Feb 052021
 
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Riley Dixon and Graham Gano, New York Giants (October 11, 2020)

Riley Dixon and Graham Gano – © USA TODAY Sports

It is exceptionally rare for a special teams coach to become an NFL head coach. So when John Mara hired Joe Judge as the next head coach of the New York Giants, it shocked many in the media and fanbase. However, Judge quickly won over many with his fiery inaugural press conference and the composition of his coaching staff. That initial luster began to dim after an 0-5 start, culminating with a Dallas Cowboys come-from-behind victory.

Judge and the Giants began turning it around in mid-October. Their first victory came against Washington, and was followed by two very close, heart-breaking losses to the Eagles and Buccaneers in games where the Giants also held 4th-quarter leads. Then came the high-point of the season, a 4-game winning streak against Washington, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Seattle. The Giants were 5-7 and remarkably still very much alive for the division title. Judge began receiving praise from all quarters.

The emotional high of soundly defeating the Seahawks was immediately dampened by a 3-game losing streak against clearly better teams. At 5-10, the Giants needed to beat the Cowboys and pray that the Eagles would upset Washington. The Giants accomplished the former, but the Eagles laid down like dogs against Washington and the 6-10 Giants missed the playoffs.

Through all of this, the irony is that the New York Giants special teams did not improve under Judge. To be fair, the special teams unit under Thomas McGaughey had actually been the strength of the team in recent years. Judge smartly decided to retain McGaughey. The team was also left scrambling when 2018 Pro Bowl/All-Pro place kicker Aldrick Rosas was cut in July after a hit-and-run arrest. The Giants decided to sign 32-year old Graham Gano who had missed 2019 with a knee injury. Unexpectedly, Gano ended up having one of the greatest seasons in franchise history as a kicker.

Overall, the Giants special teams played decently during the first half of the season, and there was a feeling that Judge, McGaughey, and the special teams unit were improving and building to a stronger second half. The reverse occurred. Against the Bengals, the Giants allowed a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 29-yard punt return that almost cost them the game, and a fake punt conversion for a 1st down. Seattle blocked a Riley Dixon punt for a safety and Gano missed his first extra point of the season. Against Arizona, Dion Lewis fumbled away a kickoff return that set up a touchdown. Judge decided to run an odd fake field goal attempt against the Browns that failed miserably when the score was still 0-0. The Ravens hurt the Giants with both punt and kickoff returns.

Statistically, the Giants finished:

  • Field Goal Percentage: 3rd (up from 30th in 2019)
  • Kickoff Returns: 16th (down from 10th in 2019)
  • Punt Returns: 6th (down from 3rd in 2019)
  • Kickoff Coverage: 16th (down from 1st in 2019)
  • Punting: 26th (down from 23rd in 2019)
  • Punt Coverage: 21st (down from 6th in 2019)

As you can see, other than field goal percentage, the Giants were down in every other special teams category. The team was significantly worse in kickoff and punt coverage. The Giants never really replaced Cody Core, their extraordinary punt/kick coverage specialist who tore his Achilles’ tendon in training camp.

The star of the entire unit was clearly Gano. He only missed one field goal all season and was 5-of-6 from 50+ yards.

KICKERS

The Giants signed Graham Gano in August 2020. Gano had a superlative season for the Giants in 2020, converting on 31-of-32 field goal attempts (96.9 percent – second highest in team history) and 21-of-23 extra point attempts (91.3 percent). He was 5-of-6 from 50+ yards out (single-season franchise record), with a long of 55 yards. Gano converted on 30 consecutive field goals, which also was a franchise record. Thirty of his 73 kickoffs (41 percent) resulted in touchbacks. Gano spent most of his NFL career with the Washington Redskins (2009-2011) and Carolina Panthers (2012-2019). However, he missed the last four games of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season with a knee injury. The Panthers released him in late July 2020. Gano made the Pro Bowl in 2017.

Punter Riley Dixon saw his gross (44.8 yards per punt) and net (38.8 net yards per punt) fall in 2020, with 28 of his punts being downed inside the 20-yard line and one blocked. The 6’5”, 226-pound Dixon was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He was named to the All-Rookie team. The Giants traded with the Broncos for Dixon in April 2018, giving the Broncos a conditional 7th-round draft pick.

Ryan Santoso spent 2020 on the Giants’ Practice Squad after the team signed him in early September. Santoso was originally signed by the Detroit Lions as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Lions (2018-2019), Montreal Alouettes (2019, 2020), and Tennessee Titans (2019). Santoso has only played in three NFL games, solely as a kickoff specialist.

LONG SNAPPERS

The Giants signed long snapper Casey Kreiter as an unrestricted free agent from the Denver Broncos in April 2020. The 6’1”, 250-pound Kreiter was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Dallas Cowboys after the 2014 NFL Draft. After spending two camps with the Cowboys, Kreiter made the Denver Broncos in 2016. He made the Pro Bowl for his performance in 2018.

The Giants signed long snapper Carson Tinker in early September 2020. He spent the year on the team’s Practice Squad. The 6’0”, 237-pound Tinker was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2013 NFL Draft. He played in 69 regular-season games for the Jaguars from 2013-2018. The Jaguars cut him in March 2019 and he did not play that year.

