Aug 232017
 
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Olivier Vernon, New York Giants (August 21, 2017)

Olivier Vernon – © USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns 10 – New York Giants 6

QUICK RECAP

In front of a national stage, albeit still a preseason game, the Giants played under the Monday Night lights against the perennial bottom feeders of the NFL. Cleveland, with just one winning season since 2003, looks energized and refreshed with some of the best young talent the franchise has had in a very long time. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham suited up for their first live action of the preseason but it didn’t help get the first “W” next to Big Blue’s name.

In true preseason fashion, it was an ugly exhibition with just 16 total points scored, 5 turnovers (2 of which were QB-RB exchanges), and just two plays of 20 or more yards. The turning point came in the fourth quarter where the Giants were down 10-6 with the ball and “1st-and-goal” distance away not once, but twice. Two opportunities that close to the end zone netted the Giants 0 points and two turnovers. Even worse, the Giants left Cleveland beat up with star receivers Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall both exiting the game with respective injuries in addition to their position group-mate Tavarres King. The Giants have played eight quarters of preseason football and have yet to cross the goal line with the ball in their hands.

QUARTERBACKS

  • Eli Manning looked solid and in full control of the offense, making several line calls with multiple changes that led to positive plays. He went 10/14 for 80 yards. He nearly threw a touchdown pass to TE Evan Engram but it was tipped away by Browns LB Joe Schobert. Manning spread the ball around well and looked accurate and confident. He was sacked once.
  • Geno Smith was the first signal caller off of the bench, coming into the game for a 2-minute drill towards the end of the first half with just 1:10 remaining. That is always a good time to see what a QB on the fence can do. Smith ended up handing the ball off to Shane Vereen twice, completing two short passes, and getting sacked by 2017’s #1 overall pick, Myles Garrett. Smith ended the night 11/17 for 79 yards and a very bad interception on a 3rd-and-goal play where he didn’t recognize the Browns coverage. More of the same from what Geno Smith’s career has presented so far: a guy who can make all of the throws, look good doing it, but has the knack for game-killing decisions.
  • Josh Johnson saw very limited action, going 2/4 for 6 yards. There wasn’t much to take out of this contest for him.

RUNNING BACKS

  • Paul Perkins had a rough night. He finished with just 10 yards on 6 carries. There can be some blame placed on the offensive line, Bobby Hart in particular, but there were two plays where he didn’t see the lane he was supposed to be running through and instead bounced it outside or to another gap where he got caught up in traffic. Upon further review, it looks like Perkins is approaching the line with too much hesitation and the assumption he needs to create on his own. There needs to be more assertiveness in his play.
  • Shane Vereen, on the field for just 11 plays, appeared to have that quick decision making on both of his runs. He was, however, running in more favorable situations, but as I said in early July, I think a healthy Vereen is just as likely to get the majority of snaps in this offense as Perkins.
  • Wayne Gallman got a lot of action, particularly in the 3rd quarter. He looked explosive, loose hipped, and aggressive. He shoots out of a cannon and sometimes even too quickly for his own good. He has the kind of big-play potential a stagnant offense needs when they hit a dead end. On a 13-play drive early in the 4th quarter, Gallman rushed 5 times for 23 yards (including an explosive 8 yard run that was called back for a hold away from the play) and caught 2 passes for 20 yards. There is a multi-faceted threat here that I think the Giants are going to use more and more as the season progresses.
  • Backup hopefuls Orleans Darkwa and Khalid Abdullah didn’t jump off the screen in their limited reps.
  • Fullback Shane Smith appears to have a strong grip on the fullback job, although I think it is still a coin flip on whether or not they carry one. His play hasn’t been translating to yards.

WIDE RECEIVERS

  • The conversation starts with injured starters Odell Beckham (ankle) and Brandon Marshall (shoulder). Preliminary reports lead us to believe both will be unaffected for week 1 in Dallas. Beckham caught 3 passes for 37 yards, easily getting open against a sub-par Cleveland secondary. Marshall was overthrown by Manning in the first quarter on a go route but it was good to see the big man run by a cornerback so easily. These two absolutely need to stay healthy for this offense to reach even close to it’s potential.
  • Tavarres King, who has the inside track at the #4 spot on the depth chart, re-aggravated an ankle injury. His frame is extremely thin and fragile looking, and he may have a hard time staying on the field consistently.
  • Sterling Shepard caught 3 passes for 9 yards and also fumbled the ball in Cleveland territory. Rough night for him, and for a guy that may be competing for snaps, it wasn’t encouraging. Weird to say something like that about a second-year player who was second among all rookies last season in receiving.
  • Roster hopefuls Travis Rudolph and Roger Lewis went for 2 catches/16 yards and 1 catch/6 yards, respectively. Both made mental errors. Rudolph’s was a concentration drop and Lewis didn’t recognize the coverage on Geno Smith’s interception and was unable to try and break the pass up.

TIGHT ENDS

  • Rhett Ellison and Evan Engram both had good nights. This position group is night and day on another level from what we saw last year. Engram caught 3 passes for 32 yards, while Ellison added 1 catch for 6 yards and made a big impact as blocker. On Paul Perkins’ 16-yard run in the 2nd quarter, Ellison blocked two separate Cleveland defenders on opposite sides of the running lane. It was a big league, high-level play that doesn’t show up in the box score. Both Engram and Ellison were lining up all over the field including a formation where they both started off in the backfield in a wishbone type formation.
  • Will Tye and Matt LaCosse both caught passes in the second half while Jerell Adams missed a quick hot route throw from Josh Johnson on the final play of the game. There is still a chance any of these three tight ends make the team, as they offer completely different packages individually. Tye looks much more athletic and sure of himself than he did in 2016.

OFFENSIVE LINE

  • We all know this group will be under the microscope all year. While they still have plenty of room to improve as a whole, the line held up for the most part. Without the Browns top interior force, Danny Shelton, the Giants first-string line was able to neutralize the Browns pass rush. However, the right side still struggled to get a constant push. Nevertheless, the glass half full approach was that the left side performed well.
  • Ereck Flowers was matched up against 2017 #1 overall pick Myles Garrett all night. Garrett did record a sack, but it was a result of Geno Smith evading pressure from the right side and running into the arms of Garrett, who was being kept outside the pocket well by Flowers. Flowers looked athletic and strong for most of his snaps. Bobby Hart, on the other hand, had a rough night. He was being controlled easily by second-year defensive end Carl Nassib. His poor run blocking led to a couple losses in the run game.
  • John Jerry, better known for his pass blocking than run blocking, was late to see a stunt in the first quarter which led to a sack of Eli Manning. He and Weston Richburg were getting very little-to-no movement at the point of attack. Too often are those two getting knocked backwards.
  • The backups on the left side, notably Chad Wheeler and Jon Halapio, performed well. Halapio was a center in college and got snaps there throughout training camp. He is still in the running for that backup center job.
  • D.J. Fluker graded out better than John Jerry by a wide margin. There will be some thought and discussion surrounding the idea that he should be the starter there, but it’s not happening. Not at this point anyway. The Giants are going to sink or swim with their current starting 5 with the hope that chemistry continues to build and covers some holes in their games individually. We know what Fluker is. He is a powerful, enormous man-mover who will struggle the second he is caught in space against quick defenders. There are severe limitations to his game.
  • Rookie Adam Bisnowaty struggled mightily for the second straight game, showing a lack of ability to react and adjust his weight. He appears to be having a very hard time adjusting to the speed at this level.

DEFENSIVE LINE

  • Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon appear to be in mid-season form already. They combined for a sack and played stellar run defense. Vernon tipped a Brock Osweiler pass in the first quarter than landed in the arms of Pierre-Paul, who covered an unbelievable amount of ground with his gazelle strides before leaping into the air and securing it. It was an extremely rare feat of athletic prowess that most defensive ends couldn’t even think about doing. Vernon made one of the plays of the night in coverage 25 yards downfield where he ran up and across the field with rookie speedster David Njoku. He also had a sack called back because of a defensive holding call away from the action.
  • Jay Bromley and Damon Harrison got the start inside. Bromley is likely in the lead for the week 1 starting job, but he is still having a hard time showing an ability to consistently anchor against double teams. He shows the occasional surge off the ball, however, that leads you to the thought, “What if?”
  • Jordan Williams was in there early in the game with the first string on a 3rd-down sub package. He made a nice tackle on a shovel pass that prevented Cleveland from continuing their drive. I am not going to compare Williams to Justin Tuck as a player, but they are awfully similar in the way they move. Williams has the versatility stemming from his size and speed to be a factor on 3rd downs from the inside. He is certainly in the 53-man roster discussion because of how much he can do.
  • Backup tackles Robert Thomas and Dalvin Tomlison are very active. They shoot off the ball well and will make plays away from the point-of-attack. Tomlinson made a tackle on a passing play seven yards downfield outside the numbers in the second half. How many interior guys do you see do that?  He is still getting pushed back by the power blocks, multiple yards, too easily and often.
  • Kerry Wynn, Romeo Okwara, and Avery Moss were pretty quiet, each only being involved in 1 tackle. Okwara was the first pass rushing DT on the field on 3rd down for what its worth. There was one play where his biggest weakness, lower body stiffness and lack of lateral twitch, was on full display when he tried and whiffed to bring down Deshone Kizer on a designed running play.

LINEBACKERS

  • B.J. Goodson led the way (get used to hearing that) with 7 tackles. For the second straight week, Goodson recorded a sack on a blitz up the middle in which he obliterated Cleveland running back Duke Johnson who tried to simply get in his way. Didn’t work out for him. Goodson continues to be the pace-maker of this physical brand of Giants defense.
  • Calvin Munson and Deontae Skinner both played a lot of snaps, as they might be competing for  the same roster spot. Munson notched 4 tackles and showed plenty of range on a 3rd-quarter physical tackle near the sidelines. Skinner, arguably the top athlete in the entire group, recorded 3 tackles of his own but also missed 2. He and Charles Grant both appear more instinctive and reactive than a year ago, but I’m not sure it’s quite enough yet. Grant is still a liability in coverage, as he was easily beat up the seam by rookie tight end David Njoku but was saved by an overthrow by Deshone Kizer.
  • Jonathan Casillas and Devon Kennard had solid outings in their limited action. Both work through traffic exceptionally well and carry a strong presence to their hits. Kennard had really nice coverage on the athletic Njoku in the first quarter.

