Aug 312018
 
Amba Etta-Tawo, New York Giants (August 30, 2018)

Amba Etta-Tawo – © USA TODAY Sports

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FRIDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Friday to discuss the team’s status as the preseason ends:

Q: Could you explain a little about what went into the decision not to play Davis (Webb) last night. Obviously the thing with him is game reps and the limited ones he had last year. What went into not playing him last night?

A: With regard to his game reps, we felt like he’s had lots of reps this year whether it be practice, and really he had the most of anybody in the games as well. As I mentioned, it had less to do about Davis and more to do about Kyle (Lauletta). We wanted to see what we had in Kyle and so that’s why we started him behind the second line, and then because we were going to start Kyle, I just didn’t want to put Davis back in there at the end. We also wanted to take a really good look at (Alex) Tanney. That was what went into it.

Q: I know Eli never misses, but if he missed a game, are you to the point where you feel confident with Davis as your backup quarterback?

A: I feel confident with all three of those guys.

Q:  How do you go about handling Darian Thompson in regards to deciding where he fits in the safety mix with the injury and the fact that he hasn’t been on the field in a while?

A: We’ve just got to sort through that. Unfortunately, he’s been dealing with that hamstring and he hasn’t been able to get out there and show us what he can do, so we’re just going to have to see how this weekend plays out.

Q: How much does that work against a guy? Do you have to go back and look at tape from last year, do you look at earlier in the spring? How do you make that determination?

A: I don’t think you look at it working for or against a player. An injury is what it is and I think each situation is a little bit different. We’ll just have to take a look at it.

Q: Some years as a coach, you struggle to get to the 53. Some years you struggle to cut down to the 53. What do you think it will be like for you this year?

A: Hard to say. I’ve gained an appreciation. I look at our players and I say, OK, this is what you can do, this is your strength or your redeeming qualities, this is the value you bring to the team, and here are the areas you need to improve. When you put the 53 together, you’ve got to just pick the right 53. So, whether you’re trying to get up to it or down to it, it’s hard to say right now. We’ve got a decent idea of the direction we’re going to go with things, but we still have some conversations. I told that to the players, it’s a credit to them. Every year, the players want to make it tough on us as to this guy or that guy. I think sometimes, you’re right, you can be in a situation where it’s pretty cut and dry, but I think we’ve had some guys that have played themselves into the mix.

Q:  Do you expect to be very active after four o’clock in terms of watching the waivers and things like that, and of course you picked up that seventh round pick which could always be used in a trade there?

A:  The seventh round pick was important, I think, certainly planning for next year, but we’re always going to look to upgrade all the position groups, and it’s hard to say how active we’ll be.

Q: Some teams have actually started their cuts today. Will you start that today?

A: I don’t anticipate that.

Q: Will you meet with all the players (you cut) individually?

A: I will. Yes. We have a process we’ll go through, but yeah, I’m going to try to. On a rare occasion for whatever reason, it’s not possible logistically, but I intend to try to meet with everybody that we’re going to have to part ways with.

Q:  How difficult is that? That’s not something you’ve had to do as a coordinator. Obviously you had experience with that in Cleveland, but it’s been a while since you’ve been in those meetings.

A: We have open and honest conversations with our players all the time. I think everybody understands the sheer math of things, 90 getting to 53, and I think that conversation is, at least for this phase of it, the last of a lot of conversations have been open and honest. We talk about what you did you well, we talk about areas you might need to improve in. The general message is to stay in shape, this 53-man roster is not forever and typically the guys that we’ve already trained that we feel strongly about, those are the guys that kind of become the first guys on our short list. That’s typical of the way it goes and I think it’s just another opportunity to communicate.

Q: Traditionally, what kind of numbers do you like to have on your lines? Are you alright keeping eight offensive linemen, would you rather have 10? What is your ideal (number)?

A: Of the guys we have on campus right now, of the guys that are on our 90-man roster, if there’s a guy on our roster that we feel is worthy, then we’re not really going to worry about the numbers within reason. Then, we’ll see. Typically, you’ll try to fill what you don’t have with maybe a practice squad player or two, depending on how many guys you keep. That’s sort of the way that goes.

Q: I’m sure everybody’s got the weekend off, the veterans – most of the guys you know that are going to be on the 53, do you send them away with clips of the Jaguars or things to think about?

A: Yes. I just had a meeting with the players and, again, it’s just time away, and most of them don’t go anywhere. They’ll be here in town, and I told them the important thing about this weekend is they’ve got to work on their recovery, so get their rest, try to eat right. We had all the players lift and run this morning before the team meeting, so they did something physical, and plan to come back for Monday practice. That’s where it’s at. Obviously, everything Jacksonville is on their iPads and we have sort of leaned towards Jacksonville in some of our drill work, even though we didn’t say, ‘hey, this is a Jacksonville play’ or ‘this is Jacksonville’s defense’. It’s out there, and I’m sure some of them will look at it, but we’ll get them re-centered on Monday.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of the conference call media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Teams must cut their rosters to 53 players by 4:00PM ET on Saturday. Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media by conference call after that. The players are off on Sunday and return to practice on Monday.

Aug 302018
 
Kyle Lauletta, New York Giants (August 30, 2018)

Kyle Lauletta – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 17 – NEW YORK GIANTS 12…
The New York Giants preseason ended on Thursday night with a 17-12 loss to the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The game was a boring, glorified scrimmage for back-ups. None of the Giants starters played and Head Coach Pat Shurmur oddly decided not to play second-string quarterback Davis Webb, with Kyle Lauletta getting the start. Even place kicker Aldrick Rosas sat on the bench all night.

Both teams punted twice to start the game. The only play of note being a sack by linebacker Lorenzo Carter on 3rd-and-9 to end the Patriots’ second drive. Aided by two of the new 15-yard, lowering-the-head-to-initiate-contact penalties, the Patriots set up a successful 33-yard field goal on their third drive. The Patriots got the ball back immediately as Lauletta’s deep pass intended for wideout Kalif Raymond was intercepted at the Patriots’ 18-yard line.

After a three-and-out by New England, the Giants went ahead early in the 2nd quarter as wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo turned a short pass reception from Lauletta into a 41-yard touchdown sprint. Place kicker Marshall Koehn missed the extra point and the Giants led 6-3.

A subsequent New England threat was stopped by a spectacular, diving interception by cornerback Donte Deayon at the Giants’ 6-yard line. After two New York punts and another by New England, Deayon picked off his second pass, this one over the middle, right before halftime.

Lauletta was picked off on the third offensive play of the 3rd quarter on a deep pass intended for wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr. at the 42-yard line. Six plays later, the Patriots went up 10-6 on quarterback Danny Etling’s 1-yard touchdown pass after a 45-yard deep strike set up the score.

Both teams punted twice after that. The next scoring threat came from the Giants in the 4th quarter as New York drove from their own 1-yard line to the Patriots’ 14. But on 4th-and-6, fourth-string quarterback Alex Tanney’s pass fell incomplete. The game then got comical as Etling scored from 86 yards out on a quarterback bootleg run with none of the Giants’ defenders playing contain. The Giants scored a touchdown with less than a minute left to play to make the score look more respectable, as Tanney hit wide receiver Alonzo Russell from eight yards out.

