NFL Nation: Peyton Hillis

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings is in good spirits, as he always is, while he works his way back from a sprained left knee. Jennings will miss his second straight game Sunday, but he's been working out, feeling better and hopes to be able to return for the Week 9 Monday Night Football game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Giants have a bye in Week 8.

Jennings
"Getting better every day," Jennings said Wednesday after a Giants practice in which he did not participate. "Just working out in the gym, getting lost in my music and doing everything I need to do so that when I get back, I'll be back up to speed where I was."

Jennings said he planned to start the running portion of his rehab this week, and that the important thing is to regain strength in the knee once it heals.

"I have to make sure I'm able to dig and grind and get those ugly yards," Jennings said. "Running in the open field won't be a problem."

Rookie Andre Williams had 58 yards on 16 carries in Sunday night's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, his first game filling in as a replacement starter for Jennings. Peyton Hillis gained 24 yards on five carries, caught three passes for 28 yards and looks like the option the Giants favor at running back in the passing game. When Jennings is healthy, he does not come off the field on passing downs. So they're effectively using two players to try to replace him.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said rookie Weston Richburg and veteran John Jerry would start at left guard and right guard, respectively, in Thursday's preseason finale against the Patriots. Richburg is replacing Geoff Schwartz, who will miss at least a few weeks, if not more, with a toe injury he suffered in Friday's preseason game. Jerry is replacing Brandon Mosley, who has missed the last three days of practice with a back injury.

"He's up and moving, so obviously that's a good sign," Coughlin said of Mosley, who's been the first-team right guard since Chris Snee retired on the eve of training camp.

Jerry
Mosley's injury has offered a fresh chance for Jerry, who missed the start of camp following spring knee surgery and hasn't shown much. If he looks good Thursday night, there's certainly a chance he could steal the job from Mosley. It's also possible that Richburg will lock down left guard in Schwartz's absence and that Schwartz could play right guard upon his return.

The Giants got good news Tuesday when they learned Schwartz would not need surgery, but it remains unclear how much time they can expect him to miss.

"He's very optimistic, and hopefully that's going to mean the recovery will be as fast as possible," Coughlin said of Schwartz. "Obviously, we can't rush him back. It certainly would be good to get him back as soon as possible, but it's not going to be easy."

In other Giants injury news:
  • First-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. and kick returner Trindon Holliday missed practice again with hamstring injuries. Tackle Charles Brown and tackle/guard James Brewer sat out with shoulder and back injuries, respectively.
  • Cornerback Prince Amukamara is making good progress in his return from a groin injury, but he won't play Thursday night.
  • Running back Peyton Hillis appeared to be practicing in full. Hillis missed a few weeks of camp with an ankle injury but has returned to practice this week. He made a nice juggling catch on a wheel route with Jacquian Williams covering him in practice Tuesday.

Giants Camp Report: Day 15

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
8:00
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Giants training camp:
  • Rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. continues to make significant progress from the hamstring injury that has held him out of practice since the first day of camp. The team's first-round pick even took a couple of snaps Wednesday in 11-on-11 drills and caught a touchdown pass on one of them. Giants coach Tom Coughlin didn't even rule out the possibility that Beckham could play in Saturday's preseason game in Indianapolis, though I have to think that's a long shot and that next Friday against the Jets is more likely.
  • Coughlin said left tackle Will Beatty and cornerback Trumaine McBride, who have been practicing but didn't play in the first two preseason games as part of the plan for their recoveries from offseason surgery, would play Saturday. He said to expect Beatty to play about as much as a starting offensive lineman would play in a first preseason game of the year. For comparison's sake, Geoff Schwartz and J.D. Walton played 20 snaps in the Hall of Fame Game, and right tackle Justin Pugh played 24.
  • Cornerback Walter Thurmond continues to dazzle, and I have to think it will be a huge relief for Giants slot receiver Victor Cruz to go up against whoever the Detroit Lions are using as a nickel cornerback Sept. 8 in Detroit. Thurmond's highlight plays Wednesday included a pass breakup on which he had tight end Larry Donnell blanketed over the middle and a stop on running back Rashad Jennings when Jennings caught a pass in the flat.
  • Other highlight plays: Rookie linebacker Devon Kennard knocking rookie running back Andre Williams to the ground in the backfield on a run play; Rueben Randle's acrobatic catch in the corner of the end zone against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in one-on-one goal-line drills; Rookie cornerback Bennett Jackson ripping the ball out of wide receiver Travis Harvey's hands at the end of a long pass play; Interceptions of Curtis Painter by Mark Herzlich and Chandler Fenner in early team drills.
  • Wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan was back at practice after sitting out Monday and Tuesday with a knee injury. New to the list of injured players sitting out practice was cornerback Zack Bowman (unclear what his injury was). Also sitting out were running back Peyton Hillis (ankle), tight end Xavier Grimble (hamstring), tight end Daniel Fells (knee), return man Trindon Holliday (hamstring) and defensive tackle Mike Patterson (shoulder).
  • Cruz, who had some knee issues in practice this week, seemed completely fine and appeared to do everything in Wednesday's relatively short practice.
  • Though they will continue to practice here next week as they have been, Thursday marks the final official day of Giants training camp. That means Thursday's 1:20 pm practice will be the final practice of the year that is open to the public. So take off work and come out to say hi. Tell your boss I said it was okay.

