Sep 202018
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Thursday due to injury were linebacker Olivier Vernon (high ankle sprain) and cornerback Eli Apple (groin).

Tight end Evan Engram (ankle) and linebacker Connor Barwin (knee) were limited in practice.

Wide receiver Kaelin Clay (ankle) fully practiced.

THE COACHES 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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice again on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s away game against the Houston Texans.

Sep 192018
 
Elijhaa Penny, Arizona Cardinals (August 31, 2017)

Elijhaa Penny – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed running back/fullback Elijhaa Penny from the Practice Squad of the Arizona Cardinals. The 25-year old, 6’2”, 234-pound Penny was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Cardinals after the 2016 NFL Draft. Penny spent his rookie season on the Cardinals’ Practice Squad. He was active all 16 regular-season games in 2017 with no starts and finished the season with 31 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 38 yards.

The Giants also claimed wide receiver Stacy Coley off of waivers from the Minnesota Vikings. The 24-year old, 6’0”, 195-pound Coley was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Vikings. Coley played in four games in 2017 and the first two games of 2018, but he does not have a career catch. He has returned one kickoff.

To make room for Penny, the Giants waived fullback Shane Smith and placed center Jon Halapio on Injured Reserve. Halapio broke his ankle and lower leg in the game against the Cowboys last Sunday. He underwent surgery on Monday.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday due to injury were linebacker Olivier Vernon (high ankle sprain), linebacker Connor Barwin (knee), and cornerback Eli Apple (groin).

Wide receiver Kaelin Clay (ankle) and tight end Evan Engram (ankle) were limited in practice.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’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 Giants practice on Thursday and Friday in preparation for Sunday’s away game against the Houston Texans. The team’s coordinators will address the press on Thursday.

Sep 182018
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 16, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

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Dallas Cowboys 20 – New York Giants 13

QUICK RECAP

Two 0-1 teams entered Sunday night on the same day where the two other NFC East teams lost to even their records at 1-1. Whomever left AT&T Stadium would have a share of 1st place early in this 2018 season.

With top edge rusher Oliver Vernon still injured, Kerry Wynn started on the NYG 4 man front. DAL didn’t waste time as Dak Prescott connected with Tavon Austin for a 64 yard touchdown pass up the sideline on a blown coverage by Janoris Jenkins and Curtis Riley. After a 6 play drive, DAL had the ball back in their possession and gained 12-19-15-15 yards on their first 4 plays. This set them up for another 3 points and NYG was down 10-0 before the rhythm of the game even started.

The two sub-par offenses traded possessions a few times without gaining much of a field position advantage. NYG was force feeding the ball to Saquon Barkley who, if nothing else, was breaking tackles left and right every time he touched the ball. Manning was getting the ball out quickly because of the porous offensive line yet again and the DAL secondary was adamant about not letting Odell Beckham wreck the game.

One interesting observation from the early NYG offensive drives. When they were down 7-0, Pat Shurmur did not want to go for it on 4th and inches at midfield. For an offense that struggles to put together drives, an offense that struggles to even reach midfield, it was a puzzling decision. However when NYG was down 10-0, Shurmur opted to go for it on 4th and inches two times in a row despite being at a lesser field position. Not a big deal but it just screams lack of identity to me. 4th and inches at midfield for this offense needs to almost-always be a go-for-it situation.

With that said, NYG didn’t have one play on the DAL side of the field in the first half. They went in to halftime down 10-0.

On the fourth play of the second half, Manning was sacked for the 5th time by untouched blitzing linebacker Damien Wilson, forcing a fumble that was recovered by DAL. This was a trend that started early and continued on for the entire game. Stunts and blitzes, both basic and complex, confused the anemic offensive line. Lack of talent, lack of chemistry, and a lack of adjustment made this a painful game to watch.

DAL turned the turnover in to 3 points, giving them a 13-0 lead which probably felt like a 30-0 lead knowing who was on the other sideline.

Just when you thought NYG was completely out, in typical Eli Manning-era fashion, they showed life right after their darkest moment. Barkley continued to show elite-level yards after contact ability, Manning hit Cody Latimer for a game-high 37 yard gain, and Barkley gained 18 yards on a dump off pass that included moves I don’t see any RB in the NFL making. They were 1st and goal at the 3 yard line just to be brought back by a holding penalty and two consecutive pass plays where pressure was on Manning before he could make two reads. Also on this drive, NYG lost center Jon Halapio to a broken ankle and leg; he is done for the year. NYG did get on the board, making it 13-3.

The DAL offense started to create some hope too, as they just couldn’t move the ball, guilty of 2 straight holding penalties, and quickly putting the ball back in to NYG’s hands. There was a slight momentum shift at this point late in the 3rd quarter. NYG then responded with a 3 and out that was capped off by the 6th DAL sack of the night. Opportunity missed.

DAL then responded with a 14 play, 8+ minute, touchdown-scoring drive. Prescott controlled the drive, going 5/6 for 35 yards and rushing for 19 yards on 3 attempts. The score was by Ezekiel Elliott who barreled in to the end zone breaking though Kareem Martin for a 6 yard touchdown. DAL led 20-3 with under 6 minutes remaining in the game.

