Fewell, New Giants' Defense Make Debut In New Stadium TuesdayThe Giants' three-day mandatory mini camp begins tomorrow. If you're heading out to the New Meadowlands Stadium Tuesday for what will be an open practice, or if you simply plan to stay home and let GFB deliver you your Giants' fix, here are three important storylines heading into the week:
Where there's "Fewell" there's fire: We start here because of how abysmal the defense was a year ago. As a result, Bill Sheridan is out and Fewell is in. The early reviews are great, from players and coaches. Safeties coach David Merritt summed it up best:
"He's getting after guys in a positive, constructive way," Merritt said about Fewell. "I mean, it's a beautiful thing, it's infectious. That's what you need and that's what we need as an organization, especially on defense."
With a defense that looked so lethargic, and performed so poorly, a year ago, this is exactly what you want to hear.
"Merritt" pay: Speaking of Merritt, a lot of the focus will be on his unit with the additions of Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant joining Kenny Phillips and third-round pick Chad Brown in the revamped secondary. The struggles in the Giants' backfield reached epic proportions last year. They allowed 31 touchdown passes and opposing quarterbacks had a 95.1 rating against them. Here's New York Post beat writer Paul Schwartz:
It all went very wrong once Phillips needed left knee surgery after the second game of the season. His replacement, free-agent pickup C.C. Brown, was a disaster. Returning starter Michael Johnson regressed badly, and Packers castoff Aaron Rouse was not the answer, as the patchwork approach became a tattered mess. Brown and Rouse are gone, and the Giants are anxious to get Phillips back on the field during summer training camp. Johnson will have to battle to make the final roster, because he likely is no better than the fourth safety if Phillips makes his comeback. Chad Brown, a third-round pick from LSU, is a lock unless he gets hurt. The plan is for Rolle and Phillips to start, Grant to serve as the No. 3 safety, with Jones waiting in the wings. Phillips hasn’t been cleared for practice yet, but Merritt already can see and sense a huge difference with Rolle and Grant lining up with the first-team.
The Giants picked up Grant, who has started 144 consecutive games, after he was cut by the Seahawks because he was due $4 million this season. Rolle signed a five year, $37 million dollar contract with Big Blue because the Cardinals didn't want to pay him a $4 million dollar roster bonus in addition to his $8 million dollar salary. The Giants were willing to pay because of the need they had at the position. Money well spent, as this unit should be greatly improved.
Manning to Manning: Jim Sorgi, who spent six years as Peyton Manning's backup in Indianapolis, is now vying to be Eli's backup in New York. His competition is Rhett Bomar, but all signs seem to point to Sorgi as the favorite. Sorgi has played in 16 games, thrown six touchdowns and one interception. As Peyton's backup, he didn't get to play much, and that's what the Giants are hoping for here. Eli has started 87 consecutive games.