Dec 132017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 10, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS WILL BEGIN INTERVIEWING GM CANDIDATES NEXT WEEK…
New York Giants President/CEO John Mara said on Wednesday that the team will begin interview general manager candidates next week. Jerry Reese was fired by the team last week along with Head Coach Ben McAdoo.

“We have interviews scheduled next week, and we’ll probably be announcing who we’re bringing in,” Mara said.

Mara was asked if he would like quarterback Eli Manning to remain with the team. “Yes,” Mara responded. “But that’s a discussion that we’ll have.”

“We’re in a unique position to take a quarterback (in the 2018 NFL Draft) if we want, but I’m not certain at this point they will be the highest graded players on the board,” Mara said. “That will be a discussion at a later date with the new general manager and new head coach. I’ve watched all of them (on TV) except for (Josh Allen). They’re all impressive.”

When asked about the current season, Mara said, “I’m trying to think of one that was worse. Maybe 1978, maybe ’66. But never one where the expectations were so high and the performance was so poor.”

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Roger Lewis (ankle), offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (not injury related), and safety Landon Collins (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday.

Wide receiver Travis Rudolph (hamstring), tight end Rhett Ellison (finger), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (finger), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), and cornerback Brandon Dixon (heel/hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.

INTERIM HEAD COACH STEVE SPAGNUOLO…
The transcript of Steve Spagnuolo’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 New York Giants practice on Thursday at 11:35AM. Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo, Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan, Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn, and select players will also address the media after practice.

Dec 062017
 
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Steve Spagnuolo, New York Giants (December 6, 2017)

Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports

ELI MANNING TO START ON SUNDAY…
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has once again been named the starting quarterback. Manning was benched by Ben McAdoo, who was fired by the Giants on Monday. Manning had started 210 regular-season games in a row, dating back to November 2004.

“Eli Manning will be the quarterback for this football team in this game,” said Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo. “Okay, the ‘why Eli?’ All I can tell you is this. When John Mara and I talked, one of the first things he asked was about the quarterback situation and I said, ‘John, my gut right now is that Eli should be the starter.’ What you have to understand is when I was coaching just the defense, I had the blinders on and all I’m worried about is the defense. I stay in my lane. So, I didn’t have my eyes around what was going on on offense – who was playing what. None of that. So, I took my gut and visited with the offensive coaches and together with that and my gut, Eli Manning is going to be our quarterback. Had a conversation with Geno (Smith), which was a tremendous conversation. I have a great deal of respect for Geno Smith in the way he reacted. He was a man. He obviously didn’t agree with the decision, but he is a team player and he told me that he was going to go forward and wants to be a part of this and I just have a great deal of respect for him. It’s not an easy thing to do.”

“I just wanted (Coach Spagnuolo) to know that I do want to play,” said Manning. “I want to be the starting quarterback, I want to be out there and I just want to make sure that he knew that. He said that he was going to think about and talk with the coaches, but his gut said that I would be the starting quarterback. So, I’m happy that he went with that decision and he has the faith in me, we can go win this football game with me as the quarterback… It’s important to play. That’s what I love to do. I love to play quarterback and love playing quarterback for the New York Giants. ”

When asked about his future, Manning responded, “Hey, this is all I know. This is all I know, is playing for the New York Giants and I’ve never wished to change that. I appreciate everything the Giants organization has done for me and you have so much family in this building. From the Mara family, the Tisch family, people in the equipment room and the film room, the training room. I’ve known a lot of these people for 14 years and grew up around them. So, this is all I know. Hey, I’m going to finish out this season and then I’m sure they’ll be a discussion with the organization to figure out what’s the plan going forward… No, no retirement plans. So, that’s not on my mind.”

GIANTS TO BEGIN PRACTICING ON FRIDAY AGAIN…
Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo has changed the New York Giants in-season practice schedule to once-again have the team practice on Fridays. Under Ben McAdoo, the Giants did not practice on Friday, having a “recovery day” instead and a “launch” practice on Saturday.

“The reasoning on the Friday deal was we just felt at this time of the season, really third down and red zone are really, really important – winning those areas, and you got to win them both offensively and defensively,” said Spagnuolo. “So, what that schedule does is gives us an opportunity to do more third down on Thursday and then extend more red zone on Friday and it’s a schedule I’m real familiar with and I think it’ll help us in the upcoming games.”

