Dec 122023
 
Randy Bullock, New York Giants (December 11, 2023)

Randy Bullock – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 24 – GREEN BAY PACKERS 22
The New York Giants upset the Green Bay Packers 24-22 in dramatic fashion on Monday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. New York won the game with a 37-yard field goal as time expired. The Giants have now won three games in a row to improve their overall record to 5-8.  Miraculously, the Giants are only one game out of the final playoff spot in the NFC.

The overall team statistics were as close as the final score. The Packers had one more first down than the Giants (19 to 18), but the Giants had more total net yards (367 to 326). The Giants out-rushed the Packers 209 to 123 but the Packers had more net passing yards, 203 to 158. Both teams lost two fumbles and the the Packers also threw an interception.

Green Bay received the ball to start the game. Their first two drives combined for 24 yards, a first down, and two punts. Meanwhile, the Giants picked up two first downs on their first possession before punting. A 15-yard penalty on the Packers’ punt team set up the Giants at the Green Bay 32-yard line on New York’s second possession. However, the Giants could not advance the ball and kicker Randy Bullock missed his 48-yard field goal attempt.

The Packers broke the scoreless tie at the end of the first quarter with a 7-play, 62-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown. Green Bay converted on 4th-and-1 with a one-yard pass that barely picked up the first down (it was originally ruled that cornerback Deonte Banks had tackled the receiver short of the marker). The Packers made the Giants pay with a 35-yard pass to running back A.J. Dillon on the next play. Wide receiver Jayden Reed then scored on a 16-yard end around.

The Giants responded with a touchdown drive of their own, moving the ball 75 yards in eight plays. Out of the Wild Cat formation, running back Saquon Barkley handed off to wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, who picked up 32 yards. Barkley scored around left end on the next play from five yards out to tie the game at 7-7.

Green Bay again moved the ball on their next possession, gaining 48 yards. However, on 3rd-and-2 from the New York 27-yard line, outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux forced quarterback Jordan Love to fumble after he gained a yard on a run. Safety Xavier McKinney recovered at the 27. The Giants gave the ball back to the Packers near midfield a few plays later when Barkley was stuffed for no gain on 4th-and-1. But two snaps after that, safety Jason Pinnock intercepted a deep pass from Love and returned it 21 yards to the New York 44-yard line.

The Giants went three-and-out. The Packers then drove 65 yards in 10 plays to set up a 36-yard field goal that gave them a 10-7 lead right before halftime.

New York’s short-yardage issues continued on their first drive of the second half. Barkley lost a yard on 3rd-and-1 and the Giants were forced to punt. Green Bay’s returner muffed the punt, picked it up, and fumbled when hit by cornerback Darnay Holmes. Linebacker Benton Whitley recovered the fumble at Green Bay’s 31-yard line. On 2nd-and-6, quarterback Tommy DeVito ran for 26 yards down to the one-yard line. Barkley then scored to give the Giants a 14-10 lead.

It was now the Giants who had issues on special teams. After forcing the Packers to kick the ball away, the punt grazed safety Bobby McCain and was recovered by Green Bay at the New York 14-yard line. The defense held and the Packers were forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal.

The Giants responded with an impressive 10-play, 75-yard drive that extended their advantage to 21-13. DeVito completed a nine-yard pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger on 3rd-and-9. A run by DeVito and two by running back Matt Breida gained 29 yards. DeVito then connected with Robinson on for 25 yards off a flea flicker. On 3rd-and-7, DeVito scrambled to his right and threw a perfect pass to wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins in the end zone for an 8-yard score.

The Packers threatened on their next possession, reaching the Giants’ 16-yard line. Banks tackled Reed for a 1-yard loss on a double reverse. On 3rd-and-11, defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence and outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari combined for 10-yard sack. The Packers then missed the 45-yard field goal attempt with just under 11 minutes left in the game. Nevertheless, after the Giants went three-and-out, the Packers cut the score to 21-16 with a 48-yard field goal after a 7-play-54 yard drive.

The Giants got the ball back with 5:30 left to play, ahead by five points. New York’s ground game kicked into overdrive. Barkley picked up six yards, then 17. On his third carry in a row, he broke off a 34-yard run. However, he stumbled and fumbled the ball away at the 15-yard line. The Packers recovered the loose ball and returned it 50 yards to the New York 36-yard line.

This dramatic turn of events got worse for New York as the Packers converted on 3rd-and-1, 3rd-and-4, and then 3rd-and-goal from the six-yard line for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:33 left to play. The two-point conversion attempt failed and the Packers now led 22-21.

The final kickoff resulted in a touchback. DeVito’s first three passes resulted in short completions of 5, 7, and 9 yards to the New York 46-yard line. Then came a huge 32-yard completion to Robinson down to the Green Bay 22-yard line. Barkley then ran three times for 4, -3, and 3 yards. With two seconds on the clock, Bullock came out to attempt the game-winning 37-yard field goal. He nailed it and the Giants walked off with the win.

DeVito finished the game 17-of-21 for 158 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. He was not sacked, rushed for 71 yards on ten carries, and finished with a quarterback rating of 113.9. His leading receiver was Robinson, who caught six passes for 79 yards. Barkley carried the ball 20 times for 86 yards and two touchdown.

Defensively, Banks led the defense with 12 tackles and a pass defense. Thibodeaux and defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson each had eight tackles. The Giants had two sacks, and Ojulari was credited with three quarterback hits.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were WR Parris Campbell (knee), RT Evan Neal (ankle), RB Jashaun Corbin, OLB Boogie Basham, and S Gervarrius Owens.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Tuesday.