Manning and the NYG offense took advantage of a less-aggressive DAL defense, scoring their lone touchdown of the night on an 11 play drive capped off by a wide-open pass to Evan Engram in the end zone. NYG then recovered an onsides kick, recovered by Michael Thomas. They quickly gained another 27 yards and opted to kick a field goal to make it a one-possession game. It was their only hope. Rosas hit the field goal, making a 20-13 score but they failed to convert the second onsides kick.

Dallas wins, 20-13.

QUARTERBACKS

Eli Manning: 33/44 – 279 yards – 1 TD / 0 INT. Manning also added 3 rushing attempts for a total of 4 yards, two of which were successful 4th and 1 QB sneak conversions. Once again, Manning saw either the worst, or one of the worst amounts of protection from the OL in the league. There is going to be a weekly debate regarding whether or not Manning is done or not. My stance remains the same. The most athletic QB in the league wouldn’t be able to deal with this amount of pressure and lack of assurance from this OL group. Manning can’t step up in the pocket. He can barely even step into throws. 3 step, 5 step, 7 step drops….it doesn’t matter. Manning does deserve some blame, however. The limited shots he is getting downfield, he hasn’t capitalized on enough. In addition, his hoppy-footwork and occasional too-quick of a release has contributed to the poor offensive play. Call me stubborn, but I watch almost every NFL game every week, and nobody is dealing with this outside of Russell Wilson in SEA.

RUNNING BACKS

Saquon Barkley: 11 att / 28 yards – 14 rec / 80 yards. The run blocking was no better. I haven’t seen an NFL offense yet where the RB is getting hit earlier than what NYG is dealing with. Barkley was running into traffic and untouched defenders repeatedly. But because of his superior receiving skills, his impact on the game was strong. He set a franchise record with his 14 catches, most of which were dump offs, and he broke more tackles than any NYG running back has in a game since it’s been recorded. What he was able to do with the ball in his hands was just a glimpse of what we are going to see. Imagine he was playing behind a good group of blockers. The options and upside with him are endless.

-Wayne Gallman and Jonathan Stewart played a combine 13% of the snaps and gained a combined 4 yards. You can tell this coaching staff really wanted this win and they wanted no part in taking Barkley out.

-Really poor game by Shane Smith. He allowed 2 sacks against the blitz-happy Dallas defense. He was on the field for 4 plays. He allowed 2 sacks. If he can’t block, there is no point in him being on this team.

WIDE RECEIVERS

-Odell Beckham: 4 rec / 51 yards. Beckham recorded his second catch with 6 minutes left in the first quarter. His next catch wasn’t until the 4:22 mark in the fourth quarter. He wasn’t a factor for the majority of the game. They gave him two credible downfield shots, both were overthrown by Manning. I watched the All-22 and assumed he was being double teamed non stop, but that wasn’t the case. On the plays he had one on one coverage deep, the pass protection simply wasn’t there. Manning was forced to get rid of the ball before Beckham made his move. Timed well by the DAL defense.

-Sterling Shepard and Cody Latimer caught 2 passes each. Shepard also dropped one in the second quarter. Latimer’s first catch as a Giant was a nicely thrown deep ball where Latimer had minimal to no separation, but the lengthy and strong receiver showed nice ball skills to come down with it. One thing I see a lot with him is a lack of separation, as there isn’t a ton of twitch to his game, but he does have some long stride speed if Manning can ever get enough time.

TIGHT ENDS

Evan Engram: 7 rec / 67 yards – 1 TD. Engram caught all of the passes thrown in his direction. I think it may be time for Manning to look his way more often, especially with the need for such quick releases. He gets open consistently and he is so dangerous after the catch with his rare combination of size and speed. He had two clean looks at the end zone that Manning didn’t see. Safeties cannot cover him. One thing he hasn’t consistently done well yet is find the windows/lanes against zone coverage. The best receiving tight ends make an art of that; he isn’t close yet. As a blocker, he had another sub-par game. He allowed a tackle for loss and a sack in addition to getting drilled backwards a few times, making Barkley alter his path.

-Rhett Ellison saw 35% of the snaps and disappointed as a blocker. For a guy that has a role to aid the poor OL play, he sure hasn’t done it these first 2 weeks. He, too, was getting pushed backwards, creating a new point of attack.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

-Nate Solder, the highest paid left tackle in the game, was physically overmatched in this one for the second week in a row. He allowed one tackle for loss and was flagged for a hold (which was declined) in addition to 2 pressures.. The one thing Solder does well compared to the rest of the OL is, even when he is beat, he stays on his man. The balance and athleticism helps him there. I also think he is a small victim of playing next to the rookie Hernandez, who is having a very hard time picking up this blocking scheme.

-Ereck Flowers had another below average performance. He allowed 3 pressures, struggled at the second level as a run blocker, and appears to have no clue what he is doing on stunts. He did have 4 “plus” pass blocks one on one against Demarcus Lawrence if you are looking for any glimpse of positive.

GUARDS/CENTERS

-The two guards were nightmares, it was the worst combined grade from the guards I have seen in 2+ years. Patrick Omameh was responsible for 2 pressures and 1 sack. He wasn’t able to sustain blocks. He has a decent punch at the line, but his man is off free within 1-2 seconds almost every time. Will Hernandez looks lost mentally. Again, the base-level athleticism is there, but it doesn’t show up because he is too slow to react. He allowed 1 pressure and 2 sacks. The first of which was about as bad as it gets. Hernandez was also completely whiffing at the second level as a run blocker. He continues to get a pass here and there for being a rookie, but there were moments where he didn’t even look competitive.

