New York Giants Preseason Report Cards: Complete Grades for All 53 Players

Jeff Shull@Jeff_ShullAnalyst ISeptember 6, 2011

New York Giants Preseason Report Cards: Complete Grades for All 53 Players

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    The New York Giants got down to 53 players on Saturday, making few surprising cuts along the way. Perhaps the biggest surprise was Sage Rosenfels hitting the injured reserve with a severe case of strep throat.

    It may have just been the Giants trying to keep someone else from signing the 11-year veteran.

    It's hard to say whether this is actually the 53-man roster that will be fielded for the Week 1 contest against Washington, but for now we just have to assume that's the case.

    Several beat writers cautioned fans on their Twitter accounts that the roster moves are not over—do with that what you will. 

    This slideshow is a complete report card for every player who made the Giants roster, mainly going off their preseason game performances.

Eli Manning

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    Eli Manning's preseason performances had gained the attention of many critics, who claim his poor play will lead to poor play in the regular season.

    He definitely has not had a great preseason, but we shouldn't be too worried about him.

    Grade: C

David Carr

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    David Carr has had two pretty good games in the preseason followed by a terrible game against the Patriots in the finale. He admitted recently that he wished he would have never left New York, and will now be Eli Manning's backup after a one-year hiatus.

    Grade: B

Ahmad Bradshaw

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    Bradshaw has 13 carries for 39 yards so far this preseason, but with the offensive line doing a bit of shuffling, the blocking hasn't necessarily been there on every play.

    That said, it doesn't seem to be bothering his backfield partner Brandon Jacobs, so some of the blame has to go on Bradshaw.

    Grade: C+

Brandon Jacobs

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    Brandon Jacobs has looked like the player we once knew, and if Bradshaw isn't careful he could lose the starting tag once again. Jacobs had 19 carries for 115 yards in three games.

    Grade: A

DJ Ware

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    Ware has a total of 21 carries for 79 yards, which rounds out to 3.76 yards per carry. That's right around his average last season, and it was pretty clear he was making the roster when he sat out Thursday night's game against the Patriots with the rest of the starters.

    I can't figure out why though, as he has looked anything but worthy of a roster spot the past two seasons.

    Grade: C

Da'Rel Scott

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    Da'Rel Scott pretty much sealed his fate in the final game of the preseason by torching the Patriots for 12 carries and 114 yards. That brought his preseason total up to 14 carries for 213 yards, and his two big plays are what the Giants need from him in the regular season.

    Grade: B

Henry Hynoski

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    In a little over a month, The Hynoceros has gone from undrafted free-agent to likely starting fullback for the New York Giants.

    His life is pretty good, and the lives of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are going to be better because they have this guy blocking for him.

    Grade: B+

Bear Pascoe

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    Bear Pascoe hasn't really entrenched himself as either the starting fullback or the starting tight end, and that alone should lead you to believe has hasn't impressed at either position.

    The tight ends have been awful, and Hynoski is a better blocker.

    Grade: D

Hakeem Nicks

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    Hakeem Nicks was having a quiet preseason before dominating Antonio Cromartie for much of the Jets game last Monday.

    I called him out saying he needed to step up and show the fans he's ready to be a true No. 1 receiver, and I believe he will make that leap this season.

    Still, he's got to be more consistent.

    Grade: B-

Mario Manningham

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    Super Mario may have become the most important player on the Giants after the departure of Steve Smith; Manningham was a reliable third-down target for much of last year, but he has to cut down on the drops before he can truly replace No. 12.

    He's had a good preseason so far, getting a lot of attention from Eli with Hakeem Nicks being targeted by opposing defenses.

    Grade: B

Victor Cruz

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    Aside from a decent game against the Bears, Victor Cruz has not had much success filling in as the slot receiver.

    He made a terrific catch on a fourth down against the Bears, but his previously well-hyped preseason has not lived up to expectations. I can't tell you how many times I've read about him dropping easy passes in practice.

    Grade: C

Domenik Hixon

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    Hixon appeared to be the favorite to win the starting slot-receiver job, especially after a four-catch, 49-yard performance in the preseason opener.

    Since then it's been Cruz getting the reps with the first team, but I can't figure out why.

    Grade: B

Devin Thomas

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    Not only has Devin Thomas wowed me with his skills as a receiver this preseason, but he's been a terrific special teams player for the Giants.

    He is the starting kick-returner right now, and Tom Coughlin loves his no-nonsense style—going straight up the middle.

    He likely earned a spot on the team on his special-teams play alone.

    Grade: A

Jerrel Jernigan

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    Jernigan is wearing Steve Smith's old No. 12, but he's looked far from the player Smith was. He only had two catches for 32 yards in four games, and made catching punts look like brain surgery.

    I swear I've never seen someone muff or fumble so many punts in such a short time period; he is going to cost the Giants a game or two if he doesn't sharpen up.

