Oct 312018
 
Jamon Brown, Los Angeles Rams (June 4, 2018)

Jamon Brown – © USA TODAY Sports

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GIANTS CLAIM JAMON BROWN…
The New York Giants have claimed offensive guard Jamon Brown off of waivers from the Los Angeles Rams. The 25-year old, 6’4”, 340-pound Brown was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Rams. Brown has played in 42 regular-season games with 30 starts (none of which were this season). He was suspended the first two games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Oct 312018
 
Evan Engram, New York Giants (October 28, 2018)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

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Washington Redskins 20 – New York Giants 13

QUICK RECAP

Just a few days after the Giants shipped off two defensive starters via the trade market in addition to their starting MIKE linebacker being on the sideline, the last-place Giants took on the first-place Redskins and their high-performing defense coupled with an efficient offense. The disparity between these two teams when it comes to the trenches gave this match-up a very bleak outlook from the beginning.

After trading opening possessions, WAS drove down the field via a nice run/pass balance and ended it with a touchdown pass from Alex Smith to the ageless Adrian Peterson. The short pitch, catch, and run into the end zone was aided by a horrible missed tackle by Nate Stupar. Once again, NYG found themselves playing from behind, something they have become very used to, as no team in the NFL has trailed more this season than Big Blue.

NYG broke into WAS territory on consecutive drives but it netted a total of zero points. The biggest negative the first time around was a sack by Matt Ioannidis, 1 of his 2.5 on the day. On the second drive, Eli Manning was intercepted by DJ Swearinger, his first of 2 on the day, on a pass intended for Odell Beckham. The boo-birds started to come out in full effect after that one.

The NYG defense held strong, as they did for most of the day. They forced WAS into attempting a 41-yard field goal which was no-good right away off the foot of Dustin Hopkins, who had made 8 straight prior to that.

Manning came out firing on the next drive, dropping a perfectly-thrown deep ball into the hands of Sterling Shepard but the third year pro couldn’t hold onto it. However, the air game picked up 41 yards on the next three plays as the 2-minute warning approached. 1st and 10 from the WAS 25-yard line and Pat Shurmur, who has vowed to commit this offense to a run-heavy attack, passed the ball three straight times. It resulted in 7 yards and NYG had to settle for a 37-yard field goal. Three straight possessions with a 1st down in WAS territory resulted in a meager 3 points. These are the 2018 New York Giants.

The second half opened with WAS up by a score of 7-3. The first two NYG offensive drives both ended in sacks. A lot of pressure was being put on the Big Blue defense and they did a fine job keeping it within one score for the majority of the game. Hopkins nailed a 53-yard field goal and Manning’s offense came onto the field knowing it just couldn’t get going. They needed to force something and hope for the best. On 3rd and 18, thanks to yet another sack, Manning basically shut his eyes and chucked it downfield with no awareness of where the defense stood. The result was Swearinger coming down with his second interception and the offense walking off the field looking hopeless, again.

This offense wasn’t going to make anything happen, thus the defense had to make a play if there was any hope in this game turning around. Right on queue, Landon Collins forced a Peterson fumble that was recovered by Olivier Vernon and run back for 43 yards. NYG had a 1st and 10 on the WAS 39-yard line. It had a now-or-never feel to it even though there was a minute left in the 3rd quarter and it was only a 10-3 lead for WAS.

On 4th and 3, Manning dropped back and saw pressure coming, making him go to his hot read which was Evan Engram, who led the team in drops last year. The ball went, literally, between his two hands and fell to the ground. Turnover on downs. Momentum gone. Fans packing up. It was an ugly scene.

WAS drove down the field and netted another 3 points via a 39-yard field goal. The next NYG drive included another sack, the 4th of the half. After trading a couple more possessions with the NYG defense holding on for dear life and the offense responding with more poor play, the WAS defense gave NYG a gift. A 46-yard pass interference penalty on a deep ball to Saquon Barkley followed by a 32-yard pickup via a pitch-catch-run to and by Beckham put NYG inside the 5 yard line.

And here we are, back to Shurmur not standing behind his words. NYG had 3 shots at the end zone, and gave the ball to Barkley just one time. Instead of throwing a lob pass to Bennie Fowler, who would be on the street right now if NYG didn’t sign him a few weeks ago, why not hammer it 3 times with the best player on the field? NYG settled on a short field goal to make it 13-6.

After a strong performance for most of the day, the NYG defense finally broke. Peterson shot through a gap and thanks to a poor angle by safety Curtis Riley, he had an easy 64-yard path to the end zone. The score was 20-6 with 3 minutes left in the game.

NYG ended up driving down the field against a prevent defense and scored a late touchdown to, ironically, Engram. It was a 16-play drive that left 20 seconds on the clock. Rosas attempted an onsides kick which was recovered by WAS. Game over.

NYG loses 20-13.

QUARTERBACKS

-Eli Manning: 30/47 – 316 yards – 1 TD / 2 INT. It was another frustrating day for the passing game. Manning’s early interception was an absolute killer. His blind heave downfield that resulted in another interception was inexcusable in a one score game. Manning was sacked another 7 times, bringing the season’s number up to 31, the total amount of times he was sacked in 2017 and just 8 short of his career high. The Giants are halfway through the season. It’s hard to see Manning go through this but the case remains that he is not without blame. His entire game looks awfully slow. His mental reactions, his release, his footwork, and his arm. There isn’t any juice there.

RUNNING BACKS

-Saquon Barkley: 13 att / 38 yards – 9 rec / 72 yards. The rookie had a tall task, as WAS entered the game with the league’s #3 run defense having already shut down Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliot, and Alvin Kamara, respectively. While he did break the 100-total yards mark for the 6th time this season, the WAS defense kept him in check. I was hoping Shurmur would have given him more carries because even though this offensive line was over-matched at the point of attack, we’ve seen Barkley create on his own.

WIDE RECEIVERS

-Odell Beckham: 8 rec / 136 yards. Respect to Beckham for playing a spirited, high-effort game. He came up with a couple of highlight-reel catches in addition to displaying his after-catch impact. It’s hard not to get down about the fact that this team has two talents on this offense that could be considered the best ever in franchise history at their respective positions, but the brokenness of this roster prevents that from leading to wins. Also, credit to Beckham for keeping his head as the WAS defense made a few off-camera cheap shots on him him and were running their mouths all afternoon.

-Sterling Shepard: 4 rec / 34 yards. Shepard’s most notable play of the day was a drop on a deep ball that would have resulted in 40+ yards. He got both hands on the ball but rookie cornerback Greg Stroman jabbed it loose before they went to the ground. He also had another drop later in the game. Otherwise it was a quiet day for the 3rd year pro.

-Bennie Fowler III got 7 targets on the day, catching 4 balls for 48 yards. 2 catches / 34 yards of which were on the final drive against the WAS prevent defense. Fowler was on the field for 70% of the plays, and was targeted on a key red zone passing play. I think this guy is getting way too much action for who he is. His route running has been low-caliber and he doesn’t make tough plays on the ball. More on this later.

