The preparation for the regular season begins for real today out at Quest Diagnostics Training Center for the New York Giants. They face the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas this Sunday night before a nationally-televised audience.
The 53-man roster was set on Sunday when they were awarded DT Louis Nix III, a former Notre Dame star who fell out of favor in Houston, and DB Asa Jackson, who played under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo in Baltimore, off waivers.
To accomodate those two on the roster, the Giants released CB Mike Harris and DT Kenrick Ellis. The waiving of Ellis was met with much backlash from Giant fans across social media platforms. Many felt the former Jet had outplayed several incumbent this summer, most notably Markus Kuhn and the more-expensive and aging Cullen Jenkins.
The Giants also filled six of their 10 practice squad vacancies with players they released on Saturday. The group consists of OLs Adam Gettis and Emmett Cleary; WR Julian Talley; DE Brad Bars; LB Cole Farrand; and DB C.J. Conway.
Several orders of business are still unsettled as the season opener nears. QB Eli Manning is still without a contract extension. There are two camps on this issue. One camp wants the Giants to bite the bullet and make Eli a Giant for life. The other hopes the Giants wait to see how the season unfolds and make a decision then.
It is unlikely the Giants let Manning see the light of free agency. If they can't get him under contract for 2016, they will use the franchise tag on him. In the interim, Manning remains focused on the season. He was never much for making a fuss, especially over a contract. He knows he will be paid one way or the other.
This is the week DE Jason Pierre-Paul is expected to report if he has any hopes of playing and getting paid in full this season. The Giants have no idea what to expect when he arrives; all they know is what they have been told.
Pierre-Paul may show, but will likely not sign his franchise tender when he does. He may opt to wait a few weeks and try to play right away at that time. The scenario most see playing out is the Giants examine the hand and deem him ineligible to play until doctors clear him.
It is very possible he may be done as a Giant. Keep in mind that not only does he have to prove that his right hand is usable in a pro football setting; he has to be able to defend himself on the field. All of that will take time, and without the benefit of training camp and weight training, he could find himself on the outside looking in.
Also, the Giants don't want to pay him $925,000 a week to be a running joke around the league. If he can't do the job, they will have to cut him loose.
Another hurdle is the health of WR Victor Cruz, who has a calf injury and has not participated in game since last October when he tore a patellar tendon against Philadelphia. The latest malady has kept Cruz from practicing as well. It is hard to think he will be available vs the Cowboys this week.