Jan 222021
 
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Darius Slayton, New York Giants (September 14, 2020)

Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the single most disappointing unit on the New York Giants in 2020 was the wide receivers. Leading up to the season, there was much fan debate about just how good this group would be in 2020. The optimists pointed to Darius Slayton’s impressive 8-touchdown rookie season in which he averaged over 15 yards per catch. As long as he could stay healthy, Sterling Shepard had proven to be a reliable slot receiver who could move the chains. And despite missing four games due to a PED suspension and another due to a concussion, Golden Tate had gained 676 yards and six touchdowns in just 11 games in 2019. On the other hand, the naysayers claimed this group was way overrated. Most agreed that quality depth was non-existent.

The naysayers were right and the optimists were wrong. Slayton had a season to forget. He dropped six passes and saw his touchdown total fall to three (two of which came in the opener). Worse, Slayton all but disappeared from the offense for long stretches, catching only 12 passes for 167 yards and no touchdowns after the bye week. Shepard missed a quarter of the season with yet another injury, a turf toe that likely nagged him much of the year. While he led the team in receptions, Shepard only scored three touchdowns and averaged less than 10 yards per catch. Tate was most disappointing of all. He missed a quarter of the season (three to injuries and one for disciplinary reasons), and finished with just 388 yards receiving. No other wide receiver caught more than 11 passes. And as a unit, this group only scored an embarrassing nine touchdowns. NINE!

So what happened? It’s likely that the absence of Saquon Barkley from the line-up had a dramatic impact on the rest of the offense. Opposing defenses no longer had to worry about Barkley as a runner and receiver, someone who often received double-team and/or special attention. Teams could now spend more resources on defending Slayton, Shepard, or tight end Evan Engram. Golden Tate’s play fell off dramatically and he is clearly nearing the end of his career. Shepard (again) missed significant time due injury and Slayton was also dealing with a foot issue. Whatever the reasons, the top three receivers rarely created much separation from defensive backs. Every throw always seemed to be contested. And with no depth, the coaching staff had few replacement options. In the end, this group simply proved to be a bottom tier group, perhaps even the worst in the NFL.

THE STARTERS

In his fifth NFL season, Sterling Shepard caught a career-high and team-leading 66 passes, but 2020 represented yet another somewhat disappointing campaign. Shepard has now missed significant time due to injury in three seasons, spending four games on Injured Reserve in 2020 with a turf toe injury that he suffered in Week 2. He finished the year with just 656 yards (a career-low 9.9 yards per catch) and three touchdowns. Shepard was selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Giants. Shepard started all 16 games in 2016 and 2018, but missed five games in 2017 and six games in 2019, the latter with two serious concussions. He has never come close to cracking the 1,000-yard mark in a single season or duplicating his 8-touchdown season of his rookie campaign (he now has 20 career touchdowns). Shepard lacks ideal size and speed, but he is a fluid athlete with good quickness. Shepard runs good routes, is tough going over the middle, and adjusts well to the football. Shepard is not a consistent deep threat, but more of a move-the-chains underneath target who is ideally suited for the slot position. He needs to make more big plays. Good blocker.

After an impressive rookie season, Darius Slayton did not play as well in 2020. He played in all 16 games, starting 15, and finished the year with 50 catches for 751 yards and three touchdowns. While his reception and yardage numbers were similar to his rookie season, he played in two fewer games in 2019 while scoring eight touchdowns. Slayton also was second on the team in dropped passes with six in 2020. A nagging foot injury could have been an issue for him. The Giants drafted Slayton in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He combines good size with very good overall athleticism and speed. Slayton can stretch the field and get deep. He runs good routes, adjusts well to the football, and is dangerous after the catch. To reach the next level, he must become a more physical receiver, including beating press coverage, and more consistent catching the football.

The play of Golden Tate really fell off a cliff in 2020. He missed three games to various leg injuries and was benched another game for disciplinary reasons. Yet despite playing in one more game than he did in 2019, Tate’s reception figures fell from 49 to 35, his yardage figures fell from 676 to 388, and his touchdown figures fell from six to two. The 5’10”, 197-pound Tate was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He has spent time with the Seahawks (2010-2013), Detroit Lions (2014-2018), and Philadelphia Eagles (2018). He made the Pro Bowl in 2014.  The Giants signed Tate as an unrestricted free agent from the Eagles in March 2019. In his first season with the Giants, Tate missed five games (four due to suspension and one due to a concussion). Tate is ideally suited for the slot position, but he appears to be slowing down. He is capable of making the tough catch in traffic and can be dangerous after the catch. Tate has a history of wearing out his welcome with teams in the NFL.

THE RESERVES

The Giants claimed C.J. Board off of waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars in August 2020. He surprisingly played in 14 games, including four starts, but only finished with 11 catches for 101 yards and no touchdowns. The 6’1”, 181-pound Board was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Baltimore Ravens after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Ravens (2017), Tennessee Titans (2017), Cleveland Browns (2017-2018), and Jaguars (2018-2019). Before coming to the Giants, his only regular-season experience came in 2019 when his played in four games for the Jaguars and finished the year with just two catches for 31 yards.

