On an individual level, summers in the NFL boil down to one concern: making a roster.
While nothing is guaranteed, a lane toward that end goal opens up for players who are drafted. For others, an invitation to walk on is all they can ask for. Those players enter camp with nothing more than a number and a locker. It’s then up to them to prove their value come autumn.
It is no easy task, but it is possible. From Victor Cruz to Chase Blackburn, undrafted players make rosters every year, and 2012 was no different.
Here’s a look at such players who have made the cut during Tom Coughlin’s era with the New York Giants:
G Greg Walker (Clemson)
LB Jim Maxwell (Gardner-Webb)
LB T.J. Hollowell (Nebraska)
T Jason Hilliard (Louisville)
DT Damane Duckett (East Carolina)
CB Curtis DeLoatch (North Carolina A&T)
DT Ahmad Childress (Alabama)
WR Chris Davis (Southern)
WR Jason Geathers (Miami)
DE Claude Harriott (Pitt)
OL Josh Parrish (Wash St)
DB Art Thomas (Virginia)
RB Chris Douglas (Duke)
T/G Greg Walker (Clemson)
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So what does a two-time Super Bowl MVP for the New York Giants get asked to talk about most frequently?
Eli Manning answered that question Friday afternoon on “Pro Football Talk Live” with Mike Florio.
“Well this year, it’s been a lot about Peyton with everything that’s going on,” Manning said. “You get some Jets questions, but I guess the main one is how are you going to try to improve this year, how are you going to try to repeat. All of them are pretty easy to answer. The one I enjoy is I like to talk about the Giants and talking about how we’ve worked hard and what our mentality has been this offseason and try to make sure we’re improving and getting better as a team and playing to our potential.”
Entering his ninth season in New York, Manning has experienced the ups and downs and all that comes with playing in the market. He’s currently on the upswing and isn’t worried about how much or how little coverage the defending Super Bowl champions received this offseason.
“When they’re writing about you in the paper, it’s not how much you’re making the headlines, it’s what they’re writing,” Manning said. “Are they writing good things? That’s what we want. We’re not trying to make more headlines. We’re trying to make sure, when we do make them, they’re writing about the quality of play we’re playing on the football field.”
That quality of play will be tested right away when the Giants take on the Cowboys in the first game of the season. It’s a 180 from last year’s series, which didn’t see the two NFC East rivals faceoff until Week 14 as they met twice in the final four games.
While it can be debated which way is better, all Manning knows is Wednesday is a good night to be a football fan.
“These games are exciting,” he said. “Obviously to open up the 2012 season with a division rival, the Cowboys are always a tough team. Last year, the last game of the regular season, we played them and the winner goes to the playoffs. So it’s very fitting that we open the season with them and we know we have to play our best football if we expect to win. They have a lot of ability over there, so it will be a great way to start the season at home on a Wednesday night at our own stadium. It should be a great atmosphere.”
Tags: Eli Manning
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In one of the NFL’s strongest divisions, the defending champs boast the best players, according to Pete Prisco of CBS Sports. The Senior NFL Columnist selected his All-NFC East team with the season opener days away, and 10 Giants made the list – the most of any of the four teams in the division.
Here’s a look at the breakdown along with Prisco’s analysis:
QB — Eli Manning, Giants: It’s not a joke to call him elite anymore. He’s that and more.
FB — Henry Hynoski, Giants: He’s a powerful blocker who should be even more of a factor as the running game improves.
WR — Victor Cruz, Giants: Question with him now is can he do it again. I say he does.
WR — Hakeem Nicks, Giants: He’s big, strong and fast and the Giants’ No. 1 receiver.
C — David Baas, Giants: He missed time last year in his first with the Giants, and it showed. He’s a tough run blocker.
RG — Chris Snee, Giants: Snee, the son-in-law of coach Tom Coughlin, wasn’t great early last season but came on late.
DT — Linval Joseph, Giants: He was one of the unsung heroes of the Giants’ Super run last season.
RE — Jason Pierre-Paul, Giants: Watch what he does this year. He is a force and he is still just learning the game.
SS — Kenny Phillips, Giants: He had his best season in 2011 after he was able to finally stay healthy.
P — Steve Weatherford, Giants: The Giants made a great move picking up this veteran last year.
>> SCHEDULE CHANGE: ‘America’s Game: 2011 New York Giants’ now debuts at 9:00 PM ET on Tuesday, Sept. 4 on NFL Network.
>> New York Giants 2012 NFL Season Preview, Predictions. [NFL.com]
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