Sep 212020
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 20, 2020)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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CONFIRMED – SAQUON BARKLEY DONE FOR THE SEASON…
As expected, the New York Giants officially confirmed that running back Saquon Barkley tore the ACL in his right knee against the Chicago Bears and will be lost for the remainder of the 2020 NFL season. The NFL Network is reporting that in addition to tearing his ACL, Barkley partially tore his meniscus and strained his MCL, the latter not needing surgical repair. Barkley is expected to undergo surgery in 2-4 weeks once swelling/inflammation goes down.

The NFL Network is also reporting that wide receiver Sterling Shepard suffered a turf toe injury against the Bears and is expected to miss “some time.” Turf toe injuries can take weeks to come back from and usually linger the rest of the season.

GIANTS BRING IN DEVONTA FREEMAN…
The New York Giants are bringing in free agent running back Devonta Freeman as a possible roster fill in for the loss of running back Saquon Barkley. Freeman is currently going through the team’s COVID-19 testing protocol.

The 28-year old, 5’8”, 206-pound Freeman was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. In six years with the Falcons, Freeman played in 77 regular-season games with 59 starts, rushing 951 times for 3,972 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and 32 touchdowns. He also caught 257 passes for 2,015 yards and 11 touchdowns. Freeman missed most of the 2018 season with knee and groin injuries. His productivity fell to 656 yards on 184 carries (3.6 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in 2019. The Falcons cut Freeman in March 2020.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2020 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears (the video is also available on YouTube):

Q: We saw the news about Saquon tearing his knee. How do you feel like this impacts you guys and the structure of your offense going forward? Obviously he was going to be a very big part of that. You can use him in a lot of different ways and now you remove that piece. I’m curious what you think this means for the offense.

A: First off, losing a player who is such a good teammate and someone who’s such a hard worker on the field will impact the team in a lot of ways. Saquon is a tremendous player. We have even more respect for him as a person. I personally hate it for this guy, as hard as he’s worked and as much impact as he’s had for this team. I know our team has similar feelings as well. I talked to a number of players already. I would say this, in terms of how we game plan and scheme, our focus will always change week by week. Regardless of how our roster looks, we’re always going to do what’s best for the team going forward to match up with the specific opponent. The guys that are on our roster, we’re going to have to find ways to put them in positions of strength and find ways to match up with our opponent favorably.

Q: Besides a physical loss, is this a major emotional loss? Losing a guy like Saquon, coaches always say next man up, but I don’t know if it’s possible to have a next man up when it’s Saquon Barkley involved

A: I think it’s emotional for any of your players. You know how hard these guys work. You know how important it is to them. Not to mention how it impacts directly their own lives and their families’ lives. There’s definitely some emotion attached to losing any player. Saquon’s obviously no different. He’s been voted a captain on this team, he’s very important to the team, he speaks for the team. He always holds the best interest of the team first. He exemplifies what it is on and off the field for us. We’re going to miss having him on the grass, but we’re going to keep him involved as much as we can going forward.

Q: I know you made Wayne Gallman inactive yesterday. I’m just curious the decision that went into that. How do you balance him and Dion’s role with maybe looking in free agency to fill the gap with Saquon out?

A: In terms of the active/inactive conversation, that always goes into different sides of the ball as well. You only have so many guys you’re allowed at the game, so we have to look at the total role. The way the offensive game plan is put together, the way the kicking game pieces fit. There’s a lot of things that go into that. In terms of what we’re doing roster wise, we’re always looking at who’s available on the street anyway. We’re always looking at setting up workouts for free agents, just to get them in the program and get a look at them. We have the flex rules with the practice squad. That will impact some of the guys we have in our program anyway. We’re exploring all options right now.

Q: Nobody has come out and said this, is Saquon out for the year?

A: Yes, Saquon will be out for the year.

Q: After the 0-2 and losing Saquon, how do you kind of get everybody back on track quickly?

A: Our guys are on track, they are really focused. We’ve had good productive meetings today. The culture we want to have in this building is the one we have. That’s to go to work every day. Every week is a new week, everybody’s 0-0 right now going into week 3. We have a good opponent coming to town right now with the Niners. They’re going to give us a tremendous amount of challenges that we have to be ready to face. We’re focused on getting ready to work. We’ll be on the field Wednesday and we’ll be on the field practicing.

Q: How do you expect Saquon to come back from this adversity?

A: First off, I’m not a doctor. I’m sure they are going to give him the best medical care possible. This guy is a tremendously hard worker. I can tell you right now I already know he is going to work as hard as possible. The only thing I was able to share with Saquon. I was a non-athlete, I tore my ACL. I was able to get back on the field. It didn’t really affect in any way my play. I wasn’t very good to begin with. I would just say in terms of, you look at some of the other guys around the league who have been able to come back from ACL’s and have tremendous seasons those next years out. I think you can focus on there’s a lot of top athletes and with the medical care they get right now. This is a young guy who is very physically gifted. There are good doctors out there, he is going to get the best medical care possible. We have a great training staff to help rehab him along the way. We’re going to do everything in our position as coaches to keep him involved mentally sharp Then when we finally get a chance to get him back on the field physically, obviously we’re going to gear everything around his specific plan to get him going full speed at the right rate. I tell you what, I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again, I won’t fall asleep on 26, it’s going to be a hell of a story.

Q: There’s a report that Shep has a turf toe injury. I don’t know if you can confirm that or whatever you can say about his status.

A: I have to check back with Ronnie (Barnes). We have a number of guys seeing doctors today like they do after every Monday. Some for normal bumps and bruises, some for other things that may have limited their action in the game yesterday. He did have a lower limb injury yesterday in the game. Tried to come back early in the second half and wasn’t able to finish. We’ll see where that is right now. I can’t speak for Shep in terms of how he feels. I haven’t been able to sit down with him and talk with him directly about that yet. I’m going to check with our training staff after this meeting and see where things are at going forward.

Q: There was the fourth down play where you kept the offense on the field. It looked like Nick Gates never put his hand on the ball. Just curious what happened there.

A: I think he was out there over-communicating looking for a check.

Q: You guys have been grinding for a while now. You get two weeks in, you come as close as you did yesterday, rallying through emotional highs and lows. Does it get to a point from your perspective where you need to see tangible results. Are you seeing those results that you can actually look at with your coaches and players and say, ‘look, I know we’re not winning these games but this is what you’re doing properly’? How does that translate to getting that first win?

A: Winning is all about doing your job well for 60 minutes with the right fundamentals. Knowing the assignment and technique you should play every play with. There’s no magic wand, there’s no secret formula. It’s about doing your job well. I would say this, there’s a tremendous amount of evidence we have been able to show our players on tape to where they can see the improvement coming along. There’s some things on tape that they can very visibly see that this is what puts us behind, we can’t make these mistakes. We have to handle better the way we’ve practiced and the way we prepared for it. I’m very pleased with the progress our guys are making. Obviously you come out of a tough loss of any week, Monday is always a frustrating day. The gear is to move forward. I think one thing we have to keep in mind is the NFL is really a league of extremes. Week by week, somebody is the best team in the world or the worst team in the world. We have to make sure we stay steady on our course of having daily improvement, which leads to weekly improvement, which ultimately will make us a better team by the end of the season. That’s our goal, to improve every week as a team and keep everyone on the right track building this program.

Q: With Saquon out, do you think Daniel Jones feels this will make him think he needs to do more? If that’s the case, do you as the coach need to remind him you have to play within yourself? There’s nothing you can do to try to be a hero because the best player on offense is now out.

A: I can’t speak for Daniel and how he feels right now, to be honest with you. However, I will say, we have 53 guys on our roster, we expect everyone to do their job to the best of their ability every single week. I don’t think anyone has to do anything outside their realm. They have to do exactly what their job is and do it to the best of their ability.

