On what should have been a happy day, head coach Tom Coughlin spent his birthday delivering devastating news to 22 young men who had been with his team all summer that their journey with the team has come to an end.
“It never gets easier, because every year the principals involved are different,” said Coughlin. “My gut starts bothering me about two days before. The day of it, I get the headache and the whole bit that goes with it. When you speak to these kids and you work with them and you see them, you do see their effort and what they put forth and how important it is to them. It’s not an easy thing to stand there when a young man walks into his office and as soon as you put your hand out, he starts crying.”
As usual, there were a few surprises in the roster moves.
The two biggest were safety Tyler Sash, who was waived with an injury settlement, and linebacker Kyle Bosworth, both of whom seemed certain to make the team as of Friday.
Sash, a sixth round draft pick in 2011, had slowly seen his stock fall after his rookie season, where as well as being a reserve safety, he was also the punt protector.
However, 2012, his second season, was one to forget. Sash was handed a four-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league’s policy on PEDs, a suspension he served at the start of that season.
He also fought through two injured ankles, both of which he had cleaned out after last season, as free agents like Stevie Brown and Will Hill passed him on the depth chart.
This year, the handwriting seemed to be on the wall early for Sash, as the Giants signed Ryan Mundy and drafted Cooper Taylor, both of whom received early praise from, the coaching staff. In addition, Sash, who finished third on the team with 11 tackles this preseason (10 solo), lost his punt protector role in training camp.
While it briefly looked as though Sash might make the final cut after Brown suffered a season-ending ACL injury, Taylor struggled through a hamstring injury, and Hill was suspended by the league for four games a second time, the Giants are apparently willing to go with three true safeties for the time being, with cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas the contingency safeties.
Sash, who suffered a concussion in Thursday’s preseason finale, was given an injury settlement.
Bosworth, whom the Giants signed as a free agent on May 30, spent the first three years of his career with the Jaguars. As a member of the Giants, he made significant strides in his play as a reserve linebacker, moving from the third string up to the second string at the strongside.
It was Bosworth’s play on special teams though that made his a viable candidate for the roster, as the fourth year linebacker was a physical presence on all of the Giants’ special teams.
With Bosworth’s departure, the Giants now have five linebackers on their roster – starters Spencer Paysinger, Dan Connor, and Keith Rivers, and backups Mark Herzlich and Jacquian Williams. Bosworth could be added back to the roster if he clears waivers and once the Giants tweak their roster in some other areas.
Receiver Ramses Barden the former third round pick from 2009 who after not finding a new home this past offseason, re-upped with the Giants on a one-year veteran deal, was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.
Some of the less surprising, but still notable roster moves included quarterback David Carr, Eli Manning’s backup in four out of the last five seasons’ defensive tackle Marvin Austin, their second-round pick in the 2011 draft; and undrafted rookie cornerback Charles James, out of Charleston Southern.
Carr finished the preseason 19 of 30 for 163 yards while his primary competition, Curtis Painter, went 26 of 51 for 289 yards and one touchdown. What tipped the scales in Painter’s favor, though, is that he was able to do a little more in terms of moving the offense behind second and third string offensive lines.
“We simply based it on the preseason,” Coughlin said of the decision to retain Painter. “From the standpoint of all the evaluations, it pointed to the fact that Painter had a better preseason.”
Still, that didn’t make the move to release Carr any easier for Coughlin.
“We’ll miss David Carr around here, to be honest with you,” he said. “He’s done an outstanding job directing our second offense and our scout team. He has the ability to do whatever we ask of him in that regard. He can run the option, he can be the running quarterback if you want him to do that. Ryan Nassib is going to have to step up and be that guy when you’re talking about the teams we play that have a running quarterback.”
Barden finished the preseason with a disappointing five catches for 38 yards. He also dealt with a knee issue that kept him out of the final two preseason games. In four years with the Giants, he played in 29 games with one start, and had 29 receptions for 394 yards and no touchdowns, his lone game of note coming when he started against the Panthers on Sept. 20, 2012 and posted single game career highs in receptions (9) and receiving yards (138).
