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Thirteen OTA takeaways: Giants' D will miss Will Hill

Will Hill was a football oddity last season as a Pro Bowl-level player flying under the radar in the nation's media capital.

Having expended time and energy attempting to turn Hill's suspension-ravaged career around, the New York Giants waived the safety on Monday.

The organization decided Hill was out of chances after three strikes against the NFL's drug policy.

Much like Daryl Washington's ban was a crushing blow to the Arizona Cardinals, Hill's dismissal will cut deep into Perry Fewell's defense.

As we pointed out in Monday's edition of the Around The League Podcast, the Giants opened the 2013 season 0-4 while surrendering a whopping 36.5 points per game with Hill under suspension. After Hill returned to the starting lineup in Week 5, the record improved to 7-5 behind an improved defense, allowing a more reasonable 19.5 points per game.

From the beginning of October through the end of the season, Hill earned a higher Pro Football Focus grade than any safety in the league.

At a time of the year when optimism is typically riding high, Hill isn't the only player facing tribulations.

Let's take a spin around the league:

1. Knowshon Moreno is off to a rough start in Miami. Noticeably out of shape, Moreno continues to work primarily with the second-team offense while Lamar Miller handles the bulk of the first-team reps.

2. It's not all bad news with the Dolphins. Mike Wallace believes new coordinator Bill Lazor's offense is "so much better" than Mike Sherman's last season.

Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle is predicting that a bulked-up Dion Jordan is "going to explode this season." It's so far, so good on the Koa Mili experiment at middle linebacker.

3. Seahawks pass rusher Bruce Irvin expects to return for training camp after undergoing hip surgery on Monday.

4. Titans linebacker Akeem Ayers is still recovering from offseason surgery to repair damage to the patella tendon in both knees.

5. Raiders cornerback D.J. Hayden was sporting a walking boot on his right foot after rolling his ankle last week. Coach Dennis Allen downplayed the injury, saying he doesn't expect it to be anything serious.

6. Jaguars second-round rookie wide receiver Allen Robinson will be sidelined for a few weeks with a hamstring injury.

7. Jeremy Maclin gave the Eagles a scare when he took a hard fall and stayed down for a moment in Monday's practice, but he ended up none the worse for the wear. Maclin reportedly looked "very smooth" and "explosive" coming in and out of his breaks prior to the tumble.

8. Texans coach Bill O'Brien told reporters Monday that linebacker Brian Cushing is expected to return from his broken fibula and torn LCL by training camp.

9. As it turns out, the Patriots were indeed the mystery team that hosted free agent Jermichael Finley on Friday. If he signs in New England, the Pats would have two Comeback Player of the Year candidates at tight end.

10. With Sean Lee out, the Cowboys opened Monday's practice with Justin Durant in the middle and Kyle Wilber at strong-side linebacker. Wilber will get competition from DeVonte Holloman and freshly signed fourth-round rookie Anthony Hitchens.

11. A week after raving about Michael Floyd's play at OTAs, Carson Palmer predicted the third-year wide receiver will "shock some people" with a breakout season.

12. The Saints brought back veteran center Jonathan Goodwin. The Steelers reportedly remain interested in re-signing free agent defensive end Brett Keisel for the veteran minimum salary.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" picks their favorites for Comeback Player of the Year and takes listener calls.

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