Oct 312015
 


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GIANTS SIGN LB JAMES MORRIS FROM PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have signed linebacker James Morris to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad. To make room for Morris, the Giants waived cornerback Brandon McGee.

The Giants signed Morris to the Practice Squad on September 16. Morris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots after the 2014 NFL Draft. The Patriots placed him on Injured Reserve in August 2014 after tearing an ACL in the final preseason game against the Giants.

The Giants signed McGee to the Practice Squad on October 15 and to the 53-man roster on October 18. McGee was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.

The Giants are short at linebacker this week with J.T. Thomas (ankle) out and Jon Beason (ankle/knee) questionable for the game against the Saints. Beason did make the trip to New Orleans.

ARTICLES…

Oct 302015
 


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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Victor Cruz (calf), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (hamstring), LB J.T. Thomas (ankle), and CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral) have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. OT Will Beatty (pectoral – PUP) and DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand – roster exemption) also will not play.

LB Jon Beason (ankle/knee) is “questionable” for the game.

WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), RG Geoff Schwartz (ankle), and LB Uani ‘Unga (neck) are “probable” for the game.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with Tom Coughlin are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

JASON PIERRE-PAUL ADDRESSES PRESS…
New York Giants defensive end addressed the media for the first time on Friday since maiming himself in a July 4th fireworks accident. The transcript of his media session is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

For those with stronger stomachs who want to see what’s left of Pierre-Paul’s right hand, see JPP reveals mangled right hand as he relives fireworks mishap by Howie Kussoy of The New York Post.

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants will have a 45-minute, up-tempo “walk-thru” practice on Saturday that is not open to the media. The Giants play the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday.

Oct 302015
 
Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (October 25, 2015)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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New York Giants at New Orleans Saints, November 1, 2015

THE STORYLINE:
The victory against the Cowboys may have been the team’s most significant win since 2011. If the Giants had fallen to Dallas, they would have been 1-3 in the NFC East with two losses to the Cowboys. Now at 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the NFC East, the Giants find themselves very much in the hunt for the division title with nine games left to play.

But it’s important to keep in mind that this remains a thus-far seriously-flawed team that has greatly benefited from a weak division. The offense – which was supposed to be the strength of the team – is currently 23rd in the NFL in yards per game (14th in passing and 25th in rushing). And despite the strong initial start in run defense, the once-proud NYG defense doesn’t do anything well except generate turnovers – and that’s a well that can dry up very quickly. The Giants are 29th in defense, having fallen from 1st to 21st in run defense in the span of a few weeks, and 30th in pass defense. The fact that the Giants are one game in first place is a minor miracle.

The good news is that there is potential to improve, especially if the team starts to get some players back and if those players can play at a level anywhere near their previous form (Jason Pierre-Paul, Victor Cruz, Will Beatty). Offensively, the line and running game appear to be slowly improving and the passing game has yet to hit its stride. Eli Manning, Odell Beckham, Rueben Randle, and Dwayne Harris are capable of much more. Defensively, the pass rush will probably remain an issue unless JPP, Robert Ayers, Devon Kennard, and Damontre Moore come on. But the Giants were missing a lot of defensive players in the first half of the season who are getting healthier, including JPP, Ayers, George Selvie, Kennard, Jonathan Casillas, and Amukamara. The more the players become comfortable with Steve Spagnuolo’s new scheme, the better they should play. And the special teams are playing extremely well.

The short-term problem for the Giants is that many of those reinforcements are not quite ready yet. The Giants will have to scrape by for 1-3 more weeks. It’s a bad time for Amukamara to be out. The linebacking corps is beat up with Beason, Thomas, and ‘Unga ailing. The obvious goal is to win two important NFC games in the next two weeks against the improving Saints and Buccaneers. Get to 6-3.

Do not underestimate the Saints. They are 3-4, the Giants 4-3…not much difference. And the two teams are very similar in a lot of ways…winless start to the season, winning 3-out-of-4 of their last four (Giants actually 4-out-of-5), franchise QB, struggling defense, running game showing signs of life. Giants’ fans know the narrative coming into this particular contest. New York has gotten fat by beating the likes of Kirk Cousins, Tyrod Taylor, Colin Kaepernick, and Matt Cassel. Can the the 30th-ranked pass defense not get embarrassed by Drew Brees? Can a Giants’ offense that has scored two touchdowns in two games keep pace?

This is a big game. 5-3 is a lot better than 4-4.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • WR Odell Beckham (hamstring – probable)
  • WR Victor Cruz (calf – out)
  • RG Geoff Schwartz (ankle – probable)
  • OT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP/out)
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand – roster exemption/out)
  • DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (hamstring – out)
  • LB Jon Beason (ankle/knee – questionable)
  • LB J.T. Thomas (ankle – out)
  • LB Uani ‘Unga (neck – probable)
  • CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral – out)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
After an initial positive start under Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan in 2013 (ironically replacing the then-maligned Steve Spagnuolo), the Saints have struggled on defense for the last season and a half. There was significant turnover on the defensive side of the football in the offseason, and although the defensive unit has played much better in recent games, it still ranks 30th overall (one spot below the Giants’ defense). They are 26th against the pass and 29th against the run.

That all said, the Saints do some things well. They have 11 take-aways this year (4 interceptions, 7 fumble recoveries) and they are tied for 12th in the NFL in sacks (16). The Saints are also very good at third-down defense (33.7 percent – 4th in the NFL).

The Saints like to use a lot of different packages and looks in order to attempt to confuse opposing offenses. “They have a number of exotic schemes that you have to be totally prepared for in terms of how they’re using their people and the numbers game, in terms of the number of defensive linemen on the field and defensive backs on the field,” says Tom Coughlin.

The best defensive players are right defensive end Cameron Jordan (6 sacks), who will face LT Ereck Flowers, and strong safety Kenny Vaccaro, who can blitz, stop the run, and cover. They have a young linebacking corps who Ryan will send after the quarterback. Blitz pick-ups will be key. If the Giants can pick up the blitz, they will have some great opportunities for big plays.

Coming off 132 yards on the ground against the Cowboys, the Giants should be able to run the ball on the Saints. My preference would be for New York to let one or two backs get into a rhythm – let Rashad Jennings and/or Orleans Darkwa receive the bulk of the carries. I also expect a big home coming from receivers Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle. Both who are due for a big game, especially against a team with a suspect secondary with one starting corner (Keenan Lewis – hip) ailing. I would also attack the inexperienced and somewhat banged up linebackers in pass coverage with Shane Vereen. Linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and David Hawthorne have missed practice this week.

The keys? No turnovers, convert on third down against a stingy third-down defense, and convert in the red zone. “We need consistency of scoring in the green zone; when we get there, we’ve got to score,” says Coughlin.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
Fans rightfully are fearful of what Drew Brees can do against the NFL’s 30th-ranked pass defense. The Giants miss Prince Amukamara as Jayron Hosley has been shaky and saved at times by opposing quarterback ineptitude. The safeties have played better than expected, but still have had issues at times as Landon Collins is still learning the pro game. Worse, the Giants have an NFL-low nine sacks. Nine. Give Drew Brees time and he will tear up any secondary, let alone one with the issues the Giants have in covering tight ends and wide receivers.

