Jul 282023
 
Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants (July 26, 2023)

Kayvon Thibodeaux – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 28, 2023 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their third summer training camp practice of the year on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

ABSENTEES AND INJURY REPORT…
The following players remain on injury or did-not-report lists:

  • Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: WR Sterling Shepard (ACL), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (ACL), OG Marcus McKethan (ACL), DL A’Shawn Robinson (meniscus), DL D.J. Davidson (ACL), and CB Aaron Robinson (ACL)
  • Active/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List: WR Jamison Crowder (calf)
  • Reserve/Did-Not-Report List: DL Vernon Butler

WR Cole Beasley (quad), DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (concussion protocol), and S Gervarrius Owens (unknown) also did not practice.

“(Nunez-Roches is) making progress,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll. “He’s not going to do anything today. But hopefully he is getting close… (Owens) will do walk-throughs, just got a little bruise that’s still pretty stiff. Then, Cole got kneed in the quad. So, we will give him a rest day.”

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The Giants are still not in full pads and remained in helmets and shorts for an evening practice (5:00-7:00 PM).
  • First-team offensive line was LT Andrew Thomas, LG Joshua Ezeudu, OC Ben Bredeson, RG Mark Glowinski, and RT Evan Neal.
  • John Michael Schmitz also rotated in with Bredeson with the first-team at center.
  • Tyre Phillips, who has been playing with the second unit at tackle and guard, received some first-team reps at both guard spots.
  • Korey Cunningham received some first-team reps at left tackle.
  • Darrian Beavers and Micah McFadden continue to alternate at inside linebacker next to Bobby Okereke.
  • The starting defensive backs were CB Adoree’ Jackson, CB Deonte Banks, slot CB Darnay Holmes, S Xavier McKinney, and S Bobby McCain.
  • Returning punts were RB Eric Gray, CB Darnay Holmes, WR Kalil Pimpleton, CB Adoree’ Jackson, WR Jayden Mickens, and WR Darius Slayton.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, QB Daniel Jones connected twice down the field to WR Darius Slayton, beating corners Adoree’ Jackson and Deonte Banks. Jones finished this session 6-of-6.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, WR Jalin Hyatt made early catches against corners Tre Hawkins and Deonte Banks.
  • Wide receivers Jalin Hyatt and Collin Johnson received quite a bit of work with the first-team, including in 11-on-11 drills. Hyatt flashed with his route running, but had one miscommunication with QB Daniel Jones.
  • Giants used some formations that had running backs Saquon Barkley and Matt Breida on the field together, with Barkley in the slot.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, DL Dexter Lawrence broke through a triple-team to pressure QB Daniel Jones.
  • RT Evan Neal had a good practice against edge rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari.
  • QB Daniel Jones would have been sacked on a a number of blitzes by free rushers, but he connected on some big plays to WR Darius Slayton and TE Darren Waller.
  • According to one report, QB Daniel Jones finished 18-of-23 passing in live drills.
  • CB Cor’Dale Flott had some issues trying to cover WR Kalil Pimpleton.
  • ILB Micah McFadden broke up a pass.

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/1685051128730329088

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Saturday and return to practice on Sunday (10:00AM-noon). Head Coach Brian Daboll ad select players will also address the media.

Jun 272023
 
Darren Waller, New York Giants (June 14, 2023)

Darren Waller – © USA TODAY Sports

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: Tight Ends

2022 YEAR IN REVIEW: Heading into 2022, it appeared the New York Giants had arguably the weakest group of tight ends in the NFL. The team had parted ways with their top three tight ends: Evan Engram (who signed with the Jaguars in free agency), Kyle Rudolph (who was cut in March), and Kaden Smith (who was also cut in March after failing his physical). Chris Myarick was the only returning player. The Giants signed Ricky Seals-Jones, Jordan Akins, and Tanner Hudson, but the first two didn’t even make it to the end of August. The Giants drafted Daniel Bellinger in the 4th round and signed undrafted rookie free agents Austin Allen and Dre Miller after the draft. When the season started, the team’s three tight ends were Bellinger, Myarick (listed as a fullback), and Hudson. Not exactly a murder’s row.

Bellinger proved to be pleasant surprise and one of Daniel Jones’ few reliable targets. Coming out of the draft, he was considered more of a blocking tight end, but continued to flash in the passing game, demonstrating better-than-anticipated on-field athleticism and adjusting to pro passing concepts sooner than expected. However, he suffered a very scary and possibly career-threatening eye-injury in Week 7 when his orbital bone was fractured. Somewhat miraculously, Bellinger only missed four games. He finished the year starting 11 games, catching 30 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored on his only rushing attempt.

