As the preseason nears an end for the New York Giants, some training camp position battles still need to be won or lost.
On the defensive side of the ball, Mark Herzlich and Dan Connor are still vying for the starting middle linebacker job; Adrian Tracy, Justin Trattou and Adewale Ojomo are fighting to be the backup defensive end; and in the secondary, Terrell Thomas, Terrence Frederick, Charles James and Trumaine McBride cannot all make the 53-man roster.
Here is a look at the defensive depth chart folliwng Sunday's roster cuts:
|LDE||Justin Tuck||Damontre Moore||Adrian Tracy||Justin Trattou|
|LDT||Linval Joseph||Johnathan Hankins||Marvin Austin||Markus Kuhn|
|RDT||Cullen Jenkins||Shaun Rogers||Mike Patterson|
|RDE||Jason Pierre-Paul||Mathias Kiwanuka||Matt Broha||Adewale Ojomo|
|SLB||Keith Rivers||Kyle Bosworth|
|MLB||Dan Connor||Mark Herzlich|
|WLB||Spencer Paysinger||Jacquian Williams|
|LCB||Corey Webster||Jayron Hosley||Terrence Frederick||Charles James|
|RCB||Prince Amukamara||Aaron Ross||Trumaine McBride|
|FS||Ryan Mundy||David Caldwell||Will Hill|
|SS||Antrel Rolle||Tyler Sash||Cooper Taylor||Will Hill|
The backup defensive end job is down to Tracy, Trattou and Ojomo, with Matt Broha's roster spot likely in jeopardy.
Tracy and second-round draft pick Damontre Moore were the recipients of high praise from defensive line coach Robert Nunn this summer. Tracy began training camp as the starting end opposite of Mathias Kiwanuka, who was filling in for the injured Jason Pierre-Paul.
Tracy has battled injuries since being drafted in 2010, but made some major strides this training camp. His major competition to be the defensive end rotation has come from Ojomo, who against the Indianapolis Colts put forth an impressive performance.
Neither Tracy nor Ojomo were too impressive Saturday against the New York Jets, but I lean toward the veteran simply due to the hype.
Herzlich or Connor. Connor or Herzlich. Which middle backer will come out on top?
The premier position battle of the summer for the New York Giants has been this one, and as of now it is seemingly still an even competition.
Connor was named the starter vs. the Jets, but Herzlich responded with a team-high six tackles, sack, fumble recovery and pass defended.
The injury to Stevie Brown means another safety will get a chance to make the 53-man roster.
Ryan Mundy will likely get the nod alongside Antrel Rolle, assuming Rolle is 100 percent by Sept. 8. The depth chart behind them, however, remains a question.
David Caldwell and Will Hill are competing for the backup free safety job behind Mundy, with Tyler Sash and Cooper Taylor vying for the back strong safety job behind Rolle. That leaves the Giants with big decisions regarding Thomas, Frederick and James, and which -- if any -- make the final roster.
Sash is the presumptive favorite to back up Mundy, with Caldwell -- a starter in Indy in 2011 -- the better choice to back up Rolle. Taylor did not play against the Jets, meaning it's more and more likely he won't be on the final roster.
As for what to do with Hill: being suspended, it's a risk keeping him on the roster. It's his second in as many seasons, so have the Giants lost patience with him? Perhaps so.
With Hill perhaps a casualty, I expect the Giants to retain the fan favorite, Thomas. He filled in at nickel back and offers the versatility to move to safety if needed, and that versatility may just pay off. I cannot say the same for Frederick and James.
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