Aug 052017
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 5, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eighth summer training camp practice on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), and linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol) did not practice. Shepard did warm up before practice and did some light running.

“I made some pretty good progress over these last few days,” Shepard said. “Been in the training room, getting ice. The swelling went down, so I got to run around a little bit today. It feels really good. If it was game day, I could easily go, but I have a little bit of time, so they want to take it slow… I have never really rolled my ankle before, so I didn’t really know the process and how it was going to go. Those first two days, I was feeling like I was going to be out for a little longer than what I know now.”

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Practice was closed to the public today. Overcast skies, minimal wind, very comfortable temperature.

Special Teams Notes:

  • Mike Nugent showed better loft and distance on kickoffs than Aldrick Rosas. Who knows if they were actually trying to let loose or not.
  • A lot, and I mean a lot, of attention is put on special teams. We got to see plenty of 1-on-1 battles with these guys going all out on each other. They were practicing blocking on the move, where the offensive player runs to a spot, turns around and goes head to head with a downhill defender that had a 15-20 yard head of steam. The bubble guys need to show something here. DE Kerry Wynn was beating everyone he matched up against. S Trey Robinson stood out a couple times. S Landon Collins got involved twice and even in a simple drill like this, his ability stands out. RB Wayne Gallman’s lack of presence showed, he may have a hard time factoring as a blocker at his size. LB Calvin Munson stood out, consistently getting rave reviews from coaches.

Offense Notes:

  • As I left the practice facility, QB Davis Webb was working on deep throws and footwork associated with them with two of the Giants support staff (ball boys). This was a solid 20 minutes after practice. TE Rhett Ellison was on another field working on his technique out of his stance, getting into his routes.
  • One thing I see wide receivers Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall do very well is that they attack the ball in the air. They don’t sit back and let it come to them; they alter their weight and attack. Very important that your top guys do that. Marshall overwhelmed CB Valentino Blake on a pass near the back of the end zone; there was no chance for Blake – he looked like a kid trying to defend his dad and that is not a knock on Blake.
  • TE is a very crowded group. Colin Thompson keeps jumping out at me. I think there is no shot he makes the team, but he is a legit practice squad candidate. The team brought him in as a blocker, but he moves much better when running routes than I initially thought. Soft hands, been catching almost everything thrown his way. This TE group in camp is very solid.
  • I put more attention on the two rookie OTs, Adam Bisnowaty and Chad Wheeler. Wheeler does a great job post-snap. He gets out of his stance quickly and easily. Very good body positioning, knee bend, and set up. Honestly, he is better than Ereck Flowers when it comes to that part of the process. Bisnowaty is a little more sluggish and unsure. He didn’t keep his feet moving against Kerry Wynn today and it made him look silly. He was facing the ground on a couple of occasions, showing he is over-committing and lunging while bending at the waist. Body wise, Wheeler simply needs more muscle as I have been saying. Bisnowaty too, but you can tell he has spent more time in the weight room.
  • OT Ereck Flowers had a solid day but his over-lean and wrap-around the defender’s neck in pass protection flared up twice from what I saw. OT Bobby Hart was schooled by DE Pierre-Paul again, winding up on the ground. OG John Jerry, when I had the vantage point to really zero in on him, didn’t get beat at all. He is a very large man with athletic legs. He is without a doubt the starting RG over D.J. Fluker.
  • Geno Smith vs. Josh Johnson battle goes to Geno today. He is looking more and more confident with each day that passes. His arm is much more lively than Johnson’s.
  • TE Matt LaCosse with another nice TD catch today. Natural hands on the move with a huge wingspan, nice weapon to have especially in that area.
  • WR Kevin Snead body catches everything. Amazing to see the difference between him and Beckham and how they approach catching the ball.
  • RB Orleans Darkwa’s avenue to making this team is likely the short-yardage back. He is bigger and stronger than the other guys. Without Darkwa, there really isn’t any sense of power in that backfield. If the team doesn’t think he can handle that job, I wonder if the 4th RB is even currently on this roster.
  • WR Roger Lewis doesn’t get a ton of WR reps with the first or second group. I’m wondering if he is actually that far down the depth chart or they are just trying to get the bubble guys more reps to fully evaluate. He did drop an easy TD on a short slant pass and his routes aren’t crisp. But I really like how Lewis moves. Very twitchy, loose, and strong. I think he has the potential to be a top tier gunner in this league on special teams.
  • WRs Darius Powe and Travis Rudolph might be competing for one spot. We have highlighted Rudolph already, his ability to do everything right stands out. But he doesn’t separate downfield at all and he isn’t physical enough in traffic to be a factor. Powe has the size but I’m not sure he can separate from NFL DBs. He doesn’t have long speed and there isn’t a lot of quick-twitch to him underneath.

