When the Giants announced the signings of offensive lineman John Jerry and defensive back Chykie Brown on Monday, the news didn’t exactly set the Twitter world on fire. Not only were both Jerry and Brown members of the Giants last season, but many fans were too busy tweeting about their NCAA Tournament upset picks to notice.
That doesn’t mean that the role players can’t have an impact on the 2015 NFL season, but right now the size of that impact is uncertain.
Jerry started all 16 games for New York at right guard last season, but that wasn’t by design. The Giants were hoping to sport an improved offensive line when they spent the offseason picking Weston Richburg in the second round of the draft and spending big free agent dollars on Geoff Schwartz. While Richburg hasn’t established himself as a long-term starter just yet, Schwartz missed all but one game due to injury.
That meant lots of playing time for Jerry, who didn’t create enough push to give New York’s running game the effectiveness that head coach Tom Coughlin desires. In 2015, the Giants will hope that Jerry serves as depth and isn’t forced to start too many games. Still, I suppose the team could do worse at backup guard.
Brown is another player whom the Giants wished they had seen less of in 2014. The four-year veteran was conveniently released by the Ravens just one day after starting cornerback Prince Amukamara suffered a season-ending biceps injury.
With New York already reeling from injuries to Walter Thurmond and Trumaine McBride, Brown ended up appearing in eight games (four starts) and finished with 32 tackles and a pair of passes defended. That kind of production doesn’t make fans want to sing ballads dedicated to Brown’s name, but it was good enough for the Giants to offer him another contract in case the team suffers another rash of injuries in 2015.
Jerry and Brown aren’t making headlines now, and they may not be heard of again until training camp kicks off in July, but both guys have proven to be sturdy replacements who are worthy of NFL contracts. We’ll probably be reminded of their existence at some point down the road.
Or maybe the Giants will have their intended starters work out for a change. That would be a pleasant surprise after injuries and inconsistency doomed the team to a 6-10 mark in 2014.