Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

Nov 202017
 
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Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (November 19, 2017)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The New York Giants did not practice on Monday, but since the team has a short week because of Thursday’s game against the Washington Redskins, it was required to issue an injury report.

Guard D.J. Fluker (toe), guard/tackle Justin Pugh (back), defensive end Olivier Vernon (shoulder), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (ankle), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), and linebacker Calvin Munson (quad) would not have practiced today. According to multiple press reports, Fluker will not play on Thursday and could be out longer.

Running back Orleans Darkwa (hamstring), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (illness), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (ankle), and linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (groin) would have been limited.

MONDAY BEN MCADOO CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo addressed the media by conference call on Monday to discuss the team’s 12-9 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs:

Q: What’s the schedule like this week?

A: Today, we had some meeting time. We had a walk through on the field and we were quick on and off today. No helmets or anything like that. Want to make sure we give the players enough time to recover from this last game getting ready for the next one. So, mental preparation will be big. Sleep will be huge. Have to recover.

Q: Is tomorrow like a regular full practice?

A: No. No. We’re not going to hit much, if any. Speed this week.

Q: Is this a good thing that you have a short work week coming off of a win when it comes to building on the momentum?

A: I think it gives us an opportunity to stack two ‘W’s in five days. That’s good. It’s tough for the guys to get ready to play. The players, you know, they poured their hearts out in the overtime game yesterday. So, it’s a quick turnaround for the players. That’s always tough on them, but we don’t make the schedule. We just got to play it, so we’ll be ready to go.

Q: Did the overtime game cause you to make tweaks to the schedule or was it pretty much set before that?

A: Our schedule was pretty much set before that. We have a plan going in. We’ve done a version of it here since I’ve been here and it’s – got to get the players fresh, got to get them recovered from the last game so they’re ready to fire on all cylinders on Thursday night.

Q: Do you expect Eli Apple to be a full participant and ready to go Thursday night?

A: He was here today and went through practice. Yes.

Q: Will it be a normal week for him then?

A: It’s a normal week for Eli, yes.

Q: Was the decision with him just that he didn’t think he had enough time in practice to be ready to play?

A: Yeah. It was a coach’s decision.

Q: Do you expect D.J. Fluker and Justin Pugh to be able to go on Thursday and if not, who will go in at guard?

A: Yeah. You know I’m not going to tell you that. Fluker – if we were to practice today, he would not have practiced. It was more of a walk through-type day today. But, he did not go. Would not have been able to go. If we had to play today he would not have played.

Q: If you have to make a change at guard, how confident are you that John Greco is ready?

A: He’s played a lot of football in his career. He’s been around a long time, been in a lot of different systems. So, we’re confident that John will be able to go and be able to step in for us.

Q: What was your assessment of Chad Wheeler?

A: Yeah, you know, Chad is – like I said yesterday, I think the best way to describe it is you didn’t notice him a whole heck of a lot. He was physical in the run game. I thought he did some good things in pass protection. Now, the challenge for Chad is there’s film of him now. So, when the opponent has film and they know who’s playing, they can go study the tape. So, Chad needs to study himself as well as the opponent this week and take steps to improve.

Q: Did you already address Sterling Shepard?

A: You’re late?

Q: 6:29.

A: You got to be on NYG time, but Sterling Shepard would have been a limited participant in practice today if we had a normal football practice and not just a walk through-type practice.

Q: When a guy has migraines like that do you put them through a concussion protocol to make sure that it’s just migraines?

A: That’s a better question for medical, but right now he is not in the protocol.

Q: Has he had migraines in the past?

A: That’s a better question for Sterling.

Q: Did he mention it though?

A: Better question for Sterling.

Q: Any concerns about the ability of others you added to the injury report?

A: Yeah, I mean, it’s a short week, so it’s tough to recover. That’s the biggest challenge going from a Sunday overtime game to a Thursday night game. We have a lot of guys who are banged up. They’re going to have to fight through some things and possibly Calvin (Munson) and OV (Olivier Vernon). It is a concern.

Q: Now that you’ve evened up with Mike Sullivan when it comes to play calling, how do you assess the change and how it’s looked thus far?

A: I think our run game is coming. It’s coming along. You’re seeing some physicality in the guys up front. I think the tight ends are making progress and they’re fitting in. We added a couple new pieces there as well as the offensive line. They’re working well together. I think the backs are making some progress, so the run game is probably the most encouraging thing. What you’re seeing – third down is a challenge for us right now. That’s an area where we spend a lot of time and we want to continue to improve and work to improve. But, I think Sully has done a tremendous job there calling it. It’s not an easy chore. But, we’re making some progress especially in the run game. He sticks to the run, which I like.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Monday’s media conference calls with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

LANDON COLLINS ON ESPN RADIO…
The audio of Monday’s ESPN Radio interview with New York Giants safety Landon Collins is available at ESPN.com.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Tuesday in preparation for Thursday’s night game against the Washington Redskins. There is no media availability to the team on Wednesday.

