New York Giants
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
Add former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms to the growing list of commentators who have been perplexed by the odd decision of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to keep the Giants in the dark regarding his physical and mental conditions.
"I know most of the organizations in the NFL, and I know I played for the New York Giants and everything, but I believe in them and trust them more than any organization maybe in sports," Simms told Mad Dog Sports Radio host Adam Schein.
"They will bite the bullet sometimes and do the wrong thing for the franchise and the right thing for the person. And that's why, it's easy for me to say, but if I had been JPP and his advisor I'd say, 'Go ahead; they are going to do the right thing by you.'"
Pierre-Paul, currently the last of the league's franchise players without any kind of signed deal, was injured on July 4 because of his interaction with fireworks.
According to numerous reports, including a photo of the 26 year old's hospital chart that was tweeted by ESPN's Adam Schefter, Pierre-Paul had his right index finger amputated, and he underwent skin grafts to repair burns.
Pierre-Paul has also been reported by ESPN to have a broken right thumb.
Since the ordeal, the Giants have tried to reach out to last year's team sack leader only to be turned away by Pierre-Paul's camp.
With the Giants set to report to training camp on July 30, it's doubtful as to whether Pierre-Paul, who according to an NFL Media report was given a six-week recovery time, plans to show up to sign his tender.
Once he does sign, the Giants can place him on the non-football injury list, a designation in which they wouldn't have to pay him until he could pass a team physical.
Simms, who opined that Pierre-Paul has the potential to be a "star pass rusher," agreed with the Giants' decision to franchise Pierre-Paul. The Giants, meanwhile, are not believed to be planning to rescind the franchise tag until they have a chance to meet with Pierre-Paul.
Simms hopes that the wounded defensive end will change his mind about opening a dialogue with the team because he might just be pleasantly surprised at the reception he is bound to receive.
"I just know them-John Mara, the Tisches, everybody involved with the Giants," Simms said.
"They run this team the exact same way their fathers ran the football team, with great compassion (and) of course knowledge and business savvy and all of those things. That's why I would have been different (in communicating with the team) because I believe that strongly in the people that run the organization."
Linebacker Jon Beason, who is now more than eight months removed from season-ending surgery on his ailing toe, said he expects the Giants' training staff to limit his reps during training camp.
"I'm sure the Giants will force me into being smart about reps and the workload," Beason told Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon of SiriusXM NFL Radio last week.
"I'll do what I can to listen to them, but at the same time, do what I have to do to prepare and get ready for the season."
It's been a frustrating four years for the 30-year-old middle linebacker and three-time Pro Bowler. Assorted lower body injuries affecting his Achilles, knee and toe have all contributed to him playing in just 24 games with 22 starts since 2011.
"A big part of it is the turf," Beason opined. "It's not great for our bodies and it changes based on position.
"I never played on turf in high school; I was well into college before this turf thing became big. I always played on grass, where you learn how to cut and plant and you know the limitations of grass, how it gives."
Like it or not, he will have to continue playing games on turf, such as what is on the MetLife Stadium field.
To ensure that he protects his foot, Beason indicated that he would need to engage in some preventive maintenance to continue providing protection to his foot.
The Giants are counting on having Beason, who missed 12 games last season, to serve as their chief on-field general in a defensive scheme that the nine-year veteran has described as one of the most complex he's ever been a part of.
"He puts a lot of pressure on everybody to know their role and part and kind of go out there and orchestrate the defense; it's not all on the 'Mike' 'backer," Beason said.
"I like the fact that we're not going to sit back and be dictated to. I realized there's a lot more pressure on myself and the whole crew, but it just makes it that much better when you put yourself in a position to be successful pre-snap and then you go out there and let your athletic ability take over."
Beason said that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo came in with clearly defined objectives for last year's 29th-ranked defense to address, among them, improved tackling to cut down on the yards after contact.
"There's a number that (Spagnuolo) mentioned the first day that we started our offseason program: 1,507. He made everyone write that down, and that's the amount of yards we gave up after contact," Beason said.
"It's not so much scheme, but getting guys down at the first opportunity," he added. "We can go from 29th (ranked defense) into the early teens, close to a top-10 defense just based on getting guys on the ground."
Talks between the Giants and quarterback Eli Manning regarding a contract extension are reportedly heating up, with a possibility that a new deal could be in place early in training camp.
According to an ESPN report, Manning's new deal could be structured similar to that of the four-year, $87.4 million extension that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger received earlier this year.
According to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger's deal included $65 million in guarantees that includes a $31 million signing bonus and the first three years of the base salary being guaranteed against injury.
The final two years of the deal allow for up to $9 million in performance escalators.
Team co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch have, on separate occasions, expressed a desire to have Manning finish his career as a Giant. The quarterback, for whom the Giants traded in 2004 following Manning's selection by the Chargers as the No. 1 overall draft pick, has been behind center for two Giants Super Bowl championships and is the holder of numerous club passing records.
Team strength: Running back.
For the first time since the 2007-2008 seasons, the Giants have perhaps their most diverse running backs corps, a unit that offers a little bit of everything and whose members can be mixed and matched to various situations. The addition of veteran Shane Vereen gives the corps its missing ingredient: a legitimate threat out of the backfield. Starter Rashad Jennings, who is expected to do the bulk of the work between the 20-yard lines, will probably see most of the between-the-tackles work. Second-year man Andre Williams' role will likely be limited to that of a short-yardage and goal-line back, and Orleans Darkwa will see spot duty. This diversity, along with a hopefully improved offensive line and the return of fullback Henry Hynoski, should go a long way in boosting the NFL's 23rd-ranked running game from 2014 back toward being a top-10 unit.
Breakout player: Outside Linebacker Devon Kennard.
Last season, the fifth-round pick showed flashes of being a pass rushing force off the edge. Kennard, out of USC, finished third on the team in sacks (4.5) behind defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul (12.5) and Damontre Moore (5.5). With Pierre-Paul's availability for the 2015 season a glaring question mark, it would not be surprising if defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo calls upon Kennard, the projected starting outside linebacker, to be that pass-rushing threat off the edge.
Work in progress: Offensive line.
The pectoral injury suffered by left tackle Will Beatty once again made the offensive line a worry for the Giants' coaches.
At the start of OTAs, head coach Tom Coughlin made it clear that they were planning to look at some different offensive line combinations in training camp where they will have a chance to see the players with the pads on.
During OTAs, Coughlin and the Giants stuck with a combination that, from left tackle to right tackle, featured Ereck Flowers (first-round draftee), Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Geoff Schwartz and Marshall Newhouse.
The Giants did have a visit with Jake Long in June just to gauge the veteran's interest and to see where he was in his rehab from his second torn ACL injury.
Ideally, the Giants would like to stick with what they have, but the problem is their depth at offensive tackle is so paper-thin that should disaster befall Flowers or Newhouse, it's going to rock the unit's foundation.
Also worth noting is offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's response to a question concerning Flowers.
"We like him as a future left tackle, and I'm very confident in him right now," said McAdoo.
He might not have much of a choice.