The Giants signed Austin Mack as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. He played in 11 games as a rookie with one start, finishing the year with just seven catches for 91 yards and no touchdowns. Mack is a muscular wideout with good size, but he lacks ideal speed and quickness. Strictly a possession-type receiver, Mack is capable of making the tough grab in traffic.

The Giants claimed Dante Pettis off of waivers from the San Francisco 49ers in early November 2020. He played in the final two games of the season for the Giants, catching four passes for 76 yards and one touchdown. The 6’1”, 195-pound Pettis was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the 49ers. He has played in 30 regular-season games, with 12 starts. Pettis has experience returning kickoffs and punts. He’s a good athlete who has struggled with some of the mental aspects of the game.

The Giants claimed Damion Ratley off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns in early September 2020 and cut him in October. He ended up playing in five games, catching four passes for 63 yards. The 6’2”, 200-pound Ratley was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Browns. In 2018-2019, Ratley played in 26 regular-season games with six starts, accruing 25 catches for 344 yards and one touchdown.

PRACTICE SQUAD

The 6’0”, 190-pound Alex Bachman was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Los Angeles Rams after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Rams cut him before the season started and the Giants signed him to their Practice Squad in November 2019. Bachman began the 2020 season on the Giants’ Practice Squad, was cut, and then re-sign to the Practice Squad again. Bachman is an average-sized receiver with good quickness.

The Giants signed Derrick Dillon to a future/reserve contract in January 2021. The 5’11”, 185-pound Dillon was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent much of the season on the team’s Practice Squad, but was cut in early December. Dillon is a smaller, speedy wide receiver with limited collegiate production.

The Giants signed Binjimen Victor as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent the entire season on the team’s Practice Squad but was signed by the Baltimore Ravens in January 2021.

The Giants signed Corey Coleman to the Practice Squad in late October 2020 and cut him a month late in late November. The 5’11”, 185-pound Coleman was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. The Giants signed Coleman to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018. He ended up playing in eight games with one start, finishing with five catches for 71 yards. Coleman missed all of 2019 with a torn ACL knee injury. The Giants cut him in early September 2020. The NFL just announced Coleman will be suspended for six games in 2021 for a PED violation.

The Giants signed Johnny Holton in early September 2020. He spent a month on the Practice Squad before being cut in October. The 6’3”, 190-pound Holton was originally signed by the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft.

INJURED RESERVE

Cody Core was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2020 after tearing his Achilles during a training camp practice. While Core only had three catches for 28 yards in 2019, he was arguably the team’s best special teams player, excelling on punt coverage. He was credited with eight tackles and was a big factor in downing punts inside the 20-yard line. The 6’3”, 205-pound Core was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. In three seasons with the Bengals, he played in 35 regular-season games with seven starts, accumulating 30 catches for 360 yards and one touchdown. The Giants claimed  Core off of waivers from the Bengals in September 2019.

David Sills was placed on Injured Reserve before the season started in early September with a broken right foot. The 6’3”, 211-pound Sills was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Buffalo Bills after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants signed Sills to the Practice Squad in September 2019 after he was cut by the Bills. The Giants then signed him to the 53-man roster in mid-December 2019. He did not play in a game however.

COVID-19 OPT-OUT

Da’Mari Scott opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the COVID-19 issue. The Giants claimed Scott off of waivers from the Buffalo Bills in July 2019. They waived him in August but Scott spent time on both the team’s Practice Squad and 53-man roster during the season. In all, Scott played in five games with two starts. He finished the year with just two catches for 22 yards. He also returned four kickoffs (27.5 yards per return) and six punts (5.3 yards per return). The 6’0”, 205-pound Scott was originally signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns waived him in December 2018 and he was then signed by the Bills.

Nov 252020
 
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Xavier McKinney, New York Giants (November 23, 2020)

Xavier McKinney – Courtesy of New York Giants

NOVEMBER 25, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
CB James Bradberry (family matter) did not practice on Wednesday. WR Sterling Shepard (hip/toe) was limited in practice. OG Kevin Zeitler (concussion) fully practiced.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart to the Practice Squad. To make room for Griffin-Stewart, the Giants terminated the Practice Squad contract of wide receiver Corey Coleman.

The 24-year old, 6’5”, 260-pound Griffin-Stewart is a rookie free agent who spent some time with the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers in 2020. The Giants signed Coleman to the Practice Squad in late October. Coleman was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. The Giants signed Coleman to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018. He ended up playing in eight games with one start. Coleman missed all of 2019 with a torn ACL knee injury.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the Giants on Thanksgiving. The New York Giants practice on Friday afternoon (12:20-1:45PM). Head Coach Joe Judge, the team’s coordinators, and select players will also address the media.

