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JW’s Downs: KR/PR Issues, Hall, O’Hara and Russell

Welcome to another edition of JW’s Downs. Today’s issues will include the Giants’ KR and PR issues, the re-signing of Alex Hall, the injury to Shaun O’Hara and the Redskins’ working out former #1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell.

First Down: Reynaud and Blackmon:

Before I begin, for those who asked me about how much DB/KR Will Blackmon signed for, it was a one year deal worth the minimum salary for a 4th-year vet, which happens to be $630,000. Does this spell trouble for incumbent KR and PR Darius Reynaud? It’s very possible. However, not entirely. As you know CB Bruce Johnson was put on season-ending injured reserve after he has surgery on his knee, so the Giants’ needed depth in the secondary, too. In signing Blackmon they added not just depth in the secondary, but also put pressure on Reynaud to preform, or his job will be lost. I don’t think you’ll see Will Blackmon taking kicks and punts back just yet. Reynaud will get at-least another week. Special Teams Coach Tom Quinn gave Reynaud a “vote of confidence” but who knows how much that means if he struggles again this week against Seattle.

Aside from the three touchdowns he has as a kick-returner and punt-returner the most compelling statistic of him to me is that 40 of 66 returns went for at-least 20 yards. In Reynaud’s 21 returns this season, he’s done it just ten times. Blackmon takes the ball back at-least 20 yards 60% of the time, Reynaud takes it more than twenty yards just 47% of the time. That could be a big upgrade field position wise if Blackmon can do that if — and when — he wins the job. Reynaud has never taken a kick or punt back for a touchdown, Blackmon has done it three times.

Second Down: Alex Hall… Again:

The Giants’ were awarded Alex Hall off waivers for the second time this season. Someone within the organization, maybe a coach of someone in the front office really likes Hall, a lot. Hall was released by the Cardinals, and the Giants’ pounced on him, again. It appears they were the only team to put in a claim on him, too. Unless a team lower on the pecking order did, we wouldn’t know, but it seems unlikely. Hall was with the Giants’ during training camp but was waived/injured with a shoulder injury. Hall figures to be just depth. It doesn’t seem likely he’ll be active most games, either. He isn’t going to play over capable backup Dave Tollefson and first round pick Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants’ needed another defensive linemen after Mathias Kiwanuka was placed on IR with a neck injury, so they signed Hall. How long does Hall stick on the roster? That remains to be seen.

Third Down: Shaun O’Hara.. Out.. Again:

Starting Center and UDFA warrior Shaun O’Hara will be out at-least one week with a mild Lisfranc sprain. This time the injury is on his other foot. O’Hara missed a few games earlier this season with an injury on his other ankle, but appeared to get past that. He doesn’t have the dreaded Lisfranc fracture, he has a “mild” version of it. He hopes to miss just this game and be back for the Dallas game, but he could miss 2-4 weeks. That means backup C Adam Koets will start, in place of O’Hara, again. This is Koets’s time to shine. If he proves he can start, and do it effectively, the aging veteran could become expendable. Assuming their is football next season.

Fourth Down: JaMarcus Russell back in the NFL?

JaMarcus Russell was cleared of all charges and apparently is being worked out today by who else? The Washington Redskins. After all-pro Donavon McNabb was benched in favor of Rex Grossman for his cardiovascular endurance, another twist in the Shanahan/McNabb era has been made. The ‘Skins’ are working out former #1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell. 20 players are working out for the Redskins’ in their bye-week, but this one is the most memorable name of them all. Russell had a 7-18 record during his three seasons with the Raiders. Does this make any sense? I think Russell still has the ability to be a player in this league. I thought a team should have pulled the trigger on him as soon as he was cleared of all charges, but I didn’t think it’d be the Redskins. I don’t know if he can be a starter in the NFL, but I still believe he can be at-least a backup, for now. This one will be a wait-and-see, but it caught my eye, that’s for sure.

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