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Mini-Camp Video: New York Giants Rookie RB Michael Cox Returning Kickoffs

May 13th, 2013 at 3:15 PM
By Dan Benton

With a lot of the recent talk and speculation focused on the New York Giants return game, might there be a dark horse in the mix? During Big Blue's three-day rookie mini-camp, seventh-round pick, running back Michael Cox out of the University of Massachusetts, was among the players fielding kickoffs.

Because the drills are non-contact, it's nearly impossible to tell how valuable a player — especially a rookie — can be back there. However, Cox did appear relatively comfortable despite next to no return experience (two onside kick recoveries in college).

Just something to ponder on an otherwise quiet and boring mid-May day.


Tags: Football, Michael Cox, New York, New York Giants, NFL

23 Responses to “Mini-Camp Video: New York Giants Rookie RB Michael Cox Returning Kickoffs”

  1.  jfunk says:

    GOAT56 says:
    May 13, 2013 at 3:19 PM
    It’s not a about Austin or Kuhn being better. Rodgers is 34 he only make sense to keep is he’s seeing real snaps. If he’s the 5 DT with Joseph, Jenkins, Patterson and Hankins what is he adding? The 5 DT is simply a depth guy. Even if Hankins isn’t fully ready the top 3 DTs will be taking most of the snaps. It makes sense to keep a young guy if you keep 5 DTs so another vet that can’t help on special teams makes no sense.


    IF Rogers makes this team, he’ll be our best run stopper and WILL be getting snaps. However many snaps he can handle will eat into the starters’ snaps and make for fewer available to the “depth guys”.

    •  fanfor55years says:


      And just as important, let’s agree that Hankins, Joseph and Jenkins are making the roster. Hankins is going to be their main run-stopper….in 2014 and, hopefully, in part of this season. But as they rotate, and they will, four guys each game, there has to be another solid run-stopper to pair with either Joseph or Jenkins (both of whom are good two-way DTs but not elite against the run, at least not based upon the current evidence). Who is it going to be? Well, we know that run-stopper is NOT Austin. Kuhn may become that but he is almost guaranteed to be parked on the PUP list. Patterson MIGHT become that second guy, but he’s a health risk too and if both he and Rogers are fully healthy I don’t care that Rogers has about seven years on him, Patterson cannot stand up against the run like Rogers can.

      I’m not sure who makes the team. I started out by saying that. But I increasingly am convinced that unless they decide to keep five defensive tackles (and I’m not sure they will, especially if they carry three quarterbacks) Austin had better “show” early and often or all of the things everyone “knows” about how the Giants keep their high draft picks around through their rookie contract is quite likely to go right out the window.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        If Patterson, Jenkins and Rodgers make the team your going to have this issue with some vet DT (who i assumed was going to be Rodgers but be someone else) who at best is the 4th DT. But I don’t think we drafted Hankins to be a 5th DT. Maybe Hankins won’t start but at worse he sees 4th DT snaps. Having all vets outside of Joseph and Hankins just doesn’t make sense if we keep 5 DTs.

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    Can’t see that this video shows much of anything, but I like that long pass from Nassib on the follow-on video. If nothing else his judgment of the speed of the receiver was perfect and he got the ball on an arc that would have been very tough for a corner to go up and defend. Nice.

  3.  norm says:

    “Austin had better “show” early and often or all of the things everyone “knows” about how the Giants keep their high draft picks around through their rookie contract is quite likely to go right out the window.”


    I guess “everyone” must mean only myself and GOAT – since we are the only two people who have even attempted to make the case that Austin ain’t going anywhere this year. The vast majority here – who apparently exist outside the very tiny subset of “everyone” – remain unconvinced by “everyone’s” references to Reese’s history and continue to insist that Austin is on the bubble.

    If I may be so presumptuous as to offer one further argument on behalf of “everyone” I’d ask folks here to consider the following names:

    Clint Sintim, Ramses Barden, Travis Beckum.

    All players drafted in the first three rounds.

    All players who were widely (and ultimately, correctly) regarded by the fanbase to be busts early on.

    All players of whom it was frequently said, “He’s going to have to really show something in camp this year to avoid losing his roster spot to [insert name of aging import on cheap contract]”

    All players who were inexplicably spared the wrath of “the Turk” until their rookie deal expired.

    I see absolutely no difference between those three cases and the case of Austin this year. Zero. Zilch. Nada. It’s the same ol’, same ol’ wrapped up in a slightly heftier – but equally underachieving – package. And chances are this story will go on to have the same unhappy ending. But that ending will not come this year.

    For Marvin Austin is not so awful – so much more disappointing than the likes of Sintim, Barden, and Beckum – that Jerry Reese will now feel compelled to contravene one of his core philosophies on player development on his account. Austin will be given the same chance as the three 2nd-3rd round busts that preceded him.

