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…

Mar 272017
 
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John Mara, New York Giants (December 20, 2015)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JOHN MARA COMMENTS ON HIS TEAM…
New York Giants President and CEO John Mara spoke with reporters on Sunday at the NFL Annual meeting and addressed the following issues:

  • On offensive lineman Ereck Flowers: “I’m not giving up on Ereck Flowers yet. I know that seems to be the popular sentiment around, but this is a young kid who’s been in our weight room every day in the offseason — he wants to be good. He wants to be a top left tackle in this game. There’s a spot for him on our team. Hopefully it will continue to be at left tackle, but I’m not giving up on him yet, and I don’t think anyone on our staff is… I think he’s a very prideful guy, I think he was probably stung by some of the criticism and I think that will serve to motivate him next year He’s a good kid, he really is. He wants to be a top player in this league, and I think when you have a guy that’s going to work as hard as he does and is as big and strong as he is, I think you have a chance… I know he believes that he can play better, and we believe he can play better too. And we believe he will.”
  • On his team’s offensive decline: “Well, there were a lot of things. Our running game was not very good last year and I think that was the result of a lot of things. We tried to address that this offseason, I mean, bringing in (Rhett) Ellison, who’s a really good blocking tight end, that’s something we really haven’t had here for a while, that will help us. I think we still need to add another running back at some point in time. (Offensive lineman D.J.) Fluker will certainly help us as far as running the ball. There are a lot of guys who can play better than they did. I think adding (wide receiver) Brandon Marshall will help us too, because now it gives us that other threat out there. I certainly expect to see a better offense next year.”
  • On signing wide receiver Brandon Marshall: “…a spark to the entire organization, getting a player of that caliber. We were talking once the season ended about how it would really be nice to have a big receiver in here to complement our offense, and then all of a sudden he becomes available. I think that’s really going to help us. He’s got a great attitude and he wants to win, and I think he’ll be a good influence in the receiver room.”
  • On if Head Coach Ben McAdoo will continue to call the offensive plays: “That’s up to him, it really is. We’ve questioned him about it a couple of times, he’s still comfortable doing it. I think he still thinks about passing it off to Mike Sullivan, but I think he’s still — (Packers coach) Mike McCarthy still does it, and that was kind of his mentor. If he’s comfortable doing it, it’s fine with us, as long as he feels like he can manage the game properly.”
  • On McAdoo’s first year as a head coach: “You never know when you have a new coach. I think he adapted to it very well. I still think he’s still young, he still has more that he has to learn, as I’m sure he would be the first to tell you. But we were certainly very pleased with his first year. He hit the ground running and he did very well.”
  • On defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s 4-year, $62 million contract: “If we didn’t know him at all, I’d be a little more nervous, but I know how prideful he is and how hard he plays and how much he wants to win, so I feel comfortable with that. It’s always a risk when you pay that much money, but he always plays hard and wants to win so badly. I think he’s well worth it.”
  • On unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins: “There’s still one more piece out there that we’d like to keep, but we wanted to try to do that if possible without being irresponsible. I don’t know what’s going to happen. We certainly want him back, but it’s got to make sense for us. He’s an important part of our team, he’s a great kid, he’s young and he fits in very well with us.”
  • On his team’s overall status: “On the field, (2016) was partially successful. You’re never fully happy unless you get to the Super Bowl, but having not been in the playoffs four years in a row, you start to feel that pressure. And when you spend all that money (in free agency in 2016), you really feel that pressure. I was happy to be back in the playoffs. I was disappointed with how we played in Green Bay, but I think it gives us something to build on. We still have a pretty good young nucleus. We still have a quarterback who can play at a high level. I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

GIANTS STILL OFFERING MULTI-YEAR DEAL TO JOHNATHAN HANKINS…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants “continue to offer (unrestricted free agent defensive tackle) Johnathan Hankins a multi-year deal that stacks up well in this free agent market.” Hankins is the team’s last high profile free agent.

ARTICLES…

Mar 132017
 
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Will Johnson, New York Giants (June 6, 2016)

Will Johnson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS CUT WILL JOHNSON…
The New York Post, Newsday, and NJ.com are reporting that the New York Giants have released fullback/H-Back/tight end Will Johnson. The Giants signed Johnson to a 2-year, $2.3 million contract last offseason, but he missed the entire season with nerve damage to his deltoid muscle. Johnson’s 2017 cap hit would have been $1.275 million. The Giants will suffer $200,000 in dead money by cutting him before June 1st.

Johnson has indicated that the Giants may re-sign him to a cheaper contract.

