Giants beat writer Jordan Raanan:
There is hope with the way Will Tye flashed in the second half of last season that he can build on that and become a dangerous receiving option. His athleticism and pass-catching potential makes him my choice to start Week 1, especially given the uncertainty that remains with Larry Donnell returning from a broken bone in his neck.
Tye essentially took over as the Giants’ starter in Week 8, and was the #13 tight end in standard formats from that point on. From Week 9 to Week 17, he had the 10th-most targets at his position. If he wins the job this summer, he’ll be a good late-round target for owners looking for value at the position.
Ralph Vacchiano discusses the Giants' backfield:
Rashad Jennings, who I like a lot more than most fans (and media) seem to like, will be the likely workhorse and get the majority of carries. (By the way, hard as it is to believe, he got 48.3% of the carries last year, though I'd expect that to tick up.) Shane Vereen will again be the third-down back and primary receiver-out-of-the-backfield weapon. Maybe they get a little more creative with him. Maybe he just plays better. But I see him being more of a factor.
And then? Good question. I don't think Paul Perkins, their fifth-round pick, will have much of an impact in the offense this year. I think Andre Williams will likely get the first shot to be the short-yardage back, and the guy who spells Jennings for a series or two. How long that lasts depends on him. And I think Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey have an uphill battle to make the roster.
Vacchiano also mentioned that the RB breakdown may depend on which coach came up with the "stupid" four-running back rotation the team used last year. If it was the now-departed Tom Coughlin, then the Giants will primarily use two or three running backs. If it was former OC/new HC Ben McAdoo, then all bets are off.
Second-round wide receiver Sterling Shepard is in the best position to make a significant impact. The Giants targeted him early in the draft process as a wideout they liked, and coach Ben McAdoo sees him as a player he can use all over the formation in a variety of roles as a complement to star Odell Beckham Jr. With Rueben Randle gone and Victor Cruz still a major question mark as he attempts his comeback from knee and calf injuries, there's an opening for a No. 2 wide receiver in New York. Shepard will get every opportunity to lock down the role for the short and long term, and he has the skill set to do it.
The only thing standing in the way of a major role for Shepard is Cruz and his balky knee and calf. If Cruz looks like his old self, then the Giants will probably let Shepard grow into a larger role, but if Cruz doesn't have a great offseason then Shepard will be thrust into a major role immediately. He could fill the Randall Cobb role in Ben McAdoo's offense.
Cruz is on board with his boss's optimism, telling NJ Advance Media he feels he is back to full strength as he continues to rehab the rare calf injury that cost him the entire 2015 season.
"I'm feeling great. Workouts have been going amazing. Each day, it gets better and better," Cruz said on Friday afternoon while making an appearance during a free children's health screening seminar here in his hometown at the Boys and Girls Club.
"I'm excited to continue to train, continue that pattern, and see where it takes me. ... I'm 100 percent. I feel good. No injuries, no ailments, nothing hurts, no pain."
Cruz has not played in a game since October of 2014, when he suffered a right patellar tear. And his comeback attempt never materialized last year, as a series of false starts with a nagging calf injury eventually led to season-ending surgery without the former Paterson Catholic star playing a down.
Monday, April 4, 2016, 9:09pm
Johnson has played in 63-of-64 regular season games for the Steelers over the last four seasons and saw most of his time as a blocker on offense. He carried the ball eight times for 14 yards and caught 31 passes for 235 yards while scoring three times.
Chandler was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. He spent 2007 and 2008 with San Diego (though he was on IR for the '08 season) before landing with the Dallas Cowboys in 2009, spending two seasons bouncing back and forth between the practice squads and active rosters of the Cowboys and Giants before ultimately landing with the Buffalo Bills late in the 2010 season.
He wound up spending four more years with the Bills, ultimately catching 181 passes for 2,112 yards and 17 touchdowns during that stint. He then landed with the New England Patriots for the 2015 season, playing No. 2 to Rob Gronkowski for most of the year and filling in for Gronk as the No. 1 tight end when he missed time. He caught 23 passes for 259 yards and four scores.
Chandler wound up needing knee surgery at the end of the season, though, and according to this Twitter post from his wife, Alissa, that surgery may end his career.
