Nov 302017
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 23, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Defensive tackle Damon Harrison (elbow) and linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck/wrist) did not practice on Thursday.

Offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back) and linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (illness) and linebacker Calvin Munson (quad) fully practiced.

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…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo and select position coaches and players will address the media on Friday.

Nov 292017
 
John Mara, New York Giants (October 15, 2017)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports

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JOHN MARA SPEAKS ABOUT ELI MANNING BENCHING…
New York Giants President/CEO John Mara addressed the media on Wednesday to discuss the team’s decision to bench quarterback Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith. The transcript of Mara’s press conference is available in The Corner Forum.

JANORIS JENKINS PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE…
New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins has been placed on Injured Reserve with an ankle injury that has nagged him most of the season. He aggravated the injury on his touchdown interception return against the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving. The NFL Network is reporting that Jenkins will reportedly undergo ankle surgery today and that the recovery process is expected to be three months.

To fill that roster spot, the Giants signed defensive tackle Khyri Thornton. The 28-year old, 6’3”, 315-pound Thorton was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He has spent time with the Packers (2014), New England Patriots (2015), and Detroit Lions (2015-2017). He was suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The Lions cut him on November 21. Thorton has played in 23 regular-season games with six starts (those starts all coming in 2016 with the Lions).

The Giants may also be activating defensive end Romeo Okwara from Injured Reserve shortly. The team changed the status of reserve injured/designated for return. Okwara was placed on Injured Reserve with a knee injury that he suffered in practice in October 2017.

The Giants have also waived J.T. Thomas off of Injured Reserve. The Giants placed Thomas on Injured Reserve in late September 2017 with a groin injury. Thomas was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. The Bears waived him in August 2013 and he was claimed off of waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Giants signed Thomas in March 2015. In 2015 with the Giants, Thomas played in 12 games with 11 starts, missing four games with an ankle injury. The Giants placed Thomas on Injured Reserve in September 2016 after he suffered ligament damage to his left knee in the regular-season opener.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (elbow), and linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck/wrist) did not practice on Wednesday.

Linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (illness) and linebacker Calvin Munson (quad) fully practiced.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available 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…
The New York Giants practice on Thursday at 12:20PM. The team’s coordinators and select players will also address the media after practice.

Nov 292017
 
Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants (November 23, 2017)

Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports

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Washington Redskins 20 – New York Giants 10

RECAP

Following a hard-fought, borderline even emotional, win at home against the Kansas City Chiefs just four days prior to the Giants-Redskins Thanksgiving night match-up gave off the notion there was still plenty of grit left in this team. On the other side, Washington came limping in with a 4-6 record and following a horrific 4th-quarter loss in New Orleans. Their playoff hopes are alive but dwindling. Both teams were missing multiple key starters and we knew these factors, combined with a short week of preparation, would turn this into an old-school street fight between the two bottom feeders of the 2017 NFC East.

Eli Manning made his 210th consecutive start; this one being behind a line that was missing 3 starters (Pugh-Richburg-Fluker) and still without all 3 of his top wide receivers (Beckham-Marshall-Shepard).

The teams traded 3-and-outs to open up the game, with Evan Engram dropping a 3rd-and-4 pass. This was the first of three on the night for the rookie, the NFL’s leader in drops. On the game’s 6th possession, an offense finally ran more than 5 plays, as Washington got the ball across midfield. On 4th-and-1 from the NYG 41-yard line, a Cousins pass was broken up by Darian Thompson. NYG was in business with their best field position of the night as the end of the first quarter approached.

On 3rd-and-7 from the WAS 33-yard line after a few quality plays, Manning was sacked by Washington’s sack leader Ryan Kerrigan at the hands of Chad Wheeler for the second time. The 3rd down opportunity turned into a punt, again.

Following another 3-and-out by WAS where Landon Collins showed signs of all-over-the-field dominance; NYG started their 5th drive of the night on their own 28-yard line. Sixteen plays and 8:29 of game clock later, the Giants were up 3-0 via a 30-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas. The drive was smooth and steady with physical running by Orleans Darkwa, who excelled when running to the right side, and two 19 yard passes, one to Roger Lewis and one to Tavarres King. The lowlight, however, was a terrible misfire by Manning to Shane Vereen on a screen pass that had big play and potentially a touchdown written all over it.

With 1:04 remaining in the half Cousins went deep to Josh Doctson. The pass fell incomplete but Ross Cockrell was flagged for pass interference, a spot foul. That mistake by Cockrell was a 37-yard gain for WAS, putting them in easy field goal range and they were able to tie it at 3 heading into the half.

On the second WAS possession of the 3rd quarter, slot receiver Jamison Crowder provided the two biggest plays. First, a 33-yard reception, most of which was after the catch, and second, a 15-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-goal from the 15-yard line. Cousins ability to evade pressure with eyes downfield was a weapon the Giants defense could not handle.

The Giants offense was stalling and with a 10-3 lead past the halfway point of the 3rd quarter, WAS had the personnel and approach to bleed out the clock. The Redskins, thanks to a couple penalties, were forced into a 3rd-and-18 situation that led to Cousins making an errant throw off the hands of his receiver and into the waiting arms of Janoris Jenkins, who returned the interception for the lone Giants touchdown of the night. Jenkins leads the NFL in pick-sixes since 2011 and despite the negative attention he has gathered in recent weeks, stepped up to make a play that shifted the momentum in a big way.

The end of the 3rd quarter saw a development that beat the Giants up the rest of the way, and that was rookie running back Samaje Perine having his way with the Big Blue front seven. On six carries, he rushed for 50 yards. WAS ended up punting on that drive as the 4th quarter began, but it was a foreshadow of what the Giants would be struggling with on that side of the ball.

Offensively, NYG just couldn’t get anything going. They had four possessions in the 4th quarter, all of which resulted in a combined 12 plays, 44 net yards, one first down and a game-sealing interception with 1:08 left on the clock. Redskins win, 20-10.

QUARTERBACKS

  • Eli Manning: 13/27 – 113 yards – 0 TD/1 INT. The 113 yards and 4.3 yards per attempt were the lowest we have seen out of Manning since 2007. The situation he is in just doesn’t get worse, Cleveland included. The Giants pass catchers lead the league in drops and the offensive line took a step back in comparison to what they have shown in recent weeks. Manning, in addition, misfired on a few occasions and continues his streak of games with more than four negative throws.

RUNNING BACKS

  • Wayne Gallman: 9 att/37 yards. 2 rec/6 yards. More of the same from the 4th round rookie. Gallman is an excellent change-of-pace back who is explosive through traffic with great vision and agility. One of these upcoming games, he is going to break off a long TD. He is due.
  • Orleans Darkwa: 11 att/30 yards. 1 rec/9 yards. Darwka had a nice stretch on NYG’s fifth drive of the game, but that was about it. There was minimal room for him to work with and he isn’t exactly a quick-reaction type back, thus he was being hit before he really got going. Darkwa won’t ever be a guy that can create on his own.

