The Day at Camp: August 21, 2013

Pretty soon I’m going to have to do it, whether I want to or not.

The “it,” I am referring to is an analytical article on the Final 53-man roster.

By now I have a pretty good idea of who has looked good and who hasn’t. I also have a basic foundation for the numbers this team will probably need to carry at each position.

What I don’t have, however, is a solid idea is how they’re going to handle some of the players who have missed time due to injury.

My full roster prediction is coming next week, but one thing that will be interesting to see is how their current injury situation affects the final 53.

Do they, for example, carry an extra offensive lineman thanks to the injuries to David Diehl (thumb) and David Baas (knee)? Likewise, do they maybe put one of those two on temporary injured reserve?

At safety, do they try to stash fifth-round draft pick Cooper Taylor, who missed a large chunk of training camp with a hamstring injury, on injured reserve? (That might just be the case as with the exception of the final roster cut down dates, players with less than four years of experience are not subject to waivers.

What do they do with defensive end Damontre Moore, who after a breakout showing in the first week of the preseason has been sidelined for two weeks, about the same amount of time as Taylor)  with a shoulder contusion?  Do they try to slide him through to injured reserve or bring him back and hope that the can be a situational pass rusher this year?

How about cornerback Corey Webster, who once again is dealing with injuries (a groin and a MCL problem). Does his health status force the Giants to keep an extra defensive back if Coughlin, who said he thinks Webster is getting close, is incorrect?

And what affect does the injury situation have on the three remaining guys on PUP, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, and fullback Henry Hynoski, who would remain protected as long as they stay on PUP.

These are just a few of the many decisions that need to be made and we’re only halfway through the preseason schedule. Assembling the roster is never an easy task and it’s going to be interesting to see how the Giants respond to the challenge this year.

Meanwhile I’ll give this some more thought as I chip away at this challenging assignment.

The big news of the day was that offensive lineman David Diehl (thumb) who, despite sporting a hard cast on his right hand yesterday vowed to practice and play through his injury, will miss the next six weeks following surgery to repair a damaged capsule in his thumb.

And if you’re wondering, Diehl is not eligible for PUP; the Giants’ options are to carry him on the final 53-man roster and deactivate him every week until he’s ready (the most likely scenario); place him on permanent IR; use the temporary IR designation; or release him with an injury settlement (unlikely).

Also missing from today’s practice were receiver Victor Cruz (heel); receiver Louis Murphy, Jr. (leg) center David Baas (knee); defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (knee/PUP), fullback Henry Hynoski (knee/PUP); safety Antrel Rolle (ankle); defensive end Damontre Moore (shoulder); cornerback Corey Webster (groin/knee); receiver Ramses Barden (knee); defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (back/PUP); and defensive end Adrian Tracy (dehydration).

As I thought might be the case yesterday when the Giants waived/injured offensive lineman Chris DeGeare (ankle) and receiver Keith Carlos, the Giants added another receiver, Terrell Sinkfield, to their roster. Remember, the Giants are likely to be without Victor Cruz (heel), Ramses Barden (right knee), and Brandon Collins (hamstring) in Saturday’s game against the Jets, so they needed the numbers at receiver to help them get through the rest of the preseason.

The Giants also signed tackle Austin Holtz, previously with Detroit, to give them a little offensive line depth until Wednesday’s cut down

For the second time in as many days, the Giants offensive line was tweaked, this time due to the thumb injury suffered by David Diehl that will require a six-week recovery time from surgery. So your new offensive line, at least until further notice, will be, from left to right, as follows: LT Will Beatty, LG Kevin Boothe, C Jim Cordle, RG Chris Snee, and RT Justin Pugh.

It also looks like James Brewer, who had been in the running for a starting job earlier in camp, but who missed a few days with a concussion, will be the team’s “tight end” in their jumbo package.

I like this lineup. I’ve long believed that Cordle was an underrated player with more than enough talent to get the job done, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with the starters, who are likely to play into the third quarter against the Jets.