RETURNERS

The Giants did not return a punt or kickoff for a touchdown. The leading punt returner was Jabrill Peppers, who only returned 15 punts all season, but who averaged a very respectable 12.5 yards per return and came close to breaking a couple. His long return was 20 yards. On the flip side, some of his decision-making on when and when not to field a punt was questionable.

Dion Lewis did not impress on his 24 kickoff returns, fumbling three (two of which he lost). He averaged 22.4 yards per return with a long return of 48 yards. Corey Ballentine also returned nine kickoffs before he was cut.

LEADING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYERS SNAP COUNT PERCENTAGE

  • S Nate Ebner: 74.27%
  • LB Cam Brown: 70.87%
  • FB Eli Penny: 59.47%
  • LB Devante Downs: 57.77%
  • LB David Mayo: 46.36%
  • S/CB Julian Love: 42.96%
  • CB Corey Ballentine: 34.47%
  • TE Levine Toilolo: 34.22%
  • DL Dexter Lawrence: 33.74%
  • LB Carter Coughlin: 33.50%

Nate Ebner had a quiet year despite playing 3/4ths off all special team snaps. The Giants signed him as an unrestricted free agent from the New England Patriots in March 2020 to a 1-year, $2 million contract strictly to be a special teams stud. The leading special teams tacklers were David Mayo (8), Eli Penny (7), Cam Brown (6), and Devante Downs (6).

Nov 292020
 
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Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (November 29, 2020)

Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 19 – CINCINNATI BENGALS 17…
The New York Giants narrowly defeated the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday afternoon 19-17. It was New York’s third win in a row and improved their overall record to 4-7. It was the Giants’ first win in Cincinnati in team history and 700th regular-season win in team history.

The Giants are now tied for first place in the NFC East with the Washington Football Team, depending on the outcome of Monday night’s Seattle Seahawks-Philadelphia Eagles game. The Eagles are 3-6-1. The Giants also own the tie-breaker against Washington.

Despite the Giants dominating the game statistically, they almost lost the game due a hamstring injury to their starting quarterback, shoddy special teams play including allowing a kick return for a touchdown, and untimely mistakes on offense. New York out-gained Cincinnati in first downs (19 to 11), total offensive plays (80 to 46), total net yards (386 to 155), net yards rushing (142 to 40), net yards passing (244 to 115), time of possession (37:26 to 22:35), and turnover margin (3 to 1).

The Giants started off the game well, driving 76 yards in nine plays to take 7-0 lead on running back Wayne Gallman’s 1-yard run on 4th-and-goal. The key play on this drive was a 53-yard strike on 3rd-and-2 from quarterback Daniel Jones to tight end Evan Engram to the Cincinnati 4-yard line.

However, all of this good mojo was immediately erased when Bengals’ kickoff returner Brandon Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff 103 yards for a game-tying touchdown.

Also unfortunately for New York, their offense struggled for the rest of the first half. The next two Giants’ drives resulted in a total of two first downs and 35 yards before punting the ball away. On their fourth drive, the Giants did reach the Cincinnati 33-yard line after converting on 4th-and-1. But on the very next snap, Engram fumbled the ball away at the 15-yard line. The Bengals recovered the loose ball and returned it to their 45-yard line. Nine plays and 29 yards later, Cincinnati took a 10-7 lead on a 44-yard field goal.

The Giants did manage to tie the game again on their fifth and final drive of the first half. New York gained 44 yards on 11 plays to set up place kicker Graham Gano’s 49-yard field goal.

At the half, the game was tied 10-10 despite New York out-gaining Cincinnati 223 to 66 in total yards.

The Giants’ defense forced a three-and-out to start the 3rd quarter. New York then moved the ball from their own 6-yard line to the Cincinnati 17-yard line. The big play was another big pass to Engram for 44 yards. However, quarterback Daniel Jones came out of the game after 2-yard pass to Gallman on 3rd-and-1 with a hamstring issue (he had injured himself on a 7-yard run two plays earlier). The drive immediately stalled and the Giants settled for a 40-yard field goal. Giants 13 – Bengals 10.

Both teams exchanged punts with Jones returning for two more plays before leaving the game for good. The Giants then got the ball back near the end of the 3rd quarter when defensive end/linebacker Niko Lalos intercepted a deflected pass at the Cincinnati 40-yard line. The Giants only gained 19 yards in eight plays, including converting on 4th-and-1, but this was good enough to set up a Gano field goal from 39 yards out. Giants 16 – Bengals 10.

Both teams exchanged punts again. The Giants were then handed a golden opportunity to put the game away when safety Logan Ryan forced a fumble at the Cincinnati 24-yard line that he returned to the 19 with 4:12 left in the game. The Giants only managed to gain five yards and take 18 seconds off of the clock before Gano kicked a 32-yard field goal to make it a 19-10 game.

At this point, the New York defense failed as the Bengals, led by their Practice Squad quarterback Brandon Allen, easily drove 72 yards in seven plays to cut the score to 19-17 with 1:21 left in the game. The Bengals were aided by two defensive penalties including a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty on defensive end Leonard Williams and a questionable 17-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback Darnay Holmes.