    Of this I am 1,000% certain. I am so certain that Austin will make the team that I am willing to back it up with the “nuclear option” of exile vows. If a healthy Marvin Austin is not among the final 53 in 2013, I will ban myself from this site for life – a prospect that will no doubt cause some here to root even harder for Austin’s exclusion from the roster.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I agree with Norm though I’m as certain as him Austin will stay. I’m more in the 95% certain range. Remember how deep we have been at WR and people though that Barden’s roster spot was in danger. I just don’t see the point of cutting a player with talent that hasn’t failed for a vet just to fill out the position depth. Plus with Joseph a free agent we need young talent at the position with only Hankins guaranteed to be here in 2014. Jenkins signed a 3 year deal but only 3 mil is guaranteed so his 2014 spot is far from locked. To me Austin has to show nothing to even give him a chance of being cut. While I don’t think it’s likely it’s possible so I give it a 5% chance of happening.

  4.  fanfor55years says:

    Okay, for the last time, I do not know, nor predict who will make the roster at DT, but I think a lot of the assurance that Austin will is premised upon their keeping 5 defensive tackles and I am not at all sure they can, or will, do that.

    Does ANYONE disagree that Joseph, Hankins and Jenkins are roster locks? Is it not true that above all the defensive tackles must stop the run this season? Is it not true that while Hankins is probably going to be a premier run-stopper he will be worked in slowly since he’s a rookie? And since neither Jenkins nor Joseph is considered a stud as a run-stopper, does that not mean that another solid run-stopper is almost certain to be on the roster and in the rotation? Is it not also true that based upon the evidence to date, Marvin Austin is as far from a run-stopping defensive tackle as one could find? Is it not also true that if healthy both Mike Patterson and Shaun Rogers are among the better run-stoppers in the NFL (assuming Rogers is not asked to take too many snaps)?

    Unless you disagree with the above I don’t know how you can assume that, absent a decision to carry five defensive tackles, Marvin Austin isn’t fighting for his Giants’ life in camp this summer.

    So norm, I hereby reject your proposition and bar you from self-banning. Remember how that worked out the last time. On this one, you’d better hope that the team decides David Carr is expendable or decides to dump DeOssie or carry only seven linebackers. Unless one of those occurs the chances of carrying five DTs are, IMO, not very good. That’s especially true given the need to find playing time for Ojomo and Moore, making it quite likely that they WILL carry five defensive ends.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      But you can keep Patterson or Rodgers and just not both and solve the run stopping issue. Also, I do think Joseph is a pretty good run stopper, he just need a decent player beside him and less snaps. Both of which he did not have last year.

    •  norm says:

      You misstate my position, sir.

      My belief that Austin will make the roster is definitely not premised on the team carrying five DTs.

      In fact, I even posted earlier today that:

      “Odds are they keep four. And four spots are already accounted for: Joseph, Jenkins, Hankins, and Austin.

      The only question left is if one of the remaining vets forces the team’s hand by playing so well in camp and preseason that the coaches decide to allocate a fifth spot to DT. Rogers, Patterson, and Okam are all on cheap, easily voidable one-year deals. They are the players who are fighting to make the team, not Austin.”

      My conviction that Austin makes the roster has nothing to do with Austin, the players who he’s battling with, or the unique set of circumstances at the DT position this year.

      It’s premised on my certainty that Reese is not going to deviate from a process that is at the heart and soul of this organization and has been instrumental in its recent success.

      As you yourself have pointed out on numerous occasions, ff55, the Giants have made a substantial investment in their scouting operations. Not only is it an operation that is arguably without peer in the NFL, it is also the very foundation upon which Reese has built his administration. Reese puts a lot of faith in the work of his scouts; work that begins early in the players college career (if not sooner) and culminates with the form of a final evaluation in the form of a draft grade.

      But that’s just the beginning of the process. Once a player is drafted, there is a faith that the coaching staff will eventually be able to get him to perform at a fairly high level. With some players it just happens later rather than sooner. And in some cases it never happens at all.

      Reese understands that the process is not perfect and that it will produce its share of lemons. But he’s equally cognizant of the importance of allowing it to play out in all cases with those players who were graded very highly by the scouts in whom Reese and the organization has placed so much faith.

      I made the above vow with the absolute certainty that Reese is not going to cut bait on a player to whom his scouts once gave a second round grade and who has played a grand total of 108 snaps in the NFL. To think that Reese won’t follow through on his process solely on the basis of 108 snaps and a sub-par camp showing, I think, betrays an almost laughable ignorance of how this GM, this team conducts its affairs.

      So I will continue to stand by my vow – completely secure in the knowledge that I will never have to make good on it.

  5.  Krow says:

    Austin has a big upside … IF IF IF. That alone will keep him on the roster.

  6.  rlhjr says:

    How long was William Joseph (Willie Jo) allowed to hang about prior to being show the Jersey exit? Because Austin has that type of feel. And Willie Jo played more downs that Austin ever will.

    I agree with 55 about older players. Don’t just auto cut them due to age.
    If they can play and the price is right let them play. Because the young will be properly influenced by serviceable vets. Giants management wants the team to be young and cheap. But they also want them to be good to great. You need the proper mix of lions and lion cubs. Giants and baby Giants?????

