Tag:

Devon Kennard

The Giants defense may have been on the field for too long due to lack of offense, but they are not using it as an excuse for allowing 19 points in their loss to the Cowboys on Sunday night. 

In the first half, the defense saw 47 plays from the Cowboys as the offense couldn't get anything going. The unit, which many believe to be one of the best in the NFL this season, looked fatigued. However, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie didn't want to hear that after the game. 

"At some point you have to suck it up," Rodgers-Cromartie told The Post. "You just have to find a way to get off the field. We didn't get off the field enough."

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Dalvin Tomlinson, Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jonathan Casillas
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 (Jeff Hanisch)
(Jeff Hanisch)

Giants LB B.J. Goodson and DT Jay Bromley both showed they can make an impact on the defense this season in the preseason opener against the Steelers. 

Goodson has been aggressive and vocal since the start of camp, and that is something the Giants' coaches like to see from someone who could potentially be the starting middle linebacker this season. Leading is an area Goodson has been accustomed to.

"I'm a middle linebacker, I have no worries about taking control and being the leader of a huddle, that's what I've always done," Goodson told NorthJersey.com's Art Stapleton. "I was ready to go. It was just another chance to continue building what we're building, and I'm confident I can do the job, do what I need to do for us to be great."

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Devon Kennard, Jay Bromley
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New York Giants linebacker Devon Kennard during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants linebacker Devon Kennard during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

Giants linebacker Devon Kennard said he hopes New York's defense can maintain its high energy a year after giving up the second fewest points in the league.

"I want to see us set the tempo from ground zero, and that's me personally," Kennard said. "If safeties and linebackers are communicating well, and we are getting the things that we need to to the D-line, from a linebacker perspective, I think it starts there. If we are doing that and being physical, I like where we are headed."

The Giants bring back a strong defensive core with a defensive line that features Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon; linebackers Kennard and Jonathan Casillas; and a secondary of Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. By retaining so many defenders, Kennard said the team's familiarity with the system and each other can only help moving forward.

"We already know so much about the defense, so now we can get into the little details and nuances that maybe a year or two ago we weren't able to hit the same way because there were so many guys trying to learn the defense," said Kennard, who recorded 61 combined tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while playing all 16 games last season.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Landon Collins, Olivier Vernon
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 (Bill Kostroun/AP)
(Bill Kostroun/AP)

The Giants are not planning to agree to extensions with Odell Beckham, Jr. and a host of other players at the moment, multiple sources told Jordan Raanan of ESPN.

"Listen, he deserves to get paid. We're going to pay him," Giants owner John Mara said about Beckham at Giants training camp on Friday. "It's just a question of when we do the contract."

Asked when the time might be right, Mara joked "When we determine that his agent is being reasonable." Asked if he could see Beckham having a new deal by the start of next year's training camp, Mara said "I think that's certainly a possibility."

Tags: Devon Kennard, Jonathan Casillas, Justin Pugh, Odell Beckham Jr., Weston Richburg
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Sep 1, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;New York Giants defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (58) chasing down New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the first half at MetLife Stadium.  (William Hauser (USA Today))
Sep 1, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;New York Giants defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (58) chasing down New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the first half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser (USA Today))

If Owa Odighizuwa really did need time "to get away from the game," two weeks was apparently enough. 

The Giants defensive end, who appeared to be hinting about retirement back on April 3, was among the players in attendance for the first day of the Giants offseason workout program on Tuesday morning. And while that doesn't clear up the mystery of what the 25-year-old was tweeting about, it at least means that he's intent on continuing his NFL career. 

Tags: Devon Kennard, Eli Manning, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., Owa Odighizuwa, Shane Vereen, Sterling Shepard
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Nov 20, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo coaches against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 20, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo coaches against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Click here to read Part I of the Giants Notebook.

One of the biggest criticisms of the Ben McAdoo offense last year - besides his play-calling - was the fact that they used "11 personnel" (three receivers, one tight end, one running back) on more than 90 percent of their plays. It led to cries that the Giants were too predictable and not nearly imaginative enough.

