Giants cut Shane Smith, J.T. Thomas sent to IR, sign Deontae Skinner


The New York Giants cut fullback Shane Smith Thursday.

Smith, an undrafted free agent out of San Jose State, played in just 12 snaps in the first two games. He wasn’t on the field for any offensive snaps in the Week 3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Giants are 30th in rushing after three games, the only teams with fewer yards on the ground are the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Dolphins and Bucs have played one fewer game after their Week 1 matchup was moved to Week 11 due to Hurricane Irma.

It was thought that having a fullback would bolster the Giants’ rushing attack and diversify the Giants’ offense. Unfortunately, it did neither. The Giants almost exclusively line up in the same offensive set: three wide receivers, a tight end, and a running back. Smith wasn’t even on the field in crucial short yardage situations against the Eagles.

Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan says that Smith’s release doesn’t mean the Giants will revert to last year’s offense which averaged only 19 points a game.

“By no means does the fact that right now with this roster move does it dictate that it is going to be an all Zebra 11 personnel, all up-tempo,” Sullivan said.

The Giants said earlier in the week the fullback role would be filled by one of the tight ends, most likely Rhett Ellison.

“There are guys on the roster who are able to line up in the backfield and be a lead blocker. Rhett is one of those guys,” Sullivan said. “There are some other guys you can mention, names that are on the roster.”

Sullivan may be referring to Jerell Adams or Matt LaCosse but Ellison is the best option. He helped paved the way for Adrian Peterson when he was a member of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Giants also placed linebacker J.T. Thomas (groin) Thursday. Thomas signed a three-year, $10 million contract in 2015. He struggled with injuries ever since and took a pay cut in each of the last two seasons in order to remain on the team. Thomas only played in 15 games since signing that contract.

The team is need of linebackers because of injuries to B.J. Goodson (shin) and Jonathan Casillas (ankle/wrist). To bolster the linebacking corps, the Giants signed Deontae Skinner and promoted Nordly “Cap” Capi from the practice squad.

Skinner played in four regular season games and the Wild Card Game with the Giants last season but released during the final cuts this summer.

Capi signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent out of Akron in 2015. He has spent time on the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons practice squads. Capi was on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad for most of last season. He had 13 combined tackles (11 solo), 1.5 sacks, and eight quarterback hits during the preseason. Capi signed with the Giants’ practice squad two days after the Cardinals released him.

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