Inside Slant, Notes, Quotes, Personel: Giants

Pick a spot on the defense. Any spot, take your choice. Chances are excellent that the Giants have made a change.Defensive line? Tackle Junior Ioane was signed as a free agent to replace Kendrick Clancy, who signed with Arizona. And don't forget the first-round draft pick, Mathias Kiwanuka, a defensive end with All-America credentials.

Linebackers? LaVar Arrington, a three-time Pro Bowl choice, was signed and is going to start on the strong side. That involved moving Carlos Emmons to the weak side to replace Nick Greisen, who went to Jacksonville. But all those linebackers who were injured and unavailable near the end of last season -- Antonio Pierce (the starter in the middle), Chase Blackburn and Reggie Torbor, among others, are back and healthy.

At the moment, it's Arrington (strong side), Pierce (middle) and Emmons (weak side) as the starters, but when the Giants move into a 3-4, which they seem poised to do more often this year, you can add Blackburn (inside) or Torbor (inside) to the mix.

Now the secondary. How about three of the four starters being replaced? Corners Will Allen and Will Peterson have departed -- Allen to Miami, Peterson likely out of the league due to a back injury. Sub safety Shaun Williams is with Carolina now. Starting free safety Brent Alexander has retired.

In steps projected starters Sam Madison (corner) and Will Demps (free safety). Second-year corner Corey Webster is also going to start, while strong safety Gibril Wilson remains the only incumbent returning.

The Giants will do a lot more pass rushing and run containment, especially if tackles William Joseph, Ioane, Jonas Seawright and Fred Robbins can plug up the middle. Keep your eye on Seawright -- he's 6-feet-6 and 335 pounds, actually "trim" from an off-season weight and conditioning program.

The coaches are excited about him, and not just behind closed doors. That is always a hopeful sign.


--The Giants and the New York Jets, who have agreed to build and then share a new stadium (which will be ready by 2010) announced that they will also agree to sell naming rights. It is expected that this will be the most expensive stadium-naming in NFL history, since it involves two teams and is located in the New York area. One can only hope it will also bear a tribute to the late Wellington Mara, who died last October after 80 years with the team as ball boy, general manager, scout and president.

--Defensive coordinator Tim Lewis is more than just cursorily familiar with his new strong-side linebacker, LaVar Arrington. "He grew up in Pittsburgh and I was from Quakertown, so I followed his career right from high school. I can't tell you how excited I am to finally have the chance to work with him."

--CB Curtis Deloatch received $221,005 in additional income from the NFL's Performance Based Pay system, eighth highest figure in the league. SS Gibril Wilson was the only other Giant in the top 25, earning a "bonus," if you will, of $207, 549. The payouts are the result of an agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA to offer a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary.

--Former Giant strong-side linebacker Alonzo Jackson, who started the first round playoff game (the 23-0 whipping by Carolina) and was then released when the season was over, signed as a free agent with the New York Jets.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's his own man, he has his own place and he knows how to handle his own business. I didn't think it was my place to say anything. He knows how to handle himself." -- Giants' veteran WR Amani Toomer, speaking about fellow WR Plaxico Burress, who missed the team's exit meeting last season and did not participate in the off-season workout and conditioning program this spring.


Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin, who has made no attempt to hide his desire to upgrade the team's backup quarterback situation, now has a former player, Rob Johnson (who was his backup and sometimes starter in Jacksonville) on the roster.

What does this mean for veteran Tim Hasselbeck? Not much good news here, it would seem. Johnson, who has missed two seasons with Tommy John surgery, is throwing well and has 10 years of NFL experience.

Now second-year Jared Lorenzen, the hulking 6-3, 285-pound back third QB last season, has been throwing darts and impressing the coaches with his accuracy and energy. "He's just a big man and he's going to have to live with that (weight)," Coughlin says. "It's not that he's overweight. He's just big."

It could be that in a three-man race, Hasselbeck is going to be the odd man out.

The Giants announced the signing of RB Little John Flowers, 6-0 and 215, who last played in the NFL for the New York Jets and played for the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe this spring. He had 75 carries for 283 yards and two touchdowns and caught 10 passes for 112 yards and another TD. Flowers, a product of Michigan State, is named for the "Little John" character in Robin Hood.



UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): WR Lamont Brightful; CB Terrell Buckley; RB Michael Cloud; LB Kevin Lewis; LB Roman Phifer.



PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: WR Tim Carter; QB Tim Hasselbeck; OG Lewis Kelly; RB/KR Chad Morton; WR/KR Willie Ponder; TE Visanthe Shiancoe; WR David Tyree; CB Frank Walker; OT Bob Whitfield.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: LB LaVar Arrington; CB Jason Bell; S Will Demps; S Quentin Harris; DT Junior Ioane; QB Rob Johnson; CB Sam Madison; CB R.W. McQuarters; G/C Grey Ruegamer; LB Brandon Short; TE Boo Williams.

PLAYERS LOST: S Brent Alexander; DT Kenderick Allen; CB Will Allen; DT Kendrick Clancy; LB Jay Foreman; LB Barrett Green; LB Nick Greisen; CB Will Peterson; WR Jamaar Taylor; OG Jason Whittle; S Shaun Williams.

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