New York Giants Drop Asafo-Adjei, Bring Back Penny

New York Giants, George Asafo-Adjei

In the buildup to free agency, the New York Giants have made two roster moves – one dropping a player that they drafted last year and another one bringing back a member of their running backs group.

The waived player in this case is offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei, the right tackle who the Giants took in the last round of the draft. Despite this, there were some hopes that Asafo-Adjei could have at least some kind of role with the team. It doesn’t seem like that’s going to be the case – surprisingly, Asafo-Adjei failed to pass a physical, which is the likely reason behind the Giants cutting him.

Asafo-Adjei didn’t have a chance to show his skills in his first season after spending it on the injured reserve list, thanks to a concussion which was suffered before the start of the season.

The Giants did announce some better news at the same time, however – the team has come to terms with running back Elijhaa Penny. Assuming everything goes as planned when free agency opens, the Giants will extend Penny’s contract by a couple of years after Penny rushed for a pair of touchdowns in each of the past two seasons, both of which were with the Giants.

More importantly, however, Penny is the blocking running back to contrast with the more rushing oriented Saquon Barkley and any other similar backs which the Giants may have on the roster going into the 2020 season.

Position wise, right tackle is of course a bigger concern than running back, as proven by the fact that the Giants have just lost another player at the already thin position. Expect it to be addressed in free agency or the Draft, as one of the most pressing needs for the roster at the moment.

New York Giants sign one player and waive a draft pick from 2019

New York Giants, George Asafo-Adjei

The New York Giants made two roster moves on Wednesday, re-signing fullback Elijah Penny for the 2020 season, contingent on him passing a physcial.

Clearly, head coach Joe Judge saw the value in the blocking fullback and his ability running the ball on short-yardage situations.

The New York Giants website stated:

No, not Eli Manning, who is firmly and comfortably retired. But running back Elijhaa (Eli) Penny, who played in all 16 games in the 2019 season, has agreed to contract terms with the Giants, the team announced today. The agreement is contingent on Penny passing his physical.

I expect to see Penny in a blocking-centric role in front of Saquon Barkley, clearing a path for the talented running back.

Aside from Penny being re-signed, the Giants waived offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei due to a failed physical. Having played at Kentucky in 2018, Big George was a seventh-round draft pick who never made it to the field last season. He was placed on injured reserve on August 31 after suffering a concussion in training camp.

New York Giants: Who Will Come Back From Injured Reserve?

New York Giants sign former Dallas Cowboy, Rod Smith.

The New York Giants have been lucky to avoid long term injuries to major players this offseason, with Sterling Shepard set to make a return in week one after being injured with a fractured thumb at the start of training camp, but that doesn’t mean the team is going into the 2019 season in perfect condition. The team has some players on the injured reserve list after the 53 man roster was released, some of them more notable than others.

The team will be able to bring two players back from IR after week eight, but the rest of the players on IR will have to miss the season. Cornerback Sam Beal managed to avoid making the list despite missing the end of training camp and the preseason with an injury, and Sterling Shepard recovered soon enough from the fractured thumb to avoid having to go on injured reserve.

But the team does have five players on injured reserve – Jonathan Anderson, George Asafo-Adjei, Brittan Golden, Scott Simonsen, and Rod Smith.

Out of all of those players, the one that had the most playing time last season was Scott Simonsen, who the team utilized over Evan Engram at some points in the season when Engram struggled with injuries and had a hard time bouncing back and getting back into the swing of things later in the year.

However, it’s unknown if Engram will have the same problem with usage this year and Simonsen also has Rhet Ellison to compete with, meaning that bringing him back might not be the highest priority for the Giants when it’s time to pick two players after week 8 to return to the active roster.

Rod Smith seems to have fallen out of the backup running back competition following performances from Paul Perkins and Wayne Gallman, so it’s unknown if the Giants will want to bring back a fourth running back midseason.

While Jonathan Anderson is at the important position of inside linebacker, Anderson is also about dead last in the depth chart for the position – which means the most likely option might be the team bringing back Brittan Golden and Asafo-Adjei, both players playing positions of need at receiver and tackle respectively. The Giants could use depth in both areas and despite not being the most obvious choices, both players have survived this far in the hunt to not end up eliminated from the roster, and provide depth in key areas.