Nov 202017
 
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Nov 192017
 
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Roger Lewis, New York Giants (November 19, 2017)

Yes, Roger Lewis caught this pass! – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 12 – KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 9…
Heavy underdogs to the Kansas City Chiefs, the New York Giants pulled off the upset on Sunday afternoon at a very windy MetLife Stadium, winning 12-9 in overtime. With the victory, the New York Giants improved to 2-8 on the season.

The Chiefs actually out-gained the Giants in first downs (22 to 20), total net yards (363 to 317), net yards rushing (134 to 112), net yards passing (229 to 205), and time of possession (37:16 to 30:50). But turnovers were the great equalizer as the Chiefs threw three interceptions and the Giants one.

The Chiefs moved the ball 37 yards on their first possession, but punted. New York pulled out all of the stops on their first series as the Giants ran three trick plays, including a fake punt that picked up a first down and, unfortunately, a halfback pass by Shane Vereen that ended with an interception at the Chiefs’ 1-yard line. The Giants got the ball back seven plays later when defensive tackle Damon Harrison picked off a shovel pass at the Chiefs’ 35-yard line, returning it to the 26. Six plays after that, running back Orleans Darkwa scored from one yard out. However, place kicker Aldrick Rosas missed the extra point. The Giants led 6-0.

Kansas City responded with a 15-play, 61-yard drive that took over nine minutes off of the clock, but settled for a 31-yard field goal to cut New York’s lead in half with just over four minutes to play. Neither team could move the ball for the remainder of the first half and the Giants were ahead 6-3 at the break.

The Giants went three-and-out to start the third quarter. The Chiefs gained 33 yards and punted. New York put together a decent drive that gained 58 yards in 11 plays, but turned the ball over on downs on 4th-and-9 at the Chiefs’ 33-yard line. This opened the door for the Chiefs who drove 54 yards in seven plays to tie the game 6-6 early in the 4th quarter on a 31-yard field goal.

Both teams went three-and-out. After the Giants gained a couple of first downs and punted, the Chiefs turned the ball over when a trick-play pass by the tight end was intercepted deep by safety Landon Collins at the Giants’ 14-yard line. The Giants picked up one first down and punted again with just over four minutes to play in regulation. New York got the ball back four plays later when quarterback Alex Smith’s was intercepted at the Chiefs’ 40-yard line by cornerback Janoris Jenkins and returned 17 yards to the 23. Five plays later, Rosas kicked a 26-yard field goal to give the Giants a 9-6 advantage with 1:38 to play.

New York’s defense could not hold as the Chiefs drove 69 yards in nine plays and 97 seconds to tie the game on a 23-yard field goal with one second left on the clock.

The Chiefs received the ball to start overtime but were forced to punt after gaining one first down. The Giants then put the game away with a 10-play, 77-yard drive, the highlight being a spectacular 34-yard catch by wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr. on 4th-and-5 down to the Chiefs’ 2-yard line. Two plays later, Rosas kicked the 23-yard field goal for the win.

Manning finished the game 19-of-35 for 205 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. Wide receivers Roger Lewis (55 yards), Tavarres King (48 yards), and Travis Rudolph (34 yards) each had three receptions to lead the team. Orleans Darkwa gained 74 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries. Rookie Chad Wheeler started at right tackle.

Landon Collins led the defense with 14 tackles and an interception. Linebacker Calvin Munson had 12 tackles and linebacker Devon Kennard had the team’s lone sack. Damon Harrison and Janoris Jenkins each had interceptions as well.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were wide receiver Sterling Shepard (migraine), offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (groin), cornerback Eli Apple, quarterback Davis Webb, and offensive lineman John Greco.

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

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants are 20-15-2 in regular-season overtime games since 1974, when the extra period was first played.

The Giants improved to 11-3 vs. the Chiefs, including 7-0 in home games.

Quarterback Eli Manning started his 209th consecutive regular-season game, breaking a tie with his brother, Peyton, for the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history, behind Brett Favre’s 297 straight starts. It is the sixth-longest starting streak among all NFL players since the 1970 merger.

Manning engineered his 35th game-winning, regular-season drive (drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in which he led the Giants from a tie or deficit to win the game).