Oct 272020
 
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Corey Coleman, New York Giants (November 18, 2018)

Corey Coleman – © USA TODAY Sports

OCTOBER 27, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Although an official injury report was not issued, RB Devonta Freeman (ankle) and WR C.J. Board (concussion) did not practice on Tuesday.

CB Darnay Holmes (neck) and S Adrian Colbert (shoulder) were limited, wearing red non-contact jerseys.

CB Brandon Williams , who was placed on Injured Reserve in late September with a groin injury, returned to practice. Williams was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Williams played in 45 regular-season games with three starts, accruing 38 tackles and five pass defenses. He missed all of 2019 with a shoulder injury. The Giants signed him in late August 2020 and he played in two games for the team in September. He is primarily a special teams player.

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The Giants have signed linebacker Trent Harris from the team’s Practice Squad to the 53-man roster. Harris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Practice Squad of the Patriots. The Miami Dolphins claimed Harris off of waivers in September 2019. He played in 11 games with three starts with the Dolphins, accruing 20 tackles and 1.5 sacks. The Dolphins cut him in early September 2020 and the Giants signed him to the Practice Squad on October 14th.

The Giants also terminated the Practice Squad contract of center Javon Patterson, who was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2019 NFL  Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts waived him on September 5th.

The Giants re-signed wide receiver Corey Coleman, tight end Rysen John, and safety Montre Hartage to the Practice Squad.

Coleman was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He had brief stints with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots in 2018 before signing with the Giants in October of that year. The Giants placed Corey Coleman on Injured Reserve in July 2019 with a torn ACL knee injury and cut him in early September 2020.

John and Hartage were waived/injured in early September with hamstring injuries. John was an undrafted rookie free agent signed by the Giants after the 2020 NFL Draft. Hartage originally signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft and the Giants claimed him off of waivers in April 2020.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on Giants.com.

Coach Judge also broke down game film for fans. See video on YouTube.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Wednesday and return to practice on Thursday. The assistant coaches will be available to the media on Wednesday.

Sep 062020
 
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Adrian Colbert, Miami Dolphins (December 1, 2019)

Adrian Colbert – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS CLAIM THREE PLAYERS OFF OF WAIVERS…
The New York Giants have claimed the following players off of waivers:

  • WR Damion Ratley (from Cleveland Browns)
  • OT Jackson Barton (from Kansas City Chiefs)
  • S/CB Adrian Colbert (from Kansas City Chiefs)

The 25-year old, 6’2”, 200-pound Ratley was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Browns. In 2018-2019, Ratley played in 26 regular-season games with six starts, accruing 25 catches for 344 yards and one touchdown.

The 25-year old, 6’7”, 302-pound Barton was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. The Chiefs signed him off of the Colts’ Practice Squad in 2019. Barton has not played in an NFL game.

The 26-year old, 6’2”, 205-pound Colbert was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Colbert has spent time with the 49ers (2017-2019), Seattle Seahawks (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Chiefs (2020). He has played in 27 regular-season games with 17 starts, accruing 74 tackles and eight pass defenses. Colbert has also played cornerback and is a good gunner on special teams.

To make room for these three players, the Giants released wide receiver Corey Coleman and offensive lineman Chad Slade, and waived safety Sean Chandler.

The Giants signed Coleman to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018. He missed all of 2019 with a torn ACL knee injury. The team signed Slade to a reserve/futures contract in January 2019. The Giants originally signed Chandler as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft.

GIANTS PLACE XAVIER McKINNEY AND DAVID MAYO ON INJURED RESERVE…
As expected, the New York Giants have placed safety Xavier McKinney (fractured left foot) and inside linebacker David Mayo (torn meniscus in his left knee) on Injured Reserve. Both players recently underwent surgery. Both are also eligible to return to the 53-man roster this year once healthy.

To fill their roster spots, the Giants re-signed tight end Eric Tomlinson and cornerback Brandon Williams. Both were with the Giants in training camp this summer and both were cut by the team on Saturday. The Giants signed Tomlinson as an unrestricted free agent from the Las Vegas Raiders in March 2020. The team signed  Williams in late August 2020.

GIANTS SIGN 14 PLAYERS TO THE PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have signed the following players to the team’s Practice Squad:

  • QB Cooper Rush
  • RB Sandro Platzgummer
  • WR Johnny Holton
  • WR Alex Bachman
  • WR Derrick Dillon
  • WR Austin Mack
  • WR Binjimen Victor
  • OL Tyler Haycraft
  • OL Kyle Murphy
  • DL Niko Lalos
  • CB Jarren Williams
  • S/CB Chris Williamson
  • P/PK Ryan Santoso
  • LS Carson Tinker

All of the players except for Santoso were with the team in training camp.

The 25-year old, 6’5”, 258-pound Santoso was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Detroit Lions after the 2018 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Lions (2018-2019), Tennessee Titans (2019), and Montreal Alouettes (2019 and 2020). He has not punted or kicked in NFL games other than being used as a kickoff specialist with Titans in 2019.

The Giants receive an exemption for Platzgummer because they were one of four teams chosen to carry an additional overseas player on their Practice Squad in 2020 as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. However, Platzgummer is ineligible to join the active roster this season.