CORNERBACKS

  • With Eli Apple out, Michael Hunter got some extra looks in the Giants nickel defense. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who also saw some snaps at safety, shifted inside to the nickel position. Hunter covered very well but lost outside contain on a running play by Duke Johnson. Fortunately it was called back due to a hold away from the action. Both Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins were strong in coverage and physical in the run game.
  • Valentino Blake got on the field a lot considering he is very involved on special teams. He is tough and physical, two prerequisites for Special Teams Coach Tom Quinn and we all know how much this era of Giants leadership values the specials. Blake still gives up too much yardage as a cover man, however.
  • Undrafted rookie Deshaun Amos stood out to me on a couple of occasions. He made a couple of very physical hits and showed excellent technique in man coverage.
  • Donte Deayon bounced back after a rough outing against Pittsburgh. He handled all of his allotted returns, stuck to his receivers in coverage with ease, and intercepted a pass that showed off high-level ball skills. Unfortunately it was called back due to penalty that had nothing to do with the play’s result. Deayon, as we know, is on the VERY small side and it continues to show up when he is trying to defend the run. He was rendered completely useless on a few outside runs by physical receivers.

SAFETIES

  • Landon Collins recorded a tackle and showed plenty of range against the run. He is heading for a 100+ tackle season for the third straight year.
  • Nat Berhe led the team in snaps played. He recorded 6 tackles but missed another bad one in the fourth quarter on a backup tight end. Through two games he has graded out very poorly as a tackler, something that just can’t happen from that position.
  • Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams continued to be right place, right time-type defenders without a big impact. Eric Pinkins and Duke Ihenacho did not get a ton of opportunity to display much of anything.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Veteran Mike Nugent got the first look on the field goal unit, nailing a 38 yarder. Rookie Aldrick Rosas hit one from 47 yards later on, but it didn’t have a ton of room left on it.
  • Brad Wing punted the ball 3 times for a poor average net (36.3 yards) due to poor coverage, mainly by Shane Smith and Orleans Darkwa.
  • The return game was quiet, with Donte Deayon, Travis Rudolph, and Orleans Darwka handling duties but all were fair catches and touchbacks.

3 STUDS

  • DE Jason Pierre Paul, DE Olivier Vernon, TE Evan Engram

3 DUDS

  • RB Paul Perkins, RT Bobby Hart, RT Adam Bisnowaty

3 TAKEAWAYS FOR CLE

  • There is a serious amount of young talent on the Browns, I think more than we have ever seen since their rebirth into the league. The upside of this team is huge if they can finally find their QB.
  • Rookie left tackle Roderick Johnson played pretty well considering he is a 5th-round pick and was up against Vernon. With Joe Thomas sitting out, Johnson’s experience in these games is huge for the long-term development of this team. He was also a high upside prospect and if he can figure it out before his name is called when Thomas retires, CLE may not skip a beat when the best left tackle of all time is no longer there.
  • Deshone Kizer was my second rated QB of the 2017 class. A weak class overall, but I still thought Kizer was a guy that could start and win plenty of games for a team. He has talent that very good QBs in this league don’t have. He was off on a couple throws but I was impressed by the quick release and easy footwork. If this kid puts his best foot forward, he has as much of a chance at being THE guy that turns this franchise around as anyone before him. And there is an offensive line there that rivals some of the best in football, which is huge for a young QB’s development.
Aug 192017
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (November 27, 2016)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Preseason Game Preview: New York Giants at Cleveland Browns, August 21, 2017

THE STORYLINE:
The second preseason game is a much more serious affair than the first. All of the team’s healthy starters should play, providing a better indication of where this team is at and potential trouble spots. You may or may not think it is premature to worry about aspects of the team, but there are early indications that the offensive line and running game could be issues once again. Defensively, the team looks strong but there are concerns about depth in the secondary. Of course, many eyes will be on Aldrick Rosas and whether or not he can be relied upon.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Shaun Draughn (ankle)
  • WR Dwayne Harris (upper body)
  • WR Darius Powe (hamstring)
  • LB Keenan Robinson (concussion)
  • LB Mark Herzlich (stinger)
  • LB J.T. Thomas (knee)
  • CB Eli Apple (ankle)
  • S Duke Ihenacho (hamstring)
  • S Ryan Murphy (lower body)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
The blocking up front remains a concern. Against the Steelers, center Weston Richburg and right guard John Jerry did not have good games. And tackles Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart have been inconsistent in practice. The running game against the Steelers was putrid despite Ben McAdoo’s desire to focus on that aspect of the offense. There are still questions about whether or not Paul Perkins is a legitimate NFL starter.

We should get our first look at the real first-team offense with Eli Manning at quarterback and Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard at wide receiver. Much attention will be on how the offensive line protects Eli and opens up holes for Perkins. Can the line provide Manning with enough time to utilize all of his dangerous weapons? Can the running game keep him out of 2nd-and-10 and 3rd-and-9 situations? When this offense is in true regular-season mode, Shane Vereen is the third-down back and a feature in the passing game. We’ll probably get a good indication on how seriously the Giants are taking this game by how much Vereen plays (Vereen tends to get nicked up so the Giants probably won’t play him all that much). It will be interesting to see if the Giants also send tight end Evan Engram on more vertical routes or whether the team is “hiding” that for the regular season. Up front, now is the time for D.J. Fluker to make a serious push for playing time. Jerry has opened the door for him. Jerry is the better pass protector and Fluker the better run blocker.

In terms of competition for roster spots, Geno Smith seemed to take the lead in the quarterback battle over Josh Johnson, but Smith made a stupid killer mistake in the Steelers game. Smith can solidify his chances with a sound game. If Johnson out-plays Smith in Cleveland, things will start to get a bit dicey. It will be interesting to see if Davis Webb plays in the second or third preseason games. Snaps are limited.

Among the tight ends and receivers, Matt LaCosse has been a camp all-star again, but we need to see it in games. Right now, it looks like Rhett Ellison, Evan Engram, and Jerell Adams are the locks with LaCosse and Will Tye on the bubble. Things are more cloudy at wide receiver once you get past the top four of Beckham, Marshall, Shepard, and Dwayne Harris. Tavarres King was a favorite at one point, but he has missed a lot of time due to an ankle injury. Roger Lewis is coming off a bad game and remains inconsistent. Darius Powe now has a hamstring issue. Travis Rudolph just may not have enough athletic ability. Could someone like Jerome Lane now sneak into the picture? On the line, much attention will be focused on back-up tackles Adam Bisnowaty and Chad Wheeler again. Both had rough moments against Pittsburgh.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The starters looked good against the Steelers, but keep in mind that Pittsburgh also sat their starting quarterback and best weapons. The Giants appear to be in good shape with multiple all-stars on the defensive line and in the secondary. But depth at safety (3rd and 4th safeties) and cornerback (5th corner) remain areas of concern. The linebacking unit has also been a bit nicked up.

Up front, the concerns about the defensive tackle spot alongside Damon Harrison appears to be diminishing with the strong efforts of Jay Bromley and Dalvin Tomlinson. Robert Thomas missed the first preseason game and should now get a chance to show his wares. Jason Pierre-Paul also did not play against the Steelers. Olivier Vernon looks set for a big year. But again, is there a back-up pass rusher on this team? Kerry Wynn had a strong game last week. Can he build upon it?

At linebacker, B.J. Goodson was a bit inconsistent, but he looks much more athletic this preseason. Combine that with his physical, aggressive nature and the Giants are willing to live with some growing pains there. What is interesting is that Calvin Munson appears to be making a serious push for a roster spot.

Landon Collins was all over the field against the Steelers. He’s one of those guys you want to get out of the game as soon as possible. He’s ready. Darian Thompson will be the other starter. Regardless of his upside, Andrew Adams is the primary back-up here. Nat Berhe is coming off a rough game and time may be running out on him. If Eric Pinkins makes it, it may be solely for special teams. I’m not sure the 4th safety is on this team yet. And I’m not sure the Giants really want Adams being the primary back-up. At corner, the big story is the emergence of Michael Hunter as a viable NFL cornerback. If he truly pans out, the Giants are in very good shape and ideally only need to find that 5th corner in case injuries start piling up. Valentino Blake and DaShaun Amos are coming off a rough game. The coaches seem to like Donte Deayon but he doesn’t offer and special teams value.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Both Aldrick Rosas and Mike Nugent went 2-for-2 last week and both hit long field goals, though Rosas was more impressive with his 52 yarder in the rain. In the event of a tie, one would think the Giants would go with youth over the fading veteran. But we shall see. The Giants did not use Dwayne Harris last week. Will they continue to keep him in bubble wrap in the preseason? (He had the hell beat out of him last year).

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Ben McAdoo on the second preseason game: “We want to stack some success with the way the game management went last week. We had 11 guys on the field each play, and that is easier said than done in the first preseason game. And just keep continuing to build. Go good to great on defense. Offense, be more productive. We are going to have everybody in the mix there and special teams, continue to improve.”

THE FINAL WORD:
My focus will be on pass protection and the running game on offense. I’m starting to get worried about both these areas again. Defensively, can Jay Bromley and Kerry Wynn string together two good games? What do the Giants have in Robert Thomas? How worried should we be about the back-up safeties? Of course, the field goal battle is a primary focal point. This is actually one of those games where you may want to see drives stall in enemy territory so you can get a better read on Rosas.

Aug 152017
 
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Brandon Marshall, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Brandon Marshall – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 15, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fourteenth and final summer training camp practice of the year on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

ROSTER MOVES – CORBIN BRYANT PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants placed defensive tackle Corbin Bryant on Injured Reserve. Bryant injured his elbow during Monday’s training camp practice.

To replace Bryant’s roster spot, the Giants signed defensive tackle Bobby Richardson. Richardson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New Orleans Saints after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Saints (2015-2016), Washington Redskins (2016), Kansas City Chiefs (2016), and Denver Broncos (2017). The Broncos cut Richardson in May. He has played in 15 games with 11 starts – all during his rookie season with the Saints – and has 40 career tackles and 0.5 sacks. Richardson is a bit of a DE/DT ‘tweener, lacking size at 6’3”, 286 pounds.

Bobby Richardson, who played in 15 games with 11 starts as a rookie free agent for the 2015 New Orleans Saints. He was credited with 40 tackles (20 solo), a half-sack and had one interception. In 2016, Richards did stints on the practice squads of the Saints, Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs. He was with the Denver Broncos from Feb. 24 to May 3 of this year.

The Giants also signed linebacker Steven Daniels on Tuesday. The 24-year old Daniels was originally drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 7th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He missed his entire rookie season with a torn labrum. The Redskins waived him in May 2017. He was then claimed by the Philadelphia Eagles who waived him in August. Daniels is a short (5’11”) linebacker with good bulk (245 pounds). Daniels lacks ideal overall athleticism, but he is a good, aggressive run defender who will hit you. He is not as strong in coverage.

INJURY REPORT – DRAUGHN AND THOMAS ACTIVATED OFF OF PUP…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) were activated from the the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List on Tuesday. Both participated in some drills but were limited.