Q: What do you make of the fact that so many players got hurt in Week 2? So many tissue injuries. Do you think that’s related to the offseason that we just saw here? Connected to that, I wanted to ask you about the Niners complaining about the turf at MetLife Stadium? I’m wondering if you guys noticed anything in Week 1 when you played the Steelers?

A: I’ll start with the turf question. Our guys have been on that turf. We had camp in the stadium, that was our home for that month or so. We had our players on the turf every day for some kind of walk thru competitive practice. Leading up to the game last week, not a single player said anything negative along the way to me at all about any of the facilities, specifically the turf. I’ve been on it myself, obviously with the team. I think it’s a good surface. It’s our home and we’re excited to play there next Sunday. In terms of the soft tissue injuries around the league, there’s probably different factors that go into that. I’d probably be out of place right now to give any blanket statement for the league. There was definitely a concern with us as coaches coming in without preseason as to what position it would put our players in. We obviously put a large focus on our own conditioning. We put a large focus on our own recovery. Based on how we train these players and get their bodies ready for not only the physical contact that’s in the game but also the conditioning their muscles need to sustain and recover. One thing we talked about as a team last week, especially us coming off a shorter week, is the recovery from Week 1 to Week 2. Again, no one’s had the opportunity to be through any type of full game until Week 1. There’s a cumulative effect that happens with your body, it’s just natural. The shock your body goes through coming out of any game, it takes a couple days to recover anyway. If you haven’t been through that kind of stress and physical demand, it takes a little bit longer to recover. That being said, there’s a lot of injuries that conditioning has absolutely nothing to do with. What Saquon went through yesterday, that’s just something that happens. That doesn’t have anything to do with conditioning or how hard he trained or anything to do with that. That’s just an injury that sometimes happens. It’s very unfortunate to everybody involved. The soft tissue stuff are things you really have to look out for. The pulls, some of the tears of the hamstrings and quads, some of the things of that nature. The Achilles and things along those lines. We were very careful with our players throughout training camp. Made sure we built their tolerance and get their bodies’ endurance ready for the rigors of a season. More importantly, get them ready to recover from game one to game two. That’s something we put a lot of focus in with how we train our guys in practice.

Q: What have they told you about the likelihood that Saquon is able to get back to 100 percent? If there is sort of a timeline of when that may be?

A: They haven’t told me anything. What I told you earlier, he’s done for the year, that’s the only timeline I’ve worked off of right now. Everybody is unique in these situations. That’s one thing I can tell you from personal experience as well as working with other athletes that have gone through this. Everybody’s body recovers differently. I would say this, his body is in a phenomenal spot, that it’s going to be able to recover very well with the treatment they will give him. That being said, I don’t know what his body is going to go through, no one does. I just know this guy is committed. He is going to work really hard and he is going to do everything he can to get back. We all have full confidence in the medical care he is going to get. We all know this guy’s work ethic is going to carry him on through. We look forward to getting him back on the grass obviously next season. We’re excited to get him back at that point.

Q: Where do you get the explosive plays without him? You haven’t had a ton of them already in the first few games, but who do you need to step into that role and make those big plays?

A: Without giving you some sort of blanket answer, it’s going to come from everybody on our roster. Every offensive player has to be ready to step up and make plays when their number is called. Daniel’s job is to distribute the ball, I’m just going to keep it pretty simple with that. As coaches, we have to find inventive ways of getting the ball to our guys in space.

Q: You talked about everybody needing to do their jobs. Obviously one of the groups is the offensive line. Did you see progress from your offensive line on Sunday as opposed to what we saw on Monday?

A: Absolutely, yes, absolutely. I thought they did a better job of getting downhill in the running game, getting the run started, getting a hat on a hat. There’s obviously some continuity that’s forming with that unit. Andrew and Cam, both these guys have seen the top pass rushers in the league the last couple of weeks. They are going to continue seeing them over the next couple of weeks. You can definitely see improvement with those guys. They are rising to the challenge for us. We’re far from a finished product right now. We have to keep that in mind as a team. It’s about the daily improvement going forward. Yes, I definitely saw improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 with our offensive line.

Q: Obviously I know you’re not going to say exactly what you’re going to do to replace Saquon. Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis are the next running backs in line. What do you like about those guys, what are their strengths, what gives you confidence that they can be part of the solution to this problem?

A: I say it all the time, we have confidence in every player on our roster. Wayne and Dion are definitely guys that will factor in. We’ll work to their strengths, they are two different types of backs. Both of them have a degree of toughness. Wayne’s got that long speed, get him ranging out and get him really moving. Dion’s got that real good short area quickness and burst to get going. He does a great job of finding small seams and getting through the hole. They are both different guys, we’re going to have to work with what they do well to give them an opportunity to be successful. Coming from the backs and the fullback Eli Penny, who has got some ball handling experience in the past. We have Rod Smith on the practice squad right now. There’s a number of players in our program we are going to be working with. We’ll see where the future takes us elsewhere throughout this long season in the NFL. There’s always a lot of roster movement.

Q: I’m not suggesting there is any kind of hot seat or anything like that. I would be an idiot to do that. For you, your coaches, your players, the organization, do you need to get a win?

A: In the NFL we’re only paid for production, so every week we need to get a win.

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:

NOTES…
The Giants have lost five consecutive games to NFC North teams since 2018.

The Giants fall to 0-2 for the fourth consecutive season and for the seventh time in eight years.

RB Saquon Barkley did not catch a pass in the game, ending at 30 his Giants-record streak for the most consecutive games with a reception by a running back to start a career in a Giants uniform.

It was the first time in QB Daniel Jones 14 career starts that Jones did not throw a touchdown pass. His streak with at least one scoring throw in 13 consecutive games to start his career is the fourth-longest in NFL history, behind Kurt Warner (23), Baker Mayfield (17), and Brad Johnson (15). Jones was stopped two games shy of Y.A. Tittle’s franchise record of 15 consecutive games with a touchdown pass.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday. The assistant coaches will be available to the media on Tuesday.

Sep 112020
 
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Golden Tate, New York Giants (October 10, 2019)

Golden Tate – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 11, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Golden Tate (hamstring), TE Levine Toilolo (hamstring), and LB Tae Crowder (hamstring) were limited in practice on Friday.

“(Tate is) moving well right now,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “We’ve been mixing him into some of the things we have been doing in practice. Individuals, a little bit of team work, some group work. He looks like he’s coming along nice. He’s working hard every day and doing what he can to get back.”

LB Markus Golden (illness) and S Adrian Colbert (illness) fully practiced.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Friday 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 at YouTube:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Saturday (11:30AM-1:15PM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will also address the media.

Sep 082020
 
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Deandre Baker, New York Giants (September 22, 2019)

Deandre Baker – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS WAIVE DEANDRE BAKER…
The New York Giants have waived cornerback Deandre Baker, who has been on the Commissioner’s Exempt List since July 27th due to his legal troubles. At the team’s request, Baker had not participated in any team workouts this offseason. Baker was charged with four counts of robbery with a firearm from an incident that occurred in Florida in May. If convicted, Baker faces a minimum prison sentence of 10 years up to life.

The Giants drafted Baker in the 1st round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Baker had an up-and-down rookie season for the Giants. He started 15 of the 16 games he played in, receiving 87 percent of defensive snaps, and finishing the year with 61 tackles and 8 pass defenses. He did not intercept a pass.

