Dec 302022
 
Adoree' Jackson, New York Giants (September 18, 2022)

Adoree’ Jackson – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 30, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
DL Leonard Williams (neck), OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle), and CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee) were limited in practice on Friday. Jackson is officially “doubtful” for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts; Ojulari is “questionable”; and Williams is likely to play.

“(Jackson will) do some more stuff today,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice. “We’ll take it right up to the end (game-time decision). He’s really the only guy we’ll take right up to the end… (Williams and Ojulari) should be good to go… barring anything that happens today (at practice).”

S Xavier McKinney, who is currently on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List, practiced for the second straight day. However, he is not expected to play on Sunday. “I’d say that yesterday was kind of the first step of getting him back out there,” said Daboll. “I thought he moved around well. Conditioning, I thought, was good. Obviously, hasn’t played a game in a while. I’d probably say probably not this week, but he looked good up there.”

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 play the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

Dec 302022
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 24, 2022)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

THE STORYLINE:
Win and in. If you told the team, media, and fans the New York Giants would be in this position in Week 16 back in August, everyone would have signed up for that scenario. And here we are. It’s all in front of the Giants, who play their final home game against a disappointing 4-10-1 Indianapolis Colts team. But the Giants still have to do it. No game has been easy for them all year, and Sunday’s game is likely to be yet another nail-biter. We’ll learn a lot about the character of this team by the way they perform in this particular contest. The pressure is on.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • DL Leonard Williams (neck – probable)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle – questionable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee – doubtful)
  • S Xavier McKinney (hand – still on Non-Football Injury List)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
The Giants should not take the Indianapolis Colts lightly, despite their record. Aside from a few games, Indianapolis has been in every contest, and the main reason has been their defense. Despite being handicapped by an offense that has repeatedly put them in a tough position, the Indianapolis defense is 11th in the NFL in yards allowed (11th against the pass, 20th against the run). For comparison’s sake, the Giants are 27th in defense. A team that plays good defense and special teams will be in most games, and the Colts have both.

Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley does not use a lot of exotic looks. He plays a more conservative style in order to prevent giving up the big play in the passing game. It works because the Colts have talent up front in their 4-3 defense. The headliner is DeForest Buckner, the 6’7”, 295-pound defensive tackle with tree trunks for arms. Buckner is a disruptive force both against the run and pass (8 sacks). Fellow tackle Grover Stewart is no slouch (42 tackles, 4 sacks). Both will present problems for Jon Feliciano, Mark Glowinski, Ben Bredeson, and Nick Gates. The ends are talented too. RDE Yannick Ngakoue has 9.5 sacks on the year and will battle Andrew Thomas. Despite missing five games, LDE Kwity Paye has 42 tackles, six sacks, and 10 tackles for losses and will face Evan Neal, who has struggled in pass protection.

The linebackers are solid with Bobby Okereke and Zaire Franklin leading the way with an incredible 279 combined tackles. Ex-Bill and Patriot Stephon Gilmore is the familiar name in the secondary. While on the wrong side of 30, he’s still playing well.

The problem for the Giants remains the same: the inability to score enough points. The Giants had a mini-offensive explosion in last week’s loss to the Vikings, scoring 24 for just the fourth time this season. Ironically, the Giants have one of the better red-zone offenses in the league this year while the Colts have one of the worst red-zone defenses. But the offensive line has to hold up well enough for Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley to do their things. In my mind, offensive success in this game will come down to Thomas, Gates/Bredeson, Feliciano, Glowinski, and Neal up front against that talented front. Indianapolis won’t blitz much. But they will play games and stunt up front.

You don’t have to look far to see the warning signs. Despite the Colts’ offense turning the ball over three times, the quarterback being sacked seven times, and being held to 173 total yards last Monday against the Chargers, the Indianapolis defense still held San Diego to just 20 points. The Giants had better take this opponent seriously or they will get burned.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The head-scratcher with the downfall of the Colts this year has been the unexpected demise of an offensive line that was considered the strength of the team. To be blunt, their line has played like crap this year, allowing 56 sacks (2nd most in the NFL). The Colts are now on their third quarterback this season with Nick Foles, who has not played much since 2020 and is coming off of a 3-interception game. How bad have the Colts been on offense? They are 29th overall in yards gained per game (310 yards) and 31st in points scored (16.5). They average 207 yards passing and 103 yards rushing. They don’t make many big plays and they don’t score many points. Worse, they are bad at converting on 3rd down and turn the ball over (30 turnovers and a -13 turnover differential). And on top of all of this, their #1 stud running back, Jonathan Taylor, is out.

Should be a cakewalk, right? Well, yes and no. Aside from the old adage of “on any given Sunday,” the Colts have just enough offensive weapons to create problems for the Giants. Indianapolis has two good tight ends in Kylen Granson and Jelani Woods (late note: Granson has been ruled out). Wideouts Michael Pittman, Parris Campbell, and Alec Pierce are more than solid. The 6’4”, 223-pound Pittman has 90 catches on the year and will present a significant size match-up problem for Fabian Moreau. (It unfortunately appears that Adoree’ Jackson will miss another game). Pierce is the deep threat, averaging over 15 yards per completion. In a game that is likely to be low scoring, the Giants simply can’t allow the Colts’ offense to get untracked or they will be in trouble.

The other issue is that New York’s defense isn’t playing as well as most fans think it is. The Giants are not only 27th overall, but they remain 29th in rushing defense and are dead last in yards per rush defense (5.4). At some point, some opponent is simply going to try to nullify all of Wink Martindale’s blitzing by just running the ball over and over again. If I’m Head Coach Jeff Saturday of the Colts, and I have a struggling Nick Foles at quarterback, I just may attempt this strategy on Sunday. The Colts could attempt to stick with RB Zack Moss and just try handing off to him 30 times.

The problem for the Colts is their offensive line versus the Giants’ defensive front of Kayvon Thibodeaux, Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and Azeez Ojulari. But everyone needs to stay healthy and play a full game, which has been a problem for Williams and Ojulari as of late. Thibodeaux could be due for another big week as he is facing fellow rookie LT Bernhard Raimann. The Colts had all kinds of issues protecting the relatively immobile Nick Foles last Monday night and that should continue on Sunday. The key is to get Foles and the offensive line in 2nd- and 3rd-and-long situations. Stop the run so you earn the right to rush the passer.

Finally, while the Giants have 13 fumble recoveries this year, they have an embarrassingly-low number of interceptions with four. Foles threw three picks in the last game. Get the football. Make life easier for your own offense.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
With a blocked punt now added to their growing list of screw ups, the New York Giants special teams unit is officially hurting more than they are helping this year. Colts are #1 in kickoff returns, averaging over 28 yards per return.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale on QB Nick Foles: “(Monday was) the first game he’s played in a while. So, it’s going to do nothing but get better for him, seeing things, going at a faster pace of it. But there’s definitely blood in the water.”