Lauletta finished the game 8-of-19 for 118 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Other than Etta-Tawo’s one catch for 41 yards, no one had more than 30 yards receiving for the Giants in the game. The leading runners for New York were Jalen Simmons (11 carries for 41 yards) and Jhurell Pressley (7 carries for 40 yards).

Defensively, Deayon had two interceptions and four pass defenses. Cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris was credited with six tackles and two pass defenses. Carter had one sack and nose tackle Robert Thomas the other.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Not playing for the Giants due to injury were tight end Evan Engram (concussion), linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), linebacker Connor Barwin (knee), offensive guard Nick Gates (foot), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

Offensive tackle Nick Becton (ankle) and running back Robert Martin (ankle) left the game with injuries and did not return. Linebacker Avery Moss (knee) left the game, but later returned.

Healthy scratches included place kicker Aldrick Rosas, quarterback Davis Webb, quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver Cody Latimer, wide receiver Odell Beckham, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, safety Landon Collins, cornerback Eli Apple, running back Saquon Barkley, running back Jonathan Stewart , safety Curtis Riley, cornerback B.W. Webb, linebacker Warren Long, linebacker Alec Ogletree, guard Patrick Omameh, guard Will Hernandez, defensive end Kerry Wynn, tackle Ereck Flowers, center Jon Halapio, tackle Nate Solder, tight end Rhett Ellison, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, linebacker B.J. Goodson, defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson, defensive end B.J. Hill, linebacker Kareem Martin, and nose tackle Damon Harrison.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Teams must cut their rosters to 53 players by 4:00PM ET on Saturday.

Aug 292018
 
Davis Webb, New York Giants (August 24, 2018)

Davis Webb – © USA TODAY Sports

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Preseason Game Preview: New England Patriots at New York Giants, August 30, 2018

THE STORYLINE:

As the New York Giants wrap up the 2018 preseason, what have we learned? On paper – and based on limited on-field performance through three preseason contests – it appears the Giants will be a more competitive and better coached team. But given the abysmal, non-competitive 3-13 season the Giants are coming off of, that’s not saying much. How much better is the real question.

Defensively, because of their line, the Giants should be very stout against the run. But pass defense could be a problem as the team’s sole pass rusher with any kind of a resume is the oft-injured Olivier Vernon. Even more concerning is the corner position outside of Janoris Jenkins, the free safety position, and ability of the linebackers to cover backs and tight ends.

Offensively, the Giants have a set of skill position players that few – if any – teams in the NFL can employ. But questions remain about the team’s 37-year old quarterback and offensive line. Manning can still throw the football when he feels safe, but he’s got to prove he can still win football games after being hit in the mouth. The left tackle position has been upgraded, but how much of a problem will the center, right guard, and right tackle spots be? Will Saquon Barkley be dancing to find holes or will the line be able to consistently help him out? How much help will the Giants need to Ereck Flowers in pass protection?

On special teams, the Giants are going to roll the dice with Aldrick Rosas again. The return game could give us heartburn as the chief candidates have ball security issues.

Overall, this team has the feel of one that will regularly emphasized on highlight shows. We’ll see Odell Beckham, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard make big, flashy plays. But will the team make enough of the less glamorous, consistent ones to win games? The defense will probably live and die by the blitz. We could see a lot of flashy big plays, but also long scores going in the other direction. The special teams still don’t seem special.

Taken together, that’s a recipe for an 8-8-type season. In a watered-down NFL filled with teams with poor fundamentals that can’t practice and spoiled millennials, that could be enough to sneak into the playoffs, especially if the Giants can steal a game or two. Much will also depend on how good or ordinary the coaching will be.

As for this game, I would not expect the starters to play much, if at all. Throughout the league, this final game has basically become a contest between back-ups, with coaches looking to avoid injuries to front-line starters while also making final evaluations on the lower third of the roster.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • TE Evan Engram (concussion)
  • OG Nick Gates (foot)
  • DE R.J. McIntosh (unknown)
  • LB Olivier Vernon (ankle)
  • LB Connor Barwin (knee)
  • LB Calvin Munson (concussion)
  • S Darian Thompson (hamstring)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:

As I mentioned last week, I was surprised by the way Pat Shurmur handled Eli Manning this offseason. This is the third time in his career that Manning had to adjust to a new offensive system, but Shurmur handled Manning like he’s been in it for years. For better or worse, it’s clear Shurmur trusts Manning, who was basically only given half a preseason game (Jets) and two drives (Browns) to get ready for 2018. On top of all of that, arguably New York’s two best players – Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley – didn’t play or barely played this preseason, albeit for different reasons. In a nutshell, the band hasn’t played together yet. That is a little unnerving, but it is also building anticipation for what this offense might be.

The offensive line hasn’t improved as much as hoped (yet?). The first-team unit has not been able to run the football with issues in the middle and right side of the line. This sounds hauntingly familiar. I think most fans correctly understand that the offensive line is the critical element in how good this offense can be. If Eli feels protected, he can still play. If the Giants don’t have to simply rely on the big play to score and maintain possession of the ball to keep drives alive, that gives more touches to Barkley, Beckham, Engram, and Shepard. More touches = more points. But the team has to be able to pick up first downs.

As for the back-ups:

Quarterback: For better or worse, Davis Webb will be the #2 guy and Kyle Lauletta #3. Webb may be the future, but if Eli goes down, the season is over in 2018. (No different than most teams).

Running Back: Wayne Gallman has clearly out-played Jonathan Stewart and should be the #2 back. If he isn’t, that’s a bad sign about the coaching staff. Some fans don’t think Stewart should be on this team, but it sounds like the coaching staff still wants him here. That leaves Jalen Simmons, Robert Martin, and Jhurell Pressley probably fighting for one roster spot. This game will probably decide it.

Wide Receiver: Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, and Cody Latimer will be the top three. I may be wrong, but I think all signs point to the Giants keep both Hunter Sharp and Kalif Raymond, as well as Russell Sheppard. Of course, someone coming free on the waiver wire could change that. Don’t be shocked if the Giants pick someone up here, especially if he has return ability.

Tight Ends: Obviously, Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison are the top two guys. And with Shurmur likely to run a plethora of 2-tight end sets, both are de facto starters. That would suggest the Giants might even keep four tight ends. However, Shumur could decide to carry three plus a fullback. This is a big game for Jerell Adams, Scott Simonson, and Shane Smith. Again, they are not just competing against themselves but the waiver wire.

Offensive Line: Trading away Brett Jones clarifies things a little. John Greco is now the primary center/guard swingman. John Jerry probably makes it unless a cheaper vet shakes loose somewhere else. Chad Wheeler has not progressed as hoped and is battling Nick Becton and the waiver wire for swing tackle. (Giants should seriously scan the waiver wire here).

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:

When you are keeping your fingers crossed that Eli Apple doesn’t get hurt, you know you are scary thin at cornerback. If Janoris Jenkins were go down, this unit would immediately become the worst in the NFL. It’s also concerning that Olivier Vernon is hurt yet again. The range and cover ability of the linebackers and safeties remain issues until proven otherwise.

