2011 New York Giants Linebacker Group

February 21, 2011

NEW YORK – The Giants linebacker group needs an upgrade. This is something that is a long time coming and something I expect the team will address in this years NFL draft in April. I mean no disrespect to the current Giants linebackers and I think they did a good job in 2010 but the team needs an all pro linebacker to compliment the rest of the defense. New York loves it’s linebackers and fans have stopped being polite and started demanding a top caliber linebacker for the team.

The problem I see with assessing the Giants linebackers are all of the question marks. It would be easy to make the hard choices if GM Jerry Reese and Coach Coughlin had seen all of them perform on the field but that is not the case. Some of these guys have had real game time experience and some of them haven’t. The injury bug hit the LB group just as hard as the rest of the team in 2010. Couple that with having one of the youngest LB corps in the NFL and you can see where I’m going with this. If the Giants can shore up the linebacker position by the start of this season, then the Giants defense is going to be a top 3 defense in the NFL.

Although the expectations may be somewhat unrealistic, the fans still want what they want. I would not be surprised if the Giants brought in a young and proven free agent LB before the season starts. The DE’s are solid and the safety position is squared away. You can be sure the LB’s and DT’s will be thoroughly addressed this off season. Another idea that is picking up steam is the Giants getting another stud CB as well.

Let’s take a look at the Giants linebackers as of today 2-21-11.

1. Jonathan Goff, 6’2″ 236 pounds – Goff was given the opportunity to replace all pro LB Antonio Pierce when he retired after the 2009 season. Goff did a good job at the middle linebacker spot but he wasn’t spectacular. He finished as the second best tackler among LB’s in 2010 behind only Michael Boley. I’m not sure if he will be the starting MLB at the beginning of the 2011 NFL season but it certainly will not be because he did not give it his all. He was also only one of two linebackers that played in all 16 games and remained fairly healthy in 2010.

2. Michael Boley, 6’3″ 225 pounds- Boley has been a great signing for the G-Men and lead all linebackers in tackles last season. This guy hits hard and seems to be all over the field trying to get to the ball. I expect him to have another good season in 2011 and establish some consistency to an area of the team that really needs it. Boley was also the only other linebacker who played in all 16 games in 2010.

3. Gerris Wilkinson, 6’3″ 231 pounds – Wilkinson has had an up and down career for years with Big Blue. He has been plagued by injuries for most of his young career but has enough talent to keep him on the roster. It feels like Wilkinson has been on the team forever but it has only been five years now.

4. Keith Bulluck, 6’3″ 235 pounds – Bulluck is the crafty veteran and he was brought in last season to bolster a LB group that seemed to be in trouble. He had a decent 2010 season for the time he was on the field but once again, he was a player who was effected by injuries. There are questions about him being with the team in 2011 because the Giants will most assuredly address the linebacker group as they look to get younger and faster. Still, I believe the G-Men need a veteran player to be a leader in the locker room and teach these youngsters how to be an NFL LB.

5. Clint Sintim, 6’2″ 256 pounds – Sintim is a player who coaches and fans will need to see more of on the field. Once again, the recurring theme for Big Blue is injuries, injuries and more injuries. Sintim played in 9 games in 2010 but should see more playing time in 2011 if he can stay healthy. The guy is a physical specimen and someone who has the talent and heart to make it big in the NFL.

6. Phillip Dillard, 6’0″ 245 pounds – Dillard missed most of his rookie season with an injury but was getting a lot of praise from the coaches during training camp. He was extremely vocal and seemed to grasp the middle linebacker role rather quickly. Could he be a possibility at the middle LB spot for the 2011 season? Sure, why not. Dillard is one of the guys that fans and coaches have not seen enough of on the field to make an intelligent decision about his future. I am rooting for this young man to do well.

7. Chase Blackburn, 6’3″ 247 pounds – Blackburn is hands down the best special teams player on the roster and one heck of a backup linebacker. His value to the team cannot be underestimated and fans have come to love him for the effort he gives on the field and his lack of complaining when things don’t go his way. He was banged up a bit in 2010 but I expect nothing less then another solid season from this man in 2011.

