Oct 252022
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (October 23, 2022)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports


Rewind to Week 17 of 2020 with me. NYG was on the brink of a potential playoff spot despite a 6-10 finish. The only thing that stood in their way was the Washington Football Team that went into a Sunday night matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles with a 6-9 record. Because of tie-breakers, NYG would have gone to the postseason had PHI taken care of business. PHI tanked the game for the sake of a better draft position. There is some debate on whose call that actually was, but Pedersen took the heat. Washington won, went to the playoffs, Pedersen was fired, and NYG was on the outside looking in. Had they made it, would Joe Judge have had an extra year to prove his worth in 2022? As angry as NYG nation was back then, it was a move that could have prevented NYG from working under Brian Daboll today.

NYG has not been a productive first-drive team. In fact, the last time they opened the game with a touchdown-scoring drive was November 7, 2021 at home against the Raiders. They later went on to win that contest, one of their four on the year. So, for the first time in 14 games, Jones led the NYG offense to a game-opening touchdown on a pass to Darius Slayton. The lead did not last long, however. The Jaguars, led by second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence and former Eagles Super Bowl-winning Head Coach Doug Pederson, marched right back down the field. Six Plays (3 run / 3 pass), and 70 yards ended with Travis Etienne crossing the goal line. They opted to go for two points rather than tie it up after NYG was flagged for an illegal formation on the PAT try. Etienne easily ran that one is as well to give the home team an early one-point lead.

NYG punted on their next drive, but after left guard Ben Bredeson went down with a knee injury. JAC showed no issues in continuing their early offensive momentum, again getting into the red zone and putting up points. This drive ended with a 27-yard field goal by Riley Patterson. Former Giants’ first round pick Evan Engram had the longest play of the drive, a 28-yarder. The 28-year old is currently playing with the lowest drop rate of his career (2.6%), well below the league average. He is on pace to set a career high in catches and yards.

NYG was able to put up three points of their own on a 33-yard field goal by Graham Gano. But this came after Evan Neal, the second starting lineman of the game, limped off the field injured. He, along with Bredeson, did not return. At the time of this writing, both will likely be out for at least a couple of weeks. Even though NYG got the game within one, the outlook was bleak. A rookie who has already seen his share of struggles was in at left guard and a third-year vet who was waived in August by Baltimore was in at right tackle as NYG was taking on a very physical defensive front from JAC.

For the third time in as many tries, JAC found themselves in the red zone. It seemed everything they were trying on offense was working. Runs, passes, play-action, counters…etc. JAC was moving the ball at will and someone on the defense needed to make a play. Safety Xavier McKinney, who was having a poor game up until this point, stepped up. He forced an Etienne-fumble as he reached the NYG 5-yard line. Julian Love recovered in the end zone and walked out of bounds for the touchback. It was an enormous turn of events. Instead of it being JAC ball, 1st-and-goal from inside the five, it was NYG ball on their own 25. This turned into three more points for NYG after Gano hit a 33-yard field goal. The half was over after JAC threw a desperation Hail Mary and NYG had the 2-point lead.

The opening play of the first half was a 49-yard run by Etienne. At this point, he had 92 yards on just 7 carries. Etienne got them down to the NYG 1-yard line after two more carries before Trevor Lawrence took two straight QB sneaks up the middle, the second one crossing the goal line. NYG has made a living this year on scoring early in the second half, but they were the ones that allowed the early score after halftime. JAC was up 17-13, as Nick McCloud blocked the extra point. NYG drove down the field themselves and had an interception by Jones taken off the board thanks to a roughing-the-passer penalty, the second turnover of the game NYG escaped due to a flag. They had 2nd-and-3 from the JAC 3-yard line. Barkley was stuffed at the line on second down. Jones nearly threw an interception on third down. And Marcus Johnson dropped a pass on fourth down that would have at least resulted in a first down conversion and could have ended up in the end zone. The frustration level was at its highest.

Three straight scoreless possessions followed. The second stop of JAC was the result of more aggressive decision-making by Pederson. On 4th-and-1 from the NYG-20 yard line (and a 4-point lead), he kept the offense on the field. They tried yet another QB sneak and this time the NYG front stuffed it. Turnover on downs. Instead of going for the 7-point lead (Patterson is 7/8 lifetime on attempts 30-39 yards), it was NYG ball, down four. After a quiet running game in the first half, NYG was controlling the point-of-attack (with 2 backup OL remember). All 69 yards gained on their own were via the running game. Add in another 10 yards and 3 JAC penalties. Jones, who was having arguably the most impressive performance of his career, crossed the goal line on a 1-yard carry. NYG was up 20-17.

The NYG defense forced a three-and-out on the next drive, and with just under 4:30 left in the game, the offense had the ball back and their dominance on the ground continued. NYG brought extra linemen on the field and simply ran power after power after power. They gained 61 yards and forced JAC to use all 3 timeouts. The black eye here was the fact that Barkley ran out of bounds, stopping the clock, three times. Not once, not twice, but three times. Football has a way of balancing things out over time. A week after Barkley made the unselfish and brilliant decision to fall on the ground in front of the end zone to keep the clock running, he made three bonehead mistakes (in a row) that kept the game alive for JAC. Gano hit a 34-yarder to make the NYG lead six.

JAC and the referees made things interesting. Three penalties were called on NYG. One of them nullified an interception by Fabian Moreau. One of them added 15 yards to a 28-yard gain with under :20 left. Lawrence and the JAC offense had three shots at the end zone from inside the NYG-20 yard line. The first two fell incomplete. The third connected with Christian Kirk right in front of the end zone. It took a trio of NYG defenders to wrestle the 200-pound slot receiver to the ground just a couple feet shy of the end zone as the clock expired.

NYG wins 23-17.


-Daniel Jones: 19/30 – 202 yards / 1 TD – 0 INT / 94.0 RAT

The most important stat from Jones came on the ground. He ran for 107 yards on 11 carries and added another touchdown. It was his first ever 100+ yard performance and he is third to only Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields in rushing by a quarterback this season. Jones has 1,343 yards on the ground so far in his career. Eli Manning had under 600 over his career. The contrast in offensive style and possibilities with an athlete like this under center should not be overlooked when evaluating his play. Jones put this team on his shoulder and delivered. He had multiple passes dropped, including a touchdown. Game ball for a guy who stepped up the most when his team needed him the most. If you are looking for a negative, he did have two turnovers cancelled by JAC penalties that did not exactly impact the original result of the play.


-Saquon Barkley: 24 att – 110 yards / 4 rec – 25 yards

Barkley has been a different player in the second half of games this season. Week 7 was no different. He had 9 carries for 18 yards in the first half, 15 carries for 92 yards in the second. This is the ideal way to go about a power-run game; be at your best as the defense grows tired. The fact he did this behind a makeshift offensive line means something for both him and the coaching. I do believe they were limiting his snaps early, as the shoulder is a minor issue that they need to prevent turning into a big one. But with the game on the line late, it was time to feed him over and over. He delivered. That said, the constant lack of awareness that saw him go out of bounds three times was such a head scratcher. Had they lost, Barkley would have been one of the biggest scapegoats and rightfully so.

-Matt Breida had 19 yards on 4 carries and gained 14 yards on a catch. Solid performance in a game that saw him tie a season-high 18 snaps.


-Poor game by the group overall. NYG is 6-1, but one needs to ask how much longer they can try to contend with these guys running routes. Darius Slayton caught 3 passes for 58 yards including a 32-yard touchdown. That was a double catch, and he dropped a ball later on. His ball skills and overall feel for the position is maddening.

-Wan’Dale Robinson was a huge part of the offense early on. He finished with 50 yards on 6 catches. Not the most impressive stat line, but keep in mind ALL of that production was in the first half. He suffered a minor injury in the second half and even though he came back in, he did not see the ball (or any targets) after halftime. I’m not too into fantasy football but I have a strong feeling he is going to be THE feature receiver on this team from here on out. No other player was targeted more and his adjustments to the ball in the air were amazing.

-Marcus Johnson is a polarizing player. I noted how many transactions he has been a part of in the past (including 2 trades). We saw some of the good the last two weeks, but we saw the ugly this week. He was targeted three times and he had 2 drops, one of which came at a vital point in the game. He was also flagged for an illegal downfield block.

-David Sills had a catch for 19 yards and Richie James added 1 catch for 2 yards.


-Rookie Daniel Bellinger suffered one of the worst injuries I have seen in quite some time. While it sounds like it won’t be in the season-ending tier, the pain he obviously felt made my stomach knot up. He took a finger-led punch to the eye which caused fractures and will require surgery. He had 1 catch for 13 yards before exiting.

-Chris Myarick and Tanner Hudson will likely fill in for him moving forward. Myarick had 2 catches for 21 yards and allowed a TFL. I will touch on this below, but an argument can be made that tight end is now a bigger need on this team than receiver.


-I will start off with the injuries. Ben Bredeson and Evan Neal both missed most of the game with knee injuries. Initially this was perceived to be a major blow. When considering the law of averages, when a team loses multiple linemen in the same game, it usually gets ugly. Here? One could make the argument the NYG offense only got stronger from that point. No, not a knock on Neal and Bredeson. It is a compliment to the situation, players and coaches combined. Tyre Phillips played 58 snaps at tackle and Joshua Ezeudu played 61 snaps at left guard. How did they fare? Phillips looked better than the rookie. He allowed 2 pressures and a half-TFL, but was often left alone on an island and won more of those match-ups than I expected him to. Because Neal is still growing as a player, I don’t expect much of a drop off with Phillips in there. Ezeudu allowed 3 pressures and was flagged for illegally going downfield on a passing play. Overall, it was a poor game for him, but his best football was played late in the game when NYG absolutely took over with the running game.

-Mark Glowinski allowed a pressure and a TFL. More of the same from him. Solid football with a limited ceiling. You know when you hear the line “high floor / low ceiling” in pre-draft talk? That is Glowinski.

-Jon Feliciano had his best game as a Giant and Andrew Thomas was near-perfect again. The latter did allow a pressure, and some will credit a sack against him but that is why I like tracking my own stats. That sack was not on Thomas. These two and Glowinski need to be rock-solid as this offensive line is about to shift around a bit.


-Last week I discussed rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux playing on a steady incline ever since missing the first two games of the year. That description is still in play. He had 3 tackles and a team-high 3 pressures. He constantly won with his first step and played well under the pads of the JAC tackles while turning a tight corner. His effort and speed are making an impact away from the ball, always a good sign. The big issue that continues to arise? He is not doing a good job setting the edge. He has been slow to recognize and lacks the power to make up for it. That hurt NYG against the run multiple times.

-Jihard Ward is the epitome of what an edge setter is in the NFL. He excelled in that role and has done so all year. He finished with only 2 tackles, but did a lot of the dirty work that helped this defense come up big late.

-With Oshane Ximines and Azeez Ojulari out, the door was opened for Tomon Fox and Quincy Roche. Roche was on the field just 2 snaps and he finished with a tackle. Fox was on the field for 34 snaps and did not appear on the stat sheet. He made one physical hit on an incomplete pass toward the end of the first half but beyond that, he was shut out. NYG had a few pass rush issues for the first 50-65% of the game. Fox was one of the culprits there.


