AUGUST 14, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT… (by Sy’56)
Beautiful day at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. It has been a warmer-than-usual summer and last week at this time, you could tell the heat was getting to the guys. Not nearly as hot today. The first standout component to today’s practice were how many guys were out (whether it was a scheduled day off or injury). Several starters and second-stringers at WR, OL, OLB, ILB, and S. It led to some ugly football to say the least.
I opted to put a little more focus on the DB vs WR matchups today and I am glad I did. With Shane Lemieux and Joshua Ezeudu both out, Ben Bredeson was at left guard. It wasn’t pretty, even with Leonard Williams out. Dexter Lawrence was in the backfield and breaking the pocket the entire practice. This should not surprise anyone and it wasn’t worth spending more effort zeroing in on. I wanted to see these defensive backs work.
-Corner Adoree’ Jackson probably had the best practice performance of the day. Multiple pass breakups and an interception. He nearly had another on a throw near the end zone. He was jumping routes and sticking to the likes of Richie James, Collin Johnson, and Wan’Dale Robinson like a glove.
-Darnay Holmes had the play of the day with a one-handed interception in the end zone while defending tight end Austin Allen. He continues to shine.
-Aaron Robinson was tested several times on corner fade passes to Kenny Golladay. The second-year corner from UCF won every single one. While Golladay + Jones may not be the best metric to measure against, he got the job done with great techniques and ball location. Golladay did not come down with any of the targets thrown his way. Robinson was tested physically via positioning more than athletically down the field. The thing I look for here is timing and accuracy. Timing to get after the ball at the right moment, accuracy with his hands to get the ball and avoid penalties. He passed his tests there over and over.
-The Julian Love + Xavier McKinney duo was fun to watch from my angle. These two may be the two biggest assets to the defense if they start creating pressure and confusing the opposing quarterbacks. They look fast, explosive, and balanced. They both were lining up all over the place and McKinney got home on a blitz for an easy sack.
-Corners Cor’Dale Flott and Rodarius Williams were out. So, I got to see a little extra of Darren Evans and Gavin Heslop on the outside. Both guys really look the part, but it is Evans who has more of my attention. The size and smoothness he shows when he turns and runs upfield can be a factor, something nice to build from. His issues show up in ball location and overall eye discipline, but the tools are there. He should take one of the Practice Squad spots, maybe even on the final 53 if a couple injuries are not overcome by Week 1.
-The thinness at safety is possibly opening the door for Trenton Thompson. He had a few snaps with the 1’s today.
-Up front they were without Leonard Williams and Justin Ellis and then lost Elerson Smith and Jihad Ward. The name that keeps jumping out at me is Ryder Anderson. One of my top graded UDFAs around the league. They are finding ways to use him on special teams as well. I think they want to create a spot for him but if not, he is a sure thing for the Practice Squad. He showed high level run defense today with his quick recognition and natural power presence. His size stands out too.
-Carter Coughlin was back out there today. He had a couple wins, as did Micah McFadden, on pass rush drills vs RBs and TEs. Their hand work looked excellent. In team drills they located the football in a hurry and filled their lanes.
-Azeez Ojulari went full speed in individual drills, but I don’t think he played in the live team offense vs. defense. He looked good. Clearly a different level of burst and bend from the other guys (Oshan Ximines, Jihad Ward, Quincy Roche).
-Daniel Jones had a horrific day. I don’t have an exact stat line for him (although the beat guys do a really job of that, you can see what they had there). The macro-level takeaway was he looked overmatched. He held on to the ball forever and seemed to throw two incomplete passes for every completion. The ones he did connect on were almost all check-downs or immediate passes that looked pre-determined. Jones also threw two interceptions. The internal clock wasn’t there and that was another difference between him and Tyrod Taylor. 2.5 seconds is the approximate time you want a QB to get the ball out, Jones was probably over 4 seconds (that still did not connect) on probably more than half of his throws. Taylor, on the other hand, got it out much quicker.
-One of the potential shortcomings of this offseason was the lack of talent added to the group of pass catchers. While I can’t say the decision-makers ignored the position, they just appear to lack juice. They don’t have a deep threat. They don’t have much size beyond guys who can’t get open on their own. And they don’t have seam busters or a tight end who poses as a real matchup problem. With Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard off the field, it really looked like an overmatched group against coverage.
-That said, Saquon Barkley looks better and better each day. The biggest play of the day was a well-engineered misdirection run that completely fooled the defense. It gave Barkley a slight window and head start into space and the burst he showed was stunning. We may forget sometimes just what kind of different-level this athlete really is. He also delivered the most violent pop of the day in pass protection on Tae Crowder. Big time contact that stunned the linebacker.
-I did not spend a ton of time breaking down the offensive line. It wasn’t pretty though. Hard to tell without seeing the tape if Jones just wasn’t finding the open man or what, but the OL shouldn’t be expected to hold their blocks for 4-5 seconds. That is an eternity.
-Richie James may have been the most targeted receiver, partially because he was often a check-down option. Anyway, his reach is just so limited. He can’t box anyone out and defensive backs easily reach around him.
-C.J. Board is an interesting player. As I start to put together the 53-man roster + Practice Squad projection, he seems like a near-must for this group. He is the one guy who can get behind the defense and make a play on the ball. He came down with two deep balls, however both ended with him not getting his second foot in bounds. His return ability helps his cause. It may come down to him or James for a roster spot and gun to my head right now, it is Board. James just adds yet another tiny body and I don’t see him making anything happen down the field.
In closing, sorry if this gets repetitive, but this team looks very injured. Just all around. The negative tone there is obvious. These guys need to get on the field. They need to play. The positive, however, is that the depth on this team may not be as bad as some think. Matt Peart (remember him?) appeared to be moving very well on the back field. Close to full-speed, straight-line movement. DT Justin Ellis was in full pads working on the sled by himself. Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard look fine with straight-line movement. Leonard Williams appeared to be fine, perhaps it was a scheduled day off. CBs Flott and Williams were cutting with ease. I don’t see many guys who appear to have long term issues beyond Shane Lemieux. While you always want these guys out there, they still have just under a month to get back to 100% for Week 1. I am optimistic on the overall health of the team.
LB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring) was activated from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List and he returned to practice.
The Giants also waived offensive guard Josh Rivas and cornerback Michael Jacquet, and terminated the contract of safety Jarrod Wilson.
The Giants signed Josh Rivas as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Giants signed Michael Jacquet in May 2022. The 6’1”, 203-pound Jacquet was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent time on both the Practice Squads of the Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021.
The Giants signed Jarrod Wilson as a street free agent in early August 2022. The 6’1”, 209-pound Wilson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jaguars (2016-2020), New York Jets (2021), and San Francisco 49ers (2021).
WR Sterling Shepard (Achilles), OC Nick Gates (leg), and OT Matt Peart (knee) remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.
RB Matt Breida (unknown), WR Kadarius Toney (knee/leg), WR Austin Proehl (leg/calf), TE Andre Miller (broken right foream), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (unknown), LG Shane Lemieux (foot), OL Joshua Ezeudu (unknown), OL Jamil Douglas (ankle), DL Leonard Williams (unknown), DL Justin Ellis (unknown), LB Blake Martinez (returning from ACL), LB Cam Brown (unknown), CB Cor’Dale Flott (groin), CB Rodarius Williams (unknown), and S Dane Belton (broken left collarbone) did not practice.
“Shane won’t be out there today,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice. “He probably won’t be out there this week. We’ll see. We’ll kind of take it day-by-day… We’ll see (if it lingers into the regular season)… It’s something with his foot.
“(Ezeudu is) working back through some stuff, too. Same (with Flott). He’ll be working back. We’ll see where he’s at by the end of the week. So, we had some guys that got a little big dinged up. I don’t think anything real serious, but also trying to do right by the players to get them back as healthy as we can.
“Probably not (have Toney back this week). I think he’ll be rehabbing still. He could towards the end of the week. But early in the week, we’re not there yet.”
Linebackers Elerson Smith (lower right leg) and Jihad Ward (unknown) and center Jon Feliciano (right arm) left practice early and did not return.
HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
Thetranscriptof Brian Daboll’s press conference on Sunday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available inThe Corner Forumand atGiants.com:
MAY 19, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their third voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Thursday, and first one open to the media. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.
“We’re on really our third practice day today,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice. “We’ll be inside. A little slick outside. Working on some 1st and 2nd down stuff. We’ve had two good days. I’d say we’ve improved a little bit each day, worked on some different situations. Still a long way to go, but it’s been a good start… We’ve had everybody here… We’ve had, I’d say, exceptional attendance… It’s just good to have all the guys here so we can implement our stuff.”
The seven remaining OTA practices will be held on May 23-24, May 26, May 31-June 3. A mandatory mini-camp will also be held June 7-9.
INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Players wearing red jerseys because of injury issues included WR Kenny Golladay, WR Kadarius Toney, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Collin Johnson, WR Richie James, WR Austin Proehl, OT Andrew Thomas, OC Nick Gates, OT Matt Peart, OL Jamil Douglas, ILB Blake Martinez, OLB Quincy Roche, ILB Cam Brown, ILB T.J. Brunson, and CB Rodarius Williams. Some of these players participated in practice, while others did not.
“Yeah, so we’ll have some guys in red jerseys today,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll. “Some can do a little bit more than others. Some are rehabbing. There will be I’d say a number of guys right now in red jerseys. I’m not going to get into the specifics of it right now at this point in time, but you guys will end up seeing them… (Gates) had a tough injury, but he’s done a good job with his rehab. Probably still a little bit a ways away. I’d say him and Matt Peart, they’re rehabbing every single day, getting better each day, so we’ll see where they’re at.”
Not present were WR Wan’Dale Robinson (NFL rookie symposium), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (personal), and DL Dexter Lawrence (personal).
Some snippets from various media sources:
The starting offensive line was LT Korey Cunningham, LG Shane Lemieux, OC Jon Feliciano, RG Mark Glowinski, and RT Evan Neal.
The second-team offensive line was LT Devery Hamilton, LG Joshua Ezeudu, OC Ben Bredeson, RG Marcus McKethan, and RT Matt Gono. Max Garcia also alternated with Bredeson at center. McKethan also saw reps at right tackle.
TE Daniel Bellinger received first-team reps. He made a nice catch on an out route from QB Daniel Jones.
First team defense had Leonard Williams and Justin Ellis on the defensive line. They were backed up by David Moa and D.J. Davidson. Third-team defensive line was Chris Hinton and Jalyn Holmes.
Blake Martinez and Tae Crowder were the first-team inside linebackers; Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari worked outside. Second-team was Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin inside and Jihad Ward and Elerson Smith outside. Third-team was T.J. Brunson and Justin Hilliard inside and Oshane Ximines and Niko Lalos outside.
Adoree’ Jackson and Aaron Robinson were the first-team cornerbacks with Darnay Holmes serving as the nickel corner. Second-team was Zyon Gilbert and Darren Evans outside with Cor’Dale Flott in the slot. The third-team was Michael Jacquet and Maurice Canady outside with Khalil Dorsey in the slot.
