Oct 312020
 
Joe Judge, New York Giants (September 14, 2020)

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants, November 2, 2020

THE STORYLINE

When Big Blue Interactive began back in 1995 (originally lamely called the “Big Blue Home Page”), the New York Giants were embarking on painful 5-11 season. Nine times in that season, the Giants had a chance to tie or take the lead late in the 4th quarter. The team only scored once in those nine chances. Five games ended on the final play of the contest with the Giants winning only one of those. The team’s highlight tape that season was aptly called “So Close, Yet So Far.”

Back in those days, a quarter of a century ago, the small BBI audience was divided into those fans who called themselves “optimists” and those who called themselves “realists” (aka “pessimists). Those optimist versus realist arguments were the lifeblood of the site in its early days.

The defense had some talent (very young players such as Michael Strahan, Jessie Armstead, Jason Sehorn, and Phillippi Sparks) but was saddled with a frustrating, plodding offense led by Dave Brown, Rodney Hampton, Chris Calloway, and Howard Cross.

Coming off a 9-7 season, fans were very optimistic coming into the season until the Giants got blasted in the opening game 35-0 by the Cowboys. The game was even worse than the final score. It was a huge wake-up call. But despite that, Giants fans felt their team had a chance to win each and every week. And as mentioned, they nearly did, being in almost every single game right up to the final gun. The Giants should even have upset the eventual Super Bowl Champion Cowboys in Dallas in Week 16, but lost a last-second heart-breaker there too.

In many ways, despite the numerous personnel flaws on that team (starting with the quarterback), the 1995 New York Giants were a better team than its 2020 counterpart. The defense had more talent at all three levels. The offensive line (Jumbo Elliott, Brian Williams, Lance Smith, Doug Riesenberg, Greg Bishop) was much stronger. The running backs were Hampton, Tyrone Wheatley, Charles Way, and Herschel Walker. The receivers were not a strong group but still had Mike Sherrard, Calloway, and Arthur Marshall. The tight ends were an unspectacular group but they could block (Cross, Brian Kozlowski, Aaron Pierce).

For the past three seasons, I keep reading the same responses to my game previews: “That was depressing!” It is not my intent to be depressing. Hell, I was one of the original “optimists” who used to lock horns with the “realists” on a day to day basis. It would also not be a good business model for me to intentionally depress my customers. But my credibility would be completely shot if I did not interject some “realism” into the conversation about this team. Some of you may have caught my dramatic change in tone as soon as Saquon Barkley was lost for the season with a potentially career-altering injury. Yes, I feel strongly he was that important to ability of this team to compete and win under the new coaching staff. His loss was catastrophic. With him, the Giants probably had a good chance to win the pathetic NFC East. Without him, they will have trouble staying out of the basement.

The 2020 New York Giants have TWO major  problems:

(1) Lack of talent. I’ve repeatedly mentioned my concerns at running back (with Barkley out), wide receiver, and tight end in addition to the growing pains on the offensive line on the offensive side of the ball. The 2019 defensive back class for the team (3 picks) now looks like a disaster and the defensive backfield is suffering because of it. The Giants obviously lack a premier edge rusher too.

(2) Lack of confidence. Losing is something you can get used to, and you can start to expect it. You can actually train your brain to lose and become a “loser.” There really isn’t a major talent difference between the 80 percent of the teams in the NFL. Those who expect to win have a major advantage over those who don’t. There is no other explanation for largely average Eagles and Cowboys to own the Giants for almost the past decade. Even when the games were tight, in the end, the Giants made the loser’s mistake because they expected to lose. You know it because you could feel it too.

We know how to fix problem #1. Get better players. Problem #2 is far more difficult. Coach Judge could have made substantial inroads into turning the mentality of the team around had the Giants beat the Cowboys and Eagles in the past few weeks. But they didn’t. And the team has one win and confidence remains in the toilet. I can’t overemphasize the opportunity that was lost here. In real terms, “leading” the NFC East at 3-4 would have been a joke. But in terms of overall confidence, the needle would have been pointing in the right direction. The mindset would have begun to change. Instead, the Giants blew it.

I’m not sure where the team goes from here. The last nine games should be very telling.

THE INJURY REPORT

  • RB Devonta Freeman (ankle – out)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (shoulder/toe)
  • WR C.J. Board (concussion – questionable)
  • OG Will Hernandez (positive COVID test – out)
  • CB Darnay Holmes (neck)
  • CB Ryan Lewis (hamstring – doubtful)
  • S Adrian Colbert (shoulder – out)

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH

Head Coach Joe Judge on turning the team’s confidence around: “I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not a huge believer in that to begin with. In terms of does one game affect another game, I don’t really think so. I think you have to show up and whether you won last week or lost last week, it’s about what you do preparing this week and how you execute on the field for 60 minutes. That’s going to dictate the results of that game. I respect the question, I understand exactly where you’re coming from. My personal mindset and philosophy doesn’t really tie too much into how one game affects another one.”

THE FINAL WORD

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 5-2. The New York Giants are 1-6. The Bucs dramatically lead the NFL with +80 point differential. In other words, they are not just beating teams, they are blowing them out. The 1995 Giants would have kept this game close, but the I doubt the 2020 version will.

My focus remains on Daniel Jones, Andrew Thomas, Nick Gates, Matt Peart, Shane Lemieux, and Darius Slayton. Fingers crossed on all of these players.

Oct 302020
 
James Bradberry, New York Giants (October 22, 2020)

James Bradberry – © USA TODAY Sports

EXCEPT FOR WILL HERNANDEZ, ALL PLAYERS BACK TODAY…
As previously reported, New York Giants left guard Will Hernandez tested positive for COVID and was sent home on Thursday. Hernandez remains at home and was officially placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. He will not play on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The good news is that the seven other players and two coaches who were also sent home as a precaution have passed the COVID testing protocols and returned to the team.

The two coaches were reported to be Outside Linebackers Coach Bret Bielema and Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson. The players were offensive linemen Nick Gates, Spencer Pulley, Shane Lemieux, Cam Fleming, Andrew Thomas, and Chad Slade as well as wide receiver Binjimen Victor.

OCTOBER 29, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
RB Devonta Freeman (ankle) and OG Will Hernandez (positive COVID test) did not practice on Friday.

WR Sterling Shepard (shoulder/toe), CB Darnay Holmes (neck), and S Adrian Colbert (shoulder) were limited in practice.

WR C.J. Board (concussion) fully practiced.

RB Saquon Barkley, who is on Injured Reserve with a torn ACL, partially tore the meniscus, and sprained MCL, underwent surgery today.

THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube/Giants.com:

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Saturday (11:30AM-1:15PM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will also address the media.

Oct 292020
 
Will Hernandez, New York Giants (October 7, 2018)

Will Hernandez – © USA TODAY Sports

WILL HERNANDEZ TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID…
New York Giants left guard Will Hernandez has tested positive for COVID and been sent home. He was also officially placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. Seven other players and two coaches were also sent home as a precaution.

