Sep 302015
 


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INJURY REPORT – VICTOR CRUZ SUFFERS SETBACK…
TE Daniel Fells (ankle), TE Jerome Cunningham (knee), and LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP) did not practice on Wednesday.

WR Victor Cruz (calf), RB Orleans Darkwa (knee), LT Ereck Flowers (ankle), DE Robert Ayers (hamstring), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (foot), and DT Markus Kuhn (knee) practiced on a limited basis.

Cruz tried to practice for the first time since August 17, but apparently suffered a setback. “Victor came out and tried to do individuals,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He felt the calf again and that’s all he did.”

“(Cruz) did some individual stuff, ran a few routes and that was about it,” QB Eli Manning said. “We’ll see how it goes…Hopefully, it’s just minor.”

“It sucks, to say the least,” said WR Rueben Randle. “We could see a little limp in him a little bit once he tried to turn up and run. We could tell that he wasn’t quite ready yet to play full speed. I’m pretty sure if we needed him to play he could play, but he still can sit out a little bit and rest up…We were just running routes in individual, it wasn’t a play. We could just see once he tried to turn up a little bit, he kind of looked a little gimpy, kind of holding back a little bit. I don’t think he’s too far away, but I don’t think he’s quite there yet.

“He wasn’t the Cruz that we know. That’s what we want to see, we don’t want to rush him back and hurt it even more. We were trying to tell him, ‘Don’t try to stress it too much, take as much time as possible,’ because we didn’t want him to hurt it even worse than what it is and have to be out even longer. As his teammates, we care for him and want him to come back as healthy as possible.”

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion) fully practiced.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The Giants have terminated the Practice Squad contracts of WR Julian Talley and OG Vinston Painter. The team also signed QB G.J. Kinne and WR Tavarres King to the Practice Squad.

Kinne was on the Giants Practice Squad for a week earlier this month. Kinne was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New York Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Jets (2012), UFL – Omaha Nighthawks (2012), AFL – Antonio Talons (2013), and Philadelphia Eagles (2013-15). After spending two years on Philadelphia’s Practice Squad in 2013-14, the Eagles converted him from quarterback to wide receiver and running back. Kinne lacks ideal size for a quarterback but he is a very good athlete with a decent arm.

King was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He has spent time with the Broncos (2013), Panthers (2013-14), Jaguars (2014), and Buccaneers (2014-15). King was waived by the Buccaneers in early September. King lacks ideal size, but he is a fast receiver who can get deep. He is not a physical player and is best suited as an outside receiver.

WORKOUT TUESDAY…
As normal, the New York Giants held workouts for a number of unsigned players on Tuesday. But this week, there were a number of high-profile players in attendance including WR Hakeem Nicks, WR Wes Welker, and TE Chris Cooley. The only workout player signed was WR Tavarres King.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
The transcript of Tom Coughlin’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video of player media sessions on Wednesday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

The audio of radio interviews on Tuesday are also available at ESPN Radio and WFAN Radio:

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday and hold physical recovery cycles on Friday in advance of Sunday’s away game against the Buffalo Bills.

Sep 282015
 
Andre Williams, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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INJURY REPORT…
The Giants held a walk-through practice on Monday and were not required to issue an official injury report. However, it did not appear as if WR Victor Cruz (calf), RB Orleans Darkwa (knee), TE Jerome Cunningham (knee), LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP), and DT Markus Kuhn (knee) did much work.

“(Cruz) worked on the side,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin, who said Cruz was scheduled to work on the side on Monday. “Hopefully he’ll be able to practice (on Wednesday).”

“I’m convinced I’m playing Sunday,” said Cruz. “I feel good. I’m excited to be out there, excited to run some routes again today. The calf felt great…I ran about 20 routes just to kind of get myself used to running routes again, get my body used to running them again, seeing how the calf felt running routes. It felt good, there were no setbacks, everything felt fluid.”

Darkwa said an MRI taken on his knee on Friday showed no structural damage and that he should be fine.

It appeared that LT Ereck Flowers (ankle), DE Robert Ayers (hamstring), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (foot), and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion) all participated in at least some of the walk-through practice.

“It feels better,” said Flowers. “Yeah, (the extra time) was really helpful…(This week) is what I’m working toward.”

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
The transcript of Tom Coughlin’s press conference on Monday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video of player media sessions on Monday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES

GIANTS-REDSKINS: SIGHTS AND SOUNDS…
A sights and sounds video from the Giants’ 32-21 victory over the Washington Redskins is now available at Giants.com.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s game in Buffalo against the Bills.

Sep 272015
 

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New York Giants 32 – Washington Redskins 21

Confusing Intro

Two 4th quarter leads blown, 0-2 and playing without your starting LT, best cover corner and best DL against a suddenly revitalized Washington Redskins (161 and 182 yards on the ground to open the year against two of the best defensive fronts in the league in St. Louis and Miami) team that vows to “Break the man in front of you”, were the Giants already dead in week three?  Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your team here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do.

It turns out the Giants did learn from their first two weeks, not taking their collective feet off the gas in a 32-21 win over the Washington Redskins. Staked to an early 9-0 bulge thanks to a Prince Amukamara INT and Rashad Jennings blocked punt for a safety, the Giants were never really threatened in this one despite a 101-yard kickoff return in the 4th quarter that cut a 32-14 lead to 32-21 and had to make some Giant fans wonder, are we going to cough up the lead again? Never fear, Kirk Cousins is here, and the former Spartan was again generous throwing 2 costly INTs, one inside his own 20 and another when it appeared the Skins were finally gaining some footing on offense. Questions will be raised about Tom Coughlin’s sanity again though, because with under 2 minutes left in the game he inexplicably chose to throw the ball on a 3rd-and-10, essentially gifting his opponent about 40 seconds of clock time late in the game for the second time in three weeks. Fortunately this was Kirk Cousins and not Matt Ryan or Tony Romo and the Skins final effort was an 8-play, 64-yard clunker that ended on a 26-yard garbage time run as time expired. The Giants are not quite dead, which means we can’t yet go through their pockets and look for loose change but we just might get a miracle if the teams in the NFC East keep losing players and we start to get some back next week against the Buffalo Bills.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Quarterbacks

My name is Eli Manning, you killed my first two games, prepare to die. Eli Manning started the game 8-of-8, looking sharp and decisive with the ball, seeming to involve Rueben Randle early to get the 4th-year pro in a groove to help this offense. Manning found Odell Beckham on a 4th-and-1 conversion on a simply perfect pass low and outside where only his WR could make the catch and again Beckham was on the receiving end of a perfectly-placed toss into the end zone to the high post. Despite the first two games and non-stop criticism, Eli stepped onto the big stage and did what Eli does, he played to win the game and he did just that. That is the Eli we want, that is the Eli we expect and with another makeshift OL, no real slot WR and a frustrating TE situation the Big E came up huge when he had to. Up 25 to 14, instead of going into a shell, Eli and company fired the dagger with a back shoulder pass to Rueben Randle that DB Bashaud Breeland (can someone name a kid Bill or Ted or something, ffs this is getting out of control) tipped, but Randle gathered it and went in for the score. Manning finished the day with 279 yards, 2 TDs and again no interceptions.

Running Backs

Andre Williams gets the first nod for his bruising TD run over left guard following a Prince Amukamara INT to stake the G-men to a 9-0 lead. Late in the 3rd quarter, Williams did his best Brandon Jacobs, in trucking FS Trenton Robinson on a 5-yard run that had to make Skins fans shudder at the memory of old #27 obliterating S LaRon Landry. Other than that, a pretty poor night for the backs again, with a paltry 2.7 ypc average with 11 yards as the long run of the night. This mix and match zone runs and power runs has the OL and backs tied up and simply not performing well at all. It may be time to see what Orleans Darkwa can do because this running game is dead in the water. FB Nikita Whitlock didn’t play many snaps on offense. RB Shane Vereen was held catchless and only touched the ball 6 times but his alert onside recovery saved what could have turned into another late game meltdown.