Sep 172023
 
Graham Gano, New York Giants (September 17, 2023)

Giants celebrate game-winning field goal – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 31 – ARIZONA CARDINALS 28…
The New York Giants at least temporarily saved their season with one of the most memorable comebacks in team history on Sunday, defeating the Arizona Cardinals 31-28 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Giants trailed the Cardinals 20-0 at halftime and 28-7 in the third quarter. Twenty-four unanswered points propelled them to the franchise’s largest comeback since the 1940s. However, the victory may have come at a price with running back Saquon Barkley suffering a potentially significant injury to his right ankle late in the game.

Following up on their 40-0 embarrassing performance against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday night, the Giants continued to look dreadful in the first half against the Cardinals on both offense and defense.

How bad was it?

New York’s five first-half possessions resulted in five first downs, 81 total yards, three punts, one interception, and the half ending with a sack of quarterback Daniel Jones. Meanwhile, Arizona’s five offensive possessions resulted in 16 first downs, 241 total yards, a missed field goal, two touchdowns, and two field goals. At the break, the lifeless Giants were all-but-dead, trailing 20-0.

The Giants received the football to start the second half. After a touchback on the kickoff, all it took was three plays for New York to finally get on the scoreboard for the first time this season. Jones completed a 58-yard pass to wide receiver Jalin Hyatt down to the Arizona 17-yard line. Two plays later, Jones ran around left end for a 14-yard touchdown. Cardinals 20 – Giants 7.

That momentum was short lived as four minutes later, the Cardinals extended their lead 28-7 after an 8-play, 75-yard drive ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Joshua Dobbs and then a 2-point conversion. It was Arizona’s fifth consecutive scoring drive of the game.

Back came the Giants with a 75-yard drive of their own, this one taking 12 plays and ending with a 1-yard touchdown run by Barkley. On this possession, Jones completed a 29-yard pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton and ran for 13 yards on 3rd-and-12. Cardinals 28 – Giants 14.

The New York defense started off a bit shaky again late in the third quarter, giving up two first downs, including a 16-yard pass play on 3rd-and-11. But the defense stiffened at the New York 44-yard line and the Cardinals punted early in the fourth quarter.

The Giants drove for their third consecutive touchdown on the next series, which travelled 80 yards in 13 plays. Jones connected with Slayton for 15 yards and tight end Darren Waller for 25 on the first two plays. Jones also gained two yards on 4th-and-1. The drive ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Barkley on third-and-goal to make the score 28-21.

The Giants’ defense forced their first three-and-out on Arizona’s next possession and the New York offense started their fourth drive of the second half at their own 36-yard line with 7:31 to play. Jones scrambled for 15 yards on the first snap and then followed that up with a 31-yard pass to Hyatt to the Arizona 18-yard line. On 2nd-and-11, Jones connected with Waller for 13 yards to the 6-yard line. However, a touchdown run by Jones was nullified due to an offensive holding penalty on right tackle Evan Neal. After a 5-yard run by Barkley, Jones threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins on 2nd-and-goal. The game was now tied at 28-28 with 4:25 to play.

Aided by two false start penalties on the Cardinals, the Giants’ defense forced another three-and-out and the Giants got the ball back at their own 28-yard line with 2:31 left in the game. Barkley gained 18 yards on back-to-back passing and rushing plays. Jones then hit Slayton for 18 yards and Barkley gained 16 yards on a run. The Giants were now on the Arizona 20-yard line. Barkley lost three yards and then gained two on a play where he was hurt. Running back Matt Breida picked up five yards on 3rd-and-11 to set up place kicker Graham Gano’s game-winning 34-yard field with 19 seconds left.

The Cardinals did gain 19 yards on the first play of their final possession. But they were at their own 39-yard line with nine seconds left on the clock. The game ended after two more deep incompletions.

Jones finished the game 26-of-37 for 321 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception (which was off of the hands of Barkley). He also ran the ball nine times for 59 yards. Waller caught six passes for 76 yards. Slayton had 62 yards on three catches and Hyatt 89 yards on two catches. Barkley carried the ball 17 times for 63 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 379 yards, including 151 yards rushing. For the second game in a row, the defense had no sacks or turnovers.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
On Saturday, the Giants activated (standard elevation) RB Taiwan Jones and OLB Oshane Ximines from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster.

Inactive for the game were LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), OLB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring), TE Lawrence Cager, DL Jordon Riley, CB Darnay Holmes, and S Gervarrius Owens.

OG Ben Bredeson (concussion) left the game in the second half. RB Saquon Barkley potentially seriously injured his right ankle late in the game. Tellingly, Barkley did not address the media after game. X-rays were reportedly negative.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Jul 312023
 
Nick McCloud and Darren Waller, New York Giants (July 30, 2023)

Nick McCloud and Darren Waller – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 31, 2023 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fifth summer training camp practice of the year on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

INJURY REPORT – TORN TRICEPS FOR HASSENAUER…
WR Wan’Dale Robinson (ACL), OG Marcus McKethan (ACL), DL A’Shawn Robinson (meniscus), DL D.J. Davidson (ACL), and CB Aaron Robinson (ACL) remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

WR Sterling Shepard (knee), OC J.C. Hassenauer (triceps), OLB Jihad Ward (unknown) and TE Ryan Jones (knee) did not practice.