If we’re being honest, the Saints are going to move the football and they are going to score. Saints’ Head Coach Sean Payton has probably preached all week: don’t turn the ball over against the Giants, that’s the only way they are stopping people.

New Orleans is 6th in the NFL on offense (3rd passing, 22nd rushing). One would think the priority would be to focus on the pass over the run. The problem is the Giants’ run defense has rapidly deteriorated the last few weeks and the Saints’ running game – led by RB Mark Ingram – is starting to kick it into gear. The Giants have to make the Saints one dimensional or they are in real trouble. The Saints have had issues with injuries on the offensive line but the regular starters are expected to play against the Giants. My focus would be to stop the run and cross your fingers against the pass.

Brees has to be salivating at facing a defense that can’t seem to rush the passer and missing Amukamara. He’s completing over 67 percent of his passes and well on pace for another 4,000 yard season despite missing a game. Brees spreads the ball around to a variety of players at wide receiver, tight end, and running back. Five players have over 20 catches: the diminutive but explosive WR Brandin Cooks (35, 444 yards), WR Willie Sneed (29, 461 yards), TE Benjamin Watson (29, 325 yards), RB Mark Ingram (29, 235 yards), and RB C.J. Spiller (21, 181 yards). That doesn’t even include WR Marques Colston (19, 220 yards). While the Saints wide receivers have not been as dangerous as in recent years, they are using their running backs more as Ingram is having a career year as a receiver. Spiller – as his 80-yard game-winning TD in OT against the Cowboys demonstrated – can be a match-up problem for linebackers. Keep in mind Jon Beason is ailing and J.T. Thomas is out. The tight end Watson caught 10 passes in the win over the Falcons.

On paper, this match-up looks like a disaster unless the Giants continue to force turnovers or begin to generate pass pressure. Though Brees has six interceptions on the season, he’s not Cousins, Sam Bradford, or Cassel. I would expect Steve Spagnuolo change things up to make it somewhat challenging for Brees, but Brees is pretty darn smart and I don’t think Spagnuolo will want to give up the cheap play. The Saints lead the NFL with 32 plays over 20 yards. Spagnuolo will try to have his unit stop the run, not get too risky in coverage, and force Brees to drive the field without making a mistake. The problem is the Saints are very good on 3rd down, converting almost 46 percent of the time. The Giants desperately need their defensive line to rebound from an atrocious game, and need big efforts from Ayers, Selvie, Johnathan Hankins, and Cullen Jenkins in particular.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Rookie Marcus Murphy has returned one punt for a 74-yard touchdown this year so punt coverage will obviously be on the spot. He also returns kickoffs, where his long has only been 35 yards. The Saints have had issues at place kicker, now with journeyman Kai Forbath handling field goals and extra points. New Orleans did block a punt for a touchdown against the Falcons.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Tom Coughlin on the pass rush: “Somehow, some way, we’ve got to make the quarterback uncomfortable… We need more pressure on the quarterback, we need to do a better job of that.”

THE FINAL WORD:
The Giants haven’t won in the Super Dome since Phil Simms was the quarterback. That said, this is not a very strong Saints team. This contest features two bad defensive teams that can cause turnovers, and potentially explosive offenses with ground attacks that are starting to come to life. The difference could be special teams.

The match-up issues on defense are scary for the Giants. How much longer can they count on multiple turnover games? The Giants’ offense most likely will need to come up big. New York will probably need to score almost 30 points to win. This would be a good time for Odell Beckham to take over a game.

Oct 292015
 


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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Victor Cruz (calf), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (ankle/knee), LB J.T. Thomas (ankle), and CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral) did not practice on Thursday.

OT Will Beatty (pectoral – PUP) and DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand – roster exemption) continue to work on an undisclosed limited basis.

“(Pierre-Paul) moved around well,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin about Pierre-Paul’s practice on Wednesday. “He moved well and I think he proved to the medical people that he’s in good shape. That’s not to include all the back and forth, sideways stuff. He’s going to have to work his way through some of that, too. But he’s in excellent condition…He’s going to get a couple of reps in scout squad today.”

“Today was really the first day he kind of did anything,” said Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo after Thursday’s practice. “I know he ran around yesterday, so I haven’t really had a chance to watch the film. It’s going to take a little while, it’s really early now. We want to be optimistic, and I know he is, too, but I think we want to be smart about it. We’ll just see where it goes.”

“(Beatty has) been out here working the last couple days and doing a nice job and doing everything he can to put himself in position to come back as soon as he can,” said Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo. “We look forward to having him back when he’s ready…He’s doing a nice job out here. He’s working, getting his feet wet, getting his shoulders going. We’ll be ready for him when he’s ready to come back. Excited to get him back.”

RG Geoff Schwartz (ankle) practiced on a limited basis. WR Odell Beckham (hamstring) and LB Uani ‘Unga (neck) fully practiced.

“I’ll say this, today (Beckham) was sticking his foot in the ground, he was coming out of his breaks with some speed and energy and made some nice plays,” said McAdoo.

JASON PIERRE-PAUL CONTRACT DETAILS…
According to ESPN.com, the 1-year contract signed by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has a maximum value of $8.71 million and includes:

  • $1.5 million guaranteed salary.
  • $1.5 million maximum in per game active roster bonuses (approximately $214,285 for each game he is on the 46-man roster on game day, up to seven games).
  • $3.85 million in playing-time incentives ($100,000 per week if he plays 45 percent of the snaps, $300,000 for 75 percent of the snaps, and $550,000 for 80 percent of the snaps – again up to seven games).
  • $1.864 million in sack-performance incentives (must accrue 7.5 sacks to receive full amount; if he records 10 sacks, he gets the full $3.85 million playing-time bonus regardless of playing time).

So all Pierre-Paul needs to do to receive $3 million is be active for seven games this season, regardless of how well or poorly he plays. ESPN.com reports that to get his full $8.71 million (basically the 9-game prorated amount of his original $14.813 million tender), Pierre Paul needs to be on the active roster for seven games AND either (a) play 80 percent of the defensive snaps while recording at least 7.5 sacks or (b) record 10 sacks.

As part of the deal, the Giants agreed not to put Pierre-Paul on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) List. Thus, Pierre-Paul is now eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in 2016 unless the Giants Franchise him again or sign him to another deal after the season and before free agency begins.

TOM COUGHLIN AND THE COORDINATORS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Instead of practicing, the Giants will hold a “recovery day” on Friday. The players will select two of six recovery stations, based on seniority. Their choices are massage, yoga, FMS (Functional Movement Screen) exercises designed for the individual, air compression boots, contrast bath (between a hot and cold tub), and self-massage with stick rollers and elastic bands.

The Giants will also have a 45-minute, up-tempo “walk-thru” practice on Saturday that is not open to the media. The Giants play the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday.

Oct 282015
 
Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (November 3, 2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul– © USA TODAY Sports Images

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GIANTS REACT TO THE RETURN OF JASON PIERRE-PAUL…
As was to be expected, Head Coach Tom Coughlin was repeatedly asked about the return of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to the team during his press conference on Wednesday.

