Dave Klein was the Giants' beat
writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books
and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls.
Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: GIANTS SHUFFLE AND RE-SHUFFLE THE ROSTER,
SURPRISES AS THEY PREPARE FOR WEEK 1
Now that the Giants have
turned in a so-called final 53-man roster, then tweaked it afterward in an effort
to build a Week 1 depth chart, we have to look at the surprise picks, the unclear
motives and the personnel strategies employed by general manager Dave Gettleman,
head coach Pat Shurmur and his staff.
though, a moment captured in time that should be known by all.
There was Alex Tanney, young but still six years removed from his college days,
sitting at the locker after the Giants' final preseason game, talking about how
he planned to spend the weekend of final cuts. He described the routine that he
and his wife, still in Tennessee, have built over the last few seasons: dinner,
maybe a movie, just hang out and hope that he had collected enough tape during
the summer to parlay that into signing with another team, resigned to the idea
that he would be released by Saturday afternoon and yield to Eli Manning, last
year's third-round pick Davis Webb and this year's fourth-round pick Kyle Lauletta.
His face showed that the foregone conclusion
carried a little disappointment while still understanding that it was a part of
the way things are, getting used to the idea since he was on the Kansas City Chiefs'
practice squad in 2012. The only regular season action he has since was in one
game with Tennessee in 2015, going 10-for-19 with a touchdown. The next season,
he spent time on the practice squad and the regular roster before landing on Injured
Reserve in 2017. Following his release early this year, the Giants signed him
as a fourth quarterback, seen by many as a camp body.
After 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, Tanney was still on the roster and rumors percolated
that the Giants were trying to trade one of their three backup quarterbacks, especially
Webb. It was a curious move and while the Giants were never going to carry four
quarterbacks once the season begins, suddenly Tanney had a chance.
On Sunday, the Giants failed to trade Webb (or Tanney or Lauletta) and Webb was
released to make room on the roster for one of six waiver claims. Again, Webb
was released and, at least for the time being, Tanney found himself on the regular
active roster with a fighting chance to be the backup to Manning while Lauletta,
the rookie, is developed.
just going to keep preparing the way I've always prepared throughout my entire
career," Tanney said, "that's like I'm going to play, and that decision
is ultimately up to the coaches."
Of course, even in the surprising position Tanney found himself, more intrigue
bubbled up on Monday, when reports surfaced that the Giants had scheduled a workout
with former Kansas City reserve Matt McGloin. Surely, if the Giants decide they
like McGloin, Tanney would be the first out and the roster rug could be pulled
out from under him just like that.
the thing with a veteran backup quarterback," Shurmur said when asked about
Tanney (or McGloin). "They can go in and function with very few reps and
I think that's an attribute that I look for in a guy that could potentially be
a backup to a guy like Eli, because they don't get that many reps during the training
The bigger question for the
Giants and Shurmur was simple: Why, after playing Webb nearly the entire preseason,
was he let go.
"I mentioned long
ago there was no depth chart behind Eli," Shurmur said. "That's where people start
to assume because he is taking the second-string reps he is the second-string
quarterback. It didn't play out that way.
with Davis, a young player who competed hard that you have the same conversation
with, that's where the human element of this comes in, but we make those decisions
and then we move forward," Shurmur said.
The Giants made a league-high six waiver claims with their No. 2-priority slot
and were awarded defensive end Mario Edwards, center Spencer Pulley, wide receiver
Kaelin Clay and defensive backs Michael Jordan, Kamrin Moore and Antonio Hamilton.
The Giants also reportedly have a scheduled workout with wide receiver Breshad
Perriman, assuming he left his workout with the Jets on Monday without a contract.
Interestingly, the Raiders, who waived Edwards, had inquired about trading for
Webb but a deal was never struck, and the Raiders traded for Buffalo's A.J. McCarron,
who was traded from Cincinnati early this season. The Giants, in effect, got Edwards,
the Raiders' second-round pick in 2015, for free.
The roster situation overall is still in flux and the changes may continue into
early this week before the Giants set their roster for the opening game against
Jacksonville on Sunday. Even then, it may not be all over as veteran free agent
contracts are not guaranteed after Week 1 is complete. If you're wondering about
players like safety Eric Reid, it would be financially prudent for teams to wait
one more week before moving on him.
Curiously, however, as Sunday afternoon's activity heated up, the Giants had made
few acquisitions to improve the offensive line. In fact, there was more subtraction
than addition as Pulley was the only new player added to the O-line so far. Of
course, there will be more additions as the week progresses.
To make room for the new waiver claims, the Giants had to release five players
after Webb. As of Sunday afternoon, they had let go of defensive back William
Gay, defensive tackle Josh Banks, wide receiver Hunter Sharp, guard John Jerry
and tight end Jerrell Adams.
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