Sep 302022
 
Kenny Golladay, New York Giants (September 26, 2022)

Kenny Golladay – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 30, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), DL Leonard Williams (knee), CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf), and CB Nick McCloud (hamstring) did not practice on Friday. All five have officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

When asked if the team had considered putting Toney on Injured Reserve, Head Coach Brian Daboll replied, “We haven’t talked about that, (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) and I. He’s getting better. He’s rehabbing, so hopefully we’ll see him out here as soon as we can.”

OLB Jihad Ward (knee), CB Aaron Robinson (appendix), and CB Justin Layne (concussion) fully practiced. All three are expected to play on Sunday.

TheAthletic is reporting that center Nick Gates will be activated off of the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List next week. Once activated, Gates will have up to three weeks to practice with the team without counting against the 53-man roster. Once that timeframe ends, he either must be added to the roster or revert to the PUP for the rest of the season. Gates suffered a serious, career-threatening lower leg injury in Week 2 of last season requiring multiple surgeries.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the team on Saturday. The Giants host the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Sep 302022
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 26, 2022)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

THE STORYLINE:
On Tuesday, Brian Daboll said something that we all have to regularly remind ourselves of: “It’s never as good as you think, never as bad as you think.” This is why I got annoyed with fans, who just a few weeks ago were predicting a 4-13 record, quickly changed their tune in anticipation of a 4-0 start after the first two wins of the season. Yes, I’m being annoyingly preachy myself. But always keep in your mind who and what this team is at this particular moment in time. It’s a rebuilding ball club that will be replacing core elements of the roster in March and April. The Giants are still so hamstrung by their salary cap situation that they can’t cut certain players who they would probably prefer to part ways with.

A poster in The Corner Forum lamented this week that some fans are now more interested in offseason than the actual season. To be honest, I find myself in that spot right now. I see 2022 as a prelude to part two of the Schoen/Daboll housecleaning and roster overhaul. I find it difficult to become too invested in a quarterback, wide receivers, and possibly even running backs who won’t be on the roster in a few months. The defense is more settled, but one gets the sense that Wink Martindale is going to make some significant changes on that side of the ball too.

What I am looking at is the process. As I’ve asked previously, will the team be better in December than it was in September? That’s what fans should be looking at. Right now, this isn’t a good team. There are going to be ups and downs. With a softer schedule, the coaches may be able to eke out a respectable record near the .500 mark. That would be an improvement…something to build upon moving forward. There is no point for fans to lose their shit on a weekly basis over an ugly win or painful loss. If that’s you, you may be better off taking a break from the team. In other words, stop living in denial and accept the reality that the Giants are at the very beginning stages of a rebuilding process.

As for this particular game, just nine months ago, on January 2nd, the 6-11 Chicago Bears humiliated the Giants 29-3. Sy’56 wrote in his game review, “This turned into as close to an unwatchable game as it gets in today’s NFL. It almost seemed like we weren’t even watching professional football.” So what am I looking for in this game? A win would be great. But I’m evaluating how the Giants of 2022 perform vis a vis the Giants of 2021 against the same opponent.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring – out)
  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee – out)
  • DL Leonard Williams (knee – out)
  • OLB Jihad Ward (knee – probable)
  • CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf – out)
  • CB Aaron Robinson (appendix – probable)
  • CB Nick McCloud (hamstring – out)
  • CB Justin Layne (concussion – probable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
We have no idea what Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll really think about Daniel Jones. We can speculate, but that’s all it is, speculation. The most important question facing this franchise is what to do at quarterback. His detractors will say he’s proven he sucks. His supporters will say despite being surrounded with a weak cast, he has done OK.

The reason why this is the #1 issue for the team is bigger than many think. If Jones is the guy moving forward, then keeping Saquon Barkley makes sense. If Jones is not the guy, and the team intends to replace him in the 2023 NFL Draft, then listening to trade offers for Barkley may be an appropriate course of action. The fate of Barkley is the #2 most important decision this team must make, and the fate of Jones and Barkley seem interconnected. If you thought drafting Barkley in 2018 was a luxury a rebuilding ball club could ill afford, then you should feel twice as strongly about it now, given that Barkley will be five years older with a major injury in his profile and costing a ton of cap space. Also keep in mind that the Giants likely won’t be picking in the top 10 in the 2023 NFL Draft and don’t have a lot of draft capital to move up in the first round for that franchise quarterback. Barkley is the team’s best offensive skill player. It’s not close. Without him, they are a much worse team. But the Giants need to listen to offers. If someone blows them away, they may have to pull the trigger.

Why am I bringing all of this up in a Week 4 game preview? Because the clock is ticking. Jones hasn’t moved the needle. It’s not completely his fault. His pass protection was a disaster on Monday and is trending in the wrong direction. He has the worst receiving corps in the NFL right now. To his credit, the team only had one turnover on Monday and that was due to a receiver falling down. So he didn’t lose the game. And the coaches continue to publicly praise him. Nevertheless, the questions remain: is Jones what Schoen and Daboll want at quarterback? Is he actually capable of dramatically elevating his game, and those around him, soon? Most fans suspect not. And the trade deadline is approaching. Teams will likely start inquiring about Barkley.

I’m rambling, so let’s cut to the chase. Every play and every game is now an evaluation of Jones. Every play and every game is an opportunity to market Barkley. The receiving situation is a joke. Take the Miami Dolphins. Tua Tagovailoa has two targets who he can throw short passes to and then watch them run 70 yards for touchdowns. Schoen and Daboll had visions of Wan’Dale Robinson and Kadarius Toney doing that for the Giants, but both can’t or won’t get on the field. The Giants passing game was going to be predicated on quick, short passes to elusive targets who would do damage after the catch. That’s gone right now. And the receivers who remain can’t separate from coverage so Daniel is left holding the ball. Sterling Shepard has likely played his last game as a Giant. Who the heck knows what happened to Kenny Golladay but if the Giants could afford to do it, he probably would have been cut by now. David Sills? Richie James? Darius Slayton? No one is afraid of these guys. Teams are going to load up against Barkley – both as a runner and receiver – and dare anyone else to beat them. 

Long story short, unless Robinson and Toney come back soon and start making an impact, the Giants simply don’t have the talent this season to run a fully functional NFL offense. Passing the 20-point margin is still a major issue for this team. And guess what? Robinson and Toney aren’t playing again. Sigh.

As for the offensive line, like last year, the injury to Shane Lemieux was a major wrench thrown into the machinery. That is not an indictment of Joshua Ezeudu. Odds are he will end up a starter this year or next. Losing Marcus McKethan also hurt as this could have been a good developmental season for him. The Giants have one stud at left tackle in Andrew Thomas. I am not yet worried about Evan Neal. I think he has the character and temperament to handle the inevitable growing pains. The Giants need better play out of Jon Feliciano (one-year rental) and Mark Glowinski (who has been too up and down). But the overall feeling is a starting player or two is missing from this group. Whether Nick Gates remains in the picture is a mystery. I doubt he is a factor this year.