WIDE RECEIVERS

  • Roger Lewis: 3 rec/26 yards. With Sterling Shepard still out, I said this would be the opportunity for Lewis to show the organization what he has. After last week’s big performance in the 4th quarter, Lewis did end up getting the most targets among the group. He had a big reception on 3rd down early, but after that he was a non-factor. He continues to struggle gaining any sort of separation against man coverage.
  • Tavarres King: 2 rec/36 yards. King has turned into the one receiver on this team who can create on his own via movement. Whether he is running routes or making high-level receptions, there is some play-maker in him. On two occasions, however, it looked like he ran the wrong route from what I am guessing via the all-22 tape.

TIGHT ENDS

  • Evan Engram: 3 rec/18 yards. Engram is officially in a slump, a rather significant one. He is leading the NFL in drops after adding three more to his season total. It has gotten into his head at this point and it will be up to him to force himself out of this mess. Rookie? Yes. But he needs to get this fixed sooner rather than later. His blocking received an above-average grade for the first time in three weeks, and overall on the year, he has been better than expected in that area.
  • Rhett Ellison: 1 rec/9 yards. From week one, I’ve stated this guy needs to be on the field more than he is and he deserves more targets. He just isn’t in their playbook, it seems. But I don’t think it is a coincidence that the NYG rushing game took a step back this week along with the fact Ellison’s playing time dipped back below the 50% mark.

OFFENSIVE LINE

  • Tackles: After a very impressive performance on the NYG home turf, undrafted rookie Chad Wheeler came back down to earth in his first road start. He allowed 2 sacks and 4 pressures, as Ryan Kerrigan beat him up inside and out. Ereck Flowers had his worst game in 6 weeks, being called for 2 penalties, allowing 1 pressure, and allowing 1 sack. This was the worst combo-grade we have seen from the tackles since early in the year.
  • Interior: The lack of run-blocking presence was felt without D.J. Fluker in the mix. Jon Halapio made his first career start since being drafted in 2014. As he performed at training camp, he looked stiff and unable to block anything in space and/or after lateral movement. He confirmed that he doesn’t belong on the field with a grade well below average. John Jerry hit the point he has been hitting most of the year on the grading sheet, a few inches below average. He did get some quality movement early, but too often he whiffs and ends up chasing after his man. Brett Jones struggled mightily in pass protection when left alone. He appears over-matched when he is asked to do so. All three interior blockers finished below average on the grading sheet.

DEFENSIVE LINE

  • Ends: It took 11 weeks, but the Giants finally got plus performances from both of their ends. Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon both played over 85% of the snaps, a feat in and of itself considering the nagging injuries they’ve been dealing with. They combined for 3.5 sacks and 10 tackles. They were active, hustling, and consistent from start to finish. Kerry Wynn played a few snaps but failed to make an impact.
  • Tackles: The three-man rotation of Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Jay Bromley were over-matched by the interior blockers of WAS. Re-watching the tape, it was stunning to see how many times they were being blown off the ball 2-3 yards. It resulted in rookie Samaje Perine netting 100 yards for the second straight week, 97 of which came in the second half alone. Robert Thomas was also very poor in controlling the point-of-attack when he was in. As a group, it was their worst performance to date. Dalvin Tomlinson did record his first career sack.

LINEBACKERS

  • The most decimated unit on the team via injuries seems to he adding a new street free agent each week. Kelvin Sheppard, one of those recent signings, led the group with 7 tackles, as Jonathan Casillas added 6 of his own. Neither are stuffing the running lanes, however. They are struggling to impact the game with speed or power and neither are doing well in coverage, as the middle of the field continues to be the weakness of the NYG pass defense.
  • Devon Kennard has been, and continues to be, one of the season’s bright spots. He recorded another sack via the interior pass rush. His versatility, especially on 3rd downs, is a weapon worth keeping around.
  • Curtis Grant suffered a season-ending injury early in the game.

CORNERBACKS

  • The Giants lone touchdown of the night came from a pick six by Janoris Jenkins, his second of the year. Jenkins played an outstanding game in coverage and after watching the all-22 tape, his effort was not a problem at all. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had a quiet game in a good way, rarely being targeted.
  • With Eli Apple out via a coach’s decision, Ross Cockrell got the start and played every defensive snap. He played a physical game and did a nice job in coverage, allowing under 50% of the balls thrown his way to be completed. Cockrell has been a very solid player considering what NYG had to give up for him. I think he is a keeper as a backup.
  • Unfortunate injury for Donte Deayon, who was going to get the opportunity to show his worth to this team for the future. He broke his arm on a tackle attempt of Jamison Crowder, who had his way with Deayon prior to on a few occasions.

SAFETIES

  • Landon Collins and Darian Thompson shined again. Collins led the team with 14 tackles, 1 of which was for a loss. He was all over the field and did an outstanding job of anticipating plays and snaps. When you have a safety like this, the lack of ability at linebacker isn’t nearly as big of a deal. When this guy is playing a roaming role, especially against the run, he really is top notch. Thompson has improved in coverage mightily since the beginning of the year, being more assertive and quicker to react. He had two very nice, high-level pass break-ups.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • K Aldrick Rosas: 1/1 – Made 30 yds. Quiet night for the rookie kicker. McAdoo could have given him a 38-yard attempt, but opted to go for it on 4th-and-1.
  • P Brad Wing: 9 punts – 41.2 avg. His net average was just 2 yards under his average, a solid number. He pinned WAS inside the 5 once.
  • Return: Kalif Raymond returned 2 punts for a total of 8 yards.

3 STUDS

  • DE Jason Pierre Paul, DE Janoris Jenkins, S Landon Collins

3 DUDS

  • OT Chad Wheeler, DT Jay Bromley, QB Eli Manning

3 THOUGHTS ON WAS

  • Samaje Perine is going to be a factor in this division for a long time. He specializes in short yardage but he will prove to be much more than that. He doesn’t go down on initial contact, always running through arm tackles and grinding out a defense. The combination of him and Chris Thompson in the future will be a tough, tough duo to play against.
  • The Redskins have backed themselves into a corner with Kirk Cousins. They could have locked him up for a solid deal the past two years, but the mishandling is now going to cost them an extra few million per year. At this point, you just can’t let him walk via FA. There is no long term plan in place for WAS behind him and they won’t be picking high enough to select a franchise guy.
  • The WAS offensive line is just, if not more, beat up than the NYG OL. However their backups come in and still played at a solid level. They’ve done a nice job building that group from top to bottom and it is something NYG should look at. Both how they did it and if one of them can be had via FA.