The first-team safeties were Xavier McKinney and Julian Love. Second-team was Jarren Williams and Dane Belton; third-team was Yusuf Corker and Henry Black.
Offensively, the team showed a ton of empty sets and pre-snap motion. There was an emphasis on RPOs. QB Daniel Jones made a big gain on a designed run.
In 7-on-7 drills, QB Davis Webb scrambled and threw a long touchdown pass to WR C.J. Board.
QB Daniel Jones badly overthrew one pass that was intercepted by S Julian Love.
QB Tyrod Taylor made a perfect deep sideline throw to WR Robert Foster over CB Zyon Gilbert.
LB Kayvon Thibodeaux would have had a sack on QB Daniel Jones in team drills. Thibodeaux also had nice coverage on two other plays.
LB Jihad Ward, DL Jalyn Holmes, and DL Ryder Anderson would have had sacks on QB Tyrod Taylor.
WR Travis Toivonen, WR C.J. Board, and WR Alex Bachman were active catching the football.
Running backs Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, Antonio Williams, and Gary Brightwell were active catching the football. Barkley lined up in the slot on one play. Breida showed a nice burst after the catch.
LB Darrian Beavers and LB Justin Hilliard forced incompletions with solid coverage.
CB Michael Jacquet broke up two passes.
GIANTS ADD ANOTHER DEFENSIVE BACK…
The Giants have signed free agent cornerback Michael Jacquet. To make room, the team also waived defensive lineman Antonio Valentino.
The 25-year old, 6’1”, 203-pound Jacquet was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2020 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Jacquet played in seven games with two starts, accruing 18 tackles, one sack, three pass defenses, and one forced fumble. He spent time on both the Practice Squads of the Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021.
Valentino was an undrafted rookie free agent signed by the Giants after the 2022 NFL Draft.
THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
DECEMBER 31, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT… The New York Giants practiced on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Not on the official injury list, but also not practicing due to being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List were WR Darius Slayton, OL Korey Cunningham, NT Danny Shelton, DE Dexter Lawrence, and S Julian Love.
“We’re still expecting Love back in the building on Sunday,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “Danny Shelton, we’ll see where he is in terms of the game. I wouldn’t rule him in or out at this point. We’ll see how he is and the trainers will deal with him.”
Not practicing were WR Kadarius Toney (shoulder), WR John Ross (knee/COVID ramp up), WR Collin Johnson (hamstring), and OL Billy Price (personal). Toney, Ross, and Johnson have officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears; Price is “doubtful” for the game.
“I know (Price) posted something on social media,” said Judge. “That’s his to disclose, that’s not mine to talk about. We fully support Billy, fully support Billy as an organization, him and his wife as just individuals and their family and what they’re going through right now. We left the door open to Billy in a lot of ways in terms of whatever he needs from us… He’s dealing with something that a lot of us have been blessed that we haven’t had to deal with. He’s going through something personally that we’ve got to make sure we account for and give him support as an organization, as a person. I wouldn’t fully rule him out at this moment, but he has not been at practice with us. He’s not been in-person in the meetings. The Zoom’s been available to him, but we’re letting him and his wife right now have the time they need and fully supporting him in what they’re going through.”
Limited in practice were RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle), TE Chris Myarick (hip), OT Nate Solder (COVID ramp up), OL Ben Bredeson (ankle), DL Austin Johnson (foot), CB Adoree’ Jackson (quad/COVID ramp up), and CB Keion Crossen (COVID ramp up). Myarick, Solder, Johnson, and Jackson are “questionable” for the game. The rest are expected to play.
FB Cullen Gillaspia (shin), DL Raymond Johnson (illness), and PK Graham Gano (illness) fully practiced and are expected to play.
HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Friday 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 inThe Corner Forumand atGiants.com:
OCTOBER 25, 2021 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 25-3 win over the Carolina Panthers:
Q: I wanted to ask you about a couple of guys if I could – (Tackle) Matt Peart, what you saw from him and (Fullback) Eli Penny and the job he did yesterday, particularly in the short-yardage situation.
A: I thought Eli did a good job. He’s been progressing in that role for us both as a fullback and as a running back or halfback throughout the season. He had a good game for us yesterday in a lot of things he did, showed up in the kicking game for us, as well. Eli’s just one of those kinds of guys who’s a steady presence, personality. Brings a lot of life into the room, but he’ll work extremely hard on the field. This is a guy that’s got a background as being a ballcarrier and he’s played some fullback the last few years here, but when we went through training camp this year he was someone we wanted to look at in terms of running with the ball in his hands and he’s done a good job for us pounding that ball between the tackles. Did a good job yesterday to close the game out when we got down into that four-minute situation for us. That’s how we wanted to go ahead and end it so we could go ahead and get into victory formation and kneel it down. In terms of Matt, I think Matt’s a guy who’s improving all the time and he was someone who we obviously challenged last week. He had a large responsibility on his plate, came in and he really stepped up to it. There’s things he has to improve on as a player, like we all do, like every player and every coach does, but one thing I see with him is a consistent work ethic to keep on getting better and he’s very, very coachable. Thought Matt did a lot of things yesterday that were positive that we’re going to look to build on.
Q: We didn’t ask you about (Safety) Jabrill (Peppers) after the game. Any update on his status?
A: I don’t have anything currently. I know he’s with doctors as we speak and they’re kind of on that backend of Monday check-ins with the doctors after going and getting X-rays and MRIs like a lot of our players do, so we’ll see how he comes out of that. We’re obviously hopeful to get him as soon as possible. I know the game means a lot to Pep. He’s a tremendous leader on this team and brings a lot to us in terms of production and just leadership on the field.
Q: The trade deadline is a week from tomorrow. Do you expect you guys to be active, whether that’s making deals to acquire players or to move players?
A: We’ll see. It’s definitely the time of year everyone starts making a lot of phone calls. There’s been potential and opportunities for trades going in, coming out, however it’s been the entire time since the season has been going, so sometimes people manufacture too much at the trade deadline. I know a lot of teams kind of rush to make final moves. We’ll obviously talk about a number of phone calls that we’ll be getting throughout the week, but I wouldn’t say we’re absolutely anticipating doing anything. Would say those conversations will run from now through the remainder of the week.
Q: Are you a believer in what people say about quarterbacks a lot, that the best guys can make those around them better? Do you believe a quarterback can do that?
A: I think any player in any position makes guys around them better. The quarterback’s obviously no exception. I think when you’re playing good football, that gives other guys around you an opportunity to have success. When you’re not playing well, it puts more stress on the man next to you, so to me that’s why you have to rely on all 11 to do their job. Obviously, the quarterback and his position touches the ball every pay, he’s the guy the offense runs through. Obviously, he has to play well for anyone to have success. You can’t have success just on the quarterback, everyone else needs to play well, as well. You have to protect him, you have to run the ball effectively, you have to get open, the skill players have to catch the ball. Simply put, you can definitely elevate the level of play of the people around you by playing well yourself.
Q: And the fact that (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) went out there without some starting offensive linemen, certainly without some offensive playmakers, do you think he did that yesterday, that he elevated some of the lesser-known players around him?
A: I’d say all the players on our team came to play yesterday. I know what you’re asking and what you’re kind of getting at there, but we had starters yesterday. We had 11 people starting on offense, we had 11 people starting on defense and that’s who we’re concerned about getting prepared every week. Every player we bring to the game, we expect to play. We coach every player, we develop every player, everyone’s expected to come in and produce and execute on Sunday. In terms of whoever’s available, we want everybody to be available. The reality is that sometimes that doesn’t happen, that’s just the nature of the National Football League. Whoever we have up, we’re going to go out and we expect to compete and we expect to have success. Obviously, did Daniel play well yesterday? He did. Did a lot of things that facilitated the offense and helped a lot of players have success. I think a lot of the success came from the way all the players around him played, as well.
Q: You obviously were eyeing this upcoming game for (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) and (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) when you didn’t put them on IR. Where are they and do you think that they’ll make it to Monday?
A: I think a large part of that is going to have to do with this being a longer week. Really, I think Wednesday is going to be the day of moving these guys around to see what they really look like. There’s not going to be an immediate press to put them on the field today or tomorrow at this point plans-wise to kind of see what they’re doing to give us an immediate projection. We’ll be on the field as a team Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in one way or another, but in terms of really going for those players that are coming off the injury list, Wednesday will be more of a day of moving them around to give them an early week preview of it, so it gives us an extra day on the front end to see where they’re at. But, I don’t have any final answer on anyone who’s going to be up or down this week at this point just based on we have extra time and some guys got nicked and banged up in the game, so sometimes that plays a big factor in it. With the guys that are coming off injury, those guys have been making consistent progress, so I’m optimistic with how they’ve been working, but we’ll see where their bodies are at moving through this week.
Q: You changed the way you practiced a little bit this past week, sort of an emphasis on returning to fundamentals. Do you expect that to continue this week or does it change because of the long week?
A: No, we always emphasize fundamentals, but last week there was a large aspect of making sure that we understood that we control the results based on how we perform and execute. Every good play starts with good fundamentals and that was a large emphasis in what we did in practice last week. We had some competitive periods between the offense and defense, we’ll continue doing some of those things, as well. The long week will not change any of that. I would expect to keep staying on that same track. Obviously, there’s a number of things the Chiefs present that we’re going to have to get prepared for offensively, defensively and in the kicking game, so there’s a large quantity of game planning you have to see against these guys to make sure you account for what they’re doing schematically. However, I’d say that fundamentally we’re not going to go ahead and lose any time in practice to take away from fundamentals.
Q: (Linebacker) Azeez Ojulari, obviously he had a big game yesterday, two and a half sacks, four quarterback hits, three tackles for loss. He started off really well with a sack in each of the first three games and then stats wise at least, he had no pressures in back-to-back games. Is this a case of he started off well, teams adjusted to him and then he adjusted to their adjustments and that’s encouraging to see?
A: It was encouraging to see him play well, but this guy has been playing hard the entire time. There’s not going to be any one button you push to say this is the reason why it happened. I always come back to pressure on the quarterback and sacks and the results on the production up front always ties into the other guys doing their jobs, as well. When the coverage is playing well, the front gets to eat. When they’re rushing the passer effectively, the coverage is helped right there, too. Thought we saw great complementary football on the defensive side of the ball yesterday with both aspects, the front and the secondary really playing together and all of them making plays with it – interceptions, pass breakups, good breaks for tackles for very short gains, rushes on the passer. Specifically getting back to Azeez, which you’re asking about, this guy has been working very hard. I think he’s doing a lot of things that – a lot of times the edge players as rookies, it’s a real big transition because it’s very different from college and the talent level is extremely different from college. He’s been productive early in his career really just by playing within his own strengths and skillset. I think (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Patrick) Pat (Graham) and (Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer) Spence and those guys are doing a really good job using this guy to what he does well, letting him go out there and just play fast. I saw some things yesterday in terms of instinctually showing up, rushing up the field, countering back, getting to the quarterback, putting pressure on him. He didn’t do anything that really got him outside the realm of the defense yesterday and allowed him to play fast and controlled. I was very, very proud of how he worked last week to put himself in position.
