Jan 102024

The drama between the New York Giants and Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale lasted about 48 hours. The team tersely announced Wednesday afternoon:

The Giants and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale have mutually agreed to part ways.

So ends the standoff. According to ESPN, the Giants will keep the $3 million that Martindale was owed in 2024 on his contract while Martindale faces no restrictions on where he may be hired next.

As previously reported, the genesis of this break-up all started in late November when FOX Sports‘ Jay Glazer had reported there was tension between Martindale and Head Coach Brian Daboll and that Martindale was unlikely to remain with the Giants in 2024. Both Daboll and Martindale denied these reports, and on Monday morning Daboll said he “expected” Martindale to return. That changed a few hours later when reports surfaced that Martindale had resigned from the team. Soon after that, however, came word that the separation was not official yet.

The speculation is that Martindale’s camp leaked the story to Glazer in November and that Martindale wanted the Giants to fire him so he could retain the salary due him as well as pick his next destination. At the same time, the Giants wanted him to resign so they did not have to pay him as well as have some say over his next coaching destination, keeping him out of the NFC East.

The Giants may have fired Martindale’s close associates, brothers Drew (outside linebackers coach) and Kevin Wilkins (defensive assistant) in order to prompt Martindale to quit. The New York Post is reporting that when Martindale was informed of the firings by Daboll, he screamed expletives at Daboll and stormed out of his office, leaving the building and returning to his home in Florida.

In Martindale’s final season with the Giants, the defense finished and 27th in yards allowed, 19th in passing yards allowed, 29th in rushing yards allowed, 26th in points allowed, and tied for first in turnovers generated.

According to media reports, the Tennessee Titans are interested in interviewing New York Giants Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka for their head coaching vacancy. The 36-year old Kafka joined the Giants last year after servicing as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs. He also drew interest for head coaching vacancies last offseason with the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, and Arizona Cardinals.

New York Giants punter Jamie Gillan has been named “NFC Special Teams Player of the Week” for his performance in Week 18 against the Philadelphia Eagles. In that game, Gillan punted five times, averaging 46.5 gross yards and 44.0 net yards. Four of his punts were downed or fair caught inside the 20-yard line.

Jul 132023
Jamie Gillan and Graham Gano, New York Giants (December 18, 2022)

Jamie Gillan and Graham Gano – © USA TODAY Sports

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



2022 YEAR IN REVIEW: Based on the main special teams categories, the New York Giants special teams units were far from special in 2022:

  • Field Goal Percentage: 90.6 percent (tied for 8th in the NFL)
  • Extra Point Percentage: 94.1 percent (11th in the NFL)
  • Touchback Percentage: 58.8 percent (17th in the NFL)
  • Opposing Kickoff Return Average: 25.6 (tied for 26th in the NFL)
  • Kickoff Return Average: 21.3 (tied for 22nd in the NFL)
  • Punting Average: 46.8 (tied for 17th in the NFL)
  • Net Punting Average: 40.6 (tied for 25th in the NFL)
  • Punts Resulting in Touchbacks: 9 (tied for 30th in the NFL)
  • Punts Downed Inside 20: 26 (tied for 14th in the NFL)
  • Punt Return Average: 6.2 (29th in the NFL)

Only five teams scored on kickoff returns and three on punt returns. The Giants did neither. The team attempted five onside kickoffs and recovered none. The Giants also had one punt blocked and fumbled on four punt returns.

The sole kickoff returner was Gary Brightwell, who returned 26 kickoffs for an average of 21.3 yards and a long of 47 yards. Richie James handled the bulk of punt returns, returning 24 for an average of 7.3 yards and a long of 23 yards. He also fumbled three times on those 24 punt returns. (Jason Pinnock fumbled too on his sole punt return).

Possibly the special teams low point was the very questionable decision to have starting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson return three punts. On the third, he sprained his MCL and was lost for the second half of the regular season.