Lawrence Cager was signed to the Practice Squad in October after the Jets cut him and then the 53-man roster in November. He ended up playing in six regular-season games with three starts, catching 13 passes for 118 yards and one touchdown. Nick Vannett was signed to the Practice Squad in November after he was cut by the Saints and the 53-man roster in December. (Hudson was also cut at this time after playing in 11 games and catching 10 passes). Vannett ended up playing in six regular-season games with three starts for the Giants, catching four passes for 42 yards. Myarick played in 16 games with eight starts, catching just seven passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.

In summary, the position was a bit of revolving door most of the year, aside from Bellinger who had his rookie season interrupted by the eye injury.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants re-signed Lawrence Cager and Chris Myarick. They also signed unrestricted free agent Tommy Sweeney from the Bills and signed Ryan Jones as a rookie free agent after the draft. However, perhaps the most significant offseason addition to the entire team was the trade for former Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller in March.

The team made no attempt to re-sign Nick Vannett and waived Dre Miller after he failed a physical in mid-June (Miller had spent part of 2022 on the Practice Squad).

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES:  The significance of the Darren Waller acquisition still seems underappreciated. Waller’s two best seasons in the NFL were 2019 and 2020, when he caught an incredible 197 passes for 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns. He missed five games in 2021 with ankle and knee sprain injuries and eight games in 2022 with a nagging hamstring injury. None of these injuries required surgery and Waller appears completely healthy now and was a daily standout in spring practices.

Barring injury, Waller seems destined to be the team’s #1 pass receiving threat. He’s more of a TE/WR hybrid who can threaten defenses with size, speed, hands, and ability to adjust to the football. He’s a legit 6’6” target, with a big wing span, who can also run. Waller is “open” even when covered and can threaten defenses vertically down the field. Combine that skillset with Brian Daboll’s history of coaching tight ends with the Patriots (2013-2016) and Mike Kafka’s exposure to the Chiefs’ passing concepts, and it’s easy to see where this is heading. Waller will be deployed in multiple ways to create match-up problems for defenses. It’s quite telling that observers, coaches, and players were raving about him this spring.

Daniel Bellinger was getting lost in the Waller hoopla until a photographer snapped a picture of his huge arms this spring. Bellinger not only has worked his butt off this offseason to reshape his body, but he has drawn praise from Travis Kelce and George Kittle, two of the headliners at the position in the NFL. Indeed, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Waller and Bellinger could be viewed as one of the best tight end combos in 2023, quite an accomplishment given how weak the depth chart looked a year ago at this time.

The third and possibly fourth tight end spots also are now more intriguing. Lawrence Cager flashed in his limited chances as a pass receiver and could have the inside track on Waller’s primary back-up as a receiving target. Tommy Sweeney was signed from the Bills as a blocker. Chris Myarick offers tight end/fullback flexibility and special teams value. Also note that of the nine rookie free agents the team signed, Ryan Jones was given the third-most guaranteed money ($125,000).

ON THE BUBBLE: Darren Waller and Daniel Bellinger are locks. Lawrence Cager, Tommy Sweeney, Chris Myarick, and Ryan Jones will be vying for one or two roster spots.

FROM TEAM COACHES/PLAYERS: Head Coach Brian Daboll on Darren Waller: “He’s a good pro. He’s smart. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s a good communicator. He’s played a lot of football and been productive. Again, we’re still utilizing him in different ways. We’re seeing what he likes, what he feels comfortable with, what the quarterback feels comfortable with, but he’s been a pleasure to be around both in the classroom and out on the field.” (Note: Coach Daboll rarely throws praise around like this, particularly in the spring).

Mike Kafka on Darren Waller: “He’s a really talented player. He’s a great person. He’s a really good teammate. That’s one thing I’ve learned about him. He cares about his guys. He’s competitive, which we really like. We value that here. He’s doing everything we’re asking him. He’s working hard, putting in the time and effort to learn the offense and get in sync with D.J. (Daniel Jones) and the quarterbacks. He’s done a great job.”

Tight Ends Coach Andy Bischoff on the impact of Darren Waller on the other tight ends: “These guys are like a sponge. So a guy like Bellinger, he’s improved immensely in the air of Darren Waller. Lawrence Cager is improving daily just being around this guy. It’s good for the whole group in so many ways.”

Tight Ends Coach Andy Bischoff on Daniel Bellinger: “Bellinger is a guy who can help us win plays and lead to winning games, every down. Bellinger is a better version of himself today by leaps and bounds from this time a year ago. And it’s because of his own commitment, his own awareness, his own learning… He’s a guy who can play the position, he’ll do whatever’s asked. A great teammate.”

Safety Xavier McKinney on how Darren Waller changes the offense: “Really different… added piece that’s explosive, that’s able to make plays. Obviously when he’s out there, you’ve got to be aware of where he’s at, at all times… because he can make a lot of plays.”

