Sep 072017
 
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Mike Sullivan, New York Giants (May 12, 2017)

Mike Sullivan – © USA TODAY Sports

INJURY UPDATE…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (ankle) and linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion) did not practice on Thursday.

Fullback Shane Smith (quad), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), defensive tackle Jay Bromley (knee), cornerback Eli Apple (ankle), and cornerback Michael Hunter (concussion) fully practiced.

THE COORDINATORS 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…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo and select position coaches and players will address the media on Friday. There is no media availability on Saturday. The Giants play the Dallas Cowboys in Texas on Sunday night.

Aug 222017
 
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Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, New York Giants (August 21, 2017)

Odell Beckham walks off of the field after ankle injury – © USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND BROWNS 10 – NEW YORK GIANTS 6…
The New York Giants’ offense continued to struggle in the second preseason game as the Giants fell to the Cleveland Browns 10-6 on Monday night at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. But the more alarming news for New York was on the injury front as wide receiver Odell Beckham (ankle), wide receiver Brandon Marshall (shoulder), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), and cornerback Michael Hunter (concussion) were all forced to leave the game. X-rays on Beckham’s ankle were negative, but he will undergo further evaluations on Tuesday. The Giants did not provide an update on Marshall after the game. King, who has missed a couple of weeks with an ankle injury, appears to have re-injured it. And Hunter will now enter the NFL’s concussion protocol.

For the second game in a row, the Giants failed to score a touchdown. Quarterback Eli Manning was a respectable 10-of-14 for 80 yards, but the offensive line again had issues pass and run blocking. Despite accruing 16 yards on one run, starting halfback Paul Perkins finished the night with 10 yards on six carries. Overall, the Giants were held to an embarrassing 212 total net yards (147 yards passing, 65 yards rushing) and 13 first downs. The offense also turned the football over three times, including an interception by quarterback Geno Smith and fumbles by wide receiver Sterling Shepard and running back Wayne Gallman. The Giants were 3-of-12 on third down and 0-for-2 in red zone opportunities.

On the positive side, the Giants’ defense continues to play well. The Browns were held to 242 total net yards (134 yards passing, 108 yards rushing) and 18 first downs. Defensive end Olivier Vernon tipped one pass that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul intercepted. Both ends also split a sack. Linebacker B.J. Goodson also picked up his second sack in two preseason games.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. left the game with an ankle injury. X-rays were negative, but the Giants said he will undergo further evaluation. Beckham was also evaluated for a possible concussion, but cleared.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall injured his shoulder in the game. Cornerback Michael Hunter left the game in the 3rd quarter with a concussion. Wide receiver Tavarres King left the game early with an ankle injury.

Not playing in the game were running back Shaun Draughn (ankle), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (upper body), wide receiver Darius Powe (hamstring), wide receiver Andrew Turzilli (hamstring), offensive lineman Adam Gettis (eye), offensive lineman Michael Bowie (arrest warrant), linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), and linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger).

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Ben McAdoo (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (Video)
  • LG Justin Pugh (Video)
  • S Landon Collins (Video)

ARTICLES…

Jul 262017
 
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New York Giants 2017 Rookie Class (May 12, 2017)

New York Giants 2017 Rookie Class – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS REPORT TO TRAINING CAMP ON THURSDAY…
The football offseason is officially over on Thursday when New York Giants players report to summer training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The first practice will be held at 11:40AM on Friday and will be one of eleven practices open to the public, weather permitting. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED CHARGE DROPPED FOR ROGER LEWIS…
Following up on our June 7 report that New York Giants wide receiver Roger Lewis was arrested in Ohio for operating a vehicle while impaired, that charge was dropped on Monday. Lewis was fined $150 plus court fees for driving in marked lanes and $25 for having tinted windows. Police originally said they found evidence of drug use in Lewis’ vehicle and suspected Lewis was under the influence of alcohol, but he refused to be tested on the scene.