-Center Jon Halapio was having a decent game, but he broke both his ankle and leg during the 3rd quarter. John Greco came in to replace him. He allowed a pressure in his limited duty. He is likely to be the starting OC from here on out and I have been impressed with him in his short tenure with NYG. I don’t think this will have any negative impact on NYG.

EDGE

-With Olivier Vernon out again, Kareem Martin and Connor Barwin dominated the snaps. They are both journeymen caliber players. Barwin did have a solid game, as his short area pop is still there and he is feisty. He had a pressure and pass break up. Martin looks like a complete non factor. His contact balance is poor, he can’t get off blocks as a pass rusher, and the speed off the edge is non-existent. He had 3 missed tackles and finished with 1 pressure.

-Lorenzo Carter’s speed and athleticism showed up. He had 2 pressures on the same drive. When he sees a consistent stretch of plays, his level of play improves. As the year progresses, we should see him on the field more. He missed outside contain twice but his speed to the sideline made up for one of them. He really does have rare athleticism. Kerry Wynn had 2 tackles, one of which was for a loss. Hate to see him not make much of an impact as a pass rusher after a strong preseason yet again. This team needs him to step up.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

-Damon Harrison controlled the two inside gaps like he always does. DAL had a lot of success on the ground, but it wasn’t any fault of Harrison’s. It’s amazing how, when he is single teamed against a running play between the tackles, he is always in on the tackle. Every time. He also recorded a pressure.

-Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill received average grades. Hill was quiet but pursued well and held his ground. One thing they both struggled with was getting off blocks in time at running plays in their direction. They were just a step too slow a few times. Hill was also taken off the field in passing situations.

LINEBACKERS

-Really poor game by Alec Ogletree. Yes, he led the team with 6 tackles and a couple of them were an impressive blend of speed and power. He missed 2 tackles and was really late to recognize on a few others. When that happens, the blocker gets the angle and makes it nearly impossible to fill the lane in time. B.J. Goodson recorded 1 tackle despite playing more than 50% of the snaps. He, too, missed a tackle. If it’s not between the tackles, Goodson has looked very pedestrian so far.

-Ray Ray Armstrong didn’t impact the running game, but he excelled in coverage. On three occasions he completely took out Prescott’s intended target with perfect coverage. He adds an element none of the other LBs do.

CORNERBACKS

-For the second week in a row, Janoris Jenkins was beat on a vertical route early. This time, it resulted in an early touchdown by Tavon Austin. He completely whiffed at the point of attack and couldn’t catch up. The question may need to be asked at some point, are his off-field struggles impacting his play? He was solid from there on out, as he wasn’t tested much.

-Eli Apple with another excellent game. What I have always wanted to see with him, dating back to his college days, is more play with his feet and less with his hands in coverage. 2 weeks in o 2018, he appears to be clicking there. His All-22 tape was the best of the DB group.

-B.W. Webb was tested often. He was on the field for 77% of the snaps. He was flagged once and allowed a few catches but overall he was solid. Donte Deayon didn’t play much, but almost came up with a red zone interception in the 4th quarter.

SAFETIES

-Landon Collins has been very hit or miss since his All-Pro 2016 season and that trend continued Sunday night, with more lean towards the miss-side. He missed two tackles and was fooled badly twice on run plays. The misdirection has been giving him a lot of trouble and when he isn’t on, big gains are created.

-Curtis Riley had a bad night. He was late and took a bad angle on the Austin TD in the first quarter and had a bad missed tackle that led to a big gain by Ezekiel Elliot.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 2/2 (Made 28,38). Rosas remains perfect on the season. He also created a successful onsides kick in the 4th quarter.

-P Riley Dixon – 6 Punts – 43.3 avg / 40.0 net. Solid margin there and he landed 3 inside the 20.

-KR/PR: Cody Latimer had two impressive kick returns; he is fast in space and runs through initial contact consistently. Kaelin Clay had another near turnover as a PR.

3 STUDS

-RB Saquon Barkley, CB Eli Apple, DT Damon Harrison

3 DUDS

-OG Will Hernandez, OG Patrick Omameh, LB Alec Ogletree

3 THOUGHTS ON DAL

-I’ve seen every snap of DAL over the first 2 weeks and I still don’t think this will be a .500 team. The offense is abysmal. Overly reliant on the running game with an OL that is not nearly as dominant as it was 2 years ago. Prescott threw for 96 yards on 23 attempts beyond the TD pass to Austin where Jenkins had a rare whiff at the line of scrimmage.

-Get to know the name Chidobe Awuzie. DAL second year CB is going to be considered one of the best in the game within a year or two. He matched Beckham step for step several times in coverage on all levels, both laterally and vertically. He is great at making adjustments to the ball and he is one of the most physical tacklers in the league at the position.

-Jaylon Smith, now another year removed from his scary knee injury, now may be the best LB on this team. His 10 tackles and 1 for loss were impressive, as he fills the lane with no hesitation and lets you know he is there. And his most impressive play of the night? Deep coverage against….Odell Beckham.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

-Losing a tight game to JAC was one thing, but this loss to an average-at-best DAL team has created a strong thought that this will be a 5-6 win season at best. We discussed throughout the offseason that filling all these holes in just a few months was borderline impossible. You can’t say its over yet, but the issues on this roster are awfully high in volume.

