Feb 152017
 
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Jonathan Casillas and Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants (September 18, 2016)

Jonathan Casillas and Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

THE STARTERS

Jonathan Casillas had his best season to date as a pro in 2016. Casillas played in every game, with 15 regular-season starts (72 percent of all defensive snaps), and finished the year with 96 tackles, 1.5 sacks, eight pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Casillas was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New Orleans Saints after the 2009 NFL Draft. He has played for the Saints (2009-11), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013-14), and Patriots (2014). The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2015. Casillas lacks ideal size and has issues against the run at times, but he is a good athlete with fine speed and performs well in coverage. Caillas does not make many impact plays and is not much of a blitzer (6.5 career sacks).

Keenan Robinson officially only started 6-of-16 regular-season games, but he was second in playing time on the team among all linebackers (71 percent of all defensive snaps). Robinson finished 2016 with 83 tackles and seven pass defenses. Robinson was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, where he missed time in 2012 (four games with right pectoral tear), 2013 (entire season with left pectoral tear), 2014 (three games with a knee injury), and 2015 (four games with a shoulder injury). The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2016. Robinson has decent size and is a good athlete who runs well. Versatile, he can play inside and outside linebacker. Robinson is more of a run-and-hit linebacker than stout run defender at the point-of-attack. Robinson is solid in pass coverage. He only has 1.5 career sacks and has been injury prone. Robinson does not make many impact plays.

Devon Kennard played in every game with nine regular-season starts, playing in 47 percent of all defensive snaps. He finished 2016 with 61 tackles, one sack, one pass defense, and one forced fumble. Kennard was drafted in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Giants. He missed playing time in 2014 (four games with hamstring and toe injuries) and 2015 (seven games with hamstring and foot injuries). Kennard is a big, strong linebacker who is a bit of a DE/LB ‘tweener. In fact, the Giants will use him at defensive end in pass rush situations. Kennard plays the run well and can get heat on the quarterback, but he is not as strong in coverage. To date, he has not put up big numbers or made many big plays. Kennard has been somewhat injury prone.

While Kelvin Sheppard started 11-of-16 regular-season games at middle linebacker in 2016, he only received 39 percent of defensive snaps. Sheppard finished the year with 50 tackles and two pass defenses. Sheppard was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in April 2013 and signed with the Dolphins in September 2014 and Giants in April 2016. Sheppard is more of a two-down linebacker who plays the run better than the pass. While he has good size, Sheppard lacks ideal overall athletic ability. Sheppard does not make many big plays.

THE RESERVES

B.J. Goodson was drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played in 15 regular-season games with no starts, playing in one percent of defensive snaps. Goodson finished his rookie season with nine tackles and one forced fumble. Goodson is a big, strong, physical linebacker who plays the run better than the pass. He is a big hitter and good tackler. To become a complete player, Goodson has to improve his pass coverage. Goodson lacks ideal speed and agility.

Mark Herzlich remains primarily a reserve linebacker and special teams player who occasionally is called upon to play on defense (one percent of defensive snaps in 2016). Herzlich played in 14 regular-season games, missing two with a concussion. He finished with seven tackles on defense. Herzlich was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. He has started 17 regular-season games in his six seasons with the Giants, eight of which were in 2014. Herzlich has very good size but is a sub-par athlete for the position. He is a good run defender, but struggles in coverage and is not much of a blitzer. Herzlich is a good special teams player.

Deontae Skinner was added to and released from the Practice Squad multiple times in 2016. He also was signed to the 53-man roster in October and again in December. Skinner played in four games in 2016 and was credited with five tackles. Skinner was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Patriots (2014-2015) and Eagles (2015-2016). Skinner is a big, instinctive linebacker with decent agility but who lacks speed.

Ishaq Williams was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2016 and the 53-man roster in December 2016. He did not play in any games. The Giants originally signed Williams after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2016 mini-camp. Williams had been out of football since 2013 after being implicated in an academic dishonesty scandal at Notre Dame. Williams has a nice combination of size and overall athletic ability.

