Giants Announce Cuts, Add Kicker
With Lawrence Tynes unable to kick because of the knee injury he suffered three weeks ago in Albany, the Giants today secured Carney to kick in Thursday night's season opener vs. Washington and for as long as he is needed.
Carney, 44, is beginning his 21st NFL season. He has played 274 regular season games for six teams, most notably San Diego (1990-2000) and New Orleans (2001-2006). He has made 425 of 519 regular season field goal attempts (81.9 percent) and 537 of 545 extra point tries for 1,812 points.
Only Morten Andersen (2,544), Gary Anderson (2,434), George Blanda (2,002), and Matt Stover (1,822) have scored more points. Stover, a former Giants draft choice, is the Baltimore Ravens' kicker
In 2007, Carney played eight games for Jacksonville and five for Kansas City. connecting on 12 of 14 field goal attempts and 27 of 28 PATs for 63 points. Though he has had a long and distinguished career, Carney has kept kicking in hopes of staying in uniform.
"I haven't found anything better to do yet," Carney said. "I've been training and I feel good. I feel strong and healthy. I'm motivated to continue my career. I felt good about the way things worked out last year, when I filled in for an injured kicker down in Jacksonville. Then I finished the season with Kansas City and things worked out well. I felt confident if I continued to train and hope, I would get some more opportunities here in 2008."
With Tynes still sidelined, general manager Jerry Reese and coach Tom Coughlin wanted a reliable veteran kicker to take his place.
"We went with experience," said Reese.
"When you go into your first game of the year, and you're in the situation we're in from the standpoint of our placekicker, there isn't any question that in the back of your mind is the fact this is a veteran," Coughlin said. "That's really the number one thing. John Carney has so much experience and been in this league for so long, kicked so many game-winning field goals and been in so many tight situations. It's very difficult to overlook that part of it, especially when you're week-to-week with your present kicker, a guy that's kicked a 47-yarder to put you in the Super Bowl."
Regarding Tynes, Coughlin said, "There's no new news. So progress is slow, as it normally is."
Carney is particularly excited to get an opportunity to join the defending Super Bowl champions. He was contacted by the Giants yesterday and flew in from San Diego last night. Carney kicked in Giants Stadium today before he was signed.
"This is a phenomenal team that had a remarkable season last year," Carney said. "I was very proud to see the Giants pull off the amazing victory in the Super Bowl, and I feel honored and blessed to be here with the team right now."
With Carney and 42-year old Jeff Feagles, the Giants might have the oldest kicker-holder duo in NFL history.
"I know Jeff is an excellent holder and I've watched Jeff and played against Jeff for many years," Carney said. "And I have a lot of confidence in Jeff, so it will be a few days of getting accustomed to and getting comfortable with the operation and the team. I had a few opportunities to do that last year. Hopefully, my system, God willing, will work and we'll be ready to go Thursday night."
Josh Huston, who kicked in the final three preseason games, was one of the players who were released.
"Josh has done a great job for us," Coughlin said. "He's worked very hard and improved his game."
Three players were placed on injured reserve: backup quarterback Anthony Wright (neck), backup tackle Guy Whimper (broken foot) and rookie center Digger Bujnoch (sprained knee). Wright was hurt in the Aug. 18 preseason game vs. Cleveland, while Whimper and Bujnoch were injured in Thursday night's victory over New England.
The contract of safety Stuart Schweigert was terminated.
Nineteen players were waived, including quarterback Andre' Woodson, one of the team's sixth-round draft choices this year. Also waived were offensive linemen Andrew Bain, Kurt Quarterman, Clifford Louis and Na'Shan Goddard; fullback Robert Douglas; tight ends Eric Butler and Jerome Collins; wide receivers Brandon London and Marcus Monk; defensive ends Wallace Gilberry and Alex Morrow; defensive tackles Ogemdi Nwagbuo and Jeremy Clark; linebackers Tank Daniels and James Terry; defensive backs Geoffrey Pope and Darren Barnett; and Huston.
"This is a very tough day," Coughlin said. "When you look into the eyes of the players you see three or four different reactions. On the one hand, there will be the guy who had no idea he was going to be released and he's in a state of shock. Another is the guy who desperately wanted to make the team and probably did a pretty good job of camouflaging it a lot of times, but now there's no camouflage whatsoever. He's devastated. Then there are the eyes of the individual who kind of knew it was coming, is very gracious about it and wants to thank everybody for the opportunity that he's had. Then there are the young guys who you can encourage and perhaps offer a practice squad position to. Those guys seem to come back off the floor once they know that there is going to be a practice squad opportunity for them should they clear waivers.