JERRY REESE ISSUES A STATEMENT…
Former General Manager Jerry Reese, who the New York Giants fired on Monday, issued the following written statement on Tuesday:

I would like to thank the New York Football Giants for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing franchise for the past twenty-three years. My time here has been filled with many great memories. Thank you John and the Mara family, Steve and the Tisch family for your confidence in me for so many seasons. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo for their commitment to the NYG and my time working with them. I’m thankful to the late George Young, who hired me, and to Ernie Accorsi for grooming me. Many thanks to the front office, personnel staff, support staff, scouts, coaches, and current and former players for your dedication to a first class organization. My family, friends and many fans that have supported me, I sincerely appreciate all of you. I am truly grateful and blessed for my time with the NYG. All the best to you. Go Giants.

BEN MCADOO ISSUES A STATEMENT…
Former Head Coach Ben McAdoo, who the New York Giants fired on Monday, issued the following written statement on Wednesday:

It was a privilege and an honor to serve as the head coach of the New York Giants and be a member of the organization for four years. I thank the Mara family, the Tisch family, and Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin for taking a chance on a first time offensive coordinator and enabling me to take an important step in my career. My family and I enjoyed every day of my tenure with the Giants, thanks in large part to the commitment of everybody in the organization. I particularly want to thank the entire coaching staff for their dedication and hard work. I would be remiss if I did not thank the support staff who are often underappreciated but vital to the success of any football team. Finally, I will always appreciate having had the chance to coach so many outstanding players. As I have said many times, they are men of talent, and I believe in their integrity and character. I wish them and the entire organization success in the future.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (hamstring), offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (concussion), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (finger), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck/wrist), and cornerback Eli Apple (hip/back) did not practice on Wednesday.

Running back Wayne Gallman (hip), offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (elbow), and linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

HEAD COACH STEVE SPAGNUOLO…
The transcript of Steve Spagnuolo’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

NEW YORK GIANTS PRESIDENT/CEO JOHN MARA…
Audio of John Mara’s radio interviews on Monday are available at:

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:

The audio Eli Manning’s WFAN interview on Monday is also available at CBS New York’s website.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Thursday at 12:30PM. The team’s coordinators and select players will also address the media after practice.

Nov 242017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 24, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY UPDATE…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo said on Monday that the injuries suffered by linebacker Curtis Grant (knee) and cornerback Donte Deayon (fractured forearm) will end their season. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (ankle) may miss some time as well.

MONDAY BEN MCADOO CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo addressed the media by conference call on Friday to discuss the team’s 20-10 loss to the Washington Redskins:

Q: What did you think of the overall effort in last night’s game?

A: I thought we played the game hard. I thought we played the game physical at times. There were times when we were the more physical team. That wasn’t consistent over the course of the ballgame, but I thought the players played hard.

Q: At 2-9, where does the team go from here?

A: I guess the normal procedure would be to start taking a look at more younger players, but we’re doing that, really, already, with the way things have come out injury-wise. We have a lot of young players playing out there and last night was an example, young players playing on a short week and they played like it. We need to get more out of the young players on our roster. We took a step backwards there. Everything’s correctable and I’m confident that we’re going to get it corrected, but we need better there. The players are going to get a couple days away from it and we need to come back and attack this last month head on.

Q: What did you think when you looked at the offense on tape?

A: Well, I was disappointed in the way that our offense looked. Really, as a team, we didn’t handle the ball well enough to win the game. We didn’t throw it well enough, we didn’t catch it well enough, we didn’t punt it well enough, we didn’t kick it well enough and that was a big part of the ballgame. Last night we had a lot of unforced errors. They were both ways in the game and that’s usually how it goes. On a Thursday Night game, you’re going to have some of that and we just weren’t able to overcome it.

Q: Is there anything that you would have changed going into the game, preparation-wise, to compensate for the challenge of having young players play on a short week?

A: Yeah, we’re going to take a look at it. We have some ideas that we put down and we’re going to take a look at it in the future and see if there’s any adjustments you can make to maybe getting some speed work.

Q: Has ‘next man up’ been a little unrealistic, especially heading into a short week, to have guys step in right away and expect them to play at a high level?

A: Both teams went through it last night. We had a lot of players who had to step in and go and play pro football at a high level. And that is a challenge, but that’s part of the game. We played hard, we weren’t detailed enough, we didn’t execute the way that we’re capable of executing, but we went out and played the game hard.