What I want to see moving forward is the offensive line being physical like it was against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1. Be the tougher team. I don’t have much to look forward to on offense, but I can look forward to the offensive line mauling opponents again. This group can run block. Do it.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
I was very curious to hear Wink Martindale speak to the press this week about his unit’s performance against the Dallas Cowboys. At least publicly, Martindale was a lot more measured than I expected him to be. Privately, he’s got to be very upset about how his until got pushed around by the Cowboys’ running game. Leonard Williams is still a vastly underrated player and was missed, but the defensive deficiencies were greater than that. And snippets of Wink’s opinions did sneak through:

(Kayvon Thibodeaux) really hasn’t practiced that much since the injury. He’s done a lot of rehabbing and all that stuff, but he hasn’t done a lot of 11-on-11 work… I’m just expecting great things from him.”

There was a lot of runs Monday night where the guys were falling forward for four and five yards. We’ve got to get better knock back up front and play as a unit, all 11, and make sure we start moving piles backward that way.”

I mean, a 3rd-and-12 toss, that was one of those plays I was telling you about. Just having some football awareness with the backs in the home position, which he never is on 3rd-and-12. We’ve got to see that and recognize that as a defense.”

We’re still in the process of finding the right fits for who’s going to play inside (linebacker). I want guys who can run and hit and tackle. As a unit, as all 11, we need to tackle better. We had too many missed tackles. Like I said, going against this offense, it’s going to be a great test for us to see how much we’ve improved from Monday to Sunday.”

Overall, I think most of us understand the state of the defense. The defensive line is very thin. If something happens to Leonard Williams (like it did) or Dexter Lawerence, the Giants are in trouble up front. Darrian Beaver would be starting at ILB right now if he hadn’t torn his ACL. Wink is quickly learning that Tae Crowder is an issue. The two outside edge guys the team were counting on are way behind because of how much time they missed and are still on a pitch count. They have to play to get into game shape, but in doing so, the defense is weaker in the short term until they are fully ramped up. Meanwhile, the secondary is still a bit shaky due to the lack of depth at corner.

Wink is all about his defenses being physical. Being pushed around like his defense was on Monday has to be killing him. They have to get back to playing like they did in Week 1 against Derrick Henry. Be the more physical team… at all three levels of the defense. They are going to tested this week. The Bears have only thrown the football 45 times in three games. That’s an average of 15 attempts (not completions, attempts) per game! Part of that is their quarterback is not very good throwing the ball, but a lot of it is the Bears have a physical offensive line, a quarterback who can do damage with his feet, and two backs who can tote the rock (although David Montgomery is a bit banged up).

The key to beating the Titans was stopping the run. The Giants did that and won. The key to beating the Cowboys was stopping the run. The Giants failed to do that and lost. The key to beating the Bears is stopping the run. Tune in Sunday.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Giants special teams were up against the Panthers. Except for Graham Gano, they were down against the Cowboys. There was a long return and a blocked field goal. My guess is most of the Giants’ games this year will be close. In those type of contests, special teams can actually decide as many as four or five games (one season, the Eagles won almost half their games because of their special teams). Historically speaking, Thomas McGaughey’s coverage units have been very good. They haven’t so far this year. The injury to Nick McCloud is bigger than many of us realize.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale on the Chicago Bears:One of the reasons why they’re 2-1 is playing complementary football. They’re running the football, trying to control the clock and playing good defense. The biggest thing is, I don’t want to say you take away the runs, but you better limit the big runs, the explosive runs.

THE FINAL WORD:
One of the best comments I read in The Forum this past week was a poster stating that when every game you play is close, you’re going to win some of those and lose some of those. Those are just the odds. There is something to that, especially when your team has so many question marks still at so many positions. So from here on out, I think all we can expect are mostly tight football games that will either end on positive or negative note. Nevertheless, my guess is the team that is more physical on Sunday will prevail. The Giants had better strap on their chin straps and get to work.

Sep 292022
 
Jihad Ward and Henry Mondeaux, New York Giants (September 26, 2022)

Jihad Ward and Henry Mondeaux – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 29, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), DL Leonard Williams (knee), CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf), and CB Nick McCloud (hamstring) did not practice on Thursday.

OLB Jihad Ward (knee) and CB Aaron Robinson (appendix) were limited in practice.

CB Justin Layne (concussion) fully practiced.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The Giants have re-signed running back Antonio Williams to the Practice Squad. The Giants had waived Williams from the 53-man roster earlier this week. To make room for Williams, the team terminated the Practice Squad contract of offensive tackle Roy Mbaeteka.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice again on Friday (11:45AM-1:15PM). Head Coach Brian Daboll, the position coaches, and select players will also address the media.

Sep 282022
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 26, 2022)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS PLACE STERLING SHEPARD ON IR, PROMOTE FABIAN MOREAU…
As expected, the New York Giants have placed wide receiver Sterling Shepard on Injured Reserve. Sterling tore the ACL in his left knee against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday. To fill his roster spot, the Giants signed cornerback Fabian Moreau to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. Moreau was temporarily elevated to the active roster for the past two games.

The Giants signed Moreau to the Practice Squad in early September. The 6’0”, 204-pound Moreau was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He has spent time with Washington (2017-2020), Atlanta Falcons (2021), and Houston Texans (2022). The Texans released him in August. Moreau has played in 78 regular-season games with 34 starts. In 2021, he started all 16 games for the Falcons and finished the season with 61 tackles, 11 pass defenses, and one fumble recovery.

On Tuesday, the Giants waived RB Antonio Williams. The Giants signed Williams in January 2022 to a reserve/future contract. The 5’11”, 215-pound Williams was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Bills after the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent most of his two seasons with the Bills on their Practice Squad.

The Giants still have one spot open on their 53-man roster.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
In addition to promoting cornerback Fabian Moreau to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad, the Giants also terminated the Practice Squad contract of LB Charles Wiley on Tuesday. The 6’2”, 251-pound Wiley was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2022 NFL Draft. The Ravens cut Wiley in late August 2022.

The Giants also signed WR Makai Polk and CB Olaijah Griffin to the Practice Squad on Wednesday.

The 21-year old, 6’3”, 197-pound Polk was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Baltimore Ravens after the 2022 NFL Draft. The Ravens waived him in late August. Polk was on the Practice Squad of the Ravens until they cut him on Tuesday.

The Giants claimed Olaijah Griffin off of waivers from the Buffalo Bills on August 15th and waived him two weeks later. The 23-year old, 6’0”, 175-pound Griffin was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Bills after the 2021 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season the Bills’ Practice Squad.

SEPTEMBER 28, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The Giants conducted a walk-through practice on Wednesday. The following practice status is a projection:

WR Sterling Shepard (knee), WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), DL Leonard Williams (knee), OLB Jihad Ward (knee), CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf), and CB Nick McCloud (hamstring) would not have practiced on Wednesday.

CB Aaron Robinson (appendix) and CB Justin Layne (concussion) would have been limited in practice.

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday afternoon (12:45-2:30PM). The coordinators and select players will also address the media.