“(Thomas is) working through individuals and we’ll have a plan to build him up as we go,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We’re not going to rush into anything with him… He’s got a chance to build himself up, play some meaningful games as we go. There’s a pretty good chance he won’t play this next ballgame, but he’ll have a chance to play here shortly.”

Wide receiver Darius Powe (hamstring), wide receiver Kevin Snead (lower body), offensive lineman Adam Gettis (scratched eye), linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger), safety Landon Collins (illness), safety Duke Ihenacho (hamstring), and safety Ryan Murphy (lower body) did not practice.

Wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (soreness), and linebacker Devon Kennard (unknown) were limited.

Linebacker B.J. Goodson left practice early with a sore back.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Last day of camp for Gidie and I. Cloudy, comfortable temperature with some rain towards the end of practice.

Offense Notes:

  • Good to see RB Shaun Draughn out there today. He didn’t get involved in the team/full speed drills but he caught some balls and showed his burst up field. I wouldn’t expect to see him on the field in Cleveland Monday night.
  • Also good to see WR Tavarres King participating in the group drills. He, too, stayed out of live action. I’ve grown to appreciate having him as the #4/5 WR on this team, as some of the other guys struggled to separate over the past week. King brings some confidence and security to the position behind the top 3 guys.
  • We got to watch WR vs. CB drills near the end zone. Offense had the ball on the 5-yard line and the CB was left on an island, no help in any direction. A tough task to say the least. CB Eli Apple had a physical defense of WR Keeon Johnson, a physical guy in his own right, on an inside slant. WR Brandon Marshall toyed with CB Valentino Blake a couple times, something I have gotten used to seeing. Good to see WR Odell Beckham and CB Janoris Jenkins go head-to-head a couple times. They split. Those two are at the top of their games already. CB Donte Deayon got beat every time from what I saw; his lack of physical presence in that spot shows up.
  • The first play of 7-on-7 with half the line going live offered the play of the day. QB Eli Manning threw a lob-ish type pass to WR Brandon Marshall. CB Eli Apple was all over him but Marshall fended him off and trapped the ball against his body with one arm while on the move. Even more impressive ball by Eli.
  • TE Evan Engram beat…DT Jay Bromley….for a nice TD catch where he showed top tier footwork in the back of the end zone.
  • The gap between John Jerry’s pass blocking and run blocking has been discussed, and it is definitely credible. He handled the bull-rush of DT Jay Bromley with ease all day, but doesn’t get the movement off the line as a run blocker.
  • The Jarron Jones experiment at OT has not be a pleasant one to watch. Again, a very difficult move to make. However Jones has been getting beat all day every day by anyone that lines up across from him.
  • The running game is very hard to gauge right now. My initial thought is RB Paul Perkins has had zero room to run anywhere. The inside lanes are non-existent and he just seems lost. He can’t find any creases to sneak through and it may be because they don’t exist.

Defense Notes:

  • DE Avery Moss seems to be getting more and more comfortable out there. I don’t expect him to be active on game days unless injuries arise, however it is easy to see why this team liked him. He has a frame that is going to easily handle 15-20 more pounds. He made a freakishly-athletic pass deflection when dropping in to coverage against QB Davis Webb.
  • This is a repeat statement, but CB Janoris Jenkins out-physicaled WR Brandon Marshall a couple times. And he moved well with WR Odell Beckham on slant routes. He can do it all.
  • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is like an extra coach out there. He takes the young guys under his wings after they make mistakes as much as anyone. You can tell they are limiting him in practice, as he is showing signs of being fragile. But he is a crucial part of this defense.
  • The new linebacker, Steven Daniels, earned a draftable grade from me in 2016. I like those 3-4 thumpers. He saw time on specials today but nothing on live defense.
  • S Darian Thompson looks like he is in the right place usually, a good start. He failed to intercept a pass that Manning basically threw right to him. Still very unsure about him.
  • As I have said before, I think the top 4 CBs on this defense are better than any top 4 in the NFL, and I am very confident in that statement. What they have after that, however, is pretty much what we see around the league. An underachieving veteran (Valentino Blake) and young guys trying to stick despite glaring weaknesses that starting WRs will eat up (Donte Deayon, DaShaun Amos, Nigel Tribune). If you had to take 2 of those on the 53-man roster, I am going Amos and Tribune.
  • S Landon Collins had an illness, thus did not practice. Good for Nat Berhe and Eric Pinkins to get a few more snaps. Pinkins was late to the sideline because, as we have said, he struggles to quickly read and react. He takes too many steps to change direction and get going.

Three Standouts:

  • LB Calvin Munson: Coincidentally Munson got some snaps with the first string today with B.J. Goodson getting nicked up (which didn’t look too serious). He broke through the line twice for quick TFL’s. Not good for the OL but very good for Munson, whom is getting more comfortable with the playbook. He is going to make this team.
  • WR Sterling Shepard: He was all out today, fully involved with the offense. Good for him and this passing game, as the options are plentiful. Shepard is a guy that can really do well in the short passing game, which we are going to see a lot of.
  • OG Justin Pugh: All the negative talk about the OL, we can’t overlook Pugh. He is a very consistent, reliable guy inside that does the little things right. I put the eyeball on him as he single teamed DT Damon Harrison a couple times. Stayed low with knee bend, chopping his feet and knees, and constantly adjusting his hands to keep them inside. I am very curious to see how they handle his upcoming contract situation.

All, thanks for the feedback on the reports….I appreciate the criticisms more than anything. We will see where all of this goes, but I hope you enjoyed the camp reports.

Below is today’s video report and interview with Calvin Munson (we had to be brief):

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • In 1-on-1 drills, WR Odell Beckham, Jr. beat CB Janoris Jenkins for a touchdown. WR Sterling Shepard beat CB Donte Deayon for a touchdown.
  • PK Mike Nugent was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts with a long of 47 yards.
  • WR Brandon Marshall made a one-handed catch against CB Eli Apple on a fade route for a touchdown.
  • With Landon Collins (illness) out, Andrew Adams started in his place.
  • When B.J. Goodson left practice, Calvin Munson replaced him as starting middle linebacker.
  • Once again, with Devon Kennard limited, Curtis Grant started in his place at outside linebacker.
  • LB Chris Casher came free on a blitz on what would have been a sack of QB Geno Smith.
  • QB Geno Smith fumbled the ball for what would have been a safety. He was immediately replaced by QB Josh Johnson. When Smith came back into the line-up, he fumbled an exchange with RB Wayne Gallman and was pulled again. Both Smith and Gallman were forced to run a lap.
  • WR Jerome Lane was very active catching the ball in practice.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Summer training camp is officially over. The players are off on Wednesday before returning to practice on Thursday.

Aug 142017
 
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Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (August 11, 2017)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 14, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their thirteenth summer training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have waived/injured wide receiver Kevin Norwood (injured hip during practice on Sunday) and tight end Colin Thompson (appendectomy on Saturday). To fill those vacant roster spots, the Giants signed wide receiver Andrew Turzilli and rookie free agent linebacker Chris Casher (Faulkner University).

Turzilli was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tennessee Titans after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Titans (2015), San Francisco 49ers (2015), and Detroit Lions (2016-2017), but he only played in three NFL games. The Lions waived him in May. Turzilli is a tall (6’4”, 195 pounds) wideout with a good catch radius and sneaky deep speed.

Casher was signed by the Oakland Raiders as a rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Raiders waived him in early August. A highly-regarded prospect coming out of high school, Casher has good size (6’4”, 260 pounds). Casher suffered a number of serious knee issues and was involved in off-the-field incidents at Florida State before transferring to Faulkner University.

Norwood was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Norwood has spent time with the Seahawks (2014), Carolina Panthers (2014-2015), and San Diego Chargers (2016). The Chargers terminated his Practice Squad contract in November and he was then signed by the Giants to their Practice Squad. Norwood has played in 10 regular-season games with two starts. He has nine career receptions for 102 yards.

Thompson was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

Wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), wide receiver Kevin Snead (lower body), linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger), safety Duke Ihenacho (hamstring), and safety Ryan Murphy (lower body) did not practice.

Linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol) and linebacker Devon Kennard (unknown) were limited.

Defensive tackle Corbin Bryant was carted off of the field after suffering a right elbow injury. He appeared to be in a lot of pain.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Overcast/Cloudy day, very comfortable temperature. Second-to-last day of training camp and it was the sloppiest practice I saw from an execution standpoint. A lot of mental mistakes.

  • Aldrick Rosas got the “live” field goal attempts today, he was perfect until the final attempt where he went wide right. I think it was from roughly 50 yards.

Offense Notes:

  • Got a few looks at the newest O-Lineman, Corin Brooks. He is playing guard and appears to have a solid, developed body. He was beat off the ball by DE Romeo Okwara. He struggled to move laterally with any sort of power presence and was easily pushed back. Training camp body-only I think.
  • This was the worst OL day of camp in my opinion. LT Ereck Flowers was getting beat on what seemed to be literally every play by DE Olivier Vernon. Inside, outside, bull rush, double moves…it didn’t matter. He just didn’t look competitive out there. There was one play where Vernon faked inside, jump-cut outside, and reached Manning without even being touched. He and Bobby Hart were both responsible for false starts within a few plays of each other. Not good.
  • OG D.J. Fluker ended up on the ground one play, clutching his ankle but he limped off and was back out there a little awhile later. He and RT Adam Bisnowaty were beat badly on a stunt by DT Jay Bromley and DE Kerry Wynn. Fluker seems to really struggle with reads and quick decisions while pass blocking. He can be fooled and he doesn’t have the necessary make up speed.
  • OC Brett Jones really struggled. He lost a lot of battles when he was asked to move laterally. The backup C job is his as of now, but I don’t think it is locked up. Adam Gettis is right behind him and brings a bit more versatility.
  • RB Paul Perkins was getting stuffed trying to run inside all day. He also had a bad drop from Manning in the red zone with nobody around him.
  • The backup WRs had a hard time separating from man coverage today. A lot of these backups are physical, solid pass catchers but they don’t have the speed or quick twitch to run themselves open. WR Roger Lewis has the ability, but he is still very rusty when it comes to the nuances of route running. Odell Beckham is constantly in his ear about how to get off the line and away from the CB in small areas.
  • The TE battle is becoming more clear to me. Will Tye will be the odd man out as well as training camp MVP candidate Matt LaCosse. Still have a ways to go though. Tye saw the perfect storm come his way this offseason, a free agent and a 1st round pick were brought in from the outside at his position. In addition, a 2016 draft pick in Jerell Adams was a one- to two-year project upon arrival and, well, time’s up. Adams looks very solid. LaCosse gets the #4 spot if they keep that many, but his main strength is the ability to catch the ball in traffic. Even with that in mind, he won’t be able to get on the field unless guys start getting hurt. Tye had his shot in 2016 to show what he could and he is competing hard here at camp, but I just don’t see how he can make it above the other guys.