GIANTS VOTE FOR TEAM CAPTAINS…
New York Giants players voted six of their teammates to represent the squad in 2020:

Offense: QB Daniel Jones, RB Saquon Barkley

Defense: DL Dalvin Tomlinson, LB Blake Martinez

Special Teams: S Jabrill Peppers, S Nate Ebner

GIANTS SIGN TWO, CUT ONE FROM PRACTICE SQUAD…
The Giants have signed RB Rod Smith and CB Ryan Lewis to their Practice Squad, and terminated the Practice Squad contract of WR Derrick Dillon.

The 28-year old, 6’3”, 236-pound Smith was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Seattle Seahawks after the 2015 NFL Draft. He was released by Seattle in October 2015. The Cowboys claimed him off of waivers and he played with the Cowboys until the end of the 2018 season. The Giants signed Smith as an unrestricted free agent in May 2019 and waived him from Injured Reserve in September 2019. He then spent time with both the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders in 2019. Smith has played in 55 regular-season games with two starts, rushing 101 times for 364 yards (3.6 yards per carry) and five touchdowns. He also has caught 30 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown.

The 26-year old, 6’0”, 195-pound Lewis was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017), New England Patriots (2017-2018), Buffalo Bills (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Washington Football Team (2020). Lewis has played in 20 NFL regular-season games with two starts, accruing 43 tackles, eight pass defenses, and one interception.

The Giants signed Dillon as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Wednesday afternoon (12:30-2:30PM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will also address the media.

Sep 032020
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 3, 2020)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS HOLD FINAL INTRA-SQUAD SCRIMMAGE…
The New York Giants held their second and final intra-squad scrimmage at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Thursday afternoon. Some notes from the scrimmage:

  • In 7-on-7 drills, QB Daniel Jones threw a touchdown pass to WR Alex Bachman.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, S Jabrill Peppers and CB Darnay Holmes broke up passes intended for TE Evan Engram and WR Darius Slayton, respectively.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, QB Colt McCoy threw a touchdown pass to WR Derrick Dillon.
  • In full-team drills, RB Saquon Barkley picked up good yardage behind a block from LG Will Hernandez. Jones then completed a pass to WR Sterling Shepard. Barkley slipped a tackle by LB Devante Downs for another good gain. Good pass protection by LT Andrew Thomas against OLB Markus Golden as Jones threw to TE Evan Engram inside the 5-yard line. Good pressure from OLB Lorenzo Carter and DL Dexter Lawrence. Giants settle for 25-yard field goal as Jones goes 3-of-3 in passing on drive.
  • On first play of next drive, DL Leonard Williams “sacked” Jones. Holmes breaks up a endzone pass intended for Slayton. PK Graham Gano kicks 44-yard field goal.
  • On next possession, starting from 29-yard line, Jones throws short pass to Engram. RB Dion Lewis runs for 3 yards. Jones then finds  Engram for 1st down on 3rd-and-3. Barkley then runs for 15-yard touchdown on 1st-and-10, following Hernandez and TE Levine Toilolo.
  • On next drive from 9-yard line, Barkley runs for 3 yards. Jones’ pass intended for Slayton in the end zone falls incomplete with Carter pressuring the QB. Jones throws touchdown pass to Engram against Peppers.
  • McCoy throws a perfect deep pass to WR Corey Coleman over CB Dravon Askew-Henry. LB T.J. Brunson made a nice play in coverage. McCoy throws a touchdown to WR C.J. Board despite being interfered with by CB Brandon Williams.
  • QB Cooper Rush completes passes to WRs Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor. Gano kicks 42-yard field goal.
  • Rush throws to TE Garrett Dickerson against S Sean Chandler on a nice catch-and-run pick-up. DB Chris Williamson broke up a pass intended for RB Wayne Gallman.
  • QB Alex Tanney sacked by LB Kyler Fackrell (versus OT Matt Peart) and DL Niko Lalos (versus OL Kyle Murphy) on back-to-back plays.
  • Drive re-set. Tanney completes passes to Coleman, TE Kaden Smith, and a touchdown pass to Bachman.

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/1301584162449620992

INJURY REPORT…
Not playing in the scrimmage were safety Xavier McKinney (left foot fracture), linebacker David Mayo (torn meniscus in left knee), right guard Kevin Zeitler (load management?), linebacker Blake Martinez (unknown), linebacker Tae Crowder (unknown), wide receiver Golden Tate (hamstring?), wide receiver David Sills (unknown), and safety Montre Hartage (unknown).

GIANTS TRADE FOR CORNERBACK…
The Giants have traded away their 7th-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to the Denver Broncos for cornerback Isaac Yiadom. The 24-year old, 6’1”, 190-pound Yiadom was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Broncos. In two years with Denver, Yiadom played in 29-regular season games with nine starts, accruing 61 tackles, seven pass defenses, and one interception.

GIANTS PRESIDENT/CEO JOHN MARA…
The transcript of John Mara’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s post-scrimmage press conference on Thursday 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 after Thursday’s scrimmage are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants are off on Friday and Saturday. Teams must reduce their rosters to 53 by 4:00PM on Saturday. Teams may establish a practice squad of 16 players on Sunday.

Aug 122020
 
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James Bradberry, New York Giants (August 9, 2020)

James Bradberry – Courtesy of New York Giants

AUGUST 12, 2020 JOE JUDGE CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Wednesday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Opening Statement: Before we get started, I just want to take a second, this entire organization and personally, really just send our thoughts and prayers to the Tisch family and the terrible tragedy they’ve had to endure with the loss of their daughter. No one should ever have to go through that. Our hearts are all with the Tisch family, and showing support to them in whatever way we can.

To kind of catch everyone up, today was the first day of Phase 2 activities with the entire 80-man squad on the field. We were out there for a 90-minute window. Generally, what that is, we’re split up offense and defense. We can’t come together or do anything competitive against each other. But it’s an opportunity to get on the field and work football drills full speed. Get the guys out there, start working on some timing within the execution of our individual fundamentals and scheme, and build them to Phase 3 activities, which are really coming up starting Friday with practice on the field. With that being said, any questions anyone has, I’d be happy to answer.

Q: I was wondering if you could shed any light on what happened with Ross Cockrell?

A: You know what, that’s just something the front office would have a better answer for. We’ve talked with several players. Obviously, it doesn’t always work out when you’re doing negotiations of contracts. You can ask Dave (Gettleman) or Kevin (Abrams) or his agent, they’ll probably give you a better reference on what happened.

Q: You obviously have a lot of young corners. Is bringing in a veteran at that position sort of a priority?

A: Our priority is just to develop the players we have on the roster and look for any talent available on the street. I don’t care if it’s a first-year player or a 10th year player. We’re looking for good players who can help build this program. To answer that question pretty direct, is it a priority to have a veteran? No, it’s not.

Q: I know your focus is on the field, but with what is happening in college right now, how are you guys pivoting or adjusting? What are you going to have to do scouting wise to stay on top of next year’s draft, if it happens, when it happens? How much time can you spend on it now and do you know how it’s going to work?

A: I’ll tell you what, in terms of the timeline of the draft, at this point, I’m assuming it’s on the normal schedule until the league adjusts that. But our personnel department has done a great job up to this point of really staying proactive with it. They’ve been talking throughout the summer anticipating that some colleges may cancel football. Obviously, that’s come to fruition at this point. You’re going to have to rely heavily on tape, which is ultimately the best scouting device anyway, what they do on the field. The disadvantage to that is you’re not going to see their most recent year available because they’re not going to play in a lot of places. It will be interesting to see how college football takes shape this year as far as allowing transfers, maybe within the same year, or what these conferences decide to do. They have to make their decisions on their level. We’ll adjust however we have to.

Q: I just wanted to follow up on something from last week. You mentioned you were thinking of having some scrimmages and stuff like that. I know that’s coming up in the next week or so. Can you just give us an update as to what your plan is for that phase of training camp?