-What can be done with this OL? They are going to be a poor unit all year, but is there anything that can be done that can give the offense at least some hope consistently? The one hope is that Hernandez, a rookie that didn’t play against NFL prospects in college, improves on a normal rookie scale. Also, this line is playing together for the first time so one could say chemistry will be developed in time. If those two things don’t happen, I really don’t see any hope here and that’s a shame because this group of playmakers is among the best in the NFL.

-Just how good is Landon Collins? I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but he is probably next up on long term contract talks. He is an unrestricted free agent next year and I have a hard time accepting he deserves top tier safety money. His 2016 season (which was All-Pro caliber) may be impacting everyone’s view on him too much. I do think he is good, he is 24 years old, and he does play hard. But 2017 was underwhelming and he has been bad these first 2 weeks. Missed tackles, fooled badly, and minimal impact on passing plays. He needs to play better and there is no way around it. This defense sorely needs a playmaker.

Sep 172018
 
Eli Manning and Jon Halapio, New York Giants (September 16, 2018)

Eli Manning and Jon Halapio – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY UPDATE – JON HALAPIO DONE FOR THE SEASON…
New York Giants center Jon Halapio is done for the 2018 NFL season as the team revealed that he suffered fractures to his lower leg and ankle during the game on Sunday night. He will soon undergo surgery to repair the injuries.

Head Coach Pat Shurmur did not have an update on cornerback Eli Apple, who was also injured in the game. “I have no updates other than he had to leave the game with a groin, I guess it was,” said Shurmur. “We’ll see where it’s at. We’ll know more tomorrow.”

MONDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Monday to discuss the team’s 20-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys:

Opening Remarks: After watching the tape, I don’t have really anything new to add aside from the fact that we’ve just got to play better in some areas, and we’ve got to make more plays and give ourselves a chance to win. I’d like to see us get a faster start and basically continue to play hard through the game like we did, but we’ve just got to find a way to make the plays necessary to win. I’ll take your questions.

Q: What can you do as a head coach and especially as a play caller to try to get those fast starts? Obviously you’re trying to start fast every game, but seeing what went on the first two games, what could you do to change things up to maybe force feed a faster start?

A: Certainly we want to stay on the field, see if you can get some big plays in there, that’s important. We had one third down that we missed by inches and I chose to punt it the first time. At times, to be able to drive the ball and get big chunks – that’s what you want to try to do on every drive, we’ve just got to try to it better, sooner. We’ve got to get in the end zone, quite frankly.

Q: After watching the film and looking what the Cowboys did on defense with the twists and all that stuff, how much of that caused confusion with the offensive line, and were they prepared for what was thrown at them?

A: I think our guys were prepared. We were well aware of the fact they have been a defensive front that moves quite a bit. They have done it for years, that’s their style. We were aware of it and some of the pressures we practiced. I think we had a hat for them in most occasions, one time we had it picked up and we just didn’t slide through it. We’ve just got to do a better job, I don’t think we faced anything we hadn’t seen. We’ve just got to be cleaner with our blocks. They got on our edges a little bit too much.

Q: We know that Jon Halapio broke his leg and ankle and is out for the year, where do you go at center now?

A: We have guys on the roster who have played center, John Greco went in there and played and then we brought in Spencer Pulley on the roster who played all last season at center, so we’ve got guys that have done it and they’ll just slide up and get ready to go.

Q: Is Greco the first option or were you just going with the guy who was active last night?

A: We’ll start with John and then obviously get Spencer ready to go.

Q: Do you have an update on the severity of Eli Apple’s injury?

A: I have no updates other than he had to leave the game with a groin, I guess it was. We’ll see where it’s at. We’ll know more tomorrow.

Q:  Back to the stunts and blitzes. If you were prepared, why do you think you didn’t handle the pressure well? Was it a communication issue, there’s a lot of former players out there turned analysts today saying that it was a schematic thing – do you not see it that way?

A: I don’t know, I’d have to ask whoever those former players are what it was. There are times when we had a hat for them, you’ve got to pick it up. We had one certainly on the fumble where it was a full slide, we just didn’t slide through, it was communicated. I don’t know. Whoever made those comments, they’d have to ask me.

Q: Is it too early in the season to make any kind of drastic personnel changes? Would you prefer to remain consistent whether it’s a player on the offensive line or wherever else – would you prefer to try and remain consistent or do you think with an 0-2 start, some consistency struggles with something like that could be necessary for week 3?

A: We look at everything all the time. I think what’s important is we stay the course, get the players that we have playing better, and try to make more plays to do what’s necessary to win the game.

Q: When you look at the first game against Jacksonville, really good team you played well – was this past Sunday a step back?

A:  No. Absolutely not. We didn’t win the first game and we didn’t win the second game. That goes back into that thinking you did good when you didn’t win. We’ve got to do what we have to do to do the things necessary to win the game, period. We really don’t worry about all of that stuff.

Q: Through two games, considering the personnel you do have on offense, why has it been so difficult to sustain drives, to get into the end zone, to score points?

A: I think I’ve been answering the same question over and over in different ways, but we’ve got to do more to stay on the field instead of ending six inches short, just keep the drive alive. We’ve got to do better in all areas, we just have to play better.