Defense Notes:

  • DT Corbin Bryant appeared to be in a ton of pain and was down for awhile with an elbow injury.
  • It may be tough for the offense to play at a high level day in, day out when their opponent can rightfully be considered one of the best in the league. That is where I am labeling NYG at this point.
  • The impact of DT Damon Harrison won’t be recognized by the casual fan that simply follows the ball when they watch. But make no mistake, like I said in mid-July, he is the most important player on this defense. DTs Jay Bromley and Dalvin Tomlinson will benefit greatly from playing next to him. Good to see DT Robert Thomas back out there, getting off the ball well and winning most of his one on one fights. He dominated OC Brett Jones on a couple of occasions.
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul looks like he can do what he wants, when he wants when TEs and FBs try to block him. His reach is so long and powerful, he made FB Shane Smith look like a little kid on one play. Keeping him at bay, then tossing him aside to make a run stop.
  • S Eric Pinkins, whom I have discussed a few times, has a shot at making this team as a special teamer. His safety skill set, however, is still on the uphill climb as he simply doesn’t react well or forecast routes.
  • The backup defensive backs were struggling to be on the same page today. CB DaShaun Amos, S Nat Berhe, and S Andrew Adams in particular. If there is one spot I am most unsure about, it is the spot next to Landon Collins. With how close he plays to the line of scrimmage and how often he is playing down hill, that spot needs to be locked up and reliable.
  • Very curious to see how this LB group shakes out. Keenan Robinson and Mark Herzlich are locks to make this team, so I think just one out of Deontae Skinner, Calvin Munson, and Curtis Grant are going to make it. Munson probably offers more upside based on his instincts and aggression, but Skinner and Grant are much more physical. Grant had a very solid day.

Three Standouts:

  • FB Shane Smith: Not only did he make a couple of solid lane-clearing blocks, he caught a couple balls in team drills and even got a red zone carry. Having a fullback behind Manning that can make the occasional play, especially as a rusher, gives the defense something extra to account for. If they don’t keep the FB and opt for TEs filling that role, it pretty much takes away that rushing possibility. Smith is a very good athlete and it is starting to show as he gets more secure with his assignments.
  • DE Olivier Vernon: I guess it’s not very fair to discuss Flowers’ rough day without giving props to Vernon. OV looks so far developed and after a year of being here with these coaches and surroundings, I think we can plan on a big year from him. He makes himself so low and hard to grab with immense power and quickness. I think he is in line for a big year.
  • WR Jerome Lane: It looks like these bottom-of-the-roster WRs have no shot at making this team unless an injury occurs. However, with the value this coaching staff has on Special Teams and knowing Lane has recent linebacker experience, he could be a surprise make. In addition, Lane has been catching everything in traffic. He is the biggest, strongest WR on the team outside of Brandon Marshall.

Last report coming your way tomorrow. Here is today’s video:

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • In 1-on-1 drills, WR Odell Beckham, Jr. made a one-handed catch for a touchdown over CB Janoris Jenkins. Beckham later made a diving, finger-tip grab of a pass from Manning over Jenkins.
  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas went 3-for-4 on field goal attempts.
  • TE Evan Engram dropped a low pass over the middle from QB Eli Manning.
  • The Giants have been lining up WR Odell Beckham in the backfield quite a bit this summer. On one play, CB Eli Apple did a nice job of staying with him after a double-move coming out of the backfield.
  • CB Valentino Blake broke up a QB Josh Johnson pass intended for TE Evan Engram.
  • RB Wayne Gallman dropped a check-down pass.
  • WR Keeon Johnson dropped a pass over the middle.
  • Josh Johnson was the #2 quarterback during practice.
  • Orleans Darkwa received a few first-team reps at running back.
  • CB Michael Hunter jumped a QB Josh Johnson slant pass to WR Keeon Johnson, but dropped the pick.
  • QB Eli Manning hit TE Evan Engram in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown against S Landon Collins.
  • Curtis Grant received some first-team reps at linebacker in place of Devon Kennard (who was limited).
  • Tight end Jerell Adams dropped a short pass.
  • Running back Paul Perkins dropped a short pass over the middle.
  • QB Eli Manning found WR Brandon Marshall over the middle for a touchdown. Marshall later beat CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for another score.
  • In a 3-TE set, QB Eli Manning hit TE Will Tye over the middle for a touchdown during 7-on-7 drills.
  • WR Dwayne Harris made a leaping TD catch on a pass from QB Josh Johnson against a busted coverage.
  • WR Keeon Johnson scored a touchdown on a pass from QB Geno Smith against a busted coverage. Smith then found TE Will Tye for a touchdown on a fade pass. He also hit WR Andrew Turzelli in the end zone.
  • Offensive tackles Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart were flagged with false starts.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, WR Brandon Marshall beat S Darian Thompson, but he couldn’t come down with a high QB Eli Manning pass.
  • FB Shane Smith scored on a goal-line rushing effort.
  • Calvin Munson received some first-team reps at linebacker.

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/897118004663767042

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Monday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The fourteenth and final training camp practice will be held on Tuesday, starting at 10:55AM. But this practice is CLOSED to the public. The players are off on Wednesday before returning to practice on Thursday.

Aug 132017
 
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Davis Webb, New York Giants (August 11, 2017)

Davis Webb – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Pittsburgh Steelers 20 – New York Giants 12

QUICK RECAP

If this were a regular season game, the pregame hype would have been enormous, as some of the most game-breaking talents reside on each roster respectively. However, as often is the case, the stars were not on the field for any game snaps in the first week of preseason. Notable Steelers Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger along with the Giants’ Eli Manning and Odell Beckham watched from the sidelines. The Steelers gave the start to  2017 4th-round pick Josh Dobbs, and the Giants opted to go with Josh Johnson, whom is in a open competition with Geno Smith for the team’s backup quarterback job.

Both teams forced multiple turnovers that provided their offenses with good field position, but PIT turned a NYG special teams fumble into a touchdown at the end of the first half, and an interception into a field goal in the 3rd quarter for a total of 10 points. NYG turned their two turnovers into 6 points, having to settle for field goals both times. NYG did have a possession late in the game down 8 points, leaving them with a chance to tie the game. Davis Webb led the offense into PIT territory with 2 minutes left, but didn’t make it past the 39-yard line.

QUARTERBACKS

  • Josh Johnson went 5/10 for 31 yards. He struggled to smoothly go through progressions after his initial target was covered. He was sacked three times in the 1st quarter, 2 of which he had more than enough time to get rid of the ball. He failed to locate the receivers that were open.
  • Geno Smith had the better night of the two, going 10/16 for 114 yards, although he did throw an interception (and had another one called back because of a PIT penalty). Smith showed off his strong arm and hit targets on the move. He also did a much better job of keeping his eyes downfield while scrambling.
  • Rookie Davis Webb looked solid-enough for a pro debut. He was getting the ball out fast but was wild-high a couple times. Webb also rushed a throw when he didn’t need to, showing a lack of awareness in the pocket. He looked comfortable with his footwork and working under center, two of his holes coming out of college.

RUNNING BACKS

  • Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen didn’t see a lot of action, combining 6 attempts for 8 yards. Neither made any catches or were given the opportunity to really get into a groove.
  • Rookies Wayne Gallman and Khalid Abdullah combined for 21 yards on 9 carries. Gallman had a nice blitz pickup in pass protection and a 4-yard catch while Abdullah missed his blocking assignment on a play late in the game. He also had a drop and showed slow/delayed decision making with the ball in his hands.
  • FB Shane Smith had the better night of the two fullbacks competing for a roster spot. He created running room on the few plays he played in the backfield and added a nice catch and run in the flat for a 9-yard gain. Jacob Huesman had a very blatant missed block on a 3rd-down running attempt.

WIDE RECEIVERS

  • The position as a whole didn’t stand out. They had a hard time getting open, forcing NYG into some cover sacks. Darius Powe showed excellent hands and ball skills on his 15-yard reception, with his easy catch-and-run ability. Undrafted rookies Jerome Lane and Keeon Johnson flashed in limited opportunities, showing physical yards-after-the-catch and toughness in traffic.
  • Roger Lewis got a lot of playing time early, but failed to capitalize on two separate end zone opportunities. The first one he came down with the ball but it was after he ran out of the end zone, making him an ineligible receiver on a play where he was the primary target. The second attempt, he had CB Ross Cockrell attached to his outside hip, but still had a clear, uninterrupted attempt to catch the ball on his inside shoulder. He did not make the most of his opportunities.
  • Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris saw a very limited amount of snaps.
  • Rookie Travis Rudolph got into the game early in the 2nd quarter. This coaching staff wants to give him every opportunity to make an impression. He made a nice catch up and away from his body in the 4th quarter. His lack of long speed and strength against defensive backs stood out, however.

TIGHT ENDS

  • Rhett Ellison, Evan Engram, Jerell Adams, and Matt LaCosse all saw snaps where they lined up in the backfield. I think there is still a strong chance this team avoids the fullbacks on the roster and leaves it up to this position to fill the role when needed.
  • Ellison’s role as a receiver will be more this season than it has ever been for him. He averaged 10 catches per season over his first 5 years in the NFL and if Friday night was any indication, he may be at 10 catches within the first 2 weeks in 2017.
  • Engram’s first pro catch went for 11 yards on a play-action pass where he showed explosive turn and run ability. He also graded out positively as a blocker.
  • Jerell Adams had a night, leading the team with both 3 catches and 28 yards. He made catches away from his body, showing off his enormous wing span. Athletically he played fast, twitchy, and without hesitation. It looks like things are clicking for him and if he reaches the upside I discussed he had after NYG drafted him, watch out. His blocking was also top tier, a strength we already knew he had.

OFFENSIVE LINE

  • The group did not play well early. NYG QB’s were sacked 7 times, although they were not all at the hands of the line.
  • LT Ereck Flowers looked powerful and aggressive. His footwork was very solid, although his knee bend and hand placement were inconsistent. He did allow a sack to rookie T.J. Watt, but it was mainly a result of pressure up the middle allowed by C Weston Richburg that made Josh Johnson run into Watt.
  • LG Justin Pugh played a solid game, getting movement in the run game and sticking to his man in pass protection.
  • RG John Jerry played terrible. Steelers DE Cameron Heyward was tossing him around like a 220-pound tight end. Javon Hargrave also out-quicked him on a play to Jerry’s inside shoulder, forcing a TFL.
  • The rookie tackles struggled mightily. Welcome to the NFL, I suppose. LT Chad Wheeler allowed two sacks to veteran pass rusher Arthur Moats. He had a hard time sealing the edge. Wheeler also got his exposure to the PIT defensive style when Heyward bull-rushed him onto his back. In addition to a false start, RT Adam Bisnowaty was having a hard time locking onto his man.
  • LG Adam Gettis doesn’t look sexy out there, but he did a solid job of sticking to his man and getting some movement in the run game. OC Brett Jones showed a lack of awareness, failing to see the play clock on a couple plays and also threw a grounder to Josh Johnson on a shotgun snap in the red zone.