Wide receiver Darius Slayton on Darren Waller: “He’s impressive… Somebody asks what’s an NFL tight end, you just point to Darren Waller; big, fast, can catch it. He’s been a great addition to our team.”

PREDICTIONS/CLOSING THOUGHTS: I suspect pundits will soon be asking how the heck the Giants acquired Waller for a late 3rd-round pick.

It is difficult to believe that Daboll and Kafka will have many offensive formations that have Waller or Bellinger standing on the sidelines, suggesting a heavy emphasis on 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends). But flexibility may still come from the fact that Waller is more of a WR/TE hybrid and may be employed as more of a wide receiver on many plays.

The Giants had 15 passing touchdowns in 2022. Waller had nine touchdown receptions in 2020 alone. Believe it or not, the Giants had one of the NFL’s best red-zone offenses in the NFL in 2022. Their problem was getting to the red zone. That should be less of a an issue now. I’ll go out on a limb and predict that Waller-Bellinger-Cager alone will tie the Giants’ total touchdown mark from last season. I don’t think it is crazy to think Waller could have eight touchdowns, Bellinger six touchdowns, and Cager one touchdown with Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka calling the plays.

The presence of Waller changes the entire complexion of this offense. He will draw double-team attention, opening up opportunities for Saquon Barkley (both as runner and receiver), Daniel Bellinger, Parris Campbell, Isaiah Hodgins, and the other receivers. This coaching staff knows how to use tight ends. Waller can become New York’s version of Kelce or Kittle. And if the latter two are correct about the emergence of Bellinger? Look out!

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Darren Waller, Daniel Bellinger, Lawrence Cager, Tommy Sweeney (Chris Myarick to the Practice Squad)

May 252023
 
Brian Daboll, New York Giants (May 19, 2022)

Brian Daboll – © USA TODAY Sports

MAY 25, 2023 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their third voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Thursday, and first one open to the media. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

“We have been grinding away here into phase three of the program. I think we made some strides physically with the strength and conditioning program, phase one and phase two. Really, it’s a learning camp, a teaching camp. That’s how we approach it. No one is going to make the team off of performance at this camp. There are certain rules and things that we with try to coach and make sure that our guys are on top of.

“As always, I think there’s a few guys out that had prior engagements for today. They will be back next week. We have really good attendance. There will be some guys working their rehab stuff, and throughout practice each of those guys are kind of at different stages. Just trying to get them as healthy as we can. I’m not going to get into specifics of any of them. I would say with Saquon, that situation is going to be between Saquon and the organization. I’m not going to get into detail of any of the discussions we’ve had.”

The seven remaining OTA practices will be held on May 30-31, June 2, June 5-6, and June 8-9. A mandatory mini-camp will also be held June 13-15.

INJURIES AND ABSENTEES…
Not spotted at were RB Saquon Barkley (unsigned Franchise player), DL Leonard Williams, DL Dexter Lawrence, DL A’Shawn Robinson, DL D.J. Davidson (recovering from knee surgery), DL Vernon Butler, and CB Nick McCloud.

WR Wan’Dale Robinson (recovering from knee surgery), WR Makai Polk, OT Tyre Phillips, OG Marcus McKethan (recovering from knee surgery), ILB Darrian Beavers (recovering from knee surgery), OLB Elerson Smith (recovering from foot surgery), CB Aaron Robinson (recovering from knee surgery), S Dane Belton (recovering from unspecified offseason surgery), S Jason Pinnock, and S Trenton Thompson.worked on the side.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Fielding punts were RB Eric Gray, WR Darius Slayton, WR Jaydon Mickens, WR Kalil Pimpleton, CB Darnay Holmes, and CB Adoree’ Jackson.
  • First-team offensive line was RT Evan Neal, RG Mark Glowinski, OC John Michael Schmitz, LG Ben Bredeson, and LT Andrew Thomas.
  • First-team wide receivers were Parris Campbell, Darius Slayton, and Isaiah Hodgins.
  • The starting inside linebackers were Bobby Okereke and Jarrad Davis.
  • Starting at cornerback were Adoree’ Jackson and Amani Oruwariye. Darnay Holmes was the slot corner. Deonte Banks was with the second-team defense.
  • The starting safeties were Xavier McKinney and Bobby McCain.
  • On the first play of 7-on-7 drills, QB Daniel Jones connected with TE Darren Waller deep down the right sideline over CB Darnay Holmes. Jones later hit Waller deep again.
  • QB Daniel Jones connected with WR Darius Slayton deep twice. Slayton also caught a touchdown in the back of the end zone from Jones later in 7-on-7 drills.
  • Wide receivers Collin Johnson and Jamison Crowder flashed in 7-on-7 drills.
  • TE Lawrence Cager saw quite a bit of work and caught a deep pass from QB Tyrod Taylor.
  • WR Sterling Shepard, who is recovering from ACL surgery, practiced in some 7-on-7 drills with the third team.
  • S Gervarrius Owens broke up a pass from QB Tommy DeVito. CB Cor’Dale Flott also broke up a pass.
  • WR David Sills injured himself after hitting the ground hard after making a deep catch from QB Daniel Jones. Sills appeared to injure his ribs or back.

