Dec 112017
 
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Steve Spagnuolo, New York Giants (October 10, 2017)

Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports

ROSTER MOVES
The New York Giants placed wide receiver Darius Powe on Injured Reserve on Monday. Powe broke his foot during Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys in his NFL debut. The Giants originally signed Powe as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft and he spent the 2016 season on the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants added him to the Practice Squad again in October of this year and signed him to the 53-man roster last week.

The Giants also waived defensive tackle Khyri Thornton, who the team signed in late November after he was cut by the Detroit Lions.

Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos signed tight end Matt LaCosse off of the Giants’ Practice Squad. LaCosse played in three games this season. He was released in November and then signed to the Practice Squad. LaCosse was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft.

The Giants also terminated the Practice Squad contract of linebacker Trevor Bates, who the team signed to the Practice Squad in late October 2017. Bates was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

INTERIM HEAD COACH STEVE SPAGNUOLO…
The transcript of Steve Spagnuolo’s press conference on Monday 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:

LANDON COLLINS ON ESPN RADIO
The audio of Monday’s ESPN Radio interview with New York Giants safety Landon Collins is available at ESPN.com.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no scheduled media availability the New York Giants on Tuesday. The players return to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s home game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Dec 072017
 
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Landon Collins, New York Giants (December 3, 2017)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports

JONATHAN CASILLAS PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants placed linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck/wrist) on Injured Reserve on Wednesday. Casillas suffered through an injury-plagued season, playing in eight games and missing four others due to injuries. He finished the season with just 35 tackles and one pass defense.

To fill that roster vacancy, the team has signed wide receiver Darius Powe from the Practice Squad. The Giants originally signed Powe as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft and he spent the 2016 season on the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants signed him to the Practice Squad again in October 2017. Powe is a big receiver with decent overall athleticism.

The Giants signed linebacker Derrick Mathews to the Practice Squad. Mathews was originally signed to the Practice Squad of the Washington Redskins in November 2015 as an undrafted rookie free agent. The 6’0”, 232-pound Mathews was signed by the Green Bay Packers in August 2016 and spent parts of 2016 and 2017 on the team’s Practice Squad.

The Giants also waived linebacker Nigel Harris from Injured Reserve. Harris was placed on Injured Reserve with a rib injury in November.  The 6’2”, 230-pound Harris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Giants claimed Harris off of waivers from the Chargers in October 2017.

Other players recently waived (since November) from Injured Reserve include defensive end Evan Schwan, linebacker J.T. Thomas, wide receiver Kevin Norwood, offensive lineman Adam Gettis, defensive tackle Corbin Bryant, and defensive end Nordly Capi.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Running back Orleans Darkwa (illness), offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (finger), and cornerback Eli Apple (hip/back) did not practice on Thursday.

Pugh is back on the sidelines after practicing on Wednesday. “It’s been one of those things where I came back and I came back probably too soon,” Pugh said, who is awaiting the results of an MRI. “We’re trying to avoid doing that again, so we’re not trying to rush it. But at the same time, there’s obviously a timeline because there’s only four weeks left in the season. So we’ve kind of backed off a little bit and we’re going to try to get it going again and see if we can go next week.”

Running back Wayne Gallman (hip), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (hamstring), offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (concussion), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (elbow), and linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

“Sterling Shepard is headed in a positive direction,” said Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo. “He did some things today so hopefully we’ll get him back knock on wood.”

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

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 New York Giants practice on Friday at 10:55AM. Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo and players will address the media after practice.

Oct 092017
 
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Travis Rudolph, New York Giants (May 12, 2017)

Travis Rudolph – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have placed wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. (fractured ankle) and Dwayne Harris (fractured foot) on Injured Reserve. To fill those vacant roster spots, the Giants signed wide receiver Travis Rudolph from the Practice Squad and re-signed wide receiver Tavarres King, who the team waived last month.

The Giants also signed wide receiver Darius Powe to the Practice Squad.

Rudolph was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft.

King was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He spent time with the Broncos (2013), Panthers (2013-14), Jaguars (2014), and Buccaneers (2014-15). The Giants signed King to the Practice Squad in late September 2015. He played in seven regular season games in 2016 and the playoff game. The Giants waived him on September 18, 2017.

The Giants originally signed Powe as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft and he spent the 2016 season on the team’s Practice Squad. He was waived/injured in August 2017 with a hamstring injury.

INJURY UPDATE…
The Giants announced that wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. will have surgery this week to repair his fractured ankle and that wide receiver Dwayne Harris will have surgery on Tuesday to repair his fractured foot (5th metatarsal).

In addition, wide receiver Brandon Marshall is undergoing further testing and examination today on his ankle. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard is day-to-day with a sprained ankle. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas (burner) and safety Landon Collins (sprained ankle) are both day-to-day.

MONDAY BEN MCADOO CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo addressed the media by conference call on Monday to discuss the team’s 27-22 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers:

McAdoo: Let’s start with yesterday’s ballgame. Defensively, I thought we played well at times, especially early in the ballgame. We had five three and outs in the first half. We had a safety and an INT in the red zone. What we need to work on, our tackling improved, but we’re not where we want to be just yet. And getting off the field in the second half.

Offensively, we started faster than we had previously, but we did leave some points off the board. Got the running game going and everyone had a hand in it. Whether it was o-line, tight ends, the backs ran hard. I thought the perimeter blocked well and the quarterback kept us in the good looks. We overcame injuries in the second half and put a couple touchdowns on the board with only two healthy receivers out there available to us. What we need to work on, we have to get our pass protection back on track. We have to take care of The Duke better and we have to eliminate the penalties that cost us.