-Dexter Lawrence was flagged twice for roughing the passer. The first was complete garbage. The second, I did not agree with, but that kind of roughing gets called weekly around the league. Hate the rule there, not the ref. Otherwise, he finished with 2 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 pressure. He had a sack nullified by a defensive holding call in the secondary.

-Leonard Williams and Nick Williams both had 1 tackle and 1 pressure. The former broke up a pass at the line as well. Overall, a quiet game from these two who had a hard time against the run.

-Ryder Anderson and Justin Ellis both rotated in and finished with a tackle.


-Tae Crowder had 6 tackles and missed one. He also broke up a pass. The issue with his overall game showed up in an ugly way in this game. He is late to react off the ball and gets caught out of position. He struggles to get off those blocks and now there is a wide-open running lane for the opposition. Jaylon Smith has similar issues but does show more post-snap when it comes to making reads. He added 4 tackles and showed good coverage downfield multiple times.

-Welcome back #21, Landon Collins. He saw 23 snaps at linebacker and most of them were on third down / passing situations. He had 1 tackle on an impressive play where he fought off the block in space and dragged down the ball carrier near the end zone.


-Adoree’ Jackson is the one force in this cornerback group that can be relied on play to play, week to week. He had 6 tackles and 2 pass break ups. His coverage down the stretch was money. Undoubtedly one of the most important players on this defense because of what is, or isn’t, behind him.

-Fabian Moreau finished with 7 tackles and a pass break up. He too came up big on the final drive. His interception was cancelled by a penalty by Dane Belton (a horrific call). And he was part of the crew that kept Kirk out of the end zone on the final play. He fits the bend-don’t-break stigma of this defense very well.

-Darnay Holmes had a penalty cancelled by a different defensive penalty. Otherwise, it was more of the same from him. Physical run support and tackling, good-not-great coverage, and a lot of versatility.

-Nick McCloud blocked an extra point. All things considered that ended up being a big play in the game.


-Xavier McKinney came up with a huge forced fumble that was desperately needed at the time. JAC was moving the ball with ease early on and it appeared they were about to score another touchdown. Getting that ball out of Etienne’s grasp was both timely and potentially game-changing. That somewhat hides his poor angles in run support that gave JAC extra yards (and points).

-Julian Love led the team with 9 tackles and a fumble recovery. The fumble recovery may not have even been the biggest play of the game. He made initial contact with Kirk on that final play of the game that ended up 1 yard short of JAC winning the game. McKinney and Moreau made bigger impact hits, but it was Love’s contact that slowed down Kirk’s momentum. Had Love not done this, Kirk may have reached the end zone for the score. He was flagged for a personal foul earlier in the game that I thought was another poor call by the refs.

-Dane Belton played 23 snaps, as he and Holmes appear to be going back and forth with respect to playing time. He finished with 2 tackles and was hosed on a penalty on the last drive that cancelled the Moreau interception. Another poor call by the refs.


-K Graham Gano: 3/3 (Made 33, 33, 34)
-P Jamie Gillian: 2 punts / 40.0 avg – 30.0 net


-QB Daniel Jones, WR Wan’Dale Robinson, CB Adoree’ Jackson


-WR Marcus Johnson, LB Tae Crowder, OG Joshua Ezeudu


1. Yet another example (there are multiple cases every year) of not crowning anyone after 3 weeks. JAC started of 2-1 with wins against IND and LAC that combined for 62 points of margin over those opponents. They were up 8-1 in the turnover margin. They were up 70-51 in first down margin. Fast forward to Week 7, and they still have only 2 wins. Losers of 4 straight, JAC’s turnover margin is back to even and they’ve averaged under 18 points per game since their fast start. They are not contenders yet even though the AFC South can make a case for being the worst in football again.

2. Just how good is Trevor Lawrence? The 2021 #1 overall pick was destined for that tag since his freshman season at Clemson. He went on to have a stellar career there, but as we all know, life in the NFL is different. I’ve seen him four times this season and the traits are obviously there. But one inconsistency I see week to week revolves around ball placement issues when he has a lot of action close to him. This happens often. Kids from college come into the league and long-gone are the days of having 5 yards of space around you in all directions for 3-4-5 seconds every drop back. Lawrence missed on several throws in this game, and I saw the same against both HOU and PHI (albeit that one in the rain). Every young quarterback has a three-year grace period in my eyes as long as they do not bottom out. He is only in year two and is currently playing under his third play-caller. But for someone who I graded as high as I did, I was expecting better play than what he is showing in year two. He was the second-best quarterback on the field in this game and to be blunt, it wasn’t close.

3. What does JAC need to be a credible contender? Obviously, we know Lawrence needs to ascend, that can go without saying. When I look at this roster, I see quality players on both sides of the ball. Ownership has spent more free agency money than anyone in the league since 2012. I trust the coach. Travis Etienne has All-Pro potential, and he is starting to flash. Their defense has a young star in Josh Allen and another future star in Travon Walker. Linebacker Devin Lloyd is playing some of the best football in the league among rookies. But they have not escaped the cellar. What gives? I see two major issues. Their receivers can’t make anything happen after the catch and they are not deep threats. That is a danger zone to be in. Defensively they don’t have the cover-guys at the top and lack pro-caliber depth when guys go down. Thus, they are incredibly vulnerable to losing both passing battles week to week. Until that changes, they’ll remain where they’re at.


1. 6-1. Credible playoff contention now and opportunities like this should not be assumed by a front office. Does the urgency for a trade (or signing) at receiver pick up with each win? Yes, I think so. Especially when it is coupled with the fact these receivers either can’t stay healthy or simply cannot be relied upon. Let’s be sure to not lower the standard for what a winning receiver does for a team. We have seen Slayton flash. We have seen Johnson flash. We have even seen Sills do a few good things. But do not mistake them for more than what they are: replacement-level players. I don’t want General Manager Joe Schoen to go down the path of selling future premium picks. But I think the urgency is a little higher now on an Odell Beckham reunion. But don’t overlook the need for a tight end. They are less expensive regarding both the cap and the trade market. Bellinger is the future at the position, but replacing his value and production CAN be done with a simple trade of a day-three pick to a team that is out of contention.

2. In episode 6 of “NYG Coaches Are Among the Best in the League”…I bring you to the final 19 offensive plays of the game. 17 of them were runs and they totaled 130 yards. 2 of them were passes, both fell incomplete. NYG doubled down on what they knew would work. Their bread and butter. And this was behind a banged up offensive line. So, what did they do? Bring on extra linemen as blocking tight ends (Devery Hamilton and Jack Anderson). They essentially ran the same play over and over and then threw in the little curve ball once JAC over-committed off the snap with a Jones naked bootleg. This staff has such a strong grasp how to move the ball on offense and that has more value than fancy personnel that other teams may have. It just keeps getting better.

3. A game in Seattle before NYG gets a week off. While 6-1 looks nice on paper, 7-1 will make things so much more comfortable than 6-2 moving forward. Because of their rookie tackles, I have seen all the Seattle games this year. They are right up there with NYG as the most surprising team in the NFL this season. My biggest concern is their ability to pound the run. They are first in the NFL in yards per carry and their rookie Kenneth Walker looks big time. NYG ranks dead last in the NFL in yards per carry allowed. This is an obvious mismatch, and I am curious to see what Martindale schemes up to prevent this being an issue.

Oct 232022
Julian Love and Fabian Moreau, New York Giants (October 23, 2022)

Julian Love and Fabian Moreau – © USA TODAY Sports

Another weekend, another 4th-quarter comeback for the New York Giants as they defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-17 on Sunday afternoon at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. The Giants have now won four games in a row and have improved their overall record to 6-1. However, the team may have suffered significant injuries to offensive linemen Evan Neal (knee) and Ben Bredeson (knee) as well as tight end Daniel Bellinger (eye).

Overall team statistics were close. Both teams had 27 first downs. The Jaguars slightly out-gained the Giants 452 to 436 in total net yards, with the Giants out-rushing the Jaguars 236 to 142 and the Jaguars out-passing the Giants 310 to 200. The Giants did hold a big advantage in time of possession (34:10 to 25:50) and won the turnover battle (1-0).

Both offenses started off hot. The Giants received the ball to start the game and promptly drove 75 yards in nine plays, with quarterback Daniel Jones completing 6-of-7 passes for 65 yards. Jones also ran for 14 yards and finished the drive with a 32-yard touchdown throw to wide receiver Darius Slayton.

Not to be outdone, the Jaguars immediately responded with a 6-play, 70-yard effort that resulted in a 7-yard touchdown run by running back Travis Etienne. The Giants were flagged with an illegal formation penalty on the extra point. The Jaguars then went for two instead, and Etienne also scored on the 2-point conversion. Jaguars 8 – Giants 7.

The Giants gained a couple of first downs on their second possession but punted. Bredeson also left the game with a knee injury on this drive. New York’s defense continued to struggle early as the Jaguars drove 70 yards in 12 plays to set up a 27-yard field goal. The Jaguars converted on 4th-and-1 on this possession. Jacksonville now led 11-7 early in the 2nd quarter.

The Giants’ offense responded with a field-goal drive of their own on their third possession. New York gained 60 yards in 10 plays to set up place kicker Graham Gano from 33 yards out. Unfortunately, Neal injured his knee on the first play of this drive and did not return. Jaguars 11 – Giants 10.

Meanwhile, the Giants’ defense continued to struggle. Having already scored 11 points on their first two possessions, Jacksonville easily drove 64 yards in seven plays to reach the New York 17-yard line. Then Etienne broke through the line on what looked to be a 17-yard touchdown run, but safety Xavier McKinney punched the ball out at the 5-yard line. Fellow safety Julian Love recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

The Giants lost their third offensive starter on the ensuing drive as Bellinger received what looked to be a serious eye injury after a 13-yard catch. New York did gain 65 total yards on this possession to set a 33-yard field goal by Gano with 28 seconds left in the 2nd quarter. At the half, the Giants led 13-11.

Jacksonville received the football to start the second half, and Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s defense simply could not stop the Jaguars again. Etienne broke off a 49-yard run on the first play of the drive. Six plays later, quarterback Travis Lawrence scored from one yard out. The extra point was blocked by cornerback Nick McCloud. The Jaguars regained the lead 17-13.

New York’s first drive of the second half did not end so well. The Giants drove 72 yards in eight plays, reaching the Jacksonville 3-yard line. This possession was aided by a roughing-the-passer penalty that wiped out an interception by the Jaguars. However, despite one run and two passes from the 3-yard line, the Giants could not reach the end zone, turning the football over on downs.

After both teams exchanged punts, the Jaguars appeared to be on the verge of putting the game away as they gained 60 yards in 10 plays to reach the New York 20-yard line. However, on 3rd-and-1, Etienne was stuffed by linebackers Tae Crowder and Quincy Roche. Then on 4th-and-1, Lawrence was tackled short of the first down by linebacker Jaylon Smith and Love. These two plays proved to be the turning point of the game.