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Devon Kennard, J.T. Thomas, Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, Nikita Whitlock, Orleans Darkwa, Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants linebacker Keenan Robinson (Adam Wesley/Green Bay Press Gazette via USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants linebacker Keenan Robinson (Adam Wesley/Green Bay Press Gazette via USA TODAY Sports)

The Giants announced their deal with LB Keenan Robinson, which is for one year and is worth up to $4 million, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed.

Robinson recorded 54 total tackles (83 combined) in his first season with the Giants in 2016.

New York had been trying to re-sign him prior to free agency beginning, though Robinson reportedly visited with the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills. 

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Devon Kennard, Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson
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 (Ron Schwane/AP)
(Ron Schwane/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Bobby Hart went from a seventh-round pick in the 2015 draft to a mainstay in the Giants' starting lineup the next year. And he gets to cash a big check for that.

The 22-year-old Hart, who started 13 games at right tackle last season for the Giants, led his team in performance-based compensation from the NFL, getting a bonus of $361,072 for his efforts. The bonus was so big, in fact, that it ranked 19th among all performance-based pay recipients in the NFL for 2016.

The annual bonus distribution is a way for the NFL and NFL Players Association to make sure that lower-salaried players are compensated for excellent performances, without counting against a team's salary cap. Hart, in the second year of his rookie deal, earned a $525,000 salary in 2016, so his bonus was worth about 69 percent of that...

Tags: Bobby Hart, Devon Kennard, Will Tye, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants addressing needs in FA? 00:02:34
The DNL panel discusses what the Giants biggest remaining needs are in free agency as the NFL New Year officially begins.

The Giants have agreed to terms on a four-year deal worth $18 million with TE/FB Rhett Ellisonreports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

$8 million of the deal will be fully guaranteed.

Ellison, 28, had nine catches for 57 yards and one touchdown last season for the Minnesota Vikings.

Tags: Devon Kennard, Ereck Flowers, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Julio Cortez/AP)
(Julio Cortez/AP)

John Fennelly, SNY.TV

As last season drew to an end, the Giants were facing another football-less January. They finished 6-10 for the second straight time and missed the playoffs for the fourth consectutive season.

The defense, decimated by injuries, was the league's worst and not befitting of wearing the Giants' vaunted blue.
Ownership had head coach Tom Coughlin fall on his sword rather than fire him and decided to give GM Jerry Reese one final chance to get his roster right -- starting with the defense.

Reese responded by getting aggressive in free agency, re-signing DE Jason Pierre-Paul and then the top DT, DE and CB available in Damon HarrisonOlivier Vernon, and Janoris Jenkins respectively. He also inked veteran LBs Keenan Robinson and Kelvin Sheppard. In the draft, he landed Ohio State CB Eli Apple in the first round and took safety Damian Thompson of Boise State in Round Three.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Jonathan Casillas, Justin Pugh, Keenan Robinson, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Sterling Shepard, Weston Richburg
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Loud Mouths: Boom or Bust 00:02:29
Sal Licata and Jon Hein play Boom or Bust, wondering if Janoris Jenkins is becoming the next Darrelle Revis.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

There is no way anyone can underestimate the Giants anymore.

Maybe they did still have a lot to prove when they rode six straight wins against (mostly) inferior opponents to an 8-3 record. But on Sunday night they beat a legitimately good team in the now-11-2 Dallas Cowboys. No team had been hotter. No team is more well-constructed. And the Giants have now beaten them twice.

What does that mean? It means that even if you think the Giants are still flawed (which they are), they have to be considered one of the best teams in their conference (which they are). It also means that, if they play up to their capabilities they can probably beat anyone in the NFL. The Giants were essentially no-shows on offense on Sunday night except for one glorious moment of Odell Beckham being Odell Beckham, and they were still good enough to take the Cowboys down.

Tags: Brett Jones, Devon Kennard, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jonathan Casillas, Justin Pugh, Kerry Wynn, Landon Collins, Marshall Newhouse, Odell Beckham Jr., Owa Odighizuwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) fumbles the ball during the second half of an NFL football game as New York Giants' Janoris Jenkins (20) and Keenan Robinson (57) defend Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) fumbles the ball during the second half of an NFL football game as New York Giants' Janoris Jenkins (20) and Keenan Robinson (57) defend Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jason Pierre-Paul was going to find a way to impact this game, even if he couldn't get on the field to do it. So he did it with a video he made for his team to watch on Saturday night, and again with a fiery speech in their huddle after pre-game warmups.