Q: A big-picture defense thing, I saw some quotes on Sports Illustrated from Albert Breer about how the defense might have been in the wrong spots depth wise, in zone, man coverage, lost some leverage. How did you fix that? That’s a little surprising from veterans. Was this just a case of simplifying things for them and making them think a little less or react a little more that the defense played so well yesterday?
A: No, what I said about that was the emphasis that we’re placing on fundamentals. When you talk about zone, it’s all about depth and vision. When you talk about man, it’s all about leverage. When you talk about offenses attacking zone defenses, it’s about depth and spacing in your routes and making sure you have separation so that they can’t cover every window at the same time. When you’re going against man defense, it’s about winning your leverage and protecting your leverage on the way back to the ball. You run routes a little bit differently based on the coverage and you play zone and man defense a little bit differently, but our emphasis last week was simply making sure we go back to the root of what we’ve really got to work and no matter what the call is, no matter who the opponent is, understanding what our assignment and out execution is. I definitely saw that from the defense yesterday, they really did a good job playing with good fundamentals. You can see when the ball was coming out of (Panthers Quarterback Sam) Darnold’s hand, feet sticking in the ground and exploding to the point of attack right there. You saw a lot of pass break ups, quick tackles getting them on the ground. I think in zone defense, it doesn’t take away every route. You don’t play zone to eliminate every opportunity for a catch. What you do is you take away the things that are threats based on the kind of zone that you call and then you have to react and break with speed and vision when the ball comes out of the quarterback’s hand. Sometimes, it gives you a chance for an interception or sometimes just a quick tackle to get him on the ground, but I definitely saw good execution from the defense in those regards.
Q: (Wide Receiver) Kadarius Toney, is he at any different point than (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) or (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) as far as getting him on the field earlier in these next two days and is his status any different than those guys for possibly looking at Monday?
A: Two parts to that, his status is no different than those two guys right now, but I’d say all three are on different time tracks. Three different bodies, three different injuries, all three guys are kind of on independent tracks. I know this, I know all three guys are chomping at the bit to get out there. When you’ve got guys that really want to play and they’re doing everything that they can possible to get healthy, that gives them a little bit of an edge in where they can push to get back. If their bodies allow it, we’ll definitely have them out there.
Q: Regarding the trade deadline, do you believe you guys should be buyers looking to improve now in any way? Do you think you should be taking more of a long-term kind of view or approach as an organization? How are you approaching that?
A: I always think long-term. Sometimes, long-term can come in a move you can make immediately at this point, but I’m always thinking long-term. I’ve said this from the beginning, I’m not about taking shortcuts into anything. I’ve made it very clear in terms of my vision of the team and where I want to build it. It’s being built for long-term success. I have a lot of faith in the people we have in this program right now, but ultimately my vision always goes long-term. I’m always looking at – just for everyone listening, I’m always looking at not only what our depth chart is now, but what does it look like at the end of this year, beginning of next year, what does it look like two years from now? Whether you’re going through free agency, trades, draft, whatever it may be, to me, you’re always looking down the road in terms of not where you are immediately, but where do you have to get to. That’s my perspective on that.
GIANTS RE-SIGN TIGHT END TO PRACTICE SQUAD…
The Giants have re-signed tight end Jake Hausmann to the Practice Squad after terminating his Practice Squad contract last week. The 6’4”, 255-pound Hausmann was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Detroit Lions after the 2021 NFL Draft. The Giants claimed Hausmann off of waivers from the Lions in early August 2021.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of the media sessions with the following players are available inThe Corner Forum:
BLAKE MARTINEZ OUT FOR THE SEASON WITH TORN ACL…
A bad season keeps getting worse for the New York Giants. Linebacker Blake Martinez tore the ACL in his left knee in the game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. He is out for the season.
PRACTICE SQUAD MOVE…
The Giants have re-signed cornerback Jarren Williams to the Practice Squad. The 5’10”, 187-pound Williams was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. The Giants signed signed Williams in early August 2020 after he was waived by the Cardinals. He spent most of 2020 on the Giants’ Practice Squad, but did play in two games exclusively on special teams. The Giants Jarren Williams on Injured Reserve with a quad injury in August 2021 and waived him with an injury settlement shortly thereafter.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2021 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 17-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons:
Q: Wondering if you have anything on (Wide Receiver) Sterling Shepard and (Wide Receiver) Darius Slayton and where you go from here at the receiver position.
A: We’re actually waiting on both guys. Both guys came off yesterday with leg injuries. We’ll see where they are in terms of their doctors and follow-ups today. Hopefully, we’ll get some news by the end of the day. I think both guys’ (injuries) are really different. I don’t think either one is the same deal. In terms of the receiver position, there’s a lot of things we can do with the guys we have right now. Saw a lot of guys make plays. I was pleased with the progress I saw from (Wide Receiver Kadarius) Toney and (Wide Receiver) Collin Johnson yesterday at the receiver position. Obviously, (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) was making a lot of plays for us. (Wide Receiver) C.J. Board made some nice plays for us. At some point, we’re hoping to get (Wide Receiver) John Ross (III) back off IR. We’ll see where he’s at health-wise in terms of if that’s sooner or later. But that, combined with the tight ends and skill players, it’s our job to make things work and function with who we have available. Obviously, we’re without Shep or Slayton. Those are two key parts of our offense that we don’t want to be without, two leaders on our team and hard workers, but we have confidence in guys in the locker room and guys on the roster to turn around and use these guys to keep going forward.
Q: A lot of people are asking me, do you expect any significant changes coming out of this game, specifically with the play-calling?
A: In terms of who’s calling it? In terms of how we’re calling it? What’s it specific to?
Q: How about both?
A: Obviously, game plan-wise, we’ll make some adjustments, we’ll do some things that we think we can improve more. We’ll obviously dive into a couple of focal points to make sure that we finish in the red zone – that’s been something we have to do obviously better as a team. In terms of who is going to be calling the plays – directly to answer your question – in terms of offense, defense, kicking game, the coordinators will still be making the play-calling this week.
Q: Is Kadarius Toney ready to take on a larger role in the passing game if he has to with these two guys out?
A: I’d say two things, he’s working very hard and making progress every week. I think obviously this guy has made some strides for us the more football he has played. If you’re asking specifically (if) he’s going to take over for Slayton and Shep, I think those are guys who (have) a lot more time in the league, so to say someone is going to just jump in and just replicate completely what we do with those guys, I don’t think that’s something we’re going to look to do. It’s going to be more about playing to his strengths, giving him the opportunity to get the ball in his hands and make some plays. I was pleased with how he played yesterday, pleased with the progress he’s making, but I think he’s definitely ready to keep progressing within our offense and find ways to get him the ball.
Q: Do you need to get him the ball more? Does the ratio of touches to snaps have to get closer?
A: It’s something we’re focused on right now. We’ve got to get him the ball and we definitely want to. I think we saw yesterday a couple of glimpses of just him with the ball in his hands. He’s got the ability to make some guys miss in space, he runs hard and he competes. He comes off the ball with a different level of speed than a lot of guys, so in terms of trying to get him the ball, that’s definitely a focus for us going forward. I’m not going to say we’re going to manufacture 50-60 snaps artificially with him, but in terms of how the Saints are playing going forward and if the opportunity presents itself, we’ll definitely try to get him the ball.
Q: You mentioned John Ross. With him and (Linebacker) Elerson (Smith), is there a chance that they’ll be activated this week or are they still a little ways away?
A: I’d say with both guys eligible to come off, there’s a chance for either guy or both guys to come off this week. I’d say today being Monday, Wednesday would be kind of the day we look to get them really rolling with the team, so we won’t make any decision immediately, but we’ll see where those guys are over the next 36 hours leading into Wednesday.
Q: Can you take me inside your fourth down process? Say it’s the play from yesterday, it’s fourth-and-four from their 39, are you thinking numbers there? Who is in your headset? How do you decide what you’re going to do in that moment?
A: Do we have people talking to me? Yeah, I’ve got people that I reference up top in terms of some situational awareness, but I make the decisions. In terms of that fourth-and-four that we punted the ball down there, it was simple. I wanted to make sure we maintained the field position at that point. Did I want to be aggressive and go for it on offense? Yeah, there’s an opportunity to go ahead and push it, but then in terms of knowing the flow of the game and how your defense at that point is playing – I had confidence to go ahead and put those guys down there inside their 10-yard line and we ended up putting them down there inside the five-yard line. Then, play to your defense. At that point in the game, not only was it field position, there was a strong wind blowing into that end zone, so even if you have to punt coming out of that end zone – and we had to in the first half – you’re not going to get much for the coverage game. You’re almost ensured of playing on a short field if you can go ahead and hold them on defense. My thought process on that fourth down was go ahead and make sure we maintain the field position and give ourselves an opportunity to get seven off that.
Q: What happened yesterday with (Tight End) Evan Engram was not common. Players get booed, but it was especially pointed towards him with booing and cheering when he walked off the field. Do you find the need or have you taken Evan aside and talked to him and counseled him on what happens next here?
A: I think Evan’s an extremely mentally tough player. To answer your question directly, have I talked to Evan? Yeah, I talked to him yesterday on the sideline, I talked to him in the locker room. I talk to these guys all the time. Two things on that – one, it’s our job to give the fans something to cheer about. We talk about it all the time, about you better embrace the pressure and the atmosphere in New York because it’s absolutely great. You’ve got to work for the respect of people here, but it’s that much more valuable when it’s a game. Secondly, in terms of the players, I’m always going to make sure our players stay focused in the middle of the game and throughout the game and understand that when things aren’t going right externally, we’ve got to make sure we show internal support for our teammates and our players and keep it moving forward.
Q: Having said that, that was his second touch in his first game of the season and the ball got stripped for a fumble. Obviously, you can’t accept those turnovers, so how do you juxtapose that with supporting him, but also saying, ‘Look, you just got on the field, you can’t lose the ball for us here’?
A: I don’t think having support for your players has anything to do with not correcting them and not making sure that the mistake doesn’t continue. I think you can do both equally effective and that’s what our focus is, to show support for him, but also at the same time correcting mistakes that players make and keep moving forward.
Q: How did you think (Linebacker) Tae Crowder handled the play-calling yesterday at middle linebacker? With (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) now out for the season, do you think you have someone on your roster to handle that day in and day out at the middle linebacker position? Does the green dot go back to (Defensive Back) Logan (Ryan)? Are you guys still deciding that? Where are you with all that?