It looked like the Giants had sealed the win on the ensuing drive when back-up quarterback Colt McCoy completed a 10-yard pass to Gallman on 3rd-and-4. But right tackle Cam Fleming was called for holding on the play. Punter Riley Dixon’s 61-yard punt was then returned 29 yards by the Bengals to midfield with 57 seconds left. The Bengals only needed a field goal to win the game.

The Giants’ defense ended the game on the first play of the Bengals’ attempted game-winning drive. Linebacker Jaball Sheard sacked Allen, forcing a fumble that Leonard Williams recovered at the Cincinnati 37-yard line.

Daniel Jones completed 16-of-27 passes for 213 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. Colt McCoy completed 6-of-10 passes for 31 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard caught seven passes for 64 yards while Engram caught six passes for 129 yards. Gallman rushed 24 times for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Leonard Williams was credited with a sack, three quarterback hits, and a game-winning fumble recovery. Jaball Sheard had the team’s other sack and forced the game-winning fumble. Logan Ryan forced a fumble that he recovered.

Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
DE Niko Lalos was activated from the Practice Squad for this game.

Inactive for the game were OL Kyle Murphy, DE R.J. McIntosh, LB Trent Harris, LB T.J. Brunson, S Montre Hartage, and PK Ryan Santoso.

QB Daniel Jones left the game with a right hamstring injury in the 3rd quarter; he returned for a couple of plays before sitting out for good. LB Kyler Fackrell injured his calf in the 3rd quarter too and did not return. S Nate Ebner injured his knee in the 1st quarter and did not return.

“I don’t really know much (about Jones),” Head Coach Joe Judge said after the game. “I actually talked to him on the sidelines in terms of how he was. It was at a point where he couldn’t continue in the game, which takes a hell of a lot. Daniel is a really tough dude. So, we’ll take a look and see what it is. I don’t have much more information than what you guys probably got from the TV at the point right now. He just has the doctors and to get some MRI’s – things like that are standard procedure. We kind of MRI everything around here.”

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

POST-GAME NOTES…
Six of the Giants’ last seven games have been decided by three points or less, including three of their four victories.

The kickoff return touchdown was the first allowed by the Giants in a road game in 30 years.

PK Graham Gano has made 25 of 26 field goal attempts this season.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Nov 292020
 
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Tae Crowder, New York Giants (October 18, 2020)

Tae Crowder – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have activated place kick Graham Gano off of the Reserve/COVID-19 List and linebacker Tae Crowder and safety Xavier McKinney off of Injured Reserve. However, the team also announced that linebacker Oshane Ximines, who has been on Injured Reserve since early October, will undergo surgery Monday to repair his right rotator cuff. Ximines had returned to practice this week, but the surgery will end his season. He had started three of the first four games of the year.

Gano was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List after the team’s last game two weeks ago.

Crowder, who has been on Injured Reserve since October 20th with a hamstring injury, returned to practice on November 11th. Crowder, the last player selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, has played in five games this year with two starts.

McKinney was placed on Injured Reserve in early September 2020 with a fractured left foot that he suffered in training camp and that required surgery. The team’s 2nd-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, McKinney has yet to play in a game this year. He returned to practice earlier this week.

Tight end Kaden Smith, offensive tackle Matt Peart, and wide receiver Dante Pettis remain on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.

Nov 172020
 
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Graham Gano, New York Giants (November 15, 2020)

Graham Gano – © USA TODAY Sports

GRAHAM GANO TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19…
New York Giants place kicker Graham Gano has tested positive for COVID-19. He has officially been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List and two other staff members were told to stay home.

While the Giants have their bye this weekend, Gano may miss at least one game. Because of this, punter/place kicker Ryan Santoso was signed to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad.

Gano spent most of his NFL career with the Washington Redskins (2009-2011) and Carolina Panthers (2012-2019). However, he missed the last four games of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season with a knee injury. The Panthers released him in late July 2020. The Giants signed Gano to a 1-year contract in August 2020. On Sunday, the Giants announced that they extended the contract of Gano through the 2023 NFL season.

The 33-year old Gano has made 21 of his 22 field goal attempts this year for the Giants, only missing a 57-yard effort. He also has made all 16 PAT attempts.

Santoso was originally signed by the Detroit Lions as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Lions (2018-2019), Montreal Alouettes (2019, 2020), and Tennessee Titans (2019). Santoso has only played in three NFL games, solely as a kickoff specialist.

The Giants also signed tight end Nate Wieting to the Practice Squad. The 23-year old, 6’4”, 250-pound Wieting is an undrafted rookie free agent who has spent some time with the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media on Wednesday.

Nov 162020
 
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New York Giants Defense (November 15, 2020)

New York Giants Defense – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS EXTEND GRAHAM GANO THROUGH 2023…
On Sunday, the New York Giants announced that they have extended the contract of place kicker Graham Gano through the 2023 NFL season.

The Giants signed Gano to a 1-year contract in August 2020. Gano spent most of his NFL career with the Washington Redskins (2009-2011) and Carolina Panthers (2012-2019). However, he missed the last four games of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season with a knee injury. The Panthers released him in late July 2020.

The 33-year old Gano has made 21 of his 22 field goal attempts this year for the Giants, only missing a 57-yard effort. He also has made all 16 PAT attempts.