The message was simplly that, "Everybody needs to step up," said linebacker Devon Kennard, "and if we really wanted it we could go get this win."

Tags: Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Manning, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jonathan Casillas, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. runs the ball against Dallas Cowboys corner back Brandon Carr during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. runs the ball against Dallas Cowboys corner back Brandon Carr during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

With a no-huddle offense and no-fooling-around defense, the New York Giants snapped the Cowboys' 11-game winning streak with a 10-7 victory Sunday night, preventing Dallas from clinching the NFC East.

Dallas (11-2) hadn't lost since the season opener against the Giants (9-4), who solidified their position in the NFC playoff chase as the top-wild card team. New York still hopes to catch Dallas in the division, and it can thank a stingy, aggressive defense for still having that opportunity.

Missing star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants couldn't stop rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott from rushing for 107 yards. But New York's pressure stymied the other Cowboys rookie standout, quarterback Dak Prescott, blanked receiver Dez Bryant until 2:13 remained - he fumbled away the ball on that play - and held Dallas to one conversion in 15 third-down attempts.

Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Manning, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Keenan Robinson, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., Paul Perkins, Sterling Shepard
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There's a difference between the pretenders and the contenders in the NFL. The pretenders tease their fans with weekly dalliances with victory while the contenders find ways to close out opponents and seal those victories. As much as the 2015 Giants were pretenders, the 2016 Giants have taken on the identity of contenders.

The transformation began at the end of last season, a year in which the Giants saw six fourth quarter leads evaporate en route to a 6-10 finish. The defense was decimated by injuries and could not log in 60 full minutes of work and the letdowns were of historic proportions. The mandate from ownership was to fix the defense.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, Landon Collins, Olivier Vernon, Sterling Shepard, John Fennelly
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Giants allowed 420.3 yards and 27.6 points per game in 2015. This past offseason, they spent wildly to upgrade at all positions and thus far, the strategy is working.This season, they are holding teams to 361 yards and 20 points per game. They are playing better defense in the fourth quarter, allowing six points opposed to a league-high 8.8 in 2015.Their second-half defensive numbers are also much improved, with them allowing just 8.9 point. Last season, they averaged 14.1 points allowed in the second half.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, Landon Collins, Olivier Vernon, Owa Odighizuwa, Trevin Wade, John Fennelly
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - In the aftermath of the Giants' 27-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the star of the show was asked an awkward question about the difference between being 2-4 -- as the Giants would have been if they lost -- and 3-3. It wasn't a brilliant question, and Odell Beckham, Jr. said he wasn't sure how to answer."I don't know," he said. "You want to win."That's true. And now that they finally have for the first time since Week 2, the Giants want to do it again. Because, as Beckham said later, that's really the only way to answer all the questions about the Giants, to know if this win was an anomaly or the start of a trend."I think we're on the way," he said. "It's only one game. We have to go out next week and do the same thing. That's the only way you're going to be able to tell if you're hitting your stride."So maybe they'll know more on Sunday morning when they face the Los Angeles Rams in London. But there were some positive signs from their win over the Ravens that show maybe they are hitting their stride. It wasn't all good. It wasn't all pretty. But it's all covered in my 10 takeaways from the Giants' win:

Tags: Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Dwayne Harris, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Jonathan Casillas, Landon Collins, Mark Herzlich, Owa Odighizuwa, Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz, Will Beatty, Ralph Vacchiano
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Vacc's 3 Keys: Ravens-Giants 00:03:21
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano identifies 3 keys for the Giants for their matchup against the Ravens on Sunday.