BOBBY RAINEY SIGNS WITH RAVENS…
Unrestricted free agent running back Bobby Rainey (New York Giants) has signed with the Baltimore Ravens. The Giants had no interest in re-signing Rainey. The Giants signed Rainey as an unrestricted free agent from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in April 2016.  He played in 15 games with no starts and finished the season with 17 carries for 63 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and 20 catches for 153 yards (7.6 yards per catch). Rainey also returned six punts (6.5 yards per return) and eight kickoffs (25.5 yards per return). Rainey was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Baltimore Ravens after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Ravens (2012), Cleveland Browns (2013), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013-2015).

GIANTS.COM COORDINATOR INTERVIEWS…
Video clips of exclusive Giants.com interviews with the following coordinators are available at Giants.com:

  • Defensive Coordinator Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo (Video)
  • Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn (Video)

ARTICLES…

Jul 212017
 
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Brad Wing, New York Giants (October 23, 2016)

Brad Wing – © 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: Special Teams

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW: The Giants place-kicking situation was upended midway through 2016 when super-steady Josh Brown – who had made over 91 percent of his field goal attempts since joining the Giants in 2013 – was unceremoniously cut due to significant off-the-field issues. The Giants replaced him with long-time Chicago Bear Robbie Gould who was a perfect 10-of-10 on field goal attempts in 10 regular-season games.

Punter Brad Wing had a strong season in 2016, averaging 46.2 yards per punt (40.9 yard net). He had 28 kicks downed inside the 20-yard line. Wing was also named “NFC Special Teams Player of the Week” twice.

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, Harris was hampered by a variety of nagging injuries all season. 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 in 2015. Harris did remain a force on punt coverage and he was voted to his first Pro Bowl. With Harris ailing, Bobby Rainey (six punt and eight kickoff returns) and Odell Beckham, Jr. (10 punt returns) shared return duties.

Overall, the Giants finished 2016 7th in kickoff return average (23.8 yards per return) and 29th in punt return average (6.1 yards per return). On the flip side, the Giants were 23rd in covering kickoffs (22.8 yards per return) and 19th in covering punts (8.9 yards per return). The Giants neither scored nor allowed touchdowns on returns, but the Giants did return a blocked field goal attempt for a touchdown.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Robbie Gould signed a 2-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March. Place kicker Aldrick Rosas was signed by the Giants to a reserve/future contract in January 2017. Rosas was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tennessee Titans after the 2016 NFL Draft, but he did not make the team.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: On special teams, the story clearly is the unknown and unproven 22-year old Aldrick Rosas. Currently, Rosas is facing no competition for the job. Games and seasons often come down to field goal kicks. Indeed, Rosas may be THE most important player to follow in the preseason.

A secondary story line is whether or not Dwayne Harris can rebound from a disappointing and injury-plagued 2016 season. Harris is due to make $2.475 million salary in 2017 and $3.225 million in 2018 and 2019. He needs to justify those high salary figures.

ON THE BUBBLE: Even though he is currently facing no veteran competition, clearly Aldrick Rosas is on the hot seat. A discarded veteran kicker could be added at any time.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Tom Quinn on Aldrick Rosas: “Aldrick has done well. He’s really progressed from when we first put hands on him and started working with him. He’s gotten better every day, so that’s really been encouraging. He’s been consistent. Big guys we try to tighten them up a little bit and he’s done really well. Very coachable. Very strong leg, and he’s had good accuracy this spring.”

Quinn on Brad Wing: “He’s got a tremendous work ethic… I think as his confidence grows and you could see the true ability come out, and he’s got a lot of ability. He’s very talented.”

Quinn on Dwayne Harris: “Yes (we view him as our primary returner). We’ve always needed two or three guys since I’ve been here to be able to handle those roles. You have Dwayne, you have Odell. Kickoff returns, he was fine. On punt returns, he took a step back, which we don’t like. We’ve talked about it and addressed the things we want to improve on… When you get beaten down so much like he does because he plays some tough positions and throws his body around and is relentless, every time you return it, you’re going to take hits. He got hurt early and never really rebounded from it. It was a tough year, but he had a heck of a year as a coverage man. First year, we saw what we wanted returner wise. Second year, we saw coverage, so hopefully this year we can throw it all together.”