GIANTS SIGN THREE TO THE PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have signed running back/wide receiver Taquan Mizzell, offensive guard Kenny Wiggins, and cornerback Quincy Wilson to the Practice Squad.

The 27-year old, 5’10”, 185-pound Mizzell originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Ravens (2017), Chicago Bears (2017-2018), and New Orleans Saints (2019-2020). Mizzell has played in 12 regular-season games, serving as a running back, wide receiver, and kick returner.

The Giants cut Wiggins on November 13th. The team originally signed him on November 3rd after he was cut by the Detroit Lions. The 6’6”, 315-pound Wiggins was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Baltimore Ravens after the 2011 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Ravens (2011), San Francisco 49ers (2012-2013), San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (2013-2017), and Lions (2018-2020). Overall, Wiggins has played in 79 regular-season games with 38 starts.

The 24-year old, 6’2”, 193-pound Wilson was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He has spent time with Colts (2017-2019) and New York Jets (2020). Wilson has played in 32 regular-season games with 11 starts, accruing 59 tackles, 8 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions.

NOVEMBER 16, 2020 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 27-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Q: Can you just go through what your next couple days are going to be looking like going into the bye? How much will the coaches be in the building, when the players are in, and just kind of a sense of what your schedule is?

A: We gave the players actually a victory Monday today and let them get a little bit extra rest today. Tomorrow and Wednesday, we’ll have the players in the building. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, they’ll be completely off. We’ll have some available open gym time if you would as far as the weight room and training room. There’s absolutely nothing required per rule and all. We just want to give them some time to refresh. But because a lot of these guys have to stay in town, or all of them have to stay in town obviously with the (COVID) testing on a daily basis, what I found out from a lot of other clubs who have already had their bye weeks is different than previous bye weeks in previous years, there have been a lot of guys coming through the building on the weekend basically occupying time, getting some body work done, getting an extra workout, things of that nature. So, we’ll make sure we have the facilities open for them if that’s something they want to do. Coaching wise, we’re really focusing these next few days on some self-scouting internally. We do a little bit of a deal where we’ll go ahead and have the offense scout the defense and vice versa. It gives us a little bit different perspective. Sometimes when you just self-scout yourself on offense or on defense or in the kicking game within your own schemes, at times, you’re still too close to it to really see something that an opponent may see. We wanted to go ahead and take the time to really cross reference each other and see if we can pick up on something tendency wise to illuminate something for the coaches to change going forward. Then we want to build in to really our next six opponents of things we may see schematically, and then also with our younger players, really develop them and get guys ready to play in these next six games that we go ahead and have the best plan going forward, give ourselves a bit of a jumpstart on it.

Q: Just one other thing on the idea of the players being away. I know you mentioned last week that you may give players’ families an option or even the coaches’ families the option to come to town, kind of be a part of the testing. Did any of that materialize? Did anyone take you up on that offer?

A: To be honest with you, I have to check with Ronnie (Barnes) on that. I just announced to the team, we talked in the meeting, I just let them know that hey listen, if there’s someone coming in town, obviously, we want to control who’s coming in. We want to make sure they’re smart about the number of people we expose ourselves to. We want to make sure that on the frontend, we make sure that we test and that we make sure we’re putting ourselves in the safest environment possible. At the same time, we’re realists. We want to make sure that if something does happen, we’re treating it the best way possible and that we’re doing it in the safest way possible. We made it available to the players, I’ve echoed to all the players that if they have someone coming in that they need tested, to go to our training staff and talk with Ronnie and make sure we get that arranged on the frontend. That’s both for this week coming up, as well as Thanksgiving the next week. I haven’t heard any reports back from our training staff, but I’ll double check on that today and see if there’s anyone that’s been involved with that. At the same time too, I want to make sure the players know we’re not trying to look over their shoulder and check up on who has someone coming to town. That’s not our reason at all. I just want to make sure more of the players, I don’t have any specific names, are utilizing what we’re offering to them.

Q: I know you focus a lot on the daily and weekly development and improvement of the players and coaches. I’m wondering if you can talk about where you think you’ve improved the most as a head coach throughout these past 10 weeks?

A: I think time usage. Throughout the season, you kind of figure out what times a week are most efficient to do certain deals. Early in the season, you try to do everything on the frontend of the week to be completely ahead of everything. You work ahead a good deal to give yourself a jumpstart. But you have to kind of pace your time throughout the week. What I found early on was it was taking away a little bit from my interactions with players, maybe not able to sit in with different coaching game planning meetings by trying to bombard everything on the frontend of the week and have all the answers. I’ve kind of pulled back a little bit in terms of everything on the frontend spread out throughout the rest of the week, and I’ve been able to kind of just time manage a little bit better. I think that’s something that’s helped me personally a good deal as far as managing each day. Other than that, I think it’s just more or less growing within what I’m doing on a daily basis. The interactions at practice, like I said, the first experience I had walking on the field as a head coach for any practice was in training camp. That’s a weird feeling walking out there, not having one specific position. What I found early in the process is having a plan of who you want to look at on a daily basis, making sure you get eyes on every player at some point in practice and really making sure you’re watching everyone’s growth. But it has to be something very planned out and very specific, so there’s a lot of time I dedicate before practice to going through the practice schedule and the individual scripts offensively and defensively of really identifying what schemes do I have to really evaluate in person, and what players do I really have to see do certain things on certain days, and making sure I map out my own time of why I float drill to drill at a certain point in practice.

