EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today made 22 roster moves to reach the regular-season limit of 53 players, and coach Tom Coughlin said many of the decisions were difficult to make.
Veteran wide receivers Mario Manningham (calf) and Trindon Holliday (hamstring) were placed on injured reserve.
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The contracts of four vested veterans were terminated: quarterback Curtis Painter, fullback John Conner, tight end Kellen Davis and defensive end Israel Idonije.
Painter and Conner played for the 2013 Giants. Davis was a member of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks last season. Idonije, an 11-year veteran who played last season for the Detroit Lions, was signed on August 5.
Painter’s departure after one season means Ryan Nassib is Eli Manning’s backup and the Giants will have two quarterbacks on their opening-day roster for the sixth time in seven years. They kept three last year, when Nassib was a rookie.
“Ryan Nassib made big strides,” Coughlin said. “I think that his third and fourth preseason games were outstanding. You see definite improvement. You see the work that he’s put in. He’s been a very good student and he’s applied that to the field. What I really liked is he did have a poor preseason game and he came back with two good ones. That showed me, he didn’t do it by talking, he did it by working.”
|GIANTS ROSTER MOVES|
WR Trindon Holliday
WR Mario Manningham
OT Rogers Gaines
Guard Eric Herman
CB Jayron Hosley
FB John Conner
TE Kellen Davis
DE Israel Idonije
QB Curtis Painter
OT Mark Asper
RB Michael Cox
DB Chandler Fenner
LB Dan Fox
RB Kendall Gaskins
DB Thomas Gordon
OT Adam Gress
DB Bennett Jackson
G Jamaal Johnson-Webb
LB Terrell Manning
DT Kelcie Quarles
DE Jordan Stanton
WR Julian Talley
Tackle Rogers Gaines (shoulder) was waived/injured.
Twelve other players were waived, including two – running back Michael Cox and wide receiver Julian Talley - who played for the Giants last season.
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Also waived were running back Kendall Gaskins; tackles Mark Asper and Adam Gress; guard Jamaal Johnson-Webb; linebackers Terrell Manning and Dan Fox; defensive backs Chandler Fenner and Thomas Gordon; defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles; and defensive end Jordan Stanton.
Guard Eric Herman and cornerback Jayron Hosley were placed on the reserve/suspended list. Herman had previously been suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances. Hosley is beginning his previously-announced four-game ban for violating the league’s policy on substances of abuse. Both players are eligible to return to the Giants’ active roster on Friday, September 26, following the previous night’s game in Washington.
Finally, linebacker Jon Beason passed his physical. He is on the 53-man roster and is eligible to practice and play. Beason has been sidelined since suffering a foot injury in an offseason practice on June 12. Last year, he finished second on the team in tackles despite playing in only 11 games.
“He’s ready to practice,” Coughlin said. “You need that kind of dynamic leadership. The guy loves the game, he loves to play it. He’ll have the biggest smile on his face come Monday when he trots out there.”
Coughlin said the fullback competition between Henry Hynoski and Conner was very close.
“Two very good players,” Coughlin said. “Both guys can play in this league. Very, very close. Both of them are physical. They’ll knock the heck out of you. Utmost respect for John Conner, I think he’s a heck of a player and a great competitor and a good man. He doesn’t say a word, just goes and does his job. Give me all of those you can find.”
“Hard decisions, they’re very hard decisions,” Coughlin said of the tight ends.
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Among the players on the current 53-man roster who were considered longshots to make the team when training camp began are wide receivers Corey Washington and Preston Parker and defensive end Kerry Wynn.
Parker was out of football last year, but played in 27 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2010-12.
“Preston’s been around a little bit,” Coughlin said. “Preston also has the punt return/kickoff return ability. Right now that’s very critical for us, because Odell Beckham was going to be the punt returner.”
Beckham, the team’s first-round draft choice this year, missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury.
At defensive end, the Giants had a choice between Wynn, an undrafted rookie from the University of Richmond, and Idonije, who has played in 149 regular-season games.
“It always comes down to something like that,” Coughlin said. “We had tremendous respect for Izzy because of the quality of man he is. He came in here and whatever we asked him to do, he did. He battled, he competed. The other night he played a lot of nice snaps. At this point in time, the idea of developing the young player was first and foremost on your minds as we put the roster together.”
Wynn received little public notice during training camp, but he caught the eye of the coaches. He had two preseason sacks.
“I like the fact that he has very good size (6-5, 264) and he runs well. He flashed in the preseason and he is a young prospect that works hard, studies hard. We think he has a lot of upside.”
Washington (whose 10 catches for 155 yards and four touchdowns led the team in the preseason) and Wynn are rookie free agents and the kind of NFL success story that inspires Coughlin.
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“They’re great stories and that’s what this thing is all about,” Coughlin said. “Your needs are much deeper than seven picks in the draft or sometimes you’re not in position to help yourself in free agency because of the cap, so this is still the source. And when a young guy comes along and they look like they’ve got a high end, you’re excited about it. Especially when they work hard, they study hard, it’s important to them and they have great desire. You can see it on some of these kids’ faces that this means so much to them, and quite frankly it re-energizes me.
Holliday, an outstanding kickoff and punt returner, was hurt early in camp and didn’t play in a preseason game.
Manningham played for the Giants from 2008-12 before moving to the San Francisco 49ers for two years. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in January after having a torn ACL repaired the previous year. Manningham strained a calf muscle in the preseason finale vs. New England.
Many of the young players released today will be signed to the expanded 10-man practice squad if they are not claimed off waivers.
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“The practice squad is not taken lightly,” Coughlin said. “There are a lot of things that go into making choices and one of the things that’s really important, that has to be stressed, this summer is that we’ve got it to 10. And that’s a very important thing, the fact that we can have 10 practice squad guys means a lot in terms of your ability to prepare. Because as you go through the season and you have the various nicks that occur during the course of it and players can’t practice, at least you can continue to service your first groups with your practice squad players. That helps tremendously because the drain always comes.
“If a two becomes a one, then who services the other side of the ball? That’s a major concern for us at this level, because you have to continue to improve. People don’t realize that, it is about improvement and it’s not just about games, it’s about improving and your chance to improve on the practice field is so important.”
The current 53-man roster, which, of course, is subject to change at any time:
QB (2): Eli Manning, Ryan Nassib
RB (3): Rashad Jennings, Peyton Hillis, Andre Williams
FB (1): Henry Hynoski
WR (6): Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan, Odell Beckham Jr., Preston Parker, Corey Washington
TE (3): Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells, Adrien Robinson
OL (10): Will Beatty, Geoff Schwartz, J.D. Walton, Brandon Mosley, Justin Pugh, John Jerry, Weston Richburg, Charles Brown, James Brewer, Dallas Reynolds
DL (10): Mathias Kiwanuka, Jason Pierre-Paul, Cullen Jenkins, Johnathan Hankins, Robert Ayers Jr., Mike Patterson, Markus Kuhn, Damontre Moore, Jay Bromley, Kerry Wynn
LB (6): Jon Beason, Jameel McClain, Jacquian Williams, Devon Kennard, Spencer Paysinger, Mark Herzlich
DB (9): Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Walter Thurmond III, Trumaine McBride, Quintin Demps, Nat Berhe, Zack Bowman
Special Teams (3)
Kicker: Josh Brown
Punter: Steve Weatherford
Snapper: Zak DeOssie