Jones and the Giants proceeded to complete their fifth game-winning drive in the 4th quarter this year. Jones gained 24 yards on one run that he almost broke for a 64-yard touchdown. After running back Saquon Barkley gained three yards on 3rd-and-2, he followed that up with an 18-yard run down to the Jacksonville 11-yard line. Slayton was interfered with in the end zone and Jones scored on 1-yard sneak as New York went ahead 20-17 with 5:31 left in the game.

The Giants’ defense rose up and forced a quick three-and-out. The offense now had the ball back with 4:29 left to play. Barkley began to take over with runs of 13, 7, and 20 yards on the first three plays. Two plays later, Jones ran for 15 yards to the Jacksonville 20-yard line at the 2-minute warning. However, the Giants could get no closer and the officials ruled that Barkley had run out of bounds at the 16-yard line, stopping the clock at 1:07. Gano’s third field goal of the game extended the score to 23-17.

The Jaguars and very questionable officiating made the final 64 seconds a nail-biter. The officials did not call an obvious holding penalty against linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux. Jacksonville converted on 3rd-and-10. Then came two defensive penalties, including defensive holding that wiped out a sack and illegal hands to the face that wiped out an interception by cornerback Fabian Moreau. Lawrence then completed a 28-yard pass on 4th-and-15 and an additional 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty gave the Jaguars a first down at the New York 17-yard line with 16 seconds left. After two incomplete passes, Lawrence threw one more pass with seven seconds left. Wide receiver Christian Kirk caught the ball for 16 yards down to the 1-yard line, where he as tackled as time expired.

Jones finished the game 19-of-30 for 202 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. He also rushed 11 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. His leading target was wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson who caught six passes for 50 yards. Barkley ran 24 times for 110 yards after being held to 18 yards on nine carries in the first half.

The defense allowed 452 yards and 27 first downs. The Giants did not have a sack and were credited with only two quarterback hits. The also had no tackles for losses. The starting safeties did combine for the one turnover, however, and there were six pass defenses.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants placed OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf) on Injured Reserve. He will have to miss at least four games. The team also signed OLB Quincy Roche to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad.

The Giants activated (standard elevation) LB/S Landon Collins and DL Ryder Anderson from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster on the same day.

Inactive for the game were WR Kenny Golladay (knee), WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), OLB Oshane Ximines (quad), CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf), S Jason Pinnock (ankle), and ILB Austin Calitro.

LG Ben Bredeson (knee), RT Evan Neal (knee), and TE Daniel Bellinger (eye) left the game in the first half and did not return. The NFL Network reported that the belief is that Neal suffered a sprained MCL. ESPN reported that both Bredeson and Neal avoided serious knee injuries. Bellinger was taken to the hospital for further evaluation and later released. CB Adoree’ Jackson (evaluated for concussion) left the game in the second half, but later returned.

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

Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Oct 212022
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (October 16, 2022)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

In last week’s preview, I wrote that if the New York Giants could upset the Baltimore Ravens that things will start to get really interesting. Well here we are. One upset win over a heavily-favored opponent might be a fluke. Two possibly. But three? More than half of the team’s five wins are against playoff-caliber teams they were supposed to lose to, including the Tennessee Titans (on the road), Green Bay Packers (in London), and the Ravens (MetLife hasn’t exactly been kind to the Giants in recent years). How good has it gotten? Watch this:

Objectively speaking, I am not even sure that it is in the best long-term interest of the Giants to be 5-1 in Year One of the latest rebuilding effort. But after years of simply horrific football, I’m setting all of that aside and just enjoying the ride at this point. Sundays are fun again and it’s been a long time since Giants fans could say that. Put it this way: the Giants have already surpassed their win total from 2021. And they will be playing meaningful football in November.

Enter the 2-4 Jacksonville Jaguars. Based on the commentary I’ve seen this week, knowledgeable Giants fans smartly have a healthy respect for the Jaguars and the risk this game poses. The Jaguars are not as bad as their record on the surface suggests. After a close loss to the Washington Commanders in Week 1, they clobbered the Indianapolis Colts 24-0 in Week 2 (at home), shocked the Los Angeles Chargers 38-10 in Week 3 (at home), lost a close game 29-21 to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4 (on the road), before losing two close, but disappointing contests to the Houston Texans and Colts. In the first year of their own latest rebuilding effort, they are playing competitive football in every game and buying into the new program under ex-Eagles Head Coach and Giants tormentor Doug Pederson. Ironically, before the shocking 5-1 start by Daboll’s Giants, this is what many of us at best had hoped for in terms of our own team.

The Jaguars have a good defense and a franchise quarterback. They are also playing at home and are desperate. If that’s not enough for you, the Giants started off the week as 2.5 underdogs and the line has moved more in favor of Jacksonville.

My point? This is a different situation for Brian Daboll, his coaching staff, and the players. Winning has increased expectations. It has also increased confidence. But far better teams under coaches such as Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin have fallen victim to the “letdown” or “trap” games. This contest falls squarely into that category. The 2022 New York Giants are a very young team. Do they have the maturity to understand the opportunities and risks this particular game poses? The Giants have never won in Jacksonville. And if the players don’t take this game seriously, they can get badly embarrassed just like the Chargers did.


  • RB Saquon Barkley (shoulder – probable)
  • WR Kenny Golladay (knee – out)
  • WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring – out)
  • OT Andrew Thomas (elbow – probable)
  • OC Jon Feliciano (groin – questionable)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf – out)
  • OLB Oshane Ximines (quad – out)
  • CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf – out)
  • S Jason Pinnock (ankle – questionable)

You may hate it. You may love it. But the Daniel Jones 2022 redemption tour continues. For those who haven’t noticed, Jones has FOUR game-winning, 4th-quarter drives in six games this year. Three of those games have been 4th-quarter comebacks. And he’s doing this behind an offensive line that has been shaky in pass protection (under duress in 40 percent of his passing attempts) and a wide receiver corps that no one outside of the diehard fan base could even name. Plus, he’s still playing on a bum ankle. In the latest game, it wasn’t Jones who melted down in the 4th quarter, it was former League MVP Lamar Jackson who threw a stupid interception and fumbled the ball upon being touched. I said it last week and I’ll say it again, since the opener, Jones hasn’t turned the ball over (the one pick against Dallas came when David Sills fell down).

Aside from Saquon Barkley and the question about his future contract status, there are only two targets on this team who I am sure will be here in 2023 and they are Daniel Bellinger and Wan’Dale Robinson. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Jones started throwing touchdowns again last Sunday given the return of Robinson and the continued development of Bellinger. Robinson only played 15 snaps, but he had a big impact in the game with one touchdown and two big 3rd-down conversions. Bellinger has improved not only as a blocker, but he’s becoming a play-maker, something he wasn’t in college. If these two and Barkley (who has a worrisome shoulder issue) can stay healthy, the offense should remain somewhat respectable. This is especially true as the offensive line continues to gain experience, cohesion, and chemistry.

What’s lacking from the New York offense right now is the deep passing game. Perhaps Darius Slayton can rekindle some of his past success at some point, but none of the Giants targets are threatening teams deep. This is impacting the rest of the offense as opposing teams can be more aggressive against defending Barkley as a runner and receiver. I’m not sure this issue can really be fixed until the offseason.

The Jaguars are not a great match-up for the New York offense. This is yet another tough defense as Jacksonville is ranked 11th overall in yards allowed (better than the 14th-ranked Giants) and 9th overall in points allowed (just a tick behind the Giants). Most notably, the Jaguars are third in run defense, allowing only 89 yards per game. That does not bode well for a New York offense that is largely dependent on the ground game, especially given that Jones’ ankle is probably still an issue (he only ran the ball three times for 10 yards against Baltimore, not counting kneel downs).

The strength of Jacksonville’s defense is their linebacking corps. Edge rusher Josh Allen is a player the Giants reportedly coveted in the 2019 NFL Draft. He leads the Jaguars with three sacks and 10 quarterback hits. Through six games, inside linebackers Devin Lloyd and Foye Oluokun have accumulated an incredible 114 tackles between them. Lloyd is also making his presence felt as a pass rusher and in coverage. He’s playing at an All-Pro level. The other edge rusher? Travon Walker was the first player taken overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. He’s an incredible athlete who can play the run, rush the passer, and even drop into coverage despite his background as a collegiate defensive lineman. These guys are really hard to run against.

Passing against the Jaguars is easier, as they rank 20th against the pass. But the Giants are 31st in the NFL in passing yards, averaging only 154 yards per contest. They will probably have to up that this week in order to win. So we’re looking at a strength-on-strength, weakness-on-weakness type of situation. The good news for the Giants is that while the Jaguars have the potential to be a very good pass-rushing team, they have not been getting home, with only 10 sacks on the year. On the flip side, Jacksonville is tied for fifth in interceptions with seven.

The New York Giants finished the 2021 season 21st in yards allowed and 23rd in points allowed. It’s not surprising that Wink Martindale has improved this unit to 14th in yards allowed and 8th in points allowed. What is shocking is his defense, which perennially a top-5 run defense in Baltimore, is currently ranked 28th, allowing almost 145 yards per game. Just as surprising, especially when you consider the Giants have rolled out guys with the names Fabian Moreau, Justin Layne, and Nick McCloud at corner, is that the team is 8th in pass defense, allowing only 195 yards per game.

I’ve got to think that the run defense number is gnawing at Wink. If so, this would be a good week for the Giants to start improving their run defense because the Jaguars are no slouches running the ball, and like to do so early and often in order to keep down-and-distance situations manageable. Travis Ettienne and James Robinson form a two-headed backfield, who together have rushed for 641 yards between them. Robinson is averaging 4.2 yards per carry while Ettienne is averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Both can keep the chains moving, but both can also break the big run.

Why has the New York run defense been so bad? My guess is there have been a variety of factors ranging from scheming (heavy use of defensive backs in some games) to personnel issues (injuries plus subpar run defense by specific players) to learning curve (this is a really complicated defense and Wink has admitted that his players are still learning on the job). Regardless of the factors, this is going to catch up to the Giants unless they dramatically improve their run defense. It did against the Cowboys and almost did against the Ravens.

The good news is that Leonard Williams is back. Dexter Lawrence is playing at a Pro Bowl level. Kayvon Thibodeaux should improve with experience. Jihad Ward may be the most underrated signing in the NFL. However, Azeez Ojulari will miss yet another game and surprising contributor Oshane Ximines will also be out this week. The Giants also need more consistency out of Tae Crowder and Jaylon Smith. Wink has also pointed out that the run defense of the defensive backs has been up-and-down.

Stating the obvious, when the Jaguars can run the ball, it makes life easier for franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Like the Giants, the Jaguars like to employ the short-to-intermediate passing game. That helps to prevent the pass rush from reaching Lawrence behind an offensive line that hasn’t been great protecting the passer. Sound familiar? The Jaguars do have some cornerstones up front, most notably right guard Brandon Scherff and tackles Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor. Again, sounds familiar. Pederson and Lawrence know that Wink will be blitzing a lot, so expect them to continue to try to get the ball out quickly, combined with a heavy emphasis on the run.