3 THOUGHTS ON NYG

  • I can’t stress this enough: the situation Eli Manning has had to work with is the worst, or second worst to CLE, in the NFL. Everything about this offense when it comes to support of the QB is simply over-matched. Does it mean it is unfair to evaluate his play? Not exactly. There are still things he is doing wrong and/or at a low level each week. However, I’m not sure any QB in the league could succeed in this situation and I mean that.
  • Are we seeing what this defense should have been all year? Collins is all over the field and appears to be in on every play. The ends are disruptive. The cornerbacks have played lock-down coverage the past 2 weeks. What could have been this year….what could have been. They woke up a little too late.
  • Another issue I have had with this front office for years, and I know not everyone agrees, is the lack of resources devoted to the linebacker position. I am just sick and tired of signing street free agents of bottom-feeder type players to fill a role that impacts the run and pass so much. It is a direct relation to why the Giants have been absolutely killed by tight ends and slot receivers over the middle and the run defense has been so inconsistent. One of these years some money and/or a high pick needs to be used on a linebacker or two.
Nov 282017
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 21, 2012)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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ELI MANNING BENCHED FOR GENO SMITH…
In a surprise move, New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo announced on Tuesday that two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning, who has started every game for the team since November 2004, has been benched in favor of Geno Smith.

“Alright, each and every week our number one job is to win a football game,” said McAdoo to the press. “We’re 2-9 right now. We have five left to play. We’re out of contention and our number one job is to still win football games. But it’s my responsibility to make sure we have a complete evaluation of the roster – top to bottom. Especially at the quarterback position moving on to next season and with that, we’re going to start Geno this week and give him an opportunity to show what he can do.

“I spoke to (General Manager) Jerry (Reese) and I spoke to ownership – yes. We’re on the same page… I have a lot of confidence in Eli as a player, as a quarterback. But at this point, it’s my responsibility for the organization to make sure we take a look at Geno and at some point take a look at Davis (Webb) and give them the opportunity to show what they can do heading into next year.”

Manning has started 210 consecutive regular-season games, the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history, behind Brett Favre’s 297 games. Manning was given the option to start this Sunday’s game, then sit, in order to keep the streak alive. But Manning declined.

“The game plan going in was to play (Eli) for a half and play Geno for the second half and we decided after our conversation this morning that we’ll give Geno the ball starting at the beginning of the game,” said McAdoo. “I think a lot of Hall of Fame quarterbacks who have done a lot for a lot of teams haven’t been able to choose the way that they get to move on and I’m not saying that we’re moving on, but at some point in time, you have to make hard, tough decisions for the best of the franchise. And, that’s what I have to do here.”

“Coach Mac (McAdoo) called me in,” said Manning. “Told me that we were going to start splitting some time and thought it was best to give Geno the start and I’ll back him up. I’ll be a good teammate. I don’t like it, but it’s part of football, you handle it. I didn’t do my job.

“I just didn’t think that you start knowing that you’re going to come out of a game to keep a streak alive maybe. That’s not what it’s about. It’s not a preseason game where you’re going to play the start to the half, what’s the next week? A quarter, a series, that’s not fair. That’s not fair to me, that’s not fair to Geno, that’s not how you play. You play to win. You’re named the starting quarterback, you think it’s your job to go win the football game. When you know you’re just going to play a little bit, I didn’t feel like that was the right way to play.

“It’s hard. It’s been a hard day to handle this, but hang in there and figure it out.”

When asked if he has played his last game as a New York Giants, an emotional Manning responded, “I don’t know. I don’t know. One week at a time.”

GIANTS-COWBOYS FLEXED TO 1PM…
The NFL announced on Tuesday that the December 10, 2017 New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys game to be played at MetLife Stadium has been flexed from 4:25PM to 1:00PM.

GIANTS SIGN TWO DEFENSIVE BACKS TO 53-MAN ROSTER…
The New York Giants have signed cornerbacks Brandon Dixon and Darryl Morris to the 53-man roster. Those roster spots were made available by Monday’s roster moves that placed four players on Injured Reserve.

Dixon was signed to the Practice Squad in October 2017. Dixon was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. The 5’11”, 203-pound Dixon has spent time with the Jets (2014), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014), Seattle Seahawks (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2015), New England Patriots (2015), New Orleans Saints (2015-2016), and Pittsburgh Steelers (2016-2017). Despite his travels around the NFL, Dixon has only played in 14 games with no starts with the Buccaneers in 2014.

Morris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the San Francisco 49ers after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the 49ers (2013), Houston Texans (2014-2015), New York Jets (2016), and Indianapolis Colts (2016-2017). The 5’10”, 190-pound Morris has played in 48 regular-season games with three starts, two of which came with the Colts in 2016.

The Giants also signed cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon to the Practice Squad. McKinnon originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Dallas Cowboys after the 2016 NFL Draft. The 5-10”, 197-pound McKinnon has spent time with the Cowboys (2016), Tennessee Titans (2016), and Washington Redskins (2017).

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available 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…
The New York Giants return to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s away game against the Oakland Raiders.

Nov 272017
 
D.J. Fluker, New York Giants (August 26, 2017)

D.J. Fluker – © USA TODAY Sports

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GIANTS PLACE FOUR ON INJURED RESERVE, INCLUDING D.J. FLUKER…
The New York Giants have placed right guard D.J. Fluker (toe), linebacker Curtis Grant (knee), linebacker Deontae Skinner (hamstring), and cornerback Donte Deayon (fractured forearm) on Injured Reserve.

Fluker injured his toe in the November 19 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The other three players were injured during the Thanksgiving game against the Washington Redskins.

The Giants also claimed linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong off of waivers from the San Francisco 49ers and signed free agent linebacker Jeremy Cash.

Armstrong was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Rams (2013-2014), Oakland Raiders (2014-2015), and San Francisco 49ers (2015-2017). The 49ers waived him in November 2017. The 6’3”, 220-pound Armstrong has played in 58 regular-season games with ten starts, five of which came in 2017 with the 49ers.

Cash was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Carolina Panthers after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Panthers (2016-2017) and New York Jets (2017). The 6’0”, 230-pound Cash has played in nine NFL games with no starts.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Select New York Giants players will be available to the press on Tuesday. The Giants return to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s away game against the Oakland Raiders.

Nov 242017
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 24, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY UPDATE…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo said on Monday that the injuries suffered by linebacker Curtis Grant (knee) and cornerback Donte Deayon (fractured forearm) will end their season. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (ankle) may miss some time as well.