THE FINAL WORD:
I get the sense that many fans think this will be cakewalk. I don’t think so. Nothing has been easy for this still undermanned New York Giants team. Expect another close game in the 4th quarter. And as I’ve been preaching for weeks, turnovers will likely decide the game. Giants won the turnover battle against the Commanders and won. They lost the turnover battle against the Vikings and lost. Win the turnover battle and you probably win this game.

Nevertheless, it’s all in front of this New York Giants team. Win and in. It would be a shame if they let this opportunity slip away. Just get that win!

Dec 292022
 
Xavier McKinney, New York Giants (October 23, 2022)

Xavier McKinney – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 29, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
DL Leonard Williams (neck), OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle), and CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee) were limited in practice on Thursday.

“We’re taking it day by day still,” said Jackson, who has been out since Week 11. “Just going out there, doing all the precautions, doing it right by the book and by the plan. Not trying to rush it. Every day, every week it’s getting better.”

S Xavier McKinney, who is currently on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List, has been designated for return and practiced today. The Giants now have 21 days to make a decision on whether to return him to the 53-man roster. If they do not do so within that 3-week timeframe, his season will be officially over.

Head Coach Brian Daboll said he was “not sure” if McKinney could play in Sunday’s game. “Just starting him today,” said Daboll. “I think the first thing is just let him get out here, move around. He hasn’t played in a while, but he’s got a contraption to protect his hand. So, I figure we’ll get him started. He’s been moving around, rehabbing. His lower body’s obviously good. So, we’ll go ahead and let him practice. And then just kind of see where he’s at.”

“I’m trying to (play this weekend),” said McKinney. “I’m telling them I can play, but like I said it’s up to the trainers, the docs.”

GIANTS CLAIM WYATT DAVIS, CUT CHRIS MYARICK…
The Giants claimed OG Wyatt Davis off of waivers from the Arizona Cardinals. The 23-year old, 6’4”, 315-pound Davis was originally selected in the 3rd round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Davis spent time on both the 53-man roster (6 games with no starts) and Practice Squad as a rookie. The Vikings waived him in late August 2022 and the Giants immediately signed him to their Practice Squad. However, a week later the New Orleans Saints signed Davis to their 53-man roster. The Saints waived him in November and he was claimed off of waivers by the Cardinals, who cut him on Tuesday. In all, Davis has played in eight NFL games with no starts.

To make room for Davis, the Giants waived FB/TE Chris Myarick, who has played in 13 games this year with eight starts, catching seven passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.

The 6’5”, 261-pound Myarick was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. He spent all of 2019 and most of 2020 on the Practice Squad of the Dolphins, though he did play in three games in 2020. The Giants signed Myarick was signed to the Practice Squad in early September 2021 and the 53-man roster in November. That year, he ended up laying in eight games with three starts, catching three passes for 17 yards and one touchdown.

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 at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players practice again on Friday (11:45AM-1:00PM). Head Coach Brian Daboll, the position coaches, and select players will also address the media.

Dec 282022
 
Jarrad Davis, New York Jets (December 19, 2021)

Jarrad Davis – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 28, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
DL Dexter Lawrence (rest day) did not practice on Wednesday.

DL Leonard Williams (neck), OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle), and CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee)  were limited in practice.

GIANTS SIGN JARRAD DAVIS, PLACE SHANE LEMIEUX ON INJURED RESERVE…
The Giants have signed inside linebacker Jarrad Davis to the 53-man roster. Davis was on the Practice Squad of the Detroit Lions. The 28-year old, 6’1”, 242-pound Davis was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Lions. He has spent time with the Lions (2017-2020, 2022) and New York Jets (2021). Davis has played in 67 regular-season games with 50 starts, accumulating 333 tackles, 19 tackles for losses, 10.5 sacks, 10 pass defenses, one interception, seven forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.

To make room for Davis, the Giants placed offensive guard Shane Lemieux (toe) on Injured Reserve. Lemieux originally suffered the injury in training camp and was placed on Injured Reserve in late August. The Giants activated him off of Injured Reserve in mid-November. He started in Week 11 against the Lions but could not finish the game and has not practiced or played since.

The Giants drafted Lemieux in the 5th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He surprisingly ended up playing in 12 games with nine starts starts at left guard, stealing Will Hernandez’s position. In 2021, Lemieux injured his knee in training camp. He tried to play with the injury in the opener, but could not finish the game and spent the rest of the year on Injured Reserve. In all, Lemieux has only played in two games the past two years, not being able to finish either contest.

Pittsburgh Steelers signed inside linebacker Tae Crowder off of the Giants’ Practice Squad on Tuesday. The Giants had cut Crowder from their 53-man roster and re-signed him to the Practice Squad last week. The Giants selected Crowder in the 7th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. In his three seasons with the Giants, Crowder played in 40 regular-season games with 31 starts, being credited with 232 tackles, two sacks, eight pass defenses, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

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…
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 on Thursday afternoon (12:45-2:45PM). The coordinators and select players will also address the media.

Dec 272022
 
Isaiah Hodgins, New York Giants (December 24, 2022)

Isaiah Hodgins – © USA TODAY Sports

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 30/42 – 334 yards / 1 TD – 1 INT / 92.8 RAT

Jones added 34 yards on the ground and a successful two-point conversion attempt in a do-or-die situation in the fourth quarter, down two points. From a big picture perspective, this was the best I have seen Jones play all year. The 42 attempts were tied for the fourth-most of his career, second-most of the season. He had a stretch where he completed 22-of-24 passes. He gained a season-high 17 first downs via the air and added two more on the ground. On paper, this was a very good game by Jones. When I took a deeper look, I came away with the same impression.

Jones’ movement in the pocket was brilliant. His clock was spot on, his footwork while keeping his eyes downfield was clean, accuracy was a plus, and decision making was near-perfect. The one blemish was, of course, the fourth-quarter interception on the drive following MIN’s go-ahead touchdown. The ball was intercepted in the red zone, and it was a misplaced ball. Jones had two other bad throws. Nobody can demand perfection out of him, but when you see his stat line and add in the fact Saquon Barkley had another strong day, settling on just 20 points is a loss for the offense overall. While there were other issues stemming from the line, the Bellinger fumble, and the drop by Richie James, the interception was a big-time miss in a big-time situation. He also fumbled earlier in the game (did not result in a turnover) where his ball security technique was the main culprit. This game causes more confliction. For almost the entire game I was ready to say this was the best we have seen out of Jones all year when breaking all elements down. Then, the ill-timed interception. I see vast improvement across multiple components to the position, but once again he left me wanting more.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 14 att – 84 yards – 1 TD / 8 rec – 49 yards

Another explosive game by Barkley. Elite movement across multiple forms. One of his best yard-after-contact games of the year and a clutch touchdown that stemmed from good vision and aggression. Barkley is trusting the play designs and I cannot stress enough how big of a difference that is. Even the runs that end up not being there, the 1-3 yard gains make such a difference over the 1-3 yard losses in an offense that is working with such a small margin. 26 touches for #26 is right where this team needs to be down the stretch, at least. One thing I want to see more is him getting the ball on screens or splitting him out wide and moving him on cross-routes.

-Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell barely saw the field. Breida gained 9 yards on 2 carries and Brightwell lost a yard on his lone touch. The 91% snap share that Barkley had in this game was the most we have seen since Week 4. All chips are being used now and there is no more pacing the race. I expect to see this again against IND.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Isaiah Hodgins: 8 rec / 89 yards / 1 TD

Hodgins came up with several underneath receptions that displayed his ideal blend of quality route-running and contact-strength. He then added the best catch we have seen all year out of a NYG receiver up the sideline for 29 yards. When you want to see if a receiver is capable of extending himself to the limit while moving at his top rate of speed, this is the kind of tape you use as the barometer. Hodgins has never been and will never be a deep threat. He simply is not fast enough. But the ball skills are there in every sense of the term. Hands, concentration, timing, and coordination. He is playing his way into a 2023 roster spot and has elevated the entire passing game. What a good find!

-Richie James, a week after I discussed how reliable his hands have been this season (top 10 in NFL), had one of the biggest gaffes of the game. A third-down drop where no defender was near him on a simple, short, slant route and pass. He did catch 8 balls for a team-high 90 yards including a season-high 33 yarder. I was curious how he would respond following the big drop. He dropped another ball two drives later. These are the facts that will come up when the decision makers decide his fate with NYG in a few months, especially considering he is a slot-only target.

-Darius Slayton had a drop early (a difficult catch, I will say) but responded with a couple of big plays later on. He had 4 catches for 79 yards, continuing to be the team’s top playmaker at the position. On a scaled version, this receiver room is put together in a balanced manner. Slayton is the big play guy, James is the slot, and Hodgins is the possession/underneath safety blanket. If this passing game is going to stay at the level we saw in this game, Slayton needs to continue his solid play. 478 yards / 28 catches (17.1 per, way above his career average) since Week 10. Just one touchdown over that span and just two on the year. I think we are right on the brink of seeing a big score on a big play here. He is 41 yards away from a career-high for a single season.

TIGHT END

-Daniel Bellinger caught both of his targets and they totaled 27 yards. The glaring issue was the fumble in the red zone at the start of the second quarter that would have resulted in a first down had he held onto it. While any turnover hurts, this one had a little extra bite to it. Like Jones, NYG was heading toward a score and this mistake took the wind out of the sails. Bellinger continues his steady performance as a blocker. That is not necessarily a complement as I am still seeing too many losses. But he has not regressed, and he is showing enough quality there to maintain the positive long-term outlook I have on him.

-Nick Vannett saw just five snaps as NYG spent almost the entire game in 11 personnel (3 WR + 1 RB + 1 TE).

OFFENSIVE LINE

-The MIN pass rush is one of the best seven in football over the last 5-6 weeks. As Danielle Hunter heats up (I think he is a top 5 edge defender when healthy), the group overall is brought to an even higher level. Hunter got the best out of Evan Neal for most of the game. The rookie right tackle allowed 4 pressures and 1.5 sacks. The half-sack was hard to peg on him because of the movement in the pocket. The lone-sack and a couple of his pressures were almost as bad as you are going to find when it comes to one-on-one pass rushing. I try not to compare him to Andrew Thomas too much, but I know some have asked about looking at Neal’s rookie year and putting it next to Thomas’ rookie year. To me, they both struggled, but it isn’t close. Thomas had more hand-placement and timing issues. Neal’s footwork is a complete mess, his balance isn’t getting any better, and I don’t see the “learn from mistakes” progress. It is early and nobody can write him off or bring up the “move to OG” talk yet. But in relation to NYG and their 2022 season, his play is mightily hurting this passing game. His saving grace is the above-average run blocking he provides. All in-line roles have been quality. I still see issues in space, though.

-Andrew Thomas allowed a pressure that led to an eventual sack and then a half-sack himself. Safe to say his play has fallen off over the past month. Still a very good left tackle in a league that does not have many of them but no, not an All-Pro. Not yet.

-Mark Glowinski allowed two pressures and a TFL to former NYG second rounder Dalvin Tomlinson. That is a guy I miss seeing in blue, but it was likely the right call to let him walk. Anyway, Glowinski played better after a rough start but the lack of explosion off the ball prevents him from winning at the point- of-attack when lined up across from a strong and fast defender. If he can get some space to build up his movement and power, he does well. We saw that on the combo blocks and then when he peeled off to the second level. He had a couple key blocks on big runs.

-Ben Bredeson and Nick Gates continue to split snaps. Hard to tell who the better player is, to be honest. Bredeson got walked back by the bull rush a couple times, but he does a better job of staying on his man. Gates has been struggling there a bit. Bredeson did allow a sack and a pressure. Gates was flagged for a huge false start on 2nd-and-6, which killed the drive. He was also flagged for a hold but upon second look, I believe the ref got the wrong number. It was center Jon Feliciano. The center played a poor game. Three pressures from a center are too many. MIN went with a stunt-heavy approach and his tracking + body control was all over the place. That said, like Glowinski, he came up with a couple key blocks in the running game including Barkley’s touchdown.

EDGE

-Azeez Ojulari went down again with an injury. He had a sack in the first half, and they could have used him in those big moments of the second half. The lower body injuries with this kid are piling up and it does concern me. Rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux, coming off NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, had 2 pressures and 6 tackles. Another good pursuit-game for him but he did get caught out of position on the screen pass to Justin Jefferson that set up MIN for the game-winning field goal. Over-committing is the glaring issue in his game right now.

-Jihad Ward had 4 tackles, 2 pressures, and a pass break up. Solid game for him as they kept him out of space-situations for nearly the entire game. Oshane Ximines saw his playing time tick up in the second half after the Ojulari injury, but he did not impact the game much. He was almost in on a sack, but Leonard Williams got there first a second before.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-Dexter Lawrence returned to his dominant ways despite playing just 75% of the snaps. Three straight weeks he is at that percentage or lower. He led the team with 5 pressures, one of which caused a sack. Lawrence is also showing outstanding awareness against middle screens. He sniffed two of them out and immediately broke on the play. Amazing to see a player this big move this fast.

-Leonard Williams aggravated a neck/shoulder injury on a missed tackle in the third quarter. He was having a disruptive game up until then with 4 tackles, 1 sack, a half-TFL, and 1 pressure. This defense is going to be dependent on this front four taking over against the porous IND offensive line next week. The question will be, if he plays, how much do you play him? 50% of the snaps getting the most out of him? Or 80+% of the snaps and risk injury in addition to a scaled back version of him. Tough call.

-Rookie Ryder Anderson can help answer the question. He had 2 tackles and a half-TFL. This marks the third-straight week the undrafted free agent has made a play behind the line of scrimmage. While he still plays like a weak link against the power-run game, it is an encouraging sign to see him make plays like this.

-Justin Ellis and Henry Mondeaux did not see the field much, and when they did, they weren’t very effective.