THE GAME: The Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at the Giants (2-3) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday, Oct. 16, 1 p.m. ET.THE WEATHER: It's supposed to be so nice that I'm almost sad that the press box is indoors. The temperature is supposed to hover around 70 with plenty of sun, no rain and only the usual light Meadowlands winds.WHAT IT MEANS: If you step back and look at the big picture, the back-to-back losses in Minnesota and Green Bay aren't a huge deal. Those are tough places to win under any circumstances. They just look worse in consecutive weeks, coming off a terrible loss to the Redskins. This, though, is a perfect spot for the Giants to get back on track, at home against a mediocre team with plenty of its own issues. We're still a long ways from must-win territory, but these are the types of games teams are supposed to win if they really want to be considered contenders.PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Victor Cruz. The zero catches from Sunday night is alarming enough, but I can't really get over the two passes thrown his direction. The Giants did a decent job of trying to get the ball to Odell Beckham Jr. (12 targets) and Sterling Shepard (seven), but the beauty of their passing attack is that they're supposed to be three-deep at receiver. No, Cruz wasn't open a ton, but he was open more than twice and they've got to get more creative about finding ways to get the ball in his hands. He's taking most of his snaps on the outside now. No, he's not the same player he was pre-injury, but he still looks pretty good and he might be able to do some damage out of the slot. If the Giants can get him going it's only going to make things easier on Shepard and on Beckham, who has been absolutely swarmed by defenses the last few weeks. So they should try to get the ball to Cruz early. And I think they will.

Tags: Darian Thompson, Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Dwayne Harris, Eli Apple, Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul, Marshall Newhouse, Nat Berhe, Odell Beckham Jr., Orleans Darkwa, Rashad Jennings, Sterling Shepard, Trevin Wade, Victor Cruz, Ralph Vacchiano
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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) on the sideline during the game against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium. (Mitch Stringer)
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) on the sideline during the game against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium. (Mitch Stringer)

The Giants (2-3) host the Baltimore Ravens (3-2) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium with both teams seeking to end losing streaks. The issues on both sides are, of course, injuries. With the Giants, their secondary is still undermanned while the Ravens' offensive line and wide receiver corps may not be whole for this game.

Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Devon Kennard, Eli Apple, Jason Pierre-Paul, John Fennelly
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The Giants provided injury updates on Friday...

  • S Nat Berhe, OT Marshall Newhouse, and S Darian Thompson will all be out on Sunday against the Ravens.
  • CB Eli Apple, WR Dwayne Harris, LB Devon Kennard, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are listed as questionable.
  • TE Larry Donnell is not on the injury list and is expected to play.
Tags: Darian Thompson, Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Dwayne Harris, Eli Apple, Jason Pierre-Paul, Larry Donnell, Marshall Newhouse, Nat Berhe

 (Jim Brown)
(Jim Brown)

Giants RB Rashad Jennings expects to play on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens after missing the last three games due to a thumb injury."We're rocking this week," Jennings told reporters after practicing on Thursday.Prior to getting hurt, Jennings picked up 102 yards on 31 carries, to go with three receptions for 16 yards.CB Eli Apple, S Nat Berhe, WR Dwayne Harris, OT Marshall Newhouse, and S Darian Thompson did not practice on Thursday. Thompson did receive some good news when he was told he no longer had to wear the protective boot on his hurt foot. The rookie safety is still considered week-to-week.

Tags: Darian Thompson, Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Dwayne Harris, Eli Apple, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jerell Adams, Larry Donnell, Marshall Newhouse, Nat Berhe, Olivier Vernon, Rashad Jennings
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New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) talks with referee John Hussey (35) during pre game warmups against the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) talks with referee John Hussey (35) during pre game warmups against the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul was held out early at practice on Wednesday afternoon with a groin injury. 

Also not on the practice field were LB Devon Kennard (concussion), S Nat Berhe (concussion) S Darian Thompson (foot) and RT Marshall Newhouse (calf). 

RB Rashaad Jennings, who missed last week's game against the Packers with a thumb injury, has a better chance to play this week, head coach Ben McAdoo told reporters after practice. 

Tags: Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Jason Pierre-Paul, Marshall Newhouse, Nat Berhe, Olivier Vernon
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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)

The 53-man roster is set (for now), and the New York Giants believe they will be back on the road to success after missing the postseason the past four years. Their roster has been upgraded in many key areas, with the exception of the offensive line and a blocking tight end.