Special teams, I thought PAT/field goal block we had some good, hard rushes out there. In the punt game, our plus area downing was a positive. Two inside the five, one in the ten, one inside the 15. In our punt return, our perimeter blocking improved, took a step there. Averaged 12.7 on average on a return. What we need to work on, our kickoff coverage squeeze and our kickoff return, our football position and delivering a blow.

Where do we go from here? We’re all disappointed and irritated to be where we are right now. No one thought we would be sitting here like this in this position. I said it once, I’m going to say it again, I believe in this group of players and coaches and what this team could be. We’re not there yet, but we owe it to each other and the organization to handle ourselves with class, prepare well this week and give us a chance to win the ballgame on Sunday night. With that, we’ll open it up.

Q: Have you had a chance to speak to Odell (Beckham)? How is he doing?

A: I spoke to him after the game. It’s a sad situation.

Q: Is it fair to say his season is over at this point?

A: Yes.

Q: How do you fill that void?

A: Yeah, we have a bunch of guys who were nicked up in the ballgame at the receiver spot. We have some guys on the practice squad, some guys on the roster that we just thought we would bump them up and give them opportunities. Next man up. They’re well deserving of opportunities. You hate to see it like this, but it’s a part of the game.

Q: Are there any long-term concerns about Odell’s injury?

A: I didn’t get into any of that. That’s unknown at this point.

Q: Does the goal of this season have to change?

A: Yeah, we just need to, like I said earlier, we owe it to each other. We put a lot of work and a lot of time and a lot of effort into this thing and we owe it to the organization to handle ourselves with class and go prepare well this week and give us a chance to win the game.

Q: How quickly can you get the new receivers that you’re bringing in up to speed?

A: Yeah, we have to go out and we have to make sure we give them as many reps as we can with the quarterback. Get them into some type of rhythm. Get some type of chemistry going. There are guys who are familiar with what we’re doing. So we have confidence there. We know them, they know us. So we just have to go out and put our work in this week.

Q: Yesterday after the game, Eli Apple said, ‘it’s not just one guy, it’s the whole culture, it’s everything. We’ve got to fix it.’ What is your reaction to the ‘whole culture’ part of that comment?

A: I’m not sure what you’re referring to. What was the question about that he was asked?

Q: He was asked about being benched and he ended up saying, “it’s not just one guy, it’s the whole culture, it’s everything. We’ve got to fix that.” Do you think you have a problem with the culture?

A: I think we are in a slump right now and we have to get back to work. Make sure we are holding each other and ourselves accountable. The standards can’t drop. The standards have got to stay high and we have to figure out a way to close these games in the fourth quarter with wins.

Q: Given the way the season has gone, are you going to give younger players more of a chance to go out and play?

A: Yeah, we are going to take a look. At this point, we have some guys that are nicked up, so it’s going to create opportunities just naturally for some younger players and for some other players to jump in there and play. And that sort of takes care of itself when you have the type of guys nicked up that we do. But we don’t shy away from playing young players, regardless.

Q: Is Victor Cruz an option to bring back?

A: To my knowledge, he is not an option, but never say never.

Q: What do you look for when you’re dealing with a situation like this?

A: Usually the day after the game and a little bit on Tuesday morning, the emotions are still there. That’s normal, that’s a part of it, that’s healthy. That means nobody is numb. But you have to flush those emotions before you get to that Wednesday practice and really after you correct the game on Tuesday, you have to flush the emotions and you have to move onto the next opponent. You have to keep your chin up and you got to be full speed ahead on the next one. That’s the most important thing for us. Be all in on the next one.

Q: How do you think Eli (Manning) played yesterday?

A: I thought he directed the runs well. I’m sure there were some throws he would like to have back.

Q: Are you at a point now where there is stuff that you can change? Or do you just stick to the program and hope it works out?

A: I think we just got to get better at getting better. Wholesale changes are tough at this point. Your players are your players, your coaches are your coaches. We need to find a way to go out and improve the fundamentals and prepare with class and give ourselves a chance to win.

Q: Are the next guys up Tavarres King and Travis Rudolph?

A: Nothing is set in stone right now, but those would be two pretty good options.

Q: During your slump, do you feel like you’re carrying over what happened from game to game?

A: Obviously the last three games have come down to the fourth quarter. We’ve been right in the ballgames and have had a lead in the fourth quarter in these ballgames and we haven’t been able to extend the lead and haven’t been able to keep the lead. There is a connection there whether you like to have that, no you wouldn’t, but that’s part of being in a slump. You got to find a way to win with each team you have and year to year it changes, and we haven’t been able to get that done and that’s my responsibility.

Q: How do you get that through to them?

A: We have to keep throwing effort at it. Yesterday, again, no excuses, we ran out of some firepower on offense. But the guys kept fighting. We have a lot of fight in this team. I’ll say that about them. There is a lot of fight, the games go down to the wire. We just got to find a way to find our path to victory.

Q: Do you have a problem with Janoris Jenkins leaving the field with 40 seconds left?

A: We’ll handle all those issues in-house.

Q: Have you had any conversations with ownership recently about how this season is going?

A: Everyone is disappointed, I am aware of it. Everyone is irritated, I am aware of it. But my focus right now is trying to help with the personnel department to field a football team this week to give us a chance to prepare and win.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Select players will be available to the press on Tuesday. The Giants return to practice on Wednesday.

Aug 232017
 
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Marquis Bundy, Arizona Cardinals (August 28, 2017)

Marquis Bundy – © USA TODAY Sports

ROSTER MOVES – VALENTINO BLAKE LEAVES TEAM?…
The New York Giants have waived offensive linemen Michael Bowie and Corin Brooks. They also waived/injured wide receivers Darius Powe (hamstring) and Andrew Turzilli (hamstring).

“We are short on receivers,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We think highly of Darius. He’s been a good, productive player for us in the offseason and for camp. It is simply a numbers issue at this point.”

To fill those roster spots, the Giants signed guard Matt Rotheram and Richard Levy, and wide receivers Marquis Bundy and C.J. Germany.