Rueben Randle, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Rueben Randle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Wide Receivers

Someone must have threatened to put Rueben Randle’s hand in warm water the next time he falls asleep if he didn’t show up this week, because the 4th-year former Bayou Bengal came out punching and didn’t let up. Randle ran a great DIG route on a 3rd-and-8 early in the 3rd to pick up a key conversion. To top things off, Randle pulled in a 3rd-and-10 with the Giants up 11 and only 3:33 left, and raced home for the game-clinching TD. Great night for Randle who finished with 116 yards on 7 grabs and the game-clinching TD. Superlatives simply don’t work anymore when discussing Odell Beckham Jr. He finished with a pedestrian (for him) 79 yards on 7 catches but his 4th-and-1 snag of a low slider from Eli and his effortless grab of a post in the end zone that was high and near a defender just shows how composed he is with the ball in the air and how much his QB trusts him.

Tight Ends

Washington-killer TE Larry Donnell killed a Giants drive midway through the 2nd quarter. An easy 3rd-and-7 conversion fell right through the 6’6” Donnell’s hands killing a drive that ended in a FG. The head scratcher? Donnell seemed to somersault just because he can on a 22-yard catch from Manning as the 4th quarter opened. I mean he didn’t fumble so that’s great but the non-induced gymnastics need to go. Every time he plays, Daniel Fells seems to have a big catch down the seam. Manning found Fells on a seam route on a Giants scoring drive midway through the second quarter. Fells deked LB Keenan Robinson with a jab step outside, got inside leverage and ran a perfect seam route for a 23-yard gain. He’s not flashy, but Fells is as fundamentally sound a TE as this team has had for some time.

Offensive Line

Without starting LT Ereck Flowers, things appeared to be grim against a Washington front that gave the Dolphins and Rams fits. Overall, not a bad job really, though at times RT Marshall Newhouse tried out his new skates when Ryan Kerrigan lined up over him. Newhouse did gave up some pressures, but kept a clean sheet and against a player of Kerrigan’s caliber that’s worth a pat on the backside. Not from me of course, that would be weird. The signal caller was kept clean all game and with few exceptions the pocket was fairly well-formed and stable most of the night. There was definitely pressure at times, but credit C Weston Richburg for keeping slight pressures from becoming drive-killing sacks by helping and switching to double team when needed. LT Justin Pugh acquitted himself well in rookie tough guy Flowers’ absence, and dare I say it, LG John Jerry played a pretty solid game, using his considerable backside to anchor well against a very big and very physical Washington front 7. Against bigger, physical lines, the 680 lb guard tandem of Geoff Schwartz and Jerry will actually be a big plus. C Weston Richburg largely goes unnoticed but ask Eli how much he appreciates room to step up into the pocket and the ability to dump off a screen pass and have his agile pivot man get out in front of the play and actually give it a shot. Another unsung improvement who won’t be on Sports Center or make the Daily News’ goofy headlines, but rest assured our 2nd year center is becoming exactly what this offense needs, a steady sturdy leader who can captain this young and now promising OL.

New York Giants Defense (September 24, 2015)

New York Giants Defense – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Defensive Line

Kerry Wynn made his mark early, knifing through on a 3rd down to drop Matt Jones for a loss and force punt #2. Wynn finished with 8 stops and a QB hit, and in case that doesn’t tell the story clearly, that would be a 128-tackle season for a DL. As a point of reference, Hall of Famer Michael Strahan’s best year was 2005 when he finished with 81 stops. Am I inducting Kerry Wynn into the Hall of Fame because he went to school in Virginia? Yes, yes I am. Wynn likely won’t ever make a Pro Bowl or spit pieces of a PBJ on a reporter, but make no mistake, #72 was a difference-maker all night against what was a vaunted Washington running game. Consistent backside tackles and an ability to hold the edge made Wynn a force all night. His linemates didn’t fill up the stat sheet, but play after play, the Giants DL played with outstanding technique, not allowing cut-back lanes, shutting off the edge and forcing bruising RBs Matt Jones and Alfred Morris to churn out yards inside. The G-Men held the W’s to 88 yards, 26 of it on a last-second run that can easily be tossed out to show how dominant this group was all night. Cool moment of the night: FB/DT Nikita Whitlock had an impressive 360 spin to get in Cousins face from the NT spot and force an incompletion. With the Skins down 19 entering the 4th quarter, it was pin your ears back time and the Giants DL didn’t get much in the way of sacks, though Kerry Wynn and Jay Bromley each chipped in with a couple of QB hurries. That lack of pressure may come back to bite this group eventually but we’ll take this one week at a time and worry about that when and if it happens.

Linebackers

OLB Devon Kennard just keeps making play after play. The 2nd-year former Trojan LOVES contact and it shows. Kennard’s ability to shock with his hands is something this team hasn’t seen since Carl Banks roamed the Meadowlands. What made Banks such a dynamic run and edge defender was his ability to stay square and “shock” or jolt the man blocking him violently with his hands, holding the vaunted edge and controlling the running game. Kennard does the same thing when asked in 3-4 sets, and he gets better every week at it. It’s not glamorous, it’s not cool but key on #59 a few times and watch how violent his hands are and how aggressively he defeats blocks of 300lb lineman with ease. It’s a beautiful thing. LB Jonathan Casillas may have had the whiff of the game when he was handed a perfect blitz and clean shot at Kirk Cousins and he ran right past the QB. It was coincidentally the same fake-blitz-that-becomes-a-blitz that LB Kawika Mitchell executed in Super Bowl 42 to hurry a Tom Brady throw. At the snap, Casillas takes a drop step into his zone, then zips inside a lane created by the DL, only to miss a chance at a sack. Casillas was almost victimized by TE Jordan Reed who had flown past the LB into the end zone but Kirk Cousined it and the Skins were forced to kick the oblong pigskin for points. LB Jon Beason returned from his latest injury room vacation but didn’t register a tackle or have really any impact in limited action. He did avoid a season-ending injury so let’s call that a win. Beason’s understudy (hoping to make the journey from Milan to Minsk) Uani’ Unga picked off a Cousins’ pass with the Skins driving and the G-Men up 12. And with the Giants scoring on the ensuing possession, that INT turned out to be a huge moment in the game. It was of course tipped by Devon Kennard who had perfect coverage on the play and batted the ball into the air, so just get used to 59 making things happen seemingly all over the field. Unga could be blamed on Chris Thompson’s TD catch late in the 4th quarter as the old-young rookie failed to get sufficient depth in his drop, opening a small window for the Cousins pass.

Landon Collins, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Defensive Backs

Prince Amukamara, victimized by Julio Jones and the Falcons game-winning drive, redeemed himself instantly with an INT inside Washington territory that led to an early and easy TD. The Prince batted away a pass to a seemingly-open Pierre Garcon. S Landon Collins looks like he’s rounding into form, making a key breakup early in the 2nd quarter against athletic TE Jordan Reed. Collins had Reed in man coverage all the way and Collins looked to be beaten but he closed down quickly, read Reed’s eyes and turned to find the ball and knock it away at the last second. The ball could have been thrown a bit better, but credit Collins with one of those little smart football things (watching a WRs eyes when running with him to find the ball) that don’t get enough credit. Heady play by the rookie. I bemoaned the signing of S Brandon Meriweather, but thus far #22 has been a solidifying force in the secondary. His strong effort around the line of scrimmage and ability to support the run game have been critical in this defense’s ability to limit ground yardage. Everyone’s favorite punching bag now that Markus Kuhn is on the pine, is undoubtedly CB Jayron Hosley, but the former weird giant turkey mascot school product was solid save for a pass interference call in what was probably his best game as a Giant in coverage.

Special Teams

Finally, finally something special! Rashad Jennings of all people, called for a running into the kicker play that was wiped out by offsetting penalties, came back on the re-do and blocked P Tress Way’s offering into the end zone for an early safety and a silly looking 2-0 lead. I’ll be honest, I really wanted the game to end 2-0. Rueben Randle tried his best to be Chris Calloway as the Redskins last ditch onside kick glanced off the WR’s..well his everything, but Shave Vereen corralled the ball and finally put the team at ease that a victory was within reach, almost. After Rueben Randle’s TD put the G-men up 32-14, disaster struck again as a 101-yard kickoff return for a TD put the game AGAIN on edge but the ensuing onside kick flashed through Randle’s hands, not making contact and the Giants could finally breathe easy.