TIGHT ENDS

-Evan Engram: 5 rec / 25 yards / 1 TD. Not that this is an overly impressive stat line, but these numbers make his day look a lot better than what it was. The second year pro added 2 drops to a resume that already has plenty of them, one of which was a key moment in the game on 4th down. Engram was also mangled in the running game, often getting pushed back multiple yards by the WAS front-seven defenders and failing to properly locate second-level defenders. Engram still has plenty of time to prove what he can be for this team, but I think the approach to how he is used may need to change. More on that below.

-Rhett Ellison played 40% of the snaps and was targeted once in the passing game. His blocking grade was average, as they have been with him for the majority of his career with NYG.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

-Nate Solder can no longer be considered in a slump. We can no longer say he is having a hard time getting acclimated to a new system with new surroundings. Nate Solder is a really bad left tackle. He allowed another sack and 2 more pressures. I compared his grades to Ereck Flowers last year and, believe it or not, Flowers was grading out higher. He is getting bullied, pushed around, and failing to sustain blocks no matter who he is up against. It is a major surprise to me and it’s hard to accept that he is at the very beginning of a long-term contract.

-Chad Wheeler left the game in the second half with an ankle injury, but not before allowing a sack and a TFL. While I still think we can use the “developing” label on him, Wheeler really hasn’t shown improvement throughout the 8 games this season. Brian Mihalik saw his first action in the NYG uniform. He had 2 false start penalties and wasn’t really challenged much as the WAS pass rush was very vanilla. Initially, I don’t see anything worth being optimistic about.

GUARDS / CENTERS

-There must be something in the water at the right guard position because whomever mans that spot has been a weak link among a weak group all season. John Greco now possesses the lowest game grade of the year among all OL. 3 pressures, 2 sacks, and 1 TFL along with a false start penalty made us long for the days of John Jerry. Greco has been getting worse and worse since being put in to the lineup week 2 and has proven why he was a street free agent at this time last year.

-Spencer Pulley also had a poor game at OC. He was getting beat off the ball repeatedly, decreasing the size of the pocket in the passing game and making Barkley redirect his path in the running game. He allowed 1 sack on the day. Will Hernandez had another slightly above average game grade but when you compare him to the rest of this offensive line, he looks like a Hall of Famer. He was late to see a blitz on a play where Manning was sacked, although it looked like it was Barkley’s responsibility. Those lateral-movement blocks appear to still be a problem for him.

EDGE

-Olivier Vernon had one of his most disruptive games since putting on the NYG uniform. Too bad this isn’t a winning football team because if it were, more would be talking about how well he has been playing since returning from injury. Against one of the top left tackles in the NFL for the majority of the game, Vernon finished with 4 pressures, 1 TFL, and a fumble recovery.

-As expected, Lorenzo Carter is seeing an increase in snaps at the expense of Kareem Martin. That is a very good thing, as Carter already brings more to the table. The quick speed and range in pursuit shows up every week. He had 3 tackles and a pressure. These next 8 games will be very big for his maturation as a player.

-Kerry Wynn added 2 tackles but struggled to impact the game as a pass rusher. His playing time remains too light in my opinion. He needs to be on the field for more than 50% of the snaps each week, and he was around 40% against WAS.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

-Just a few days after the trade of Damon Harrison to DET, BJ Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson held down the inside running game for the most part. Hill was active, often breaking into the backfield. He finished with 6 tackles, 1 TFL, and a pass break up. However he was flagged 3 times on the day. Tomlinson added 3 tackles but did lot of the dirty work that goes unnoticed when watching the game casually. He is going to be a very solid NT now that he will be in that role full time.

-Notable effort by Mario Edwards. He was only on the field for 31% of the snaps but he made a few hustle plays. He is really active and has the potential to be the third starter before the year is over.

LINEBACKERS

-Really active day for BJ Goodson, who saw an uptick in playing time with Alec Ogletree out. He led the team with 8 tackles, 1 of which was for a loss. WAS seemed to target him a lot in the passing game, as the book is out on him being a liability in coverage. However, I had several check marks next to Goodson’s name when it came to hustle, physical play, and simply being at the right place at the right time.

-Nate Stupar and Tae Davis basically split the snaps next to Goodson, with Davis getting the edge late in the game. Stupar had 3 missed tackles, one of which was really ugly and led to Peterson’s first touchdown. Davis’ speed and aggression was a plus to see. We know he is going to struggle in traffic because of how small he is, but the undrafted rookie finished with 6 tackles, most of which were outside the tackle box. He has a lot of range and broke up a pass while being matched up against a wide receiver. His one glaring negative was a running-into-the-kicker penalty that gave WAS a fresh set of downs. He will likely see a lot of playing time during these last 8 games.

CORNERBACKS

-With trade rumors swirling around Janoris Jenkins, the 30-year old, 7th-year pro had a solid game in coverage outside of one pass interference penalty. Jenkins really is a solid cover corner, and sometimes you just can’t see it unless you watch the all-22 angle. CB is a really tough position to find and lock down for any team and the fact they didn’t trade him is not necessarily a negative.

-BW Webb started and played the entire game on the other side. While I do think he is better suited in a nickel role, he competed hard. He finished with 4 tackles but also had a 43-yard pass interference penalty. That has been a trend his entire career. Grant Haley got a lot of playing time as the team’s nickel back and I liked what I saw. He finished with 4 tackles and showed good movement, very assertive. His lack of size showed up on 3rd down a few times and that will be a learning experience for him over the second half of the season. There is a lot to like about him.

SAFETIES

-Landon Collins has been a nice streak of quality play lately, hence why a few teams were offering a 3rd-round pick for the free agent-to-be. He finished with 5 tackles, 1 TFL, and a key forced fumble that could have really turned this game around.

-Curtis Riley continues to start next to Collins not because of impact or quality play, but by default. He did have a solid play in coverage early on, but Riley took a really poor angle on Peterson’s long 4th quarter touchdown run. As the last line of defense, it was an inexcusable mistake that we are seeing too often with him. That is a big reason why I just don’t see Riley as a starting-caliber FS.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 2/2 (Made 37, 22). Fairly easy and simple day. Rosas has now hit 95% of his attempts on the year.

-P Riley Dixon: 5 Punts / 44.0 avg / 44.0 net. This was Dixon’s best game of the year, nailing 1 inside the 2-yard line and didn’t allow WAS to return any. His best hang time to date kept that net average high.

-KR/PR Quandree Henderson: 2 solid returns on the day. A PR that went for 19 yards and a KR that went for 30. There is definitely some talent there, and this kid makes things happen when he gets the ball in his hands.