The Giants have three open slots remaining on their Practice Squad. Although not officially signed, according to media reports, the Giants also intend to sign cornerback Ryan Lewis to the Practice Squad.

The 26-year old, 6’0”, 195-pound Lewis was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017), New England Patriots (2017-2018), Buffalo Bills (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Washington Football Team (2020). Lewis has played in 20 NFL regular-season games with two starts, accruing 43 tackles, eight pass defenses, and one interception.

NOTES…
Linebacker Ryan Connelly, who the Giants cut on Saturday, was claimed off of waivers by the Minnesota Vikings. In addition, defensive lineman Chris Slayton was signed to the Buffalo Bills’ Practice Squad while offensive lineman Eric Smith was signed to the Dallas Cowboys’ Practice Squad.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Sunday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on Giants.com.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Monday.

 

Aug 202020
 
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David Sills and Grant Haley, New York Giants (August 18, 2020)

David Sills and Grant Haley – Courtesy of New York Giants

AUGUST 20, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media and team sources:

  • Right guard Kevin Zeitler, offensive guard Shane Lemieux, and linebacker Tae Crowder had to run penalty laps.
  • Giants ran the physical 1-on-1 full-contact drills again. In these drills, linebacker David Mayo, linebacker Ryan Connelly, and safety Jaquarius Landrews had some good pops.
  • Linebacker Blake Martinez beat running back Saquon Barkley in a pass blocking drill; Barkley handled Martinez on the next attempt.
  • Wide receiver Golden Tate was tough to cover in 1-on-1 drills.
  • Also in 1-on-1 drills, wide receiver C.J. Board beat cornerback James Bradberry deep.
  • A lot of touches in both the running and passing game for running back Saquon Barkley.
  • Running back Dion Lewis impressed with his speed, quickness, and burst on a few runs. Lewis also looked good picking up a blitz from linebacker David Mayo.
  • On one of Lewis’ big runs, tight end Evan Engram and left tackle Andrew Thomas made good blocks.
  • Linebacker Cam Brown showed good hustle on an outside run.
  • Place kicker Graham Gano was 6-of-6 on field goal attempts.
  • Wide receivers Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton returned punts.
  • In 1-on-1 coverage drills, safety Xavier McKinney broke up a couple of passes. He also later had a good hit on wide receiver Darius Slayton.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, quarterback Daniel Jones threw a perfect pass over the middle through a tight window to running back Saquon Barkley with safety Jabrill Peppers in coverage.
  • Cornerback James Bradberry blanketed wide receiver Darius Slayton on a deep sideline pass.
  • Tight end Rysen John made a spinning, 1-handed catch of a pass from quarterback Colt McCoy.
  • Safety Julian Love intercepted a pass from quarterback Daniel Jones over the middle that bounced off of the intended receiver’s hands.
  • Wide receiver Binjimen Victor had a potential touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones sail through his hands, but Victor caught a touchdown pass from Jones on the very next snap.
  • Quarterback Colt McCoy threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver David Sills over cornerback Grant Haley. McCoy also had a nice connection with wide receiver Austin Mack.
  • Defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams clogged the line of scrimmage on a couple of running back Saquon Barkley carries.
  • Linebacker Carter Coughlin filled the hole nicely to tackle running back Saquon Barkley. Coughlin and linebacker Tae Crowder got into the backfield on a couple of blitzes.
  • Running back Wayne Gallman made a nice cut in the hole on a running play.
  • Wide receiver Alex Bachman made a nice move against cornerback Dravon Askew-Henry. Askew-Henry also tipped a pass that was caught by wide receiver Austin Mack.
  • Running back Saquon Barkley juked out linebacker Ryan Connelly in coverage.
  • Cornerback Jarren Williams saw his reps increased.
  • Cornerback Darnay Holmes broke up a pass.
  • A 24-minute video peek at today’s action is available on YouTube.

INJURY REPORT…
Everyone not on the various reserve lists practiced.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at YouTube.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants hold an intra-squad scrimmage on Friday (10:45AM-12:45PM), with Head Coach Joe Judge and select players also addressing the media after the scrimmage. The players are off on Saturday.

Jun 222020
 
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Nate Ebner, New England Patriots (February 3, 2019)

Nate Ebner – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp hopefully 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. Keep in mind that some of the players discussed may be cut as the 2020 NFL draft class signs their rookie contracts.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Special Teams

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW: For the second year in a row, the New York Giants special teams unit was arguably the strongest part of the team. The Giants were tied for 3rd in the NFL in punt returns (9.8 yards per return) and 10th in kickoff returns (23.5 yards per return). The Giants were 6th in the NFL in covering punts (5.67 yards per opponent return) and 1st in covering kickoffs (18.05 yards per opponent return). Cody Core (8 tackles) and Michael Thomas (7 tackles) were particularly active in covering punts and kicks. For the second year in a row, the Giants did not return a punt or kick for a touchdown and they did not allow a punt or kick to be returned against them for a touchdown. The Giants did block a punt for a touchdown.