Coaching

Two simply head scratching calls on 3rd downs from Ben McAdoo. One was an out to TE Daniel Fells, not even close to the first down. And the other was the EXACT same play late in the 3rd that tied up Larry Donnell like a young Bruce Wayne finding all those bats in that hole. Swatting, panicking, falling, Donnell looked awful, but even if caught, he’s 5 yards short. With the best WR in…I would say NFL, most would call me nuts so let’s go best WR in the stadium…and a 6’2” slot WR at your disposal, you decide that slow, sessile TEs should get the ball 5 yards shy of the first down marker because they are so very fast? Mind numbing play calls. That said, McAdoo kept at the run despite it not working to keep the defense honest and eventually it broke the game open as the G-Men erupted for 32 points against a thus far stingy Washington defense that had held the Dolphins and Rams in check.

Nobody gets ‘em ready like old Tommy C. Think about this for a moment. 0-2, he’s too old, his eyes seem more beady than usual (according to me only but seriously they are way beadier now), no Ereck Flowers, no Victor Cruz, no DRC, no Robert Ayers, on short rest against a confident and physical Washington team. The Giants came out and again fought from whistle to whistle, scrapping on defense, specials and offense wire to wire. It’s too early to know what this season will hold, but give Tom an A+++ for game preparation this week with an undermanned squad and tons of pressure, his charges came out swinging. That said, the throw on 3rd down with Washington out of time outs was another late-game head scratcher. My guess is he wanted to be aggressive and get the first down and ice the game since being conservative has led to blowing two 10-point 4th-quarter leads. Not the worst idea given that Randle scored on a similar play a drive earlier, but you have to bleed the clock in that situation, take the extra 40 seconds off and don’t risk stopping the clock there.

By now you all know how I feel about Spags. I love the way he attacks and I love the confidence and speed his teams play with. He has a rookie and a has-been at safety who have had rough patches but overall have acquitted themselves well. He has LBs who can’t cover and LBs who can’t play the run and he actually uses them according to their strengths. This is a team devoid of difference makers on defense. But the speed and aggression they play proves that the whole is better than the sum of its parts and team defense can keep you in games if everyone believes. And this group does.

Inside the Game 

So how are the Giants thus far throttling teams on the ground with the same cast of characters that former DC Perry Fewell led to a 30th-place finish in rushing yards allowed with a whopping 135.1 yards per game against, and dead last in yards-per-attempt at 4.9 yards per carry? FOUR POINT NINE yards per carry, let that sink in for a moment; it means if you run the ball twice you’re looking at 3rd and 7.2 inches to go on average. Through three games, admittedly a small sample size, Steve Spagnuolo’s group is 2nd in yards, giving up 74.7 yards per game and tied for 4th in yards per attempt at 3.4 yards per carry. So what’s been the one big difference? It’s been discussed before, but here it is: the 4-3 shift to a Base 50 or Oklahoma 5-2 front utilizing OLB Devon Kennard as the edge setting run weapon and utilizing 320lb DT Jonathan Hankins as a true nose tackle who can alter the game from that spot. (Captions below pics).

4-3

Notice in this frame, the Skins come out with 3 WRs, 1 TE and one RB, and motion the WR across the formation to get the Giants to shift to the backside of the play, presumably to open up a hole outside the TE and up the field on the right. The Skins had drummed the vaunted Rams front to the tune of 182 rushing yards with similar plays that hemmed in the Rams DEs and neutralized speedy and disruptive DT Aaron Donald.

5-2

As the WR goes in motion, so too does LB Devon Kennard, who shifts to his OLB role, creating what is now a 5-2 front. This shift to get Kennard up to the LOS had worked well in weeks 1 and 2, but the Skins are ready and are running AWAY from Kennard on the play.

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DE George Selvie gets hooked initially and a big lane opens up. But the shift by the Redskins – designed to get safety Brandon Meriweather to slide inside as a true FS as safety Landon Collins is forced to follow the WR in motion and play in the slot, and isolate CB Jayron Hosley on the edge – play side doesn’t work. A big hole develops as you can see above. RB Alfred Morris now has a huge lane to run in, but S Brandon Meriweather, instead of shifting inside to safety to cover for S Landon Colllins, moved up to play CB and take on the block of the WR, as CB Jayron Hosley sat back to put a body in the hole and allow his teammates to “screw down” or move their blockers down the LOS to collapse a running lane. Had Hosley moved to the WR and Meriweather slid back to FS, this play could potentially go for a score or at least a very long gain but Spagnuolo’s trust (or gamble) in leaving CB Prince Amukamara and S Landon Collins in man coverage on the backside means the priority is stifling the ground game.

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Hosley’s presence and Meriweather’s physicality in fighting off the WR’s block cause Morris to stutter step in the hole and cost himself the advantage his TE and RT had initially created. The play goes for 6 yards, a win for the offense usually, but this was a home run-type of running play a year ago. But because the focus on stopping the ground game is clearly a priority, Spags was ready with a smart non-backside play shift that kept a bigger more physical safety to take on a wide receiver’s block and two DEs outside of the NT to help screw down and close the hole after Morris was forced to hesitate. That hesitation cost Morris a huge gain and showed precisely how this team is more prepared and willing to sell out to stop the run. The Skins shift does get Kennard up on the line and moves him away from the play, but it does NOT get Meriweather to slide inside, which would have left Hosley on an island. Chalk one up to the Giants on that one for seeing a tendency, seeming to play into it but having a plan to counter on the backside.

Cram it in your Cramhole Award

It has to go to the Washington team for having the unmitigated gall to hire Perry Fewell. I still have sleepless nights thinking about the Seahawks running for 875 yards against us (dramatization, may have been fewer) and they not only hire the dolt but SHOW HIM ON TV! OK, technically it’s CBS’ fault for showing him but I firmly believe that I speak for all Giant fans, DO NOT SHOW PERRY FEWELL ON TV. Not now…not ever. Just don’t do it. Thankfully Fewell learned nothing in his time here and was totally unable to slow down a passing offense he saw in person every single day. Don’t ever change Perry, you stink and we love you for it…now that you’re gone of course.

(Washington Redskins at New York Giants, September 24, 2015)
Sep 252015
 


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HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media by conference call on Friday:

We’ve talked to our team this morning and we’ve had a chance to look at the tape, and we did a lot of good things and we left some things out on the field that need to be corrected. I spent some time, obviously, congratulating our team and telling them that the effort for the most part was outstanding, and that’s got to remain right where it is. The passion, the effort, the believing, the rallying around each other and realizing the importance of the game, not only the divisional game, but just to get on the board here to become hopefully relevant. But once all those things were pointed out, I did spend some time talking about the end of the game, and how I realize we’re under construction, but the patience factor is really—we’re into our third game here. We do need to understand how to finish better than we did. I pointed out that with 11 (minutes) and some seconds left in the fourth quarter with a 25-6 lead, the Washington team ran something like 39 plays, our offense ran 10. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. You’d like to think you can finish the game with the ball in your hands and we would certainly like to erase the kickoff return against.

But that having been said, we did do a good job against the number one rushing team in the NFL, and we played solid defense. We took care of the ball, we were plus-three, we got a punt block for a safety which was an outstanding play, we got Rueben Randle involved in the offensive scheme. We had some rushes that we thought were going to come right out the other end, but the ball carrier was tripped up and didn’t advance as far as we had hoped we would have. We did hold the ball longer than the number two team in the league in time of possession, which was a good thing. We ran the ball 31 times, which was something I was glad to see. We threw it 32 and ran it 31, I liked that balance completely. We were not sacked, our offensive line did a good job. Justin Pugh in a midstream-type adjust type thing went out to left tackle and did a nice job. I thought Marshall Newhouse against a very, very good outside rusher in Kerrigan did a good job as well. So that having been said, we were pleased with a lot of the contributions made by a lot of people on the defensive side of the ball on a night in which we had to rise up and play well. Their play action pass game was outstanding off the run, and they opened the game up opening and breaking some formations, going to empty and doing some things that they hadn’t necessarily shown. We did a pretty good of adjusting to that.

Q: What about Victor Cruz’s status coach?

A: He’s improving and we’re hoping. He’s running. He’ll be running all weekend and we’re hoping that there’s nothing but straight ahead positives in all his activities and we’ll see next week if we can get him on the practice field.

Q: Tom, right after the two-minute warning, you guys faced a third down and Eli threw the ball downfield. The Redskins did not have any timeouts left. Looking back, should you guys have maybe run the ball and drained the clock with an 11 point lead?