A: In terms of who will have the green dot directly this week, it will be a mix of either Tae Crowder as he wore it yesterday or working with either (Linebacker) Reggie Ragland, (Linebacker) Justin Hilliard or any other linebackers at the game. Overall, I thought Tae played a good game yesterday. There were some things we want to clean up here or there, but I thought in terms of him jumping into the position as a signal caller, it was something we work on during the week to make sure he’s ready if it comes up. I thought he did a good job of that. We had the one communication issue where the headset went down in the game and we had to call a timeout. Other than that, he was very good with making sure everyone had the call, got it directly, got his guys lined up. I thought he played well. I thought he showed some physicality, some real aggressiveness with how he played, so I was really pleased with what Tae did yesterday in the game. Obviously, losing Blake, you hate it for Blake because he’s a guy that brings a lot of leadership and passion to this team. He’s a guy that really loves being on the football field at the end of the day and really works hard and is a tremendous leader on this team. I think everyone on our team, when you see a guy like him and a guy like (Center) Nick Gates get hurt and lose the rest of their season, everybody hurts for them because they know what they put into it in terms of their own performance, but also to really help the team going forward. We’re going to keep both those guys, Blake and Nick, involved going forward as leaders and keep them involved with the team, but I was very pleased with the steps Tae took yesterday.
Q: To follow up on the question about play-calling from earlier, based on what you’ve seen from the offense these last two years, I know you know you’re towards the bottom of the league in scoring. I’m just curious, why do you think that (Offensive Coordinator) Jason Garrett is the right man to keep calling plays for this team?
A: We’re going to stay consistent with what we’re doing and keep improving as a team. There’s a lot of things we need to clean up coaching-wise, execution-wise, but we’re going to stay on the track with it and make sure we get those things right before making any radical changes.
Q: Why do you think it is that this defense, even last year when it was playing really well, struggles so much in the two-minute or the four-minute drill at the end of halves and games? It seems like that’s when teams are most effective against you. Secondly, (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive coordinator) Pat Graham had said that with so many guys back, he was able to do a lot more with the defense this season. He said that in training camp. I’m wondering is there any way the defense has gotten too complicated for the guys?
A: I’d say first off on the second part of that question, no, we’re always working to make sure that our guys can execute and trim down whatever we have to throughout the weekly plan. You always start out the week with a little bit more in your volume than what you’re going to carry into a game and a lot of that is just kind of trial and error with some schemes and things you want to see if it works in the game plan. Sometimes it doesn’t work personnel-wise, sometimes it doesn’t work just effectively, not putting too much on players’ plates. We always look to trim that down before going into the game on Sunday. In terms of the two-minute stuff, that’s something we have to be better on all sides of the ball. It’s something we had show up yesterday in terms of finishing drives, playing complementary football in the kicking game and getting off the field defensively, so we’ve got to keep on working with that right there. There were some times last year towards the end of the year where we improved greatly in the two-minute. We’ve got to make sure that we execute the techniques involved and then coaching-wise, put the players in the right position. Look, it’s a focus of ours obviously every week. It’s become a greater focus of ours the last couple of games and we’ll keep on that track to make sure we get it right. I was very pleased with the way the defense responded yesterday at the end of the first half to go out there and take a stand the way they did after the turnover, go three-and-out and then end third down with a turnover of our own. The aggressiveness that they played with right there, that was really the theme of what we want to go forward with. We’ve got to make sure we keep doing a better job coaching and executing on the field to make sure we get off the field.
Q: One quick one and one real question. With Blake, was that a non-contact injury? It looked like he really didn’t hit anybody?
A: It was a non-contact injury.
Q: And the second one I have is did you report any plays to the league? I know you don’t like to criticize officials, but there were a number of plays when I went back and looked (that) there seemed to be an inconsistency there.
A: There’s a number of plays that we’ll turn into the league and just ask for clarification. Again, any time we turn plays into the league, I think there’s that fine line in turning something in to complain and whine about it. Look, my thing is always, just tell me how you’re ruling this and how you’re officiating it so I can teach the team properly. That’s all I want. Just give me the clarification that I can put the players in the position and they can operate with the knowledge and play aggressively. So, when we turn plays in, I don’t want an apology, I just want a clarification. That’s all I want.
Q: Was there any one call that bothered you?
A: There were a couple pointed ones and I’m going to keep those kind of between us and the league right now and not go out and air any grievances in the media.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of the media sessions with the following players are available inThe Corner Forum:
INJURY UPDATE – T.J. BRUNSON TEARS ACL, JOSH KALU TEARS PEC…
There was bad news on the injury front coming out of Saturday night’s game against the New York Jets. Inside linebacker tore the ACL in his left knee. His season is unofficially over. Safety Josh Kalu also tore his pectoral muscle. No word yet on if his season is also over.
QB Clayton Thorson also continues to be evaluated for an undisclosed injury. “We’re going to wait to see what the doctors say about him.,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “He spent time with the medical team today. We’re going to find out his final status. Obviously, we’ll make more of a decision on that. Hopefully it all comes out for the best, he’s been working hard for us. If there’s an injury at quarterback, we’ll look to bring in an additional player to help us go ahead and function for the remainder of training camp or however long someone’s out.”
AUGUST 15, 2021 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Sunday to discuss his team’s 7-12 loss to the New York Jets:
Q: Just looking back now and taking a look at what that first group did, the first 18-20 snaps. Obviously, you didn’t have a lot of your marquee quarterbacks, receivers and running backs out there, but just the work of the offensive line in their 18 snaps, what did you see from them?
A: There’s definitely some positives out there to build on. First time action is always enough to get a clean up and focus on the meetings today and going through, starting with fundamentals, going through the assignments, communication to make sure we’re all on the same page. There were enough positives right there to really get a look in terms of what we can do to keep helping these guys and put them in the right position, and maybe some things you want to stay away from in the future in terms of play calling or snaps. But this is the time of year you really find out about that. In practice, you find out about some things. When you see a foreign opponent, you find out a little bit more about it right there. In terms of how they worked, how they responded on the sideline, the adjustments they made, that was encouraging. We’ve got to keep making progress and moving forward.
Q: Obviously, you have some injuries on the offensive line and you probably would bring some guys in basically to have a look. On the offensive line, is it just a matter of communication and a matter of getting used to each other. Realistically, how quickly can new guys coming in get up to speed to do what you need them to do in your offense?
A: First part of the question I’d say is we’re talking to personnel today and tomorrow on the entire roster. Obviously, there’s some moves we have to make with league rules. We’re looking at the week going into Cleveland, but then also just building our own depth on all parts of the roster. In terms of bringing some players in, we’re looking at guys at all positions around the league. There’s going to be a lot of guys that are available, so it’s our job to do our due diligence to make sure we know who’s out there and available in the league. On the offensive line, you’ve got to have a lot of bodies to operate, so in terms of bringing somebody in, there’s a good chance that we’re going to look to bring somebody in before going to Cleveland. In terms of how fast somebody can get caught up, I’d say that it’s really independent to the individual and their experience level, but I would say as coaches it’s our job to get them caught up with what we’re going to ask them to do. You don’t start with the entire playbook, you start with the install they have to operate with, harp on the technique and the calls they’re going to have at the line of scrimmage to make sure they can go out there and operate with your guys.
Q: Two things, how did (Quarterback) Clayton Thorson come out? And if he’s banged up, do you need another quarterback just to operate a practice?
A: We’re going to wait to see what the doctors say about him. He spent time with the medical team today. We’re going to find out his final status. Obviously, we’ll make more of a decision on that. Hopefully it all comes out for the best, he’s been working hard for us. If there’s an injury at quarterback, we’ll look to bring in an additional player to help us go ahead and function for the remainder of training camp or however long someone’s out.
Q: Strange note on the game snaps, it seems that (Linebacker) Cam Brown didn’t play any defensive snaps. Was there a reason he didn’t get in defensively? Is he down the depth chart or is something holding him back?
A: No, actually it had nothing to do with that at all. The focus for him was going to be play special teams last night. He got in, did a good job for us, I saw what I needed to see. In terms of defense, we had some other guys we wanted to evaluate who have been doing a good job for us in practice. Him not playing last night really doesn’t reflect specifically anything on his status defensively. I really wouldn’t read too much into that at all, to be honest with you, but he did a good job for us on teams last night.
Q: Just wanted to check on (Linebacker) Blake Martinez because there was a group of inured players that we didn’t see and I didn’t realize he was injured. Did he get injured during the week?
A: I glanced over it last night and someone said something to me. He actually had a non-football injury, so he’s actually back in the building with us today. It was one of those things that sprung up. We just wanted to get him away from our players and just make sure everything is good before having him in the building. It had nothing to do with football and, to be honest with you, if it was a regular season game, he would’ve been able to go ahead and tough on through it. We just wanted to make sure he had time to rest and put him away.
Q: And (Cornerback) Rodarius Williams. Obviously, you want a guy to get a ton of reps like that. How did you evaluate how he performed? And you played him inside – I don’t know that you’d done that in camp at all. How much of a challenge do you think that is to throw him in that situation?
A: To start with the question on him playing inside, there was a function of that that was due to where we were at in the game with who we wanted to play and keep on the field and really evaluate. A lot of these younger guys you want to see them through some extended play and see how they can handle the volume of the game and some of the things that come up. To be honest with you, we’re always looking to build up a player’s versatility. He’s done a little bit of that in practice for us through spring, a little bit through training camp, but it was an opportunity to put him in there and see how he functioned. So, he showed some things he did well and some things we’ve got to keep on building with him. In terms of just the overall volume, he’s a young player. He’s done a good job for us in practice making plays. We’ve got to keep bringing him along. I think for any guy in the first game, I don’t care if it’s regular season or preseason, there’s always an adjustment. It’s not unique or different for him as well, so there’s definitely some things we will show him that he did well and other things that we’re going to correct, whether it’s communication-wise, technique-wise, going forward. I was pleased he was able to go out there and play a lot of football last night. That was a lot of experience in a game that will help him going forward.
Q: Last night you mentioned (Wide Receiver) Matt Cole and (Wide Receiver) C.J. Board as standouts for their special teams work. At that position, how important is it for guys to be able to contribute on special teams? On the flip side, I know (Wide Receiver) David Sills (V) didn’t get any special teams time, so is that something that could be held against him when you have to make decisions?
A: No, and Sills contributes on special teams for us, so again, everyone’s plan last night in the game was very unique and different to them. Some of it’s for the function and how to operate offensively and defensively throughout the game and the majority of it was really to see certain players and evaluate them for extended periods of play. In terms of Sills, we made a decision last night just to play him on offense. In terms of C.J., he was going to carry a heavier load in the kicking game, so the decision was to play him in the first half on offense and have him alive for the entire game on special teams. That’s where it was at in terms of C.J. and Sills and how that goes. I’d say for any player, you’ve got to do more than one thing. It’s something our players understand. If you can only do one thing, you better do it at an absolutely elite level, but everyone’s got to contribute to the team in multiple ways. You only take 46 guys to a game, 47 now, but you only take a certain amount of guys to the game, so you’ve got to be able to play multiple roles. Whether you’re an offensive player or a defensive player, the kicking game’s a part of your job description and everyone has a role whether that’s playing on field goal protection if you’re a defensive lineman at times. Whether that’s part of the hands team if you’re a skill player who’s not necessarily a coverage specialist. Everyone has to have a role and both those guys have carved out nice ones. They’ve competed throughout training camp at a high level for us. C.J. and Matt last night went out there and their strength is their speed and that flashed on tape right there for us when we watched the game today. They’re both guys that are quiet. They just do their job every day and come to work and are fun to be with.