“(Pierre-Paul) will start with the medical team,” said Coughlin. “He can do all the jog-thru’s, he can be out there for whatever we’re doing pre-practice, then he’s going to slide off to the side with the medical people, be under their supervision. How long that lasts is really according to how well they feel he’s able to proceed. He’s told me that he’s worked against bags, he’s delivered blows on a board and done all of those things. When he came in, he looked good. I asked him what he weighed, he said 268, and he was right on the money. So he’s worked, he’s been working. We’ll just see how fast this comes along.

“(His teammates) looked forward to seeing Jason. He’s excited about being here and he’s anxious to get started. I think that’s a good thing and the rest of the guys picked up on that right away…We’re all rooting for him, to be honest with you. He had a very traumatic experience and he’s done really what appears to be an outstanding job of preparing himself. He is mentally very upbeat, his attitude is outstanding. He’s anxious to go and play right now, to be honest with you. But they’re going to go relatively slow on that. Yeah, it will be a wonderful thing to have him come back, get ready to play, and play and contribute, which is his plan.”

Coughlin was asked how the injuries might now affect his game. “I’m hoping he’s as good as (he was),” replied Coughlin. “If you’ve studied him and you watched how he maneuvers when he does rush the passer, then he’ll use that hand basically as he always has, not necessarily as a grabber, but as a club.”

Pierre-Paul now weighs 268 pounds, down 10 pounds from his previous playing weight. “It’s a good weight,” said Coughlin.

Coughlin was also asked about how much Pierre-Paul will have to catch up with Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive system. “He’s got quite a bit to catch up on,” said Coughlin. “The terminology, sure. But he’s already started on that.”

“There’s no intention right now of him playing Sunday,” said a smiling Coughlin. “He would like to play.”

Pierre-Paul was heartily welcomed back by his teammates at a team meeting on Wednesday morning.

“It was like a standing (ovation),” said cornerback Prince Amukamara. “Everyone just cheered and was excited he’s back.”

“It’s a good day to be a Giant,” said defensive end Robert Ayers when asked about Pierre-Paul. “I think he is going to shock a lot of people…He’s a guy who’s very humbled, hungry, and motivated.”

“We know what we are up front, we know what we’ve been, we know what our strengths and weaknesses have been and he can definitely come and help out and help us improve with some of our weaknesses as a D-line,” said defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins. “He’s still fast as ever, quick as ever…He looked really good out there.”

“It’s no secret that we haven’t rushed the passer as well as we’d like to and I feel like that’s something that he definitely brings to the table, will definitely instantly help us with,” said Jenkins.

“He’s very serious, a lot more quiet, focused on what he has to do because he still has a journey ahead of him,” said Jenkins. “Just because he’s back here, his road getting back hasn’t stopped. He’s still focused on getting through that road.”

NFL.com analyst Pat Kirwan has his doubts about Pierre-Paul’s future as a football player (audio from SiriusXM NFL Radio interview).

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Victor Cruz (calf), RG Geoff Schwartz (ankle), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (ankle), LB J.T. Thomas (ankle), and CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral) did not practice on Wednesday.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin already ruled out Cruz and Amukamara for this weekend’s game against the New Orleans Saints. Coughlin said Schwartz should return to practice on Thursday. Thomas was wearing a protective walking boot in the locker room, which is not a good sign for his availability on Sunday.

Because he is still on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List, the Giants are not required to provide a formal update on OT Will Beatty (pectoral). Beatty returned to practice on a very limited basis last week. The Giants can only keep him on the PUP for two more weeks.

“Beatty is going to get a little bit more, little bit more, little bit more, scout team work,” said Coughlin. “I wouldn’t say (there is a possibility he might play this weekend). He’s got to start (fully practicing), he hasn’t even had shoulder pads on yet.”

LB Uani ‘Unga (neck) was limited and WR Odell Beckham (hamstring) fully practiced. “I think we’re back to the normal routine,” said Beckham who has missed most practices the past two weeks. “I don’t really quite know yet, but I definitely do feel better.”

DWAYNE HARRIS NAMED “NFC SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK”…
New York Giants wide receiver/returner Dwayne Harris has been named the “NFC Special Teams Players of the Week” for his performance against his former team, the Dallas Cowboys, last Sunday. In that game, Harris scored the game-winning touchdown on a 100-yard kickoff return with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of the contest. Harris is the first Giants player to win the special teams award since place kicker Josh Brown in Week 15 of the 2013 season. Harris previously won the award three times with the Dallas Cowboys against the Giants, Eagles, and Redskins, giving him an NFC East sweep.

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 Wednesday’s ESPN Radio interview with wide receiver Rueben Randle is available at ESPN.com.

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 New Orleans Saints.

What a humbling experience this has been for me! I'd like to take the time out to thank God FIRST for giving me a second opportunity to play football. I'd also like to thank the Giants organization for believing in me to play for them again and to be alongside my brothers during the 2015 Season. Also, want to thank my Fiancé, Son, Family , Friends, Eugene Parker, Danny Martoe, Realitivity sports, Dr. Owens, Dr. Askari, Dr. Potparic, Debbie (hand therapist), Mike Alessi, Impact sports facility and staff, Coach John Blake, Pastor O'brien,Fans and everyone who was keeping me in their prayers and believed in me! God is good all the time! Have faith , patience and prayer with you always! Let's go Big Blue! #90PowerCircle #ImBack

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

Oct 282015
 

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New York Giants 27 – Dallas Cowboys 20

Overview

Forty minutes of possession against us, Darren McFadden running like he was at Arkansas, Eli Manning throwing no TDs, 3 interceptions by Matt Cassel, a kickoff return for a TD, a muffed punt to win a woolly contest at MetLife…I don’t know what to make of that. I sure don’t. The games you see now, it’s hard to even take its measure. It’s not that I’m afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to write to even do this job. But, I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He’d have to say, “O.K., I’ll be part of this world.” And a part of this world we are for now Big Blue Faithful, 4-3, atop the NFC East and a chance to make some noise down the stretch. Not much else you can ask for heading for the midpoint in the season but nothing will be easy and none of it makes any sense.

Down 13-10 at the half, kicking off to the Cowboys with Darren McFadden running wild, things looked bleak for the G-Men and their chance to exorcise the Cowboys’ demon that had haunted them for 5 straight games. That’s when DRC came riding in to save the day with his 58-yard interception return that ignited the Giants and sent them to a 17-13 lead as the Cowboys were working down field to open the second half. Then Brandon Meriweather intercepted Cassel at the 1-yard line. After adding a FG on a drive punctuated by a 44-yard fly to Rueben Randle and a 39-yard scamper by Shane Vereen, DRC snuffed out another Cowboys’ drive and the Giants hard-fought 20-13 lead temporarily stood. Taking the ball out of Cassel’s turnover-prone hands would have seemed wise and the Cowboys indeed turned to Lucky Whitehead, Darren McFadden and former Seahawk Christine Michael (someone listened to a “Boy named Sue” one too many times before naming his kid) for six straight plays. That running game gave Cassel the chance he needed and the veteran tossed 21- and 25-yard deep outs to Terrance Williams and Devin Street to knot the game at 20.