A: No. We threw a ball on third and 10 for a touchdown in the series before that. We ran the ball twice, we milked as much of the clock as we could. I wanted a first down that we might keep the ball even longer, and I felt confident that we would be able to achieve that. We put the quarterback in as safe as possible position. We ran a very conservative route with Odell Beckham. It just didn’t work out. I think the quarterback probably had to release it a little bit earlier than he wanted to. I understand the strategy you’re trying to get at just as much as you do. Believe me, it went through my mind, but we’ve got to get this thing flipped around a little bit. We’re going to have to play to keep the ball as much as we can in those situations and not just punt the ball back to the defense.

We did have an 11 point lead, as you said. It’s not as safe as earlier on when we had a 16 point lead and they couldn’t touch us with two touchdowns, or at least it would have been very difficult. We’re trying to win the game and keep the ball, and have the ball at the end of the game. I weighed all of those things and I felt like this is the way we should play it. As I said, we had thrown a touchdown pass—a much-needed touchdown pass—prior in a third and 10 situation as well. You ask a strategic question, which certainly is something that should be considered, and I did consider it, but I did not agree that that’s the way we should play. I would want this offensive team to feel more responsibility. We’ve been in this situation before this year. There’s something about shifting gears and playing like that, it bothers me. If you can dominate the run, it’s very difficult this day to do that because you’re going to face eight, nine people in the box, it’s going to be very hard to run. The four-minute concepts that you and I both had 10 years ago, those things have pretty much come and gone. It’s most difficult to do just that.

A few years ago, the naked bootleg was a part of the four-minute package and gave you a chance to throw the ball as safely as you possibly could. I still agree with that to a certain extent. If you make a mistake and they come off the edge on you and you’re unprotected there, that can be disaster, too. But there does come a point in time, I think, today where you change formations and you open up a little bit—as safe as you can be—don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about some foolish throw, I’m just saying you want to end the game with the ball in your hands, you don’t want to keep putting your defense in a position where they have to make stop after stop when you know what’s coming. People are opening up and just throwing the ball all over the place trying to get back in the game. So I mean, that’s just the way I feel about it. I normally would entertain any thought you might have about that, I do understand it’s a strategy call, but I don’t bat an eye about what we did last night and I would defend our actions to anybody.

Q: In a relatively short period of time, how far do you think Landon Collins has come?

A: You can see him improve in confidence and play each week. You can see him become more aggressive, you can see him more confident in communicating with the other members of the secondary each week. So from that standpoint, I think he’s made progress each and every time he’s played. I think he gets a little bit better at his position each week.

Q: How did you determine the rotation between Jon Beason and Uani ‘Unga? Is that going to change going forward?

A: You know, I don’t know. They’re both outstanding players and we need them both. We had personnel combinations that we had Jon in, and Uani was in other combinations. And Jon was coming back for his first actual playing time, and we wanted to make sure that he was extended and got a chance to line up next weekend in anticipation of some more snaps. We have a young player that’s made two outstanding interceptions, that’s athletic, that is fast, and is growing into the position. And we have a veteran that is so extremely well-thought of, he’s voted captain of the defensive team, and we feel like we’re fortunate in that we’ll be able to utilize both of these players.

Q: Your run defensive is obviously something you wanted to improve this offseason. What did you see yesterday that made it so effective, and why has it been so much improved this season in general?

A: Well, it was the number one thing we had to stop, and we knew that. So that’s our number one objective, there were many objectives, but that was number one. And our guys rose up against a very, very good offensive line. They had their runs, but we did a good job. The guys in there did a nice job, whether it be Selvie, whoever it might be. The guys did a very, very nice job. Hankins did a nice job, Bromley did a nice job. Guys that were rolled in there in those roles, Kerry Wynn did a nice job. The linebackers, Kennard did an outstanding job at the point of attack. We dressed eight people on the defensive line and we dressed seven linebackers and there was a reason for it.

Q: I’m curious, when you brought the players together, did you observe a sense of relief or change in mood?

A: No, not really. Not really. I think that most players, the day after a game, certainly when you win, they’re reinforced and they feel very good about that. But they are intent on listening to what you have to say about the evaluation of the game and they did look forward to that today again. Fortunately, we could compliment a lot, but we also had a chance to do some teaching, and we did.

Q: Going back to Cruz for a second. When he’s ready, when he’s healthy enough to play, will there be less emphasis on Rueben Randle such as there was last night or can all three of them play?

A: Oh, all three of them can play. There wouldn’t any less of anything, I hope. I hope we’d have more.

Q: One in the slot and the other two split?

A: For the most part. They all move around, they all get in different spots.

Q: Victor talked about his goal of being ready for this week. Is that the way you guys are looking at it as well?

A: I hope so. That’s what we’re being told.

Q: We also saw DRC doing some running. How is he? Is he cleared?

A: Yeah, he’s going to be okay. He’s going to be fine.

Q: Is Prince alright today?

A: Yeah.

Q: How about Flowers while we’re talking about injury guys?

A: Well, we’ll see. We’ll see. Hopefully this will be a good weekend for him in the training room.

Q: You don’t find many 250-pound defensive tackles anymore in the NFL. Is Nikita Whitlock a legitimate player there or is he a desperation player there?

A: No, no, he’s legitimate. He played defensive line in college. He’s a tremendous energy player who’s very quick, very difficult for these offensive lineman to just be in position and stay with because he does have the spin moves and the acceleration and those types of things. In a limited capacity, he is an excellent change of pace, and you saw that he can generate some pressure.

Q: What did you think when you saw him play on film?

A: Pretty much just what I said. He had a couple pressures and he plays hard in there. He’s fast, he’s very energetic, and he has outstanding quickness. So that’s what people have to contend with.

Q: Was there a point, and I ask this good-naturedly, when you had to kind of get over the fact that you could play him on the defensive line but he that doesn’t weigh 300 pounds?

A: No. As a matter of fact, we had him in pass-rush circumstances during camp. Everybody wanted to see more, the defense wanted to see more. So we’ve extended a little bit as we’ve gone along here, not to a great extent, last night was the most. But he does have that unique ability, and you know what, he plays so hard on special teams. As a fullback, he’s very physical, throws his body around up in the line of scrimmage. He can wear different hats.

Q: You said before you didn’t sense a difference in the mood of the team. But don’t you feel more alive today?

A: Well, I didn’t say that part of it. I thought I was trying to answer a question, I don’t know what I was trying to answer, but I was not trying to tell you they’re not excited about having won and they’re not excited about winning a game and having a weekend off. No, they’re very much that way. I just tried to say that they present themselves in the meeting at first knowing full well we won, and looking forward to the comments that the coaching staff would make. I’m not trying to take anything away from how they react, this is certainly a lot more fun than it’s been the last couple weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say we didn’t enjoy our meeting time today.

Q: I’m guessing you’ve gotten out of Brad Wing what you hoped to get when you acquired him?

A: Well he’s gotten the ball of quickly. You saw last night we were under pressure a couple of times and he got the ball away, which was outstanding. We had a ball downed at the one-yard line two weeks in a row. His hang time has been good, his get-offs have been good, his location has been outstanding. He’s giving people a real interest in flying the field and being in position. So yeah, he’s helped us.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts or audio of Friday’s media sessions with the following players:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Saturday and Sunday and there will be no media availability to the Giants this weekend. The Giants return to work on Monday in preparation for next Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

Sep 252015
 
New York Giants Defense (September 24, 2015)

New York Giants Defense – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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NEW YORK GIANTS 32 – WASHINGTON REDSKINS 21…
The New York Giants may have saved their season with a convincing 32-21 victory over the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night. The Giants improved their overall record to 1-2 while the Redskins fell to 1-2.

The Redskins received the football to start the game but could not pick up a first down. After offsetting penalties negated the first punt, the second punt attempt by Washington was blocked by running back Rashad Jennings for a safety. New York was up quickly 2-0.

The Giants crossed midfield on their first offensive possession but were forced to punt. On the second snap of Washington’s second drive, cornerback Prince Amukamara picked off quarterback Kirk Cousins at the Redskins 20-yard line and returned it to the 14. Four plays later, running back Andre Williams scored from one yard out to make the game 9-0.

Prince Amukamara, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Prince Amukamara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Redskins went three-and-out on their third possession. The Giants responded with an 8-play, 47-yard drive that set up a 35-yard field goal by place kicker Josh Brown as the Giants expanded their lead to 12-0. The Redskins then finally moved the ball on their fourth possession, putting together a 10-play, 54-yard effort that resulted in a 44-yard field goal. Giants 12 – Redskins 3.