“(Hassenauer will) be out long term,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll. “He got a tricep. He’s going to end up having surgery, which is too bad.”

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The Giants are still not in full pads and were in helmets and shells.
  • First-team offensive line was LT Andrew Thomas, LG Ben Bredeson, OC John Michael Schmitz, RG Mark Glowinski, and RT Evan Neal.
  • At another point in practice, the starting offensive line had Josh Ezeudu at left guard and Ben Bredeson at right guard.
  • Micah McFadden worked at inside linebacker next to Bobby Okereke.
  • For the second day in a row, the starting defensive backs were CB Adoree’ Jackson, CB Deonte Banks, slot CB Cor’Dale Flott, S Xavier McKinney, and S Jason Pinnock.
  • The Giants also shifted Adoree’ Jackson to slot corner and played Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins outside with the first unit. Cor’Dale Flott replaced Jackson for most of the team period.
  • Bobby McCain shifted from safety to slot corner with the second-team with Nick McCloud and Dane Belton playing safety.
  • Darnay Holmes played corner with the third unit.
  • In 3-on-3 passing drills, RB Saquon Barkley beat S Gervarrius Owens on an inside angle route for a big gain.
  • TE Darren Waller caught a pass against S/CB Nick McCloud over the middle.
  • In some of the 11-on-11 drills, wide receivers Jalin Hyatt and Cole Beasley started with the first unit.
  • WR Jamison Crowder stood out with a one-handed catch while keeping his balance and staying inbounds.
  • QB Daniel Jones completed the first team period going 6-of-6, highlighted by a deep pass to a diving WR Jalin Hyatt despite tight coverage by S Xavier McKinney.
  • For the second day in a row, WR Jalin Hyatt blew past the corner and safety to catch a deep touchdown pass from QB Tyrod Taylor.
  • Despite tight coverage from CB Tre Hawkins, QB Daniel Jones hit WR Parris Campbell for a deep touchdown in the corner of the end zone.
  • CB Deonte Banks broke up a corner route to WR Darius Slayton and was barely targeted.
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson also broke up a pass.
  • On one play, both running backs Saquon Barkley and Eric Gray were on the field together with Gray in the backfield and Barkley in the slot. Barkley caught the pass from QB Daniel Jones.
  • WR Parris Campbell adjusted to a deep pass to make the catch while keeping his feet inbounds.
  • S/CB Nick McCloud made a diving interception on a pass from QB Tyrod Taylor in 11-on-11 drills. He had a good day in coverage.
  • QB Daniel Jones finished 11-on-11 team drills 15-of-19 with three touchdowns to WR Parris Campbell, WR Darius Slayton, and TE Daniel Bellinger. There were also a number of check downs to RB Saquon Barkley as a receiver.
  • RB Saquon Barkley scored on a run up the middle on the goal line.
  • DT Rakeem Nunes-Roches stuffed another run.
  • Giants limited the work of TE Darren Waller, DL Leonard Williams, and CB Adoree’ Jackson in full team drills outside a few snaps.
  • TE Daniel Bellinger ended the day with two touchdown receptions, including one from QB Tyrod Taylor.
  • QB Tyrod Taylor also threw scores to WR David Sills and TE Tommy Sweeney.
  • WR Jaydon Mickens caught two touchdown passes from QB Tommy DeVito.
  • Flashing into the backfield on the pass rusher were linebackers Kavyon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, and Micah McFadden. Ojulari disrupted a number of plays.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice Tuesday evening (5:00-7:00PM). This will be first time the team will practice in full pads this summer. Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media earlier in the day.

Jun 232023
 
Isaiah Hodgins, New York Giants (January 15, 2023)

Isaiah Hodgins – © USA TODAY Sports

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Wide Receivers

2022 YEAR IN REVIEW: Plans quickly went awry at this position in 2022. On paper, $72 million Kenny Golladay, 2021 1st-round draft pick Kadarius Toney, the talented but oft-injured Sterling Shepard, and 2022 2nd-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson were to form the core of group that was supposed to provide a nice combination of size, speed, quickness, experience, and play-making ability. By year’s end, none were contributors. Golladay, perhaps the biggest bust in NFL free agent history, ended up with just six receptions on the season. Toney had two catches before being traded to the Chiefs. Shepard tore his ACL in Week 3 and Robinson tore his ACL in November.

Who picked up the slack? Unbelievably, Marcus Johnson started seven games, but only had nine receptions. David Sills started five games and had just 11 receptions. Richie James, who had been signed mostly for his return skills, led the group with 57 catches. Darius Slayton, who barely made the team as the 7th receiver and wasn’t even active early in the season, started a team-high 11 games at the position, and finished with 46 catches. As a group, Golladay (1), Toney, Shepard (1), Robinson (1), Johnson, Sills, James (4), and Slayton (2) had just nine touchdown catches. It was ugly and you’d be hard-pressed to find a worse group in the League.

The Giants did have some good fortune when they claimed little-known wideout Isaiah Hodgins off of waivers from the Buffalo Bills in early November. Due to the dearth of talent at the position and his experience with Brian Daboll, Hodgins quickly saw the field, playing in eight regular-season games with five starts. He finished with 33 catches for 351 yards and four touchdowns (team high tied with Richie James). In the playoff game against the Vikings, Hodgins caught eight more passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Collin Johnson, who was making some noise early, tore his Achilles’ tendon in training camp. Kalil Pimpleton, Makai Polk, and Jaydon Mickens were on the Practice Squad.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants finally had the cap room in March to cut Kenny Golladay after two seasons of his disastrous 4-year contract. The Giants appear to have made no effort to re-sign their leading receiver, Richie James, and he departed in free agency for the Chiefs. Marcus Johnson remains an unsigned free agent whose NFL career is likely over.

