Sep 212014
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Jameel McClain, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Jameel McClain – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (September 21, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Rashad Jennings kept reliving one play in the days leading up to the Giants match-up with the Houston Texans.

A week prior versus the Arizona Cardinals, Jennings caught a swing pass in the fourth quarter with the Giants trailing. As he put his foot in the ground and cut up field, Jennings slipped and fell to the turf. The ball fell out of his hands and rolled away, with it the Giants hopes of a victory.

Jennings replayed the moment over and over in his mind. There was only one way to get it out. Sunday afternoon would be the perfect eraser.

Versus the Texans, Jennings rushed for a career-high 176 yards on 34 carries and a touchdown as the Giants defeated Houston, 30-17, in East Rutherford.

“I took that play to heart,” Jennings said. “That’s something you’ve gotta move forward from. You need to wash it out of your memory and continue to move. I just prepared this week, like I do every single week, and try to understand the defense inside and out.”

New York’s offensive line dominated the Texans front from start to finish. The team rushed for a combined 193 yards, averaged 4.6 yards per carry and kept quarterback Eli Manning upright for the majority of the contest. Houston All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt was contained as the Giants limited him to just seven tackles and one sack.

“All week long, we were asked, ‘How badly is he gonna hurt you guys?’” Giants offensive tackle Justin Pugh said. “We didn’t wanna hear that. We didn’t wanna answer those questions. Obviously, we let up the sack, but we came back, we fought and we showed the mentality of this offense.”

Despite dominating in the first quarter of Sunday’s game, the Giants, early on, appeared to have reverted back to their old ways. At the Texans 7-yard line in the first quarter, Manning found tight end Larry Donnell open at the four. As Donnell turned to cut up the field, he fumbled the ball and Houston recovered.

Victor Cruz, New York Giants (September 21, 2014)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

A series later, New York again drove deep into Texans territory before the drive stalled at the Houston 12. The field goal unit trotted on, but a bad snap scooted past holder Steve Weatherford. Again, New York came up empty handed.

“We said we just had to finish,” Manning said. “We said to keep doing what we were doing, they hadn’t stopped us, they were getting tired, just keep going.”

After punting on their next series, the Giants finally punched it in the end zone. Facing a first and 10 at the Texans 26 yard line, Manning found Victor Cruz over the middle. The wide receiver caught the ball, made a defender miss and then darted into the end zone for a touchdown.

“It feels good to get the salsa back going again,” Cruz said. “It was deactivated for awhile, but now it’s back in full swing.”

Cruz caught five passes for 107 yards on the afternoon. After dropping two passes in each of the first two games, Cruz didn’t allow any that hit his hands, to hit the ground.

In the days leading up to the Giants match-up with Houston, coach Tom Coughlin preached the need for the team’s defense to force turnovers. On Sunday, the defense answered.

Antrel Rolle, New York Giants (September 21, 2014)

Antrel Rolle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Against a Houston offense that was without running back Arian Foster, the Giants shut down the run and forced quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to air the ball out. New York’s highly-touted secondary then recorded three interceptions: one by Prince Amukamara, one by Antrel Rolle and a third by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The interceptions by Rolle and Rodgers-Cromartie’s led to 10 points for the Giants.

“Coach really challenged us to get turnovers,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “He put up a category and showed we had no turnovers and said we needed to be Zack Bowman-ish, who’s the turnover king with punching balls out and getting picks. I think we rose to the challenge.”

While the Giants built a 17-3 lead, Houston made it a one-possession game on a miscommunication in the Giants secondary in the third quarter. On first and 10 from the Giants 45, Fitzpatrick found Damaris Johnson for a score. Cornerback Trumaine McBride let Johnson go expecting safety help from Stevie Brown. Brown never came over and Johnson got behind the defense.

On the Giants next possession, Manning marched the team down the field for a field goal. On Houston’s next drive. Damontre Moore blocked a punt setting up a nine-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Fells. The score all but iced the game.

Manning finished 21-of-28 for 234 yards with two scores.

Daniel Fells, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Daniel Fells – © USA TODAY Sports Images

“Nice to win. Nice to win, nice to do a lot of good things in the process,” Coughlin said. “A lot of guys played. I’m looking forward to looking at this tape.”

The Giants will have a short week before traveling to Washington to face the Washington Football Team on Thursday night.

