Big Apple Turnover

You had to figure there would be plenty of turnover on New York's roster with this being new GM Jerry Reese's first season at the helm. That was exactly the case as there were plenty of familiar faces but also a host of new ones, including all eight draft picks, on the season-opening roster Big Blue took to Dallas.

New faces

While the Giants starting lineups remained basically the same as last year, there was plenty of turnover on the reserve front. Of Big Blue's 26 offensive players, 10 were not with the club last season. Obviously the two major changes in the offensive starting lineup was the tailback/fullback tandem of Brandon Jacobs and Robert Douglas, who replace Tiki Barber and Jim Finn.

On defense, seven of the 25 players were fresh faces. While the starting front four remains unchanged, at least for now, there are two new starting linebackers and a new face in the secondary as well. Linebackers Kawika Mitchell and Mathias Kiwanuka take over for LaVar Arrington and Carlos Emmons, respectively, while James Butler wrested the starting safety spot opposite Gibril Wilson away from Will Demps, who was placed on Injured Reserve.

On special teams, Lawrence Tynes replaces Jay Feely and a pair of rookies – Jay Alford and Zak DeOssie – replaced injured snapper Ryan Kuehl, who was placed on IR. Last season, Chad Morton began the season as New York's top kickoff and punt returner. This year, those jobs appear to be going to rookie Ahmad Bradshaw and R.W. McQuarters, respectively.

Unkindest cuts

The biggest name that didn't survive the final cuts was Will Demps, who was placed on Injured Reserve with an injury that most didn't think required him being shelved all season.

"We thought the improvement of those two young kids in the secondary (rookies Michael Johnson and Craig Dahl) had warranted that they have the opportunity to stay," Tom Coughlin said. "We think both guys will be good on special teams."

Another close call came at place-kicker, where Josh Huston, who outperformed Tynes during the summer, was still sent packing.

"They were both very close," Coughlin said. "I told Josh that. I thought Josh had done some very good things in camp. I think that he is going to one day play in this league and I think that he needs to work on a lot of the different things that go along with driving the ball, for example, on kickoffs. As I said, I think it was very encouraging for him. They were very close."

Other notable players who were waived include Tim Hasselbeck, who has been one of Eli Manning's backups for the past two seasons, and DT Jonas Seawright, who played in nine games for New York last season.

Coughlin said it was a very tough call keeping Anthony Wright as the third quarterback over Hasselbeck.

"Anytime you have a guy the quality of Tim Hasselbeck, it's a difficult decision to make," he said. "He brings so much to the locker room. He's a solid, solid character young man. He's a guy you really admire for the way he goes to work. He's been a big plus in the quarterback meeting room with Eli and done a great job with that."

Veteran guard Zach Piller, who was signed to push starting LG Rich Seubert, survived final cuts but was released the following day.

Earlier in camp offseason signees DT Marcus Bell was waived and DB Michael Stone was placed on IR.

Also, the Giants traded running back Ryan Grant to Green Bay for a sixth-round pick.

Eight is enough

All eight of New York's 2007 draft choices showed enough in training camp to earn roster spots. Needless to say, the odds were certainly against that happening. CB Aaron Ross, WR Steve Smith, DT Jay Alford, LB Zak DeOssie, TE Kevin Boss and RB Ahmad Bradshaw all look to be players that will make an early impact, while OL Adam Koets and S Michael Johnson should contribute in a reserve capacity and on special teams.

"They run and they contribute on special teams," Coughlin said of his elite eight. "That's been their forte. They've also found ways to help us in other ways – long snap (DeOssie), short snap (Alford), kick returner (Bradshaw) – you name it."

Young guns

Safety Craig Dahl and TE Michael Matthews beat the odds and stuck as rookie free agents. Dahl turned in an interception while posting a solid game during the preseason finale in New England to help his cause, while Matthews jumped into the fullback mix after Jim Finn was lost for the season and Robert Douglas, New York's only fullback on the roster, was injured.

"Michael Matthews is a guy who came into a situation where we really are in need of depth at that position," Coughlin said. "He's demonstrated the ability to play not only tight end, but the move tight end, plus he can take snaps at fullback as well. He's made himself a versatile player and we've been able to take advantage of that. Plus, he plays special teams. So he finds himself in a number of spots here at the end, and the more-you-can-do theory comes to point."

Anthony Mix also defied the odds and broke into quite a solid wide receiving corps. He's a first-year player that spent all last season on New York's practice squad.

Another big surprise was DT Manny Wright, who was signed in the middle of training camp. We have more on Wright's rapid ascension in this issue's edition of ‘News and Notes.'

Late moves

The Giants picked up two players off the waiver wire the day after final cuts were made. The newcomers are guard Kevin Boothe from the Oakland Raiders and cornerback Dovonte Edwards from the Minnesota Vikings.

Boothe, a 6-5, 315-pounder from Cornell, played in all 16 games and started the final 14 at right guard as a rookie last season with the Raiders. He also played on special teams. Oakland selected Boothe on the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft, the 176th overall selection.

Edwards, 6-0, 182, spent the 2006 season on Injured Reserve due to a preseason arm injury. He played in all four of the Vikings' preseason games last month and had an interception against the Jets in Giants Stadium.

A product of North Carolina State, Edwards played in 12 games with no starts as a rookie in 2005. In a Monday Night game at Lambeau Field on Nov. 21, Edwards intercepted a Brett Favre pass and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown, the second-longest interception return by a rookie in Minnesota history.

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