3 STUDS

-DE Olivier Vernon, LB BJ Goodson, WR Odell Beckham

3 DUDS

-TE Evan Engram, OG John Greco, OT Nate Solder

3 THOUGHTS ON WAS

-I picked WAS to finish 9-7 this year and compete for a Wild Card playoff spot. I am still sticking with that and I actually think they have a strong chance at winning the division. Crazy to think with the amount of age they have at RB and QB that they can get to this level. But you know why there are up there? Their OL and DL are among the best in football. How did they get there? Two 1st-round picks and one 3rd-rounder on the OL, three 1st-round picks and one 2nd-rounder on the DL. Take notes NYG, because that is how this thing is going to get turned around.

-Ironic that I was going to write that the one glaring hole I have seen on this defense has been the safety play next to DJ Swearinger. Then they trade for HaHa Clinton-Dix from GB and all of the sudden this defense looks as balanced and stacked as any in the league. He is a great fit next to the physical Swearinger, who is having the year of his life right now.

-The one thing that can hold this offense back (other than injury) is the lack of a go-to pass catcher when this team needs a big play in the air attack. Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson aren’t going to scare anyone and Jordan Reed just hasn’t taken the next step in his career. I hope Evan Engram doesn’t run into that problem, a guy who looks promising but never gets over the hump.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

-The trade deadline has come and gone, and it looks like the only real offers were coming in for Collins and Jenkins. NYG opted to pass and that tells me they are going to keep Collins moving forward. Which ultimately means they are ready to pay him top SS dollar which can rightfully be debated on either side. One thing that he offers, other than solid but unspectacular play, is the kind of locker room presence this team needs moving forward. Hard worker, stays clean off the field, and can wear a few hats. Money aside, it is going to take more guys like this to get this thing back on track.

-I don’t think Evan Engram’s days are numbered. Not even close. His drops are a major issue, yes. His blocking presence is a weakness to an offense that will be relying on the run more and more in the coming years, yes. However the talent this kid has is still among the top in the league at the TE position. My thought, and I know it won’t be a popular one is, to experiment with him as a WR the rest of the season. His athletic ability out there may seem much worse than where we see it at TE, but I still think he can be a weapon out there. And to be honest, do we really need to watch Bennie Fowler run routes? Put Shepard/Beckham/Engram at WR and let Ellison see full time snaps at TE. I bet this ends up vastly improving the running game both on inside and outside intentions and the passing game won’t take a hit at all.

-When should NYG decide to sit Manning? Should they sit him at all? The only reason I say yes is to get Kyle Lauletta on the field. However he can’t be rushed on to the field with this OL playing the way it is. It can be a detriment to his progression. With his recent arrest, which I don’t believe is a big deal, I think the likelihood of this happening is very good right now. But the post-bye week would have been perfect to do something like this if everyone was confident he knew this offense well enough.

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

Kyle Lauletta – © USA TODAY Sports

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KYLE LAULETTA ARRESTED…
New York Giants rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta was arrested on Tuesday for a number of infractions related to a traffic incident. According to police, Lauletta allegedly was trying to make a right-hand turn from the wrong lane, failed to follow instructions, and almost struck a police officer. When Lauletta was finally stopped by a second officer, Lauletta allegedly refused to produce his driver’s license and registration or get out of his Jaguar.

Lauletta was charged with eluding police, obstructing administration of law, resisting arrest, reckless driving, disregarding an officer’s directions, improper turn in a marked traffic lane, and failure to remain in a marked lane.

Police also say that Lauletta did the same thing on Monday but was not stopped.

“We were made aware of the situation this morning, and we have been in contact with Kyle,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We are still in the process of gathering information. This is obviously very disappointing.”

TRADE DEADLINES PASSES…
The 2018 NFL trade deadline was at 4:00PM on Tuesday and the New York Giants did not make any trades this week after trading away cornerback Eli Apple and nose tackle Damon Harrison last week.

According to media reports, the Giants were listening to offers for defensive backs Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins. The Giants were reportedly seeking a 2nd-round draft pick for Collins.

GIANTS CUT MICHAEL JORDAN…
The New York Giants have waived cornerback Michael Jordan, who the team claimed off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns in September. The 25-year old, 6’1”, 200-pound Jordan was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Los Angeles Rams after the 2016 NFL Draft. He was claimed off of waivers by the Browns in September 2017. Jordan has played in 22 regular-season games with three starts.

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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off during the bye week until November 6th.

Oct 292018
 
New York Giants Fans (October 28, 2018)

“Are You Not Entertained?” – © 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 20-13 loss to the Washington Redskins (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Opening Remarks: Injuries from last night – (Chad) Wheeler left the game, so Brian Mihalik went in there and played about half the game for him. Otherwise we’ve just got some normal wear and tear. We’ll see where it goes. We’ve got a game two weeks from today, so meetings were good this morning, cleaning up what happened yesterday and then we’re going to practice tomorrow and Wednesday. The players will be off starting Thursday. Typical bye week routine. Again, we as coaches will get together and evaluate everything, plot a course as we move forward here. Aside from saying we’re going to evaluate everything, I really have no information as to where that’s going to go. We’re just going to spend our time looking at the good, and then certainly the areas we need to get better. Certainly the focus on offense will be the red zone, and we’ll try to unlock that and get the ball in the end zone at a higher rate, and hopefully win some games. That’s where we’re at.

Q: Is Wheeler’s injury anything significant?

A: I don’t know. It’s the same ankle that he hurt earlier, so we’ll just have to see where it goes from there.

Q: How are you going to organize the evaluation? Will you have coaches look at other coaches, other areas, their own areas?

A: No, we have a process we go through. It’s internal in terms of what we do, just look at what we’ve done to this point and try to build on the things we’ve done well and try to look at areas where we’ll minimize doing certain things to try to get better results.

Q: How much can realistically change with a bye week review?

A: In terms of the players, there may be some changes, we’ll see. But in terms of the scheme, you just step back and look and seek better ways to do things. We’ll look at it.

Q: As a head coach, coordinator and assistant, you’ve always had the bye and the staff always looks back at things. In your experience, can you make big scheme changes?

A: Not really. It’s not like you’re going to come out and we’re going to be running the Wing T, but what you try to do is within the things you think you do well, you go back and say this route combination has worked against these types of coverages, we’ll do this more, this less, this is what the quarterback can do well, so we have a pretty good sample size now, half a year, and then try to refocus on those things.

Q: Landon Collins and Odell (Beckham Jr.) are two players that teams reportedly are calling you about. Would you be ok with the right return coming back, trading two players – either of those players of that caliber – for (the future)?

A: I’m not aware of any of that, so we’ll just have to see; but no, those are two players that are playing very well for us. At this point, they’re New York Football Giants, I see them being a Giant looking forward.

Q: When we asked you about if the quarterback was part of the changes, you said that’s not something you want to tease. Is that at all something that’s on the table this week?