Though not officially announced by the team, the NFL transaction wire is also showing that cornerback Valentino Blake has been placed on the Exempt/Left Squad List.

The 6’5”, 325-pound Rotheram was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Green Bay Packers after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Detroit Lions. The Lions waived Rotherman last week.

The 6’6”, 315-pound Levy was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The 49ers cut him on earlier this month.

The 6’4”, 215-pound Bundy was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals after the 2016 NFL Draft. The Cardinals waived him last week.

The 5’11”, 180-pound Germany was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Los Angeles Rams after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Rams waived him last week.

Michael Bowie was signed by the Giants to a reserve/future contract in January 2017. Bowie was originally drafted in the Seattle Seahawks in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He played in nine games with eight starts as a rookie. Bowie was waived in August 2014 and claimed by the Cleveland Browns. Bowie had shoulder issues in Cleveland and did not play in a regular-season game. The Browns placed him on the reserve/retired list in August 2016 and cut him in September 2016.

Corin Brooks was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent in August 2017. Brooks was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2017 NFL Draft but waived in June.

The Giants originally signed Powe as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft and he spent his rookie season on the team’s practice squad.

The Giants signed Andrew Turzilli in August 2017. Turzilli was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tennessee Titans after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Titans (2015), San Francisco 49ers (2015), and Detroit Lions (2016-2017), but he only played in three NFL games. The Lions waived him in May.

The Giants signed  Blake as an unrestricted free agent in March 2017. Blake was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jaguars (2012), Pittsburgh Steelers (2013-2015), and and Tennessee Titans (2016). In five seasons, Blake has played in 78 regular-season games with 18 starts (16 of which came with the Steelers in 2015 when he was credited with 12 pass break-ups and two interceptions).

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (ankle), wide receiver Brandon Marshall (shoulder), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (upper body), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion), cornerback Michael Hunter (concussion), and cornerback Valentino Blake (unknown) did not practice.

“(Beckham has) got an ankle. He is in there getting treatment,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We are just taking it day by day.”

Cornerback Eli Apple (ankle), linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger), and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) were limited.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’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:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday at 11:20AM.

Aug 082017
 
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Avery Moss and Kerry Wynn, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Avery Moss and Kerry Wynn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 8, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their tenth summer training camp practice on Tuesday 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 Tavarres King (ankle), wide receiver Kevin Snead (unknown), offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker (unknown), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (“sore”), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger), cornerback Mykkele Thompson (quad), and safety Ryan Murphy (unknown) did not practice.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle) and  practiced on a limited basis.

Defensive end Avery Moss (shoulder) left practice early.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Overcast with some sun shining through late, pleasant temperature. There really has been a variety of temperatures throughout training camp. The team was in full pads today and there was some more pad popping. This team is ready to play Pittsburgh.

Offense Notes:

  • I tried to put as much attention on the fullback Jacob Huesman vs. Shane Smith battle as I could. They don’t get a ton of snaps and there are still plenty of plays where a TE is lined up back there. TE Will Tye probably had the most snaps of all the TEs in the backfield. As for the two FBs, Huesman made a few nice catches on the move. He is a much more twitchy, athletic guy and if that’s what the primary focus is for the position, he is the clear winner. Smith is the mauler, as we have discussed. He caught a TD pass in the flat from Eli. He still looks like the less-natural guy with the ball in his hands but if NYG wants the bruiser and extra run support, he is their guy. If special teams comes in to play with the decision, Huesman may get the nod.
  • OG D.J. Fluker looked a little off today. The questions with him revolve around conditioning and trusting technique. He is such a mammoth of a man but at this level, without the consistent techniques when it comes to pad level, active feet, accurate arm/hand work…he needs to make sure it’s there when he gets tired, late in games.
  • OC Brett Jones plays an admirable style, but his upside is limited. Perhaps limited enough for this team to go in a different direction in favor of OL Adam Gettis. Jones is a guy that won’t get pushed back. He is so strong and always wins the leverage battle but he isn’t really a go-getter, especially in space. Can he reach athletic linebackers. Can he make up for initial positional disadvantages? Can he lock on to pass rushers? Those are my questions with him. Gettis grades out slightly higher athletically.
  • OT Adam Bisnowaty vs OT Chad Wheeler. If I had to pick one right now to move forward with, I am going with Wheeler. NYG will likely hold on to both and I’m not saying you need to pick one right now. I don’t think either will see the field in 2017. But Bisnowaty has long ways to go when it comes to footwork and upper body technique. He was beat badly a few times in pass protection, once by DE Devin Taylor. Wheeler has been impressive. Strong lower body, quality positioning, accurate hands, and he fights. Also gives a solid pop off the ball.
  • RB Khalid Abdullah was one of a few roster hopefuls returning kicks today. He still looks a little unnatural when it comes to catching the ball, a lot of body catching. He also was late to pick up a blitz up the middle at the end of practice, and ended up allowing a sack to Calvin Munson. Big collision and Abdullah got the worst of it.
  • OG John Jerry was very active today, first time I really put the eyeball on him several times. He has the potential to be an elite pass blocking guard. Light feet, long arms, accurate on the move, good blend of patience and aggression. He won every 1-on-1 battle I saw today against the likes of DE Romeo Okwara, DT Jay Bromley, and DT Dalvin Tomlinson.
  • Another day, another impressive (arguably the best of the day) catch by TE Matt LaCosse. How many plays does this kid make until you say, alright we need to give him a shot during the regular season? His eye-hand coordination and ball skills are top notch.
  • Got to see some 1st strong O vs. 2nd/3rd string defense today. WR Odell Beckham easily beat CB Valentino Blake on a quick out-route for a TD. Blake bounced back with a pass defense against TE Evan Engram on a jump ball. He is a fiery guy.
  • TE Colin Thompson has been getting + marks next to his name on my sheet for 5 straight days now. For a “blocker only” label, he has been catching literally everything. And some of these balls are a ways away from his body.
  • The backup QB battle put on the Josh Johnson cap today. He hit nicely on a couple deep throws while Geno Smith appeared to be locking on to guys and skipping out on progressions. He doesn’t like being in the pocket for long. He had a solid 2-minute drill at the end of practice though with an accurate bullet to WR Dwayne Harris in traffic.
  • QB Eli Manning to TE Evan Engram is becoming something scary to watch if you are the opposition. It legitimately looks like these two are developing chemistry over the middle. Engram made an excellent catch on an even better ball from Manning for a TD. LB B.J. Goodson has solid coverage but he didn’t locate the ball.
  • QB Davis Webb looked more comfortable in his limited 7-on-7 looks today. He made an errant throw that came from poor lower body mechanics but he knew it right away. He is on the right path I’d say. His live snaps have been very limited.