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Nov 192017
 
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Nov 172017
 
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Damon Harrison, New York Giants (January 1, 2017)

Damon Harrison – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back) and linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle) have officially been rule out of Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (groin) is “doubtful” for the game.

Defensive tackle Damon Harrison (ankle) and Devon Kennard (quad) are “questionable” for the contest.

Offensive guard D.J. Fluker (knee), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (ankle), linebacker Calvin Munson (quad), and cornerback Donte Deayon (ankle) are unofficially “probable” for the game.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The Giants play the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Nov 172017
 
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Game Preview: Kansas City Chiefs at New York Giants, November 19, 2017

THE STORYLINE:
To bastardize a line from a movie classic Becket: “Will no one rid us of this this interminable season?”

This is never-ending horror show… the NFL version of the Bataan Death March. It gets worse by the week yet we are only just over halfway through the season.

I may be dead wrong, but Ben McAdoo, his coaching staff, and many of the players signed their pink slips last week by getting blown out by the previously winless San Francisco 49ers. There is no excuse, none, for being that uncompetitive against one of the NFL’s worst teams. The question is does John Mara have the balls to hand a pink slip to Jerry Reese as well? And if not, does the Tisch family intervene?

You think these scenarios sound extreme? In the team’s 93rd season, the Giants are on course to have THEIR WORST season. The Giants have finished with two wins four times in team history. The 1966 Giants currently have the worst overall record, finishing 1-12-1. Do the 2017 New York Giants have another win in them? If not, the Giants will finish 1-15.  And this is a team that the franchise believed to be a Super Bowl contender. Talk about a complete and epic management failure! This is not all on the coaching staff. The current culture feels stale and needs a shake up.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • OL Justin Pugh (back – out)
  • OL D.J. Fluker (knee – probable)
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee – probable)
  • DT Damon Harrison (ankle – questionable)
  • DT Dalvin Tomlinson (ankle – probable)
  • LB Devon Kennard (quad – questionable)
  • LB B.J. Goodson (ankle – out)
  • LB Calvin Munson (quad – probable)
  • LB Kelvin Sheppard (groin – doubtful)
  • CB Donte Deayon (ankle – probable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
In the cesspool that is the Giants’ offense, there are two emerging bright spots: Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard. These are two building blocks. Pray for their health during the remainder of this meaningless season. But the Giants may be facing a total rebuild everywhere else:

  • Quarterback: As I’ve previously discussed, it is time to move on from Eli Manning. He may stick around one more season as a starter to serve as mentor to the new quarterback, but sticking with a quarterback who is approaching 37 makes no sense on a rebuilding ball club. The Giants will likely draft their replacement for Manning with a top three pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Davis Webb? The Giants are not going to play him this year and the Giants can’t risk assuming he is the answer at QB going into 2018 and pass on a potential franchise QB with a top pick. For better or worse, they feel like they owe to Manning to not bench him for Webb. (And to be honest, because Webb has received virtually no practice snaps since being drafted, he’s not ready for any real game action).
  • Running Back: I keep saying this but the Giants are wasting snaps on Orleans Darkwa. Same with Shane Vereen. Ben McAdoo is trying to save his job and the jobs of his assistant coaches. The welfare of families are involved… it’s a tough situation. But Darkwa and Vereen are not the future of a rebuilding club. The team needs to get a better read on Wayne Gallman and Paul Perkins. Unfortunately, the team will probably head into the offseason with running back remaining a big question mark and the team parting ways with the two backs who will receive the bulk of the remaining play time. Stupid.
  • Wide Receiver: Re-signing Odell Beckham is not a given. He will demand to be the highest paid non-quarterback in the NFL. Is he worth it? Talent wise, probably, although one can point to the fact that the Giants haven’t won a lot of games despite his historic productivity. The bigger issue is his head. He’s not a “bad guy.” But is he a “winner”… that almost-indefinable intangible demonstrated by impact players who lift their entire team? Or is he a distraction? Also muddying the waters is that Beckham, from a marketing standpoint, is one of the few reasons to watch this team. He’s a legit superstar marquee player in the world’s biggest media market. That’s not lost on Mara and Tisch – who in the end, are running a business that seeks to make money. One thing to keep in mind is that with Manning likely coming off the books soon, allocating a significant chunk of the salary cap to Beckham becomes more tolerable. Aside from Beckham and Shepard, there isn’t much in the cupboard here. The Giants need to part ways with Brandon Marshall.
  • Tight End: Ironically, a year after fielding arguably the worst tight end unit in the NFL, this is the bright spot moving forward. Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, and probably Jerell Adams are all keepers. On some teams, Matt LaCosse may be seeing more playing time.
  • Offensive Line: Here is probably the #1 reason why the Giants will be in full rebuild mode. There may not be ONE single keeper in this group. Perhaps Chad Wheeler and Adam Bisnowaty (the latter who struggled mightily in the preseason but who is still young). But that may be wishful thinking. Justin Pugh can’t stay healthy and based on his Twitter account seems obsessed with a big pay day. Weston Richburg has declined as a player since 2015 and is coming off a serious concussion. A year after the Giants gave him another big contract, the Giants need to part ways with John Jerry. Bobby Hart proclaimed himself the best right tackle in football but has proven to be the worst. D.J. Fluker is serviceable, but inconsistent. Brett Jones is just a guy and probably better suited to a reserve role. Ironically, as the Giants have gotten worse as a team, Ereck Flowers has gotten better. But as Sy’56 has pointed out, he has some tough opponents coming up. He may be the most important player to watch on offense for the remainder of the season. How many new starters do the Giants need on the offensive line after spending three premium picks on the position? The question is scary enough. But how scary is the potential answer?