Giants Camp Report: Day 10

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
8:15
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Giants training camp:
  • Cooper Taylor's missed block that led to a blocked punt Sunday night against the Bills annoyed Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who personally oversaw a punt-protection drill in the early part of Tuesday's evening practice and stayed after to watch Taylor work one-on-one with Mathias Kiwanuka on improving his technique. Funny thing about it is, Taylor has actually looked very good at safety this camp (as he did in Sunday night's game). On Tuesday, Taylor had a nice leaping interception of a Ryan Nassib pass. Later, on a play on which Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was covering Victor Cruz and let him go inside, Taylor did a perfect job picking up Cruz and covering him while Eli Manning went through his progression. Taylor can help as a safety, but he needs to get the special-teams work cleaned up if he wants to make the team.
  • Cornerback Prince Amukamara was upset that he didn't intercept a deep pass from Jeff Tuel to T.J. Graham on Sunday night, so he too stayed after practice to work on jumping and catching the ball at his highest point. He ran about a half-dozen plays, and his quarterback for the drill was fellow cornerback Rodgers-Cromartie, who doesn't throw a terrible deep ball and who showed Amukamara how it's done with an athletic leaping catch of his own at the end.
  • Rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who's been out of practice with a hamstring injury since July 22, did more on the field than he's done in two weeks. He stretched with the team and did a good deal of running on his own, practicing making cuts and running not at top speed but at something quicker than a jog. It's definitely progress, though there's no timetable for Beckham's return to the field.
  • Other injury notes: Running back Peyton Hillis left practice with a sprained ankle, but he was able to walk off and into the building on his own power. ... Guard Geoff Schwartz was in and out of team drills for some reason and could be seen flexing his left leg in discomfort on the sideline when he came out. I asked Schwartz after practice if he was OK and he said yes, but did not elaborate. ... Linebacker Spencer Paysinger (concussion), left tackle Will Beatty (illness) and cornerback Bennett Jackson (ankle) all returned after missing practice last week. Defensive tackle Mike Patterson (shoulder), return man Trindon Holliday (hamstring) and tight ends Xavier Grimble (hamstring) and Daniel Fells (knee) all sat out. Defensive end Robert Ayers (ankle) was limited.
  • Two little highlights: Tight end Larry Donnell made a nice high-point catch in coverage. And wide receiver Corey Washington caught a ball in traffic and, instead of stiff-arming defensive back Jayron Hosley, slapped him in the side of the helmet on the way by.
  • The Giants signed former Bears and Lions defensive end Israel Idonije and tight end Jerome Cunningham. To make room, they put David Wilson on injured reserve and waived defensive lineman Kendrick Adams.
  • The Giants practice from 5:40 p.m. ET to 7:50 p.m. again Wednesday, and this one is open to the public.