The Giants re-signed Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, David Sills, Kalil Pimpleton, Makai Polk, and Jaydon Mickens with Slayton receiving the biggest investment at two years and $12 million.

The new additions have been significant. Parris Campbell, Jamison Crowder, and Jeff Smith were signed in free agency. The Giants traded up in the 3rd round to draft Jalin Hyatt. Bryce Ford-Wheaton was signed as a rookie free agent after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES:  The pundits, media, and some of the fans have focused on the apparent absence of a “true number one” wideout. Based on early indications, the number one target in this offense is actually going to be tight end/wide receiver hybrid Darren Waller with the true wide receivers being more complementary targets. The good news is that the Giants now appear to have a plethora of NFL-caliber options. There are no Toney’s refusing to practice. Or $72 million players who can’t get open, but you can’t cut. Marcus Johnson and David Sills won’t be starting. While there may be no Pro Bowlers, there could be eight guys on the team who are legitimate NFL players. The concern? What is the upside of all of these eight players? Will any of them present problems for opposing defenses? That remains to be determined.

The story lines are almost as numerous as the players vying for playing time. Who receives the most snaps? With Waller and Daniel Bellinger at tight end, how often will the Giants use 3- and 4-wide receiver sets? Can seriously injured players such as Wan’Dale Robinson, Sterling Shepard, and Collin Johnson regain earlier form? Will Robinson and Shepard start and/or finish training camp on the PUP? Can Parris Campbell stay healthy and re-capture his collegiate form as a true difference maker? Was Isaiah Hodgins productivity a mirage or did the Bills make a huge mistake? Does Jamison Crowder have anything left in the tank as receiver and returner? Can Jalin Hyatt get off press coverage and how rapidly can he be brought up to speed? How many make the 53-man roster?

ON THE BUBBLE: Last season, the Giants started the year with seven wide receivers on the 53-man roster. They will likely carry six or seven this year. The true locks are probably Wan’Dale Robinson (2nd round draft pick) and Jalin Hyatt (3rd round draft pick), with the caveat that Robinson may start and finish camp on the PUP. Early indications are that Parris Campbell will be a significant contributor and he’s very close to being a lock. One would think Isaiah Hodgins is a lock unless last year was truly a mirage. The Giants did re-sign Darius Slayton to a 2-year, $12 million deal so he should be more favored to make it as well. That’s five, leaving Sterling Shepard, Collin Johnson, and Jamison Crowder vying for one or two spots.

Though long shots, I would not completely discount Jeff Smith, Makai Polk, and Bryce Ford-Wheaton.

FROM TEAM COACHES/PLAYERS: Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka on Jalin Hyatt: “Jalin is doing a nice job. He’s right on schedule. He’s working. He’s growing. That’s one thing you’ve seen from him from the first day in rookie camp, to the next day, then you’re working through this Phase III part of it, is his growth and his familiarity and comfortability with the offense.”

Wide Receivers Coach Mike Groh on Jalin Hyatt: “I think if we had major concerns (with the route tree) maybe he wouldn’t be here. Very pleased with what he has shown us on the field so far… We have a lot of confidence in the player that he can be. ”

Wide Receivers Coach Mike Groh on Parris Campbell: “I think he has done a great job of coming in and learning our system, being able to assimilate very quickly and build a relationship with Daniel (Jones) out there on the field, build that kind of rapport that is very important between quarterbacks and receivers.” (Note: Groh coached Campbell for two years with the Indianapolis Colts).

Parris Campbell on the wide receivers: “This is definitely probably the fastest total complete group that I’ve played with in my career. I mean, we’ve got speed all across the board. It’s speed that can do a lot of different things. It’s not just guys running in a straight line fast, it’s ball in the hands fast. In their routes fast. We complement each other. I’m excited for what’s to come.”

Sterling Shepard on the wide receivers: “It’s probably the (largest) receiver group I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here… We wanted to bring in competition… We’re definitely going to see what we have because we have a lot of guys that can play some good ball. I love the fact that we added more play-makers. It’s not just on one person to make all the plays. We’ve got a lot of guys that can do it.”

Sterling Shepard on his rehab status: “I’m right on schedule where I wanted to be, a little bit ahead… My goal is to be ready for the season.”

PREDICTIONS/CLOSING THOUGHTS: Nothing is set stone and everything seems in flux at the position. That has led to speculation that the 2023 New York Giants will use a committee approach at wide receiver with new starters and/or adjusted playing time on a week-by-week basis. That’s certainly possible. The coaching staff has proven to be flexible and able to adjust on the fly. Players returning from injury or getting injured can certainly change the situation as well. However, cream tends to rise to the top and there are opportunities for players to lock down starting jobs.