GIANTS PRESEASON TIMES AND DATES SET…
The Giants announced the times and dates for their three preseason games. Details are available in the Schedule section of the website.

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The  transcript and video of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Thursday are available in The Corner Forum and 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 YouTube:

Mar 172023
 
Julian Love, New York Giants (October 16, 2022)

Julian Love – © USA TODAY Sports

SEAHAWKS SIGN JULIAN LOVE …
The Seattle Seahawks have signed unrestricted free agent safety Julian Love away from the New York Giants. The deal is reportedly a 2-year, $12 million contract. Love is the second Giants’ free agent to depart the team this offseason, joining offensive lineman Nick Gates, who signed with the Washington Commanders.

Love has gotten better every year since he was draft by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Due to Xavier McKinney missing much of the 2022 season, Love was forced to play in a variety of roles and performed well. A healthy scratch in the regular-season finale, Love started 16 regular-season games and finished the year with a team-high 124 tackles, six tackles for losses, one sack, five pass defenses, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. He played in 95 percent of defensive snaps and was flagged once for unnecessary roughness. A collegiate corner, the Giants moved him to safety as a rookie, though he has played some corner and slot corner at the pro level. Love has played in 64 regular-season games with 32 starts.

For a listing of the team’s free agents, see the New York Giants 2023 Free Agency Scorecard.

GIANTS RE-STRUCTURE DARREN WALLER’S CONTRACT …
The Giants and Darren Waller have agreed to re-structure the newly-acquired tight end’s contract. $9.835 million of Waller’s 2023 base salary has been converted into a signing bonus spread over the four years left on his current contract. The move creates $7.868 million in cap space under the 2023 salary cap.

PARRIS CAMPBELL PRESS CONFERENCE…
Wide receiver Parris Campbell, who the Giants acquired as an unrestricted free agent from the Indianapolis Colts, addressed the media on Friday. The transcript of this press conference is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

RAKEEM NUNEZ-ROCHES PRESS CONFERENCE…
Defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches, who the Giants acquired as an unrestricted free agent from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, addressed the media on Friday. The transcript of this press conference is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

Mar 162023
 
Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts (January 8, 2023)

Parris Campbell – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN PARRIS CAMPBELL …
The New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent wide receiver Parris Campbell (Indianapolis Colts) to a reported 1-year, $3 million contract, with an additional $1.7 million in per game roster bonuses and $2 million in incentives. The total package could reach $6.7 million.

The 25-year old, 6’1”, 208-pound Campbell was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Colts. He had an injury-plagued first three seasons in Indianapolis, missing extensive time in 2019 (sports hernia, broken hand, broken foot), 2020 (MCL and PCL knee injury), and 2021 (broken foot). From 2019-2021, he only played in 15 games, catching a total of 34 catches for 360 yards and two touchdowns. Campbell finally played in all 17 games in 2022 with 16 starts. He finished the year with 63 catches for 623 yards and three touchdowns. Campbell lacks ideal size, but he fast, quick receiver who can play multiple positions, including the slot.

For a listing of the team’s free agents, see the New York Giants 2023 Free Agency Scorecard.

DARREN WALLER PRESS CONFERENCE…
Tight end Darren Waller, who the Giants acquired by trade from the Las Vegas Raiders, addressed the media on Wednesday. The transcript of this press conference is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

Mar 142023
 
Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders (January 1, 2023)

Darren Waller – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have acquired tight end Darren Waller by trade from the Las Vegas Raiders. The Giants gave the Raiders the 3rd-round pick (100th overall selection) that they acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs for wide receiver Kadarius Toney.

The 30-year old, 6’6”, 238-pound Waller was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He has spent time with both the Ravens (2015-2018) and Raiders (2018-2022). Waller has played in 74 regular-season games with 52 starts, catching 298 passes for 3,572 yards and 19 touchdowns. His best two seasons were 2019-2020, when he caught an incredible 197 passes for 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns. However, Waller has missed 14 regular-season games the past two seasons with injuries, specifically knee and back injuries in 2021 and a nagging hamstring issue in 2022. Waller is receiving-type tight end who runs good routes and can threaten defenses vertically down the field. Due to his tall, lanky frame, he’s more of a position blocker.

Waller has four years remaining on his current contract, with base salaries of $11,000,000 in 2023, $10,525,000 in 2024, $11,525,000 in 2025, and $11,525,000 in 2026.