Sep 282022
 
Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants (September 26, 2022)

Kayvon Thibodeaux – © USA TODAY Sports

QUICK RECAP

The Giants entered Week 3 undefeated for the first time since 2016. To provide context, that’s when they faced off against Kirk Cousins and the Redskins with leading rusher Matt Jones (retired 4 years ago) and top receivers DeSean Jackson (currently a FA) and Pierre Garçon (retired 3 years ago). Point is, this was a lifetime ago and the NYG faithful showed up to the stadium in team’s first ever “white out” amped and ready to rock as their team, in throwback all-whites, took on the 1-1 Dallas Cowboys in their road-blues that still, after all these years, just never look right.

Dallas came into the game with one of the most banged up offenses in football. They were without starting quarterback Dak Prescott, starting left tackle Tyron Smith, starting left guard Connor McGovern, starting receivers James Washington and Michael Gallup, and starting tight end Dalton Schultz. NYG came into this one relatively healthy, as outside linebackers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari were on the field for the first time this season but without Leonard Williams. Advantage NYG.

Thanks to a holding penalty by third string left guard Matt Farniok, the DAL opening drive stalled near midfield. Once again, NYG was aided by a DAL penalty, this one defensive holding by linebacker Anthony Barr on third down which gave the NYG offense new life. A drive loaded with play-action and creative play design landed them in field goal range. Graham Gano came onto the field for a 47-yarder, but it was blocked by Dorance Armstrong who found a hole on the right side in the middle of the line, a theme of the night.

DAL put up the first three points of the game via a 26-yard field goal despite two more of their own penalties. NYG responded with three points as the game was now in the second quarter. Tony Pollard, the game’s leading rusher, broke off a 46-yard run on the next drive, landing them inside the NYG 20. The NYG defense held them to three points, however. That was where the score stayed for the rest of the first half. NYG did gain momentum on their two-minute drive at the end of the second quarter but another questionable offensive pass interference (this one called on Sterling Shepard) cancelled a play that would have landed NYG in field goal range. For the third straight week, NYG went into the half with under seven points.

The offensive line clearly did not come out of the locker room with a solution to getting absolutely man-handled by the DAL front. Had it not been for a questionable illegal contact penalty on corner Jourdan Lewis, NYG would have been three-and-out. Instead, the offensive line and offense overall got a second chance. The pass rush pressure remained constant, but Daniel Jones accrued 30 yards on two separate scrambles. Nevertheless, he was sacked twice and center Jon Feliciano was flagged for being illegally downfield on a 14-yard screen pass to Saquon Barkley. They settled on a 51-yard field goal attempt that Gano nailed through the uprights.

For the first time of the night, the Martindale defense forced a three-and-out against the DAL offense that was missing their starting quarterback, left tackle, left guard, two receivers, and tight end. More Jones scrambling and more creative play design landed NYG in DAL territory. Desperately in need of an explosive play, Barkley broke off an incredible 36-yard run that gave NYG their first and only touchdown of the night. It also gave NYG their first and only lead of the night.

It was time for Martindale and the NYG defense to contribute their side of winning football. They had played solidly to this point with minor hiccups here and there. Here we were in the back half of the third quarter and DAL had just 6 points and hadn’t scored a touchdown. DAL faced almost no resistance as they put together a nine-play drive, all of which gained yards. Ezekiel Elliott scored a one-yard touchdown (his 10th in 11 games vs NYG) to tie the game up at 13 as the fourth quarter began. NYG’s next drive stalled at midfield and DAL scored their second touchdown in as many drives via a one-handed catch by CeeDee Lamb. In a matter of nine minutes of game clock, the game went from 13-6 NYG to 20-13 DAL.

DAL padded their lead to ten via a 44-yard field goal with just over six minutes remaining. NYG was forced into pass-only situations as they needed chunk gains to have a shot at tying it up before the end of regulation. Jones faced more pressure than ever before in his career, and that is saying a lot. Somehow, they managed to get into field-goal range (with the help of a facemask penalty called on corner Kelvin Joseph) and Gano came through again on a 51-yarder.

Down seven, NYG was now in the phase of the game where they had to get a stop and call a timeout. Thankfully a bonehead play by the DAL offense, a failed third-down conversion that ended with tight end Jake Ferguson going out of bounds, stopped the clock at 1:52 as NYG was without a timeout. NYG had one more shot, albeit starting from their own 9-yard line. On the fourth play, after an Evan Neal false start, Jones was intercepted by 2021 All-Pro corner Trevon Diggs (who dropped an earlier INT) after David Sills fell out of his break. To add insult to injury, Sterling Shepard went down with a non-contact lower body injury and was carted off the field.

NYG loses, 23-16.

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 20/37 – 196 yards / 0 TD – 1 INT / 57.9 RAT

Jones also added 79 yards on just 9 carries (8.8 per). He was under duress the entire night against a formidable DAL pass rush and behind a leaky offensive line, especially the right side. It can be very hard to accurately evaluate a performance like this one. Listen to any quarterback talk about Jones and they will tell you it is almost impossible to play a normal version of the position in that kind of environment. If anything, I actually put this game in the “positive pile” when thinking about where his status will reside in January. Jones made a few tough throws, he had receivers drop multiple balls, and the DAL secondary was on point. Jones’ scrambling was 90% of the Giants offensive success. His accuracy was there, the juice on the ball was there, and his decision-making was there. Unfortunately, he is throwing to JV receivers behind a freshman-team offensive line.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 14 att – 81 yards – 1 TD / 4 rec – 45 yards

18 touches for the team’s best player by a country mile, in a tight game where NYG had a second-half lead and where the passing game simply was not working. More on that awful note down below. Barkley’s touchdown run was about as nice a play as you are going to see in this league. The vision, the quick adjustment, the jump cut, and the breakaway speed can be such a downright lethal combination. If NYG wants their best shot at winning games, his touches need to be north of 20 at a bare minimum week in, week out and probably closer to 30. There is no debating it. He is ready and he is the one guy who changes the feeling of the entire offense when he gets the ball.

-Matt Breida has one carry for 3 yards on a 3rd-and-1 conversion. He did not see a ton of action but did allow 2 pressures in the fourth quarter in a pass protection role. The coaching staff needs to keep that weakness in his game in mind moving forward when Barkley comes off the field.

WIDE RECEIVER

-I am going to start it off with Sterling Shepard. The 7th-year veteran led the team with 5 catches and 49 yards in what I expect to be his final game in a Giants uniform. He tore his ACL simply jogging up the field on the final offensive play of the game. Not sure if I have ever seen anything like that before. No cutting. No contact. No sudden burst. Just a light jog and he went down. I don’t want to kick the 29-year old while he’s down, but it was a poor night for a guy who is viewed as a leader on the ship that is being turned around. He had two drops and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct that led to a 15-yard swing in field position in the second half of a tie game. Fortunately for him, Barkley worked his magic and scored the team’s lone touchdown a few plays later. It was a bonehead mistake by a player that knows better. I like what Shepard had brought to the field and locker room over the years and I loved him out of Oklahoma in 2016. But he never quite got over the hump we were hoping he would. Sad to see him go out that way.