Both teams then exchanged field goal drives again, the first a 9-play, 47-yard possession by the Giants that resulted in a 36-yard field goal by Brown and then a 13-play, 61-yard possession by the Redskins that resulted in a 37-yard field goal. The Giants once again crossed midfield on their final possession of the first half but could not score. At halftime, the Giants led 15-6.

The Giants received the football to start the second half and promptly expanded their lead to 18-6 after a 15-play, 50-yard drive that took up half the third quarter. The Redskins responded with a scoring threat of their own that was dramatically stopped when linebacker Devon Kennard deflected a pass by Cousins that was intercepted by fellow linebacker Uani’ Unga at the New York 27-yard line.

The Giants then took charge of the game with an 8-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Odell Beckham. The Giants led 25-6 early in the fourth quarter.

The Redskins looked to make things interesting on their ensuing possession by driving deep into Giants territory. On 4th-and-1 from the Giants 7-yard line, running back Matt Jones picked up the first down but fumbled the ball out of bounds in the end zone, resulting in a touchback and a turnover. The Giants went three-and-out on the following possession. Washington then drove 74 yards in 12 plays to cut the score to 25-14 after a 4-yard touchdown pass and a successful 2-point conversion attempt with 3:40 to play.

Rueben Randle, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Rueben Randle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Running back Shane Vereen recovered a Redskins onside kick attempt at the Washington 41-yard line. Three plays later, on 3rd-and-10, Manning hit wide receiver Rueben Randle for a 41-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 32-14 advantage with 3:21 to play. However, the Redskins returned the ensuing kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown. The second Redskins onside kick went out of bounds. After a three-and-out by the Giants, the Redskins received the ball with 1:43 to play and advanced the ball to the Giants 14-yard line before the clock expired.

Offensively, the Giants gained 19 first downs and 363 total net yards (279 passing, 84 rushing). The team was only 4-of-12 on third down (33 percent). Manning completed 23-of-32 passes for 279 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions for a QB rating of 119.1. His leading receivers were Randle (7 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown) and Beckham (7 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown). Jennings gained 31 yards on 11 carries, Williams 29 yards on 14 carries, and Vereen 23 yards on six carries.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 22 first downs and 393 yards (305 passing, 88 rushing). The Redskins were 6-of-15 (40 percent) on third down and 2-of-3 (67 percent) on fourth down. The defense forced three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble). The only sack was by linebacker Jonathan Casillas

Video highlights/lowlights and the post-game locker room celebration are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Orleans Darkwa left the game with a knee injury and did not return. Cornerback Prince Amukamara hurt his ankle but returned to the football game.

POST-GAME REACTIONS…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Tom Coughlin and various players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
Inactive for the Giants were WR Victor Cruz (calf), TE Jerome Cunningham (knee), DE Robert Ayers (hamstring), DT Markus Kuhn (knee), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (foot), RT Ereck Flowers (ankle), and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion).

The Giants have won five games in a row over the Redskins.

The Giants improved to 15-7-3 on Thursdays, including 4-2 under Tom Coughlin.

For the second time in three games, the Giants did not commit a turnover.

QB Eli Manning increased his career touchdown pass total to 263. That broke a tie with Dave Krieg and moved Manning into 12th place on the NFL’s career list. Joe Montana is 11th with 273.

Justin Pugh made his first career start at left tackle. John Jerry started at left guard.

Middle linebacker Jon Beason made his 2015 debut after missing the first two games with a knee injury. Beason split time with Uani’ Unga, who led the Giants with nine tackles (six solo).

Jayron Holsey started at left cornerback for Rodgers-Cromartie.

Fullback Nikita Whitlock played several snaps at defensive tackle in the fourth quarter, as he did in the preseason finale in New England.

Sep 232015
 
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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INJURY REPORT…
In addition to LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP), the New York Giants have ruled the following players out of the game against the Washington Redskins on Thursday night:

  • WR Victor Cruz (calf)
  • TE Jerome Cunningham (knee)
  • DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (foot)
  • DT Markus Kuhn (knee)
  • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion)

LT Ereck Flowers (ankle) is doubtful for the game while DE Robert Ayers (hamstring) is questionable.

TE Daniel Fells (foot), RG Geoff Schwartz (illness), DE/DT Cullen Jenkins (hamstring), DT Jay Bromley (knee), and LB Jon Beason (knee) are probable.

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The 0-2 New York Giants will face the 1-1 Washington Redskins on Thursday night at MetLife Stadium.

Sep 232015
 
Tuffy Leemans, New York Giants (October 1, 1939)

Tuffy Leemans with ball, New York Giants at Washington Redskins (October 1, 1939)

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Washington Redskins at New York Giants, September 24, 2015

THE STORYLINE:
Who are the 2015 New York Giants? On paper, they are a young team led by the oldest and most experienced head coach in the NFL and a 34-year old, two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback. They currently only have one offensive weapon – Odell Beckham – who really scares the opposition in the passing game. The running game remains too unproductive and inconsistent. Defensively, the Giants appear to be a spunky group that lacks any impact player. They can’t rush the passer and they can’t close the deal in the 4th quarter. And once again, it’s a team that simply can’t stay healthy (8 players on Injured Reserve, 13 on the injury report).

The Giants should have stolen the game from the Cowboys, and not the other way around. They had the Falcons on the ropes until another 4th quarter meltdown. Is it a lack of talent? Bad coaching decisions at the wrong moments? Lack of confidence and expecting the worst to happen? Probably a combination of all of the above.

The issue now is that for the third season in a row, the Giants find themselves in a very bad 0-2 hole and risk making themselves irrelevant once again before November. Their saving grace is the state of the rest of the NFC East. It’s almost as if they’ve been given one final second chance. Don’t blow it Giants.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • WR Victor Cruz (calf – out)
  • OT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP and will not play)
  • TE Daniel Fells (foot – probable)
  • TE Jerome Cunningham (knee – out)
  • LT Ereck Flowers (ankle – doubtful)
  • RG Geoff Schwartz (illness – probable)
  • DE Robert Ayers (hamstring – questionable)
  • DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (foot – out)
  • DE/DT Cullen Jenkins (hamstring – probable)
  • DT Markus Kuhn (knee – out)
  • DT Jay Bromley (knee – probable)
  • LB Jon Beason (knee – probable)
  • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromarties (concussion – out)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Through two games, the Washington Redskins have the NFL’s #1 defense. It is #4 against the run and #2 against the pass. Part of that is due to having faced two offensively-challenged teams in the Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams. But the Redskins also shut down a Rams team that had just beaten the NFC Champions.

The Redskins operate a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Joe Barry. The defensive line was largely rebuilt in free agency with the additions of nose tackle Terrance Knighton and left defensive end Stephen Paea. Ex-Cowboy Jason Hatcher still mans the right defensive end position. Their job is to keep the Redskins talented and active linebackers free. Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is an aggressive, physical football player who can rush the passer. The other outside linebacker – Trent Murphy – is similar in style and a former 2nd round pick. Inside linebackers Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley make a lot of tackles. (Riley has been bothered by a calf injury).

Despite Washington’s #2 ranking against the pass, the Redskins could still be vulnerable in the secondary. They imported cornerback Chris Culliver and safety Dashon Goldson in the offseason from the 49ers and Buccaneers, respectively, to go along with cornerback DeAngelo Hall and safety Trenton Robinson. They really haven’t been tested yet by a serious passing game.

The Giants did the right thing in cutting Preston Parker. Unless he gets his head out of his ass quickly, I would be tempted to do the same with Rueben Randle. I’d rather take my chances with no-names like Geremy Davis and Julian Talley who at least look like they are giving an effort.

The Giants need to get the God-damn running game going. No excuses. You have four backs who you have invested a lot of resources in. Use them. Put Daniel Fells in at tight end and Nikita Whitlock at fullback and run the football. When throwing the football, look to Odell Beckham and Shane Vereen. Perhaps the site of Burgundy and Gold will inspire Larry Donnell to re-visit his three-TD game against the Redskins from last season.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The game plan is simple. Stop the run. Make the Redskins one dimensional and force Kirk Cousins to beat you. It’s easier said than done as ex-Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan appears to be doing marvelous job with a group that really struggled in the preseason. The Redskins are the #1 rushing team in the NFL despite facing two teams with very talented defensive lines. Trent Williams is one of the more talented (but sometimes inconsistent) left tackles in the NFL and the Redskins have high draft picks – Brandon Scherff at guard and Morgan Moses at tackle – manning the reinvigorated right side of the line. The two-head monster at tailback is Alfred Morris and rookie Matt Jones – both big, physical backs. This is old school football. The Redskins are going to attempt to pound the Giants right at the point-of-attack. Washington will challenge the toughness and manhood of Big Blue.