But who will be the stars and the face of this club in 2016? It's clear QB Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham Jr. will be among the top players in the league at their positions, but who else will garner Pro Bowl interest this year?

On offense, no one can possibly expect any of the linemen to get any type of recognition. Center Weston Richburg is considered one of the best players at his position, but the negative advance reviews on the Giants' offensive line is going to hurt his chances. The rest of the group has either struggled or was injured this summer, so the offense would have to play lights out for them to get any consideration.

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Brad Wing, Damon Harrison, Darian Thompson, Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Eli Manning, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Josh Brown, Kerry Wynn, Landon Collins, Larry Donnell, Nat Berhe, Odell Beckham Jr., Orleans Darkwa, Owa Odighizuwa, Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Sterling Shepard, Trevin Wade, Victor Cruz, Weston Richburg, Will Tye, John Fennelly
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New York Giants outside linebacker Devon Kennard (59) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser)
New York Giants outside linebacker Devon Kennard (59) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser)

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

Giants OLB Devon Kennard has had high hopes pinned on him ever since the club selected him in the fifth round out of USC in the 2014 NFL Draft. His first two seasons were cut short by injuries and he is determined to not only play an entire season, but to become the leader of the Giants' newly revamped defense.

Kennard's healthy presence has pushed him to the rear of the Giants' defensive storylines this summer, with a tight middle linebacker competition and the emergence of WLB Jonathan Casillas as a force on the defense.

Tags: Devon Kennard, John Fennelly
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New York Giants quarterback Ryan Nassib throws a pass while New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks on during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants quarterback Ryan Nassib throws a pass while New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks on during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports Images)

Training camp is just days away and readers and fans are beginning to get back into football mode. Over the past few weeks, we have gotten several questions and inquiries regarding the upcoming camp and preseason.

There's a lot of talk the Giants will part ways with several veterans this summer. Who right now is on the roster bubble?

It may be too early to tell, but from where I sit, there won't be many surprises. On offense, the main roster battles will be at running back and possibly at right tackle. With the addition of rookie Paul Perkins and free agent Bobby Rainey, Andre Williams will have to have a stellar camp to remain with the team.

Marshall Newhouse is the current starter at right tackle. His main competition will be second-year player Bobby Hart now that free agent Eugene Monroe decided to retire. The Giants say they are comfortable with Newhouse, but are not deep along the offensive line in general, so if anything, they could be adding, not subtracting, in this unit.

Tags: Bobby Hart, Damon Harrison, Devon Kennard, Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Larry Donnell, Marshall Newhouse, Ryan Nassib, Will Tye, John Fennelly
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Middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch (Tim Fuller/USA Today Sports Images)
Middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch (Tim Fuller/USA Today Sports Images)

The Giants made several moves this past offseason in an effort to upgrade their long-neglected linebacker corps, drafting Clemson's B.J. Goodson in the fourth round, and signing free agents Keenan Robinson and Kelvin Sheppard. They also opted to bring back Jasper Brinkley, who played admirably at MLB the second half of the season.

In addition to the mainstays Devon Kennard, Jonathan Casillas, Mark Herzlich and J.T. Thomas, the Giants hope find a formidable three out of this bunch. Not many experts believe they will but the team will forge ahead anyway.

Does that mean they won't pursue any new options should they arise? Probably not, which is why the question is being posed of whether recently-released Stephen Tulloch of Detroit is on their radar.

Tags: Devon Kennard, J.T. Thomas, Jasper Brinkley, Jonathan Casillas, Mark Herzlich, John Fennelly
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New York Giants outside linebacker Devon Kennard (59) rushes during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement)
New York Giants outside linebacker Devon Kennard (59) rushes during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement)

Giants OLB Devon Kennard has had high hopes pinned on him ever since the club selected him in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of USC. His first two seasons were cut short by injuries and he is determined to play an entire season this fall.

"I don't think it is any bigger than any other year," Kennard told reporters last week at the team's minicamp. "I look at every year the same. It is a great opportunity for me and I like the role that they are asking me to play and what they are asking me to do. I am excited for what this year is going to entail."