LINEBACKER

-MIN went pass-heavy on offense, but the inside running game gashed the NYG defense a few times. While I am not in the meeting rooms, these big running plays appear to be on the shoulders of linebackers Micah McFadden and Jaylon Smith. They are dancing with the blockers 4-5 yards from the line of scrimmage and a back like Dalvin Cook can toy with those creases all day. They did combine for 18 tackles, and both made plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. It was not a complete washout for them, but quality running games are going to eat these two up. In coverage, McFadden was abused on the first T.J. Hockenson touchdown. He simply cannot be relied on in space when dropping back. No feel, no length, no downfield speed.

-Landon Collins is becoming a more consistent presence on the defense. He had 4 tackles, 1 sack, and a third down pass break up as he played more than 25 snaps for the second week in a row. There are issues that come from him playing more and more, but I do think he is the lesser of two evils when looking at him and McFadden.

CORNERBACK

-Justin Jefferson is the best wide receiver in football. It is hard to look down on Fabian Moreau for getting torched by him, but it is the truth. You can see these two are not even in the same class when it comes to movement traits. He allowed almost all of the 10 targets thrown his way to be completed and was penalized for pass interference on a play where he intercepted a pass at the end of the second half.

-Cor’Dale Flott is improving every week. This is a good sign and exactly what many were hopeful for down the stretch of his rookie season. His 41 snaps tied a career high, and he added 2 tackles along with a pass break-up. That break-up was originally ruled an interception, but after reviewing it was clear the ball hit the ground. His movement traits are a step ahead of everyone else in this corner group.

-Nick McCloud and Darnay Holmes both walk away with positive grades for different reasons. McCloud’s was more coverage-based. While Adam Thielen has lost a step, McCloud blanketed him for most of the game. Excellent anticipation and feel. Holmes was beat multiple times, but his physical play made a difference in key moments down the stretch. Late in the game, he had a high-level third-down tackle and then a fourth-down pass break up on the next play. This was in the fourth quarter right before the NYG drive where Richie James dropped the third-down conversion pass, but NYG still put up three points to pull within one. As I said last week, teams are attacking him in key moments. The success rate overall is still low, but Holmes has the play-making potential, and he remains aggressive. That will end up making a positive difference at times.

SAFETY

-Julian Love and Jason Pinnock both played every snap. Both played a solid game, but between the two they did not make any game-changing plays. The defense could have used something here. Tall ask, I know. But in the league right now, we are seeing safeties make outcome-altering, or at least momentum-altering, plays at some point. While these two are more-than solid, that will need to be the next step for both. We need to see turnovers and/or plays behind the line of scrimmage at some point. Love allowed a touchdown on a play where tight end T.J. Hockenson made a catch that could not be defended. A brilliant play by him. That play also shows something you will hear me talk about often come draft time. Length matters, a lot. If his radius was just another 2-3 inches, I bet that pass is broken up. But he stands under 5’11” and his arms are under 32”. That brings us to 3 inches below average for league safeties when it comes to overall reach.

-Dane Belton played just one snap and Tony Jefferson had 1 tackle and 1 miss.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Graham Gano: 3/3 (Made 44, 44, 55)
-P Jamie Gillian: 3 punts / 43.0 avg; 30.5 net (1 punt blocked)

3 STUDS

-WR Isaiah Hodgins, DT Dexter Lawrence, K Graham Gano

3 DUDS

-LB Micah McFadden, OT Evan Neal, TE Daniel Bellinger

3 THOUGHTS ON MIN

(1) MIN is now 11-0 in one-score games. There are two ways of looking at this. One, they aren’t head-and-shoulders above most teams they play against. They’re just +5 points in scoring differential. For comparison sake, the other first place teams in the league are: +157, +85, +22, +`106, +137, -38 (TB), and +145. Two, it means they are battle-tested in tight situations. They have more experience in tight-margin contests. And I do believe it helps in the playoffs. What is the conclusion here? This team is very beatable if NYG cross paths with them again. Very.

(2) Does anyone see how the MIN template relates to NYG? Especially on offense. A highly-paid quarterback who nobody is going to mistake for a top tier guy, but he is “good enough.” A high-quality running back who they locked into a long-term deal. Multiple first round picks along the offensive line. What is next for NYG if you are viewing this as the route to go? Drafting a first-round wide receiver (remember Jefferson was a #22 overall pick), quality depth behind him (veterans and picks), and constant day 1-2 draft picks used on the line. MIN’s entire offensive line is homegrown. They’re all 1st or 2nd rounders. And they’ve all been taken in the past five drafts.

(3) In the same breath, all of those resources put into the offense caused a lack of resources put into the defensive backfield. They’re overly reliant on Patrick Peterson and mid-to-late round picks in the secondary. If/when this team runs into a quality passing attack, it will do them in. It is not a coincidence the NYG passing game looked good against them.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

(1) Win and in. NYG is right where a lot of teams want to be. Fortunately because of losses by WAS, DET, and SEA, they are in the best possible spot heading into a match-up against IND. I watched every snap of the IND game last night against LAC and I don’t think there are any teams in the NFL worse than IND. Things could not be lined up better for their final home game of the year. They have not won there since November 13 (vs HOU). Get the crowd in it, play clean football, and win the damn game. All hands on desk, you can rest Week 18. No questions asked. No excuses allowed.

(2) Watching Justin Jefferson run routes, track the ball, and create after the catch is such a bar setter. He is the top WR in football when looking at the combination of his traits. It also shows how far the gap is between what NYG has at corner and what exists out there at receiver. We will have plenty of time to discuss this once the season is over, but trying to up the quality at corner is a must-get for this team. Whether you believe in Adoree’ Jackson or not is irrelevant. NYG needs such a boost in quality at corner. Trust me, I know, it is a hard position to accurately project. That said, the 2022 rookie class at corner is having an enormous impact on the league right now.

(3) What does NYG have a tight end? I may have anticipated too much from Daniel Bellinger when he came back from the eye injury. At the end of the day, he is a rookie fourth-rounder who I knew would not provide above-average play right away. That is a tall ask for someone at that position. Because of how little depth they had at tight end when he went down, I simply thought we would see more. The blocking has been below average, but he did add an element to the passing game prior to the injury. We haven’t seen it come back yet. It is a subtle but important element to the offense.

Dec 262022
 
Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants (December 24, 2022)

Dexter Lawrence – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 26, 2022 BRIAN DABOLL PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Monday (VIDEO):

Q: After a loss, usually it’s ‘go back to work’. In this case, your team stood toe-to-toe with the Minnesota Vikings, the second-best team in the NFC. Is there something you can take away from that in terms of extra confidence, perhaps, in knowing that you were able to stand toe-to-toe? (Do you) use it as a litmus test, so to speak?

A: I’d say we try to do the same thing each week. We go back and look at some of the things we did well – some of the things we can improve on – and get ready for this week, try to be as consistent as we can with it. I don’t think you’re ever happy or satisfied after a loss in really any shape or form. But you have to go back, review it, correct the things you need to correct and get ready for next week.

Q: I’d like to ask you about (wide receiver) Isaiah Hodgins. A lot of people talk about how he had familiarity with the system that you’re currently running. But the other aspect of it is you have to build chemistry between a receiver and a quarterback, and Isaiah seems to have done that really quickly with Daniel (Jones). What do you attribute that to?