There are four players on the Jaguars with 30 catches or more: WR Christian Kirk (44 catches, 362 yards, 4 touchdowns), WR Zay Jones (37 catches, 227 yards, 1 touchdown), TE Evan Engram (32 catches, 208 yards), and WR Marvin Jones (30 catches, 208 yards, 1 touchdown). Slot receiver Kirk is the key. When the Jaguars were playing better, they got the ball to Kirk more. The match-up with Darnay Holmes here could be very significant.

The Giants special teams are starting to find their rhythm and contribute to wins. A week after I knocked Gary Brightwell’s kick returning ability, he broke off his best return. In a game that is likely to be yet another closely-fought defensive struggle, special teams could prove decisive.

Head Coach Brian Daboll on QB Trevor Lawrence: “I think he’s doing a great job in Coach Pederson’s offense. He’s big. He can throw it accurately. He can move. They run him on some quarterback, not just keepers, but also quarterback designed runs, too. So, athletic, smart. He’s a really good person, too. He’s going to be a good player in this league for a long time.”

I don’t think I would call this a “trap” game, but it could have the earmarks of a “letdown” game. The Giants have been expending a lot of emotional energy in recent weeks. That usually catches up with a team. This is a different type of test for Daboll and his players. Expectations are higher, most likely unreasonably so. We know the 2022 New York Giants can pull of the big upset. Can they win the games many now expect them to? The oddsmakers are predicting this team can’t keep it up. We shall see.

The one big thing the Giants have going for them right now is they never believe they are out of a game and they don’t quit. They are beginning to expect to win and that’s a tremendous advantage. The Jaguars don’t have that characteristic yet.

Sep 102018
Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports

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Jacksonville Jaguars 20 – New York Giants 15


Week 1 of the 2018 season brought in an up-and-coming team that was partially constructed by former NYG Head Coach Tom Coughlin. The Jacksonville Jaguars, in their first game since losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship, entered MetLife Stadium ready to wreck havoc on a shoddy offensive line.

That they did on the first drive of the game that resulted in a near-safety on two separate occasions. It was a sign of things to come, as the JAC front seven controlled the game and heavily impacted the NYG approach on offense.

The JAC offense is very dependent on Leonard Fournette and their power rushing attack. They hit a groove early on paired with some solid gains on play-action and bootleg passing plays. The misdirection seemed to take advantage of the over-aggressive, new NYG defensive scheme. The two teams traded field goals but JAC took a couple steps forward in the 2nd quarter, scoring 10 straight points which got them a 13-3 lead. However thanks to the grabby-defensive backfield and the fear Odell Beckham strikes in to the opposition, 45 yards worth of penalties put NYG in prime field goal position to net them another 3 points, ending the half down 13-6 but with possession at the start of the second half and JAC without Fournette because of a hamstring strain.

NYG began the third quarter with a back and forth approach. Saquon Barkley, after a quiet first half, started to show why this team made him the 2nd pick of the draft. But mental mistakes by Evan Engram and poor play in the trenches kept on pulling the offense back just enough to make them settle on a field goal. The rest of the 3rd quarter was a back and forth affair that played exactly into what JAC wants: a moving clock paired with a field position battle while in the lead.

The action picked up in the 4th quarter. Manning started to feel some extra urgency and made a throw he shouldn’t have while under pressure. This resulted in a interception by Myles Jack which he easily returned for a touchdown. NYG was down 20-6 with 11 minutes left. The team needed a spark, badly. Enter in Barkley. A couple broken tackles and a sprint down the sideline netted NYG their first touchdown of the year, a 68-yard score by the rookie. They came up 1 foot short on the 2 point conversion, however, leaving them in a touchdown-or bust situation.

The energy was back in the stands and after a 3-and-out by JAC. However, NYG responded with a 3-and out of their own. Their next possession put them into JAC territory after 2 passes to Odell Beckham. But the right side of the offensive line disrupted Manning just enough to misfire on two occasions paired with a drop by Sterling Shepard. They turned the ball over on downs but stopped JAC 3 straight times while burning their final timeouts, leaving them with under 1 minute to score a touchdown from their own territory.

But the effort was never made, as PR Kaelin Clay muffed the punt and JAC recovered.

NYG loses, 20-15.


Eli Manning: 23/37 – 224 yards – 0 TD/1 INT. Manning started off 11 for 11 despite having the Jacksonville pass rush in his face nearly every time he reached the end of his drop back. Manning delivered a lot of throws under duress. I watched 6 NFL games from yesterday and only Russell Wilson saw more consistent pressure. And Manning’s disadvantage there is that he doesn’t move well anymore in space. Good footwork in the pocket, but he just isn’t a very good athlete. Manning also had two overthrows on potential touchdowns in addition to a poor decision to throw a ball under pressure that ended up being tipped and returned for a pick 6 in the 4th quarter.


Saquon Barkley: 18 att / 106 yards – 1 TD – 2 rec / 22 yards. A lot can be said about Barkley’s first game against arguably the best front seven in the NFL. His game started off slow, as he was forced into re-routing prior to reaching the line of scrimmage 6 of his first 8 attempts. But once the second half rolled around, he found a groove and we started to see the physical ability shine bright. He looked more confident and decisive. In the second half, Barkley ran the ball 10 times for 94 yards including a 68-yard touchdown that brought the team back to life. That run included 2 broken tackles and an all out sprint to the end zone (thanks to a key block by Sterling Shepard) that outran the entire JAC defense. There aren’t many backs in the league that could have pulled that one off. There were two negatives in his debut and they both centered around Barkley not taking what this defense gave him. Against a front seven like JAC, there needs to be more north-south thought process on runs between the guards.

-Jonathan Stewart and Wayne Gallman spelled Barkley a few times. After a tortoise-like preseason, Stewart actually had a couple of solid 4-yard runs. Nothing to get excited about but after what we saw in August, it is a step in the right direction. This team is going to cap how many touches Barkley gets weekly, especially early in the year, so Stewart needs to give NYG more of those 4-yard runs. Gallman left the game with a knee injury that isn’t expected to be serious. Shane Smith saw limited snaps but he was a factor. With this OL and Engram struggling to get movement at the point of attack, Smith may need to be in the game more often.


-Odell Beckham: 11 rec – 111 yards. I won’t say I forgot how much Beckham changed the outlook of this offense, but it was a refreshing sight to see #13 out there getting open on all levels whenever he wanted to and wrecking havoc on the Jaguars defensive backfield. He also forced 45 yards worth of pass interference penalties that stemmed from him running great routes. He took a couple of big hits in this one and he fired himself right back up and seemed to enjoy it. That is what this offense needs out of him. If Manning had made a better throw, he would have had 33 yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter as he got behind the secondary in a blink.

-Sterling Shepard: 5 rec – 48 yards. Shepard had a drop in the 4th quarter that really hurt the team’s attempt at pulling off a major fourth quarter comeback. Otherwise he ran excellent routes and showed the usual toughness in traffic. His downfield block on the Barkley touchdown was vital. He is going to be an important piece because of how consistently he can run himself open underneath. I would like to see more after the catch, however.

-Cory Latimer didn’t receive any targets. For a “starting” wide receiver, many will be disappointed. But on this team, he is the #5 receiving option at best when everyone is healthy. Don’t expect big impact plays on any sort of consistent basis.


-Evan Engram: 2 rec – 18 yards. Really rough outing for the second year pass catcher who missed some time with a concussion during the preseason. Engram has somewhat struggled with drops in his young career, and he only added to that in this one. He had 2 drops, a pass interference penalty, and allowed a tackle for loss. Engram was mauled at the point of attack against the JAC defensive linemen. His overall blocking grade was the worst he’s had since being a Giant. While I don’t want to bash him considering what he is to this team and who he was matched up against, he simply needs to be better. For a team that will rely on the running game and a team that may need to help the RT up front, Engram can’t just be a receiver. Effort was there, impact was not.

-Rhett Ellison was in to run block and I can’t say he made a major difference. He caught one pass against a prevent defense. Scott Simonson was in for 4 offensive plays and allowed a pressure.


-Nate Solder had a rough first game in blue. While he provides more confidence and security than what NYG has had in recent years, he was outclassed by the JAC defensive line. He allowed 1 TFL, 2 pressures, and committed a holding penalty. He also struggled to get movement as a run blocker. This is the kind of defense that has always given him some trouble, power and size based.

-Ereck Flowers took a step back towards one of the worst grades of his career. 2 penalties, 1 TFL, 3 pressures, and 1 sack. Flowers also failed to reach his assignment on 3 separate down blocks. This would be a damning game for a rookie. The shift to right tackle didn’t hide is ongoing issues of poor footwork and even worse hand placement. The one positive was a very solid block on the Barkley touchdown. It is going to be a long year on the right edge.

-Chad Wheeler saw some action as a blocking tight end. I think we will see more and more of that, although he didn’t perform well. He was in for 3 plays and he too allowed a TFL. And no, he is not a suitable replacement for Flowers.


-Will Hernandez had a couple of “Welcome to the NFL, kid” moments. He allowed a TFL to Malik Jackson on the first drive and sack to Calais Campbell on the fourth drive. He had the most positive grades in the game among the OL, most notably for his ability to move guys at the point of attack. He does a nice job when it is straightforward run blocking but he will need to learn to adjust to the quickness of NFL defensive tackles. Can’t expect much better from him, but you just want to see progress as the year progresses. And I don’t think he will have many, if any, tougher assignments than what JAC presented.

-Patrick Omameh and Jon Halapio didn’t stand out in a negative way. They both allowed 1 pressure each but weren’t on the radar much other than that. The issue was just a lack of difference making movement. The interior of the JAC defense went where they wanted to. It’s pretty bad that these two had the best grades of the OL, because by no means were they above average or even close to it.


-With Olivier Vernon out, it meant Connor Barwin and Kareem Martin were going to see the majority snaps. Martin finished with a half-sack and 3 tackles while Barwin had 1 pressure and a big pass deflection in the 4th quarter. But when it came to the situations where a pass rush was really needed, they didn’t come through.

-Kerry Wynn and Lorenzo Carter rotated in and both had a similar impact to the starters in less playing time. Carter had a pressure and pass deflection while Wynn recorded a half-sack. I think this pass rush is better with these two in the fold, as their ability just has more potential. Martin and Barwin will scare nobody on 3rd down.


-Damon Harrison played 71% of the snaps, more than I was anticipating. He went down with a minor knee injury in the second half but it didn’t keep him out long. He dominated the inside gaps, finishing with a TFL and 6 tackles. He was in on sure-passing downs more than I expected to see and I like it, his bull rush is as good as anyone’s and it helps the complex blitzing schemes.

-The young sidekicks, B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson were solid but unspectacular. The combined for a solid 9 tackles and showed good pursuit and effort. But JAC was running the ball with ease in the first half, as they struggled to hold ground on lateral runs. These two are very solid and will be good, but it was notable to see the difference between them and the JAC defensive line. Different class.