What they are asking him to do is stay on the field, make plays and develop into the leader they thought they were drafting two years ago. The Giants have brought in several veterans and rookies to challenge Kennard this summer at trining camp, but if he can stay healthy, he will be a starter at linebacker on the outside.

Tags: Devon Kennard
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New York Giants outside linebacker Devon Kennard (59) rushes during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement)
New York Giants outside linebacker Devon Kennard (59) rushes during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement)

The Giants have been known throughout their history for having superstar linebackers manning their defense but over the past decade, that identity has eroded under the stewardship of GM Jerry Reese.

The Giants have not drafted a linebacker in the first round since they took Carl Banks with the third overall selection in the 1984 NFL Draft. Since Reese took over the Giants' draft in 2007, the Giants have used only a handful of picks on linebackers, most of them in the middle to late rounds.

Reese has only selected two linebackers over the last five drafts. He took Clemson's B.J. Goodson in the fourth round in April and USC's Devon Kennard in the fifth round back in 2014.

Tags: Devon Kennard, J.T. Thomas, Jasper Brinkley, Jonathan Casillas, Mark Herzlich
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New Giants general manger Jerry Reese, cornerback Eli Apple, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, safety Darian Thompson, head coach Ben MaCadoo, linebacker B.J. Goodson, running back Paul Perkins and tight end Jerrell Adams during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)
New Giants general manger Jerry Reese, cornerback Eli Apple, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, safety Darian Thompson, head coach Ben MaCadoo, linebacker B.J. Goodson, running back Paul Perkins and tight end Jerrell Adams during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)

After rookie minicamp is in the books, the Giants are preparing to move into phase three of their offseason program and will begin organized team activities on May 27.

It will be the first time the rookies and the veterans will take the field as a team. The 10 OTA offseason workouts will be held on May 27-29, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-9 and June 11-12. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Mandatory Minicamp will be held from June 16-18. Training camp begins the last week of July.

Tags: Bobby Hart, Damon Harrison, Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Geremy Davis, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jasper Brinkley, John Jerry, Johnathan Hankins, Justin Pugh, Landon Collins, Larry Donnell, Marshall Newhouse, Nat Berhe, Nikita Whitlock, Odell Beckham Jr., Owa Odighizuwa, Rashad Jennings, Victor Cruz, Weston Richburg, Will Tye, John Fennelly
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New York Giants outside linebacker Devon Kennard rushes as Tampa Bay Buccaneers lineman Joe Hawley and Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Evan Smith blocks during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants outside linebacker Devon Kennard rushes as Tampa Bay Buccaneers lineman Joe Hawley and Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Evan Smith blocks during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images)

The Giants have been drafting their future leaders over the past few seasons in players such as Devon KennardNat BerheJustin PughWeston Richburg and Odell Beckham Jr. That is the young core the Giants are counting on to be the glue between the veterans and the new players they picked up in free agency, as well as the rookies they will draft next month.

Kennard, an outside linebacker with a load of talent, has not been able to stay on the field in his first two seasons. In order for him to lead, he's got to stay healthy. When he's out there, the Giants' defense has some semblance of order. But until his health is evident, the Giants might lean on free agent signee Keenan Robinson, who will play MLB and likely don the headset on defense.

Berhe has a similar issue. He sat behind Antrel Rolle at safety two years ago and missed all of last season with a calf injury. As Deion Sanders once said, "You can't help the club from the tub." No truer words were spoken when it comes to Kennard and Berhe. They were both considered late-round steals when drafted, and the Giants still believe that to be the case. GM Jerry Reese described both players as leader-types, and he's going to let this play out.

Tags: Devon Kennard, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jay Bromley, Johnathan Hankins, Justin Pugh, Nat Berhe, Odell Beckham Jr., Weston Richburg, John Fennelly
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 New York Giants free safety Landon Collins was one of the few defensive regulars who was able to stay on the field for all 16 games last season. (Bill Streicher)
New York Giants free safety Landon Collins was one of the few defensive regulars who was able to stay on the field for all 16 games last season. (Bill Streicher)

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

The New York Giants finished the 2015 season with the worst defense in the league statistically and the goal this spring is to plug the many leaks that caused them to drop so many games in the fourth quarter.

