Oct 042021
 
Share Button
John Ross, New York Giants (October 3, 2021)

Touchdown Giants! John Ross – © USA TODAY Sports

OCTOBER 4, 2021 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 27-21 win over the New Orleans Saints:

Q: Even though you’re on your fourth left guard and your second center, your offensive line seems to be communicating well. What are you seeing up front? Especially, what did you see from (Offensive Lineman) Matt (Skura) yesterday jumping in and basically being thrown into the fire at left guard yesterday?

A: I would say first off, the way those guys are working and the way the coaches are working with those guys to get them prepared, it was really just putting them in position to go out there and be successful. These guys work really (well) in the meetings in terms of going through the install, reviewing opponent tape, talking continuously throughout it making sure we’re on the same page from a communication standpoint. At practice, we get great work against our defensive front – whether it’s simulating the opponents’ rushes or just going competitive good versus good work. So, we go into every game very well prepared from that standpoint there. Specifically about Matt, I saw a guy jump in there and went out there, competed and made a lot of good plays for us. I think all positions on the team, all coaches, there’s a lot of things we’ve got to clean up and fix to keep moving forward, but I was very pleased with how Matt jumped in there. I was very pleased with the offensive line jumping in there. I thought they did a good job yesterday and they gave us room for some runs, and they gave (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) a lot of time to throw. That was a productive day against a very good defense.

Q: (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph said after the game yesterday that you had pumped music into some of the team meetings last week to prepare for the Superdome. Can you just walk us through how you decided to do that? What it was actually like for the guys and for the coaches? Do you go to that detail this week with Dallas, like recreating the glare of the sun in the stadium for example? Would you do something like that for every different game?

A: In terms of recreating the glare of the sun, that’s a little bit more difficult I’d say. In terms of anytime we have sun work at practice, we’ll always use that. I don’t care if we’re playing at night or we’re playing in a dome, it doesn’t matter. We’ll always use the sun. We try to make everything in practice more difficult than the game is going to be, whether that’s simulating having greased balls out there for turnover drills to make sure you’ve got to really concentrate on focusing and holding onto the ball. Last week, a large part of the emphasis was the noise and we just wanted to make sure our guys were mentally prepared going into that environment and understanding that you had to work to communicate. You couldn’t take it for granted. Whether it was through using your voice or signals or whatever it may be, we had to consciously work on all terms to make sure we’re on the same page. I thought the guys handled it really well. We went out there – that’s a place where a lot of teams jump offsides, a lot of teams have false starts. We were able to operate in the game last night with neither. That was something that was a big focus for us in preparation. In terms of using music in the meetings, I just wanted the guys every time they turned a corner to be reminded of (how) it’s going to be an environment where we have to focus to get the job done. I played for (Former Mississippi State Head Coach) Jackie Sherrill in college, so I kind of learned a lot about using every trick in the book to get your team prepared. Anything I think that can help the team I’m always going to use.

Q: Do you have any updates on (Wide Receiver) C.J. (Board) and (Safety) Jabrill (Peppers), and any other injuries?

A: I think it’s going to take probably a couple of days on Jabrill to kind of have full grasp of what this is looking like. I would say at the time yesterday, there was a chance to put him back in the game. I didn’t feel confident myself, to be honest with you, not knowing exactly what it was, putting someone out there and putting them at risk of really being hurt. We’re probably going to take a couple of days to see exactly what’s going on there. In terms of C.J., they’re going to look at him over the next day or so and see where he’s at. I’m optimistic about it, we’ll see where he’s at. I know C.J. is definitely a tough dude, so is Pep. Both those guys are going to try to do everything they can to get back for us. I would say coming out on Monday, there are just a lot knicks and bumps. A lot of times you don’t have answers this time because you’ve got to let them kind of settle down over the next couple days. You’ve got to let some of the swelling either go down or set in, see where guys are at with different things. Normally, Wednesday we’ll have a better picture.

Q: One of the things you said last night after the game was that results are the most deceiving thing in the history of mankind. What did you mean by that?

A: What I meant by that was in terms of going out and having a plan, if all you’re thinking about are results, you’re never going to get that accomplished. Sometimes, the worst thing that can happen to you is doing something the wrong way and having success. You’ve got to be willing to understand what the correct steps are you have to follow, what the true process is for you to be successful and stay committed to following that. Sometimes, you have success and it’s in spite of something you did wrong, and you can’t mistake that for the way to do it. Sometimes you fail, and you have to go back and reexamine the process of what you did in the steps along the way – and you can’t abandon that. You’ve got to make sure that you stick it and do it the right way. To me, I just don’t believe in being results oriented. Obviously, the focus is to have success, which are the results, but that comes from doing all the steps along the way to be successful.