MONDAY BEN MCADOO CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo addressed the media by conference call on Monday to discuss the team’s 20-10 loss to the Washington Redskins:

Q: What did you think of the overall effort in last night’s game?

A: I thought we played the game hard. I thought we played the game physical at times. There were times when we were the more physical team. That wasn’t consistent over the course of the ballgame, but I thought the players played hard.

Q: At 2-9, where does the team go from here?

A: I guess the normal procedure would be to start taking a look at more younger players, but we’re doing that, really, already, with the way things have come out injury-wise. We have a lot of young players playing out there and last night was an example, young players playing on a short week and they played like it. We need to get more out of the young players on our roster. We took a step backwards there. Everything’s correctable and I’m confident that we’re going to get it corrected, but we need better there. The players are going to get a couple days away from it and we need to come back and attack this last month head on.

Q: What did you think when you looked at the offense on tape?

A: Well, I was disappointed in the way that our offense looked. Really, as a team, we didn’t handle the ball well enough to win the game. We didn’t throw it well enough, we didn’t catch it well enough, we didn’t punt it well enough, we didn’t kick it well enough and that was a big part of the ballgame. Last night we had a lot of unforced errors. They were both ways in the game and that’s usually how it goes. On a Thursday Night game, you’re going to have some of that and we just weren’t able to overcome it.

Q: Is there anything that you would have changed going into the game, preparation-wise, to compensate for the challenge of having young players play on a short week?

A: Yeah, we’re going to take a look at it. We have some ideas that we put down and we’re going to take a look at it in the future and see if there’s any adjustments you can make to maybe getting some speed work.

Q: Has ‘next man up’ been a little unrealistic, especially heading into a short week, to have guys step in right away and expect them to play at a high level?

A: Both teams went through it last night. We had a lot of players who had to step in and go and play pro football at a high level. And that is a challenge, but that’s part of the game. We played hard, we weren’t detailed enough, we didn’t execute the way that we’re capable of executing, but we went out and played the game hard.

Q: Do you think your players might have been pressing a little bit, knowing it was a short week?

A: I thought there were some examples, maybe. I thought maybe [tight end] Evan [Engram] was pressing a little bit in the pass game, especially after he dropped the first one. Other than that, I’m not sure if there were any other signs of it.

Q: What is the latest on wide receiver Sterling Shepard?

A: Sterling, he’s still on the injury report. There’s no change from yesterday.

Q: Is it still migraines with Shepard?

A: He’s listed as a migraine, yes.

Q: Do you have any updates on injured players from last night?

A: [Cornerback] Janoris [Jenkins] has an ankle [injury], it’s painful. [Linebacker Curtis] Grant has a knee [injury], a right knee. [Cornerback] Donte Deayon has a forearm fracture. [Linebacker Deontae] Skinner has a hamstring [injury] and that’s what I have right now.

Q: Is Deayon’s injury something that he can play through, or will it end his season?

A: He won’t be able to play through that, no.

Q: Shepard is not in the concussion protocol, correct?

A: Correct.

Q: Any concern that Jenkins’ injury is long-term?

A: He’s in some pain right now, so there’s a possibility.

Q: Is Grant’s knee injury going to end his season?

A: It looks that way, yes.

Q: Is there anything you can do to help Engram come back in the passing game?

A: Yeah, he bounced back in the ballgame. He had the drop on the first third down of the game and that was an easy throw and catch, should’ve been. And he just didn’t have good fundamentals there. He surrounded the ball, something that we don’t like to do, and when it gets chalky and cold, the ball can be hard to handle. He doesn’t have a lot of experience playing in that weather, but that’s part of it. He bounced back on the vertical play down the middle, it would’ve been a very tough throw and catch, [quarterback] Eli [Manning] got some pressure, had to get the ball out, he wasn’t expecting the ball probably that quickly, but made a nice play on the ball and just couldn’t hold it going to the ground. But came back on a deep cross, showed good fundamentals, good concentration, good focus and made a nice play. So, he’s able to rebound during the course of a game. I did have conversations with him during the course of the game and let him know that he can still make a big impact in the ballgame, in the way the ballgame was going. He just needs to stick with it and focus on the details and the little things.

Q: Do you find Engram is receptive to those in-game conversations?

A: Yeah, he’s phenomenal on the sideline. He plays the game with a clear mind.

Q: In your eyes, was cornerback Eli Apple missing two practices last week what contributed to him being inactive last night?

A: He hasn’t played football in awhile and that’s why I chose the decision I made.

Q: Missing two practices for a guy who has played a lot of football is a deal breaker?

A: I don’t know what deal you’re talking about, but he didn’t practice last week, except for Wednesday. He did not play in the game and didn’t get any speed work this week, that’s why I chose to not dress him.

Q: There is a lot of speculation that he was inactive for another reason, but that is not the case?

A: I didn’t say it was.

Q: How do you feel about the way the offensive line played last night?

A: I thought that the 16-play drive was a good drive for them. We mixed the pass, we mixed the run, had some good plays, overcame some adversity during that drive. But the physicality of the run game wasn’t as good as it’s been, so we dropped off there a little bit and our protection wasn’t good enough.

Q: What was your message to the players before they got away for a couple of days off?

A: Come back on time with your weight right. That’s a good start.

Q: Because of all the young players playing more, are you teaching more?

A: We need these guys to grow up. It’s part of coaching, it’s part of playing. We don’t have time to wait, it’s got to be now.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Friday’s media conference calls with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

LANDON COLLINS ON ESPN RADIO
The audio of Monday’s ESPN Radio interview with New York Giants safety Landon Collins is available at ESPN.com.

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants did not score an offensive touchdown for the second time this season, both in division road games. They were held to three points in Dallas in the season opener.

The Giants had one first down in the second half and seven in the game, their lowest total since they had six in a 30-7 loss to New Orleans on December 24, 2006.

The Giants’ 86 net passing yards was their lowest total since they threw for 49 yards in a victory against the Miami Dolphins in London on October 28, 2007.

Quarterback Eli Manning’s 113 passing yards was his lowest total since he threw for 111 yards at Buffalo on December 23, 2007. He passed for 36 yards on the Giants’ final series.

The Giants employed their eighth different starting offensive line this season, tying them with the Green Bay Packers for the NFL high.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no scheduled media availability the New York Giants until next Tuesday, when select players will address the press. The players are off on Sunday and Monday.

Nov 242017
 

Thanksgiving Day Disaster

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WASHINGTON REDSKINS 20 – NEW YORK GIANTS 10…
Two terrible teams played a terrible football game on Thanksgiving night, with the more pathetic New York Giants falling to the Washington Redskins 17-10 at FedExField in Landover, Maryland. With the loss, the Giants fell to 2-9 on the season.