Q: On your third downs this year, an inordinate number of those plays the ball has been thrown short of the sticks. What do you think of that?

A: First of all, I don’t think that’s correct, but go ahead.

Q: All seven of your third downs in the first half, you didn’t throw the ball to the sticks. Is that not inordinate to you? The second half of the last game, too, I think it was six of seven. I’m just wondering what you think of it? Is that what you’re trying to do on offense, is that just circumstance?

A: Obviously, the plays are designed to get the first down, and there’s times when you’re playing against man coverage where you get catch-and-run scenarios, and then there’s other times when you have layered passes where you have a downfield throw and then kind of a shorter throw that requires a run to get the first. Depending on how all that plays out, really doesn’t matter as long as you get the first.  Then if you didn’t get it, you didn’t get it.

Q: Did you see opportunities yesterday where (Eli Manning) could have hit (Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard), or was the pass rush such that you didn’t have a chance on those kinds of plays?

A: There are times when you have to move slightly or dependent on what’s happening, you don’t have the ability to get the ball down the field. Certainly we’re always trying to do that and we didn’t get the chance to do that as much as we wanted to.

Q: I know you’re aware of what happened last year. Do you feel like you have to be cognizant of where this team is mentally right now more so because of that or do you just view it as everyone has a clean slate and it’s still the second week of the season?

A: We’re trying to grow away from that the best we can, and put all our efforts into beating Houston. That’s where we’re at. A question like this just kind of brings it into focus when that’s not something that we think about.

Q: When you look at the number of hits (Eli Manning) has taken, obviously you worry about him physically, but do you worry about him getting a little bit of whiplash from those hits and maybe speeding things up knowing that he’s going to take another big hit?

A: Eli is a competitor. We’re going to do everything we can to protect him. There was times last night where he wasn’t protected well enough, and we just keep playing and try to get better in all areas.

Q: On the defense’s performance – what did you see in the handling of Dak Prescott, especially when he was on the run? It looked like there wasn’t a lot contain on the edges.

A: I thought the general part of their running game, I thought our guys did a pretty good job. There were a couple times in the zone read situations where we could have done a little bit better job.

Q: When you look at the tape and look at that game yesterday, can you single out some players who you thought played well?

A: We lost the game. There are certainly some guys that behind the scenes will be told that this was good, but here still are your mistakes. Ultimately, we didn’t play well enough to win.

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

NOTES…

  • The Giants are 0-2 for the second year in a row and for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
  • Running back Saquon Barkley set a Giants franchise, single-game record with 14 receptions (for 80 yards).

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.

Sep 172018
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 16, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

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DALLAS COWBOYS 20 – NEW YORK GIANTS 13…
In a game that was not as close as the final score would indicate, the New York Giants got their asses whipped on Sunday night, falling 20-13 to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Giants may have also suffered a significant injury as starting center Jon Halapio was carted off the field with his right leg in an aircast.

The offense of the Giants was a train wreck:

  • The Giants could not run the ball (35 yards on 17 carries, with four of those yards and three of those carries coming from quarterback Eli Manning).
  • The Giants could not protect the quarterback as Manning was sacked six times.
  • The Giants punted all five times they had the ball in the first half, only picking up a total of six first downs, 79 net yards, and never crossing midfield.
  • The Giants began the 3rd quarter by turning the ball over at their own 27-yard line when Manning was sacked and he fumbled the ball away, and leading to a Dallas field goal.
  • Down 13-0, the Giants finally entered Dallas territory halfway through the 3rd quarter on an 11-play, 66-yard possession that ended with a 28-yard field goal. The Giants lost nine yards on their next possession in the 4th quarter, at this point only having accrued only 135 net yards.
  • The team’s final 108 offensive yards and 10 points came in garbage time, after the team was trailing 20-3 with less than six minutes left to play.

The New York defense only played a little better:

  • Dallas scored on a 64-yard passing play on the third play of the game as cornerback Janoris Jenkins and free safety Curtis Riley were badly beaten by wide receiver Tavon Austin.
  • The Cowboys went up 10-0 as the Giants’ defense then allowed an 8-play, 64-yard drive on their second possession, resulting in a 37-yard field goal.
  • The Cowboys salted the game away in the 4th quarter with a marathon, 14-play, 82-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown run by running back Ezekiel Elliott.
  • The defense finished the night with no sacks, no tackles for a loss, only two pass defenses, and no turnovers.

Video lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT – JON HALAPIO SERIOUSLY INJURED…
Inactive for the New York Giants were linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), linebacker Tae Davis (hamstring), quarterback Kyle Lauletta, center Evan Brown, center/guard Spencer Pulley, cornerback Michael Jordan, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Center Jon Halapio left the game with what appeared to be a broken right ankle or leg. Cornerback Eli Apple left the game with a groin injury. Linebacker Kareem Martin and wide receiver/punt returner Kaelin Clay both left the game with an ankle injuries but later returned.

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

  • Head Coach Pat Shurmur (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (Video)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (Video)
  • LT Nate Solder (Video)
  • CB Janoris Jenkins (Video)
  • S Landon Collins (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Sep 142018
 
Evan Engram, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT – OLIVIER VERNON OUT…
Not practicing on Friday due to injury was linebacker Olivier Vernon (high ankle sprain). He has officially been ruled out of Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

“We are hopeful (Vernon will) be back soon, so we’ll see,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “He did more this week and he got closer. We haven’t seen any setbacks in any way, so we will be hopeful for next week.”

