THREE SAFETIES STILL A CHARM FOR PERRY FEWELL
"Veteran safety Deon Grant is gone, while former first-round pick Keith
Rivers, gritty Chase Blackburn, heady Michael Boley, and a boatload of other
linebackers are around - so many that Fewell suddenly has more options than he
can count for that gaping middle linebacker hole.
That all adds up to the end of the Giants' three-safety alignment from 2011,
right? Not so, said defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.
"We are just going to wait and see," Fewell said. "Obviously, we like that
particular package, and we don't want to lose that package. We think that is
valuable for us. But with the additions of these linebackers that we have, we
can be a little bit more creative, we think. And so we just have to find out who
goes where, who can learn the best, and then we will take it from there."
Fewell often used Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips and Grant at once last season,
in part because of a lack of quality cornerbacks, as well; Rolle often wound up
covering slot receivers. But even that won't be necessary, because the Giants
have also deepened their well of secondary talent.
Jayron Hosley, who spent large portions of minicamp lining up at nickelback,
arrived in the third round of the draft, while Antwuan Molden, a former New
England Patriots corner, arrived in free agency. Even better, Terrell Thomas,
who tore his ACL last preseason, will be back to start the season.
It's been part of a solid offseason for the Giants. While GM Jerry Reese made
few big-splash moves in free agency, he has added depth at nearly every
It sounds like Fewell plans to play mad scientist with that new talent - he
even mentioned trying Rivers, a career outside linebacker, in the middle -
searching for new and dangerous combinations.
Fewell also thinks the talent pools at each position will lead to an
ultra-competitive training camp.
"There is going to be a lot of competition in the secondary, linebackers," he
said. "I think competition brings out the best in all of us. And in order for us
to get better this year, we are going to compete . . . And we are looking to add
more, so some of these guys may make the squad and have an opportunity to
compete for a job."
One player who may have vaulted from minicamp
obscurity to training camp contender is CB Brandon Bing. The 23-year-old Bing, a
former Rutgers star, went undrafted last season, then caught on with the Giants'
practice squad. He's spent the last two days emerging as a contender at
cornerback, though, impressing both Tom Coughlin and Fewell.
He even has a nickname from Fewell: "Bada." (Get it, right?)
"He is not a surprise, because he worked and he is enthusiastic," Fewell
said. "He worked last year on the practice squad, and then coming into this
camp, he is showing what he can do. We are excited about him competing for one
of those jobs this spring, as well as this fall. He has picked up where he left
off from practice, from the playoffs, etc."
Bing definitely knows the system, and he fit in well in the Giants locker
room last season.
AUSTIN WILL BE READY
Marvin Austin didn't play a down of
football last season after injuring his pectoral in the preseason, and that came
on the heels of frustrating final season at North Carolina, where he was spent
the 2010 season on suspension.
But Austin will be ready to start the season. He told the Daily News that
he's "fully back," and he has full strength and range of motion in his
"I"m strong as an ox," he said.
Fewell isn't concerned about Austin, either. He said there may be some rust,
but the Giants plan to use Austin extensively in the preseason so he can work
that out and be ready come the regular season.
"We are going to try to give him as many reps as we possibly can in the
preseason to knock that rust off," Fewell said. "If you can play football, you
can play football. And I think Marvin is a good football player."
OLD GUARD STRUGGLING
Former Eagles center Jamaal Jackson
was in camp on Friday, doing his best to hang in and revive his career. He
wasn't there on Saturday, however, and Coughlin says the veteran has
"He came in, he was very nice," Coughlin said. "He just said, 'Coach, I just
don't feel like my heart is in it.'"
Jackson walked away of his own volition, while the other (somewhat) big name
in camp, former Pittsburgh Steelers second-round pick Limas Sweed, may not have
The 27-year-old wideout, who was supposed to be the future of the Steelers
pass game when he was chosen in the 2008 draft, arrived in camp trying to hang
onto his career. But he's struggled to hang onto the ball. Sweed dropped three
catchable passes in the afternoon session Saturday, all on short throws. He
managed just one catch on a short hitch.
That likely won't cut it, especially on a Giants team that is deep at
wideout. Sweed entered the camp with an outside chance to stick. The Giants
likely want to keep Victor Cruz in the slot in three-wide sets, and Sweed's size
(he looked even taller than his listed 6-4 on the field) gave him a chance to
serve as an outside threat in such situations. ButJerrel Jernigan, Ramses
Barden and second-round pick Reuben Randle, who made several nice catches in the
afternoon, are all vastly better options.
NO ORDINARY JOE
Rutgers tailback/fullback Joe Martinek,
meanwhile, looks like he could stick. The undrafted free agent pickup enjoyed a
solid two-day showing with the Giants.
"He has been pretty good the whole camp, to be honest with you; very steady,"
Coughlin said. "I think probably he can play both spots. That would be
The Giants lost their hammer back in Brandon Jacobs, and while David Wilson
has impressed with his speed and wiggle, he's not much bigger than veteran
starter Ahmad Bradshaw, who battles injuries nearly every season. And aside from
D.J. Ware, the Giants' other backfield options - Da'Rel Scott and Andre Brown -
The six-foot, 225-pound Martinek, a New Jersey native, offers size and
versatility and is likely to stick around come the season."