If New York Giants fans were hoping to avoid the week-to-week roster shuffle of the 2011 season again this year, the last few days of training camp were a bad sign.
With Ts Will Beatty and James Brewer battling nagging back issues and defensive linemen Shaun Rogers (blood clot, out for the season), Marvin Austin (back), Martin Parker (back, requires surgery), Chris Canty (knee, currently on PUP) and Justin Trattou (ankle/heel) in various states of disrepair, it seems the Giants’ roster will be as fluid as ever in 2012.
So even if a particular player does or does not make the team out of camp, don’t expect that to be the final word on the subject.
Stock rising: The recent injuries at defensive tackle are giving Dwayne Hendricks more of a chance, but he’s actually earning his way onto the roster. Hendricks, who was active for the Giants against the Patriots in Week 9 last year, had two sacks in the first preseason game against the Jaguars. Coach Tom Coughlin has always told offensive lineman to go full speed against Hendricks, because he has the ability to make people look bad.
Stock falling: WR David Douglas was mentioned by Coughlin as a player that had impressed him early in camp, but the undrafted Arizona product hurt his quad before the first preseason game and hasn't been on the field since. The Giants could add him to the practice squad, but even that is going to be crowded if receiver Dan DePalma doesn't make the 53-man roster.
QB -- In (2): Eli Manning, David Carr. Out: Ryan Perrilloux. Analysis: The Giants usually carry two quarterbacks and since Perrilloux is still eligible to be on the practice squad, he can expect to return there in 2012. Manning’s command of Kevin Gilbride’s offense is unquestioned, but what many fans don’t know is that Carr is essential to the Giants’ roster. Gilbride’s scheme is so complex that it would be difficult for any backup, no matter how talented, to step in for an injured Manning without having spent several seasons learning the content. Of course, Manning has never missed a start, so that point could be moot.
RB -- In (4): Ahmad Bradshaw, D.J. Ware and David Wilson (FB) Henry Hynoski. Out: Andre Brown, Da’Rel Scott , Joe Martinek Analysis: Bradshaw’s the starter, Ware will be the main receiving threat out of the backfield and Wilson is the first-round talent with blazing speed and a growing understanding of the scheme. The Giants would probably like to keep Brown or Scott, but some depth issues at other positions will make that hard. Brown looked good at camp, while Scott has battled leg issues throughout. Keep an eye on Hynoski as a receiving threat now that he has a full year in the offense.
WR -- In (6): Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Ramses Barden, Domenik Hixon, Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan. Out: Julian Talley, Isaiah Stanback, Brandon Collins, David Douglas and Dan DePalma. Analysis: Nicks will practice for the first time following foot surgery on Monday, but his absence has given more reps to Barden, Hixon and Randle, all of whom will be asked to step up to replace departed WR Mario Manningham. Jernigan is another option in the slot behind Cruz. Stanback, Douglas and DePalma all had an impressive camp, but the numbers are just not in their favor.
TE -- In (4•): Bear Pascoe, Martellus Bennett, Adrien Robinson and Travis Beckum (PUP) Out: Christian Hopkins, Ryan Purvis and Larry Donnell. Analysis: Regardless of who is designated the starter, both Pascoe and Bennett will see plenty of snaps. They’re big, physical and capable of replacing Jake Ballard’s production in the offense. If Beckum can return from ACL surgery during the middle of the season, he’d make a nice complement to the pair. As for Robinson, the rookie’s inexperience might leave him inactive more often than not.
OL -- In (9): Will Beatty , James Brewer, David Baas, Matt McCants, Brandon Mosley, Kevin Boothe, David Diehl, Jim Cordle, and Chris Snee Out: Sean Locklear, Selvish Capers, Joel Reinders, Stephen Goodin, Mitch Petrus and Chris White. Analysis: Diehl’s versatility means there are many different possible permutations for the offensive line if Beatty’s back should get worse. For now, he’ll be at left tackle while Diehl moves over to right tackle. Boothe begins the season as the starter at left guard, but if Baas should suffer any injury, Boothe could slide over to center. Snee is back at right guard where he remains among the best in football. Brewer has made progress in camp, and is the top backup at tackle. However, if Beatty’s back continues to be an issue, Locklear could make the team as a backup at left tackle.
DL -- In (10): Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Marvin Austin , Rocky Bernard, Chris Canty , Dwayne Hendricks, Linval Joseph, Adrian Tracy and Markus Kuhn Out: Matt Broha, Craig Marshall , Adewale Ojomo, Carlton Powell, Justin Trattou and Martin Parker. Analysis: The recent barrage of injuries at defensive tackle means Hendricks will probably make the team (he had two sacks against Jacksonville in the first preseason game), but the numbers in the middle are still low. Expect Tuck to see plenty of time at tackle. Fans shouldn’t be too concerned with who starts and who doesn’t. Umenyiora will be back on the right side, Tuck will be on the left and Pierre-Paul will float between the two spots. Canty sounds like he’s ready to return, but the Giants have not given any indication that he’s ready to come off PUP. If Austin’s back isn’t serious, he should also factor in significantly. Trattou’s injury paves the way for Tracy to make the 53-man roster.
LB -- In (7•): Chase Blackburn, Michael Boley, Mark Herzlich, Mathias Kiwanuka, Keith Rivers, Clint Sintim (PUP) and Jacquian Williams Out: Greg Jones, Jake Muasau and Spencer Paysinger. Analysis: Blackburn and Herzlich are still battling for the starting spot in the middle, Boley has an ongoing hamstring issue and Kiwanuka is going to see plenty of time along the defensive line as well. But since the Giants play a lot of nickel -- primarily utilizing two natural weakside linebackers at a time -- Rivers and Williams should definitely be factors this season. Jones and Paysinger might be casualties of the numbers. Sintim will start the season on PUP, but it’s unclear if he’d ever join the 53-man roster.
DB -- In (10): Prince Amukamara, Michael Coe, Jayron Hosley, Justin Tryon, Terrell Thomas, Corey Webster, Will Hill, Kenny Phillips, Antrel Rolle and Tyler Sash Out: Brandon Bing, Dante Hughes, Bruce Johnson, Antwuan Molden, Jojo Nicolas, Stevie Brown and Chris Horton. Analysis: While Thomas recovers from his knee injury, Amukamara seems like the favorite to start opposite Webster. Hosley and Hill, a safety, could fill Thomas’ shoes at nickelback. Tryon still has an excellent chance of making this team or rejoining the Giants somewhere down the road. Despite his size (5-9), he’s been physical and shown an ability to defend taller receivers. Sash’s four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs makes it even more important to keep Hill around.
Special teams -- In (3): Lawrence Tynes, Steve Weatherford and Zak DeOssie. Out: Nobody. Analysis: This one is pretty easy. The Giants didn’t have any competition at kicker, punter or long snapper during training camp and all three of the aforementioned players are healthy.
• --Denotes inclusion of PUP player.