? Or will he never be able to shed this stereotype simply because of the greatness of his brother?

Mosley: Drew, thanks for the kind words. I think Eli will always carry the "overrated" tag, in part, because of his older brother's greatness. But I do think that putting this team on his back for a couple weeks with Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks out with injuries could earn him a little more respect. It's not like Peyton had to go through long stretches without Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne over the years, so I'm not sure it's fair to say he's done it with "average" receivers. The Colts do a nice job identifying young receivers who fit their system. Austin Collie might not be a star for the New York Giants, but I'm not sure that makes him "average." Peyton's already done enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in my opinion. I don't think Eli's anywhere close to that right now, but I do know they have the same amount of Super Bowl rings.


Jason from Bryn Mawr, Pa., has a question about how we perceive this 3-8 Cowboys team: Ok, I know that this loss looked and felt different than losses earlier in season, but if we examine more closely, how much different is it really from the early season losses to Washington, Chicago, etc.? It obviously showed great character for the team to fight back after going down 17-0 early, but ill-timed penalties and another fluke turnover cost this team another game (just like Chicago and Washington).

Mosley: The Cowboys lost those games you referenced when we still thought they were playoff contenders. That obviously changed when the players quit on Wade Phillips and themselves en route to a 1-7 record. Even though Jason Garrett led the Cowboys to consecutive wins, I don't think a lot of folks felt great about their chances of beating one of the NFC's best teams Thursday. I think being able to fight back from a 17-0 deficit and eventually take the lead will serve this team well in the future. Garrett's raised everyone's expectations again in only three weeks as the interim head coach, and that's why he has to be considered the leading candidate for the job right now. I realize there were some mistakes in this game by the Cowboys, but none of them had to do with poor effort. That was the biggest indictment of these players before the man from Princeton took over.


Tom in Seattle has a question about Kevin Kolb's trade value: Just finished reading your thoughts on Kevin Kolb's off-season trade value and was a bit surprised by the relatively low value (2nd rounder) you think he has around the league. We're talking about a high second-round draft choice with four seasons of pro training in a complicated offense, along with a proven ability to excel (two NFC player of the week awards in six NFL starts). If you're a team in need of a starting quarterback, why use a first-rounder on an unproven commodity who will be paid franchise quarterback money?

Mosley: Tom, it's a fair question. I just know that the Eagles were reportedly seeking two first-rounders for Kolb at one point last season, and that seems a bit steep. There are a few general managers out there who love Kolb (Tom Heckert in Cleveland, for example), but that team already appears to have a fine young quarterback in Colt McCoy. I think Kolb's a sure-fire starter in the league, but the Eagles need to have someone reliable behind Vick because he takes more punishment than a lot of quarterbacks. As ESPN's Adam Schefter suggested recently, it's likely the Eagles will be content to retain both quarterbacks in 2011. They'll slap the franchise tag on Vick (roughly $15 million) and then keep Kolb as his backup. That is, unless a team such as the Bills or Vikings decide they can't live without him.


Andrew from New York has an issue with Chris Canty: Just to make sure, Chris Canty plays for the Giants defense, which has bragged about how many quarterbacks it has managed to injure this year, correct? The same one that had a stated goal of trying to knock Michael Vick out of the game? The first [Todd] Herremans play was certainly worthy of a call, but let's not blow this out of proportion -- or pretend that the Giants have clean hands.

Mosley: Canty doesn't say a lot to reporters, but he chose to call out Herremans last week for what he perceived to be "dirty" play. Herremans was able to respond and everyone moved on with their lives. I think every team wants to get some shots on the quarterback, and most of them don't feel bad when the quarterback is forced out of a game. I've never thought the Giants were a particularly dirty team, but I understand where you're coming from. I haven't really noticed New York's defenders doing anything out of the ordinary when they've knocked quarterbacks out of the game. In the game against the Bears, they simply pounded Jay Cutler into submission with repeated sacks and hits. Linebacker Michael Boley broke Tony Romo's collarbone, but it didn't happen on a particularly violent play. He drove Romo to the turf on a legal hit.