DEFENSIVE LINE

  • This night was mostly about the backups getting snaps and the competition for the starting spot next to DT Damon Harrison. DTs Jay Bromley and rookie Dalvin Tomlinson both played well with their respective styles. Bromley made an early TFL, showing power and burst out of his stance, beating well-respected Ramon Foster. Tomlinson was showing outstanding athletic ability in pursuit. He is much more twitchy, agile, and athletic than I anticipated. He still struggled to maintain his ground against the double team, being pushed back 3+ yards on a few occasions.
  • DE Devin Taylor had one of the biggest plays of the night, intercepting a Dobbs pass in the 2nd quarter on a zone blitz. It was an easy play, as Dobbs literally threw it right to him unaware that Taylor had dropped into coverage, but still it was a big play for Taylor and his chances of making the team.
  • Third year DE Owa Odighizuwa was in the game early, as I think he is a guy on the bubble who this coaching staff wants to see play a lot throughout preseason. At the very least, he showed a strong presence against the run. He is a powerful player.
  • DE Kerry Wynn made 3 tackles and recorded a sack in addition to his special teams prowess. He has developed nicely since making this team as an UDFA 2 years ago. I think he has an inside track at making the roster because of his versatility, which was in full display in this game. Athletic, rangy, and aggressive at all times.
  • DE Jordan Williams stood out athletically and also recorded a sack along with 3 tackles. His sack was a blown assignment by the PIT offensive line where he was untouched to the QB.

LINEBACKERS

  • Roster hopefuls Deontae Skinner and Calvin Munson got plenty of snaps. Skinner showed range to the sidelines and good athleticism in coverage, while Munson was confident in his calls at the line and played physical. He did show some poor angles in pursuit, proving he may not be ready for the speed of the NFL just yet.
  • B.J. Goodson played physical and fast. He was a tad late on decision making and reads, however. A half-second late and that could be the difference on a lot of running plays. His quickness in a phone booth showed up on a 2nd quarter sack. Goodson was an excellent and productive blitzer in college.

CORNERBACKS

  • Valentino Blake saw a lot of playing time, starting off high and ending low. His 1st quarter interception put NYG in position to take the early lead. It was, however, a terrible throw by the rookie Dobbs that was nowhere near any PIT receiver. Blake later allowed the lone passing TD to Cobi Hamilton and fortunately had another one called back by a PIT penalty. Overall he struggled.
  • Donte Deayon got the early look as the team’s starting nickel corner with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie sitting out for the night. He showed quality movement but a lack of instincts. His lack of physical presence is obvious.
  • Michael Hunter had a solid game, showing good coverage on a NYG sack. He also showed off his long speed, sticking to Darius Heyward-Bey’s hip pocket on a deep fly route. Heyward-Bey is one of the fastest WRs in the game (don’t worry, we didn’t see the slight hold of his jersey you had in your hand).

SAFETIES

  • Landon Collins appears to be in mid-season form, and I’m not surprised. He didn’t play much but still led the team with 5 tackles including a few hits you could hear from the last row.
  • Nat Berhe had a rough night. After making a physical downhill take-down of PIT TE Jesse James, he missed two tackles. One was QB Josh Dobbs in space that resulted in a few extra yards. Dobbs was a solid but far from spectacular runner in college. His next missed tackle was on a 3rd-and-10 play where he went high on the receiver, missed, and it resulted in a PIT first down. He also lost his footing a couple times in coverage and the question needs to be asked, is he too aggressive for his own good?
  • Second-year safety Darian Thompson only played in 2 games last season, thus 2017 can be considered an extension of his rookie year. He played a lot. He showed good movement but there isn’t a lot of presence about him when he comes in contact with ball carriers and blockers. He does have quality range in deep coverage, though.
  • Eric Pinkins got some playing time late, showing off exactly what we have discussed. Physical play and straight-line ability but lateral stiffness and overall hesitation. He is still trying to figure the game out mentally.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • K Aldrick Rosas and Mike Nugent both went 2-for-2, respectively. Rosas hit one from 52 yards out with about 6-7 yards to spare, while Nugent’s longest was from 45 yards. Rosas showed more distance on his kickoffs.
  • Brad Wing punted 4 times with a long of 52 and pinned PIT inside the 20 once.
  • CB Donte Deayon muffed a punt late in the 2nd quarter that led to a PIT TD. Not good for him, as he will need the special teams box checked off if he intends on making the team.
  • WR Travis Rudolph also fumbled after being popped on a kick return, but NYG fortunately fell on it. He did return a kick for 31 yards later on, the longest of the night for both sides.

3 STUDS

  • TE Jerell Adams, S Landon Collins, K Aldrick Rosas

3 DUDS

  • RG John Jerry, RB Kahlid Abdullah, DB Donte Deayon

3 TAKEAWAYS FOR PIT

  • Rookie OLB T.J. Watt is going to be a player in that system, he fits like a glove. He plays hard, physical, and mechanically sound. PIT knows what to do with those guys.
  • Tip of the cap to QB Josh Dobbs in his first NFL game experience. He started off poorly but maintained his composure and finished strong. With the PIT backup Landry Jones possibly in line to take over starting duties if the Big Ben retirement is coming soon like he says, Dobbs needs to impress over the next 2 years to secure a long-term spot on this team.
  • RB Le’veon Bell may very well be the most important player on that team now. The RB talent behind him is scary bad. PIT may have taken for granted what DeAngelo Williams provided.
Aug 132017
 
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New York Giants Training Camp (July 28, 2017)

New York Giants Training Camp – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 13, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their twelfth summer training camp practice on Sunday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. “(Draughn is) getting close,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “(Thomas is) getting close.”

Wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), wide receiver Kevin Snead (lower body), tight end Colin Thompson (appendectomy on Saturday), safety Duke Ihenacho (hamstring), and safety Ryan Murphy (lower body) did not practice.

Defensive tackle Robert Thomas (soreness) and linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger) returned to practice. Thomas was limited. Linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol) participated in non-contact drills.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle) fully practiced. “They cut me loose today, so I am back to doing what I do,” Shepard said. “I have been doing stuff leading up to this, so I felt like I was ready for a full practice.”

Wide receiver Kevin Norwood (hip) was carted off of the field during practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Geno Smith was the #2 quarterback at practice on Sunday.
  • TE Matt LaCosse made a leaping sideline reception on a pass from QB Josh Johnson.
  • WR Brandon Marshall made a very nice reception in the left corner of the end zone despite tight coverage from CB Michael Hunter. But Marshall was ruled out-of-bounds.
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. dropped a slant pass. He then made a superb 1-handed touchdown catch on a pass from QB Eli Manning, but Manning would have been sacked on the play by DE Olivier Vernon who got past LT Ereck Flowers.
  • CB Donte Deayon picked off QB Eli Manning’s pass intended for WR Sterling Shepard during the 2-minute drill.
  • QB Geno Smith threw a long seam pass to WR Dwayne Harris between CB Valentino Blake and S Andrew Adams. The 2-minute drive ended inside the 10-yard line with Adams knocking the ball incomplete on diving reception attempt by TE Matt LaCosse.
  • Against a busted coverage, QB Josh Johnson hit TE Matt LaCosse on a slant for a long touchdown.
  • PK Mike Nugent was only 2-for-4 on short-field goal attempts.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Sunday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The thirteenth and final public training camp practice will be held on Monday, starting at 10:55AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Aug 092017
 
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Stansly Maponga, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Stansly Maponga – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 9, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eleventh summer training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants waived/injured offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker on Wednesday with an undisclosed injury. To fill that vacant roster spot, the team signed rookie offensive lineman Corin Brooks (University of Texas – Permian Basin).

Dunker was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. Brooks is an athletic but raw, small-school prospect who lacks ideal size. He is versatile, having played both tackle and guard. Brooks was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2017 NFL Draft but waived in June.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

Wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), wide receiver Kevin Snead (lower body), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (“sore”), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger), cornerback Mykkele Thompson (quad), and safety Ryan Murphy (lower body) did not practice.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Beautiful day, 80-plus and sunny with a slight breeze. Two days before a game, the intensity was slightly down but I thought for the most part they were still competing. No pads, but they were in shells.

Small note about the layout of practice and this team’s approach to Special Teams…a TON of time is spent on this phase. Gidie made a note that the Coughlin era did not spend nearly this amount of time on specials and that McAdoo appears to run a much more organized, regimented practice. It is a very smooth process from start to finish.

  • K Aldrick Rosas has such a powerful leg. There is a trend in the league right now with kickers. They are MUCH better athletes than I remember watching growing up. Rosas fits the mold, he definitely spends time in the weight room and the trajectory of his kicks shows. He has the inside track for the number one job as long as he doesn’t mightily struggle in preseason games.

Offense Notes:

  • The talk of the day from the “story” side of things will be Chad Wheeler and his short stint with the number ones. I don’t think there is any speculation deserved on him being in an under-the-radar competition for the starting LT spot. He has been impressive, which we have noted a few times, but no way is this team giving up on Ereck Flowers yet. Wheeler was beat badly by Olivier Vernon on his first play, and may have gotten away with a hold on the next. However this is important for his maturation process, to see what a top half of the league DE actually plays like. He is one of my focal points for Friday night, something he is really pumped about.
  • The newly signed OL Corin Brooks looks like a guard, that is my first impression based on just checking him out and going through individuals. I don’t think he got on the field with the offense today.
  • WR Sterling Shepard looks to be getting better each day, he faced off in some one-on-one drills. He made a nice body-adjusting catch where again, he seemed to have zero hesitation on his ankle.
  • WRs Darius Powe and Roger Lewis are competing for a spot. There is a chance both will make the roster but I think it’s slim. Powe offers more size and strength and I think more reliable hands. Lewis is the better, looser-hipped athlete who will make the big-play that raises eyebrows. He has also been good for an obvious drop pretty much every day and appears to be misreading defenses on his option routes. If it comes down to special teams, Lewis will win out.
  • TE Evan Engram lined up split out wide against LB Jonathan Casillas one play in 11-on-11. He didn’t get the ball thrown his way but it was a very simple 4-5 steps before he was running deep leaving Casillas in his rear-view mirror. If this kid can get match-ups like that in space….
  • TE Matt LaCosse with ANOTHER impressive catch. No, you aren’t reading yesterday’s report, or the one before that, or the one before that. This kid is getting it done every day. I hope he gets some first-team looks in games over the next few weeks. While we are discussing backup TEs, I am still waiting on Colin Thompson’s first drop because it hasn’t happened yet.
  • The offense had a bit of a sloppy day. Eli Manning didn’t see DE Olivier Vernon on a zone blitz as he dropped in to coverage, throwing a near INT on a 5-yard pass. Weston Richburg sailed a snap over Manning’s head soon after, and Paul Perkins dropped an easy pass in the flat later on.
  • RB Wayne Gallman isn’t getting a ton of reps, but he showed a jump cut today that most backs can’t do. LeSean McCoy is the master of the jump cut if you need a visual, and Gallman caught a ball while twisting in the air, landed, and jump-cut his way to a TD. Not sure many people even noticed it but again, most backs can’t move like that.
  • RB Khalid Abdullah’s main weakness is unplanned movement. He looks strong and explosive when he is running straight ahead without adjustment. But when he has to innovate on his own, react to a defender, or turn his body to get a pass away from his body he looks very unnatural.