-Newly signed Mario Edwards and Jordan Jenkins played sparingly without much impact. Edwards did record 2 tackles on just 6 snaps, however. He looks athletic and rangy for his size.


-New defensive captain Alec Ogletree tied for the team lead 7 tackles. He was solid between the tackles and better in coverage than what we saw in preseason. The middle of the field, however, is still a weakness against the pass and he is a part of it. He allowed a touchdown that was negated by a JAC penalty.

-B.J. Goodson started, but he and Ray-Ray Armstrong split snaps. Goodson struggled to scrape over the top, often late to recognize and putting the blocker in a position to wash him out. Armstrong is a much better athlete and reacts with more speed. Both were fooled by all of the misdirection JAC threw their way, however.


-One of the best overall games we have seen out of Eli Apple in his 3rd-year career. 3 tackles and 2 pass break ups along with some very good deep coverage. While it wasn’t the best air attack he will be matched up against this season, Apple did his job. We haven’t been able to say that in awhile and if this talent-rich first rounder can show consistency, the outlook of this defense is very different.

-Janoris Jenkins was up and down. The playmaker came up with a 1st quarter interception and a very high-level pass break up in the 2nd quarter. He allowed 2 of the 3 biggest gains in the passing game that JAC had. He also had 7 tackles, tied for the team lead.

-B.W. Webb was the nickel back, playing in just over 50% of the snaps. He looked afraid of getting beat deep and allowed too much underneath. He allowed 2 catches for first down on situations where he needed to be up on the receiver more.


-Landon Collins had an up and down game. I was interested to see his role in this new defense and it actually wasn’t very different than last year. He roams a lot and they trust him to make the right decisions. He had 5 tackles and a high-level pass break up but got lost in traffic on the T.J. Yeldon 15 yard run that brought JAC to the 1-yard line. Collins was also the guilty culprit on Blake Bortles career long 41 yard run on a naked bootleg. That was a designed run and JAC knew Collins would react that way. Not a good sign. That was one of a few situations where his eye discipline was non-existent. He is a high-risk, high-reward player.

-Curtis Riley was solid in his debut after winning the job in camp. He had 5 tackles, 1 of which on special teams, and a couple of fast and physical downhill hits. He also fulfilled his deep coverage responsibilities on two plays where Bortles wanted to go downfield but chose not to. Michael Thomas played sparingly, allowing a catch for first down but also pressuring Bortles and making a big hit on 3rd down that caused a near-fumble.


K Aldrick Rosas: 3/3 (Made 27-31-44). Very solid day for Rosas in both departments.

P Curtis Riley: 5 punts – 49.4 avg / 43.4 net. Solid numbers but his worst punt of the day started off the lone JAC offensive touchdown.

PR Kaelin Clay had a quiet game until the very end, in a bad way. He misjudged the depth of a punt and muffed it, turning the ball over to JAC with under a minute left leaving NYG without a chance at one last attempt to win the game.


-CB Eli Apple, RB Saquon Barkley, WR Odell Beckham


-OT Ereck Flowers, OT Nate Solder, TE Evan Engram


-LB Myles Jack was my top graded player in the 2016 NFL Draft. The knee issues bumped him down just a tad, but now that he is in his third year, I think we are looking a potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate. There may not be a faster LB in the game, as he covers WRs in space and ran with Barkley stride for stride on the long touchdown. But at the same time this guy is a terror to deal with between the tackles. His game-leading 10 tackles and pick six don’t even tell the story of how much he impacted this game.

-The JAC defensive line might be the best in football when considering the depth. Only LAR can hang with these guys. It is a good thing knowing NYG won’t be faced off against anything like that again. But guys, when building a team you truly can never have enough talent in the trenches. They change everything. They hide issues elsewhere. And they are more reliable to be there and impacting the game in all weather conditions. That team is built to win from start to finish and it starts right here.

-Is Blake Bortles good enough? You know what? I think he is. I have never seen what so many people hate about this kid. He won’t ever be mistaken for Aaron Rodgers but then again, neither will Eli Manning. He makes a couple head scratching throws each week, but then again so does Eli Manning. I have always liked his moxie and I see improvement each year. The QB of that team needs to be just good enough, and I think he is.


-Because NFL fans are the way they are, Saquon Barkley and the fact NYG has made him the highest drafted running back since 2006 will be over-analyzed each week. The baseless theory that RBs cannot be taken that high and the fact some potential franchise QB’s were available when NYG was on the clock only adds to the notion. I spoke about him earlier but what I liked the most, he adjusted his approach during halftime. He looked just a hair-too-hesitant early on but you can tell he took it on himself to change this offense in the second half. He was the one player getting the team fired up prior to the start of the 4th quarter. Usually you want rookies to improve their approach week to week, year 1 to year 2. He did it at halftime and made a big difference in the second half against the best/fastest/most physical defense in the NFL.

-This defense showed a lot of exotic looks and it created stress for the JAC offense in the second half especially. However when all is said and done, they recorded 1 sack and 1 tackle for loss. They need to produce more than that, plain and simple.

-I liked how Shurmur adjusted his pass protection in the second half. Adjustments are a huge part of coaching during games, and he did just that. It still wasn’t pretty, but the NYG offensive line was overmatched badly. There isn’t much you can do there but this offense did catch a flow in the second half much thanks to the blocking scheme being slightly altered.

Sep 092018
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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The New York Giants lost their opening game of the 2018 season by falling 20-15 to the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. It was a tightly-fought and winnable game for New York, but too many mistakes on offense and special teams did the team in.

The Jaguars received the ball to start the game and went up 3-0 after an 11-play, 59-yard drive set up a successful 39-yard field goal. New York’s opening offensive possession almost ended in disaster with a safety as the team found itself in a 3rd-and-23 situation from its own 1-yard line. Two penalties on right tackle Ereck Flowers, including a holding penalty that wiped out a 34-yard completion to tight end Evan Engram, pushed the Giants back.

After the Giants punted, New York quickly got the ball back. Defensive end Kerry Wynn and linebacker Kareem Martin sacked quarterback Blake Bortles for an 8-yard loss. Then Janoris Jenkins picked off Bortles at the Giants 37-yard line. Sparked by a 10-yard run by running back Saquon Barkley and a 24-yard pass to wideout Odell Beckham, the Giants managed to move the ball 54 yards in nine plays to set up a 27-yard field goal. Unfortunately, the Giants couldn’t score a touchdown after setting up a 1st-and-goal from the 8-yard line.

The Jaguars retook the lead 6-3 on their ensuing possession in the 2nd quarter by driving 54 yards in 15 plays to set up a 39-yard field goal. After a three-and-out by the Giants, Jacksonville added to their advantage with a 5-play, 57-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Bortles to running back T.J. Yeldon, beating safety Landon Collins in coverage. The Jaguars now led 13-3.

Quarterback Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense put together a 10-play, 62-yard drive right before halftime to set up another field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas, this one from 31 out with just seconds left on the clock. The Giants overcame a sack and a 3rd-and-12 situation with a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Beckham drew two pass interference penalties that picked up a total of 45 yards, but the Giants were stopped inside the red zone again.

At the half, the Jaguars led 13-6.

The Giants received the ball to start the second half and immediately cut into Jacksonville’s lead with an 11-play, 49-yard drive that set up a 44-yard field goal by Rosas. Neither team could move the ball the remainder of 3rd and beginning of the 4th quarters. After a three-and-out by the Jaguars, Barkley was stuffed on a 4th-and-2 effort from the Jacksonville 38-yard line as New York turned the ball over on downs. Then came five consecutive punts.

The game-changer came with just under 12 minutes left to play. Facing a 2nd-and-7 from their own 30-yard line, Manning was under immediately pressure as Flowers could not handle the outside rush. Right guard Patrick Omameh’s opponent then tipped Manning’s pass that was intercepted and returned for a 32-yard touchdown by linebacker Myles Jack. The Jaguars were now up 20-9.

However, just as it looked liked the game was all but over, Barkley broke off a spectacular 68-yard touchdown run, breaking three tackles in the process (and with an excellent downfield block by Sterling Shepard). The 2-point conversion attempt failed and the Giants now trailed 20-15 with just over 10 minutes left to play.

Frustratingly, the Giants could get no closer. The defense forced a three-and-out, but the Giants’ offense also then went three-and-out. The Jaguars picked up one first down and then punted again with just over four minutes to play. The Giants picked up two first downs and moved the ball to the Jacksonville 36-yard line, but then turned the ball over on downs with two incomplete passes on 3rd- and 4th-and-6.

After another three-and-out by the Jaguars, it appeared the Giants would get one more desperate chance to win the game with 45 seconds left, but punt returner Kaelin Clay muffed the punt and Jacksonville recovered to secure the win.

Offensively, the Giants were limited to 15 first downs and 324 total yards. Manning finished the game 23-of-37 for 224 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception that was returned for a touchdown. He was sacked twice and hit six times. His leading target was Beckham who caught 11 of 15 passes thrown in his direction for 111 yards (and 45 yards of pass interference penalties). Barkley rushed 18 times for 106 yards, but the bulk of that came on the 68-yard touchdown run.

Defensively, the Giants held Jacksonville to 17 first downs and 305 total yards. The Giants only picked up one sack and hit Bortles four times. Jenkins defensed two passes and picked off Bortles.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

Inactive for the New York Giants were linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), linebacker Tae Davis (hamstring), quarterback Kyle Lauletta, center Evan Brown, center/guard Spencer Pulley, cornerback Michael Jordan, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Running back Wayne Gallman left the game with a knee injury, but said he was fine after the game.

Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available at Giants.com:


Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media on Monday.

Sep 072018
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (August 9, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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Game Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Giants, September 9, 2018

The prevailing opinion by non-partisan pundits is this game will be a one-sided mismatch. And why wouldn’t they think that? The New York Giants are coming off a 3-13 disaster that saw them battle the Cleveland Browns for title of worst team in the NFL. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a cocky, up-and-coming team that led the New England Patriots 20-10 in the 4th quarter of the 2017 AFC Championship Game.

The good news for the Giants is that in this league, the landscape often changes at the drop of a hat. While the Jaguars are a more fundamentally-sound team because of their strength in the trenches and depth across the board, the Giants appear to have some of the game’s premier game-changers.

This game looks like the classic confrontation of the more staid, methodical, physical team versus the flashy, big-play-capable one. What these types of contests usually come down to is the ability or inability of the flashier team to erase the more physical team’s advantages by quick-strike scoring plays. In other words, Eli Manning, Odell Beckham, and Saquon Barkley have to prove they are worth the huge chunk of salary cap space they are being paid. Jacksonville is the better team across the board, but these three can be the great equalizer.


  • LB Olivier Vernon (ankle – out)
  • LB Tae Davis (hamstring – out)
  • LB Lorenzo Carter (illness – probable)

What is the one thing that all defensive coordinators dream of? The ability to control the line of scrimmage with just your front four. Giants’ fans are well aware of the benefits of this type of defense (see the 2007 defensive front). And that’s the huge advantage that Jacksonville has and the primary reason why they are so good (2nd overall in 2017, 1st against the pass).