Inactive for the Giants were wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring), linebacker Jon Beason (foot/ankle), linebacker Devon Kennard (hamstring), offensive tackle Charles Brown (shoulder), defensive end Kerry Wynn, offensive tackle James Brewer (back) and defensive tackle Jay Bromley.

With Beason and Kennard out, Jameel McClain started at middle linebacker for the Giants and recorded 11 tackles and a half sack. Mark Herzlich started at strong-side linebacker.

Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka and Amukamara all came off the field at various points in time with apparent injuries. None appeared to be serious. Stevie Brown missed time in the fourth quarter. Rookie Nat Berhe filled in in his place.

Inactive for the Houston Texans were quarterback Tom Savage, wide receiver DeVier Posey, running back Arian Foster, safety Shiloh Keo, offensive tackle Jeff Adams, linebacker Jadeveon Clowney and nose tackle Louis Nix.

Alfred Blue started in place of Foster and rushed for 78 yards on 13 carries, highlighted by a 46-yard run in the third quarter.

The Giants improved their record to 1-2. The Texans dropped to 2-1.

Tom Coughlin’s Post-Game Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughin’s post-game press conference are available at

Player Post-Game Media Q&A’s: Transcripts and audio of the post-game media sessions with the following players are available at

Video highlights are also available at


Sep 212014
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Antrel Rolle, New York Giants (September 21, 2014)

Antrel Rolle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

On Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, the New York Giants defeated the Houston Texans, 30-17. Below you will find some of the best, and worst, performances from the Giants first victory of the season. Please note, these observations are made from an initial reaction and not after reviewing film. These are the gut reactions gathered from watching the game live, not with the use of instant replay.


Eli Manning
This is how it was all supposed to look. There was Manning dropping back, firing passes underneath to Victor Cruz, who then made people miss to gain extra yards. There was enough time in the pocket for Manning to go through his reads, scan the field and find the open receiver. There weren’t many ‘questionable’ decisions from Manning, aside from a deep shot down the field to Rueben Randle. In fact, it may have been the quarterback’s most efficient outing in Ben McAdoo’s West Coast offense. The numbers tell the story: 21-of-28, 234 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions.

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (September 21, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Rashad Jennings
After Friday afternoon’s practice, Rashad Jennings spoke to reporters about how his fumble against the Arizona Cardinals was still in his mind. It was interesting to hear a player admit that, especially because so often players preach about letting plays go and moving on to the next play. It was a human aspect that Jennings let out. He showed he did care and that it was very much still in his mind.

Jennings played like a man possessed Sunday, rushing for 176 yards on 34 carries and a score. He continues to show that he’s one of the more underrated players in the NFL and a running back who is capable of doing it all. Not only can he run, but he can catch the ball out of the backfield and block like a lineman. On Manning’s touchdown to Cruz, the Texans brought pressure and Jennings stepped up to pick it up and given Eli enough time to deliver a pass.

Jennings is that bring-your-lunch-box-to-work kind of guy. He doesn’t talk much, but his play speaks volumes. He does everything without asking for the fame or glamour. He deserves every bit of the praise he gets on a week-to-week basis.

Victor Cruz
Few players caught more flack this week than Victor Cruz, and it was a bit deserved. Cruz complained about not having the ball thrown to him, then dropped three passes. Versus Houston, Cruz got back to being the Cruz of old.

There were the yards after the catch, the big plays down the field and, finally, a salsa endzone celebration. He caught five passes for 107 yards and a score and looked to find a home in McAdoo’s offense. The biggest thing? He didn’t drop a pass.

Offensive Line
After the game, right tackle Justin Pugh talked about how annoyed he and the rest of his offensive linemates were that the only questions asked to them in the days leading up the game were how bad they were going to get beat by J.J. Watt. On Sunday, it was the offensive line that did the beating.

Not only did the Giants run for 193 yards on the ground, but Manning was only sacked once. Watt recorded seven tackles and that one sack, but was contained throughout the majority of the game. Every player on the line deserves a kudos for their play. It was very, very impressive.