A: Yeah, we’re basically going to have an intrasquad scrimmage of some type every week of training camp. The first one will be on this next Friday coming up. Not in two days, but next Friday. Look, for everyone kind of familiar with football, that will look a whole lot like every high school and college scrimmage in America. Offense on one sideline, defense on the other. We’ll create situations on the field and let them play live football all the way through. We have to get an opportunity to let our guys play at full speed. Let them go out there and experience the game and demonstrate they can operate when coaches aren’t yelling in their ears and trying to make corrections. We just have to get them out there and let them play.

Q: You talked a little bit about cornerback. I wanted to ask you about James Bradberry. What have you learned about him so far and are you seeing him take sort of a leadership role with that group?

A: I think all of our players are working on establishing leadership within their own groups. That will emerge more and more as training camp goes on. It all starts with doing your job well and putting the team first, and that’s really what leaders have to do. But I’d say specifically to James, what I’ve really seen with him in person so far is he comes to work every day with a purpose. He’s intent in the meetings. He takes diligent care of his body off the field. You can tell he’s learned through his time in the league as to how to prepare himself for a season. I’ve been very impressed with him with his mannerisms in the meetings and how he’s preparing. Now I’m anxious to get more on the field and see him in competitive situations.

Q: In terms of Jabrill Peppers, we all keep talking about how multiple your defense will be. He’s kind of been a guy since college who is a multiple player and really hasn’t fit into a certain role, per se. What have you seen from Jabrill and what do you envision as his spot on this defense?

A: The first part is what I see from him. I see energy. You hear him before you see him. You know when he’s in the room. He’s a lively guy, he brings a lot of energy to the team, a lot of energy to the locker room. You can tell he’s a football guy. He loves ball. He flies around. You can tell if guys are on the field, whether it’s conditioning, whether it’s the limited version of practice we had this morning, you can tell football guys. He’s definitely a ball guy. In terms of his spot on the defense, I’m not trying to be evasive on this, but it’s going to be whatever we need him to do right there. With his skill set, he’s going to factor into a lot of sub-packages. Traditionally, you’ve seen him play a lot in the box in different schemes and roles. He has that body type that still fits that. But he’s going to have to be able to play the deep part of the field as well as the box for us. Right now, we’re working all of our players in terms of understanding our zone concepts so they understand how we’re trying to play with the spacing on the field and reaction time. We’re trying to train them all the best man techniques within their own skill set in our schemes. We’re going to give him a swing of the bat at a lot of things. We’re going to shake it out week by week. However our opponent matches us up, he’ll be ready to take on a different position for us.

Q: Why was it important for Daniel Jones to put on weight this offseason, or muscle?

A: That’s not even a conversation we ever had. When you look at any player from their rookie year to year two, bodies change. It’s just different. In college, you work hard. In college, you’ve got a spring training program, you practice hard, you do the mat drills in the winter. But when you get to the NFL and your body is your career, guys learn to take different care. Not that they’re trying to take better care of it, because they’re trying to do their best in college, but they learn how to really maximize what they have. That comes in nutrition, that comes in the training. Obviously, he’s a guy that during the pandemic, he didn’t take time off. He really used it to his advantage for whatever he could do. I’d say in terms of the importance of him putting on weight, I think it was just important to him overall to change his body to be able to handle the duration of a season, which every rookie in the NFL, I don’t care who you are or where you come from, every rookie eventually struggles with the duration of the 16-game season. That’s just a fact.

Q: Is there an area where it helps a quarterback to have more weight on though?

A: I think just overall body strength helps every player as an athlete with explosion and endurance on the field. You can look at it as a measure of does it help him absorb hits better. I don’t know if there’s an absolute answer to that. It depends on who the hell is hitting you. But I would just say in terms of it, he’s done everything he can to help himself on the field. He definitely came in in shape. He looks good in conditioning. We’re working right now as far as getting with his teammates and building some time.

Q: With the start of Phase 2 today, can you just say how much that meant to you to make it look more like football? Has there been any point during this whole process where you have been able to mentally forget about it for five, ten, 15 minutes and just be coaching football and not get into coronavirus, all these masks and everything, and it’s just football?

A: I think the thing we did early on in this training camp was we just established the rules and protocols we’re all going to follow, and that’s it. We don’t have to make a big issue of it every day. We know what it is, we’re working for each other’s safety and health, we’re following the rules, and when we do that, we can think about football all day. I’ve been coaching football every day here. Listen, if you like football, you truly love being on the field with the players. That’s the most fun part. Being on the field with the players, interacting, getting to coach, getting to feel their energy on the field, that’s what’s fun. Today being the real, first, true experience of having everyone on the field together, from the start of stretch right there, getting them moving, until the end of practice with conditioning, it was just a great opportunity to be out there with the guys. They get a feel for us, we get a feel for them. You’re out there coaching. They love football, we love football. Meetings are necessary to make sure we know what to do on the field, but practice is what the day is all about.

Q: This was indeed the first time you looked out on the field and saw 80 players, correct?

A: That is true, yes.

Q: Once you guys get on the field in pads on Monday, you get into another gear. I’m curious what you hope to see from a guy like Darius Slayton going into his second year, when you guys can be a little more physical and it looks a little bit more like football, especially when you didn’t take any receivers in the draft? Once everything intensifies, what are you hoping to see from Darius?

A: I hope to see an improvement and a level of intensity from everyone on the field. Look, we’re going to be moving at a fast pace come Friday, and then again on Sunday when we come back from the day off. They’re going to be moving fast, we’re going to be intent, we’re going to have an intensity in how we work. When the padded practices start on Monday, it will reduce to a 90-minute practice per league rules. We’re going to build everyone to make sure that now that we’re in pads, we can execute with the right fundamentals to play aggressive but safe. At all positions, receiver, d-line, it doesn’t matter. When the pads go on, you have to see intensity ramp up.

Q: Just a quick follow up on Peppers. Can he play what we would consider more of a traditional cornerback role for you? Does he have that versatility? The second part is how does the new rule about allowing tryouts for free agents affect how you’re going to develop this roster over the next month?

A: I’m going to answer the second question first. Regardless of whoever’s on the street, the most important thing is developing the players on your roster. That’s the most important thing. As part of the National Football League, you’re always aware of the personnel available on the street. The personnel department is always coming up with lists of who’s out there, who’s available, what the needs may be. In terms of the rules, they are what they are. We’ll work within them. But I’m not worried about guys that aren’t on our team. I’m focusing on developing the guys on our team. In terms of Jabrill with the cornerback role, we’re going to cross train all of our DBs. Based on who the receiver is, maybe there’s a game we have to use him in that kind of role. We’ll have to see where the depth and the opponent takes us based on the weekly game plan. But we’re going to work all the fundamentals with all of our players, and make sure that when they’re called on, they have a solid base to start with and they can execute what we need them to.

AUGUST 12, 2020 DARIUS SLAYTON CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton addressed the media on Wednesday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: I’m curious about your confidence level going into Year 2 and kind of building on the chemistry you started with Daniel Jones a year ago? How different is this process this year compared to when you came in as a rookie?

A: It’s definitely been an interesting offseason just all the way around with the whole corona thing. It’s kind of been a little bit more extended than a normal offseason would be. I feel like I have had a lot of time to get in a lot of good work. I’m looking forward to this season.

Q: I wasn’t going to ask a question but then I saw you come in with the mask. You are seemingly alone, are you just very concerned about the virus?

A: No. Honestly, at this point, we wear it every day, it’s habit. At this point, it’s just habit. I wear it all around because we have to wear it in the building anyway, just a habit.

Q: I saw you had a unique setting for some of your training at home with family members. Was that out of necessity? What made you go that route? How did that help you work on your game when you need to hunker down a little bit?