“It starts with the guys up front,” said Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula on Thursday. “They can be very disruptive up front in both the run game and the pass game. They’ve had a bunch of sacks last year just with rushing four people, and then everything else fits off that. They’re very talented in the back seven as well – guys that can cover man to man, they’re fast when they’re in zone, they get to the ball very fast, and there’s a lot of guys that can get to the ball quickly. They’re really good. There’s a reason why they went as far as they did last year.”

Eli Manning, Odell Beckham, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard. That’s some arsenal. But those guys may not be able to do their thing if the Jacksonville front four eats the lunch of a completely rebuilt offensive line. That offensive line struggled in the preseason to create room for running backs and had enough mental and physical breakdowns in pass protection to cause some to wonder how much a problem is this unit going to be yet again?

The Jaguars are very good and deep across the entire front, but the match-up between DE Calais Campbell (14.5 sacks in 2017) and RT Ereck Flowers has to be particularly alarming. Jacksonville’s coaches also undoubtedly noted the issues New York had in picking up stunts and blitzes up the middle in the preseason. But again, the Jaguars probably won’t have to blitz much. Defensive tackles Malik Jackson (8 sacks) and Marcell Dareus are quite capable enough of presenting problems straight up for Will Hernandez, Jon Halapio, and former Jaguar Patrick Omameh. What about the left side? Even Nate Solder will have his hands full with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (12 sacks). Jacksonville accrued 55 sacks as a team in 2017 (twice as many as the Giants).

So if you’re Jacksonville, your game plan is pretty obvious: count on your front four to win their match-ups with the Giants’ offensive front, and have your back seven concentrate on Beckham, Engram, Shepard, and Barkley out of the backfield. What makes matters worse for the Giants is that Jacksonville has arguably the top corner in football in Jalen Ramsey – a guy who believes he can take Beckham out all by himself. What about Jacksonville’s linebacking unit? Weakside linebacker Telvin Smith was an All-Pro in 2017. They are strong at all three levels. One of the reasons they are so good is they get teams in 3rd-and-long, and then they are near tops in the NFL in 3rd-down defense.

So what do the Giants do? I would run, run, run the ball with Barkley. Jacksonville may have been 2nd in defense and 1st in pass defense in 2017, but they were also 21st in run defense and 23rd in yards per carry allowed (4.3). Running the ball will do a number of things for New York: (1) help keep Eli Manning clean and calm, (2) take pressure off of the offensive line, (3) keep the clock moving, (5) make 3rd-down situations more tolerable, and (6) enable Barkley – the guy the Giants passed over a number of quarterbacks for – to do his thing. Jacksonville had so little tape on Barkley that they had to go back and watch Penn State highlights. Run the ball. When you do pass, start off with the short- to intermediate-passing game to Barkley, Engram, and Shepard. Let Odell be the decoy early. Keep the chains moving and hope Barkley can break some big runs or catches (keep an eye on that wheel route). Most importantly, don’t turn the ball over. Jacksonville was 2nd in the NFL in 2017 in forcing turnovers (21 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries). But at some point, if the Giants are going to win this game, Odell has to do his thing – either a big run after a short catch or a deep ball. The Giants will need a big-play score or two to win this game as they are not likely to consistently drive the field against this defense.

This another easy breakdown. Everyone knows Jacksonville’s strengths and weaknesses on offense. It all starts and ends with stopping the run. Jacksonville was the NFL’s #1 running team in 2017 with over 140 yards per game. Workhouse running back Leonard Fournette’s stats are good (1,040 yards rushing in 13 games), but his yards-per-carry (3.9) doesn’t stand out. The thing is that Jacksonville sticks with the run. They attempt (and often succeed) in grinding you down by simply keeping at it. They literally run the ball half of all snaps – that’s as old school as you can get in today’s league. And just when you think you have a drive stopped, their quarterback Blake Bortles (322 yards rushing) will keep drives alive with his feet.

The good news for the Giants is that their strength is stopping the run. Jacksonville is big and talented up front. And better than last year as they swapped out Patrick Omameh for the guard the Giants heavily pursued in free agency (left guard Andrew Norwell). But the Giants are big and strong up front too. The Giants must, absolutely must, stop the run and put Bortles in difficult down-and-distance situations. Because the weakness is the quarterback throwing the ball. Note Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher’s emphasis on defending the screen pass (the #4 and #5 leading receivers on the team in 2017 were running backs):

“We’ve got a great opponent this week, a team that can run the football, as we all know – 141-ish yards a game a year ago, a team that will max protect and take some shots down the field,” said Bettcher on Thursday. “They’re going to get (Bortles) on the perimeter with some boots and some movement passes. Then, the thing we’ve got to do a great job of is the screen game. We’ve got to be aware of when the screens are coming, whether it’s first (down), second down, third down, and be aware of some of the set-ups for some of those things. With the receiver (Marquis Lee) out, it’s going to be – whether it’s (Dede Westbrook), (Donte Moncrief), whoever it is that’s their guy that they’re going to try to hit down the field, those are the guys that we’re going to have to be aware of and just adjust during the first part of the game.”

The Jaguars won’t go away from what got them so far last year. They will run the ball. If New York can get them in 3rd-and-5 or longer, the the pressure will be on Bortles to pick up the first down with his feet or arm. Containment – something of an issue for Giants’ defenses in recent years – will be critically important. Keep Bortles in the pocket. Bortles probably will avoid Janoris Jenkins and focus his efforts against the Giants’ linebackers in coverage and Eli Apple. Bettcher can and will attempt to unnerve Bortles by bringing the kitchen sink after him. In response, the Jaguars will max protect and take their shots against Apple and the nickel corner. This year, the Giants will live and die by the blitz. Not having Olivier Vernon, the team’s best pass rusher, available will hurt.

Oh boy! Who knows what we will get here? The special teams coordinator has cancer so Tom Quinn still is in the picture. The return game looked decent in the preseason but both returners were cut and Kaelin Clay was just picked off of waivers. And Shurmur is making noise that he won’t be afraid to have Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley return punts and kickoffs, respectively. Misdirection or will Shurmur take more chances? Aldrick Rosas had a strong preseason but now has to prove he can keep it up when it counts.

Head Coach Pat Shurmur on the state of his team: “It’s a journey. This first game is the first game in that journey. We’ve done a lot of work, there’s a lot of water under the bridge. We feel good about our roster, we feel good about the coaches, the interaction with player personnel and administration, the communication and the way we communicate behind the scenes. We want to put a product on the field that our fans are proud to root for.”

The problem in truly evaluating this game or this season is we really don’t know the mettle and true abilities of this Giants’ coaching staff and roster. This could be a very bad, average, or maybe even good team. Anyone who says he or she knows for sure is just bloviating at this point. Coaching makes a huge difference in today’s NFL. Shurmur is a retread who was fired in Cleveland, but many don’t believe he got a fair shake there. Is he the real deal or just another placeholder? Does Eli Manning – who is coming off two down seasons – still have it? Odell Beckham is a walking highlight reel but so far that hasn’t translated into many wins. Was Saquon Barkley really worth the #2 pick in the draft? Will the offensive line once again be the team’s Achilles’ heel? Can Bettcher really trust guys like Eli Apple, Curtis Riley, and B.W. Webb enough to bring the kitchen sink? The Giants’ special teams were undoubtedly the worst in the NFL last year across the board. Can they at least reach middle-of-the-pack status? So many questions.

As for this game, the Giants can steal a win here if they protect the football and Beckham and Barkley can hit the home run. But this is a very difficult opponent to start the season with.

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Eli Manning and Shane Vereen, New York Giants (August 22, 2015)

Eli Manning and Shane Vereen – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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New York Giants 22 – Jacksonville Jaguars 12

Game Overview

Like most preseason games, there was good and there was bad. But the big take-away from this game is the continued mounting injury situation that is likely to impact the 2015 season. Some of the players who have been lost for the season probably were not going to make the team such as wide receiver Marcus Harris (knee) and safety Justin Currie (ankle). But the Giants have now lost two safeties who were receiving first-team reps in Mykkele Thompson (Achilles) and Bennett Jackson (knee). This is in addition to weird losses of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (hand/arm) and left tackle Will Beatty (pectoral).

Heading into the second preseason game, the Giants were missing 18 players on the roster due to injury. They came out with six more injured, two done for the season and fingers crossed on Jon Beason (knee sprain). They’ll get most of these players back, but the hits have been already significant for a thin team projected by many to struggle.

And the coaching staff have made two decisions in the preseason that have come back to bite them in the ass. The first was to play wide receiver Rueben Randle last week in Cincinnati despite him missing the week of practice before the game with knee tendinitis. That set him back. And despite the dwindling numbers at safety, it should have been either Justin Halley or Brandon Meriweather in the game late in the 4th quarter against the Jaguars and not Bennett Jackson, who had a good chance to be the team’s starter on opening night against Dallas.

Offensive Overview

On the surface, it was another disappointing performance for the first-team unit. With Eli Manning at quarterback, the first team played three drives and the results were 76 yards, five first downs, two punts, and a 51-yard field goal. But it was the passing game, especially quarterback Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, who let the Giants down early. Meanwhile, those supposed areas of concern – the offensive line and the running game – showed promise. If one believes that this was only a hiccup for Manning and Beckham, and that the healthy return of Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle will make a difference, then there were some positive developments on Saturday despite the lack of production.

The second- and third-team offensive units performed decently, scoring on their first four drives of the second half as the Giants pulled away.


I don’t really worry about Eli Manning, but if we are going to fairly evaluate his performance, this was not a good effort. Yes, he was the victim of some short-arming by Beckham and drops by Beckham and Preston Parker. He also had a couple of passes batted or tipped at the line of scrimmage. But Manning’s accuracy was off when pressured. The word coming into training camp was that Manning was primed for a huge year with renewed arm strength and building confidence in Ben McAdoo’s system. But that hasn’t translated yet to the field. If the Giants are going to make the playoff this year, Eli Manning will have to carry them there like he did in 2011. And he has to make plays when not given picture-perfect pass protection. We’re not seeing that level of play yet.

The Giants tried to get the passing game going early as Manning threw deep to Beckham without success on their first two plays. The first five plays were pass plays where Manning was 1-for-4 with two tipped passes. Manning continued to target Beckham and Parker without success on the two ensuing drives. Manning finished the game a paltry 4-of-14 for 46 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

Ryan Nassib, New York Giants (August 22, 2015)

Ryan Nassib – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Ryan Nassib played much better this week, finishing the game 19-of-35 for 217 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. That said, he did make some questionable decisions, missing some open receivers and throwing into coverage. Nassib’s mobility helped to extend some plays, including clutch moments to keep drives alive, but he also has to be careful not to run too soon when he has decent pass protection. That said, Nassib made some excellent throws on the run. He has a fastball and was particularly accurate on a few slants, including the touchdown pass to Dwayne Harris. Ex-Jaguar quarterback Mark Brunell was very impressed with Nassib during the game.