New York Giants: Rookie Tackle Latest To Suffer From Injury Bug

New York Giants, George Asafo-Adjei

There’s no questioning it, the New York Giants officially have an injury problem. One or two days with injuries can be summed up as bad luck and it’s natural for it to happen to any team as players come back from the offseason and play in pads for the first time, but the Giants have steadily had players leave practice since training camp began – whether that’s because of player fitness, because the coaching staff isn’t good at conditioning, or some other reason still remains to be seen.

The main group to get hit by this problem has been the wide receivers but they aren’t the only ones to have to deal with injury problems. Saturday saw rookie right tackle George Asafo-Adjei added to the list of injuries, after having to enter concussion protocol due to a concussion presumably picked up during Saturday’s practice.

While Asafo-Adjei was a seventh round draft pick, many fans were intrigued about the player because of the thin nature of the position for the Giants, who haven’t yet established a clear starter there despite bringing in Mike Remmers from the Vikings this offseason.

It’s thought that Asafo-Adjei could see some time in the rotation, and with the concussion in training camp being minor in nature compared to some of the injuries sustained by other players, it doesn’t look like that’s off the cards.

Asafo-Adjei also joins linebacker Mark McLaurin and cornerback Sam Beal on the list of recently injured players, with Beal leaving the field on Saturday with a groin injury and McLaurin suffering a fractured bone in his foot. The hope going forward will be that the injury trend stops… But so far, there’s been multiple ones just about every day of camp. One can only hope that as the practices continue, the injuries are more minor in their nature.

Breaking down the New York Giants rookies for training camp

New York Giants rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones during voluntary OTAs.

The New York Giants have wrapped up their summer vacation, and we know what that means — football is nearly back!

With two weeks remaining until preseason and seven until the first regular-season game, it’s officially football season. It has been one long and boring offseason without the constant Odell Beckham Jr. drama to keep us occupied. That was about the only good thing that came from his media coverage.

Nonetheless–

Here are your New York Giants 2019 rookies:

(QB) Daniel Jones — The reality for Jones is simple. He’s expected to sit quietly behind Eli Manning and soak up as much knowledge as possible about preparation and the offensive scheme before eventually taking over. He could succeed Manning as soon as this year, or it could be in 2021, nobody really knows. The preseason, however, will give us our first look into his capabilities and what he’s learned so far this offseason. Our opinions will start to take form in just a couple of weeks.

(CB) DeAndre Baker — The Giants traded back up into the top of the first round to select Baker, a player whos tenacity at the cornerback position will make him a solid sidekick to Janoris Jenkins. He will hit some rookie speedbumps, but thus far, he’s looked fantastic on non-contact coverage drills. He has the ability to be the Giants’ best corner with some experience and likely take over for Jenkins in the future.

(DL) Dexter Lawrence — One of the more interesting picks by the Giants this year, Clemson standout Dexter Lawrence is a massive presence in the middle of the defense. Not only is he expected to help the run game, but he’s also capable of being a capable pass rusher. At his size, opposing offensive lineman will have their hands full, and if he can develop a pass rush, GM Dave Gettleman will look like a genius.

(OLB/DE) Oshane Ximines — The Giants’ third-round selection is expected to sign his rookie deal upon the start of camp, and it’s going to be an important one for him. The Giants think highly of him and his surprisingly developed pass-rush moves despite coming from a small school (Old Dominion). Ximines could very well earn starting time, but he’s a player that will need a few months to adapt to the speed and strength of the NFL. He’s worth keeping an eye on this training camp period.

(CB) Julian Love — When Love was still on the board in the fourth round, Gettleman made sure to select this feisty corner. Projected as a slot option who will compete with Grant Haley, Love is an exciting draft pick that has the quality to start on an every game basis. His position battle with Haley will be one of the better ones.

(ILB) Ryan Connelly — A four-year player at Wisconsin, Connelly is an interesting prospect. While his physical traits don’t stand out, he’s incredibly quick and instinctive. His confidence shows in his ability to shoot the gap with amazing speed and accuracy. He will need to work on his tackling at the next level, but he could find a way into the defense in specific packages. Expect him to be a special teams player for the time being.

(WR) Darius Slayton — Emerging as one of just two players to earn first-team reps during mini-camp, Slayton improved significantly over the course of the offseason. To start, he couldn’t hold onto a single ball, but it’s how you finish at the NFL level that matters. He’s quickly proving he can be an influential player for the Giants, but adapting to live-action will be the ultimate test for Darius.

