Paul Schwartz, New York Post: The NFL is seriously considering expanding the regular season to 18 games, a plan that Giants players overwhelmingly despise. The main gripe from the players is that a longer regular season will increase injuries. Even if the preseason is reduced from four games to two, players argue that with two preseason games, coaches will need to see more of their starting players, increasing the wear-and-tear on the bodies of athletes already stretched to the limit.
It seems like the switch to an 18-game regular season is inevitable, though the NFL Players Association will certainly have its say. You have to remember that injuries can happen at any time - just ask Domenik Hixon - and this is a move that fans would support. After all, it's more football for them. Everyone seems to be in favor of the expanded regular-season schedule. Everyone except for the players that is.
Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN New York: New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle believes the turf at the New Meadowlands Stadium is the reason why wide receiver and returner Domenik Hixon is out for the year. Rolle said he was watching when Hixon crumpled to the new FieldTurf untouched on a punt return and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Tuesday. "I was right there when it happened and I saw it right away," Rolle told ESPNNewYork.com on Thursday after the Giants' final practice of veterans' minicamp. "And I was like, 'Damn, it don't look good.' He didn't make a cut or anything. It just got caught in the turf."
All I can say about this one is that whatever the cause of the injury was, it's a devastating blow to the Giants. Let the competition to replace Hixon begin (see below).
Ralph Vacchiano, Daily News: This isn't the way Aaron Ross wanted to get it, but it's definitely the opportunity he's been seeking for several years. He's been itching to take his shot at being an NFL punt returner. Now, with Domenik Hixon lost for the season, he's going to get his chance. "He's been bugging us to let him do it," said Giants special teams coordinator Tom Quinn. "This might be his opportunity." Said Ross: "I hope it's for real," and it certainly appears that it is. Two days after the devastating loss of Hixon - the Giants' best return man who tore his ACL at the new stadium Tuesday afternoon - the 27-year-old Ross appears to be the leading candidate to fill at least one of his shoes.
Hixon returned punts and kicks, was a reliable wide receiver, and played both ways on special teams. There are a lot of shoes to fill. This is going to be a wide-open competition with a handful of players in the mix.
Mike Garafolo, Star-Ledger: For several years, [Rich] Seubert has been involved in more fights at Giants practices than any other player. And for several years -- three to be exact -- he has been the team’s starting left guard since battling back from a ghastly broken leg in 2003. This year, Seubert, 31, is trying to cling to that starting job with a pair of young players lurking. Rookie fifth-round pick Mitch Petrus looms as the interior lineman of the future, and last year’s second-round pick, William Beatty, impressed the coaches in the spring and is making a push for David Diehl’s left-tackle spot, which would slide Diehl into Seubert’s spot at guard. Not surprisingly, as Gilbride noted, Seubert “is not surrendering that position without a fight” -- literally and figuratively.
I've said it all along, competition is a good thing, and here's another battle to pay attention to in training camp. We've talked extensively about the defense, running backs, and now special teams, but don't forget about the importance of the offensive line. It's good to see guys on this roster not willing to surrender their starting roles.