Running Backs

The stats seem a bit misleading as Giants running backs only gained 83 yards on 24 carries (3.4 yards per carry), but the big three of Rashad Jennings (1 carry for 4 yards), Andre Williams (3 carries for 13 yards), and Shane Vereen (3 carries for 13 yards) flashed and averaged over four yards per carry as a group. Williams made a nice, instinctive cut on his 11-yard run off the left side. He later had a very physical inside run in the 2nd quarter. Williams performed well in pass protection. Vereen caught one pass for 14 yards on 3rd-and-10 – a perfect example of why he was signed.

Orleans Darkwa also continues to impress, carrying the ball six times for 25 yards. Akeem Hunt had four carries for 10 yards, with a long run of seven yards. Long-shot Kenneth Harper had seven carries for 18 yards with a quality 9-yard run to help run out the clock. Darkwa had one catch for nine yards and Hunt two receptions for nine yards. Even fullbacks Henry Hynoski and Nikita Whitlock got into the act catching the ball as they each had one reception for five yards. Hunt missed a blitz pick-up late in the first half.

Wide Receivers

To be frank, “superstar” Odell Beckham played like crap. He made a business decision or two on deep throws where he short-armed the ball. He also had one ball sail through his hands and later dropped a pass that would have kept a drive alive and put the Giants at the 5-yard line. He got frustrated and took a cheap shot at a Jaguars defender. Overall, he was targeted five times with no catches.

With Victor Cruz (calf) and Rueben Randle out, Preston Parker started. Manning’s pass on Parker’s first opportunity was too low. But he later dropped a perfectly-thrown back-shoulder throw on 3rd-and-9. In the second quarter, Parker caught one key pass for 14 yards on 3rd-and-8 from Manning.

Corey Washington had two catches for 17 yards but also could not come down with a well-contested ball on 3rd-and-14. He did have a 6-yard reception on 3rd-and-3 in the third quarter.

More impressive were James Jones (5 catches for 83 yards), Geremy Davis (4 catches for 43 yards), and Dwayne Harris (2 catches for 35 yards and a touchdown). Jones was the best wide receiver on the field on Saturday night. He had two catches for 36 yards on the drive right before halftime (though he also dropped a ball too on this possession). Jones caught an 18-yarder on 3rd-and-4 in the 3rd quarter and an 13-yard catch on 3rd-and-6 in the 4th quarter.

Harris was flagged for a bogus holding call on a well-executed 19-yard screen pass to Orleans Darkwa. He did a nice job of catching a low throw despite contact on his touchdown reception.

Right now Jones, Davis, and Harris three would be my favorites to make the team with Parker and Washington being cut.

Tight Ends

Larry Donnell caught three passes for 29 yards. But some old troubling signs appeared in his game. He lost the ball after one big third down catch that originally was ruled an incomplete pass. Ball security Donnell! On the same drive, he had a high throw from Manning sail through his hands. Also, Donnell took another awkward quasi-somersault fall when being tackled. Donnell had a nice block on linebacker Paul Posluszny on Shane Vereen’s 10-yard run.

Jerome Cunningham was targeted twice with no catches, but he did draw a pass interference penalty. Daniel Fells got a good block on Darkwa’s 16-yard run early in the 3rd quarter.

Offensive Line

All things considered, the coaching staff has to be somewhat pleased with the progress the offensive line is making. However, there are just enough rough spots – particularly on the right side of the line – to keep the coaches and quarterbacks nervous.

Rookie left tackles – particularly ones who have serious technique issues – usually are disasters their initial season. But Ereck Flowers continues to hold his own (no pun intended) and improve. There were a couple of plays where his man got around him and pressured the quarterback, but he’s been surprisingly adequate in pass protection while flashing those advertised run-blocking mauling skills. The left side of the line created some big holes for the running backs, though guard Justin Pugh missed a block on an Andre Williams run that lost yardage in the second quarter. Flowers and Pugh also had some issues on a stunt late in the first half.

The right side of the offensive line hasn’t been the disaster predicted thus far. Marshall Newhouse did an adequate job pass protection for most of the first half. However, his pass blocking deteriorated late in the second quarter when he gave up one sack and a few pressures.

John Jerry continues to have some issues at right guard. He gave up a couple of pass pressures on New York’s second drive. And if Jerry (or Odell Beckham) had been able to take out the defensive back who made the tackle, Vereen would have scored from 44 yards out on his 10-yard run in the 1st quarter.

Geoff Schwartz entered the game in the second quarter at right guard. He was more steady than Jerry at that position. However, Schwartz had some issues when playing right tackle both in pass protection (bull-rushed on a 3rd-and-5 incomplete pass, failure to pick up stunt on 3rd-and-14) and the running game (got stood up and pushed back on one right-side run). The Giants also played Schwartz at right guard and Jerry at right tackle.

Dallas Reynolds saw a lot of snaps at center. Emmett Clearly and Adam Gettis formed the left side of the second-team line again. When Gettis briefly left with a stinger, Brett Jones played at left guard. These guys played pretty well although there was one run on the left side blown up by penetration against Cleary and Jones. Gettis was flagged with a holding penalty on running play that he got stood up on.

Another offensive line combination had Bobby Hart at right tackle and Bret Jones at right guard. Jones seems to lack size and power. Hart has both, but the same pass rusher who gave Marshall Newhouse some problems – DE Chris Smith – also gave Hart issues on one pass rush. Eric Herman later replaced Jones at right guard, but he immediately gave up a pass pressure on the play where Nassib did a fantastic job of avoiding a sack and getting the ball to Dwayne Harris for a 27-yard gain. Herman gave up another pressure later on this possession.

Guys like Michael Bamiro and Sean Donnelly didn’t enter the contest until late in the 4th quarter.

Defensive Overview

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been an offensively-challenged team, yet the Giants had issues getting them off the field on their first three drives of the game as Jacksonville had drives of 10, 10, and 12 plays – each resulting in field goals. The first-team defense still looks soft against the run and opposing starting quarterbacks are having a far too easy time completing passes. Sometimes it looks like a 7-on-7 drill out there with very little pass rush and soft coverage. That doesn’t bode well when the Giants face high-powered, multi-dimensional offenses like the Cowboys and Eagles.

The second- and third-teamers were clearly superior to the Jacksonville offensive counterparts as the Jaguars only gained three first downs in the first half after the first three drives, and only one first down in the second half until late in the game.

I made this point last week, but I’ll make it again – Steve Spagnuolo’s blitz packages are much better than Perry Fewell’s. It’s a night and day difference.

Defensive Line

The starting defensive line had Cullen Jenkins at left end, Markus Kuhn at left tackle, Johnathan Hankins at right tackle, and Robert Ayers at right end. Jenkins didn’t play well at end. As would be expected, he looked sluggish rushing the passer from that spot. But somewhat unexpectedly, he had a lot of issues defending the run there too. I’m not sure what the thinking is about having him play out there, especially in the preseason when guys like Damontre Moore, Kerry Wynn, and Owamagbe Odighizuwa should be seeing some first-team practice reps. Jenkins did get good pressure on the quarterback rushing from DT on 3rd-and-20.

Ayers was pretty invisible as a pass rusher and didn’t stick out in run defense either.

Kuhn should not be starting. Period. In fact, he should be fighting for a roster spot. The coaching staff is blind if they can’t see this. Lost in the fan criticism of Kuhn is that Hankins hasn’t been making as much noise as was expected from a guy who was supposed to be a budding Pro Bowl candidate. Hankins did not play well on Saturday night. The Giants starters are not playing tough up the gut right now. Hankins needs to kick it into gear and Kenrick Ellis and Jay Bromley should be splitting Kuhn’s first-team reps.

As soon as Bromley came into the game (against starting Jaguars offensive linemen), he made a play by shooting through the line and hitting the back in the backfield. In the second half, Ellis and Bromley really gummed things up inside against Jacksonville back-ups. Ellis got a couple of decent pass pressures on the quarterback.

Damontre Moore flashed on the pass rush with two sacks, but he still has issues at the point-of-attack on running plays. And another team took advantage of the defense’s young ends by running an end-around to his side on a play where he bit on the fake. This showed up too on play-action fake on a roll-out pass that Kerry Wynn bit too hard on in the 2nd quarter.

Odighizuwa batted down a pass at the line and also gave the Jaguar tackles some problems with his bull-rush. He is very quick off the ball too.

Jon Beason, New York Giants (August 22, 2015)

Jon Beason – © USA TODAY Sports Images


Before he left the game, an excited Jon Beason’s feet were pumping and he was correctly reading running plays. He was hurt by a defensive line in front of him that was getting pushed back however. Despite being picked, Beason did a good job of recovering and saving a touchdown on a pass to a receiver coming out of the backfield.

J.T. Thomas had a big night against his former team. He disrupted an otherwise well-blocked run on the Jaguars’ first drive. Thomas looked fast blitzing the quarterback and was rewarded with a sack/forced fumble (he also missed a tackle on another sack opportunity). Thomas later read and destroyed a screen pass for an 8-yard loss.

Kennard recovered a fumble. The good news about him is he doesn’t look completely out of water in pass coverage.

Unai’ Unga (6 tackles, 1 pass defense) was very active for the second week in a row. He did a nice job of shooting the gap and tackling the runner for no gain on a stretch play. I am hoping the Giants can find a roster spot for him. Victor Butler’s penetration on a running play may have been a factor in a Jaguars’ running back losing his concentration and fumbling the football.

Defensive Backs

Surprisingly the Jaguars took a number of deep shots at Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Not surprisingly, these plays were not a success for Jacksonville. Rodgers-Cromartie got picked (possibly illegally) on a 3rd-and-2 short crossing pass that picked up 36 yards in the first quarter. He was fortunate that his man who was open dropped the ball on a post route (Bennett Jackson seemed to misread the play here too).

As he has been all summer, cornerback Trevin Wade (who started for the injured Prince Amukamara) was up and down. Wade gave up a couple of first-down catches early. But he had good coverage on a deep shot down the middle. Wade seemed to be playing way off the ball, allowing too much space underneath.

Trumaine McBride, Mike Harris, and Josh Gordy played decently against Jacksonville’s struggling offensive reserves. McBride had good coverage on a deep pass late in the 2nd quarter but grabbed the receiver with his left arm before the ball arrived and was flagged for a 29-yard pass interference penalty. Harris also got flagged with a 5-yard defensive holding call on 2nd-and-8. The Giants corners were aggressive against the run on Saturday.

Brandon Meriweather, New York Giants (August 22, 2015)

Brandon Meriweather – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Bennett Jackson missed a tackle on 3rd-and-8 that would have prevented a first down. Jeromy Miles was pretty quiet…I’m not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing. He should have turned and intercepted the ball on the play where McBride was flagged for interference. Miles also missed a tackle near the line on a 12-yard run late in the 2nd quarter.

Brandon Meriweather looked vulnerable in deep coverage as a Jaguars receiver got behind him on one deep effort that fell incomplete.

Special Teams Overview

Steve Weatherford has not been punting well this preseason. He’s over-punting in situations where the Giants could down a punt inside the 20. He also isn’t showing much directional ability. His net on three punts was 36 yards.