Q: Do you think your players might have been pressing a little bit, knowing it was a short week?

A: I thought there were some examples, maybe. I thought maybe [tight end] Evan [Engram] was pressing a little bit in the pass game, especially after he dropped the first one. Other than that, I’m not sure if there were any other signs of it.

Q: What is the latest on wide receiver Sterling Shepard?

A: Sterling, he’s still on the injury report. There’s no change from yesterday.

Q: Is it still migraines with Shepard?

A: He’s listed as a migraine, yes.

Q: Do you have any updates on injured players from last night?

A: [Cornerback] Janoris [Jenkins] has an ankle [injury], it’s painful. [Linebacker Curtis] Grant has a knee [injury], a right knee. [Cornerback] Donte Deayon has a forearm fracture. [Linebacker Deontae] Skinner has a hamstring [injury] and that’s what I have right now.

Q: Is Deayon’s injury something that he can play through, or will it end his season?

A: He won’t be able to play through that, no.

Q: Shepard is not in the concussion protocol, correct?

A: Correct.

Q: Any concern that Jenkins’ injury is long-term?

A: He’s in some pain right now, so there’s a possibility.

Q: Is Grant’s knee injury going to end his season?

A: It looks that way, yes.

Q: Is there anything you can do to help Engram come back in the passing game?

A: Yeah, he bounced back in the ballgame. He had the drop on the first third down of the game and that was an easy throw and catch, should’ve been. And he just didn’t have good fundamentals there. He surrounded the ball, something that we don’t like to do, and when it gets chalky and cold, the ball can be hard to handle. He doesn’t have a lot of experience playing in that weather, but that’s part of it. He bounced back on the vertical play down the middle, it would’ve been a very tough throw and catch, [quarterback] Eli [Manning] got some pressure, had to get the ball out, he wasn’t expecting the ball probably that quickly, but made a nice play on the ball and just couldn’t hold it going to the ground. But came back on a deep cross, showed good fundamentals, good concentration, good focus and made a nice play. So, he’s able to rebound during the course of a game. I did have conversations with him during the course of the game and let him know that he can still make a big impact in the ballgame, in the way the ballgame was going. He just needs to stick with it and focus on the details and the little things.

Q: Do you find Engram is receptive to those in-game conversations?

A: Yeah, he’s phenomenal on the sideline. He plays the game with a clear mind.

Q: In your eyes, was cornerback Eli Apple missing two practices last week what contributed to him being inactive last night?

A: He hasn’t played football in awhile and that’s why I chose the decision I made.

Q: Missing two practices for a guy who has played a lot of football is a deal breaker?

A: I don’t know what deal you’re talking about, but he didn’t practice last week, except for Wednesday. He did not play in the game and didn’t get any speed work this week, that’s why I chose to not dress him.

Q: There is a lot of speculation that he was inactive for another reason, but that is not the case?

A: I didn’t say it was.

Q: How do you feel about the way the offensive line played last night?

A: I thought that the 16-play drive was a good drive for them. We mixed the pass, we mixed the run, had some good plays, overcame some adversity during that drive. But the physicality of the run game wasn’t as good as it’s been, so we dropped off there a little bit and our protection wasn’t good enough.

Q: What was your message to the players before they got away for a couple of days off?

A: Come back on time with your weight right. That’s a good start.

Q: Because of all the young players playing more, are you teaching more?

A: We need these guys to grow up. It’s part of coaching, it’s part of playing. We don’t have time to wait, it’s got to be now.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Friday’s media conference calls with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

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.

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants did not score an offensive touchdown for the second time this season, both in division road games. They were held to three points in Dallas in the season opener.

The Giants had one first down in the second half and seven in the game, their lowest total since they had six in a 30-7 loss to New Orleans on December 24, 2006.

The Giants’ 86 net passing yards was their lowest total since they threw for 49 yards in a victory against the Miami Dolphins in London on October 28, 2007.

Quarterback Eli Manning’s 113 passing yards was his lowest total since he threw for 111 yards at Buffalo on December 23, 2007. He passed for 36 yards on the Giants’ final series.

The Giants employed their eighth different starting offensive line this season, tying them with the Green Bay Packers for the NFL high.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no scheduled media availability the New York Giants until next Tuesday, when select players will address the press. The players are off on Sunday and Monday.

Nov 152017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 12, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (ankle), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), and linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (groin) did not practice on Wednesday.