The good news for the Giants is that WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring) will not play. The two main threats in the passing game are WR Pierre Garcon and TE Jordan Reed (who is more of a dynamic H-Back). These are Kirk Cousins’ two go-to guys. Cousins is an up-and-down quarterback. Right now he is incredibly completing 76 percent of his passes but he will make the bone-headed turnover.

This is a game where the Giants front seven and secondary will have to play very tough, physical football for a full 60 minutes against the run. Defending the ground attack will be more important than rushing the passer in this game. The Giants will have to play their big boys up front. Do that and cover Garcon and Reed.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
The Giants are much better on special teams than the Redskins. This is an opponent where the team’s offseason additions could finally have a game-altering impact.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Tom Coughlin on the Washington Redskins: “Kirk Cousins, their quarterback, his percentage of completions is at 75 percent. They’re the number one rush team in the league, they’re the number two time of possession team in the league – almost 38 minutes a game. The opponent just doesn’t have the ball. Defensively, they’re number one in the league, fourth against the rush, second against the pass.”

THE FINAL WORD:
Through two games, the Redskins have proven to be a very fundamentally-sound football team. They are the #1 rushing team and the #1 defense in the NFL. The big worry here is stopping the Redskins ground game. That’s the key to the game.

For the last few years, we’ve heard the coaches and players say, “There’s still time to turn this around.” For the last few years, they’ve been dead wrong. It’s put up or shut up time right now. Or the empty seats will start appearing at MetLife in October, and that’s just plain sad. Play the run. Hit. Tackle. Run the football. Get the ball to Beckham and Vereen in the passing game. Make plays on special teams.

Most importantly, to paraphrase Ulysses S. Grant, stop worrying about what other teams are going to do to you and make them worry about what you are going to do to them!

This game has some deja vu qualities to it to 2007. That 0-2 Giants team, with a new defensive coordinator named Steve Spagnuolo, won a nail-biter against the Redskins in week three. It was a win that propelled the Giants to a 6-game winning streak and much more significant results. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Just win. Then get Victor Cruz back and start making some hay.

Sep 222015
 


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GIANTS CUT PRESTON PARKER, RE-SIGN KENRICK ELLIS…
The New York Giants have terminated the contract of wide receiver Preston Parker, who has struggled in the first two games of the regular season with dropped passes. To fill his roster spot, the Giants re-signed defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis, who the team released on September 6th.

The Giants originally signed Ellis as an unrestricted free agent from the New York Jets in March 2015. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Jets. In four seasons with the Jets, Ellis played in 47 games with five starts. He accrued 53 tackles and only one sack during that time.

Parker joined the team in January 2014 and became the team’s primary slot receiver last season when Victor Cruz was lost for the season. Parker played in all 16 games with seven starts. He finished 2014 with 36 catches for 418 yards and two touchdowns. Parker had five catches for 43 yards this year but he also dropped five passes.

“Preston Parker, for the majority of time he was here, was a very tough, physical football player who made plays when called upon,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “That hasn’t been the case necessarily this year. We thank him for his service.”

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Tuesday due to injuries were WR Victor Cruz (calf), TE Jerome Cunningham (knee), LT Ereck Flowers (ankle), LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (foot), DT Markus Kuhn (knee), and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion).

The good news is that Cruz was spotted running agility drills on the practice sidelines for the first time since mid-August.

“Felt good,” said Cruz. “Felt good to be on the grass a little bit, get out there and run around a little bit, so it felt good…Obviously the short week leaves you a little handicapped (to be able to play on Thursday), if you will. But we’ll see. We’ll see how it continues to progress, how I feel in the morning, and we’ll go from there.”

“I’m closer (to returning),” said Cruz. “There’s no pain in there anymore, so it’s just a matter of getting the confidence back to running on it and cutting on it, things like that. And then we’ll go from there…Hopefully I can be out there shortly, help this team win.”

DE Robert Ayers (hamstring) and DT Jay Bromley (knee) practiced on a limited basis.

TE Daniel Fells (foot), RG Geoff Schwartz (illness), DE/DT Cullen Jenkins (hamstring), and LB Jon Beason (knee) fully practiced.

“I feel pretty good, I feel fresh,” said Beason.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
The transcript of Tom Coughlin’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video of player media sessions on Tuesday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the Giants on Wednesday as the team prepares for Thursday night’s home game against the Washington Redskins.

Getting back right. #90PC

A video posted by Jason Pierre-Paul (@iamjasonpierrepaul) on

Sep 212015
 

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Atlanta Falcons 24 – New York Giants 20

Gruesome Introduction

Y’all know me. Know how I earn a livin’. I’ll write this review for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Bad team. Not like going down the playoffs chasin’ Packers and Patriots. This season, swallow you whole. Little shakin’, little tenderizin’, an’ down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that’ll bring back your fans, put all your businesses on a payin’ basis. But it’s not gonna be pleasant. I value my neck a lot more than 2 Super Bowls in 9 years, chief. I’ll write it for free, but I’ll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you’ve gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then read up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don’t want no volunteers, I don’t want no mates, there’s just too many coaches on this team. $10,000 for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.

Game Overview

Just like Quint, old Tommy Coughlin has no fear. He faces the doubters and the beat writers just as he does every week but just like our foul mouthed hero from the 1975 film classic Jaws, he may be eaten before the final credits roll. His half-assed astronaut Eli Manning needs to clean up and clean up fast. On the heels of an $84 million dollar extension, the 34-year old signal caller has blown two games all by himself. Blame the defense, blame the secondary, and blame inexperienced kids Uani’ Unga and Landon Collins if you want to, but with the game in his hands for the second week in a row, Eli just coughed up the game. Up 20-10 and driving deep into Falcons territory to put the game on ice, Easy E held and held and held the ball just long enough to cough it up and let the Falcons take possession and march to a 20-17 deficit. Driving midway through the fourth, Eli fumbled the ball forward only to have TE Larry Donnell save him with a miracle 1st down recovery. Fast forward to the undermanned defense coming up with a Robert Ayers sack, Landon Collins shot on WR Julio Jones and Brandon Merriweather of all people breaking up a 3rd and 3. Giants ball, time to ice the game and on 3rd and 7, Manning and his $84 million fail to get a snap off in time, turning a 3rd and 7 into an impossible 3rd and 12 and a Giant punt. Eli had one more chance to rescue the day, with 1:14 left and one of the most dynamic players in the NFL at his disposal, and he failed again. A big overthrow to a wide open, jumping and 6’6” Larry Donnell was followed by a sloppy pass to the inexplicably utilized WR Preston Parker and a 4th and 10 became an underthrow, a drop and another 4th quarter 10 point collapse.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 20, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Quarterbacks

Show me the way to go home, Eli’s tired and he wants to go to bed. At this point, it’s all on Eli. No Victor Cruz, a hobbled and disinterested Rueben Randle, a useless Preston Parker and only one decent target in Odell Beckham Jr. and this offense is squarely on the shoulders of the “franchise” QB and he has failed two weeks in a row. Give him credit I suppose for staking the team to a 20-10 lead, but the boneheaded sack and fumble, near disastrous forward fumble, overthrow to Donnell, delay of game on 3rd down and just flat out awful pass due to…shocking…poor mechanics on a 4th and 10 and yes, Eli Manning gets the goat horns for week #2. Eli’s 292 yards, two TDs and no INTs all went for naught because when the game was on the line, he flat out failed his team, his franchise and his Quint, who will likely be eaten whole in about 15 weeks. Put the blame on Eli too for WR Dwayne Harris’ false start that negated a 4th down conversion deep in Falcons territory. Manning waited too long to get the team to the line, motioned too late and put Harris in an impossible position. Twelve years in, you know what you have, brilliant one minute, head shakingly stupid the next.

