Dec 312018
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 30, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

[contentblock id=1 img=html.png]

PAT SHURMUR DISCUSSES THE STATE OF HIS TEAM…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the state of his team after completing a 5-11 season (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Opening Remarks: I just visited with the team, and so they’re going through their exit process. I think the important thing is we’ve talked about how one year can connect to the other and we made some progress as a team. I mentioned yesterday this is about leadership and team building. We’ve made some progress. We certainly didn’t reach any of our goals in terms of being in the playoffs and competing for the championship, but we’re a different team than this team was a year ago and it’s a credit to the players. They’ve been very coachable, they’ve done what we’ve asked – staying in the moment, continuing to fight, and every game matters, every play matters. I think we’ve made progress there. Now, right is right, we’ve got to get better in all areas and that’s the process that we’re going to begin. I have no answers for you about any player moving forward. I know Dave (Gettleman) is going to have a chance to visit with you. I’m probably going to visit with you less this time of year. This is about player acquisition, player evaluation and things that quite frankly we’re not going to be willing to share. I think that’s something we should keep private and move forward with. The players are finishing up their evaluations, I’m going to get a chance to meet with a lot of them individually. The way we did it, we had a team meeting, right now they’re meeting as an offense and a defense, then they’ll meet with their position coaches, and there will be a select few I visit with before they leave. Then anybody I don’t talk to, I certainly will be able to talk with on the phone. I appreciate all the hard work that you guys have done. I understand reporting on what we do is not easy. I’ve tried this year to be very open and honest and share with you things that are appropriate to be shared, and so hopefully we can keep that going. With that said, I will take your questions.

Q: How do you go about deciding who are the players, the select few that you said you meet with? What goes into that?

A: I just have a list, and that’s private. But I visit with the players all the time anyways, so along the way here the last couple of weeks with some of the rookies, I could do a drive-by on them and say, hey listen, you did this well, this well, this well, make sure you’ve got a plan this offseason. Part of what is going to be very important for our rookies is between now and when we come back in 15 weeks, and this is the first time in their lives where they’ve had to manage their offseason. If this thing’s about setting standards and putting habits in place, we’re going to help them make sure that they do the right things.

Q: You said you’re proud of the team and how it has grown. Have you thought about your own growth from when you first took this job to now, and what can you tell us about that?

A: I don’t know. I quality control myself all the time, I want to make sure I’m sharing a message that is the New York Football Giants message, and I think that’s important. I start everyday trying to do the things only I can do for this organization, and then help in areas where I have expertise. I constantly go through that. I try to grow every day as a person, and hopefully that rubs off on the job.

Q: What do you think went well or not as well this year when you look back?

A: We didn’t win enough games. What we did well is we took a young team and a new team and a new staff and we competed, and we had some good victories. But we’ve got to do a better job of winning those close games. We’ve either got to get a stop or get a score, and that’s where we need to get better.

Q: When you say self-evaluate, how about yourself in terms of some of the things you look back at?

A: Being I’m the play caller, there’s always a handful of plays. You make 70 decisions in 40 seconds or 25 seconds or less, as you all have watched, you’re not perfect. So what you try to do is become more perfect, make less mistakes, make more good decisions.

Q: When you look at the close games that you lost, are there things that you think you could do to help win those?

A: Yeah, I think each game, there’s a different story in each game. But like I said, in a close game, you’ve either got to get a stop or you’ve got to get a score. In the games that we’ve lost, we haven’t done those things. So those are the things you look at. Maybe there’s things we could do different tactically, we’ll look at that, that’s always part of it, the scheme evaluation. That’s what we spend our time on, at least half of each day is spent on that.

Q: When you look back from when you got hired until now, you obviously know a lot more about the organization, the players, everything. Looking back, was this more of a rebuild than even you thought it was? You talked a lot about distancing yourself from 3-13.

A: I don’t know what I expected from that standpoint. When you take these jobs, you really don’t know much about anything in the building other than the history and the tradition and some of the players, the ownership and the people in positions of authority. But having not worked with them, as coaches, we get a feel for players and people after we work with them. So I certainly have a much better view of what this organization is and I can help more or have more educated ideas as to what we can do moving forward because I know the players, and now I have a staff of guys that I’ve worked with. I mentioned it this week that other than Bill McGovern, I did not work with any of these coaches. I purposely didn’t hire some of my friends who are now no longer my friends, but I’m really pleased. And again, we can all grow, there’s things that we can all do better, but I’ve got a bunch of guys here that I’m looking forward to moving forward with.

Q: You will keep the staff intact?

A: Yeah. Again, you can’t ever say that. Some guys leave for whatever reasons, but again that’s part of the process that we’ll go through. We’ll meet as coaches and try to find ways to get better.

Q: What’s your policy if another team wants to interview one of your guys? Would you let them?

A: Individual basis. In terms of, I’m all for guys advancing, I really don’t want to stand in anyone’s way and I’ll have some opinions as to whether it’s advancement or not. But, listen, I had ambition as a young coach, you gain experience and want to move forward. I don’t want to stand in anyone’s way. I think as long as I replace that guy with a career coach that’s open-minded, understands the importance of relationships and can work together with the staff, we’ll make it work.

Q: If you look around the NFL, coaches seem to be on a short leash. Does that increase your sense of urgency to get things right?

A: I don’t know that. I think I’m pretty urgent, and I’m pretty disappointed when we don’t win every week. No, I don’t think so. I think we all understand the environment. Did I hear there’s eight guys that lost their jobs already? That’s a fourth of the league, and that’s pretty typical. I guess we all understand how that works.

Q: You always talk about blocking out the noise. Is today one of those days where you can’t ignore what’s going on around the league?

A: We don’t have an opponent to prepare for, so I’m certainly aware more of what’s going on. There’s no reason to block anything out today.

Q: You said you didn’t know anything about the organization really. What do you know now after a year here?

A: Very supportive. Really, there’s a lot of people in this building that have worked here a long time that live and breathe and sleep everything that we do well, and share the pain when we don’t win. We have a committed organization, we have a committed group of players, and it’s up to us now – as I’ve said, right is right. We’ve got to start winning these close games.

Q: What do you want Saquon to come back to you in April as?

A: A better version of his former self. I think that’s important. That was part of the message I already mentioned to the players, is making sure that they keep moving forward. All year, it’s been about team and tough and together, and that really doesn’t stop when the guys leave the building.

Q: How would you describe how your relationship with Odell has been over the year? How has it progressed up until now?

A: It’s good. I appreciate everything that Odell has done, I appreciate him as a player, I appreciate the fact that he’s tried to get back here in the last month. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to do that. Just like any player on our team, I’ve learned a lot about Odell and I think our relationship is good. It’s very honest and open, just like it is with every other player.