Linebacker Tae Davis (hamstring) was limited in practice and is “questionable” for the game.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (back) and running back Wayne Gallman (knee) fully practiced. Both are expected to play on Sunday night.

THE COACHES 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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The team plays the Dallas Cowboys in Texas on Sunday night.

Sep 142018
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

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Game Preview: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys, September 16, 2018

THE STORYLINE:
There were significant positives that came out of last week’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Giants played a very competitive game against a team that is widely regarded as a Super Bowl contender. Indeed, they had a real shot to steal a victory had a play here or there broken their way. It’s something to build on.

But in the end, sports really is a no-excuse business. You either win or you lose. And win-loss column doesn’t care about the whys and buts. In all the years I’ve followed football, one quote by Phil Simms has always stuck with me: “The difference between 8-8 and 12-4 is winning the close ball games.” If the Giants expect to be winners again anytime soon, they need to start winning close football games.

And they need to start beating teams in their own division. Stating the obvious, the Giants have been losers four of the last five years because they’ve been worse than most of the other teams in the NFL. But what has really fueled their poor W-L record has been their now annually poor performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, and to a certain extent, the Washington Redskins. And aside from the glaring exception of 2017, these other NFC East teams haven’t been league powerhouses. The Giants keep losing to NFC East teams that are eminently beatable.

The 2018 Dallas Cowboys have the appearance of a typical, mediocre team, with just enough talent to be able to beat anyone in the league, but most likely a franchise that will be hovering around the 8-8 mark. Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and Dez Bryant are all gone. There never really was much of a true mystique around that older team because it never won anything. But those guys were dangerous and had a history of being a pain in the ass for the Giants. Those thorns are gone. It’s well past time for the Giants to stop the bleeding and start beating this team again.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Wayne Gallman (knee – probable)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (back – probable)
  • LB Olivier Vernon (ankle – out)
  • LB Tae Davis (hamstring – questionable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
In my opinion, the strength of the Dallas Cowboys is an extremely well-coached defense, led by smart, instinctive linebacker Sean Lee. Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli has proven to be one of the best in the NFL. This unit doesn’t give up a lot of big plays and they make opposing offenses work for everything they get. The Cowboys were 8th in defense in 2017 and they’ve started this year off at the #5 position.

Marinelli will play the Giants like he has every year. Have his guys protect against the big play and dare New York to drive the field without making the drive-ending mistake. Wouldn’t you? Once again, the offensive line appears to be the Achilles’ heel for the Giants. They were soundly out-played by an impressive Jacksonville front. So the burning question is are the Giants really that bad up front again? Or did they look worse than they really are because of the quality of their opposition? Punching bag Ereck Flowers will get no respite this weekend as defensive end Demarcus Lawrence has developed into one of the NFL’s most disruptive players (14.5 sacks in 2017).

We can talk X’s and O’x until we are blue in the face, but the real story here is the New York Football Giants have to start playing games where they score more than 20 points per game. If you can’t score 20, 24, 27 points in a contest, you aren’t going to win many games. In a league that makes it easier each year for offense to succeed, the Giants scoreboard impotency has reached the point of absurdity. This is a team that has Eli Manning, Odell Beckham, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard! Get the ball into the end zone! No excuses.

So what did we learn from last week? Beckham and Barkley are the best players on this team and two of the best in the NFL. They should touch the ball as much as possible. Engram and Shepard can make big plays, but they have to be far more consistent. Money players don’t keep dropping the ball in key situations. And Eli Manning may still be under too much pass pressure, but he has to hit those open receivers for touchdowns when the play is there.

Pat Shurmur is an X’s and O’s guy, much more so than Ben McAdoo. Work to isolate Beckham and Barkley in one-on-one match-ups in the passing game. With Beckham, you can do that by playing him in the slot. Linebackers in this league (and many safeties) can’t cover Barkley. And as last week showed, keep pounding the ball with Barkley in the running game because when you do, good things happen. In a tight game, don’t sit him for Jonathan Stewart. That’s dumb.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The defense played well enough to win last week. But there were a few troubling issues: (1) the inability to rush the passer (1 sack and not enough pressure), (2) the Jaguars ran the ball too effectively early, (3) a quarterback hurt them again with his feet, and (4) Janoris Jenkins gave up a couple of big plays. But in the end, the Jaguars were held to 13 points. That should have been enough to win.

The defensive game plan is almost identical this week. The strength of the Cowboys’ offense is a ground game centered around running back Ezekiel Elliott. Stop Elliott and you cause problems for Dallas. Quarterback Dak Prescott struggles too much when called upon to move the ball with his arm. But like Blake Bortles last week, he can hurt you with his feet. So the Giants defenders must be very disciplined and treat him almost like a college quarterback.

The good news for the Giants is that Jason Witten has retired and Dez Bryant was let go. Dallas’ top center Travis Frederick is out with an illness. The Cowboys have had issues at left guard. So the weapons and line are not as strong as they once were. Pesky shrimp Cole Beasley is now Dallas’ most dangerous receiving target. This is a team the Giants should be able to shut down as long as Beasley doesn’t eat up nickel corner B.W. Webb, which is possible.