Defense Notes:

  • LB Calvin Munson got some second-team action today with LB Mark Herzlich being out. He has looked fast and aggressive when moving downhill, but he doesn’t look like a factor in coverage. But I’m not sure he understands the overall lateral speed of the game yet, his angles have been very off. For a guy that isn’t big, he brings some pop when filling the lanes. If this team goes with six LBs, he has a decent shot.
  • LB Stansly Maponga is another LB that has a shot if this team goes with six LBs. He is a 3-4 OLB-type who does his best work rushing the passer or taking on tackles in the trenches. Remember, NYG has been looking for this kind of player. A guy that can almost use at the stand up pass rusher but can fulfill some OLB roles. I don’t see the necessary twitchiness but he is getting a lot of looks in practice in different roles. He is a heavy handed, physical guy.
  • The question on S Eric Pinkins and his value to the team is, can he cover athletic tight ends and running backs? He is tall, fast, and strong. We know that….but can he plant his foot in the ground and shadow quality route runners? That’s the question with him, he is stiff-hipped. He may have had the hit of the day on WR Travis Rudolph over the middle.
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul and DT Damon Harrison with a really nice combo stunt in live team drills, the play would have resulted in a Harrison sack. Those two have been very solid. It looked to me that OT Bobby Hart would have been the culprit.
  • DE Avery Moss beat OT Ereck Flowers with a simple speed rush that would have resulted in a sack.
  • DE Jordan Williams hasn’t gotten a lot of talk from me but he gets moved around a lot and despite being undersized for inside play, he has held his own. He has some pass rush potential in there. He beat both Adam Gettis and Brett Jones today for likely sacks.
  • CBs Nigel Tribune and DaShaun Amos had a few up-and-down plays. Both can locate the ball well but both were badly fooled on double routes. I think those guys are vying for practice squad spots at best. Amos with the slight edge.

Three Standouts:

  • CB Janoris Jenkins: I said this last week, but I like to see a guy who completely ignores his own size limitations. Jenkins plays big, physical, and aggressive. He intercepted two passes in traffic today, one of which I still don’t know how he came down with. He is a competitor who does an excellent job keeping his hands off his man but sticks to them like glue.
  • RB Paul Perkins: With the extra attention in the backfield today, Perkins got my attention a few times. It is very hard to really gauge the RBs in practice because you can’t see them try to break tackles, as that is where the live action ends. It is just a very limited look. However Perkins made a few reads today to find open cutback lanes that would have resulted in huge gains. I loved this kid out of UCLA and I am excited to see him work. He has upper tier balance, agility, and short area burst. It’s a great trio of traits for a RB to have.
  • WR Dwayne Harris: He looked very explosive with the ball in his hands yesterday during return driils. Powerfully built and nice top-end speed. Today he made a few really nice catches where he had to really reach for the ball away from his body. He is the dependable guy you want to see spell one of the main guys when needed.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • In 7-on-7 drills, LB Deontae Skinner broke up a QB Geno Smith pass intended for RB Wayne Gallman.
  • RB Khalid Abdullah made a nice over-the-shoulder catch along the sideline.
  • WR Keeon Johnson made a deep leaping reception on a pass from QB Josh Johnson. Johnson later connected with Johnson again on a deep pass against CB DaShaun Amos.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, QB Eli Manning hit TE Evan Engram deep against CB Eli Apple.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a TD pass over the middle to WR Roger Lewis against CB Eli Apple. But then Apple covered Odell Beckham, Jr. in the green zone to force an incompletion from Manning.
  • QB Eli Manning hit WR Odell Beckham, Jr. and TE Matt LaCosse on back-to-back long completions. LaCosse beat LB Jonathan Casillas.
  • DT Dalvin Tomlinson penetrated into the backfield to stuff a RB Paul Perkins carry.
  • PK Mike Nugent went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts with a long of 44 yards.
  • First-team offensive line had issues against third-team defense in team drills.
  • WR Travis Rudolph saw reps at slot receiver plus as a punt and kickoff returner.
  • CB Valentino Blake broke up a QB Eli Manning pass intended for TE Evan Engram.
  • WR Darius Powe made a diving touchdown catch against CB Janoris Jenkins on a pass from QB Geno Smith. Jenkins then successfully covered Powe on a jump ball into the end zone that he almost intercepted.
  • FB Shane Smith caught a touchdown pass out of the backfield from QB Eli Manning against LB Jonathan Casillas.
  • QB Josh Johnson found WR Travis Rudolph for a touchdown against CB DaShaun Amos.
  • In the 2-minute drill, QB Eli Manning hit TE Evan Engram for a touchdown on a seam route against FS Darian Thompson. WR Brandon Marshall then beat CB Janoris Jenkins for a 2-point conversion.
  • QB Geno Smith made a long completion to WR Dwayne Harris against CB Michael Hunter. Harris then made what initially looked to be leaping touchdown reception over Hunter on a pass from Smith, but Harris could not hold onto the ball.
  • DE Evan Schwan flashed in the 2-minute drill against the third-team offense.
  • QB Davis Webb connected with TE Colin Thompson deep down right side. Webb then connected with WR Kevin Norwood for a touchdown against CB Nigel Tribune.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Tuesday 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 eleventh training camp practice will be held on Wednesday, starting at 10:55AM. 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.