Q: Is there anything you want to improve on further moving forward?

A: Yeah, everything. Absolutely everything. I want to find better ways to coach my players, better ways to set up scheme within games. I want to make sure that we’re efficient on time management at all points. I always want to find better ways to practice. We’re really not stuck into any specific drill or routine. I’m always looking for inventive ways and better ways of doing things. I’m watching as much tape around the league, seeing what different teams are doing, talking with as many resources as I have. I just have to keep finding better ways to help the players on the field and help the coaches off the field.

Q: I’m just curious what you guys thought when you heard that all the charges were dropped against DeAndre (Baker) today?

A: Yeah, to be honest with you, I’ve been pretty busy all day as far as watching tape. Pat Hanlon gave me kind of a quick bullet point thing before I walked in here, I saw that. Look, I wish him the best of luck in the future. We’ve made the decision that we think is best for the program, and that’s really all I have to say about that.

Q: On a separate note, what makes you guys so successful, or Daniel (Jones) so successful, with that zone read? Is it opposition based or is it something in particular that makes him good at it?

A: The coaches are doing a good job in terms of setting up the schemes based on who we’re playing. It’s never exactly the same thing. It’s similar in nature, but there are different versions of it. I think it just comes down to the blocking the offensive line creates, the threat of the running backs going vertically with the ball, and then Daniel’s ability to read it and pull the ball and make some yardage with his legs on the edge. It’s never one person. It’s a good call at the right time, it’s good blocking upfront, it’s the threat of the running backs running with the ball, and it’s Daniel’s ability to execute with the ball in his hands. It’s all the pieces that have to come together. It’s something we’ve been able to make a strength for us. We want to continue building on that and use it when the opportunity arises in each game.

Q: This isn’t meant to be a weird question at all, but the way your team played against Washington and Philly, was the way they played enough that you would have seen progress? The win obviously makes it all the better, but I think you know what I’m getting at. Did they perform in those games to a standard that alone would have pleased you?

A: Yeah, I wouldn’t stop short and say anything that we’ve arrived. I don’t think we ever want to look at something and say like ‘ok, we’ve gotten to the point we want to be at.’ There’s a lot of improvement we want to keep making. There are a lot of things that we want to clean up. I would say this though. On a weekly basis, I’ve seen a lot of improvement from our team. To me, it’s most evident when you turn the tape on. Look, there are several plays from yesterday that really encapsulate what I want our players to show everyone that watches that tape, and it’s important they look at it. Whether it’s Wayne’s (Gallman) touchdown on the fourth down and one where we drove everyone into the end zone and finished the blocks, or Wayne going over the top with good ball security. Whether it’s converting some tough, get back on track situations, defense getting off the field when they have to, special teams covering kicks and establishing field position. There were a lot of positive things to me, the effort, the urgency… look, one of the things that we’ve emphasized as a team to be honest with you that showed up yesterday that I was very proud of is you see when our players score, everyone running into the end zone celebrating with them. That’s important to me. It’s not a hot dog thing, but we don’t really want individualistic celebrations. We want the team to celebrate. It’s not about one guy getting into the end zone. It’s what did the line do to block to get you down there? What previous plays are you celebrating? It could be a receiver having a touchdown catch. Alright, well the running back should go down and celebrate because he had runs previous in the series that helped get us down there. The offensive line is a part of every play. The quarterback is obviously a big part of every play. We want the team celebrating together and acknowledging that it takes all 11 on the field every time to be successful. It takes everyone on the sideline as well, to be part of it, to be collectively successful.

Q: When you come back from the bye, will you mention the division race to your team? Someone is going to win this division and it certainly could be you guys. Will that be a bullet point of yours?

A: No, the importance needs to be improving as a team. All that other stuff will take care of itself. Cincinnati is a good team. We have to get ready and go ahead and improve ourselves internally. Turn the page and move on to Cincinnati and get ready for a tough game out there. We have a tough stretch of games coming up. We can’t go ahead and start looking at rankings and division races and all that type of stuff. We just have to focus on getting better each week. That’s what will ultimately help us in the long run.

Q: You’ve continually said this division race is irrelevant as far as what the records are. Some of the players don’t think it’s irrelevant. They are excited that they can have a share of first place. Do you think they can balance that with going about the business of improving every day?

A: One of my core beliefs is, motivation, to me, is an individual thing. As long as you’re working for something and it collectively raises the team, that’s a positive thing. It’s professional football, I don’t care if a guy is working for a paycheck or a guy is working for a championship. If both guys come out and they are giving their best every day, that’s going to make the team better. Whatever motivates these guys, that’s great. My job as the head coach is to make sure they understand the big picture goal. Right now to me, that’s improving on a daily basis and getting to be the best football team we can be at the end of the season. All that other stuff takes care of itself.

Q: You were asked about Daniel jones and the zone read. The more he runs obviously the more punishment he is going to take. How do you balance that? He took some pretty big hits near the goal line against the Eagles.

