With final NFL roster cuts set to happen by Friday night, and with the NFLPA approving the new injured reserve rule that lets teams designate a player to start the season on IR but allow him to come off it after Week 8, New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese has some serious decisions to make.
There are three that immediately come to mind.
No. 3 – How Many Running Backs to Keep and Who to Keep
One of the major decisions for Reese will be which of the three backup running backs to keep behind. Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson are both obviously assured roster spots. Wilson has looked good in the preseason (besides last night but the offensive line did not run block worth a lick) and has all but won the backup job.
However, after that it is cloudy. Should the Giants keep six running backs (including fullback Henry Hynoski)? My guess is no, especially considering the injuries to the defensive tackle and cornerback position.
Andre Brown really played well last night and Da’Rel Scott showed flashes as well. Each of them offer more upside than D.J. Ware, who did not see much action last night. It is hard to get a read on whether that means the Giants trust him and wanted to see more of Brown and Scott to choose between the two of them, or it means Ware is on his way out.
Brown had 14 carries for 55 yards last night even behind some pretty brutal run blocking. On the Giants’ first scoring drive he showed plenty of patience and good vision. If the Giants decide to keep Ware, though, the difference in Brown and Scott could be that Scott plays special teams at a high level.
In my prediction on the roster article yesterday I had the Giants cutting Brown, but I’m leaning more towards Ware now. That said, Tom Coughlin trusts Ware in pass blocking and third down situations, so he could have some influence on the decision by Reese.
I seriously doubt all of them make the team, and obviously Reese has several factors to consider.
No. 2 – How Many Wide Receivers to Keep and Who to Keep
Right now, I believe four of the Giants wide receivers are guaranteed roster spots. Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon and Rueben Randle are safe, but the rest of the wide receivers are on the bubble.
Ramses Barden played great the previous two preseason games and could have won a spot on the roster. Prior to those two games, his status was questionable at best. He had three catches, 46 yards and a touchdown against the Chicago Bears, with one of those catches was a real grab on a high throw from Eli Manning.
Jerrel Jernigan has been improving and made a very nice play in the second half yesterday, making No. 43 on the New England Patriots look like a fool with a swift cut after the catch. He is the first string punt returner as well, so it looks like his spot may be safe.
I think the Giants may be done after those six players though. David Douglas, Dan DePalma, and Ian Stanbeck have each had their moments, but they are practice squad material unless the Giants like what either of them bring to special teams.
No. 1 – Who to Designate for New IR Rule
The new injured reserve rule allows for a player to come off IR after Week 8, but the team has to designate that player, as it cannot be done later in the year. The Giants have three candidates they could use for this, but it all comes down to how quickly they think these players can come back.
Terrell Thomas is saying he can play in the opener, but the Giants are not falling for that. He will likely be gone for the first couple of games at least, but he did not require surgery on his knee so he could be ready to go before Week 8.
Shaun Rogers was originally thought to be lost for the season with a blood clot in his calf, but now that may not be the case. He will be gone for a long period of time, but if the Giants do not use the new or old IR rule on him, they will be carrying dead weight on the active roster for a long time.
Marvin Austin is also a question mark with his back injury as he has been sitting out for some time. His injury is not serious, but since the Giants probably believe he will be back at some point in the season, they could designate him for this new rule.
The Giants could also use the rule on any of the players already put on IR after the first round of cuts happened Monday, which would be Justin Trattou, Brandon Mosley and Martin Parker.
Thomas seems the most likely candidate, but who really knows other than Reese. This could be one of the most difficult years for Reese in terms of cutting players the team really likes. That’s a good problem to have, but it also increases their chances of making the wrong cuts.
Jeff is an NFL Featured Columnist for RantSports.com. He contributes mainly to the New York Giants and NFL Rumors pages. He also will occasionally touch on the NBA and humorous videos involving all sports.
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