The good news? The Giants are big and strong up front. That’s the first place you want to start when building a defense.

Back-ups:

Defensive Line: This unit is pretty much set. The starters are damn good and there is good depth with Josh Mauro, Robert Thomas, Kerry Wynn, and A.J. Francis. Mauro will start the year on a 4-game suspension. Unfortunately, 2018 will be a red shirt year for R.J. McIntosh. The real wild card here is Wynn. Another preseason tease or will 2018 be a breakout year for him as a situational player? Giants will have to make a decision after Mauro is eligible to come back.

Outside Linebacker: Broken record time…Olivier Vernon looks primed for big season but gets hurt early. This had better not be another one of those “nagging” injury issues with him that contributes to just another 6-7 sack season. The Giants need a 12-14 sack season out him. Kareem Martin will start opposite of him. He probably was a little nervous when the Giants signed Connor Barwin, but Barwin has missed almost all of the preseason with a knee injury. Lorenzo Carter is still learning the game, but flashes at times. It’s doubtful the Giants can keep both Romeo Okwara (who received 1st team reps this week at practice) and Avery Moss, unless the Giants cut Barwin. Huge game for both against the Patriots.

Inside Linebacker: Alec Ogletree and B.J. Goodson are the starters, but Ray-Ray Armstrong is making a hard push for playing time. As I’ve stated before, Mark Herzlich has always been better suited for a 3-4 defense. Beat writers keep talking about Tae Davis. This is a big game for him.

Cornerback: Outside of Janoris Jenkins, this position is a mess. Eli Apple will start because there are no better options. Donte Deayon is a walking injury. The others are castoffs who other teams will abuse all day long. Help wanted sign is out here.

Safety: Landon Collins is probably overrated by some fans and underrated by others. He would be even better if he were teamed with a true, athletic free safety. That kind of guy isn’t on this team and won’t be in 2018. So James Bettcher will have to play mad scientist and mix-and-match at the position all year long. As of now, Curtis Riley has won the job by default because Darian Thompson can’t stay out of the infirmary. You have to wonder if the Giants will simply cut bait with him at this point. Michael Thomas and William Gay are plugins who you don’t want starting. Watch waiver wire here too.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:

Aldrick Rosas has had a very good preseason. It makes complete sense for the Giants to roll the dice with him again. But you know everyone will be holding their breath with him when the games count. If Hunter Sharp and Kalif Raymond didn’t put the ball on the ground so much, the return game would be in decent shape. But they do. Bill Parcells wouldn’t even have them out there.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:

Head Coach Pat Shurmur on his team as it approaches the start of the regular season: “I feel like we’ve done a lot of good things (this offseason). I think we’re on the right path. We’ve certainly got a lot of work to do between now and first week and then teams improve as the season goes along… It’s really a journey for a team to try to get enough wins to be in the playoffs and as you go through it, you hope as a team you stay healthy and then continue to improve.”

THE FINAL WORD:

This game is going to be big for guys like Jalen Simmons, Robert Martin, Jhurell Pressley, Jerell Adams, Scott Simonson, Chad Wheeler, Nick Becton, Romeo Okwara, and Avery Moss.

In reality, watching the cuts on Saturday will be more interesting.

Aug 282018
 
Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (August 9, 2018)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Tuesday due to injury were linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), tight end Evan Engram (concussion), offensive guard Nick Gates (foot), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

“No update (on Vernon),” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “Same as yesterday, so we’re just working through his ankle.”

Linebacker Connor Barwin (knee) remained limited. “Connor did well and he did a little bit more today as well,” said Shurmur. “He’s on the right path as well.”

TEAM PRESIDENT/CEO JOHN MARA…
The transcript of John Mara’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’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 press availability to the team on Wednesday. The Giants play the New England Patriots in the preseason finale on Thursday night. Teams must cut their rosters to 53 players by 4:00PM ET on Saturday.

Aug 282018
 
Ray-Ray Armstrong, New York Giants (August 24, 2018)

Ray-Ray Armstrong – © USA TODAY Sports

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New York Giants 22 – New York Jets 16

QUICK RECAP

Week 3 of the preseason is usually perceived to be the closest thing to a real game as we will see before kickoff weekend. Eli Manning was back on the field and played preseason-high 34 snaps, but his star playmakers Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley remained on the sidelines. The Jets on the other hand, sent out their shiny new toy, rookie Sam Darnold, as the starting quarterback as the team tries to figure out what to do at the position week 1.

The Jets took control of the game early, using an 11-play drive to put up their first 7 points of the night via a Bilal Powell touchdown run. After a back and forth exchange that left with NYG winning the field position battle, Hunter Sharp returned a punt for a 55 yard touchdown. It was a precursor for how poorly the Jets’ special teams would play the rest of the night, an ongoing problem for the team so far this preseason.

The Jets then took the lead back early in the second quarter on a Darnold pass to newly signed Terrelle Pryor. This was after a red zone fumble by NYG veteran Jonathan Stewart, whom has had a nightmare-ish start to his career with Big Blue. NYG then settled down and scored on their next four drives, all field goals off the foot of Aldrick Rosas, the clear front-runner for the job. The Jets continued to shoot themselves in the foot with penalties and mental mistakes. NYG took a 19-13 lead into halftime.

Backups dominated the playing time from there on out, as the two teams struggled to string together long drives. It wasn’t until halfway through the fourth quarter where the Jets had a 7+ play drive, as Teddy Bridgewater continued to impress. They were able to get it within 6, but the Giants held off their cross-town rivals 22-16 for the win.

QUARTERBACKS

Eli Manning: 17/23 – 188 yards – 0 TD/0 INT. After sitting out last week in Detroit, Manning was back on the field for what is likely to be his last full dress rehearsal. It was the best version of Manning we have seen in quite some time. Comfortable and confident in the pocket, accurate on all levels, and able to spread it around. The lack of Jets pass rush ability helped, but Manning made some big throws that gave me assurance for this year. He still has it. He did under throw the deep balls a tad, but nothing to be alarmed about. He really does remind me of his brother, Peyton, late in his career with DEN. He may not be able to adjust quickly on the move and he won’t drive the ball downfield like he used to, but he is more than capable of getting the job done.

Davis Webb: 5/11 – 73 yards – 0 TD/0 INT. Webb was in for about a third of the offensive plays. He did get some action against the first team Jets defense. He didn’t do anything to hurt or help himself too much. Very nice touch throw to Russell Shepard on a 3rd and 12 but he also held onto the ball too long in the pocket which resulted in a sack. When Webb has everything lined up, he really is an attractive thrower. It could be much worse when it comes to the backup QBs in this league.

RUNNING BACKS

Jonathan Stewart: 3 att – -7 yards – 0 TD. That isn’t a typo, Stewart finished with negative seven yards. He also fumbled inside the NYJ 10-yard line that Leonard Williams almost returned for a touchdown. I don’t want to write him off after poor preseason performances (10 carries for -5 yards) but he is moving like he has cinderblocks attached to his feet. Lethargic and unable.