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The defense has quit. And that is as much as an indictment on Steve Spagnuolo as it is on Ben McAdoo. That’s why both need to go. This will be yet another season where a Spagnuolo-led defense will finish near the bottom of the NFL. I don’t think 2007, 2008, and 2016 can save him from the performances of 2012 (Saints), 2015 and 2017 (Giants). The Giants’ defense gave up 31 points and almost 500 yards of offense to atrocious 49ers with a rookie quarterback. It’s not acceptable.

  • Defensive Line: Damon Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson are the building blocks. The problem is Jason Pierre-Paul’s $62 million contract. In hindsight, re-signing JPP was a HUGE mistake. He’s a coach killer. The game isn’t important enough to him. Yet, if the Giants cut him, it will cost over $20 million against the cap. So the new coaching staff is probably stuck with him. Same story with Olivier Vernon (over $11 million in dead money if cut). The prayer here is a new coaching staff will light a fire under both of these two, but that may be pie-in-the-sky, wishful thinking. The good news is that Avery Moss appears to have an upside, but we need to see more. After all, we thought the same of Romeo Okwara last year and we saw how he didn’t pan out.
  • Linebacker: A complete mess. They can’t cover (historically bad against tight ends) or play the run. It’s time to part ways with Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, J.T. Thomas, Mark Herzlich, and most of the other no names. The hope here was that B.J. Goodson would turn out to be a viable linebacker, but he has been injury prone beyond belief and terrible in coverage. There may not be ONE KEEPER in this entire group. That’s unbelievable and an utterly damaging indictment on the personnel department on this team.
  • Defensive Backs: This is the group that has quit. And it’s clear as day to see. Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have both been suspended for not taking their jobs seriously. Landon Collins went from a “Defensive Player of the Year” candidate to a stiff. All three were legit Pro Bowl/All-Pro types a year ago. Eli Apple’s head doesn’t seem to be in the game. On paper, this is a group of players that most teams would die for. You can see it on the tape, the effort isn’t there (see last week’s dagger-in-the-heard 47-yard touchdown right before halftime). Yeah, it sucks when you are a 1-win team and dead halfway through the season. But you are being paid to play to YOUR potential, not sulk and act like a baby. Grow up! You think your jobs and future income are guaranteed? I hope you saved a good chunk of your current contracts because your options in the outside world are going to be limited. Clean up in aisle 5.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but Tom Quinn needs to go. Aldrick Rosas and Brad Wing are clearly auditioning for the next coaching staff. I do hope they bring Rosas back to camp next year. He has tremendous ability and it is not unusual for a kicker to struggle a bit in his rookie season. The Giants only got one good year out of Dwayne Harris. That contract was another mistake.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Head Coach Ben McAdoo on Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram: “Sterling is really emerging as a young leader for us. I like that about him. He’s a confident player. It’s good to see him get in his groove. He’s had to fight through so many things in training camp and here in the season with injuries, and before those he was really hitting his stride. So it’s good to see him hitting his stride again, and we have a lot of confidence in him. He’s one of our better players, and he’s willing to block for a receiver that plays in the slot. That has a big impact on our football team… (Engram is) a dynamic player in the pass game, he’s coming along as a blocker. He’s working on it, it’s important to him. There are some things he needs to clean up. But his work ethic, his passion and love for football is refreshing. Evan was named a team captain this week. First time I believe I’ve named a rookie team captain.”

THE FINAL WORD
So you don’t think it can get worse?

Nov 172017
 
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