Running Backs

Earth, Wind and Fire have returned! Rashad Jennings moves like the Earth (mud, specifically, old dried up mud, not at the 1,000 mph that our beloved blue planet zips around the sun), Andre Williams is as unpredictable as fire and well I guess Shane Vereen can be wind when it’s not whipping tiny rocks at your face. Williams led the Giants backs with a whopping 43 yards on 6 carries (35 of it on one impressive run) and again looked hesitant and confused at times toting the rock. I’ve been a believer in his talent but in year 2 of this offense, Williams still looks wildly inconsistent and unsure of himself. Rashad Jennings had a couple of early runs that looked solid, but he seemed to slow down in the second half, could be something injury wise that bears watching. That said, Jennings’ and his 12 yards on 9 carries would be stellar if he played for Chip Kelly, but #23 looked slow, tentative and just plain bad after halftime on Sunday. Weapon X appears to be Shane Vereen, who nabbed 8 balls for 76 yards receiving but did little to nothing on the ground with 57 on 6 carries. Yes feet. It looks much more impressive and with this horror movie offense that leaves you screaming to watch out for the blitzer behind the door, we need something positive. Vereen gives the team a horizontal dimension that is absolutely critical for the West Coast Offense to operate effectively. If LBs and DBs have to stay wide and contain Vereen out the backfield, that’s less deep help to apply to #13 and company.

Odell Beckham, New York Giants (September 20, 2015)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Wide Receivers

Odell Beckham Jr., is still pretty good. Beckham took a slant from Manning in the 2nd quarter and sprinted 67 yards to pay dirt to tie the game at 10, showing why this team will have a chance as long as #13 is vertical. Beckham had another spectacular-but-looks-routine catch on the Giants first scoring drive, he’s simply that good and ended the day with 7 grabs for 146 yards and a touchdown. Mr. Parker…zero point zero. Wide open drop on an out route with the first half winding down and a 4th and 10 miss to seal the loss. If I’m Tom Coughlin, I suddenly wonder why I’m so old and how my hair grew back and what am I doing with all this money? Then I cut Preston Parker. Rueben Randle, at age 24 simply doesn’t seem to care, get it or he’s in danger of losing a leg which on this team is entirely possible. We’ll drink to his legs..for now. One catch for 5 yards and a sloppy drop do nothing to provide any confidence that #82 is a part of this team’s future. Randle did have an outstanding down field block on Vereen’s 37 yard scamper early in the 3rd quarter. I thought it was a jaunt, maybe a dash, but upon further review, definitely a scamper.

Tight Ends

Larry Donnell absolutely blew a block on a key 3rd down play, not even knowing who to block and ending a drive but Donnell did redeem himself on a well-run DIG route that ended in a 10 yard scoring pass from his blockhead QB. Donnell set up the DB with a subtle head fake, worked inside and used his body to keep the defender at bay. That type of play shows just how far the former Grambling QB has come as a receiver, but he’s still light years away from being more than a liability as a blocker.

Offensive Line

Decent effort by the move ‘em out…or in this case, kind of try to shove them back a little gang. LT Ereck Flowers had a rocky day, picking up an early false start on the Giants opening drive and looking like he was fighting off Vic  Beasley on several occasions but the big rookie held his own on a bum ankle. Big Flowers is another cog that will be a key piece for this team to build on. Flowers did not return for long after halftime, with LG Justin Pugh sliding out to LT and BBI punching bag John Jerry in at LG. No terrifying moments really, 97 yards rushing and 2 sacks in a way tell the story. Not so bad, but just not good enough yet with so many other units making game crushing mistakes. The OL is however not a disaster, and appears to be on the way up assuming Flowers’ ankle injury isn’t season long. The biggest difference from a year ago, is that C Weston Richburg isn’t being tossed crash test dummy style into Eli’s lap about 5 times a game as his predecessor was prone to doing. A clean pocket will be essential to building this team as the year unfolds and so far Richburg and LG Justin Pugh are holding serve. RG Geoff Schwartz was solid, with the exception of a run play that he was absolutely blown past by DT Jonathan Babineaux.

Defensive Line

John Lynch’s awkward man crush on Robert Ayers Jr. aside, #91 was the best defender on the field, swatting down 3 passes from the DT spot on key 3rd downs. Ayers is not being asked to play the run as much by Steve Spagnuolo and it’s having a big impact on Ayers’ ability to be fresh to rush the passer. I’ve been critical of Ayers because his run fits give me fits, but credit where it’s due, Ayers played one hell of a game on Sunday. The rest of DL was strong against the run, often using pure 3-4 looks with Robert Ayers and Devon Kennard as the OLBs. It’s a one-gapping 3-4 or Base 50, or shaded Oklahoma 5-2 (that all depends on how old you are) that refuses to give up the edge and uses penetration in an A gap to force runs wide and shut off the backside cut lanes. DT Cullen Jenkins had what appeared to be a key sack, an Jonathan Hankins was a handful inside for the Falcons, fighting off double teams on nearly every play.

Linebackers

Another year, another blah group of LBs who just can’t seem to find anyone when in pass coverage. As least Uani’ Unga seems to have something (all of his fingers and two working knees) that most key Giant defenders who are missing lack. Unga gets turned around way too easily in coverage and loses his place on the field leading to way too many pass catchers wide open down the seams of this defense. BUT, he’s a gamer, he plays with effort and again, he’s not in a full body cast so I’m encouraged that Unga can grow into a serviceable MLB if he doesn’t lose a limb in practice or some bizarre holiday accident. In fact, I’m going on the record here, I want ZERO Giant defenders carving Jack-O-Lanterns, slicing turkey, trying to break a wish bone or putting an angel on a tree as we embark on Holiday season. No exterior illumination efforts, no champagne uncorking, and for God’s sake no shoveling or de-icing. The bright spot for this LB corps (yes corps, like the Marine Corps, it’s a group) is 2nd year LB Devon Kennard who led the team with 9 stops and was a force against the run and while pass rushing. Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is using Kennard all over the field and most importantly not asking him to do much coverage wise, instead opting for speedy LB Jonathan Casillas on obvious passing downs. J.T. Thomas had 7 stops, but I honestly can’t recall one, too much drag down tackling and not enough attacking thus far for the former Mountaineer.

Defensive Backs

S Landon Collins is having his rookie moments, but as will be a theme this year, watch him grow and play full speed and by the end of this campaign we should have a core (Yes core as in apple, center of it, not corps like Marine Corps. Learn the difference or I will..well I’ll do nothing but it’s annoying that the two are so often flubbed) DB to count on. DRC plays, he gets hurt every time he does anything but unlike some firework happy players who shall remain namelessjpp, DRC comes with it on every play. Rodgers-Cromartie hurt his shoulder and his brain making high effort tackles against the screen happy and quite frankly annoying Falcons offense. It’s good to see the referees throw in the towel when DRC got up wobblier than Apollo Creed on the heels of Ivan Drago’s murderpunch. CB Prince Amukamara gave up the game’s biggest play, but this defense is going to gamble and the CBs have to hold up. Prince played well but with the game on the line he simply got beat by Julio Jones and there’s not a ton to say about that. Give DB coach David Merritt credit, he has been destroyed by injuries to an already so-so safety group and he has 32-year old S Brandon Merriweather playing solid football. It may not last all season, but Merriweather has been a pleasant plus with a little bit of force at S with no real big mistakes.

Special Teams

Butthead said it best while watching a lackluster video with his good pal Beavis “These effects aren’t very special” and neither are these teams but it’s Tom Quinn and his envelope full of nudes vs. other competent ST coaches and as usual we did nothing special. Despite tossing $17 million at Dwayne Harris and his festive hairdo, the Giants apparently can’t find shoes that can grip their turf, with Harris wiping out on nearly every return that showed promise. Brad Wing is a punter, he punted, and I don’t care. He didn’t Dodge anything up and that’s enough for me.

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (September 20, 2015)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Coaching Staff

Too many mistakes to give Quint a lot of credit this week. Give the headman some due, he took the blame, got his team ready and had a 20-10 lead in the 4th quarter until it all fell apart like anything made in Detroit in the mid-1980s. Back-to-back false starts by Odell Beckham and Ereck Flowers, an inexcusable false start by a WR on a converted 4th down, along with dropped passes and more Manning brain toots mean TC may have to be more Grumpy Old Men then Grandpa Simpson if he wants to right this ship.