Defense Notes:

  • Soon after I spoke about not knowing or understanding if LB Stansly Maponga can fit in this scheme, he goes out and has a day. He showed a strong pass rush presence against OT Adam Bisnowaty. He gets his pad level really far down and his weight plus lower body strength makes him hard to alter. He may get caught in the number’s game but he does have versatility on his side.
  • DT Damon Harrison seemed to uptick a bit today despite not being in full pads. I will stand by my statement I made a few weeks ago. He is the most important player on this defense. If he stays healthy, he alone will keep this run defense competitive.
  • And I hate to sound like I am wearing blue-colored glasses, but I strongly believe this defense can be the best in the league. There are stars and potential stars everywhere. Seeing Harrison eat double teams with ease, then watching the DEs Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon rush the edge, with arguably the best top three CB combo in the league and a budding star in Landon Collins…I think NYG fans need to soak this up. This might be the best defense in a long time that this team has had.
  • Two LBs at the bottom of the depth chart looking up are Deontae Skinner and Curtis Grant. Both are straight-line guys with stiffness when moving laterally. In addition, I don’t see the quick, easy reactions to the offense right after the snap. They are a step behind. The contrast between them and a guy like B.J. Goodson when it comes to instincts is blatantly obvious.
  • DE Olivier Vernon looks great, albeit against tackles that may be a step below what he will face most Sundays. What I like about him, and something I always look for in pass rushers during the scouting process, is his ability to stay low, balanced, powerful, and quick. He values run defense as we saw last year and I predict we will see more sacks than what he put out in 2016. They have him standing up on some plays, something I think he prefers.
  • Did S Duke Ihenacho move up on the depth chart over Andrew Adams? Looked like he was 2nd-string guy today. I don’t have much on him but he does have more experience than every safety on this roster and a lot of coaches around the league like a guy back there like that.

Three Standouts:

  • CB Donte Deayon: I can tell Spags really likes this kid both from how he treats him in practice and what he says about him to the media. There are guys that some coaches quietly root for, and Deayon is one of them. He plays all out, all the time. He follows his assignments. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He is rarely out of position. That sounds good for a 5th/6th corner. His size limits him in a lot of areas but there isn’t a guy on this team that can stick to Odell Beckham the way Deayon has showed.
  • QB Eli Manning: It’s time we talk about him a tad. He has become so reliable and consistent year to year that NYG fans likely take him for granted. McAdoo said this has been Manning’s best camp when it comes to understanding the offense and it’s intentions, completing passes, and teaching others. I think it is fair to suggest this may be his best year yet. It was nice to see Manning walk off the field with TE Evan Engram after 11-on-11 talking about what to do when he starts checking down/scrambling. That relationship will be HUGE for this offense.
  • TE Rhett Ellison: When Ellison was drafted by MIN, the primary focus was him blocking and aiding the Adrian Peterson show. He never quite got to expose himself as a receiver consistently. Knowing how much Manning uses the TE in any scheme he’s in and how reliable Ellison looks like as a route runner and pass catcher, I think he may be THE safety blanket that Manning could have used last year.

Our video today includes an interview with OT Chad Wheeler

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • WR Sterling Shepard adjusted well to a deep ball from QB Eli Manning against CB Valentino Blake.
  • PK Aldrick Rosas was 3-for-4 on field goal attempts.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a slant pass to WR Sterling Shepard in front of CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Then WR Odell Beckham, Jr. wrestled away a Manning pass over the middle from CB Donte Deayon.
  • CB Michael Hunter defended a QB Josh Johnson pass intended for WR Dwayne Harris.
  • QB Geno Smith threw a touchdown pass to WR Keeon Johnson.
  • FS Darian Thompson made a diving pass break-up of a long pass from QB Eli Manning to TE Evan Engram.
  • WR Roger Lewis made a diving, toe-dragging reception of a pass from QB Eli Manning for a touchdown. But then Lewis dropped a pass from Manning before making a leaping catch down field from QB Josh Johnson.
  • S Landon Collins broke up a QB Eli Manning pass coming on a blitz.
  • WR Travis Rudolph beat CB Valentino Blake on an out route.
  • Chad Wheeler received a few first-team snaps at left tackle, but was beaten badly by DE Olivier Vernon on his first snap.
  • QB Josh Johnson hit WR Roger Lewis for a touchdown against CB Valentino Blake.
  • QB Davis Webb participated in his first 11-on-11 drills of the summer. He threw a strike to WR Kevin Norwood on the right sideline, but struggled to move the ball after that.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

GIANTS ON ESPN RADIO…
The following New York Giants officials and players were interviewed by ESPN Radio on Tuesday:

  • Team President/CEO John Mara (Audio)
  • General Manager Jerry Reese (Audio)
  • Head Coach Ben McAdoo (Audio)
  • QB Eli Manning (Audio)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (Audio)
  • LG Justin Pugh (Audio)
  • S Landon Collins (Audio)

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the team on Thursday. The Giants play a home preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday. The twelfth and second-to-last public training camp practice will be held on Sunday, starting at 11:10AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Aug 092017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 4, 2016)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Preseason Game Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants, August 11, 2017

THE STORYLINE:
Expectations are high. Many expect the 2017 New York Giants to make a Super Bowl run. However, since 1990, the Giants historically tend to under-perform when expectations are high and over-perform when expectations are low. But Ben McAdoo is not Ray Handley, Dan Reeves, Jim Fassel, or Tom Coughlin. We don’t know yet how HIS teams will respond under the microscope.

Football fans everywhere are dying for football to begin. But the casual fan usually over-reacts to the preseason, and particularly to the first preseason game, which is little more than a controlled scrimmage. Starters usually don’t play long, players are rusty and not yet used to the increased intensity and physicality. Sixty-minute football stamina isn’t there yet. There are often special teams breakdowns as young players are rotated in to see who has the ST chops to make the team. So take things with a grain of salt.

That all said, the Pittsburgh Steelers are a very good opponent for any team to play in the preseason. They are a perennial playoff contender, always well-coached, and always VERY physical and fundamentally sound. The Steelers still play football the way it was meant to be played: hit the other guy in the mouth and make him quit. If the Giants want to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender and be considered a tough, physical team, then they will have to show they can match Pittsburgh’s intensity level.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Shaun Draughn (ankle – on the PUP)
  • LB J.T. Thomas (knee – on the PUP)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (ankle)
  • WR Tavarres King (ankle)
  • WR Kevin Snead (lower body)
  • DT Robert Thomas (“sore”)
  • LB Keenan Robinson (concussion)
  • LB Mark Herzlich (stinger)
  • CB Mykkele Thompson (quad)
  • S Ryan Murphy (lower body)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
It’s been discussed ad nauseam. The New York Giants were an incredibly disappointing 25th in total offense in 2016, and an embarrassing 29th in rushing. But even the passing game let the team down, falling to 17th overall. Opposing game plans were easy to predict but effective: take away Odell Beckham and make the running game or someone else in the passing game beat you. The Giants rarely met this challenge. If they didn’t hit the big play, drives usually stalled. Only the 49ers scored less points.

So in the offseason, the Giants said good-bye to players such as Victor Cruz, Rashad Jennings, and Larry Donnell. The team added Brandon Marshall, Evan Engram, and Rhett Ellison. Second-year and largely unproven Paul Perkins has been handed the starting running back job. Shane Vereen is back after missing most of 2016. The offensive line is exactly the same. Eli Manning is a year older and entering the twilight of his career. Now comes the real test: can someone besides Odell Beckham hurt the opponent? On paper, Brandon Marshall, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard should. Is Paul Perkins a legitimate starter? Can the oft-criticized offensive line improve its pass and run blocking? Tackles Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart will be in the spotlight. The Steelers 3-4 defense can make you look silly on offense if you are not physically and mentally prepared.

Nevertheless, the starters for both teams are not likely to play long, and the game will quickly turn into auditions for the 53-man roster for lesser-known players. Many fans get bored when the back-ups enter the game. Others love analyzing the prospects behind the starters. These are some key areas to watch:

  • Does Brandon Marshall still have “it”? He had a stellar 2015 campaign and declined in 2016 on a bad Jets team. He’s 33-years old and playing in his second-to-last season. If Marshall can approach anywhere near his 2015 level of play, the Giants passing offense should be deadly.
  • Can Evan Engram really make an impact as a rookie? Engram has been coming on at camp as he develops chemistry with Eli Manning. The TE/WR hybrid should be a tough match-up for defenses that could afford to ignore the Giants’ tight ends in recent years.
  • Can the Giants run the football? As much as it pains me to say this, the Giants have been a finesse offense that has lacked toughness and physicality in the running game in recent years. All are to blame – backs and blockers. Short-yardage and goal-line situations have been particularly painful. Can Paul Perkins be “the man”? How much of an impact will tight end Rhett Ellison have as a blocker? Can an offensive line that failed to get the job done in 2016 redeem itself in 2017? Will the Giants even attempt to use a fullback (Shane Smith or Jacob Huesman) as a lead blocker in the preseason?
  • Battles for back-up positions: Will Geno Smith or Josh Johnson earn the #2 spot this preseason? Is Orleans Darkwa the #3 running back? Who are the #5 and #6 receivers after Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, and Dwayne Harris? How will the two rookie tackles (Chad Wheeler and Adam Bisnowaty) perform? After Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison, which tight ends will make the team? (Jerell Adams, Matt LaCosse, and Will Tye may be fighting for only one or two spots).