The return game was by handled by committee. Golden Tate, T.J. Jones, Da’Mari Scott, and Jabrill Peppers returned punts while Cody Latimer, Corey Ballentine, Darius Slayton, and Da’Mari Scott returned kicks. Jones was cut during the season.

Punter Riley Dixon had a solid season, averaging 46.1 yards per punt (13th in the NFL) and 42.3 net yards per punt (9th in the NFL), with 29 of his punts being downed inside the 20-yard line. However, two of his punts were blocked.

After a stellar sophomore pro season in 2018, place kicker Aldrick Rosas regressed in 2019. Rosas was 12-of-17 (70.6 percent) on field goal attempts and missed four of his 39 extra point attempts (89.7 percent). Seventy percent of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. In 2018, Rosas made the Pro Bowl after making 32-of-33 field goal attempts, including a team-record 57 yarder.

The Giants placed long-time long snapper Zak DeOssie on Injured Reserve in late November 2019 with knee and wrist issues. He was replaced by Colin Holba for the last five games.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: It appears Zak DeOssie’s tenure with the Giants is over as he remains an unsigned unrestricted free agent. Colin Holba was cut in late April. The Giants signed long-snapper Casey Kreiter as an unrestricted free agent from the Denver Broncos in April.

Special teamers Cody Latimer (Washington Redskins), Michael Thomas (Houston Texans), and Antonio Hamilton (Kansas City Chiefs) signed elsewhere while the Giants added special teams ace Nate Ebner (New England Patriots). The Giants also drafted and signed a bunch of rookie linebackers and defensive backs who could significantly contribute on special teams.

Aldrick Rosas (1-year, $3.259 million), Cody Core (2-years, $4 million), and Corey Coleman (1-year, $1.1 million) were re-signed in the offseason.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: After John Harbaugh in Baltimore, Joe Judge became the second special teams coordinator in NFL history to make the jump directly to head coach. And almost all of Judge’s coaching experience is limited to special teams. Obviously, his heart and soul will likely remain with that part of the team and it will be interesting to see what kind of impact he has on the unit. Judge rewarded Thomas McGaughey for his solid work as special teams coordinator under Pat Shurmur by retaining him in the same position. Tom Quinn, who has been with the Giants since 2006, was also kept on as assistant special teams coach. McGaughey’s other assistant, Anthony Blevins, was moved to assistant defensive backs coach.

A major wrench was thrown into things when Aldrick Rosas, currently the only place kicker on the roster, was arrested in June for allegedly being involved in a hit-and-run accident and driving with a suspended license. Police also report Rosas was allegedly under the influence of alcohol at the time. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that Rosas was arrested in 2016 for also driving under the influence. At best, Rosas is likely facing suspension from the NFL. At worst, he could receive jail time and/or the team may simply decide to let him go. The Giants had just re-signed him to a 1-year, $3.259 million contract as a restricted free agent.

Once again, the Giants do not have a clear-cut favorite to return punts and kickoffs. Potential candidates include WR Golden Tate, WR Darius Slayton, WR Corey Coleman, WR Da’Mari Scott, WR Alex Bachman, RB Dion Lewis, RB Javon Leake, CB Darnay Holmes, CB Corey Ballentine, and S Jabrill Peppers. The Giants could also try WR Derrick Dillon as a returner.

In the punt and kick coverage department, the Giants gave Nate Ebner a 1-year, $2 million contract simply to play special teams. Cody Core’s stellar special teams play in 2019 was reminiscent of past Giants special teams studs Reyna Thompson, Larry Flowers, and David Tyree. It will be interesting to see if he can replicate and even improve on his gunner skills.

ON THE BUBBLE: Aldrick Rosas. What a dumbass!

PREDICTIONS: Don’t discount the impact special teams can have on the win-loss record. Thomas McGaughey has done a fine job with this unit the past two years, but Joe Judge was so impressive as a young special teams coordinator that he is now the head coach of one of the NFL’s flagship franchises. A stellar special teams unit can turn a 6-10 team into a 10-6 team with timely blocked punts/kicks, big returns, winning the field position war, and the kicking game.

Even though on the surface CB Deandre Baker’s legal charges are far more serious, I think Aldrick Rosas’ roster spot with the Giants is in more jeopardy. Even in the best-case scenario, I have a hard time seeing Rosas avoiding a 4-game suspension. The NFL’s policy on “substances of abuse” includes alcohol-related incidents. If that is the case, he won’t begin the season on the 53-man roster. Do the Giants use a roster spot on him in training camp? Rosas may just have kissed $3 million goodbye.

Trying to predict who will be the primary kick and punt returners in June from among the existing list of candidates is probably an exercise in futility. But I’m going to guess Corey Coleman is the kickoff returner and Golden Tate and Darnay Holmes will split the punt return duties.