Wayne Gallman: 11 att – 23 yards / 4 rec – 19 yards. Gallman continues to impress with his quickness, vision, and explosion. He also had a couple nice blitz pickups in pass protection. There was a stretch in the 3rd quarter where he touched the ball 7 out of 8 plays. He really does have the versatility to be a factor in any kind of situation. Some backup RBs in the league are valuable in only specific situations, but Gallman can bring a lot of options to this offense in any situation.

Juhrell Pressley – 13 att / 71 yards. Signed earlier in the week, Pressley stepped on the field in a NYG uniform for the first time and impressed. I think there is one, maybe even two, spots on the depth chart available at RB. Pressley runs bigger than his size and showed impressive vision and decision making in his debut. I expect him to get a lot of touches in week 4.

WIDE RECEIVERS

-Sterling Shepard: 7 rec / 78 yards. I’ll say this right now. If Shepard stays healthy this year, he is going to produce, big time. The attention to detail he shows as a route runner combined with his top-tier quick twitch and stop/go explosion is as dangerous as any slot receiver in the NFL. And yes, I mean that. He made a couple of high-level catches, showing improved ball skills and ability in traffic.

-Cody Latimer: 1 Rec / 54 yards. Latimer hasn’t been used much in preseason, but he took in the longest play of the night via a deep ball from Manning. He really blew by Morris Claiborne and if Eli put that just a little further downfield, it would have been a TD.

-I am still holding onto the idea that Russell Shepard is going to make this team as the number four or five receiver. His experience in the slot and outside gives him the needed versatility and he is a factor on special teams as gunner. In addition, he made another tough catch for a first down in the 3rd quarter that I simply don’t think the other potential backups could have made. Hunter Sharp continues to struggle with drops and despite impressive athletic and return ability; he may be playing his way out of a job. He did return a punt for a touchdown though. Alonzo Russell brought in a 47 yard catch, displaying size and strength. Roger Lewis continues to show why he is near the bottom of the depth chart.

TIGHT END

-Evan Engram: 3 rec / 23 yards. His night was short, as on the 5th drive he was sandwiched between two Jets defenders and was popped in the head. He left the game with a concussion for the second year in a row. Like Shepard, Engram is going to be as tough a matchup as there is at the position on 3rd downs. Losing him for any time would be devastating.

-Rhett Ellison also left the game early with migraine issues, opening the door for Jerell Adams and Scott Simonson. Adams was the second most targeted receiver on the night, finishing with 3 catches and 12 yards. Simonson’s avenue to make this team is via blocking, but he didn’t grade out well in this one. He allowed a sack and two tackles. Adams may get this number three spot by default unless someone shakes free during cut down period around the league.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Great night for the left side of the line, especially in pass protection. Nate Solder neutralized everything that was sent his way. Will Hernandez had quiet night (other than a holding penalty) in a good way and looks more comfortable than he did the previous two weeks. With a rookie that is likely to start week 1, that is all you can ask for.

-Ereck Flowers wasn’t matched up against any plus-pass rushers but he did a fine job. He allowed 1 pressure. Patrick Omameh continues to struggle, he just seems heavy and delayed off the snap. He struggled moving to his left, allowing 2 pressures and a tackle for loss. I haven’t seen anything that makes me think he deserves the starting job hands down other than a lack of intra-team competition.

-Another position that may need further examining is center. Brett Jones outplayed Jon Halapio, more notably in the run game. We know that Jones struggles in pass protection and he isn’t one of the new regime’s “guys”, but I trust him more than Halapio. Better movement off the ball and a more consistent level of play. (Note: This was written PRIOR to the trade).

-Chad Wheeler has not taken a step forward this year. His footwork is very poor even though he carries plus-athleticism. He is playing way too off balanced and top heavy. Nick Becton, on the other hand, continues to progress.

EDGE

-Kerry Wynn continues to be the MVP of preseason football. He recorded another sack, a tackle for loss, and 2 QB pressures. He is bringing the heat from all angles against different kinds of blockers. The versatility he brings is huge.

-Olivier Vernon and Kareem Martin both had quiet nights despite playing half the snaps. Martin needs to be a rotational player and if he ends up being one of the feature guys, this pass rush is in trouble. He doesn’t jump the snap and his adjustments take too long.

-Lorenzo Carter doesn’t seem ready for impact play, but I do like how disciplined he is with his techniques and the mental side of the game. It’s important players follow the progression of learning the scheme, consistently do things right, then catch up to the speed of the game. His athleticism is there, but it is going to take time for him to play fast and strong. He finished with a half-sack and 2 assisted tackles.

-Are Avery Moss and Romeo Okwara competing for a last edge spot on this team? If so, I think Okwara wins because he has more inside-outside versatility and brings more upside to the table as an athlete. Moss moved well post-snap, but he doesn’t adjust to blockers with enough power. Weak hands and gets pushed back against the run too easily.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

-Damon Harrison pushed the Jets’ interior blockers where he wanted. He has been shutting down the opposing running games each week and I expect to see more of the same. Not only does he have superior physical presence, but he plays smart. His first step post-snap are almost always productive in that he reads the action instantly.

-Fellow starters Dalvin Tomlinson and rookie B.J. Hill had solid nights as well. More of the same from these two. Tomlinson was a little more active, finishing with a TFL and knockdown. If he is going to be more than a solid player, his pass rush repertoire needs to lengthen. Not looking down on him at all here; he is going to be a part of a very stout run defense. But what he does against the pass right now is limited.

-Josh Mauro had an active night. He has looked better and better each week and it will be adding fuel to the fire on this defensive line when he comes back after his suspension. He finished with 4 tackles, a half sack, and a knockdown. I can’t say this enough, he along with fellow backup Robert Thomas are going to make this defensive front one of the best run defending groups in the league.

LINEBACKERS

-Alec Ogletree finished with 3 tackles, 1 for a loss. He wasn’t tested in coverage much. B.J. Goodson was, however, and he just can’t hang in space with receivers that are crossing the field. I don’t expect him to run with those guys, but he hasn’t showed the anticipation that is needed.

-This brings me to a thought I have had for a couple weeks. After another impressive showing by Ray-Ray Armstrong, is there a chance he takes a hold of that starting spot at some point? He is a much better athlete and his progress as a run defender continues to stand out. He has been making good reads and working his way through traffic, two things he struggled with last year. I think there is more flexibility with Armstrong than there is with Goodson. Something to look for.

-Mark Herzlich and Tae Davis got a lot of action in the second half. Herzlich has been quietly effective. He does a lot of dirty work but he has also been covering a lot of ground in coverage. He was excellent in zone defense.

CORNERBACKS

-Eli Apple saw a lot of playing time, leading the team in snaps. He had an up and down night, recording a pass break up but also getting flagged for holding. The handsy-corner has been showing more of the same. Impressive ability and interesting potential but he just can’t seem to put together a quality game from start to finish. B.W. Webb allowed the Jets touchdown pass on a crossing route to Terrelle Pryor. Just late to read and couldn’t catch up.