The high point remained the play of Graham Gano, arguably the team’s best player the past three seasons. In 2022, Graham was 8-of-9 on 50+ yard field goal attempts, with a long of 57 yards. On the other hand, new punter Jamie Gillan was inconsistent. He flashed a strong leg but his net punting average was bottom tier. His inside-the-20 punting improved markedly in the second-half of the season, however, with a four-game stretch with 12 punts downed inside the 20.

The top-10 special teams players on the roster in terms of snaps were:

  1. LB Cam Brown (398)
  2. LB Carter Coughlin (398)
  3. RB Gary Brightwell (295)
  4. S Julian Love (220)
  5. TE/FB Chris Myarick (212)
  6. DB Nick McCloud (200)
  7. S Jason Pinnock (194)
  8. LB Tomon Fox (186)
  9. RB Matt Breida (178)
  10. LB Tae Crowder (160)

Overall, outside of Gano, there wasn’t much to be excited about.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The kickers have remained the same and neither Graham Gano or Jamie Gillan will face competition in training camp. The Giants did sign an undrafted rookie free agent long snapper, Cameron Lyons, to compete with Casey Kreiter. Obviously, any new player on offense and defense could be a factor on special teams. And those who have departed on offense and defense are no longer part of the equation.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES:  The only issue that caught the eye of fans this offseason was the decision to not have another punter on the 90-man roster to compete with Jamie Gillan. That strongly suggests the team is intrigued by Gillan’s skillset and wants to develop him. That being said, a punter could always be added before or during the season if Gillan struggles. It is interesting to note that while the team did not sign any undrafted rookie free agent players at several positions, including punter and the offensive line, they did choose to bring in another long snapper.

In camp, the real area to watch is the return game. It seems like the team has not had stability, consistency, and reliability on kickoff and punt returns in years. No one has really nailed down these jobs. Dwayne Harris, who played for the team in 2015-2017, was probably the last guy to do so. Among others, those who were returning punts in OTAs included Eric Gray, Darius Slayton, and Darnay Holmes. Veteran free agent Jamison Crowder also has returned 95 punts in his career, but most of those came during the years Dwayne Harris was returning punts with the Giants. Who returns kickoffs seems even more ambiguous. Gary Brightwell returns, but he may have a harder time making the 53-man roster in 2023 given the presence of Eric Gray. Influencing decisions here are continued efforts by the NFL to eliminate kickoff returns.

In terms of the high-snap guys on specials, Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin stick out like sore thumbs. But as this roster improves, can the team afford to keep two linebackers who only play on special teams and don’t contribute on defense? One or both could be on the bubble.

ON THE BUBBLE: The kickers are already set. Casey Kreiter and Cameron Lyons will battle for long snapper. Other than that, there are plenty of roster spots to win or lose on offense and defense based on special teams performance.

FROM COACHES: Special Teams Coach Thomas McGaughey on how changes to kickoff return rules might affect roster decisions with players such as Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin: “It’s tough. It’s not an easy situation when you know, for the most part, you’re going to get anywhere from 25 to 28 plays. Normally, you get really 14 to 15 of those plays, maybe 18, and then half of those might go away. Naturally, you might think, ‘Okay, what is my value?’ But that’s just what it is… The roster construction part of it, I don’t have anything to do with. All I can do as a coach is just make the adjustment with the rule change. The situation is what it is, and you can’t complain about it, can’t moan about it, you just make the adjustment and you keep it moving. As a coach, that’s my job.”

Special Teams Coach Thomas McGaughey on the long snappers: “It’s not so much of a competition. I think it’s more of a good, young player that we identified that can develop over time. Obviously, Casey is a veteran guy. He’s been around for a long time, and to be able to save him and be able to develop a guy at the same time as giving another guy some breaks, because he snaps a lot of balls. Casey’s a hard worker and he’s a great teammate, and a great leader. But Cam Lyons is definitely a very talented young snapper.”

Special Teams Coach Thomas McGaughey on who will return punts: “We’re trying to find who’s going to be the guy. The preseason is going to be important. It’s a long way away, but we’ve got a ton of guys out there catching and they’re all working hard and doing what you’re supposed to do.”