    Grade: F

Travis Beckum

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    Travis Beckum has always been a legitimate threat in the passing game, but his blocking has held him back from becoming a regular contributor. Well, with Kevin Boss gone, he will get more playing time due to lack of better options.

    Jerry Reese believes Beckum can account for the 30-plus receptions Boss was good for each year, and I hope he's right, but Beckum is so awful as a blocker he is a liability.

    He hasn't shown much this preseason that he is going to get any better in that department.

    Grade: C

Jake Ballard

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    Judging by what we've seen in the preseason thus far, Jake Ballard may have actually beat out Travis Beckum for the starting tight-end job. He's a better blocker than Beckum by far, and he's more of a receiving threat than Bear Pascoe.

    Beating out those two isn't necessarily difficult at this point.

    This is a big surprise, but don't be shocked if the Giants sign a veteran tight-end and put Pascoe or Ballard on the practice squad.

    Grade: C+

Starting Offensive Line

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    The starters rarely allowed Eli Manning to get pressured, but they were incredibly inconsistent in run-blocking—if that's going to be the Giants' M.O., they have to step it up.

    Obviously with the lockout and the new faces along the line with no time to gel, we will get to measure how good they can be against Washington's improved defensive front.

    Will Beatty has an early test against Pro Bowl OLB Brian Orakpo.

    Overall Grade: B-

Backup Offensive Line

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    For those who don't know, this group includes Kevin Boothe, Mitch Petrus, Stacy Andrews and James Brewer

    From what I saw of Boothe, I wasn't impressed and thought the Giants would keep Chris White around as the backup center until Adam Koets comes off the PUP.

    James Brewer is a rookie and has showed that at times, but there is talent there and the Giants might just have a great player waiting to take over the right tackle position next year.

    Mitch Petrus has incredible strength and has always been a good run-blocker, but he still needs work pass-protecting.

    Overall Grade: B

Justin Tuck

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    Do we even have to worry about the best defensive player on our team? I frankly feel like not even giving him a grade, but I'll humor everyone.

    Grade: A+

Osi Umenyiora

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    It's hard to get a grade when you don't play, but where I'm from, if you don't show up, you fail.

    Grade: F-

    (F- is not a real grade, he just deserves it for that little wussy hold out.)

Jason Pierre-Paul

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    Jason Pierre-Paul started hot but remained relatively quiet in the final two games he played in the preseason. Still, he dominated Pro Bowl LT Jordan Gross for the time he faced him, and that has to count for something.

    Grade: A-

Dave Tollefson

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    The Giants re-signed Dave Tollefson just before the team's first preseason game, so he didn't get much time to get back into playing shape, but he should be ready to go and will have an important role on defense with Osi Umenyiora sitting the first week, possibly more.

    He had a handful of tackles in three games in the preseason, but didn't make much of an impact rushing the passer.

    Grade: C

Chris Canty

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    Once again, Chris Canty is one of the most scrutinized players on this website, but you won't hear me being critical of Canty, he had a great preseason.

    In the limited action he saw, he was making plays in the backfield against the run and getting good pressure up the middle. He doesn't light up the stat sheet, but he's a big part of why the Giants defense is one of the best units in the NFL.

    Grade: B

Linval Joseph

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    Joseph has the tough task of replacing Barry Cofield, and while he may not have the same ability to rush the passer as Cofield did, Joseph offers more in the run-stopping department.

    He is a big body (6'4'', 323 lbs) who can really clog up the middle and make life easier on the linebackers. From what we've seen so far, he should be able to do just that. 

    Grade: B

Rocky Bernard

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    Rocky Bernard lost some weight this season and looked good in the two games he played during the preseason. He is a valuable backup who will spell Canty and Joseph when need be, but he may also challenge Joseph for his starting position in the long run.

    Grade: B+

Jimmy Kennedy

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    We didn't get to see much of Kennedy since they signed him midway through the preseason, but if you're going off what he says he's the best defensive tackle in football.

    Yes, he told reporters that when they signed him.

    It's hard to get a real feel for what he can bring right now since he got limited action, so he'll receive a grade that never made much sense to me growing up.


Michael Boley

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    Don't ask me why, but when I saw this picture I immediately thought of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

    The linebackers are going to be a huge part of the defense's potential this season. Perry Fewell did a good job of disguising the team's perceived weakness in the middle, but this year they need to step up so they don't get exposed.

    Michael Boley stepped in front of a Jimmy Clausen pass and returned it for a touchdown in their first game, and in the third game he was all over the field against the Jets, racking up seven tackles in the first half.

    He's had a good preseason.

    Grade: A

Jonathan Goff

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    After being one of the best run defenders in the NFL last season, it became apparent that all Jonathan Goff needed to do to become one of the best linebackers in the game was refine his coverage ability.

    While he's not quite there yet, he did show off improvement during the preseason, especially in the Bears game. I'm excited to watch this kid improve each and every week.