And then, Dwayne Harris happened. The former Cowboy, signed to a 5-year, $17 million contract in the offseason cashed in with a 100-yard kickoff return with 7 minutes left in the contest to put the Giants ahead for good and give Tom Coughlin an actual good special teams memory to hold on to. Dallas gave it a go, driving to the Giants 30, but Brandon Meriweather swatted a Cassel offering and a gang of Giants finished off TE James Hanna to kill the threat. After forcing a Giant punt with 1:36 left, the Cowboys had one more chance, but Cole Beasley bobbled the punt and it was pounced on by Myles White and the special teams saved the day for Tom Coughlin and his 100th victory as head coach of the New York Giants.

Quarterbacks

As Eli goes, so go the G-Men. A two-game slump since the 441-yard masterpiece against the Niners, but this week his teammates found a way when Eli was hemmed in. The positives are zero turnovers and Greg Hardy did not in fact in kill, maim, fold, spindle or mutilate your aw shucks signal caller. Manning was dumped twice, and completed just 13 passes for 170 yards against a defense that has struggled to stop the pass all year save for its two contests with the Giants. Manning misfired on a crossing route to Beckham to end the Giants’ second possession with another punt, and flirted with disaster as an errant pass glanced off Shane Vereen and appeared to be picked off by Byron Jones deep in Giants’ territory until a review mercifully saw the ball bounce off of the turf. Manning, as he is wont to do, followed that near-mistake with a rifle shot to Dwayne Harris on a 38-yard catch-and-run that got the Giants into field goal range. Manning had two more great passes, a 44-yarder to Rueben Randle and a drop by the same Randle on a perfectly-thrown post as the Giants were trying to add to their lead.

Running Backs

“How many of those things you got now?” – “Running Backs? Several. Well, depends on what you mean by got. Some are half-wild and some are just outlaws.” Orleans Darkwa, welcome to outlaw status. Castoff running backs seem to find a home in New York and our new outlaw fits the mold. After weeks of a certain big-mouth “writer” calling for him, Tom Coughlin dusted off #26 and lo and behold, a running game emerged. It took 25 totes but the mercurial 4 racked up a season-high 132 yards on the ground, with Darkwa bulling his way to the end zone for the group’s lone score. In true head-scratching style though, no one got more than 8 carries and it appears this rotation may just work as long as Darkwa’s role remains. Darkwa endeared himself to Greg Hardy haters everywhere by leveling the loud-mouthed DE and rumbling forward for a 10-yard gain, and then simply bulling his way to a 15-yard TD run. Shane Vereen actually led all rushers with 56 yards, ripping off a game-long 39-yarder on a Giants’ FG drive in the 3rd quarter. Rashad Jennings’ first two carries went for 8 and 6 yards, then he vanished, finishing the game with 5 more yards on 3 more carries. Andre Williams was again mostly a no-show with 13 yards on 4 carries but his 5-yard run right into Rolando McClain’s kitchen was a thing of beauty. Once a game, Williams seems to deliver a phlegm-loosening hit on some defender, perfect tonic for cold and flu season.

Wide Receivers

Odell Beckham Jr. opened the account for the WRs with a 10-yard grab on the Giants’ second possession, and I have to say, an odd reaction as he got up and shook himself at CB Brandon Carr. I like the fire, but once in a while ODB does something that looks like a hissy fit. At some point, he needs to be more composed. It wasn’t until the Giants were able to establish the run that ODB was able to do some damage and the second-year phenom had another shot at a miracle catch against Carr but wasn’t able to replicate the magic of his previous catch at MetLife. Rueben Randle was the most effective target Eli had, despite only getting his hands on 2 balls, which is fine if you’re giving a physical but not for an NFL receiver. Randle turned his head and coughed enough to haul in a beautiful arcing pass from Manning that covered 44 yards with the Giants in the shadow of their own end zone. Randle pulled in the 3rd-and-5 pass with one hand and gave the Giants life enough to push ahead to a 20-13 lead. But in a game of weird plays, Randle just dropped a ball right in his hands on a perfectly-thrown post by Manning that could have been a TD or led to a TD.

Tight Ends

Larry Donnell got started early, picking up a first down on the second play of the game, and another two plays later. Then he simply disappeared like most Giant aerial targets did and finished with 4 grabs for 18 yards on 5 targets. Donnell did have a great block on Vereen’s 39-yard scamper, getting good position and holding his block long enough to spring the diminutive back. Will Tye wasn’t able to handle his first target on a Manning pass on 3rd-and-4, killing the Giants’ first drive. And that was it for the rookie TE.

Offensive Line

Does anyone else kinda miss Will Beatty? The combo of Geoff Schwartz and Marshall Newhouse killed a TD chance by getting blown past by Greg Hardy and Tyrone Crawford. Newhouse again struggled at times, giving up an early near-sack to DE Jeremy Mincey that was mercifully called an incompletion. Other than those two hiccups, a much better day than most had anticipated against the suddenly healthy and dangerous Cowboys’ DL spearheaded by Greg Hardy, who wasn’t exactly Anton Chigurh as many had anticipated going into this tilt. This group bounced back exactly how you’d hoped they would after the debacle in Philadelphia, a great sign going forward that this group is going to fight no matter who’s in front of them. The big boys up front paved the way for their first 100 yarder of the year. They may have found their staple running play, an inside trap that Jennings got 8 and 6 yards on early, and Darkwa utilized for the big gain below:

darkwa2At the snap, LG Justin Pugh pulls, OC Weston Richburg blocks down and RG Geoff Schwartz and RT Marshall Newhouse double the DT opposite of Richburg, creating an A Gap hole. The problem is LBs Rolando McClain and Sean Lee sit in wait to maintain their gaps.

darkwa3Pugh pulling entices Lee and McClain to follow him and Darkwa has a decision to make, follow his lead guard on a trap off tackle or hit the A gap. Darkwa makes a sudden head fake towards Pugh, Lee commits and McClain takes too long to react.

darkwa4The head fake buys Darkwa the time to burst through the A gap and pick up 9 yards as Pugh’s pulling draws the LBs attention. Credit to Richburg for an outstanding power block on the play.

C Weston Richburg had his best game of the year, consistently turning his man out of the hole to lead the way for the Giants rushing attack. Richburg had the key block on Darkwa’s TD run and 9-yard jaunt just moments earlier. LT Ereck Flowers had no trouble with anyone this time out and is fast becoming a rock on the OL. RG Geoff Schwartz gave up the sack to Hardy, who I loathe, so Schwartz gets the gas face. LG Justin Pugh was solid and his leads on the traps did their job – a solid day for the former Syracuse man.

Defensive Line

Horrible, just horrible. 233 yards to a one-dimensional team with no one at RB is abysmal. Not one player on this DL looked like anything but a small bump on a putt-putt course, the one that kinda gets in the way but ultimately doesn’t hinder you on your way to mini-golf glory. The edge containment was non-existent and BBI favorite, DE Kerry Wynn, was downright putrid, first biting inside on a Joseph Randle run on the Cowboys’ first possession and then completely losing contain on his side while simply being erased on a McFadden run on the Cowboys’ first TD drive. Wynn wasn’t alone in his crapitude. DT Markus Kuhn stood straight up and got himself taken out of the hole and pushed backwards on a McFadden 9-yard run. Not to be outdone, DE Robert Ayers gave up his lane and inexplicably chased Matt Cassel as McFadden scooted by as evidenced by this nauseating sequence. The circles indicate where Kuhn and Ayers SHOULD be; they do not make it so.

