Saturday, September 5, 2009

Giants: 53 Man Roster (Almost)

Giants announced their (almost) final cuts for the season to get to their 53 man opening day roster. There is still one more adjustment coming before week 2. Read on.

As we expected, David Tyree did not make the team and there was much emotion and attention associated with that move. Last time Tyree caught the ball as a Giant was on his helmet in Super Bowl LXII. In an unanticipated move, the Giants traded TE Michael Matthews to the Patriots for a future draft choice. This means that Darcy Johnson makes the team as the 3rd TE. He did bulk up a bit, as I noted earlier and he is more able to handle some of the blocking duties that Matthews previously had. Perhaps they viewed him as a little more versatile than Matthews, who was almost exclusively used as the blocking TE. I thought Johnson had a mediocre preseason.

Giants kept 10 OL-men, which is quite a high number, and did not cut Kevin Boothe, as I thought they might.

They also kept 7 WRs as I predicted (and hoped) that they would. Sinorice Moss' roster spot was saved, probably helped by his 2 TD performance in the last preseason game.

On the defensive side of the ball, Alford went on IR and in a mild surprise, the Giants kept 9 DL-men including Leger Douzable, a FA with ony 1 year in the league. Douzable was involved in the incredible TD on the last play of the Carolina Panther preseason game, which gave the Giants their only preseason win. Douzable hit the qb as he was throwing on the last play of the game. The ball was taken out of the air by Tommie Hill who returned it for a TD. Giants also kept 8 LBs, including Gerris Wilkinson, who probably was on the bubble.

But the defensive picture is not finished, because LB Michael Boley still has to be added to the team. He is suspended for the first game of the season and so does not take up a roster spot until he is activated for game 2. Most likely, the Giants kept 9 DL-men for now because Canty is not quite ready to play, so they carried Douzable for at least game 1. When they activate Boley for game 2, they will be able to judge whether Canty is ready to play a full shift in the DL rotation. If he is, they may cut Douzable, or perhaps Tollefson. If they like what they see from Douzable in the season opener, they may keep him and cut one of the LB's. Another alternative if they keep Douzable and 9 DL-men is to evaluate whether to cut a LB or OL-man. As I noted above, 10 OL-men is a lot to carry. Coughlin said it clearly when asked about keeping Sinorice Moss and 7 WRs. The obligation is to keep the best players on the roster. They will have to evaluate who is the best pure athlete and football player: Boothe, Wilkinson or Douzable. In my mind, Wilkinson has shown a lot of athleticism in this preseason and can play ST. It comes down to Boothe or Douzable. This also gives the Giants some wiggle room in case there is an injury in the first game; the decision will be made for them.

Carrying extra players in these units is made possible because Giants saved 2 roster spots from last year at the RB position and 2 in the DB-field. They are carrying only 4 RBs: 3 tailbacks and 1 FB - Hedgecock. Last year they also carried Reuben Droughns and Derrick Ward. Droughns was a ST player and his spot there can be thought of as being taken by Derek Hagan, who is the 7th WR. The interesting thing about the trade of Michael Matthews is that he was a backup at FB. I guess they will use Travis Beckum at that slot and perhaps they will run some plays for him to take advantage of his speed. The Giants are putting extra burden on their OL in the running game, because Matthews was a very accomplished blocker. Darcy Johnson is not as good a blocker; nor is Beckum, who is smaller and more of a speed-TE.

At DB, Bruce Johnson made the team instead of Rashad as a backup S. Johnson can also play a little CB in nickel and dime packages and looks like a very good ST player. I consider the backups at S a little weak. Giants may still look for a better backup S from other team's roster cuts.

In 2007, Giants had all their draft choices make the team. They didn't do as well this year, with 5 of the 9 draftees making the team. QB Bomar was cut along with both late round CBs, Stoney Woodson and DeAndre Wright. 4th round pick RB Brown from NC State was put on IR with an achilles rupture earlier in the preseason. Having 5 draftees make the team is a pretty successful draft, especially if they contribute the first year. The draftees that made the team are: Nicks, Beatty, Sintim, Barden and Beckum. However, if you want to second guess the Giants drafting this year, you could certainly say that the late round CB's and QB Bomar had little chance of making the team and the Giants would have been better off packaging those picks in a trade to move up higher in one of the earlier rounds of the draft. Of course, this is purely analysis in hindsight, but it is something to think about. Giants will probably re-sign one of the 2 qbs they cut, Bomar or Woodson, to the practice squad.

I always find it interesting how much change there is in football. By my count the Giants, coming off a 12 win season, have 12 new players on this team, which is nearly 1/4 of the roster.

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