Aug 022017
 
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Romeo Okwara and Steve Spagnuolo, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Romeo Okwara and Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 2, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fifth summer training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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

Running back Shane Vereen (lower body soreness), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (rest day), defensive end Devin Taylor (lower body soreness), and cornerback Valentino Blake (lower back tightness) did not practice.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (rolled ankle) was carted off the field with what originally appeared to be a serious injury. Reporters tweeted that Shepard was in obvious pain. The NFL Network is reporting that initial test results say the injury is a low-ankle sprain.

“Sterling, at this point, he looks like he has a rolled ankle,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “A basketball-type ankle, but we’ll see how he responds to treatment and go from there… He was running a hammer route, put his foot in the ground and rolled his ankle… Again, we’ll all know more when I go in and we take a look at it. At this point it just looks like he has a sprained ankle.”

Offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker (foot) was also carted off of the field.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
First off, apologies we didn’t have time to do an interview today. I had to jet out of there at 12:40 today. We were there for the majority of practice, when they moved the team inside the facility we opted to leave, as the meat of the action was over.

Saw Mike Nugent get the kicks today, don’t read into depth chart stuff there. These guys aren’t going to kick a lot of volume at this point, they may even flip-flop each day. This will be a battle that goes to the end. Rosas’ leg is stronger.

Offense Notes:

  • Was looking at the OL as much as possible today. Ereck Flowers still struggles with his pad level. Defenders are constantly getting underneath him, causing him to lean over and bend at the waist, making his hand placement sub-par. More of the same there but he did have a couple of run blocks where his natural power and strength were on full display. That’s one thing he always has, strong punches and ability to anchor. Right guard anyone? LG Justin Pugh got in to a couple fights today. He looks to be the enforcer of this offense; he doesn’t want any of his guy taking extra hits and showed no hesitation in defending them when they did.
  • I wanted to get more looks at UDFA Jessamen Dunker. Early in practice, Dunker impressed me with both straight line and lateral movement. Definitely a plus athlete who can be where he needs to be at the right time. But body wise, he is a year away. He will be one of my practice squad predictions but he did get hurt today; we’ll see there. OT Jarron Jones is at the very beginning of a very long road when it comes to his OT progression. He won’t be a factor on the field this season, not even close. Expectedly so, he looks 2-3 steps behind every time he is out there in live action. My question is, will they use a practice squad spot on him? He will have to show a consistent work ethic and approach if he has any shot.
  • Was rough to see WR Sterling Shepard go down. I saw the whole process and at first I thought it was an Achilles, he was visibly upset and in pain. A sprained ankle can linger for months and in some cases can be worse than a fracture. Now it’s a waiting and hoping game.
  • Who is going to step up in his place? Tavarres King was with the first three WR set. He is the best short area mover of the rest. Quality route runner, can be slippery after the catch. Roger Lewis may have more raw talent but he’s still towards the beginning of his WR maturation process. I see the team trying to get more and more looks at Darius Powe. Physical pass catcher with some ability after the catch. They like the dependability of Dwayne Harris. Could this open a door for the fastest guy on the team, Kevin Snead?
  • TEs Matt LaCosse and Jerell Adams caught passes on the all-out move today, a welcoming sign for a team that didn’t get enough from that position in 2016.  Hard to ignore the every-down upside of Adams.

Defense Notes:

  • This LB core looks angry. All of them. While the group fights may be a little over the top and the coaches supposedly don’t like them, part of me likes the fact these LBs are starting them. They are hitting a little too hard but they are doing it on purpose. It’s a personality trait to a defense that you want. B.J. Goodson, Devon Kennard, and Jonathan Casillas especially were instigating. This defense is VERY physical.
  • Still a little confused how this team plans on using LB Stansly Maponga. He is very strong and stout. But I don’t see him performing well in space and he can’t play DE in this scheme. I think he is a 3-4 OLB-only type but maybe NYG has a role for that kind of guy more than we think.
  • DT Dalvin Tomlinson got some snaps against first-team linemen. He has great short area burst and closing speed. I think there is some more pass rush potential here than I initially thought. On the flip side, he got handled by D.J. Fluker a couple times on running plays.
  • S Eric Pinkins is interesting to me. There is a lot of talk about backup safeties and I have to think this hybrid S/LB, plus athlete is in the mix. He is a superb athlete with good size. Physical kid and he was performing very well in special team drills.
  • I haven’t seen much out of DT Corbin Bryant and with the DL being pretty crowded depth wise, he will need to stand out over the next few days if he is going to make this team.

Three Standouts:

  • OT Bobby Hart – For the second day in a row, I walked away with a positive impression on Hart. He looks more confident and quick-minded out there. Reacting more so than thinking his way through things. He wins almost all of his physical one on one battles, and his pass protection techniques look like they’ve been cleaned up.
  • DE Romeo Okwara – On a team full of physical specimens, Okwara takes the cake. He is by far the most impressive athlete on this team. He is still a little raw and too straight line dependent when it comes to movement, but the tools are there and if NYG is patient, I think he is going to be a good one. Pad level, post-engagement moves, and consistent leverage are things he needs work on but in time, they are very correctable. I am really excited about him.
  • OG D.J. Fluker – Really good day for this big man. And I mean BIG. He swallows defenders, even makes DT Damon Harrison look small. I’ll say this about Fluker, if he gets his hands on the man he needs to run block, it’s over. He won every battle I watched him on. I think RG is the perfect home for him.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Place kicker Mike Nugent was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including kicks of 30, 32, 37, and 42 yards.
  • The Giants continue to alternate Josh Johnson and Geno Smith at the #2 quarterback spot. Today Johnson was the #2 quarterback.
  • With wide receiver Sterling Shepard out, Odell Beckham, Jr. and Dwayne Harris were spotted playing in the slot with the first-team with Tavarres King outside.
  • Wide receiver Darius Powe had his second active day in a row catching the football.
  • Cornerback Donte Deayon broke up a deep pass intended for tight end Evan Engram.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith hit wide receiver Travis Rudolph down the right sideline for a big gain.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. for a touchdown.
  • With Jason Pierre-Paul out, Kerry Wynn received some first-team reps at defensive end.
  • Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, and Nat Berhe were the safeties in one three-safety package.
  • Defensive end Avery Moss continues to flash on the pass rush.
  • Wide receiver Roger Lewis caught a long bomb from quarterback Geno Smith over defensive back Mykkele Thompson.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb hit wide receiver Travis Rudolph for a deep touchdown over cornerback Nigel Tribune and safety Eric Pinkins.

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/892778125930770432

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’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:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The sixth training camp practice will be held on Thursday, starting at 10:55AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Jul 072017
 
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Brandon Marshall, New York Giants (June 13, 2017)

Brandon Marshall – © 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: Wide Receivers

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW:  While Odell Beckham, Jr. continued his assault on the record books as one of the game’s premiere wide receivers, more was expected from this unit in 2016. It was assumed by many that the departure of the frustratingly-inconsistent Rueben Randle would be addition by subtraction. Sterling Shepard was considered a 2nd-round steal by many. And there were high expectations about the return of Victor Cruz from three injury-sabotaged seasons in a row.

In 2015, quarterback Eli Manning’s top three wide receiver targets were Beckham, Randle, and Dwayne Harris. These three totaled 189 catches for 2,643 yards, and 25 touchdowns. In 2016, Beckham, Shepard, and Cruz totaled 205 catches for 2,636 yards, and 19 touchdowns. The telling stat was there was a 24 percent decline in touchdowns.

Opponent defensive game plans were obvious and consistent: double- and sometimes even triple-team Odell Beckham and dare the Giants to beat them with their running game or passing the ball to other targets. The Giants failed to be able to make other teams pay and the passing offense fell from 7th (271.4 yards per game) to 17th (242.4 yards per game). Much of this decline had to do with the loss of running back Shane Vereen (59 catches for 494 yards and four touchdowns in 2015) and the unproductive tight ends (only 79 catches and three touchdowns as a group).

But while Beckham continued to produce, and Shepard had a respectable rookie season, it was Cruz who was the biggest disappointment. Slowed by three consecutive leg injury issues from 2013-2015, Cruz seemed miscast as an outside receiver instead of the slot position which Shepard now occupies. Cruz struggled to separate from defenders and finished the season with only one touchdown – ironically a game-winner that he scored in the opener. In other words, he was kept out of the end zone for the final 16 regular- and post-season games. Randle had 57 catches for 797 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015 as an outside receiver. Cruz had just 39 catches for 586 yards.

The nadir of Beckham’s 2016 season was obviously the playoff game. Much was expected and Beckham failed miserably to deliver (four catches for 28 yards) against a weak secondary. Exacerbating the situation – right or wrong – was his boat trip to Miami six days before the game on the players’ day off. But keep in mind that the receivers as a group went on that trip – including the veteran Cruz – and the top three all failed to perform at a high level (Cruz had three catches for 30 yards and Shepard four catches for 63 yards). None scored.

Beckham is extremely competitive and the best player on the team. But he clearly is a diva with a media target painted on his back. How much of this is self-promotion, blown out of proportion to sell newspapers, or distracting to the team are questions subject to passionate debate.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Easily one of the biggest changes the team made this offseason was at the wideout position opposite of Odell Beckham, Jr. The Giants unceremoniously cut Victor Cruz in February and signed the aging but still-productive super-stud receiver Brandon Marshall in March after the Jets released him. The Giants also signed undrafted rookie free agents Travis Rudolph, Keeon Johnson, Kevin Snead, and Jerome Lane.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Right or wrong, the media has smelled blood in the water with Odell Beckham, Jr. and he will likely remain the subject of unsavory media attention for the remainder of his NFL career. Much of this is self-inflicted, but also much of it is media-whore click-bait. The focus on Beckham distracts from real issues and is a waste of print space and Q&A media time, but it is what it is. Expect of a heavy does of boring and repetitive Beckham stories in camp.

The real focus of attention should be two-fold: (1) how much does Brandon Marshall have left in the tank? and (2) is Sterling Shepard ready to make a huge impact on the passing game?

Marshall is the only player in NFL history with six seasons of 100 or more receptions. Two years ago, Marshall put up huge numbers and had a Pro Bowl and All-Pro season, catching 109 passes for 1,502 yards, and 14 touchdowns. But the 33-year old Marshall suffered through a injury-plagued 2016 campaign where his numbers dropped to 59 receptions for 788 yards and just three touchdowns. He says he only wants to play two more years. If Marshall can regain even a bit of his 2015 form (with crappy Jets quarterbacking), look out. Eli Manning hasn’t had a big, physical receiver like this since Plaxico Burress in 2008.

Shepard largely flew under the radar with a promising initial season, starting all 16 regular-season games as a rookie, catching 65 passes for 683 yards (10.5 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns, mostly out of the slot. But Shepard did not make many impact plays, his longest reception being just 32 yards. Shepard made a lot of noise this spring during non-contact workouts. He could be poised for a big season with defenses focused more on Beckham and Marshall.

“What am I looking to work on? Really just after the catch,” said Shepard. “I feel like I could have gotten a lot more YAC (yards after catch) yardage last year. That is something that I looked at on film and I want to get better on.”

