EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Giants coach Ben McAdoo feels like he has more than 53 players who can play. But like every other NFL team, he has until Saturday afternoon to cut the roster from 90 players to the limit for opening day.
“We have some depth, we had some good competition and at the positions we needed to see a lot out of last night, they stood up and they played and they competed,” McAdoo said Friday. It was exciting to watch and it made our job even harder, but that’s good.”
This is the first season the NFL has enforced roster cuts all at once at the end of the preseason. It was previously a gradual process with more players cut week to week.
The Giants have had some interesting preseason battles, including one between Josh Johnson and Geno Smith for the backup quarterback job. Both played well in the preseason, including in the finale Thursday night against the Patriots.
Smith’s age is in his favor as he’s about 4 years younger than Johnson, who is 31. Smith turns 27 next month.
“Both played well,” McAdoo said of the battle. “Both graded out high. It’s going to be a tough decision. We’re going to let it play out and continue the evaluation process.”
Davis Webb, the Giants’ third round pick in this year’s draft from the University of California, will make the team, but will probably serve as the team’s emergency QB and No. 3 man.
At tight end, veterans Matt LaCosse and Will Tye are battling with last year’s sixth round draft pick Jerell Adams. Tye was the starter for most of the last two seasons, but he could be the odd man out. Tye had 48 receptions and a touchdown last year.
LaCosse had five receptions for 60 yards and two TDs in the win over New England Thursday. Tye had four catches for 48 yards. Adams did not have a reception, but played a lot on running downs.
“It was good to see LaCosse produce,” McAdoo said. “We’ve been seeing that in the OTAs and in training camp, him producing, making plays and having a chance to score a couple times, as well as contributing in the two-minute drive.”
McAdoo wouldn’t hint as to which way he was leaning, but free agent signing Rhett Ellison and first round pick Evan Engram are locks for the 53-man roster.
Another interesting competition has been at kicker, with rookie Aldrick Rosas battling with veteran Mike Nugent. Rosas may have sealed the deal with four straight field goals Thursday, including the 48-yarder with no time left to win it.
“I think Mike and Aldrick both competed at a high level,” McAdoo said. “Mike had a tremendous game last week versus the Jets and we wanted to see how Aldrick responded and he responded very well last night. We’re taking a look at it right now.”
McAdoo didn’t think age was a factor, but Rosas is only 22 years old while Nugent is 35.
“Both men have done exactly what we’ve asked them to do and performed and played at a high level,” he said.
The Giants starting trimming their roster on Friday afternoon by waiving eight players and placing another on injured reserve.
Veteran safety Duke Ihenacho, who signed with the Giants on May 25, was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.
Only one of the eight players waived has played a regular-season game for the Giants. Safety Eric Pinkins played in five regular-season games and the NFC Wild Card Game last season.
Also waived were linebackers Chris Casher and Steven Daniels; cornerbacks Tay Glover-Wright, Tim Scott, and Daniel Gray; receiver C.J. Germany; and offensive lineman Richard Levy.