Austin, the 52nd pick overall in 2011, missed his entire rookie campaign due to a torn pectoral muscle suffered in the preseason. Last year, he had some back issues during the summer that cost him valuable practice time, and he ended up playing in just eight games as a Giants, posting five tackles (two solo).
James, who was hoping to land a spot on the roster as cornerback and backup punt returner, However, with the Giants needing numbers elsewhere, James, who if he clears waivers will likely be added to the Giants’ practice squad, became the odd man out.
The Giants will keep five defensive tackles this year, as both veterans Shaun Rogers and Mike Patterson made the cut ahead of Austin.
“They (Rogers and Patterson) played well,” Coughlin said. “They deserve it. The other night (in the preseason finale in New England) they played 20-something plays and did a nice job not only in changing the line of scrimmage, but we brought them back after the half, so they demonstrated the ability to do that.”
Also making the cut was defensive end Justin Trattou, who beat out Adrian Tracy and Adewale Ojomo for the fifth defensive end spot.
“Trattou has the ability to help us out in a lot of different ways both from scrimmage and special teams,” Coughlin said. “There were four young men who were very much in contention for that job. Broha was very much involved in that, too. Quite frankly, it was very, very close. We made a decision really based on an individual that was ranked a little bit higher on special teams.”
Offensive lineman Eric Herman, one of the Giants two seventh-round draft picks this year, was the only one of the rookie class to not make the final cut. He’ll likely to be signed to the practice squad, which can be established starting at 12:01 pm ET on Sunday, if he clears waivers.
Here is the complete list of the 22 moves made by the Giants today to get to the 53-man roster limit:
- Austin, Marvin, DT (waived)
- Barden, Ramses, WR (Injured Reserve/Knee)
- Bosworth, Kyle, LB (waived)
- Broha, Matt, DE (waived)
- Browning, Bryant, OL (waived)
- Caldwell, David, S (waived)
- Capers, Selvish, OL (waived/injured)
- Carr, David, QB (contract terminated)
- Frederick, Terrence, CB (waived)
- Goodin, Stephen, OL (waived)
- Hardy, Kevin, WR (waived)
- Harris, Marcus, WR (waived)
- Herman, Eric, OL (waived)
- Hill, Will, S (placed on reserve/suspended list)
- James, Charles, CB (waived)
- Kuhn, Markus, DT (placed on inactive PUP)
- McCants, Matt, OL (waived)
- Ojomo, Adewale, DE (waived)
- Sash, Tyler, S (waived/injured – concussion)
- Talley, Julian, WR (waived)
- Torain, Ryan, RB (contract terminated)
- Tracy, Adrian, DE (waived)
Here’s the Giants roster as it stands today. This roster is subject to change before September 8, when the team flies to Dallas for the regular season opener:
QB (3): Eli Manning, Curtis Painter, Ryan Nassib
RB: (4): David Wilson, André Brown, Da’Rel Scott, Michael Cox
FB (1): Henry Hynoski
WR (5): Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Louis Murphy, Jerrel Jernigan
TE (4): Brandon Myers, Bear Pascoe, Adrien Robinson, Larry Donnell
OL: (9): David Diehl, Chris Snee, Will Beatty, Kevin Boothe, David Baas, Justin Pugh, Jim Cordle, Brandon Mosley, James Brewer
DE (5): Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka, Damontre Moore, Justin Trattou
DT (5): Linval Joseph, Cullen Jenkins, Shaun Rogers, Johnathan Hankins, Mike Patterson
LB (5): Dan Connor, Keith Rivers, Spencer Paysinger, Mark Herzlich, Jacquian Williams
CB (6): Corey Webster, Prince Amukamara, Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas, Jayron Hosley, Trumaine McBride
S (3): Antrel Rolle, Ryan Mundy, Cooper Taylor
K: Josh Brown
P: Steve Weatherford
LS: Zak DeOssie