Defense Notes:

  • The team’s #4 CB has to be Michael Hunter. I’m saying this right now with a lot of confidence, there are teams in this league where he could start. He is so consistent when it comes to trusting his footwork and length while attacking the ball. He is breaking up multiple passes every day. NYG has an outstanding CB group, maybe the best in the league if Eli Apple takes the expected step up.
  • CB Janoris Jenkins ignores size completely. He shows no hesitation when going after WR Brandon Marshall. He is so fast to diagnose and react. He sniffs out screens and crossing routes in a blink. And I love how hard he competes for the ball in the air.
  • DT Jay Bromley made a couple nice plays against the run today. He beat D.J. Fluker badly on one running play which would have resulted in a 4-yard loss. He is a very large, long guy. There are tools to work with there, it will just be a matter of him showing consistency when it comes to technique and awareness.
  • The question with the DT group will be how long guys can go before needing a break. Damon Harrison started to break down a little towards the end of last year, Robert Thomas was limping around between plays today with what appeared hamstring/back soreness (just speculating). Dalvin Tomlinson looks like he is still trying to figure it out mentally, as he hasn’t been able to get off blocks at all. Jay Bromley is very inconsistent as I noted.
  • I put the eye on FS Darian Thompson today as best I could. Not sure how these guys are coached, so take it with a grain of salt. But he was very good at keeping track of receivers in his area. Keeps his head on a swivel and won’t get fooled by the QB. His lower body moves very fluidly. I haven’t seen him tested deep though.
  • The one concern I have is that these DBs don’t get a lot of work defending deep passes. In live action, the team’s offense almost never throws the ball downfield more than 20-25 yards. A guy like Thompson needs to work on that part of his game, as does CB Eli Apple, and it’s not happening much if at all in practice.
  • DE Kerry Wynn had a very good day. He made an impact on 1-on-1 special team drills and during live team drills from his DE spot. He is a guy that the coaches know they can depend on. I am leaning towards his making this 53 man roster. He is definitely ahead of DE Devin Taylor right now.
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul is dominating Giants OL during live drills and one-on-one’s – no matter who he is matched up against and no matter where he is lining up.
  • Each day that passes, I am leaning more and more towards DE Owa Odighizuwa not being in the final picture. He did beat OT Jarron Jones a couple times, but other than that there is too much rigid lower body movement and a severe lack of reaction/quick twitch. Unfortunate but he just doesn’t seem to have it.

Three Standouts:

  • TE Evan Engram: By far his best day of camp so far. We got to see a few special catches. With defenders draped all over him, twice he made a TD catch while barely sneaking in before the sideline/out-of-bounds line. He plays super-fast but under control. He keeps on catching everything and there isn’t a defender on this team that is built for covering him. He is exciting in this short-pass offense.
  • S Eric Pinkins: This kid is certainly making a name for himself. Very impressive physically with his combination of size and speed. At 6’3/230 with zero bad weight, he brings a different level of physical prowess to the secondary. He can be a special teams demon which should get him on this 53-man roster, but I like him as a backup safety as well. There is a ton of upside here and if the team is patient, we may see something big.
  • OG Jessamen Dunker: You know, this kid needs a year of weight room work from what I can see. He doesn’t quite fill his pants yet. But he plays strong. His lower body mechanics and athleticism are as good as any of the OL on this team. And he showed great hand placement and strength in one-on-ones. I want to say he is a lock for the practice squad but if he goes out and impressed in the games, I say there is a shot he is the last OL on the 53-man roster. He really is impressive.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • In 7-on-7 drills, quarterback Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. in the left corner of the end zone.
  • Tight end Evan Engram made a diving touchdown catch from quarterback Eli Manning in the corner of the end zone. Manning later found Engram again for another touchdown in front of safety Darian Thompson. Engram caught three touchdowns during 7-on-7 drills.
  • Cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie broke up passes intended for tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Travis Rudolph, respectively. Jenkins later defended a slant pass from Manning to wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
  • Quarterback Josh Johnson found wide receiver Kevin Snead in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Safety Eric Pinkins intercepted a quarterback Josh Johnson pass intended for tight end Matt LaCosse.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith threw a touchdown pass to tight end Matt LaCosse. Smith then hit tight end Jerell Smith down the right seam and wide receiver Darius Powe despite tight coverage.
  • Linebacker B.J. Goodson broke up a short pass intended for running back Orleans Darkwa.
  • Running back Paul Perkins fumbled during 11-on-11 drills after being hit by cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
  • Running back Wayne Gallman had a pass deflected off of him that was intercepted by linebacker Mark Herzlich. Herzlich later broke up a pass intended for wide receiver Travis Rudolph.
  • Cornerback Michael Hunter knocked down a pass on a crossing route.
  • Cornerback Donte Deayon broke up a fade pass from quarterback Geno Smith to wide receiver Travis Rudolph.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants are off on Sunday. The ninth training camp practice will be held on Monday, starting at 11:10AM. This practice is NOT open to the public. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Aug 042017
 
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Nat Berhe, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Nat Berhe – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 4, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their seventh summer training camp practice on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), and linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol) did not practice.

“(Shepard’s MRI showed) nothing serious, nothing new,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo.