New York’s offense was a train wreck against one of the NFL’s worst defenses. The Giants accrued only three offensive points, seven first downs, and 170 total net yards (84 yards rushing, 86 net yards passing). Given those statistics, predictably, the Redskins dominated the time of possession by almost 10 minutes.

Despite the impotent offense, the game was tied 3-3 at the half and 10-10 in the 4th quarter because the defense kept the Giants in the game, including a 53-yard, pick-6 interception return by cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

Not counting the kneel down before halftime, the Giants had 12 offensive possessions in the game. These 12 possessions resulted in nine punts, a turnover on downs, an interception, and a field goal. Quarterback Eli Manning was a shadow of his former self, completing just 13-of-27 passes for 113 yards, being sacked four times. Giants’ wide receivers only caught five passes with Roger Lewis “leading” the pack with three catches for 26 yards. Running backs Wayne Gallman and Orleans Darkwa combined for 67 yards on 20 carries.

The Giants only had one drive all night that gained more than one first down. That was their 4-first down, 10-play, 60-yard possession in the second quarter that set up their only offensive points – a 30-yard field goal. The Giants had only three other first downs on their 11 other possessions, with eight of their possessions not making one first down.

To the credit of the New York defense, they kept the Giants in the game until late in the fourth quarter. The Redskins punted four times in the first half, turned over the ball once, and scored their only points of the half off a 4-play, 38-yard drive that resulted in a 28-yard field goal right before halftime.

In the second half, after forcing another punt, the Giants allowed a 6-play, 50-yard drive that was highlighted by two passes from quarterback Kirk Cousins to wide receiver Jamison Crowder, the first for 33 yards and the second a 15-yard touchdown strike on 3rd-and-goal. But after another New York three-and-out on offense, the defense tied the game at 10-10 on Jenkins’ 53-yard interception return.

The game remained tied midway through the fourth quarter, but the Redskins then embarked on their 8-play, 60-yard, game-winning drive that was aided by a questionable defensive holding call on cornerback Ross Cockrell, wiping out a 3rd-and-3 sack. After a 17-yard gain from another Cousins-to-Crowder pass, Cousins threw a 14-yard strike to wide receiver Josh Doctson for the touchdown two plays later with 3:31 left in the game. The Giants turned the football over on downs at their own 19-yard line after Manning was sacked. The Redskins kicked a 33-yard field goal with less than two minutes to play. The game all but ended with a Manning interception.

The Redskins were held to 17 first downs and 323 total net yards. The Giants came into the game with a league-low 14 sacks. The Giants sacked Cousins six times with defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul (2) and Olivier Vernon (1.5) leading the way. Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (1), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (0.5), and linebacker Devon Kennard (1) also were involved in sacking the quarterback.

Video highlights are available at NFL.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were wide receiver Sterling Shepard (illness), guard D.J. Fluker (toe), guard/tackle Justin Pugh (back), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), linebacker Calvin Munson (quad), cornerback Eli Apple, and quarterback Davis Webb.

Linebacker Curtis Grant (knee), linebacker Deontae Skinner (hamstring), and cornerback Donte Deayon (jaw/forearm) all left the game with injuries and did not return. The Bergen Record is reporting that Deayon broke his right forearm.

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins injured his ankle but returned. Jenkins was in a walking boot after the game.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Ben McAdoo (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)

LANDON COLLINS NAMED NFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK…
New York Giants safety Landon Collins was named “NFC Defensive Player of the Week” for his 14-tackle, 1-interception performance against the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday. This is Collins’ third “Defensive Player of the Week Award” in the last two seasons.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo and select players will address the media by conference call on Friday.

Nov 222017
 
Tavarres King, New York Giants (January 1, 2017)

Tavarres King – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Game Preview: New York Giants at Washington Redskins, November 23, 2017

THE STORYLINE:
When Roger Lewis, Jr. came down with that miracle catch in overtime against the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend, I jumped up and yelled, “YES!!!!!!” Two plays later, when place kick Aldrick Rosas kicked the game-winning field goal, I was not sure how I felt. Did the Giants just hurt themselves in the draft? Does the win impact how ownership views the long-term effectiveness of how the team is being run?

To those who say positioning at the top of the draft does not matter, I remind everyone of the nightmare of the 1996 NFL Draft. Drafting 5th, everyone assumed that the Giants would have a shot at Simeon Rice or Jonathan Ogden. But when those two players – along with Keyshawn Johnson and Kevin Hardy – surprisingly went before the NYG pick, the Giants were screwed. The Giants did not need or want Lawrence Phillips. Nobody wanted to trade with the Giants, and they were “forced” to picked a half-blind defensive end from the University of Oklahoma. The lesson of this story? Falling a spot or two at the top of the draft can make all of the difference in the world.

Then there is the management/ownership issue. We all know that the Giants would prefer to not make any changes. It’s not in the team’s DNA. That conservative nature has been a tremendous asset at times, but it has also been a liability too. What we do know is this: a defense that had largely quit the previous two games, including the anemic San Francisco 49ers, decided to show up against the Chiefs. That’s exceptionally maddening. And nothing has changed in terms of evaluating Jerry Reese’s decision-making in the draft and free agency at a number of positions, including both lines and the linebacker position.

So where does this leave us? Two beat-up teams with very little to play for playing on a very short week and a national holiday in front of what is anticipated to be yet another small crowd. Given those circumstances, the Giants can win this game. Moreover, looking at the schedule, the Giants could actually win a few more games before this is over. Again, this leaves me with mixed emotions.

Side Note: Someone asked me this past week why I am not doing my usual game previews that focus on match-ups against the upcoming opponent. The two-fold answer is (1) since the team was done in October, I see these more like preseason game previews, and (2) as we’ve seen in just the past two weeks, match-ups don’t count right now, effort does.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Orleans Darkwa (hamstring – probable)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (illness – questionable)
  • OL Justin Pugh (back – out)
  • OL D.J. Fluker (toe – out)
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee – probable)
  • DE Olivier Vernon (shoulder – questionable)
  • DT Damon Harrison (ankle/elbow – questionable)
  • DT Dalvin Tomlinson (ankle – probable)
  • LB B.J. Goodson (ankle – out)
  • LB Calvin Munson (quad – doubtful)
  • LB Jonathan Casillas (neck – questionable)
  • LB Kelvin Sheppard (groin – questionable)
  • LS Zak DeOssie (trap – questionable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
One game does not make a trend. Heck, one season does not make a trend (innumerable examples such as RGIII). But have the Giants gotten lucky again with an other undrafted free agent? Chad Wheeler’s first start was beyond encouraging. I’m sure there will be rough moments to come, but if he is a viable NFL starter and Ereck Flowers continues to settle down, then there is at least somewhat of a foundation to work with. Then you factor the emergence of D.J. Fluker, who won’t play this week and will be a free agent, and there are some encouraging signs. Unfortunately and ironically, Justin Pugh (1st round) and Weston Richburg (2nd round) were supposed to be part of the solution, and now they are just question marks who may sign with other teams in the offseason. If Pugh and Richburg are off the team in 2018, those are two more wasted premium picks and holes to fill. Had they panned out, a line of Flowers-Pugh-Richburg-Fluker-Wheeler may have been a solid one.