Q: Did Kyle (Lauletta) develop as you thought he would when you picked him in the fourth round?

A: I don’t know what I expected. Again, I think Kyle has a bright future, but there’s a lot to learn, especially at the quarterback position, to be able to function efficiently at this level. I think he’s made great progress. He’s one of those guys that he needs to continue to improve and work on the things necessary to do his job here in the next 15 weeks.

Q: When you sit down with Dave Gettleman, how much input do you have in conversations about your own free agents like Landon Collins and Jamon Brown and those guys, and free agents maybe across the league you’d be interested in? How does that dynamic between you guys play out?

A: It’s very open. As you might expect, we talk all the time about all the players. Dave is well aware of what I think of the players, I’m well aware of what he thinks, and we’re both well aware of how those players are going to fit moving forward. I don’t think any of us are looking for a percentage of impact on decision making, but it’s very open and honest what we think about players.

Q: Do you have guys who are going to need surgeries here or injuries you’re going to be watching?

A: A couple guys moving forward, but nothing super major. I don’t know if you had somebody specific. I don’t have all that information yet. I do know the ones that are probably going to need a little touch-up, I guess you’d say. I don’t have any details as to when that’s going to start.

Q: Who?

A: Did you have somebody in mind?

Q: Is Odell one of them?

A: No. He doesn’t need surgery.

Q: How about Landon? What’s his situation with the injury and rehab? His timetable?

A: He had a labral tear on his shoulder, so it’s going to be a length recovery, three or four months, I guess. But he’s been around, I’ve had a chance to communicate with him throughout, so he’s fixed and he’s now coming back from his surgery.

Q: Does Saquon need anything?

A: No.

Q: Eli is going to be 38 this week. The quarterback situation moving forward is going to be a topic I’m sure you guys discuss over the next few months. How do you look back and look at the full 16 games and view how that went specifically for Eli?

A: I think it’s all coordinated. The quarterback play, the line play, the ability to run the ball – I think what we want to be offensively was better showcased from the bye week on. Prior to the bye week, we were scoring 17, 18 points a game, and after the bye week we’ve scored 27, almost 28 points a game. That’s what you need to do. Part of that was we solidified the offensive line, which allowed Eli to do more of what Eli can do better, and helped our runner. I think we would all agree in the second half of the year, we played much better offense. So when you talk about a coordinated effort, I talked all along about the things I really appreciate about Eli in terms of playing the quarterback position. They’re like everybody else, they make mistakes. Andrew Luck threw a pick-six last night. When you’re making the decisions and you’ve got the ball in your hand every play, there’s mistakes that are made, but there’s also some great things that you’re doing. We’ll go back and look at it all, but I think he was better able to showcase what he could do once we solidified the offensive line. I think that’s a fair assessment.

Q: Was there a quarter or handful of drives at some point in the season where you looked at it and said, that’s it, that’s what we point to?

A: I don’t know, I think there’s always stretches of games, key moments throughout. I can’t say I would point to one or another.

Q: A lot of these young QBs in the league are going crazy with numbers and things like that. Is your philosophy of quarterback, Eli is not that, never really was that. Do you look at the quarterback and say, I want a guy who can win the game, manage the game, scores 28, 27 points a game and isn’t have to be a 50-touchdown kind of guy running around and things like that?

A: When you look around the league and let’s assume there are good coaches everywhere, you try to play to the strengths of the guys on the roster. The Baltimore Ravens are playing a different style of offense now that Joe Flacco is not their quarterback. I guess what you do is try to maximize and that’s what I was saying about the last eight weeks. You try to maximize the skillsets of the players that you have. It’s a coordinated effort – nobody can do this alone. Baseball is the ultimate skill sport, this is the ultimate team sport, and nobody can carry the team by themselves. It’s a coordinated effort. As much as everyone would like to say, Saquon did all these things, and he did a lot of great things, well, we blocked better and it was coordinated with the throwing game where he maybe got some two-shell runs. It’s coordinated.

Q: Is this version of the offense you played in the second half of the year, is that compensation or is that because of limitations? Or is this what you want your offense to look like?

A: I like offense where you’re able to run the ball throughout because play action is meaningful. Again, I think Eli ran more boots and nakeds, he hasn’t run this many boots and nakeds since he was at Ole Miss. But it works, and we changed the launch point. I think we’ve given up 40-some sacks. Since the bye, I think we’ve been sacked like 15 or 16 times, so again, it’s coordinated. I want an offense that’s going to score enough points to win. The last two weeks, we didn’t do that by a point.

Q: Both Dave and John (Mara) said that the offensive line was their number one priority for last offseason. Do you now feel at the end of this season this could be your offensive line going forward? Or does it need more tweaks?

A: No, I think you’ve got to always address the offensive line to some degree. I think sometimes the answers are on your roster. (Jon Halapio) came in and played really well at center until he got hurt, then we picked up Spencer Pulley who’s done a very, very good job playing center. (John) Greco stepped in and played center, we picked up Jamon Brown. I think you’ve got to always try to upgrade your offensive line to some degree because when you look around and you start to see teams that are playing bad offense, don’t look at the skill players first. If you can’t block them, then nothing fancy looks good, nothing normal looks good, nothing that you need to do in football looks good if you can’t block them. I think that’s where this game starts. I worked for Nick Saban, and I watch Alabama. Alabama’s got a lot of very talented players, but when push comes to shove, the teams playing Alabama can’t block them. You may make a play or score a touchdown, but when you’re trying to do it over and over and over, teams can’t block those guys. It’s important that we’re always addressing the fronts. This is a big man’s game, and we’ve got to make sure we’re doing what we can to get the O and the D-line right.

Q: Obviously Eli has won here. When he has done so, it has been with a good pass rush on the other side and a defense that has helped him – most quarterbacks have. Do you think you have a winning offense as constituted or close to it if your defense can make stops at the end and put more pressure on opposing offenses?

A: I think we’ll have a winning team when at the end of the game we can either stop the team or score against the team we’re playing, and again that’s part of being coordinated. We’re going to address all those things moving forward.

Q: We asked you about (DC) James Bettcher last week. Before the season started, one of the big storylines was how he would work with you and (OC) Mike Shula. What does he (Shula) bring to the table and how did that dynamic work with you calling plays?

A: I have a great deal of respect for Mike and having worked with him now, it worked great because along the way, we’re on the headset talking. He works with the staff, I think he’s done an outstanding job and he’s part of the reason for some of the success, at least offensively, we’ve had in the latter part of the season. I look forward to having him here moving forward.

Q: How is that? You say he’s part of the success, we don’t see that. What is it about him?

A: He’s smart. He was calling plays in the Super Bowl for Carolina. We work together. He’s a career coach, he works extremely hard, he’s smart, and we communicate well together. He does a good job with our offensive staff, and on game day, I get great suggestions as to what to call. There’s a lot of times when I’ll say, hey listen, I want to call apple or orange, what do you think? And he’ll say call orange. That’s the communication that happens. Again, you don’t get a chance to see it, but I certainly appreciate his efforts.