Special Teams Coach Thomas McGaughey on finding gunners: “You want continuity at a spot so you can create consistency. It’s kind of hard to have that when you don’t, when you’re changing guys out every week. But you want to be able to develop players that can play those positions and then have them play those positions consistently.”

PREDICTIONS/CLOSING THOUGHTS: Right or wrong, fans are coming to the conclusion that Special Teams Coach Thomas McGaughey is a weak spot on the coaching staff. McGaughey has been with the Giants since 2018. In other words, not only was he hired by Pat Shurmur, but Joe Judge (whose background was special teams) and Brian Daboll both chose to retain him. That’s unusual and it says something about how McGaughey is regarding in the league, whether you like it or not.

I could list all of the special teams stats during the five years McGaughey has been with the Giants, but all of that data would leave your head spinning. To keep things simple, let’s look at sportswriter Rick Gosselin’s comprehensive annual special teams ranking for the Giants since 2018:

  • 2018: 15th
  • 2019: 7th
  • 2020: 19th
  • 2021: 10th
  • 2022: 28th

With two top-10 rankings in the past five years (2019 and 2021), and under two different head coaches, these rankings seem to suggest the special teams coach is not the issue. (Incidentally, they also suggest that Joe Judge did not really help the team’s performance in his supposed area of expertise as well). Given the dismal state of the NYG roster for the past decade, the team-wide lack of talent most likely affected special teams as well more than anything else. In other words, if the team’s starters on offense and defense were not good, the back-ups (special teams players) were likely equally bad or worse in talent.

Nevertheless, the Giants did take a hit on the coaching front in July. Assistant Special Teams Coach Anthony Blevins, who has also been with the team since Pat Shurmur hired him, left the Giants to become a head coach in the XFL. So McGaughey lost a valued assistant just weeks before training camp started. As of today, the assistant special teams coach spot remains vacant.

Another fan myth that seems to have developed is that Jamie Gillan was atrocious at inside-the-20 punting. Actually, he was 14th in the NFL, so a little better than average, though the nine touchbacks hurt. He also got markedly better as the season progressed in this department. It’s too early to tell what kind of NFL career he will have. Gillan has a strong leg. We’ll have to see if he can generate greater consistency. McGaughey did make it clear that his net punting numbers were not on him alone, but also the fault of the coverage units.

Simply stated, the Giants need some consistency and reliability on special teams. When they have found a good player in recent years, like Cody Core in 2019, something has happened like when Core tore his Achilles the following summer and he was gone. They need to find some real studs in coverage who can nail down the job and bring the continuity that Coach McGaughey craves. There is a real opportunity here for guys such as Dane Belton, Jason Pinnock, Tre Hawkins, Gervarrius Owens, Trenton Thompson, Dyontae Johnson, Elerson Smith, Tomon Fox, Bryce Ford-Wheaton, and others.

At the same time, the Giants return game with Gary Brightwell returning kickoffs and Richie James returning punts in 2022 was not good. And the punt return issues leaked into the defense in a major way when Adoree’ Jackson was lost. The Giants need to get this resolved. It’s getting ridiculous. Find a punt and kickoff returner. It shouldn’t take five years and three head coaches to do so. I would think there would be a strong temptation to try Jalin Hyatt on kickoff returns given his straight-line speed.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Graham Gano, Jamie Gillan, Casey Kreiter

Mar 132023
Jamie Gillan, New York Giants (December 18, 2022)

Jamie Gillan – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have re-signed punter Jamie Gillan and long snapper Casey Kreiter, both of whom were set to be unrestricted free agents on Wednesday. Gillan’s contract is reportedly a 2-year, $4 million deal that could be worth up to $5 million with incentives. Kreiter reportedly signed a 1-year contract.

Gillan became the new Giants’ punter in 2022 after signing a reserve/future contract in February 2022. Gillan played all 17 regular-season games and averaged 46.8 yards per punt (40.6 net). Those stats were 18th and 25th in the NFL, respectively. Twenty-six of his punts were downed inside the 20-yard line, or 35 percent of his punts (21st-best in the NFL). Nine of his punts resulted in touchbacks (tied for second-most in the NFL). He had one punt blocked.

Gillan is Scottish born. He was originally signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. Gillan served as Cleveland’s punter for all of 2019 and 2020, as well as most of 2021. The Browns waived him in late December and he was then signed to the Practice Squad of the Buffalo Bills. In 61 regular-season games, Gillan has averaged 45.2 yards per punt (40.2 net yards per punt). Gillan has a strong leg, but is not a strong directional punter. He did improve the number of inside-the-20 punts and avoiding touchbacks as the season progressed.

The Giants signed long snapper Kreiter as an unrestricted free agent from the Denver Broncos in April 2020. He has been a steady performer in his three years with the team. Kreiter was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Dallas Cowboys after the 2014 NFL Draft. After spending two camps with the Cowboys, Kreiter made the Denver Broncos in 2016. He made the Pro Bowl for his performance in 2018.

For a listing of the team’s free agents, see the New York Giants 2023 Free Agency Scorecard.

Oct 132022
Darius Slayton, New York Giants (October 9, 2022)

Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports

WR Kenny Golladay (knee), WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), TE Tanner Hudson (illness), OLB Jihad Ward (not injury related), CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf), S Tony Jefferson (foot), and S Jason Pinnock (ankle) did not practice on Thursday.

RB Saquon Barkley (shoulder), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), TE/FB Chris Myarick (ankle), DL Leonard Williams (knee), OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf), CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee/neck), and CB Darnay Holmes (quad) practiced on a limited basis.

QB Tyrod Taylor (concussion) full practiced.

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

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

The Giants practice again on Friday (11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.). Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media.

Oct 072022
Wan'Dale Robinson, New York Giants (July 28, 2022)

Wan’Dale Robinson – © USA TODAY Sports

QB Tyrod Taylor (concussion), WR Kenny Golladay (knee), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), DL Henry Mondeaux (ankle), OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf), and CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf) and did not practice on Friday.

Golladay, Toney, Mondeaux, Ojulari, and Flott did not make the trip to England and are officially out of Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. Taylor and Robinson made the trip, but also have been ruled out.

(Toney) tweaked it again on Wednesday,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll. “So, wouldn’t be ready to go. We kept him home to get treatment… But it was the other hamstring; it wasn’t the same one… It was the other hamstring, not the one that he’s had.”

DL Leonard Williams (knee) and CB Nick McCloud (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis. Williams is officially “questionable” for the game; McCloud is expected to play.

QB Daniel Jones (ankle), WR Richie James (ankle), OT Evan Neal (neck), CB Fabian Moreau (foot), and S Julian Love (concussion) fully practiced. All five players are expected to play.

The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

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

There is no media availability to the team on Saturday. The Giants play the Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England on Sunday.

Aug 222022
Davis Webb, New York Giants (August 21, 2022)

Davis Webb – © USA TODAY Sports

The news could have been far worse. According to various media sources, linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee during Sunday’s preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. There is reportedly no damage to the ACL and meniscus. Thibodeaux is expected to miss 3-4 weeks, meaning he could miss the regular-season opener against the Tennessee Titans.

“I’d say it’s day-to-day really,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll on Monday. “I’m not forecasting when a player can come back or not come back. I know he’ll come in and get treatment. We’ll take it day-by-day, and when he’s ready to go out there, that’s when we’ll put him out there.”

The news was not good for linebacker Darrian Beavers, who suffered a torn ACL in his left knee. He is done for the season.

New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 25-22 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals (the video of the press conference is also available on YouTube):

Q: (Outside Linebacker Kayvon) Thibodeaux. There’s a report out there. I know we just got a text on it, but it’s a sprained MCL?

A: Yeah. MCL. Yep

Q: And a quick follow up. When you look at that play with (Outside Linebackers Coach) Drew Wilkins last night, is there something technique-wise that Thibodeaux could do different to maybe avoid a situation like what happened last night?

A: Yeah, those are tough blocks – the blocks that are coming from across the line of scrimmage within the tackle box. You got to see it, and then you’ve got to do a great job of trying to play with your hands. So, it’s unfortunate that KT went down. But that’s part of the game.

Q: That last play – the way you guys defended that – who came up with that, and how much have you actually practiced that?

A: We try to practice as many different situations. We practice a lot of them offensively, what we would do in that situation. Defensively, there’s different ways to defend it. I think that (Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale) Wink has done a really good of implementing his stuff, along with the assistant coaches that we have. And (Outside Linebacker Tomon) Fox sitting there on the sideline and defending the sideline when they have no timeouts, that was a good play. It was a good hit. We want to make sure it’s clean. He led with the shoulder. But it was good situational football, a good call by Wink and well executed by the players.

Q: And one other just game question if I could, why’d you go for two there? You said there was some confusion there.

A: There wasn’t, I wanted to go for two relative to the kicking situation. You know, (Kicker) Graham (Gano) was out, and I just thought it was a good time to work some two-point stuff, and it was a good time to kick (Punter) Jamie (Gillian) even though he hasn’t really been kicking very much. And (Safety) Julian (Love) holding and doing all those things, you never know what could happen. I mean last year we were involved in a game where an opponent’s kicker got hurt pregame, and basically, they had to go for it every snap. So just kind of trying to work some different situation with the players relative to what we were dealt with with Graham going down there.

Q: There was a timeline reported on Kayvon three to four weeks and that you were hopeful for Week 1. Is that accurate? Are you feeling that optimistic that he could play in the opener, or is there a chance that he does not?

A: I’d say it’s day-to-day really. I’m not forecasting when a player can come back or not come back. I know he’ll come in and get treatment. We’ll take it day-by-day, and when he’s ready to go out there, that’s when we’ll put him out there.

Q: Did he go into the city this morning for an MRI? Like what was kind of the timeline for events there?

A: We took care of that stuff yesterday, this morning and had our medical meeting here this morning with the doctor and (General Manager) Joe (Schoen), kind of normal what we do after every game. So, fingers crossed. Hopefully his rehab goes well, and he can get out there as soon as he can.

Q: With Kayvon, what kind of training camp, now that it’s over, what kind of training camp did he have? And how important is this missed time? Do you feel like he got all the work he needed whenever he does come out? Like how valuable is this missed two weeks to him?

A: I think every time you miss a practice, it’s great value to be out at practice. You try to simulate it as best you can to gain live reps, but as many repetitions as any of our guys can get – whether it’s a rookie or a veteran – I think that helps them. It helps each unit, so again, KT’s been doing everything we’ve asked him to do since he’s been here. He’s been a good teammate. He’s worked extremely hard. So, certainly time missed, you never want to miss time. He has the right attitude. The right approach. He’ll rehab as hard as he can rehab and be ready to go when he’s ready to go.

Q: So, who do you look to to fill those spots? What have you seen from some of the next guys in order? Whether it’s – I know we know (Outside Linebacker Azeez) Ojulari will be on one side. But filling Kayvon’s shoes, whether it’s (Outside Linebacker Jihad) Ward or (Outside Linebacker Oshane) Ximines. Who do you look to there, and what have you seen behind Kayvon?

A: Yeah, I think Drew’s done a good job with all those guys –those edge guys. From top to bottom. I mean Fox had a really good night last night, too, setting the edge, playing physical. (Outside Linebacker Quincy Roche) Q and (Oshane Ximines) Big X, Jihad – Haddy – and all those guys have really done a good job of understanding our system and making the most of their opportunities when they get in there. It was good to have Azeez back, too. He had 10 reps, caused two holding penalties, looked good out there for the first time.

Q: I want to ask you about Graham’s situation. Do you need to bring in a kicker maybe for the preseason game against the Jets or can you kind of get by with maybe Jamie doing it if (Graham) he’s not ready to go Sunday?

A: Joe and I are going to talk about that. We’ve had preliminary discussions on it. We’re possibly going to bring in a kicker; you don’t want to wear Jamie out – the different angles he has to kick from. So, we’re in the process of talking about that, and we definitely could bring one in.

Q: And I wanted to ask you a quick question about the offense last night. (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) seemed very effective. He was on the field for, I think, 20, 21 snaps with (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay). It didn’t seem like they even looked at each other. Was that a level of concern? Was that by design? What was going on there?

A: Look, unless you’re calling a screen pass or a jet sweep, you really don’t have – you can put guys in spots and think the ball might go there as a first read. I think Daniel did a very good job of throwing the ball where he needed to throw it, making good decisions, playing on time, playing under control. That’s the unique thing about a receiver or a skilled player – you’re not guaranteed to get all these looks. It’s predicated, at least how we do it, it’s predicated on how the defense plays and our read progression. I thought Daniel did a really good job with that.

Q: With Kayvon’s knee, I know doctors can do the original test on the knee in terms of seeing if it’s stable or not to give the early insight into if it’s a potential torn ACL or anything like that. As a coach, when you get that initial report, do you allow yourself to feel any sense of optimism, or do you kind of push all that to the side and wait for a full confirmation with an MRI?

A: I kind of wait until – I think you can start thinking about a bunch of different things. The trainers come over and just tell you they’re out, and you know they have to go through their, whether it’s X-rays or MRIs or whatever other tests that the players need to go through. You go to bed. You get up. You have your meetings. You get the information you need to get. And whatever it is, I think you just deal with it. You have a plan on what you have to do to help the player get ready to go. In this case, he’s going to be ready to go whenever that is. On the other hand, if they’re out, you got a lot of empathy for those guys that do get injured that are out for a significant amount of time.

Q: It seems to me when watching your offensive linemen – pretty much whoever is in there – that they seem to be doing a good job of communicating and passing off guys with all kinds of tricks and things up front that there’s not a lot of confusion up there. In the past, that’s been a problem. You haven’t been here in the past, obviously. But do you see the same thing in, whether they physically win the play or not, they’re at least in the right place in understanding what each other is supposed to be doing?

A: Yeah, I think we’ve made progress with that since we’ve been here. We certainly have a ways to go of that. But I do think our centers do a good job of communicating. You know (Offensive Lineman) Max (Garcia) did a good job for not being in there (at center) a whole bunch of communicating. And (Tackle Will) Holden, who really hasn’t, well now he’s played all five spots. He was able to do a good job of communicating with the players around him and getting everybody on the page for the most part. That’s the challenge of offensive line play is trying to get five guys to act as one because if one part of it breaks down, it makes all five of them usually look bad. And that’s where, offensively, that’s where we want to start, and the same defensively, is up front. Our defensive line and our offensive line have to set the tempo for our team, and that’s what we work towards every day.

Q: One other thing, you always mention smart, tough, dependable. Smart is always first, I’m sure that’s for a reason. Is that especially important with this offensive line because you can get guys who aren’t high pedigree guys but if they’re smart, is that really crucial to what has to happen up there?

A: Yeah, for us, absolutely. Not just the offensive line but since you’re asking, yeah, it is. Smart, being able to communicate well, again having toughness and being dependable, that’s important really for every position but, in particular, the offensive line and you adding on top of that the communication factor that I talked about, all five of those guys trying to act as one. That’s important because it’s a very tough position to play. It’s physically tough, and I’d say it’s mentally challenging too with the variety of looks that you get down in from a defense.

Q: We got the official word about (Inside Linebacker Darrian) Beavers obviously with the torn ACL, a low for him, what was that like when you were trying to meet with him and talk to him about what the next step is going to be?

A: I’d just say for these guys, and I’ve said this before, you just have a tremendous amount of respect for the players because you see them on away games, or you see them early in the morning on their off days on how much they take care of their body. Obviously, it’s their tool, and whenever something like that happens, there’s a wide range of emotions for every player and I’d say each player is different. You try to be there and be supportive and do the best job that you can in that regard. What’s next, and having your mind on what’s next and helping the players in any way that you can, so it’s tough. (Offensive Lineman Marcus) McKethan had one, and then now Beavers has one. For young players, that’s tough, particularly for guys that were developing and doing a good job in camp with a bright future.

Q: Just one quick thing off of that, he’d been getting a lot of time with (Inside Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) being worked back in, Blake getting his action last night. Do you feel like Blake is in a position to kind of accelerate towards the opener, or are you still in that status quo for him?

A: Yeah, we’ve been working him back in, he had 10 reps, maybe a little bit less than that, but was active, was where he was supposed to be, read the offense well. I has a lot of confidence in Blake.

Q: I want to look forward for a second here. This week you’ve got a joint practice with the (New York) Jets. I want to know what went into that for you, how much were you aware of it being sort of a big deal? I know it was a long time ago at this point, but the last time that these teams did have a joint practice.

A: I’ve heard some stories about that, about the last one. It was a while back, right? I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh) Coach Saleh. I really got to meet him at the owner’s meetings back in March or April whenever it was, and then when we talked about potentially practicing against one another we kind of went around and around, I think they have a game tonight if I’m not mistaken against Atlanta (Falcons), so we ended up doing just one instead of two just based on their schedule and our schedule. Anytime you practice against a team, you want to get good work in. Practice the right way, it’s almost like you’re practicing against your team. I’d say it’s pretty competitive but you still want to take care of one another knowing that you only have so many guys, you want to try to keep people up, stay away from the Quarterback, and having the conversations I’ve had with Coach Saleh up until this point, they’ve been good. We’ll revisit it after his game tonight, make sure that we’re in line of what we want to do relative to the schedule and the injuries that each team has, and make sure we’re doing what’s best for our players and get something productive out of it.

Q: And what kind of stories did you hear about that last practice?

A: There were some brawls here I heard.

Q: The coaches were yelling at each other, so I was curious if you were aware of that.

A: No, I didn’t hear that one. I just heard it was a couple of brawls in there. We’ll to try to stay from that.

Q: In less than three weeks, you’re going to be playing your first regular season game. You’ve been going at this for eight months now, do you have any idea where you are with respect to being ready for that first game?

A: Yeah, I think what you try to do is focus on each day and improve each day and improve from game to game. It’ll get on you quick, but you have to take care of what’s in front of you today and improve those things and keep building on it, and that’s the way we approach it. We don’t look too far ahead, don’t look too far behind, learn certainly from our mistakes and try to build to be better each day.

Q: Is there any area that concerns you other than injuries?

A: Yeah, look you’re always trying to get better. You’re never where you need to be, particularly early in the season, you’re still trying to find out. Even in the first couple of years, some of those championship teams that I was fortunate to be a part of, the first couple of games, you’re still trying to figure out exactly what you are. Keep improving. It may not be exactly where you want to be early in the season. You’d like to get off to a fast start, but there are some games in September that are really important to get off to a fast start, but I think your fundamentals, your techniques, the big things that you need to do in every football game, but particularly early in the year, the blocking, the catching, the getting open, and being on the same page, those are critical because you really don’t know. You can watch a team in the off-season and study them, but each team evolves every year. They might have been one thing one year and you think you’re going to get it the first couple of games and they’re turning into something else, using players a different way. So, it really comes down to being good technicians, good at fundamentals, doing the big things right, ball security, and those types of things.

Q: What do you attribute to the amount of injuries you guys have had so far and is it becoming overwhelming to deal with so many, including some key guys?

A: I think injuries are a part of the game. You never want guys to get hurt but that is the nature of playing a contact, physical sport at the highest level. Certain things happen and some of them are out of your control. I’ve been a part of this league for a long time and coached guys that have been injured. Again, you’re empathetic towards those guys, but you try to build a deeper roster as you can so that the next guy’s up. With that being said, you never want guys on your team to be hurt or on the other team for that matter. It’s their livelihood and you have empathy towards that, and you try to do your best to eliminate as many injuries as you can, but it’s a physical, physical sport with a lot of contact and people moving at high speeds, and unfortunately you’re going to have some of those.