-Richie James and David Sills, starting receivers on an NFL football team, combined for 6 receptions for 56 yards. James also gained 4 yards on a carry. I don’t have much to report here. They were man-handled in coverage. The DAL secondary is better than most people know and these two just had no business trying to separate from them.

-Earlier in the week, Kenny Golladay (the highest paid player on the team) said, “I should be playing regardless.” I thought to myself and tweeted out, “Regardless of what?” Regardless of not being able to get open? Regardless of running routes like he has cinderblocks tied to his ankles? Regardless of last being a factor in this league three years ago? He had two shots at coming up with a big play in this game. He got his hands on the ball both times and both times the ball hit the ground. The second time, a fourth-quarter blatant drop was about as bad as you are going to see at the worst possible time. Regardless of anything, Golladay should continue to be forced to prove he deserves playing time. Nothing is free, go earn it.

TIGHT END

-Daniel Bellinger caught 4 passes for 40 yards. He was a key focal point early in the game, going 3 rec / 34 yards in the first half. I was encouraged by his ball skills and quickness turning up the field. He has a sudden element to his game with the ball in his hands. Paired with his size and we are looking at someone who can turn into a focal point of the passing game soon. His blocking is still a work in progress. He gets in position, but the staying power isn’t there yet. Another thing he absolutely needs to improve is his chip blocking. He whiffed or made minimal impact several times and it hurt the pass protection in a big way.

-Chris Myarick allowed a sack and 2 pressures. He was brought into the game to help with pass protection, but did the opposite. Very poor showing for a guy who makes zero impact as a playmaker.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Evan Neal had a rookie performance similar to what we saw out of Andrew Thomas on October 22, 2020 (Thomas’ rookie year). Neal ended this one with 3 sacks, 3 pressures, 1 false start, and a half-TFL. He was overmatched, plain and simple. The game looks a bit too fast for Neal right now. He was getting beat to his outside over and over, as that right foot just wasn’t getting off the ground and up the edge. He had a productive night in the running game and there were some solid recovery plays, but there is no disputing the fact he got crushed. These are called growing pains. And the thing I will be looking for will be his response in the coming weeks.

-Speaking of Thomas, he was near-perfect again. I noted just one pressure and that is hard to believe considering how much Jones was running away from blue jerseys all night. His run blocking was dominant as well. Just tremendous movement off the ball. The combination of twitch and power he plays with reminds me a lot of a young Tyron Smith.

-The interior was torched all night. Again, Jones just had no pocket to step up into, and because of that, he needed to evade laterally. When that happens, all hell breaks loose in pass protection. The lack of stability up front compounds the issue. Mark Glowinksi allowed 4 pressures. Ben Bredeson allowed 1 pressure and had a holding penalty cancelled by an intentional-grounding throw by Jones. He was also on the losing end of many battles in the running game. And Jon Feliciano allowed a TFL, a pressure, and was flagged for illegally blocking downfield on a 14-yard gain by Barkley. He also had a sack cancelled by a DAL penalty in the defensive backfield. Awful performance by this trio, just awful. Bredeson also was at fault for the blocked field goal in the first quarter.

EDGE

-The much anticipated return and debut of #5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux was a bit scaled back as they restricted his playing time due to the knee. It was an underwhelming performance. He had 1 pass break up and a pressure (unblocked). He also lost the edge on two DAL runs to the outside. Thibodeaux looked hesitant. He didn’t have a power game on contact and the get off rivaled what we see out of Oshane Ximines.

-Azeez Ojulari made his 2022 debut a well. He was just as quiet, finishing with just 1 tackle and was shut out as a pass rusher in his 30 snaps. Ximines had 2 pressures (1 from the outside and 1 from the inside) while Jihad Ward had 6 tackles along with a pass break up.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-Leonard Williams missing a game due to injury for the first time in his career was deeply felt along the front. NYG allowed 178 yards on 28 carries to the Dallas dual-threat backfield and there was just one pressure by the group that included a lineman actually beating a blocker. That was by Dexter Lawrence, who also added 5 tackles and was a force inside. The likes of Nick Williams, Justin Ellis, and Henry Mondeaux lacked gap integrity for most of the night. They failed to come up big in key short yardage situations and the linebackers behind them just could not make up for it.

-D.J. Davidson played 12 snaps, one of which he jumped offsides on a 3rd-and-1.

LINEBACKER

-We saw a little more linebacker action against the run-heavy attack. Micah McFadden and Austin Calitro saw 30 and 13 snaps, respectively. The former, McFadden, had 3 tackles and 2 pressures, one of which he was untouched. He missed one tackle. McFadden has some all-or-nothing to his game. He is a bit of a risk taker and while I think that fits in well with this defense, I’m not sure his pure athleticism and recovery speed can handle that style play.

-Tae Crowder had 5 tackles and led the team with 4 missed tackles, a horrible number for a number one inside linebacker in a game where the defense was trounced in the running game. He showed poor effort on the Elliot touchdown where he didn’t even ponder trying to wrap up one of the best tackle-breakers in the league. He just ran into him and hoped it would work. Poor game by him.

CORNERBACK

-After an impressive first 2 weeks, we saw the ugly in Adoree’ Jackson. He was beat several times, including once for a touchdown that, in all honesty, he couldn’t do anything about as it was a brilliant throw and catch. But besides that, he was beat downfield by Lamb, allowed 7 catches total, and missed a tackle.

-Cor’Dale Flott did get the starting nod but I don’t think the staff trusts him yet, not for 60 minutes anyway. Fabian Moreau out-snapped him 39 to 19. Flott had a bad missed tackle and I saw more contact-based issues in coverage. He doesn’t look ready for the strength and power of the NFL game. His contact is light and easy to get by.

-Darnay Holmes had a quiet game. He wasn’t challenged much and had just one tackle. He was beat twice in the running game where he had outside responsibility. He also got away with two separate, blatant defensive-holding penalties as he continues to play too dependently on his hands.

SAFETY

-Xavier McKinney was the one star of the game defensively. He had impressive back-to-back plays where he recorded a TFL (the only one of the game for NYG) and then broke up a deep ball to CeeDee Lamb where he ran with him step for step and tracked the pass exceptionally well.

-Julian Love led the team with 14 tackles and added a pressure. The jack-of-all-trades didn’t miss one tackle and was often the last line of defense against an offense that could have easily had a few more explosive plays. Dane Belton saw just 11 snaps and looked overwhelmed in coverage a couple times. The game is moving a bit too fast for him right now.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Graham Gano 3/4 (Made 42, 51, 51, had one blocked)
-P Jamie Gillian: 3 punts / 45.0 avg – 35.7 net

3 STUDS

-S Xavier McKinney, OT Andrew Thomas, RB Saquon Barkley

3 DUDS

-OT Evan Neal, WR Sterling Shepard, LB Tae Crowder

3 THOUGHTS ON DAL

1. Say what you want about a division rival and the shortcomings of Mike McCarthy and the Super Bowl drought. This team deserves a ton of respect for how well they’ve played without their starting quarterback, multiple pieces along the OL after losing 2 starters to free agency, and three main targets in the passing game. This is a sign of a winning team. They find ways to win, even though they’re missing a chunk of strong personnel, rather than just making a ton of excuses and complaints.