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:

GIANTS WILL PICK 6TH IN FIRST ROUND…
The New York Giants will have the 6th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.

GIANTS 2019 OPPONENTS SET…
The New York Giants will play the following teams during the 2019 NFL regular season:

Home:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Miami Dolphins

Away:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • Chicago Bears
  • Detroit Lions
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • New England Patriots
  • New York Jets

ROSTER MOVES…
Although not officially announced, the New York Giants have reportedly signed defensive end Jake Ceresna and long snapper Taybor Pepper to reserve/futures contracts.

The 24-year old, 6’6”, 295-pound Ceresna spent the past two years in the Canadian Football League (CFL) after a brief stint with the New York Jets in 2016.

The 24-year old, 6’4”, 245-pound Pepper went undrafted in 2016. He signed with the Green Bay Packers in 2017, playing in four games, before being placed on Injured Reserve with a broken foot.

NOTES…
The Giants finished 2-6 at home, 1-5 vs. NFC East opponents, and 0-3 in division home games. This is the first time they lost all of their home games within the NFC East since 2003.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they are the first team in NFL history to lose each of their final two games by one point.

The Giants lost eight games by seven points or less, the most such games by any NFL team this season.

The Giants lost all five games in 2018 when quarterback Eli Manning passed for 300 yards or more. The Giants are 19-31 in Manning’s 50 career 300-yard regular-season games.

Manning passed for 4,299 yards this season, the fourth-highest total of his 15-year career and the seventh time he exceeded 4,000 yards.

Manning completed a career-high 66 percent of his passes (380 of 576). His previous best was 63.1 percent in 2014.

Manning threw 21 touchdown passes, the 12th time in his career that he has thrown at least 20. Manning’s 11 interceptions were his fewest since he threw he threw 10 in 2008.

Running back Saquon Barkley finished with 261 rushing attempts for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns, and 91 catches for 721 yards and four scores. His 11 rushing touchdowns are a Giants rookie record. He had been tied at 10 with Bill Paschal, who set the mark in 1943.

Barkley is the first running back to lead the Giants in catches since Tiki Barber did with 69 in 2003, and the first player to lead the team in rushing and receiving in the same season since Barber in 2003 (1,216 rushing yards, 69 catches).

Barkley’s 1,307 rushing yards is the seventh-highest total in Giants history.

Barkley’s 1,307 yards are 477 more than the No. 2 rookie on the franchise’s list – Tuffy Leemans’ previous record of 830 yards, set in 1936.

Barkley’s 91 receptions are a record for an NFL rookie running back. The former record of 88 was set by New Orleans’ Reggie Bush in 2006. The 91 catches ties wide receiver Odell Beckham’s Giants rookie record.

Barkley had 2,028 yards from scrimmage. He is the third rookie in NFL history with 2,000 yards from scrimmage after running backs Eric Dickerson (1983) and Edgerrin James (1999).

Place kicker Aldrick Rosas made 32 of 33 attempts this season, a Giants-record 97 percent.

Barkley and left guard Will Hernandez started all 16 games. This is just the second time since the 1970 merger that the Giants had multiple rookies start every game. In 1981, linebacker Lawrence Taylor and defensive tackle Bill Neill started every game.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addresses the media on Wednesday.

Dec 302018
 
Eli Manning and Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (December 30, 2018)

Giants End Season With Another Loss – © USA TODAY Sports

[contentblock id=1 img=html.png]

DALLAS COWBOYS 36 – NEW YORK GIANTS 35…
The New York Giants ended their 2018 season on a losing note, falling to the Dallas Cowboys 36-35 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Giants were up 35-28 with 2:35 left in the game. But Dallas drove 70 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 32-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-15 with with just over a minute to play. The successful 2-point conversion gave the Cowboys their game-winning points.

With the loss, the Giants ended the season with a 5-11 overall record (1-5 in the NFC East). The Giants have five losing seasons in the last six years.

The game did not start off well for New York. After a 38-yard kickoff return by wide receiver Corey Coleman, the Giants drove deep into Dallas territory, aided by a 24-yard reception by wide receiver Sterling Shepard and a 26-yard run by running back Saquon Barkley. However, quarterback Eli Manning was picked off in the end zone on 3rd-and-4 from the Dallas 6-yard line.

Dallas gained two first downs on their initial drive and then punted. The Giants picked up three first downs, but on 2-and-10 from the Dallas 43-yard line, Manning was sacked and he fumbled the ball away. The Cowboys drove inside the red zone on the ensuing possession but missed the 34-yard field goal.

After a three-and-out by the Giants, Dallas drove the ball 65 yards in 13 plays, the possession ending with a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dak Prescott to tight end Blake Jarwin. After another three-and-out by the Giants, the Cowboys went up 14-0 after a 9-play, 75-yard drive ended with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Jarwin.

With under two minutes to play before halftime, the Giants finally got on the board with a 10-play, 73-yard possession that ended with a spectacular, one-handed, 21-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Cody Latimer on 3rd-and-10.

At the half, the Cowboys led 14-7.

The 3rd quarter began with a three-and-out by the Cowboys. Coleman returned the ensuing punt 19 yards. The Giants’ offense was only able to gain 15 yards, but it was enough to set up a successful 48-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. Cowboys 14 – Giants 10.

Dallas appeared to take command of the game again on their second possession of the half, driving 76 yards in eight plays, and capping off the drive with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Jarwin. The Cowboys now led 21-10.

The Giants were ignited by a 68-yard run by Barkley on 2nd-and-20. Three plays later, Manning found tight end Evan Engram for a 6-yard touchdown reception and then the 2-point conversion. Cowboys 21 – Giants 18.

The Cowboys gained one first down and punted the ball away early in the 4th quarter. Aided by a 51-yard reception by Evan Engram, the Giants took their first lead of the game when running back Wayne Gallman scored from two yards out. Giants 25 – Cowboys 21.

However, a New York defense that has struggled to hold leads all year collapsed in the 4th quarter. On Dallas’ ensuing possession, the Cowboys easily drove 75 yards in five plays to regain the lead 28-25 with just over nine minutes to play. The Giants’ offense impressively responded with a 12-play, 74-yard effort. Latimer came down with a one-handed, 31-yard reception and three plays later Barkley skyed over the Dallas defense from two yards out. Giants 32 – Cowboys 28 with 3:21 left in the game.

New York appeared to pull off the upset on the very next offensive snap. After a short reception, defensive end Kerry Wynn forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker B.J. Goodson and advanced to the Dallas 18-yard line. The Giants lost two yards on the subsequent possession but kicked a 38-yard field goal to take a 35-28 lead with 2:35 left in the game.