Victor Cruz is a Giant enigma and a wild card all wrapped into one. And there won't be any clarity until he steps on the field and proves (in a real game) he can play at an NFL level.
The Giants can use Cruz at full strength, but have no idea what to expect from him this season, if anything at all. Cruz has devolved from a Pro Bowl wide receiver to a complete unknown on a roster short on proven wideouts. If he returns at anywhere near his old form, the cries for a No. 2 receiver are overblown. If he doesn't, you have to wonder what the Giants are doing this offseason having not addressed the position.
The Giants offense would be greatly improved with Cruz playing aside Odell Beckham Jr., except his return is not so simple. Cruz has missed most of the past two seasons, first with a torn patellar tendon and then a calf muscle that needed to be cemented back down. Even the Giants aren't sure what to make of him at this point.
"I think you have to wait and see where he's going to be at honestly," offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said on Friday when the Giants assistants met with the media 10 days before the start of their offseason workout program. "He's coming off a situation with the other issue with the calf. Until we know exactly what he's physically capable of doing, we really are going to be hard pressed to say exactly, 'Hey this is the role he will fill.'"
The results to this point with Cruz are promising, the story said. He's been rehabbing and making progress while working hard in New Jersey. There is optimism within the Giants building that he can return, in some capacity for this season. The Giants lost Rueben Randle to the Eagles in free agency.
Friday, April 1, 2016, 9:18pm
"I felt like it was a better opportunity for me here to showcase my talents on a one-year deal to go out there and prove myself," Randle said. "It's a new start for everyone, new coaching staff, new start for me as well."
Even though the 6-2, 208-pound Randle is only 24 years old, he along with another new addition in Chris Givens are the most experienced receivers on the team.
"I can come out here and help those guys be better players. It's not all about me," Randle said. "I'm willing to help my teammates out and get those guys better as well so with my veteran presence I can lead the group a little bit and maybe get some things started here in the receiving corps."
The 24-year-old agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Eagles on Wednesday, the team announced. Randle's agent, Vincent Taylor, told NFL.com that the deal includes $500,000 in guaranteed money and can be worth up to $3 million if Randle meets all of his incentives.
Before the Eagles added Randle on Wednesday, new coach Doug Pederson had mentioned that Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews would be the top two outside receivers heading into OTAs. If that doesn't change, Randle will likely compete against Josh Huff for playing time at the No. 3 receiver spot.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 5:10pm
Vernon has agreed to a deal worth $85 million over five years, sources familiar with the parameters of the deal told Rapoport. It includes $52.5 million in guarantees.
Cruz has missed the last 26 games after a patellar tendon tear cut his 2014 season short as well. But in a video for Bleacher Report’s UNINTERRUPTED, Cruz says he resumed running for the first time on Wednesday and feels he is making significant progress in his recovery.
“I’ve been making a lot of progress. The calf is starting to feel really, really good. I’m excited about the process. I’m excited about what’s to come,” Cruz said.
Giants TE Larry Donnell missed the final eight games last season dealing with a neck issue. He insisted he felt no pain, but his MRI exam did not come back clean. He did not miss a game his first two years, breaking through with a 63-reception season in 2014. Undrafted out of Grambling State, Donnell has experienced problems with ball security, but he is a huge target at 6-foot-6 and has eight touchdown catches in his last 24 games.
On Thursday, general manager Jerry Reese said, ominously, Donnell has not yet received medical clearance to return to football activities.
“Hopefully he’ll be able to continue to play,’’ Reese said. “We’re expecting him to be back, but necks can be tricky. We’ll have to wait and see where that goes.
Tye essentially took over as the Giants’ starter in Week 8, and was the #13 tight end from that point on. From Week 9 to Week 17, he had the 10th-most targets at his position. If Larry Donnell’s neck injury sidelines him in 2016, and the Giants don’t add a good tight end in free agency or the draft, then Tye will be a good late-round target for owners looking for value at the position. (Tye is an exclusive rights free agent, so the Giants still need to re-sign him.)
The New York Giants didn't have to look far to find a replacement for Tom Coughlin.
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo has been promoted to take over the team that has missed the playoffs the past four seasons, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
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