By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: Now that the dust has settled after the New York Giants have announced their 53-man roster for 2020, the social media circus was in full gear with many fans and also sport experts questioning some of the decisions made by the Giants brain trust; particularly GM Dave Gettleman and Head Coach Joe Judge. So let’s dive right into some of the moves made by the Giants with the final roster and the practice squad and what impact this could mean moving forward:
- Surprise Roster Additions: It’s not uncommon for teams during the final roster evaluation process to pick up players from other teams who were cut and then be added to either the final roster and/or the practice squad. The Giants did just that by adding three players from other organizations in Wide Receiver Damion Ratley, Cornerback Adrian Colbert and Offensive Tackle Jackson Barton. These moves obviously meant that current players on the Giants roster were going to be cut and they were: Wide Receiver Corey Coleman, Cornerbacks Grant Haley and Chris Williamson.
- Surprise Roster Cuts: Among all the players the Giants needed to cut to get their roster to 53 was the release of Inside Linebacker Ryan Connelly who was projected to start alongside of Blake Martinez and Wide Receiver Corey Coleman who missed the 2019 season with an injury, but displayed enough during his short stint to speculate that he had a very good chance of making the roster with his versatility. Ryan Connelly has since been claimed by the Minnesota Vikings as the Giants plan of placing him on the practice squad back fired. Coleman’s fate is currently unknown as the Giants didn’t add him to the practice squad, but did add five other wide receivers there (more on that later).
- Surprise Players making the Roster: For me, the players who made the roster that were the biggest surprises that were on the Giants roster when training camp began was Wide Receiver C.J Board and Inside Linebackers T.J Brunson. In Brunson’s case, it made a little sense as the injury to David Mayo enabled him to make the roster and once Mayo returns, Brunson, Downs or Crowder could either be released or placed on the practice squad. As for Board, not much was mentioned about him during training camp and many football experts (myself included) projected Coleman making the roster over him.
- Practice Squad Surprises: Currently; the Giants have one spot remaining on the practice squad and also running back Sandro Platzgummer has an exemption clause attached to him, so he doesn’t count towards the practice squads final count. The placed five wide receivers onto the practice squad (Johnny Holton, Alex Bachman, Derrick Dillon, Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor) which is unheard of, but with the new stipulations with the practice squad due to COVID-19, the way to construct the practice squad has changed. The Giants surprisingly added place kicker Ryan Santoso and long snapper Carson Tinker to the practice squad; which is rarely done; but again the COVID-19 played a big part in this. Santoso looks more like a Tight End (6’5/258) and has the ability to punt as well. Tinker is insurance as the Giants only have one player handling the long snapping duties on the roster in Casey Kreiter, so in case an injury or COVID-19 should come into play, Tinker will remain on the practice squad until needed. Lastly; Defensive Lineman Niko Latos who was an UDFA in 2020, must have shown enough overall ability; especially in the pass rush department to warrant a place on the practice over notable players like Chris Slayton and Daylon Mack.
- Who will the Giants Protect on the Practice Squad: One of the new rules in 2020 is that the Giants will be allowed to practice four players from the practice squad; which means no other team can sign these players at any time during the season; Similar to the final roster moves, it’s going to be difficult to figure which four players the Giants decide to protect.
Final Thoughts: The impact of COVID-19 has really been evident with the roster moves and practice squad decisions and it’s not just with the Giants. Every NFL team needed to really utilize the new rules being put in place for 2020 to maximize their roster and the practice squad to the fullest extent. In the end, from the fans point of view there seems to be a lot of head scratching moves made by Gettleman and Judge and as fans we must have full confidence that the Giants organization and the Coaching staff have a much better insight into the personnel and are making the right decisions in making this team better.