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The likelihood that the New York Giants were going to improve from dead-last (and one of the worst in NFL history) on defense in 2015 to a top-10 defense in 2016 was not good at all. But that’s exactly what the Giants did after going on a free agent spending spree that added impact players Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon, and Janoris Jenkins. Those moves, combined by the breakout season by Landon Collins, changed everything. Now the challenge is to at least remain one of the best defenses in the NFL and, ideally, improve. In terms of personnel, the biggest offseason loss was defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins. He was a very solid player and it is not known yet who will fill that void. The Giants have also handed over the starting middle linebacker position to a very green and unproven second-year player (B.J. Goodson). Here are some key areas to watch against Pittsburgh:

  • Who will start at defensive tackle alongside Damon Harrison and how will he perform? The candidates are Robert Thomas, Jay Bromley, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Corbin Bryant.
  • Will anyone step up at defensive end after Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon? JPP and OV played far too many defensive snaps in 2016. And their back-ups could not consistently pressure the passer. Will this once again be an area of weakness?
  • Is B.J. Goodson really ready to take over the middle linebacker position? He better be. There really isn’t a fallback option.
  • Depth is a concern at linebacker after Goodson, Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, and Devon Kennard. Do the Giants have ANY viable back-ups? The linebacker position was largely ignored during the offseason.
  • Barring injury, the top three corners are as good as anyone in the NFL. But the Giants need depth (see the playoff game). Keep an eye on Michael Hunter, Valentino Blake, Mykkele Thompson, and Donte Deayon.
  • Still green and unproven Darian Thompson has been handed the starting free safety job. He has to prove he can stay healthy and perform in a very talented secondary. Depth is even a bigger concern here as question marks abound with Andrew Adams, Nat Berhe, Eric Pinkins, and others. If Landon Collins were to get hurt, things could get scary back here.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
All eyes will be on the place-kicking battle. It’s a classic potential versus stability decision. Aldrick Rosas has the big leg but he is completely unproven. He’s been very good at camp, but now we’re getting closer to when the games really count and come down to made/missed field goals and extra points. Mike Nugent is the reliable, aging veteran, but he did have issues with extra points in his final year in Cincinnati.

The best way for a bubble player to make the 53-man roster? Kick ass on special teams as a blocker for or head hunter against the return game.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Ben McAdoo’s advice to those on players on the bubble: “We talked about that the other day. There is a lot of competition in camp, so the more competition, the more guys are on the bubble. If you don’t know if you are on the bubble, then you are on the bubble. We talked about how your fears can lead to your greatness, your greatness lies within your fears, so embrace them and compete your tail off on Friday night.”

THE FINAL WORD:
The #1 concern is always coming out of the preseason healthy. But it’s important that we someone else besides Odell Beckham step up on the offensive side of the football. Steve Spagnuolo and the entire defense needs to prove that 2016 was not an aberration but the start of new era of strong NYG defense. Second-year players B.J. Goodson and Darian Thompson could make a strong unit even better. The Giants need to fill the void left by Johnathan Hankins. Finally, place kicker may be the biggest question mark on the team right now.

Aug 082017
 
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Avery Moss and Kerry Wynn, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Avery Moss and Kerry Wynn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 8, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their tenth summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. Wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), wide receiver Kevin Snead (unknown), offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker (unknown), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (“sore”), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger), cornerback Mykkele Thompson (quad), and safety Ryan Murphy (unknown) did not practice.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle) and  practiced on a limited basis.

Defensive end Avery Moss (shoulder) left practice early.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Overcast with some sun shining through late, pleasant temperature. There really has been a variety of temperatures throughout training camp. The team was in full pads today and there was some more pad popping. This team is ready to play Pittsburgh.

Offense Notes:

  • I tried to put as much attention on the fullback Jacob Huesman vs. Shane Smith battle as I could. They don’t get a ton of snaps and there are still plenty of plays where a TE is lined up back there. TE Will Tye probably had the most snaps of all the TEs in the backfield. As for the two FBs, Huesman made a few nice catches on the move. He is a much more twitchy, athletic guy and if that’s what the primary focus is for the position, he is the clear winner. Smith is the mauler, as we have discussed. He caught a TD pass in the flat from Eli. He still looks like the less-natural guy with the ball in his hands but if NYG wants the bruiser and extra run support, he is their guy. If special teams comes in to play with the decision, Huesman may get the nod.
  • OG D.J. Fluker looked a little off today. The questions with him revolve around conditioning and trusting technique. He is such a mammoth of a man but at this level, without the consistent techniques when it comes to pad level, active feet, accurate arm/hand work…he needs to make sure it’s there when he gets tired, late in games.
  • OC Brett Jones plays an admirable style, but his upside is limited. Perhaps limited enough for this team to go in a different direction in favor of OL Adam Gettis. Jones is a guy that won’t get pushed back. He is so strong and always wins the leverage battle but he isn’t really a go-getter, especially in space. Can he reach athletic linebackers. Can he make up for initial positional disadvantages? Can he lock on to pass rushers? Those are my questions with him. Gettis grades out slightly higher athletically.
  • OT Adam Bisnowaty vs OT Chad Wheeler. If I had to pick one right now to move forward with, I am going with Wheeler. NYG will likely hold on to both and I’m not saying you need to pick one right now. I don’t think either will see the field in 2017. But Bisnowaty has long ways to go when it comes to footwork and upper body technique. He was beat badly a few times in pass protection, once by DE Devin Taylor. Wheeler has been impressive. Strong lower body, quality positioning, accurate hands, and he fights. Also gives a solid pop off the ball.
  • RB Khalid Abdullah was one of a few roster hopefuls returning kicks today. He still looks a little unnatural when it comes to catching the ball, a lot of body catching. He also was late to pick up a blitz up the middle at the end of practice, and ended up allowing a sack to Calvin Munson. Big collision and Abdullah got the worst of it.
  • OG John Jerry was very active today, first time I really put the eyeball on him several times. He has the potential to be an elite pass blocking guard. Light feet, long arms, accurate on the move, good blend of patience and aggression. He won every 1-on-1 battle I saw today against the likes of DE Romeo Okwara, DT Jay Bromley, and DT Dalvin Tomlinson.
  • Another day, another impressive (arguably the best of the day) catch by TE Matt LaCosse. How many plays does this kid make until you say, alright we need to give him a shot during the regular season? His eye-hand coordination and ball skills are top notch.
  • Got to see some 1st strong O vs. 2nd/3rd string defense today. WR Odell Beckham easily beat CB Valentino Blake on a quick out-route for a TD. Blake bounced back with a pass defense against TE Evan Engram on a jump ball. He is a fiery guy.
  • TE Colin Thompson has been getting + marks next to his name on my sheet for 5 straight days now. For a “blocker only” label, he has been catching literally everything. And some of these balls are a ways away from his body.
  • The backup QB battle put on the Josh Johnson cap today. He hit nicely on a couple deep throws while Geno Smith appeared to be locking on to guys and skipping out on progressions. He doesn’t like being in the pocket for long. He had a solid 2-minute drill at the end of practice though with an accurate bullet to WR Dwayne Harris in traffic.
  • QB Eli Manning to TE Evan Engram is becoming something scary to watch if you are the opposition. It legitimately looks like these two are developing chemistry over the middle. Engram made an excellent catch on an even better ball from Manning for a TD. LB B.J. Goodson has solid coverage but he didn’t locate the ball.
  • QB Davis Webb looked more comfortable in his limited 7-on-7 looks today. He made an errant throw that came from poor lower body mechanics but he knew it right away. He is on the right path I’d say. His live snaps have been very limited.

Defense Notes:

  • LB Calvin Munson got some second-team action today with LB Mark Herzlich being out. He has looked fast and aggressive when moving downhill, but he doesn’t look like a factor in coverage. But I’m not sure he understands the overall lateral speed of the game yet, his angles have been very off. For a guy that isn’t big, he brings some pop when filling the lanes. If this team goes with six LBs, he has a decent shot.
  • LB Stansly Maponga is another LB that has a shot if this team goes with six LBs. He is a 3-4 OLB-type who does his best work rushing the passer or taking on tackles in the trenches. Remember, NYG has been looking for this kind of player. A guy that can almost use at the stand up pass rusher but can fulfill some OLB roles. I don’t see the necessary twitchiness but he is getting a lot of looks in practice in different roles. He is a heavy handed, physical guy.
  • The question on S Eric Pinkins and his value to the team is, can he cover athletic tight ends and running backs? He is tall, fast, and strong. We know that….but can he plant his foot in the ground and shadow quality route runners? That’s the question with him, he is stiff-hipped. He may have had the hit of the day on WR Travis Rudolph over the middle.
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul and DT Damon Harrison with a really nice combo stunt in live team drills, the play would have resulted in a Harrison sack. Those two have been very solid. It looked to me that OT Bobby Hart would have been the culprit.
  • DE Avery Moss beat OT Ereck Flowers with a simple speed rush that would have resulted in a sack.
  • DE Jordan Williams hasn’t gotten a lot of talk from me but he gets moved around a lot and despite being undersized for inside play, he has held his own. He has some pass rush potential in there. He beat both Adam Gettis and Brett Jones today for likely sacks.
  • CBs Nigel Tribune and DaShaun Amos had a few up-and-down plays. Both can locate the ball well but both were badly fooled on double routes. I think those guys are vying for practice squad spots at best. Amos with the slight edge.