Mathias Kiwanuka, New York Giants (September 21, 2014)

Mathias Kiwanuka – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Pass Rush
The Giants NASCAR package of Robert Ayers Jr., Mathias Kiwanuka, Damontre Moore and Jason Pierre-Paul may be their best front since 2007. While he was only sacked twice, Houston quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was under constant duress. Credit him for a few very shifty escapes because New York had the chance to bring him down on at least five other occasions. The pleasing thing about the way the front played was that the Giants didn’t have to blitz to get pressure. The Giants dropped back seven and rushed just four on numerous occasions with success.

Prince Amukamara
The former first-round pick is beginning to develop into quite the player for the Giants and it’s something to watch. His physicality has taken a step to the next level this year and versus Houston so did his coverage. Amukamara made a great adjustment to record his first interception of the year, then nearly picked off two others. There’s been talk that he’s better than Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but as DRC displayed himself Sunday, that’s a pretty nice compliment.


Larry Donnell
It’s actually tough to find any from the victory. The score was 30-17, but the Giants had the potential to put up 50. One of the reasons they didn’t were mistakes. One of those mistakes was by Larry Donnell.

As good as Donnell has been, he made a big no-no near the goal line. With the Giants deep in Cardinal territory, Manning found Donnell open at the four yard line. After catching the ball, Donnell fumbled. He made several nice catches afterwards, but it doesn’t excuse the mess up. Making mistakes against teams like the Texans won’t cost you the game. Making those errors against a team like the San Francisco 49ers or Philadelphia Eagles? That’s another story.

Damontre Moore, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Damontre Moore blocks a punt – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Zak DeOssie/The Special Teams
Same reasons as Donnell, it’s one uh-oh in a game that was filled with so few. DeOssie’s snap on the missed field goal was not pretty, and he can’t make that happen. It didn’t cost the Giants the game, but down the road against a better team it may.

Sticking with the same theme, on a five-yard return in the third quarter, Texans punt returner Damaris Johnson made about four Giants miss before getting tripped up. Had he not been brought now by a shoe string tackle, he was gone. Similarly, on a kick return, there was a huge lane for Johnson to run through.

There are things, like a botched snap, that a special teams coordinator should not take the blame for, but constant missed tackles and open lanes on returns? That they do. Maybe it’s the players, maybe it’s the coach, but how many more games are the Giants special teams going to cost them before a change is made?

They escaped Sunday, but this may not be the case next time.

Trumaine McBride/Stevie Brown
Not sure there’s another team in the NFL that has as many secondary miscommunications as the Giants. Again versus the Houston, there was another “I thought, he thought” meltdown.

On the deep touchdown from Fitzpatrick to Johnson, McBride appeared to let the wideout go and release him to Brown. The issue was Brown didn’t get the memo. This issue, similar to the special teams, didn’t cost the Giants on Sunday, but against a better team it will. These things just seem to happen once or twice a week, every week.

Sep 192014
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Jon Beason, New York Giants (September 8, 2014)

Jon Beason – © USA TODAY Sports Images

September 19, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Friday were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (foot/ankle), and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), and P Steve Weatherford (ankle). Weatherford is officially listed as “questionable” against the Houston Texans on Sunday while Beckham, Beason, and Kennard have been ruled out of the game.

“Our medical people, after listening to the conversation (with the specialists), just figured that this wouldn’t be a week to put (Beason) out there,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He’ll probably have to fight through something like this for the duration (of the season), let’s put it that way.”

OT Charles Brown (shoulder) and OT James Brewer (back) practiced on a limited basis. Both are listed as “questionable” for the game.

DT Markus Kuhn (ankle) fully practiced and is “probable.”

Giants Waive OG Eric Herman: The Giants have waived OG Eric Herman, who returned to the team Wednesday after serving a two-week suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances (PEDs). The suspension was originally four weeks, but Herman was reinstated early as a result of the terms of the League’s new PED Policy. The Giants had been granted a two-day roster exemption for Herman that expired at 4:00PM Friday. Herman is eligible to join the practice squad.

September 19, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Friday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Q&A with Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The Coughlin Corner: Eliminating turnovers by Michael Eisen of

September 19, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at

Article on LB Mark Herzlich: Giants’ Mark Herzlich prepares to start by Jeff Roberts of The Bergen Record

Sep 182014
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September 18, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Thursday were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (foot/ankle), and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring).