"You have a lot of emotions and you have a lot of people that are anxious about this day. You have some guys that come to the building here and it hasn't sunk in why they're here, so when they come up to you they're in a state of shock. It's an anxious day for the player. And it's not a happy day for all of us here, because you've had so many people that have played and tried so hard and they're not going to be a part of our team. That's the unfortunate nature of the process."
Coughlin talked to each of the players individually. Now in his 13th season as an NFL head coach, he said cutdown day gets no easier.
"Because every group of young men is a new group," he said. "You become attached to them. You find out what they're made of, you watch them practice and play and recognize the effort they give. No two circumstances are ever the same with regard to releasing the players."
Today's moves leave the Giants with the following roster as they prepare for their opening game:
Quarterback (2): Eli Manning, David Carr.
Running Back (5): Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, Ahmad Bradshaw, Reuben Droughns, Danny Ware.
Fullback (1): Madison Hedgecock.
Wide Receiver (6): Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Domenik Hixon, Sinorice Moss.
Tight End: (3): Kevin Boss, Michael Matthews, Darcy Johnson.
Offensive Line: (8): Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert, Chris Snee, Kareem McKenzie, David Diehl, Kevin Boothe, Adam Koets, Grey Ruegamer.
Defensive Line (8): Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield, Renaldo Wynn, Dave Tollefson, Jay Alford, Rodney Leisle.
Linebackers (7): Antonio Pierce, Gerris Wilkinson, Danny Clark, Chase Blackburn, Zak DeOssie, Bryan Kehl, Jonathan Goff.
Defensive Backs: (10): Aaron Ross, Corey Webster, James Butler, Michael Johnson, Kevin Dockery, Sam Madison, R.W. McQuarters, Sammy Knight, Kenny Phillips, Terrell Thomas.
Punter (1): Jeff Feagles.
Kickers (2): Lawrence Tynes, John Carney.
"As always, we try to keep the best 53 football players," Reese said. "I like this squad a lot - number one we have talented players, number two I believe they're focused and still hungry with something to prove."
The Giants might add a third quarterback either for the opening game or in the coming weeks.
"We'll see how that goes," Coughlin said. "Obviously, it's a calculated risk. We studied all the numbers. There's a 90 percent assurance you never get beyond the one (backup) quarterback. The thing about it is, with our kicker situation at this point in time, we felt like we needed to be able to protect some players and still be able to do the things necessary from the standpoint of placekickers."
Veterans Droughns, Madison and McQuarters were thought by some observers to be on the roster bubble, but each is on the 53-man squad.
"There isn't any doubt about them being good players," Coughlin said. "They're veteran players and they've seen an awful lot in this game and they've been able to react to it. Each individual is different.
"From the standpoint of Reuben, we have a pretty good group of guys at running back and felt like they were all worthy of making an NFL team and they have so many roles that they can play. Reuben can be a fullback, he can be a running back, he can be a special teams player, he can be a short-yardage and goal line guy. He has a lot of hats he can wear."
Fourteen players (26.4 percent) who were on the 53-man roster for Super Bowl XLII are not on the current team, including five defensive starters: defensive ends Michael Strahan (retired) and Osi Umenyiora (injured reserve), linebackers Kawika Mitchell and Reggie Torbor and safety Gibril Wilson (left as free agents). All 11 offensive starters from the Super Bowl are back.
"I think most of the time if you go back and look, the roster turnover is in that area (around 25 percent)," Coughlin said. "There is always change in some way, shape or form. The other thing is you're always in a position where you're trying to develop your young guys to come along. That's always a factor. You're counting on the veteran experience from the offensive side of the ball and hoping the new guys can become integrated as fast as possible to the sophistication to the in-season play. You just hope people can come together as fast as possible to make the kind of plays that are necessary to win."
Only three other players -- other than the five defensive starters above -- who participated in the Super Bowl are no longer on the roster. One is David Tyree, who made the unforgettable catch on the game-winning drive and is now on the reserve/physically unable to perform list as he continues to rehabilitate his surgically-repaired knee. The others are Whimper and Daniels, who played on special teams.
Wright and Jared Lorenzen were in uniform as the backup quarterbacks but did not play. Lorenzen was released in the spring.
In addition to Lorenzen, who was the third quarterback, the other Super Bowl inactive players who have departed are Pope, Collins and defensive tackles Russell Davis and Manny Wright.
The 14 players currently on the roster who were not on the Super Bowl roster are Ward and Kiwanuka (who were on injured reserve), draft choices Phillips, Thomas, Manningham, Kehl and Goff, backup quarterback Carr, tight end Johnson, defensive linemen Wynn and Leisle, strongside linebacker Clark, safety Knight and Carney, the kicker.
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