The Giants signed Johnson as an unrestricted free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers in April 2016. Johnson was not drafted and signed with the Steelers in 2012. In four seasons with the Steelers, Johnson only missed one regular-season game, and started 20 contests. He has 31 career receptions for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson is versatile with the ability to play fullback, H-Back, and tight end. He is a good lead blocker who can also catch the football. Johnson is a solid special teams player.

D.J. FLUKER SIGNING OFFICIAL…
The New York Giants officially announced the signing of unrestricted free agent offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, who was released by the Los Angeles Chargers on Tuesday. The contract is reportedly a 1-year, $3 million deal.

“D.J. is a young, versatile big man with lots of starts in this league,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “He will bring size, toughness and competition to our offensive line unit.”

“I’m definitely looking forward to a new start,” said Fluker. “Hopefully, I can make a big impact on the offensive line. I think the Giants give me the best opportunity to be successful.”

Fluker was asked if he preferred play tackle or guard. “Wherever they want me to be successful and the team to be successful,” said Fluker. “They’ll move me around a little bit. Wherever they want to put me is fine.”

The 25-year old Fluker was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Chargers, Fluker has started 59 regular-season games, first at right tackle and then right guard. After a solid rookie season in 2013, Fluker has struggled since and was cut by the Chargers in March 2017. Fluker has excellent size (6’5”, 339 pounds) and strength, but he has struggled in pass protection. Tough, he’s played through injuries but has had issues with the cerebral elements of the game such as picking up stunts.

ARTICLES…

Mar 112017
 
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D.J. Fluker, San Diego Chargers (October 2, 2016)

D.J. Fluker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YOIRK GIANTS SIGN OFFENSIVE LINEMAN D.J. FLUKER…
According to multiple media reports, the New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent offensive lineman D.J. Fluker. The contract is supposedly a 1-year, $3 million deal. Fluker was cut by the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this week.

The 25-year old Fluker was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Chargers, Fluker has started 59 regular-season games, first at right tackle and then right guard. After a solid rookie season in 2013, Fluker has struggled since and was cut by the Chargers in March 2017. Fluker has excellent size (6’5”, 339 pounds) and strength, but he has struggled in pass protection. Tough, he’s played through injuries but has had issues with the cerebral elements of the game such as picking up stunts.

Mar 112017
 
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Geno Smith, New York Jets (October 23, 2016)

Geno Smith – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GENO SMITH VISITING THE NEW YORK GIANTS…
The Bergen Record is reporting that unrestricted free agent quarterback Geno Smith (New York Jets) will be visiting the Giants today.

The 26-year old Smith was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. Smith has started 30 regular-seasons games, with 29 of those starts coming in 2013-2014. He lost his starting job to Ryan Fitzpatrick in August 2015 after his jaw was broken by a teammate. Smith started one game in 2016 but tore the ACL in his right knee in that game. Smith has completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 5,962 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 36 interceptions. Smith has good size and is a good athlete with a strong arm. He has struggled with his accuracy and mental aspects of the game. Smith needs to protect the ball better (36 interceptions, 7 fumbles). He also has had some off-the-field immaturity issues.

D.J. FLUKER VISITING THE NEW YORK GIANTS…
The Bergen Record is reporting that unrestricted free agent offensive lineman D.J. Fluker will be visiting the Giants today. Fluker was cut by the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this week.

The 25-year old Fluker was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Chargers, Fluker has started 59 regular-season games, first at right tackle and then right guard. After a solid rookie season in 2013, Fluker has struggled since and was cut by the Chargers in March 2017. Fluker has excellent size (6’5”, 339 pounds) and strength, but he has struggled in pass protection. Tough, he’s played through injuries but has had issues with the cerebral elements of the game such as picking up stunts.

ARTICLES…

Mar 102017
 
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Menelik Watson, Oakland Raiders (August 12, 2016)

Menelik Watson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS INTERESTED IN MENELIK WATSON…
The Daily News is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent offensive tackle Menelik Watson (Oakland Raiders).

The 28-year old Watson was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. Since that time, he has played in 27 regular-season games with just 17 starts, including five games in 2016. Watson has been injury prone and missed the entire 2015 season with a torn Achilles tendon. He also missed time in 2013 (knee and calf), 2014 (foot and ankle), and 2016 (groin and calf). Watson has good size, is athletic, and is versatile, having played both tackle spots. Watson is a good run blocker, but he has had issues in pass protection.

(Late Note: Watson signed with the Denver Broncos).

NEW YORK GIANTS INTERESTED IN D.J. FLUKER…
The Bergen Record and ESPN are reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in free agent offensive tackle/guard D.J. Fluker, who was cut earlier this week by the Los Angeles Chargers. ESPN says Fluker has a visit scheduled with the Giants and is drawing strong interest from the New England Patriots as well.

The 25-year old Fluker was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Chargers, Fluker has started 59 regular-season games, first at right tackle and then right guard. After a solid rookie season in 2013, Fluker has struggled since and was cut by the Chargers in March 2017. Fluker has excellent size (6’5”, 339 pounds) and strength, but he has struggled in pass protection. Tough, he’s played through injuries but has had issues with the cerebral elements of the game such as picking up stunts.

RHETT ELLISON SIGNING OFFICIAL…
The New York Giants officially announced the signing of unrestricted free agent tight end/H-Back/fullback Rhett Ellison (Minnesota Vikings) on Friday. Ellison is reported to have signed a 4-year, $18 million contract that included $8 million in guaranteed money.

“Rhett is a versatile, hard-nosed player who we feel is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league,” said General Manager Jerry Reese. “He also has good hands and is a very capable receiver in the pass game.”

Ellison said the Giants were interested in him before the 2012 NFL Draft and had hoped the team would select him nearly five years ago.

“It just kind of came together at the right time,” Ellison said. “It was unbelievable. It was cool to see that they were still following and still keeping an eye on me, and still wanted me to come here. It was the best-case scenario.

“I haven’t had an opportunity to be part of a team like this. I can already tell the culture is a whole different thing here. It’s a family. Everybody is all-in from the G.M. to the dishwasher. I can already feel the family here.

“(Blocking is) a big part of what I do. It started as a survival thing at USC, where that was the only way I was getting on the field. That was the pride of my game, being physical, being in the right spot, being a technician, and just effort. In the run game, it’s all about effort.”

At USC, Ellison was a teammate of Giants linebacker Devon Kennard.

“I had a lot of battles with him,” Ellison said. “He’s a strong dude, so it’s going to be fun to compete with him again. I think we definitely made each other better in college. He’s one of my favorite guys.”

Ellison’s father, Riki, played on the San Francisco 49ers (1983-1989) when the Giants and 49ers had an intense rivalry.

“He’s excited,” Ellison said. “He wants me to have an opportunity to win a Super Bowl. And he couldn’t be more excited. He had some run-ins with the Giants back in his career. Oddly enough, they were one of his least-favorite teams, because they had some losses to them in the playoffs.  Now he’s a big Giants fan. He’s already asking for all the gear.”

The 28-year old Ellison was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Vikings. In five NFL seasons, Ellison has played in 73 regular-season games with 41 starts. He has 51 career receptions for 515 yards and three touchdowns. Ellison suffered a serious patellar tendon injury in Week 17 of 2015. He returned in 2016, but only caught nine passes for 57 yards. Ellison has good size (6’5”, 250 pounds) and is a good blocker. He is very versatile, having the ability to play tight end, H-Back, and fullback. Lacking speed and quickness, Ellison is not much of a threat as a receiver. Ellison is a good special teams player.

The transcript of today’s media conference call with Ellison is available in The Corner Forum.

ARTICLES…

Mar 072017
 
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Anthony Fasano, Tennessee Titans (September 1, 2016)

Anthony Fasano – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MARCH 7, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT RUMORS…
The negotiating period of NFL free agency began today. Teams can officially sign free agents from other teams at 4:00PM ET on Thursday, March 9th. Here are some of the latest rumors:

  • The New York Post is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent tight end Anthony Fasano (Tennessee Titans). The 32-year old Fasano was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He has spent time with the Cowboys (2006-2007), Miami Dolphins (2008-2012), Kansas City Chiefs (2013-2014), and Titans (2015-2016). Fasano is a better blocker than receiver, but he does have 287 career regular-season catches for 3,171 yards and 35 touchdowns.
  • ESPN is reporting that the Giants are “monitoring the top of the tight end market,” including unrestricted free agents Martellus Bennett (New England Patriots), Jared Cook (Green Bay Packers), and Jack Doyle (Indianapolis Colts). (Late Note: Doyle re-signed with the Colts).
  • ESPN is reporting that the Giants may be one of several teams interested in offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, who was released today by the Los Angeles Chargers.
  • The Bergen Record is reporting that the Giants have some interest in unrestricted free agent running backs Eddie Lacy (Green Bay Packers) and Latavius Murray (Oakland Raiders).