“We are taking it day by day,” said Shepard. “It is feeling pretty good. I am moving along really well… At first I was pretty worried. I have never rolled my ankle like that before and I felt it pop. That was the main thing that scared me. The initial pain wasn’t too good but now, we are moving along and it’s doing pretty good now… I was kind of screaming, but that’s just because I have never felt that pain before. But yeah, it’s just like a basketball roll is what they are saying, a little bit of a bone bruise… If I feel good enough to get out there in some preseason games, then I will, but yeah I am just taking it day by day… I will be ready for Week 1, for sure.”

“(King) has a rolled ankle,” said McAdoo. “They’ll let me know when he can practice.”

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Not much to give you guys today, it was a walk-through in every sense of the term. No actual hitting. No actual throwing the ball. Routes were run at 20% speed max. Sounds like tomorrow they are gonna get after it a bit. I will be there for it.

The guys that I have down as “Out” for today’s practice but still involved, were QB Eli Manning, WR Brandon Marshall, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DT Damon Harrison, and LB Jonathan Casillas.

Good to see DE Devin Taylor and RB Shane Vereen out there with the team, hope they are in live action tomorrow.

I did not see WR Tavarres King out there, so I guess his ankle roll needed a day of treatment.

Offense Notes:

  • A name we haven’t talked about yet is fourth year veteran OG/OC Jon Halapio. Originally drafted by the Patriots in 2014 (6th round) from Florida. He has since bounced around the league a bit but has been with NYG for almost a full year now. He’s never played in a regular-season game but with the instability inside when it comes to depth, I think he has as much of a shot as any of the other interior guys to make this team. The versatility is a plus and he has had some solid 1-on-1 interactions this week.
  • OT Chad Wheeler saw time at his usual LT spot in addition to sometime at RT and RG. I’ll say I have been pleasantly surprised by his is presence this week. We already knew he was a plus athlete but I still think he is a year away from being a factor. He needs work in the weight room.
  • QB Davis Webb got more reps today with Eli being on the sideline. Even though the speed of it was so low, it was an important day for him no doubt. A lot of work on hand signals with his receivers and proper footwork on both passing and running plays. Casual fans will overlook the importance of that, but it is vital for his progression. For what it’s worth, he appeared to do everything right. Another check mark for him.
  • When it comes to the fullbacks, my guess based on their team drills is Shane Smith is at the top of depth chart.
  • OG D.J. Fluker was probably the hardest worker on the offense today, making strong efforts on his pad level, lateral footwork, hand placement…etc. He got a few looks at backup RT today.

Defense Notes:

  • LB B.J. Goodson on the field again today. So involved with other players and coaches during his rest time. And he was the lone defender who appeared to be going a little closer to full speed than the other guys. Not surprised.
  • NYG has a lot of DL talent and they are very versatile. We may see them get 3 DTs on the field more often than we’ve seen in the past. Damon Harrison can play a 3-4 NT-type role and the Jay Bromley/Dalvin Tomlinson/Robert Thomas trio…two of them can be on the field at once I think. This gives NYG several options with what to do on the outside. The more looks, the better.
  • DE Kerry Wynn is still in the team’s good graces it seems. He’s been here awhile now and the team knows what they are getting out of him. A kid that knows the game well, plays hard, and can bring it in different situations in different roles. Devin Taylor and Owa Odigihizuwa are going to have really perform well if they want to leapfrog him.

That’s all folks, sorry it wasn’t too eventful today but as I said, no such thing as unimportant day. I should be back tomorrow.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Friday’s practice was very light, with helmets but no pads and more of a walk-thru. Veterans given the day off included quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, linebacker Jonathan Casillas, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
  • Giants ran a fake field goal where punter Brad Wing threw a touchdown pass to offensive lineman Justin Pugh.
  • Place kicker Mike Nugent went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’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 in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The eighth training camp practice will be held on Saturday, starting at 10:55AM. This practice is NOT open to the public. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Aug 032017
 
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Landon Collins, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 3, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their sixth summer training camp practice on Thursday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), running back Shane Vereen (lower body soreness), offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker (foot), defensive end Devin Taylor (lower body soreness), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), and cornerback Valentino Blake (lower back tightness) did not practice.

“(Shepard) was sore today, was a little stiff when he woke up, but we sent him for an MRI,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “Just to make sure we’re looking at it and doing our due diligence… It looks like a rolled basketball ankle right now.”

“We’re going to start working (Taylor) back in tomorrow,” said McAdoo. “Same (with Vereen). Tomorrow.”

Wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle) and linebacker B.J. Goodson (left foot) left practice early.

“(King) rolled his ankle covering a punt,” said McAdoo.

“B.J. got stepped on,” said McAdoo. “No (concern).”

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Another picture-perfect, sunny day. Could be me but at the start of practice I thought the energy was a little down. Part of the dog days and with those pads on, the heat has to be intense. Soon after that thought, however, the fights began and it got pretty intense. Guys getting knocked down. Damon Harrison and Justin Pugh are the alpha males in those fights. They are the ones calling the shots and rarely does anyone even try to hold them back when they are involved with another player.

K Aldrick Rosas very impressive today, hit a 56 yarder by a lot. He’s got the power, that’s for sure.