A: I will stick with what I said last night. I think we’re going to evaluate everything, from who the guy is and how he’s playing, and that’s just what we’ll do as we move forward. We certainly have not done things well enough and we’ve got to do things better. That’s what we’re looking at. Again, I wouldn’t change what I said last night.

Q: You’ve made changes at a few different positions already. Is quarterback different? Is there more weight on that?

A: It’s important that everybody plays well and everybody does what they can to help us win games, no matter the position.

Q: How important is it to you to get Kyle (Lauletta) into games this year. You are 1-7 at this point, how much does that factor into it for you?

A: We’re trying to do what we can to win this season, and certainly you always do what you can in the short run. It’s hard not to look at things in the long run, but what’s important is we try to put an effort on the field to beat the 49ers.

Q: Five of Eli (Manning)’s touchdowns have come in the final two minutes of play in a two-score game or larger at that point. How do you get a more complete effort out of the offense?

A: We’ve got to start sooner. You don’t want to be shooting three-pointers at the buzzer. We’ve got to start sooner and get points on the board sooner. We had opportunities again last time, it’s not like we’re not getting down there. We are. We just aren’t getting it in for whatever reason, and the reasons are spread out. You can’t point to one thing. If we could have pointed to one thing, then that change would have been made a month ago. It all comes back to, when we run the ball down there, the runs got to go forward, not backward. We’ve got to be better in the run game there, and when we choose to throw it, we’ve got to get more out of those throws, whether it’s a third down throw that needs to go to the end zone, or a first or second down throw that may just move the chains, or also get in the end zone. We’ve got to get more out of it, and so that’s part of what we’ll look at.

Q: Coaches often say we’ll go as far as our offensive line can take us. Is that also why you are where you are now?

A: I have said that and I do believe that, I think it all starts up front. We’ve got to do a better job in all areas, including the front. But I agree with that, I think in order to do the things you want to do offensively, we have to block them well. All of our units need to play better.

Q: When you looked at the seven sacks yesterday, was it mostly not enough protection time? Was it holding the ball too long? Was it the receivers not getting open? What was the cause of the seven sacks?

A: There was one I would say that was a coverage sack, it was a longer third down. Aside from that, there’s a combination of things and the quarterback’s got the ball in his hands, the guys up front have to block. There’s always somewhat of a combination. Every once in a while a guy will just get steamrolled or beat, and the quarterback has no chance. But, a mixture of things.

Q: You’ve been asked at various points this season about Eli (Manning) and you’ve said he’s our quarterback. You don’t seem to be saying that right now. Are you at least leaving your options open at that position?

A: Eli is our quarterback, and we’ve got to do what we can to help him be better. There’s certainly a handful of plays each game where he needs to do better and I think that’s pretty obvious when we all watch. That’s the approach moving forward, and like I said, we’ll look at all things. We’ve got a minute here to do that, and we’ve just got to make some good decisions moving forward.

Q: When you want to replace a guy, you’re always cognizant of who you’re replacing them with and what he can do. In the case with Kyle (Lauletta), I’m sure you want to make sure that he’s ready to play before you play him. Is that a delicate balance, when a rookie who’s never played is going to play?

A: Yeah, I think you always want to make sure when you replace somebody, you replace them with guys that can do that job. Snacks (Damon Harrison) left this week, the guys that went in there and replaced him did a good job. I thought the defensive effort was actually really good, we kept the points down until the last run and they gave us an opportunity to stay within one score for a very long time. That’s an example. The guys that filled in for Eli (Apple) did a pretty good job. I think you always consider that, because the team counts on the fact that we’re going to play the best people at all positions.

Q: You said Eli is our quarterback. Can we assume that he will be your quarterback for the next game?

A: We’ll see. Yeah, I think Eli is our quarterback; but I did say, and again, I know you’re all trying to tease a headline out. At this point, Eli is our quarterback, and we are looking at all areas to improve. That’s where it’s at.

Q: At right tackle, you can rotate reps. Can you do that at quarterback or if you make a decision, do you have to switch it in practice?

A: Every once in a while you see that happens where a guy will come in and run the zone read or do something like that, but typically the quarterback is the quarterback.

Q: I mean in practice, if you were going to get Kyle ready, would you have to make a full change?

A: You guys haven’t seen it, but Kyle is getting reps, getting himself ready, just like Alex (Tanney) is getting himself ready.

Q: As your only other active quarterback, has there been a point where you considered Alex in a game in any of these games?

A: No.

Q: When you scored your late touchdown, you kicked the extra point compared to going for two in the last game with the same deficit. Why the different decision in a similar situation?

A: The time on the clock was way different. That’s why.

Q: With the evaluation process, and the delicate balance between the here and now and guys you’re looking at for the future – When you evaluate, how challenging is that to say we think this guy can get us through Week 10, but we like this guy for 14, 15, 16? How do you make those determinations?

A: What you do is you try to do what you can to win the next game, and then you reassess each week and move forward that way.

Q: A lot of the guys on the offense were talking after game yesterday saying if we could only run the ball, this would be different. It seems simple, but how do you run the ball?

A: We called some runs yesterday. It’s important when you call runs they gain yards, and that’s the challenge. We’ve got to get more out of it, more out of the run game and that will help the red zone as well.

Q: Do you anticipate the front office or ownership speaking with you about the quarterback situation? They’ve done that in the past here.

A: I can’t speak to that because we haven’t.

Q: You haven’t spoken to them up to this point though?

A: No. Really, we’re cleaning up what’s going on here. I imagine that might be part of what we do this week. After we leave here, I’ll spend some time with Dave (Gettleman) and we’ll talk.

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 are 1-7 at the season’s midway point for the second consecutive season.

The Giants are 0-4 at home, 0-3 in NFC East games, and 0-2 in division home games for the second straight season.

The Giants are now 34-34 in regular-season home games in MetLife Stadium.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players practice on Tuesday and then are off during the bye week until November 6th.

Oct 282018
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 28, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

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WASHINGTON REDSKINS 20 – NEW YORK GIANTS 13…
The New York Giants lost yet another game on Sunday, falling 20-13 to the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants are now 1-7 overall.

The Giants have now failed to score 20 points or more in five of their first eight games. And the Giants’ lone touchdown in the game came with 17 seconds left in the contest. How bad was the New York offense?

  • Not counting the 1-play “possession” right before halftime, the Giants had 11 possessions. Five ended with punts, two with interceptions, and one was a turnover on downs.
  • The Giants only had one drive that picked up more than three first downs.
  • The Giants were 2-of-14 on 3rd down (14 percent).
  • The Giants were held to 37 net yards rushing.
  • Eli Manning was sacked seven times.
  • The offense average 4.9 yards per pass play.
  • The Giants were 1-of-4 in the red zone (25 percent).
  • Most importantly, the team was held to six points until the final seconds of the game.