Offensive guard D.J. Fluker (knee), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (ankle), Devon Kennard (quad), linebacker Calvin Munson (quad), and cornerback Donte Deayon (ankle) were limited in practice.

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 12:10PM. The team’s coordinators and select players will also address the media after practice.

Oct 222017
 
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Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks (October 22, 2017)

The Dagger – © USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 24 – NEW YORK GIANTS 7…
The New York Giants got back on the losing track on Sunday as they were defeated 24-7 by the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the loss, the Giants fell to 1-6 on the season.

The Giants’ defense kept the game close until the 4th quarter. On the other hand, New York’s offense was beyond dreadful. The Giants were held to four first downs and 42 net yards in the first half and finished the game with just 14 first downs and 177 net yards (four first downs 49 yards of which came on late meaningless drive). More embarrassingly, six of the Giants’ 14 first downs were the result of penalties on the Seahawks; and the Giants did not have one rushing first down in the game.

Despite these horrific numbers, the Giants led 7-3 at the half and only trailed 10-7 in the 4th quarter.

Both teams punted the ball away to start the game after each offense picked up two first downs. The Seahawks then put together a 16-play, 85-yard, almost 9-minute marathon of a drive that ended on downs at the New York Giants 1-yard line when cornerback Eli Apple broke up a 4th-and-goal pass.

Although the Giants’ offense went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, New York immediately got the ball back when defensive end Avery Moss forced a fumble that safety Landon Collins recovered and returned 32 yards to the Seattle 17-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Eli Manning found tight end Evan Engram for a 5-yard touchdown. The Giants actually led in this game 7-0.

Seattle’s ran 11 plays that only netted 33 yards on their next possession and punted. The Giants went three-and-out for the second time and punted. The Seahawks then scored their only points of the first half after an 8-play, 49-yard possession set up a successful 39-yard field goal with 42 seconds before intermission. At the half, the Giants led 7-3 despite being out-gained 222 net yards to 42.

New York’s first three drives of the second half resulted in a total of two first downs, 32 yards, and three punts. Meanwhile, although forced to punt twice, the Seahawks also took the lead on a 4-play, 59-yard drive that included three big pass plays and culminated with a 22-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to wide receiver Doug Baldwin.

The Giants’ best drive of the game was a 10-play affair that only accrued a total of 57 yards and three first downs. Unfortunately, it resulted in a missed 47-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas that could have tied the game early in the 4th quarter.

The Giants’ defense forced another punt, and with 11 minutes left in the game, despite all of the offensive futility, the Giants still only trailed by a field goal 10-7. But on 2nd-and-5 from their own 41-yard line, Manning was sacked and he fumbled the ball away to Seattle at the Giants’ 38-yard line. On the very next snap, off of a trick play, Wilson threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Paul Richardson. The play was controversial as it was not clear if Richardson had possession of the ball as he was wrestling for it with Landon Collins. Seattle now led 17-7 with less than 10 minutes to play.

The game was decided when the Giants went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and the Seahawks then generated a 12-play, 50-yard drive that ended with Russell Wilson’s third touchdown pass on 2nd-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 2:14 left to play.

Manning finished the game 19-of-39 for 134 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. His leading receiver was Engram, who caught six of 12 passes thrown in his direction for 60 yards and a touchdown. Giants’ wide receiver caught a total of five passes for 45 yards. The Giants’ ground game was not good. Orleans Darkwa gained 35 yards on nine carries and Wayne Gallman chipped in with 15 yards on five carries.

Defensively, the Giants only accrued one sack, by safety Nat Berhe. The only turnover generated was the fumble Moss forced and Collins recovered.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were running back Paul Perkins (ribs), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), center Weston Richburg (concussion), defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck), linebacker Calvin Munson (quad), and quarterback Davis Webb.

Offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), and defensive end Cap Capi (hamstring) all left the game and did not return.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants are 0-3 in MetLife Stadium. Not counting the strike seasons, the Giants last lost their first three home games in 1980.

The Giants have lost four consecutive games to Seattle, which has tied the all-time series, 9-9. The Seahawks are 3-0 versus the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

The Giants gained 177 yards on offense, their lowest total since they finished with 150 yards in a 38-0 loss at Carolina on September 22, 2013.

Quarterback Eli Manning played in his 208th regular-season game, breaking a tie with Howard Cross and moving into second place on the Giants’ career list. Hall of Famer Michael Strahan is the franchise’s record-holder with 216 games played. Manning started his 206th consecutive game.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo will address the media by conference call Monday afternoon.