-Donte Deayon saw his first action of the preseason. He finished with 4 tackles but also missed one in space. I like the heart he plays with, but he just gets pushed around too much and I think he will be a liability as a tackler. In an aggressive scheme where you will see a lot of 1-on-1 matchups with the corners, that worries me.

SAFETIES

-Landon Collins is playing with great lateral range. Think of this run defense clogging the middle with their line then Collins going unblocked to the sidelines. Just another reason why I think this defense will be elite against the run which will be important in this division.

-Curtis Riley appears to have the spot locked up next to Collins. The hamstring injury to Darian Thompson continues to keep him off the field and Andrew Adams doesn’t appear to be in the running. Michael Thomas is a fine rotational player who will be a factor on special teams. He is tough and productive in the box. Do any of these guys make plays against deep passing? That is another fear I have with this defense that lacks a superior pass rush.

SPECIALISTS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 4/4 (Made 48, 40, 27, 21). Rosas has been getting the opportunities and passing with flying colors. If he can maintain his consistency, I bet he ends up being one of the highest scoring kickers in the league.

-K Marshall Koehn: 1/1 (Made 44). Nice security blanket to have but as long as Rosas is kicking them straight, Koehn won’t be here in a couple weeks.

-P Riley Dixon: 5 punts – 41.0 avg / 33.3 net. Had a few opportunities to pin them tight but he put 2 in the end zone.

3 STUDS

-WR Sterling Shepard, DE Kerry Wynn, K Aldrick Rosas

3 DUDS

-OG Patrick Omameh, OLB Kareem Martin, RB Jonathan Stewart

3 THOUGHTS ON NYJ

-The commentators said this a couple time on Friday and I am sure a few more will repeat it during the season. The Darnold vs. Barkley debate is going to be a thing for their entire careers respectively. I hate that, personally. Two different systems and situations. Two different positions. Regardless, Darnold has gotten a lot of playing time in these first 3 weeks of preseason and nothing has made me think he would have been a better pick than Barkley.

-The Jets may be historically bad when it comes to the pass rush. I’m not only judging their preseason performance here, either. Their personnel, or lack thereof, really stands out. Combine that with a scheme that is overly reliant on blitzing to bring 5+ defenders to the passer, it is just a recipe for a disaster.

-When QB Teddy Bridgewater was coming out of Louisville, I didn’t have the franchise QB grade on him. Good college player and a great intangibles kid, but I didn’t see it. To me, the glaring weakness was a lack of physical presence and a body type that screamed injuries. I still feel that way even though he has had a few nice preseason performances against backups. I think he is an easy kid to root for, thus it sways the overall view on him as a QB.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

-Speaking of the poor NYJ pass rush, I was really pleased with the pocket Eli Manning had to work with. When his confidence and assurance is there, he looks like he has more than enough left in the tank. Give him this Shurmur offense that can take advantage of Manning’s mental capacity and pass-versatility, I think this is going to be the best NYG offense we have seen in a long time.

-Three weeks of preseason football and I still think the OC/RG situation has a ways to go in terms of being figured out. The trading of Brett Jones to MIN has all but handed the job to Halapio with John Greco as the primary backup, but as previously mentioned I think that job should still be very much up in the air. And we may have to go back to John Jerry at RG if Omameh doesn’t step it up.

-The next biggest worry of this team resides in the defensive backfield. If the pass rush doesn’t generate a lot of pressure to a point where the QB needs to rush through progressions, I’m just not confident this team can cover. The LBs have been getting torched in the middle of the field, Eli Apple appears to the same thing we have watched in recent years, and the group of below average cover men behind him won’t scare anyone.

Aug 272018
 
Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (August 17, 2018)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS AND ODELL BECKHAM SIGN 5-YEAR, $95 MILLION EXTENSION…
The New York Giants officially announced today that they have signed wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. to a 5-year contract extension (six years total), locking up the All-Pro receiver through the 2023 season. The NFL Network is reporting that the deal is a 5-year, $95 million contract extension that includes $65 million in guaranteed money. The contract makes Beckham the highest paid wide receiver in football.

Beckham had one year left on his rookie contract and was scheduled to make $8.459 million in salary in 2018. According to ESPN, the new agreement lowers Beckham’s salary to $1.459 million with a $20 million signing bonus, “saving” about $3 million against the 2018 salary cap.

“It’s a five-year extension, six years total,” said General Manager Dave Gettleman. “We got him until he’s 108. I never worried whether or not we would get it done. I’m pleased, because the litmus test for a contract is that neither side is ticked off before the ink can dry, and neither side should be ticked off. It’s a very fair deal.

“I learned a long time ago, you build the team you want. On offense, you got to have a quarterback, you got to have touchdown scorers. On defense, you got to have guys that sack the quarterback. Well, this guy’s a touchdown scorer. He can score from anywhere on the field, which is huge.”

“Honestly, I don’t even know how to explain it,” Beckham said. “I don’t know if it’s a relief, I don’t know – it’s a combination of everything. You’ve worked all your life to get to this point and it’s finally here. I have to thank Mr. Mara, Steve Tisch, Mr. Gettleman, coach (Pat) Shurmur, Eli (Manning), all the guys I played with in the past years. Everybody was really a part of this – my mom, my dad, my family, everybody who was supporting me through this. It’s just such an amazing feeling, I can’t even explain. Most importantly, I have to thank God for being able to put me back together mentally, physically, spiritually. This is just truly amazing; I don’t even know the right words to describe. It was just a time of patience and waiting and I knew that it would get done, it just was a matter of when and I’m just so happy that it is finally done now.”

While a super-productive football player, Beckham has had his ups and downs on and off the football field.

“As I have said, I think Odell personally is moving in the right direction,” said Giants President and CEO John Mara. “He came to camp with a tremendous attitude, with a smile on his face and worked hard and reminded us of his unique abilities. He’s ready to have a great season and we’re ready for him to have a great season.”

“It was not a distraction because of the way we handled it,” Gettleman said. “The way he handled it, the way we handled it. I was thrilled when he spoke to the media at training camp. I was thrilled he said it’ll get done when it gets done, because that’s what it is. You can’t force things, it’s a negotiation. It’s a back and forth, both sides have to be intentional and thoughtful, which we were. It was great negotiating, it was a very good give and take with Kevin (Abrams, the assistant general manager) and Zeke (Sandhu, Beckham’s agent). We got to the right answer as far as I’m concerned.”

“It’s a great day for our franchise and our fans,” said Giants Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch. “I am excited about our future, especially with Odell and Eli and their teammates operating in Pat’s (Shurmur) offense. We have seen Odell grow. His enthusiasm and work ethic are contagious, and my hope for him and for us – and I know he feels the same – is for him to be remembered as one of the great Giants of all time.”

Beckham says he is excited about the team moving forward and that the money will not change the way he approaches the game.

“The offense seems to be amazing,” said Beckham. “I feel like we’re going to be able to put up a lot of points and do it in a bunch of different ways. We have so many explosive playmakers on this team. Evan Engram, (Sterling) Shep(ard), Cody (Latimer), Saquon (Barkley). The O-line is playing at a high level, they look very together, and it’s time for Eli to bring us home. It’s time for him to bring us back to what we all dream of doing, which is winning a Super Bowl, so the goals are never going to change, it’s just that time to go is now.

