Jordan Raanan on the Giants' receiving corps:
This has nothing to do with free agency, but wide receiver Rueben Randle remains part of the Giants plans despite a season where he was twice benched for a quarter because of tardiness to meetings. Randle is not being shopped after multiple run-ins last season with Coughlin.
The Giants are moving forward as if Randle is part of the future, with the hope that he can excel next season playing alongside Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz. Randle is still just 23 years old and the team was happy with the way he played late in the season, when they used him more as a downfield threat instead of the possession-receiver role he filled early in the season.
"I think Rueben gets banged on a lot. Sometimes he should get banged on, but I think he gets banged on sometimes a little too much," general manager Jerry Reese said. "I think he is a good, young player and all he needs are some chances. With Odell and Victor, I think he will get plenty of chances."
But if things don't work out with Randle or Cruz (returning from a serious injury), one player I was told to keep an eye out for was Marcus Harris. The Giants were close to using Harris as a starter (in three-wide-receiver sets) last year before injuries shut him down at the end of the summer for the season. The 25-year-old really impressed the Giants last spring and summer.
Randle finished #32 in PPR formats and #37 in standard despite seeing the 20th-most targets (127) on the year, so he wasn't very efficient in his targets. He finished the season with 12 catches for 290 yards and a touchdown in the final two games. He's probably not going to finish in the top 30 in 2015 if Cruz comes back healthy since Cruz and Beckham will likely dominate the targets.
Mettenberger averaged 272 yards, 1.8 touchdowns and 1.0 interception in the four games that he started and finished. He was also on pace for 329 yards and 1.8 TD against the Texans in Week 13 before missing nearly half the game with a shoulder sprain. He wasn’t effective against the Giants in Week 14 before re-injuring his shoulder. For the most part, what we saw was encouraging, especially since he was just a rookie. If the Titans enter the season with Mettenberger as the starter, then we can expect the solid QB2 numbers that he posted in 2014 -- he’ll be a committee and/or streaming candidate.
Giants beat writer Dan Graziano: They really like Larry Donnell and believe he's in the midst of developing into a very good player. They like his athleticism and his size, and most of all they really believe in his offseason dedication and determination to work on and learn the things he still needs to learn. Donnell made a huge leap from 2013 to 2014, and the Giants believe that his offseason work ethic will lead to another big leap in 2015. They believe they have not only a starter, but a future star in Donnell.
Donnell finished the season as the #11 TE in both standard and PPR formats, but did not crack 60 yards or find the endzone in the final six games. He had the 17th-most targets (5.2 T/G) over that span, after seeing the 7th-most (6.1 T/G) in the first 11 weeks. He'll continue to be a red zone threat, but with Odell Beckham and a presumably healthy Victor Cruz gobbling up targets, Donnell is unlikely to see more than six looks per game in 2015.
Giants TE Larry Donnell was a productive receiver, but he has to be more consistent both catching the ball and blocking. If nothing changes, he should be the top tight end entering training camp. But the Giants will look to upgrade that position as they will all others and it’s possible someone not currently on the roster will provide Donnell with his toughest competition for the job.
Donnell finished the season as the #11 TE in both standard and PPR formats, but did not crack 60 yards or find the endzone in the final six games. He saw the 17th-most targets (5.2 T/G) over that span, after seeing the 7th-most (6.1 T/G) in the first 11 weeks. He'll be a red zone threat, but with Odell Beckham and a (healthy?) Victor Cruz gobbling up targets, Donnell is unlikely to see more than six targets per game in 2015.
Giants WR Odell Beckham let it out that the hamstring injury that forced him to miss the entire preseason and the first four games of the regular season was actually two tears in the right hamstring that never fully healed.
“They healed up enough to where I could play with them, but they were never truly good and I’m still just working on them and trying to get ready,” Beckham said after catching five passes for 89 yards for Michael Irvin’s team in a 32-28 win over Cris Carter’s team at University of Phoenix Stadium.
“I should be good by training camp,” Beckham said. “The plan is to play at full strength next season, and I definitely hope to do it. I’m just looking forward to getting healthy.”
If true, then perhaps Beckham has just scratched the surface on his full potential. Once his season started in Week 5, he averaged 17.2 FP (standard) and 24.8 FP (PPR), which was the best in the league in both scoring systems. He's likely to head into the 2015 season as a late 1st round pick/early 2nd round pick in PPR formats. The only (minor) concerns are a potential sophomore slump and the return of Victor Cruz, which could alter the dynamic in the Giants' receiving corps.
"They said they want me back, for sure," he said. "I was their draft pick, so they said they definitely want me to come back."
The market for free agent running backs has dried up considerably in recent years, but Ingram should be able to garner the $3 million per year (or so) that Toby Gerhart and Rashad Jennings received last year. Ingram would hold RB2-type value if he returns to New Orleans since a healthy Khiry Robinson would likely cap Ingram's workload. Robinson's injuries played a big role in Ingram getting the 19.6 touches per game that he saw in 2014.
The New York Giants have selected Steve Spagnuolo as their new defensive coordinator, reuniting him with the team he helped win Super Bowl XLII while serving in that role from 2007 to 2008.