The Giants issued the following written statement:

“Late last night, we were notified that a Giants player tested positive for COVID-19. The player was immediately self-isolated, and the contact tracing process was initiated. All of the player’s close contacts were identified and were informed to remain home today. Those individuals will participate in meetings remotely. We are working closely with the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer regarding next protocol steps. Quest Diagnostics Training Center will remain open, and the rest of the team will follow their normal practice and meeting schedule.”

The two coaches are reported to be Outside Linebackers Coach Bret Bielema and Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson. Aside from Hernandez, offensive linemen Nick Gates, Spencer Pulley, Shane Lemieux, Cam Fleming, and Andrew Thomas did not practice and were sent home. The other two players were not identified by the team, but are believed to be Practice Squad players offensive lineman Chad Slade and wide receiver Binjimen Victor.

“We’ve been fortunate in that there’s really no high-risk guys within the tracer contacts,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “We have some precautions we have to take as a team. We’re optimistic to get all these guys back. We’re operating that we’re going to have them back right now.”

OCTOBER 29, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Officially, RB Devonta Freeman (ankle), OG Will Hernandez (positive COVID test), OC Nick Gates (COVID quarantine), OC Spencer Pulley (COVID quarantine), OG Shane Lemieux (COVID quarantine), RT Cam Fleming (COVID quarantine), and LT Andrew Thomas (COVID quarantine) did not practice on Thursday.

WR Sterling Shepard (shoulder/toe), WR C.J. Board (concussion), CB Darnay Holmes (neck), and S Adrian Colbert (shoulder) were limited in practice.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

NEW YORK GIANTS ASSISTANT COACHES ADDRESS THE MEDIA…
A video clip compilation of the media sessions with the following New York Giants assistant coaches on Wednesday is available at Giants.com:

  • Quarterback Coach Jerry Schuplinski
  • Running Backs Coach Burton Burns
  • Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert
  • Tight Ends Coach Freddie Kitchens
  • Offensive Line Coach Marc Colombo
  • Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer
  • Outside Linebackers Coach/Senior Assistant Bret Bielema
  • Inside Linebackers Coach Coach Kevin Sherrer
  • Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Friday afternoon (12:30-2:30PM). Head Coach Joe Judge, the team’s coordinators, and select players will also address the media.

Oct 272020
 
Corey Coleman, New York Giants (November 18, 2018)

Corey Coleman – © USA TODAY Sports

OCTOBER 27, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Although an official injury report was not issued, RB Devonta Freeman (ankle) and WR C.J. Board (concussion) did not practice on Tuesday.

CB Darnay Holmes (neck) and S Adrian Colbert (shoulder) were limited, wearing red non-contact jerseys.

CB Brandon Williams , who was placed on Injured Reserve in late September with a groin injury, returned to practice. Williams was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Williams played in 45 regular-season games with three starts, accruing 38 tackles and five pass defenses. He missed all of 2019 with a shoulder injury. The Giants signed him in late August 2020 and he played in two games for the team in September. He is primarily a special teams player.

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The Giants have signed linebacker Trent Harris from the team’s Practice Squad to the 53-man roster. Harris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Practice Squad of the Patriots. The Miami Dolphins claimed Harris off of waivers in September 2019. He played in 11 games with three starts with the Dolphins, accruing 20 tackles and 1.5 sacks. The Dolphins cut him in early September 2020 and the Giants signed him to the Practice Squad on October 14th.

The Giants also terminated the Practice Squad contract of center Javon Patterson, who was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2019 NFL  Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts waived him on September 5th.

The Giants re-signed wide receiver Corey Coleman, tight end Rysen John, and safety Montre Hartage to the Practice Squad.

Coleman was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He had brief stints with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots in 2018 before signing with the Giants in October of that year. The Giants placed Corey Coleman on Injured Reserve in July 2019 with a torn ACL knee injury and cut him in early September 2020.

John and Hartage were waived/injured in early September with hamstring injuries. John was an undrafted rookie free agent signed by the Giants after the 2020 NFL Draft. Hartage originally signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft and the Giants claimed him off of waivers in April 2020.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on Giants.com.

Coach Judge also broke down game film for fans. See video on YouTube.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Wednesday and return to practice on Thursday. The assistant coaches will be available to the media on Wednesday.

Oct 252020
 
Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (October 22, 2020)

Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles 22 – New York Giants 21

QUICK RECAP

Over the past decade, there haven’t been many team-to-team match-ups that are as one-sided as NYG vs PHI. To say the Eagles have had the Giants’ number would be an understatement worthy of laughter. No matter who the quarterbacks are, no matter who the head coaches are, NYG has been seeing PHI in their nightmares. In fact, the last time the Giants beat the Donovan McNabb-led Eagles in consecutive match-ups was 2008. Brandon Jacobs led the team in rushing, Kevin Boss led the team in receiving, Antonio Pierce led the team in tackles, Corey Webster led the team in pass break ups, and Eli Manning was 27 years old. A lifetime ago. Despite that history and the fact that NYG came into this Thursday Night game with a 1-5 record, there was some hope and extra energy. The NFC East was crumbling, and the Giants were coming off a win against Washington. Had they won this one, they had a credible shot at being tied for first place in the division by the end of week 7. This had a “big-game” feel to it and the Eagles entered the night as arguably the most banged-up team in the NFL.

The aggressive Eagles’ offense had their downfield weapon and Giants killer, DeSean Jackson, back in the lineup. They went to him on the first two plays of the game as they marched down the field. They converted a 4th-and-1 attempt en route, as PHI leads the league in 4th-down attempts since Doug Pederson became their head coach in 2016. Carson Wentz powered his way into the end zone on a 1-yard run to put the home team up early.

The first blunder of the night occurred as the NYG punt team came onto the field following their initial offensive drive. They kept the offense on the field for 4th-and-3 before making the switch to punt at the last moment. PHI was scrambling as they tried to hurry and get their punt return team on the field as the defense darted off. They left the NYG gunner, Corey Ballentine, uncovered. He was, literally, all by himself with nobody between him and the first down marker. Punter Riley Dixon noticed, somehow Ballentine didn’t. The ball was snapped, and Dixon had no choice but to boot the ball back to PHI. An enormous missed opportunity! Winning teams capitalize on mistakes made by opponents. It is one of the simplest, basic, and everlasting components to the game. NYG isn’t there yet.

PHI went 3-and-out on the next drive and thanks to a 14-yard punt return, NYG began with the ball at the PHI 39. If you have paid attention to Jason Garrett’s tendencies while with DAL, this is a part of the field he loves to get aggressive on first down. On the first play, Jones threw a dime just over the head of the Eagles’ defender into the hands of Golden Tate, who made a strong catch and broke the tackle to easily jog into the end zone. NYG tied it up. The lead didn’t last long, as PHI used an inch-by-inch, foot-by-foot approach with the screen game being featured numerous times to put up another 3 points via a 31-yard field goal by Jake Elliott.