“It’s feeling better, surprisingly better, I would say,” said Beason. “In the game I stepped on someone’s foot and it felt like… I felt a pop. It scared me right away, we went and got some pictures, but it’s feeling a lot better right away, so it’s an indication that it’s probably just scar tissue moving. I head down to Charlotte tomorrow to see Dr. Anderson and get his opinion. There are some things that he can do that you can’t see in the imaging with the MRI in terms of active movement and then we’ll determine how severe it is. But it feels good, so that’s a good indication.”

Asked if he definitely was not playing on Sunday, Beason replied, “I’m not sure. I feel like I could go out there and take care of business. I’m active in the meetings, I know the game plan, I’m still studying and preparing as if I’m playing on Sunday.”

OT Charles Brown (shoulder), OT James Brewer (back), and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

DT Markus Kuhn (ankle) fully practiced.

Eric Herman’s Suspension Cut to Two Games: OG Eric Herman, who was originally suspended for the first four games of the 2014 NFL season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, has had is suspension reduced to two games. He is now back with the team. The Giants have been granted a roster exemption for Herman until 4:00PM on Friday.

Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

September 18, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video clips of Thursday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at

September 18, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at

7 takeaways from Giants Media Hour by Dan Salomone of

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Odell Beckham Jr. getting training tips from Rashad Jennings by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Antrel calls Rolle call for confidence boost by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

Giants Online – Week 3 Preview: The video of this week’s Giants Online is available at

Sep 172014
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Preston Parker, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Preston Parker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

September 17, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Wednesday were WR Odell Beckham (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (foot/ankle), LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), and P Steve Weatherford (ankle).

Head Coach Tom Coughlin did not completely rule out Beason practicing this week. “I wouldn’t put anything past this guy, but he’s not going to practice today,” said Coughlin.

Beckham is running more aggressively, but it does not sound like he will practice this week. “Not to my knowledge,” responded Coughlin when asked if Beckham would practice. “Not with the team. He’ll be right there learning, etc., etc., working on the side, but he won’t take any snaps.”

OT Charles Brown (shoulder) and OT James Brewer (back) practiced on a limited basis.

DT Markus Kuhn (ankle) fully practiced.

September 17, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Wednesday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at

September 17, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Wednesday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at

Giants Sign LB James Davidson to the Practice Squad: The Giants have signed linebacker James Davidson to the Practice Squad. Davidson was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He was waived on August 26. Davidson was an undersized collegiate defensive end who projects to linebacker at the pro level. Whether he has the overall athleticism and instincts for the position remains to be seen. Obviously, he is a project. Because of this move, we have updated the Transactions and Roster sections of the website.

Article on the New York Giants Offense: The biggest benefit of West Coast offense isn’t even working by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Articles on New York Giants Wide Receivers:

Article on OT Justin Pugh: Biggest assignment yet for Justin Pugh by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on CB Trumaine McBride: Trumaine McBride ready to step in at nickel cornerback by Michael Eisen of

Sep 162014
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Jerrel Jernigan, New York Giants (September 8, 2014)

Jerrel Jernigan – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Place Jerrel Jernigan and Walter Thurmond on IR: The New York Giants have officially placed WR Jerrel Jernigan (mid-foot sprain) and CB Walter Thurmond (torn pectoral muscle) on season-ending Injured Reserve. Thurmond underwent successful surgery on his chest on Tuesday. Jernigan will not need surgery but will wear a protective boot and rehabilitate the foot.

To fill those two vacant roster spots, the Giants signed WR Julian Talley and LB Dan Fox from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster.

There still really is no official word on how long LB Jon Beason will be out. The Giants announced that Beason aggravated the previous foot injury that sidelined him for all of training camp and the preseason. Beason may visit foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, NC later this week. Dr. Anderson examined Beason’s foot when he suffered the original injury in June.

Because of these moves, we have updated the Transactions, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

Giants Sign Two to the Practice Squad, Cut Another: With WR Julian Talley and LB Dan Fox being promoted to the 53-man roster, the Giants have filled their Practice Squad vacancies by signing WR Travis Harvey and WR L’Damian Washington.

The Giants signed Travis Harvey as a street free agent in April 2014. Harvey was originally signed by the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft. The Titans waived him in July and he did not play football in 2013. The Giants cut him on August 26.