A: I think he’s smart, tough, dependable. He works extremely hard. In between periods, he’s usually throwing there with Daniel on a variety of routes, or they’re talking about things that we’ve installed and make sure that he sees it through the eyes of a quarterback. So, he’s done a good job for us since he’s been here.

Q: What do you think of your fans this year, and what would it mean to win a big game this weekend in front of them?

A: They’ve been outstanding. I’m very thankful for all the support that our organization gets, the following. We work extremely hard each week to put a good product on the field, and one of the reasons is for our fanbase. So, to play at home in late December in an important game, it’s important to us. I know it’s important to them. And we’ll do everything we can do to be ready to go.

Q: Any more news on (outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari), or any other things crop up in the last few days?

A: No. I’d say normal bumps and bruises. I think Azeez has gotten treatment the last couple days. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow, the next day, all the way through Friday. And we’ll see if he’s able to go. But we really haven’t done anything these last couple of days. So, we’ll see.

Q: Did you get to talk to him after the game? It seemed like he held out some hope that this wasn’t going to be that bad.

A: I think he’s improved from where he was. And we’ll go here these next couple days and see where he’s at.

Q: It’s always the biggest game because it’s the next game. But obviously, this game right in front of you is a chance to be in the playoffs, regardless of what else happens anywhere else. Do you make that point to them this week that this is a playoff game, more or less?

A: No, it’s our next game. I think everybody knows what you just said. But what we can control is, again, the same stuff we try to control each week – making sure we’re prepared, ready to go and go out there and put our best foot forward.

Q: You get to watch the team that you have to play this week (the Indianapolis Colts) tonight. They’re going to start (Colts quarterback) Nick Foles. How close are you going to watch that game? How strange is it that you might have to play Fowles, who really hasn’t played really all season and hasn’t played the last two seasons?

A: Certainly, we’ll watch that game. We’ll watch it on television. We’ll watch it when we get the coaches’ tape in. Again, your job as a coach and a player is to prepare for whoever you’re going to face. So, that’s what we’ll have to do.

Q: (Safety Xavier) McKinney and (cornerback) Adoree’ (Jackson) – any chance they’re limited in practice, back on the field this week, trending towards playing? Or same as where they’ve been?

A: X (Xavier McKinney) – I don’t have enough to give to you. I think Adoree’s making progress in the right direction. Again, where that is, I think we’ll see by the end of the week. But definitely, he’s making progress.

Q: See by the end of the week, so, there’s a chance that he plays?

A: Yeah, see by the end of the week.

Q: (Running back) Saquon’s (Barkley) fourth quarter runs the last couple games, I felt like you made a point after the Washington game to say he ran like a power back, which oftentimes critics of him say he doesn’t. And then he certainly did on that fourth quarter touchdown run against Minnesota. What have you seen from him, specifically in the fourth quarter, with maybe kicking it into another gear and lowering his shoulder?

A: Saquon’s done a good job for us all year. He runs hard. I think he makes good decisions with the ball and where to run it, and he’s a talented player. So, he’s one of our better players. So, good players have to play well, particularly in the fourth quarter of close games.

Q: Like you said, everybody knows it that it’s a ‘win and in’ kind of game. You’ve been in enough of those in your career with other places. You really don’t approach it any differently? You really kind of ignore the elephant in the room with the guys? I know that’s your public message, but with the guys, you really just keep it ‘biggest game, next game,’? You don’t’ have to address the elephant in the room that there’s a little more meaning, control your own destiny this game, where you didn’t have that against Washington or Minnesota?

A: I think we just try to control our own destiny each week by trying to win a game. The goal is always to try to go 1-0, and that’ll be no different this week.

Q: I’m going to try to crack this nut a little more about the playoffs. You’ve been around so many different teams that at this point of the season, they’ve been out of it, playing for pride as they say. (You’ve been around) teams that have clinched, teams that are in your situation where there’s a chance whether you win or whether you need help – that kind of thing. Have you noticed that this time of year is a different motivator, often for teams that are out of it? Maybe the coach has to (say), ‘Let’s finish strong.’ You know what I’m saying?

A: I know what you’re saying. Again, as a professional, we all have a job to do. You take a lot of pride in your work, regardless of where you’re at in the season, what the records are. Everybody’s a professional in this business: myself, the coaches, the players, the scouts, you guys. We’re all professionals. I think the best thing you can do is just control what you can control, which is the things you need to control this week. All the other things, there’s no real sense. Everybody knows what the game is this week. I think what’s the most important is, ‘How do we improve our blocking, our decision making, getting off blocks, our tackling, our units?’ Everything. All that stuff is really what matters, and that’s where our focus needs to be.

Q: Have you found in your experience as a coordinator, as an assistant and maybe in this time as a head coach, that when you’re trying to get them to concentrate on different blocks, concentrate on coverage, concentrate on all the little things that you think are important to win a game that their ears are open wider now because of what could come next as opposed to they know that in two weeks they’re going home, and that’s it?

A: I think you bring the right type of people into your organization who, again, are professionals. This is important to all of us. This is our jobs. And I think that when you have the right people in your building, again, regardless of your record or anything like that, you want to go out there and put your best foot forward and do everything you can do to win that week.

Q: You guys are in position to clinch a playoff spot, but not a lot of people expected that this year. Did you expect it, and to what do you attribute the success that you’ve had so far?

A: I think when you start out – this is our first year trying to implement our systems – and put together the best team we could possibly put together and go out there and do everything we can do each day to win that day. And if you do that and concentrate on those things, then hopefully the results will come. They don’t always come; I’ve said that before. We’ve seen that, obviously, this year. But focus on the things that are important, and hopefully you get the results that you’re working hard to get. And constantly monitor really everything – whether that’s scheme, decision-making, practice habits. You evaluate the film and correct the mistakes that you got to make. Those are the things that I focus on and that I think our coaches focus on. And that trickles down to the players focusing on the things that they can control.

Q: Since he’s come back from the sprained MCL, (tackle) Evan Neal seems to have really had some struggles, especially in pass protection. What are you seeing from Evan over the last couple games? What do you think he really needs to get better the final couple of weeks?

A: I’d say Evan’s improved since he’s gotten here. Really, all of us can continue to improve and get better in the things we need to get better in – not just Evan, really everybody on our team starting with the coaches all the way down to our players. And that’s what we’ll try to work on. But he’s smart. He’s tough. He’s dependable. He’s done a lot of good things, too.

Q: Real quick on Adoree’, you said you’re going to see by the end of the week. It sounded like you’re at least anticipating him practicing this week. Is that a fair assumption there?

A: I’d say we’ll see on that. Again, each week, he’s gotten progressively better. Tomorrow will be a walkthrough, so we’ll see where he’s at with the trainers and stuff, the rehabbing that he’s doing. And by the end of the week, we’ll see. Maybe he will be; maybe he won’t. I think it’s too early to give you that answer.