As for this particular game, with Pugh and Fluker out, it looks like either Jon Halapio or recently-signed journeyman John Greco will start at guard. I’d prefer to see the 26-year old Halapio over the 32-year old Greco at this point. Regardless, the emerging running game will likely take a hit without the physical Fluker in there.

The latest red flag is the Sterling Shepard situation. At first it was supposed to be a migraine, now Ben McAdoo said they are not sure what is going on. Hopefully this isn’t a long-term concussion concern. As Sy’56 addressed in his KC game review, how will Roger Lewis build upon his game-winning catch? Or was this his flash-in-the-pan moment? Moving forward, the Giants have Odell Beckham and Shepard, and not much else in the wide receiving department.

Given the state of the various, makeshift component parts, the Giants offense will continue to struggle for the remainder of the season. The best the Giants can hope for is a 20-point-type “offensive explosion” from this group, and as we saw last Sunday, even that may be pressing it.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
Want to see how much effort is a determining factor in a football game? Watch the exact same Giants defense against the 49ers and the Chiefs. How will the defense perform against the Redskins? Tell me how hard they are going to try first. The Giants held the Chiefs to nine points because defenders such as Janoris Jenkins and Landon Collins decided to play up to their ability. Those two are difference makers when they are on their game.

On the other hand, I would like to single out Damon Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson for continuing to play hard despite their respective injuries. They are not using the 2-8 record as an excuse to sulk or miss time. Harrison comes to work every game even though it is clear that ankle injury is hurting him. Harrison is the type of guy I want on my football team. Give credit to Jerry Reese for spending $$$ on him. But the JPP re-signing still looks like a mistake. And I’m not sure how the Giants will address this in the offseason given the cap hit involved with moving him. These last six games are important for Pierre-Paul’s status.

I was skeptical of the Ross Cockrell trade… Steelers fans were overjoyed when Pittsburgh ditched him. But Cockrell has played at a respectable level. Again, the talent is there in the Giants secondary. Collins, Jenkins, DRC, Cockrell. That’s why the performance of the defense this year is so thoroughly revolting. Give me a couple of stud DTs and a strong secondary, and 9 times out of 10, I show you a very respectable defense. Opinions will vary on the reasons but effort, coaching, outside pass rush, and linebacker play are all contributing factors in the defense’s demise. (Speaking of the pass rush, do you realize the Giants only have 14 sacks?! And as much as we knock JPP, he has 4.5 of those – or 1/3 of the team’s total. No other defender on this team has more than two sacks after 10 games.)

Which brings us to Eli Apple. His development (or lack thereof) in the final six games is probably the top issue to watch on defense during this final stretch. The effort just hasn’t been there. Is that because of his mom’s health situation? Or is the game simply not that important to him? Is he a winning or losing football player? With DRC getting up there in age, if Apple is a 1st-round bust, then the Giants have yet another glaring hole to fill.

Lastly, what a mess at linebacker! B.J. Goodson – who has had injury issues all season – must have a high-ankle sprain to be out this long. Calvin Munson and Jonathan Casillas are still hurting. Even the recently-re-signed Kelvin Sheppard immediately got hurt. The Giants’ linebacking corps will be a patchwork mess on Thursday. Look for the Giants to employ more three-safety looks, hoping not to become too vulnerable against the run.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Aldrick Rosas is going through a shaky period here. He needs a perfect game soon. How bad has the Giants’ return game been this year? The team’s longest kickoff return is 30 yards and longest punt return 20 yards. The Giants are currently 23rd in kickoff returns (20.4 yards per return) and 25th in punt returns (5.8 yards per return). Tom Quinn – meet door.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Head Coach Ben McAdoo on Roger Lewis, Jr.: “Lewis is a guy that’s been around, he’s a young player, had a big role on special teams, and really grew into his role on offense. You see how important it is to him to develop chemistry with the quarterback. He’s been outspoken on it, and he works hard on it every day in practice. He’s one of our work dogs out there, he really works hard at practice, and it shows up when you look at the numbers each and every day on the GPS, and also the targets as well.”

THE FINAL WORD
It’s always tough for the road team to win on Thursday night. Throw in the 2-8 record and playing on Thanksgiving and it is easy to see the Giants losing this one. That said, the Redskins lost a heart-breaker last week and are extremely banged up. The franchise is practically giving away tickets for free right now so the crowd may be sparse and demoralizing to a team that had been in the playoff hunt. What I expect is a very ugly football game between two bad and beat-up teams. It may be one of those games where you question which team wants to lose it more. Effort and turnovers will most likely be determinative.

Nov 222017
 
Aldrick Rosas and Brad Wing, New York Giants (November 19, 2017)

Aldrick Rosas and Brad Wing – © USA TODAY Sports

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New York Giants 12 – Kansas City Chiefs 9

RECAP

To this point of the 2017 season, there have been stretches where the Kansas City Chiefs appeared to be one of the top teams in the league with the Giants being one of the bottom feeders. However, KC has been faltering as of late, coming to East Rutherford with just 1 win since October 9. The winds were gusting and Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid knows that can help bring any match-up closer together.

With Eli Apple inactive due to a coach’s decision, Ross Cockrell and Janoris Jenkins were the starters at cornerback. In addition, B.J. Goodson missed another game and the undrafted rookie Calvin Munson started in his place. The first quarter flew by, as both teams were keeping the clock moving via the run game and short passing. The Giants, in unorthodox fashion, showed aggression via trick plays on their first drive, one of which didn’t work out. They successfully ran a fake punt with Nat Berhe taking the direct snap and running up the middle. A few plays later, Shane Vereen took a toss to the outside that ended up being a halfback option pass. He had Evan Engram open, but the throw was a tad late and Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen shot over for the interception near the end zone.

On the next possession, KC was starting to piece together another drive before a shovel pass to tight end Travis Kelce, a play that has been working well for them all year, brought Kelce right into the target of Jason Pierre Paul. An explosive hit and all of the sudden the ball popped into the air right into the waiting arms of Damon Harrison. Yes, 355-pound Damon Harrison. The Giants marched into the end zone just 7 plays later via an Orleans Darkwa 1-yard run, NYG’s 3rd rushing touchdown of the year. Kicker Aldrick Rosas missed the ensuing extra point thanks to one of the infamous gusts of wind the Meadowlands will occasionally provide.