  7.  giankees says:

    Austin is in his last yr doesn’t that make him equal to signing a 1 yr vet? He has to show it on the field I think its a full tryout best man wins. Maybe give austin some extra chances due to potentiall this season. Unless he performs there is no way tbey sign him again so I don’t see the guaranty that he makes the roster. Dont see the giants signing all the dts as early as they did withthe emphasis on the run def and keeping less talent.kuhn beat him out for playing time last yr.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      He has 2 more years on his deal. This will only be his 3rd year. Only undrafted rookies have 3 year deals. 1st rounders are 5 years and rounds 2-7 are 4 year deals.

      Joseph is in his final year.

  8.  Dirt says:

    Just curious – what do you think is more of an injury risk:

    The best kick returner in the league (IMO) David Wilson returning 70 or so kicks next year


    The collective 1,309 snaps from scrimmage taken by starting/contributing Giants players in the “meaningless” Week 17 game against the Patriots in 2007

    •  GOAT56 says:

      My view isn’t that Wilson is an injury risk as much as using him as a KR will take away the snaps he can play as a starting RB. If the plan is to split Brown and Wilson 50-50 and incorporate 3-5 carries for a 3rd RB then I’m fine with Wilson being the KR. But if he’s getting a Bradshaw 2012 load then I think he should only return a kick here and there.

  9.  Begiant says:

    Just to throw out my opinion on the DT debate. I think the Giants will carry five DTs this year. I agree that Hankins, Joseph and Jenkins should be locks. However Mike Patterson was a very good player for the Eagles for many years. In addition Shaun Rogers can be a great run stopper. Both of those guys have had previous injuries, but seem to be completely healed. If either of these guys prove to be their old selves in limited snaps then it will be very hard to cut them. I think it will end up being Joseph, Jenkins, Patterson, Austin and Hankins on the final roster. Although all of this is subject to change as we will probably have an injury or two make the decisions for us, at least this year we have the depth to withstand the injury bug.

    Also on a side note. I believe Phillip Dillard was cut at the beginning of his second year and he was a fourth round pick. Obviously not as high as Austin, but it shows that Reese will cut a player if he shows nothing. After last years performance, I said that Austin needed to get better in a lot of areas. He needed to get stronger and way better at fighting off blocks. I think JR will be able to figure out if Austin has improved during the preseason, if not training camp, and will know whether to keep or cut the man accordingly.

  10.  GOAT56 says:

    Josh Cribbs visited the Giants, who are looking for help in the return game, last week.

    Whether Cribbs ultimately ends up in New York or not, the visit is symbolic of the fact that there are changes afoot in the Giants’ return game for 2013.

    We know how good David Wilson was in 2012, averaging 26.9 yards per return while giving the Giants the most dangerous kickoff return game they have had since Willie Ponder averaged more than 25 yards per return in 2004 and 2005. With Ahmad Bradshaw gone, however, Wilson is slated for a full load of carries in the backfield. We also know from history that as players roles increase on offense or defense, head coach Tom Coughlin exposes them less and less often in the return game.

    Special teams coordinator Tom Quinn would undoubtedly like to have Wilson returning every kickoff, but that seems extremely unlikely to happen, with Quinn admitting over the weekend “that’s not my decision.”

    Quinn will likely have to settle for someone other than Wilson, whether it be Jerrel Jernigan, Da’Rel Scott or another player who emerges, returning more often than he would hope. Adding a player like Cribbs, who was actually better than Wilson a season (27.4 yards per return) and has averaged 25.9 yards on 387 career returns, would make losing Wilson’s return ability palatable.

    The Giants have also struggled in recent seasons returning punts. In 2012 they were 30th in the league, averaging 7.2 yards per return. In 2011, the Giants’ average of 6.1 yards per return was 29th overall. In 2010 that same 6.1 yards per return average was 31st. The Giants have not been good in the punt return game since Domenik Hixon was healthy in 2009, when they averaged 10.9 yards per return, sixth in the league.

    Cribbs averaged 12 yards per punt return a season ago, second in the league among regular returners. He has averaged 11 yards per return during his career.

    “We do have to identify someone if they can be a punt returner that can make a difference because that’s something that’s been lagging the last couple of years,” Quinn said. “In ‘08 and ‘09 we were pretty happy with it. The last couple of years it wasn’t anywhere near where it needs to be, so we’ve got to find someone to step up and take that role.”

    Most of the candidates currently on the roster — Reuben Randle, Aaron Ross, Jerrel Jernigan, Jayron Hosley among them — have been tried and found wanting for one reason or another. Randle and Ross because of lack of breakaway ability, Jernigan because he hasn’t been able to consistently catch the ball and Hosley because he hasn’t been able to stay on the field.

    The other thing that makes Cribbs a natural fit for the roster is that his offensive position is wide receiver, where the Giants only have five obvious candidates for roster spots and not the six they carried a season ago.

    Thus, Cribbs’ free agency bears watching. If he doesn’t end up with the Giants, what happens with the team’s return game will likely be one of the main story lines of the preseason.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Precisely why I have said I’d love Cribbs and he is FAR from through.

      And Let’s Go Rangers.

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