Daniel Jones got the Giants to midfield on the next drive, as the game plan was clearly heavy on getting the ball to Evan Engram. They were handing the ball off to him and they were throwing to him often in the passing game. On this 8-play drive, Engram was targeted four times, possibly one too many. PHI showed an aggressive double inside gap blitz on 3rd-and-7 and Jones took the shotgun snap and wanted to get rid of it in a hurry. He rifled the ball to Engram, with maybe too much juice on it, and Engram was slow to get his head around and just couldn’t grab the ball in time. It deflected off his hands and was intercepted by Jalen Mills. Turnover number 9 on the year for the second-year quarterback.

PHI failed to take advantage of the interception, as Carson Wentz threw one back to NYG on an ill-timed decision. James Bradberry came down with his third interception of the season and his second in as many games. Only two players in the league have more interceptions than Bradberry, a fantastic free agent signing for this team and maybe one of the best in the NFL this past offseason.

The two offenses traded possessions before NYG had one more shot with just under a minute left in the first half starting at their own 35. On Dion Lewis’ first touch of the game, he fumbled and gave PHI the ball at the 42. The third turnover in 5 drives reminded everyone watching what exactly the NFC East was in 2020. PHI got the ball close enough to take three shots at the end zone but had to settle on a 29-yard field goal attempt. Elliott lined up and missed it. An ugly second quarter was over with PHI up 10-7.

The two teams traded 4 straight three-and-outs to start the second half. NYG then started to take over. Daniel Jones dashed 80 yards before getting tripped by the turf. He was heading toward the end zone but lost his balance and fell. They ended up scoring a touchdown on a 1-yard Wayne Gallman run so this can now be laughed at. Even the best athletes in the world have the occasional slip up but NYG needed 4 plays and a PHI pass interference to get the 8 yards needed for the score. Had they not punched it in, this would have been the poster-play that sums up current state of the Giants organization.

NYG stopped PHI two more times as the Eagles offense was stalling. Already up 4, NYG put together a 15-play drive that began at the PHI 3-yard line after PHI failed on a 4th-and-goal attempt. PHI helped out with a 3rd-down pass interference and a too-late challenge by Pederson that would have went in their favor. Jones ended up hitting Sterling Shepard on a zip-line 2-yard pass to put NYG up 21-10 with just over 6 minutes left against an offense that looked completely broken. They were without multiple receivers, their starting running back, multiple offensive linemen, and their top two tight ends. It then took just over 1:30 for PHI to score a touchdown, a 3-yard pass to Greg Ward. A failed two-point conversion attempt maintained the NYG lead at 21-16, however. PHI would need a defensive stop and a touchdown in the final 5 minutes to win this one.

NYG gained 27 yards on their first three plays, all Gallman runs. On 3rd-and-7, Jones dropped back and threw one downfield to Engram. Many have been banging the table for more downfield passes to the gifted Engram, one of the top athletes in the NFL at the position and the most-targeted pass catcher of the night. They had the match-up and space they wanted. The throw was on the money. Engram reached out his arms and hands but dropped it. The clock stopped, it was 4th down, and NYG had to punt.

PHI needed 71 yards with just over 2:00 left. They got 53 of those yards on three plays using their third string tight end and backup running back. They were inside the NYG 10-yard line just like that. A face mask penalty pushed PHI back to the 18-yard line which may have ended up hurting the NYG defense more because they struggled to defend space. On the next play, Wentz hit Boston Scott on a top shelf throw just over the hands of Jabrill Peppers. PHI was up 22-21. They failed the two-point conversion attempt again, as NYG continued to defend short spaces well, and there was 40 seconds left but NYG didn’t have a timeout.

NYG got the ball to their own 32 on the first play but Will Hernandez was called for a hold. Instead of 2nd-and-3 from the 32, it was 1st-and-25 from the 15 and they had used 6 seconds. Two plays later Jones was sacked for the third time on the night and fumbled, giving the ball back to PHI. His third lost fumble of the season and 10th turnover.

NYG loses 22-21.

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 20-30 / 187 yards / 2 TD-1 INT / 91.9 RAT

Jones added 92 yards on 4 carries, including 80 of them on one run that will be on blooper reels for years to come. He also added a lost fumble on the final NYG offensive play. Another game, another performance where we saw some really good things and some really bad things. The Jones apologists will say that Engram should have caught the pass that was intercepted and the fumble at the end of the game didn’t matter because there was little to no chance of them advancing the ball far enough for a game-winning field goal attempt. The haters will simply add them to his massive career turnover total. This is the deal; the pass on that interception had too much on it because Jones thought pressure was coming before it was actually coming. I do think Engram could have turned his head sooner but very few, if any, players are catching that ball. I keep saying we need to see Jones make improvements with his ball security. The fumble at the end of the game, albeit it did not directly lose NYG the game, further strengthens this is an enormous problem that can prevent NYG from winning when the roster is better. He made a few nice throws, he made some athletic plays, but he isn’t putting it all together yet.

RUNNING BACK

-Wayne Gallman: 10 att / 34 yards / 1 TD and 5 rec / 20 yards

Devonta Freeman suffered an ankle injury and Gallman was the one who took over in the backfield. All 10 of his carries were from the 3rd quarter on. Gallman’s stat line isn’t overly impressive but he was a big part of the NYG offensive “surge.” He ran the ball really well and gained several yards after contact. He has been a better back than advertised despite limited opportunities and unfortunate team circumstances. With Dion Lewis’ fumble and overall lack of impact here, I expect Gallman to get more and more touches in future games.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Sterling Shepard: 6 rec / 59 yards / 1 TD

It was Shepard’s first game back since Week 2 on September 20th. He looked quick and shifty from the slot and came up with a few key grabs, including a 2-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter that put NYG up by 11. It is easy to forget the gap between Shepard and his replacements until you see him back out on the field after missing a few games. He is a really explosive short-route runner who can consistently gain separation. While he is limited and can now be labeled an injury prone player, he is a key piece to this offense moving forward.

-Golden Tate had just 1 catch, which was a 39-yard touchdown. It was an impressive play on the ball but don’t let it cloud the fact he went the rest of the game without an impact. Not what you want from a starting outside receiver who has the third-highest cap number on the team. Speaking of no impact, Darius Slayton finished with 2 catches for 23 yards on 4 targets. PHI corner Darius Slay handled him well for the majority of the night.

TIGHT END

Evan Engram: 6 rec / 46 yards and 2 att / 3 yards

It was clear that Jason Garrett wanted to make Engram the key focus of this game. He led the team with 9 targets and the Giants continue to try to get him the ball in space via outside runs. It is hard to ignore Engram’s potential impact with his size/speed/explosion combination that very few have. However, his greatest weakness in the passing game from day one has been his inconsistent hands. He had 7 drops as a rookie and it appears to have become a mental block. This was not an issue in college, I scouted him thoroughly. He has 5 drops this year, and it is near a point where you almost have to give up on him because of it. Pass catchers can be slower than ideal, you can work around it. Pass catchers can be shorter than ideal, you can work around it. However, if you don’t catch the ball consistently you cannot be focal point in a good offense. End of discussion.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-We have seen some shaky performances from Andrew Thomas and this one may have been the worst. We can only hope that this is the low point of his rookie year. He allowed 2 sacks, 3 pressures, and a TFL. The league is attacking his inside shoulder on a weekly basis, and he needs to clean that up right now. The quickest route to the QB from the edge position is through the inside shoulder of the tackle. You have to protect that first, then protect the edge. He is over setting and playing too top heavy. He has a lot of work to do on his pass protection.