INJURED RESERVE

The Giants placed J.T. Thomas on Injured Reserve in September 2016 after he suffered ligament damage to his left knee in the regular-season opener. Thomas was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. The Bears waived him in August 2013 and he was claimed off of waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Giants signed Thomas in March 2015. In 2015 with the Giants, Thomas played in 12 games with 11 starts, missing four games with an ankle injury. Thomas lacks ideal size, but he is a good athlete who runs well. Versatile, Thomas can play all three linebacker positions. However, he does not many impact plays and is better suited as a reserve. Thomas is a good special teams player.

Sep 122016
 
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J.T. Thomas, New York Giants (December 20, 2015)

J.T. Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports Images

J.T. THOMAS PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE, JOSH BROWN REINSTATED…
The New York Giants have placed linebacker J.T. Thomas on Injured Reserve with torn ligaments in his left knee. Thomas was injured on the final play of the second quarter on special teams.

The vacant roster spot was filled as place kicker Josh Brown was reinstated by the NFL after his 1-game suspension for a 2015 domestic violence incident. “Josh will be the kicker this week,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo today.

MONDAY BEN MCADOO CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo addressed the media by conference call on Monday to discuss the team’s 20-19 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

McAdoo: We will start with what we did well on the defensive side of the ball. We were physical and heavy-handed at the line of scrimmage. I thought we showed poise to hang in there with the number of plays that we played. They showed signs of being comfortable being uncomfortable, which is encouraging. Obviously closing the game out in the fourth quarter was a huge positive for us.  On the offensive side of the ball, we handled the noise. There were some great shots of tempo over the ball. Physicality and heavy-handed at the lines of scrimmage with some signs of finish at the end of the runs and at pass protection. Really on both sides of the ball in the green zone, red zone and two-minute, we won those situations. When you win those situations, you have a chance to be ahead when the ballgame is over. On special teams, the 17-yard punt return in the fourth quarter was big for us. Set up great field position and the go-ahead touchdown, which was a major impact in the game.

What we need to work on defensively, we need to get off the field on third down. We had some opportunities to do that and we need to cash in on them. We need to take The Duke away and get our hands on some footballs on defense. There were some opportunities there. On offense we need to eliminate our pre-snap penalties. We had two. There were times that we were careless with The Duke. We have to take care of The Duke better. Special teams, our kickoff return blocking needs to shore up. Where we go from here, we need to stay humble and hungry, improve on our communication and details and be precise in everything we do. Like every team in this league, you are looking to take that jump from week one to week two. With that, we’ll open it up to questions.

Q: What are you going to do with the two kickers?

A: Josh (Brown) will be the kicker this week.

Q: Will you still have two when it’s game time?

A: Right now we have two kickers on the roster. That could change shortly. We’re in the process right now of evaluating.

Q: How big is that jump from week one to week two when you look at it throughout your years in the league?

A: I think it’s important. No team is really quite sure what you’re going to get in week one. Every team changes each year. There’s a lot of turnover season to season. You have an opportunity to go out and play the game together in a full game. You have the chance to take a big jump in the second week.

Q: How do you prepare your team to make that jump?

A: We have to go in and make the corrections from the first game. Emphasize the positives. Go out, practice and make the corrections. Move forward.

Q: Can you talk about how the defensive line did against that tough Dallas offensive line?

A: I thought the defensive line did a nice job in there. They had a lot of snaps. It’s a very good offensive line that they faced. We were physical, held the line of scrimmage and were heavy-handed. We limited the yards after contact.

Q: Do you think having Janoris Jenkins on Dez yesterday is a sign of things to come as far as your confidence in having Janoris go against the top guys on other teams?

A: I think Janoris had a heck of a day yesterday. He’s not the only one that was matching up against Dez. DRC made a couple of really nice plays there, too. Jackrabbit really shadowed him for the most part of the day. He competed his tail off and it was a big, huge effort for us. Just like everything else, each week we’re going to take a look at it and see how we match up. We’ll go from there.

Q: There was some mention after the game about the sun being a factor. How much did you notice that? Did you notice that at all?

A: We talked about that going into the game. We had some pictures from the past, from the 2014 game. We noticed how it shines in from the west in the second quarter and then into the third and fourth quarters. If you have a chance to help yourself in the kicking game and offense and defense with the glare and if you don’t, you have to learn to play through it. Whether you’re looking into it or it’s at your back, it’s going to impact both sides of the ball. If you’re a quarterback and it’s in your eyes, it’s better for the receivers that way but it’s tougher to read the coverage and vice versa.