A: Daniel is a tough dude. That being said, we don’t need him to take unnecessary punishment. We’ve talked to Daniel, a lot of times there is a time to lower your shoulder and get the extra yard, and there is a time to step out of bounds, slide and protect the ball. I think he’s made pretty good decisions. When he’s had to lower his shoulder… yesterday was a very competitive game. There was a lot of positions he was in with the ball where there wasn’t really the opportunity to just slide and get down. A lot of them were close to the goal line. A few of them were on third down situations where he had to really go ahead and drop his weight to try to get that extra yard to get the first down for us. We’ve talked to him, I think he understands that. I think he’s done a good job of balancing that out. He’s definitely aggressive, very competitive dude. He’s a tough natured guy. He’s definitely a guy you have to pump the brakes on a little bit more and kind of take less hits off of him. He’s not the guy who is going to shy away from contact at any point.

Q: In victory formation yesterday, there was kind of a little bumping after one of the kneels. I couldn’t help but notice you colorfully told your guys to get back in the huddle. Is there a point where you stop coaching and you just enjoy?

A: At the point you are referring to yesterday, we don’t want our players getting mixed up in anything. It’s going to be a penalty to be honest with you. At that point in the game, you’re kneeling the ball down. You’re trying to run the clock out. The worst thing you can do is create a penalty and stop the clock. That’s an advantage you can give to the opponent. We don’t want to do anything stupid. There’s that fine line between sticking up for yourselves, sticking up for your teammates and then just crossing a line and doing something dumb that’s going to give the other team an advantage with penalty yards and stopping the clock. For us in that moment there, the smart thing to do is just get back. Get away, get into the huddle. Come back out the next play, kneel it down and then we can all go shake hands and celebrate in the locker room. (Jokingly) I didn’t realize that was on TV.

Q: When you first took the job, you talked about putting out a team that represented the people of New York and New Jersey. Being tough, being tough minded. Do you feel like you are seeing that with your team?

A: Yeah, absolutely. You talk about our team and one word I use all the time is resilient. When I think about people in this area, blue-collar people who work hard every day. It’s obviously a very competitive area to be in. That’s what you have to be up here. We want our guys to be successful on the field, but it matters to us how we’re successful. We want to play with the right attitude. We want to play a tough brand of football. We want to run the ball, stop the run, cover kicks. We want to go out there and be able to play in tough elements and be successful. We’re not going to be a team that makes excuses or comes back an says we had them, but this happened instead. That’s not the way we’re made up, that’s not what we’re going to do. I think we’re getting closer to putting a product on the field that hopefully people can see themselves in. That people are proud to put on those blue caps or t-shirts on Mondays and go to work and celebrate that they root for the Giants. That’s something that’s important to us here. We want this team to be about the area. Not just about the guys in the building.

Q: On your clock management, it seems very solid. Have you studied that over the years? Who may have underscored the importance of that?

A: I’d say probably the first time I got into it was when I took the job in New England and I started becoming more involved with it. College is much, much different in terms of clock management. It’s not really as emphasized as it probably should be in a lot of ways. Coach Saban is very thorough in what he did. I just wasn’t personally involved in that part of it at that point. When I got to New England, part of my responsibility was tied into a lot of the situations. As far as being a part of special teams, it’s a large part of what your job is. Your job and responsibility grows over time with that. Over the eight years of being there, my role and responsibility in terms of in-game clock or input in how we could better manage situations grew. That’s obviously something I emphasize for myself in how I can help the team. I’m not calling offensive plays or defensive plays and T-Mac (Thomas McGaughey) is running the kicking game. There’s a lot of things throughout the game I look to help with. Making adjustments or having an overview of things. Talking to coordinators about the flow of the game or big picture concepts. To me, controlling the clock, the timeouts, things of that nature, that’s really where I can make a positive impact for the team.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Select players will address the media on Tuesday. Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media on Wednesday.

Nov 112020
 
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Riley Dixon and Graham Gano, New York Giants (October 11, 2020)

Riley Dixon and Graham Gano – © USA TODAY Sports

GRAHAM GANO NAMED “NFC SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK”…
New York Giants place kicker Graham Gano has been named “NFC Special Teams Player of the Week” for his performance against the Washington Football Team last Sunday. Gano kicked field goals of 38, 48, and 42 yards in the team’s 23-20 victory. Three of his six kickoffs were touchbacks.

This season, Gano has missed only one of his 33 attempts, a 57-yard field goal try against the Chicago Bears.

NOVEMBER 11, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
DL Leonard Williams (not injury related) and S/CB Logan Ryan (not injury related) did not practice on Wednesday.

RB Devonta Freeman (ankle), WR Sterling Shepard (toe/hip), and TE Kaden Smith (concussion) were limited in practice.

LB Tae Crowder, who has been on Injured Reserve since October 20th with a hamstring injury, returned to practice on Wednesday. The Giants now have 21 days to decide whether to activate him to the 53-man roster or end his season.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

Coach Judge also broke down game film for fans. See video on YouTube.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Thursday afternoon (12:15-2:00PM). Head Coach Joe Judge, the team’s coordinators, and select players will also address the media.