I am going to take John Schmeelk’s lead and break down the position into the following three baskets:

  • Receivers with size: Isaiah Hodgins, Collin Johnson, David Sills, Makai Polk, Bryce Ford-Wheaton
  • Outside receivers with speed: Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt, Jeff Smith
  • Slot receivers: Parris Campbell, Wan’Dale Robinson, Sterling Shepard, Jamison Crowder, Kalil Pimpleton, Jaydon Mickens

Looking at these baskets, I would think ideally the Giants want two players from each group. That is, two receivers with size, two with outside speed, two who can play the slot. One of these six needs to have return skills on special teams. However, right now, the Giants seem to have more quality at the slot position. You could make the case for Campbell, Robinson, Shepard, and Crowder all making the team, though that seems difficult on paper.

Complicating matters a bit are questions about the ability of Campbell and Shepard to play outside, and Hyatt’s heavy usage as a slot receiver in college without facing press coverage. Really complicating matters are injury rehab questions with Wan’Dale Robinson and Sterling Shepard.

Shepard tore his ACL in September and seems closer to returning. He was running routes at or near full speed in mini-camp. While he might start training camp on the PUP, it does not look like he will be on it very long if he does. The status of Robinson is more vague. He tore his ACL in November. There was one unconfirmed report that he should be ready by training camp, but no updates during the OTAs and mini-camp. That said, Giants.com‘s Lance Meadow recently predicted him making the 53-man roster recently. Does he know something or is he just spit-balling?

Let’s look at the early signs. The starters in spring were Hodgins and Slayton outside with Campbell in the slot. Campbell seemed to be the headliner from the reports, being used in a variety of ways including out of the backfield similar to how the coaches intended to use Kadarius Toney and Wan’Dale Robinson last year. Campbell also has a lot of experience on jet sweeps/end arounds with the Buckeyes and Colts. He’s got a running backs mentality blended with legit 4.3 speed. The question with him is staying healthy.

The presence of Saquon Barkley, Darren Waller, and Parris Campbell is going to place a ton of pressure on opposing defenses in the short-to-intermediate zones, with all three also being able to easily sneak down the field for the big play. Each can also do damage after the catch. Campbell could be poised for a very big year. This offensive scheme is ideal for his skillset, being used on bubble screens, jet sweeps, getting the ball to him on quick passes over the middle in full stride, etc. What will be fascinating to watch is when Wan’Dale Robinson is fully healthy. How will the coaching staff employ him with Campbell? Probably similar to the plans they had in place with Kadarius Toney and Robinson that we never saw. (Remember the “why do the Giants have both Toney and Robinson?” debates).

The wild cards in all of this are numerous:

  • The glaring missing component is the consistent outside deep threat. With all of the underneath threats, can Darius Slayton re-capture his eight touchdown rookie season? He doesn’t have to catch 6-8 passes a game, but the team needs him to stretch the defense and not disappear for long stretches. He proved he could be that deep threat in 2019, but has been far too inconsistent since then. Which version do we get?
  • If Slayton can’t do it, can Jalin Hyatt? He has great speed and great hands. But he has to prove he can get off press coverage. And it usually takes rookie wide receivers some time to learn pro-level concepts. If Hyatt can develop quickly, this offense could be a nightmare to defend. When Hyatt is on the field, the defense has to respect his deep speed, opening things up underneath for Waller, Barkley, Campbell, Bellinger, and company.
  • What is the true upside of Isaiah Hodgins? Is he as good as he looked late in the 2022 season, meaning that the Bills made a huge mistake in cutting him? If he can develop into a reliable, consistent security blanket for Daniel Jones, that would be a huge asset. Keep in mind, he scored five touchdowns in nine games for the Giants.
  • Collin Johnson was making noise in training camp last year before he got hurt. He’s also saw a lot of action this spring in non-contact drills. He is not a speedster, but he is intriguing because of his 6’6”, 220-pound frame. Preseason flash-in-the-pan or a legitimate roster contender?
  • Sterling Shepard is the kind of guy you love to root for. However, he simply has not been able to stay healthy. Shepard has missed significant time in five of his seven NFL seasons and has played in just 10 games the past two years. Every preseason we hope for breakout season and every year he gets hurt. But can you completely count him out? I wouldn’t.
  • Jamison Crowder. Full disclosure, I live in the DC area so I saw a lot of Crowder when he played in Washington. He’s always impressed me. Quarterback issues with the Jets and a broken ankle with the Bills in 2022 limited his productivity, but we’re talking about a 30-year old with 4,667 yards and 28 touchdowns. It shows you how much the talent level has improved at the position that he’s on the fringe on this roster. He also has experience as a returner. Crowder and Shepard may be vying against each other for the final roster spot and the return ability helps his cause.

If I had to go out on a limb, I say by the end of the year, Hodgins, Campbell, and Hyatt are the core group with Robinson being the jack-of-all trades/gadget player. Not impressed? Just keep in mind the presence of Waller and Bellinger at tight end.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Isaiah Hodgins, Parris Campbell, Jalin Hyatt, Darius Slayton, Collin Johnson, and Jamison Crowder.

Wan’Dale Robinson to start the year on the PUP for four weeks.

The toughest call is on Shepard, an extremely popular player. The issues here are three-fold: (1) injury-proneness, (2) lack of special teams value, and (3) how much playing time would he receive? He would have to push Hodgins outside or Campbell inside for playing time. It is possible the team keeps seven wideouts again, however.

Look for 3-4 wide receivers to be on the Practice Squad again. I would think Jeff Smith and Bryce Ford-Wheaton are two obvious choices.

Feb 162023
 
Isaiah Hodgins, New York Giants (January 15, 2023)

Isaiah Hodgins – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN ISAIAH HODGINS…
The Giants have re-signed wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins, who was set to become exclusive rights free agent on March 15.

