A quick assessment of New York Giants 53-man roster
By Curt Macysyn
The New York Giants trimmed 36 players on Saturday to get down to the league-mandated 53-man roster.
But based upon this roster configuration, it seems that the New York Giants still have work to do. First, let’s be real, the team won’t go into the season opener versus the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 9th with four quarterbacks. It seems highly suspect that the team also goes into battle with just four cornerbacks. That means Sunday will also hold some intrigue.
Interestingly enough, in this process, there were several stark philosophical departures from the previous regime. Additionally, general manager Dave Gettleman and company removed a few notable draft picks from the Jerry Reese era. Undoubtedly, there will be several more additions and subtractions before the team takes on Tom Coughlin, Doug Marrone and company.
One philosophical departure was going to be the availability of head coach Pat Shurmur to discuss the roster moves. According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, a scheduled press conference on Saturday was rescheduled to Monday. This type of transparency was long overdue, and would mark a seachange from the media avoidance that defined the team when Reese was in charge. Let’s hope it still happens.
New York Giants
Instead, Shurmur spoke in broad strokes, via a statement, per the team’s official website:
"“As I’ve said, I feel like we’re on the right track. We had a competitive training camp that forced us to make some tough decisions. We will continue to look to improve the roster in any way we can.”"
As of this roster finalization, the New York Giants placed veteran defensive end Josh Mauro on the reserve/suspended list. Mauro will miss the first four games of the regular season through NFL suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.
Additionally, the team placed two offensive linemen on injured reserve: Nick Becton (ankle/wrist) and Nick Gates (foot). Lastly, fifth-round draft pick R.J. McIntosh was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list. The rookie defensive lineman did not practice of play with the team this summer.
After 4:00 p.m. on Saturday when rosters were set, the New York Giants showed up with four quarterbacks on their roster. Twitter was set a blaze with speculation that quarterback Davis Webb or Kyle Lauletta were being shopped, which is probably the case. Earlier this week, we mentioned that the quarterback situation was still fluid, and this turn of events seemingly confirms that notion.
First, let’s be honest, team brass strongly intimated that they were not in love with any of the signal-callers selected in the 2018 NFL Draft by selecting running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2 overall. They settled on Kyle Lauletta (Richmond) later in the draft, and there was speculation at that time, that Davis Webb was getting mixed reviews internally. For his part, Lauletta had a tepid camp as well, and threw a pretty large bucket of cold water on the notion that somehow he was a fourth-round draft “steal”.
Now, talking about the back-up quarterback this much deflects from the really pressing issues of this offense. But we would question the wisdom of keeping Alex Tanney, largely so he doesn’t have to pass through waivers. This decision undoubtedly impacted a couple of guys on the defensive side of the ball.
On the offensive line, the G-Men actually kept Evan Brown as back-up center. According to Pro Football Focus, veteran John Greco earned a 41.0 pass blocking grade for his work at center against the New England Patriots. Keep on eye on what transpires at that position on Sunday, however.
We like the idea of keeping four tight ends and a fullback. This configuration gives the New York Giants a fair amount of flexibility in their offensive scheme. We also realize fans of the “11” personnel package may be upset. So be it.
Nice to see Rutgers running back Rob Martin make the roster. Hopefully this event ushers in a new-found focus on scouting at a Big Ten school in short driving distance from the Meadowlands. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but take a look at Scarlet Knights freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski, if you get the chance.
Other than having too many quarterbacks, the skill positions are pretty well set. Absolutely no surprise that wideouts Roger Lewis and Travis Rudolph were cut. The team should work to get running backs Jalen Simmons and Jhurrel Pressley onto the practice squad. The work-in-progress will be the offensive line, as well as the return game/fifth receiver.
Piece of advice to youngster Hunter Sharp is to rent out living space right now. Reserve guards John Greco and John Jerry, as well as center Evan Brown and tackle Chad Wheeler may also have to sweat out this next week.
The free safety position battle played out throughout camp, and that manifested itself on cut day. Former starters Andrew Adams and Darian Thompson were both released. Adams had spent much of the summer with the third string, although he did get first-team repetitions, they were few and far between. This was not a surprise.
Another former starter, and 2016 third-round draft pick, Darian Thompson was shown the door. Thompson was anointed as starter, almost sight unseen, upon lacing up his cleats in his rookie season. Through injuries and mediocre play, Thompson never fulfilled his promise. Some will opine that his release is shocking, but based strictly upon the results, it clearly is not.
Right now, Curtis Riley inherits the starting role, but Michael Thomas waits in the wings. We can’t say with certainty that the New York Giants upgraded that position. We would have much preferred bringing in George Iloka when the Cincinnati Bengals cut him. He went to the Minnesota Vikings at the veteran’s minimum.
New York Giants radio analyst Carl Banks joked that seven guys got cut when New England Patriots quarterback Danny Etling scored on an 86-yard naked bootleg in the preseason finale on Thursday. Well, safety Orion Stewart and cornerback Leonard Johnson were the primary culprits on the lost containment, and both were cut on Saturday.
Diminutive cornerback Donte Deayon secured his roster spot through hard work and determination. He should be the team’s slot corner to start the season.
Cutting edge rusher Avery Moss seemed to be a no-brainer. Moss was injury-prone in his time in New York, and he never really seemed to fit in. He was one of those athletic guys that Jerry Reese loved to draft and rarely panned out (Damontre Moore, Owa Odighizuwa).
Two players that we like, cornerback Grant Haley and linebacker Calvin Munson, were released on Saturday. Hopefully, both clear through waivers and are signed to the practice squad. According to the team’s unofficial depth chart, lineback B.J. Goodson has no back-up. That safety net was removed with Munson and veteran Mark Herzlich being cut. Rookie Tae Davis did make the roster at linebacker though.