Offense Notes:

  • The OL as a whole came out and competed today, much more than what we have seen to this point. Bobby Hart and Ereck Flowers did a nice job getting their hands inside. Hart was juked out of his shoes a couple times by Jason Pierre-Paul. The question with Hart has nothing to do with effort; he has it. However, the upside/talent gets exposed when a guy like JPP lines up across from him. I think his ceiling is pretty limited. Flowers showed off his immense upper body power on a few occasions today. OGs D.J. Fluker and John Jerry had a good day at the expense of DT Dalvin Tomlinson and veteran Robert Thomas. Excellent run blocking, good enough pass blocking.
  • We know this already, but WR Odell Beckham, Jr. makes me say “wow” about 7 times a day. What he can do in terms of catching the ball with such ease and consistency in addition to his burst, speed, and agility is incredibly rare. Fun kid to watch and he practices hard.
  • QB Davis Webb doesn’t get a ton of reps (if any) during the live 7-on-7/11-on-11 team drills, as this team needs to figure out the Josh Johnson vs. Geno Smith situation. He did get his own little 7-on-7 display at the end of practice. It’s not fair to really evaluate him yet as a physical player; there is so much being thrown at him. He shows the live arm, smooth release, and surprisingly very solid footwork. What I am more impressed by, he is incredibly active when he isn’t the QB that is up. Going through all the signals, helping the coaches get the right groups out there, running from drill to drill while others walk. Those are the little things that are important. He has really put his best foot forward.
  • Nice to see a fade pass from QB Eli Manning to WR Brandon Marshall for a short TD. Eli has been missing the guy to throw that to for a long time now. The Manning/Marshall connection is there, it appears.
  • RB Wayne Gallman is showing some impressive running techniques when moving through traffic. Low pad level, high feet with outstanding agility and burst. I had more of a straight line-mover type view on him coming from Clemson, but he can shake and move laterally better than I thought.
  • WR Kevin Snead got less special team looks today after his nightmare on Tuesday, but he did catch the longest pass of the day from Josh Johnson for a TD. He burned CB Nigel Tribune and S Duke Ihenacho. On the flip side, he was mangled at the line of scrimmage by Tribune earlier. He is a space-only threat right now.
  • TE Will Tye looks quicker than he was last year. Did he lose some weight? Did he work on foot speed? Is he simply more confident in the scheme? Not sure. But he gets in to his routes fast and his head around even faster. He had a nice day catching the ball.
  • TE Matt LaCosse continues to make his argument for making the team among a crowded group. He has shown he can catch the ball on the move, but today he made some physical catches with defenders draped all over him. Catching the ball in traffic like that is very important for a guy like him. His presence as a blocker is less than ideal, but his effort is always there.

Defense Notes:

  • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is lining up all over the place. I like the versatility he brings to the table. Such a smooth backpedal and burst out of it. He has a nice feel for what the offense is trying to do, a great weapon to have considering how much they have him roaming.
  • CB Michael Hunter another impressive day. His size and speed in combination with the quick-twitch reactions has to be bumping him up the totem pole. Guys like him are hard to find.
  • DE Owa Odighizuwa is physically impressive. Great body, bends well, has some power to him but there is lot of hesitation to his game. He doesn’t disengage from blockers and has been routinely getting beat.
  • DT Jay Bromley is a name I haven’t discussed too often, but he had a couple nice plays in team drills. He completely schooled OC Weston Richburg on one play that would have resulted in a sack.
  • DT Robert Thomas ended up at Eli Manning’s knee/foot area during live drills, not good. They don’t need to be seeing that.
  • LB B.J. Goodson is playing fast, especially evident when he is pursuing to the sidelines and covering laterally.
  • FS Darian Thompson came down with an easy INT on an overthrow from Manning to RB Orleans Darkwa, but right place/right time is the name of the game for those guys.
  • I don’t want to rank these guys or project final depth chart until the end of the month, but the safeties are really being given opportunities. I think it is completely open behind the starters + Andrew Adams. Eric Pinkins continues to stand out and rookie UDFA Trey Robinson came out of nowhere a couple times to make a play.

Three Standouts:

  • S Landon Collins: Fast. Big. Strong. Powerful. This guy is putting everything on display and when he’s not on the field, he is in the coaches ear. Very into practice. His instincts have been jumping out at me. He is in the right place before the right time almost always.
  • TE Evan Engram: If Sterling Shepard is going to miss any time, look for Engram to see an uptick in snaps. He has WR movement and what I’ve noticed more than anything, the ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls. Yes he is a rookie and there is a lot to take in playbook-wise, but he is too talented to keep on the sidelines. He can be a matchup nightmare.
  • WR Travis Rudolph: Again, as Sterling Shepard misses practice you want to see guys step up and take advantage. Rudolph is getting more and more action each day. He isn’t big or physical, but he knows how to make himself slippery to defenders. He may not be the best athlete, but he is so mechanically sound as a route runner and he sells well. He can run himself open better than I thought and most importantly, he catches EVERYTHING.