It may sound funny, but they really addressed their defensive problems last year at this time. The problem is, the plan went awry when many of the players they brought in suffered season-altering or season-ending injuries.

Tags: Devon Kennard, J.T. Thomas, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jasper Brinkley, Jon Beason, Jonathan Casillas, Landon Collins, John Fennelly
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 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

This year's New York Giants defense can be called the "anti-Broncos" for their lack of pressure on the quarterback and their inability to cover in space. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had a decent year, but the other 11 positions should all be considered for upgrades the next few months.

Not getting into specific names, the Giants need a minimum of two quality pass-rushers, two more cover corners and a safety this offseason.

They have to shed themsleves of the players who can't stay healthy, with he exception of LB Devon Kennard. That means cutting ties with players they may still have an affinity for such as former first round picks Jason Pierre-Paul and Prince Amukamara, unless they get them a bargain-basement price.

Tags: Devon Kennard, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Pierre-Paul, Prince Amukamara, John Fennelly
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New York Giants outside linebacker Devon Kennard rushes as Tampa Bay Buccaneers lineman Joe Hawley and Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Evan Smith block during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USATSI)
New York Giants outside linebacker Devon Kennard rushes as Tampa Bay Buccaneers lineman Joe Hawley and Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Evan Smith block during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USATSI)

The Giants placed linebacker Devon Kennard on injured reserve on Monday, freeing up a roster spot to allow wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to return from his one-game suspension.

Kennard, 24, recorded 37 total tackles, assisted on 21 tackles and recorded one interception in his second year in the league.

He missed each of the Giants' past four games with foot and hamstring injuries and became the 18th Giant placed on IR this season.

Tags: Devon Kennard, Odell Beckham Jr.

New York Giants cornerback Jayron Hosley defends against New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USATSI)
New York Giants cornerback Jayron Hosley defends against New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USATSI)

Giants cornerback Jayron Hosley and linebacker Devon Kennard are inactive for Sunday's game against the Vikings.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is inactive as he serves his one-game suspension from last week's actions against Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, and defensive tackle Markus Kuhn is also inactive.

Hakeem Nicks will start in place of Beckham, Mark Herzlich for Kennard and Jay Bromley for Kuhn.

Tags: Devon Kennard, Jay Bromley, Jayron Hosley, Mark Herzlich, Markus Kuhn
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New York Giants wide receiver Dwayne Harris (17) breaks away from New England Patriots middle linebacker Jonathan Freeny (55) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Jim O'Connor)
New York Giants wide receiver Dwayne Harris (17) breaks away from New England Patriots middle linebacker Jonathan Freeny (55) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Jim O'Connor)

The New York Giants released the following pre-practice injury report on Wednesday:

Will not practice

  • WR - Dwayne Harris (Shoulder)
  • LB - Devon Kennard (Foot)
  • DT - Markus Kuhn (Knee)
  • S - Cooper Taylor (concussion)

Limited practice

Tags: Cooper Taylor, Devon Kennard, Dwayne Harris, George Selvie, Markus Kuhn, Minnesota Vikings, Orleans Darkwa
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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

The Giants provided injury updates after practice on Thursday...

WR Dwayne Harris, LB Devon Kennard, DT Marcus Kuhn, and DE George Selvie did not practice.

OL Ereck Flowers and LB J.T. Thomas were both limited during practice.

Tags: Devon Kennard, Dwayne Harris, Ereck Flowers, George Selvie, J.T. Thomas, Markus Kuhn

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin takes to New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (76) during pre game at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser)
New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin takes to New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (76) during pre game at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser)

The following players will appear on the Giants Injury Report later today: 

  • Ereck Flowers - Ankle
  • Devon Kennard - Hamstring/Foot
  • Markus Kuhn - Knee
  • Brandon Meriweather - Knee
  • George Selvie - Concussion

Their status will be updated after practice.

Tags: Brandon Meriweather, Devon Kennard, Ereck Flowers, George Selvie, Markus Kuhn

New York Giants strong safety Brandon Meriweather during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Matt Bush/USATSI)
New York Giants strong safety Brandon Meriweather during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Matt Bush/USATSI)

Giants safety Brandon Meriweather and linebacker Devon Kennard are inactive for Monday's game against the Dolphins.