2. How far can DAL go? Let’s assume they eventually get their OL back together later in the year when Smith is ready. Let’s assume they get the likes of Michael Gallup, James Washington, and Dalton Schultz back in the next month. And let’s assume they get full-strength Dak Prescott back before Halloween. We have every reason to believe they will contend not only for the division, but the conference. Their defense has the upside of being special and if that offense can elevate their game just one or two levels, they have the goods.

3. How did DAL get here? Did you see the graphic that ESPN put up? They lead the NFL in players on the current roster that they drafted. I noticed this when maintaining their depth chart for Ourlads. While the number can be fluid based on practice squad / IR spots – I have 37 out of 53 players taken in the draft by this team. You can add in a few undrafted free agents as well. For reference, 24 of the currents Giants 53 were drafted (8 of those were from this past year alone). Jerry Jones is on the wrong end of jokes sometimes (he got fleeced in the Amari Cooper trade) but there is no disputing the fact this team knows how to draft. I’ve felt this way since I started really tracking the draft deeply in 2004.

NYG THOUGHTS

1. I took this game as a reminder. A reminder that the team itself is not very good and they’re not ready for a long winning streak. They are competitive and I do think they’re heading in the right direction. I don’t say that with a moral victory kind of tone. I firmly believe it is the truth. The change can be felt and they’re on the move upward. But bad teams find ways to lose games. In the fourth quarter, NYG was down 20-13. On 2nd-and-8, Shepard drops a ball that would have been a deep completion. Then they get flagged for a delay-of-game penalty. Then Golladay drops a perfectly placed ball on 3rd-and-13 that had a shot at gaining the first down. That is the kind of drive at the most important point of game that losing teams put together. It’s not completely out of their system yet.

2. We can continue to harp on the shortcomings of the offense. That is fair. But I am more concerned with the defense. After keeping DAL down for most of the game with some help from the refs, Martindale’s defense allowed 17 points on just over 9 minutes of game clock on three straight drives when the team needed them most. 10 guys were on the field for the Elliott touchdown (inexcusable by both players and coaches). They didn’t record one sack. They barely even touched Rush against a beat-up OL. They were tossed around in the running game. They forced zero turnovers. And DAL gained more yards in this game than the previous two respectively. You may not see it by looking at points allowed, but this was a horrific defensive performance as a result of being outplayed and out-coached.

3. What can we hope to see from this team moving forward? They have a third-straight home game coming up and it is against the Bears, a team I projected to finish with one of the worst three records in football. Both of their wins were unimpressive and their loss in Green Bay Week 2 was about as ugly as you will see in today’s NFL. This is a bad football team and especially bad on offense. The offensive line, the quarterback, the pass catchers. I am looking forward to how this regime bounces back from a loss, something we haven’t seen yet. I hope this offensive coaching staff realizes that tight games need to center around Barkley. He is way too good, and the rest of the skill positions are way too bad for him not be fed the ball over and over. I also believe this OL can perform better with that approach as well.

Sep 272022
 
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (September 26, 2022)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

STERLING SHEPARD DONE FOR THE SEASON…
As feared, wide receiver Sterling Shepard tore the ACL in his left knee on New York’s final offensive play against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. His season, and possibly career with the Giants, is over.

Shepard was selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Giants. Shepard started all 16 games in 2016 and 2018, but has now missed significant time due to injury in his five other seasons. He has never come close to cracking the 1,000-yard mark in a single season or duplicating his 8-touchdown season of his rookie campaign. In 2021, Shepard missed seven games with hamstring and quad injuries before tearing his left Achilles’ tendon in mid-December. He finished the year playing in seven games, catching just 36 passes for 366 yards and one touchdown. This year, through three games, Shepard had caught 13 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2022 BRIAN DABOLL PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Tuesday to discuss his team’s 23-16 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys (the VIDEO of the press conference is also available on YouTube):

Q: Just first off, wondering if you had any update on (wide receiver) Sterling Shepard?

A: Yeah. ACL. Got that news just about 15 minutes ago in the doctors’ meeting. And again, to reiterate what I said yesterday, he’s a tremendous person. He worked so diligently to get back, and (I) feel terrible for him that he had that injury. He’s a big part of our team, and we’ll miss him out on the field.

Q: As far as (tackle) Evan Neal, obviously a rough night. But is there anything like technically that you can pinpoint? Because I remember (tackle) Andrew Thomas’ rookie year, he was getting beat inside a lot. They hammered that point, and obviously he got better. Is there one specific thing you’re saying, ‘He needs to do this better,’ ‘We need to teach this better,’?

A: No. We just keep on building the technique. There’s growing pains. I would say it’s not just Ev (Evan Neal), which he got beat a couple times on the edge by a pretty good player. There was a lot of things we could have done better. And protection-wise after going through it, whether it’s the chips, the (running) backs, one-one-ones against the blitzers, the inside movement, the games inside. There was quite a bit of things. But Evan’s a diligent guy. We’ll work on improving him and try to be better next week.

Q: I’m curious when you went back and you looked at the tape, what did you see from your offensive line in regards to the pass protection, and why do you think it’s been a struggle here early this season?

A: Well, yesterday wasn’t just the line. Were there some plays that we got beat? Yeah. There were. I think everybody can do better. All of us, altogether. There was some stuff inside, like I said some games, some edge stuff. We can chip better. We can stay on a little bit longer. I think (offensive coordinator) Mike (Kafka) was trying to – we were going quick at times, trying to throw it quick, use seven-man protection. We used jams on I don’t know how many snaps. It was a lot. We can help in that area too and be better in those areas – whether it be tight end with the backs. Again, it was a good front. They got the best of us, and we’re going to have to continue to keep working to get better.

Q: And with Shepard out now obviously, where do you go with wide receiver? What do you look for the answer?

A: The guys that we have. Those guys are going to have to continue to work hard, build trust with the quarterback. They’ll be practicing, and hopefully we make some strides in that area.

Q: Are KT (wide receiver Kadarius Toney) and (wide receiver) Wan’Dale (Robinson) any closer? I mean, how close are they at this point?

A: They’re getting closer. Will they be ready this week? I can’t answer that yet. And from the meeting I just had with the doctors, they’re getting closer. But we’re not out of the blue yet with it.

Q: When you look back at last night and the way Daniel played given the unrest that he was in and some of the things he created, what did you see there? And what kind of a step forward was that for him for a lack of a better way to put it?

A: I think he’s made steps each game. I thought he played well yesterday. He was under some duress. He escaped. He made some loose plays. He did some things with his feet. He made some good throws. He competed his tail off. I thought all the guys competed. I thought we played hard, and we competed for 60 minutes. We just lacked on some other things that caused us to have the result that we had. I thought he was really good on the sideline. Again, I think he’s improved every game. He’s really improved every practice, and he was a good leader out there. And he competed as hard as he could compete and gave us a chance.