Below is our video recap and interview with TE Matt LaCosse.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including one from 56 yards out.
  • For the second day in a row, there was a lot of pushing and shoving between the offense and defense after the play.
  • In run defense drills, defensive tackle Jay Bromley penetrated into the backfield to tackle the back behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Wide receivers Tavarres King and Kevin Norwood caught deep passes in 7-on-7 drills. King beat defensive back Mykkele Thompson on a pass from quarterback Geno Smith.
  • Defensive back Mykkele Thompson broke up a Geno Smith screen pass.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Marshall, despite being well-covered by cornerback Eli Apple.
  • Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul blew past right tackle Bobby Hart for what would have been a sack. JPP then knocked down a slant pass.
  • Safety Landon Collins put a big hit on running back Paul Perkins after he broke through the line. Collins later broke up a quarterback Eli Manning pass intended for tight end Rhett Ellison.
  • Brett Jones received first-team reps at center.
  • Safety Darian Thompson picked off a pass from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith hit wide receiver Kevin Snead deep for a touchdown.
  • Safety Nat Berhe picked off a tipped pass from quarterback Josh Johnson.
  • Linebacker/tight end Mark Herzlich made a diving catch on a pass from quarterback Davis Webb.
  • Safety Trey Robinson picked off a quarterback Davis Webb pass intended for wide receiver Kevin Snead.
  • Tight end Jerell Adams dropped a pass from quarterback Davis Webb.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The seventh training camp practice will be held on Friday, starting at 11:55AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Jul 172017
 
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B.J. Goodson, New York Giants (August 20, 2016)

B.J. Goodson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Linebackers

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW: Ever since the New York Giants moved to the 4-3 defense in 1994, the team has largely de-emphasized the acquisition of linebackers in terms of premium resources. The last time the Giants drafted a linebacker in the 1st round was 1984 (Carl Banks). The last three linebackers drafted in the 2nd round were Clint Sintim (2009), Kanavis McGhee (1991), and Pepper Johnson (1986). From time to time, the Giants have spent big money on linebackers in free agency, including Michael Barrow (2000), Antonio Pierce (2005), and Michael Boley (2009). Not surprisingly, the overall play of the position has declined since its golden era of the 1980s, with the last linebackers to make the Pro Bowl being Pierce (2006) and Jessie Armstead (2001). Now annually, the team’s talent level at the position is usually considered sub-par and the defensive weak spot.

In 2016, of the defense’s three levels, the linebacking corps once again took a backseat to the defensive line and secondary. But while the linebackers were not a team strength, they did play at a more respectable level than their recent predecessors. This is a polite way of saying, “Well, at least the linebackers didn’t suck!”

The surprising headliner was Jonathan Casillas, who arguably had the best season of his career. Keenan Robinson stayed healthy and added more speed to the position. And Devon Kennard finally stayed healthy for a full 16 games. Overall, there weren’t many big plays from this group, but they did a respectable job on a defensive unit that improved from dead last in the NFL to 10th in terms of yardage allowed and 2nd in terms of points allowed.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants chose not to re-sign Kelvin Sheppard, who started 11 regular-season games at middle linebacker for the team in 2016. The Giants re-signed unrestricted free agents Keenan Robinson and Mark Herzlich to 1-year deals. The team also signed journeyman street free agent Curtis Grant and rookie free agent Calvin Munson.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Once again, the Giants made no major player acquisitions at linebacker. The #1 story line here is tracking how well second-year player B.J. Goodson can take over at middle linebacker for Sheppard. Goodson has been praised by coaches and players for his work during the spring, but he has to demonstrate that he can not only stuff the run, but cover tight ends and running backs. The middle linebacker is usually a defensive leader on most teams and it will be a big jump for Goodson, who only played a handful of defensive snaps in 2016.

It assumed by many that Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, and Devon Kennard will remain the other top linebackers on the team. Can Casillas continue his career renaissance or was 2016 his high point? Can the injury-prone Robinson string together two healthy years in a row? One gets the sense that Kennard still hasn’t reached his true potential, but he must also stay healthy.

ON THE BUBBLE: Mark Herzlich, J.T. Thomas, Deontae Skinner, Curtis Grant, Stansly Maponga, and Calvin Munson.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Bill McGovern on B.J. Goodson: “I think he, like everybody has kind of has noticed, he just seemed a little bit more comfortable being in the system another year being around it. You see him more comfortable gaining more confidence as he continues to get more and more reps in practice… He has a really good skill set. He looks like he will be good in the run, but again, without pads on right now, we’re moving around but it’s not anything that is going to be real definitive right now, but he is a guy that looks like he can tackle, we’ve seen on tape that he can tackle. He moves well. It looks like he is moving better in the pass but again you always move better once you always have a better understanding of how you fit in this scheme… the mike linebacker position is one that has got to control our defense, make some calls, make some checks, get us lined up, and let us play.”

McGovern on Keenan Robinson: “I think Keenan, in particular in our sub-package really was a positive for us in terms of coverage. He has length, he has size, and he has athleticism so he was a real positive. Hopefully, again we will continue to expand his role in that.”

