The Giants cut down their roster to the required 53 players on Saturday evening. I want to congratulate all who made it, and all who tried their best. This of course is a fluid roster depending on injuries and performance, and of course not everyone gets to play on Sundays. But this is where we stand at the moment and I think it teaches a few lessons.
The Giants have struggled on Special Teams the past few years. Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese made a strong effort this year to handle that problem head on. In an interview with Jon Gruden before the Bears pre-season game, Coach Coughlin stated he wanted to use more linebackers on Special Teams. This little tid-bit of information passed on during the telecast may have gone un-noticed, but it bode well for the young players wanting to make this team. The coverage teams in past years have shown a lack of team speed. We lost players like David Tyree and Domenik Hixon to injury and retirement. Special teams coverage guys need to be very athletic, speedy, and big enough to fight off blocks and make tackles. Big receivers such as Hixon are naturals. However, big linemen usually are not. The answer in today’s game are Linebackers and Safeties. Most of them are fast enough to get down the field, strong enough to fight through blocks, and certainly they should know how to tackle. The opportunity was there for some young players, and they took it. Jacquian Williams, Spencer Paysinger, Tyler Sash, Greg Jones, and of course fan favorite Mark Herzlich all walked into a great situation and made the most of it to this point. These are the names along with Zak DeOssie, Da’rel Scott, and Devin Thomas that you will hear all year long when it comes to Special Teams play. The Giants had a plan to get faster and more athletic and this roster shows that. There has been an out cry from fans for the past years about the lack of Linebacker talent on this team, well that has been addressed through the draft for this year and for years to come. I personally believe that Mark Herzlich will be a long time success in the NFL. Greg Jones could be another London Fletcher, a guy that everyone says is too small, but does nothing but make plays, and Jacquian Williams may be the fastest and quickest Linebacker we have had since the Glory Days of Banks and Taylor in New York. This is the first step in revamping the Special Teams, and along with Steve Weatherford I think it will be successful one. The one thing that will make this make-over a total success? Jerrel Jernigan will settle down, learn the fair catch signal, and understand that possession is the key to punt returning. This is not a video game anymore, this is the NFL.