Q: Do you intend to take injured players with you to Cleveland and specifically (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney), do you think he will be on that trip and able to participate in those practices?
A: Yeah, right now we are planning to take injured players with us. The purpose being going out there and letting them do some of their rehab and recovery while we’re out there either at Cleveland’s facilities or on the field while we’re practicing, so that will be the plan right now. If something changes or someone has a unique situation that could include a person, two people, whatever may come up right now that we don’t have listed as an issue. But as we go through medical meetings today and tomorrow, that’s something we’ll have to address.
Q: What’s the next step for (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) in the progression here?
A: We’re going to sit down with the doctors later today and go through that. He responded well last week to the volume and the load. I thought the plan of obviously putting him through a couple of days, backing him off, ramping him back up, so obviously they have a really good feel for his body working with him throughout these last few months through the rehab process. At this point, the focus is really to kind of get him moving more and more within the football movements. In terms of what that’s going to mean for him this week in Cleveland, we’ll have to wait and see. I wouldn’t anticipate him being in any kind of live drills this week. As of this point, that would be the plan, but we’ll see where it goes as we go on down further and further when his body is ready for all the football.
Q: What have you seen from (Linebacker) Reggie Ragland? He obviously wasn’t active for the first week of training camp, but he seemed to be pretty active last night in making some plays and getting off blocks.
A: Reggie’s a real smart, instinctive player. He’s a thick bodied and physical player, which is big to play in that inside linebacker role. He definitely makes plays with awareness, a good communicator. He’s got a lot of fire to him and Reggie’s fun to have around. He’s a real straight-shooter and he’ll tell you what’s on his mind, which is good to have around the building. He’s not afraid to have a tough conversation with you, so I’m really glad he’s a part of our team right now.
Q: We haven’t had cuts like this – it’s been 90 to 53 the last couple of years – will you just cut from the bottom of the roster? Washington cut some veteran guys to maybe to let them see if they can catch on somewhere else. How will you approach the cuts?
A: We’re looking to keep the best 53 players when we make our final roster decisions. We’ll talk through the roster over the next couple of days before we have to make our official moves. We’ll keep all of that in mind. In terms of releasing vets for any specific reason, that’s not something that’s been a part of our conversations at any point. Everyone we have in our program we have a plan to work with and develop and have a role on this team. We’ll just have to talk through what’s best for the team going forward.
Q: One of the strangest reactions on the bench last night was seeing (Running Back) Sandro (Platzgummer) run 50 yards, everybody exploded. What happened with that?
A: You know what, everyone likes Sandro. Best way I can put it. Everyone likes him. He works hard. Everyone was glad to see his opportunity, and everyone was happy for him when he got in and made the most of it. I think you can boil it down right there. He’s a guy that the players really respect and like. These guys in the program he’s in, as far as some of the overseas players, it’s always a different path for these guys, a different background. I think these guys understand and recognize he’s from Austria, he’s far away from home. There’s some unique things about Sandro. He’s really finishing up and finalizing being a doctor over in Europe, so there’s a lot of things to him. He works hard. He doesn’t say boo. He doesn’t ever complain. He just comes in and does his job and the team respects the way he works. When anybody has success like that, I think everyone shares and enjoys it.
Q: Did you say Kadarius is coming with you guys to Cleveland to rehab out there?
A: Yes, all plans are to have him out there. There’s no conversations at this point of anything different. That will be the same for all of our players. The only thing is if maybe some of these injuries coming out of the game that may be something different for those players. In terms of everything prior to this game, the plan is to have all those players with us out in Cleveland.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:
AUGUST 2, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT… The New York Giants held their fifth full-team summer training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Practices are not open to the public this year.
“Players are a little bit refreshed and getting back to work (after a day off on Sunday),” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “The progress this week will be shells today as we get back into the acclimation period. We’ll be in pads for tomorrow and Wednesday. We’ll ramp up the team a little bit more. The emphasis still remains on getting our football conditioning right away, improving on fundamentals and then we’re going to keep advancing with the install and the situations that come up. Today will be more focused on early downs, just a little bit of goal line walkthrough and then get a review on the red area almost on a daily basis, so we’ll have that today.”
GIANTS RE-SIGN RB ALFRED MORRIS…
The Giants have signed unrestricted free agent running back Alfred Morris. The Giants signed Morris to the Practice Squad in late September 2020 and the 53-man roster in November 2020. Morris ended up playing in nine games for the Giants with no starts, carrying the ball 55 times for 238 yards (4.3 yards per rush).
The 5’10”, 222-pound Morris was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He has spent time with the Redskins (2012-2015), Dallas Cowboys (2016-2017, 2019), San Francisco 49ers (2018), and Arizona Cardinals (2019). Morris has played in 114 regular-season games with 70 starts. Morris was second-team All-Pro in 2012 and was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2014.
“This is just overall an opportunity to, number one, have depth to go ahead and practice the way we want to practice and also have the opportunity to bring a quality player back in,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “Alfred, last year – look, I can’t tell you how much I feel on a personal level about Alfred and what he did for our team last year, about how he carries himself, about how he is as a teammate, how he is in the team meeting. Look, I walked by him when I was coming in the building and he was waiting outside for his clearance from his test, and we got to have a conversation sitting outside and it’s just refreshing seeing his face. He’s always smiling and good, great energy out there. Again, like anyone else, he has an opportunity to come in here and compete for a spot on this team. We had an opportunity to bring him back and he helps our competition within that spot.”
LG Shane Lemieux (knee), LB Blake Martinez (COVID), LB Lorenzo Carter (unknown), LB Elerson Smith (unknown), WR Kadarius Toney (COVID), WR Austin Mack (hamstring), WR Derrick Dillon (unknown), and RB Mike Weber (unknown) did not practice on Monday.
Regarding Toney, Head Coach Joe Judge said, “He’s still building up, but we will start seeing a little bit more of him day by day as the trainers keep allowing us to have him more. Look, these guys do a really good job as far as knowing our players and looking out for their health. We trust what they say, we trust our medical team, but the focus is to get this guy involved as much as we can with football and keep building him up through training camp. It’ll be limited for the time being., We’ll get him day by day a little more.”
On Smith, Judge said, “He’s day by day right now. He’s made a lot of progress the last few days. He had a small setback early in training camp. We don’t think it’s something that’s going to long-term limit him, but I don’t want to put a timetable on him in terms of when he’ll be back absolutely. We feel confident in the direction he’s moving, the trainers feel good about where he’s at right now and he’s working hard with the strength staff. So very similar to the other players. As soon as we can kind of get him back with the team, we will and it’ll be more of a ramp-up, gradual process when he gets back to practice.”
On Lemieux, Judge said, “Shane’s still day by day. I think if you asked Shane, like I said the other day, he’s going to always tells us what we want to hear. He’s with the medical team now and they’re continuing to do more and more with him each day. We’ll see where he is. Hopefully, we’ll get him as soon as possible, but I would say it’s more day by day than week by week.”
On Martinez, Judge said, “I would say, the good thing with Blake is he’s been engaged through all the meetings, so he’s heard the practice corrections and the install. So mentally, he’s gotten all of that. Now, there’s always an adjustment from hearing it in a meeting to actually doing it on the field. Physically, he hasn’t been with our team yet, so he’s got to ramp up and physically catch up to where the team is right now and that’s just how all these guys come off this COVID list.”
OC Jonotthan Harrison (hamstring) passed his physical and was activated off of the Active/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. He practiced on a limited basis, as did TE Levine Toilolo (unknown).
The following players remain on various PUP and reserve lists:
Reserve/COVID-19 List: SJoshua Kalu and TERysen John
Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: RB Saquon Barkley (knee), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot), LB Oshane Ximines (hamstring), and CB Aaron Robinson(core muscle)
Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List: LBReggie Ragland (hamstring) and LB Ryan Anderson(back)
ESPN is reporting that Robinson had core muscle surgery “late in the spring.”
On Barkley, Judge said, “You know what, he’s making a lot of strides for us and I don’t want to go ahead and make any predictions or anything on Saquon, but I will say that this guy’s showing progress, tangible progress every day with our medical staff, with our strength staff. He comes out here and works. Right now, we’ve really mirrored his rehab to what our players are doing on the field practice-wise to make sure that he’s building up that same volume, that same intensity. We can kind of go apples to apples with what he’s done on a daily basis compared to the players that are in practice to give us a better picture in terms of where he is physically.
“I couldn’t give you an answer on (when he will return). That’s not being coy right there. Look, with this injury right here, we’re going to make sure we do the right thing by Saquon and what’s better for the team and we’ve got to take a long-term vision of this right here. The doctors know a lot more about the knee, about where he is medically. I know where his spirit is. I know where his work ethic is. I know he wants to be out there with the team. As I’ve said to him time and time again, when you’re ready, we’ll let you go. I know he wants to be out there, but we’ve got to make sure we help our players make the right decision. The goal is to get him out there and keep him out there. We know he can make a great impact for this team. We know what kind of player he can be, so we want to make sure we put him in the opportunity to go ahead and play full-speed, aggressive and confident when he gets out there.”
PRACTICE NOTES… Some snippets from various media sources:
Zach Fulton received reps with the starting unit at left guard.
QB Daniel Jones had an inconsistent practice, overthrowing WR Kenny Golladay and WR Darius Slayton on a couple of deep passes.
QB Daniel Jones connected on deep slant pass to WR Kenny Golladay for good yardage against CB Sam Beal.
WR David Sills caught two touchdown passes from QB Mike Glennon, the second of which came on the final play of practice.
Head Coach Joe Judge had the entire defense and some of the defensive coaches running a punishment lap due to a substitution error.
TE Evan Engram made a nice catch in traffic and spun around into the end zone on a pass thrown from QB Daniel Jones.
Pass defenses by CB Adoree’ Jackson (in the end zone), LB Tae Crowder, and LB Cale Garrett.
Former Giants’ defensive linemen Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Mathias Kiwanuka attended practice.
HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
Thetranscriptof Joe Judge’s press conference on Monday is available inThe Corner Forumwhile thevideois available atGiants.com.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available inThe Corner Forumand atGiants.com:
MAY 15, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS ROOKIE MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The second day of the New York Giants three-day rookie mini-camp was held on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With COVID protocols remaining in place, only 22 players are in attendance.
“Again this is an orientation weekend,” said Head Coach Joe Judge after practice. “Our goal is to get them started so that this week coming up they can jump in with our vets and they can jump in with our full off-season program and be moving and stay healthy. Again, it’s going to be a four-day week of working this next week for them and we want to make sure we don’t take it and make it a seven-day week for them. It’s a different pace we work at for different reasons, but no, it’s not an injury case to answer that.
“In terms of rookies, what we’re looking to accomplish at this point we are just trying to get them caught up enough and physically in good enough shape that when they come back to training camp, they can compete with the vets. That’s the biggest goal right now, give them a further understanding of not just the X’s and O’s but everything associated with the league.