Kuhn1Kuhn starts in the A (between center and guard) gap, with DE Robert Ayers seemingly responsible for the C gap (outside the OT).

kuhn2Kuhn spots a penny on the turf (and OG Zach Martin peeks over his shoulder for a look see), instead of staying home to take on the block from TE Jason Witten and create some traffic for McFadden…

kuhn3Ayers completely abandons his gap, preferring to see what type of shoe Matt Cassel has on in lieu of taking down a ball carrier. Kuhn goes from zero to blocked faster than any DT I can remember. It has to be the fine German engineering that enables such raw speed. And there is no penny, just a gaping hole for McFadden to exploit.

DT Jay Bromley didn’t fare much better, consistently getting turned out of the hole and giving up leverage far too easily. And naturally it was Kuhn being destroyed on the Cowboys’ first TD of the game. The middle of this defense simply struggles when #78 is on the field. I have no idea how not one coach sees this. Ayers flat out missed on an easy interception chance that Cassel threw right at him, and didn’t have much impact in his first action in weeks. DE George Selvie was solid in spots as was Jon Hankins and Cullen Jenkins, but as a unit, no pressure and 233 yards rushing means you all get an F.

Linebackers

When your starting trio of LBs racks up 24 tackles, something ain’t stirring the Kool-Aid Ace. J.T. Thomas got caught for a late hit on the Cowboys’ first TD drive, just a bad error when the Giants were struggling to stop anything. But the call was iffy at best. The former Mountaineer finished with 6 stops. For the most part, this group was jumping on and dragging down anything that ambled past our DL and that was pretty much everyone with a star on their helmet. Really very little impact despite all of the tackle numbers. I guess it’s good they tackled? Jon Casillas again chipped in with 7 stops, but for the life of me, I can’t remember any of them. Veteran Jon Beason did a lot of dirty work in between the big guys, piling up 11 stops in a game that had to feel like a game of bumper pool for former Cane, with Beason playing the role of the ball. Tough day all around for the defense’s second level against the running game. They were consistently dealing with 300 pounders bearing down them as the DL failed to do anything to slow the tide.

Defensive Backs

DRC, take a bow. Hell take two or three, just don’t pull anything or you’ll be on IR by Saturday. The highly-paid and highly-productive CB was sensational despite a very iffy holding call that gave the Boys a first down as the first half wound down. DRC nearly had a first-half TD by jumping Cole Beasley’s out route. He jumped the exact same route on the Cowboys’ first possession of the second half and catapulted the Giants to a 17-13 lead. DRC wasn’t done, snatching another Cassel pass over the middle as the 4th quarter opened with the Cowboys again driving. S Brandon Meriweather took advantage of an awful Cassel pass midway through the third quarter and gave the G-Men the ball back at their own one-foot line. The former Cane did get bowled over by Darren McFadden on the Cowboys’ next possession, but Meriweather notched 7 tackles and a pick and was counted on heavily to shore up the back end of a fragile defense. And he did just that with a swat of a 3rd down pass late in the 4th quarter that helped snuff out the Cowboys’ final shot to score. CB Jayron Hosley wasn’t good at all. Hosley gave up big gains to Terrence Williams and got out-worked on a Brice Butler reception. If not for a bad Cassel pass, he was beaten badly on Meriweather’s interception. S Landon Collins notched 9 stops but he was slow in reacting to WR Devin Street and gave up the game-tying TD. Collins continued his rugged work against the run, spending plenty of time in the box, but he too shoulders some of the blame for the 233-yard mashing.

Special Teams

Special, neato, super, competent. None of these would describe the Giants’ special teams units under blackmail specialist Tom Quinn for several years, until now. Clearly Quinn’s 9-year plan is finally coming to fruition, he knew it all along. ST ace Dwayne Harris started the day with a drag down of Cole Beasley on P Brad Wing’s second punt and finished in style with a 100-yard, stadium-rocking kickoff return that punctuated an odd afternoon of weird statistics, big plays and Greg Hardy tirades. Credit LB Jonathan Casillas with an outstanding lead on Harris’ return. The coverage units were again outstanding, holding the Cowboys to 73 total return yards. Josh Brown, the cyborg kicker, again made all of his kicks.

Coaching

DC Steve Spagnuolo had no answers for a Cowboys’ running game that pounded out 233 yards. In their first 4 games, the Giants had the #1 rush defense in the league, giving up 279 yards and 69.75 ypg. In their last 3, the G-Men have surrendered 515 yards or 171.6 per game. That’s a full 100 yards per game MORE over our last 3 contests. That simply has to improve. Spags’ maddening decision to use DT Markus Kuhn extensively is reaching Tom Quinn-like proportions. What does Kuhn know and how does he know it? How is he using it to force his way onto the field and who if anyone can stop the big German? I’ll give Spags credit for dialing up a lot of pressure to force 3 interceptions. But I have to ask, what in the H E double hockey sticks is this? 3rd-and-4 and Kerry Wynn, Robert Ayers, Cullen Jenkins and George Selvie line up tight to put pressure on Matt Cassel…dun dun dunn or do they???

zoneb

zone2Yeah that’s right, 3 DL drop into coverage, Cassel misfires outside and DRC almost takes it to the house….a portend of things to come? Has ANYONE ever seen 3 DL drop into coverage???? This has to be a first for Spags.

When the Giants did use a 3-4 front with Ayers and Kennard at OLB, they fared much better against the Cowboys edge-heavy running game. But the Giants routinely returned to the 4-3 and the trampling continued for most of the contest. Credit Spags though for thoroughly confusing the veteran Cassel which led to 2 of the 3 interceptions the Giants used to pull this game out.

OC Ben McAdoo, I don’t know what to make of again. Darkwa explodes for 41 yards on 4 carries and then gets sprinkled in 4 more times total. Odell Beckham Jr. did very little and Eli Manning really only took two shots, one caught and one dropped. However, the running game worked better than it has all season with the addition of Darkwa. Credit McAdoo for adding in the former Tulane star; it paid off with 132 yards on the ground. So Mr. McAdoo, you stress balance in distributing the ball and you don’t like to threaten teams deep very often and it’s resulted in back-to-back poor output by your franchise QB and talented WRs. A win in this campaign though is a win even if your offense only managed 13 points against an outfit that surrendered 39 to the Falcons, 30 to the Patriots and 335 passing yards to the ghost of Drew Brees.

Cram it in your Cramhole Award

Greg Hardy, you sir may cram it in your cramhole. By it, I mean everything you can find – guns, clipboards, horrible rap CDs with your nails-on-a-chalkboard voice on them. Hardy simply didn’t show for practice last Thursday, slapped his ST Coach’s clip board out of his hand, continued going apey for several minutes and he wasn’t even listening to the Soggy Bottom Boys. Even Dez Bryant looked sane in comparison during the duos heated exchange following Harris’ TD return. We were able to contact Daniel in MI, who unofficially didn’t give us any audio that is not certainly accurate. But here’s what we found when reading the lips of Bryant and Hardy…or at least we had the clip running on the laptop while we decided on what to have for dinner. And the results are shocking and probably fabricated.