Giants Camp Report: Day 7

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
7:30
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Giants training camp:
  • Unfortunately, the news of the day was injuries, headlined by running back David Wilson's neck burner. The Giants sent Wilson to New York and the Hospital for Special Surgery for a full battery of tests because they want to be as careful as possible with his neck as he's coming off spinal fusion surgery and only last week was cleared for full practice. It's possible this turns out just to be a low-level scare, but it's important to take every possible precaution given the recent history with Wilson and his neck. By comparison, the nagging hamstring troubles that kept Odell Beckham Jr., Rueben Randle, Xavier Grimble and Trindon Holliday sidelined seem like minor issues.
  • Interesting practice for Larry Donnell, who's still No. 1 on the team's tight end depth chart and possibly in the coaches' hearts. He fumbled a ball near the goal line after one catch, but then got back up and made a leaping, one-handed touchdown grab in the back right corner of the end zone on the next play. All of the tight ends (except the injured Grimble) are getting lots of run, and they're all getting their share of first-team reps. There are a lot of formations the Giants are using in practice in which two tight ends are on the field at the same time, and they're lined up all over the place. They really need one or two guys to step forward from this group.
  • Jerrel Jernigan dropped three punts that my "NFL Insiders" colleague Field Yates and I counted during punt-return drills. That's not good, and with Beckham and Holliday unable to return punts we're seeing a lot of David Wilson (before he had to leave), Victor Cruz (who's not going to do it in games) and Charles James on the punt return unit. Maybe that's a way for James to sneak onto the roster, who knows? It was good to see Field, regardless.
  • Humorous highlights included a halfback pass from Peyton Hillis to Donnell that, shockingly, fell incomplete and a Trumaine McBride interception of Curtis Painter that he ran back for a touchdown with fellow corners Prince Amukamara and Walter Thurmond rushing off the sidelines and accompanying him home. I also thought it was funny that Jason Pierre-Paul joined in the defensive backs' post-practice huddle but left because their motivational chants are growing too complicated. Pierre-Paul continues to look fantastic in practice, by the way.
  • And I haven't been charting each and every rep, but it seemed to me that John Jerry got more time at first-team right guard Tuesday than he has been. Brandon Mosley's still the main guy there, and certainly has an opportunity to hold off Jerry and claim the spot for his own. But they do like Jerry and want to give him a look as his surgically repaired knee allows.
  • The Giants are off Wednesday and return to practice Thursday.
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I understand those who want to grumble their so-whats about Monday's big David Wilson news. If you're a New York Giants fan, there's a chance you're sick of hearing so much about Wilson and seeing so little from him. The Giants' 2012 first-round pick hasn't made much of an impact, and even he'd admit he needs to show more than he's shown.

All of that said, Monday's news (via Wilson himself on Twitter) that Wilson has been "cleared for everything" following neck surgery can only be a positive for the Giants as they open training camp Tuesday. They were prepared to move forward, if they had to, without Wilson in their backfield. But they're in much better shape with him as a viable option.

Start with Wilson's raw ability. He touched the ball only 75 times on offense as a rookie in 2012, but he averaged 5.0 yards per carry and 8.5 yards per reception. A better look at his game-breaking speed showed up on kick returns, where his 26.9-yard average ranked among the league leaders. There is little doubt that when the ball is in his hands, Wilson is a threat to do something special.

The issue in 2013 was getting and keeping the ball in Wilson's hands. After Andre Brown was hurt in the final preseason game, the Giants installed and talked up Wilson as their workhorse starter -- a role for which he may not have been psychologically prepared. He fumbled twice in the opener and was benched for it. The Giants eased him back into the offensive mix in a Week 3 loss in Carolina and a Week 4 loss in Kansas City, showing good flashes before getting hurt in the Week 5 loss to the Eagles. And that was the end of his season. A lost season, to be sure, but Wilson just turned 23 last month and there remains plenty of time for him to remind us of all the positives he brings.

[+] EnlargeDavid Wilson
AP Photo/Kathy WillensDavid Wilson tweeted on Monday that he's been cleared to return to the Giants' backfield.
It's hard to know for sure what kind of role Wilson will occupy in the Giants' backfield this year, because injuries and circumstances always force changes in plans. But it's fair to assume the Giants will look for ways to use him, given that his speed offers them something their other running backs don't. Rashad Jennings was signed to be the do-it-all starter, but no one's sure he can be that. Power runner Andre Williams was drafted in the fourth round after a brilliant college season, but he needs work in pass protection and other areas before they can trust him enough to put him in a game. Peyton Hillis offers some reliability, but nothing special at this point. Michael Cox is a second-year back they like, but he brings his own question marks. Add Wilson to the mix and you have a group deep in talent and diverse in skill -- plenty of different toys for new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo as he builds the Giants' offense.