“We have a player development team that will meet with these guys multiple times every day. We will spend a lot of times meeting with the strength and conditioning staff not as far as just lifting weights but understanding how to best manage their bodies, recover, sleep, nutrition, everything that’s going to help them be a better pro.”
2021 NFL Draft Picks (6):
WR Kadarius Toney
OLB Azeez Ojulari
CB Aaron Robinson
OLB Elerson Smith
RB Gary Brightwell
CB Rodarius Williams
2021 Signed Undrafted Rookie Free Agents (3):
OC/OG Brett Heggie
OT/OG Jake Burton
DE/LB Raymond Johnson
New York Giants First-Year Players (8):
QB Clayton Thorson
RB Jordan Chunn
RB Sandro Platzgummer
WR Derrick Dillon
TE Nakia Griffin-Stewart
TE Nate Wieting
DL David Moa
LB Cale Garrett
Undrafted rookie and veteran tryout players (5):
QB Nathan Rourke (rookie)
RB Corey Clement (4-year veteran)
RB Ito Smith (3-year veteran)
FB Frank Feaster (rookie)
TE Kelvin Benjamin (former 4-year veteran WR working at TE)
HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript and video of Joe Judge’s press conference on Saturday are available in The Corner Forum and 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:
NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN THREE 2021 DRAFT PICKS…
The New York Giants have announced that they have signed half of their 2021 NFL Draft class, including outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari (2nd round), running back Gary Brightwell (6th round), and cornerback Rodarius Williams (6th round). Remaining unsigned are wide receiver Kadarius Toney (1st round), cornerback Aaron Robinson (3rd round), and outside linebacker Elerson Smith (4th round).
GIANTS SIGN THREE UNDRAFTED ROOKIE FREE AGENTS…
The New York Giants have officially confirmed that they have signed three undrafted rookie free agents, including center/guard Brett Heggie (University of Florida), tackle Jake Burton (Baylor University), and defensive end Raymond Johnson (Georgia Southern University).
OC/OG Brett Heggie, 6’4”, 310lbs, 5.50, University of Florida (Video) Heggie was a 3-year starter in college with experience at center and both guard spots. He lacks ideal power and athleticism for the NFL, but he is a smart, tough, feisty blue-collar lineman.
OT/OG Jake Burton, 6’6”, 312lbs, 5.35, Baylor University Burton is UCLA transfer. He has good size, but lacks ideal overall athleticism/foot quickness. Burton is physical and plays hard.
DE/LB Raymond Johnson, 6’3”, 270lbs, 4.73, Georgia Southern University (Video) Johnson played at defensive end in college but could project to edge linebacker for the Giants. He combines good size and overall athleticism. Johnson plays low with good leverage and initial quickness. He is physical and plays hard.
GIANTS CUT BREELAND SPEAKS…
The New York Giants have waived defensive end Breeland Speaks. The Giants signed Speaks to a future/reserve contract in January 2021. The 6’3”, 285-pound Speaks was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. As a rookie in 2018, Speaks played in all 16 regular-season games, with four starts, and was credited with 24 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. He missed all of 2019 with a knee injury and was cut by the Chiefs in early September 2020. Speaks then spent time on the Practice Squads of the Las Vegas Raiders and Dallas Cowboys.
With the 18th pick (50th overall) in the 2nd round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected linebacker Azeez Ojulari (University of Georgia). The Giants traded down from the 10th pick in the round (42nd overall) in exchange for a 2022 3rd-round pick from the Miami Dolphins.
The Giants then selected cornerback Aaron Robinson (University of Central Florida) with the 7th pick (71st overall) in the 3rd round. The Giants traded up from the 12th pick in the round (76th overall), giving away their 5th-round selection that they acquired from the Chicago Bears on Thursday night.
Azeez Ojulari Scouting Report: Ojulari is an edge rusher who combines good size (6’2”, 249 pounds) with excellent overall athleticism. Natural pass rusher who also plays hard. He threatens tackles with his initial quickness, bend, rip move, and closing burst. Ojulari has long arms for his size and is physical with his hands. Ojulari needs to disengage from blockers more consistently and will need to add inside pass rush moves to his arsenal. He flashes pass coverage skills but he will need work in this area. Improving player who has a big upside.
Sy’56’s Take: Third year sophomore entry from Marietta, Georgia. A two-year starter that earned 2nd Team All SEC honors in 2020. The semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award led the SEC in tackles for loss and sacks in 2020, a year after leading the Bulldogs in sacks and pressures. Ojulari is a mature, hardworking kid that gets the most out of his talents. He won team-awards for most improved player in 2019 as well as one for his efforts during the offseason strength and conditioning program. Ojulari was also a team captain in 2019, the first time a freshman has earned that honor in the Coach Smart era. This is a kid that has high-end talent that can be used in multiple ways for a defense, and it is paired with top notch intangibles. His game really started to blossom as the 2020 season came to a close. He finished with 5 sacks over his last 3 games. Ojulari still has more physical development to achieve, as he will need to add functional weight to play the every down edge in the NFL, but his versatility, talent, and intangibles will make him a dangerous defensive weapon and he can be one of the best when things come together.
No inside information here. I think Ojulari is on the NYG short list for #11 overall. I’m not exactly sure what NYG is looking to add to their outside pass rush. Do they want a pure burner (what Carter was supposed to turn into, and still can), or do they want an inside-out versatile piece? If it is the former, Ojulari is a very strong possibility. I think he has the best get off in the group. That is a great place to start. I also believe who he is as a person will be exactly what NYG wants to add.
Aaron Robinson Scouting Report: Robinson is a tough, aggressive, athletic slot corner with decent size (6’0”, 190 pounds). He plays a physical game. Speedy, he can run with receivers deep. Robinson is better in press man coverage than off coverage. He will play the run but needs to be a more consistent tackler.
Sy’56’s Take: Fifth year senior from Deerfield Beach, Florida. Began his career at Alabama in 2016 where he played in 13 games. Transferred to Central Florida in 2017 and redshirted. Two-year starter that earned 2nd Team All AAC honors in both 2019 and 2020. Robinson has the pro-caliber foot speed and burst that enables him to stay sticky to his man on all levels of the route tree. He can play the game with his feet rather than getting too grabby with his hands. Robinson has a lot of dog in him. He is always one of the toughest players on the field and he knows it. Even though he needs to control where he gets aggressive and where to gamble, he is the kind of player that elevates the energy of a defense. That doesn’t occur much from cornerbacks. His size may keep him at nickel but he can play both.
There are some corners that elevate their game with swagger. They are constantly getting in fights, constantly running their mouth. I understand that isn’t an approach for everyone to get behind, but I personally love it. Much prefer that than guys on opposing teams laughing with each other all game and trading jerseys afterward. Robinson hates his opponent every week, and he plays like it. He also has really well developed technique and footwork. Little gamble here, but I think he is starting in the league within a year or two.
Media Q&A with General Manager Dave Gettleman (Video):
Opening Statement: So we were busy. I’m learning to make right turns in NASCAR. So we traded back to 50. We got a third round pick in ‘22 and picked up Azeez Ojulari, who we are really thrilled to get. He’s an edge pass rusher. He’s instinctive. He’s very bright. He plays hard, and he’s got pass rush ability and he’s also a solid run player. We’re really thankful to get him. In the third round, we swapped spots with Denver and wanted to move up. Obviously we’re working on defense and we picked Aaron Robinson, who is a nickel, who has got the ability to play nickel and outside the perimeter, and he’s an excellent tackler, ball hawk. He’s got all the stuff. So we’re really pleased to get these two kids into our program.
Q. Did you ever think you would get addicted to trading back?
A:Let me tell you something, you never know. You never know. You know, listen, it’s all about if the opportunity is right. It’s about your board. It’s about value meeting need. It’s all those things. And like I told you guys last week, I’ve tried in the past and it just hasn’t worked. We thought we got just really good value here. And you know, again, it’s one of those deals where, for example, we move from 42 back to 50, so that’s eight slots and we had five guys there that we would take at 50. The odds are, eight slots, it’s five guys, there’s going to be — one of those five is going to be there for you. We’ve just been able to do that.
And then with the value we had on Aaron, I just didn’t want to sit and wait. We just felt — he’s a press corner and really fits what we want to do and who we want to be on defense. It’s just having the opportunity and it’s how your board lines up.
Q. With getting ‘22 picks — was that a priority?
A: I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a priority. It was important to us.
Q. Was wondering, what was going through your mind when you saw Azeez keep falling?
A: Here’s what I’m going to say to you. You have to have confidence in your ability to evaluate players. So you just turn around and people are missing it for whatever reason and it didn’t scare us, that’s for darn sure. We’re thrilled to get him.
You know, it’s kind of the same thing when people cut a player. The instinct is to say what’s wrong. My attitude is maybe they made a mistake. So it’s one of those deals where the fact that Azeez was dropping did not impact us at all in terms of our opinion of his playing ability and what he could do for us.
Q. You guys have invested some real resources in the secondary since last year, the draft picks you brought in, James Bradberry, obviously this year with Adoree’ and now Aaron Robinson. How does Aaron fit in there and how close are you to being a finished product on the back end?
A: Where Aaron fits in is he gives us more perimeter muscle, so to speak, and he’s also got that flexibility to play the nickel and play the star. We think he’s a great fit, obviously, because we traded up, hello, stating the obvious. Captain Obvious. We think he’s a great fit for our defense and our back end and we feel like you can never have too many assets back there because players come and go. You have injuries. People will say it’s a passing league and it is to a degree. And the other thing that we really liked about Aaron is you do the studies, you do the analytics — I do do it, people — and the best defenses have the best tackling secondaries, and Aaron Robinson is a really good tackling corner.
Q. Was Azeez going to be the pick at 42 if you couldn’t trade it and was Robinson one of the five guys that you thought would be there at 50 when you did get there?
Q. Yes to both?
Q. That’s a good, short answer and now I can ask a follow-up. You said getting picks for next year was important. Why is that? This seems like a team that’s poised to make a jump in 2021, why is it so important to get those picks in the future?
A: I think I said this at the pre-draft presser, this draft right now, in terms of unknowns, you have more unknowns than you can shake a stick at. You have kids that didn’t play this year. You have a lot of incomplete medical information. It’s really kind of an odd draft class. It’s an odd year. The NCAA allowed all those players to get another year and a ton of them did. One of the SEC schools, they had 13 kids decide to go back and play next year, 13 kids that could have been in this draft. That was pretty heavy throughout the Power Five conferences. We really have a feeling that next year’s draft is going to be really strong and it just gives you options.
Q. You didn’t take an offensive lineman in the first two days. Is that because — obviously the board and need and you think maybe there’s guys in the fourth or fifth round you can get, but does it also indicate you like a lot of the guys on your team and you don’t have to force anything?