Again, the Giants’ defense could not hold. The Cowboys drove 70 yards 83 seconds, unbelievably scoring on a broken play from 32 yards out on 4th-and-15. The subsequent 2-point conversion gave Dallas their game-winning points.

The Giants did have one final legitimate chance to win the game. Latimer returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards to the New York 48-yard line. The Giants had the ball near midfield with 65 left in the game and two timeouts. But the contest ended with four straight incompletions by Manning.

Manning finished the game 24-of-41 for 301 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. His leading receiver was Engram, who caught five passes for 81 yards. Latimer, Shepard, and Barkley each had four receptions. Barkley also gained 109 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries.

Defensively, the Giants gave up 419 total net yards, including 368 net yards passing. The Giants accrued four sacks (2.5 by linebacker Olivier Vernon) and forced one fumble.

Video highlights are available at NFL.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (quad), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion), defensive end Mario Edwards (calf), linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion), tight end Garrett Dickerson, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Cornerback Grant Haley (concussion) and wide receiver Corey Coleman (foot) left the game with injuries.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants placed wide receiver Jawill Davis on Injured Reserve on Saturday after he injured his knee dancing in the locker room on Saturday (no joke). To fill his roster spot, the Giants signed wide receiver Alonzo Russell to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad.

The Giants signed Russell after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2018 rookie mini-camp and then signed him to the Practice Squad in September. The 6’3”, 206-pound Russell was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Bengals’ Practice Squad. The Bengals waived him in September 2017 and he was signed to the Practice Squad of the Arizona Cardinals in November 2017.

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. General Manager Dave Gettleman will address the media on Wednesday.

Dec 282018
 
Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (December 2, 2018)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports

[contentblock id=1 img=html.png]

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Friday were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (quad), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion), defensive end Mario Edwards (calf), and linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion). All five players have officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (hip), center Spencer Pulley (calf), defensive end Kerry Wynn (thumb), and linebacker B.J. Goodson (foot) fully practiced. All four players are expected to play 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 New York Giants on Saturday. The team plays the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Dec 282018
 
New York Giants Fans (October 11, 2018)

© USA TODAY Sports

[contentblock id=1 img=html.png]

Game Preview: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, December 30, 2018

THE STORYLINE:

When I woke up this morning, I said to my wife, “Ugh, I’ve got to write the game review.” Her response was, “Tell them they are going to lose and go spend time with their families.”

It’s been another one of those years. The fifth losing season in the last six.

Some saw it coming, others were more optimistic.

Let’s recap. The Giants may have experienced the most roster turnover since the 1984 season. The Jaguars outbid the Giants for free agent guard Andrew Norwell. The Giants responded by drastically overpaying Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh, which reeked of desperation even though many didn’t say so at the time. In fact, most of the Giants’ almost 40 free agent signings really didn’t work out (Kareem Martin, Curtis Riley, Cody Latimer, Connor Barwin, Jonathan Stewart, etc., but most long forgotten). The Giants also cut ties with Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Jay Bromley, Nat Berhe, Orleans Darkwa, Shane Vereen, Jonathan Casillas, Devon Kennard, Keenan Robinson, and others.

Then came the draft and the endless debate of the quarterback versus Saquon Barkley. Whether you supported the move or not, in a widely criticized decision, Dave Gettleman selected Barkley. The early returns on the 2018 NFL Draft are good for the Giants, but the next few years will tell the real story. The most curious pick remains weak-armed Kyle Lauletta.

An early red flag came on September 2, 2018. On that day, the Giants claimed six players off of waivers, representing 11 percent of the roster alone.

Many fans didn’t expect miracles in 2018 but they anticipated the offense and defense being significantly better and the special teams possibly worse. The opposite occurred. During the 1-7 start to the season, an offense equipped with Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley failed to score more than 18 points five times. A new 3-4 defense couldn’t rush the passer or force turnovers. While the Giants remained the healthiest they’ve been in years, Olivier Vernon was hurt yet again. The Giants began parting ways with Ereck Flowers, Eli Apple, and Damon Harrison, and listened to offers for Landon Collins and probably others.

At this point, most Giants fans were confident the team would have a shot at the #1 pick in the draft.

After the bye, the team started playing better. This, combined with the fact that the Giants were fortunate enough to face losing teams playing with back-up quarterbacks, led to a 4-1 “surge.” Perhaps the two most important games of the season were the devastating 25-22 loss to the Eagles, followed immediately by 30-27 overtime win against the Chicago Bears. The latter game came close to being an even bigger disaster than than the Eagles’ game, and had Shurmur lost both, the bulk of the fan base probably would have turned on him for good.

The “feel good” game of the season came on December 9th, the 40-16 ass-whipping of the Washington Redskins. But the Giants quickly were bitch-slapped back into reality with their 17-0 loss to the Tennessee Titans (which felt more like 35-0). The Giants blew an early 14-0 lead last week to the Colts and lost 28-27. They now stand at 5-10.

So where does this leave us? Trying to be objective as possible, personnel-wise, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the Giants’ defense in such bad shape. During my fan years, I watched defenses with the likes of Harry Carson, Lawrence Taylor, Leonard Marshall, Keith Hamilton, Jessie Armstead, Michael Strahan, Jason Sehorn, Antonio Pierce, Justin Tuck, and many, many others – too countless to name. Look at this defensive roster and tell me when the defensive personnel has been worse in the last 30 years.

Offensively, the Giants have two superstar players at the skill positions, Barkley and Beckham, but they still have problems scoring points. The offensive line remains a mess. Most of the moves Gettleman made there during the offseason didn’t work. The Giants still have question marks at center, right guard, right tackle, and maybe even left tackle. Eli Manning turns 38 next week. He doesn’t play like a $23 million player but he will be back for another year in 2019. In some ways, Eli had a good year (completion percentage, only 10 interceptions); in others, he did not (touchdowns, wins).

Many question whether Pat Shurmur is the right guy to turn this around, or simply another place-holder. How long will 67-year old Dave Gettleman, who battled cancer this year, want to do this job? And is he the right man for the rebuilding effort? When and how do the Giants make the transition to Eli’s successor? These are no small questions.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but the bottom line here is this: Are the Giants getting better? Worse? Or stuck in neutral?

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • WR Odell Beckham (quad – out)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (hip)
  • WR Russell Shepard (ankle – out)
  • TE Rhett Ellison (concussion – out)
  • OC Spencer Pulley (calf)
  • DE Kerry Wynn (thumb)
  • DE Mario Edwards (calf – out)
  • LB Alec Ogletree (concussion – out)
  • LB B.J. Goodson (foot)

THE FINAL WORD:
This game means nothing to the Dallas Cowboys. In my mind, a win here for the Giants is virtually meaningless in terms of creating that mystical “winning culture.” After all, my guess is at least 1/3 of the players on the current roster will be gone by early September. And heaven help us if we are claiming six players off of waivers again.

