With the preseason winding down, the Giants will be playing their final preseason game August 29th against the New England Patriots.
Most of the Giants' starters will not see action in the final game as they will rest and prepare for the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on September 5th.
Unfortunately, there are still players fighting for roster spots and this final game could be there last chance to show the coaches what they can do.
I have put together my latest list of who the Giants might keep and put on the 53-man roster for opening day.
There were some tough choices to make in some areas and some not so tough choices in other areas. With that being said; I give you my selections of the Giants' 53-man roster for opening day:
Quarterbacks (2) – Most recently, the Giants have been carrying only two quarterbacks on the active roster, and I expect this year to be the same. Currently, Eli Manning has started 119 consecutive regular (not including 11 postseason games during that span) season games for the Giants and is the leading active player in the NFL in that department.
With Manning’s durability and other positions in need of depth, the Giants will carry only one backup; which will be David Carr. Ryan Perrilloux has had a good camp and has improved greatly, but there is only so much room on the roster. Changes are that the Giants will most likely re-sign him to the practice squad.
Running Backs (5) - Ahmad Bradshaw, Henry Hynoski, and 1st round pick David Wilson are locks. That leaves the final two spots available. Based on last night’s performance by Da’Rel Scott, I believe he has earned a spot along with DJ Ware. In my original article on the predicting the Giants' 53-man roster; I had high hopes for Joe Martinek to replace DJ Ware. Unfortunately; Martinek has not outplayed Ware in the 1st three games and will most likely be placed on the team's practice squad. Andre Brown will be cut and his time with the Giants is over.
Tight Ends (3) – This was probably the easiest decision for the Giants brass to make as Martellus Bennett, Bear Pascoe and rookie Adrien Robinson will be guaranteed a roster spot. Bennett has been getting better with each preseason game, while Pascoe provides solid blocking and versatility as well. Robinson is a project and his potential will warrant a roster spot. Travis Beckum will start the year on PUP, so a decision on him can wait until he becomes available to play.
Wide Receivers – (6) - Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Domenik Hixon are in. I see the final two spots going to be one of the toughest decisions for coach Coughlin to make as David Douglas, Isaiah Stanback, Brandon Collins, Dan DePalma and Julian Talley all showed they can play.
Also being thrown into the mix based on his performance against the Bears is Ramses Barden. I had tweeted most recently that Barden would have to play like Lynn Swann to secure a roster spot and based on last night, well he might have. Jerrel Jernigan did not impress me against the Bears as he did not catch a single pass; Nor did he return punts or kickoffs.
I believe the final two spots will come down to the following four WR’s (David Douglas, Isaiah Stanback, Ramses Barden and Jerrel Jernigans). My vote goes to Douglas and Barden securing the final two spots.
Offensive Line – (9) – Frankly, with the exception of Chris Snee, I wish we can get rid of everyone else and start from stratch. Unfortunately; It doesn’t work that way so this is what the Giants might do.
David Baas, Chris Snee, David Diehl, Kevin Boothe, Will Beatty and Sean Locklear comprise of the top six. Rookies Matt McCants and Brandon Mosley; along with Mitch Petrus solidify the final three spots.
Odd man out will be James Brewer, who hasn’t shown any progress. Brewer could be spared only if Beatty’s back doesn’t heal and is placed on IR.
Defensive Line – (8) – Similar to the receiver position, I believe that the DL position is going to be very difficult for the Giants' coaching staff to make. I see Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Linval Joseph as definite.
Rocky Bernard has not played the same way as he did last season, but with Chris Canty and possibly Shaun Rogers starting the season on PUP, the Giants' coaching staff might select Bernard based on his performance last season.
Adrian Tracy has played well before suffering from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the game against the Bears and appears to have finally made the team. Markus Kuhn also played well against the Bears last night and could have solidified a spot as well.
That leaves one more spot and four players capable and worthy for that spot (Marvin Austin (if he’s healthy), Dwayne Hendricks, Marcus Thomas and Adewale Ojomo).