PREDICTIONS: It’s impossible to make an informed prediction on Aldrick Rosas because he is such an unknown commodity. He has the tools and the Giants obviously like what they have seen in the spring from him. But you cannot replicate real-game pressure. It is those pressure kicks and consistency that define a place kicker. If he falters in the preseason, look for the Giants to quickly add a veteran to the mix.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Brad Wing and Dwayne Harris are givens. Right now, it is Aldrick Rosas’ job to lose.

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).

Mar 212017
 
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Dwayne Harris, New York Giants (November 27, 2016)

Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

KEENAN ROBINSON DEAL OFFICIAL…
The New York Giants have officially announced that the team has re-signed unrestricted free agent linebacker Keenan Robinson. The Daily News is reporting that the contract is a 1-year, $4 million deal. Robinson received interested from the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills in free agency.

“I definitely did want to make this work the whole time,” Robinson said. “The (Jason Pierre-Paul contract situation) kind of put everything on hold, because they weren’t sure what was going to happen there. I understand. It’s a business, and there’s only so much cap room. I told my agent I wanted to wait and see and hold off before I made a decision. And it ended up working out in our favor, and ended up working out in the Giants’ favor. I definitely wanted to be a part of the defense like I was last year. The patience paid off.”

Robinson was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, where he missed time in 2012 (four games with right pectoral tear), 2013 (entire season with left pectoral tear), 2014 (three games with a knee injury), and 2015 (four games with a shoulder injury). The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2016.

Robinson officially only started 6-of-16 regular-season games for the Giants in 2016, but he was second in playing time on the team among all linebackers (71 percent of all defensive snaps). Robinson finished 2016 with 83 tackles and seven pass defenses.

Robinson has decent size and is a good athlete who runs well. Versatile, he can play inside and outside linebacker. Robinson is more of a run-and-hit linebacker than stout run defender at the point-of-attack. Robinson is solid in pass coverage. He only has 1.5 career sacks and has been injury prone. Robinson does not make many impact plays.

Video of an exclusive Giants Insider interview is available at Giants.com.

DWAYNE HARRIS TAKES A PAY CUT…
According to NFL Player Association records, New York Giants wide receiver/special teams ace Dwayne Harris has accepted a $500,000 pay cut to his 2017 salary. Harris’ salary was reduced from $2,975,000 to $2,475,000. His overall 2017 cap number was $3.8 million and is now $3.3 million.

According to ESPN, $1.1 million of Harris’ contract in 2017 is now fully guaranteed. ESPN says Harris can earn back the $500,000 plus an addition $100,000 in incentives if he averages 10.0 yards per punt return.

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.

JERSEY NUMBER UPDATE…
According to the roster page on Giants.com, the following jersey numbers have been assigned:

  • WR Brandon Marshall: #15
  • WR Taverres King: #12 (King had worn #15)
  • QB Geno Smith: #3
  • CB Valentino: #47

Quarterback Ryan Nassib, who is an unrestricted free agent who is not expected to be re-signed, had worn #12.

Mar 082017
 
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Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (December 11, 2016)

Brandon Marshall – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS AGREE TO TERMS WITH BRANDON MARSHALL…
According to multiple press reports, the New York Giants have agreed to terms with wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The contract is reportedly a 2-year, $12 million deal. Marshall, who turns 33 this month, was released by the New York Jets last week.

Marshall was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He has played with the Broncos (2006-2009), Miami Dolphins (2010-2011), Chicago Bears (2012-2014), and Jets (2015-2016). Marshall is a six-time Pro Bowler (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015) and two-time All-Pro (2012 and 2015). Marshall is the only player in NFL history with six seasons of 100 or more receptions. In 2016, started 15 regular-season games despite battling knee and foot injuries that he suffered in Week 2. Marshall caught 59 passes for 788 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers were dramatically down from his 109-catch, 1,502-yard, 14-touchdown 2015 season.

While Marshall is nearing the end of a stellar career, he still is a huge (6’4”, 230 pounds), physical play-maker who runs well after the catch and is tough to tackle.  Lacking classic speed and quickness, Marshall is more possession receiver than deep threat. Good run blocker.

GIANTS WANT DWAYNE HARRIS TO TAKE A PAY CUT…
ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants are seeking to restructure wide receiver/returner Dwayne Harris’ contract. If an agreement is not reached, the team may cut Harris.