Q: How much is that something you tried to navigate if you were on a certain side of the field late in the game?

A: It depends on how the coin toss goes. That really impacts everything. You can’t control the coin toss. Some people like to think that you can but you can’t. You have to roll with the punches after the coin toss.

Q: What did you think of Eli Apple’s debut? Seemed like he was a little behind on a few routes guarding Cole Beasley?

A: I think he was feeling his way early. He got his feet underneath him as the game wore on. Really competed at a higher level as the game wore on. Just like a lot of young players, they have to feel their way a little bit at times. You play through it and I think he made some nice tackles as the game wore on.

Q: What did you think of DRC in the slot?

A: I think he made two very nice plays in the slot. One was in the end zone and the other was on an inside fade route to Dez. I think he did a tremendous job there and we liked him there.

Q: Did you like him as a blitzer?

A: Yes, we liked him as a blitzer. I think the more he does it, the better he’ll get at it.

Q: A lot of attention to the defensive front but we’ve now asked you a lot of questions about the secondary. Do you feel like you held up well in the secondary yesterday?

A: I feel like we’ll get better as the season goes on at third down. We just need to find a way to get off the field.

Q: Would you like to add another linebacker with J.T. Thomas now on injured reserve?

A: We’re going to take a look out there, have some conversations and see what’s best for us moving forward. It’s preliminary to have that discussion right now.

Q: Is bringing Jasper Brinkley back a possibility in your mind?

A: Never say never.

Q: What did you wind up doing with your game ball?

A: I gave it to our equipment guys. They’re going to take care of it for me. Not sure what they’re going to do with it. It’ll be a prized possession, that’s for sure.

Q: Ben what is your postgame routine like? Are you watching film on the plane home? How do you go about reviewing the game immediately after it ends?

A: I look at all three phases and grade them accordingly.

Q: Is there anyone else that came out injured in this game that you have to worry about?

A: Other than J.T.? No. We have some guys that will be limited right now, but no.

POST-GAME NOTES…
Not only was the Giants opening day win their first since 2010, but it was their first opening day road victory since 1999. The Giants are now 1-7 in season openers versus the Cowboys.

The Giants are now 4-4 at AT&T Stadium.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Player interviews will be held late Tuesday afternoon. The Giants return to practice at 11:40AM on Wednesday.

Sep 082016
 
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Tom Quinn, New York Giants (August 27, 2016)

Tom Quinn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Linebacker Jonathan Casillas (ribs) and safety Darian Thompson (shoulder) practiced on a limited basis on Thursday.

Defensive tackle Robert Thomas (illness) missed practice.

Wide receiver/returner Dwayne Harris suffered from heat exhaustion after practice.

PAY CUT FOR J.T. THOMAS…
ESPN is reporting that New York Giants linebacker J.T. Thomas has accepted a pay cut. His 2016 base salary of $2.975 million was reduced to $1.5 million. His new contract also includes $550,000 in incentives and additional money in roster bonuses.

THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants will conduct a walk-thru on Friday and travel to Dallas on Saturday. The team plays the Cowboys on Sunday.

Aug 232016
 
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Eli Apple and Victor Cruz, New York Giants (June 15, 2016)

Eli Apple and Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
New York Giants linebacker J.T. Thomas (hamstring) was activated off of the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. He practiced on Tuesday for the first time since training camp began.

Tight end Will Johnson (burner), tight end Matt LaCosse (knee), safety Darian Thompson (shoulder), and safety Mykkele Thompson (concussion) did not practice.

“We’ll evaluate (Darian Thompson) week-to-week,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “He’s going to be out this week. We’ll look at him again next week. He’s getting the treatment. It’s important to him and he’s going to do everything he can to get back here as quickly as he can.”

Wide receiver Victor Cruz (groin), wide receiver Geremy Davis (hamstring), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (knee), left guard Justin Pugh (shoulder), defensive end Kerry Wynn (groin), cornerback Eli Apple (strained leg muscle), and cornerback Leon McFadden (bruised lower leg) practiced.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The team will hold practice on Wednesday at 11:00AM.