A: It was a tremendous help for me. I had mostly my dad and my sister just doing ball drills with them around the house. They both have good enough aim to not break anything in the house. As long as I’m catching it, stuff tends to stay put together. Obviously, I was trying to stay home. I was trying to abide by the rules and regulations at that point in time and not be out and about. I just tried to get creative at the house and find a way to keep getting better.

Q: I don’t think there was a single game last year where Saquon, Evan, you, Shep and Tate were all lined up together. How much are you looking forward to potentially getting on the field with all those weapons together this season?

A: I’m really looking forward to it. I hope everybody can stay healthy this year and hopefully play a full 16 together. I definitely think it will be really important to have all of us out there at the same time. I’m really excited.

Q: What has your impression been of Jason Garrett so far? Obviously, he came in from the Cowboys, he had been a Head Coach there for a long time. I’m curious what you knew about him coming in and what has been your impression of him since he started coaching you?

A: I didn’t know too much about him coming in besides obviously he was the Dallas head coach. Since he’s been here, I think he has done a really good job of teaching us the system. Being patient and helping give guys time to learn things and get used to the playbook and all that type of stuff. I’m excited to have him as a coach this year.

Q: Having studied this offense or starting to learn it, what is it about it that makes it a real good fit for your skill set?

A: I think it just does a really good job of harnessing all of our weapons on our offensive skill set. We have fast receivers like myself, Shep and Golden. We have a fast tight end. All of our tight ends honestly, Evan, Levine and Kaden. Obviously, our running backs speak for themselves with Wayne and Saquon. I think the offense does a really good job holistically of getting everyone involved. Everybody will have a chance to get the ball and have the opportunity to make plays.

Q: You basically have Shep and Tate back, what does it mean to have that continuity in your room?

A: It’s tremendous. In a league where there is a lot of turnover across the board, it’s huge to have two guys, especially two veteran guys, coming in. I had them my first year and now I have them again for my second year. Just to continue to learn from and draw from them is definitely huge for somebody like me.

Q: What are your expectations in this offense? Both with all the weapons you mentioned before and for yourself with Jason Garrett being the new coordinator?

A: I think we just have a really good chance to be explosive. I think we have a chance to be an explosive offense, a really efficient offense. I just look forward to playing this year.

Q: For you personally, how do you see yourself fitting in that?

A: Kind of the same. When the ball gets thrown my way, I’ll make plays when I have the opportunity to. Just kind of go from there.

AUGUST 12, 2020 JAMES BRADBERRY CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants cornerback James Bradberry addressed the media on Wednesday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: What are your impressions of this defense now that you’ve spent this whole offseason kind of absorbing it, now actually at least gotten out there and talked to your coaches and seen it a little bit?

A: Every day is a learning process. I’m learning something new every day. How I feel about it? I’m enjoying it. I’ll play anything. Cover 3, Cover 2, Man, anything. I’m looking forward to it.

Q: What does it resemble? Does it resemble anything you’ve done? How would you describe it to someone if they said, ‘Hey, what kind of defense are you guys playing’?

A: Of course, I did some of those things in Carolina. Some of the techniques and certain coverages are a little bit different. But it’s pretty much the same. Defense is defense, no matter what you play.

Q: What’s been your impression of Darnay Holmes so far coming in as a rookie? He’s obviously getting a lot of reps with you guys. What have you thought about him in the time you’ve spent with him?

A: The biggest thing that’s jumped out to me is he asks a lot of questions. Given that I’m one of the older guys in the room, he’s always coming up to me, asking me different questions. He wants to learn a whole lot, and that’s what you’re supposed to do as a rookie. I’m just enjoying him being very impressionable. I’m able to make an effect on him, and that’s my goal.

Q: What is it like for you being the veteran of the cornerback room? It’s obviously a very young group. You’re coming in and you’re only 27, 28 years old. What’s it like being the veteran of the room there?

A: It’s been pretty cool but, of course, I’m on a new team, so I’m learning every day too with them. I try to teach them things that might come up on film when we’re watching film that I might know, that might help them. But for the most part, I’m learning as well.

Q: Coach Judge has been preaching all along about cross training guys on both sides of the ball. I’m just wondering, have they asked you to do anything new in this defense along the lines of that cross-training philosophy?

A: It’s still kind of early right now in our learning process. Right now, I’m just playing corner. But for the most part, we’re still learning the defense, so we’ll see down the road.

Q: When you play, do you like to travel?

A: I like to do whatever the game plan is. I’m cool with anything. I’m very flexible. When I was in college, I was very flexible. Anything that Coach asks me to do, I’m willing to do it. I’m down with anything, honestly.

Q: When you look at some of the other cornerbacks in the room, even Xavier McKinney coming in, versatile guy. Jabrill Peppers can drop in and play nickel at times. Darnay Holmes, versatile, can play outside and can play the nickel. When you have that many guys capable of playing the slot, how does that help you as an outside cornerback, and how much added pressure does that put on you with really the guy who’s best suited to play on the outside out of everybody else?

A: I think it helps Coach Pat (Graham) a lot more when he’s creating schemes and trying to go against certain offenses. Really, that would be a question for him. For me, whatever job they have in the coverage, I’m going to get it done and try to do it to the best of my ability.

Q: As a guy that primarily plays outside, how important is the chemistry with the guy on the other side of the field, or do you prefer to kind of be on an island and lock into your guy and that’s all you’re really focused on?

A: Just having chemistry within the whole secondary is important, especially with the safeties and the nickels and corners across the board. It’s a brotherhood back there, and that’s how you have to really look at it, especially in the meeting rooms when we’re talking and we’re trying to make communication calls and stuff like that. I’d say overall, it’s important.

Q: When you came to the Giants, the expectation was that DeAndre Baker would be there, a first round pick, maybe starting alongside you. Sam Beal was a guy who was there, obviously. Those guys are no longer around. First of all, does that put added pressure on you as a veteran coming in to really hold down the fort? Also, do you think this cornerback room needs to bring in some veteran who can at least know what’s going on back there?

A: All we can do is worry about the guys that we have in the room. It’s a next man up mentality around here. If you look in the room right now, I feel like we have a lot of ability. We’re going to get the job done no matter what they ask us to do. That’s our mindset.

Q: A lot of the guys, when you look in the room, you say they have ability, but they don’t have any proven track record in the league, do they?

A: We’re all young guys. I’m still learning, and they’re learning as well. At the end of the day, we’re going to get the job done no matter what.

Q: How much are you looking forward to actually getting out there and competing against teammates and playing some football?

A: It’s been a while. Of course, we missed OTAs, so it’s been a while since I’ve been out there playing football with my teammates. I’m looking forward to it a lot.

Q: Any Giants receivers you’re particularly interested in going up against?

A: Really, all of them. I haven’t played against any of them too much. I played against Sterling Shepard in the Senior Bowl, so I’m looking forward to going against all of them.

AUGUST 12, 2020 JABRILL PEPPERS CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants safety Jabrill Peppers addressed the media on Wednesday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: There has been some talk about you cross training at cornerback? I know you train with a DB academy. Your trainer mentioned that you did some cross training at cornerback. Cornerback is such a wide-ranging type of position, what are some of the things from your game that might translate to that position to allow to contribute at that spot?

A: I think, first and foremost, I will play wherever the team needs me to play. We’ve all been cross training and can do multiple things. Whatever the scheme is, whatever they see fit, that’s what it’s going to be.

Q: You are learning about the position. Is there anything particular about it that gets you more excited about playing it?

A: Like I said, we’ve all been training at multiple things. I think as a far as the position, you have to have great footwork. I think that’s the main component that I was trying to better myself on. Just the footwork, being patient, it’s just not for any specific position. I think if I better those things, it will help me translate my game.

Q: How tough was it for you to finish last season on IR?

A: It definitely sucked. I want to be out there with the guys competing trying to help bring W’s home. To watch, it was hard. I liked what I saw from the guys. They stayed together, competed each and every week. Now I’m focused on this year.

Q: The way you got hurt, does that give you any reservations about returning kicks in the future? It didn’t happen while you were playing your primary position.

A: I’m not really worried about that. Football is football. Anything can happen out there, I’m healthy now. It’s a new year, new focus and I’m just ready to start on that journey.

Q: What are your first impressions of guys like Xavier McKinney, who could play alongside you. Does his ability to play center field get you more excited about being a playmaker up near the box?

A: We all can do many different things, each guy on the roster. Everyone looks like they are in shape, they are well conditioned, they are moving really well. We’re all just excited to compete against one another and keep making each other better.

Q: I know you said you are fully healthy. What was that process like in the offseason to get back fully healthy? How daunting was that rehab?

A: It’s not really daunting when it’s something you know you need and want to do. It was a great process, I learned a lot through it. I’m healthy now, it’s a new year. I’m just excited to be out there with the guys.

Q: Having talked to some people who trained with you this offseason, the word that kept coming up is hungry. Where is your hunger at right now? Is there another level you can take your game to?

A: We’re all hungry. We play for one of the most prestigious organizations in the National Football League. We all know where it should be. We’re all hungry to be the best person on and off the field that we can be. It’s exciting, it’s exhilarating. We’re just doing our part to make sure we’re all the best that we can be.

Q: In terms of where your game is at right now and what you showed last year, do you think you can take your game to another level?

A: Right now, I am just focused on coming in here every day and being better than I was yesterday. I feel like if I continue to do that, good things will happen.

Q: I know you were training with Darnay Holmes and took him under your wing? What has been your impression of him with all the time you guys spent together? How valuable is that for a guy coming in, especially with such a weird offseason?

A: Anybody who wanted to work out, I definitely welcomed. I’m all about comradery, getting to know someone. When you get to know people deeper than just on a football level, it makes that bond much stronger and you want to play harder for those guys. That was my main focus. He comes from a great university, I like the product that they put out.

Q: This is a young defense, how much have you taken upon yourself to try and be more of a leader this year?

A: I’m not really thinking about that. I’m just worried about coming in here every day making sure we get better as a whole. No repeat mistakes, and just keep taking it step by step. We’re still early in this thing. We are going to keep coming in here with an attitude to want to get better, to want to learn and be coachable. If we can do that and sustain it, good things will definitely happen.

Q: What was it like to rehab your injury during the pandemic? How did things change for you once the middle of March came around? Did that affect the pace of your rehab?

A: No. Nothing really affected it. I definitely had to be more cautious with certain things, obviously social distance. It was still pretty routine.

Q: It seems like you have made strides the last couple of years. It seems like you are on the cusp of taking your game to that next level. Last year the injury set you back late in the year. What gives you confidence that this year is the year for you to break through. What about your situation says I’m ready to make that jump?

A: We have a great group of great leaders. I come in here every day anxious to learn from them. Put my best foot forward , put the coaching points forward. Just work as hard as I can work. That’s what I’m focusing on right now.

Jul 262020
 
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Aldrick Rosas, New York Giants (December 2, 2018)

Aldrick Rosas – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS CUTTING ALDRICK ROSAS…
Multiple media sources are reporting that the New York Giants will cut place kicker Aldrick Rosas before the bulk of the veterans report to training camp in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Rosas was charged with three misdemeanors related to a hit-and-run traffic incident that occurred in California in mid-June. He was cited for reckless driving, hit-and-run property damage, and driving on a suspended license due to a previous DUI. Police also alleged that alcohol was a factor in the accident although no sobriety test was administered since Rosas had fled the scene.

Back in June, TMZ broke the story and had originally reported that witnesses saw Rosas allegedly driving erratically around 100 miles per hour and failing to stop at a red light at approximately 8:30AM. He then allegedly crashed into the side of a truck at the intersection, but kept driving. Police reported that Rosas later fled his disabled vehicle on foot. They allegedly found him near the crash site with his hands, legs, and bare feet covered in blood. Rosas was treated at a nearby medical facility before being booked by police.

The Giants re-signed Rosas as a restricted free agent to a 1-year, $3.259 million contract in April. None of that money was guaranteed so that full amount will now be credited against the team’s cap.

After a stellar sophomore pro season in 2018, Rosas regressed in 2019. Rosas was 12-of-17 (70.6 percent) on field goal attempts and missed four of his 39 extra point attempts (89.7 percent). Seventy percent of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

Rosas was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tennessee Titans after the 2016 NFL Draft. He did not make the team. The Giants signed him to a reserve/futures contract in January 2017. He had a poor first season with the Giants, converting on just 72 percent of his field goals and 87 percent of his extra points. However, in 2018, Rosas made the Pro Bowl after making 32-of-33 field goal attempts, including a team-record 57 yarder.

NEW YORK POST Q&A WITH JOE JUDGE…

ARTICLES…

Jun 152020
 
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Jabrill Peppers, New York Giants (September 29, 2019)

Jabrill Peppers – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp hopefully 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. Keep in mind that some of the players discussed may be cut as the 2020 NFL draft class signs their rookie contracts.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Defensive Backs

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW: Heading into 2019, fans were generally upbeat about a secondary that was clearly in transition. The Giants had heavily invested in the position by drafting corners Deandre Baker (1st round), Julian Love (4th round), and Corey Ballentine (6th round) in the 2019 NFL Draft. At safety, the team had effectively swapped out Landon Collins (signed by Washington Redskins) and Curtis Riley (signed by Oakland Raiders) for Jabrill Peppers (part of Odell Beckham trade) and Antoine Bethea (signed after he was cut by the Arizona Cardinals). It was expected that Janoris Jenkins would rebound from a somewhat disappointing 2018 season and that Sam Beal (who missed his rookie season due to a shoulder injury) and Grant Haley (who started nine games as an undrafted rookie) would develop and improve. Michael Thomas provided depth and special teams value.

But it was a case of the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. Once again, the Giants were one of the NFL’s worst in pass defense, finishing 28th. In the “you can’t make this shit up” category, the team’s best defensive back, Jenkins, was cut in December after calling a fan a “retard” on Twitter. Baker started 15-of-16 games as a rookie, but was very inconsistent with his work ethic being questioned. Nickel corner Haley regressed and was eventually benched. The injury-prone Beal was placed on IR in September with hamstring and groin injuries, added to the 53-man roster in early November, and missed the last game with another shoulder issue. Ballentine had to deal with being shot right after he was drafted and then being thrust into a nickel corner spot that he was clearly ill-suited to play.

At safety, despite being told by team officials that Bethea still had it, he clearly did not and was a significant liability at free safety both against the pass and the run. Peppers did not make much of impact and was lost for the season in November as his overall play was improving. Michael Thomas played in all 16 games with two starts but clearly wasn’t the answer. Julian Love was moved from cornerback to safety early. He ended up starting five games late in the season, flashing at times but also experiencing growing pains as a rookie.

Overall, the unit was a collective disappointment and a major reason the overall defense finished 25th in yards and 30th in points allowed.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: As mentioned, Janoris Jenkins was waived in December. S Michael Thomas was signed by the Texans and CB Antonio Hamilton was signed by the Chiefs. Safety Antoine Bethea remains an unsigned unrestricted free agent.

Grant Haley was re-signed as an exclusive rights free agent in January. The first player the Giants signed in free agency in March was CB James Bradberry (3-year, $43.5 million contract). S/special teams player Nate Ebner (UFA from Patriots) and CB Dravon Askew-Henry (cut by Steelers last year) were also signed.

The Giants drafted S Xavier McKinney (2nd round), CB Darnay Holmes (4th round), and CB/S Chris Williamson (7th round) in the 2020 NFL Draft. After the draft, rookie free agent additions included CB Christian Angulo, CB Malcolm Elmore, and S Jaquarius Landrews. S Montre Hartage was claimed off of waivers from the Dolphins after the draft as well.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: There is a lot going on here and thus each fan probably has their own top story line. Clearly, one is the offseason drama surrounding 2019 1st-round draft pick Deandre Baker, who may or may not make it to training camp depending on the outcome of his offseason legal troubles (four counts of armed robbery and four counts of armed aggravated assault with a firearm from a bizarre incident in Florida). My personal belief is that the Giants were counting on Baker to form a solid starting CB duo alongside high-priced James Bradberry. Will Baker even be a Giant in 2020? If he is, will he be suspended by the team or the NFL? Did he get scared straight and will he commit himself to the game? If Baker is not part of the equation, the pressure increases to find his replacement among Sam Beal, Corey Ballentine, Darnay Holmes, and possibly Julian Love. Are they up to the task? Can Beal stay healthy? Is Love athletic enough to handle corner at the NFL level? Will Ballentine shine more at outside corner rather than inside at nickel?

Speaking of the nickel spot, one would think the Giants would want Holmes to nail down the position if the rookie can handle it. But there are others possibly in the equation, including Love and maybe Williamson.

At safety, it would appear that Jabrill Peppers and Xavier McKinney will have the inside shot at starting, but the coaches may want to configure packages to get Love on the field as either a third safety or additional corner. Depth is still needed here with Sean Chandler (holdover from 2018/2019), Rashaan Gaulden (added late in 2019), Montre Hartage, Chris Williamson, and Jaquarius Landrews all competing to make the roster.

Big picture is this: for the past three seasons, the Giants have invested a tremendous amount of resources into the defensive backfield, including a trading for a former 1st-round pick (Peppers); spending $43 million on a corner in free agency (Bradberry); and drafting players in the 1st (Baker), 2nd (McKinney), 3rd (Beal),  4th (Love, Holmes), 6th (Ballentine), and 7th (Williamson) rounds. It’s time for the investment to deliver returns and for the Giants to get out of the NFL basement in pass defense.

ON THE BUBBLE: There are currently 18 defensive backs on the roster. Probably only nine or ten will make the final roster. The only sure bets are probably Bradberry, Holmes, Peppers, Love, and McKinney. Baker obviously isn’t safe. Beal has to prove he can be a reliable player.

PREDICTIONS: So much here depends on the new coaching staff, not just Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham but Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson, the latter coming from Atlanta where his unit struggled at times. It’s also interesting to note that Pat Shurmur holdover Anthony Blevins was moved from assistant special teams coach to assistant defensive backs coach. These three men have to develop all of the talent that been acquired in recent years.

In addition, so much depends on the legal and emotional status of Deandre Baker. He was (and still may be) and important piece of the puzzle. The expectation is that versatile Xavier McKinney, who many felt was the best safety in the draft, will be able to handle the starting free safety spot as a rookie.

My prediction is that if Baker is available and truly focused (two big ifs), this unit could be poised for a big turnaround. There were games last year where Baker did shut down his opponent. He can do it. But how important is the game to him? Usually you can’t count on a person to change their ways, but if anything was going to scare Baker straight, facing a long prison sentence might do the trick. Bradberry should be able to more than adequately handle the other corner spot, replacing Jenkins with less drama. The nickel corner should improve with Holmes, Love, or maybe Williamson an improvement over Haley and Ballentine.

At safety, the closer Peppers plays to the line of scrimmage, the more impact he makes. The drafting of McKinney should enable the coaching staff to play Peppers in a role best suited to his skills. I would not be shocked to see packages that get Peppers, McKinney, and Love all on the field together.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: James Bradberry, Deandre Baker, Sam Beal, Darnay Holmes, Corey Ballentine, Jabrill Peppers, Xavier McKinney, Julian Love, Nate Ebner, Chris Williamson

I’m making some bold assumptions here: Baker being a Giant, Beal staying healthy, and Ballentine and Williamson showing enough to stick. Ebner is strictly a core special teams player who Joe Judge obviously targeted in free agency to lead his unit.

Apr 302020
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (September 29, 2019)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS PICK UP 5th-YEAR OPTIONS ON EVAN ENGRAM AND JABRILL PEPPERS…
The New York Giants have announced that they have picked up the 5th-year contract options on tight end Evan Engram and safety Jabrill Peppers, effectively ensuring that both players will remain under contract through the 2021 season.

Per the team’s press release: “NFL teams are permitted to exercise the fifth-year option on first-round draft choices after they have played three years. When a player has his option exercised, his rookie contract is extended by one year and guaranteed. The player is protected against injury but isn’t eligible to enter unrestricted free agency until after the conclusion of the fifth season.”

The Giants placed Engram on Injured Reserve in December 2019 due to a foot injury that he suffered more than a month earlier in November. He also missed a game in October with a knee injury. In all, Engram played in eight games in 2019 with six starts, catching 44 passes for 467 yards and three touchdowns.

The Giants drafted Engram in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Other than too many dropped passes, Engram had a very solid rookie season for the Giants in 2017, playing in 15 games with 11 starts, and finishing with a team-high 64 catches for 722 yards and a team-high six touchdown receptions. It was a tale of two seasons for Engram in 2018. Before the bye week, Engram missed three games with a knee injury and caught just 17 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. After the bye, Engram missed two games with a hamstring injury, but his productivity increased to 28 catches for 432 yards and one touchdown, with a number of game-changing plays.

Although he did not live up to the preseason hype, Peppers had a decent first year with the Giants and was improving before he suffered a transverse process fracture in his back in the game against the Chicago Bears in late November, ending his season. Peppers started all 11 games he played in, and despite missing the last five games, still finished fourth on the team in tackles with 76. He also had five pass defenses, one interception that he returned for a touchdown, and three forced fumbles. He returned one kickoff and four punts.

Peppers was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He was traded to the Giants as part of the Odell Beckham deal in March 2019.

REPORT – REGIONAL SCOUT STEVE VEREROSA OUT…
InsideTheLeague.com is reporting that New York Giants regional scout Steve Verderosa, who has been with the team since 1988, “will not return for the 2020 season.” It is not clear if Verderosa has been fired, is retiring, or is simply moving onto another organization.

Back in late February InsideTheLeague.com reported that the Giants fired two of their area scouts, Ryan Jones and Donnie Etheridge. Jone had been with the team since 2000 and Etheridge since 2001.

ARTICLES…

Dec 072019
 
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Jabrill Peppers, New York Giants (September 29, 2019)

Jabrill Peppers – © USA TODAY Sports

JABRILL PEPPERS TO IR, KAREEM MARTIN TO 53-MAN ROSTER…
The New York Giants have placed safety Jabrill Peppers (back) and linebacker Chris Peace (knee) on Injured Reserve, effectively ending their seasons. To fill those roster vacancies, the Giants activated linebacker Kareem Martin from Injured Reserve and signed safety Sean Chandler from the Practice Squad.

Peppers was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He was traded to the Giants as part of the Odell Beckham deal to the Browns in March 2019. Before suffering a transverse process fracture in his back in the game against the Chicago Bears in late November, Peppers started 11 games and was credited with 76 tackles, five pass defenses, one interception that he returned for a touchdown, and three forced fumbles. He also returned one kickoff and four punts.