Harris has three years left on his current 5-year contract. His 2017 cap figure is $3.8 million, including $2.975 million in salary.

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. In his second year with the Giants, 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.

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 082017
 
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Tavarres King and Ereck Flowers, New York Giants (January 8, 2017)

Tavarres King and Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GREEN BAY PACKERS 38 – NEW YORK GIANTS 13…
The New York Giants 2016 season came to a disappointing end on Sunday with a 38-13 drubbing by the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Giants led 6-0 until late in the first half when the Packers put up a quick 14 points, including a last-second Hail Mary pass. The Giants managed to close the score to 14-13 with six minutes left in the 3rd quarter, but then the roof caved in as Green Bay scored 24 unanswered points.

The Packers out-gained, but did not hold huge advantages, in total net yards (406 to 365), net yards rushing (75 to 70), and net yards passing (331 to 295). But the Packers held a big advantage in time of possession 34:31 to 25:29 and won the turnover battle two to nothing. The Giants were also 0-for-2 in the red zone while the Packers were 3-for-4. There were too many dropped passes, including two in the end zone.

The Giants received the ball to start the game and had seven first-half possessions. Three of these resulted in three-and-outs, with another just gaining one first down. The Giants did manage a 9-play, 54-yard drive on their second possession that ended with a 26-yard field goal by place kicker Robbie Gould. Their fifth drive traveled 70 yards in seven plays and resulted in a 40-yard field goal that gave the Giants a 6-0 advantage with 7:24 left to play in the first half.

After a quick three-and-out by the Giants, Green Bay got the ball back at the Giants 38-yard line with 3:45 to play before the break. It took the Packers just three plays to travel those 38 yards and go up 7-6 after quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Davante Adams. The Giants unfortunately went three-and-out again when a 3rd-and-1 run was stuffed and Green Bay got the ball back at their own 20-yard line with 1:38 to go. The Packers managed to reach the Giants 42-yard line and with six seconds left on the clock, Rodgers tossed up a Hail Mary pass that was caught by wide receiver Randall Cobb for the touchdown with no time left. Until those two possessions, the Giants defense had held the Packers to only four first downs and had forced five consecutive punts.

Despite the heart-breaking change in momentum to end the first half, this was still a tight game in the 3rd quarter. After both teams exchanged punts, the Packers lost a yard on a 4th-and-1 rushing attempt at the Green Bay 42-yard line. Two plays after that, quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Tavarres King for a 41-yard touchdown to close the score to 14-13.

But after that switch in momentum, the game was all Packers. On their ensuing drive, Green Bay drove 63 yards in four plays to take a 21-13 lead on Rodgers’ 30-yard touchdown pass to Cobb. After a screw-up by kick returner Bobby Rainey (stepping out-of-bounds at the 3-yard line), a three-and-out by the Giants offense, and a 23-yard punt return by Green Bay, the Packers drove 23 yards in five plays to set up a 32-yard field goal to go up 24-13 late in the 3rd quarter. After yet another three-and-out, the Packers drove 80 yards in 10 plays with Cobb catching his third touchdown pass, this time from 16 yards out. Packers 30 – Giants 13. On the ensuing possession, Manning was sacked and he fumbled the ball away to the Packers. They put the game away with a 9-play, 55-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run. Manning’s final pass from the Packers’ 13-yard line with 34 seconds left in the game was intercepted.

Eli Manning finished the game 23-of-44 for 299 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. was held to four catches for 28 yards. Tight end Will Tye caught four passes for 66 yards, including a 51-yard reception. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard had four catches for 63 yards and wide receiver Tavarres King 73 yards on three receptions. Running back Paul Perkins carried the ball 10 times for just 30 yards. Running back Rashad Jennings had 29 yards on five carries.

Defensively, the Giants started off both halves strong but finished weak as Aaron Rodgers threw for 362 yards and four touchdown passes with no interceptions. He was sacked five times with safety Landon Collins, cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, and defensive ends Kerry Wynn and Romeo Okwara all registering sacks. The defense was also credited with five tackles for losses and six pass defenses.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle), defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa (hamstring), safety Nat Berhe (concussion), linebacker Ishaq Williams, tight end Jerell Adams, offensive tackle Will Betty, and running back George Winn.