The defense, minus two players traded earlier in the week (Damon Harrison and Eli Apple), as well as starting middle linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring), played better. The defense kept the game close into the 4th quarter. But as has been the case most of the year, when the defense needed to make one more stop late in the game, they could not. After the Giants cut the score to 13-6 with just over four minutes to play, running back Adrian Peterson broke off a 64-yard touchdown run to seal the game.

Offensively, Eli Manning finished the game 30-of-47 for 316 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. He was sacked seven times. His leading targets were running back Saquon Barkley (9 catches for 73 yards) and wide receiver Odell Beckham (8 catches for 136 yards). Barkley was held to 38 yards on 13 carries.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 360 total net yards (182 rushing, 178 passing). The defense did not accrue a sack or interception, but safety Landon Collins did force a fumble that was recovered and returned 43 yards by linebacker Olivier Vernon.

Video lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring), wide receiver Jawill Davis (concussion), quarterback Kyle Lauletta, center Evan Brown, cornerback Mike Jordan, cornerback Tony Lippett, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Right tackle Chad Wheeler left the game with an ankle injury and did not return.

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

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

Oct 262018
 
Alec Ogletree, New York Giants (June 12, 2018)

Alec Ogletree – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT – ALEC OGLETREE RULED OUT…
Not practicing on Friday due to injury were linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring) and wide receiver Jawill Davis (concussion). Both players have been ruled out of the game against the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Guard Patrick Omameh (knee) and wide receiver Russell Shepard (neck) fully practiced. Both are unofficially “probable” for the game on Sunday.

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 Giants on Saturday. The team plays the Washington Redskins at home on Sunday.

Oct 262018
 

1983 New York Giants Media Guide

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Game Preview: Washington Redskins at New York Giants, October 28, 2018

THE STORYLINE:
Last week, I ended my game preview with the following paragraph:

At some point, this team is going to have to bite the bullet, maintain fiscal responsibility in free agency, accumulate draft picks by trading away players who won’t be here when the team does eventually turn it around, and accept short-term suckitude. But at least fans will see the team attempting to build for something in the future and have hope. Right now, they are just treading water and weekly becoming a doormat for other teams. Stop trading away picks; accumulate them. There is no short-term fix.

So as painful as it is going to be, I fully endorse what the Giants hopefully only BEGAN to do this week when they traded away Eli Apple and Damon Harrison (though I must admit, I am one of those who felt we got short-changed on the Harrison deal). But the Giants should not half-ass this and call it a day. Keep in mind that the Giants traded away picks for Alec Ogletree (4th and 6th) and Riley Dixon (7th), as well as spending their 3rd rounder early on Sam Beal. They have gained a 4th (Apple), 5th (Harrison), and two 7th rounders (Brett Jones and part of Ogletree trade).

So the Giants have:

  • One 1st rounder (own)
  • One 2nd rounder (own)
  • Two 4th rounders (own and Saints)
  • Two 5th rounders (own and Lions)
  • One 6th rounder (own)
  • Two 7th rounders (Rams and Vikings)

That’s not enough. The trade deadline is rapidly approaching: 4PM on October 30.

This team is now officially in FULL rebuilding mode. The Eli Manning era is all but officially over. He MUST be on the trading block or ownership and management should be deemed incompetent. A Jaguars-Manning marriage is obvious to all. Get it done. Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, and Landon Collins are also obvious trade candidates. Not so obvious, but certainly possible include the likes of Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard. In the offseason, it will be VERY interesting to see if Dave  Gettleman admits to mistakes and cuts Nate Solder, Patrick Omameh, Kareem Martin, and Connor Barwin.

We’re in uncharted territory for the Giants. The closest similarity I can think of is the roster purge after the 1983 season, but even then, the Giants still had Phil Simms at quarterback. The Giants will need to build around Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham (I believe the latter’s new contract makes him untradeable, at least in the short-term).

What we do know is the Giants are going to suck for the rest of the year and probably next season as well. But this is the right course. They APPEAR to have admitted the rebuild is needed. Of course, all bets are off if Eli Manning is still quarterbacking this team in 2019. Then, be afraid, very afraid.

The next TWO huge questions are:

  1. Is 67-year old Dave Gettleman the right man to rebuild this team?
  2. Is Pat Shurmur the right head coach to lead this team?

“C’mon Eric, they are not going to fire Gettleman and Shurmur after only one season!!!” I would respond, why not? Both have made huge miscalculations in creating the 2018 roster. As I mentioned in last week’s preview, Gettleman batted 1-of-5 on offensive line decisions and determined Eli Manning wasn’t the problem. He also traded away valuable picks. Shurmur certainly hasn’t inspired confidence, either in Cleveland and now in New Jersey.

Much will probably depend on how this team finishes. How competitive are the Giants, even when losing? Do the remaining players play with fear for losing their jobs or just tune out the coaches?

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • WR Russell Shepard (neck)
  • WR Jawill Davis (concussion – out)
  • RG Patrick Omameh (knee)
  • LB Alec Ogletree (hamstring – out)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:

The obvious move is to bump Kyle Lauletta up to at least #2 on the depth chart, and then start him sometime after the bye week. He’s not ready. He will likely flounder. It’s a big jump from Richmond to the NFL. But the Giants must get a read on him. Does he have a viable NFL future or not? This question must be answered before the 2019 NFL Draft. Paying homage to Eli Manning by allowing him to continue to start may be the “classy” thing to do, but it’s not good for the franchise. In fact, it could be quite harmful.

How Odell Beckham responds during this dark period probably is going to be an issue. In his five years with the Giants, Odell has been on only one winning team. Most of the time, the Giants have not only been bad, but very bad during his tenure. And now there is no end in sight. This could get ugly.

The offensive line is a disaster. There appears to be only one or maybe two players on the current roster who may be part of the solution.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:

The morale of the defense has to be in the toilet. Though they deserve a fair amount of the blame for another dreadful season, my guess is they feel they have been the superior unit on the team. And now they see Damon Harrison traded away for a 5th round pick. Moving Eli Apple also weakens an already sore area of the defense. If Janoris Jenkins is moved, the make-up of the secondary becomes comical.

My focus moving forward is how does the defensive line perform without Harrison. Can Dalvin Tomlinson play the nose tackle position at a high level? How well will B.J. Hill, Mario Edwards, Kerry Wynn, Josh Mauro play now without that stud in the middle?

Little noticed this week was that Ray-Ray Armstrong was cut from IR. It’s B.J. Goodson’s last chance to impress now. Do Nate Stupar, Tae Davis, or Ukeme Eligwe have an NFL future? Outside, when do the Giants finally give Lorenzo Carter the bulk of the playing time?

In the secondary, the Giants are now down to Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins, and a bunch of no-names. Glass half full… sometimes it is fun to watch no-names fight and scratch to gain the respect they feel they deserve. Glass half empty… this secondary is one injury or trade away from being possibly the worst in football, requiring a mammoth rebuilding effort. Enter Antonio Hamilton, Michael Jordan, Grant Haley, Tony Lippett, Sean Chandler, and Kamrin Moore.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:

The search for a returner for 2019 continues. Quadree Henderson flashed a bit last week.

