NFL Wire News

Giants sign McFadden to help ailing defensive backfield


The Sports Xchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Seeking help for their limping defensive backfield, the New York Giants signed cornerback Leon McFadden off the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad.

As the Giants prepare for a visit from the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, cornerback Prince Amukamara is out, possibly for two to four more weeks with a pectoral injury and Trumaine McBride missed practice Wednesday because of a groin problem.

McBride, the team’s slot cornerback, missed last week’s game despite being able to do some work. McBride’s status for Sunday is uncertain. If he can’t go, the Giants could turn to Brandon McGee to play the slot corner.

McFadden, 5 feet 10 and 199 pounds, is a 2013 third-round (68th overall) draft pick by the Cleveland Browns out of San Diego State. He played in 23 regular-season games with two starts for Cleveland and San Francisco. He has 21 tackles (13 solo), one pass defensed and six special teams tackles.

As a rookie, he played in all 16 games with two starts for the Browns and had 16 tackles (10 solo), a pass defensed, four special teams tackles and a 5-yard kickoff return.

McFadden also played in seven games last season for the 49ers, recording five tackles on defense (three solo) and two special teams tackles. In four preseason games this year, he had six tackles and two passes defensed.

He was signed to the Cardinals’ practice squad on Sept. 8 after being waived by the 49ers on Sept. 5.

–For a long time, linebacker Jon Beason’s presence in the lineup on every defensive snap was as automatic as NFL games on Sundays.

That was five years, three season-ending injuries (Achilles, knee and toe) and a handful of assorted injuries (most recently a sprained knee and his first-ever concussion) ago.

Despite his body failing him in the latter part of his career, Beason’s presence on the field remains critical for the Giants, who rely on his football IQ and his leadership to help with the first-year install of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s complex system.

To make sure they have Beason on a weekly basis, the coaching staff has reduced him from being an every-down linebacker to a situation specialist, his primary role being run support.

When the team switches to the nickel, Beason comes off the field and Uani ‘Unga, who started the first two games of the season when Beason was sidelined with a sprained knee, comes in with fresher legs to take care of the coverage responsibilities.

On Monday night against the Eagles, Unga actually played more snaps than Beason, taking 40 to Beason’s 38.

“They’re a zebra team, they’re a three-wide receiver team,” head coach Tom Coughlin said of the Eagles while trying to explain why Unga received more snaps. “So we just rolled those guys in pretty much throughout the game.”

While that’s not a huge difference, it could be a sign of things to come. By reducing Beason’s snaps, they’re also extending his shelf life for this critical period for the defense.

“We’ll see based on the opposition,” Coughlin said when asked if the snap distribution between Beason and Unga would be similar to last week. “We’ll see what we come up with this week.”

–Linebacker Devon Kennard missed two games with a hamstring strain, but he says his absence felt as if it were a lot longer.

“Two weeks felt like freaking two months,” Kennard said.

His long wait might be coming to an end if he continues to make progress on the practice field. Listed as limited in Wednesday’s practice, Kennard said he was able to run around during the jog-through practice and that he was encouraged by how he felt.

“I’ve been able to do what I want to do when I’m on the field,” he said. “I’m taking it day by day and trying to get ready for Sunday. I’m pretty hopeful for it.”

The Giants certainly could use a healthy Kennard moving forward. During his two-week absence, New York’s run defense gave up back-to-back 100-yard showings to the 49ers and the Eagles as they struggled to protect the edge.

With Kennard on the field, the Giants rarely had such an issue against the run.

“I can’t wait to get out there. I love the way our defense is competing and playing week in and week out,” Kennard said. “I want to be a part of it. I want to do what I can to help us win.”

The big test for Kennard will come Thursday when head coach Tom Coughlin puts his team through a longer, more intense practice at which point Kennard will use how he feels as a benchmark to move forward.

“I just want to continue to progress every day,” he said. “Today we did a jog-through and I was running around pretty good; it felt good.”

NOTES: Among those missing practice Wednesday were WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring), WR Victor Cruz (calf) and CB Trevin Wade (concussion), who has not yet cleared the league’s concussion protocol. … Among those limited in practice Wednesday were DE Robert Ayers, Jr. (hamstring), LB Jonathan Casillas (neck), and WR Rueben Randle (hamstring). … LT Will Beatty, who spent the first six weeks on the PUP list, participated in his first practice Wednesday but in a limited fashion. … TE Jerome Cunningham, cut by the Giants last Sunday to make room for CB Brandon McGee, was signed to the team’s practice squad, as was OL Adam Gettis. . . . OL Xavier Proctor was released from the practice squad.

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