KC then put together a 15-play drive that swallowed over 9 minutes of game clock. It resulted in a 31-yard field goal by Harrison Butker. The rest of the first half was uneventful, as we saw a combined three 3-and-outs. It was 6-3 as the third quarter began despite NYG having only totaled 93 total net yards to that point.

After the teams traded punts again, NYG put together a couple of nice plays and were knocking on the door for more points. On 3rd-and-7 from the KC 31-yard line, a Manning to Evan Engram pass that landed them at the 3-yard line was called back because of an offensive pass interference. Because of the wind, two plays later NYG had to go for it on 4th-and-9 from the 33, but the infamous short pass play that would have left Engram with no chance of reaching the first down marker fell to the ground and KC took over.

In a blink, at the beginning of the 4th quarter, KC was on the NYG 16-yard line with 1st-and-10 to go. They could only gain 3 more yards and had to settle for another 31-yard field goal, courtesy of Butker. The score was now tied at 6 with the NYG offense still sputtering.

After trading another pair of 3-and-outs again, NYG took a drive that started on their own 4-yard line and approached midfield with 1st down. A 9-yard gain was called back due to a holding penalty by Engram and a couple plays later John Jerry pushed them back even further with an unnecessary roughness penalty. The Giants were forced to punt the ball back to KC and the momentum was shifting.

On 1st-and-10 from their own 40, Andy Reid went into his own bag of tricks. Travis Kelce, one of the best overall athletes in the game and a former quarterback, received the ball and instead of darting downfield, launched a deep pass to Demarcus Robinson. The hesitation he initially showed gave Landon Collins enough time to reach his point and he came down with the ball on the NYG 14-yard line.

The Giants eventually punted the ball back to KC, but for the second straight possession, NYG intercepted KC, this time it was Alex Smith who threw the ball and Janoris Jenkins who came down with it. His 17-yard return set NYG up 1st-and-10 on the KC 23-yard line. The Giants did take one shot at the end zone, but they were forced into taking the simple 3 points via a 26-yard field goal by Rosas. Giants led 9-6 with under 2 minutes left.

The Giants appeared to have the game in the bag after Jenkins’s second interception in as many drives, but a pass interference penalty called it off. Alex Smith then took over the game, marching the Chiefs down the field with big-time throws and scrambling ability. His last-ditch effort to end the game via a rushng TD was cancelled by a physical downhill tackle by Landon Collins. KC tied the game with a second remaining, overtime was next.

KC put together a couple of quality plays, but a holding penalty set them back and they had to punt the ball to Eli Manning and the Giants. They put together a solid drive mixed with the run and the pass. On 4th-and-5 from the 36-yard line, Ben McAdoo had a tough decision to make. Let the strong-legged kicker Rosas go for the game-winner from 53? Or try to get a first down in a situation that has been beating them up all year, badly. He opted to put the ball in Manning’s hands and it resulted in a 34-yard gain down the left sideline. There, Roger Lewis made the catch of the year for NYG. After being interfered with by KC corner Phillip Gaines, he was laying on the ground but still managed to bring the ball in. The pass interference was declined and two plays later Rosas hit the first game-winner of his career from 23 yards. Giants win, 12-9.

QUARTERBACKS

  • Eli Manning: 19/35 – 205 yards. 0 TD/0 INT. While Alex Smith has had the better season statistically, the difference was apparent between him and Manning when it came to dealing with the wind. Smith looked very uncomfortable for the majority of the game while Manning’s experience in these situations rose to the occasion. He was the victim of 6 drops in this game, as well. Manning had 148 yards in the second half.

RUNNING BACKS

  • Orleans Darkwa: 20 att/74 yards – 1 TD – 2 rec/14 yards. Darkwa and this running game continue to improve each and every week. He isn’t a sexy back, but his constant ability to push the pile and fall forward doesn’t go unnoticed. His glaring issues that have been hurting this team over and over, however, are the drops. He had 2 more in this game.
  • Wayne Gallman: 6 att/19 yards – 1 rec 3 yards. Gallman had a drop of his own on a play that could have netted a lot of yards. He is the unofficial change of pace back who brings a different level of speed and explosion. One of these weeks he is going to break off a long touchdown, but he has to get and hold onto that ball.

WIDE RECEIVERS

  • Roger Lewis: 3 rec/55 yards. Lewis was relatively quiet until late in the game, but he responded with the catch of the year for NYG. The opportunity he has right now may never come again, and it will be interesting to see how he responds to late-game heroics. Was it a fluke? Right place, right time? There were a lot of teams drawn to this kid as an UDFA out of Bowling Green a couple years ago. The ball skills were a + park on everyone’s scouting report and his route running has improved mightily. I would be surprised if we didn’t see a slight uptick in his targets, which is hovering around 3 per game.
  • Tavarres King: 3 rec/48 yards. King has the veteran experience, intelligence, and toughness that Manning likes to work with. My college scouting report on him raved about his route running and it is something I see with him today. Very smooth, efficient mover and he can make the tough catch. His lack of physical presence and strength does limit him against certain coverages and situations, however.
  • Travis Rudolph: 3 rec/34 yards: The most targeted receiver Sunday, Rudolph played a career-high 27 snaps. He displayed what we already know about him – reliable hands, ball skills, and route running. But he really struggles to get himself open against quality man coverage.

TIGHT ENDS

  • Evan Engram: 1 rec/9 yards. Engram is the feature pass catcher in this offense. He was targeted 6 times but only came down with the ball once. He dropped 2 passes and also was responsible for 2 penalties. As a blocker, he graded out at the “average” mark. However, he got a lot of movement on Darkwa’s touchdown run.
  • Rhett Ellison: 1 rec/7 yards. Ellison has really helped this running game buckle down and control the point-of-attack. His impact is quiet in the box score, but don’t overlook his importance.

OFFENSIVE LINE

  • Tackles: I won’t overreact to one start, especially at home, but the performance Chad Wheeler put together in his first NFL start at right tackle was enough to excite anyone. He was borderline flawless and put together one of the top 5 grades overall of all the OLs on this team in 2017. It was the best RT grade I have on the year, including the ones Justin Pugh started. One game isn’t enough to make any strong statements, but he did everything right. His confidence and decision-making were on a different level from what we saw in preseason and his limited regular-season snaps. He got plenty of movement on guys much bigger and stronger than him with almost perfect technique and timing. Ereck Flowers had another quiet game, in a good way. He stayed on the hottest streak of his career and is proving some doubters wrong. If this were a winning team, he would be getting a ton of positive attention. There are still significant holes here, but he has improved.
  • Interior: D.J. Fluker, if you really zero in on him, has to be someone everyone admires. The guy plays his tail off and brings the blue collar, overly physical approach to the line that we all want to see here. Once he started at right guard, this OL as a whole started to perform better in the run game. His presence and ability to move defenders has been very impactful. John Jerry and Brett Jones shared the lowest grades along the OL this week, but even they still graded out on the average mark. Their pass blocking leaves a lot to be desired, especially on blitzes.