THE FINAL WORD:
You have to embrace the suck at this point, or you are going to be miserable. The only way for this to get better right now is for things to get worse first. But if Shurmur isn’t able to get his players to play at a scrappy, competitive level, and the Giants start losing games by 14, 17, 21 points, bigger changes could be coming as well.

My plea would be to move Eli Manning before the deadline. Don’t let him end his career with the Giants like this. And get something, anything, in return.

Oct 252018
 
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (October 22, 2018)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed wide receiver Corey Coleman and cornerback Tony Lippett to the 53-man roster. The Giants also signed safety A.J. Howard to the Practice Squad.

The Giants signed Coleman to the Practice Squad on October 18th. The 5’11”, 185-pound Coleman was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. An injury-plagued bust in Cleveland, Coleman has also had brief stints with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots in 2018. Coleman has played in 19 NFL games with 18 starts, accruing 56 catches for 718 yards and five touchdowns.

The 26-year old, 6’3”, 192-pound Lippett was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. In three years with the Dolphins, from 2015 to 2017, Lippett played in 25 regular-season games with 13 starts. He missed all of the 2017 season with with a torn Achilles’ tendon. The Dolphins cut Lippett before the 2018 season started.

The 22-year old, 5’11, 203-pound Howard originally signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. The Cardinals released him in early September.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Thursday due to injury were linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring) and wide receiver Jawill Davis (concussion).

Guard Patrick Omameh (knee) and wide receiver Russell Shepard (neck) were limited.

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 on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s home against against the Washington Redskins.

Oct 242018
 

Damon Harrison New York Giants January 1 2017

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GIANTS TRADE DAMON HARRISON TO THE LIONS…
The New York Giants have traded nose tackle Damon Harrison to the Detroit Lions in exchange for a 5th-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Harrison was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. The Giants signed him as an unrestricted free agent in March 2016. In his first season with the Giants, Harrison had a superb year, starting every game and finishing the regular season with career highs in tackles (86) and sacks (2.5). Harrison also was arguably the best player on the team in 2017. Despite dealing with nagging ankle and elbow injuries, Harrison started all 16 games and finished the season with 76 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three pass defenses, and one interception. This year, Harrison started all seven games for the Giants and accrued 31 tackles and one forced fumble.

GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have re-signed tight end Garrett Dickerson to the Practice Squad. The Giants originally signed Dickerson in June 2018 as an undrafted rookie free agent, and then signed him to the Practice Squad and 53-man roster in September. The Giants cut him from the 53-man roster last Sunday.

The Giants also waived linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong from Injured Reserve. Armstrong was placed on IR on October 16th with a concussion. Before suffering the injury, he had played in six games with one start, accruing 20 tackles. Armstrong was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Rams (2013-2014), Oakland Raiders (2014-2015), and 49ers (2015-2017). The Giants claimed Armstrong off of waivers from the San Francisco 49ers in late November 2017. Armstrong played in five games for the Giants in 2017 with one start.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday due to injury were linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring) and wide receiver Jawill Davis (concussion).

Guard Patrick Omameh (knee) and wide receiver Russell Shepard (neck) were limited.

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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday and Friday in preparation for Sunday’s home against against the Washington Redskins. The team’s coordinators will address the press on Thursday.

Oct 242018
 
Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (October 22, 2018)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports

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Atlanta Falcons 23 – New York Giants 20

QUICK RECAP

Yet another national television game for the worst team in the NFL; Big Blue headed to Atlanta to face off against the equally disappointing Falcons.

The emotions and effort by NYG early on were high. Odell Beckham, coming off a week where Owner John Mara essentially told him to ‘shut up’, got involved in the first quarter for what seemed to be the first time in a long time. The Giants pass rush was getting to Ryan, and Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher was hitting on his all-or-nothing blitz approach. However, the Giants OL prevented the NYG offense from getting into a groove, which should surprise nobody. Manning was sacked twice and pressured 2 more times on their first 2 drives.

The 2nd quarter began at 0-0 and after a couple more back forth drives that included another ATL sack, Ryan connected with seldom-used WR Marvin Hall for a 47 yard touchdown. It was a perfect play call and a perfect pass that left no margin for error by Janoris Jenkins who was left on an island to defend the Falcons fastest pass catcher. A slight misstep forced on the double route by Hall and it was an easy score.

Manning used two big passing gains, one to Beckham and one to Shepard, to get this offense into the red zone. NYG entered as the 5th worst offense in that situation but ATL ranked 2nd worst in defending it. Something was about to give. 1st and 10 from the 13 yard line and, to nobody surprise, NYG threw the ball 3 times. One of the incomplete passes was an easy score but Manning an Beckham weren’t on the same page with the timing. The final attempt resulted in the 4th sack of the half and Saquon Barkley didn’t touch the ball once. So much for committing to the run.

Aldrick Rosas hit a 31 yard field goal but left enough time (:50 seconds), for Matt Ryan to march down into field goal position, thanks very much to a 38 yard pass interference on Michael Thomas. Newly signed Giorgio Tavecchio nailed a 40 yard field goal to put the lead back 7 going into halftime, 10-3.

The second half began with a drive where the momentum was in the hands of NYG. They were sitting 1st and 10 on the ATL 10 yard line much thanks to a 53 pitch, catch, and run to Sterling Shepard. Two plays on the ATL 1 yard line and instead of using Barkley in a downhill fashion, they attempted a jet sweep with him that everyone and their grandma saw coming. Fail. Next up, a nice play-action design that gave Beckham enough room for Manning to get the ball to in the end zone but the 37 year old quarterback, who is showing the reaction speed of a senior citizen, didn’t get the ball out, resulting in an incomplete attempt to 3rd string tight end Scott Simonson in the end zone for the second straight week. Repeated mistakes week after week, a key sign to diagnosing a losing team.

After a lengthy 6 minute drive, ATL was heading towards another score but Jenkins stripped Julio Jones after a catch, causing a fumble that was recovered by Eli Apple.

NYG’s first play following the turnover was a 51 yard deep ball to Beckham. This catch put Beckham over 5,000 career yards, the quickest any WR has ever gotten to that mark since the merger. It also put him over 100 yards for the game, the 23rd time he has surpassed that mark, a new franchise record. Manning was within striking distance with momentum but two miscommunications between Manning and Shepard and Evan Engram resulted in NYG having to settle for another field goal attempt. Manning was visibly upset with those two and he let them hear it. The frustration was boiling over even for a guy that has made a career of not letting the emotional roller coaster of the game impact him.

The 4 point lead didn’t last long, as ATL put another field goal on the board at the start of the 4th quarter. After a 3 and out by NYG, ATL marched down the field as Matt Ryan was in the midst of connecting on his last 18 throws. ATL running back Tevin Coleman scored on a 30 yard touchdown run and NYG was in the familiar 2 score deficit towards the end of the game.

