Yesterday the final cuts came down and there were few surprises. Giants’" onclick="return(Jiglu.overlayOpen(this))">The Giants are sticking to the old NFC East credo that you win games in the trenches.
They retained 19 lineman—10 on offense and nine on defense. The composition of the roster is heavy some areas and light in others. But that is always subject to change.
A quick breakdown...
Quarterbacks (2) - Eli Manning’" onclick="return(Jiglu.overlayOpen(this))">Eli Manning and David Carr
Carr may as well come to the games in his pajamas. Eli has not missed a game in his career, which began here in 2004. George W. Bush was still in is first term as President. Carr will only see action in mop-up situations. A third QB will be added to the practice squad, most likely it will be one of the two players that were cut yesterday (Andre Woodson or Rhett Bomar).
Running Backs (3) - Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw and Danny Ware
This would have been a quartet had rookie Andre Brown not tore his Achilles. Jacobs will open games and the other two will get carries as well. The system has worked well in prior years. Last season the backs averaged 5.0 yards a carry. Most teams would kill to have that kind of production. The only drawback is that the unit is too thin. If one of these players gets banged up or injured....well, let's cross that bridge if we get there....
Fullback (1) - Madison Hedgecock
Some teams have more than one. The Giants need only Hedgecock, who is a guard masquerading in a running back's jersey. He is a devastating blocker that opponents actually fear. His only weakness are his hands. If he could catch the ball a little better, the Giants would have yet another weapon in their arsenal.
Tight Ends (3) - Kevin Boss, Travis Beckum and Darcy Johnson
Boss is on the verge of becoming a star. Beckum is somewhat of an enigma. They might use him as an H-back, but they would have to take Hedgecock off the field to do that, so it's like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Johnson beat out Michael Matthews. Neither will take you to the promised land, but Johnson has more upside as a receiver.
Wide Receivers (7) - Domenik Hixon, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Sinorice Moss, Hakeem Nicks, Ramses Barden and Derek Hagan
The group is a very capable one. No one wants to openly say it, but Nicks will be the first Giants' wide receiver to make the Pro Bowl in the post-merger era. He can just flat-out make defenses look foolish. He plays like Michael Irvin and he just may become as productive. The more we see of him, the more we like.
The rest of the wide outs are all serviceable and almost interchangeable (except Barden.. we have yet to see him use his 6'6" frame to his advantage).
That's both good and bad. Good because you can rely on all to make plays and doesn't allow opposing defenses to prepare for one or two players. It's bad because they still get no respect and they must earn that early on in the season.
Offensive Line (10) - Shaun O'Hara, Chris Snee, Rich Seubert, Kareem McKenzie, David Diehl, Kevin Boothe, Tutan Reyes, Guy Whimper, Adam Koets and Will Beatty
This unit has been nicked up all summer, that's why they go ten-deep. When healthy, they are among the league's best. There is a fear they are breaking down, though. There's no depth at center and the seconds are nothing to write home about. Rookie William Beatty is learning fast, so hopefully he can lend some relief, if needed.
Special Teams (2) - Jeff Feagles, punter and Lawrence Tynes, kicker
Feagles may beat Ray Guy to Canton as the first punter ever elected to the Hall of Fame. He's been playing in the NFL since Tom Coughlin had dark hair. He remains the master of punt placement. Tynes is still way too inconsistent. He can kick with anyone. He can miss with anyone, too.
Linebackers (8) - Antonio Pierce, Danny Clark, Chase Blackburn, Gerris Wilkinson, Clint Sintim, Zak DeOssie, Jonathan Goff and Bryan Kehl
Everyone of these guys can play. DeOssie is really a special teamer, with his specialty being a long snapper. Pierce is fully focused and is ready for a big season. Danny Clark will start at SAM for now and Bryan Kehl is the WILL until Michael Boley can get back up to speed (week two and beyond). Goff, Wilkinson, and Blackburn are solid backups. The rookie Sintim is a very interesting prospect with a knack for rushing the passer.
Defensive Line (9) - Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield, Mathias Kiwanuka, Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard, Dave Tollefson and Leger Douzable
Tuck and Umenyiora are Hawaii-caliber ends. They've both been to Pro Bowls. Tackles Robbins and Cofield are coming off surgeries, which led to the signings of Canty and Bernard. All four are a go for opening day. Kiwanuka and Tollefson provide excellent depth at end. Douzable played well in preseason, but he may be the player cut to make room for Boley in Week Two.
Safeties (3) - Kenny Phillips, Michael Jonson and C.C. Brown
Have to question the depth of the unit, especially since Phillips sat out several preseason games with a knee. Johnson has just been solid since they day he got here in 2007. Brown was signed as a free-agent from Houston and has been nothing special as of yet. This is one of those thin groups I alluded to earlier.
Cornerbacks (5)- Corey Webster, Aaron Ross,Kevin Dockery, Terrell Thomas and Bruce Johnson
All five are excellent players, but Ross is still battling with that hamstring. Webster has become a fine pro. Thomas is the guy who really brings this unit together. Dockery is small, but a real playmaker. Johnson is a free-agent rookie who will see playing time in certain packages.
John Fennelly is the founder/publisher of blogNYG.com