The Giants claimed Hodgins off of waivers from the Buffalo Bills in early November 2022. Hodgins quickly received playing time, playing in eight regular-season games with five starts. He finished with 33 catches for 351 yards (10.6 yards per catch) and four touchdowns. In the playoff game against the Vikings, Hodgins caught eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. However, he was limited to one catch against the playoff loss to the Eagles.

Hodgins was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Bills. He spent most of his rookie season on Injured Reserve and most of 2021 on the Practice Squad. Before coming to the Giants, Hodgins only played in two regular-season games, catching four passes for 41 yards.

SHEA TIERNEY REMAINS WITH GIANTS…
Shea Tierney will be returning as the quarterbacks coach for the New York Giants in 2023. Tierney had interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their offensive coordinator vacancy, but that position was filled by Seattle Seahawks quarterback coach Dave Canales. The 36-year old Tierney served as the assistant quarterbacks coach of the Buffalo Bills for two years before joining the Giants last offseason.

Jan 222023
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (January 21, 2023)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

COLTS INTERVIEW MIKE KAFKA…
The Indianapolis Colts announced that they completed their interview with New York Giants Offensive Coordinator Mike Kakfa for their head-coaching vacancy.

GIANTS SIGN 10 PLAYERS TO RESERVE/FUTURE CONTRACTS…
The New York Giants have signed 10 players to reserve/future contracts. All 10 players were on the team’s Practice Squad:

  • RB Jashaun Corbin
  • WR Jaydon Mickens
  • WR Kalil Pimpleton
  • WR Makai Polk
  • TE Dre Miller
  • OT Korey Cunningham
  • OT Devery Hamilton
  • DT Vernon Butler
  • CB Zyon Gilbert
  • S Trenton Thompson

The Giants signed OG Solomon Kindley to a reserve/future contract on January 11. He had also been on the Practice Squad.

The Athletic is reporting that OT Roy Mbaeteka turned down a reserve/future contract offer from the Giants. Mbaeteka, a Nigerian, has chosen to return to the International Pathway Program (IPP), which assures him of being on some team’s Practice Squad for three years. Mbaeteka, who was with the Giants in training camp, only spent part of the year on New York’s Practice Squad as a conventional Practice Squad player.

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

  • QB Daniel Jones (Video)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (Video)
  • WR Isaiah Hodgins (Video)
  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (Video)
  • LT Andrew Thomas (Video)
  • RT Evan Neal (Video)
  • DL Leonard Williams (Video)
  • OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (Video)
  • S Xavier McKinney (Video)
  • S Julian Love (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Monday.

Jan 222023
 
Matt Breida, New York Giants (January 21, 2023)

Matt Breida – © USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 38 – NEW YORK GIANTS 7…
The New York Giants Cinderella season came to a crashing end in Philadelphia on Saturday night as they were crushed 38-7 by the Eagles. The Giants finished their surprising 2022 campaign with a 9-7-1 regular-season record and a 1-1 post-season record.

The overall final team statistics were almost as one-sided as the final score. The Eagles out-gained the Giants in first downs (26 to 13), total net yards (416 to 227), net yards rushing (268 to 118), net yards passing (148 to 109), and time of possession (35:43 to 24:17). The Eagles won the turnover battle 1-0 and were 4-of-5 in the red zone. Philadelphia was also an astonishing 10-of-14 (71.4 percent) on 3rd-down conversion attempts while the Giants were 1-of-3 on 4th down.

The contest was basically over by halftime. The Eagles scored touchdowns on four of their five first-half possessions while the Giants were shut out. Philadelphia’s drives:

  • 8 plays, 75 yards, touchdown,
  • 8 plays, 52 yards, touchdown.
  • 3 plays, -3 yards, punt.
  • 9 plays, 63 yards, touchdown.
  • 14 plays, 67 yards, touchdown.

Meanwhile, the Giants’ first drive ended with quarterback Daniel Jones getting sacked on 4th-and-8 at the Philadelphia 48-yard line. On the second play of their second possession, Jones was intercepted by former Giants’ cornerback James Bradberry at the Philadelphia 46-yard line. New York’s other three first-half possessions resulted in a total of 17 yards, no first downs, and three punts.

At the half, the Eagles led 28-0. The first-half stats were equally bad, with the Eagles holding huge advantages in first downs (18 to 3) and total yards (258 to 64).

The second-half of the game was pretty anti-climatic. Both teams exchanged three-and-outs to start the 3rd quarter. The Giants then drove for their only score of the game, a 10-play, 88-yard effort that ended with a direct snap to Saquon Barkley, who handed off to fellow running back Matt Breida for an 8-yard touchdown. With 6:15 left in the 3rd quarter, the Giants trailed 28-7.

The Eagles picked up two first downs and then punted on again on their second possession of the second half. New York then also picked up two first downs, but Head Coach Brian . Daboll decided to punt the ball away on 4th-and-6 from the New York 42-yard line early in the 4th quarter, down by three touchdowns.. The Eagles responded with a 15-play, 70-yard drive that lasted almost eight minutes and resulted in a 30-yard field goal. With just over five minutes in the game, New York now trailed 31-7.

The final minutes were just as ugly. The Giants did convert on 4th-and-16 from their own 17-yard line. But four plays later, they turned the ball over on downs with an incomplete pass on 4th-and-8 from their own 36-yard line. On 3rd-and-9, the Eagles broke off a 35-yard touchdown run at the 2-minute warning.