Aug 072017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 7, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their ninth summer training camp practice on Monday 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. Defensive tackle Robert Thomas (unknown), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), and linebacker Mark Herzlich (unknown) did not practice.

Wide receivers Sterling Shepard (ankle) and Tavarres King (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

“(Shepard) was running around, I didn’t see any noticeable limp or anything like that,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “He was moving around good, some change in direction, looked fine.”

Wide receiver Kevin Snead (unknown) and offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker (unknown) left practice early.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Indoor practice today not open to the public. I liked being in there, simply to switch things up a little and it kept everyone on one field. So for the most part, we got to see everyone, as no one was a field away.

Offense Notes:

  • WR Sterling Shepard was out there for the beginning of practice, he was moving aggressively. I think it’s safe to say he is ready to rock within a week.
  • QB Geno Smith is on a little run. He is making some really nice throws on all levels and it appears his timing with receivers in addition to understanding the scheme is coming along. Geno is more gifted than Johnson and if he continues to improve at this rate, he has a very good shot at winning the backup job.
  • Good to see QB Davis Webb out there after practice again. You can tell this kid is a worker.
  • The QB’s were airing it out a little more today than what we’ve seen, as it looked like some deep passing was a focus. This was equally beneficial for WRs, DBs, and QBs. Manning threw a deep ball (40+ yards) to WR Brandon Marshall up the right sideline. I had a good vantage point and right after the ball reached it’s apex, I immediately assumed 5-6 yard overthrow. Then Marshall accelerated and showed off his reach, tipping the ball to himself a couple times and eventually coming down with it. Very impressive pitch-and-catch and it looks like 10-to-15 chemistry is coming along. They hooked up a few times today in tight windows.
  • Still unsure where WR Roger Lewis is on this depth chart. He worked as the team’s #3 guy with Taverres King and Sterling Shepard out of action in team drills. He is an impressive athlete but doesn’t quite seem to have the body control and consistent hands. He dropped a deep pass today and then didn’t locate another one but responded with a deep TD catch a few plays later.
  • WR Darius Powe may have an inside track at winning the final WR spot. He is big and physical and I think this team needs another one of those guys if Marshall were to ever go down. He had a couple of really nice catches today including one where he burned Janoris Jenkins. WR Travis Rudolph, we’ve discussed a few times, does so many things well but I think it is a legit concern if he can separate and/or catch passes in traffic at his size/speed combo.
  • I got to watch a lot of OT Adam Bisnowaty vs. DE Avery Moss today, the two rookies. Bisnowaty won most, if not all, of the one-on-one fights. He anchored well, maintained good position and accuracy with hands, and adjusted to the double moves. Moss was winning the leverage battle but didn’t seem to have the power to get a consistent push.
  • OC Brett Jones had an impressive day. I have to think he is the primary OC backup and a definite for the 53-man roster. One thing that stands out with him, he does NOT get pushed back when he anchors those feet in.
  • We may need to get used to TE Evan Engram making plays on a daily basis now. His speed jumps out at me every time he goes after the ball and makes a move north after the catch. He burned S Landon Collins a couple times. Collins also had a hard time sticking with TE Rhett Ellison on an out cut. Ellison is a better short area athlete than I thought.
  • OL Michael Bowie is likely on the outside looking in at this point, but he has some extra pop about him today. He appears to have overwhelming power when he has things lined up correctly.
  • A practice squad candidate WR has had 2-3 really good days in a row. UDFA Jerome Lane from Akron 6’3/225 and has been making some tough catches in traffic. Very strong presence when he attacks the ball. He is #6 if you guys watch Friday night.