Not having to deal with the pressure of being the only real option at running back, as he was in Week 1 last year, should be a help to Wilson. The depth of this year's group should protect against the total collapse the Giants suffered due to injury at the position, and the creativity of the coaching staff in making opportunities for all of the backs tailored to their specific abilities should help the running game be more productive. The Giants also believe their offensive line will block better this year, which shouldn't be hard.

Still ultra-talented, Wilson is also now apparently healthy again. He's learned his lesson from last September about the way they want him to carry the ball in traffic, and the manner in which that lesson was taught ensures he's not going to forget it. The current structure of the Giants' roster should land him in positions that maximize what he does well and minimize what he still struggles with. All in all, the return of Wilson to the backfield can be only a positive for the Giants in 2014.
I am a fantasy football junkie, as those who read me regularly know, so you can imagine my excitement over the release this week of our ESPN.com fantasy football draft kit. Part of the package is Matthew Berry's "100 facts" column, and a portion of that column is devoted to discussing New York Giants running backs:
37. Over the past five years, New York Giants running backs have the second- most rushing touchdowns (74) and the 11th-most rushing yards (8,337) among NFL corps.

38. Over that span, the Giants have run the ball on 55 percent of their plays from inside the 10-yard line, the seventh-highest rate in the NFL.

39. Rashad Jennings is currently being drafted outside the top 20 of running backs.

Matthew's point is that Jennings should be drafted higher, and on the face of it the argument makes sense. But I have this continual issue with the way Giants running backs are viewed for fantasy purposes, and my main thesis is that you're better off staying away.

Yes, the Giants like to run the ball near the goal line. Yes, Giants running backs score touchdowns. But my question is: Which one will it be? And if you can't answer that question, you have a fantasy running back mess.

I agree that Jennings projects to get a lot of carries, but you have to agree that Tom Coughlin doesn't always pick a running back plan and stick with it, right? What if Jennings racks up the yards and Peyton Hillis or Andre Williams gets the ball at the goal line? Do you want to rely on any of them? How does David Wilson, who was a darling of the fantasy community all last summer, fit into all of this? If he's healthy, he surely takes carries and catches away from Jennings, right? And maybe he gets the touchdowns? Or at least the longer ones?

My sense is that Coughlin's dream backfield is one that will make fantasy football players nuts as he mixes and matches depending on situations and health and all of that. Jennings may well have more value than the spot at which he's been going in June mock drafts. But it's completely fair to look at the recent history of Giants running backs and fantasy and decide to be cautious with Jennings. He and Wilson could both end up having very good years that aren't very good fantasy years. Giants running backs, for fantasy football purposes, just aren't that reliable because of the way they are used in real life.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- What's new for New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning this offseason is... well, just about everything. Having run basically the same offensive system since he arrived in the NFL in 2004, Manning this year is learning a whole new system under new coordinator Ben McAdoo. It has changed quite a bit about his preparation.

"It has definitely felt different," Manning said Tuesday after the first day of minicamp. "There's a lot of learning. The past several years, you never had too many surprises. You could be positive how it was going to turn out or what a guy might do versus this coverage or thinking about protections and stuff -- all of that was second nature. Now, you kind of have to slowly think through it the first time you're doing some things."

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson"Everything [on offense] is happening a little quicker, so I think that's a positive," Eli Manning said.
All of that said, Manning believes things are going more smoothly this week than they went for the offense in OTAs. He said Tuesday was the fourth time the Giants have had an "Install One" practice day, meaning the fourth time they've practiced the offense as though the plays were new, and he sees a difference.

"It should be second nature to us now," Manning said. "Calling plays, everyone should know what they're doing, no mistakes, playing a little bit faster, getting up to the line of scrimmage quicker, getting the ball snapped without as much thinking. I think we did a pretty good job today. I thought the tempo was good. It was hot and we ran a lot of plays, but I thought we had a good tempo and felt a little more confident with everything, with the adjustments, the changing of the plays. Everything is happening a little quicker, so I think that's a positive."

Manning is working with a relatively new group of running backs. Peyton Hillis was on the team last year, but free-agent signee Rashad Jennings and rookie Andre Williams were not. Manning said the backs have a lot to work on in terms of blitz pickup and catching the ball out of the backfield in the new offense, but that he likes their progress. As for the wide receivers, he's still without first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr., who has a hamstring injury, and Mario Manningham, who's rehabbing his knee. But in general, Manning thinks, the receivers should find things simpler in this offense than they did in the one Kevin Gilbride used to run.