Q: What did you think of (outside linebacker Kayvon) Thibodeaux and (outside linebacker Azeez) Ojulari in their first game? Why do you guys think you weren’t able to generate more of a pass rush?

A: They did a good job of blocking us. There was a couple in there that we had. Again, they were on their pitch count. I thought they gave good effort. Thibs’ (Kayvon Thibodeaux) first game as a pro. Did some good things, but some things we definitely need to get better and work at. But give (the) Dallas (Cowboys) credit, too. They did a good job of blocking us.

Q: And everybody knows your smart, tough, dependable. How much of dependable is available? Is that the same to you? Do you have to be available to be dependable?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Another question about Daniel. In a game like yesterday – when he plays well, he’s facing constant pressure, but the team doesn’t win or score enough points – in the long-term view, obviously, you guys are trying to evaluate him as ‘Is he our franchise quarterback?’ Do the results ultimately define that evaluation? Or is a game like yesterday a step forward for him to prove he’s the guy despite the results?

A: That’s a good question. I think what we try to do each week is just see where we’re at for that week – evaluate the performance. Again, we evaluate the performances on past, but I thought he made good strides. Obviously not scoring enough points, and we left some plays out there on the field. But the job that he did in terms of running the offense, handling things when things weren’t always perfect. The last play he threw that pick, but it really wasn’t on him. I thought that he’s making improvement. I think that’s important as we go throughout the season.

Q: First, real quick on the wide receivers, is there any need, desire – do you even have the wherewithal to bring in somebody else on the team at this point?

A: (General manager) Joe (Schoen) is always looking and his staff. But we have those guys right now who we have. And we’re going to expect them to come out here, keep improving, work hard. We have a couple guys on our practice squad right now that maybe they come into play; they’ve been picking up our stuff. So, we’ll see as we go.

Q: The question I had was just the kind of procedural stuff of getting the right personnel on the field. It seems like that was a bit of a struggle at times last night. There were a couple of times where you guys were scrambling around a little bit. You only had 10 men on the field for the Zeke (Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot) touchdown. How do you go about fixing that, and is that something that just kind of cropped up? Or were you seeing signs of that throughout the first two games?

A: No, no I mean look, on that play on the goal line (defensive coordinator), Wink (Martindale) called for a personnel group, and there was one player that didn’t go in. So, we need to do a good job of listening to the play caller’s instructions and go in and be ready to go.

Q: You won your first two games, pretty close games. I’m sure your message to the guys was, ‘We’re not going 17-0,’ or whatever. That probably wasn’t your message. What do you have to learn out of last night? This is now your first bit of adversity so to speak in terms of results. What’s your message to these guys going forward?

A: The same that it’s been since I started. Be consistent. It’s never as good as you think, never as bad as you think. There’s certain things from week to week that we need to improve on. Win with class, and lose with class. When you lose, you even lose with more class. Own it, accept responsibility, fix the things we need to fix and move on. You’re going to have these; this is fortunately a short week. The coaches are upstairs; they’re not going to get much sleep this week, but you move on pretty quickly in this league whether you win or lose. Again, the way they prepared, the things that they did during the week, the effort that they gave – that’s what we’re looking for. Now, there’s certain things that we all can fix to be better. From week to week, I’d say that changes. There’s a consistency in how we want to do things, but something might show up this week that didn’t show up last week. And now you got to place an emphasis on that, and go out there and be consistent in your preparation. Be consistent in how you practice and get ready to play a game.

Q: Did the doctors ever explain to you – you look at Shep’s (Sterling Shepard) injury, he’s just jogging along and all of the sudden. Did they ever say, ‘It’s just what happens,’?

A: I’m thinking the same thing as you watch it. He’s just slowing down. It could have happened, I’m not saying it happened, you see a couple of plays before where he turns when he’s running an in-cut and he’s extended. He went out there on the next play and did something. Again, it kind of looked like a freaky accident there.

Q: What do you do right now with (wide receiver) Kenny Golladay to make him someone who is contributing to winning efforts?

A: The same thing we try to do with all out guys is go out there, install the gameplan with them, work as hard as he can work, build trust with the quarterback and when he has opportunities to make plays, he goes out and makes them.

Q: Does any of this mystify even you – the great football mind you are? This is a guy who had a track record in Detroit (with the Lions); I’m not suggesting he was the best receiver in the league, but he had a track record. And now you see him dropping catches frankly at practice when we’re able to watch, and you see the same results in games.

A: Every situation is different. He’s trying to put his best foot forward, work as hard as he can and I’d say that you got to, again, be consistent with what we’re doing and keep on improving. And I know he’ll try to do that.

Q: How did you think Kenny played last night?

A: He had a couple of opportunities there to go ahead and make plays. I thought he played with good effort. Obviously, we’d like to finish the play at the end of that drive in the fourth quarter, and I know he would like to, too. Again, he did the things that we asked him to do in terms of being in the right spot; and now we just got to work on finishing those things.

Q: One on Daniel, it’s kind of a play on some of the other questions that were asked. How difficult on a night like that when he is being pressured – how much do you put on the offensive line? How much do you put on the receivers? And how difficult is it to evaluate long term when those other things are breaking down?

A: You never want that to happen, but that’s a good evaluation to get, too, particularly on a quarterback when they’re under pressure or things aren’t always perfect and how can you ad lib and make plays when it’s not just exactly like it is on the play diagram. I thought he did that well.

Q: One of the things you hear a lot when these injuries keep happening, especially here, is the turf in MetLife. I was wondering where you stand on that and if you’ve looked into that at all or if you have an opinion basically on the turf versus grass debate.

A: No, I know there’s been a lot of studies. Not just here but probably in every stadium. I think, again, you look at Shep’s injury it’s – he was jogging. I’m sure that throughout the season and the offseason that we’ll sit down and discuss those type of things.

NOTES…
The Giants have lost 11 consecutive prime time games since winning in San Francisco on Monday night on November 12, 2018. They have lost seven in a row and nine of their last 10 on Monday night.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players address the media on Wednesday by conference call.

Sep 272022
 
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (September 26, 2022)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS COWBOYS 23 – NEW YORK GIANTS 16…
The New York Giants lost their first game of the 2022 season by falling 23-16 to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants are now 2-1. The Cowboys have defeated the Giants 10 times in the last 11 meetings between these two teams.

The overall team stats were not lopsided. Dallas held advantages in firsts downs (23 to 22), total net yards (391 to 336), net yards rushing (176 to 167), net yards passing (215 to 169), and time of possession (32:42 to 27:18). There was only one turnover in the game and it came on New York’s final possession. Both teams struggled on 3rd down, but the Cowboys converted on a key 4th-down conversion attempt in the 4th quarter.

The bulk of the 1st quarter was taken up by two Dallas drives and one by New York. The Cowboys ran five plays and punted on their initial possession. The Giants responded with an 11-play, 54-yard drive, but had a 47-yard field goal attempt blocked by Dallas. The Cowboys then drove 55 yards in 10 plays to set up a successful 26-yard field goal that gave them a 3-0 lead with just over two minutes left in the quarter.