Washington is a very tall (6-4), thin (200 pounds), fast receiver who was signed as a rookie free agent by the Dallas Cowboys after the 2014 NFL Draft. He was waived on August 2 and awarded the next day to the San Francisco 49ers, who released him on August 30.

The Giants also terminated the Practice Squad contract of DE Jordan Stanton.

The Giants still have one opening on their 10-man Practice Squad.

Because of these moves, we have updated the Transactions and Roster sections of the website.

Safety Antrel Rolle on WFAN: The audio of Tuesday’s WFAN interview with S Antrel Rolle is available at CBS NewYork

Article on DE Mathias Kiwanuka: Giants film review: Fazing out of Mathias Kiwanuka has begun? by Jordan Raanan of

Sights and Sounds from Giants-Cardinals Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-Cardinals game is available at

Sep 152014
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September 15, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: The New York Giants have confirmed that CB Walter Thurmond tore his pectoral muscle against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Thurmond will undergo surgery on Tuesday. He will be placed on season-ending Injured Reserve.

There was no update provided on LB Jon Beason who aggravated his toe injury that sidelined him for all of training camp and the preseason.

WR Jerrel Jernigan suffered a mid-foot sprain in the game as well. No word yet on how long he will be sidelined.

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

September 15, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Monday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at

September 15, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at

7 takeaways from Giants Media Hour by Dan Salomone of

QB Eli Manning on WFAN: The audio of Monday’s WFAN interview with QB Eli Manning is available at CBS NewYork.

Articles on CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie:

Articles on Communication During a Football Game:

Sep 152014
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Walter Thurmond and Michael Strahan, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Walter Thurmond and Michael Strahan – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Things just went from bad, to worse for the 0-2 New York Giants.

Free-agent acquisition and nickel cornerback Walter Thurmond III, who left Sunday’s game with the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth quarter, suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the 25-14 defeat.

Thurmond will have surgery on Tuesday and will miss the entire 2014-215 season.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Thurmond came in in an attempt to make a play on a screen pass. As Thurmond went to “punch” the ball out, his arm hit an opponent’s shoulder pads. Thurmond said he felt a stinging pain shoot up his arm, but remained in the game. Three plays later, he removed himself after struggling in press coverage.

After the game, Thurmond said his arm was “sore” and that he’d have additional tests done on Monday. Those tests, according to Pro Football Talk, showed a tear.

Thurmond, 27, signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Giants this offseason as part of the team’s secondary overhaul. Along with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Thurmond was expected to build one of the league’s best back units. Rodgers-Cromartie, and former first-round pick Prince Amukamara, manned the outside while Thurmond played nickel.

Throughout training camp, the preseason and first two games of the regular season, Thurmond displayed the physicality New York had hoped he’d bring to the defense. Not only did Thurmond walk-the-walk, but the former Seattle Seahawk enjoyed the talk just as much.

The first time Thurmond met the New York media, he boasted claims as the league’s best nickel cornerback, sparking a twitter war with Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin. He was often times seen jawing with teammates in training camp and took it upon himself to bring the “swag” to New York’s secondary.

While the Giants have yet to confirm or deny the report, if Thurmond is out for the season, the door will open for Trumaine McBride. Last season, McBride enjoyed a breakout season for the Giants.

According to Pro Football Focus, McBride graded out with a positive 6.8 rating in 2013. When quarterbacks tested McBride, their rating was a 57.4. New York re-signed McBride this offseason prior to signing Thurmond.

With the new drug policy being revamped, there is also a chance former third-round pick Jayron Hosley returns early from his four-game suspension. If that is the case, Hosley can be activated to the 53-man roster and play as early as Sunday.

Sep 142014
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Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants dropped to 0-2 following a 25-14 loss at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals. Below you will find a few of the studs, and duds, from Sunday’s game.

Please note, these studs and duds are compiled via initial gut reaction having not reviewed the game on film. These can easily be changed upon the final film review session. These are not the final and absolute observations made.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images


Eli Manning
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning put together the kind of performance he would have put together last week had it not been for many of the drops. It’s a crazy fact, actually, considering Manning still dealt with an abnormal amount of dropped balls.