Aug 202020
 
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David Sills and Grant Haley, New York Giants (August 18, 2020)

David Sills and Grant Haley – Courtesy of New York Giants

AUGUST 20, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media and team sources:

  • Right guard Kevin Zeitler, offensive guard Shane Lemieux, and linebacker Tae Crowder had to run penalty laps.
  • Giants ran the physical 1-on-1 full-contact drills again. In these drills, linebacker David Mayo, linebacker Ryan Connelly, and safety Jaquarius Landrews had some good pops.
  • Linebacker Blake Martinez beat running back Saquon Barkley in a pass blocking drill; Barkley handled Martinez on the next attempt.
  • Wide receiver Golden Tate was tough to cover in 1-on-1 drills.
  • Also in 1-on-1 drills, wide receiver C.J. Board beat cornerback James Bradberry deep.
  • A lot of touches in both the running and passing game for running back Saquon Barkley.
  • Running back Dion Lewis impressed with his speed, quickness, and burst on a few runs. Lewis also looked good picking up a blitz from linebacker David Mayo.
  • On one of Lewis’ big runs, tight end Evan Engram and left tackle Andrew Thomas made good blocks.
  • Linebacker Cam Brown showed good hustle on an outside run.
  • Place kicker Graham Gano was 6-of-6 on field goal attempts.
  • Wide receivers Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton returned punts.
  • In 1-on-1 coverage drills, safety Xavier McKinney broke up a couple of passes. He also later had a good hit on wide receiver Darius Slayton.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, quarterback Daniel Jones threw a perfect pass over the middle through a tight window to running back Saquon Barkley with safety Jabrill Peppers in coverage.
  • Cornerback James Bradberry blanketed wide receiver Darius Slayton on a deep sideline pass.
  • Tight end Rysen John made a spinning, 1-handed catch of a pass from quarterback Colt McCoy.
  • Safety Julian Love intercepted a pass from quarterback Daniel Jones over the middle that bounced off of the intended receiver’s hands.
  • Wide receiver Binjimen Victor had a potential touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones sail through his hands, but Victor caught a touchdown pass from Jones on the very next snap.
  • Quarterback Colt McCoy threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver David Sills over cornerback Grant Haley. McCoy also had a nice connection with wide receiver Austin Mack.
  • Defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams clogged the line of scrimmage on a couple of running back Saquon Barkley carries.
  • Linebacker Carter Coughlin filled the hole nicely to tackle running back Saquon Barkley. Coughlin and linebacker Tae Crowder got into the backfield on a couple of blitzes.
  • Running back Wayne Gallman made a nice cut in the hole on a running play.
  • Wide receiver Alex Bachman made a nice move against cornerback Dravon Askew-Henry. Askew-Henry also tipped a pass that was caught by wide receiver Austin Mack.
  • Running back Saquon Barkley juked out linebacker Ryan Connelly in coverage.
  • Cornerback Jarren Williams saw his reps increased.
  • Cornerback Darnay Holmes broke up a pass.
  • A 24-minute video peek at today’s action is available on YouTube.

INJURY REPORT…
Everyone not on the various reserve lists practiced.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at YouTube.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants hold an intra-squad scrimmage on Friday (10:45AM-12:45PM), with Head Coach Joe Judge and select players also addressing the media after the scrimmage. The players are off on Saturday.

Aug 192020
 
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Cody Core, New York Giants (August 17, 2020)

Cody Core – Courtesy of New York Giants

AUGUST 19, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media and team sources:

  • After Tuesday night’s very physical practice, the New York Giants held a light, 75-percent speed practice on Wednesday.
  • Quarterback Daniel Jones and center Spencer Pulley had to run laps after a botched center exchange.
  • Running back Saquon Barkley returned kickoffs.

INJURY REPORT – CODY CORE DONE FOR THE SEASON…
It was revealed that wide receiver Cody Core tore his Achilles’ tendon during yesterday’s practice. He will miss the entire 2020 NFL season and was officially placed on Injured Reserve. While Core only had three catches for 28 yards in 2019, he was arguably the team’s best special teams player, excelling on punt coverage. He was credited with eight tackles and was a big factor in downing punts inside the 20-yard line. The Giants re-signed him to a 2-year, $4 million contract in the offseason.

“Now I will say this about Cody,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “Look, I hate it for him. I hate it for him. You watch a guy work his butt off. You know what kind of competitor he is, what kind of player he is, how much he’s invested in us and what he’s done. Everything we’ve asked him to do, he’s done 100 percent. He was great during the virtual program in the spring. He was much better, obviously, in person. You can really get a feel for the guy when you’re in the same room a lot more and watching him work on the field. He made a great deal of improvement as a receiver. He’s one of the top special teams players in the league.

“Hopefully, his injury is something he can come back from full speed. I look forward to seeing this guy in the future. His personality, the way he competes, his physical ability, he’s definitely the kind of guy we want to work with. Everyone on the team takes a blow when anyone has any kind of an injury. That’s just the way it is. We care about each other in the locker room, we want to see everybody succeed. We’ll have to go ahead and look to replace positions at all spots, but we hate it for Cody Core. We wish him well in his recovery.”

The 6’3”, 205-pound Core was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. In three seasons with the Bengals, he played in 35 regular-season games with seven starts, accumulating 30 catches for 360 yards and one touchdown. The Giants claimed  Core off of waivers from the Bengals in September 2019.