Josh Brown, on the other hand, did well. He nailed kicks of 51, 43, 53, 37, and 28 yards. He did miss a 46-yarder but a penalty on the Jaguars wiped out that miss.

Giants continue to struggle on punt returns with Dwayne Harris returning two for seven yards and Preston Parker two for three yards. Akeem Hunt returned two kickoffs, each for 24 yards. Derrick Johnson had one return for 21 yards.

Punt coverage was good as the Jaguars only returned two punts for six yards. Kickoff coverage was not as solid as the Giants gave up returns of 42 and 35 yards.

(Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Giants, August 22, 2015)
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New York Giants (August 22, 2015)

New York Giants – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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New York Giants 22 – Jacksonville Jaguars 12: The New York Giants defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 22-12 in the team’s second preseason game of the summer on Saturday night at MetLife Stadium. The Giants improved their preseason record to 1-1.

Despite the victory, the Giants received more bad news on the injury front. Counting the two players already on Injured Reserve, a team missing 16 players coming into the game, including eight defensive backs, was hit hard again by injuries. The most serious initially appears to be to safety Justin Currie who fractured his right ankle. But there are fears that Bennett Jackson, who started the game at safety, may have torn the ACL in his right knee. Also leaving the game early were linebacker Jon Beason (knee sprain), linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion), and linebacker Tony Johnson (knee sprain). Offensive guard Adam Gettis (stinger) also left the game but returned.

The final score was misleading in that Jacksonville’s starters out-played New York for most of the first half. The problems on offense were in the passing game as quarterback Eli Manning (4-of-14 for 46 yards) was off the mark and he was not helped out by wide receivers such as Odell Beckham (no catches despite five throws in his direction) and Preston Parker (one catch on four passes thrown his way) who short-armed or dropped passes. The starting offense with Manning in the game only gained 76 yards and five first downs on three drives. The good news on offense was that the line and running backs looked good. Place kicker Josh Brown made field goals of 51 and 43 yards in the first half.

Defensively, the starting defense once again had issues stopping the opposition as Jacksonville’s offense put together three straight scoring drives of 10 plays or more to start the contest. The Jaguars had to settle for three field goals however.

The Giants dominated the second half of the game as New York scored on four straight scoring drives to take a 22-9 advantage until late in the 4th quarter. The only touchdown came on an 8-yard throw from quarterback Ryan Nassib to wide receiver Dwayne Harris. Nassib finished the night 19-of-35 for 217 yards. Brown also added three more field goals, including from 53, 37, and 28 yards out. The Jaguars only gained one first down in the second half until their final drive that resulted in a 55-yard field goal with two minutes to play.

The leading receivers for the Giants were wideouts James Jones (five catches for 83 yards) and Geremy Davis (four catches for 43 yards). Running back Orleans Darkwa carried the ball six times for 25 yards while the top backs of Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, and Shane Vereen totaled a combined 30 yards on seven carries.

Defensively, defensive end Damontre Moore accrued two sacks while linebacker J.T. Thomas had one sack that also caused a fumble that linebacker Devon Kennard recovered.

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

Post-Game Notes: Not playing were wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf strain), wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis), wide receiver Julian Talley (toe), right tackle Brandon Mosley (back), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), defensive end George Selvie (knee), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (unknown), cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion), cornerback Chandler Fenner (unknown), safety Landon Collins (knee sprain), safety Nat Berhe (calf), and safety Cooper Taylor (toe) did not practice.

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Articles on New York Giants Wide Receivers:

Article on LT Ereck Flowers: Giants massive rookie LT Flowers not about small talk by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on DE Kerry Wynn: From undrafted rookie to Giants starter? Kerry Wynn eager to show he can make Big Blue’s defense better by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Article on CB Trevin Wade: Giants’ long shot making waves by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on S Landon Collins: Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina ripped through Landon Collins’ life, but the experience didn’t derail the young Giants safety by Kevin Armstrong of The New York Daily News

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Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (November 30, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Giants, August 22, 2015

The second preseason game is more serious than the first. The starters will play a bit longer and coaches want to see their players beginning to round into form a bit more. That said, winning the game takes a backseat to getting quality practice reps and working on areas of weakness.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin would like to see much more productivity out of his passing offense than he did last week but that will be tough with Victor Cruz and Rueban Randle once again on the sideline. “Everybody wants to talk about our passing game,” lamented Coughlin earlier this week. “Unless we get out there and practice together, what passing game?” While the offensive line was not the huge issue that some made it out to be last week, the team will be looking for fewer individual breakdowns that sabotaged a number of running plays.

Where the Giants really need to show marked improvement is on defense. The starting defense played horribly against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the back-ups were not all that much better. A Giants defense that has made it mission #1 to stop the run gave up 225 yards rushing in Cincinnati.

With an extensive injury list already, particularly in the secondary, keep your fingers crossed the Giants come out of this game relatively healthy. Not counting safety Mykkele Thompson who is on Injured Reserve, the Giants will be down six defensive backs heading into this contest.


  • WR Victor Cruz (calf – will not play)
  • WR Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis – will not play)
  • WR Julian Talley (toe – will not play)
  • OG/OT Brandon Mosley (back – will not play)
  • LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP and will not play)
  • DE George Selvie (knee – will not play)
  • LB Jonathan Casillas  (unknown – will not play)
  • CB Prince Amukamara (groin – will not play)
  • CB Chykie Brown (knee – will not play)
  • CB Jayron Hosley (concussion – will not play)
  • CB Chandler Fenner (injured in practice on Thursday – will not play)
  • S Landon Collins (knee – will not play)
  • S Nat Berhe (calf – will not play)
  • S Cooper Taylor (toe – will not play)

First Down
How will the offensive line perform?
We asked this same question last week. The results in Cincinnati were mixed. The first-team offensive line pass protected reasonably well although their performance was aided Eli Manning getting rid of the ball quickly. This week the Giants focused more on their downfield passing attack and Eli may need to hold the ball a bit longer. And the Giants certainly want more consistency and productivity in running the ball with their main backs (Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Shane Vereen). Fans will be focusing on left tackle Ereck Flowers, right guard John Jerry, right tackle Marshall Newhouse, and right guard/tackle Geoff Schwartz in particular. Schwartz won’t start, but he should receive a decent amount of playing time.

Second Down
Can the defense stop the run?
We asked this same question last week and the answer was definitely not. The team gave up an unacceptable 225 rushing yards. The Giants not only had issues at the point-of-attack, but the younger defenders were often fooled by misdirection. Jacksonville wants to run the ball so this will be a good test. The Giants must determine who should be starting at defensive tackle alongside Johnathan Hankins in the base defense.

Third Down
Who will do well or poorly at cornerback?
Same question as last week. The good news is that Prince Amukamara (groin) will probably play. The bad news is the Giants are still really thin at corner with injuries to Chykie Brown, Jayron Hosley, and possibly Chandler Fenner. The problem remains for New York – after Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the team has nothing but question marks. Trevin Wade has a nose for the football but he also gives up big plays. Trumaine McBride left last week’s game early with a hamstring issue; he needs to step it up. Other candidates for serious playing time include Mike Harris and Josh Gordy. All will see serious playing time in the second half given the injury situation. Will any take advantage of the opportunity?

Fourth Down
How will the new safeties perform?
Broken record – same question as last week. Landon Collins is missing valuable practice and playing time. Mykkele Thompson – who was receiving some first-team reps – is now gone for the season. Nat Berhe has yet to practice or play this summer. Now Cooper Taylor is hurt again. The starters for this game will likely be Jeromy Miles and Bennett Jackson. Miles didn’t really distinguish himself last week and Jackson was up and down. The only others healthy enough to play are Justin Currie, Justin Halley, and newcomer Brandon Meriweather. It’s not a pretty situation.

Markus Kuhn
The coaches and players keep talking up Markus Kuhn, who started against the Bengals, but we have yet to see the improved performance on the playing field. To be fair to Kuhn, defensive tackles often do the dirty work and it’s difficult for them to flash. But one does expect a defender to make an obvious positive play once in a while against the run and pass. Jay Bromley and Kenrick Ellis played better last week – albeit against reserves. With the Giants unlikely to part ways with 3rd rounder Bromley this year, the final defensive tackle spot could be between Kuhn and Ellis. The Giants could possibly keep five defensive tackles, but even given that scenario, it would be extremely difficult for them to activate all five on game day. “The big guys, they set the tone,” Kuhn said. “We have to push back the offensive line, we have to set the new line of scrimmage.”

Marshall Newhouse
It seems like the Giants would like Newhouse to really take hold of the right tackle position, at least until Will Beatty returns in October. That way, Geoff Schwartz and John Jerry can battle it out at right guard with the hope that Schwartz moves Jerry to the bench. But the Giants are hedging their bets here by having Schwartz practice at both right guard and right tackle. Newhouse did not play poorly last week, but the spotlight remains on a player who was benched by his two previous teams. “I have confidence in Marshall, I’ve been around him at a different spot before, and he’s an athletic guy,” said Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo this week. “He’s a smart guy and I look forward to him growing in the offense.”

James Jones
Rueben Randle is having a disappointing summer. We haven’t heard much noise when he has practiced and he has missed most of the last two weeks with knee tendinitis. The assumption is that he is on the verge of a breakout season in his contract year, but if the Giants can’t count on him, there may be an opportunity here for someone to move past him on the depth chart. James Jones seems to be coming on. I wouldn’t be shocked if he makes a serious push to become the team’s new third receiver. “He was out of work for a little bit, he’s getting his football legs underneath him, the last two days of practice he’s stood out a little bit, and it’ll be exciting to see him over this next week get out there a perform,” said McAdoo this week.

Tom Coughlin (on the Jacksonville Jaguars): “This weekend will be an outstanding test because you have a team that’s trying to be very physical and wants to run the ball, has a good run defense, so it’ll be a good test.”

I’m not sure the Giants will satisfy their fans yet by looking like a well-oiled machine on Saturday night. Hopefully, the starting defense puts up a little resistance this week, but there could be issues with Jeromy Miles and Bennett Jackson as the starting safeties. And down six defensive backs, the secondary could be a problem all night, especially once Amukamara and DRC exit the game. The Giants may frustrate fans by trying to work on their running game against a good run defense, in other words, playing weakness against strength, but that’s the point of preseason. It also hurts that Cruz and Randle will not play. Don’t get too depressed! This is practice.

Apr 092015
New York Giants-New York Jets Preseason (August 24, 2013)

New York Giants vs. New York Jets – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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New York Giants 2015 Preseason Opponents Announced: The New York Giants 2015 preseason opponents have been announced. The Giants will face four AFC teams. Specific dates and times will be finalized at a later date.

  • August 13-17: at Cincinnati Bengals
  • August 20-24: Jacksonville Jaguars
  • August 27-30: New York Jets
  • September 3-4: at New England Patriots

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: How aggressive is Tom Coughlin when the Giants are facing 4th and 1? by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul and DT Jay Bromley: Giants defensive tackle Jay Bromley working out with Jason Pierre-Paul in Florida by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on CB/S Bennett Jackson: Giants coaches aren’t the first to think Bennett Jackson could make a quality safety by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

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