But it is a big game in one sense – the Giants could lose a lot of ground in draft slotting. So “just lose” baby (with some dignity).

Some say the Giants have become the old Cleveland Browns. Perhaps. But they definitely have become the old St. Louis Cardinals – that team in the NFC East that the other teams in the division used to fatten their records against. The Cowboys and Eagles love playing the Giants.

Dec 272018
 
Mike Shula, New York Giants (September 30, 2018)

Mike Shula – © USA TODAY Sports

[contentblock id=1 img=html.png]

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Thursday were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (quad), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion), defensive end Mario Edwards (calf), and linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion).

Linebacker B.J. Goodson (foot) was limited in practice.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (hip), center Spencer Pulley (calf), and defensive end Kerry Wynn (thumb) fully practiced.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have placed tight end Hakeem Valles, who was on the team’s Practice Squad, on Injured Reserve with an undisclosed injury. The 26-year old, 6’3”, 250-pound Valles was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He also spent time with the Detroit Lions in 2017-2018. Valles has played in 15 regular-season games with one start, and has caught two passes for 11 yards.

The Giants have also re-signed left-footed punter Brock Miller to the Practice Squad. Miller went undrafted in 2014. The San Francisco 49ers signed him in January 2017 but cut him after the 2017 NFL Draft. Miller spent some time with the Jacksonville Jaguars before the 2017 AFC Championship Game, but he did not play. Miller also spent a few days on the Giants’ Practice  Squad earlier this month.

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 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Dec 262018
 
B.J. Goodson, New York Giants (December 23, 2018)

B.J. Goodson – © USA TODAY Sports

[contentblock id=1 img=html.png]

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (quad), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion), defensive end Mario Edwards (calf), and linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion).

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (hip), center Spencer Pulley (calf), and linebacker B.J. Goodson (foot) were limited in practice.

Defensive end Kerry Wynn (thumb) fully practiced.

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 again on Thursday and Friday in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Dec 262018
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 23, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

[contentblock id=1 img=html.png]

Indianapolis Colts 28 – New York Giants 27

QUICK RECAP

The last time Eli Manning and the Giants played in Indianapolis, it was against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Fast forward almost 7 years later and Eli Manning is still the quarterback, the lone representative from that Super Bowl winning team still on the roster. Two new coaching staffs, a new General Manager, and countless players have gone through the revolving door since that night in early February. It almost seems like that game against Tom Brady and the Patriots was a lifetime ago, as a lot has changed since then, mostly for the worst.

Their opponent was the team that plays its home games there, the near-playoff bound Colts. This organization hasn’t finished above .500 since 2014, saw their franchise QB go down with a serious throwing shoulder injury, and got nixed at the last second by Josh McDaniels in a coaching search. But 2018 has been a year to remember, as they came in winners of 7 of their last 8.

After a lackluster loss to TEN, the Giants came out firing on all cylinders. They quickly jumped out to a 14-0 lead thanks to a balanced offensive approach that saw Eli Manning spread the ball out across the board. Saquon Barkley’s 1 yard run and Manning’s 3 yard pass to Scott Simonson were the early scores. Combined with 5 pre-snap penalties by IND in the first quarter, this one had domination written all over it.

IND started to pick up chunk gains via the passing game but Andrew Luck tried to do a bit too much as they approached the red zone. He aimlessly threw the ball near the end zone without a Colts receiver in the same zip code. Safety Curtis Riley came down with it for his 4th interception of the season. The Giants offense began to sputter, however, as the IND defense crowded the box and prevented the running game from taking off.

IND put together a 12-play drive that took up most of the remaining time in the 2nd quarter. They spread the ball out, attacking the NYG linebackers in coverage and eventually got into the end zone via an easy 1-yard touchdown by rookie RB Nyheim Hines. NYG took the ball back and marched down the field to get 3 more points on the board. They went in to halftime possessing a commanding 17-7 lead and due to get the ball back after halftime.

The NYG offense continued to struggle early in the second half. They punted the ball to IND following their first drive and Luck led the offense right back downfield. It took just 7 plays to gain 85 yards, capped by a 2-yard pass to Dontrelle Inman to bring IND within 3. They often say the first 2 possessions of the second half go a long way in determining the outcome of a game. IND, despite being down 3, clearly had the momentum.

This is where Manning stepped up and showed, once again, there is enough left in the tank. He went 5/5 for 79 yards, connecting with four different receivers. He got the ball down to the goal line and took a QB sneak past the goal line for the Giants’ first touchdown since their second drive of the game. They took back a 10-point lead.

The IND offense continued to stay hot, as they picked up chunk gain after chunk gain. The NYG pass rush was struggling to disrupt Luck and the back seven couldn’t stick to anyone in coverage. It took just a 7 play drive for them to get back within 3, this time via a 3-yard touchdown run by Marlon Mack. Two plays prior to that score, an Olivier Vernon sack-fumble that was recovered by BJ Hill was negated by a Janoris Jenkins hold in coverage. Even though NYG led the entire game, it had a close-to definite feel that Luck and Colts were in control.

The 4th quarter started off with a 12-play NYG drive that saw them get inside the 10-yard line, but had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Pro Bowl kicker Aldrick Rosas. The two teams then traded possessions with the margin at 6. With IND starting a drive near midfield with under 4 minutes left, Luck led them piece by piece all the way inside the 5. A 1-yard pass to Chester Rogers put them ahead for the first time with under a minute left.

On Manning’s third pass of their last-ditch attempt to get in field goal range, he threw a deep pass into double coverage that was intercepted by safety Malik Hooker. That was all she wrote.

NYG loses 28-27.

QUARTERBACKS

-Eli Manning: 25/33 – 309 yards – 1 TD/1 INT. Manning also scored a 1-yard touchdown on the ground. Manning, up against a red-hot defense that had a lot to play for, came up with one of his better games on the year without his top target, Odell Beckham. He spread the ball out. He was accurate short, intermediate, and deep. And he was completing a lot of passes on the move. A very solid game for a guy who will be debated all offseason long in relation to his future with the team. I’ll say it now. Unless NYG trades for an established QB, Manning will be the opening game starter next year. He has earned it.

RUNNING BACKS

-Saquon Barkley: 21 att / 43 yards – 5 rec / 34 yards. The IND defense came into today with one focus; do not let Barkley beat them. They had 8 defenders in the box more often than not on 1st and 2nd down, something we haven’t seen yet this year. In addition to that, their run defense has been one of the best all year. Barkley just couldn’t get going and the interior offensive linemen didn’t do him any favors. He did drop a pass and there were two runs where he chose the wrong running lane. The past two weeks have been the least productive we’ve seen in his rookie year and it could end up really hurting his Rookie of the Year chances if it trickles into the finale.

