If the game against the Cowboys a week from tonight comes down to a late field-goal attempt by the Giants, it will be a player from an NAIA school with no NFL experience trying to put the ball through the uprights.
The Giants apparently are comfortable with that scenario. They decided to keep first-year kicker Aldrick Rosas and release veteran Mike Nugent on Saturday.
The Giants have not had a first-year kicker since rookie Matt Bryant in 2002, but Rosas earned the job by going 8-for-8 on field goals in the preseason, including a game-winning 48-yarder against the Patriots as time expired on Thursday night.
“We know Aldrick has a big leg, and we really liked the way he responded throughout training camp and in the preseason games,” Ben McAdoo said. “Mike Nugent was a guy that came in and was a great teammate and was a pro. He pushed Aldrick, which made him better, and it made Aldrick better.”
Despite the addition of Nugent early in camp, it always seemed like Rosas’ job to lose. He never faltered.
“I think at the end of the day, you go with the player who’s been here and has the biggest upside,” McAdoo said.
Giants trade for CB depth
For the second year in a row, Ross Cockrell is replacing Valentino Blake at cornerback. He did it with the Steelers last year when Blake left as a free agent for the Titans, and now he’ll be doing it with the Giants after Blake left the team late in the preseason for personal reasons. The Giants traded a conditional pick to the Steelers for Cockrell on Saturday.
Cockrell started 16 games for Pittsburgh in 2016 but likely will supply depth at cornerback for the Giants, who have Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. They also kept Michael Hunter Jr.
Apple, however, suffered an ankle injury in the preseason game against the Jets. If he cannot play against the Cowboys, Cockrell could step in and get the start.
The trade meant the Giants waived popular cornerback Donte Deayon, who is eligible to return to the Giants on the practice squad for a second season.
Herzlich to IR
Linebacker Mark Herzlich, 30, who suffered a stinger in his neck early in camp, was placed on season-ending injured reserve. It could be a career-ender for Herz lich, who overcame cancer to make it to the NFL.
The well-respected Herzlich conceivably could have a role in the organization after his playing days end, and he may be moving in that direction this season.
“He’ll still be involved with the team, whether it’s in the locker room or in the meeting rooms,” McAdoo said. “Mark will still be around to help the guys.”