“This just kind of secures you and your family, and the ones that are going to come along after you in your family. For me, it’s not going to change my goals that I have on the field. If anything, it just increased them even more. I just want to be able to come out and play football the way that I’ve always played, the way that I love it and have some of my best years that I’ve ever had in my entire life. This is nothing but more motivation to go even harder and to do even better.”

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Monday due to injury were linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), tight end Evan Engram (concussion), offensive guard Nick Gates (foot), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

Linebacker Calvin Munson (concussion) practiced but was still wearing a red, non-contact jersey. Linebacker Connor Barwin (knee) performed in some individual drills.

“(Barwin) was out there today,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “Probably did the most in practice he’s done in a while and so we’ll just see how the knee responded when we go in here this afternoon.”

There are conflicting reports on the severity of Vernon’s ankle injury. One ESPN report claimed said it was a high ankle sprain. Other sources reported it is a deep bruise on the upper part of his ankle.

“Ankle like we talked about yesterday and so he’s day-to-day,” said Shurmur when asked about Vernon… He was checked out. The MRI didn’t show any breaks so he’s just day-to-day with that ankle. He got checked out pretty thoroughly.”

Shurmur said he did not know if it was the same ankle that sidelined Vernon last season for four games.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Monday 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 players will practice on Tuesday. There is no press availability to the team on Wednesday.

Aug 262018
 
Olivier Vernon, New York Giants (December 17, 2017)

Olivier Vernon – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK TRADE BRETT JONES TO THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS…
The New York Giants have trade center Brett Jones to the Minnesota Vikings. Newsday and The NFL Network are reporting that the Giants will receive a 7th-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft as compensation. By trading Jones, the Giants “save” $2.914 million against the 2018 salary cap, the amount of salary (no bonus) Jones was tendered as a restricted free agent. Jones had been playing as the team’s second-team center behind Jon Halapio since the team’s offseason program began.

“I think the trade was good for both (Minnesota and us),” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We got a pick in return for Brett Jones. He’s one of my favorite guys and he’s going to a really good place. With their situation in the offensive line, he’s going to have a chance to compete to maybe be their starter. I’m pretty familiar with their situation and he’s going to a very good place, so I’m happy for him, because he’s a real likeable guy. He works hard, he’s tough, and I feel like if he can’t be here – I tell the players all the time, we want you all to be here; if you can’t be here, we want you to be somewhere good, and that’s a good place.”

In 2017, Jones took over the starting center spot for 12 games after Weston Richburg was lost for the season. Jones was originally drafted by the CFL Calgary Stampeders in 2013 and named the CFL’s “Most Outstanding Rookie” after that season. Jones was also named the CFL’s “Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman” in 2014. He signed by the Giants in February 2015 and placed on Injured Reserve in September 2015 after spraining the MCL in his knee on the preseason finale. In 2016, Jones was on the active roster for 14 regular-season games and made one start at left guard.

INJURY REPORT – OLIVIER VERNON INJURES ANKLE, SAQUON BARKLEY RETURNS…
Not practicing on Sunday due to injury were tight end Evan Engram (concussion), offensive guard Nick Gates (unknown), defensive end A.J. Francis (unknown), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown), and linebacker Connor Barwin (knee).

“(Barwin is) day to day,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “He’s making good progress.”

Linebacker Calvin Munson (concussion) was in a red, non-contact jersey. Engram, despite being in the concussion protocol, did some running on the side. McIntosh participated in some limited football activities on the side for the first time this summer.

Linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle) left practice early on a cart. Vernon missed four games in 2017 with an ankle injury that limited in him in other games as well. “He kind of just went inside the block and got his feet tangled up,” said Shurmur. “I think it’s his ankle. He’s being evaluated. I don’t have much right now.”

Running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), running back Jalen Simmons (concussion), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring) returned to practice.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Sunday 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…

Aug 252018
 
Jhurell Pressley, New York Giants (August 24, 2018)

Jhurell Pressley – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
As expected, tight Evan Engram is now in the NFL concussion protocol due to the injury he suffered during Friday’s preseason game against the New York Jets. Tight end Rhett Ellison also left the game with what at the time was said to be an eye injury, but really was a migraine issue.

“(Engram is) in the protocol,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We’ll just see where he’s at. I really don’t want to add anything to that, but nothing’s really changed from last night. We’re moving him through the protocol.”

“Migraines (with Ellison), I guess it was,” said Shurmur. “He’s fine. He’s better today.”

SATURDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Saturday to discuss the team’s 22-16 preseason win over the New York Jets:

Q: After looking at the tape of the run game, how much of it was a matter of what the Jets were doing with bringing the safeties up into the box and how much of it was the line calls? What did you see in the breakdown of the running game?

A: Early on, especially through the first half when we were in bigger personnel groupings, they had extra people near the line of scrimmage, which makes it more difficult; but nonetheless, we need to do a better job in all areas, whether it’s getting on the right people. There weren’t really missed assignments, so to speak, but we’ve just got to get off the double teams a little quicker and then just hit it up in there and give the runner a little bit more room to get his feet going.

Q: Can you carry a primary returner who doesn’t necessarily contribute in another aspect of the game, or does your returner have to be contributing at wide receiver or running back or one of those positions?

A: Yeah, we could carry a returner certainly that if he’s dynamic enough where he can change the game by being a returner. Certainly all returners fit into some personnel or position group. I was in Minnesota with Marcus Sherels, he was a returner and he was a corner but really didn’t play corner all that much. It may have changed this year, but at least when I was there that’s what he did.

Q:  How is Evan Engram doing today? Any sort of update on him at all?

A: No, he’s in the protocol. We’ll just see where he’s at. I really don’t want to add anything to that, but nothing’s really changed from last night. We’re moving him through the protocol.

Q: How about (Rhett Ellison)?

A: Migraines, I guess it was. He’s fine. He’s better today.

Q: Why was the play action so successful yesterday?

A: First off, I got to it a little quick early in the game because they were playing the run, and the good news is, some of our play actions were a bit believable and that allowed us to get down the field a little bit with a little extra protection, and then hit on some of our deep balls. There’s some games when it’s more effective than others. They were making a very strong effort to stop the run, so the next phase of it is try to take advantage of that a little bit.

Q:  Were you surprised by what you saw from (Jhurrell Pressley) last night? I know he’s been with you before in Minnesota, but considering he walked in, no OTA’s, only a few practices, for him to do what he was able to do last night, did that kind of surprise you?

A:  No, I know what his skillset is and I thought (running backs coach) Craig Johnson did a great job of getting him up to speed. He was probably able to connect the dots a little faster than some because we had some history together, but really it was just based on the amount of work he and Craig did, getting themselves ready to go, and then (offensive coordinator) Mike (Shula) certainly directing me toward the plays that he was comfortable running. Then I think when you’re a running back, you get the ball, (and) you sort of do what you do. He had a couple of nice, long runs there that really helped us end the game the right way.