"There are a lot of different plays and a lot of different things going on, but maybe not as much reading as a receiver," Manning said. "If you know what the play is, then you should be fine. It's just about getting open. You don't have to make as many decisions, probably, as a receiver, but there are still a lot of things to it. We're still fine-tuning a few things."

The Giants still have five weeks until the start of training camp and 12 weeks until the start of the regular season, so there's plenty of time to work out the kinks. Manning is a seasoned-enough veteran to enjoy progress even if it's a bit slow, and to know there's time to get everything right.
I credit New York Giants rookie running back Andre Williams for staying level-headed amid breathless NFL post-draft hype. Someone asked him Tuesday about whether he, Rashad Jennings and a healthy David Wilson could create a "three-headed monster" at running back. His answer was, basically, that everybody should slow down with that kind of talk.

"I can't really say they're going to build that three-headed monster," said Williams, the 2013 NCAA rushing yards leader the Giants took in the fourth round of the draft. "I'm not really too sure yet. I'm just getting here and learning as much as I can. I think each running back brings a lot of different specialties, and I'm just excited to see what we'll be able to do once we're out on the field."

Good for Williams for the straight talk. One of the things I hate most about NFL analysis is the extent to which it seeks examples from the past to cling to. The Giants won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2007 season with a "three-headed monster" of Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw at running back. In no way does that mean (a) that's the way they like to handle running back; or (b) that it can or should be expected to work again with the current group. None of the Giants' current running backs has accomplished anything close to what Jacobs and Bradshaw accomplished in their careers, and the plain fact is the Giants will be very fortunate if any one of them ever comes close.

No one knows if Wilson will ever play again following neck surgery. Indications are that he will, but no one knows for sure yet. Jennings hasn't been a full-time starter for an extended period of time in the league, and no one knows how he'll do in that role. And Williams is a fourth-round pick who needs to get used to the speed of the NFL game, his pass-protection responsibilities ... everything, really, as he appears to know. Peyton Hillis is likely still ahead of him on the depth chart and could stay there into the season. Williams has to earn his way up the ladder like any Giants rookie, and part of the point of having depth at running back is to make sure they don't need to rush him.

I had as much fun watching Williams as anyone did last year. I think Wilson is electrifying when healthy. And I think the Giants' reasoning on Jennings is sound, looking at him as a lightly used guy who could be about to hit his prime late, even if they did jump the market a bit to sign him. But man, there are still a lot of unknowns here. And the odds are nearly 100 percent that, however it works out, it will look different than any running back arrangement the Giants have used in the past. Heck, it's an entirely new offense this year, in case anyone forgot about that.

Let's let Wilson get healthy and let Williams develop along his own track and let Jennings be the lead dog, as he was signed to be, and see whether he performs in the role. If you followed the Giants last year, you saw tons of examples of things not going according to plan at running back. Don't be in a rush to anoint anyone anything. The Giants like their stable of backs, as long as they're all healthy, and they'll let it play out according to what they see. Not what they saw seven years ago.

Add Jennings to Giants' RB mix

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
6:25
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The players on a New York Giants defense that had been keeping some very good running backs in check were all surprised and impressed by the game Oakland's Rashad Jennings had against them in Week 10 last year. Jennings ran for 88 yards on 20 carries and caught two passes for 19 yards in the Giants' victory over the Raiders that day, and the players weren't the only ones impressed. The front office was, as well.

So you could kind of see this one coming. The Giants have reached agreement on a contract with Jennings, who became a free agent at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday and will be in New Jersey on Wednesday to sign his new deal. They will add him to a backfield that already includes 2012 first-round pick David Wilson (who's recovering from neck surgery), veteran Peyton Hillis (who re-signed Tuesday) and 2013 seventh-rounder Michael Cox.



Now, what the Giants like about Jennings is that he's versatile. He's a strong runner who's had limited chances to show what he can do as a starter, as he played behind Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville and Darren McFadden in Oakland. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, which is a skill the Giants hope to use from their running backs more under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. He didn't grade out well as a blocker in 2013, but he'll be expected to be able to pick up the blitz if he wants to be the lead back in New York.