Three Standouts:

  • CB Janoris Jenkins: I said this last week, but I like to see a guy who completely ignores his own size limitations. Jenkins plays big, physical, and aggressive. He intercepted two passes in traffic today, one of which I still don’t know how he came down with. He is a competitor who does an excellent job keeping his hands off his man but sticks to them like glue.
  • RB Paul Perkins: With the extra attention in the backfield today, Perkins got my attention a few times. It is very hard to really gauge the RBs in practice because you can’t see them try to break tackles, as that is where the live action ends. It is just a very limited look. However Perkins made a few reads today to find open cutback lanes that would have resulted in huge gains. I loved this kid out of UCLA and I am excited to see him work. He has upper tier balance, agility, and short area burst. It’s a great trio of traits for a RB to have.
  • WR Dwayne Harris: He looked very explosive with the ball in his hands yesterday during return driils. Powerfully built and nice top-end speed. Today he made a few really nice catches where he had to really reach for the ball away from his body. He is the dependable guy you want to see spell one of the main guys when needed.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • In 7-on-7 drills, LB Deontae Skinner broke up a QB Geno Smith pass intended for RB Wayne Gallman.
  • RB Khalid Abdullah made a nice over-the-shoulder catch along the sideline.
  • WR Keeon Johnson made a deep leaping reception on a pass from QB Josh Johnson. Johnson later connected with Johnson again on a deep pass against CB DaShaun Amos.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, QB Eli Manning hit TE Evan Engram deep against CB Eli Apple.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a TD pass over the middle to WR Roger Lewis against CB Eli Apple. But then Apple covered Odell Beckham, Jr. in the green zone to force an incompletion from Manning.
  • QB Eli Manning hit WR Odell Beckham, Jr. and TE Matt LaCosse on back-to-back long completions. LaCosse beat LB Jonathan Casillas.
  • DT Dalvin Tomlinson penetrated into the backfield to stuff a RB Paul Perkins carry.
  • PK Mike Nugent went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts with a long of 44 yards.
  • First-team offensive line had issues against third-team defense in team drills.
  • WR Travis Rudolph saw reps at slot receiver plus as a punt and kickoff returner.
  • CB Valentino Blake broke up a QB Eli Manning pass intended for TE Evan Engram.
  • WR Darius Powe made a diving touchdown catch against CB Janoris Jenkins on a pass from QB Geno Smith. Jenkins then successfully covered Powe on a jump ball into the end zone that he almost intercepted.
  • FB Shane Smith caught a touchdown pass out of the backfield from QB Eli Manning against LB Jonathan Casillas.
  • QB Josh Johnson found WR Travis Rudolph for a touchdown against CB DaShaun Amos.
  • In the 2-minute drill, QB Eli Manning hit TE Evan Engram for a touchdown on a seam route against FS Darian Thompson. WR Brandon Marshall then beat CB Janoris Jenkins for a 2-point conversion.
  • QB Geno Smith made a long completion to WR Dwayne Harris against CB Michael Hunter. Harris then made what initially looked to be leaping touchdown reception over Hunter on a pass from Smith, but Harris could not hold onto the ball.
  • DE Evan Schwan flashed in the 2-minute drill against the third-team offense.
  • QB Davis Webb connected with TE Colin Thompson deep down right side. Webb then connected with WR Kevin Norwood for a touchdown against CB Nigel Tribune.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The eleventh training camp practice will be held on Wednesday, starting at 10:55AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Aug 072017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 7, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their ninth summer training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. Defensive tackle Robert Thomas (unknown), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), and linebacker Mark Herzlich (unknown) did not practice.

Wide receivers Sterling Shepard (ankle) and Tavarres King (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

“(Shepard) was running around, I didn’t see any noticeable limp or anything like that,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “He was moving around good, some change in direction, looked fine.”

Wide receiver Kevin Snead (unknown) and offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker (unknown) left practice early.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Indoor practice today not open to the public. I liked being in there, simply to switch things up a little and it kept everyone on one field. So for the most part, we got to see everyone, as no one was a field away.

Offense Notes:

  • WR Sterling Shepard was out there for the beginning of practice, he was moving aggressively. I think it’s safe to say he is ready to rock within a week.
  • QB Geno Smith is on a little run. He is making some really nice throws on all levels and it appears his timing with receivers in addition to understanding the scheme is coming along. Geno is more gifted than Johnson and if he continues to improve at this rate, he has a very good shot at winning the backup job.
  • Good to see QB Davis Webb out there after practice again. You can tell this kid is a worker.
  • The QB’s were airing it out a little more today than what we’ve seen, as it looked like some deep passing was a focus. This was equally beneficial for WRs, DBs, and QBs. Manning threw a deep ball (40+ yards) to WR Brandon Marshall up the right sideline. I had a good vantage point and right after the ball reached it’s apex, I immediately assumed 5-6 yard overthrow. Then Marshall accelerated and showed off his reach, tipping the ball to himself a couple times and eventually coming down with it. Very impressive pitch-and-catch and it looks like 10-to-15 chemistry is coming along. They hooked up a few times today in tight windows.
  • Still unsure where WR Roger Lewis is on this depth chart. He worked as the team’s #3 guy with Taverres King and Sterling Shepard out of action in team drills. He is an impressive athlete but doesn’t quite seem to have the body control and consistent hands. He dropped a deep pass today and then didn’t locate another one but responded with a deep TD catch a few plays later.
  • WR Darius Powe may have an inside track at winning the final WR spot. He is big and physical and I think this team needs another one of those guys if Marshall were to ever go down. He had a couple of really nice catches today including one where he burned Janoris Jenkins. WR Travis Rudolph, we’ve discussed a few times, does so many things well but I think it is a legit concern if he can separate and/or catch passes in traffic at his size/speed combo.
  • I got to watch a lot of OT Adam Bisnowaty vs. DE Avery Moss today, the two rookies. Bisnowaty won most, if not all, of the one-on-one fights. He anchored well, maintained good position and accuracy with hands, and adjusted to the double moves. Moss was winning the leverage battle but didn’t seem to have the power to get a consistent push.
  • OC Brett Jones had an impressive day. I have to think he is the primary OC backup and a definite for the 53-man roster. One thing that stands out with him, he does NOT get pushed back when he anchors those feet in.
  • We may need to get used to TE Evan Engram making plays on a daily basis now. His speed jumps out at me every time he goes after the ball and makes a move north after the catch. He burned S Landon Collins a couple times. Collins also had a hard time sticking with TE Rhett Ellison on an out cut. Ellison is a better short area athlete than I thought.
  • OL Michael Bowie is likely on the outside looking in at this point, but he has some extra pop about him today. He appears to have overwhelming power when he has things lined up correctly.
  • A practice squad candidate WR has had 2-3 really good days in a row. UDFA Jerome Lane from Akron 6’3/225 and has been making some tough catches in traffic. Very strong presence when he attacks the ball. He is #6 if you guys watch Friday night.

Defense Notes:

  • DT Robert Thomas didn’t practice today which meant more looks for Jay Bromley. I’m not sure we have seen enough out of him to warrant excitement, but he still shows flashes. He is a big, big dude with some solid straight line burst. He just needs to show more consistent pad level.
  • CB Donte Deayon is a fun kid to watch and I think everyone is rooting for him, including his teammates. At his size, it’s unlikely he will make the team but he continues to make plays. I’ve been wanting to see him matchup against Odell Beckham because they are both elite movers. Deayon got his shot once today and stuck with him on an in-cut. The negative, however, is that he gets tossed around by receivers when they block. WR Sterling Shepard and WR Dwayne Harris just owned him on WR blocking driils. He did intercept QB Josh Johnson during team drills though. He is making his case.
  • B.J. Goodson got beat in coverage a couple times today. He was close though. We know it won’t be his strength as a LB, but this team needs to make sure they don’t get beat up the middle yet again this year.
  • I am having a hard time figuring out how this team will figure out the LB depth chart behind the top 5. Deontae Skinner and Curtis Grant are excellent straight-line athletes. Skinner made a couple plays in coverage today – that could be an avenue for him to make his impact.
  • Safety Eric Pinkins, whom we talked to after practice, is a physical gem. Tall, long, strong, and fast. He is high-hipped and struggles to make quick breaks and change direction laterally, but I think this kid has to make the team. He may be one of the more versatile defenders on the team. Experience at S, LB, and CB in addition to a defensive weapon on special teams. He is pumped to start his endeavor to make the roster Friday night. Look for him.
  • CB Valentino Blake is the team’s #5 CB I think, as of now. We will see what happens in the games but he has been playing better each day. He has the game experience that some others do not and there is a physical style about him. This defense wants to be nasty and that fits in to the way Blake approaches things. If I had to decide Blake or Deayon right now, I think NYG would lean towards Blake.
  • CB Eli Apple may have had his best day. He stuck with Brandon Marshall for the most part in his limited opportunities. He is showing the blend of size and speed you want, but he also did a nice job of sniffing out routes and throws ahead of time. That is huge for him.
  • DT Corbin Bryant is a really impressive-looking guy. He has a short area burst and violence about him that can be a weapon. Does he have the ability to eat up double teams? Can he be a pass rusher here? Not sure but he deserves a look in these games coming up.

Three Standouts:

  • QB Eli Manning: I think this was Eli’s “rust is off” day. He threw a bunch of really pretty looking balls downfield. He also stepped up in the pocket and fit some passes into really tight windows. He is making the effort to build up that chemistry with Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram, two new weapons that offer him things he didn’t have last year. That is one of the more important parts to this preseason process.
  • TE Will Tye: Another day, another TE looks to be stepping up and making his case. Part of me thinks the Rhett Ellison signing is the kick that will put Tye on the street at the end of preseason. They are similar styled players and Ellison isn’t going anywhere. Tye made a couple of really tough catches over the middle on the move. Outstretched arms with defenders bearing down. As I said last week, he looks quicker than a year ago.
  • CB Nigel Tribune: A guy I haven’t mentioned at all in these reports yet. He is a body-control corner that went undrafted out of Iowa State. He showed a physical side last week when he beat up WR Kevin Snead at the point of attack multiple times, and today he showed great balance and ball skills when covering WR Travis Rudolph. He made a great play on the ball on 4th-and-goal on a pass from Geno Smith to Rudolph. That fifth CB spot is up for grabs and if they want a quicker slot-type corner, Tribune is in the mix as much as anyone.

Sy’56 and Gidiefor discuss today’s practice and interview safety Eric Pinkins.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • In 1-on-1 drills, wide receiver Brandon Marshall beat cornerback Eli Apple deep and scored a touchdown with an acrobatic catch that he tipped to himself. Wide receiver Travis Rudolph then badly beat cornerback Janoris Jenkins deep for a touchdown. Cornerback Donte Deayon had good, tight coverage on wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, tight end Rhett Ellison made a couple of nice catches. But then quarterback Josh Johnson threw and interception to cornerback Donte Deayon.
  • Quarterback Josh Johnson hit wide receiver Dwayne Harris for a long touchdown. Then he threw a ball up for tight end Matt LaCosse, who made a leaping catch down the right side.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple deflected a slant pass intended for wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith hit wide receiver Darius Powe for a long touchdown over cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Powe then made a finger-tip grab on a Smith pass, beating cornerback Michael Hunter.
  • Cornerback Valentino Blake broke up a quarterback Geno Smith pass intended for wide receiver Roger Lewis.
  • D.J. Fluker received some reps at left guard and right tackle with the third-team offensive line.
  • Tight end Evan Engram made a nice grab on pass over the middle from quarterback Eli Manning during the 2-minute drill.
  • Cornerback Donte Deayon broke up a flat pass from quarterback Geno Smith intended for wide receiver Travis Rudolph. Safety Eric Pinkins then broke up a Smith pass intended for tight end Matt LaCosse.
  • Avery Moss got a good pass rush from left defensive end during the 2-minute drill.
  • Cornerback Nigel Tribune made a diving pass defense of a quarterback Geno Smith rollout pass to wide receiver Travis Rudolph.
  • Overall, the Giants’ 1st-, 2nd, and 3rd-team defenses kept the 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-team offenses out of the end zone during 2-minute drills.
  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including from 31, 36, 41, and 50 yards out.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Monday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The tenth training camp practice will be held on Tuesday, starting at 10:55AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.