Keep an eye on Cody Core. He deserved more attention than he received last year for his special teams play. Also, the Giants added seven rookie linebackers and six rookie defensive backs. Not all of them will make the team, but many of them could form the core of the specials units.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Barring some unforeseen event, Riley Dixon will be the punter and Casey Kreiter the long-snapper. I already predicted in my wide receiver overview that Corey Coleman will make the team; if so, he has a good shot to be the kickoff returner. Golden Tate and Darnay Holmes are the obvious candidates to return punts. It’s pretty obvious that Nate Ebner was signed by Judge to lead this entire unit.

I don’t think the team’s opening-day place kicker is on the roster. I think Rosas will be suspended and may not even be a New York Giant. It depends on whether the team wants to wait out the likely suspension.

May 192020
 
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Darius Slayton, New York Giants (December 9, 2019)

Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp hopefully 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. Keep in mind that some of the players discussed may be cut as the 2020 NFL draft class signs their rookie contracts.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Wide Receivers

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW: Perhaps the biggest offseason NFL story in 2019 was the trade of Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Cleveland Browns in March. While the Giants received what now appears to be more-than-adequate compensation (1st- and 3rd-round draft picks and safety Jabrill Peppers), the trade left the Giants without a clearcut #1 wide receiver who could consistently threaten opposing defenses down the field. In addition, the Giants were now very thin and top heavy at the position, with only newly-acquired Golden Tate and yet-to-breakout Sterling Shepard as headliners.

Things got even dicier early when Tate (49 catches, 676 yards, 6 TDs) was suspended for the first four games of the season for the use of performance-enhancing substances. Shepard (57 catches, 576 yards, 3 TDs) then missed six games (Week 2, Weeks 6-10) with concussions. Evan Engram (44 catches, 467 yards, 3 TDs), a hybrid tight end/wide receiver, also missed eight games (Week 6, Weeks 10-17) with knee and foot issues. Former Browns 1st rounder Corey Coleman was lost in July with a torn ACL.

Long story short was that the Giants were forced to rely on guys like perennial tease Cody Latimer (24 catches, 300 yards, 2 TDs) and no-name journeymen such as Bennie Fowler (23 catches, 193 yards), T.J. Jones (3 catches), Cody Core (3 catches), Russell Shepard (3 catches), and Da’Mari Scott (2 catches). David Sills spent the bulk of the season on the Practice Squad until mid-December but he did not have a catch.

Thank goodness for 5th-round steal Darius Slayton, who had a surprisingly productive rookie season, playing in 14 games with nine starts, and finishing with 48 catches for a team-leading 740 yards (team-leading 15.4 yards per catch) and a team-leading eight touchdowns.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants cut Fowler and Jones during the 2019 season and chose not to re-sign Latimer and Russell Shepard in free agency. The team did re-sign Coleman and Core in free agency, as well as re-sign practice squader Alex Bachman.

Surprisingly, the Giants did not sign any free agents from other teams and did not draft a receiver in what was widely-regarded as a very deep wide receiver draft. The only newcomers are undrafted rookie free agents Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack, and Derrick Dillon.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The main question is do the Giants have enough receiving targets who can stay healthy and scare opposing defenses? On paper, the Giants are pretty much in the same boat as they were at this time last year, having to rely on Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Evan Engram to stay on the field and be consistently productive. The one significant change is the emergence of Darius Slayton. Was 2019 a flash in the pan for the rookie Slayton or the start of something even better? Will he experience the dreaded “sophomore slump”? Tate proved he can still play, but the Giants are his fourth NFL team and it will be interesting to see how he interacts with Joe Judge. The big concern is Shepard’s career-threatening concussion history. How much more will he be able to play?

Cody Core is a stud special teamer but only has 33 catches in four NFL seasons. It’s a bit surprising that Da’Mari Scott is even back. Sills and Bachman have already been cut by other teams. There was some hope last year that Corey Coleman could emerge, but now he’s coming off a torn ACL. Undrafted free agents Victor, Mack, and Dillon probably couldn’t have picked a better team to sign with. At least one has a reasonable shot of making the team. Unless someone really surprises, there is very little depth at this position.

ON THE BUBBLE: Slayton, Shepard, and Tate are the sure bets with Core having a great shot because of his special teams value. That leaves probably two or three spots for the rest, who are all on the bubble. Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge will be actively scanning the waiver wire.

PREDICTIONS: There are a lot of conflicting thoughts in my head when I consider the team’s situation at wide receiver. I grew up during a time when Phil Simms largely had a bunch of no-name scrubs and still got the job done. I also witnessed how the personal excellence of Odell Beckham had no impact on the overall W-L record. On the other hand, it’s hard to see Eli Manning winning two Super Bowls without the presence of Amani Toomer, Plaxico Burress, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham.

Personally, I don’t think the Giants have enough talent at the position. If everyone stays healthy, this could be a more-than-adequate unit, but the slot receiver Shepard is one big hit away from being done and he’s never come close to cracking the 1,000-yard mark. The hybrid Engram also can’t seem to stay on the field. I also could see the show-boating Tate rubbing Judge the wrong way. There will be a lot of pressure on Darius Slayton to perform and even improve upon his rookie season. It is a long shot to believe anyone else will be meaningfully productive.