The Giants then ran the ball three times in their final five plays simply to end the game.

Jones finished the game 15-of-27 for 135 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. He ran the ball six times for 24 yards, but was sacked five times. Wideout Richie James was the leading receiver with seven catches for 51 yards. No other Giant had more than 21 yards receiving. Barkley broke off a 39-yard run in the 3rd quarter, but was held to 22 yards on his other eight carries.

The defense also played a bad game, allowing an unacceptable 268 yards rushing and only stopping the Eagles four times on 14 third-down conversion attempts. The Giants only had one sack and one pass defense. Quarterback Jalen Hurts was never hit except for the one sack. The team also did not force a turnover.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Friday, the Giants activated (standard elevation) WR Makai Polk and CB Zyon Gilbert from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster.

Inactive for the game were WR Makai Polk, OG Jack Anderson, OG Wyatt Davis, DL Henry Mondeaux, ILB Micah McFadden, CB Rodarius Williams, and CB Zyon Gilbert.

CB Cor’Dale Flott suffered a hamstring injury and did not return.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Players will be available in an open locker-room setting on Sunday. General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Monday.

Jan 182023
 
Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants (January 15, 2023)

Dexter Lawrence – © USA TODAY Sports

JANUARY 18, 2023 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Isaiah Hodgins (ankle), OLB Azeez Ojulari (quad), ILB/S Landon Collins (ankle), CB Fabian Moreau (hip), and S Julian Love (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday.

CB Adoree’ Jackson (back) and S Jason Pinnock (abdomen) fully practiced.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players practice again on Thursday (11:45AM-1:15PM). Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media.

Jan 152023
 
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (January 15, 2023)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 31 – MINNESOTA VIKINGS 24…
The New York Giants upset the Minnesota Vikings 31-24 in a Wild Card playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Sunday. The playoff win was the team’s first since the 2011 season. The Giants will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia next Saturday in the divisional round.

In terms of overall team stats, the Giants out-gained the Vikings in first downs (28 to 21), total net yards (431 to 332), net yards rushing (142 to 61), net yards passing (289 to 271), and time of possession (33:36 to 26:24). The Giants were 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) on 3rd-down conversion attempts and 2-of-2 on 4th-down conversion attempts. Neither team turned the ball over.

The Vikings received the football to start the game and easily drove 70 yards in 12 plays, gaining seven first downs, to take an early 7-0 lead. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was 7-of-7 on the drive and finished up the possession with a 1-yard quarterback sneak for the score. Minnesota’s next two possessions resulted in only one first down and two punts.

Not counting their last possession where they started at their own 10-yard line with 45 seconds left, the Giants only had three offensive drives in the first half. Those three possessions resulted in 17 points:

  1. Five plays, 75 yards, touchdown. After a holding penalty pushed put the Giants in a 1st-and-20 situation to start the drive, quarterback Daniel Jones completed two passes and ran the ball twice for a total of 57 yards. Then running back Saquon Barkley broke off a 28-yard touchdown run around left end.
  2. Four plays, 81 yards, touchdown. Jones completed a 47-yard pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton. After a 4-yard pass to tight end Lawrence Cager and a 16-yard run by Barkley, Jones threw a 14-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins.
  3. Twenty plays, 85 yards, field goal. Starting at their own 9-yard line, this marathon drive took almost 11 minutes off of the clock. However, a 4-yard touchdown run by Jones was erased due to an illegal shift penalty. New York settled for a 25-yard field goal by kicker Graham Gano.

Despite this offensive success, the Vikings managed to keep the game close with their last possession of the first half by easily driving 75 yards in eight plays to cut the score to 17-14 on Cousin’ 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver K.J. Osborn with 45 seconds left on the clock.

At the break, the Giants led 17-14.

New York’s offensive momentum continued at the start of the 3rd quarter. It took the Giants just six plays to travel 75 yards. Jones completed two passes to Hodgins for 42 yards, Barkley ran for 24 yards, Slayton picked up three yards on an end around, and then Jones threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger. The Giants were now up 24-14.

Back came Minnesota, however, as on their first possession of the second half they ran eight plays for 75 yards. Cousins threw a 3-yard touchdown to tight end Irv Smith to cut the score to 24-17.

The Giants were finally forced to punt for the first time on their second possession of the half. Cornerback Nick McCloud did create a fumble on the ensuing punt return, but it was recovered by the Vikings. Minnesota then tied the score with a 12-play, 56-yard drive that included an 18-yard completion on 4th-and-2 from the New York 43-yard line. It appeared that the Vikings converted on 4th-and-1 at the 16-yard line, but a false start wiped out the play and Minnesota settled for a 38-yard field goal with 12:34 left in the game.

With the score tied up at 24-24, the Giants began their game-winning, 12-play, 75-yard drive. Jones only completed half of his passes on this possession, but five of his attempts went for 58 yards. He also picked up a critical two yards on a quarterback sneak on 4th-and-1 from the Minnesota 7-yard line. Barkley finished this possession off with a tough, 2-yard touchdown run to give New York a 31-24 lead with 7:47 to play.

The Giants’ defense forced a quick three-and-out on the ensuing drive. Up by a touchdown with 6:12 left in the game, the Giants were able to picked up two first downs, including a very risky 4th-and-1 conversion attempt at their own 45-yard line. Jones gained the needed yard on another tough quarterback sneak and Minnesota was forced to use all three of their time outs to stop the clock. The Giants could have ended it early, but on 3rd-and-15, Slayton dropped a pass from Jones that may have picked up the first down. The Giants punted the ball away with just over three minutes to play.