McGovern on Devon Kennard: “I think (last year) it was kind of learning, again, more about DK and DK kept taking on more and more responsibility. Finding his skill set improved a little bit in that he has value rushing the passer and that he has value on first down, second down, and third down. It was one of those situations as we developed through the year we realized that he had more and more value and he has continued to work on it through the offseason and we are excited about where he is headed now.”

PREDICTIONS: This group is lucky to be sandwiched between the talent on the defensive line and defensive backs. As of July 2017, clearly there are still no headliners at this position for the Giants. That could change if Goodson or Kennard have breakout years. The key with Goodson will probably be his coverage ability. Can he become a three-down linebacker? I keep waiting for Kennard to have that breakout game. He has the smarts and physical tools. It just hasn’t happened for him yet. Casillas and Robinson had solid seasons, but they have to prove they can do that again.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Barring injury, the obvious ones are B.J. Goodson, Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, and Devon Kennard. After that, it gets murky. The Giants could keep as few as six linebackers. It is doubtful they will keep eight. Herzlich keeps seeing his defensive snaps reduced, but is clearly still valued as a core special teams player. The wild card is J.T. Thomas, who is still recovering from a serious knee injury. The fact that he has not been cut seems to indicate the Giants still have plans for him or see him as insurance. I’ll say the Giants keep seven linebackers, including special teams aces Herzlich, Thomas, and Deontae Skinner. I would not be shocked to see the Giants replace one of these three after the final roster cuts.

Jun 092017
 
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Geno Smith, New York Giants (May 25, 2017)

Geno Smith – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 9, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their tenth and final voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Friday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 13-15.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Wide receiver Kevin Norwood (unknown), tight end Rhett Ellison (calf), cornerback Eli Apple (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (unknown), linebacker J.T. Thomas (recovering from torn ACL), and safety Mykkele Thompson (unknown) did not practice.

Wide receiver Kevin Snead appeared to injure his left hamstring during practice.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., left guard Justin Pugh, right tackle Bobby Hart, defensive end Olivier Vernon, and defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa were no-shows for the voluntary OTA.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With Justin Pugh and Bobby Hart absent, the first-team offensive line consisted of left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Adam Gettis, center Weston Richburg, right guard John Jerry, and right tackle Adam Bisnowaty.
  • Defensive tackle Jarron Jones was working with the offensive linemen.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith hit tight end Evan Engram in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Safety Ryan Murphy came up with the first interception of practice off of a deflected pass.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb hit wide receiver Kevin Snead deep down the left sideline, but Snead appeared to injure his left hamstring on the play.
  • With Eli Apple out, Michael Hunter continued to see first-team reps at cornerback.

Giants.com has provided the following notes from the last OTA:

OTA #10:

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’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 in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

Jun 072017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (May 25, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS POSITION COACH MEDIA SESSIONS…
Transcripts and video clips of Wednesday’s media sessions with the following position coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICES…
The New York Giants held two more Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices on Monday and Tuesday. Those practices were not open to the media or public. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTA practices. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The team’s remaining OTAs will be held on June 8-9. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 13-15. Friday’s OTA practice will be open to the media.

Giants.com has provided the following notes from the last two OTAs:

OTA #7:

OTA #8:

ODELL BECKHAM, JR.’S ABSENCE FROM OTA’S CONTRACT RELATED?…
ESPN is reporting that New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. has been skipping the team’s voluntary Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices due to his desire for a new contract. Beckham is scheduled to make $1,839,027 in salary in the fourth year of his rookie contract. The Giants also picked up his $8+ million fifth-year option for 2018 earlier this offseason.

ROGER LEWIS ARRESTED…
TMZ is reporting that New York Giants wide receiver Roger Lewis was arrested last weekend in Ohio for operating a vehicle while impaired. Police told TMZ that they smelled marijuana on Lewis and noticed signs of intoxication. Lewis refused to take a breathalyzer test. Subsequent media reports say the police report indicated that police found Lewis in possession of 0.2 grams of marijuana suspected he was under the influence of alcohol.

The Giants signed Lewis as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. Lewis made the team and played in 13 regular-season games with one start. He finished with just seven catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

JALEN WILLIAMS RELEASED FROM INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants have cut wide receiver Jalen Williams from Injured Reserve. Williams was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He was waived/injured on May 31 with an undisclosed injury and placed on Injured Reserve one day later.

ARTICLES…

Jun 022017
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (May 25, 2017)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 2, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their sixth voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Friday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

The four remaining OTA practices will be held on June 5-6, and June 8-9. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 13-15.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall (soreness), tight end Rhett Ellison (calf), cornerback Eli Apple (hamstring), and linebacker J.T. Thomas (recovering from torn ACL) did not practice.

“We have a couple guys who are sore, so we held them out today for precautionary reasons,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo.

“Just a sore calf,” said Ellison. “Right now we are just being smart with it. We have been running on it and we are just being real smart this time of the year.”