8. Zak DeOssie, 6’4″ 249 pounds – In the immortal words of the legendary film “Animal House’, Zak DeOssie is a legacy member of Big Blue because his dad played on the team back in the day. DeOssie has made a name for himself as the long snapper and a solid backup linebacker when the situation arises. He has been with the Giants since being drafted by them and continues to be a solid contributor for the team.

9. Adrian Tracy, 6’2″ 248 pounds – Tracy missed his entire rookie season due to injury in 2010 and still needs to show coaches and fans what he can do. I’m not sure what to expect from him but I’m hoping he has healed up and can help out the team in 2011.

10. Kenny Ingram, 6’6″ 229 pounds – Ingram is currently on the reserve future list and he is someone the fans were rooting for before the 2010 season started. He was no doubt brought in for depth and his status for the 2011 NFL season is up in the air for now.

What are your thoughts on the Giants linebackers and what would you do to improve this squad?

RD – nygreporter.com

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New York Giants Training Camp Report 8/20/10

August 20, 2010

Hello Giants Fans,

Today was the final day of the 2010 New York Giants training camp. Twenty days have come and gone and we’ve learned some interesting facts about the players. The Giants beat the Jets in their first preseason game and will now face the Steelers tomorrow night at New Meadowlands stadium at 7 PM EST.

Fans will get an opportunity to see QB Rhett Bomar lead the offense for most of the game. Bomar was taking mostly second and third string reps at training camp. QB Eli Manning will sit this one out as he heals up from the head laceration he received on Monday night. QB Jim Sorgi is also banged up and expect to miss some playing time. Now that camp is over, I expect to see a lot of player movement.

The 2010 New York Giants training camp is officially over but that doesn’t mean that Big Blue is done practicing. I expect the coaches to ramp up the intensity to prepare the team for the new season. Tom Coughlin has his lists and OC Kevin Gilbride is drawing up plays somewhere in the facility. New DC Perry Fewell is working on strategies like a mad scientist. Special teams coach Tom Quinn is facing one of the toughest challenges of the 2010 NFL season. There isn’t much time left before the first regular season game. Fans can expect to see things moving much more rapidly now.

I’m actually surprised by how many negative comments I have seen from sports “experts” about the Giants. Maybe they can’t see what the rest of us can see or maybe they are right and yet to be vindicated. I simply have to believe that the 2010 team will be much better then the injury plagued 2009 season. There have already been a few injuries in 2010 that have had fans shaking their heads. The injury list simply can’t get out of hand this season or they will have no shot.

Let’s take a look at some of the news from this week about the New York Giants.

– QB Eli Manning was cut in the Monday night game and required 12 stitches.

– QB Eli Manning will not play in the Giants second preseason game tomorrow night versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

– The New York Giants will play their first ever home opener at the new stadium.

– Backup QB Jim Sorgi will miss 2-3 weeks with a shoulder injury he got from a hit he took against the Jets.

– The Giants cut OL Cliff Louis, who they recently signed to bolster the offensive line.

– The Giants cut TE Jake Ballard to make room for QB Dominic Randolph.

– The Giants signed OL Shawn Andrews who is a former two-time pro bowler for the Philadelphia Eagles.

– Backup QB Rhett Bomar will play almost the entire game against Pittsburgh.

– WR Ramses Barden is banged up and will sit out a few practices.

– The Giants signed QB Dominic Randolph as a backup due to all of the injuries at QB.

– Rookie punter Matt Dodge seems to be having a rough time adjusting and may need more work then originally expected.

– OL William Beatty appears to be the man at left tackle, something Giants fans might see for the next eight or nine years straight.

– Rookie DE Jason Pierre-Paul has reportedly already put on 12 pounds of muscle weighing in at 282 pounds.

– Safety Kenny Phillips seems to be doing very well thus far. Fans are praying that Phillips can remain healthy all season.

– 39,875 total Giants fans attended the training camp in Albany this year. It was the fifth best year since they began fifteen years ago upstate.

– Rookie WR Victor Cruz emerged and made a name for himself Monday night. This kid has star written all over him.

– LB Keith Bulluck and S Kenny Phillips are set to make their Giants debut tomorrow night versus the Steelers.