    Grade: B+

Mathias Kiwanuka

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    Kiwanuka was eased along in the preseason due to concerns about his neck injury, but he should be an important part of this Giants defense. He registered four sacks in three games last season before sitting out the rest of the year.

    Perry Fewell knows what to do with Kiwanuka and will emphasize his strengths—let's just hope he can stay healthy. Kiwanuka didn't stand out in a good or bad way in the three games he appeared in, but that should change during the regular season. 

    Grade: C+

Rookie Linebackers

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    Call it being lazy, but I felt like I could lump all the Giants rookie linebackers together because, frankly, you can say the same thing about all four of them.

    Spencer Paysinger, Mark Herzlich, Greg Jones and Jacquian Williams really seem like they could make a great future group in a 3-4 defense, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

    All four guys came in as either late draft picks or not drafted at all, played their hearts out, got better every week,and beat out veterans for their spots on the roster because of their willingness to go all out on special teams.

    Overall Grade: A

Zak DeOssie

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    He got a free trip to Hawaii as the Pro Bowl long snapper. Hooray.

    Grade: Who Cares?

Corey Webster

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    Teams usually stay away from Webster's side of the field because of how great he is in man-to-man coverage; let's just hope that doesn't change.

    After Terrell Thomas was lost for the year, Webster and Aaron Ross became that much more important. Webster is one of the most underrated corners in the league, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Grade: A

Aaron Ross

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    After one of the worst performances by a cornerback I've ever seen in Week 1, Aaron Ross seemed to get it together and played very well the rest of the way.

    He had an unbelievable game against the Bears, and helped cover Plaxico Burress against the Jets and held him to no catches.

    Ross needs to step up in a big way, I just hope we never see the Panthers-game version of him.

    Grade: B+

Prince Amukamara

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    Injured his foot on the second day he practiced. Not good.

    Grade: F

Michael Coe

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    Michael Coe may be a backup, but he's had a good preseason thus far and will hopefully carry that over. He was one of the players who consistently impressed during training camp and became a very important piece when Terrell Thomas and Brian Witherspoon tore their ACLs in the same game.

    Coe's value may be most appreciated in his kick-and-punt coverage, but don't be surprised if he earned some PT on defense.

    Grade: B

Brian Williams

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    Williams is a veteran guy who was signed after the loss of Terrell Thomas and Brian Witherspoon, so we haven't gotten much of a look at him yet. Who knows if he'll actually play—once Prince Amukamara comes back they could end up releasing Williams, but we'll see.


Antrel Rolle

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    When I watch preseason games I tend to only watch areas of concern, so I was watching the offensive line and wide receivers on offense, and the defensive tackles and linebackers on defense.

    However, when I found out Antrel Rolle will get some time at the nickel corner spot, I paid attention in the Jets game and he played great.

    I don't know that the Giants are going to miss Terrell Thomas as much as everyone says. They definitely will miss him, but Rolle takes a little off of that blow.

    Grade: A

Kenny Phillips

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    Kenny Phillips looked lost in coverage at times during the preseason, which is never something we want to see from the safety position.

    After Phillips went down in 2009, we had to witness some of the worst safety-play most of us had ever seen. He struggled in the Bears game particularly, but hopefully he got it out of his system.

    Grade: D

Deon Grant

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    How awesome is this move now that the Giants lost Terrell Thomas for the season. Can you imagine how thin the secondary would be without Grant?

    Honestly, Deon Grant is one of my favorite players on the defense. He has great coverage skills and is not afraid to stick his nose in the pile and stuff the run.

    He's a great asset to the secondary and the main reason they were so good last season.

    Grade: A

Tyler Sash

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    Though he made a couple rookie mistakes here and there, sixth-round pick Tyler Sash was very impressive in camp and in the preseason.

    He has a high motor, form tackles and goes all out on special teams. The Giants got a steal with this selection.

    Grade: B

Derrick Martin

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    When you score a defensive touchdown to win the game for your team, you instantly get bumped up a letter grade. Honestly, I don't imagine Derrick Martin will play much on defense, but his impact on special teams will be felt.

    Grade: B+

Steve Weatherford

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    Steve Weatherford won a very competitive race for the punter job over Matt Dodge, partly because he's able to actually put some direction on his punts, whereas Dodge just blasts his punts down the middle mostly.

    Weatherford's net during the preseason was 43.9 with an average punt distance of 46.2—that's pretty damn good.

    Grade A+

Lawrence Tynes

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    Lawrence Tynes' kickoffs are brutal, but his accuracy on field goals is what kept him a New York Giant. Sure, he may be the only kicker who still can't get it in to the end zone on kickoffs, but at least he makes his field goals.

    He missed the final three games of the preseason after bruising his thigh on a blocked kick, but he assured reporters his leg is fine.

    That said, he was 1-for-4 in his only preseason game (one blocked), so he doesn't deserve a decent grade.

    Grade: D