WIDE RECEIVERS

-Sterling Shepard: 6 rec / 113 yards. With Odell Beckham out for 3 games, it’s been an opportunity for Shepard to show he more than a complimentary asset. The previous 2 did not work out well for him, as he combined for 4 catches / 51 yards. However in this one, he stepped up big time. 5 of his 6 catches were in the first half when the NYG offense was really flowing, but he was quiet in the second half. Those 5 catches all resulted in first downs and that is one of his strongest attributes to his game. He finds the chains and stays tough in traffic. Very hard guy to cover short and intermediate but I do think there is some untapped upside with him that won’t be seen unless he is with a better quarterback.

-Bennie Fowler and Cory Latimer, two veterans who bring quality size and speed to the table, each had a catch for a first down. Fowler’s resulted in 26 yards, and when I see plays like that, it makes me think he may be worth bringing back for 2019. He can do some things.

TIGHT ENDS

-Evan Engram: 6 rec / 87 yards – 2 att / 26 yards. Engram has really broken out these past 2 weeks and reminded everyone what he can do if given enough opportunities. I’m still not sold on him being an every down tight end, as he once again finished with a below average grade as a blocker, but the speed/burst/agility he has with the ball is downright scary for opponents. He is one of the main reasons why I think this offense has a ton of potential in 2019 as a whole.

-Scott Simonson and Rhett Ellison were both on the field equally. They struggled to impact the running game, as they both finished with below average grades as blockers. However, they combined for 5 catches on 5 targets for 35 yards. Simonson scored his first touchdown of his career on a short rollout pass from Manning in the 1st quarter.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

-Nate Solder, who’s play has stabilized in recent weeks, graded out as the best OL in this game. He allowed 1 pressure and was the cause for a TFL, but otherwise he did a nice job neutralizing the blindside pressure. He still doesn’t get a good enough push as a run blocker, especially when he has to move laterally. Not a big deal, but I did find it noteworthy he was getting moved back when Barkley was trying to hit his gaps.

-Chad Wheeler has steadily been below average throughout the second half of the season. I really hoped he would go in the other direction but I think his tape is going to lead the team to looking for a new right tackle. He allowed 2 TFL and a pressure in this one.

GUARDS/CENTERS

-Really rough day for this trio. Rookie Will Hernandez, who has been the best lineman on this team all year, had his first negative grade since early in the year. Denico Autry and Margus Hunt really gave him problems with their oversized frames combined with fast feet, similar to Calais Campbell in week 1. He allowed 2 pressures and didn’t sustain his blocks long enough in the running game.

-Jamon Brown, who is being proclaimed as a savior the line, had his worst game in a Giants uniform. He allowed 2 pressures, 1 TFL, and was penalized twice. While I do think he can be considered for the starting RG spot in 2019, he has not by any means cemented his name there. When he’s on, he is certainly a difference maker. But the inconsistency he shows game to game is exactly what made the Rams toss him onto the road.

-OC John Greco got the start with Spence Pulley missing the game with a bad calf. His lack of ability is still there. Greco graded out as the second worst blocker of the day, allowing a pressure, a TFL, and recording a block-in-the-back penalty.

EDGE

-Olivier Vernon, a name that will be debated in the coming months when it comes to his status with the team, was very active. He didn’t blow up the stat sheet but he made a couple lateral-hustle tackles against the run in addition to 2 pressures. He also had a sack-fumble negated by a Janoris Jenkins hold.

-Kareem Martin and Lorenzo Carter split snaps at the other edge spot. Neither were very effective but Carter did record 2 pressures. It’s been exactly what I expected out of Carter for his rookie season. He makes plays that stem from his length and speed, but there isn’t enough power or skill to his game just yet. This offseason will be huge for him when it comes to physical and mental development.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

-Dalvin Tomlinson and BJ Hill has a solid showing against the interior of the IND offensive line. They were both stout for most of the game, although they were completely taken out of the picture on both of IND’s goal line rushing touchdowns. Tomlinson added a pressure and a TFL and Hill had a pressure as well. These two are solid pieces to the puzzle that will be important moving forward. The question still remains, however. Do they need a more capable run defender between them on first and second down?

LINEBACKERS

-With Alec Ogletree out, BJ Goodson was given the opportunity to be the leader of the defense. He responded with one of his best games of the season. He finished with 6 tackles and 2 TFL. Nothing special there but considering IND ran the ball just 16 times, you can’t expect a ton from a middle linebacker. The reason I called this a standout performance by Goodson was his range in man coverage against the pass and his blitz-production. Goodson made a few plays on crossing-route passes where his speed and reaction stood out. He had 2 pressures and his ability to impact the game on multiple levels stood out here. I still think there is a high ceiling left with this kid.

-Tae Davis got the start again. He led the team with 7 tackles and he recorded the lone sack of the game for NYG. Impressive game for the UDFA. He has certainly taken his rookie lumps and this game was no different. Luck attacked Davis in coverage all afternoon and the IND ball carriers took advantage of his over-pursuit. He missed 2 tackles on the day and was neutralized on running plays.

CORNERBACKS

-Janoris Jenkins leveled off his play after a rough game a week ago. He broke up a pass but was also flagged for a hold on a play where the Giants pass rush forced a fumble.

-BW Webb, whom has exceeded expectations as the team’s starting corner this year, had his worst game of the year in this one. In his few matchups against TY Hilton, he got torched downfield. He couldn’t get enough contact at the point of attack and he just couldn’t keep up downfield speed-wise. He was also flagged for pass interference in the end zone that eventually led to an IND touchdown.

-Grant Haley played nearly every snap in the nickel role with IND throwing the ball so much. He continues to struggle against receivers that have a significant size advantage but his hustle and quickness can make things happen. He has been a pleasant surprise for the past 2 months and has a nice base to build off of this upcoming offseason.

SAFETIES

-Curtis Riley came down with his 4th interception of the year. Looking at his numbers on paper, there will be some who see him as a definite for this roster in 2019. While I do like the speed and aggression he brings to the table, he has shown on more than enough occasions he isn’t the guy you want protecting the back side of the field. Michael Thomas, however, has been a solid strong safety since Landon Collins went down. He did miss 2 tackles in this one, but I trust him to get the job done. He made a couple of smart read-and-react plays that don’t show up on stat sheets.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas :2/2 (Made 40, 27). 18 consecutive made FGs for the Pro Bowler. I was really hoping he would get a shot at a 55+ yarder to win the game. That could have capped what has likely been the best season by NYG kicker in franchise history.

-P Riley Dixon: 3 Punts – 48.3 avg / 47.3 net. Not many know this, but Dixon has been one of the top 7-8 punters in the NFL this year. His net average is a very solid 41.7 yards on the year.