Gang up on Elliott, look out for misdirection with the ball in the hands of the quarterback, and don’t let Beasley consistently hurt you out of the slot, and you should be in good shape.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Knock on wood, but so far the kicking game has been good enough for the Giants. But I felt Shumur made a curious decision in going for the blocked punt last week and not setting up a return with Odell Beckham. Instead, Kaelin Clay muffed the punt. He has now fumbled the ball on four of 45 punt returns (or once in every 11 times he touches the ball). Maybe it’s time to bring Phil McConkey out of retirement.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on Dallas’ offense: “They’re going to give (Ezekiel Elliott) a bunch of touches, they’re going to find some really creative ways to get him going. They’re going to stretch it hard and cut the ball back, they’re going to give you some gap scheme with some pullers, they’re going to get big personnel on the field, they’re going to run the ball down the field at you. You’re going to get a little bit of everything. They do a nice job with that. Then after that, the boots, the play passes, the taking a shot down the field, some movement stuff to get completions, and try to get you in some one-on-ones on the perimeter and throw the ball down the field.”

THE FINAL WORD:
The Giants are the better team. I wouldn’t trade their roster for ours. This is a game the Giants can and should win. And if the Giants have any hopes of making the playoffs this year, this is a game the team must win. Dallas is well-coached and has a very solid defense and running game. Those three factors mean they can beat any team. But they don’t have enough weapons and they shouldn’t score more than 17 points on the Giants. On the other hand, if the Giants can’t score more than 20 points with Beckham and Barkley on their team, then they have the wrong coaches and/or quarterback. In my mind, this game is on our coaches and Eli Manning. No excuses.

Sep 132018
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed offensive tackle Brian Mihalik to the Practice Squad. The 26-year old, 6’9”, 315-pound Mihalik was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. A collegiate defensive end converted to offensive tackle, Mihalik has spent time with the Eagles (2015), Pittsburgh Steelers (2016), and Detroit Lions (2016-2017). Mihalik played in 15 games with two starts for the Lions in 2017.

“I was with Brian back in Philly, actually, and he’s played a little bit in the NFL and we like him, so we just added him to the practice squad,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We’re always looking to make changes and get better so, this is a guy that we like.”

To make room for Mihalik, the Giants terminated the Practice Squad of linebacker Calvin Munson.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Thursday due to injury was linebacker Olivier Vernon (high ankle sprain).

Running back Wayne Gallman (knee) and linebacker Tae Davis (hamstring) were limited in practice.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (back) fully practiced.

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins left practice early due to a family issue.

THE COACHES 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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice again on Friday in preparation for Sunday night’s away game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Sep 122018
 
Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Pat Shurmur – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday due to injury was linebacker Olivier Vernon (high ankle sprain).

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (back), running back Wayne Gallman (knee), and linebacker Tae Davis (hamstring) were limited in practice.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’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 Giants practice on Thursday and Friday in preparation for Sunday night’s away game against the Dallas Cowboys. The team’s coordinators will address the press on Thursday.

Sep 102018
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

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MONDAY MEDIA SESSION WITH HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the team’s 20-15 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars (video available at Giants.com):

Opening Remarks: Let me first start with the injuries that we know of. Wayne Gallman is the only guy that got hurt yesterday, a knee, so we’ll just see where he’s at. He’s questionable moving forward. I don’t really have much to add in terms of starting us out that I didn’t talk about last night. I think the film played out the same way today, we didn’t have really any new looks at things that we didn’t see on the field. I thought our guys played hard front to back, I think it’s safe to say – and you might ask me about individual players, but I think the guys all had a lot of good plays; but we all had mistakes that we need to clean up, players and coaches alike. That’s the process you go through really every week, but especially after the first week as we get ready to play Dallas. With that, I’ll try to answer your questions.

Q: Will you give anybody else (first team) reps in practice this week at right tackle?

A: We actually rotate the guys during the week, so there are guys that get practice there. As you know, we kept seven guys up, so we rotate through there.

Q:  Did you contemplate yesterday during the game moving (Ereck Flowers) at any point?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: Like I said, he’s like every player. I think I know where you’re going with this, he’s like every player. He had a lot of really good plays and he had a couple that he’d like to have back.

Q: He got turned around a lot, especially on that first drive with the tripping penalty.

A: He had the tripping penalty and then on the hold, and that happens frequently, the quarterback scrambled, which was good, and unfortunately there’s times when those holds occur. That was the gist of it the first drive.

Q:  Do you have enough time in this week to get him improved before Dallas based on what the film showed?

A:  He’s like every player. Again, he had a lot of really good reps and he had a couple he’d like to have back. He’s going to work to get better just like every player.

Q: What went into the two-point conversion call going right back to (Saquon Barkley) after his big run?

A: It was actually a pass and we audibled because we had a —

Q: Do you have concern when guys come off of a really long run?

A: No. Saquon is a well-conditioned athlete.

Q:  The fact that he was off the beginning of the next drive had nothing to do with that?

A: No.

Q: Late in the game, you said yesterday you had not thought of Odell returning a punt late in the game. You obviously needed a big one, why didn’t you consider that?

A: Especially in that situation, I mentioned I didn’t because we were going for the block. Typically in that situation, the returner knows there’s a decent chance you might fair catch it. He (Kaelin Clay) did have a little more space than you normally have, he just misfielded it.