Manning displayed that he does in fact have the ability to play in the West Coast scheme and actually have quite a bit of success. Manning looked calm, cool and collected throughout the game’s entirety. An interception on a tipped pass and an end-of-game bomb cloud an otherwise very solid performance. Manning finished 26-of-39 for 277 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Rueben Randle
A lot was made over Rueben Randle’s two receptions for one yard last week and he responded in a big way Sunday afternoon. Playing against one of the better cornerbacks in the league, Randle caught four passes for 39 yards including a beautiful one-handed grab. This stud though does come with a big ‘but’ as Randle dropped a deep pass down the sideline.

Offensive Line (pass blocking)
There is a big, big difference between the Detroit Lions front four and the Arizona Cardinals, but either way Manning had tons of time to throw in the pocket Sunday afternoon. Was it perfect all the time? No, but no line ever is. Every now and then, your quarterback is going to get sacked and not everyone is going to get picked up. Looking at the complete body of work, the offensive line played very well when it came to pass blocking.

Larry Donnell, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Larry Donnell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Larry Donnell
Maybe the biggest surprise in the early portions of this season has been the receiving aspect of Larry Donnell’s game. Manning has gone to the tight end time and time again, targeting him 17 times the last two games. Sunday, Donnell caught seven passes for 81 yards and was the Giants leading receiver for the second straight game.

The Pass Rush
Wasn’t that a sight for sore eyes? The Giants front four displayed visions of 2007 and 2011, frequently making trips to Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton. New York recorded four sacks, had two nullified via penalty, and had countless other pressures. Johnathan Hankins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Robert Ayers and Mathias Kiwanuka all got to the quarterback.

Johnathan Hankins
If the first two games are any indication, the Giants may have a budding star on their hands in Johnathan Hankins. The second-year player is not only a stud against the run, but made several visits to the quarterback, including his first career sack. He looks like a very, very good player.

Offensive Line (run blocking)
The final stat line says it all: New York rushed the ball 27 times and gained 81 yards. That’s an average of three yards per carry. In the first half, the Giants had 13 total rushing yards.

It wasn’t the 85 Chicago Bears lining up in front of the Giants, but the Arizona Cardinals. The same Arizona Cardinals that were playing without Darnell Docket and John Abraham. Three yards per carry is unacceptable. If the Giants want to establish anything this year, they need to improve their rushing attack. All 64 of Rashad Jennings’ yards were courtesy of him and him only. Without reviewing the game, I’m not sure he had a nice hole to run through all game.

Mark Herzlich
This is a tough one to put, because Herzlich isn’t a good defensive player. The Giants know that, the league knows that. Where Herzlich makes his plays is on special teams. Either way, when Beason went down he needed to step up and didn’t.

On Herzlich’s first series, the Cardinals gained two first downs running right at him. A few plays later, he was called for a holding. A series after that, he gave up a first-down to tight end Troy Niklas. It wasn’t a good showing.

Ted Ginn, Arizona Cardinals (September 14, 2014)

Ted Ginn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Quintin Demps and Zack Bowman
It’s not just that Demps fumbled the ball, which was unacceptable, it’s his decisions to take the ball out of the endzone. The Giants started inside their own 20 far too many times because Demps decided to risk it, and, while looking at the replay at MetLife, it appeared he was holding the ball freely on the fumble. Victor Cruz’s drop loaded the gun, but Demps’ fumble pulled the trigger in the Giants demise Sunday.

Bowman gets a dud as well, combined with Demps. Bowman was signed by the Giants because of his solid play on special teams. He had Ted Ginn Jr. wrapped up and was bringing him to the ground before being shrugged off.

Victor Cruz
The No. 1 dud from Sunday, no questions asked. Entering the Giants match-up with the Cardinals, Victor Cruz pulled his own Keyshawn Johnson and said if the Giants offense wants success, he needs to be thrown the ball.

If you’re going to say that, fine, but you better back it up. Cruz didn’t, to say the least.

When New York needed a play, it went to Cruz who responded with three drops. Two of which would have been touchdowns.

It’s completely unacceptable to complain about the number of targets thrown your way after dropping two passes. But to then complain about the number of targets, then drop three after the complaint? That’s pathetic.

Victor Cruz is a first-year captain for the Giants, it’s time he starts playing like a leader, not complaining like a prima donna.

Sep 142014
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

There was a key to the New York Giants turning their offense around. In fact, according to Victor Cruz, it was a simple fix.