-Will Hernandez had a tough game against a really tough match-up. He allowed a TFL and a pressure and was also flagged for a hold on the final drive that really stung because of how ill-timed it was. Lateral movement just doesn’t come natural for him. Kevin Zeitler finished with his top grade of the season, which isn’t saying much. However, it was encouraging to see him play well on short rest against a tough opponent. He did allow a TFL, though.

-Cameron Fleming allowed a TFL and a sack. Not much to say here other than I still think his days are numbered as a starter. I do wonder if there is a trade market for him out there. There are a few contenders that are really thin at tackle and I did hear there was a long list of suitors who wanted him as their swing tackle prior to signing with NYG.

-Center Nick Gates was really good in this game. He has been evolving weekly and may be the best lineman on this team at the current moment. This was against a really tough PHI interior defensive line. He is the one guy who is constantly chasing the action downfield looking for a defender to pick off. Love the hustle and love the production he had in this one.

EDGE

-Kyler Fackrell is now in this position group as opposed to the linebackers. It looks like he has made the full time move to the outside. He had 3 tackles and 2 pressures to go along with 1 missed tackle. His ability to move inside and out is really special and rare, to be honest. There really aren’t many players in the league who can handle that kind of back-and-forth move. While we aren’t talking about an elite talent, his role is really important and hard to find. When looking at the draft prospects, I am constantly trying to find a credible skill set comparable to this and it doesn’t come around often.

-Markus Golden had a 1 sack and 1 pressure and was promptly traded to ARI the day after. Even though NYG could not afford to lose any more EDGE talent, Golden wasn’t an ideal fit and he won’t be a long-term fix. I am actually impressed that NYG netted a 6th round pick for him. The Cardinals really needed talent at that spot with the loss of Chandler Jones, though.

-Cam Brown played a career high 12 snaps and didn’t make an impact but his movement and size stand out. With the Golden trade now in the rear-view mirror, expect him to start seeing more and more snaps. That will be fun to watch.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-One thing that has bothered me is how often this group gets blown up. I think Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham is sending them on a lot of designed slants, and depending on what the play call is, they get completely washed out. The Eagles offensive line was playing multiple practice squad-caliber guys and they still held their own against a NYG line that is supposed to be the strong point of this team. The match-up just didn’t swing in the Giants’ direction the way I was expecting.

-Leonard Williams finished with the top grade among the DL with 2 pressures and 1 tackle. He caused a lot of re-directing in the PHI running game. Dalvin Tomlinson had 3 tackles and a pressure in addition to a pass break up. He had a bad missed tackle however and was completely pushed down the field twice that opened up big running lanes. Dexter Lawrence had a tackle, a sack, and a pressure. B.J. Hill had 3 tackles and a sack that was negated by a NYG penalty. Lastly, Austin Johnson had 1 pressure and 1 tackle.

LINEBACKER

-Mr. Reliable Blake Martinez led the team in tackles yet again, this time with 9. He also added 2 pressures and a pass break up. Don’t take his play for granted simply because it happens every week. He is playing at such a high level.

-Devante Downs got the start even though David Mayo was back. He finished with 5 tackles and a pressure that led to an intentional grounding penalty early in the game. For a guy who has struggled so far this year, it was his best performance. Mayo was on the field for just 10% of the defensive snaps and finished with 2 tackles, 1 of which was on special teams. I think this job will belong to Downs for the time being.

CORNERBACK

-This group struggled overall. James Bradberry did haul in his 3rd interception of the season on a nicely played ball in the end zone. I was actually curious to see if he could handle DeSean Jackson because of the shifty speed he brings to the table. Bradberry excels against bigger receivers who don’t get in and out of breaks as well. Jackson did catch passes of 12 and 9 yards on the first drive of the game, but was held pretty quiet after that until injured. Bradberry did miss a tackle and was flagged for a pass interference on the PHI game winning drive.

-For the second week in a row, Ryan Lewis was torched down the field late in the game. He also got flagged for an illegal contact penalty. Teams will now test him more and more down the field.

-Corey Ballentine allowed a 3rd-and-10 conversion early on. He played under 20% of the snaps and I think he needs to start getting phased out of this defense. He just isn’t playing well and he doesn’t seem to mentally grasp the speed of this game. Speaking of mental gaffes, the mistake of not realizing he was uncovered on the NYG punt was an enormous missed opportunity that could have really changed the complexion of this game. Ballentine was also responsible for a 15-yard illegal hit penalty on the punt before the game-winning drive by PHI.

-Madre Harper, an undrafted rookie from the Raiders, saw a lot of playing time late and was promptly torched by the PHI passing game. In addition, he was flagged twice.

SAFETY

-Logan Ryan had a really solid game, as it looks like he played more safety than corner in this one. He had 2 pressures and a pass break up in the end zone. His biggest mistake, however, was a holding penalty on 3rd-and-goal from the 5-yard line on the final PHI drive. It gave them new life and two plays later they scored the game-winning touchdown. Awful timing on what was really his lone glaring mistake.

-Jabrill Peppers has minimal football sense. First of all, he fair caught two punts where he had 10+ yards of open space in front of him. Secondly, his man coverage of Boston Scott on the game- winning touchdown throw was atrocious. He came too hard downhill, knowing he didn’t have any help behind him against a back who accelerates quickly in a situation where you knew PHI was going to take a shot at the end zone. Talent at safety is useless if you don’t fully understand game situations. He did have 6 tackles and a sack.

-Julian Love had 7 tackles and a pass break up. Solid game for him where he read the action well and flowed in the right direction consistently.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Graham Gano didn’t attempt a field goal. He apparently strained a quad on a kickoff, and it would have been a struggle for him to go for a long game-winning field goal had NYG gotten far enough up the field on their final drive.