The Giants claimed Peace off of waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers in September 2019. He played in four games with the Giants before injuring his knee. The 6’2”, 250-pound Peace was signed by the Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Giants placed Kareem Martin on Injured Reserve in September 2019 with a knee injury that he suffered in the regular-season opener. The Giants signed Martin as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2018. Though not a standout in 2018, Martin has his most productive season as a pro, playing in a 16 games with seven starts, and finishing with 48 tackles (twice as much as his previous high), 1.5 sacks, and 2 pass defenses. The 6’6”, 272-pound Martin was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Cardinals as a defensive end. The Cardinals moved him to linebacker after his rookie season.

Chandler was on the 53-man roster in September and October and spent most of November on the Practice Squad. The Giants originally signed Chandler as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. Chandler made the team and played in all 16 games with no starts. He finished 2018 with 18 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 pass defense. Before he was cut in early November, Chandler played in nine games with no starts, accruing just five tackles.

DECEMBER 7, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Quarterback Daniel Jones (ankle), tight end Evan Engram (foot), tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion), linebacker Chris Peace (knee), and safety Jabrill Peppers (back) did not practice on Saturday. All five players have been officially ruled out of Monday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“(Engram) pushed it as far as he could, but it’s still sore so he can’t go,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur.

“It sucks,” said Engram. “I was really excited about this week. I felt really good at the beginning of the week, felt really good in my rehab prior to the week. As the week went by, I just wasn’t ready. I made some progress but I’m not ready.”

Cornerback Corey Ballentine (concussion/non-contact) was limited in practice. Ballentine has also been officially ruled out of the game.

Wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) and left tackle Nate Solder (ankle) fully practiced. Both are expected to play on Monday night.

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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Sunday. The Giants play the Eagles in Philadelphia on Monday night.

Nov 252019
 
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Jabrill Peppers, New York Giants (September 29, 2019)

Jabrill Peppers – © USA TODAY Sports

JABRILL PEPPERS FRACTURES BACK; CONCUSSION FOR GOLDEN TATE…
The New York Giants announced on Monday that safety Jabrill Peppers suffered a transverse process fracture in his back in the game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The team also announced that wide receiver Golden Tate suffered a concussion on his 4th-and-18 touchdown reception.

“I don’t consider (Peppers’ injury a season-ender),” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “I guess he can return, it’s kind of relative to pain tolerance. So, I would say no.”

MONDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Monday to discuss the team’s 19-14 loss to the Chicago Bears:

Q: We saw the injury update on Jabrill (Peppers). Do you expect that to be a season-ender?
A: I don’t. My understanding, his too, in terms of the evaluation of it, as I knew yesterday he had a sore back. I guess he can return, it’s kind of relative to pain tolerance. So, I would say no.

Q:  He’ll be able to practice and play if he can tough through it?
A: Well, I mean today obviously we’re less than a day removed from the game, so he’s sore today. We don’t practice until Wednesday, so we’ll just have to see what the week brings.

Q: What do you think is going on with Saquon (Barkley) in the running game? I think the number is 88 yards on his last 44 carries over three games. If it’s not his ankle, why do you think we’re seeing a different Saquon production-wise than last year?
A: Again, I think some of it, we’re talking about a game where we did not run the ball very well. I thought we ran the ball better yesterday than we certainly did against the Jets. When you’re trying to establish the running game against a defense that is pretty much known for the way they pass rush, you’ve got to try to maximize the amount of yards you get on each run. I think that’s sort of it. Everything comes back to, (when) you clip them all out and watch them like we do— one thing here, one thing there.

Q: Not to focus more on Saquon, but how uncharacteristic was that drop and how did he handle it on the sideline? The pass that could have been a big gain.
A: Yeah, that is uncharacteristic of any player. I thought it was a good throw. We had a chance to, obviously, that would’ve been a third down conversion. That would’ve been an explosive play. (Chicago Bears Linebacker) Roquan Smith was trying to cover him, he was a little behind him. He would’ve been in the position there to make the safety miss for a big gain, maybe a touchdown. Those are the things that obviously are rare, but when they happen, and it’s obviously also magnified because it was a third down. But you just keep playing. I think he did have an impact on the game beyond that.

Q: What did you like, or did you like, the rotation with (DeAndre) Baker and (Sam) Beal and how did that work out for you?
A: As I mentioned last night, some of those changes in the secondary were intentional coming off the bye. I thought Sam had some good plays and I liked the fact that he was healthy and able to be in the game playing corner. We get to see some of what we really liked about him. He had some good reps. He certainly, they caught the deep in-ball on him and it ended up being a penalty, but I thought he battled and for the most part was pretty effective.

Q: How do you think Baker handled it? Sometimes players don’t take it well when their reps are cut like that.
A: Yeah, you don’t see much response from DeAndre in those types of situations. When he’s out there playing, he’s playing, and when he’s standing there, he’s watching attentively.

Q: Is Russell Shepard close to maybe coming back?
A: Potentially. He’s in the designated to return kind of setting, so we’ll just have to see at some point here.

Q: Would that be an option with Golden (Tate) obviously dealing with his concussion?
A: Potentially. That’s one option. I think we may have to consider, if we do something, with regard to the return game being that Jabrill and Golden are both returners. So, let’s just see.

Q: Is there going to be any movement in the sense of bringing in another kicker to pick up the intensity on Aldrick (Rosas) or are you just going to go with him?
A: We’ll talk about that as we go. I’m sure if we do bring any kickers in, it’ll be made public. Certainly, it’s unacceptable to miss the kicks like we did. But I think it’s important that the guys that are here continue to improve. In all areas, become more consistent with what they do. I think that’s the focus with Aldrick at this point.

Q: I’ll ask kind of a big picture question. With seven weeks of losses, in the absence of wins, what do you point to for the fans or to anybody in the building for progress, for signs of progress? How do you say, ‘we’re making progress’?
A: I’ve answered this question. I see the young players improving. I see us competing in games, we’re just falling a little bit short. Most of the games, unfortunately, are within a score for most of the game, or we’re ahead and somehow, we just can’t find a way quite at the end. But I do think that there’s improvement behind the scenes. It seems like each week we add another young player to the mix of guys. Then they go out and do some good things, and then they do some things that remind you that they’re young. That’s part of it. But there’s no excuses for any of it. We need to do what we need to do to win the game.

Q: A lot of times when you talk to coaches, they say the best and most productive way to teach and grow is when you win. Correcting mistakes and things like that. Without the winning now, is it more difficult for you and the coaching staff to kind of get some shots to improve and learn because there’s really not a lot of success that they can take out of it?
A: I think when you look at it, you’re always looking for ways to improve in everything you do. You try to tweak and change things within the way you do things. Our guys practice extremely hard. There’s good attention to detail. Some of these guys are doing it this year for the first time at this level. The challenge then is to make it happen on Sunday. There was a lot of really good things that happened yesterday in the game, especially against a team that was a playoff team a year ago. Defensively, we did a lot of good things. We still gave up some big plays and there are areas that we need to improve. We had some critical errors that affected us. But we had a couple of turnovers and got a stop at the end that gave us the ball with a chance to go down and score. Offensively, they’re a tough team to throw against. We knew that, but I thought we created opportunities for ourselves, and some of them we didn’t take advantage of. But you have to put that all together and do it in a way where you win a football game. That’s obviously the challenge.

Q: On the offensive line, just considering how many veterans are there, where are they? It seemed like they got off to a faster start and they’ve regressed a little bit. Do you feel that way about the offensive line?
A: No, I don’t think I see regression. We did start out, as a unit, pretty well together. Then we had some injuries in the last couple of weeks. That set things back a little bit. I think they’re fighting as a group. It really is no different for that position group as any other position group. A lot of good things and just some critical errors that affect the outcome of the game.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Wednesday.