Q: I just have one for you here Dabs. As you put together your wide receiver depth chart beyond (Wide Receiver Kenny) Golladay and (Wide Receiver Kadarius) Toney, you’ve had big performances from (Wide Receiver) Collin Johnson, (Wide Receiver Alex) Bachman, (Wide Receiver David) Sills (V), are you just looking for the next three of four best guys or do you want a variety? Like do you want a fast guy, you want a tall guy, do you want a diversity of skill sets across the room or do you just want the next five best players regardless of if there’s repetitiveness?

A: Yeah, I wouldn’t say the next, I would just say the five best or six best player or seven best, however many we’re going to keep. The guys that have been out there and producing, Collin Johnson, David Sills, they’ve stepped their game up. And they’re right in the mix, not just to make a team but to play. So again, like I said, everybody’s got to earn their job, earn their role, do a good job of the things they need to do, and make the most of their opportunities when they get them.

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

The players are off on Tuesday and there is no media availability to the team. The Giants return to practice Wednesday afternoon (12:45-2:45PM). Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media.

Feb 072022
Don "Wink" Martindale, Baltimore Ravens (January 6, 2019)

Don “Wink” Martindale – © USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple sources, the New York Giants have interviewed both Don “Wink” Martindale and Steve Wilks for a second time, with these interviews being in person. Martindale’s second interview was on Sunday and Wilks’ second interview was on Monday. Their first interviews were held virtually last week.

The 58-year old Martindale served as the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens since 2018. On January 21, Martindale and Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh decided to mutually part ways. The Giants interviewed Martindale in early January 2020 for their head coaching vacancy before hiring Joe Judge.

The 52-year old Wilks is currently the defensive coordinator at the University of Missouri. He also has served as defensive coordinator with the Carolina Panthers (2017) and Cleveland Browns (2019). The Giants interviewed him for their head coaching vacancy in January 2018. After the Giants hired Pat Shurmur as head coach, Wilks became head coach of the Arizona Cardinals that year.

The Giants have virtually interviewed at least three other candidates for the defensive coordinator position, including Sean Desai, Jim Schwartz, and Teryl Austin.

The 38-year old Desai served as the defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears in 2021, after being promoted from safeties coach (2019-2020). He was not retained when the Bears fired Head Coach Matt Nagy.

The 55-year old Schwartz was the senior defensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans in 2021. Before that, he was the defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles from 2016-2020. The Giants requested permission to interview Schwartz for their head coaching vacancy in January 2018 before hiring Pat Shurmur.

The 56-year old Austin has served as the senior defensive assistant and secondary coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2019. However, Austin has decided to remain with the Steelers, who are now  now promoting him to defensive coordinator. The Giants interviewed Austin for their head coaching vacancy in January 2016 before hiring Ben McAdoo.

The Giants have officially signed quarterback Davis Webb and punter Jamie Gillan to reserve/future contracts.

Webb spent most of the 2021 season on the Practice Squad of the Buffalo Bills, serving as the team’s #3 quarterback behind Josh Allen and Mitchell Trubisky. The Giants drafted Webb in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but waived in early September 2018 before the season started. The 27-year old, 6’5”, 225-pound Webb has spent time with the Giants (2017-2018), New York Jets (2018), Bills (2019-2021). His only playing time in a regular-season game came in garbage time in one game in 2021.

The 24-year old, 6’1”, 207-pound Gillan is Scottish born. He was originally signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. Gillan served as Cleveland’s punter for all of 2019 and 2020, as well as most of 2021. The Browns waived him in late December and he was then signed to the Practice Squad of the Buffalo Bills. In 44 regular-season games, Gillan has averaged 44.7 yards per punt (39.8 net yards per punt).