Q: And then, I’m curious where making the playoffs was – or was it – on your list of goals. Obviously, you’re trying to build a program here, right, in year one. Where was making the playoffs on your list of goals? Or was it even a goal for you?

A: I’d just say we try to win each day. I think if you stack good days together, that leads to good weeks. As you keep going throughout the season, you improve. Just improving, I’d say, overall: our play, our coaching. Keep doing that all the way through. But certainly, you want to try to win every game you play. I’m thankful for the position that we’re in, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. It starts this week just like every other week we’ve had.

Q: So, then is there is a bonus, kind of – like a peripheral benefit if you do make the playoffs, that ‘Hey, we’re trying to build something here. At least our guys do gain experience,’? Maybe you didn’t specify that at the start, but do you see the benefit? Or do you feel there is a big benefit to be able to make it or have that experience for your guys?

A: I don’t even think that far down the road. I just think, ‘Let’s get ready to play the Colts and do the things we need to do this week to put ourselves in good position.’

Q: You’ve been very clear about your philosophy – really the entire season – but especially the last couple weeks when we keep asking you about ‘bigger game, bigger game, bigger game.’ How much of that for you, in year one, is knowing this team and the homework you put into the players on this team, seeing how this team reacts and knowing what really this locker room needs as opposed to what you may think another team, three years from now, might need in this situation?

A: That’s a good question. I think every team that I’ve been part of is certainly different. Obviously, this is my first year as a head coach. So, it’s not just dealing with a position group or the offensive side of the ball. I think in this position, you’re constantly trying to get a feel for your players, your team, things you can talk to them about. But I’d say the one thing that I just fall back on is in all the years that I’ve been doing this, I think being consistent and focusing on the things you can control, which I know is a boring answer, but it’s the truth. That’s all we really can do. Thinking about what’s going to go on a week from now or two weeks or what happened five weeks ago, I think you learn lessons from those things that happened in the past. And I certainly have in my years of coaching football and watching how different coaches do it and watching how different teams react. But every team is different. Every season is different. Heck, every week is different. So, what I’ve learned and what I try to approach – not just in this business, but each day – is to just try to win the day.

Q: You were in the hotel, I assume, on Friday night. When did you hear about a shooting at the Mall (of America)? When did you get concerned about your players? Or did you find out about everything after it was all over, or what?

A: No, I heard about it as it was going on. And I’d say that the communication from our security department with Jerry Meade (vice president of security) and James (Jim) Ryan (team security coordinator) and the rest of everybody that was involved in that and Laura Young (director of coaching operations), who I can’t say enough good things about, just letting everybody know just what’s going on, where people are, making sure. When you have a situation like that, the number one thing that goes through everybody’s mind is just the safety of really everybody involved. And for me, it was, being the head coach, you’re concerned about really everybody in the organization, making sure that everybody’s safe. So, the communication between the people that were in the mall with LY (Laura Young) and LY to Jerry and James Ryan; and those people did a fantastic job. And soon after or during the middle, I can’t tell you the time, I got a message that it seemed like every two minutes that there was an update of, ‘Okay, running backs (are) all accounted for. Tight ends, coaches (are accounted for).’ By the end of whatever time it was, LY sent that everybody’s accounted for in the hotel, safe. And those people did a great job.

Q: Was there anybody ever near the shooting or in danger?

A: I don’t think so.

Q: I’ll give this one last chance, and then we’ll be done.

A: Body blows. Body blows.

Q: What would it mean to you to make the playoffs in your first year? Just simply that question.

A: We’re not in it yet. I’m not going to look too far down the road, and we’re going to try to beat the Colts. And that’s where I’m at with it.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Select players will address the media on Tuesday. The players return to practice on Wednesday.

Dec 242022
 
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 24, 2022)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

MINNESOTA VIKINGS 27 – NEW YORK GIANTS 24…
The New York Giants were leading heading into the 4th quarter and tied the game with two minutes left, but too many costly mistakes led to a disappointing 27-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The Vikings kicked a 61-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. With the loss, the Giants fell to 8-6-1 on the season.

Both teams accrued 23 first downs apiece and the time of possession was also just about even. But the Giants surprisingly had more total yards (445 to 353), net yards rushing (126 to 83), and net yards passing (319 to 270) than the Vikings. Yet while the Giants dropped three potential interceptions, the Vikings won the turnover battle 2-0 and also blocked a punt that led to points.

Both teams punted twice on each of their first two drives of the 1st quarter. Minnesota then went up 7-0 after a far-too-easy, 8-play, 84-yard drive that resulted in a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins to tight end T.J. Hockenson.

On the ensuing possession, the Giants gained 37 yards on four straight plays. Then on the first play of the 2nd quarter, quarterback Daniel Jones completed a 16-yard pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger to the Minnesota 23-yard line. However, Bellinger fumbled and the Vikings returned the loose ball to their own 36-yard line. Ten plays and 42 yards later, the Vikings kicked a 40-yard field goal that gave them a 10-0 advantage.

The Giants responded with a 10-play, 69-yard drive. On 2nd-and-goal, Jones threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins to cut the score to 10-7.

The Giants forced a quick three-and-out. A promising drive late in the 2nd quarter by Giants that moved the ball from their own 9-yard line to the Minnesota 45-yard line was sabotaged by a sack and then a deflected pass on 3rd-and-9. The Giants punted with 43 seconds left. The Vikings’ Hail Mary attempt ended with a sack by defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

At the half, the Vikings led 10-7.

The Giants received the ball to start the 3rd quarter and immediately proceeded to tie the game. New York gained 49 yards in eight plays to set up a 44-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. The Vikings picked up one first down and then punted. The Giants put together their second scoring drive, but again were forced to settle for another 44-yard field goal. After facing a 2nd-and-6 from the Minnesota 19-yard line, a false start by left guard Nick Gates and a 3rd-and-9 sack also sabotaged the possession. Nevertheless, the Giants were now up 13-10 late in the 3rd quarter.

A big momentum shift occurred on the ensuing possession by the Vikings. On 2nd-and-6 from their own 29-yard line, it originally appeared that cornerback Cor’Dale Flott intercepted Cousins at the New York 40-yard line. However, the ruling on the field was reversed by instant replay. The drive continued and ended with a 15-yard touchdown throw on 3rd-and-5 despite heavy pressure on the quarterback and good coverage on Hockenson. In all, Minnesota gained 75 yards in 12 plays to take a 17-13 lead early in the 4th quarter.

Matters got worse for New York on the ensuing possession as Jones was intercepted by cornerback Patrick Peterson. The interception was returned to the Minnesota 29-yard line. However, the New York defense held when the Vikings went for it on 4th-and-2 from the Giants’ 44-yard line. Cousins’ deep pass was broken up by cornerback Darnay Holmes. The Giants gained one first down, but on 3rd-and-5, wide receiver Richie James dropped a pass from Jones. Gano kicked a 55-yard field goal to cut the score to 17-16.