3 STUDS

-QB Eli Manning, WR Sterling Shepard, LB BJ Goodson

3 DUDS

-OG Jamon Brown, OC John Greco, CB BW Webb

3 THOUGHTS ON IND

-The Colts offensive line went from bottom 5 to top 10 in a matter of a year. The two main reasons? Two rookies. 1st rounder Quenton Nelson and 2nd rounder Braden Smith. These two, ironically, were the top 2 OL on my board in the 2018 Draft. They have been steady improving each week and even though they took some rookie hits early in the year, this OL has the look of a dominant group in the coming years.

-Darius Leonard, a LB I graded to be a top 10 overall prospect in the 2018 class, has been nothing short of dominant all year. This is the new age LB who is hard to find, but they are out there. Height, length, speed, an ability to impact plays on all three downs. He has all the range you can ask for, coverage ability of a safety, pass rush capabilities via short area burst, and enough stoutness against inside run blockers. Does NYG need to find one of these guys in the draft? Well they may already have him: Landon Collins.

-All the talk about Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz….etc. Who is the next top dog in the NFL at the QB position? It’s Andrew Luck then everyone else. I mean it. This guy is the best combination of throwing power, accuracy, and decision making. He makes plays with his legs. He is tough to take down in the pocket. And he stays mentally stable as good as anyone I have seen. He plays within the system, he takes what the defense gives. Now that Luck has a formidable offensive line, he should have an easier time staying on the field. Luck is about to take over the league.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

-The Giants have one game left, at home, against a team that won’t be in all-out mode. Is this the perfect opportunity to get a start for Kyle Lauletta under his belt before entering an offseason that will be filled with long-term QB debate? The knee jerk answer is yes. But like I said when he was drafted, is Lauletta the guy that is going to determine how NYG handles the position? No. I think this guy is a career backup. Is there a chance he is more? Sure. But you can say that about every young backup QB in the league. Lauletta getting a start may be more about fans wanting something fresh more than him actually being capable.

-At this time last year, the Giants were just praying for the season to be over. There was nothing to be excited about. There was nothing to watch, really. However here we are in a similar, no-shot-at-the-playoffs type situation while division rivals are gearing up for postseason play. But we can all agree this team is indeed better than a year ago with more long-term potential than a year ago. The offensive line is better. The playmaking on offense has shown more. The schemes seem to have more dependability. There are several holes to be filled but we knew that would be the case anyway.

-This may be the last we see of a few of the higher paid players. Olivier Vernon and Janoris Jenkins come to mind first. Should NYG keep these two? Well if there is any thought of them competing in 2019, I say you keep them. They may be overpaid, but I still think they are better than what you are going to find on the market. Let’s not forget one thing – the NYG pass rush improved as a whole once Vernon came back. My vote is to keep him here.

Dec 242018
 
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (December 23, 2018)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

[contentblock id=1 img=html.png]

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 28-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts:

Q: While you’re trying to win games along this stretch here, how much evaluating is going on as you look forward? I speak specifically about the quarterback, and as a follow up, I’m curious how you feel like Eli has been performing this last month or so?

A: Eli has been doing some really good things. I think we as a team, and I think it’s fair to say about the quarterback too, we’re real close and we’ve got to find a way to take these wins at the end. I think he’s contributing in a really good way, so that’s what I would say about Eli. In terms of evaluating, we evaluate everything moving forward, all positions and all position groups. That’s nothing new, that starts back in the spring and follows through all the way through the season.

Q: Can I ask you about a play in the fourth quarter before (K Aldrick) Rosas kicked a 27-yd field goal? It was the play in which Eli attempted to hit Evan Engram and the pass fell incomplete. It was the one in which he spun around. In looking at that play, what did you see? That was the one where I think he had some pressure in his face, but it looked like he might have been able to connect with Engram?

A: Yeah, initially he wasn’t able to get him the ball, he had a little bit of pressure and that obviously caused a delay in the throw. I thought Eli did an excellent job of getting the ball thrown away so that he didn’t take a sack.

Q: What are you going to do with the injured guys this week in terms of, if they’re clearly not able to go are you going to put anybody on IR and bring up somebody else?

A: We’ll have to see where that goes. We’ve got guys that didn’t play last week that might come back, and then we had a couple guys, Rhett Ellison and you saw Mario Edwards that left the game, so we’ll have to see where they’re at. But that right now is pretty fluid. I can’t tell you exactly what’s going to happen there, but just like every game, anybody that’s injured is doing everything in their power to get back and play this week.

Q: Defensive players in the locker room after the game kept saying they need to learn to finish games. Is that just a mindset for the defense or is that schematically something you guys need to change?

A: No, I think that’s a fair assessment for our team. You’ve got to go out and take these wins, nobody gives you anything. So when you get to the position like we were at the end of this game, it’s safe to say we’ve been in a handful of these this season where we’ve won a couple and then we’ve let a couple get away from us. But nothing’s given to you in this league, you’ve got to go take it, and so when you’re close at the end, you’ve got to find a way to make enough plays at the end and take the victory. That’s part of the mindset, certainly. In terms of the tactics, you always look at better ways to do things and better ways for the players to be in better position to win, but for the most part, it comes down to us coaching and playing in a way where go take them.

Q: Will you close out the season here Sunday with Eli still as the starter?

A: Yes, he is.

Q: Any chance Kyle (Lauletta) will be the number two and you’ll work him into the game somewhere, or not a possibility?

A: We’ll just have to see what the week brings.

Q: You talked about ‘we’re close and have to find a way to take these wins’. Is that the process of a 3-13 team growing up, and you still need more players?

A: I don’t know about that. Like I said, I’d like to see all of our guys back next year because I think we’ve learned a lot of things together. A lot of new players, certainly, I think we’re down to about 12 guys that were on the roster (last year) and there’s a lot of new going on everywhere. I’ve got a staff of coaches that, there’s only one guy on the staff that I ever worked with. So we’re battling through it, and we’re doing some things that put us in a position to win. We’ve won some games, but we haven’t won enough, and so that’s the growth that has to take place and for those of us that aren’t very patient, it’s a painful process until we get to that point where we’re winning all of these games at the end – not just a few of them, but all of them. We all know that it comes down to a drive or two at the end or the critical plays at the end of a game. There’s things that we’re doing that are good enough, but right is right. We’ve got to do it throughout the game and we’ve got to win them.

Q: Some of the players keep on maintaining that the team is very close, super close, things like that. Obviously we’ve seen so many games are very close, but when you assess this, you know what it takes to win and lose consistently in the league. Do you think your team is very close here?

A: When you say very close, as a team? Or very close to winning? I don’t understand the question.

Q: Very close to being a legitimate contender, a playoff team.

A: Yeah, I think we are and I think that’s sort of where our conversation is going today is we are very close, but right is right — you’ve got to win. And I think as we start building and as the players get better, as we improve, as we understand situations and how to play each situation better, then eventually this thing pushes over the top. So I would agree with their assessment.

Q: Are you giving yourself a day off for Christmas with the family, or what?

A: The players are off tomorrow, it’s their normal day off. We worked with the players today and they’re already gone so we compressed it a little bit. We got the medical information we needed, they all lifted, they all had a chance to watch the tape, so they’ll be able to enjoy Christmas Eve and then a full day of Christmas tomorrow – except for the injured guys who will show up for treatment. But in terms of the coaches, we’re going to work throughout the day today, and then the coaches will be off in the morning and then we’ll come back tomorrow afternoon.

Q: Did Saquon come out of the game ok? He looked like he got a little banged up there late in the third quarter.

A: He’s fine.

Q: Do you sense any frustration from him after two games in a row where he’s probably not getting the rushing yardage that he’s used to?

A: No, I didn’t sense it. I thought he was into it, I saw the same Saquon that I always see. I’ve been made aware of his comments after the game that sort of reflects his mindset. So, no, I don’t sense any frustration.

Q: How much of his last two games’ rushing totals is not having Odell on the field to open up the field, so to speak?

A: I don’t think that’s the case. I feel like any time you don’t have one of your better players on the field, it affects maybe how they do things, but I thought when we threw the ball the receivers that played got production. They actually played a little bit more two-shell then you might expect, and they moved the front on us which is really kind of contrary to that narrative. We’ve just got to do a better job doing what we do, and when Odell is healthy, we’ll welcome him back.

Q: Contrary to which narrative?

A: That they were loading up on the run.

NOTES…

  • The Giants finished 3-5 on the road.
  • The Giants have lost three road games this year when the opposition scored the deciding points in the final minute. The other games were against the Eagles and Panthers.
  • The Giants are 19-30 when Eli Manning throws for at least 300 yards. They have lost their last seven games when he’s reached that milestone.
  • Manning fell to 0-4 against the Colts, one of just two NFL teams he has never beaten as a starting quarterback. The other is the Chargers.
  • Saquon Barkley needs 114 yards in the Giants’ final game to become the third rookie in NFL history with 2,000 yards from scrimmage.
  • Barkley needs five catches to break Odell Beckham, Jr.’s Giants rookie record of 91, set in 2014.
  • Aldrick Rosas has now made 30 of 31 attempts this season (.968 percent). Rosas has converted 18 consecutive attempts, the longest streak by a Giants kicker since Josh Brown made 29 straight spanning the 2014-2015 seasons.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Wednesday.

Dec 232018
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 23, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

[contentblock id=1 img=html.png]

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 28 – NEW YORK GIANTS 27…
The Indianapolis Colts came from behind to defeat the New York Giants 28-27 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana on Sunday. With the loss, the Giants fell to 5-10 on the season.

Indianapolis received the football to start the game but their first three drives ended with two three-and-outs and an interception by free safety Curtis Riley.

Meanwhile, the Giants jumped on top quickly with their first two drives ending in touchdowns. First, New York went 75 yards in 11 plays, the possession culminating with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Saquon Barkley. Then the Giants drove 87 yards in nine plays, the big play being a 55-yard strike from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Manning finished this possession with a 3-yard touchdown throw to tight end Scott Simonson.

After New York went three-and-out on their third drive, the Colts responded with a 12-play, 78-yard possession that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Nyheim Hines with just over four minutes before halftime. The Giants then extended their lead by moving the ball 53 yards in nine plays, setting up a 40-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. The Colts could not get into scoring position on their last possession of the first half.

At the half, the Giants led 17-7.

After picking up one first down on their initial possession of the 3rd quarter, the Giants punted the ball away. The Colts proceeded to cut the score to 17-14 with a 7-play, 85-yard possession that ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andrew Luck to wide receiver Dontrelle Inman. Luck also completed a 55-yard pass to wide receiver T.Y. Hilton on this drive.

The Giants impressively responded with their own touchdown, moving the ball 85 yards in eight plays, including a 32-yard pass to tight end Evan Engram. Manning finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and the Giants led 24-14.

However, the Giants defense could not hold and the Colts scored their second touchdown on their second possession of the half after a 7-play, 74-yard affair that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Marlon Mack. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Giants led 24-21.

The Giants reached the red zone on their ensuing possession but were forced to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Rosas. Both teams then exchanged punts, the Giants being forced to punt out of their own end zone.

Trailing by six points, the Colts’ subsequent possession began at their own 47-yard line with 3:43 left in the game. A 2-yard pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-3 by linebacker Tae Davis gave the Colts their first first down. Luck then scrambled for 14 yards and threw four consecutive passes for a total of 22 yards down to the Giants’ 8-yard line. Cornerback B.W. Webb was then flagged with a 7-yard pass interference penalty. With 59 seconds left in the game, Luck found wide receiver Chester Rogers for the 1-yard, game-winning score.

The Giants began their final desperate drive at their own 25-yard line with 55 seconds left and just one timeout. After completing two short passes for 11 yards, Manning’s deep throw to wide receiver Bennie Fowler was intercepted at the Colts’ 35-yard line with less than 30 seconds to play.

Offensively, Manning finished 25-of-33 for 309 yards, one touchdown, and one interception for a QB rating of 101.7. His leading receivers were Sterling Shepard (6 catches for 113 yards), Engram (6 catches for 87 yards), and Barkley (5 catches for 34 yards). However, Barkley was held to 43 yards rushing and one touchdown on 21 carries.

Defensively, the Giants allowed just 49 yards rushing, but 353 net passing yards. And after holding the Colts to just one score in the first half, the defense allowed three touchdowns in four drives in the second half. Indianapolis was 4-for-4 in red zone opportunities. The Giants forced only one turnover (interception by Riley) and only picked up one sack (by linebacker Tae Davis).

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (quad), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), center Spencer Pulley (calf), defensive end Kerry Wynn (finger), linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion), quarterback Kyle Lauletta, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion) and defensive end Mario Edwards (calf) left the game with injuries and did not return.

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

  • Head Coach Pat Shurmur (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)

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

Dec 222018
 
Alec Ogletree, New York Giants (December 9, 2018)

Alec Ogletree – © USA TODAY Sports

[contentblock id=1 img=html.png]

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT – FOUR OUT AGAINST COLTS…
Not practicing on Friday were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (quad), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), center Spencer Pulley (calf), and linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion). All four players have been officially ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Defensive end Kerry Wynn (thumb) and wide receiver Jawill Davis (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis. Wynn is officially “questionable” for the game on Sunday, while Davis is expected to play.

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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The team plays the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.