New York tied the game up 3-3 on their second possession of the game, another time-consuming drive that picked up 51 yards in 14 plays and set up place kicker Graham Gano for a successful 42-yard field goal. Unfortunately for the Giants, running back Tony Pollard broke off a 46-yard run on the first play of the ensuing Cowboys’ possession. The defense held inside the red zone to force another field goal. Cowboys 6 – Giants 3.

Neither team scored for the remainder of the first half. The Giants could not pick up a first down and punted. The Cowboys picked up two first downs and punted. The Giants gained 33 yards, but turned the ball over on downs on 4th-and-10 at the Cowboys’ 47-yard line with eight seconds left. Dallas then attempted a 59-yard field that was no good.

The Giants received the ball to start the second half and proceeded to immediately tie the game up at 6-6 after driving 42 yards in 10 plays. Gano kicked a 51-yard field goal. After a three-and-out by the Cowboys, the Giants maintained momentum with their only touchdown drive of the night. On the sixth play of the 77-yard possession, running back Saquon Barkley broke off a 36-yard cutback run that gave New York a 13-6 advantage with 5:31 left in the 3rd quarter.

The Cowboys immediately responded with their first touchdown drive of the night, marching 75 yards in 9 plays with running back Ezekiel Elliott scoring from one yard out on 3rd-and-goal. The game was now tied at 13-13 near the end of the quarter.

New York reached midfield but was forced to punt. Starting at their own 11-yard line, Dallas began an 11-play, 89-yard drive that put them ahead for good. The key play was a 4-yard pass completion on 4th-and-4 from the Giants’ 41-yard line. Three plays later, quarterback Cooper Rush found wide receiver CeeDee Lamb for the 1-yard score and a 20-13 advantage.

The Giants could not gain a first down and punted again. The Cowboys returned the kick 28 yards to the New York 35-yard line. They only needed nine yards to set up a successful 44-yard field goal. With just under six minutes to play, the Cowboys were up by 10 points, 23-13.

Aided by a face-mask penalty on the Cowboys, the Giants reached the Dallas 22-yard line before an intentional grounding penalty pushed New York back. Gano kicked a 51-yard field goal with 3:37 left, making the score 23-16.

The Cowboys gained one first down and punted. The Giants had the ball with 1:45 left on the clock, but they were starting from their own 9-yard line with no timeouts. On 2nd-and-15 from the 16-yard line, quarterback Daniel Jones’ pass for wide receiver David Sills was intercepted when Sills fell down. Making matters worse is that wide receiver Sterling Shepard appeared to suffer a serious, non-contact knee injury on this play. He had to be carted off the field. Rush then knelt on the ball to end the game.

Jones finished the night 2o-of-37 for 196 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. Jones was sacked five times, officially hit 12 times, and was victimized by a number of dropped passes. No Giants’ player had more than 49 yards receiving. Barkley carried the ball 14 times for 81 yards and one score that gained almost half of his yardage total.

New York’s defense did not accrue a sack or turnover. The Dallas quarterback was only hit twice and the Giants only were credited with one tackle for a loss.

Video highlights are available on NFL.com.

ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Monday, the Giants activated DL Henry Mondeaux and CB Fabian Moreau from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster.

Inactive for the game were WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), DL Leonard Williams (knee), CAaron Robinson (appendix), CB Nick McCloud (hamstring), CB Justin Layne (concussion), and OLB Tomon Fox.

WR Sterling Shepard injured his left knee on last offensive play of the night for the Giants. He had to be carted off of the field.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Tuesday.

Sep 242022
 
Brian Daboll, New York Giants (September 18, 2022)

Brian Daboll – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 24, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
QB Tyrod Taylor (non-injury, personal); WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), DL Leonard Williams (knee), CB Aaron Robinson (appendix), CB Nick McCloud (hamstring), and CB Justin Layne (concussion) did not practice on Saturday. Wan’Dale Robinson, Aaron Robinson, McCloud, and Lane have been officially ruled out of Monday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. Toney and Williams are “doubtful” and Taylor will be available.

When asked about Toney before practice, Head Coach Brian Daboll responded, “It’s his hamstring still. We’re just trying to do right by the player, and he didn’t do anything for walkthrough, so we downgraded him… He won’t practice today.”

OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) and OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf) were limited in practice. Both are officially “questionable” for the game. “Improvement (by both),” said Daboll. “They’ve taken good steps. I think they are much better than they were the week before. Hopefully they’ll have a good day here, and we’re moving in the right direction with those guys.”

OC Jon Feliciano (shin), S Dane Belton (clavicle), and S Jason Pinnock (shoulder) fully practiced. All three are expected to play.

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Saturday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the team on Sunday. The Giants host the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on Monday night.

Sep 242022
 
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (September 18, 2022)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

THE STORYLINE:
There has never been a so consistently over-hyped NFL team as the Dallas Cowboys. Year after year, the Cowboys receive an inordinate amount of media attention. It’s really quite comical. In the last quarter century, the Cowboys have won only three playoff games. Even the times when the team has excelled in the regular season (2007 and 2016 for example), they were one-and-done in the playoffs. 2021 was likely another tease for their fan base. The Cowboys don’t have the feel of a legitimate contender and are heading towards their third decade of futility.

That’s what makes the New York Giants’ recent impotence against the Cowboys (and Eagles, but that’s for a later preview) so frustrating. The Cowboys undoubtedly were a better team in recent years, but the Giants have been getting bitch-slapped by an overrated team in what has been a mediocre division for years. Want to know why the Giants keep firing general managers and head coaches? It’s because they haven’t been competitive in their own division. I hate to keep bringing it up, but the Cowboys have won nine of the last 10 games against the Giants. That’s not a rivalry; it’s a joke.

Nothing will really change with this team until it starts beating the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee – out)
  • WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring – doubtful)
  • OC Jon Feliciano (shin – probable)
  • DL Leonard Williams (knee – doubtful)
  • OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee – questionable)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf – questionable)
  • CB Aaron Robinson (appendix – out)
  • CB Nick McCloud (hamstring – out)
  • CB Justin Layne (concussion – out)
  • Dane Belton (clavicle – probable)
  • S Jason Pinnock (shoulder – probable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
I hate to deal in hyperbole, but to date, this may be the most important game Daniel Jones will play in Giants’ uniform. For one, as we all know, this is THE make-or-break season for Jones. His contract is up after this year and the team may simply let him walk. But specific to this game, what if Dallas Cowboys’ back-up quarterback Cooper Rush out-plays Jones on a super-hyped Monday night game on the team’s home turf? See where I’m going with this? This game may very well come down to quarterback play and the quarterback who performs better. If the Giants (and Jones) get embarrassed by the Cowboys again, I’m not sure Jones will ever get the fan base back on his side.

