New York Giants: 5 Most Surprising 2011 Roster Cuts
At this time of year, teams have to get down to the ugly business of cutting their way down to the 53-man roster.
Cut time always brings about some shocking moves, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars cutting David Garrard.
The New York Giants had an interesting cut period. While feel-good fan favorites like Mark Herzlich deservedly made the roster, and much maligned players like Darrius Reynaud did not, there were still some head-scratching roster moves that have caused confusion as to what the front office is doing. Not that this is anything new for New York.
Let's have a look at some of the moves made to reach 53 players that were kind of surprising.
5. Michael Clayton, WR
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Michael Clayton was expendable on this 53-man roster, of that there is no doubt. There were a large number of wide receivers and clearly not all of them could stay.
However, the decision to cut Michael Clayton over Jerrel Jernigan is strange. Not unjustifiable, but strange.
Despite Jernigan's status as the 2011 third-round pick, he had a shaky preseason and is not to be relied upon yet. He seems like he would be better suited for the practice squad until he picks up a little.
Clayton is a hard worker and a solid route runner, something the team could use on offense with only two fully established receivers. Victor Cruz and Domenik Hixon are promising, but both are coming off of injuries, and Cruz has yet to prove himself in the regular season.
It is not to say that Clayton should be the third or even fourth receiver, but he should have been given some more consideration; having him would have been nice if things go bad with injuries.
4. Matt Dodge
Al Bello/Getty Images
Let's lead off by saying that this is not a defense of Matt Dodge—he absolutely deserved to be cut. The reason his departure even makes the list is because of WHEN he was cut.
With the signing of veteran punter Steve Weatherford from the New York Jets, it was widely assumed that Matt Dodge would be gone within a week. Instead the New York Giants allowed him to stick around for the preseason, only to cut him right before Saturday's deadline.
It is shocking that the team even kept him around for that long; so shocking that he makes No. 4 on this list.
3. Daniel Coats
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
With the departure of Kevin Boss to the Oakland Raiders, the New York Giants have a bit of an issue at tight end.
Since Ben Patrick decided to retire, the Giants were left only with Jake Ballard, Travis Beckum and Christian Hopkins and Daniel Coats, and they cut both Coats and Hopkins.
Hopkins was cut first, leading to a belief that Coats would be retained, but he wasn't. It comes across as strange because Coats had a decent preseason, showing he could be a red-zone weapon, and because Beckum is a very non-traditional tight end on account of his size.
With Bear Pascoe playing fullback, an injury to either Ballard or Beckum could spell disaster for the Giants at the tight end position. Keeping Coats for depth reasons if nothing else might have been a good decision.
2. Jim Cordle
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Adam Koets is on PUP. That should say it all. Behind new starter David Baas, only Adam Koets and Jim Cordle were waiting on the depth chart.
With Koets likely on the PUP list until Week 6, it seems odd that the New York Giants would cut the only other backup center on the roster.
Admittedly, Baas has not missed a single game in the last two seasons, but this is still the NFL, and anyone can get injured any day. If that happens now, the New York Giants will be forced to shuffle the offensive line drastically, just like the 2010 season.
They would be better off with at least one true center as a backup on the depth chart, rather than having multiple tackles.
1. Philip Dillard
Philip Dillard was the New York Giants' fourth-round draft pick in 2010. Before the emergence of Jonathan Goff, it was widely believed that Dillard would take over for Antonio Pierce as the new starting middle linebacker.
Though Goff played admirably, Dillard was still a serviceable backup. Now that Goff is gone for the year, the New York Giants find themselves with a gaping hole at middle linebacker.
Though they have four current rookies to try out in his stead (including fan favorite Mark Herzlich), a guy drafted for the MLB position in a higher round than any current rookie would be nice to have on the roster.
It is just surprising to see the team throw away a player they had once put serious faith into.