Dez Bryant: Y’all gettin’ any rain up your way?
Greg Hardy: What way would that be?
Dez Bryant: I seen you was from Dallas.
Greg Hardy: What business is it of yours where I’m from, friendo?
Dez Bryant: I didn’t mean nothin’ by it.
Greg Hardy: Didn’t mean nothin’.
Dez Bryant: I was just passin’ the time. If you don’t wanna accept that I don’t know what else to do for you. Will there be something else?
Greg Hardy: I don’t know. Will there?
Dez Bryant: Is somethin’ wrong?
Greg Hardy: With what?
Dez Bryant: With anything?
Greg Hardy: Is that what you’re asking me? Is there something wrong with anything?
Dez Bryant: Will there be anything else?
Greg Hardy: You already asked me that.
Dez Bryant: Well… I need to see about closin’.
Greg Hardy: See about closing.
Dez Bryant: Yessir.
Greg Hardy: What time do you close?
Dez Bryant: Now. We close now.
Greg Hardy: Now is not a time. What time do you close?

(Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, October 25, 2015)
Oct 272015
 
Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (September 29, 2013)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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The New York Giants have officially announced that they have agreed to a 1-year contract with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul that will keep Pierre-Paul with the team through the remainder of the 2015 NFL season. The Giants have been granted a two-game roster exemption for Pierre-Paul. During that time, he is expected to return to the practice field and begin football drills.

As has been widely publicized, Pierre-Paul suffered catastrophic injuries to his right hand in a July 4th fireworks accident, including the amputation of his index finger, the reported loss of portions of his middle finger and thumb, fractures to the thumb, and multiple skin grafts.

Pierre-Paul was designated the team’s Franchise Player in early May with a 1-year, $14.813 million tender that he never signed. That tender was reduced by approximately $6.1 million because he missed the first seven games of the season. For the last two days, it has been reported and speculated that the Giants and Pierre-Paul were working on an incentive-laden deal to replace the $8.7 million remainder of the original tender. Multiple sources are reporting that the new contract is largely based on incentives tied to performance and playing time. The hope is that he will be able to play by Week 10 or Week 12 (the Giants have a bye in Week 11).

Pierre-Paul kept his distance from the team since the accident except for a meeting with the Giants on September 7th and a second meeting with team officials that began on Monday. Team medical personnel have examined Pierre-Paul’s permanently-damaged right hand and believe he can now return to the playing field. They did not after the first meeting in September.

“We all are excited to see Jason,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “He has worked very hard to get himself back into position to join the team and work toward getting on the playing field on Sundays.”

“I’m very excited to be back,” said Pierre-Paul. “I’m getting ready to do what I have to do. I’ve been training down in South Florida with my trainer. Every day, I got up at 7:30 and lifted weights, I’ve been doing what I have to do to stay in football shape.”

“I feel younger,” replied Pierre-Paul when asked how he felt. “I’m just here to help the team out. I’m blessed to play the game, and I’m excited about the opportunity to play again.”

Pierre-Paul has never played for Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, so his complicated defensive schemes and terminology will be new to him. Pierre-Paul also has not practiced since December 2014. There is not much time as the Giants are almost halfway through the 2015 regular season with just nine games left to play.

“It is just good to have Jason back in our building,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “You can feel his energy and his desire to overcome what he has had to endure since July. His spirit is undeniable, and he is anxious to get to work with (Defensive Line Coach) Robert Nunn and Spags, as well as our medical and strength and conditioning people.”

Oct 272015
 
Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (December 28, 2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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GIANTS NEGOTIATING 1-YEAR DEAL WITH JASON PIERRE-PAUL…
According to press reports, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and the New York Giants are in negotiations on a 1-year contract that would reduce his pro-rated, 1-year, $8.7 million Franchise tender (minus $6.1 million for the seven games he has missed) to an incentive-laden deal. The contract would likely prevent the Giants from placing Pierre-Paul on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) List, ensuring that Pierre-Paul would be paid. ESPN is reporting that Pierre-Paul could return to the playing field by Week 10 or Week 12 (the Giants have a bye during Week 11). FOX Sports is reporting that Pierre-Paul could be back on the field by Week 10.

Press reports say that Head Coach Tom Coughlin, General Manager Jerry Reese, and Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn met with Pierre-Paul on Monday. In addition, Pierre-Paul was examined by team medical personnel who have apparently have determined that Pierre-Paul is physically capable of playing football again this season.

Newsday and NJ.com have reported that Pierre-Paul’s injuries to his right hand from the July 4th fireworks accident include an amputated index finger, the loss of portions of his middle finger and thumb, and fractures to his thumb. Pierre-Paul also had extensive burns that required multiple skin grafts. Other concerns include Pierre-Paul not being able to adequately weight train due to the injuries and corresponding loss of strength and mass, his not practicing since December 2014, and his unfamiliarity with new Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system.

VICTOR CRUZ INJURY UPDATE…
“There is no timetable set for me just yet,” WR Victor Cruz told reporters on Monday. “I meet with the doctors again this Thursday and take it from there. I feel better and I know that I’m progressing because the previous MRI showed the area of discomfort has gotten a lot smaller. Hopefully that trend continues and I’ll be out there sooner or later.”

Cruz has not completed a full practice since August 17 due to his injured calf. Cruz experienced a setback when attempting to practice on September 30.

WORKOUT TUESDAY…
As is usually the case, the Giants worked out a number of street free agents on Tuesday. Those reportedly working out for the team included place kickers Kyle Brindza, Zach Hocker, Corey Acosta, and Tom Obarski.

ELI MANNING ON WFAN
The audio of Monday’s WFAN Radio interview with quarterback Eli Manning is available on CBS New York’s website.

GIANTS-COWBOYS: SIGHTS AND SOUNDS…
A sights and sounds video from the Giants’ 27-20 victory over the Dallas Cowboys is now available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Wednesday to start preparing for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

Oct 262015
 


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JASON PIERRE-PAUL MEETING WITH GIANTS…
According to multiple press reports, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is meeting with the New York Giants today. Pierre-Paul will supposedly allow team doctors to examine his severely-damaged right hand for second time since his July 4th fireworks accident. The original meeting with the team was on September 7th. Pierre-Paul believes he can play now but it remains to be seen if the Giants agrees. ESPN is reporting that the Giants discussed reducing Pierre-Paul’s current Franchise tender (approximately $871,000 per week) in September, but Pierre-Paul refused.

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

Good afternoon. Just a couple thoughts about yesterday afternoon’s game. The significance of the plus-four turnovers and the fact that we had no turnovers on offense or special teams was obviously huge in the game. We only had three penalties in the game, all three on defense, all three on the same drive. We had a defensive touchdown, a special teams touchdown. And we had a spark, which I thought was very, very instrumental in our ability to win the game. The spark being, one, DRC and his two interceptions which we talked about, it could have been three. And he had the sideline with the first one, too, if he had been able to hang on to the ball. But his defensive touchdown there was a real spark. Dwayne Harris, his kickoff return was a real spark. He also had a nice tackle on special teams as well. He had a 38-yard pass play which put us in outstanding field position right as we got close to the end of the first half. I thought that our offensive line play and rushing for 132, which was the first time we’d been over that mark this year, but I thought we had some good, physical runs. And I thought Orleans Darkwa gave us a spark. There were a lot of things in the game, as I told the players this morning. We’re real happy today because we won the game. We knew, in the division, the kind of game it was going to be.

