The first cut to 75 comes Tuesday, which doesn't mean much in terms of the eight wide receivers who will be in uniform tomorrow night in Baltimore. With undrafted UMass free agent Victor Cruz having ostensibly made the squad, and Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks and Derek Hagan assured of spots, the guys who must show something are Nyan Boateng, Tim Brown, and Duke Calhoun. They'll probably get that chance, too, since Ramses Barden and Sinorice Moss are sidelined with respective back and groin problems.
While Barden's and Moss' issues may be a godsend to the three rookie roster hopefuls, they certainly aren't doing the two receivers much good. Barden was expected to make a major leap this camp, but the fractured transverse process in his back has stopped what, in most respects, has been an inconsistent camp, anyway. At 6-foot-6, 227, he should be a threat in the Red Zone, but he hasn't been anything close to that this camp.
And Moss, heading into his fifth season, may be at the end of the line here. Tom Coughlin sounded slightly exasperated when informing the press that Moss would undergo tests to determine the exact extent of his nagging injury. One has to think that unless Moss gets back quickly -- a longshot at this point -- he might just find himself among the final cuts the Sunday after next Thursday's preseason finale.
But you'd have a hard time convincing Moss of that.
"Why would this jeopardize my chances?" Moss said. "They know me. They know what I can do. But I want to show them more. That's the competitive spirit in me. I want to make plays for them on a consistent basis."
That would be something fans haven't seen out of the oft-injured Moss the past four seasons. And that's exactly the reason he may be headed out if he doesn't get back on the field in short order.
Barden may be a slightly different story. The question is whether the Giants want to give up on the 2009 third-rounder so quickly. They knew when they picked him out of Cal Poly that he'd be a project. The fact that he did nothing in the Jets game, due partially to the fact that he had already hurt his back in practice, could doom him to another year on the gameday inactive list. But it seems as though the Giants are willing to stick with him for another year at least.
He said the pain is improving every day. Once it's gone, that's the signal to return to the field. In the meantime, trainers have him working in the pool and doing an exercise regimen to build up the muscles around the fractured process.
While Brown, Boateng, and Calhoun get their opportunities to hang on, Moss and Barden wait. The question is how long will the coaching staff wait on them?
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