(CB) Corey Ballentine — A player with elite athleticism, Ballentine has arms that dangle like ivy at the corner position. He’s fast, quick, and physical. The reality is, his physical traits stand out the most, but he’s still raw with his technique. Another solid draft pick with backup potential in 2019, I see him acting as a solid gunner on the punt unit for now.

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(OT) George Asafo-Adjei — Becoming a reliable backup tackle for the Giants should be “Big George’s” ultimate goal for now. He’s a raw prospect but earned good reps against Josh Allen while at Kentucky, a top 10 pick in the draft. With Chad Wheeler still in the mix, he will have to fight with everything he’s got to earn playing time this season.

(IDL) Chris Slayton — The Syracuse product is a good interior defender, but will have to beat out several others to earn playing time. R.J. McIntosh presents the biggest threat after missing 2018 with a thyroid issue. Slayton has been knocked for his effort at times. That’s something he will need to overcome at the NFL level.

New York Giants might have gained a steal in right tackle George Asafo-Adjei

New York Giants, George Asafo-Adjei

The New York Giants drafted a solid group of players in the 2019 NFL draft, but the late draft picks and UDFAs have really shined.

First, tight end CJ Conrad emerged as a quality athlete that slipped through the cracks and landed in the Giants’ lap. His influence so far has put Scott Simonson and Rhett Ellison’s jobs in question. George Asafo-Adjei, 7th round pick right tackle form Kentucky, though, has been another player of notice.

Coined “Big George,” the offensive lineman fits the bill perfectly in regards to general manager Dave Gettleman’s preferred “hog molly” look. At 6-5, 306-pounds, Asafo-Adjei represents a behemoth of a man on the right side of the line.

The New York Giants are approaching the RT position perfectly:

The Giants recently signed Mike Remmers to fill the spot while the late round player develops behind the scenes.

“He picked up the offense much quicker than I thought he was going to,” Giants offensive line coach Hal Hunter said last month, according to NJ.com. “When you compare our offense to their offense, we have a lot more volume to it with a lot of the things that we were doing.”

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The athleticism and power Big George contains will help him in his quest for taking the right tackle job. Remmers was signed to a one-year deal which leaves the position wide open for the taking in 2020. If he can develop to a point where he can stand his ground against players like Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden, and Oshane Ximines in practice, there’s reason to believe he could emerge as the starting option in the future.

Gaining a starting offensive lineman out of an undrafted player is certainly a steal, but there’s plenty of work to be done before we can consider him as such.

 

New York Giants: Chad Wheeler To Have Fair Shot At Keeping Spot

New York Giants, JJ Watt

With the New York Giants bringing in reinforcements in the form of veteran right tackle Mike Remmers, it might look like the offensive line battle is already decided. Right tackle has been a position of need ever since things failed to work out with former first round draft pick Ereck Flowers, who is now on the Jacksonville Jaguars, and last season it looked like Chad Wheeler would be a stopgap until a real solution can be found.

That solution could be Mike Remmers, who is only on a one year deal but still seems like the best option at this point for the Giants going froward. Remmers is more experienced, having played for the Vikings most recently and starting 64 games for multiple teams over a career that began as an undrafted free agent in 2012, and overall has a much better resume than the still very new and very raw Wheeler.

However, the starting job isn’t going to go to Remmers just by virtue of resume.

Last week when the Giants were still looking into signing Remmers, Wheeler was the one named the starter at right tackle. According to offensive line coach Hal Hunter, if someone wants to take the spot for themselves, they’ll have to dethrone Wheeler.

“If you’re the best player at that position at anytime, we owe it to the organization, the team, for you to be in that lineup. We all compete. They know, they understand they’re competing every single day. Chad, right now, is starting off as the first right tackle, and it’s up to him to hold the position. It’s up to everybody else to beat him out,” Hunter said.

‘Everybody else’ includes both Remmers and George Asafo-Adjei, the latter of which was drafted in the seventh round this year and was believed to be good competition for Wheeler before the Remmers signing shifted the balance on the offensive line a bit more.

Of course, it’s something of a long shot for Wheeler to win the job over the more experienced veteran, especially since Wheeler’s play during the 2018 season was only considered acceptable because it was better than worse alternatives. More options, however, is always a good thing – and so far, it looks like the Giants organization does consider Wheeler to be a legitimate option on the list of players competing for the right tackle position.