Only then did this offense start to show some life. ATL called off the blitz and stunt dogs, giving Manning some more time to work and it resulted in a strong finish. He was able to spread the ball out, chunk after chunk, which led to NYG’s first touchdown of the night with under 5 minutes left, a Barkley 2 yard run up the gut. Because of the analytics, Pat Shurmur went for 2. The nerds vs. old-school fans can debate this all day but in my opinion there was no right answer there. At the end of the day, this 1-5 team had nothing to lose. The play call was off because in that situation, it is Barkley or bust. Instead Shurmur put the ball into the passing game’s hands and Beckham dropped a ball in the end zone.

ATL had the ball with a 7 point lead and Ryan continued to torch the NYG defense. However not one, but two false start penalties aided a NYG stop near midfield with 2 minutes left. Instead of playing it safe and knowing kickers have superhuman powers against Big Blue, Tavecchio came out with a 56 yard field goal and he nailed it. ATL had a 10 point lead, NYG had no timeouts, and the 2 minute warning was in the rear view mirror.

It didn’t take long for NYG to get downfield via a perfect deep ball to Shepard for 58 yards. Even though a win was a long shot, NYG handled the final minute poorly. With a running clock, 1st down, and on the ATL 1 yard line, NYG tried 2 QB sneaks in a row. Both failed and with 10+ big men in a pile trying (or not trying) to get off each other, 40 valuable seconds came off the clock. Manning finally audibled and threw a desperation throw to Beckham in the end zone and he made an amazing catch which likely receives no credit because there were only 5 seconds left.

NYG failed to recover the onsides kick.

NYG loses 23-20.

QUARTERBACKS

-Eli Manning: 27/38 – 399 yards – 1 TD / 0 INT. A new season high in yards for Manning. On paper, it looks like Manning had a quality game. The pressure got into his head a few times, as the line continues to be leaky. However Manning missed an open Odell Beckham for a touchdown on a crucial 4th and goal play in the 3rd quarter. This is where the game almost appears too fast for Manning right now. He isn’t always mentally in it and for a QB that is heavy footed and slow to react, that could be a nail-in-the-coffin note. If he can’t win games with his head, the talent isn’t nearly good enough to make up for it. Manning made several big throws and he did get more aggressive as the game went on, so he clearly isn’t done yet as a thrower. But his reactions need to be more assertive. One extra note here; it seems like Manning is starting to get after his players more often. He went after Shepard, he went after Engram, and he was visibly frustrated by the delay in Beckham’s high-low concept route where he danced around too much when he should have darted for the rear pylon.

RUNNING BACKS

-Saquon Barkley: 14 att / 43 yards / 1 TD. 9 rec / 51 yards. Barkley also rushed for a successful 2 point conversion. The running game just couldn’t get off the ground. The offensive line was being pushed back repeatedly and the backside blockers couldn’t cut off their assigned defenders. There were three occasions where Barkley tried to bounce a run outside where he likely should have put his head down and kept going north. That is one part to his game that we will have to accept at times because of how dangerous he can be in space. That said, the decision when to do so needs to be more calculated.

WIDE RECEIVERS

-Odell Beckham: 8 rec / 143 yards / 1 TD. Last week I spoke about Beckham as a route runner where he was dancing around contact too much. Monday night was a different story. Beckham was assertive, full of energy, and back to his play-making ways. A very impressive statistical night, Beckham should have had 2 more touchdowns. One, he mistimed his break and didn’t reach Manning’s pass in time. Two, Manning didn’t trust or react quickly enough on an exceptional goal line route. Beckham played hard, really hard. And when a couple things line up, this is who he can be every week. He did drop a ball on a 2 point conversion late in the game but otherwise it was a very clean performance.

-Sterling Shepard: 5 rec / 167 yards. By far a new career high for Shepard in total yards and yards per catch. He made plays on a long ball and a crossing route with plenty of yards after catch. Is it a coincidence that he has arguably his best game ever on a night where Beckham breaks out? No. The production from these two is correlated and it is something to keep in mind over the next 2 years, as both will be around.

-Newly acquired Bennie Fowler was quietly on the field for 55% of the plays. He hauled in one catch for 11 yards late in the game but he is going to get a shot to be what Latimer was supposed to be.

TIGHT ENDS

-Evan Engram: 2 rec / 16 yards – 1 att / 10 yards. It was the first game back for Engram since his MCL injury that forced him to miss 3+ games. He wasn’t a focal point of the offense, as he was only thrown the ball 4 times. For what it’s worth, he looked like he didn’t lose a step and I do expect him to get more looks in the coming weeks.

-Scott Simonson and Rhett Ellison played 11 and 32 snaps, respectively. Simonson got a look in the end zone on 4th and goal. Yes the third string tight end, but the ball was slightly deflected by ATL safety Demontae Kazee. Ellison brought in a couple catches and provided solid run blocking.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

-Nate Solder continues to be one of the worst signings not only by NYG, but of the entire 2018 NFL’s offseason. All teams. He allowed 2 pressures and 1 sack in addition to get tossed around like a rag doll in the running game. As I said last week, Solder has been hovering around the same game-by-game grade mark we saw out of Ereck Flowers last year. Yes, that Ereck Flowers. Not nearly what you want out of the highest paid left tackle in the NFL. Chad Wheeler, who also struggled, was at least more consistent. He has some plays where he looks like the undrafted free agent followed by a solid stretch where he looks like he can be the guy at RT if they need a bargain somewhere. He allowed 2 pressures.

GUARDS/CENTERS

-NYG made a move to get OG Patrick Omameh out of the starting lineup which was necessary. Center John Greco moved to RG and Spencer Pulley was put at OC. It didn’t work out very well because these two were most responsible for the lack of push in the running game. Both were exposed as poor lateral blockers and you can be sure WAS paid close attention to that. And they have one of the best DLs in the league.

-Rookie Will Hernandez mightily struggled in this one. The lack of lateral adjustment speed was exposed by Grady Jarrett a couple times, once resulting in a sack. He allowed another sack against Jack Crawford where he was late to see his outside shoulder action. Hernandez was getting jostled around as it looked like ATL zeroed in on trying to confuse him. Hopefully a learning experience for a rookie who has been solid this year.

EDGE

-In his second game back, Olivier Vernon was quiet statistically with just 2 tackles and 1 pressure but he was near the action on a few occasions when the NYG pass rush broke through. His presence has been a solid addition to the defense. Fellow starter Kareem Martin had an impactful first drive with 1 TFL and 1 pressure but was quiet afterward.