Ben McAdoo better get his synapses firing and find a way to utilize more than 2 people or this team may not win a game. Beckham hauls in ONE pass after half time, that’s not good enough no matter what coverage is rolled his way. McAdoo is doing a solid job, but he has to be more creative. McAdoo did something I did like a great deal on two occasions. On TE Larry Donnell’s TD in the 3rd quarter, McAdoo ran the same play two times in a row because it was open. The first attempt Donnell was held and it wasn’t called; the very next play he did it again and it resulted in a 20-10 lead. McAdoo did the same thing in the 4th quarter on Rueben Randle’s lone grab a play after Randle just dropped the exact same ball. McAdoo isn’t shying away from what works and he’ll keep going to the well if something works.

The Fire Zone Explained

FZ1

Why do I love Steve Spagnuolo? He loves the fire zone and the fire zone loves him. On the line you see a modified “Bear” front with a true NT (Hankins), a 3-technique (Cullen Jenkins), two 5s (Selvie and Ayers), a LB in a shaded 4 (Unga) and two wide 9s (Kennard and Thomas). Throw in Landon Collins playing the Elephant or Flex (the key to the old Double Eagle Flex of U of Arizona’s Desert Swarm fame) and you have 8 people who have to be accounted for by 5 OL and one TE.

FZ2

On the snap, Hankins games right, taking the OC and LG with him. Ayers hesitates, to keep the LT in outside leverage, unable to help the LG, and DT Cullen Jenkins knifes in easily in the gap to sack Matt Ryan. No Strahan, no Osi, No Tuck, no Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle hand and Spags finds a way to get heat with scheme and technique.

Cram it in your Cramhole Award

Yes it’s back, the CIIYCA because I still love Dodgeball. This week it should go to Eli Manning but in a surprise twist, it goes to Kyle Shanahan who will eventually get Julio Jones killed. Granted Jones won the game with his 4th quarter catch against Prince Akeem from Zamunda, but 135 yards on 13 catches and more bubble screens than an elite WR should be forced to endure is just not the best of use this amazing talent. Jones took a shot or laid out every time he touched the ball because Shanahan loves to wear out unique talents (Obertray Riffingay) with way too much punishment. Jones got whacked by Brandon Merriweather, dragged down violently by S Landon Collins and blasted again by Collins. Atlanta’s best player won’t last the season if he’s being beaten up 10-15 times a game.

(Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants, September 20, 2015)
Sep 212015
 


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HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media by conference call on Monday:

Just a couple quick things about the game. There were obviously a lot of good things, but the fourth quarter diminishes all of those positive thoughts. I thought that Shane Vereen really gave us a lift yesterday in terms of another major contributor to the offense. I thought that Dwayne Harris did an outstanding job with punt return/kickoff return. He gave us something that we can be excited about and the players can be going forward. I thought that our 17 unanswered points was a real strong position to take, particularly finishing the half, and then coming back out and scoring more points on the other end to start the second half. I thought all those things were real positive.

You look down to the numbers and you can’t help but see one-for-four in the green zone and the fact that we did not get any turnovers, they were three-for-three in the red zone, and so somewhere in there you find the deficiencies. There were lots of yards on both sides of the ball, but when it really mattered there for us, it’s a difficult thing to say, but the ball was at mid-field, just under a minute to play and two timeouts, and I was very excited about the finish of the game, and I’m very disappointed in the how it did finish.

We have a fast turnaround, we have a divisional game on Thursday night. The situation in our division is very obvious to all of you, I’m going to point that out to the team here in a couple of minutes, about how important this upcoming game is. We have to quickly, quickly, and I’m not going to dwell on yesterday’s game with our players, I’ll make a few points, and move on. With how quickly we have to turn this thing around and get headed in the right direction, I don’t have a whole lot of information for you about injuries, it’s too early in the day, those that had to be sent to the hospital would not have received any information yet. With that being said, let’s discuss this, if you like; otherwise, I have to get going.

Q: You mentioned Dwayne Harris doing a good job in the return game, he wasn’t back there on the final kickoff return, was he injured at that point?

A: Yeah, he has an issue with his toe, it was bothering him, and so he didn’t go back there for that last kickoff, which was a touchback.

Q: Is he also one of the guys that are getting checked out this morning?

A: Again, I can’t tell you that, I don’t have anything in front of me quite yet from downstairs, so I don’t know. He’s not over at the hospital, so I don’t know what that means but anyway that’s the case.

Q: It looked like Dwayne Harris had a couple of times when he slipped on the turf, was that just something that he has to get used to?

A: We had some people slipping and sliding the other day and I mentioned it to our equipment people. It looked like a couple times he got up on the side of his foot and that’s why he slipped, but there were other people out there slipping, too. I would bring the same question up.

Q: What did you see from the game last night when you went and looked at the tape? Is there anything that helps you figure out why in the fourth quarter the team is falling apart and is better in the first three quarters?

A: There are little things that you can grab ahold of. The fact that the seam ball to [Larry] Donnell might have given us the ball, definitely, inside the 30, maybe down inside the 25. You know just things like that, the pass rush obviously was very severe at that point in time, their ears were laid back, and they were coming, and there was pressure, and there was no doubt about that. You saw that happen and that was something that you really have to understand, and even in one situation where you might need to keep some people in or at least do a better job of helping and securing a couple of those spots. Not taking anything away from Atlanta’s front, they did a strong job throughout the game. We had that, we had some misfires, and just some, certainly the delay of game, and things of that nature that just don’t, they can’t happen. They just can’t happen, it’s all got to be positive going forward, and it wasn’t. You can bleed it play by play and find different people involved in different circumstances, but just by and large you have to make it happen right then.

Q: Some of the players talked about needing to learn how to finish games, is there a way that you can help?

A: We’ll continue to talk about that, we’ll continue to be positive, and we’ll continue to utilize our meeting time with positive reinforcements whether it be examples of whatever. Sooner or later, we just have to settle down and play the way we’re capable of playing when the game is on the line. I don’t know how to say it any more simpler. The information comes forth from the sideline, you have x amount of time to digest it all, but then you have to go pull the trigger. Like yesterday, the fourth quarter was 14-0, so here we are in good stead throughout, and then we had the unfortunate turnover, but the next quarter was all Atlanta scoring.

Q: I know you like to have your team focused on just the task at hand, and they’re all business, but you mentioned you were going to point out the division to them. Is that just to show them everyone else is struggling and there’s still an opportunity there for you?

A: Yes, absolutely, the opportunity. It’s just a way to try to again get over the disappointment of yesterday as fast as we can. We realize how important it is going forward.

Q: What did you think of Justin Pugh at left tackle? That’s obviously something you might need going forward here and John Jerry slipping into guard, what was your assessment of that?

A: I think there were some good plays and some plays that weren’t so good. He had an exceptional rusher, Justin did, on his outside, and he caused pressure at the worst time of the game, obviously. Justin had a couple of opportunities to work in there as we went through Ereck Flowers’ ankle injury about a week ago, and fortunately he had some snaps there, and John had moved in as well. It was good experience for them to be able to practice there and they’ll see themselves today and hopefully make some adjustments or minor thoughts as far as how they can play that position better.

Q: I know you don’t have much information on the guys who played yesterday, but is there a plan moving forward this week with Jon Beason?

A: Well, he’ll continue even though there really isn’t a lot of practice time, it’s a lot of mental work here. I’m sure they’ll continue to work Jon on the side or whatever and just see where he’s at. Hopefully he’ll continue to improve and then we’ll maybe get some kind of a word going forward here.

Q: Same question about Victor Cruz.

A: It’ll be the same answer. Nothing has been said differently about his status except the fact that they continue to extend his work, and they’re pleased with that part of it.

Q: But that doesn’t include running yet, I assume.

A: He’s been running, as I told you, on the treadmill in the water. He’s been doing that and he’s been doing some running out on the grass.

Q: How do you squeeze all of the stuff in the schedule? What is a Thursday game like for you? What do you consider the biggest challenge?

A: The biggest challenge is your next opponent. We’ve had experience with Thursday night games before and we have a routine and a process that we utilize for information to go to the players and then at the best we possibly can get the information covered on the field, in most cases just a jog thru. We’ll continue to utilize that format.

Q: How do you feel Jayron Hosley held up?

A: Hosley made some plays and didn’t make some plays, but the ones that he didn’t make, I thought he was playing against an outstanding player, obviously, and he gave perhaps sometimes a little bit too much room, but overall he competed and he played hard. I thought that was a good step forward.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Monday’s media conference calls with the following players:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Because of Thursday night’s game against the Washington Redskins, the Giants only hold one practice this week, on Tuesday.