Left tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) and defensive end Robert Ayers (neck) are both active for the Giants.

Craig Dahl and Mark Herzlich will start for Meriweather and Kennard, respectively.

Joining Meriweather and Kennard on the list of inactives include wide receiver Geremy Davis, defensive back Tramain Jacobs, offensive linemen Adam Gettis and Emmett Cleary, and defensive end Stansly Maponga.

Tags: Brandon Meriweather, Craig Dahl, Devon Kennard, Ereck Flowers, Mark Herzlich, Robert Ayers

Tom Coughlin (AP)
Tom Coughlin (AP)

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin spoke with the media on Thursday morning. Here are five things we learned...

1.) LB Devon Kennard and OT Ereck Flowers will not practice on Thursday.

2.) TE Larry Donnell, who was placed on IR, will likely be able to avoid surgery. 

Tags: Devon Kennard, Ereck Flowers
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New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin takes to New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (76) during pre game at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser)
New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin takes to New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (76) during pre game at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser)

The following players will appear on the Giants Injury Report later today: 

  • Ereck Flowers - Ankle
  • Devon Kennard - Hamstring/Foot
  • Brandon Meriweather - Knee
  • Marshall Newhouse - Back

Notably absent from the injury report is Eli Manning, who suffered an ankle injury against the Jets, which is good news for the Giants.

Flowers and Kennard are not expected to practice on Thursday.

Tags: Brandon Meriweather, Devon Kennard, Ereck Flowers, Marshall Newhouse

New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell (84) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field. (Geoff Burke)
New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell (84) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field. (Geoff Burke)

TE Larry Donnell, LB Devon Kennard, S Brandon Meriweather, OT Marshall Newhouse, and FB Nikita Whitlock all missed practice on Thursday.

OL Weston Richburg was limited during practice.

Tags: Brandon Meriweather, Devon Kennard, Larry Donnell, Marshall Newhouse, Nikita Whitlock, Weston Richburg

 (AP)
(AP)

The following players will appear on the Giants Injury Report later today: 

  • Robert Ayers - Toe
  • Larry Donnell - Neck
  • Devon Kennard - Hamstring/Foot
  • Brandon Meriweather - Knee
  • Marshall Newhouse - Back
  • Jason Pierre-Paul - Hand
  • Justin Pugh - Concussion
  • Weston Richburg - Ankle

Their status will be updated after practice.

Tags: Brandon Meriweather, Devon Kennard, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Pugh, Larry Donnell, Marshall Newhouse, Robert Ayers, Weston Richburg

New York Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas (54) gestures to the crowd (William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas (54) gestures to the crowd (William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports)

Throughout the years, the Giants' defense has been identified by their linebackers, the stalwarts who narrow and shorten the field for opposing offenses.

Lately, they have been short on manpower in the LB corps and the Giants' defense has been one predicated on takeaways rather than shutting teams down with pressure. They have allowed 420.9 yards per game theough the first ten weeks of this NFL season, just slightly less that the league's worst defense, the porous New Orleans Saints.

The season began with high hopes for LB coach Jim Herrmann's unit. Jon Beason was healthy again and would man the MIKE position. Devon Kennard, after a strong showing in his rookie season, would be the SAM and the Jaguars' J.T. Thomas was signed to play the WILL.

Tags: Devon Kennard, Jasper Brinkley, Uani' Unga, John Fennelly
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Since the first time I saw rookie LB Devon Kennard in a Giant uniform back in the spring, there was no question the Giants had a mid-round find on their hands. He handled his assignments with little issue and composed himself like a seasoned pro.

The Giants, coming into the season, were finally sufficient numbers-wise at LB. MLB Jon Beason was coming back after a strong 2013. Jacquian Williams was healthy and ready to break out. Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger were resigned with the hope they would continue to improve.

Then the Ravens cut Jameel McClain, who had learned how to play LB in the NFL at the hip of the incomparable Ray Lewis. The Giants acted swiftly and signed him.

Tags: 2014 New York Giants, Devon Kennard
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