Currently, Austin’s back ailment is not believed to be serious, so I am banking on this to be the case to make my decision. If Austin is cleared to play against the Patriots, I fully expect him to get the final nod.
If Austin’s back forces him to miss the game against the Patriots, the Giants could place him on IR and the final roster spot at DL will most likely go to Marcus Thomas, based on his veteran experience.
Linebacker – (8) – Once considered a weak position on the Giants a year ago is now considered very deep. Mathias Kiwanuka, Michael Boley, Chase Blackburn, Keith Rivers, Mark Herzlich, Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger, should all be given roster spots, which leaves just one remaining spot to be decided between Greg Jones and Jake Muasau.
Now here’s where it gets a little confusing as Michael Boley and Jacquian Williams have seen very limited action and there is no guarantees that either player will be ready for opening day. The Giants could be faced with a similar situation by placing either or both players on the PUP to start the season.
Which would in this case, give Jones and Muasau a roster spot to start the season. However; if both Boley and Williams are deemed fit to play by opening day, I believe Muasau beats out Jones for the final roster spot.
Safety – (4) – With the suspension of Tyler Sash for the 1st four games of the season, the top three spots will go to Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips, and Will Hill. Hill is a feel-good story, a UDFA out of the University of Florida who came out of nowhere and has played exceptionally well in all three preseason games.
The final roster spot will be between three candidates in Stevie Brown, Chris Horton and Jojo Nicholas. All have shown enough to warrant a spot, unfortunately only one can be selected and I believe that person will be Brown by a very small margin.
Cornerback – (5) – Over the last two seasons, this position has been hit by the injury bug more than any other position on the Giants and most recently, the injuries to Prince Amukamara (high-ankle sprain) and Jayron Hosley (turf Toe) could alter the decision of the Giants' coaching staff.
Amukamara could be out three to six weeks or perhaps longer as high-ankle sprains are difficult to determine. As for Hosley, he is still in a boot and his status will be re-evaluated this week. Let’s not forget Terrell Thomas recovering from an ACL sprain, which could force the Giants to possibly place all three on IR to start the season, unless injury status changes before September 5th.
With this in mind, the top three spots will go to Corey Webster, Michael Coe, and Justin Tryon. Dante Hughes and Antwain Molden will most likely secure the final two spots. Again all this can change, based on the recovery of the three injured CB’s.
Specialists – (3) - K Lawrence Tynes; P Steve Weatherford; LS Zak DeOssie
As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, the Giants will have a lot of tough decisions to make and they will lose a number of players once their placed on waivers. Among those casualties based on my 53-man roster, the Giants could lose: Dwayne Hendricks, Adewale Ojomo, Greg Jones, Joe Martinek, Isaiah Stanback, Jerrel Jernigans, Dan DePalma, Julian Talley and Ryan Perrilloux.
If the Giants are fortunate, some of these players could clear waivers and be placed on the practice squad.
Footnotes: With the preseason coming to an end, keep these important dates in mind: (Courtesy from John Fennelly, Executive Editor of SNYGiants.)
Aug 27 - Clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 75 players on Active List prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.
Aug 31 - Roster cut-down to maximum of 53 players on Active/Inactive List prior to 9:00 p.m., New York time. Clubs may dress minimum of 43 and maximum of 46 players for each regular season and postseason game.
Sept 1 - Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon, New York time.
Sept 1 - Beginning at 12:00 noon, New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free agency credit or who were on the 46-player Active List for less than nine regular season games during each of any Accrued Seasons. A player cannot participate on the Practice Squad for more than three seasons.
Sept 4 – Deadline at 4:00 p.m., New York time, for all NFL Player Contracts, Practice Player Contracts, tender offers, and miscellaneous amounts to fit within each club’s 2012 Salary Cap, in anticipation of the midnight expiration of the Top 51 Rule.
Sept 5 - At 12:00 a.m., New York time, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL Clubs.
Sept 5 - Deadline for Clubs to submit written request to receive up to $1.5 million in additional salary cap room for the 2012 league year, in accordance with CBA Article 11, Section 5(e) (ii).
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