Jul 282016
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (June 6, 2016)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP BEGINS…
New York Giants players reported to training camp on Thursday. The first training camp practice will occur on Friday. (A complete schedule is available at Giants.com; please keep in mind that in the event of inclement weather, the practice will be held inside and NOT open to the public).

HARRISON, THOMAS, AND BROMLEY PLACED ON PUP…
New York Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison (knee swelling), defensive tackle Jay Bromley (ankle), and linebacker J.T. Thomas (hamstring) have been placed on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List at the start of training camp. These players can come off the PUP at any time.

“We don’t think any of them are extremely serious at this point,” Head Coach Ben McAdoo said.

According to ESPN, Bromley had surgery to remove a bone spur earlier this summer, but he is expected to be able to practice soon. ESPN also reports that the swelling in Harrison’s knee is not uncommon due to fluid in his knee.

Defensive tackle Melvin Lewis was placed on the Non-Football Illness (NFI) List. No details were provided on Lewis.

Meanwhile, wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf, knee) has been cleared to practice on Friday. He passed his medical and conditioning tests.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

May 262016
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (May 6, 2016)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS OTA VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS…
The Giants have completed three of their ten organized team activity (OTA) practices (May 23-24, 26). No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed. There was no media access for the practices on May 24 and May 26, but Giants.com made available the following highlights:

  • May 24 OTA Practice Highlights (Video)
  • Inside the Huddle: D-Line (Video)

Giants.com also identified “5 things we learned” and “standout players” from the two practices:

The seven remaining OTA practices will be held June 1-3, June 6-7, and June 9-10. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 14-16.

GIANTS.COM PLAYER INTERVIEWS…
Video clips of recent Giants.com “insider” interviews with the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • WR Geremy Davis (Video)
  • DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (Video)
  • S Bennett Jackson (Video)

ARTICLES…

Feb 012016
 
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Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Odell Beckham, New York Giants (January 31, 2016)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepts pass intended for Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JAY BROMLEY UPDATE…
Following up on Saturday’s story that New York Giants defensive tackle Jay Bromley alleged raped a woman he met online and later struck her with his car, the attorney for Bromley does not believe his client will be charged by police. “We have reviewed the allegations against Mr. Bromley and believe no crime has been committed,” said the attorney. “Accordingly, we do not expect him to be charged.”

The New York Daily News is reporting that a “source with knowledge of the investigation said police believe Bromley’s accuser has ‘significant credibility issues.'” The source told the paper, “They don’t think her story makes any sense.”

The New York Post is reporting that police are examining if the alleged victim has a history of extorting money from celebrities.

GIANTS IN THE PRO BOWL…
The 2016 Pro Bowl was played on Sunday at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The four Giants who played in the game performed as follows:

  • Quarterback Eli Manning started the game and was 6-of-9 for 75 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception (off a deflected pass).
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. caught two passes for 34 yards. He also played some safety on defense.
  • Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie picked off two passes, but also fumbled one of those interceptions back to the opposing team.
  • Place kicker Josh Brown was 3-for-3 on point-after attempts. He also threw an interception on a fake point-after attempt.

On the sidelines during the game, Manning was asked about the team’s head coaching change. “Well, it’ll be different,” Manning said. “I really feel it’s been a blessing to have coach (Tom) Coughlin as my coach for 12 years. He taught me so much about the game of football but also about being a man, a father. I’ve grown up in front of him. So I feel like I’ve learned a lot. I’m excited about coach (Ben) McAdoo next year. I have a great relationship with him as well, working with him these last two years. I think he’ll do a great job of taking control of this team and leading us in the right direction.”

“GIANTS INSIDER” Q&As…
Video clips of Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

Dec 312015
 
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John Mara, New York Giants (December 20, 2015)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS OWNERSHIP DIVIDED ABOUT FATE OF TOM COUGHLIN?…
The New York Daily News is reporting that there have been “several high-level discussions” within the New York Giants’ organization this week about the fate of Head Coach Tom Coughlin. The Daily News says it is not known yet if a final decision has been made, but “there are several people in the Giants’ front office who believe a change is necessary,” including team chairman/executive vice president Steve Tisch. The Daily News reports that pressure is mounting on team president/CEO John Mara to make a change and “most people inside the organization believe Mara will eventually agree.”