A: No, actually we were looking at offensive linemen for the last two picks, and the value didn’t meet the pick, plain and simple. We had one guy we had our eye on, two guys specifically we had our eyes on and they got taken before they got to us. So no, you always want to add, you always want competition. Whether you draft a position or not has nothing to do with how happy you are with that position. It has everything to do with the draft value at the time you’re picking.
Q: Can you speak about the importance of getting some edge pass rushing in there? The Giants defense for years, it used to be an automatic with pass rushers and it’s been an issue for you particularly on the outside?
A: First off, I was pleased with the progress we made on defense last year with the guys on our roster. We had injuries that affected guys like Zo (Lorenzo Carter) and X-man (Oshane Ximines), and we had some rookies. And obviously we had some rookies had to come in and step up and got good contribution from guys like Jabaal Sheard when they were on the team. So we didn’t look at this in the nature of, you know, that we had to absolutely go out there and address something, or else it was going to be dire. We have confidence in the guys we have on our roster. We like Azeez (Ojulari) as a player. We have a lot of experience with him throughout this organization. Marcus Cooper one of our scouts has great relationships with these guys. We put a lot of trust in his evaluations because he gets it know these guys on a deep basis and coincidentally actually three picks came from Coop’s area and he has a lot of inside info on these guys. On top of that, you talk about Azeez, the coach he’s going to play for, Kevin Sherrer, recruited and signed him at the University of Georgia before he was a freshman. You talk about the other coaches that we have on staff that had to play against him in the SEC, he’s always a guy that stood out to them on the field as someone they had to account for. I have a lot of respect for the way (Georgia Head Coach) Kirby (Smart) runs his program. I love those guys down there. I think they play tough and they are well-coached. To be able to add a guy to our team to compete with our current roster, he was a good fit for us. We are excited to have him here but like all other rookies, he’s got to come in and compete when he gets here.
Q. With Azeez, it’s out there that there was a knee problem and some teams actually flagged him. Where did you guys stand on that?
A: Yeah, listen, I don’t think there’s a player in this draft or any draft for that matter that doesn’t have something that shows up on a board. I trust our medical team, Ronnie (Barnes) and his guys do a great job. We have some of the best doctors in the world who look in these guys and constantly update us on what they think the current risk is. All I can go back to is this guy came back, he played, this guy doesn’t miss practices at Georgia. He played with very high effort, high intensity. I’m very pleased with what you saw on tape in terms of the medical expertise. I leave that on Ronnie Barnes and his staff and I let them go ahead and give us the information, and with that information make the decisions.
Q. What did you like about (Aaron) Robinson?
A: A-Rob is a good player. Again we are excited to add him to the program. Going to come in and compete. There’s going to be a lot of competition with defensive backs, corners and safeties.
Look, this is a guy that jumped out to us on tape and as well as when we were down at the Senior Bowl got to see him in person, sit down, meet with him; I had multiple meetings that week. Got the Zoom throughout this process. So we had a lot of exposure with this guy as a person, and this guy really does, he’s got a good personality, he really lights up. This is a guy, he plays on the field and you see when he makes a play, his teammates immediately sprint to him. There’s a lot of excitement. You can tell he’s got a bond with his teammates, and that stands out with the energy his teammates play with as well.
In terms of him as a player, he’s a physical player with good traits and gives us versatility to play inside, outside. This guy has some value to play in the kicking game as well. Just the demeanor he plays with, the physicality and his ability to play in both press and off, he’ll give us some options how we can use him.
Q. We know about your connection with Kirby and talking about that Georgia program, how much does that help with transition, and is what they do similar to what you do schematically?
A: I would say the answer in terms of the terminology or maybe some of the concepts of the defense, there are similarities to that. It’s all basically off the same branch of the defensive tree and philosophy from different coaches in the past. However, it doesn’t matter where you come from. None of these rookies have a leg up on anyone. They come in and have to learn our league and system and compete with our vets from on the roster. Just being from a certain school doesn’t give anyone a leg up on anything. You have to come in — the National Football League is completely different from college. You have to learn a lot of things about it: The speed of the game, the tempo of the game. So it’s nice that he’s from a familiar system, but past, you know, day one install meetings and basic terminology, that’s the only jump he’ll have on anybody else.
Q. This is obviously not a new world for the Giants, but the way the draft was manipulated the last two days, moving down, you had a fifth round pick you gained and you just traded away, was with the Giants for about 12 hours or something like that. Do you like this a little bit more rock and roll and keeping everybody on their toes?
A: It’s making the best decision for the team at the time. We had an opportunity to move down and gain more value because there are a number of players we feel in that range are going to be available, we’ll go ahead and look at that option. As you saw with A-Rob, we didn’t want to give somebody else a chance to take him at that point; he was a priority for us to get, so we used the pick to trade on up. As I said yesterday, these picks are people and make calculated risks whether you acquire them or give them up. I feel good about what we did today in the draft. I’m sure Dave has got a concussion or something, so make sure we check on him overnight and we’ll get back to work tomorrow.
Q. With all the uncertainty, how important were those Senior Bowl meetings?
A: Yeah, I thought they were critical. I really thought Senior Bowl this year did a great job of making sure that everyone got to meet with every player and the set up down there was really phenomenal and not having the Combine, Senior Bowl really replaced the personal interactions with those guys. I don’t think you can ever replace getting to see a guy play or work out or compete in person and be able to sit down and look a guy eye-to-eye and really get a feel for them. Zoom is nice. Personal interaction is critical.
Q. What do you remember particularly about the one with Robinson?
A: I just remember he had a very direct personality. You talk to him, he lit up when you start talking football. That’s important, again, the passion for the game. I just like direct, honest people and he’s got that to him.
Q. What is your relationship like with Kirby Smart and is there a quality in the players that he coaches that stands out? Because you have drafted three guys from there in the last year, whether that’s a coincidence or not.
A: Well, I think the coincidence would be that he just coaches really good players. They do a great job of recruiting top talent and develop them over the course of time they are there. Those players work hard and player hard and understand the value of playing old school, fundamental, physical football. That’s really what draws to us. Me and Kirby we worked three years at Alabama. I have a lot of respect for him as a person and I have a lot of respect for him as a coach. When you know where someone is coming from, you have a little bit of insight in how you can coach them, okay, what really makes them tick and how they respond in adverse situations.
Q. How critical was weekends like this in determining when you’re building your coaching staff, because you have so many assistants that were former college coaches with ties to these major programs. How much did that factor into the hiring process for you?
A: Actually none of it. We have a great scouting staff here, so we didn’t anybody in to supersede what anybody is doing. Really, this is a bonus. I hired the best coaches I can find, and it starts with being good people and good teachers.
Media Q&A with Director of College Scouting Chris Pettit (Video):
Q. A lot of the trading up and down has been the story of the Draft, not something you guys have done much of. Has this process been different than past drafts?
A: No, I don’t think so. Since I’ve been here, like Dave said I think in his presser, we have tried. We’ve tried to trade up and down before, and it has to work out — it’s worked out this year where we’ve been able to gain assets and used those assets to gain a player that we really like. I wouldn’t say it’s any different. Every year since I’ve been here we’ve been aggressive in trying to better the team. Just this year, it’s working out.
Q. What’s that moment like when you trade back from 42 to 50, and Azeez is very much in the conversation at 42, are you waiting every pick or were you sweating it out?
A: We had a bunch of guys that we really liked there and like I said before, you’ve just got to be patient. You can’t get too high or too low and the board will come to you. You have to trust it. When you have a group of guys there, it makes you feel better as the time and picks go by. Azeez was 1 in the group and he was there and he was the right player for us.
Q. You hear a bunch of things about Azeez as a pass rusher, and some people say he’s the best pass rusher in the Draft. They don’t usually last till 50. So where do you see him as a pass rusher and is he a legitimate edge guy now that you guys added to your team?
A: Yeah, I believe so. The thing that separated I think Azeez from others was he’s pro-ready with his hands. He had real good hand use. He’s instinctive. The guy has the ability to make big plays in big spots. He’s ultra competitive. He has good instincts. He had good hand use for being an underclassman that we liked.
Q. What’s your report on (Aaron) Robinson? What did you like about him?
A: A-Rob jumped off, I remember I was sitting here through the pandemic in the office, threw on the UCF tape and his instincts, his toughness and his tackling jumped out to me immediately as I was watching the tape. A little unknown about him, didn’t know much, threw the tape on one day and really caught my eye with his competitiveness and instincts.
Then we’ve kind of followed him throughout the process. We had two interviews with him down in Mobile which got to help us know him as a person, most importantly, and then I went down and saw him at his pro day as well to really spend a lot of time with him.
I think what immediately jumped off was his instincts, toughness, competitiveness.
Q. Aaron Robinson started his career at Alabama, so that’s SEC ties for all three guys this year, most of the guys last year. I think it’s pretty universally accepted that’s the best conference. Is that why you guys keep going to the SEC or do you have stronger relationships there? More scouts in that area? Why is it the SEC?
A: I don’t think we say, all right, this is the SEC we are going to scout it differently than any other part of the country. It’s just the way the board has fallen that the SEC players at the time we are ready to pick are the ones we feel best to be Giants. It’s a very good conference. There’s big people that play fast and tough and we like that. But I don’t think it’s any different — we don’t scout it any different than any other conference in the league.
Q. We’ve heard a lot about the meetings you guys had down at Senior Bowl. I meant to ask you last night, I know you guys had a relatively limited group down there, right. I know it was you, Joe, Pat. How many others were down there with you guys?
A: We had other scouts, as well, Kevin Abrams, Tim McDonnell, Marcus Cooper, Brendan Prophett, Patrick Hanscomb and Jeremy Breit was our crew. Just worked out like that. We tried to get the scouts that had the most players at the game. It was tough on us because Senior Bowl is one of our best weeks as a staff, and we had other games going on at the time so our other scouts were spread out over those other All-Star games. So we had a limited crew and we worked and it was a good experience.
Senior Bowl did a great job allowing us access to the players which Joe said was really our only limited interaction we could have with players face-to-face. We took advantage of every interview that we could.
Q. The other thing I wanted to ask you is obviously we’ve all talked about how the 2022 picks are being described as gold. You know how you prepared to scout this year, the challenges that you faced and you met. When you see you guys stacking up picks for next year, what does that mean to your group and the scouts in terms of what may hold next year when you start looking at the Draft?
A: Well, it’s exciting. Any chance you have an opportunity to gain really good football players, but I think it’s important. I think the number of players that will be in the class next year will be a lot, you know, due to COVID and players going back to school and a lot of the opt-outs. So the more picks we have with more players, more opportunity, really, is how we look at it. It’s not going to change how we evaluate or scout. It’s just now we have more picks with more players available.
Q. Curious what you would have thought if I told you on like Thursday morning that Azeez would be there at pick 50? Is that something you expected or were surprised by?
A: I wouldn’t say I was surprised or expected. I was wishful. I’d be wishful that was a possibility, along with the other players we had in the group there. But I’m really excited to have Azeez. To bring a pass rusher to our defense, another one, another young pass rusher that we can develop, I’m excited.