– LB Chase Blackburn and OL Chris Snee are still banged up and sidelined. Not to mention OL Rich Seubert.

Who do you think is going to win the game between the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers?

RD – nygreporter.com

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New York Giants Training Camp Report 8/6/10

August 6, 2010

Hello Giants Fans, Today is Autograph Night (practice is from 3:35-4:35 PM EST) at the Giants training camp in Albany!! Fans will be able to meet the players and get their autographs. It’s a great day to bring the kids and support the Giants.

It is hard to believe but week one of the 2010 training camp is almost completed. There are now exactly fourteen days until the camp wraps up on August 20, 2010. What is even more crazy is the fact that the G-men play the Jets in their first preseason game in ten days at the new stadium. The Giants and Jets will meet on August 16, 2010 at 8PM EST in a Monday Night Football showdown. Football fans understand that this is the first preseason game of the year and that it will probably not be very competitive. The starters will not play longer then one quarter and it may even be for a single series.

Training camp has been going very well for Big Blue. Coach Coughlin mentioned the wide receiver group recently saying that they need to pull it together a little bit. I would not worry about this, I believe it is more player rust, then actual concern over ability. Rookie DE Jason Pierre-Paul continues to gain praise from the coaching staff and players. Center Shaun O’Hara is battling a nagging ankle injury and has missed most of training camp thus far. The Giants started using full pads this week and I’m sure the trainers want to be cautious with some of these players.

WR Hakeem Nicks scared the heck out of everyone after he hyperextended his right knee. Two MRI’s later in New York City and Nicks was cleared and back in Albany the next day. The Giants cannot afford to lose a player of Nicks’ caliber on offense and I’m sure the team let out a collective exhale at the good news. QB Eli Manning continues to be a rock for the team and is beginning to get in the zone as time goes on. There has been no mention of the achilles injury he suffered in 2009, so I’m assuming that he feels fine and will be good to go in 2010.

Tom Coughlin has a group of players who are on a special list that will only allow them to practice once per day. Those players include DT Jay Alford, WR Hakeem Nicks, TE Kevin Boss, LB Keith Bulluck and DE Osi Umenyiora. All of these players had recent injuries and they require special attention during training camp until they are fully healthy. WR Mario Manningham and S Deon Grant have also both missed the past couple of days at practice with groin injuries. S Kenny Phillips is still hoping to fully recover before the start of the 2010 season, while S Antrel Rolle is easing into his leadership role with the DB’s. They will not hold two a day practices today, only the one practice on the field from 2:25-4:35 PM EST.

Here is a link to the Giants Autograph Night info, which is today, straight from Giants.com: http://www.giants.com/trainingcamp/autographnight.asp

RD – nygreporter.com

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2010 New York Giants: NYG Notes 08/04/10

August 4, 2010

Hello Giants Fans,

There have been some extremely interesting items in the news this past week or so regarding the Giants. The most recent being the news of Plaxico Burress’ release date of 2-3 weeks from prison on a work release program. The possibility of bringing Burress back to the Giants is very unlikely, unless he wants to play for the league minimum with zero guarantees. Would you take Plaxico Burress back if he could get in shape by the game, following the bye week? At the league minimum for eight games? What would you do?

Giants fans everywhere have been waiting all day for the Hakeem Nicks news. Nicks was sent to a Manhattan hospital to be checked out for a possible hyperextended leg. The team is expected to discuss this more when they know more about it. Losing Hakeem Nicks for any length of time would be a huge loss for the team. He is a favorite sleeper among fantasy football owners for 2010 and had a very good rookie year last season. So far, it looks like the MRI says he is fine.

I must also add that Mike Francesa did an absolutely wonderful show yesterday LIVE from the New York Giants training camp. What a treat is was for Giants fans to see all of those interviews with the players and coaches and owners. Mike always does it right and that is one show that every Giants fan looks forward to. The nygreporter was on his Giants training camp show last year as a call in. Mike and I talked about the Giants time of possession game and how it could effect their overall record. If you recall, the Giants defense on paper in 2009 was off the charts before all of the injuries started happening. Some like him and some don’t but I think he is a good guy.

