New York Giants Training Camp: Week 2 Stock Report
We are now officially two weeks into the New York Giants’ training camp. Some players are starting to separate from the pack while others, for one reason or another, are lagging behind.
Let’s look at some players whose stocks were likely affected one way or another based on their camp practices and/or performances in the Hall of Fame game.
Stock Up: Quarterback Ryan Nassib
Building off a strong week, quarterback Ryan Nassib took significant steps forward to convince the coaching staff that it can probably get by with just him as the backup to starter Eli Manning.
Nassib’s grasp of the offense has never really been a question. He’s always done a good job getting guys lined up and making the calls.
Where he struggled, at least until recently, was in making some of his reads—and making them in a timely manner. That has since improved, though it’s not quite perfected yet.
If there is one thing that is still worrisome about Nassib, it’s that he tends to take off at the first hint of trouble rather than try to buy time for something to open up.
The more Nassib plays, the better feel he’ll develop for pressure and in knowing when to break the pocket. Thus far, though, he has definitely turned the corner and earned himself more playing time moving forward.
Stock Down: Fullback John Conner
When the Giants released their depth chart last week, it was a slight surprise to see John Conner listed behind Henry Hynoski at fullback because the latter was coming off an injury-plagued season.
As the practices and the Hall of Fame game went on, it was clear to see why the order was what it was.
While he is a bruising, versatile fullback, Conner’s biggest issue has been his lack of consistency.
Against the Buffalo Bills, he appeared to whiff on two blocks, not something you want to see from your team’s fullback.
What's more, when head coach Tom Coughlin was speaking about his running back situation on Monday with reporters, he mentioned Hynoski as being a possible emergency option, not Conner—a statement that perhaps offers a glimpse into how much Conner might have slipped in this competition.
It’s still early enough in the preseason for Conner to rebound, but he needs to start showing consistency if he’s to close the gap that’s emerged between him and Hynoski for the fullback job.
Stock Up: Running Back Andre Williams
Even before reports of running back David Wilson’s season being over started to filter out—ESPN’s Josina Anderson was the first with the unfortunate news—rookie Andre Williams was starting to turn some heads in practice with his vision, quickness and power.
When it came time to show it in a game, he stepped right up to the plate, finishing not just as the Giants’ leading rusher with seven carries for 48 yards and a touchdown but also out-producing any one player on the Buffalo Bills as well.
Williams, who relieved starter Rashad Jennings in the game against the Bills, still needs to demonstrate any progress he has made as a receiver and as a pass-blocker—he didn’t have any receptions or targets in the Hall of Fame game.
Still, it’s clear that based on his running alone, he has the potential to be a major contributor to the offense this season.
Stock Down: Cornerback Jayron Hosley
When a player is facing a four-game, league-imposed suspension handed down to him for violating the substance abuse policy—as is the case of cornerback Jayron Hosley—he must be sharp when given his opportunities.
Yet the Giants' 2012 third-round pick, a man whom they envisioned might one day be their slot cornerback, turned in what was one of his worst performances in the game against the Buffalo Bills.
Hosley’s career, which has been filled with injuries, has been bumpy enough, prompting the team to look elsewhere for nickelback candidates.
Hosley's play in the Hall of Fame game, in which the Bills threw against him seemingly at will and in which he committed a penalty, couldn’t have pleased the coaches.
Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), the Bills completed 83.3 percent of the passes they threw at Hosley’s man for 27 yards and one touchdown, culminating in an extremely disappointing 125.0 rating, the worst of the Giants’ defensive secondary.
Stock Up: Linebacker Jacquian Williams
After three up-and-down seasons, the downs mostly due to a knee injury that lingered from 2012 into last year, linebacker Jacquian Williams seems to have finally gotten on track toward fulfilling the team's expectations.
Williams, a 2011 sixth-round draft pick, has always shown a fine athletic ability when pressed into action.
Last year, after beginning the season alternating with Spencer Paysinger on the outside, Williams strung together some nice plays. He's now taking fewer gambles and is playing a smarter game. As a result, he finally seems ready to become the team’s full-time starter on the weak side.
Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), the Bills threw at him twice for five yards. Besides those two coverage plays, Williams, who nearly had an interception on one, has shown a better awareness of what’s developing in front of him and just seems to have a better feel for the game.
Stock Down: Receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. joins a list of recent Giants first-round draft picks whose pro careers have started on shaky ground.
Last year, offensive lineman Justin Pugh missed about a week of camp while recovering from a concussion. The year before, running back David Wilson struggled with learning pass protection and hanging onto the ball, which led to him being used sparingly on offense as a rookie.
The year before that, cornerback Prince Amukamara suffered a foot injury in his second practice.
However, there is still a lot of hope for Beckham, who will become a part of the Giants fabric for years to come.
However, he had to get on the field first and practice, because even though he’s probably a bit more polished than the averaged rookie, he’s still missing valuable time that could be spent learning how to improve his technique.
Perhaps Beckham needs to change the way he trains. Maybe he needs to devote more time to post-practice recovery. Whatever the case, what he's been doing since being drafted by the Giants isn't working.
Stock Up: Defensive Tackle Jay Bromley
While there was never really a question whether third-round pick Jay Bromley would have a spot on the roster, there was some debate about what that role would be.
If he continues to build off what he did in the preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills, he could have a nice-sized role moving forward.
He was particularly effective in short-yardage situations and always found himself around the ball despite the scrum that is typical at the line of scrimmage.
Bromley also managed to produce some pressures as a pass-rusher. While not completely collapsing the pocket, he did give it a push and showed that he has come a long way since he first arrived at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in the days following the draft.
Stock Down: Linebacker Dan Fox
There’s a lot to like about linebacker Dan Fox, an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame who’s looking to earn a roster spot.
Thus far, he’s shown that he’s a very smart and instinctive player. While possessing what seems to be average speed, Fox doesn’t have a lot of wasted movement.
Where he lacks, though, is in one critical area, and it’s an area that could very well keep him off the 53-man roster this year. That area is strength.
This first became apparent during spring OTAs, when he was unable to lift a tackling dummy in the same way some of his fellow linebackers did.
During a couple training camp practices, the issue showed up again, as Fox was unable to shed blockers to make plays.
On the plus side, Fox is still an intriguing and intelligent prospect who could very well be destined for the practice squad this year.
That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, as it would give him a year to fine-tune his craft, improve his strength and get a head-start on competing for a roster spot in 2015.