We had speculated 35 plus runs in the game, and actually Dallas had 41 runs and they were very good at it. They got after us pretty good in the run game. We knew the physicality of the game, the talent of the defensive team of Dallas, the talent of the kicker and the punter, in particular, and the talent of their offensive line. It had to be the best rushing game that McFadden’s had in quite some while, but you can see the acceleration and the speed—how that fits what they’re trying to do with their offensive team as they go forward. There were many things that we need to do a much better job of. Again, I thought there was a critical drive where we had the ball after coming off our minus-one yard line. We had the ball in a position where scoring a touchdown there would have been key. We were not able to do that. That little bit about the green-zone does continue to bother me. Even though we were running the ball pretty well in that sequence, we didn’t score.

We won the game, we’re excited about winning the game. There’s a lot of things we can do better. We congratulated our team and then, as we always do, we talked about the areas that must be improved, because improvement is the key. We talk about that every week as we get ready to play—we want to play better than we played the week before, each week. It kind of goes back and forth but in this game I thought the major contributions of all three phases and how they complemented each other was radically different from the experience we had down in Philadelphia. So we’re happy to win, we have a lot of work to do.

Q: The last three games or so, the run defense has given up, I think, over 100 yards to the opponents. What have you seen to be the difference these last three games versus earlier when you were holding opponents to under 100 yards?

A: We made some mistakes in terms of our responsibilities and how we play certain aspects of the run. There were some things that Dallas did coming off of a bye week, which you knew was going to happen. They introduced a couple of different thoughts in there. By in large, they blocked us and we’ve got to find a way—and they’re a good offensive team, don’t get me wrong—but we’ve got to do a better job of holding the point, of being where we’re supposed to be from a gap responsibility, of recognizing the style run that’s coming. We lost leverage on the corner consistently. One of the reasons was that as much as you want to tell somebody how fast an individual is, McFadden did just run around us a few times. When he hit a couple of plays off-tackle, we were holding our breath there to try to get him down, particularly when he got started through the line of scrimmage. It’s a number of things—they blocked very well, we were sometimes out of position, and sometimes not maintaining our leverage and our contain responsibilities. Our tackling at times was shoddy. We didn’t get away with block tackles, which you don’t like to see anyway, but some of the people in the secondary were trying to implement that and it wasn’t successful. There’s a bunch of reasons why.

Q: This wasn’t Eli’s most prolific passing game, but he avoided the costly mistake. Can you talk a little about the offensive line’s ability to protect him and keep Dallas out of the backfield?

A: We knew the type of rush we were going to get. We knew how important it was to get the ball off. You adjust your style of play when that’s the case and we did that. The offensive line did a good job of that. There were occasions where I thought that Eli really demonstrated a learning experience when he was under pressure and really had no place to go with the ball and thought more about taking care of the ball than trying to find a way to get us back to the line of scrimmage. Both times he secured the ball to his body and went down. Nobody likes to see that, but it’s much better than a turnover or a penalty. I thought that he did an outstanding job of that. He made an outstanding throw down the sideline to hit Rueben Randle. He made a couple of key throws at key times. Really I thought there was probably one opportunity in the green zone that we did not take advantage of, for whatever reason. He managed the game very well, he made a number of adjustment calls at the line of scrimmage—had a lot to do with more run game than perhaps at any other time this year. From the standpoint of the guy who was in charge of the game and directed the game etc. etc., he did an outstanding job.

Q: Do you think going forward you’ll need more production, more explosion out of that passing game to sustain success?

A: Oh, I think so. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. The issue that we’re having is obvious. We’ve got some guys that are not able to practice full-time and it’s difficult when there’s not practice time to go ahead and just go out on the field Sunday afternoon and play as if you’ve had all those days and those opportunities that you normally get throughout the course of the week where you communicate well. Particularly if you’re introducing something a little bit different, you don’t have that. That’s a little bit of an issue right now and hopefully we can overcome it.

Q: Going back to the running backs for a moment. Obviously you knew what Orleans Darkwa could do, but having seen it now, you have four running backs who can really give you production in the running game. So how do you approach the responsibilities moving forward or how do you use these guys? Do you stick with that committee?

A: Well, committee is a word that—we’re fortunate to have four guys that can play. And of those four guys that can and do play, they also have special teams commitments, which is a huge plus for our team as well. We have a number of guys who have game experience, who some of which have different roles and they’ll continue in those roles, and they will continue to help us on special teams.

Q: Do you think it’s realistic though to use all four guys running the ball every week or is that something you’re going to have to pare down at some point?

A: I think right now it depends on the plan and the type of game we expect and how we strategize and plan on using. But the four healthy guys…that’s a great thing, believe me. When you look around at the different positions, four guys that continue to maintain good health, that helps an awful lot.

Q: What did you see from Darkwa during the week that gave you confidence to put him in there?

A: He had an outstanding preseason. So during the course of the week, he had some carries in first and second down. The coaches felt strongly that he should be given an opportunity. It wasn’t right away in the game, but eventually he played and he played well.

Q: What would you say to the idea that yesterday was not an impressive win or that perhaps you were lucky to win that game?

A: The luck part…there’s a lot of hard work that went into winning that game. It had nothing to do with luck, it had to do with us being in the right spot at the right time. Again, I attribute that to the turnovers and to the lack of penalties and us not turning it over—that’s not luck, there’s a lot of hard work involved in that. So we won the football game, we won it in a forthright manner. I’m not overly concerned with any of those other comments.

Q: As part of an answer yesterday, you mentioned, “Especially when no one thinks you can do it” type of attitude. Does that fuel your group?

A: Occasionally, it does. It’s a known fact that starting out 0-2 and then not playing as well as we had hoped in Philadelphia created more of that. If that is the case, then that’s a position we’ll take. You have to prove the doubters wrong.

Q: Seven games into the season, you’re almost to the midway point, what do you feel like you can hang your hat on with the team? What area of this team—

A: We play hard. We play hard. We play hard, it’s not always pretty. I think that with the kickoff return, the way in which our punt team has operated—it’s unfortunate that we had two touchbacks yesterday, we need to take just a little bit off of that. Balls hit at the one and I think around the three, you need to back that off a little bit to get that ball down inside the 10. But I think we can count on that going forward as well. But we have a bunch of guys who love the game, like what they’re doing, and play hard. That’s a  pretty good starting point. Effort is a great starting point for anything. By in large, I think we’re getting very good effort.

Q: By not listing like one of the facets of the offense or defense, are you still learning about what these units are though?

A: No, no. No.

Q: The kickoff return by Dwayne Harris obviously was a big play in that fourth quarter, a momentum changer. How good did you feel for him having such a big moment against his former team?

A: I didn’t consider that part, I considered it a good moment for our team. When he came screaming out of there, we had an entire sideline of people who were not only inspired by it, but they were extremely happy and not worried about showing our joy. We were excited about that.