Defense Notes:

  • DT Robert Thomas didn’t practice today which meant more looks for Jay Bromley. I’m not sure we have seen enough out of him to warrant excitement, but he still shows flashes. He is a big, big dude with some solid straight line burst. He just needs to show more consistent pad level.
  • CB Donte Deayon is a fun kid to watch and I think everyone is rooting for him, including his teammates. At his size, it’s unlikely he will make the team but he continues to make plays. I’ve been wanting to see him matchup against Odell Beckham because they are both elite movers. Deayon got his shot once today and stuck with him on an in-cut. The negative, however, is that he gets tossed around by receivers when they block. WR Sterling Shepard and WR Dwayne Harris just owned him on WR blocking driils. He did intercept QB Josh Johnson during team drills though. He is making his case.
  • B.J. Goodson got beat in coverage a couple times today. He was close though. We know it won’t be his strength as a LB, but this team needs to make sure they don’t get beat up the middle yet again this year.
  • I am having a hard time figuring out how this team will figure out the LB depth chart behind the top 5. Deontae Skinner and Curtis Grant are excellent straight-line athletes. Skinner made a couple plays in coverage today – that could be an avenue for him to make his impact.
  • Safety Eric Pinkins, whom we talked to after practice, is a physical gem. Tall, long, strong, and fast. He is high-hipped and struggles to make quick breaks and change direction laterally, but I think this kid has to make the team. He may be one of the more versatile defenders on the team. Experience at S, LB, and CB in addition to a defensive weapon on special teams. He is pumped to start his endeavor to make the roster Friday night. Look for him.
  • CB Valentino Blake is the team’s #5 CB I think, as of now. We will see what happens in the games but he has been playing better each day. He has the game experience that some others do not and there is a physical style about him. This defense wants to be nasty and that fits in to the way Blake approaches things. If I had to decide Blake or Deayon right now, I think NYG would lean towards Blake.
  • CB Eli Apple may have had his best day. He stuck with Brandon Marshall for the most part in his limited opportunities. He is showing the blend of size and speed you want, but he also did a nice job of sniffing out routes and throws ahead of time. That is huge for him.
  • DT Corbin Bryant is a really impressive-looking guy. He has a short area burst and violence about him that can be a weapon. Does he have the ability to eat up double teams? Can he be a pass rusher here? Not sure but he deserves a look in these games coming up.

Three Standouts:

  • QB Eli Manning: I think this was Eli’s “rust is off” day. He threw a bunch of really pretty looking balls downfield. He also stepped up in the pocket and fit some passes into really tight windows. He is making the effort to build up that chemistry with Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram, two new weapons that offer him things he didn’t have last year. That is one of the more important parts to this preseason process.
  • TE Will Tye: Another day, another TE looks to be stepping up and making his case. Part of me thinks the Rhett Ellison signing is the kick that will put Tye on the street at the end of preseason. They are similar styled players and Ellison isn’t going anywhere. Tye made a couple of really tough catches over the middle on the move. Outstretched arms with defenders bearing down. As I said last week, he looks quicker than a year ago.
  • CB Nigel Tribune: A guy I haven’t mentioned at all in these reports yet. He is a body-control corner that went undrafted out of Iowa State. He showed a physical side last week when he beat up WR Kevin Snead at the point of attack multiple times, and today he showed great balance and ball skills when covering WR Travis Rudolph. He made a great play on the ball on 4th-and-goal on a pass from Geno Smith to Rudolph. That fifth CB spot is up for grabs and if they want a quicker slot-type corner, Tribune is in the mix as much as anyone.

Sy’56 and Gidiefor discuss today’s practice and interview safety Eric Pinkins.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • In 1-on-1 drills, wide receiver Brandon Marshall beat cornerback Eli Apple deep and scored a touchdown with an acrobatic catch that he tipped to himself. Wide receiver Travis Rudolph then badly beat cornerback Janoris Jenkins deep for a touchdown. Cornerback Donte Deayon had good, tight coverage on wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, tight end Rhett Ellison made a couple of nice catches. But then quarterback Josh Johnson threw and interception to cornerback Donte Deayon.
  • Quarterback Josh Johnson hit wide receiver Dwayne Harris for a long touchdown. Then he threw a ball up for tight end Matt LaCosse, who made a leaping catch down the right side.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple deflected a slant pass intended for wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith hit wide receiver Darius Powe for a long touchdown over cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Powe then made a finger-tip grab on a Smith pass, beating cornerback Michael Hunter.
  • Cornerback Valentino Blake broke up a quarterback Geno Smith pass intended for wide receiver Roger Lewis.
  • D.J. Fluker received some reps at left guard and right tackle with the third-team offensive line.
  • Tight end Evan Engram made a nice grab on pass over the middle from quarterback Eli Manning during the 2-minute drill.
  • Cornerback Donte Deayon broke up a flat pass from quarterback Geno Smith intended for wide receiver Travis Rudolph. Safety Eric Pinkins then broke up a Smith pass intended for tight end Matt LaCosse.
  • Avery Moss got a good pass rush from left defensive end during the 2-minute drill.
  • Cornerback Nigel Tribune made a diving pass defense of a quarterback Geno Smith rollout pass to wide receiver Travis Rudolph.
  • Overall, the Giants’ 1st-, 2nd, and 3rd-team defenses kept the 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-team offenses out of the end zone during 2-minute drills.
  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including from 31, 36, 41, and 50 yards out.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The tenth training camp practice will be held on Tuesday, 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 012017
 
