With T2 set to start rehab, and no idea if he will be able to play this year, the opening day 53 looks complicated.
Unless the players union and the league come to an agreement on the talked about IR slot that could allow a player to return during the season, Terrell Thomas would have to hold a spot on the roster, assuming he can stay healthy through preseason.
With Tyler Sash suspended for the first 4 games, having enough secondary depth for the beginning of the season will pinch the 53. UPDATE: Hat tip to The Always Well Dressed, and confirmed via Mike Garafalo, the Giants can use Sash's roster spot for another player while he's suspended. I'll make my edits based on this visible below.
Here's my quick take below the fold. Some tough decisions to make.
QB: Manning, Carr (2)
HB: Bradshaw, Ware, Wilson, Scott (4)
FB: Hynoski (1)
TE: Pascoe, Bennett, Robinson (3)
C: Baas (1)
G: Boothe, Snee, Petrus (3)
T: Diehl, Beatty, Mosely, Locklear, Brewer (5)
WR: Nicks, Cruz, Randle, Jernigan, Hixon, Douglas (6)
DT: Canty, Joseph, Austin, Bernard (4)
DE: JPP, Tuck, Umenyiora, Trattou (4)
LB: Boley, Kiwinuka, Herzlich, Jones, Rivers, Williams, Paysinger
(7) UPDATE: Added Blackburn (8)
CB: Webster, Thomas, Amukamara, Coe, Tryon, Hosely (6)
S: Phillips, Rolle, Sash, Hill, (4)
SPECIAL TEAMS: 3
In this scenario, I cut RB Brown, T McCants, WR's Collins and Barden, DT's Kuhn and Rogers, DE Tracey,
LB Blackburn, CB Johnson, S Brown. I left S Grant unsigned in favor of keeping Hill.
I thought about maybe cutting the 4th RB, and that could be possible, but I ended up keeping Scott for possible return duties behind Jernigan and Hosely and maybe Hixon, as long as he's healthy. It's possible Barden could save his job but I think they'll go with Douglas instead, on the assumption he'll contribute on special teams.
On defense it was harder. I like how Kuhn seems to be flashing but I think he's probably just too far behind and needs seasoning on the practice squad. I cut Rogers and kept Bernard because the coaches know Bernard and he knows the system. Would be nice to carry both but realistically there's just no room. If Canty needs more time he stays on PUP and they keep Rogers.
The toughest cut, my last cut, was Blackburn. It's tough because, as the QB of the defense late in the season, he was key to the SB run. And this means cutting the guy tagged as the starting MLB going into the preseason. But Herzlich seems like he could win the job outright. Plus, with Sash out the first 4 games, we'll need to emphasize coverage against the speedy TE's and H back types against the 12 offense. We'll be down a safety for running a lot of the big nickel, and Thomas may not be ready to go full out if he can go at all. So we have to keep minimum 6 CB's and we need an extra dose of speed in the LB corps. The result? Paysinger stays as one of the 7 LB's over Blackburn. Tough call, but that's how it looks to me on August 8, 2012.
UPDATE: The choice with Sash's roster spot open was between carrying a 4th safety or keeping either Blackburn or Rogers. I think there's a decent chance Canty will need time on PUP so the Rogers thing may work itself out. The options for another safety are Brown or Grant out there in the wings. While I think the coaches would really like to have a 4th safety, I don't think they'll do it at the expense of Blackburn - not when they can rotate some speedy LB's in to buy time in a pseudo big nickel defense, and maybe use a few weeks of Blackburn to buy Herzlich a few weeks to take over the MIKE full time.
This is especially true when you look at the first four weeks' games: Cowboys, Bucs, Panthers and Eagles. The tough ones are the NFC East games, but I think this roster will allow Fewell to compete and put together some match ups he likes. Neither the Bucs nor the Panthers feature fast receiving TE's that make you want to go with 3 safeties. Dallas is suspect at that 3rd WR and Austin is already having hammy issues in camp again. The Eggs have the most challenging receiving corps but containing them will be about speed and containing McCoy's cutbacks. The speed in the second and third levels of this Giants roster should be ok for that.
That These roster guesses will of course change in a couple of days, but whatever!