The Giants' running back situation is a weird one right now because they don't know what they can expect from Wilson. Even if Wilson fully recovers from neck surgery, as it's expected he will, he hasn't yet shown he can handle a starter's workload. He offers big-play ability out of the backfield, and the Giants like that a lot. But adding Jennings gives them a guy they can use as a starter in case Wilson can't answer the bell, or who can complement Wilson if both are healthy, the way they'd hoped Andre Brown would last year.

As I wrote earlier in the day when they signed Hillis for that reserve running back role, running back is an eye-of-the-beholder thing. You may have wanted someone such as Jones-Drew or Knowshon Moreno because they're bigger names, but the Giants looked at the entire free-agent running back landscape and picked Jennings as the guy they liked the best, considering his abilities, cost and everything else. I think he's a fine choice, because I think he's a 29-year-old who hasn't been overworked and could offer a lot if used correctly. But he will have to show he can contribute as a blocker in the passing game, and that's the lingering question mark for me.

Big Blue Morning: Happy New Year

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
9:30
AM ET
Yeah, that's right. Free agency begins today at 4 pm ET along with the start of the new NFL league year. That means the New York Giants, who by my count need at least 10 new starters and a whole bunch of depth, are going to get busy figuring out what their 2014 roster is going to look like.

The industry scuttlebutt this morning is the Giants will sign a center quickly, as they did three years ago with David Baas when the market opened. They have decided to release Baas, as you learned Monday, and with nothing behind him on the current roster, center becomes a priority item. The Packers' Evan Dietrich-Smith makes a lot of sense and could be the guy they sign right away, within minutes or hours of the opening of the market. Dietrich-Smith turns 28 in July, and new Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo knows him from their work together in Green Bay. The Giants also have spoken with the agents for Saints free-agent center Brian de la Puente and others.

The Giants also are known to be looking at cornerbacks. They are close to an agreement with Trumaine McBride, who became a starter for them last year after Corey Webster and Aaron Ross got hurt. But they see McBride as a valuable reserve or swing corner who can play inside or outside. They'd prefer not to have to rely on him as a starter on the outside if they can help it. Now, obviously, the biggest name on the cornerback market all of a sudden is Darrelle Revis, who is apparently about to get cut by the Buccaneers. If the Giants want to play in the deep end of the cornerback pool, they would have to at least check on Revis. My guess is that he'll cost more than they want to pay, but they'd be crazy not to look into it. The Giants have about $25 million in salary cap space right now, and while they have a lot of needs, that's enough to enable them to afford anyone.

The Giants also continue to work on a new deal for linebacker Jon Beason, though it seems as if he's interested in finding out what else is out there for him. Remember, because Beason is acting as his own agent, he hasn't yet been able to have the conversations with teams that other agents have had about their players for the past three days. So, assuming everyone's been following the rules, Beason doesn't yet know what his market is. Once he finds out, he could decide the Giants' offer is the best he'll do. But he owes it to himself to find out.

Other than McBride, it seems the only Giants free agents who'll be locked up by 4 pm ET are kicker Josh Brown and possibly running back Peyton Hillis. That means Beason, Justin Tuck, Linval Joseph, Terrell Thomas, Stevie Brown, Hakeem Nicks and all the rest should be on the market when it opens. Of that list, I'd guess Beason and Brown are the most likely to be back, and I wouldn't rule out Tuck just yet. The others are looking for bigger paydays than the Giants are willing to offer right now.

Stay tuned throughout the day, of course. We'll have plenty of coverage, including a live chat with all of our NFL reporters that runs from 2 p.m. ET to 10 p.m. ET. I'll be popping in and out of there as news warrants, but the chat should be active all day with news from around the league. Stop by at this link right here. Catch up with you later.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- He would finish neither the game nor the second quarter. And the final pass of his season, just like the first, was intercepted. But Eli Manning's final touchdown pass of 2013 gave the New York Giants a 7-3 lead Sunday in a game that, to that point, hadn't offered even the threat of a touchdown. It was a 24-yard strike to Jerrel Jernigan that capped a six-play, 75-yard drive.