Q: Will you consider putting Odell back there moving forward)?

A: Possibly.

Q: What would go into (that decision)?

A: We’ll see.

Q: Is there a danger to an offense being too reliant on big plays?

A: No. You like to create big plays, we want explosive plays within our offense. I’ve said it all along, when the score is like that, we didn’t have as much success early running the ball as I would’ve liked, but I want to continue to call runs. You never know when a big one’s going to pop up like that. That’s what happened there.

Q: Sometimes you are just waiting and waiting for one to come along.

A: No, we’re trying to create them. We threw the ball down the field quite a bit actually, and we also threw some intermediate throws that we had success with. We had some concepts that were working. Again, I thought we did some good things against Jacksonville, but we need to do more things better.

Q: What’s your mindset? Do you feel like we did enough good things where we’re close or we did too many wrong things?

A: We just need to get better all the way around. That’s safe to say. Really, you make mistakes when you win games, so you go through the same process every Monday of trying to highlight the areas that need to get better and you work on them. That’s it.

Q: What did you think of (Eli Apple)?

A: I thought he played a really solid game. He was competitive in coverage, made a couple plays on the ball, and I liked it. It was a good opening game for him.

Q: Do you feel like you tried to get Saquon involved in the passing game early? It seems like getting him the ball in space would be one way to create those big plays.

A: We tried getting him the ball in some areas that they took it away down the field, so some of the crossing routes showed up. Yeah, we tried to get him the ball throwing it, running it, and we found a way to get one big play out of it.

Q: After watching the film, what was your takeaway from the offensive line?

A: Again, I thought they all had some really good plays and they all had some mistakes that we’ve got to clean up.

A: In the passing game, it seems 15 throws to one guy (Odell Beckham Jr.) is an awful lot. Is that because he was simply getting open, or that’s the way the progressions were going?

A: That’s the way the progressions were going. Fifteen shots to Odell. I think we might be here some day when he doesn’t get that many and you’re saying, why don’t you throw it to him 15 times? Again, every snap was not man and so there were some progression-related throws where, on a couple of those underneath throws to Odell, the initial read was maybe Saquon would run a wheel route. It just happens that way, and ideally, all the eligible receivers should get touches. I think that’s an important way to play offense, because I trust all the guys that are out there to make good catches.

Q: Do you put up video clips of positive plays for the guys after games, like (Sterling Shepard’s) block, for example, on Barkley’s (touchdown) run?

A: Yes, we cover everything. We do. We watch all the tape. The offense gets together and watches all the tape, defense watches all the tape, they’ll do it in their individual meetings, and we do it in team meeting settings. We watch it.

Q: What did you think of the mental state of your team today? How did they handle everything that happened yesterday?

A: I thought they were very professional. We came in and we talked about the things that went right, the things that went wrong, we talked about our approach moving forward, and that’s what we’re doing.

Q: What kind of a tone did you want to set (after the first loss)?

A: I’ve been involved in a lot of first games of the season – won about half of them, and lost about half of them. You just move forward. That’s the important thing is you move forward. You learn from the mistakes you made, you build on the things you did well and you just keep moving. That’s the important piece. That may get old as we go through these Mondays with me saying that, but you can win a game and still go through that process. When you lose a game, it hurts more, but you still go through the same process.

Q: We know the quality of the opponent you were going against, especially defensively. How do you balance being realistic and knowing that what you did against them, but also not fall into the trap of, ‘well, that was a great team, so now we’re not going to see a defense like that the next week and the following week’?

A: It’s a great question, and it’s one of the things we talk about frequently. You don’t get to go in our weight room, but it’s everywhere. We don’t make excuses or let other people make them for us, and that’s letting other people make them for us when we say, ‘well, we played a good opponent.’ Everybody’s good, and we expect to go out and win every game, so we don’t factor that in.

Q: Back to Ereck Flowers at right tackle – what would you have to see to rotate someone else in there?

A: We’re just going to try to get better. As you know, I’m fond of our roster. I’m fond of our offensive linemen. Ereck had a lot of really good plays yesterday, so what we’re going to do is try to help him with some of the technique work that he can improve on, just like every player, to eliminate some of those mistakes. You just keep working with him, and then we always rotate guys through in the event that we have injuries. You don’t see that, but that happens.

Q: I meant on a Sunday, to rotate someone in there, or to maybe use someone else there.

A: We’ll see. Right now, what we’re doing is trying to get every player better. I’ll probably say it for the 10th time now, he had a lot of plays that were really good.

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:

NOTES…

  • The Giants have lost seven out of their last eight home openers.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning set a franchise record by playing in his 217th regular-season game in a Giants uniform, breaking a tie with former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan.
  • Manning became the fourth player in team history to play 15 years with the franchise, joining Strahan, center Mel Hein (1931-45), and quarterback quarterback Phil Simms (1979-93).
  • Manning became the fifth quarterback in NFL history to start at least 14 consecutive season openers with one team. The others include Tom Brad, Brett Favre, John Elway, and Dan Marino.
  • Running back Saquon Barkley is the first Giants back to run for at least 100 yards in his NFL debut.
  • Barkley was the first Giants rookie running back to start a season-opening game since Sean Bennett in 1999.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham has eight games with at least 10 receptions. He has 20 games with at least 100 yards.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.