With 2:56 on the clock, Minnesota got the ball back at their own 12-yard line. On 2nd-and-4, defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence was flagged with a highly questionable roughing-the-passer penalty. A 13-yard completion then moved the ball to the Minnesota 46-yard line. On 3rd-and-8, cornerback Cor’Dale Flott broke up pass. On 4th-and-8, Cousins’ final pass was completed, but tight end T.J. Hockenson, who killed the Giants for much of the game, was tackled five yards short of the 1st-down marker by safety Xavier McKinney. The Giants then knelt on the ball to seal the win.

Jones finished the game 24-of-35 for 301 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions (114.1 quarterback rating). He also ran  the ball 17 times for 78 yards, including two 4th-and-1 conversions. His leading target was Hodgins, who caught eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Barkley carried the ball nine times for 53 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Giants did not sack Cousins, but they officially hit him 11 times. Four of those were by Dexter Lawrence. The Giants were also credited with five tackles for losses, including two by cornerback Darnay Holmes. Vikings’ All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson was held to seven catches for 47 yards.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Saturday, the Giants activated (standard elevation) RB Jashaun Corbin and WR Kalil Pimpleton from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster.

Inactive for the game were RB Jashaun Corbin, WR Kalil Pimpleton, OG Jack Anderson, OG Wyatt Davis, DL Henry Mondeaux, ILB Micah McFadden, and CB Rodarius Williams.

LB Azeez Ojulari (quad contusion) and S Jason Pinnock (abdomen) left the game and did not return. Pinnock was taken to the hospital, but later returned to the locker room and said he was “good.”

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

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/1614805912803328008

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Monday. The players are off on Monday.

Jan 112023
 
Mike Kafka, New York Giants (October 7, 2022)

Mike Kafka – © USA TODAY Sports

JANUARY 11, 2023 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
OC Jon Feliciano (back), DL Leonard Williams (neck), OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle), CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee), and S Jason Pinnock (shoulder) were limited in practice on Wednesday. “Yeah, I think everybody will practice,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice. “Maybe some will be more limited, but I’m encouraged where everybody’s at.”

S Xavier McKinney (fingers) fully practiced.

PANTHERS AND TEXANS INTERESTED IN MIKE KAFKA…
Media sources are reporting that the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans are interested in interviewing New York Giants Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka for their head-coaching vacancies. Teams are not allowed to interview Kafka until January 17th.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The Giants have re-signed defensive lineman Vernon Butler and signed wide receiver James Washington to the Practice Squad. Butler was cut from the Practice Squad last Friday.

The 26-year old, 5’11”, 216-pound Washington was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. After spending four years with the Steelers, Washington signed with the Dallas Cowboys in March 2022, but spent most of this season on Injured Reserve with a broken foot. The Cowboys cut him last Wednesday. Washington has played in 61 regular-season games with 25 starts, catching 114 passes for 1,629 yards and 11 touchdowns.

To make room for these two players, the Giants terminated the Practice Squad contracts of defensive lineman Jack Heflin and signed offensive lineman Solomon Kindley, who was on the Practice Squad, to a Reserve/Future contract, thus removing him from the Practice Squad. The 6’4”, 339-pound Kindley was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins waived him in August 2022 and the Giants signed him to the Practice Squad in October. Kindley has played in 29 regular-season games with 15 starts.

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

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

NOTES…
The Giants are making their 33rd post-season appearance, which ties them with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the third-highest total in NFL history, behind Green Bay and the Dallas Cowboys at 35 apiece.

The Giants are 24-25 all-time in the playoffs. They were 4-13 prior to the 1970 merger and are 20-12 since. In post-season play, the Giants are 12-9 at home, 8-15 on the road and 4-1 in neutral site Super Bowls. Since the merger, they are 8-4 at home, 8-7 as visitors, and 4-1 on neutral fields.

The Giants are 6-5 in Wild Card games (3-2 at home, 3-3 on the road), 5-6 in the divisional round (3-2 at home, 2-4 on the road), and 5-0 in conference championship games (2-0 at home, 3-0 on the road).

The Giants are 2-1 in the postseason vs. Minnesota. All three games were played in Giants Stadium.

Head coach Brian Daboll coached in 30 post-season games as an assistant coach – 24 with New England (nine appearances) and six with Buffalo (three appearances). Those teams were 23-7, including 4-1 in the Wild Card round and 5-0 in Super Bowls.

The Giants have rushed for a touchdown in a franchise-record 15 consecutive games.

Quarterback Daniel Jones led all qualified passers in the league with a 1.1 interception percentage in the regular season (a career-low five interceptions on a career-high 472 attempts).

The Giants’ six interceptions this season tied for the fewest ever by a playoff team, joining the 2004 Rams and 2021 Raiders.

Graham Gano made 29-of-32 field goal attempts (90.6%) and 32-of-34 extra point tries. Two of his missed field goals included a blocked kick vs. Carolina on September 18 and a 58-yarder into the wind on the last play of overtime in the 20-20 tie vs. Washington on December 4. He set a Giants record with eight field goals of 50+ yards, one more than he had in 2021.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday afternoon (12:45-2:30PM). The coordinators and select players will also address the media.