Manning
The Redskins converted an Andre Brown fumble into a field goal for the game's first points, and with 8:16 left in the first half, Michael Cox returned the ensuing kickoff to the 25-yard line. Manning threw incomplete to Hakeem Nicks on first down. On second down, Peyton Hillis (in at running back for fumbly Brown) ran 13 yards for a first down. Hillis got three more on the next play, then Manning hit Jernigan over the middle for a 30-yard gain that set the Giants up at the Redskins' 29. Hillis picked up five on the next play, then Manning threw a perfect laser to the end zone, where Jernigan outfought two defenders for his second touchdown catch in as many weeks.

Manning sprained his ankle later in the second quarter and left the game. Jernigan stayed in and picked up a 49-yard rushing touchdown in the second half to cap a stellar late-December turn as the replacement for an injured Victor Cruz in the Giants' offense. When Manning returns next year, he's unlikely to have Nicks, and it remains to be seen whether Jernigan can or will take a larger role in the offense. This could just have been a wild couple of plays at the tail end of a lost season no one wants to remember. But for this one drive, Manning and his makeshift offense clicked, moved the ball 75 yards and took a lead they would not relinquish.

Giants practice report: No Rueben Randle

December, 26, 2013
12/26/13
12:55
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The good news from New York Giants practice on Thursday was the return of running backs Andre Brown and Peyton Hillis from concussions and guard David Diehl from the knee injury that kept him out of Sunday's victory in Detroit. The bad news was the surprise absence of Rueben Randle, who missed practice with an as-yet-undisclosed injury and sounds unlikely to play Sunday.

With Randle and Victor Cruz out, the wide receivers at Eli Manning's disposal in Sunday's season finale against the Redskins would be Hakeem Nicks, Jerrel Jernigan, Louis Murphy and Julian Talley.

What was that about expanding the season to 18 games again?

As for the running backs, the fact that Brown and Hillis are practicing doesn't ensure that they'll be available for the game. The league's concussion protocol requires tests to be passed all week, and it's always possible that a player could feel worse Friday or Saturday or Sunday than he felt Thursday. But it's fair to take it as a good sign that Brown, Hillis or both will be back on the field Sunday.

We'll keep you posted when we hear anything more on Randle, just in case your fantasy league is still playing this week and you're as banged up at wide receiver as the Giants are.
LANDOVER, Md. -- All week, the New York Giants warned us not to judge Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins' offense on last Monday night's miserable performance against the San Francisco 49ers. The Giants remembered struggling twice last season with a dynamic, multifaceted Washington offense they found difficult to solve. And regardless of the struggles the Redskins had last week, the Giants believed them capable of a rebound.

As if on cue, the Redskins started Sunday night's game hot, employing an up-tempo, no-huddle style off the opening kickoff and driving 73 yards in 14 plays for their first opening-possession touchdown since Dec. 9 of last year. After possessing the ball for 11:22 of a possible 15:00 in the first quarter, the 3-8 Redskins added a second-quarter touchdown for a 14-0 lead and appeared to have the 4-7 Giants on their heels. They were dominating on offense as well as on defense, where Giants left tackle Will Beatty was having a terrible time with Redskins pass-rusher Brian Orakpo, and on special teams, where Santana Moss was performing well on punt returns and Sav Rocca had one of his own punts killed at the Giants' 1-yard line.

Though they wobbled early, the Giants have recovered with a couple of nice touchdown drives of their own. Andre Brown capped a 74-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown run, and an Eli Manning touchdown pass to tight end Brandon Myers covered 22 yards to cap an 81-yard drive with 35 seconds left in the first half. The Giants have come back to tie the score at 14-14 and will get the ball to open the second half.

So, a fair amount of good as well as bad so far, and here are a few things I've noticed:

As tough a time as the offensive line has in pass protection, it's doing a truly exceptional job of run-blocking for the second week in a row. The Giants have 73 rushing yards on 11 carries for an average of 6.6 yards per carry. Peyton Hillis broke a 27-yarder earlier in the drive that resulted in Brown's 23-yarder, and the Giants' best bet for keeping the pass rush off of Manning is likely to continue to show they can pick up big chunks of yardage against the middle of the defense.

There could be a huge number of passing yards in the second half, because right now no one is stopping anyone in the passing game. Manning is 10-for-12 for 101 yards, and Griffin is 16-for-17 for 149 yards. The Redskins' secondary has been a problem for them all season (and last season, too), and the Giants are very thin at cornerback with both Corey Webster and Trumaine McBride inactive for the game. If the quarterbacks can get time to throw, as Griffin has all night and Manning did in the second quarter, this could be a shootout the rest of the way.

