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Fact or Fiction: James Brewer & O-Line


*STATEMENT: James Brewer will play tackle in at least four games for the Giants in 2012.

*EISEN: Fiction - Can't take that leap with a player who never stepped on the field in last season. He'll surely improve after a full offseason and training camp, but the Giants have too many seasoned linemen ahead of him – and that's before they potentially select an offensive lineman early in the draft.

SCHMEELK: Fiction - James Brewer was dubbed a project last year, and I don't think the Giants need him to be ready in 2012. William Beatty will be on the left side, and David Deihl is more than capable of playing at either tackle position. The addition of Sean Locklear, a very capable veteran backup, will also block him from getting on the field. It's more likely to me that 2013 will be Brewer's year.

SALOMONE: Fiction - Brewer essentially redshirted last season as a rookie being inactive for all 16 games and the postseason. Brewer has a lot of upside – and is perhaps the biggest guy on the team – but it would take a lot to move up enough in the pecking order while he sits behind some tenured vets. That's not even mentioning the addition of Sean Locklear of what the organization will do in the draft.

*STATEMENT: Greg Jones will start at least one game at middle linebacker in 2012.

*EISEN:Fact- I think Jones will not be the regular starter there, but it's possible there will be enough shuffling among the linebackers – due to injuries, changing game plans based on opponents, up-and-down performances – for many players to get a start here and there. Jones would be one of those players. How much he actually plays is up to him.

SCHMEELK: Fact - The days of teams playing a lot of their 4-3 base defense is a thing of the past. Jones showed the ability to play against the run last year, but he seemed to struggle in coverage. If the Giants don't find a more traditional middle linebacker in the draft or free agency, Jones might fit in well as a first down and short yardage middle linebacker. I figure that will earn him at least one start over the course of the season, based on formations.

SALOMONE: Fact - I spoke with him this week, and he said he felt hampered by the lack of offseason last year along with the rest of the rookies. He'll be a part of a large group of second-year players who proved they have what it takes on special teams and could see the field more in 2012. Again, everyone is interested to see how the linebacker position plays out this season, and I think Jones could work his way into a game plan. And, for what it's worth, let's not forget he was a two-time consensus All-America in 2009-10.

STATEMENT: Jerrel Jernigan will be the Giants slot receiver in 2012.

EISEN:Fact - Jernigan still has a lot to prove – and the Giants could still acquire someone who could step into that position – but Jernigan has the talent to be a significant contributor in 2012. He might also play on the outside and as a returner. But let's nominate him for the slot and see how well he does.

SCHMEELK: Fact - This answer might change based on who the Giants draft or pick up later on in free agency. As the roster stands now, Jernigan is the best fit for the slot. He has the quickness to get open and be an effective possession receiver in the middle of the field. Victor Cruz is very comfortable staying outside and will be fine there. I like Jernigan better than Ramses Barden, who has not been able to earn playing time. Another competitor, Domenik Hixon, has had two straight serious knee injuries. Jernigan must show progress in picking up the Giants system, but he has the potential.

SALOMONE: Fact - It's a little premature to say with certainty, but as it currently stands, he's the likely man for the job. He's built for the traditional slot position. He's quick, elusive, and low to the ground. While experiencing the pressure of the NFL as a returner last year, Jernigan will still need to prove himself in the coming months on the field and in the classroom.

**STATEMENT: *Marvin Austin will be an impact player for the Giants in 2012.

*EISEN:Fact - This guy is due to have get some good football news. He missed his last year at North Carolina because he was dismissed from the team and his rookie season with the Giants because of a torn pectoral muscle. When he was on the field, Austin was a dominant defensive tackle. Assuming his skills haven't atrophied, Austin should be a valuable reserve in the middle of the defensive line this year.

SCHMEELK: Fiction - I suppose it depends on your definition of impact. Austin, if healthy, should be in the defensive line rotation but will also be behind Linval Joseph and Chris Canty. Remember that the Giants like to move their DE's inside as well. Once August gets here it will have been almost three calendar years since he played in a football game. The Giants will love to get him some work but to expect a huge impact right away might be a bit unrealistic.

SALOMONE: Fact - There's a waiting list, but the defensive line takes pride in "everyone eating." Austin has been out of football for two seasons, but I still think he could be that dominant player that was being compared to the best coming out of college. Whether or not Jerry Reese was just sending some motivation when he said he has concern for Austin, he can work his way into the rotation. Chris Canty and the emerging Linval Joseph aren't going anywhere, meaning Austin will have to capitalize on all the – however limited – reps he can get. Also, like Schmeelk said, it depends on your definition of "impact."

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