Andre Brown was one of several surprising cuts by the New York Giants. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Wow! What a stunning couple of days for the New York Giants! Go back to Friday morning, and I don't think anyone on earth could have predicted the moves the Giants would make en route to setting their 53-man regular-season roster.
- Sage Rosenfels in, Rhett Bomar out as backup quarterback.
- Darius Reynaud in, Andre Brown and Gartrell Johnson both out.
- Bear Pascoe stunningly out, Travis Beckum still in.
- Dave Tollefson in, Jay Alford out.
- Victor Cruz and -- shockingly -- Duke Calhoun in, veteran Derek Hagan out.
"We put the roster together in the best interest of our football team, the best way in which we felt would possibly balance off our numbers and still be very much aware of the way in which you would rank the ability level of all the players on the team," Coach Tom Coughlin said. "You'd like to think you're ready to go in the first game and hopefully we won't have to make a subtle adjustment as we go along."
It is brutally obvious that a lot of what the Giants did was geared toward beefing up what has been a woefully inadequate special teams group. Calhoun outperformed Hagan on special teams, Tollefson is more useful on specials than Alford, the trade for Reynaud, keeping players like D.J. Johnson and Chase Blackburn. All geared toward attempting to fix what has been a glaring weakness.
"We certainly had an eye toward who can help us on special teams and there are always thoughts on that when you put your roster together - who's going to perform in what categories. That had a lot to do with our trade for (Reynaud). It's going to be reflected in the added responsibility we put on a lot of people to help us become a stronger special teams outfit than we were in the preseason," Coughlin said. "We kept eight linebackers and a lot of thought went into that - not that they're all going to be active. There's always great attention given to special teams. We were a team coming into training camp that had a lot of work to do and a lot of transitional spots that had to be taken care of. We hope we're moving in that direction."
Coughlin admitted it was difficult to cut Pascoe.
"There was an awful lot of sentiment for Bear, because of what he was able to do," Coughlin said. "There was an entire week in practice when he allowed us to practice. I had to cut some snaps out, he was the guy that kept us going. And when you'd go to him and think he might be a little fatigued, he'd say just the opposite - ‘Bring it on coach, I can do it.' That attitude is a tremendous thing."
For me, the biggest surprises are Pascoe and Andre Brown not making the roster. Coughlin had hinted that perhaps Brown was not yet fully comfortable after Achilles Tendon surgery, but I thought he was a lock for the roster. With Pascoe, no idea what the Giants were thinking, and it's probably the one move I really don't like. What happens if Kevin Boss gets hurt? Beckum is not an every down guy.
Anyway, I'm absolutely flabbergasted by the roster as it currently stands. Most likely, the shuffling is not over yet. Don't be surprised if the Giants make a couple of waiver-wire pickups over the next couple of days.
Quarterbacks (2): Eli Manning, Sage Rosenfels
Running Backs (4): Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, D.J. Ware, Darius Reynaud
Fullbacks (1): Madison Hedgecock
Wide Receivers (6): Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, Ramses Barden, Victor Cruz, Duke Calhoun
Tight Ends (2): Kevin Boss, Travis Beckum
Offensive Linemen (9): David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O'Hara, Chris Snee, Kareem McKenzie, Will Beatty, Adam Koets, Shawn Andrews, Mitch Petrus
Defensive Linemen: (9): Justin Tuck, Barry Cofield, Chris Canty, Mathias Kiwanuka, Osi Umenyiora, Rocky Bernard, Dave Tollefson, Jason Pierre-Paul, Linval Joseph Linebackers (8): Jonathan Goff, Michael Boley, Keith Bulluck, Bryan Kehl, Clint Sintim, Chase Blackburn, Phillip Dillard, Gerris Wilkinson
Kicker (1): Lawrence Tynes
Punter (1): Matt Dodge
Long Snapper (1): Zak DeOssie