“Cordle played very well the other night and we thought that was the best move for now and we do have that option,” said head coach Tom Coughlin. “But for now, the option that we took is this one. We’re excited about the way Cordle played the other night. Hopefully he’ll keep that going.”

In some long overdue good news, cornerback Terrell Thomas, who had one interception in today’s practice and just missed getting his second, is finally going to see his first live action in two years this weekend against the Jets.

If Thomas, who every time I have seen him run and cut has looked fine,  can complete his rehab from three career ACL surgeries and come through live action unscathed, he’ll be a lock for a roster spot on this team.

I’m working on a more detailed training camp wrap-up, but here are a few quick observations.

* Despite being wildly inconsistent at times, I have a warm and fuzzy feeling about quarterback Ryan Nassib’s future. Remember, as a rookie, things are moving at lightning speed and it does take some time for things to slow down.

While Nassib has made more than his fair share of mistakes and, at times, has shown poor mechanics and footwork, these are all issues that I can pretty much guarantee will be corrected.

What can’t be taught to a quarterback is leadership in the huddle. From what I’ve observed this summer, Nassib has that ability to lead the huddle. Once he puts everything together, I think he’ll be a serviceable player.

* Linebacker Jacquian Williams might be the most athletic linebacker this team has in coverage, but I still say don’t discount Spencer Paysinger, who today came up with an interception.

I have a feeling that Paysinger is going to see more than just a handful of courtesy snaps in this defense, maybe not as a starter, but in the defensive sub packages. Whatever physical shortcomings Paysinger might have, he seems to more than make up for it with his intelligence.

* I have to think that this is the last shot for receiver Jerrel Jernigan, who has been able to work after missing time with soreness. Jernigan will probably get snaps with the starters on Saturday night as the slot receiver, what with Victor Cruz expected to be sidelined.

Therefore, it will be important that he somehow find a way to bring over the success head coach Tom Coughlin said he had on the practice field prior to his injury to the playing field, especially if Jayron Hosley and Michael Cox have the punt and kickoff return jobs respectively locked up.

Regardless, there still seem to be a role for Jernigan on this team. “We’ve always looked forward to having Jerrel based on the things that we saw when he was in college and the way that he handled things in the wild cat, the whole bit,” Coughlin said.

Nevertheless, the head coach also admitted to being frustrated with Jernigan’s recent absence.

“Yeah, there’s been some frustration with that. This is definitely a setback with the hamstring issue because, frankly, he’s had some very good days at practice. Hopefully, he’s had enough where he’ll play well in the game on the weekend and come through it strong and give us some more options.”

I’ve always tried to live and let live, and respect the opinions of others, but I have to say that I’m disappointed with some of the reactions I’ve seen over the news about David Diehl needing thumb surgery that will sideline him for six weeks.

I agree that his skills have deteriorated, but to sit there and pop the champagne over the news that a man who, for the majority of his career has been a model citizen on and off the field, needs surgery and so he can’t be in the lineup, well, that’s just cold.

Again, I agree that Diehl has not had the best years on the field lately, and I think he would agree with that as well. However, I also think he has earned enough respect and shown enough over the years to where he deserved what remaining time there was left in camp to try to make amends for his poor showing against the Colts, and I, for one, am disappointed that he won’t get that chance at left guard, where I think he would have been more effective at this point in his 11-year career.

“Maybe I’ll put a boot on with him just to show that I’m with him.” – safety Antrel Rolle, who last week said that walking boots were for wimps, referencing the walking boot currently being worn by receiver Victor Cruz, who has a bruised heel.

Bands! The Giants 2013 training camp is officially over which means public access has concluded.

Be sure to check out my forthcoming training camp recap, which I am working to finish up. Also, for those who haven’t heard, I’m now a featured columnist for the Bleacher Report, having been hired to provide coverage of the Giants. I’ve already posted a couple of articles previewing the upcoming season and have loads more ahead. You can find them right here.



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