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Eli Manning and Paul Perkins, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Eli Manning and Paul Perkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 1, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fourth summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN KICKER MIKE NUGENT…
The New York Giants announced on Tuesday that they have signed place kicker Mike Nugent, who fills the roster void created when safety Jadar Johnson retired on Sunday.

The 35-year old Nugent was originally drafted in the 2nd-round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. He has spent time with the Jets (2005-2008), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009), Arizona Cardinals (2009), and Cincinnati Bengals (2010-2016). Nugent was released by the Bengals in December 2016 after he had missed six extra points. He finished the season 23-of-29 (79.3 percent) on field goal attempts and is a career 80.8 percent on field goal attempts. Forty-four percent of his 2016 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

INJURY REPORT…
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) and defensive end Devin Taylor (lower body soreness) did not practice. Wide receiver Dwayne Harris (shoulder) left practice early.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Another sunny day, the heat was a bit more intense. First day in full pads and it was nice to both see and hear these guys run into each other, as silly as that sounds. Felt like real football although these guys are told to not bring each other to the ground.

Offense Notes:

  • The first full contact I zeroed in on were run-game based. Half a line, 2 backs or 1 back/1 extra TE up against 2 DL and 2 LB. Defenders have a slight advantage knowing the run is coming, but the point of the drill was run blocking/filling lanes and simple assignments. Rookie UDFA Shane Smith stood out a few times against Jonathan Casillas. Delivered violent blows and knocked his man back a few steps. Impressive presence, power, and technique. Casillas got the best of the other FB competing for a spot, Jacob Huesman, on a few occasions.
  • OT Bobby Hart was impressive today, he’s come a long way with his technique and fundamentals. He has such a natural power presence coming from his lower body and his foot speed is more than good enough. Consistency in games is what needs to be seen there.
  • Ereck Flowers was bested by Olivier Vernon on a couple of occasions. The concern there is that Vernon is the kind of guy Flowers has always struggled against. Low to the ground, powerful, quick change of direction. Flowers just doesn’t look natural when he is moving laterally, the inconsistent techniques keep coming up. That said, he dominated DE Romeo Okwara more than once. When the action is in front of him and he gets his hands on, he is very effective. But there are still legit questions about his ability moving sideways.
  • D.J. Fluker was fooled badly on a stunt where rookie DE Avery Moss shot inside. Fluker was late to recognize it and he simply doesn’t recover well. So top heavy. He was tested the same way a couple plays later and was ready for it. He is another guy with a really high level of hand strength and power. When he locks on, it’s over.
  • The two rookie tackles, Adam Bisnowaty and Chad Wheeler, showed some warts that I had on them coming out of college. Bisnowaty (who also saw some snaps at RG) had a hard time sticking and anchoring to his man, while Wheeler didn’t get movement on his assignments Both are still showing their power presence isn’t ready for the NFL just yet.
  • Tight end Jerell Adams showed excellent blocking technique and power. For a long guy, he sure does get his hips low with a strong punch. He sticks to his man and recovered well after being beat a couple times. He may be the best blocker outside of Rhett Ellison. That said, his movement skills look awkward and slow when he has to change direction. Little clumsy, tripping over his feet and double catching the ball.
  • Quarterback Josh Johnson, for the 3rd practice in a row, outshine Geno Smith by a wide margin. Johnson throws such a smooth ball and it is almost always where it needs be. Smith still looks shaky in his new scheme.
  • WR Kevin Snead is a guy I keep wanting to watch. You don’t see speed like this very often, he may be one of the fastest NYG has ever had. I would love to see one of the QBs air it out downfield to him in one of these scrimmages. His issue is the hands which is a major red flag. He was dropping more punts than he was catching.