-Kerry Wynn played just a third of the snaps among the deep DL group. He did have a sack though. Lorenzo Carter recorded his 2nd sack of the season. I like what I am seeing out of him progression wise. For a guy who is speed-based, he has done a nice job of not only relying on that. A lot of times you will see young edge rushers simply run up the edge and a good tackle just ride them out of the pocket. Carter stayed low, engaged, and cut inside on his sack. A very nice play out of the 3rd round rookie.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-Solid night out of the two young starters, Dalvin Tomlinson and BJ Hill. Hill recorded a TFL along with a season high 4 tackles, while Tomlinson added 4 of his own. Both were active in pursuit.

-Damon Harrison played under half of the team’s snaps against the pass-happy Falcons. He was solid as usual, but didn’t make any impact plays. If NYG truly is in sell-mode, I expect Harrison to garner attention from a handful of contenders struggling against the run.

-Josh Mauro and Mario Edwards saw a decent amount of action in their respective backup roles. Mauro finished with 1 TFL and Edwards had a sack nullified by an Eli Apple hold. Edwards has been impressive with his violent hands and ability to free himself of the blocker as a pass rusher. It will be interesting to see what he does with the rest of this year.

LINEBACKERS

-Alec Ogletree played a physical game and helped set the tone for a defense that, minus Tevin Coleman’s 4th quarter 30 yard touchdown run, shut down the run game. But the case continues to be repeated where he and his fellow linebackers could not defend the passing game in the middle of the field. There were several plays where they didn’t reach their depth and others where the reaction to underneath routes was a bit too late.

-The rest of the linebacker snaps were split between BJ Goodson, who continues to be overly-one dimensional, Nate Stupar, who is a favorite of the coaching staff but hasn’t made a noteworthy play yet, and rookie Tae Davis. Davis is interesting to me, as he stood out during preseason multiple times. He is young and fast, albeit slightly undersized. He made a couple of backside pursuit tackles that nobody else on this team at linebacker can make. With Ray-Ray Armstrong on IR (since waived), the rest of this year will be a nice tryout for Davis and his future.

CORNERBACKS

-Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple both had the opportunity to perform against Julio Jones, one of the handful of top tier receivers in the NFL. As expected, they had their ups and downs, but neither left the game leaving the NYG faithful feeling good. The one positive is Jones didn’t beat either one of them over the top. In addition, Jenkins forced a Jones fumble that was recovered by Apple in the 3rd quarter. On the flip side, Jenkins was burned for a 47 yard touchdown and Apple was flagged on a key 3rd down sack in the 3rd quarter. Apple was traded the next day to NO for a 4th round pick in 2019 and a 7th round pick in 2020.

-BW Webb, for a free agent that was signed to a cheap 1 year deal in March, has been a very solid nickel corner. He recorded a sack and was solid in underneath coverage.

SAFETIES

-We have discussed Landon Collins’ all-or-nothing approach a few times this year as his free agency looms closer and closer. Monday night was one of his better games we have seen. He made a few key tackles, showing great downhill speed and reaction. He also got into Matt Ryan’s face a couple times and recorded a TFL.

-The speedy, physical Curtis Riley continues to hurt and help this team play to play. He did make a key 3rd down stop late in the game, but the ATL passing game attacked him a few times in key situations and it worked out for them. Riley takes poor angles to the action and it is something opposing offenses are taking advantage of. Michael Thomas, who is known for special teams prowess, had one notable play. It was getting pump faked by Matt Ryan and Julio Jones which forced him into a deep pass interference. Even he knows he is over-matched in situations where he is matched up alone against quality WRs.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 2/2 (Made 31, 36).

-P Riley Dixon: 4 Punts / 40.8 avg / 40.8 net. He pinned ATL down inside the 5 early in the game and limited them to no returns throughout all four attempts.

-KR/PR Quandree Henderson impressed in his debut, averaging a NYG season high 14.5 yards on 2 punt returns.

3 STUDS

-WR Odell Beckham, WR Sterling Shepard, S Landon Collins

3 DUDS

-OT Nate Solder, OG Will Hernandez, CB Eli Apple

3 THOUGHTS ON ATL

-It’s hard to believe this team is 3-4 going into their bye week. There may not be a better WR core in the NFL, and pairing that with an established, top 10 QB in the NFL in this era of football should equate to more wins. Is their defense that bad? Personnel wise I don’t think so. But no team has blown more 4th quarter leads over the past year and a half and I think that Super Bowl let down a couple years ago is still lingering. If you don’t believe in a culture impacting wins and losses, I think you’re nuts. This team doesn’t know how to close games. They find ways to lose. This is why I wouldn’t root against a team simply for a higher draft pick. That stuff is hard to get over.

-Matt Ryan had a 3-4 year stretch where he was the most sacked QB in the NFL. 2013 was the low point. During that run, ATL drafted just 1 offensive lineman per year. Only one of those was in the first 3 rounds (LT Jake Matthews). Ryan’s sack and pressure numbers have gone down a lot. How else did they do it? Their running game improved via two draft picks (Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman) in addition to a solid WR core and an offensive system that asked less of the big boys up front. While I am all about getting new OL talent in for NYG, this team has several holes and it may not simply be that simple. This organization needs to think outside the box, something they have never done.

-One of my favorite players in the NFL who nobody talks about is DT Grady Jarrett. I remember scouting him in 2014 and wanting to put a high grade on him. The size numbers and inconsistent senior season bumped him down. But the talent I saw and he has made a big difference so far. He’s fought injuries but hasn’t missed a lot of games, so his production on paper looks average. The 2019 free agent is a guy I would look real hard at if I am looking for more interior pass rush.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

-Last week I spoke about the possibility of trading off some of the few assets this roster has. Well, here we are and NYG is now down 2 starters via the market. CB Eli Apple was sent to NO for a 2019 4th round pick and a 2020 7th. DT Damon Harrison was sent to DET for a 2019 5th rounder. Keep in mind that expecting anything more was foolish. Harrison is a run defender in a passing league who is on the wrong side of 30 with just a year and a half left on his deal. Nobody liked him as a player more than me, but at this point you can’t expect more than that. Not everyone is Jerry Jones when it comes to trading picks. I like both trades because the only way this thing is getting back on track for the long term is via the draft. Get as many picks as possible especially if it means clearing up cap room and getting rid of players who won’t be here a two years from now.

-We are entering the part of the season where we will be watching young players “try out” for their future roster spots. Guys like LB Tae Davis, CB Grant Haley, OT Chad Wheeler, WR Jawill Davis, OC Evan Brown, OT Brian Mihalik…etc. While it will get ugly at times, these will be valuable film sessions to see if there is a diamond in the rough. Turning this thing around is not only about high draft picks and free agent signings… every good team has a few of these overlooked players who came from nothing and turned into something. Keep an eye on these players – it may peak some more interest than usual.

-Another thing to keep laser focus on is the coaching staff. While I know “1 and done” wouldn’t be typical of Mara and his handling of a coach, there is more blame and overall negativity surrounding ownership right now than possibly ever. It could force his hand into literally gutting the entire franchise. If Shurmur continues to under achieve, and I believe he has to this point, him getting the boot can certainly happen.