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John Mara, New York Giants (December 13, 2020)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports

JOHN MARA ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
New York Giants President and Chief Executive Officer John Mara addressed the media on Wednesday (video):

Opening Statement: Good morning everybody. Let me just start out by saying how proud I am of our staff, our entire organization and particularly our players for the way they handled this past season. The effort and patience and discipline and sacrifice that everybody went through, not seeing their families and all of the protocols that kept changing seemingly on a weekly basis. We were able to get through and play the whole season with relatively few bumps in the road, and that was no small feat.

In terms of the season itself, looking back a year ago, I can tell you that we’re very pleased with the selection that we made at head coach. I thought Joe (Judge) did a very good job considering what he had to deal with. When you think about it, here you have a brand new head coach at 38 years of age and look what he was asked to deal with: a pandemic, no offseason program, no minicamps, no preseason games, virtual meetings, protocols that kept changing, and he loses his best player in Week 2. I thought he showed great leadership and great adaptability. Nothing seemed to faze him during the year. If something had to change, he just made the change and went from there. I thought he showed real leadership, grit and determination the entire time. I thought he represented our franchise very well, the way I want our head coach to represent our franchise. I thought he established a great foundation and a great culture here. I know that culture word is overused, but I think it’s so important and I think we have the beginnings of a very good culture here. I also thought that he and Dave (Gettleman) worked very well together. All of our personnel decisions I thought improved significantly this year. They were able to agree on basically every decision that we made. I thought our draft was solid, our free agency moves were solid, and I think we have the foundation for something that could be very successful going forward.

Obviously, I’m not pleased with the number of games we won. I’m disappointed that we couldn’t do better than 6-10. But I do see progress in the building here. I think that the quality of people that we have in the locker room has improved a great deal. I think we have some great leaders down there. I think we’ve established a basis for a foundation that can have continued success going forward. I’m excited about the future of this team. I think the fact that we went 5-3 over the second half of the season gives me some reason for encouragement. I’m obviously disappointed we didn’t make the playoffs. We had every opportunity to do that only needing one more game, and we didn’t get that done. But I think what I wanted to see this year was some progress and some reason for some optimism going forward, and I did see that and that’s what I’m optimistic about what we can do in the future. With that, I’m happy to take whatever questions you have.

Q: Back in September, you didn’t want to put a win total on this season. You cited a vision that you wanted to create with Joe and obviously what you just said in your opening statement. I’m curious how much of it is a leap of faith compared to what you’ve done in the last couple of years following losing seasons? How much is it tangible? Is there tangible evidence that you’ve seen beyond the record that you could describe as to why you’re as confident in this season, maybe more so than you were in the last couple years?

A: I think it’s both of that. I think there’s always a certain leap of faith when you’re coming off a season when you only won six games. But just the quality of the players that we have in the locker room, the fact that they all seemed to buy in to Joe’s philosophy and Joe’s message. The effort was really good all year long, the discipline was really good all year long. I just think there’s a different feeling in the building now then there has been in a number of years, and I think that’s why I’m optimistic going forward.

Q: You didn’t actually come out and make an announcement today that Dave Gettleman is coming back as general manager. Is that because that was not a decision that you made, it was just something that was naturally happening? Why is Dave coming back for another year as general manager?

A: He is coming back if you want a formal announcement about that. I don’t think there was any particular reason why we didn’t make any formal announcement. I think the way Dave and Joe worked together, I thought our personnel decisions were really sound this year. I feel better about our roster than I have in years, and I think the two of them working together have started the building process with something that can have sustained success going forward. I just didn’t think that making a change at this point in time was something that was going to be beneficial. I said they worked really well together, and I’m really pleased with the players that they brought in here. I think that gives us a chance going forward.

Q: Is there any change to the structure at all? Or this is the same structure that it’s always been? There was some speculation of Joe’s going to have a lot more power now or something.

A: It’s the same structure it’s always been. The general manager and head coach collaborate on personnel decisions. What I’ve been really pleased about is, now they haven’t agreed 100 percent of the time. My father used to have a saying, ‘if you both agree all the time, then I don’t need both of you.’ I haven’t had to intercede on one occasion to break any ties. They managed to talk it through and work it out, showed good communication and at the end of the day, the decision that gets made is the New York Giants’ decision. It’s not Joe’s decision or Dave’s decision. They collaborate really well together, and that’s one of the reasons why, again, I’m optimistic about our future.

Q: I know you’re happy here with the progress and optimistic about the future, but my question is how long do the fans need to wait for a winning team to emerge?

A: Hopefully not too much longer because I can’t wait too much longer quite frankly. I’m tired of sitting up here at the end of the year trying to explain what went wrong and why I feel optimistic about the future. I want to do it after a winning season. I do believe that we have the right people in the building, we have a much better locker room than we’ve ever had before, and I think there’s reason for optimism. I feel good about the way the personnel decisions were made this year. We have some opportunities now in the draft and in free agency to improve the roster even further. I think if our fans continue to stay patient with us, that they will see a winning team pretty soon.

Q: I have two questions related to the NFC East. The first is did you reach out to Eagles ownership at all, either before Joe said what he said or after about how they handled their last game? The second one is in evaluating your season, did you have to take into account the reason you were playing meaningful games in December was the rest of the division struggled so much? You guys would have been four games out of first in any other division.

A: The answer to your first question is no, I did not reach out to the Eagles organization either before or after. The reason we didn’t make the playoffs is we didn’t win enough games. We had to win one more game to get into the playoffs. That’s on us. We can’t blame that on anybody else. I’m very conscious of where the division was this year, what the final record was. But I think you’ll see a much stronger division next year. Listen, we didn’t win enough games, but I do feel like we’re making progress. Some people may dispute that, and time will tell if I’m right or not. But I believe very strongly we did make enough progress to warrant staying the course with the people we have in the building.

Q: I have two questions also. The first is what was the season like for you watching games in empty stadiums and in your empty stadium?

A: It was a very strange feeling, and not a good one and not one I hope to repeat. Just coming into our stadium and not feeling any energy from the crowd I think was pretty difficult. Hopefully that’s not going to be the case next year. It was an eerie feeling each week walking into, really every stadium you’d walk into, even those that had limited capacity. It just didn’t feel the same. It’s just not the same having your fans there to support you. I think the players feed off that energy, and not having that I think hurt us this year.

Q: My second question is Joe has obviously expressed his conviction about Daniel (Jones) as the quarterback moving forward. Do you share that and why?

A: I do share that. I think Daniel before he got hurt was playing really well during that winning streak that we had. Then he got hurt, I think it was in Cincinnati, and then he wasn’t quite the same for the next few weeks. I thought he played very well this past Sunday, and also played well in the Baltimore game. Our coaches, all of them, are very high on Daniel, and I feel the same way. I think he has what it takes to lead us to where we want to go.

Q: I just wanted to circle back to the decision with Dave real quick. I understand you say you’re seeing progress with him and Joe, but what do you say to fans who say in his third year, you guys won six games, then in three years, you won 15 and they just feel that’s not enough progress?

A: I can understand that and there’s no defending the record. There’s no defending that at all. We haven’t won enough games. But listen, we made some miscalculations in 2018 with some of our personnel decisions. But I think the last two years, particularly this past year, we’ve seen significant improvement. I just felt like to break that up now and bring in somebody new from the outside was not going to be beneficial for us. I think Dave and Joe work very well together. Our personnel decisions I think were very sound, and I have every reason to think that will be the case going forward.

Q: You mentioned 2018, this notion has kind of been out there that there was a mandate from ownership that you had to make one more run with Eli (Manning). Is that true?

A: That’s absolute nonsense. We have never made any such orders or directions whatnot. I want the general manager and the coach to agree on the roster and the players that should be on the roster. I’ll give my opinion, but I want them to have a conviction about it going forward. Listen, we definitely made some miscalculations in a number of areas in 2018. But it was never any direction from ownership one way or another.

Q: Is there any kind of contract extension going on with Dave, or are you leaving his contract situation as is?

A: I don’t comment on people’s contracts and how much longer they have or anything. I’m not going to start by doing that now.

Q: If you consider this year progress, then what is your barometer for progress for Dave as general manager and for your team in 2021?

A: Well, I’d like to see our team win more games. I’d like to see us get back into the playoffs, but I’m not ever going to set a minimum number of games that we have to win or make any kind of determination like that. Again, I want to feel at the end of next year that we’ve taken a significant step forward. It’s not another six-win season or something like that. We need to win more games. But I’m not going to give you a required minimum.

Q: How did you weigh or count the facts that mistakes that Dave has made as GM, including DeAndre Baker, Golden Tate, I’m not going to list all of them, but do you connect those mistakes with your 6-10 record this year from the previous two years? Why do you not think that’s an indictment of the general manager?

A: You used the word indictment. We made some miscalculations in 2018, and I think we, to a certain extent, paid for that this year by not having some of those players available. No question about it. I thought in 2019, things got a little bit better. Certainly, this past offseason, I thought the personnel decisions that we made, both in the draft and in free agency, were significantly better. I like the combination that we have here right now. I didn’t see any reason to break that up.

Q: How much did you even contemplate making a change at general manager?

A: I really didn’t contemplate that. Listen, when you go through a season, any season, your feelings change from week to week depending on how you’re doing. I certainly didn’t feel very good midway through the season when we were sitting there at 1-7. I kept thinking that I’m seeing a team that’s practicing hard, I’m seeing a good attitude out there, nobody’s quitting, but where are the results? Where are the results? Then we started to win a little bit in the second half of the season and things started to look a little bit better. I just like the feeling we have in the locker room. I went to more team meetings than I ever had in the past. Players are so attentive and so tuned in to the message that’s coming from the head coach. It just seemed like we were on the right track. Now we just have to win some games to prove that we’re on the right track. We did a little bit better in the second half of the season. Then Daniel gets hurt, and I think that certainly hurt us a little bit. I think the fact that we did go 5-3 in the second half of the season gave me some reason for some optimism about what we have in the locker room. Obviously, we need to do better going forward.

Q: How much did you factor in, you obviously would have probably felt differently I would assume if you were in another division. I think every other division winner won 11 games. Obviously, you were in the division race until the final week. How much did that kind of factor into your overall feeling for the team?

A: It really didn’t. We were 6-10, we didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs at 6-10. We would have taken it, but we didn’t deserve to be there. I think the fact that we started to win some games in the second half of the season, and some of the younger guys that we brought in here were starting to play and show some talent. It was really the overall feeling that we’re making progress as opposed to whether we were playing meaningful games or not. We were playing meaningful games because our division is what it is. But I think it was more of a factor our younger players and some of our new players we brought in here were showing why we either took them in free agency or picked them in the draft. I think our talent level finally started to show itself a little bit. Now we’re far from a finished product. There are a lot more pieces that we need here. But I think we’re in much better shape now than we were a year ago.

Q: Just to keep on the topic of Dave, a year ago when you said his batting average had to improve, it was viewed as if it didn’t, you would consider a change. I know you just said you want to see another significant step forward. Is Dave’s status still essentially year to year, or have you seen enough now where you’re thinking more long-term with him?

A: Everything in this business is year to year. I’m not going to speculate on that. I think his batting average certainly improved this year. Our personnel decisions I thought were very sound this year and gives us some reason for optimism going forward. I’m not going to get into contractual situations with either staff people or players at this point.

Q: Given his age and obviously retirement is coming at some point with him, is there any internal succession plan under consideration or is that something you just put off until he actually does retire?

A: Listen, you’re always thinking about things like that. But there’s nothing that I’d want to comment on publicly at this point.

Q: Obviously, the defense had a pretty good season. But the offense finished 31st in scoring, 31st in yardage. I think it was the highest scoring year in NFL history. How do you feel about where the team is at in terms of that, being kind of behind the curve when it comes to being able to compete with teams?

A: I think we certainly need to help our offense a little bit this offseason, be it free agency and the draft. I think we need some more pieces there. Part of the problem that we had is we had a brand new offensive line with new guys playing new positions, they had never played together before, we had no offseason, we had no preseason games for them to get to know each other and get the feel for playing with one another, and they struggled, particularly early in the year, no question about it. I thought they started to play better in the second half of the season. But there’s no question that we need to help our offense going forward and add some more pieces. That will be a priority for us.

Q: You asked fans to be patient again after missing the playoffs three years in a row under Dave Gettleman. It seems like even dating back to 2018, some of those decisions were short-sided decisions, and some of the decisions that were made in the draft, you only have three players left each in 2019. How do you ask fans to be patient when (audio cut out)?

A: (Jokingly) The sound went out about halfway through that question and I had nothing to do with that. I’ll try to answer. The first part of the question was how do I ask fans to be patient. I feel like that’s the only thing I can ask them to do right now. I feel like we’re making progress. I think that given the fan mail that I’ve received, which tends to peak during the losing streak and then after we win a couple of games, it tends to die down. I think most of our fans believe we’re making progress. There are always going to be fans that are going to be critical, and rightfully so. I do believe we’re making progress. I am going to ask them to be patient again. I know it’s a tough ask, I know they’re tired of me saying that. But I am sincere in the belief that we are making progress here.

Q: What was it like for you to watch your team play 14 full games without Saquon (Barkley)? How do you look at decisions that are going to have to be made in the relative near future, not immediately perhaps but in the relative near future, about his tenure with the organization?

A: It was brutal to watch him go down in Week 2. He’s such an important part of this team, not only for what he does on the field but the leadership and all of the intangibles he brings to us off the field. That was really a gut-punch. Listen, I’m still happy that we have him. I think knowing him, he’s going to come back stronger than ever and be a big part of this team next year. In terms of what the time table is, it’s hard to predict that right now. I know our medical people are very pleased with the progress he’s made. I certainly expect him to be a Giant for a very long time.

Q: This year with no fans and everything, how much of a hit did the Giants take as an organization, and how much did the league take?

A: Well, it was a huge financial hit for us this year, no question about it. We did suffer some pretty significant financial losses, but it’s not going to affect our ability to be active in free agency or to do what we have to do to improve the team. Hopefully this is a one year thing and we’ll be able to have fans back in the building next season. I don’t think there’s any guarantee about that, but we’re optimistic that particularly as these vaccines get rolled out, people will start to feel comfortable about coming back into the building again. That would be a big boost to our players, I know that, being able to play in front of fans again.

Q: Is there any way you have to reach out to get more money, or is that not a problem at this point?

A: We’ll be ok. We’re not ready to put a padlock on the door just yet. I think we’ll survive just fine. It’s been a tough year from that point of view. But listen, there are people all over this country that are suffering. I’m not out here complaining or anything. We’ll be fine as an organization going forward.

DAVE GETTLEMAN ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addressed the media on Wednesday (video):

Opening Statement: Good morning everybody. I hope everyone’s holiday season was joyful and that your families are all safe and healthy. I want to take this time to thank all the people who made the 2020 NFL season happen. There’s so many people behind the scenes whose tireless efforts, the players, the coaches, football ops folks, enabling us to get this done. First, I want to thank ownership for allowing us to do what was financially necessary to allow us to operate as close to the norm as possible. Given a new head coach and some of the situations that other people had. We were able to go over to MetLife (Stadium) and have as normal a training camp as we could. I can’t thank ownership enough for that. Specifically, in our building, I want to thank Christine Procops, Bill Heller, Justin Warren, Victor McLoughlin, Jerry Meade, Kevin Abrams and of course Ronnie Barnes. Their efforts enabled our season to happen as close to normal, whatever that is now, as possible. We owe them all a debt of gratitude. Our football team made quality strides from beginning to end. We certainly have areas to improve upon. Joe (Judge) and his staff had a very productive year. Now as we enter our roster building season, we have full realization there is more work to do.

Q: We just got off with John (Mara) obviously and he kind of echoed some of your sentiments, but also pointed to 2018 which was obviously your first year as General Manager. He said as an organization you guys have acknowledged some miscalculations that you guys made. Have those miscalculations set you up for success now because of what you learned from what you did back then? Do you feel confident that the lessons learned in the last couple years have put you guys in a position to succeed?

A: I’ll tell you this, we’re always learning. The short answer to your question is yes. You’re always going to learn. I go over every final decision we make. I review it in my head over and over again, good or bad, oh by the way. I review it over and over again because you certainly don’t want to repeat mistakes. You do that and you have to be honest with yourself. You have to debrief, and you have to be brutally honest with yourself. As I’ve already admitted, ‘18 was not a stellar year, personnel-wise. We’ve learned from our mistakes. Our processes are better. I think this past year showed the fruits of that, both in free agency and in the draft. I really believe strongly we’ll continue in that way.

Q: Can you be specific about the things you saw in Joe Judge this year? What was your reaction to his reaction to what went down in Philly on the last night of the year?

A: The bottom line is, with Joe, is his big picture view and then the follow up on the attention to detail. That’s what’s really critical. He starts at A and gets to Z. That is huge, that is really huge. Obviously, he is a very bright guy. That’s what really sticks out in my mind. Just the big picture and the attention to detail. No detail is too small, the old saying, ‘the devil is in the details’. He and his staff, he is really tuned into that. As far as what he said the other day, he said what he said. At the end of the day, it is what it is. Obviously, it’s about playing 60 minutes. It’s about giving the fans their money’s worth. It’s really how you live your life. He said what he said and it’s time to move on.

Q: What does Dave Gettleman – almost 70 – how long do you want to stick around for?

A: It really is dependent upon the Lord how long I stick around for. We’re all day to day, by the way, in case anybody missed that point. I feel fine, I feel good, I’m excited. I just want to keep going. I don’t know where this retirement stuff came from. I have no idea what that’s all about. There are probably some people that… at the end of the day, I feel great. So, let’s keep going.

Q: Do you feel like you have the ability to keep your defensive line intact or will you have to make a decision on one or the other there?

A: The toughest thing for us right now frankly is we don’t know what the cap number is going to look like. That’s a problem. We’re not going to know for a while. That’s going to dictate obviously how you operate. We’ve got cap space, we’ve got room. You never have as much room as you want to have. We’ve got cap space, we’ve got room to do the things we feel like we need to do initially. A lot of it is going to be about the drop it’s going to take. How far of a plunge is it going to take? We don’t know. They’re talking 175, who knows. We’ll plan and then once we know the number, we’ll get moving.

Q: Your team had one win against a team with a winning record this year and was outscored 73-26 during a three-game losing streak in December. I guess for fans who aren’t seeing what you call quality strides, where would you say the quality strides are?

A: Well I think first of all the culture piece. I know it’s talked about but it’s important. You have to learn how to win, you have to know how to win and we’ve made progress there. The locker room is terrific. We’ve got great leadership. We’ve got a young club, a new young team. I understand that. At the end of the day, this is an important offseason, roster building offseason for us. We’ve got some solid pieces. We’ve built up the lines. We’ve done some things. We have to continue to get good players and part of it is getting playmakers, because that’s what you’re referring to. This is a goal of ours obviously for the offseason.

Q: I was going to ask you about the playmakers but you kind of addressed that a little bit. Let me you ask about Daniel (Jones). Where do you see him two years into his tenure as Giants quarterback?

A: Obviously, he flashed last year. He had some big games and played well. Then he had games that weren’t so great. This year, early in the season he was struggling with his ball protection. We all know that. The second half of the year unfortunately he had that blip with the hamstring. He finished the season very strong. He played well against Baltimore despite getting chased all over the place to a degree. Made some big-time throws. Really and truly, it may sound trite, but obviously the last game of the year was a playoff game for us. It really was. We have to win that game to force Washington to win their game. Daniel played very well. He made a couple of big-time throws. Protected the ball for the most part. The one pick was off of Evan’s (Engram) hands. He’s done a lot of really good stuff. He’s made of the right stuff mentally and physically. Again, we’re talking about a young quarterback who has had two different offensive coordinators in the NFL. Two different systems. Obviously, he had a different one at Duke so he got three different systems in three years. I thought he got beyond the hamstring the last two games and he played well. We have complete confidence in him moving forward.

Q: You mentioned you feel good and you want to continue but I have to ask you about the conditions that the pandemic brought on. Obviously, your job changed or how you did the job I should say. I’m wondering how did that affect your energy and have you thought about that moving forward?

A: For everybody, I don’t care if you’re a football GM or you’re a carpenter or whatever. This pandemic is a load. It is a flat load. It makes everything an event. You have to consider everything. You have to consider going to the grocery store. You have to consider just everything, absolutely everything. Everything is an event. It takes energy from everybody. It took energy from you guys. There were days you’re looking at four walls. You can’t come to practice, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. It puts a mental load on you. I feel good, I feel strong. I had my 24-month review with my lymphoma doctor. He says you’re as healthy as a horse. Let’s just keep moving, so I’m ready to rock.

Q: Two-part question, number one, thanks for doing this. When you mentioned Daniel a few minutes ago, the idea of three offensive coordinators in three years and the potential teams asking to talk to Jason (Garrett) that you might have to go to a fourth, how does that affect the evaluation process? Also, with hindsight being 20/20, when you look back at how the injury was handled, would things have been better served if you had held back another week and maybe not played him against Arizona?

A: You can always look at everything – in hindsight, you can reevaluate everything and take a look at it. We felt good about it. We felt that he could protect himself and that he could do the things he needed to do and that’s why he played against Arizona. I really understand what you’re saying, but we felt strong. Obviously, we had the conversation with Ronnie (Barnes) and his staff and we felt good about it. During that week of practice, he moved around pretty darn good. Being as it may, we’re fine with that decision. He didn’t do any more damage. It is what it is. As far as the potential of Jason leaving, of course it makes you a little antsy. Just imagine, anybody, any of you guys, having your fourth editor in four years. It’s the same thing. It’s no different. We’ll adjust and adapt and do what we have to do and obviously anything we do moving forward, Daniel is a big part of it. We’re certainly conscious of that piece, to answer your question.

Q: I know you’re a trenches guy and the game is won upfront and you like defense, but the team just didn’t score enough points. It’s obvious. 20, 17 points a game just can’t win in the NFL. What do you say to address that? How much of it is you having to study everything that happens on offense. I know there was no Saquon (Barkley), the offensive line and everything, do you look at everything and say we need to find better players to score more points coming up?

A: You can never have too many good players. Bottom line. That’s a stock answer that every GM is going to tell you. At the end of the day, we need to find playmakers. That’s all there is to it. I’m not sugar coating it. If you talk about philosophically doing roster building, it’s the Q (quarterback), it’s the big men allow you to compete. On offense, it’s play makers. We have to be very conscious of it. We’re going to find the right guys to help Daniel get us over that hump.

Q: I have a big picture question for you. Obviously, there is a lot of talk of progress today, but how disappointing is it for you that after year three, you guys haven’t topped six wins and you only needed to get seven to make playoffs this year?

A: Of course, it’s disappointing. It’s disappointing not just for me personally, but I’m disappointed for the organization. I’m disappointed for the players and the fans. Sure, it’s disappointing. Listen, last time I double checked, it’s about winning. I’m very disappointed. I guess the best thing I can say is – John said in 2018 we didn’t have a stellar year, didn’t have a stellar roster building season, it’s affected us. We’re on the right track right now. We’ve done some really good stuff the last two years. We’re going to fix this. We are going to fix this.

Q: You’re going to enjoy this question because it’s worded a lot differently than it would have been last year. Leonard Williams, the season he had – do you almost wish you had gotten something done with him last year rather than giving him the franchise tag because it certainly seems like the price went up this year?

A: It doesn’t make a difference – you’re killing me either way. At the end of the day, I’m not going to discuss contracts, negotiations, did we do anything last year or did we not? No, the bottom line is we are where we are. Leonard deserves a lot of credit for how he prepared this year. Sean Spencer working with him as the D-line coach, the scheme that Pat (Graham) had for him, you know? As I said to you guys, before, he was a – I don’t even remember when he was taken, he was a top five pick – number two or four or something like that. There was a reason that happened, you know what I’m saying? Leonard did a great job. He did a great job of working his fanny off. Again, the atmosphere for our players – one of hard work, you can have fun, you can enjoy yourself and Leonard did a heck of a job and his position coach, Sean Spencer, Pat Graham and Joe. The bottom line is he thrived in our atmosphere. I’m ecstatic. It’s like I tell players all the time, ‘I only want you to be successful and I want you to make me cry when it comes to negotiations’.

Q: I know you just said that, ‘We’re going to fix this,’ but fans are saying in three years, we’re at 15 wins. How much does it have to be now? At what point do the wins have to come?

A: Obviously, they have to come soon. The idea is to win. Like I said, a lot of things have happened. We’re definitely on the right track. I’d like to believe finishing – starting at the 1-7- we finished 6-10. We finished 5-3 over the last eight games. There are a lot arrows pointing up for us. We’ll have a good season, a good roster building season right now and we’ll feel a lot better. We’re getting there.

Q: Your top priority when you came, well at least one of them, was to rebuild the offensive line. I’m curious after three years, where are you in your estimation with that rebuild of the offensive line?

A: We’ve got some really nice, young pieces. Nick Gates stepped in there. He’d never played offensive center before. We drafted Will (Hernandez) and Shane Lemieux. You have (Kevin) Zeitler and Andrew Thomas who acquitted himself very well when he had that rough patch and then he got himself rolling again. I think this offensive line can compete. You can cherry pick here, cherry pick there, in terms of which game you want to pick and how the offense did. The offensive line showed very good progress. They’re big, they’re young, they’re strong and they’re tough and smart. This O-Line has a chance to be pretty damn good.

Q: You know a thing or two about evaluating talent. How would you evaluate the job you did this year as GM?

A: I don’t want to evaluate myself. We made some really solid progress. I know everyone is tired of hearing it. Joe and I worked together very well and it was thrill. It was fun. He’s collaborative, communicative, we’re on the same page. As John said, we don’t agree on everything, but if we’d agree on everything, as John said, he doesn’t need both of us. The bottom line is that we had a good solid year. We hit on free agency. We hit on draft picks as of right now. Again, I always say that you know about a draft three years later. You can really quantify and evaluate on what you’ve done. We had a lot of those young kids step in and help us and show us that they’re legitimate NFL players. They have legitimate NFL talent as long as they continue to blossom and improve and progress. So anyhow, for what that’s worth, what we’ve done here in the three years that we’ve been here, is about sustained success. That’s what it’s about.

Q: You and John had both made several references to 2018 as a mistake. It seems like you’re calling 2019 in the draft and free agency a success. I was wondering if you actually feel that way? What do you think in 2019 were the team moves that set you up so well for this year?

A: You have the quarterback. You have Dexter Lawrence. There’s a start. Obviously, we had no clue that Deandre (Baker) could get in that kind of issue. It’s just a constant build and a constant blend and we feel like the last three years have been solid personnel-wise.

Q: Do you look at the last couple drafts at quarterback for example, there are guys like Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert who look excellent and score a lot of points. Then this year, at offensive tackle, Andrew had a rough patch, whereas, some people would say some of the other guys played a little bit better. I was wondering if you look at not taking several players at those two positions and looking at what you have. Do you reconsider whether you made the right choice?

A: You guys are going to call me doubling down, I’m very happy with what we’ve done with Daniel and Andrew Thomas. I’m not even going to blink.

Q: You mentioned off the top, a lot of people top be thankful for that you guys have reached this point in the season because there was a lot of uncontrollable factors. Did you scale back any of the expectations this year because a pandemic was happening? This was the first year of no preseason game etc.

A: No, not really. This was a crazy year obviously. Like I said at the top, ownership financially supported us. We were one of the few teams in the league that was able to work out of a stadium and be socially distanced properly, have the locker room space, everything that we did over there. It allowed us to have as close to a normal preseason as you could have. Not having the preseason games obviously hurt, it hurt everybody. Our situation wasn’t any different than anybody else. Nobody had preseason. When you have a really young team, that creates issues when you’re trying to figure out what you have. Not having the preseason games was difficult. At that point in time, everybody is trying to negotiate the protocols. Things were changing constantly. I just thought ownership gave us the ability to do some things and it was really important that we do that for Joe and the staff. We came back from Indianapolis last year, the first week in March. Ronnie Barnes came to me three times and said, ‘Dave this is going to be really bad, really bad’. By then it was I believe in Italy, it hit there. Ronnie told me, Ronnie said, ‘Dave this is going to be bad’. I walked down the hall to (Director of College Scouting) Chris Pettit and I said, ‘Chris get ready for us to draft remotely. Get ready for our meetings’. I walked down to Joe and I said, ‘Joe you’re not going to see your players until August, I’m telling you. That’s what we have to plan for’. Thank God for Ronnie for having that foresight. I felt like we were ahead of the curve with a lot of the things we did in terms of how we were set up for training camp and how we were set up when got back here. That’s where Victor McLoughlin, our buildings guy, and Justin Warren, our IT guy, just did an unbelievable job. Getting us set up to be able to do things remotely and be spaced out and all the other stuff. We actually had setups for all the coaches that we installed in their homes so if something happened, they could work remotely. That paid off for us. There’s a lot of things that people behind the scenes warned us about and we heeded their warnings and it enabled us to do what we did. No, we didn’t scale back any expectations.

Q: You talked about how the salary cap may hit one of those air pockets. I’m just wondering how creative will you have to be in maybe reworking contracts? Making do with what you have, and have you talked to guys like Nate Solder and things like that and figure out what’s his status going to be next year?

A: We haven’t started that. I haven’t had that conversation with Nate. The season just ended Sunday here and it’s Wednesday. The bottom line is until we have a good idea of what the number is, what the number is going to be, we’ll plan as best we can. Obviously, we know who our UFA’s (unrestricted free agents) are. We’ll get moving and we’re going to have to make some decisions on a number of players. That piece is going to be interesting to work with and work through. We’re going to make the best decisions we can for the New York Football Giants and for our fans.

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

  • LT Andrew Thomas (Video)
  • LB Blake Martinez (Video)
  • CB James Bradberry (Video)
  • CB/S Julian Love (Video)
  • S Xavier McKinney (Video)
Dec 232020
 
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Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (December 20, 2020)

Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 23, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
QB Daniel Jones (hamstring/ankle), WR Golden Tate (calf), TE Evan Engram (calf), OT Matt Peart (ankle), and CB Darnay Holmes (knee) were limited in practice on Wednesday.

The Giants designated outside LB Kyler Fackrell for return to practice from Injured Reserve. Fackrell hurt his calf against the Cincinnati Bengals and has missed the last three games. Fackrell is now eligible to play Sunday in Baltimore. Before he was hurt, Fackrell had played in all 11 games, starting eight, and accruing 30 tackles, three sacks, and one interception that he returned for a touchdown.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Thursday afternoon (12:00-1:45PM). Head Coach Joe Judge, the team’s coordinators, and select players will also address the media.

Dec 222020
 
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James Bradberry, New York Giants (October 22, 2020)

James Bradberry – © USA TODAY Sports

JAMES BRADBERRY AND EVAN ENGRAM VOTED TO PRO BOWL…
New York Giants cornerback James Bradberry and tight end Evan Engram have been selected to the Pro Bowl. This is the first time either player has received this honor. The actual game will not be played due COVID-19.

Bradberrry, who joined the Giants as a free agent in the offseason, has started 13 games this year, missing last week’s game due to his exposure to someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. He has been credited with 48 tackles, 17 pass defenses, and three interceptions.

“It’s a surreal feeling,” Bradberry said. “That’s on everyone’s, I wouldn’t call it a bucket list, but it’s on their goal list, to be Pro Bowl, to be All-Pro, just be the best in the game. I try not to think about it too much. I just try to go out there and play my best and just let the chips fall where they may.

“It definitely means a lot that I made it. I try not to put too much emphasis on it beforehand because I just felt like it was something I couldn’t control. The one thing I can control is how I play on the field, and that’s what I try to control. But, of course, I wanted to be a Pro Bowler, so it feels good to be recognized as one.”

Engram was drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Giants. This year, he has started 12 of the 14 games he has played in, being credited with 54 catches for 572 yards and one touchdown.

“I’m really just truly thankful,” Engram said. “Just blessed and thankful for just the whole process that I’ve been through. This past year has been hard for literally everybody. Me and my mom were talking about it this weekend.”

ROSTER MOVES…
New York Giants cornerback James Bradberry has been activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 List. He missed last Sunday’s game due to his exposure to someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Giants have also re-signed safety Montre Hartage to the Practice Squad. Hartage has alternated between the Giants’ Practice Squad and the 53-man roster a couple of times this year. Hartage originally signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants claimed Hartage off of waivers from the Dolphins in April 2020.

Dec 172020
 
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James Bradberry, New York Giants (October 18, 2020)

James Bradberry – © USA TODAY Sports

JAMES BRADBERRY AND JASON GARRETT WILL MISS SUNDAY’S GAME DUE TO COVID-19…
New York Giants cornerback James Bradberry and Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett will miss Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns due to COVID-19. Bradberry has been officially placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.

According to the Giants’ press release, “Bradberry was placed on the list because he was deemed to be a high risk close contact of an individual who has tested positive. The contact did not occur at the Giants facility and the individual is not a member of the organization.”

Garrett actually tested positive for COVID-19. Garrett will continue to work remotely and Tight Ends Coach Freddie Kitchens will serve as the team’s offensive play caller on Sunday.

The Giants coaches and players did not meet on Monday or Tuesday. Due to NFL COVID-19 protocols, the team also did not practice on Thursday.

“Instead of practicing this afternoon, what we’ll do is we’ll bring the players back into a Zoom meeting from 3 to 5:30,” said Head Coach Joe Judge, “and we’ll go ahead and get a jump-start on tomorrow’s install, along with some extra tape on the Browns. We’re going to use this as a good mental day and prepare, make sure we get some good organizational work between units with communication. We’ll take advantage of everything afforded to us, and we’ll get back on the field tomorrow.”

On a related note, running back Devonta Freeman, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month while on Injured Reserve, has been taken off of the Reserve/COVID-19 List. Freeman remains on IR with ankle and hamstring injures.

DECEMBER 17, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
While the team did not practice on Thursday due to COVID-19 protocols, it did issue the following injury report:

CB Darnay Holmes (knee) would not have practiced. QB Daniel Jones (hamstring/ankle), TE Kaden Smith (knee), and OG Kevin Zeitler (shoulder) would have been limited in practice.

“(Jones) actually was allowed to come in the building today,” said Judge. “We had some treatment available for some guys that are either on IR or guys that needed treatment. They were the only players in the building today. But in terms of Daniel, the evaluation has obviously been put off a day as far as him moving around. Look, I was encouraged with how he moved around yesterday at practice, how he threw the ball, how he was in the pocket. That was very encouraging. That being said, we’ll have to see him at really a faster tempo. Tomorrow will be really the day we’ll evaluate that out there. I’d say obviously with two injuries, it’s a little bit different situation than it was just last week. But he’s making progress, he’s doing everything the trainers ask him to and he’s working hard. We just need to make sure we do a good job of really watching him tomorrow at practice and make the best decision.”

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Friday. Head Coach Joe Judge, the team’s coordinators, and select players will also address the media.

Dec 132020
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 13, 2020)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

ARIZONA CARDINALS 26 – NEW YORK GIANTS 7…
The New York Giants got their collective asses kicked by the Arizona Cardinals 26-7 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the loss, the Giants fell to 5-8 on the season.

The statistical domination was total. The Cardinals out-gained the Giants in first downs (22 to 10), total net yards (390 to 159), net yards rushing (159 to 78), net yards passing (231 to 81), and time of possession (37:52 to 22:08). The Giants also lost the turnover battle 3 to nothing.

To say the Giants’ offense struggled would be an understatement. Quarterback Daniel Jones returned to the starting lineup after missing a game due to a hamstring injury, but he clearly was not healthy. Jones only completed 11 of 21 passes for 127 yards. He was sacked six times, losing 52  yards in the process. His back-up, Colt McCoy, was also sacked twice. No-name Cardinals linebacker Hasson Reddick set a single-game franchise record with five sacks and forcing three fumbles.

The tone was set on New York’s first drive. After picking up two first downs and reaching midfield, Jones was sacked by former Giants linebacker Markus Golden on 2nd-and-10. Jones fumbled on the play and Golden recovered the football and returned it 30 yards to the New York 9-yard line. The Giants’ defense did stop the Cardinals on 4th-and-goal. That was the high point of the game for New York.

New York went three-and-out on their second drive, but the Giants’ special teams gave up a 24-yard punt return to the Giants’ 38-yard line. The Cardinals gained 22 yards in six plays to set up a 34-yard field goal. Cardinals 3 – Giants 0.

After two punts by the Giants and one by the Cardinals, Arizona extended their lead to 6-0 after driving 34 yards in 11 plays to up a 34-yard field goal. Matters got quickly worse when running back Dion Lewis fumbled on the ensuing kickoff return. The Cardinals recovered at the New York 21-yard line. Quarterback Kyler Murray threw a 7-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-goal to give Arizona a 13-0 advantage.

Both teams had two more possessions before intermission, but neither scored. The Cardinals continued to lead 13-0 at halftime.

Arizona received the football to start the 3rd quarter. They immediately drove 77 yards in 11 plays to go up 20-0. The Giants responded with their only scoring drive of the game. After a 39-yard pass from Jones to wide receiver Golden Tate, Lewis scored from one yard out to make it 20-7.

After that, it was all Cardinals. The Giants only gained two first downs for the rest of game, punting three more times and fumbling the ball away again on their last possession. While the Cardinals also punted twice, they added two more field goals to comfortably extend their lead to 26-7. The game was never in doubt.

Video lowlights are available on Giants.com.

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
On Friday, the New York Giants placed cornerback Madre Harper on Injured Reserve with a knee injury. To fill that roster spot, the Giants signed safety Montre Hartage from the Practice Squad.

The Giants signed Harper off of the Practice Squad of the Las Vegas Raiders in late September 2020. This year, he has played in nine games, mainly on special teams.

After spending time with the Giants in training camp, the Giants re-signed Hartage to the Practice Squad in late October 2020. He was signed to the 53-man roster in November and moved back to the Practice Squad earlier this month. Hartage originally signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATION, INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
CB Jarren Williams was activated from the Practice Squad for this game.

Inactive for the game were CB Darnay Holmes (knee), WR Dante Pettis, OT Jackson Barton, OL Kyle Murphy, DE R.J. McIntosh, and LB T.J. Brunson.

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

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

Dec 032020
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 20, 2020)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 3, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
QB Daniel Jones (hamstring) and LB Cam Brown (illness) did not practice on Thursday.

“We had positive reports on (Jones) yesterday,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “Obviously, we have to kind of see a little bit more from him today. The plan is to get him out there with the trainers, move him around a little bit, throw a little bit, see where that progresses to and what that allows him to do later in practice today or maybe what that shows what we can do with him tomorrow. Again, there are still a lot of questions more so than answers right now. I know he’s doing everything he can to get back and be with the team. He’s preparing tirelessly, he’s in the building, he’s doing everything he can like it would be any other day. I know mentally where he’s at. We just have to check physically where he’s at and make sure we make the right decision for him.”

WR Darius Slayton (shoulder/foot), WR Sterling Shepard (toe/shoulder), LB David Mayo (knee), and S Nate Ebner (knee) were limited in practice.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVE…
The New York Giants have terminated the Practice Squad contract of safety Chris Williamson, who the team drafted in the 7th-round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Friday (11:50AM-1:20PM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will also address the media.

Nov 062020
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (November 2, 2020)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS PLACE RYAN LEWIS ON INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants have placed cornerback Ryan Lewis on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury. Lewis has played in five games for the Giants this year with three starts, accruing 13 tackles and one pass defense. He will be eligible to return after missing at three games.

Lewis was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017), New England Patriots (2017-2018), Buffalo Bills (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Washington Football Team (2020). The Giants signed Lewis to the Practice Squad in early September 2020 and to the 53-man roster two weeks later.

NOVEMBER 6, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
OG Will Hernandez (Reserve/COVID) and CB Ryan Lewis (hamstring) did not practice on Friday. Neither will play on Sunday against the Washington Football Team.

RB Devonta Freeman (ankle), WR Sterling Shepard (shoulder/toe), LB Blake Martinez (hamstring), LB Devante Downs (shoulder), and S Logan Ryan (hip) were limited in practice. Freeman has officially been ruled “out” of Sunday’s game. The other four players are expected to be available to play.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The team plays the Washington Football Team in Maryland on Sunday.

Oct 182020
 
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Tae Crowder, New York Giants (October 18, 2020)

Tae Crowder – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 20 – WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM 19…
It wasn’t pretty, but the New York Giants finally got their first win of the 2020 season by defeating the Washington Football Team 20-19 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday. The Giants are now 1-5 on the season.

Both teams came into the game with bottom tier offenses that continued to struggle in this contest. At the start of the game, the Giants actually benched rookie 1st-round pick Andrew Thomas for rookie 3rd-round pick Matt Peart at left tackle. Thomas was being penalized for being late to a team meeting on Saturday night. Meanwhile, it was the last player taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, linebacker Tae Crowder, who saved the day.

Washington actually significantly out-gained the Giants in first downs (24 to 16), total net yards (337 to 240), net yards passing (251 to 108), and time of possession (33:30 to 26:30). The Giants did out-rush Washington (132 to 86), but that was mainly due to quarterback Daniel Jones gaining 74 yards on the ground. The key stat was the Giants won the turnover battle 2-1, with one of Washington’s turnovers leading to a defensive score late in the 4th quarter.

Now counting the kneel down before halftime, the Giants only had the ball three times in the first half. And surprisingly, all three drives ended with points:

  • 9 plays, 48 yards, 33-yard field goal
  • 3 plays, 27 yards, 23-yard touchdown pass from Jones to WR Darius Slayton
  • 8 plays, 73 yards, 20-yard field goal

Meanwhile, Washington had four first-half possessions:

  • 12 plays, 39 yards, missed 47-yard field goal
  • 2 plays, 0 yards, interception by CB James Bradberry returned 19 yards
  • 11 plays, 70 yards, 35-yard field goal
  • 13 plays, 70 yards, 5-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds before halftime

On the last drive, it was another case of the Giants’ defense performing well until late in the first half. Nevertheless, New York led 13-10 at the break.

The Giants’ offense did not score in the second half. Not counting the kneel down at the end of the game, the Giants again only had three possessions, two ending with punts and one ending with an interception on a play where Jones was trying to throw the football away after reaching the Washington 7-yard line late in the 3rd quarter.

Washington went three-and-out on their first possession of the second half, but tied the game at 13-13 on their second possession after driving 70 yards in 14 plays to set up a 28-yard field goal with just 9 minutes left to play in the game.

After New York punted the ball away on their last real possession of the game, Washington drove from their 25-yard line to the New York 45-yard line. On 3rd-and-9 with 3:41 to play, quarterback Kyle Allen was sacked by linebacker Kyle Fackrell. Allen fumbled on the play and rookie linebacker Tae Crowder scooped up the loose ball and returned it 43 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Giants 20 – Washington 13.

But just as the New York defense has struggled all year at the end of the first half, it has also struggled at the end of games. And this contest was no different. With 3:29 left to play, Washington drove 75 yards in 10 plays with Allen throwing a 22-yard touchdown pass with 36 seconds left to play. Washington Head Coach Ron Rivera decided to go for the 2-point conversion and win. Allen’s pass fell incomplete and the Giants escaped with the victory after recovering the onside kick.

Jones only completed 12-of-19 passes for 112 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He did rush for 74 yards on seven carries, including a 49-yard effort. Tight end Kaden Smith caught three passes for 15 yards. No other player had more than two catches. Running back Devonta Freeman carried the ball 18 times for 61 yards.

Defensively, the Giants picked up three sacks: defensive lineman Leonard Williams, safety Logan Ryan, and Fackrell, the latter leading to the fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by Crowder. Bradberry also picked off a pass the set the Giants up on the Washington 27-yard line.

Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
The Giants activated LB Trent Harris from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were LB Lorenzo Carter (Achilles), S Adrian Colbert (shoulder), TE Eric Tomlinson, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, and LB T.J. Brunson.

WR C.J. Board (neck/concussion) and CB Darnay Holmes (neck) left the game with injuries and did not return. Board was taken to the hospital for further evaluation.

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

POST-GAME NOTES…
Three of the Giants’ last four victories have been against Washington and they have beaten Washington four consecutive times.

All three of QB Daniel Jones’ 2020 touchdown passes have been to WR Darius Slayton.

Jones’ 49-yard run was the longest run by a Giants quarterback in the Super Bowl era.

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

Oct 042020
 
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Austin Johnson, New York Giants (October 4, 2020)

Austin Johnson – © USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES RAMS 17 – NEW YORK GIANTS 9…
The game was far closer than it was expected to be, but the New York Giants fell to the Los Angeles Rams 17-9 on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. New York is now 0-4 on the season and has only scored three touchdowns in four games, and none in the last two contests.

The Giants actually out-gained the heavily-favored Rams in first downs (19 to 15), total net yards (295 to 240), net yards rushing (136 to 58), and time of possession (33:17 to 26:43). The turnover battle was also equal as both teams turned the football over once.

The game started off on a negative note for New York as the Giants quickly went three-and-out on their first drive of the game and the Rams then responded with an impressive 12-play, 65-yard effort that culminated with a 2-yard touchdown run. The Rams were quickly up 7-0.

After gaining one first down, the Giants found themselves in a 3rd-and-27 situation after a sack/fumble and a false start penalty. They punted two plays later. However, the Giants immediately got the ball back when defensive lineman Austin Johnson forced tight end Gerald Everett to fumble after a 10-yard catch. Cornerback James Bradberry recovered the loose ball at the Los Angeles 34-yard line. The Giants could only gain 17 yards on six plays, but place kicker Graham Gano kicked a 35-yard field goal to cut the score to 7-3.

After both teams exchanged three-and-out possessions, the Rams took 15 plays to drive 47 yards to set up a 32-yard field goal to extend their lead to a touchdown again, 10-3. On this possession, the Rams converted on 3rd-and-3, 4th-and-1, and 3rd-and-2, but Johnson pushed the Rams back from the 4-yard line with an 8-yard sack.

With 3:52 to go before halftime, the Giants did drive 56 yards in 13 plays to cut the score to 10-6 on Gano’s 37-yard field goal. On this possession, the Giants converted on 3rd-and-4, 3rd-and-2, and 3rd-and-10, with the first two being completions to wide receiver Golden Tate in addition to running back Dion Lewis picking up 10 yards on rushing effort.

There was no scoring in the 3rd quarter as the Rams punted twice and the Giants once. However, the Giants did begin their final scoring drive with 5:25 left in the 3rd quarter as they drove 48 yards in 11 plays, taking over six minutes off of the clock. On this possession, the Giants converted on 4th-and-1 when quarterback Daniel Jones threw a 10-yard pass to tight end Kaden Smith. However, the Giants once gain were forced to settle for a field goal, this time from 27 yards out. The Rams now led 10-9 early in the 4th quarter.

Both teams exchanged punts. With about 7 minutes to play in the game, the Rams came up with a dagger to the heart on a big 55-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass from quarterback Jared Goff to wide receiver Cooper Kupp. To put this in perspective, the next longest play the Rams had on the day was just 16 yards. The Rams now led 17-9 with less than a quarter to play.

The Giants’ first desperate attempt to tie the game failed after picking up 44 yards on nine plays. However, Jones could not connect with Tate on 4th-and-11 from the Los Angeles 31-yard line. After a three-and-out by the Rams, the Giants got the ball back with 2:05 left in the game, down by eight points. Jones threw a 33-yard pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton to the Rams’ 47-yard line. He then scrambled for a total of 24 yards on two 2nd-and-10 scrambles. With 57 seconds left, on 2nd-and-5 from the 18-yard line, Jones tried to squeeze a sideline throw to wide receiver Damion Ratley, but cornerback Darious Williams made a diving interception at the 5-yard line to end the game. Unfortunately for Jones and the Giants, he had room to run on this play.

Jones finished 23-of-36 for 190 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. He was also sacked five times, four of which occurred in the first half. Jones also rushed six times for 45 yards. Tight end Evan Engram had six catches, but for only a total of 35 yards. Running back Wayne Gallman rushed for 45 yards on six carries and running back Devonta Freeman gained 33 yards on 11 carries. Freeman also caugh four passes for 35 yards.

Defensively, the Giants held the Rams to 58 yards rushing and 182 net yards passing. Besides Austin Johnson’s sack, linebacker Kyler Fackrell also got to the quarterback. The Giants had seven tackles for losses and hit Goff five times.

Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
The Giants activated WR Austin Mack from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were WR Austin Mack, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, LB Carter Coughlin, LB T.J. Brunson, and S Jabrill Peppers (ankle).

LB Oshane Ximines (shoulder), LB Kyle Fackrell (neck), and S Adrian Colbert (neck) all left the game with injuries.

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

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

Sep 282020
 
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Wayne Gallman and Daniel Jones, New York Giants (September 27, 2020)

Wayne Gallman and Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 36-9 loss to the San Francisco (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Q: The offensive line struggled a bit again in run blocking. Are you contemplating any changes going forward?

A: Well look, every week based on a player’s practice and performance, we’re looking to put the best players on the field. We spent the day reviewing the tape as a staff. We’ll go through the rest of this week in terms of how guys are implementing the plan we put ahead for the Rams, and we’ll see who the best guys to put on the field are.

Q: If I may follow up, are you happy with this unit right now the way they’re run blocking?

A: There is work we have to do and we have to improve as a team. Everyone has to play better, everyone has to coach better. I like the urgency they come to work with every day. There are things we have to improve on, and we have to get moving fast on that.

Q: If you guys are going to struggle to run the ball without Saquon (Barkley), are you worried, concerned here that teams are going to kind of tee off on Daniel (Jones) until you guys can prove that you can run the ball better, whether that’s the offensive line or the running backs or both?

A: We have to work to be a balanced team. That’s balanced whether it’s running and passing, balanced offense and defense, balanced with the kicking game, playing complementary football. There are a lot of things right now that we have to make sure the Ying and the Yang factor out for each other. But we have to do a better job overall as a team, and we have to do a good job complementing each other on offense to help out the passing game and the running game.

Q: Any injury update? Anything from Jabrill (Peppers) or Andrew Thomas or anything maybe we didn’t see coming out of the game?

A: Nothing significant. I’d say with Andrew, you guys asked about him yesterday, he did finish the game. There was nothing significant to really go over today with the trainers. Jabrill, I don’t have a timetable on him for anything. We’re going to evaluate him day to day. We’ll see where he is. He had that lower leg. They’re going through a couple more things with the doctor this afternoon, but it looks like it could go either way at this point right here.

Q: I just want to know how you think Daniel Jones played and what you made of his turnovers? Obviously, two turnovers in each of the first three games. Separately, curious about your feelings on the penalties? (Darnay) Holmes, (Darius) Slayton, (Lorenzo) Carter. I know you guys are coaching these things, but how can you ensure that those are eliminated and they don’t happen?

A: Yeah, that starts with fundamentals and technique and making sure we execute at the right time. I think they were good calls. Look, you turn the tape on, it was a hold. Call it what it is. It was a hold. We need to make sure we don’t do that. The illegal contact part, that’s something we stress all the time. Darnay is a player we have a lot of confidence in. He’s a talented guy, he’s a young guy, he competes at a high level. One thing he really does, he learns from his mistakes. Obviously, he’s a guy that I don’t expect to see much of that from him going forward. But look, they made the calls. It’s what the rules are. We have to play within the rules.

Q: I’m kind of a big picture guy. A lot of people would look at 0-3 and be discouraged. I kind of look at the NFC East and say you’re a game out of first place. How do you approach it?

A: For us, it’s game by game. Right now, I’m really just emphasizing to our team just weekly improvement, starting with fundamentals and execution. That’s really it. We need to focus on what we’re doing day by day to really take care of our own jobs and make sure that we’re improving as a unit and as a team, and then all of the other things will start taking care of themselves.

Q: But doesn’t it make it easier if the guys see that there’s something reachable in front of them?

A: There are 13 games left. It’s the NFL. There’s a lot of ball left to be played. I’ll tell you right now, I’ve been on a lot of teams that have started off 5-0, 6-0, 7-0, 10-0 and I’m telling you right now, it’s the same feeling in every building across the league right now. All they’re thinking about is things you have to improve on, things you have to work on. It’s not sunshine and rainbows. To me, Mondays are always a day where it’s a tough day on everybody because all you can think of as a coach is what you have to get better at. It doesn’t matter what the result of the game is and how well or disappointing something may have been. You’re just focused on what you have to correct and fix and get it going fast. To be honest with you in terms of how all that goes, does anything make it easier? In the NFL, not a lot of things get easier as the year goes. We have to improve to make sure that as the year goes, we can be competitive and put our team on the field with a chance to be successful.

Q: How do you view the mental state of your team right now?

A: I think we’re fine. I think the emphasis has to be for our guys on moving forward and executing, and that’s the biggest thing. We have to be better teachers and coaches, and we have to execute better on the field for 60 minutes. That’s really it.

Q: I know you said you’ve been on teams that were 5-0, 6-0, 10-0. These guys, a lot of them have been on teams that were 0-2, 1-6, the other end of that. How much does that concern you that you don’t go down that rabbit hole with these guys?

A: Look, I’ll tell you right now, those years we started off with a lot of wins, we didn’t always finish those years as successful as the years we started off pretty rough. Sometimes early on, you really get a vision of what you are and your identity by how you have to correct your mistakes and what you have to learn from. We had a lot of years we were the most successful team in the world where it started off really, really rough. There are a lot of times you look around the meeting rooms and the locker room halfway through the year, regardless of your record, and it’s just doom and gloom. You have to make sure you kind of bring it back into perspective and understand it’s a day by day process as a team, and you’re all you got. You need to stand together as a team and you have to go ahead and make sure your guys move forward on a weekly basis to make improvements. It’s the NFL. It’s the most competitive league in all of sports in the world. It’s at the highest absolute level. It’s not supposed to be easy. What we’re trying to do here isn’t easy either. But we’re going to try to keep it simple for our players that we can improve on a weekly basis and keep moving forward.

Q: How does that work for you? It’s been a long time since you lost three in a row. How are you handling this?

A: I look at the film the same way every week regardless. Win, lose, whatever in between, I turn the tape on and I’m focused on what we have to correct going forward. Yesterday is gone. It’s done. There’s nothing we can do to bring back yesterday. There’s nothing we want to do to bring back yesterday. Our only focus right now is on the Rams. We’re moving forward with that. We have a lot of things that we know (Sean) McVay is on the other side and he’s watching. We have to make sure that we correct what’s on the tape because they’re watching the same tape right now.

Q: When you have a game-wrecker on the outside, there are things you can do with chipping and double teams and things like that. With the Rams, their game-wrecker is right in the middle. How do you kind of scheme to give Nick (Gates) as much help as you can give him against Aaron Donald?

A: I’ll tell you what, Aaron Donald is one of the best players in the NFL, and he’s definitely a force. You’re right. A lot of times, you see those guys that are game-wreckers on the edge, and they have their share of them out there as well. But with Aaron in the middle, it makes you be a little more creative in terms of how you protect and how you use some different tools in your toolbox to make sure your guys don’t always get isolated up on him. He’s definitely a guy that lives for that one on one matchup. He’s very competitive. He’s a high motor guy, he’s as explosive as can be, and he can really ruin the game inside out if you don’t give some help to whoever’s on him.

Q: I don’t think we’ve asked you about David Mayo since he went on IR, but obviously now with three games down, there’s an opportunity to possibly bring him back. I’m just curious if you could provide an update as to where he is. Do you expect to bring him to practice this week with a chance to be activated?

A: Actually, we’re going to make that decision probably sometime tomorrow. We’ll kind of look and see where that goes. He’s with the trainers. I know he’s been working hard. I see him around the building. I don’t get a lot of time with him on the grass, but they say he’s working his butt off every day and improving on a daily basis. We have to look and see where he’s at. For us, it’s in his best interest to make sure that when we start that 21-day clock, that he’s in a position that he’s not going to have any setbacks that would take him past that 21-day clock. I want to make sure we do the right thing by him by not rushing him back before he’s fully ready, and that would keep him possibly off the field for the entire year. I want to make sure we go ahead and do right by him.

Q: Has he been able to be in meetings, position meetings, team meetings, or is he just strictly with the trainers?

A: No, he’s with us in all the meetings. That’s been great. In terms of him staying up to date on the game plans, the terminology, getting mentally into the scouting reports, that’s all been really good. But David, him (Xavier McKinney), a bunch of other guys, they’ve all been very present in the meetings and involved with the team. Just once we hit the grass, they’re on their own separate program.

Q: You keep talking about areas you need to improve in. One of the areas you guys have really struggled in defensively is getting off the field on third down. What are you seeing on third down? You seem to be doing okay on first and second down, but you’re just not making those plays on third down.

A: It’s never one thing. We’re going through that right now as a staff, making sure we find the common thread and identify that. There has been a lot of times we’ve been a step away here, a step away there, but that to me is really a symptom of what are we doing on the front end of the play, and make sure we start in the right position and we can finish in the right position. But we definitely have to make more plays on third down to get off the field to shorten the drives for the opponents right there and give our offense the chance to get on the field and get some points.

Q: Just a general question here. You mention that the team has to play better, you have to coach better. I’m just wondering, though, at what point do you say to yourself ‘this just isn’t happening. We have to consider a change’? Is there a cutoff point for you? What tells you that you have to go to plan B, so to speak?

A: I’m not exactly sure what you’re clarifying as plan B. I would say this, I’d say we consider change on a daily basis. But that’s change within what we’re doing schematically, change in what we’re doing conceptually within the game plan, change in how we’re approaching something as a coaching staff, or changing how we’re using somebody on our roster personnel wise. We’re always looking for change and to evolve. We’re not looking to go ahead and be hardheaded and keep forcing the same thing in the same position. We’re looking on a daily basis at what we can do different to always improve.

Q: I’m really curious, when you look at the amount of turnovers that Daniel Jones has had, when does this become kind of a five-alarm fire for you guys? What went wrong on that pitch play there with him?

A: We just have to have better execution on that play. We thought it was a good thing to have in the game plan. Obviously, we didn’t carry through the way we needed to. These aren’t things we’re going to go ahead and completely abort going forward. We’ll look and see and make sure we execute it going better. But it’s never one person. It’s multiple guys that have to execute better, so we have to get that corrected.

Q: Do you have to talk to him? With the interception, it seemed like he was kind of locked in on Evan (Engram) the whole time before he threw it. Is that something you need to go back on the tape and kind of drill into him that he can’t telegraph throws? It just seems like this is an on-going issue with him.

A: Look, we work with him on a daily basis, obviously, every day. We’re not going to leave anything to chance with that position especially. But look, he’s a guy that works extremely hard. It’s very important to him. Everyone here has to coach better, everyone has to play better. We need to raise our level of execution, and we’re committed to doing that as a team.

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

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