Judge said cornerback Corey Ballentine, who injured his shoulder in Tuesday’s practice, was fine. “They told us he was cleared to practice today and go through all of the team drills,” said Judge.

GIANTS OFFICIALLY SIGN GRAHAM GANO…
The Giants finally officially announced the expected signing of place kicker Graham Gano. The NFL Network is reporting that the deal is a 1-year contract with a maximum value of $2.5 million, including $1 million in guaranteed money and $250,000 in incentives.

The 33-year old Gano spent most of his NFL career with the Washington Redskins (2009-2011) and Carolina Panthers (2012-2019). However, he missed the last four games of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season with a knee injury. The Panthers released him in late July 2020. Gano is a 82 percent field goal kicker who made the Pro Bowl in 2017. He also kicked a 63-yard field goal against the Giants in 2018.

“Obviously, (Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey) and (General Manager) Dave (Gettleman) have experience with him personally from back in Carolina,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “That goes a long way. He’s someone who wasn’t available early on in this process. Then when he became available, we obviously had him on our radar. It was fortunate that it worked out the way it is.

“He’s a competitive guy, he’s a talented guy. He obviously missed a little bit of time due to injury. I’m anxious to get him on the field and see him get going. He’s a big leg guy who has experience. He hits a consistent, straight line ball with solid flight, the ball gets good lift. He’s made improvement throughout his career. I think with any specialist, kicker, punter, snapper, you really see their best ball as they get towards their 30’s. They’ve had their time to really develop, to understand the league, to really understand how their body works, to structure it for the duration of a season. They understand situationally how they have to stay fresh and in the moment. Young guys may have a little bit more pop in their legs at times. Young guys may have a little bit more raw ability. But when it comes to NFL specialists, they really start peaking around those 30’s ages right there. That’s why a lot of them have the ability to play even in their early 40’s.”

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at YouTube.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice again on Thursday morning (9:45-11:45AM), with Head Coach Joe Judge and select players also addressing the media after practice.

ARTICLES…

Aug 162020
 
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Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, New York Giants (August 16, 2020)

Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones – Courtesy of New York Giants

NEW YORK GIANTS AUGUST 16, 2020 TRAINING CAMP REPORTS…

GIANTS TO SIGN GRAHAM GANO…
According to media reports, the New York Giants will sign place kicker Graham Gano. The 33-year old Gano spent most of his NFL career with the Washington Redskins (2009-2011) and Carolina Panthers (2012-2019). However, he missed the last four games of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season with a knee injury. The Panthers released him in late July. Gano is a 82 percent field goal kicker who made the Pro Bowl in 2017. He also kicked a 63-yard field goal against the Giants in 2018.

GIANTS CUT CODY WHITE…
The Giants have waived wide receiver Cody White, who the team signed last Tuesday. The 6’3”, 215-pound White was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. The Chiefs cut him on July 29 when the reduced their roster to 80 players. White is the son of former Giants cornerback Sheldon White, who played with the team in 1988-1989.

Mar 102018
 
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Brad Wing, New York Giants (December 17, 2017)

Brad Wing – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS CUT PUNTER BRAD WING…
The New York Giants have terminated the contract of punter Brad Wing, who had signed a three-year, $6.45 million extension in July 2016. Wing had two years left on his contract with base salaries of $1.35 million in 2018 and $1.45 million in 2019. He would have counted $2.025 million against the 2018 salary cap. By cutting him the Giants “saved” about $1.025 million in cap space with $1 million in dead money.

After a strong 2016 campaign punter Wing struggled in 2017, with poor performances being a factor in a few defeats. Wing saw his gross punting average fall from 46.2 to 44.1 and his net punting average drop from 40.9 to 36.7, which was the worst in football. His number of punts inside the 20 also fell from 28 to 19. Wing had two punts blocked. It was a precipitous drop for a player who had been named “NFC Special Teams Player of the Week” twice in 2016.

An Australian, the left-footed Wing was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2013 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but he made the Pittsburgh Steelers roster in 2014. The Giants acquired Wing from the Steelers by trade for a conditional 7th-round draft pick in September 2015. Until 2017, Wing combined a strong leg with good directional placement skills. He also was the Giants holder for both field goals and place kicks.

The Giants signed punter Austin Rehkow to a reserve/futures contract in January 2018. Rehkow was signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Bills waived him in August. He punted twice in the preseason, averaging 44.5 yards per punt.

REPORTS – DOMINIQUE RODGERS-CROMARTIE STAYING AT CORNERBACK…
ESPN and The New York Post are both reporting that their sources say the earlier NFL Network report about the New York Giants moving cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC) to safety is not true. Apparently no such decision has been made.

Meanwhile, The NFL Network is now reporting that the Giants have asked DRC to “take a signficant pay cut” from the $6.48 million in base salary he is currently due to make in 2018 (his overall 2018 cap number is $8.5 million). Supposedly no agreement has been reached and both sides are “far apart.”

GRAHAM GANO RE-SIGNS WITH PANTHERS…
The Carolina Panthers re-signed place kicker Graham Gano on March 6 to a reported 4-year, $17 million deal. There had been media reports that the Giants were expected to pursue Gano if he hit the open market on March 12th. The 30-year old Gano made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career last season after he converted on 29-of-30 field goal attempts (96.7 percent).

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