Defense Notes:

  • On the first O vs D play from scrimmage, linebacker B.J. Goodson proved what we talked about Sunday, he wants to HIT. He tossed wide receiver Sterling Shepard to the ground. Yes I do think it was on purpose. Shepard wasn’t happy about it but the scuffle was over shortly.
  • DT Robert Thomas keeps getting the 1st-team looks next to Damon Harrison. He is a guy NYG fans will like. Hyper active, spark-plug-type guy.
  • DT Dalvin Tomlinson looked a little overwhelmed at times. He had a hard time breaking away from D.J. Fluker. Tough guy to go against in straight-ahead drills though.
  • LB Jonathan Casillas plays angry. He wants to be the most physical guy on the field and you have to love that. He and Goodson both have a way of sneaking underneath and through traffic to locate the ball on running plays. This LB group is fast and physical, a nice place to start.
  • CB Eli Apple and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie won most of their 1-on-1 battles today. They move with confidence and assurance.
  • Defensive tackle Damon Harrison looks more and more like a young Vince Wilfork with each day that passes. He gives this scheme a lot of versatility and because of it; there may be some 3-4 looks.

Three Standouts:

  • WR Sterling Shepard: He was getting some extra work in with Manning between sessions. Discussing when to turn his head around on certain routes. He was flawlessly fielding punts. He was getting off tight coverage with ease. And he was making catches away from his body routinely. His ball skills are among the best in the league and it looks like he is the kind of worker that wont stop trying to perfect his craft.
  • S Landon Collins: Collins was a steady presence all day but a few things stood out to me today. While the entire team was on a “TV Timeout”, Collins was on the side field working with Spags on over-the-shoulder catches. Just him. After practice, we were in the field house waiting for about 30 minutes. The rest of the guys by that time are eating lunch but Collins comes strolling in from the field to fulfill his media duties still wearing his pads. The kid is a worker. I’ll say it again, he will be the leader of this defense.
  • Rhett Ellison: I have a feeling this guy is going to be Mr. Dependable whether NYG needs a blocker on 3rd-and-2 or a pass catcher on 3rd-and-5. Ellison is as sure-handed as anyone I have seen here so far and the consistency he showed as a violent and sure blocker was nice to see. NYG could have really used a guy like this.
  • And yes…Aldrick Rosas was perfect on his FG attempts. All of which were good by 15+ yards, including his 50 yarder.

Another full pads day tomorrow, hoping to see some more secondary vs. wide receivers…as they were on the opposite end today. And tomorrow’s focus on the OL will be Weston Richburg, Justin Pugh, and John Jerry along with the interior backups.

Below is the video report and interview with fullback Shane Smith.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including kicks from 30, 37, 42, and 50 yards out.
  • Giants continue to alternate Josh Johnson and Geno Smith at the #2 spot at quarterback. Today was Smith’s turn.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, cornerback Eli Apple knocked away an out-route pass from quarterback Eli Manning intended for wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Safety Nat Berhe defended a pass intended for tight end Evan Engram from quarterback Geno Smith. Smith then hit tight end Jerell Adams for a 20-yard gain.
  • Wide receiver Brandon Marshall caught a pass over the middle from quarterback Eli Manning. Marshall then dropped a slant pass from Manning near the goal line.
  • Wide receiver Travis Rudolph dropped a pass then made a diving reception from quarterback Josh Johnson.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Sterling Shepard over the middle.
  • Wide receiver Kevin Snead dropped 3-of-4 punt return attempts.
  • Wide receiver Darius Powe was active catching the football in the team portion of practice.

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/892416445023440896

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 fifth training camp practice will be held on Wednesday, starting at 10:55AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

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

B.J. Goodson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Linebackers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 072017
 
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Travis Rudolph, Florida State Seminoles (September 5, 2016)

Travis Rudolph – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS ROOKIE MINI-CAMP STARTS ON FRIDAY…
The New York Giants will hold a 3-day rookie mini-camp starting on Friday, May 12th. Head Coach Ben McAdoo, team coordinators, and select players will be available to the media on Friday.

Those players in attendance will include the Giants’ six draft picks, signed undrafted rookie free agents, players who were signed to reserve/future contracts in the offseason, and rookie and veteran street free agent tryout players.

REPORT – GIANTS ADD ANOTHER ROOKIE FREE AGENT…
NJ.com is reporting that the New York Giants have signed undrafted rookie free agent cornerback DaShaun Amos.

JERRY REESE ON ESPN RADIO
The audio of Tuesday’s ESPN Radio interview with New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese is available at ESPN.com.

ARTICLES…