Wide receiver Kevin Norwood left practice early with an undisclosed injury.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., left guard Justin Pugh, defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, linebacker Jonathan Casillas, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and safety Nat Berhe were no-shows for the voluntary OTA.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • QB Eli Manning threw early touchdown passes to wideouts Dwayne Harris and Sterling Shepard.
  • Geno Smith received second-team snaps at quarterback. Smith hit TE Evan Engram for a red-zone touchdown on a rollout pass.
  • TE Matt LaCosse saw a lot of action with the first-team offense and was active catching the football. He came up with two impressive touchdown grabs on passes from QB Davis Webb.
  • QB Davis Webb made a nice sideline throw to WR Travis Rudolph, who kept both feet in-bounds.
  • QB Josh Johnson hit WR Roger Lewis for a touchdown on a fade pass.
  • CB Donte Deayon saw first-team reps at slot corner again after Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
  • With Janoris Jenkins absent and Eli Apple sidelined, the starting outside corners were Michael Hunter and Valentino Blake.
  • With Justin Pugh absent, Adam Gettis started at left guard.
  • Safety Landon Collins made a leaping interception.
  • OTA practice notes and observations (6/2) by John Schmeelk of Giants.com
  • Standout players from OTA practice (6/2) by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have waived cornerback SaQwan Edwards and waived/injured wide receiver Jalen Williams with an undisclosed injury. Williams was then placed on Injured Reserve.

Edwards was signed by the Giants after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2017 rookie mini-camp. Edwards was originally signed by the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft and spent most of the 2015 season on the team’s Practice Squad and all of 2016 on Injured Reserve with an undisclosed injury. Williams was an undrafted rookie free agent signed by the Giants after the 2017 NFL Draft.

To fill these vacant roster spots, the Giants signed undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Jerome Lane (University of Akron) and re-signed undrafted rookie free agent cornerback Nigel Tribune.

The 6’3”, 220-pound Lane is a big, physical receiver who lacks ideal speed and quickness. Lane will make the tough catch over the middle but may struggle to separate from NFL defensive backs.

Tribune was originally signed after the draft by the Giants but waived two days later when Edwards was signed. Tribune is an experienced corner who started games every year at Iowa State. He was suspended for a drunk driving arrest his senior year.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’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 in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

Apr 182017
 
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Kerry Wynn, New York Giants (August 27, 2016)

Kerry Wynn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS OFFSEASON PROGRAM BEGINS…
The New York Giants offseason program began on Tuesday, kicking off the 9-week “voluntary” program that by NFL rules is broken into three phases:

  • Phase One (Two Weeks): Consists of activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
  • Phase Two (Three Weeks): Consists of on-field workouts that may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
  • Phase Three (Four Weeks): Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The team’s OTAs will be held on May 22-23, May 25, May 30-31, June 2, June 5-6, and June 8-9. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 13-15.

KERRY WYNN SIGNS TENDER…
New York Giants restricted free agent defensive end Kerry Wynn has signed his 1-year, $1.797 million tender. Wynn was the only Giants restricted free agent who was tendered. (Running back Orleans Darkwa was not tendered but re-signed). Wynn visited the New England Patriots last week.

Wynn saw his playing time decrease in 2016 (11 percent of defensive snaps). He played in 14 regular-season games with no starts and finished the year with 12 tackles and 0.5 sacks.

Wynn was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has played in 34 regular-season games, with seven starts, for the Giants in his three years with the team. Wynn has a nice combination of size, strength, and overall athletic ability. Wynn is a better run defender than pass rusher as he lacks dynamic quickness on the outside pass rush. He is able to play defensive tackle in pass-rush situations.

ARTICLES…

Feb 152017
 
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Jonathan Casillas and Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants (September 18, 2016)

Jonathan Casillas and Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Ever since the New York Giants moved to the 4-3 defense in 1994, the team has largely de-emphasized the acquisition of linebackers in terms of premium resources. The last time the Giants drafted a linebacker in the 1st round was 1984 (Carl Banks). The last three linebackers drafted in the 2nd round were Clint Sintim (2009), Kanavis McGhee (1991), and Pepper Johnson (1986). From time to time, the Giants have spent big money on linebackers in free agency, including Michael Barrow (2000), Antonio Pierce (2005), and Michael Boley (2009). Not surprisingly, the overall play of the position has declined since its golden era of the 1980s, with the last linebackers to make the Pro Bowl being Pierce (2006) and Jessie Armstead (2001). Now annually, the team’s talent level at the position is usually considered sub-par and the defensive weak spot.

In 2016, of the defense’s three levels, the linebacking corps once again took a backseat to the defensive line and secondary. But while the linebackers were not a team strength, they did play at a more respectable level than their recent predecessors. This is a polite way of saying, “Well, at least the linebackers didn’t suck!”

The surprising headliner was Jonathan Casillas, who arguably had the best season of his career. Keenan Robinson stayed healthy and added more speed to the position. And Devon Kennard finally stayed healthy for a full 16 games. Overall, there weren’t many big plays from this group, but they did a respectable job on a defensive unit that improved from dead last in the NFL to 10th in terms of yardage allowed and 2nd in terms of points allowed.