The New York defense forced a quick three-and-out, and with 4:24 left in the game, the Giants got the ball back at their own 25-yard line, down by one point. However, the Giants also went three-and-out, and on 4th-and-4, punter Jamie Gillan’s punt was blocked, setting up Minnesota at the New York 29-yard line with four minutes left in the contest.

The game looked to be over at the 3-minute mark when Cousins found wide receiver Justin Jefferson for a 17-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-10. The Vikings now led 24-16. But the Giants quickly made things interesting again. In just 59 seconds, New York drove 75 yards in seven plays, including a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton and a 27-yard touchdown run by running back Saquon Barkley on 4th-and-2. Jones then found Bellinger in the back of the end zone for the 2-point conversion. With 2:01 left on the clock, the game was tied at 24-24.

Minnesota began their game-winning drive at their own 25-yard line. What killed the Giants was Cousins completing a 16-yard pass to Jefferson on 3rd-and-9 and then a 17-yard pass to Jefferson on 3rd-and-11. The latter came on a play where the Giants blitzed and Jefferson hurt the Giants on a wide receiver screen. With four seconds left on the clock, place kicker Greg Joseph nailed a 61-yard field goal as time expired.

Jones finished the game 30-of-42 for 334 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He rushed four times for 34 yards and was sacked three times. James (90 yards), Hodgins (89 yards, one touchdown), and Barkley (49 yards) each caught eight passes. Barkley gained 84 yards on 14 carries and also scored a touchdown.

The defense held the Vikings to 83 yards rushing and 270 yards passing. But Minnesota was 6-of-13 on 3rd down, including the two late 3rd-down conversions that set up the game-winning field goal. The Giants accrued four sacks, one each by linebacker Jaylon Smith, linebacker/safety Landon Collins, linebacker Azeez Ojulari, and defensive end Leonard Williams. The team was also credited with 11 quarterback hits, six tackles for losses, and six pass defenses.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee), OG Shane Lemieux (toe), WR David Sills, OG Jack Anderson, and CB Rodarius Williams.

OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle) left the game in the 2nd quarter and did not return. Ojulari said after the game that x-rays on his ankle were negative and he suffered a sprain.

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…
There is no media availability to the team on Christmas. Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Dec 232022
 
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 18, 2022)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

THE STORYLINE:
A talent-deficient New York Giants team has far surpassed preseason expectations. Following up on consecutive losing seasons 3-13, 5-11, 4-12, 6-10, and 4-13, with teams with arguably equal or better in talent, the Giants were supposed to be vying for another top-10 pick. Yet with three regular-season games remaining, the Giants find themselves with an 8-5-1 record and a decent shot at a playoff spot. In terms of the big picture, the most discouraging thing to come out of this year was losing five members of the 2022 draft class to season-ending injuries as well as the Kenny Golladay/Kadarius Toney fiascos.

The victory against the Washington Commanders was the most important game this franchise has played in since 2016. Not only did it keep their playoff aspirations alive, but it had been a long time since the Giants had won a prime time, nationally-televised game. It also prevented the Giants from the ignominy of potentially going winless in the NFC East. Entering that game, the New York was fading and Washington was surging. The Giants reversed that in dramatic fashion in hostile territory.

It’s quite possible that the game against the Commanders will be the final high note of the 2022 campaign. If it is, that’s OK. The Giants have two road games remaining, one against the 11-3 Minnesota Vikings and another against the 13-1 Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants are favored to lose both. The team’s playoff aspirations may come down to the New Year’s Day home game against the Indianapolis Colts. That contest is not a gimme. None are for the 2022 New York Giants.

The most realistic, best-case scenario for the Giants moving forward would probably be similar to their 1984 season. That was another Giants team that was supposed to finish dead last in the NFC East. They hung around .500, won three critical games in a row, but faded down the stretch, losing their last two games, including a 10-3 stinker against a bad New Orleans Saints team. The Giants backed into the playoffs on the next day when the Miami Dolphins beat the Dallas Cowboys. No one gave the Giants a chance in the Wild Card round as they had to travel to Anaheim to play a Los Angeles Rams team that crushed them during the regular season. The Giants pulled off a 16-13 upset. The loss the following week to the eventual Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers did not hurt so much because most knew this Giants team had pretty much gone as far as it could given its talent level at the time.

The reason I bring this all up is I am curious to see how this all ends. Is the good stuff already over? Or do the Giants have a little more magic left in them? Can they pull off an upset in Minnesota or Philadelphia? Can they clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Colts? Do we dare to dream that they can even pull off one upset in the playoffs? That’s the storyline for the final few games.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • TE Nick Vannett (shoulder – probable)
  • OT Evan Neal (shoulder – probable)
  • OG Shane Lemieux (toe – out)
  • DL Leonard Williams (neck – probable)
  • OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (elbow – probable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee – out)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Giants fans are pretty giddy this week because of the key win against Washington. The offensive highlight of that game was the 18-play, 97-yard drive that ended with a touchdown and a 14-3 lead. However, the same basic problem that has haunted the New York offense for years now remains: an inability to score sufficient points. Take away the defensive score, and the Giants scored 13 offensive points against Washington, and six of those came on two 50-yard field goals. Not good. Despite their winning record, the Giants are -25 in point differential this season and have average only 20.5 points per game. The fewest points the team has scored is 13, the most it has scored is 27. But if you went into each game predicting the Giants would score only 20 points, there is a good chance you would hit the nail on the head, just like in three of the last four games.

The problem for the Giants is they are facing a Minnesota Vikings team that is 8th in scoring (averaging 25 points per game). The Giants are going to have to score more than 20 points to win this game. The good news is they are facing a Minnesota defense that is dead last in yards allowed (399 yards per game), being 31st against the pass and 18th against the run. They are also 28th in scoring defense, allowing almost 25 points per game. That’s why their point differential is only +2 despite their impressive 11-3 record. Of course, the 40-3 drubbing they received by the Dallas Cowboys have skewed that number a bit.

Long story short is this: if the anemic New York Giants passing offense can’t make some plays against this defense, then we will know it is as bad as it has looked all season against far better defenses. The Vikings are not the Eagles (2nd overall, 1st against the pass), Commanders (3rd, 8th), Cowboys (8th, 3rd), etc.

That said, the Vikings do have some defensive players to worry about. Edge rusher Za’Darius Smith, who moves around all over the defensive front, is one of the top pass rushers in the league with 9 sacks and the second-highest pressure rate (76). Fellow edge defender Danielle Hunter leads Minnesota with 9.5 sacks. Left corner Patrick Peterson may be on the wrong side of 30, but he’s still a good player and can shut down anyone who the Giants line up against him. Safety Harrison Smith is an instinctive, wily veteran who makes plays on the football and has five interceptions. The left defensive end is our old friend Dalvin Tomlinson. Inside linebackers Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks have over 230 tackles between the two of them.