Q: When you were studying Eli Manning when you got the job and reviewing (him), were you especially conscious of looking to see if a 37-year old quarterback could move the way you want a quarterback to move, and how much do you think Eli’s legs will play a factor in what you want to do?

A: I believe that every quarterback needs to use his legs to some degree. I think if you do enough other things well on offense, and I do believe that you have to move the launch point for the throws which sometimes means the play action game or moving the pocket, so I believe in that and I do believe that any quarterback can do it to some degree. Eli moves around well enough where he can execute some of that stuff.

Q: We didn’t really get to ask you last night about Davis Webb. I know he didn’t play as much this game as last game, but what did you think of his performance?

A: I thought it was solid. Even when you have some good plays, most quarterbacks will come back and there’s a handful of things you want to do over for whatever reason. I think that’s fair to be said for his performance.

Q: Where do you stand on the free safety position at this point and what did you think of the guys that were in there yesterday?

A: I thought the guys that played in there yesterday did a good job. I thought that Curtis Riley did a nice job at the free safety spot and William Gay got in there at the end, Double A (Andrew Adams) was in there playing, so we got to see them play quite a bit and show what they can do. Obviously, I thought Landon was pretty solid. We were able to see more and help us decide as we go here who that free safety is going to be.

Q: How close are you to figuring that out at this point?

A: I would say we’re getting close. I wouldn’t say we’re unsettled there, I would say we’re getting close.

Q: Do you expect Darian Thompson back this week?

A: We are hopeful. It’s hard to say. I think it’s pretty well documented that he has a hamstring (injury). This thing on him, it’s really lingering, so we’ll just have to see when we start practicing again tomorrow.

Q: Do you have thoughts on Jonathan Stewart after watching the film?

A: He’s a veteran player and he’s played really well for a lot of seasons. There’s always a reason why things don’t go well. If you just look at the raw production, and say “oh my goodness”, but we just have to take it for what it is. I know he can play football and play at a high level, and we are just counting on that.

Q: On the plans for this week – it’s a short work week, it’s also the last opportunity for guys who might be on the border regarding a roster spot. How do you approach this week as a coach, as a teacher? Do you kind of amp up your teaching at this point to help these guys more, or how does that work in your role?

A: Here’s there deal. There will probably be some guys that won’t play in this game, and it goes without saying. What’s important is we’re still in training camp, so what we’re going to do is, the guys that we know are going to play in the game, and I’m not going to talk about who they are or who won’t play, but the guys that are going to play in this game, we’re going to use a portion of practice to get them ready to play the Patriots. It’s important that some of the guys that might not be playing in this game, it’s like training camp, so the padded practices are important and the work that we do is important, especially the Giants-on-Giants phase of things. It kind of runs parallel, so we will structure the practice sessions to reflect that.

Q: What did you think of (Aldrick Rosas’) game last night in the first half with those four field goals?

A: It was terrific. When you make your field goals when we’re stalling out like that and you get points on the board, it’s huge. I think sometimes we forget if you miss those kicks, then they’re presented with immediate good field position going the other way, so I was very pleased with that. His kickoffs were good and solid; he’s a big, strong guy. I think both of our specialists Riley Dixon and then Aldrick, they look like football players to me. They’re big strong guys and I thought they executed kicking and punting very well.

Aug 252018
 
Hunter Sharp, New York Giants (August 24, 2018)

Hunter Sharp – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS 22 – NEW YORK JETS 16…
The New York Giants defeated the New York Jets 22-16 in their annual third preseason game match-up on Friday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants improved their preseason record to 2-1.

The Giants out-gained the Jets in total net yards (344 to 240), net yards rushing (87 to 66), and net yards passing (257 to 174). Two key differences in the game were penalties and special teams return yardage. The Jets were flagged 13 times for 108 yards while the Giants were flagged half of that with six penalties for 50 yards. The Giants dominated the Jets in punt return yardage: 145 to zero.

The game did not start off well for the Giants as the New York Jets, behind rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, drove his team 75 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 10-yard touchdown run by running back Bilal Powell. In response, the Giants’ offense gained one first down on their initial drive and punted.

The Giants defense settled down after the Jets’ first possession. They forced a three and out, which was key as wideout Hunter Sharp returned the ensuing punt 45 yards for a touchdown that tied the game at 7-7.

The Giants’ defense then forced another three-and-out and the G-Men got the ball back on their own 40-yard line. On the first offensive play of this series, quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Cody Latimer for a 54-yard gain deep down the middle of the field to the Jets’ 6-yard line. However, on the very next snap, running back Jonathan Stewart fumbled the ball away to the Jets, who returned it 39 yards to the Giants 47-yard line, blowing a great scoring opportunity. Five plays later, Darnold threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. The Jets missed the extra point and led 13-7.

The Giants responded with an 11-play, 50-yard drive that led to a 48-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. After forcing a three-and-out, the Giants quickly got the ball back and tied the game at 13-13 after another 50-yard drive resulted in a 40-yard field goal by Rosas. Both drives were sparked by long completions from Manning to wide receiver Sterling Shepard.

The Giants got the ball back right away again when linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong forced a fumble on the ensuing Jets’ kick return. Tight end Jerell Adams recovered the ball and the Giants were set up at the 16-yard line. However, the Giants could not get the ball into the endzone and settled for another field goal by Rosas, this one from 27 yards out as the Giants went ahead for good, 16-13. The Giants were able to add to their advantage before halftime by forcing their fourth three-and-out of the half. Wide receiver Kalif Raymond returned the ensuing punt 35 yards to the Jets’ 30-yard line. Again, the Giants stalled in the red zone, settling for a 21-yard field goal and a 19-13 halftime lead.

The back-ups played in the second half and neither team did much scoring after the break. Both teams punted twice in the 3rd quarter. The Giants began their third drive of the half at their own 16-yard. A penalty and sack put the team in a 3rd-and-19 situation from their own 7-yard line, but quarterback Davis Webb and wide receiver Alonzo Russell bailed the Giants out of trouble with a 47-yard deep strike that helped to set up a 44-yard field goal by place kicker Marshall Koehn. The Giants now led 22-13 early in the 4th quarter.

After both teams exchanged punts again, the Jets’ second- and third-teamers drove 78 yards in 13 plays. However, their drive stalled at the 2-yard line and the Jets were forced to settle for a 20-yard field goal with just under three minutes to play. The Giants were able to run most of the rest of the clock out before punting and the game ended.

On special teams, Rosas was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts with kicks from 48, 40, 27, and 21 yards out. The Giants returned seven punts for 145 yards and also forced a turnover on a Jets’ kickoff return. (By the way, the TOTAL punt return yardage for the Giants team in 2017 was 148 yards!)

Offensively, Manning played well and finished the game 17-of-23 for 188 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. His leading receiver was Sterling Shepard with seven catches for 78 yards. Running back Wayne Gallman was held to 23 yards on 11 carries, but newcomer Jhurell Pressley rushed for 71 yards on 11 carries.

