Bubble Watch for New York Giants' Training Camp
For many players on the New York Giants' roster, training camp will simply be used as a way to prepare for the upcoming season. Their position on the depth chart may change based on their work in late July and August, but making the 53-man roster is not a concern.
For some players, training camp means everything. A good performance could result in making the team while a poor or mediocre showing will mean a spot on the practice squad, or even worse, being off Big Blue altogether.
Here’s a look at seven players who are firmly on the Giants' roster bubble heading into training camp. They have been ordered based on their notoriety to the average fan. The first player discussed is the least known while the final player is the most well known.
(Depth charts are courtesy of ourlads.com)
Experience: Entering fourth year
Depth Chart Position: Second-string left guard
Analysis: Given the fact that Selvish Capers is an offensive lineman and that he has only taken eight snaps in the NFL during his entire career, he is definitely the least-known player on this list.
Capers was on the Giants' 53-man roster last year but will be facing more competition to make the team in 2013. The Giants added rookies Justin Pugh and Eric Herman in the draft and retained each of the seven other offensive linemen ahead of Capers last season.
Since the 27-year-old was a project coming out of college and has yet to develop after three years in the league, it is hard to look at him as a player with any upside. To be honest, putting Capers on the bubble is generous. If he hadn’t been on the team last year, he would have almost no chance of making it this season.
Also don’t put too much stock in Capers being second-string. New York only had eight offensive linemen on their roster in 2012. If they stay with that same number this season, two second-stringer’s won’t make it.
Experience: Entering second year
Depth Chart Position: Third-string right defensive end
Analysis: Adewale Ojomo is slightly more recognizable than Capers because he made the Giants' 53-man roster last year as an undrafted free agent.
Ojomo showed potential rushing the quarterback last August, accumulating four sacks over the Giants' final three preseason games. He injured his hamstring, though, shortly before Week 1 and was never able to carry over his training camp momentum into the regular season. He only played in one game and failed to register a tackle.
Ojomo has a decent chance of making the team in 2013. Big Blue carried five defensive linemen last season and as it stands right now, the 24-year-old slots behind Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Adrian Tracy and rookie Damontre Moore.
The tricky part for Ojomo is Mathias Kiwanuka’s role. If the Giants like what they see from their linebackers in training camp, they may feel comfortable playing Kiwanuka almost exclusively on the defensive line. If this occurs, then Ojomo would likely be the odd man out. The only player he could realistically pass that is currently ahead of him is Adrian Tracy, who has been slow to develop in his first three NFL seasons.
Experience: Entering 13th year
Depth Chart Position: Second-string left defensive tackle
Analysis: Now we’ll start looking at some players with substantial NFL experience.
Shaun Rogers has had a solid career, accumulating 504 tackles, 37.5 sacks and 27 pass defenses over 12 seasons. He missed all of 2012, however, due to a blood clot in his right leg.
He’ll have to battle to make the Giants' roster in 2013. New York carried four defensive tackles in 2012 and look to have three locks to make the team at the position this year in Linval Joseph, Cullen Jenkins and rookie Johnathan Hankins.
Unless Big Blue decides to roster more defensive tackles in 2013, Rogers will need to beat out fellow veteran Mike Patterson and youngsters Marvin Austin and Markus Kuhn. Austin and Kuhn are formidable competition, considering that the former played eight games for New York in 2012 while the latter played in 10.
Even if the Giants do carry five defensive tackles, Rogers is still not a lock to make the team since any of his aforementioned competition could beat him out.
If Rogers does get cut, it could signal the end of his career, considering he turned 34 in March.
Experience: Entering sixth year
Depth Chart Position: Fourth-string running back
Analysis: Ryan Torain slots ahead of Shaun Rogers since running back is a more recognizable position than defensive tackle. Also, Torain is only a few years removed from rushing for 742 yards and four touchdowns for the Washington Redskins in 2010.
Despite his moderate success and experience, Torain can do no better than third-string, barring an injury to David Wilson or Andre Brown. That leaves rookie Michael Cox and third-year player Da’Rel Scott as his competition for a roster spot. Right now he is below Scott on the depth chart but above Cox.
Big Blue carried four running backs last season so Torain only has to beat out one of those two guys. Both players, however, are comparable to him from a talent perspective so it really will come down to who performs better in camp and during preseason games.
While not glamorous, the battle between these three players for two roster spots definitely bears watching starting later this month.
Experience: Entering fifth year
Depth Chart Position: Second-string strongside linebacker
Analysis: When you’re a top-five draft pick, the average fan tends to know who you are. That’s why Aaron Curry, who was selected fourth overall by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2009 draft, lands ahead of Torain.
Curry was arguably considered the safest pick in his draft class but to date he has simply been a bust. He’s battled lackluster play, an injury-filled 2012 season and self-proclaimed motivation issues.
He seems genuinely excited about his opportunity in New York but he has a few obstacles that must be overcome to make the team. The Giants carried eight linebackers in 2012 and right now Curry looks to be no worse than sixth on the depth chart.
The problem is that Kiwanuka may play some linebacker. In addition, the Giants have already made it clear they are willing to use rookie Cooper Taylor as an outside linebacker in certain situations.
That means Big Blue may be comfortable only carrying six true linebackers. If that happens, then Curry’s margin for error is suddenly razor thin.
He is already coming off a lackluster showing at OTAs. If he continues to be unimpressive in training camp and a player like rookie Etienne Sabino or Kyle Bosworth plays well, Curry could have a very short stay with Big Blue.
Experience: Entering 12th year
Depth Chart Position: Second-string quarterback
Analysis: David Carr was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft and started at quarterback for the Houston Texans during the first five years of his career. He is easily the most well-known player on this list.
The soon-to-be 34-year-old (his birthday is July 21) has been the Giants' backup quarterback for four of the last five seasons (he played one year with the San Francisco 49ers in 2010). His job is suddenly in jeopardy due to Big Blue’s decision to select Ryan Nassib in the fourth round of April’s draft. They were so eager to grab Nassib that they traded up in the round to get him.
Based on where he was drafted, and the fact that he cost New York a sixth-round pick, the rookie would have to be a complete disaster in training camp to not make the Giants' 53-man roster.
This brings up an interesting dilemma because the Giants have only carried two quarterbacks since the start of the 2008 season. In order for Carr to make the team, they would have to break this trend.
In his favor is the fact that the Giants would probably rather have a veteran like Carr make an emergency start over the untested Nassib. On the other hand, Eli Manning has never missed a game due to injury in his career. Wasting a roster spot on a third quarterback seems silly when your starter never gets hurt.
The ironic part of Carr’s situation is that his training camp performance doesn’t really matter. It will simply come down to whether the Giants feel comfortable having a rookie back up Manning.
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