Q. Usually pass rushers seem to get pushed up in the Draft. Why do you think maybe this year it didn’t happen?
A: Well, you know, it’s like you see it in drafts, the flows. All of a sudden there’s a run on tackles. There’s a run on corners. There’s a run on wide-outs. You saw it last night the wave of pass rushers went at the end of the Draft and today, they started with a different position. It just comes in flows and you’ve just got to be patient, like I said, and stick to the board and the guy will be there. You’ve got to trust it.
Q. So much has been made of Dave not trading in all of his drafts that he’s conducted. I wonder if there’s been any razzing in the war room amongst you guys? We just had Joe on a minute ago and he was joking that maybe he had a concussion, Dave did. What do you make of all the activity the last couple days and has there been any ribbing inside the room?
A: You could say that there’s been a little ribbing. Trader Dave has brought some excitement to the room, so it’s been fun. Trader Dave is hearing it from a lot of people throughout the league, so it’s been fun. There’s been a little ribbing. Like I said, it’s not like we haven’t tried. Dave said it; I’ll say it. It worked out. It’s exciting. It gave a little juice. It’s been different. The room is different without all our people in it. We were limited to only ten people but there was enough ribbing with the ten people to keep it exciting.
Q: A lot of people thought you would go a lot earlier for you. How has this process been for you and how is your knee?
A: This process was a great process, just talking to teams, building those relationships and just being able to be a Giant. I’m just happy to be here. I’m just ready to get to work. My knee is good. Everything is good and solid. Everything is perfect.
Q: Hey Azeez, congratulations. Just caught a little bit of a snippet when you were announced on TV from an old buddy, Andrew Thomas, who is now your teammate again. What was that like tonight? The wait? Did you know it would be the Giants? What was your reaction – describe it when it happened.
A: It was crazy when I got the call, man. I saw a New York on it so I just picked it up. I was just so happy to be on the phone with the Giants. It was electric. It was a great moment for me and my family and Drew (Andrew Thomas) being in the house, too.
Q: You and Drew were pretty close, right? Did I read that?
A: Yes, he was my roommate.
Q: He was the toughest tackle you ever gone against?
A: Definitely. Definitely was.
Q: Hi Azeez, congratulations. Sorry, I’m sure you thought you got away from me down here in Athens. Was it excruciating at all having to wait? I guess you ultimately don’t really know when you’re going to go, but projections were really high for you. Were you hurting there for a while or confused?
A: No. I just know I’m blessed to be here. I’m blessed to be a Giant. I just waited my turn and wait for my opportunity to come and now it’s here. Now, I’m just happy and ready to be a Giant, for sure.
Q: Azeez, I know (Georgia Head Coach) Kirby Smart and Joe Judge have connections. Have you heard anything about what you’ll be coming into?
A: Definitely. Georgia has some similarities to the Giants defense. I’ve been through it a lot. I feel like I’ll be good with the scheme and everything coming in. I’m just ready to get to work and learn – learn from the best.
Q: Hey Azeez, congratulations. There are some people who say you are the best past rusher in this draft. First question, what do you think about that?
A: Definitely. I mean, everyone has their own opinions, but definitely I believe that. I’m just confident in my game. I’m just ready to go to work with the New York Giants and show everybody what I can do.
Q: Second question, real quick. If you are the best pass rusher, they don’t normally last to number 50. What does that say to you? Does that kind of anger you or do you care about that at all?
A: I’m just blessed to be a Giant. I’m ready to work. When I get there, I just have to go get in the playbook to learn the scheme and everything. I’m just ready to show them what I can do. That’s it.
Q: Hey Azeez, what does it mean to you to go to a team that has your college roommate in Andrew Thomas, Tae Crowder is there, Lorenzo Carter is a Georgia alum – what does it mean to you to be joining up with all these guys that I imagine you’re pretty familiar with?
A: It’s just great just having my brothers up there already. They’re people that I have conversations with. It would be great for me to come in there and learn from them. They’ve been there, so they can teach me and tell me things. So, I just can’t wait to get up there with those guys and be ready to work.
Q: How would you describe what type of player you are to Giants fans who maybe aren’t familiar with you?
A: I’m definitely relentless. Effort is never a question. I’m an all-around player. I can rush the passer, stop and run, drop in coverage or whatever I have to do to help the team, I can do it.
Q: Azeez, congratulations man. What did you think – I mean you’re a guy who has played, you practiced, and then they tell you, or did you even know – that your knee was going to be a problem for teams?
A: No. I didn’t know at all. I was fully healthy the last two seasons at Georgia. I didn’t know anything. I just didn’t know. I’m blessed to be a Giant. I’m happy and ready to get to work.
Q: What was your interaction with Kevin Sherrer? Was he your coach? Did you work for him a lot? How well do you know him?
A: Oh yeah, Coach Sherrer. He recruited me when I was coming into Georgia, so our relationship is already there, for sure. I’ve learned things from him, from watching film and tape and coming into Georgia. We really have a good bond going in, for sure.
Q: Hi Azeez, congratulations. I just got in a little late. I apologize if this is a repeat, but could you describe your pass rushing ability and how you feel it’ll translate immediately in the NFL given what you’ve seen?
A: I have good speed and strength. I can convert speed to power. I can beat the guy off the edge and beat him inside. I can affect the quarterback a lot. I’m just coming in knowing I’m ready to work and contribute and I’m ready to do whatever I have to do.
Q: Just as a quick follow up, in your conversations with Coach Judge and what not and whomever it is you spoke to, what amount did you speak to him about how much they are in need of pass rushing help? How aware are you of that?
A: It was one of the needs, for sure. We definitely had conversations throughout the whole process, daily. I’m blessed to be here. I’m blessed to be a Giant today. I’m ready to get there and contribute.
Q: Azeez, congrats. A lot of the best players in Giants history, most revered players, are pass rushers – Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, etc. What do you think of trying to live up to those expectations and live up to those kinds of names putting on this jersey at that position?
A: Seeing all of those great Giants that came through there, I just know I have to come in ready to work and put it all on the table to give it all you got. Give it all you got for those great guys that played before us. I just have a lot of respect for those players, so you have to give it all you got and do what I can do.
Q: Real quick, Kadarius Toney, did you – I didn’t have time to double check on this schedule – but what do you think of him as a player and a fellow SEC guy, offensive weapon? What do you think of him as a player and a weapon?
A: Man, Kadarius Toney is a beast. He’s shifty. He can shake anything. He can beat you. He has speed. Man, I can’t wait to see him play. Just know he’s a dog, for sure.
Q: Azeez, you said you knew the Giants needed an edge rusher. When they’re on the clock at number 42, are you waiting for your phone to ring right there?
A: I was waiting. I was waiting on it all day.
Q: When in your conversations with Andrew did you guys start talking about becoming teammates and when did it become more and more realistic for you guys?
A: Just basically when he got drafted. When he got drafted, we thought about it. It could happen one day. So, we were like, ‘It would be cool for us to be teammates coming from Georgia. That would be nice.’ And look at us now, teammates.
Q: Hey Azeez, just on a personal level, what do your friends call you? Do they call you Z? They call you AO? They call you Zeez, or what?
A: Yes, they call me Z. Sometimes they call me vibranium. No, they call me mostly Z, though. It’s what it is the most times, Z.
Q: Okay, and the other question I have is, one of the guys you’ll probably be competing with for time is Lorenzo Carter. How close are you with him?
A: Lorenzo is my brother, definitely, for sure. He played at Georgia. I’m ready to get there and work with him and just learn things from him and just ready to get to work.
Q: Hey Azeez, congratulations man. Azeez, I noticed you have that one signature move that you love to go to, to get the quarterback. I’m curious, who helped you develop your moves in rushing and what’s one part of your game that you feel you need to improve at?
A: I’d say my time at Georgia, just working there every single day since I was a freshman. I was finding the move that worked for me and I just kept doing that. Once I found it, I just kept going to it and adjusting off of it when I had to. Thanks to Georgia and my time there, it just helped me with everything I need to do. I will definitely be using it for sure.
Q: Azeez, quickly, did you get better competing with Andrew Thomas in practice a lot?
A: Definitely, every day. Every single day competing. Good on good, everyday.
Q: Saw that tweet from [Safety] Xavier McKinney. I guess even though you transferred, you’re still viewed by some of these guys as an Alabama guy. Just curious, what’s it like to reunite with a lot of guys with Alabama ties?
A: You know, X specifically, I remember him when he first got up to school just trying to connect and bond with him. He’s a great guy. I’m ready to get up there and get to work with some great dudes, get around some great coaching, pretty much just set the standard with the brotherhood up there and go to work.
Q: What do you think you bring to the table?
A: Definitely a competitive edge about myself. A guy who’s willing to take it from every angle, vets, coaching and excel at it in my own game. Really just want to bring guys along, including myself, to create something special.
Q: Hey Aaron, I think one of things the Giants really like about you is how physical you are and that you can play man-to-man. That’s something they weren’t able to do as much last year. What does it take to be as consistently physical and effective as you are at that position on the outside?
A: Yeah, you know that pretty much comes with the game of football. I feel like I always favored the defensive side of the ball a little bit more growing up playing it. And that’s pretty much a plus in my game that I take advantage of and come with to every play 150 percent. That’s pretty much it.
Q: Aaron, how important was it for you to get to the Senior Bowl and have that opportunity to meet with the various teams? And to follow up on that, what do you remember about your meeting with the Giants?
A: Having that opportunity to get up there in Mobile to compete against some of the best in college football this past year was a great opportunity for me to pretty much expose myself a little bit more, and have that great opportunity to earn those reps, get those reps on the outside and showcase those skills as well during those practices. So it was definitely a great opportunity for myself. What I remember from meeting with the Giants was the laughs through conversation, pretty much just enjoying that moment with those coaches up there and pretty much coming off natural, it felt like.
Q: Were you on [Wide Receiver] Kadarius Toney’s team at the Senior Bowl or did you go against him at all?
A: I was on Kadarius’s team. We pretty much had one great rep of one-on-ones and a couple more reps during team reps. Pretty much just competing against one another trying to earn something, so respect to him as well.
Q: The fact that the Giants traded up to get you, does that mean something extra to you?
A: Yeah, definitely, just another great opportunity. Thank those guys up there for believing in me and that just pushes me to want to get up there and work 10 times harder for some guys that definitely believed in me. I’m going to take advantage of that and run with it, for sure.
Q: Hey Aaron, you’ll have to kind of forgive me for doing my scouting report on the fly, but did you play mostly in the slot in college?
Q: And so you were saying playing at the Senior Bowl gave you the chance to play outside?
Q: So, do you feel like you can play both at the next level? Are you more comfortable at one or the other?
A: Wherever I’m needed. Wherever I’m needed, I’m willing to learn that playbook, get in with my coaches, spend a lot of time around those guys, around those guys in the locker room as well to really learn it and go out and perform to the best of my ability.
Q: Did you guys play a lot of man or zone in college?
A: We mixed it up. [Defensive Coordinator] Coach [Randy] Shannon definitely mixed it up for us, gave a lot of looks and pretty much helped us a lot as well.