THE STARTERS

Jonathan Casillas had his best season to date as a pro in 2016. Casillas played in every game, with 15 regular-season starts (72 percent of all defensive snaps), and finished the year with 96 tackles, 1.5 sacks, eight pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Casillas was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New Orleans Saints after the 2009 NFL Draft. He has played for the Saints (2009-11), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013-14), and Patriots (2014). The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2015. Casillas lacks ideal size and has issues against the run at times, but he is a good athlete with fine speed and performs well in coverage. Caillas does not make many impact plays and is not much of a blitzer (6.5 career sacks).

Keenan Robinson officially only started 6-of-16 regular-season games, but he was second in playing time on the team among all linebackers (71 percent of all defensive snaps). Robinson finished 2016 with 83 tackles and seven pass defenses. Robinson was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, where he missed time in 2012 (four games with right pectoral tear), 2013 (entire season with left pectoral tear), 2014 (three games with a knee injury), and 2015 (four games with a shoulder injury). The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2016. Robinson has decent size and is a good athlete who runs well. Versatile, he can play inside and outside linebacker. Robinson is more of a run-and-hit linebacker than stout run defender at the point-of-attack. Robinson is solid in pass coverage. He only has 1.5 career sacks and has been injury prone. Robinson does not make many impact plays.

Devon Kennard played in every game with nine regular-season starts, playing in 47 percent of all defensive snaps. He finished 2016 with 61 tackles, one sack, one pass defense, and one forced fumble. Kennard was drafted in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Giants. He missed playing time in 2014 (four games with hamstring and toe injuries) and 2015 (seven games with hamstring and foot injuries). Kennard is a big, strong linebacker who is a bit of a DE/LB ‘tweener. In fact, the Giants will use him at defensive end in pass rush situations. Kennard plays the run well and can get heat on the quarterback, but he is not as strong in coverage. To date, he has not put up big numbers or made many big plays. Kennard has been somewhat injury prone.

While Kelvin Sheppard started 11-of-16 regular-season games at middle linebacker in 2016, he only received 39 percent of defensive snaps. Sheppard finished the year with 50 tackles and two pass defenses. Sheppard was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in April 2013 and signed with the Dolphins in September 2014 and Giants in April 2016. Sheppard is more of a two-down linebacker who plays the run better than the pass. While he has good size, Sheppard lacks ideal overall athletic ability. Sheppard does not make many big plays.

THE RESERVES

B.J. Goodson was drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played in 15 regular-season games with no starts, playing in one percent of defensive snaps. Goodson finished his rookie season with nine tackles and one forced fumble. Goodson is a big, strong, physical linebacker who plays the run better than the pass. He is a big hitter and good tackler. To become a complete player, Goodson has to improve his pass coverage. Goodson lacks ideal speed and agility.

Mark Herzlich remains primarily a reserve linebacker and special teams player who occasionally is called upon to play on defense (one percent of defensive snaps in 2016). Herzlich played in 14 regular-season games, missing two with a concussion. He finished with seven tackles on defense. Herzlich was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. He has started 17 regular-season games in his six seasons with the Giants, eight of which were in 2014. Herzlich has very good size but is a sub-par athlete for the position. He is a good run defender, but struggles in coverage and is not much of a blitzer. Herzlich is a good special teams player.

Deontae Skinner was added to and released from the Practice Squad multiple times in 2016. He also was signed to the 53-man roster in October and again in December. Skinner played in four games in 2016 and was credited with five tackles. Skinner was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Patriots (2014-2015) and Eagles (2015-2016). Skinner is a big, instinctive linebacker with decent agility but who lacks speed.

Ishaq Williams was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2016 and the 53-man roster in December 2016. He did not play in any games. The Giants originally signed Williams after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2016 mini-camp. Williams had been out of football since 2013 after being implicated in an academic dishonesty scandal at Notre Dame. Williams has a nice combination of size and overall athletic ability.

INJURED RESERVE

The Giants placed J.T. Thomas on Injured Reserve in September 2016 after he suffered ligament damage to his left knee in the regular-season opener. Thomas was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. The Bears waived him in August 2013 and he was claimed off of waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Giants signed Thomas in March 2015. In 2015 with the Giants, Thomas played in 12 games with 11 starts, missing four games with an ankle injury. Thomas lacks ideal size, but he is a good athlete who runs well. Versatile, Thomas can play all three linebacker positions. However, he does not many impact plays and is better suited as a reserve. Thomas is a good special teams player.

Jan 182017
 
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Khaled Holmes, Indianapolis Colts (December 13, 2015)

Khaled Holmes – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN CENTER KHALED HOLMES…
The New York Giants have signed center Khaled Holmes to a reserve/future contract. The 26-year old Holmes was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. In three seasons with the Colts, Holmes played in 17 regular-season games with nine starts. The Colts waived him in May 2016. He then spent a couple of weeks with the Chicago Bears before being waived in the final cuts. Holmes has a nice combination of size, arm length, and agility. Lacking power and strength, he is more of a positional blocker.

ARTICLES…