I suspect wide receiver will be a top priority in free agency and the draft next offseason.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Darius Slayton, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Cody Core, Corey Coleman, Binjimen Victor

After my first four, the next two are my best guesses. Coleman has talent but is now on his fourth team and coming off an ACL. Still, he has the one thing you can’t teach: speed. Austin Mack is one of those receivers who is tough to cut, but I just don’t see an ability to separate in his game. Victor reminds me of a poor man’s Plaxico Burress. The 5th and 6th receivers may not be on the roster yet. Stay tuned.

Mar 232020
 
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Corey Coleman, New York Giants (November 18, 2018)

Corey Coleman – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN COREY COLEMAN…
ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent wide receiver Corey Coleman to a 1-year contract. The Giants placed Coleman on Injured Reserve in July 2019 with a torn ACL knee injury and he missed all of last season.

The 5’11”, 185-pound Coleman was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. An explosive athlete but an injury-plagued bust in Cleveland, Coleman has also had brief stints with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots in 2018.

The Giants signed Coleman to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018. He ended up playing in eight games with one start, finishing with five catches for 71 yards. Coleman’s primary contribution came on special teams as as kickoff returner (averaging 26 yards on 23 returns). In all, Coleman has played in 27 NFL games with 19 starts, accruing 61 catches for 789 yards and five touchdowns.

For a complete list of the Giants’ free agent activity, see the New York Giants 2020 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Jul 272019
 
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Golden Tate, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Golden Tate – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 27, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their third full-team summer training camp practice on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

GOLDEN TATE FACING 4-GAME SUSPENSION…
It was revealed on Saturday that New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate is appealing a 4-game suspension for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing (PED) Substance policy. His appeal is currently scheduled to be heard during the first week of August. If Tate loses the appeal, he will miss the first four games of the regular-season. He will be able to continue to practice with the team this summer and play in the preseason.

Tate issued the following statement on Saturday:

       This past April, during the off-season, my wife and I decided to see a specialist for fertility planning. I started the treatment prescribed to me and just days later I discovered it contained an ingredient that is on the league’s banned substance list. I immediately discontinued use, I reported the situation to the Independent Administrator of the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances, and I spoke with my coaches and general manager. I did all of this well before a failed test was even confirmed.

Per NFL protocol, an initial suspension was imminent, but myself and the Giants organization are confident in the fact, and eagerly await my appeal to put this behind us.

During the entirety of my 10 year career I have taken great pride in playing this game the right way, have been an ambassador for the NFL and have never had any issues with the league’s policy. The treatment this past April had no effect on the upcoming season, and I did not, and could not have undergone this treatment in April for any competitive advantage. I deeply appreciate the support from the New York Giants Organization, and will continue to hold the highest level of character and integrity, while being a leader in the locker room.

In respect to the team and my teammates I won’t be speaking on this again until after the appeal. I’m focusing on football, and will not let this be a distraction.

“I think he’s going to have an appeal,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur before practice on Saturday. “I think he released a statement, so I really have nothing to add to that. We’ll just see what happens with it… When this situation arose, he’s been very honest with us.”

GIANTS SIGN AMBA ETTA-TAWO AND T.J. JONES…
The New York Giants have signed wide receivers Amba Etta-Tawo and T.J. Jones. To make room on the roster, the team placed wide receiver Corey Coleman on Injured Reserve and cut place kicker Joey Slye.

The 6’1”, 208-pound Etta-Tawo was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time on the Practice Squads of the Jaguars (2017), Kansas City Chiefs (2017), Giants (2017-2018), and Houston Texans (2018). Etta-Tawo also played for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football in 2019.

The 6’0”, 190-pound Jones was originally drafted in the 6th-round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. In four seasons with the Lions, Jones played in 42 regular-season games with nine starts, catching 64 passes for 814 yards and four touchdowns. Jones also has experience returning both kickoffs and punts.

Coleman tore an ACL in one of his knees on Thursday. Coleman was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. An explosive athlete but an injury-plagued bust in Cleveland, Coleman has also had brief stints with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots in 2018. The Giants signed Coleman to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018. He ended up playing in eight games with one start, finishing with five catches for 71 yards. Coleman’s primary contribution came on special teams as as kickoff returner (averaging 26 yards on 23 returns).

The Giants signed and waived Slye in May 2019, and then re-signed him in July 2019. Slye graduated from Virginia Tech and did not play pro football in 2018. As a senior, he converted on 15-of-22 field goal attempts (68 percent) and 37-of-37 extra point attempts.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receivers Darius Slayton (hamstring), Brittan Golden (groin), and Alex Wesley (PUP List – unknown) did not practice on Saturday. Cornerbacks Sam Beal (groin) and Henre’ Toliver (unknown) also did not practice.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (fractured thumb) was limited to individual drills in practice, not catching any passes. “Hopefully in a couple weeks I get out of this deal (splint) and I will be able to catch the ball,” said Shepard on Saturday.