With special teams ace Dwayne Harris likely to make the squad, much fan attention will be spent on which players fill out the #5 and probably #6 receiver spots. 2016 hold-overs Tavarres King, Roger Lewis, Darius Powe, and Kevin Norwood will compete with the four undrafted rookie free agents signed after the draft. King passed Lewis on the depth chart late in the 2016 season and made some noise with a couple of long receptions. King received some quality snaps with the first unit during spring workouts while Lewis was arrested on a substance-abuse charge. But don’t discount Lewis or 2016 practice squad player Powe, who has good size and has worked hard this offseason. Of the newcomers, Rudolph probably has the best shot. Those who stand out on special teams will have the inside track.

ON THE BUBBLE: Tavarres King, Roger Lewis, Darius Powe, Kevin Norwood, Travis Rudolph, Keeon Johnson, Kevin Snead, and Jerome Lane.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Adam Henry on Brandon Marshall: “He has been really good and a really good professional. Just helping the guys with little things for us, just pulling them to the side and helping them on different techniques and things like that… The thing is he goes out there and blocks. He does like the dirty work and he is not scared to do that. It’s just him finding a role and he knows he embraces whatever we ask him to do. He’s been good about it.”

Henry on Sterling Shepard: “Right now he has been working hard and he has been out there and he looks really good right now.”

PREDICTIONS: Victor Cruz and Larry Donnell/Will Tye were major drags on the passing game in 2016. The additions of Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram should not only be substantial upgrades in themselves, but should dramatically open things up for Odell Beckham, Jr. and Sterling Shepard. If Eli and Marshall can develop anything similar to the chemistry Eli had with Plaxico Burress, then the passing game should become one of the NFL’s best again. Watch out for Shepard, who may feast on single coverage out of the slot. (Though with the additions of Engram and Rhett Ellison at tight end, Sheppard may see his playing time cut, particularly in the red zone).

Barring injury, it will be hard for any other receiver to make substantial noise with Beckham, Marshall, Shepard, Engram, and Ellison bound to see so much playing time.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, Dwayne Harris, Tavarres King, and Darius Powe. (The last WR spot is one of the hardest predictions to make).

Feb 022017
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 6, 2016)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

While Odell Beckham, Jr. continued his assault on the record books as one of the game’s premiere wide receivers, more was expected from this unit in 2016. It was assumed by many that the departure of the frustratingly-inconsistent Rueben Randle would be addition by subtraction. Sterling Shepard was considered a 2nd-round steal by many. And there were high expectations about the return of Victor Cruz from three injury-sabotaged seasons in a row.

In 2015, quarterback Eli Manning’s top three wide receiver targets were Beckham, Randle, and Dwayne Harris. These three totaled 189 catches for 2,643 yards, and 25 touchdowns. In 2016, Beckham, Shepard, and Cruz totaled 205 catches for 2,636 yards, and 19 touchdowns. The telling stat was there was a 24 percent decline in touchdowns.

Opponent defensive game plans were obvious and consistent: double- and sometimes even triple-team Odell Beckham and dare the Giants to beat them with their running game or passing the ball to other targets. The Giants failed to be able to make other teams pay and the passing offense fell from 7th (271.4 yards per game) to 17th (242.4 yards per game). Much of this decline had to do with the loss of running back Shane Vereen (59 catches for 494 yards and four touchdowns in 2015) and the unproductive tight ends (only 79 catches and three touchdowns as a group).

But while Beckham continued to produce, and Shepard had a respectable rookie season, it was Cruz who was the biggest disappointment. Slowed by three consecutive leg injury issues from 2013-2015, Cruz seemed miscast as an outside receiver instead of the slot position which Shepard now occupies. Cruz struggled to separate from defenders and finished the season with only one touchdown – ironically a game-winner that he scored in the opener. In other words, he was kept out of the end zone for the final 16 regular- and post-season games. Randle had 57 catches for 797 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015 as an outside receiver. Cruz had just 39 catches for 586 yards.

The nadir of Beckham’s 2016 season was obviously the playoff game. Much was expected and Beckham failed miserably to deliver (four catches for 28 yards) against a weak secondary. Exacerbating the situation – right or wrong – was his boat trip to Miami six days before the game on the players’ day off. But keep in mind that the receivers as a group went on that trip – including the veteran Cruz – and the top three all failed to perform at a high level (Cruz had three catches for 30 yards and Shepard four catches for 63 yards). None scored.

Beckham is extremely competitive and the best player on the team. But he clearly is a diva with a media target painted on his back. How much of this is self-promotion, blown out of proportion to sell newspapers, or distracting to the team are questions subject to passionate debate. If the Giants are to reach the next level, he has to continue to mature (he did with respect to his reaction to on-field taunting) and perform in the clutch in the post-season. But the Giants also have to get him more help.

THE STARTERS

Odell Beckham is one of the game’s best players and had another stellar season in his third year, starting all 16 regular-season games and finishing with 101 catches for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns. In his first three seasons, Beckham has accrued 288 catches for 4,122 yards and 35 touchdowns in 43 regular-season games. Beckham’s accolades already include Pro Football Writers of America “Rookie of the Year” (2014), second-team All-Pro (2015, 2016), and Pro Bowl (2014, 2015, 2016). All of this despite constant double teams by opposing defenses. Beckham was drafted in the 1st round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Giants. While Beckham lacks classic size, his long arms, big hands, and tremendous jumping ability give him a very good catch radius. Beckham is an explosive athlete with excellent speed, quickness, and agility. He is able to play multiple positions, including the slot. Beckham runs good routes, is very quick out of his breaks, adjusts exceptionally well to the football, and regularly makes the circus catch. He is very dangerous with the football in his hands after the catch. Competitive, passionate, and hard working, Beckham’s biggest negatives are his maturity and temperament. Beckham has a target painted on his back and has to deal with other teams trying to get under his skin. He did not play well in the playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers and suffered from more drops than usual in 2016, which may partly have been the result of a thumb injury.

Sterling Shepard was selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Giants. Shepard started all 16 regular-season games as a rookie, catching 65 passes for 683 yards (10.5 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns, mostly out of the slot. Shepard lacks ideal size, but he is strong and quick with good speed. Shepard runs good routes, is tough going over the middle, adjusts well to the football, and has good hands. He did not make many plays down the field however, with his longest reception being for 32 yards.

The good news is that Victor Cruz finally returned to the playing field in 2016 after missing most of 2014 with a career-threatening patellar tendon knee injury and all of 2015 with a calf injury – both of which required surgeries. The bad news is that Cruz no longer looks like the same player he was in 2011-2012, when he was one of the best in the game. Three lower leg surgeries in three years, including arthroscopic knee surgery in 2013, have taken their toll. In 15 regular-season games in 2016, Cruz caught just 39 passes for 586 yards and one touchdown. Signed as a rookie free agent after the 2010 NFL Draft, the rags-to-riches Victor Cruz story is well known, culminating with his impact season in 2011, first Pro Bowl in 2012, and big offseason contract in 2013. In 2011-2012, Cruz compiled 168 catches for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns. Cruz always had ordinary size and timed speed. However, his pre-injury quickness and ability to separate from defenders appears to be gone. Cruz has good hands and is capable of making the circus catch, though he sometimes will drop the easy reception. Cruz is better suited for the slot position.

THE RESERVES

In his second year with the Giants, Dwayne Harris suffered through a frustrating, injury-plagued season. While he played in all 16 regular-season games with one start, Harris was hampered by a variety of nagging injuries all season. A year after his career-best 36 catches for 396 yards and four touchdowns, Harris caught only one pass for 13 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, his special teams return numbers plummeted with his punt return average falling from 10.0 yards to 5.9 yards and his kickoff return average falling from 28.7 yards to 24.2 yards. He also did not score a year after becoming the first Giants player in 60 years to return a kickoff and punt for a touchdown in the same season. Harris did remain a force on punt coverage and he was voted to his first Pro Bowl. Harris was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Cowboys. The Giants signed him in free agency in March 2015. Though he lacks height, Harris is a well-built athlete with decent speed and quickness. He is tough and physical and an asset as a blocker in the running game. Harris can play in the slot and has decent hands. Harris has four career returns four touchdowns and has won the “NFC Special Teams Player of the Week” award four times in his career.

The Giants signed Roger 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. Lewis has decent size and is a good athlete. He flashed the ability to make plays down the field but he needs to become a more consistent pro-level route runner. Lewis was utilized on special teams as a gunner on punt coverage.

Tavarres King played in seven regular-season games, finishing the year with just two catches for 50 yards. He caught three passes for 73 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown pass in the playoff loss to the Packers. King was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He has spent time with the Broncos (2013), Panthers (2013-14), Jaguars (2014), and Buccaneers (2014-15) – playing in just two regular-season games. The Giants signed King to the Practice Squad in late September 2015. King is a tall, thin receiver with very good speed. He is not a physical player and is best suited as an outside receiver.

PRACTICE SQUAD

Darius Powe was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2016. The Giants originally signed Powe as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. Powe is a big receiver with decent overall athleticism.

Kevin Norwood was signed to the Practice Squad in November 2016. Norwood was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Norwood has spent time with the Seahawks (2014), Carolina Panthers (2014-2015), and San Diego Chargers (2016). The Chargers terminated his Practice Squad contract in November. Norwood has played in 10 regular-season games with two starts. He has nine career receptions for 102 yards. Norwood is a big (6’2”, 210lbs), physical possession receiver who runs good routes. He lacks ideal speed and quickness.

INJURED RESERVE

Ben Edwards was waived/injured and then placed on Injured Reserve in May 2016 after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in one of his knees during the rookie mini-camp. Injuries have plagued Edwards who tore an ACL in college in 2013, an injury that caused him to miss all of 2014; pulled his hamstring in a June 2015 mini-camp, an injury that led him to being waived/injured; and sprained his knee in an April 2016 mini-camp. The Giants originally signed Edwards after the 2015 NFL Draft, waived/injured him in June, re-signed him to the Practice Squad in November, and signed him to the 53-man roster in December. He played in the final two games of 2015 and finished the season with one catch for nine yards. Edwards lacks ideal size and timed speed, but he is a quick receiver who plays faster than he times. Edwards runs very good routes, adjusts well to the football, and has good hands. He has experience playing in the slot and returning punts.

Jan 122017
 
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Michael Bowie, Cleveland Browns (August 13, 2015)

Michael Bowie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS SIGN 12 PLAYERS TO RESERVE/FUTURE CONTRACTS…
The New York Giants have signed the following players to reserve/future contracts for 2017:

  • QB Keith Wenning
  • RB Jacob Huesman
  • WR Darius Powe
  • WR Kevin Norwood
  • OT Michael Bowie
  • OT Jon Halapio
  • OG Adam Gettis
  • DE Stansly Maponga
  • DE Jordan Williams
  • CB Michael Hunter
  • CB Donte Deayon
  • S Ryan Murphy

All except Bowie were either on the team’s Practice Squad or Practice Squad/Injured Reserve (Deayon) at the end of the season.

Bowie was originally drafted in the Seattle Seahawks in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He played in nine games with eight starts as a rookie. Bowie was waived in August 2014 and claimed by the Cleveland Browns. Bowie had shoulder issues in Cleveland and did not play in a regular-season game. The Browns placed him on the reserve/retired list in August 2016 and cut him in September. Bowie is a versatile lineman who has played both tackle and guard. He has very good size.

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