Q: Tom, are you expecting to meet with Jason Pierre-Paul in the next day or so?

A: Am I?

Q: Do you or the doctors…is he due in to meet you guys?

A: Again, I told you that I would respond as soon as I knew in fact that it had taken place or that Jason was here. To my knowledge, he’s not here at this point in time. When he does, we’ll let you know. And it’s all going to start with the medical.

Q: Do you expect Damontre Moore to be back this week? And if there was any message intended on your part, do you think it was received?

A: Well, again, that stays between the player and I. Damontre Moore is a skilled athlete who we’ll again look at the plan and see exactly where we stand. If we can include him, then we will.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday to start preparing for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

Oct 252015
 
Jonathan Casillas, New York Giants (October 25, 2015)

Jonathan Casillas – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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NEW YORK GIANTS 27 – DALLAS COWBOYS 20…
It wasn’t pretty, but the New York Giants found a way to win a game where they were very much out-played on both lines of scrimmage on Sunday at MetLife Stadium as the Giants defeated the Cowboys 27-20. With the victory, the Giants improved their overall record to 4-3 and their divisional record to 2-2.

The Cowboys vastly out-gained the Giants in first downs (27-13), third-down efficiency (55 percent to 27 percent), total net yards (460 to 289), net yards rushing (233 to 132), net yards passing (227 to 157), and time of possession (38:04 to 21:56). But the Giants won the turnover battle (4 to 0) and scored touchdowns on defense and special teams.

The Giants received the football to start the game, picked up a couple of first downs, but were then forced to punt. The Cowboys drove 68 yards in 11 plays on their first possession but settled for a 30-yard field goal to go up 3-0 early.

After both teams exchanged punts, the Giants scored their only offensive touchdown of the game by marching 79 yards in seven plays to take a 7-3 lead on running back Orleans Darkwa’s 15-yard touchdown run. The Cowboys immediately cut into that advantage after the ensuing kickoff went out-of-bounds and the Cowboys managed to gain 30 yards in six plays to set up a 48-yard field goal. Giants 7 – Cowboys 6.

The Giants went three-and-out on their ensuing possession and Dallas then regained the lead by driving 72 yards in just six plays. The drive was aided by three defensive penalties and culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Darren McFadden, who would finish the game with 152 yards rushing on 29 carries. Cowboys 13 – Giants 7.

With 2:17 to go before halftime, the Giants did manage to cut into that score with an 8-play, 51-yard drive that set up a 47-yard field goal by place kicker Josh Brown. The big play on the drive was a 38-yard pass from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Dwayne Harris. At the half, the Cowboys led 13-10.

The Cowboys received the football to start the second half and turned it over on their first three possessions after the break. First, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie picked off quarterback Matt Cassel at the Giants’ 42-yard line and returned the interception 58 yards for the defensive score. The Giants were now up 17-13.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants (October 25, 2015)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Dallas crossed midfield on their second possession but a deep pass by Cassel was underthrown and intercepted by safety Brandon Meriweather at the Giants’ 1-yard line. Aided by a 44-yard reception by wide receiver Rueben Randle and a 39-yard run by running back Shane Vereen, the Giants were able to extend their lead to 20-13 on Josh Brown’s 34-yard field goal.

Cassel threw his third interception of the game on the Cowboys’ third possession of the half. Rodgers Cromartie picked off his second pass of the game at the Giants’ 22-yard line and returned it 12 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Giants picked up only one first down and were forced to punt. Dallas then proceeded to tie the game at 20-20 by driving 80 yards in nine plays with Cassel finding wide receiver Devin Street for a 25-yard touchdown midway through the final quarter.

Then came the play of the game when Dwayne Harris returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Dwayne Harris, New York Giants (October 25, 2015)

Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Dallas still had two opportunities to tie the game. The Cowboys drove from their own 31-yard line to the Giants’ 30-yard line with just over two minutes to play. After two plays picked up no yards, the Cowboys went for it on 4th-and-8 but failed to convert when tight end James Hanna was stopped two yards short of the first-down marker.

The Giants were not able to run out the clock but they did force the Cowboys to spend all three of their timeouts before punting. Brad Wing’s punt was muffed by Dallas returner Cole Beasley and recovered by Giants’ wide receiver Myles White with 1:26 to play. The Giants then knelt on the ball to win the game.

Manning finished the game 13-of-24 for 170 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. The leading receivers were wideout Odell Beckham (4 catches for 35 yards), tight end Larry Donnell (4 catches for 18 yards), Randle (2 catches for 68 yards), and Harris (2 catches for 43 yards). The leading rushers were Vereen (4 carries for 56 yards) and Darkwa (8 carries for 48 yards).

Rodgers-Cromartie had two interceptions, one for a touchdown. Meriweather had the other interception. Linebacker Jon Beason led the team with 11 tackles. Defensive end Georgie Selvie and defensive tackle Markus Kuhn shared the team’s only sack. Selvie was credited with three quarterback hits and defensive Robert Ayers with two.

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

INJURY REPORT…
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (finger) and DE Robert Ayers Jr. (concussion evaluation) left the game but returned. DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (hamstring) and LB J.T. Thomas (ankle) were both injured during the game and did not return.

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

POST-GAME NOTES…
Inactive for the Giants were WR Victor Cruz (calf), LB Uani ‘Unga (neck), CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral), CB Brandon McGee (back), DE Damontre Moore, DT Louis Nix, and OT Bobby Hart.

The Giants broke a five-game losing streak to Dallas. It was their first home victory vs. the Cowboys since January 1, 2012, the night they clinched the NFC East title on their way to Super Bowl XLVI.

The Giants have won their first two NFC East home games for the first time since 2009.

This was first game in which the Giants scored on both an interception return and a kickoff return since November 4, 1951. Tom Landry returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown, and Emlen Tunnell brought back a kickoff 100 yards for another score in a 37-31 victory over the New York Yanks.

The Giants rushed for 132 yards, their first 100-yard game since they ran for 128 yards at St. Louis on December 21, 2014. They had not rushed for 100 yards in seven consecutive games, and had been the only NFL team without a 100-yard rushing game this season.

The Giants did not commit a turnover in two games vs. the Cowboys this season.

Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning each reached milestones with the victory. Coughlin won his 100th regular-season game with the Giants, and Manning his 95th. Coughlin joined Hall of Famer Steve Owen as the only coaches in the 91-season history of the franchise to reach 100 regular-season victories. Owen had 153 victories from 1930-53. Manning’s 95th regular-season victory tied Phil Simms’ franchise record. The veteran quarterback and team captain presented a game ball to Coughlin in the postgame locker room.

Coughlin became the seventh coach in NFL history with at least 100 victories and at least two Super Bowl wins with one franchise. The others are Bill Belichick, Joe Gibbs, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Mike Shanahan, and Don Shula.

Harris tied the franchise record for longest kickoff return touchdown. Tunnell returned a kickoff 100 yards vs. the New York Yankees on November 4, 1951, and Clarence Childs matched him against Minnesota on December 6, 1964. It was Harris’ first career kickoff return touchdown.

Josh Brown kicked field goals of 47 and 34 yards. He has now made 19 consecutive field goal attempts, breaking the team record of 17 he set from October 6 – December 29, 2013.

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