Spagnuolo, 55, replaces Perry Fewell, who was the Giants' defensive coordinator for the past five years but was fired last week after a 6-10 season in which the team finished 29th in the NFL in total defense.
The Giants today initiated a restructuring of their defensive coaching staff when they announced the departure of coordinator Perry Fewell and secondary/cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta.
Fewell had been the team’s defensive coordinator since 2010, while Giunta joined the staff in 2006. Giunta was on the staff for both of the Giants’ Super Bowl victories under Tom Coughlin, while Fewell coordinated the defense when the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI.
“These are two outstanding men and outstanding football coaches,” head coach Tom Coughlin said. “It is very hard in this business to find people that are not only good football coaches but outstanding human beings who are trustworthy, loyal and honest. Perry and Peter are all that.”
Despite his strong personal feelings for Fewell and Giunta, Coughlin said the changes were necessary in the wake of the Giants’ 6-10 season in 2014, their third in row without a postseason berth.
The Giants were 29th in total defense and 22nd in points allowed.
All involved with the Giants are breathlessly awaiting the pairing of Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz as 2015 targets for Eli Manning, but general manager Jerry Reese has sounded the alarm that he cannot unequivocally count on vintage Cruz next season.
“You’ve got to prepare as if, ‘What if Victor Cruz doesn’t come back?’ ’’ Reese said Tuesday. “If you are a personnel guy, or a general manager, that is always in the back of your head. What if this guy doesn’t come back and be the player that we think he is?’’
Cruz had surgery to repair a torn patella tendon in his right knee suffered Oct. 12 in Philadelphia and the estimated recovery time was put at nine months. Cruz has vowed to return to his past form, but Reese spoke of him in a tone similar to the one Reese took a year ago when running back David Wilson was dealing with a neck injury that ultimately forced him to retire.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014, 10:34am
How Beckham handles his first offseason as a pro will help determine the level of success Beckham and the 6-10 Giants reach next season. Manning sure doesn’t want next season to end like this season.
“Not a fun day, it’s disappointing,” Manning said Monday at “Baggie Day” at the Giants training facility. “You have your good years and your bad years and you just have to learn from it.’’
Manning said Beckham, who was not available to the media, will face a much different challenge now.
“I think he has got things figured out,’’ the 11-year veteran said of the rookie. “I talked to him. He’s going to go back and start training in Arizona [at the Athletes’ Performance Institute] real soon. I think that is great.
It's amazing what Beckham did this season when he couldn't even get on the field in camp and in the early part of the season. After that he took off and exploded onto the scene finishing 2014 with a line of 91-1305-12 in 12 games. He'll be a highly-sought WR pick in next season's drafts.
Especially catching the football. He worked hard in that department, getting maximum use out of the Jugs machine, but now it’s a mental game.
“I feel like I have a different set of hands,’’ Williams said of his 18 receptions, good for 130 yards after not catching a pass his senior year at Boston College. “I feel like I have a better grasp on how the catching mechanism is supposed to work.’’
Now comes Step 2.
“It’s not really anything physical, it’s mental,’’ Williams said. “You come into the league and it’s like, ‘I was catching passes from college quarterbacks, but now this is Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, who is throwing balls to Odell Beckham who has something crazy going on with his hands. He can catch them with one hand and I couldn’t even begin to think of how to accomplish that. It’s definitely a mental game, just having confidence that you are capable of it. Once you have that then you can really start working on actually catching the ball.’’
The story added that Williams is an intelligent player and is going to pick the brains of veteran running backs like Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy this offseason, along with his continuing dialogue with Giants’ veteran back Rashad Jennings. Any improvement in the pass-catching game could give Williams the edge to a more significant role next year. Jennings is approaching old age in terms of RBs (will be 30 in March) and was banged up in 2014.
Tom Coughlin has been told that he will return to Giants in 2015, but still has a meeting with John Mara today about potential staff changes.
The Giants have played much better in the second half and have been aided by WR Odell Beckham Jr. and his bust-out rookie season. QB Eli Manning and the rest of the offense seem to have a much better grasp of OC Ben McAdoo's system than they did in preseason and in the early part of 2014. Perhaps the fall comes on the defensive side.
McCoy initially feared it was something serious, based on the way he went down. Other players knelt around him, hoping it wasn't. McCoy eventually arose and limped off the field on his own power. He wanted to go back into the game, but the clock was winding down by that point.
The Eagles' Pro Bowl running back avoided a scare. The question now is whether that was his final carry with the team.
That question might seem absurd considering that McCoy, 26, rushed for 99 yards on Sunday to finish with 1,319 yards this season. It was the second-highest rushing total of his career, with both seasons coming under Chip Kelly. He was named to his third Pro Bowl in six seasons last week.
But McCoy is due to be paid $9.75 million with a salary-cap number of $11.95 million in 2015. That's a hefty price for a running back, and McCoy admitted that his future goes through his mind sometimes - especially after the Eagles jettisoned DeSean Jackson last offseason.
McCoy said he wants to stay and seems open to restructuring his contract after a down year. HC Chip Kelly came out Sunday and said he wants Shady back in the fold for 2015, so a departure seems unlikely at this point.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle, probable) took limited practice reps all week and is probable for Week 17. Jennings is expected to rejoin the lineup in Week 17. His return kills any daily fantasy appeal for Andre Williams.
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