Linebacker Mark McLaurin (foot stepped on) left practice early.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The first-team wide receivers were Golden Tate, Cody Latimer, and Bennie Fowler.
  • Julian Love saw reps at second-team safety along with Michael Thomas. Julian Peppers and Antoine Bethea remained the first-team safeties.
  • RB Rod Smith cut back against the second-team defense for a decent gain.
  • DL Jake Ceresna broke through the third-string line to “sack” the quarterback.
  • WR Da’Mari Scott turned around CB Corey Ballentine for a deep catch over the middle on a pass from QB Alex Tanney.
  • DB Julian Love punched the ball out of TE Scott Simonson’s hands for a fumble that LB Kareem Martin recovered. Love then broke up a QB Daniel Jones to WR Russell Shepard.
  • George Asafo-Adjei received first-team reps at right tackle.
  • S Jabrill Peppers had a “sack” and tackle for a loss against RB Wayne Gallman.
  • CB Corey Ballentine picked off QB Kyle Lauletta on an obvious miscommunication between quarterback and receiver. Ballentine returned the interception for a touchdown.
  • Spencer Pulley received some first-team reps at center.
  • CB Grant Haley broke up a low pass from QB Eli Manning. Haley had a good day, playing both in the slot and outside.
  • In the red zone, S Antoine Bethea made a nice break-up on a pass from QB Eli Manning to RB Wayne Gallman.
  • LB Nate Stupar made a diving break-up of a QB Daniel Jones pass intended for RB Paul Perkins.
  • QB Daniel Jones was 8-of-13 with an impressive deep sideline throw to WR Alonzo Russell (Russell couldn’t get his second foot in-bounds). Jones has not thrown an interception at camp thus far. Jones also threw two touchdowns in the red zone, including one to TE Garrett Dickerson.
  • QB Eli Manning had a strong practice and connected a number of times with WR Golden Tate and WR Cody Latimer. Manning finished 10-of-14 with two touchdowns, including one to TE Evan Engram and another to Tate.
  • QB Kyle Lauletta threw two red zone touchdowns, one to TE C.J. Conrad and another to WR Russell Shepard.
  • DLs R.J. McIntosh and Dexter Lawrence were active.
  • LB Oshane Ximines received some first-team snaps.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’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:

Jul 262019
 
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Oshane Ximines and C.J. Conrad, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Oshane Ximines and C.J. Conrad – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 26, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their second full-team summer training camp practice on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT – COREY COLEMAN TEARS ACL…
Wide receivers Corey Coleman (knee), Darius Slayton (hamstring), and Alex Wesley (PUP List – unknown) did not practice on Friday. Neither did tight end Evan Engram (“managing his workload”).

The Giants announced that Coleman tore his ACL in practice on Thursday. “Corey Coleman unfortunately hurt his knee yesterday, so we’ll just have to see where it goes for him,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “I feel bad for the guy because he’s worked really hard… So most likely (he will be lost for the season)… He’ll go through the process. He’ll get second opinions and all that stuff… He was a guy that had a chance to be in there and compete to either start or have a role.”

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (fractured thumb) was limited in practice, not catching any passes. “(Shepard will) be back soon,” said Shurmur. “It’s the tip of his thumb. He’ll be out there running around today. I’m not concerned about that one at all… no surgery.”

Linebacker Markus Golden (cramps), cornerback Grant Haley (cramps), and wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin) left practice early.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • George Asafo-Adjei and Chad Wheeler received some first-team reps at offensive tackle.
  • S Michael Thomas sacked QB Daniel Jones on a blitz.
  • QB Daniel Jones started 5-of-6 during 11-on-11 drills.
  • CB Ronald Zamort made a nice diving break-up of a pass from QB Alex Tanney.
  • CB Grant Haley made a leaping interception off a QB Kyle Lauletta pass tipped by CB Corey Ballentine, who also tipped away another pass from QB Alex Tanney.
  • LB Tae Davis saw a lot of reps with the first-team nickel defense, along with LB Alec Ogletree.
  • LB Ryan Connelly, WR Reggie White Jr., and S Sean Chandler received praise from Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a nice deep pass to WR Russell Shepard, who made a fingertip grab for a touchdown, beating CB Julian Love. Jones finished 11-of-13 with eight straight completions.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a nice deep sideline pass to WR Golden Tate over CB Julian Love.
  • LB Oshane Ximines “sacked” QB Daniel Jones off a rollout.
  • WR Brittan Golden scored a long touchdown, but was injured on the play and left the field after being knocked over by CB Antonio Hamilton.
  • WR Russell Shepard had an active day catching the football from QB Daniel Jones.
  • LB Lorenzo Carter flashed in run defense (setting the edge) and as a blitzer (with a “sack”).
  • Julian Love saw reps at nickel corner with both the first- and second-teams. He also played safety with the second-team defense.

GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN…
The transcript of Dave Gettleman’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’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: