Breaking down Giants after roster cut-down day
The last we saw of Alonzo Russell, he was hauling in a touchdown pass from Kyle Lauletta as time expired at Gillette Stadium, and that 14-yard hookup lifted the Giants to a comeback victory over the Patriots to end the preseason.
Russell, a tall first-year receiver, survived Saturday’s cut-down day and, for now, is on the 53-man roster. Lauletta, the second-year quarterback, is gone.
So it goes this time of year.
The Giants released 32 players — seven of them were waived/injured — and five players were put on season-ending injured reserve. There were no shockers and only a few mild surprises.
“We are in the second year of building the kind of team we all want,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “The process never stops.
“The group of 90 that was with us through the spring and summer bought into what we are building here and created the kind of competition that makes for tough decisions.’’
Eight of the 10 players the Giants took in the 2019 NFL Draft made the cut. Two seventh-round picks did not. Defensive lineman Chris Slayton was released and offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei was put on season-ending injured reserve.
Not one undrafted rookie made the team.
Wide receiver T.J. Jones led the Giants this preseason with 12 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns, but did not make it. Russell did instead.
Russell, a 6-foot-4 target from Toledo, looked ahead to the weekend and admitted it would be “nerve-racking’’ as he waited to hear word.
“I felt like I left everything I had out on the field,’’ Russell said. “That’s all I can do, that’s all I am capable of doing. I feel like I showed I belong.’’
For now, he does. This is not the final roster. The Giants will scan the waiver wire and are likely to make a few changes on Sunday. Last year, six players who made the Giants’ initial 53-man roster were released and six players cut from around the league were signed.
The timing turned out to be brutal for tight end Scott Simonson, 27, who was set to make the team for the second consecutive year.
Simonson, though, suffered a high ankle sprain lunging to complete a touchdown reception in the preseason finale and that forced the Giants to put him on injured reserve. Another tight end, C.J. Conrad, an undrafted rookie from Kentucky, had a solid camp, but did not make the roster. That meant Garrett Dickerson, who played in four games last season as an undrafted rookie from Northwestern, survived this round of cuts.
Six receivers made the cut: Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard, rookie Darius Slayton and Russell. Running back Rod Smith, with the Cowboys the past four years, was put on season-ending injured reserve. Smith went down in the third preseason game with an adductor injury. Chad Wheeler, who started 14 games last season at right tackle, was waived/injured. Wheeler’s back locked up a few weeks ago.
Linebacker B.J. Goodson, a starter most of the past two years, was working with the third team this summer, but made this version of the roster. Cornerback Sam Beal, who has barely practiced because of groin and hamstring issues, made it as well. Beal was a third-round supplemental pick last year, but spent the 2018 season on injured reserve.
The players released: RB Jon Hilliman, WR T.J. Jones, WR Reggie White, Jr., TE C.J. Conrad, TE Jake Powell, OL Paul Adams, OL Evan Brown, OL Malcolm Bunche OL James O’Hagan, DL Freedom Akinmoladun, DL Jake Ceresna, DL John Jenkins, LB Joey Alfieri, LB Jake Carlock, LB Terrence Fede, LB Avery Moss, LB Josiah Tauaefa, DB Tenny Adewusi, DB Terrell Sinkfield Jr., P Johnny Townsend, long snapper Taybor Pepper.
The players waived/injured: LB Keion Adams (knee), DB Kenny Ladler (hamstring), OL Victor Salako (shoulder), DB Henre’ Toliver (ankle), WR Alex Wesley (foot/ankle), OL Chad Wheeler (back), DB Ronald Zamort (ankle).
Players placed on injured reserve: LB Jonathan Anderson (knee), OL George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), WR Brittan Golden (calf), TE Scott Simonson (ankle), RB Rod Smith (adductor).
Receiver Golden Tate begins serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances and defensive back Kamrin Moore was waived off the commissioner’s exempt list.
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