-P Riley Dixon: 6 punts / 44.2 avg / 42.0 net

3 STUDS

-LB Blake Martinez, OC Nick Gates, RB Wayne Gallman

3 DUDS

-OT Andrew Thomas, TE Evan Engram, CB Corey Ballentine

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

  1. Carson Wentz has become a completely different QB over these past two seasons, not in a good way. One can understand his happy feet in the pocket because of the poor OL play and lack of receiver-talent, but his poor decision-making should be alarming. He is trying to do too much and making throws that can’t be excused even by his biggest supporters. He leads the NFL in turnovers. They’re stuck with him for a while and they better pray this is a short-term speed bump.
  1. I respect the PHI coaching staff as much as any in the league. Their awful 2-point conversions play calls aside, these guys adjust to the game situation as well as anyone. They have been ravaged on offense with injuries two straight seasons. They don’t make it look pretty, but they get the job done.
  1. PHI is now the front runner of the division, no doubt. As they start to get some guys back on offense, I think they will be set up nicely to get to the 8-9 win mark, which we know won’t be touched by anyone else in the NFC Least. I wouldn’t want to play them in the playoffs, either. Their pass rush is top 3 in the league and they have a lot of guys who know how to win.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. Speaking of “knowing how to win,” that is the biggest component this young NYG team needs to acquire in the coming months. I think it is an overused line by the media at times, but when a team is making the most amount of mistakes late in the game (drops, penalties, allowed sacks, etc.), that is a sign of pressing and getting mentally defeated by the moment. Eli Manning played his best football late in games. Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan came up big late in games. While the team needs to continue to add better personnel, these players need to step up when the game is on the line consistently. They won’t go anywhere worth getting excited about until that happens.
  1. Last week, I discussed how this would be a big test for this team in regard to the future. A short week, a big game that meant a lot to the divisional standings, and response to coming off a win. It went so well for 3 and two-thirds of a quarter. Their defense was coming up big, notably in the second half, and their offense was adjusting well and turning opportunities into touchdowns. Ultimately, they failed the tests. Is this something we will keep on seeing? Or will they adjust and grow from the experience and end up being on the other side of this next time?
  1. Joe Judge emphasized getting smart, sound players during his initial interviews after being hired. He did this moreso than most coaches and their cliché lines. After 7 games, I can see what he means more than ever. If Corey Ballentine, Cameron Fleming, and Jabrill Peppers had higher on field IQ, this team may have 3 wins. If Evan Engram had mental toughness, this team may have another win. If this offensive line handled stunts and twists more naturally, this team may have another win. I know the “if” department doesn’t get anyone anywhere. However, when scouting players for the upcoming draft, that is something I am really going to key in on. NYG will be placing more value on it than ever.
Oct 242020
 
Markus Golden, New York Giants (September 8, 2019)

Markus Golden – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have traded outside linebacker Markus Golden to the Arizona Cardinals for a 6th-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Giants signed Golden an an unrestricted free agent from the Cardinals in March 2019 and re-signed him August 2020. Golden had a strong debut season with the Giants in 2019, starting all 16 games, playing 83 percent of all defensive snaps, accruing a career-high 72 tackles, and team-high 10 sacks.

This year, Golden has played in all seven games, starting one contest. He was credited with 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one pass defense.

The 6’3”, 260-pound Golden was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. Golden’s break-out season was in 2016 at linebacker when he accrued 51 tackles and 12.5 sacks. He missed 12 games in 2017 with an ACL injury. While he returned in 2018, he missed five games and saw his production slip to 30 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Oct 232020
 
Jabrill Peppers, New York Giants (October 22, 2020)

Jabrill Peppers – © USA TODAY Sports

OCTOBER 23, 2020 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Friday to discuss his team’s 22-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles (the video is also available on Giants.com):

Q: There was a report that Saquon’s (Barkley) surgery is scheduled for next week. Is that true and do you have any other information on that?

A: At this point, I don’t have any information on that. I have to check with Ronnie (Barnes) and see when everything is final. I know Saquon was with us this weekend on the trip. As far as when his surgery can officially take place, I don’t have a date right now specifically myself. But I’ll talk to Ronnie when we’re done here about a lot of guys today.

Q: How did Devonta Freeman come out of last night? I know he had the ankle. Were there any other meaningful injuries coming out of the game?

A: Again, I have to check with a lot of guys in terms of where they’re at today with Ronnie. But I would say with Devonta, he finished the game for us. He’s been obviously playing through a bunch of nicks and bumps like a lot of guys in the league are at this point in time. But he’s a tough dude. He never complains, so you’d never really know anything is wrong with him.

Q: You guys have seen seven games of Andrew Thomas now at left tackle. I’m just curious what has he done that makes you believe he deserves to be the starting left tackle still?

A: He’s done a lot. Andrew’s a good guy to build with. We have a lot of plans long-term with Andrew. He’s the kind of guy we want to work with, both physically and his personality off the field. We have a lot of confidence in Andrew. We’re going to keep working with him and developing him going forward. I fully expect Andrew to have a very productive, long career in this league. We enjoy him being a Giant.

Q: A follow up on Andrew, do you think his confidence has been hurt at all with the struggles he’s gone through?

A: I see him coming to work every day with a good attitude, effort and energy. When you see guys with confidence issues, normally the urgency goes down. I see this guy work tirelessly every day, so no. He’s a pleasure to be around right there. Look, he’s a young player who’s still learning to develop in this league. Nothing is going to be perfect all the time. We need to keep doing a good job of coaching him and bringing him along.

Q: What do you need to do to sort of clean up some of the mistakes that keep showing up time and again?

A: I think with any young player, it always comes down to just fundamentals, that you can execute your technique at the right time against the speed of the game.

Q: In the last three weeks and maybe throughout the season, the two-minute defense has struggled. Is there a common thread there?

A: They’re all different opponents and they attack you in different ways. We’ve had different personnel on the field throughout all those games for the most part, some changing parts. Look, we just need to do a better job of coaching the situation and executing as players. Everyone has to raise their level of play. That’s something that we have to work on as a team, and need to see marked improvement going forward.

Q: The other thing quickly was Graham Gano, it looked like he tweaked his kicking leg. Could he have kicked last night a long one?

A: Yeah, Graham finished the game for us. We had no plans of changing anything we would have done with him differently. We’ll see where he’s at physically today. But he kicked the ball really well for us last night. To answer that question for you, you can easily see a lot of times with kickers based on their kickoffs. In terms of the plan on kicking a long field goal, you look at Graham, the hang time and the distance he had on the kickoffs, I think that kind of shows you where his leg was at last night. We moved the ball around a little bit and placed the ball differently. But when we asked Graham to go ahead and bang the ball, he banged it pretty good and put it deep in the end zone with good hang time. That answers your question right there in terms of where we thought he was physically last night.

Q: When a player has a play like Daniel’s (Jones) run last night that sort of ended ignominiously, it kind of takes on a life of its own. That’s sort of the social media world we live in. Is that any part of your purview to help him get through that part of it? And what you saw on that play?

A: I thought he made a nice run. Look, we’d like him to stay up and finish it. He stumbled. That’s something you don’t want to happen. Look, internally, that’ll be something eventually we’ll be able to laugh about. Right now, we’ll correct some techniques and things. I thought Jason (Garrett) made a good call at the right time. Daniel did a good job on the mesh as far as hiding that thing, disguising it and pulling it. He made a real nice run to get down there. It was a huge gain for the team, put us in a position to score and the team capitalized on it. In terms of the social media part of it right there, look, the internet is undefeated. There are funny things all over the place. You just need to have a sense of humor. When someone sends you something or shows you something, you have to be willing to laugh at yourself sometimes.

Q: Your next game is a day before the trade deadline. How does last night’s game affect what you’re going to do in the next 10 days leading up to that?

A: We haven’t really had too many conversations as of yet as far as how that would affect anything right there. Our focus right now with this long weekend is just reviewing what we’ve done the first half of the season, coaching and playing, and making sure when the players come back that we’ve made some adjustments going forward. That can be something in terms of how we practice, how we prepare, techniques we’re using with certain players, whatever that may be. We’re kind of treating this a little bit right now like we would in a bye week. It’s a good opportunity for the players to get physically refreshed, mentally refreshed, and when they come back on Monday, getting back into ball with those guys.