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie suffered a bruised thigh in the game.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Ben McAdoo (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (Video)
  • LG Justin Pugh (Video)
  • S Landon Collins (Video)

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
New York Giants General Manager, Head Coach Ben McAdoo, and select players will address the media on Monday.

Dec 202016
 
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Landon Collins, New York Giants (November 14, 2016)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS PLAYOFF SCENARIOS…
The NFL announced that the New York Giants can clinch a playoff berth this week:

  • with a win in Philadelphia
  • or a loss by ANY ONE of the following four teams: Detroit, Atlanta, Green Bay, or Tampa Bay

FOUR NEW YORK GIANTS MAKE THE PRO BOWL…
The following New York Giants have been voted to the Pro Bowl:

  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (3rd Pro Bowl)
  • Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (1st Pro Bowl)
  • Safety Landon Collins (1st Pro Bowl)
  • Special Teamer Dwayne Harris (1st Pro Bowl)

The Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 29, 2017 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

Beckham currently has 85 catches for 1,173 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is the first Giants player to be voted to three consecutive Pro Bowls since guard Chris Snee from 2008-2010. Beckham is also the first Giants wide receiver chosen three years in a row since Del Shofner from 1961-1963.

“It is exciting,” Beckham said. “It is cool to be on a team with multiple Pro Bowlers, so it is a huge accomplishment for myself and my teammates.”

The Giants will send two defensive backs to the Pro Bowl for the first time since 1963, when Erich Barnes and Dick Lynch were selected. Jenkins has 48 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, three interceptions, and is tied with cornerback Rodgers-Cromartie with a team-high 17 passes defensed.

“I feel like I had an okay year,” Jenkins said. “It took me a while to get here. I am very thankful for everyone who voted and I am just excited. The Pro Bowl was a goal of mine coming in and I just want to thank everybody for playing around me, elevating my game and making me play harder. I thought one day (in would happen). I didn’t know what day it was going to be. I am glad that it finally came, and I am truly blessed.”

Collins leads the Giants with 108 tackles and five interceptions, including one for a touchdown. He also has three sacks and 13 passes defensed. Collins is the first NFL safety with 100+ tackles, at least five interceptions, and at least 3.0 sacks since Rodney Harrison in 2000. He is the first Giants player with a at least five interceptions and 3.0 sacks since cornerback Jason Sehorn in 1996. Collins has been named “NFC Defensive Player of the Week” twice this season and the “NFC Defensive Player of the Month” once.

“Oh man, it is exciting,” said Collins. “It is a blessing and all I can do is thank my brothers for staying on top of me and staying on top of my game, and just pushing me to another level. It is a milestone and I have got to put another one on top of that now. I have been on top of my craft, and what I have to do is keep paying attention to my details, and doing my job and my job-plus. (The Pro Bowl) definitely was a goal for me in the NFL. I didn’t think it was going to come this soon, but I am definitely happy that it came this soon, and I appreciate the opportunity.”

Harris has been plagued by nagging injuries most of the season. He has returned 20 punts for 126 yards (6.3 yards per return) and 19 kickoffs for 473 yards (24.9 yards per return). Harris also has a team-high seven special teams tackles.

“I have been working for this for so long,” said Harris. “I just feel like every year, something happens where I couldn’t get in, especially all the good years I have had. I just feel like one person has always gotten in front of me. But to get my first one feels amazing. It is great. It is one thing that I have been working on since I came into the league and the guys around me who helped me get to it, I put it up for them.

“I take a lot of pride in it (in playing special teams), because we have got guys around me who want to go out there and make plays, too, and that motivates me. When you have a good punter who places the ball where you can make plays, that helps a lot, too. When you have guys running on kickoff who put you in a position to make tackles, it is all them. It is not just me out there by myself, but it is a whole team effort putting me in position to make plays on special teams.

“A lot of times I am hurt or I can’t return because I am trying to not take as many hits and keep hits off of my body. But when I can go out and make an impact on teams as a gunner, it is definitely big, because I am definitely a force out there as a gunner.”