Is this fair to Jones? Yes and no. Yes, because Jones clearly still has significant warts to his game. Aside from a couple of games early in his career, there has been no “wow” factor with him. More than ever, it’s a quarterback-driven league and it’s hard to see Jones ever carrying a team to the promised land. On the other hand, it’s not completely fair because Jones is on his third head coach and fourth offensive coordinator since being drafted. That’s absurd. Whether fans want to admit it or not, there is a dramatic learning curve every time you change offensive system. Sterling Shepard admitted this week that receivers are still making too many mistakes in their routes. That happens to every team that changes coaches. It’s why teams with established coaching staffs and systems have an inherent advantage over opponents who do not.

To state the obvious, the New York offense hasn’t lit the world on fire the first two weeks. The offensive line has been up and down. Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney have been still missing in action, and while Jones has been good enough to help pull out two close victories, he has also been fortunate that mistakes didn’t turn those games into painful losses. The Giants now will be facing their third tough defense in a row, a defense that presented problems for Tom Brady and Joe Burrow.

The Cowboys’ defense is the strength of their team and is coached by Dan Quinn, who the Giants interviewed as a head coaching candidate. They are led by all-world linebacker Micah Parsons, who is beating his opponent on pass rush opportunities more than 50 percent of the time. That’s rare territory folks. Quinn lines Parsons (who is listed as “questionable” with an illness) up all over the field and he can beat opponents with power, quickness, and technique. DeMarcus Lawrence is off to a slow start, but he has given the Giants issues in recent years. Both young offensive tackles will be challenged by Parsons and Lawrence on the edge, plus the struggling interior of the New York offensive line will have to deal with Parsons coming up the middle. Edge rusher Dorance Armstrong also has two sacks in two games. In obvious pass-rushing situations, the Cowboys will use multiple edge rushers in special pass-rush packages (similar to what Steve Spagnuolo used to do with his “Nascar” defense). 

The Dallas secondary is led by interception-magnet cornerback Trevon Diggs (2 interceptions against the Giants in 2021). His fellow corner is Anthony Brown (1 interception against the Giants returned for a touchdown in 2021). The 2021 Dallas defense thrived off of take-aways. They only have one so far this year, but obviously a key for Jones and the rest of the New York offense is not to turn the ball over against this group. Dallas prefers to have their opponents drive the field in small chunks rather than give up the big play. They count on their opponent to make the stupid mistake such as a turnover, sack, or penalty.

Until the New York offensive line settles down more in pass protection, the strategy is obvious. Run the ball with your best player. If the Giants want to keep Parsons and company off of Daniel Jones’ back, and prevent those killer mistakes such as turnovers and sacks, run the ball. This proved harder last week against the Panthers than it did in Week 1 against the Titans. But New York needs to keep plugging away. Be the more physical team. Wear down a more undersized defensive front. It won’t be conducive to scoring a lot of points, but it will keep mistakes to a minimum and pay greater dividends later in the contest.

I will also throw this out there. Brian Daboll embarrassed Kenny Golladay last week. If Golladay has any pride, plus any talent left in the tank, it should show up this week. I would not be surprised if we saw a big game from Kenny.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The beauty of Wink Martindale is the opponent never really knows what they are going to get. He changes things up each week, sometimes out of necessity (injuries), but mostly because that is who he is as a defensive coordinator. If you choose to listen, Martindale keeps telling you, “It’s a position-less defense… And you’ve already seen two different defenses… We got to reap the rewards on Sunday because we gave Carolina a different look than what they’ve seen.”

The issue for the Giants in this game is the injury situation. Yes, edge rushers Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux will likely play. But both have missed most of the summer with injuries and will be rusty. The missed time has to affect the rookie Thibodeaux in particular. Starting corner Aaron Robinson is out, and that’s not ideal given that the Cowboys could be getting back wide receiver Michael Gallup this week (he’s listed as “questionable”). Worse, arguably the team’s best defensive player, Leonard Williams, is out. That will affect both the run defense and pass rush.

The Cowboys’ offensive line isn’t the team strength it used to be. Right guard Zack Martin is still one of the best in the business. The left tackle is rookie Tyler Smith and right tackle Terrence Steele is more of swingman that ideal starter. Expect both to be tested by the Giants’ edge players. The issue is inside. Dexter Lawrence is off to hot start. But with Williams out, the team will have to rely on reserves and possibly undersized Jihad Ward to stop a two-headed running game in Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. You can’t rush the passer if you don’t stop the run, and Wink is going to have to scheme his best to control the Dallas ground game. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with, more linebackers like he played in Week 1 or more defensive backs like he did in Week 2. The former seems more obvious, but Wink isn’t always obvious.

Which brings us to back-up Cooper Rush, who is subbing for the injured Dak Prescott, and the passing game. Personally, I didn’t see a huge drop-off from Prescott to Rush. And we know the NYG history against back-up quarterbacks. The Giants had better not take Rush too lightly. As mentioned, Gallup may return this week from an ACL injury. The big dog right now is CeeDee Lamb, who can play outside or in the slot and present match-up issues. Noah Brown is a bigger receiver who is surprisingly leading Dallas in receptions as teams pay more attention to Lamb. Gallup could take pressure off of Lamb, however. Tight end Dalton Schultz is dealing with a knee injury and might not play (he’s listed as “questionable”). If he doesn’t, the Cowboys will have to rely on inexperienced back-ups. That said, Dallas tight ends have a history of tormenting the Giants.

The game plan is fairly obvious on this side of the ball as well. Even when Prescott is in the line-up, the Cowboys are more of a run-first team. This is especially true now with the back-up playing. Stop the run. Get the Cowboys in uncomfortable long yardage situations and test the tackles on the pass rush. Focus your coverage on Lamb and make Rush beat you.

I’ll finish on this note… the Giants are due for some picks.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
The Giants’ special teams are coming off a strong game. The team will need more of the same in what is likely to be a tight defensive game. The diminutive KaVontae Turpin is very dangerous on returns. He scored on a kickoff and punt return in the same preseason game. Thomas McGaughey admitted this week that while he loves Jamie Gillan’s leg strength, he is still working on his control. The Giants need to be careful here.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale on QB Cooper Rush:I see a guy that’s a starting quarterback in this league. Honestly, I do… He’s got two career starts, but he’s also 2-0 with those career starts. So, this guy’s a proven winner… He’s a smooth operator back there, and he doesn’t get rattled.

THE FINAL WORD:
Both teams play good defense. Both teams will want to run the ball. Usually in these types of contests, quarterback play, special teams, and which team makes the fewest mistakes will be the deciding factors. This is a really big moment for Jones. The entire country will be watching.

Sep 222022
 
Daniel Bellinger, New York Giants (September 18, 2022)

Daniel Bellinger – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 22, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), DL Leonard Williams (knee), CB Aaron Robinson (appendix), CB Nick McCloud (hamstring), and CB Justin Layne (concussion) did not practice on Thursday.

WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), OC Jon Feliciano (shin), OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee), OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf), S Dane Belton (clavicle), and S Jason Pinnock (shoulder) were limited in practice.

Ojulari told the media that he will be playing against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the Giants on Friday even though the team will hold meetings and a walk-thru practice. The team holds a regular practice on Saturday (11:45AM-1:15PM). Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media on Saturday.