Q: When you looked at the Evan Engram play, the drop near the end of the game, did you think he should have caught the ball? If so, is there anything wrong with a head coach frankly saying, ‘I think he should have caught the ball’?

A: I think everyone has their own style right there. To me, across the board, it’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback for a lot of people. We expect our players to perform in critical situations. Evan put us in position to be in that part of the game yesterday with how he performed. I thought he did a good job showing up, he was very productive for us. I like the way he comes to work, prepares and battles. Look, we’ll address that internally with how we can do things. I have no complaints on how Evan comes to work, what kind of teammate he is, and what he’s helping us build going forward right there. With how some other head coach wants to handle that, that’s on them.

Q: Coaches always say when you’re trying to build a team and gain confidence as a team, when you get some positive reinforcement, it’s easier. They win and you can point out mistakes and also point out things they did well. With so little winning this year, does it make your job harder to try to get positive reinforcement and build a team where there is so much losing that comes as a result of that?

A: I’ve always been very blunt and honest from day one. Regardless of if it’s coming off the field after a hard practice, coming off the field after a win or a loss, they are getting the same personality and feedback regardless. When you do something good, I’m going to highlight it and point it out. When you do something wrong, I’m going to show that to the team as well and make sure we correct it. Everyone has to learn the lesson. In terms of trying to use wins or losses at times to motivate or address players, to me you just have to be consistent on a daily basis. You don’t have to wait for the right time to correct someone, the right time to get motivation for somebody. The thing is to be consistent as a coach every day, so the players know what to expect coming in. They’ve been very consistent and very repetitive the entire way as well, all of them. I understand what you’re saying, I’ve worked for a lot of coaches who have said in the past, ‘hey, you can correct more after a win and after a loss you have to kind of pick them up.’ I’m going to be honest with you, that’s not really my personality. I think you just tell it like it is and people aware. They take the corrections as they come.

Q: I know you said you haven’t had much time to discuss the trade deadline. Any of those decisions, do you expect to have input on those decisions? Kind of like free agency and the draft with personnel.

A: We’ve had great synergy in the building since I have been here with everybody involved. We’ve been very open with a lot of discussions and talking through the personnel. Whether that was free agency or the draft, training camp or final cuts. There’s been great communication across the board. I expect that to continue. We’ve done a good job working together as a team.

Q: Any moves you do make, and I understand you haven’t made any and you don’t know if you will, any moves that you do make, do you have to consider what kind of message that sends to the locker room? How that affects some of the young guys’ development? Say it was an offensive guy, do you have to consider the ripple effect from those moves?

A: I don’t know that there needs to be an assumption that there is going to be a string of moves anyway. Right now, I think if I comment on a lot of this, all of the sudden you have players kind of anticipating what are we looking to do. I’m very clear with the players from day one that any decision we make is in the best interests of the team. That’s something I told them from day one and I always reiterate that to them. However, just because there is a trade deadline coming up doesn’t mean there is going to be a string of moves or something we’re going to have to look to go ahead and do and flip a lot of things. We always have personnel conversations. We always discuss (inaudible). We always make sure we’re on the same page. This week is no different just because there is a deadline approaching.

Q: How do you balance as a head coach trying to put the best team on the field for this year and looking at the big picture of wanting to continue to build around a young roster? Maybe not give up draft picks or assets at the deadline.

A: Part of the question you guys ask me every week, who do we expect to play at certain positions. I’ve been telling you every week, anyone at the game is going to play. We’re into developing all of our players. Whether that’s rotating linemen at different positions, getting a couple new DB’s in, make sure they are getting exposure. Make sure guys are getting reps in the kicking game. We saw TJ Brunson got into the game yesterday for the first time. He made a real nice play on kickoff. Went down there and showed what we have been seeing at practice for the time right now. We’re looking to develop our players all the time. To me, we’re going out there to be competitive and win every game every week. We’re not racing for some kind of a draft pick, that’s not our priority right now. We’re trying to go out there, we’re trying to win, that’s our goal as an organization. In terms of bringing players along, we’re using every player we have to develop to the future. We’re always thinking about the future in what we do. The future includes the Sunday game coming up that week as well as the long-term picture. The balance is always how it works off each other all the time anyway.

Q: I was curious with the Madre Harper late hit last night and then the hit on Desean Jackson, just your thoughts on seeing that on film and how you addressed it internally with Madre?

A: We haven’t had team meetings yet, so I haven’t had a chance to look at the tape before addressing Madre. I talked to him in the locker room. I’ll keep that conversation between me and him right now. When we have team meetings on Monday when the players come back, anything we have to correct, we will.

Q: After the game last night, Evan Engram was understandably down, given his performance. He’s had a rough start to his year. I’m just wondering what’s your approach in keeping his confidence up. Not letting his struggles manifest in his performance moving forward.

A: I’m not going to try and be a psychologist with him. I’m going to let him know right now, he’s an important player for us. He makes a lot of big plays. He put us in a position last night be competitive down the stretch. We all have to coach better, we all have to make plays and execute on the field. To me, there is not a player on our team that needs to worry about confidence or these questions about confidence issues. Confidence comes from practice, execution, and then in-game success. In terms of Evan as a player, we have all the confidence in him possible. We’re going to keep giving him the ball, keep making him the focal point of our offense. We expect him to keep showing up. He did a lot of good things for us last night.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Saturday and Sunday. There will be no media availability to the team on Saturday-Monday.

Oct 232020
 

“Thank You Sir, May I Have Another!” – © USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 22 – NEW YORK GIANTS 21…
The New York Giants snatched defeat from the claws of victory on Thursday night as they watched a 21-10 lead late in the 4th quarter vanish in minutes as the Philadelphia Eagles won 22-21 in dramatic style. The Giants fell to 1-6 on the season and have now lost 13 of their last 14 games against the Eagles.

Despite the closeness of the score, the Eagles significantly out-gained the Giants in first downs (27 to 17), total net yards (442 to 325), and net yards passing (359 to 187). The Giants did out-rush the Eagles (160 to 96), but 80 of those yards came on one run by quarterback Daniel Jones. The Eagles also won the turnover battle (3 to 1).

Philadelphia received the ball to start the game and promptly marched 75 yards in 11 plays, the possession culminating with a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Carson Wentz. The Giants gained one first down and punted on their first possession, pinning the Eagles down at their own 11-yard line. After an 8-yard sack by safety Jabrill Peppers on 3rd-and-9, Philadelphia punted and Peppers returned the ball 14 yards to the Eagles’ 39-yard line. On the very next snap, Jones threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Golden Tate and the game was tied at 7-7.

The Eagles followed that up by driving 57 yards in 13 plays on their third possession, setting up a 31-yard field goal that regained the lead 10-7. Both quarterbacks exchanged interceptions on the next two drives, with cornerback James Bradberry picking off Wentz in the end zone for a touchback. After each team punted, running back Dion Lewis fumbled the ball away to the Eagles with less than 50 seconds to play in the half. Fortunately for New York, the Eagles missed a 29-yard field goal with 15 seconds on the clock.

At the half, the Eagles still led 10-7.

Neither team could pick up one first down on four consecutive drives to start the 3rd quarter. On the first play of the Giants’ third drive of the second half, Jones broke off an 80-yard run which should have resulted in an 88-yard score, but he tripped over his own feet and was tackled at the 8-yard line. Nevertheless, three plays later, running back Wayne Gallman scored from 1-yard out after an Eagles’ penalty and the Giants led 14-10.

Both teams went three-and-out again late in the 3rd quarter. The Eagles then began an 8-play, 66-yard drive that ended on downs with an incomplete pass on 4th-and-goal at the Giants’ 3-yard line. With momentum on their side, the Giants appeared to put the game away with an impressive 15-play, 97-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Jones to wide receiver Sterling Shepard on 3rd-and-goal. The Giants now led 21-10 with 6:10 left to play.

However, a New York defense that has struggled all year late in halves did so once again. The Eagles quickly drove 78 yards in four plays to cut the score to 21-16 (2-point conversion failed). New York was flagged with two penalties on this drive, including an illegal contact infraction that wiped out a sack. The big play was a 59-yard pass by Wentz to the New York 14-yard line.

The Giants got the ball back with 4:34 to go in the game. Gallman gained 24 yards and two first downs on the first two plays of this possession. It appeared the Giants would put the game away on 3rd-and-7 when Jones hit tight end Evan Engram for what should have been a big first down but Engram dropped the ball. The Giants were forced to punt.

Philadelphia started their game-winning drive on their own 29-yard line with 2:02 left in the game. Again, it was far too easy for the Eagles as they drove 71 yards in six plays. The score came after a penalty on a perfectly-thrown 18-yard touchdown pass on 1st-and-goal against Peppers. The 2-point conversion failed again, but the Eagles led 22-21 with 40 seconds to play.

The Giants did have one final shot to set up a game-winning field goal, but their first play resulted in a penalty, their second play resulted in an 8-yard completion, and their third play resulted in a sack-fumble-turnover to end the game.

Jones finished the game 20-of-30 for 187 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and one fumble. His leading targets were Shepard (6 catches for 59 yards and a touchdown) and Engram (6 catches for 46 yards). Jones rushed for 92 yards on four carries. No other player gained more than 34 yards on the ground.

The defense allowed two long, late 4th quarter touchdown drives to lose the game. The Giants picked up three sacks (Peppers, linebacker Markus Golden, and defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence). The Giants also got 10 hits on the quarterback and defended seven passes.

Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

STERLING SHEPARD ACTIVATED OFF OF INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants activated wide receiver Sterling Shepard off of Injured Reserve on Thursday afternoon. Shepard was placed on Injured Reserve on September 23rd with a turf toe injury.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
The Giants activated WR Alex Bachman and LB Trent Harris from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were WR C.J. Board (concussion), CB Darnay Holmes (neck), S Adrian Colbert (shoulder), TE Eric Tomlinson, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, and DE/LB Jabaal Sheard.

RB Devonta Freeman (ankle) left the game in the 3rd quarter.

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

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

Oct 212020
 
Game Preview: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, October 22, 2020

THE STORYLINE

Yes, the stupid competitor in me says there is still a chance. Unbelievably, at 1-5, the New York Giants are only one game behind the division “leading” 2-4 Dallas Cowboys (who also currently own the head-to-head advantage too). Indeed, had the Giants not lost a very winnable game against the Cowboys, one where they led both early and late, New York would be in first place right now with a chance to go 3-0 in the division on Thursday night. That’s crazy.

But this is fool’s gold. The Giants are not a good team. The offense has scored more than 16 points in a game only once. They are 31st in yards and scoring. (Thank you Jets!) While the defense is more respectable, they have continued an excessively annoying inability to stop the other team late in the 2nd and 4th quarters. As expected, fan ire has turned on the usual scapegoats, the quarterback and the coaching staff. Despite the attempts of myself and others to repeatedly warn others about the shocking lack of talent on the offensive side of the ball (especially after the loss of Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard), many fans simply refuse to accept reality. They don’t seem to recognize that defenses stacked the box against Barkley and put a linebacker and safety on him on passing plays, opening things up for everyone else.

I told my wife this week, “If you put the skill position players from all 32 teams in a field and had the teams pick players one at a time from that group, you’d have a bunch of New York Giants left there at the end.” Yes, it is that bad. But we now have fans complaining that Jason Garrett doesn’t know how to use a tight end! (Actually, think about that statement for a moment). Or Daniel Jones is a bust because he’s not putting up 30 points a game with a washed up Golden Tate and undrafted rookie Austin Mack playing wide receiver. The team’s leading rusher isn’t a running back. And the Giants are still playing musical chairs on the offensive line. Dave Brown had much better offensive talent around him in the 1990s, and that’s saying something.

One of the craziest posts I saw this week is the suggestion that the Giants trade for a wide receiver. This is a 1-5 team that is probably going to win about 3-4 games this year and one that has already traded away two of its seven 2021 draft picks (we have five picks left). Even if by some miracle the Giants were able to win the NFC East with a 5-11 or 6-10 record, so what? You can’t rebuild a ball club by trading away picks, even low ones. How far away are the Giants from being a serious contender? Look no farther than the Junior Varsity 49ers beating the Giants 36-9 last month.

OK, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s look to the 1-4-1 Philadelphia Eagles. They are obviously struggling too. And like the Giants, they come into this game with a lot of injury issues. Statistically, the Eagles are better on offense than the Giants but worse on defense. On paper, this looks like a toss-up. But there’s that ugly, little sticking point: the Eagles own the Giants. They have won 12 of the last 13 games. And until proven otherwise, the Giants will continue to be their little bitches. It sucks. One of my son’s best friends is an Eagles’ fan. Do you think he wants to hear it from his friend again?

THE INJURY REPORT

  • RB Dion Lewis (hand – probable)
  • WR Darius Slayton (foot – probable)
  • WR C.J. Board (concussion – out)
  • LB Tae Crowder (hamstring – out – on Injured Reserve)
  • CB Darnay Holmes (neck – questionable)
  • S Adrian Colbert (shoulder – out)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE

    The curious decision by Joe Judge to carry four wide receivers is starting to impact the Giants. At one point last Sunday, the team was down to two healthy wideouts: the washed up Golden Tate (19 catches for 156 yards and no touchdowns) and undrafted rookie free agent Austin Mack who was playing in his first game (Mack finished with one catch for one yard). With below average journeyman C.J. Board out and Darius Slayton still battling a nagging foot injury, the Giants are on shaky ground here. Unless they activate Sterling Shepard from IR, they obviously need to bring up another body from the Practice Squad such as Binjimen Victor, Alex Bachman, or Derrick Dillon. Needless to say, even a mediocre Eagles defense is not trembling in their sneakers.