DEFENSIVE LINE

  • Ends: Jason Pierre-Paul had arguably the most physical hit of the day that jarred the ball loose out of Travis Kelce’s hands and into the arms of Damon Harrison. From a dead stop position, he launched himself into Kelce and sent the 260-pounder parallel to the ground. It was a hit that maybe 5 players in the NFL could make. I see plays like those and a few others where he tracks the ball carrier down on the back side and wonder why we don’t see him just dominate, flat out dominate. He had a very quiet game as a pass rusher. Olivier Vernon had one of his more disruptive games of the year, finishing with 3 QB pressures despite only playing 83% of the snaps due to a minor shoulder injury.
  • Tackles: It was good to see Damon Harrison out there after being carted off the field a week ago, although his snaps were a tad limited. He continues to be the best player on this defense, with both visible and hidden benefits. After a quiet game in San Francisco, Dalvin Tomlinson responded with an active game, finishing with 6 tackles. He certainly isn’t playing like a rookie. NYG has a good one here.

LINEBACKERS

  • With B.J. Goodson out again, Calvin Munson got the start. The undrafted rookie out of San Diego State finished with a career-high 12 tackles. He showed a good first step and good angles towards the action. The biggest plus with him, zero missed tackles.
  • Devon Kennard recorded another sack, his 2nd of the season. His versatility shines every week and I think he is one of the most underrated weapons on this defense who can really fit into any scheme. He has limitations, but he gets the job done. Jonathan Casillas wasn’t very active, as he is still struggling to find the consistency snap to snap when it comes to making quick reads and reactions. He is often late to the party.

CORNERBACKS

  • After being suspended 2 weeks ago, and one of the worst performances of his career last week in San Francisco, Janoris Jenkins came out and showed why he can rightfully be considered a top-10, maybe even top-5 CB in this league. He had a pass break up and a clutch interception that set the Giants up to take a 4th-quarter lead. His second interception was called back because of a penalty, but even that had to be admired because of the ball skills he displayed.
  • With Eli Apple sitting out because of a coach’s decision, Ross Cockrell got the start. The 4th-year veteran seems to be getting more comfortable in the system and his tools are something I always look for in NFL cornerbacks. He has size, he plays physical, and his hips can turn with ease. The confidence in his game has been taken to another level and I expect to see more and more improvement from here on out.

SAFETIES

  • Landon Collins led the team with 14 tackles. He has several big hits and a few third down stops that helped the Giants maintain field position in this low-scoring affair. Collins played his heart out with plus hustle grades throughout the entire game. His interception on the Kelce option-pass was a great reaction and even better read. He wasn’t fooled one bit. Solid game for Darian Thompson but the note that keeps popping up next to his name is a lack of presence and a lack of range. Watching the all-22 tape, it is apparent to me that his lack of range is a big  part of the reason why this defense struggles defending the pass in the middle of the field.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Aldrick Rosas: 2/2 – made 26 and 23. Missed 1 extra point. Rosas has made a habit of missing field goal attempts. His two this week went through the uprights, albeit they were very short. They were in clutch situations though. His missed extra point was a result of a gust of wind that would have knocked anyone’s kick flat.
  • Brad Wing: 6 Punts – 45.3 avg. It was a busy day for Wing and his 42.5 net was a season high. Very good game for him punting to one of the most dangerous PRs in the league.

3 STUDS

  • RT Chad Wheeler, S Landon Collins, WR Roger Lewis

3 DUDS

  • OG John Jerry, TE Evan Engram, LB Jonathan Casillas

3 THOUGHTS ON KC

  • This is why you don’t crown a team early in the year. After a 5-0 start including wins over NE and PHI, the Chiefs looked unstoppable on both sides of the ball. Some in the media start using the word Super Bowl but since then, they are 1-4. What happened? This is the NFL, that’s what happened. This happens every year and the overreactions regarding early wins and losses make several people look silly by season’s end. The Chiefs are not as bad as what they have showed recently, and I still expect them to be one of 3-4 teams in the AFC Championship run.
  • Travis Kelce is the best athlete in the NFL, all things considered. I have never seen a tight end that big and strong move that fast and quick. His ball skills are improving, as are his routes and blocking. I think it is safe to say he is the best tight end in the game. And I am scouting a tight end from a small school right now that reminds me exactly of him.
  • What does this team need to right the ship? Early in the year they were controlling the point-of-attack and running the ball down the defense’s throat. They stuck with the run time and time again. Andy Reid has done this in the past…and that is rely on the pass too much when a team is down. The instant Hunt’s carries went into the single digits, this team’s tailspin began. Easy solution if you ask me. Get Hunt the ball more often, then everything else will open up.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  • As I have been saying, the discussion of McAdoo’s job is the easy conversation to bring up. But it doesn’t need to be a weekly thing. Let this thing play out the rest of the year, talk about all the stuff in January. Until then I know it can be tough to watch a losing team, but there are several players to watch and evaluate for next year. Top one being Chad Wheeler.
  • Tip of the cap to Janoris Jenkins and the intensity he played with. Either he looked in the mirror and decided to man up, or someone got in his ear. Jenkins was flying around putting his body on the line like we saw in the first three weeks. Maybe that team meeting where they watched the low-effort plays stuck it to him and if that is the case, good job by McAdoo. There have been a handful of players that have showed notable differences in effort-output, hopefully Eli Apple is next.
  • The two starting defensive ends on this team showed so much promise before the season and even though they flash here and there, they simply aren’t good enough. The 4-man pass rush is almost vital to defensive success in the NFL now, and the production coming from these two spots needs to be better. Both are on the fragile side, both are on the inconsistent side. It is a bad combination for the long term future and if they don’t flash more, DE may be at or near the top of their draft needs in the spring.
Nov 212017
 
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (November 12, 2017)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (illness), guard D.J. Fluker (toe), guard/tackle Justin Pugh (back), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), and linebacker Calvin Munson (quad) did not practice on Tuesday.

“Sterling is not feeling well,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We kept him in the training room and they’re taking a look at him. They’re looking at all the possibilities…Yeah (it might be something different than migraines). They’re looking at it right now. They’ll let me know when they know.”

Running back Orleans Darkwa (hamstring), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), defensive end Olivier Vernon (shoulder), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (ankle), defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (ankle), and linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (groin) were limited in practice.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available 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…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Wednesday. The team plays the Washington Redskins in Maryland on Thursday night.