– In other sports news today, New York Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, hit his 600th home run today off of Shawn Marcum in the 1st inning of a day game against the Blue Jays, at Yankee Stadium. He is only the seventh player in MLB history to reach the No.600 HR plateau and he is also the youngest to ever do it at 35 (his birthday was last week). Congrats Alex!

RD – nygreporter.com

PLEASE SUPPORT THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT!!

Let’s take a look at some of the recent news about the New York Giants.

– WR Hakeem Nicks is sent to a Manhatten hospital from training camp. The MRI comes back fine.

– WR Plaxico Burress to be released from prison in 2-3 weeks on a work release program. He will seek to play in the NFL once again.

– QB Eli Manning looks as calm and cool as ever. He is having a good camp and I expect him to improve on his 2009 numbers.

– LB Phillip Dillard continues to impress his peers and coaches with his natural leadership abilities. Dillard is very animated and vocal when talking to the defense.

– DC Perry Fewell is an extremely good coach. He was very thorough when I saw him at camp on Monday. He confirms that he will be experimenting until the regular season begins.

– S Kenny Phillips begins the season of the PUP list. He dresses for practice but does not participate. He looks to return soon.

– LB Keith Bulluck is bringing some of the nasty back to Big Blue. If he remains healthy in 2010, the Giants got a steal. Plus, Bulluck really wants to play in New York.

– Rookie S Chad Jones was put on waivers, then cleared waivers and is now on the Giants non-football related injured reserve list.

– The Giants signed veteran S John Busing to bolster their safety corps.

– The Giants are awarded DE Alex Hall off waivers from the Eagles.

– OL Rich Seubert has not had a beer in five days.

– RB Andre Brown looked fast and fluid during the morning practice. He will be fighting for the third strong job for now.

– CB Aaron Ross has been back on the field and playing well so far. it was good to see him running around out there during practice.

– Rookie DE Jason Pierre-Paul continues to get rave reviews from the coaches and players.

– DE Osi Umenyiora has matured to a level where he can’t be touched. I expect a terrific year for the new and improved humble Osi.

– Rookie punter Matt Dodge continues to get some coaching from the legend Jeff Feagles. I hope the Giants hire him full time.

– Backup QB Jim Sorgi was a bit shaky when I saw him during the morning practice on Monday. The backup QB spot still concerns me.

– The YES network’s Mike Francesa Show, did a LIVE broadcast yesterday from the New York Giants training camp in Albany.

– Head Coach Tom Coughlin is impressed with how many players arrived at camp in shape. He also said the team has a lot of work to do in a very short period of time.

– The Giants did not practice on the field today. They remained indoors at meetings and the weight rooms.

– The Giants will have their first “full pad” practice tomorrow on 8/5/10 at the University of Albany.


New York Giants Sign LB Keith Bulluck

July 24, 2010

It didn’t take long for the New York Giants to get back into the free agent game. The Giants have signed a significant veteran over the weekend in LB Keith Bulluck. Bullock (6’3″ – 235 pounds) grew up in New City, New York and told his agent Gary Wichard, “I’m straight New York, let’s do the deal” according to NFL.com. The G-Men signed the 33 year old LB Keith Bulluck to a one year deal worth $2.5 million dollars.

Linebackers Michael Boley and Clint Sintim are set to take over the outside positions but the Giants have yet to hint towards a starter at the middle linebacker position. Since Antonio Pierce has officially retired, the Giants decided to do the smart thing by dipping into free agency one more time for a veteran linebacker to contribute to the training camp competition for a starting role. Even though LB Jonathan Goff and rookie LB Philip Dillard had been competing for the starting spot, Jerry Reese would not be caught with his pants down at an important position. I like this signing by the team and saw this happening a long time ago.

The Giants continue to improve on defense after giving up 427 points during the 2009 season. That is in the past and this is not the same team or coaching staff assembled for 2010. Giants fans can rest assured that this will be a far more aggressive team and that they have learned from an embarrassing 2009 NFL season. I know there are a lot of reporters who will not let the team forget about that fact but I say to them, let it go. Bulluck has spent his entire ten year career with the Tennessee Titans. Welcome to New York Keith.

Do you think that LB Keith Bulluck can contribute immediately as a middle linebacker for the New York Giants?

RD – nygreporter.com

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