    As I expected and predicted last week, the Giants featured the ground game as New York ran the ball more than they passed. This includes Daniel Jones, who has now become a viable weapons with his feet. Opponent game plans are obvious, don’t let Slayton or Evan Engram beat you. Once again, I would think the Giants go into this game on Thursday with a heavy emphasis on the ground attack. Not only has it been easier to run on the Eagles than throwing (just like the Redskins), but by doing so, the coaching staff protects the weapon-deprived Daniel Jones and the still-evolving offensive line. It’s boring. It is isn’t conducive to scoring a lot of points (see last Sunday). But in a game that will probably be decided by the turnover margin (again, like the game against the Redskins), it’s probably the smart choice.

    Say what you will about the Eagles’ defense (12th against the pass, 21st against the run), they are still well-coached and are filled with players who are simply used to owning the New York Giants, especially up front at the line of scrimmage. If Joe Judge and Jason Garrett are going to turn this “rivalry” around, then it must come up front. Judge says the Giants will continue to rotate at offensive tackle, with Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, and Cam Fleming all receiving playing time. The Giants need a strong game from the interior trio against old nemesis Fletcher Cox and company.

    Run the football. Keep down-and-distance situations manageable. Don’t do anything stupid.  In a low-scoring game, punting and winning the field position battle are often the right choice.

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE

    Patrick Graham is doing a darn good job given the issues the Giants have at edge rusher and in the secondary. The one glaring exception to that is the continued inability to play respectable defense at the end of both halves of each game. That has bitten the team in the ass repeatedly this year, costing them games and almost costing them their first win. They have to clean that up. It’s becoming a mental thing.

    The problem that Graham is facing now is that the linebacking position has taken a big hit. In a matter of a couple of weeks, they have lost Lorenzo Carter (starter who was playing better), Oshane Ximines (who was starting over Markus Golden), and Tae Crowder (a new starter who won the game last week). Yes, the Giants are still getting good linebacker play out of Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell, but to lose three starters at one position is a hit that even good teams can ill-afford. The loss of Crowder stands out in this contest as he is the type of mobile, athletic linebacker the Giants have lacked in their match-up with Eagles’ tight ends and running backs in coverage.

    Darnay Holmes also dealing with a neck injury has also complicated matters. Last week, the Giants were forced to shift Logan Ryan inside to corner and play Julian Love, who had been benched, at safety. The good news is that Ryan Lewis appears to have settled down the corner spot opposite of James Bradberry somewhat. Still, this is a very shallow group that simply cannot afford another injury.

    The Eagles are really beat up on the offensive side of the football. Some of their key injured players will play, but some important ones who have killed the Giants in the past such as tight end Zach Ertz and running back Miles Sanders will not. Nevertheless, it always seems like some no-name player on the Eagles makes a name for himself on national television against the Giants. Again, if Judge wants to turn this “rivalry” around, that shit has to stop.

    The Eagles are 27th in offense (26th in passing, 13th in rushing). Stating the obvious, stop the run. Make Carson Wentz and his injured receiving corps beat you. Control the line of scrimmage against an offensive line that has also been dealing with injury issues and struggling. This is the time for the big boys up front to earn their paychecks. Most importantly, with the game on the line late in the halves, stop the other team!

    One final note, I hope the defense keeps an eye on quarterback Jalen Hurts. He can be used in a variety of ways on trick plays.

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS

    If the Giants are going to win this game, I think they have to win the turnover battle and I think they have to make an impact play on special teams. And this would be typical of a Giants-Eagles game. Now would be an opportune time for a blocked kick.

    FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH

    Head Coach Joe Judge on Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ offense: “It all goes through No. 11 for them right there. He’s a big armed quarterback, can make any throw he needs to on the field, so you have to defend the entire field. What that does is that opens up the deep balls with guys like (DeSean) Jackson coming back this week and Alshon (Jeffery – late note: Jefferey won’t play). It also opens up the tight ends underneath and the running backs. They’re great catch-and-run running backs. You can create a screen or a check down for these guys… I think Carson’s doing a really good job. I think when he runs the ball, he’s a big, physical, tough guy. He can extend plays. You can’t just tackle this guy like any quarterback. You have to treat him like a running back in the open space. You have to wrap him up and get him on the ground. This guy runs physical. You watch that run against Baltimore last week, he’s not looking to get out of bounds. He’s looking to extend it vertically and gain as many yards as he can. This guy is a good quarterback.”

    THE FINAL WORD

    The Eagles may be struggling, but if you watched them against the Ravens last week, you see there is no quit in that team. They are one of the very best coached teams in the game on offense, defense, and special teams. And probably most importantly, they expect to beat the Giants. Why wouldn’t they?

    I wrote this last week: “If the Giants beat Washington and go on to win several more game this year, that will be a positive step in the right direction. But if this is another case of a meaningless, temporary feel-good win against a bad Washington team followed by loss-loss-loss-loss, then it won’t mean much.”

    What will it be New York?

    Oct 202020
     
    Jabaal Sheard, Indianapolis Colts (December 29, 2019)

    Jabaal Sheard – © USA TODAY Sports

    GIANTS PLACE TAE CROWDER ON IR, SIGN JABAAL SHEARD…
    The New York Giants have placed inside linebacker Tae Crowder (hamstring) on Injured Reserve and signed outside linebacker/defensive end Jabaal Sheard from the Practice Squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    The Giants selected Crowder with the last pick in the 7th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He has played in five games this year, starting two, accruing 18 tackles, one pass defense, and returning one fumble for game-winning touchdown last Sunday. Crowder must now sit out a minimum of three games.

    The 31-year old, 6’3”, 268-pound Sheard was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He has spent time with the Browns (2011-2014), New England Patriots (2015-2016), Indianapolis Colts (2017-2019), and Jaguars (2020). Sheard has played in 135 regular-season games with 103 starts, accruing 362 tackles, 51.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, and 28 pass defenses. He started 12 games for the Colts in 2019. Sheard will not be eligible to play on Thursday night due to NFL COVID testing protocols.

    In addition, the Carolina Panthers have signed safety Sean Chandler off of the Giants Practice Squad. The Giants originally signed Chandler as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. In the last three seasons, Chandler has played in 32 regular-season games for the Giants, including three games this year. Shepard was placed on IR on September 23rd and Williams on September 30th.

    OCTOBER 20, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
    The Giants held a walk-thru practice on Tuesday. The following injury report is the team’s estimation on their status:

    WR C.J. Board (concussion), LB Tae Crowder (hamstring), and S Adrian Colbert (shoulder) did not practice.

    WR Darius Slayton (foot) and CB Darnay Holmes (neck) were limited. RB Dion Lewis (hand) fully practiced.

    WR Sterling Shepard (turf toe) and CB Brandon Williams (groin), who are on Injured Reserve, both returned to practice. The Giants now have 21 days to decide whether to activate them to the 53-man roster or end their season on Injured Reserve.

    HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
    The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on Giants.com.

    Coach Judge also broke down game film for fans. See video on YouTube.

    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 Wednesday as the team travels to Philadelphia. The Giants play the Eagles on Thursday night.