Stephen in Philadelphia has a question about Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree: Last year near the end of the season, Kevin Ogletree was starting to steal snaps from Roy Williams and actually made a few plays in those back to back games with Philly. I thought we had a future No. 2 WR on our hands. What happened with this guy?

Mosley: I think Ogletree simply fell out of favor with Jason Garrett. The Cowboys needed him to be a contributor on special teams, but he wasn't getting it done. And he didn't have the type of training camp that everyone was expecting. Ogletree appears to have a lot of talent, but he loses focus at times and will drop easy balls. If you're doing that during preseason games, you're probably not going to see the field in the regular-season. If he doesn't make a major move this offseason, he won't be on the roster in 2011.


John from Niwot, Colo., has a Washington question: The Redskins are an incredible 4-2 against teams with the same or better records than them this year, including a very close loss to the Colts. But they are 1-3 against teams with a worse record. In fact, the team the Redskins lost to have a combined 23-27 record while the teams they have beaten have a combined 29-21 record. What's up with that?

Mosley: John, you've done entirely too much research on this issue. The Redskins are trying to make the transition to a 3-4 defense on the fly and adjust to a new quarterback. They dominated the Eagles at the line of scrimmage in their first matchup and then were overwhelmed in Game 2 at FedEx. (And Vick was knocked out before halftime.) I think some of this is to be expected. This is a hard team to get a read on because they just don't have any consistency. They went to Tennessee and won an important game. But I could totally see them getting embarrassed at home against the Vikings on Sunday. This is about a .500 team -- and that's quite an improvement over last season.

Report: Giants to sign Michael Clayton

November, 23, 2010
11/23/10
2:05
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The New York Giants will sign former Tampa Bay wide receiver Michael Clayton to a one-year contract Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Clayton surpassed 1,000 yards and had seven touchdowns his rookie season in '04, but he was a huge disappointment after that. He just finished up the season with the UFL's Omaha Nighthawks.

It's been reported that NFL teams have to pay a $150,000 "transfer fee" to sign UFL players, but a Giants source told me Tuesday morning that wouldn't be the case with Clayton. He'll now join the Giants' thin rotation at receiver. Mario Manningham and Derek Hagan will likely start against Jacksonville on Sunday, but Clayton could quickly become the third or fourth receiver for New York.

I looked back at Clayton's career to see if he'd ever had success against the Giants, and he really hasn't. He had 39 yards receiving in that playoff loss to the Giants at the end of the '07 season. In his other games against New York, he was nearly shut down completely. After his rookie season, his best year came in '08, when he had 38 catches for 484 yards and one touchdown.

Unless the 28-year-old Clayton can turn the clock back about six years, I don't think you should expect a lot out of him this season.

Giants shopping for another receiver

November, 23, 2010
11/23/10
10:34
AM ET
The leg injury to star receiver Hakeem Nicks has once again sent the New York Giants scrambling for reinforcements. Last week they brought back veteran Derek Hagan, who has a good grasp of the offense. Now it looks like Hagan will be starting opposite Mario Manningham on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

There's also a good chance the Giants will sign another wide receiver today. Mike Garafolo of the Star-Ledger has provided a list of candidates, and you'll notice former Eagle Kevin Curtis at the top of the free-agent portion. Former Tampa Bay receiver Michael Clayton, who just finished up his UFL season, is also on the list. Garafolo mentions that the Giants would have to pay a $150,000 "transfer fee" for the rights to Clayton, but a team source told me Tuesday morning that's not the case.

The UFL championship game will take place later this week, but Clayton's Omaha Nighthawks will not be involved. If the Giants want to sign Clayton to a free-agent contract, they believe they'll be doing it free and clear of any UFL obligations. We'll keep you posted throughout the day.

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