“Do I want to come back? I don’t know if that’s a great question right now,” said Coughlin on Thursday. “What I want to do is win a game on Sunday, that’s the bottom line for this group right now. I always have the competitive spirit. Sometimes it takes me a day or two to figure it all out when it’s over. Right now, let’s stick with the game and let’s go win a football game.”

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have placed linebacker J.T. Thomas (ankle) and long-snapper Danny Aiken (thumb) on season-ending Injured Reserve. Thomas injured his ankle in last Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, while Aiken injured his thumb in practice on Wednesday.

The Giants now have 20 players on Injured Reserve, one player who spent the season on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List (left tackle Will Beatty) and one player on Injured Reserve/Designated-to-Return (defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa).

To fill the roster 53-man roster vacancies, the Giants signed linebacker Nico Johnson from the team’s Practice Squad, and signed long-snapper Tyler Ott.

Johnson was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs waived him in August 2014 and signed him to their Practice Squad. The Bengals signed Johnson to their 53-man roster in October 2014, but waived him in August 2015. The Redskins signed Johnson to their Practice Squad in September, but terminated his contract a month later. The Giants signed Johnson to the Practice Squad in November. Johnson has played in 17 regular-season games with three starts, accruing 22 tackles. Johnson is a big linebacker (6’2”, 249lbs) who plays the run well, but isn’t as adept in pass coverage. He is a hard worker.

Ott was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots after the 2014 NFL Draft. He did not make the team, but spent time with the Patriots again and the St. Louis Rams before the 2015 season.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
RT Marshall Newhouse (concussion), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (ankle), LB J.T. Thomas (ankle), S Craig Dahl (concussion), and S Cooper Taylor (concussion) did not practice on Thursday. Thomas was later placed on Injured Reserve.

WR Dwayne Harris (back/shoulder) and LS Danny Aiken (thumb) practiced on a limited basis. Aiken was later placed on Injured Reserve.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
The transcript of Tom Coughlin’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video of player media sessions on Thursday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media access to the Giants on New Year’s Day. The team will hold a 45-minute, up-tempo “walk-thru” practice on Saturday that is not open to the media. The Giants play the Philadelphia Eagles at home on Sunday.

Sep 142015
 
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Uani' Unga, New York Giants (September 13, 2015)

Jason Witten Scores Game-Winning TD – © USA TODAY Sports Images

DALLAS COWBOYS 27 – NEW YORK GIANTS 26…
The New York Giants had the Dallas Cowboys on the ropes but they let the game slip away in the final seconds as Dallas quarterback Tony Romo hit tight end Jason Witten for an 11-yard touchdown with seven seconds in the game to win 27-26. The touchdown catch culminated a far-too-easy 6-play, 72-yard drive in 87 seconds.

Making matters worse was the Giants had a chance to put the game away before the drive. Leading 23-20, the Giants had successfully driven from their own 20-yard line to the Dallas 4-yard line with 1:54 to play. After two runs by running back Rashad Jennings had picked up three yards and caused the Cowboys to spend their last timeouts, the Giants faced 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line. The Giants chose not to run the ball. Quarterback Eli Manning threw the ball away instead of taking a sack, causing the clock to stop. Declining to go for it on 4th-and-goal, Head Coach Tom Coughlin called for the field goal and the Giants only went up by six points.

Now a young Giants team will have to quickly recover emotionally from a devastating loss as the team will face the potentially dangerous Atlanta Falcons next Sunday at home.

In a game where the Giants defense was supposed to struggle and the offense was supposed to excel, the roles were reversed until the end of the contest. Not only did New York’s defense hold the Cowboys to only six first-half points, but the defense scored a touchdown after cornerback Trumaine McBride forced wide receiver Cole Beasley to fumble and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returned the loose ball 57 yards for a touchdown. On the ensuing drive, linebacker Uani’ Unga intercepted Romo at the Dallas 22-yard line, setting up a 40-yard field goal right before halftime.

Meanwhile, the Giants offense puttered for most of the first half, accruing only six first downs and 86 total yards (33 rushing and 53 passing). At the half, the Giants led 13-6.