Defensively, the Jets were held to 66 yards rushing and 174 yards passing. Defensive end Kerry Wynn picked up another sack and linebacker Lorenzo Carter and defensive end Josh Mauro shared a sack. The defense did not force a turnover however.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT – EVAN ENGRAM SUFFERS CONCUSSION…
Not playing for the Giants due to injury were wide running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), running back Jalen Simmons (concussion), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (knee), linebacker Calvin Munson (concussion), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

Running back Robert Martin did not play and there is media speculation that an ankle or foot injury kept him out.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., quarterback Alex Tanney, and cornerback Mike Jones were healthy scratches.

Tight end Evan Engram left the game with a concussion. Tight end Rhett Ellison left the game with an eye injury.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media by conference call on Saturday. The players are off on that day.

Aug 232018
 
Donte Deayon, New York Giants (August 26, 2017)

Donte Deayon – © USA TODAY Sports

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Preseason Game Preview: New York Giants at New York Jets, August 24, 2018

THE STORYLINE:

The media-driven storyline for this game will undoubtedly be “should the Giants have drafted Sam Darnold instead of Saquon Barkley?” which will be partially deflected by the fact that Barkley won’t be playing due to his hamstring strain. That is a valid question from a long-term strategic sense, but not in terms of the immediate, short-term implications of this game. But that won’t stop the media so ignore them.

Folks who have read this site for a long time know I usually downplay the importance of the preseason. Not this year with the new regime and the potentially fragile state of mind of team coming off of disastrous season. I believe the win over the Detroit Lions last week was very important, not just because of the final score board, but the convincing fashion in which the Giants out-played the Lions without three of their most important players playing. So now we have one bad performance against the Cleveland Browns and one good one against the Lions. Can the Giants build upon their success or will they regress in the third preseason game? The third game is universally considered the main test run for the regular season.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Saquon Barkley (hamstring)
  • RB Jalen Simmons (concussion)
  • DE R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list)
  • LB Connor Barwin (knee)
  • LB Calvin Munson (concussion)
  • S Darian Thompson (hamstring)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:

Pat Shumur made a very unusual decision last week to not play Eli Manning in the second game. Coaches will sometimes sit old, established veterans in the first and fourth preseason games, but not often the second or third. This is especially true for a quarterback like Eli who is learning a new offensive system with new terminology. Right or wrong, Shurmur must think Manning doesn’t need much live game work before September 9th. Factoring into this situation is the decision to sit Odell Beckham, Jr. for probably a couple of different reasons (contract, previous injury) and Saquon Barkley’s hamstring issue. It’s appears that these big three will enter the 2018 regular-season with very little live-game preparation. That’s a bit unnerving.

Other than possibly a drive or two against the Patriots in the preseason finale, this will probably be Eli’s preseason action. The passing game against the Browns with him at the helm was not a well-oiled machine. It would be encouraging to see Eli – with or without Odell – being more productive in keeping the chains moving and putting points up on the scoreboard. I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t play at least a half. Stating the obvious, what we don’t want to see is him under duress, looking uncomfortable in the pocket with legitimate or phantom pressure, and being inaccurate.

The first-string offensive line also needs the work. Remember, these are five new starters at five new positions. It’s impossible for them to have enough chemistry and cohesion after about 20 practices together. Picking up stunts and blitzes is complicated business. Same with coordinating your blocks in the running game. We’ve already seen some potential red flags with pressure coming free up the middle and continued shakiness from Ereck Flowers.

At receiver, the same question remains: other than Odell Beckham, Jr., do the Giants have enough weapons outside to concern the opposing defense? Sterling Shepard is one of those guys who teases, but can he become a consistently productive player game-in and game-out? Can he make plays DOWN the field? Is Cody Latimer ready for a breakout season or is he just a special teams player? Can the Giants REALLY rely on Hunter Sharp and Kalif Raymond to make plays in the regular season with the game on the line? What we do not want to see is the Giants’ first-string offense stall against the Jets with Eli not being able to connect with any of these guys. That’s what happened against the Browns.

I don’t know if this is true or not, but one gets the sense that the Giants are not overly concerned with Saquon Barkley not getting any preseason action other than the few snaps he saw against the Browns. I hope they are right. Rookies need real-game practice time. If Barkley is a major factor from the get-go on September 9th, he truly is a special player. Regardless, without Barkley, the first-team offense did not run the ball very well against the Lions. It appears that Wayne Gallman should be ahead of Jonathan Stewart on the depth chart and this game will provide another indication on whether or not that should be the case. This is also a big game for Robert Martin, especially with Jalen Simmons out.

Lastly, it will be interesting to see how Davis Webb plays after examples of the previous two extremes.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:

Take away the two big passing plays to David Njoku and Theo Riddick against Alec Ogletree and most fans would be very pleased about the play of the starting defense. To Ogletree’s defense, those are very tough match-ups for any linebacker. But his play in coverage may be the #1 issue Giants’ fans are watching in this game. It’s interesting to note that Ray-Ray Amstrong was promoted this week to first-team nickel defense, not to replace Ogletree, but B.J. Goodson. So let’s see how that plays out.

The pass rush showed signs of life last week too, but we still do not have enough of a sample size. Perhaps the #1 highlight last week was Olivier Vernon looking LT-like in beating three men to the quarterback on one play. Kareem Martin and Lorenzo Carter also flashed as Connor Barwin continues to sit with a knee issue. The Giants are likely to get a good push inside from Dalvin Tomlinson, Damon Harrison, and B.J. Hill, who have also been stalwarts against the run. The Browns and Lions simply couldn’t move them. Heading into camp, I thought Kerry Wynn would be the odd man out, being a bit of ‘tweener in this defense. Wynn has a history of playing well in the preseason and then disappearing in the regular season, but this year may be different. He’s been all over the field, including on special teams.

Like Ereck Flowers on offense, Eli Apple continues to make Giants’ fans nervous on defense. Both players are so up and down. But as of now, the Giants have little option but to play them unless either completely falls apart. For the second week in a row, Curtis Riley will start at free safety with the injury-prone Darian Thompson continuing to disappoint. Focus on him as well as William Gay, B.W. Webb, and the injury-prone Donte Deayon. These three players may be critical to the defense this year.

My guess is even with the heavy blitzing we’ve seen at times in the preseason, James Bettcher is not showing his cards yet. So take some of what you see with the front seven with a grain of salt. But I’m not sure he can scheme enough to protect the secondary so that’s where my focus will be in this game.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:

The 55-yard field goal from Aldrick Rosas was very encouraging. But we always knew he had the leg. What we need is the consistency. Don’t miss the 35 yarder. It might not be a bad thing for a drive to stall in field goal range in this game. We need a better read on Rosas.

Hunter Sharp muffed a punt return last week. Kalif Raymond has an issue with fumbles. The return game still appears very unsettled.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:

Head Coach Pat Shurmur on how he handles the players after each game: “They’ll come in (after the game), we’ll watch the tape, settle all debts. That way if they are a little angry with me they can go home on their off day, simmer down and come back.”

THE FINAL WORD:

Obviously, the Giants want to come out this game healthy, but the things I’ll be focusing on are the play of (1) Eli Manning, (2) the starting offensive line, and (3) the secondary.