After being dismantled by the Detroit Lions in the season opener, New York need just throw the ball in Cruz’s direction versus the Arizona Cardinals. If they did that, everything would be OK according to the former Pro Bowler.

“There needs to be an increased number of targets in my direction,” Cruz said last week.

Versus the Cardinals Sunday afternoon, those passes were thrown, but when New York needed him most, Cruz came up short. The wideout dropped three must-catch passes Sunday afternoon as Arizona defeated New York, 25-14, dropping the Giants record to 0-2 for the second consecutive season.

“Any ball in my direction, in my opinion, I’ve got to bring in,” Cruz said. “I’ve got to be able to make the play for my team and make the play whenever (Quarterback Eli Manning) looks my way. I own up to it and those are ones I have to bring in.”

After struggling on defense in its season opener, the Giants defense again got off to a slow start versus the Cardinals. Arizona marched 80 yards in 11 plays, capping the drive with a one-yard touchdown run from Jonathan Dwyer. Following an Eli Manning interception on New York’s first series, it was a 10-play, 40-yard drive that ended in a Chandler Catanzaro field goal.

Trailing by 10, the Giants offense finally found life. Manning and Co. marched 90 yards in 13 plays before the quarterback found receiver Rueben Randle for a seven-yard score past Patrick Peterson. Three series later in the second half, it was another touchdown pass from Manning, this time to Daniel Fells, to give New York its first lead of the season.

Rueben Randle, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Rueben Randle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

“We were confident,” Cruz said. “I think the confidence level was there. We were getting ourselves open, we were making the big play.”

But the success was short lived. Arizona answered New York’s scoring drive with one of their own when Catanzaro hit a 37-yard field goal. Then, facing a third-and-six, the game took a turn for the worse.

With time to throw in the pocket, Manning dropped back and sent a pass deep down the left sideline. Cruz was open, but dropped the ball. The punt team came on, and Ted Ginn gave Giant fans a flashback to 2013.

Steve Weatherford boomed a high, spiraling kick to the New York 29 yard line. Zack Bowman came in to wrap up Ginn, but the former first-round pick spun out of the tackle and took off up the middle of the field.

Ginn eluded Zak DeOssie and Spencer Paysinger before sprinting past Weatherford and toward the west end zone at MetLife Stadium for a 71-yard touchdown.

“It was just that point of time where we needed a play,” Ginn said. “I just went out and I just tried to make the best play that I can, and it turned out to be a touchdown.”

Ted Ginn, Arizona Cardinals (September 14, 2014)

Ted Ginn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

On the ensuing kickoff, Quintin Demps fumbled, setting up another Catanzaro field goal. The next offensive series, Manning went back to Cruz, giving the receiver a chance to make amends. Cruz responded with two more drops, leading to another Giants punt and three-and-out.

“We just need to keep working,” Manning said. “Those are physical mistakes, those things happen sometimes, a drop. That’s football…. We have opportunities to make plays, we just have to make them.”

With 9:11 remaining in the game, the Giants put together their best shot at a comeback, but came up short again. After driving 65 yards to the Arizona 17-yard line, Manning threw a pass in the flat to Rashad Jennings. As the running back cut to turn up the field, he slipped and fell to the turf. The ball popped out and Arizona recovered.

The Giants defense forced a three-and-out, getting the ball in the offense’s hands one last time, but New York went four-and-out, setting up a fourth and game-sealing Catanzaro field goal.

“You know what?” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “I look out there, they’re men. We’re all men. Stop feeling sorry four ourselves. We had an opportunity and we let it slip. There’s no one to blame but ourselves.

“You work as hard as you can, you run around like a crazy man. You get your coaches to apply themselves even harder. You get the players to apply themselves harder.”

In the loss, Manning completed 26-of-39 passes for 277 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Larry Donnell caught seven passes for 81 yards, Cruz five for 60 and Rueben Randle four for 39 and a touchdown. Defensively, New York recorded four sacks, highlighted by Jason Pierre-Paul’s 1.5. Johnathan Hankins had the first of his career.

New York middle linebacker Jon Beason left the game in the fourth quarter with a foot injury and Walter Thurmond III with a pectoral injury, neither player returned.

The following players did not suit up for the Giants: WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring), LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), G Adam Snyder, T Charles Brown (shoulder), DE Kerry Wynn, T James Brewer (back), and DT Markus Kuhn (ankle).