Run defense continues to be a Giants' strength. They've done a good job all season against top running backs, and in the first half tonight they have held Washington's Alfred Morris to 11 yards on nine carries. They have depth and quality at defensive tackle and are very tough in the middle of the defensive line. Defensive end Justin Tuck also has been strong against the run. The Giants' defensive line isn't generating a pass rush, and without the injured Jason Pierre-Paul they should continue to struggle to do so. But if they can take away Morris, they could frustrate Griffin by limiting his options.

Hakeem Nicks is active after sitting out last week's game with his abdominal injury, and he looks fine, but he hasn't had many opportunities. The Redskins are sticking cornerback DeAngelo Hall on him and occasionally shading a safety to his side, and his one catch so far was a jump-ball for which he barely out-fought Hall. He continues to struggle to get separation, and Manning does not appear to be looking his way early in the progressions. Manning has targeted Myers four times, Brown three times, Victor Cruz twice and no one else more than once.

The ESPN.com boxscore credits Giants middle linebacker Jon Beason with 10 solo tackles already, which is insane, but Beason is flying around out there and managed to run down Griffin on one play to force him out of bounds short of the first-down marker on third down. The Giants aren't great, but no one can say they're not playing hard.

The Giants seem to be using a safety on Pierre Garcon's side, as well as sticking top cornerback Prince Amukamara to him. Which would be smart, since the Redskins don't have any scary receiving options after Garcon. Tight end Jordan Reed is inactive for the second game in a row because of a concussion, and Josh Morgan isn't showing much. Garcon has caught all four passes thrown his way, but for only 32 yards. The Giants have done a good job bringing him down after the catch.

W2W4: Giants at Redskins

December, 1, 2013
12/01/13
11:00
AM ET
The NFL had higher hopes for this week's New York Giants-Washington Redskins game when it scheduled it for the Week 13 Sunday night time slot. Hasn't worked out. The Giants limp in with a 4-7 record to take on the 3-8 Redskins, who come off a short week and a miserable beating at the hands of the 49ers. Here are a couple of things to watch for in tonight's 8:30 pm ET game at FedEx field in Landover, Md.

Andre Brown and more Andre Brown: A struggling Redskins run defense lost defensive end Stephen Bowen to injury this year and should have a hard time against the Giants' drastically improved run game. With Brandon Jacobs out due to a knee injury, the less fearsome Peyton Hillis will serve as Brown's backup, which makes the Giants less potent in short-yardage situations. But they still ought to be able to dictate the flow of the game on offense behind Brown. Expect the Giants to run to set up the pass and to lean hard on Brown on early downs.

Who covers whom? Wide receiver Pierre Garcon is the No. 1 threat in the Redskins' passing game, and he lit up the Giants for 106 yards and a touchdown on eight catches last year in a Week 13 game in Landover. After Garcon, the No. 2 target for quarterback Robert Griffin III is dynamic rookie tight end Jordan Reed, but he missed last week's game with a concussion and is questionable for this one. If Reed does play, the Giants will have to be creative in coverage against him and Garcon, since they're down to only four healthy cornerbacks, two of whom (Jayron Hosley and Charles James) have played minimally this season. The Giants fear the Redskins' rushing attack most of all, so the safeties are likely to be helping in run support. Guys like Prince Amukamara and Terrell Thomas will have to win their one-on-one battles in the secondary.

Is this the week for Eli Manning? This question shows up in W2W4 every week, it seems, as the Giants' quarterback is suffering through his worst season since his rookie season. The Giants threw for just 154 yards last week against the Cowboys' league-worst passing defense, but Washington's 271 passing yards allowed per game represent the sixth-highest total in the league, so this is another opportunity to get untracked. The likely return of wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who was inactive last week after missing practice due to an abdominal injury, should help with Manning's opportunity.

Pressuring RG III: Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will miss tonight's game with a shoulder injury, which weakens the Giants' pass rush. The 49ers showed on Monday that the way to disrupt Robert Griffin III and the Washington offense is to get into the backfield right away and keep Griffin surrounded so as to limit his options. Can an untested rookie defensive end such as Damontre Moore handle the complexities of stopping the read-option? Can veteran defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins function as an end if asked to do the same? The extent to which the Giants can replace Pierre-Paul on the side opposite Justin Tuck is something to watch in this game.

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