The Vikings will challenge Evan Neal in pass protection as well the interior of the line with Za’Darius Smith. Since the Vikings have given up so many passing yards, the temptation will be for Brian Daboll and Mike Kakfa to open up the passing game a bit more. That might be a bit dicey with Smith and Hunter prowling around. The short-passing game that gets the ball out of Jones’ hand quickly, preventing negative plays seems to be preventing the big mistake. In addition, Saquon Barkley is coming off a strong performance and the Vikings’ run defense, while stronger than their pass defense, is still mediocre. A few more deep shots off of play action may be justified, but it may be wise to largely stick with what the team does well at this point. Keep in mind, the big reason the Giants won last weekend was they won the turnover battle. The Giants will also want to maintain long drives to keep Minnesota’s offense off of the field as much as possible.

Big picture time. Of course winning or losing this game matters. But what is more important is this game will give the Giants’ brass yet another late-season read on Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. Monumental contract decisions are about to be made.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
As mentioned above, the Vikings are 8th in scoring. They are 13th overall in yards gained, 7th in passing and 28th in rushing. That does not bode well for a New York secondary that is still without two of its top three players in safety Xavier McKinney and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson.

There are five targets to worry about in the passing game: WR Justin Jefferson (111 catches, 1,623 yards, 7 touchdowns), WR Adam Thielen (66 catches, 686 yards, 5 touchdowns), WR K.J. Osborn (45 catches, 457 yards, 4 touchdowns), TE T.J. Hockenson (39 catches, 335 yards, 1 touchdown), and RB Dalvin Cook (33 catches, 265 yards, 2 touchdowns). For comparison, the top two targets on the Giants are Barkley (47 catches, 294 yards, 0 touchdowns) and WR Richie James (42 catches, 403 yards, 3 touchdowns).

The issues with the Minnesota passing game are twofold. First, Jefferson is a monster who is “open” even when he is double-covered. He’s arguably the game’s best receiver and no cornerback on the Giants right now is going to be able to handle him on a consistent basis. The best the Giants can hope and pray for is to limit the damage he does. Second, the Vikings have the ability to spread the ball around not only to two other receivers, but also their tight end and running back. Cook is really dangerous on screen passes. The Viking offense can effectively take what the defense gives them. This is what the New York offense is missing. Barkley and Bellinger can be used in the passing game, but the Giants simply don’t have three starting-caliber wideouts to threaten defenses down the field.

The 28th in rushing stat can also be a bit misleading. Cook has over 1,000 rushing yards, had scored eight rushing touchdowns (one less than Barkley), and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry (slightly better than Barkley). That said, expect Wink Martindale to once again play more defensive backs and take his chances with a lighter defensive front against the run (one of the key reasons why the Giants are 30th in run defense). In a nutshell, Wink has to pick his poison. He just doesn’t have the defensive backs to play it straight up.

Many eyes will be on “Defensive Player of the Week” Kayvon Thibodeaux, but Kayvon and Azeez Ojulari will be facing two good tackles in LT Christian Darrisaw and RT Brian O’Neill. Darrisaw is playing outstanding football in particular. The good news for the Giants is starting center Garrett Bradbury is out and the two guards have struggled in pass protection. This is game where Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence both could make a lot of noise.

QB Kirk Cousins has thrown for 24 touchdowns. He will likely go over 4,000 yards in this game. But he also has thrown 11 interceptions and fumbled five times (losing two). At times, he has had issues dealing with the blitz. I would expect some exotic looks from Martindale in this one.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Graham Gano is a big reason why the Giants are still alive. Jamie Gillan has also been punting better, including his kicks being downed inside the 20. The return game is still dicey however. For the Vikings, Kene Nwangwu has returned one kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown this year. On the flip side, the Vikings have had three kicks blocked this year (two by the kicker and one by the punter).

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Head Coach Brian Daboll on Justin Jefferson: “Teams have him double teamed and a safety over the top of him, and Cousins is still throwing it to him. And you tell the quarterback, ‘Hey, there’s two guys there and a safety over there,’ but he trusts him. He’s an exceptional player. He’s tough to defend… They move him everywhere. So, obviously, he’s smart… He played in the slot; he played outside. Again, he’s a fun guy to watch when you’re not getting ready to play him. I’ve got a lot of respect for his game and what he’s done in the early part of his career.”

THE FINAL WORD:
Both teams are coming off emotional wins, but the Vikings had one more day to prepare and did not lose a day to travel. Minnesota is also 7-1 at home. Without McKinney and Jackson, it’s tough to see how the Giants are going to match-up against the Minnesota passing game. Cook is also very capable of running wild. In addition, unless the Giants win the turnover margin again by +2 or more, it’s also tough to see the Giants scoring more than 20-24 points. That all said, if the Giants keep this close, or somehow manage to pull off the upset, this would be another statement win late in the season on par with the Commanders game.

Dec 222022
 
Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants (October 16, 2022)

Dexter Lawrence – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 22, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
OG Shane Lemieux (toe) and CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee) did not practice on Thursday. Both have officially been ruled out of Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

TE Nick Vannett (shoulder), OT Evan Neal (shoulder), OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (elbow), and DL Leonard Williams (neck) were limited in practice. All four players are expected to play.

WR Isaiah Hodgins (calf) fully practiced and is expected to play.

SAQUON BARKLEY AND DEXTER LAWRENCE VOTED TO PRO BOWL…
Two Giants have been voted to the Pro Bowl, including running back Saquon Barkley as a starter and defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence as a reserve. This is the second time Barkley has been voted to the Pro Bowl, the first being during his rookie season in 2018. This is the first time Lawrence has been so honored.

Four other Giants were voted as alternates to the Pro Bowl, including placekicker Graham Gano (second alternate), left tackle Andrew Thomas and center Jon Feliciano (both third alternates), and outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (fourth alternate).

GIANTS SIGN LANDON COLLINS TO THE 53-MAN ROSTER…
The Giants have signed inside linebacker Landon Collins to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. The Giants signed Collins to the Practice Squad in early October. Collins has played in three games for team this year, being credited with four tackles.

The team also re-signed inside linebacker Tae Crowder to the Practice Squad, two days after waiving him from the 53-man roster.

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

  • LT Andrew Thomas (Video)
  • DL Dexter Lawrence (Video)
  • ILB/S Landon Collins (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Friday as the team travels to Minnesota to play the Vikings on Saturday afternoon.

Dec 212022
 
Micah McFadden, New York Giants (December 18, 2022)

Micah McFadden – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 21, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
OG Shane Lemieux (toe) and CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee) did not practice on Wednesday.

TE Nick Vannett (shoulder), OT Evan Neal (shoulder), OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (elbow), and DL Leonard Williams (neck) were limited in practice.

KAYVON THIBODEAUX NAMED “NFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK”…
New York Giants outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux has been named the “NFC Defensive Player of the Week” for his performance last Sunday night against the Washington Commanders. In that game, Thibodeaux was credited with 12 tackles and three tackles for losses. He also made the defensive play of the game when he sacked Taylor Heinicke, forcing a fumble that he recovered and advanced a yard for a touchdown. Thibodeaux is the first Giants’ defensive player to win this award since 2020, when defensive lineman Leonard Williams earned the honor.

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 on Thursday (11:45AM – 1:15PM). Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media.