The Giants received the ball to start the second half and went up 16-6 after a 12-play, 68-yard drive set up a 30-yard field goal. However, the Cowboys responded with a 9-play, 80-yard effort that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown pass to cut the New York advantage to 16-13. This drive was aided by a very questionable Rodgers-Cromartie pass interference penalty on a 3rd-and-4 incomplete pass.

The score stayed that way until midway through the fourth quarter. Safety Brandon Meriweather’s hard hit on a receiver caused an interception that was returned by McBride to the Cowboys 1-yard line. One play later, Jennings scored and the Giants had a 10-point lead with just over eight minutes to play.

But alas it was not to be as New York’s defense collapsed late. The Cowboys drove 76 yards in six plays to cut the score to 23-20 with five minutes to play. Then came the long drive by the Giants that almost sealed the deal until the red zone failure.

The Cowboys out-gained the Giants in first downs (27-18), total net yards (436 to 289), and net passing yards (356 to 190). The Giants slightly out-gained the Cowboys in rushing yards (99 to 80). The equalizer was the Cowboys turned the football over three times while the Giants did not turn it over at all.

Manning finished the game 20-of-36 for 193 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Wide receiver Odell Beckham only caught five passes for 44 yards. Running back Shane Vereen caught four passes for 46 yards. The leading rusher was Jennings who had 52 yards on 13 carries with a 27-yarder on New York’s last field goal drive.

While the New York defense did force three turnovers, they rarely touched Romo who was not sacked and only officially hit once.

Video highlights/lowlights of the game are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
DT Markus Kuhn left the game in the second half with a knee sprain and did not return. LT Ereck Flowers injured his ankle but returned to the game.

POST-GAME REACTIONS…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Tom Coughlin and various players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Tom Coughlin (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Rueben Randle (Video)
  • LB J.T. Thomas (Video)
  • CB Trumaine McBride (Video)
  • S Landon Collins (Video)

POST-GAME NOTES…
Inactive for the Giants were WR Victor Cruz (calf), LB Jon Beason (knee), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (foot), S Cooper Taylor, TE Jerome Cunningham, OT Bobby Hart, and DT Louis Nix.

The Cowboys are 8-0 against the Giants in season openers.

The Cowboys have won five games in a row over the Giants.

MORE BAD NEWS ON JASON PIERRE-PAUL…
According to FOX Sports, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has damage to three of the fingers on his right hand and Pierre-Paul had another skin graft procedure performed recently. In addition, because Pierre-Paul has not been able to lift weights, he has lost significant muscle mass. The Giants reportedly have told Pierre-Paul that they will re-evaluate his physical condition in six weeks.

ARTICLES…

Sep 032015
 
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According to ESPN.com, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is planning to report to the the New York Giants next week. Pierre-Paul has yet to sign the team’s 1-year, $14.813 million Franchise tender and has skipped all team offseason activities including the offseason strength training and conditioning program, spring Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices and mini-camp, and summer training camp and preseason games.

Pierre-Paul suffered serious and possibly career-altering injuries to his right hand and arm during a July 4th fireworks accident. Pierre-Paul had his right index finger amputated at the knuckle and reportedly broke his right thumb and suffered burns on his arm that required skin grafts. Pierre-Paul has not allowed team officials to examine his injuries.

ESPN.com is reporting that Pierre-Paul will finally meet with team medical personnel next week. At that time, a determination will be made about when Pierre-Paul might be able to return to the practice and playing fields. Aside from his serious injuries, Pierre-Paul is not familiar with new Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s schemes and he is not in football shape, having missed all of the summer work.

If the Giants determine that Pierre-Paul is physically unable to play football yet, they have the option to place him on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) List, where they could choose not to pay him for the games he misses. Once a player is placed on the NFI, he must miss at least six games.

However, ESPN.com says, Pierre-Paul “won’t sign (his Franchise tender) until he is sure the Giants won’t place him on the non-football injury list” and that “he would like to speak to the Giants about guaranteeing the prorated portion of his salary that reflects the number of games he and they expect him to be able to play.”

In other words, Pierre-Paul is still going to try to wrestle as much money out of the Giants as he can despite his self-inflicted non-football injuries.

Giants.com Interview with LB J.T. Thomas: The video of a Giants.com interview with linebacker J.T. Thomas is available at Giants.com.

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