Q: Last night, (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) mentioned on the passing touchdown that he caught that he and Daniel thought they saw something earlier in the game and they thought if they ran it later, they might be able to break free. How encouraging is it when you hear that they’re seeing things like that, they’re seeing things in the defense and they’re able to enact it later in the game like that?

A: I think that all comes from these guys just working together throughout the week and watching opponent tape, talking through schemes, they talk in meetings. The good thing is when you go ahead and you’re installing a scheme or diagramming a play or whatever it may be and you start seeing the players kind of talking to each other, and it’s not that they’re talking not paying attention. They’re talking in terms of they’re seeing something in terms of how it applies to them and sharing it with the player next to them – it may be the quarterback, receiver, whatever it is – of how they could really go ahead and see it through their perspective and make it work. So, those things tie into the game of when they see something, which obviously turned up later to be a big play for them, they communicate that with each other and then also with the coaches to let them know, ‘Hey, come back to that play. We’ve got a chance there. Let’s go out there and get something.’

Q: When it comes to the tackling on defense, I know you guys could not have been pleased with some of the lapses especially down near the goal line. When you go into practice this week, do you kind of build your practices around now – do you bring back more tackling drills? I know you’re kind of walking that line at this point of the season, but what are your feelings on that and how do you get these guys to get back to where you need them to be?

A: First, I think a large part of the focus on some of the missed tackles are, we always focus on making the tackle – the first man can make the tackle and next man can work the strip. We can’t make that mistake and get too adventurous on trying to rip that ball out and forget about making the tackle. That sprung both of those touchdowns, not securing him and getting him down, where it could’ve been minimal gain and it ended up being points for the other team. In terms of the tackling, there’s different phases of the tackle – the open-field entry, maintaining leverage, the close and the finish. There are different parts of it that we can work. In terms of designing practice this week, we’ll see where that goes in terms of pads and those days, how we handle those. But tackling is always a focus of ours. I’d say for the most part this season, I’ve been very pleased with the tackling. That obviously didn’t show up yesterday with the lapses in some areas. We’ve got to make sure we clean it up and correct it because obviously the teams that we keep playing are going to be very, very talented and very capable of running through arm tackles or bad tackling form. To answer your question very directly, we’ll definitely work on tackling this week in practice and there’s a lot of different ways of working on it to make sure we get all aspects correct.

Q: Do you have any kind of sense of (Wide Receiver) Sterling Shepard and (Wide Receiver) Darius Slayton? I know it’s early in the week. With that, when those guys are ready to return and with (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) being a big factor, (Wide Receiver) Kenny Golladay being healthier now, (Wide Receiver) John Ross (III) added into the equation, could there be such a thing as having a good problem to have, to have almost too many guys to throw the ball to?

A: I don’t know if I have the case of having ‘too many guys’ to throw the ball to. I’d say that Slayton and Shep are both working hard. We were encouraged last week with the progress they made. I think we’ll know a little bit in a couple of days in terms of what they look like going into this weekend. I know they’re pushing hard to go ahead and get back out there, and we’ll see the rest of the week what that looks like. In terms of having all those guys available at the game when they’re all up and healthy, to me it’s you want to have as many good players at the game as possible. I think all those guys are very capable of making plays. Whoever the open player is, we want to get the ball to and have them make a play. Very pleased with the way those guys are coming along as a unit and the improvements they’re making and the production they’re having.

Q: Offensive line-wise, the last two games you’ve played just the same five guys (and) you haven’t subbed in. We know your philosophy is always play everybody, bring everybody, everybody who goes plays, but offensive line-wise have you found the last two games that if the five starters are playing really well then you’re just not going to make a change?

A: I think we had a mix the last two games that we were good with going into the game. With the flow of the game, we just stuck with who we had. That doesn’t limit what anyone’s doing progression-wise or limit anybody’s opportunity or availability to be in a game. I would still expect to see all of our guys play. I don’t see that (going) any different. However the last two games you’re correct, we’ve gone with the same five guys and I’ve been pleased with how they’ve played overall.

Q: Offense overall, it seemed like there were more aggressive shots or more downfield shots, or however you would quantify it, in the second half and especially in the fourth quarter. Is that the score? Were there adjustments made? Is that the scheme? Just quantifiably, there were more downfield deep throws that game than there had been the first three-and-a-half games. Why?

A: That all ties more into the opponent, who you’re playing them, how you match up against them with different matchups, some of the things they’re doing defensively and how you’re playing up front with some other elements. This isn’t anything that we go and calculate saying, ‘We have to hit this many of this kind of pass.’ There were things we saw within the game plan that were going to give us opportunities. We weren’t going to go down there and not try to be aggressive and make any play that we thought was there. There have been other games where we’ve had very controlled passing games, which have been productive moving the ball up and down the field. There have been times we’ve taken calculated shots, pushing down the field, but it’s really based on the opponent and what they’re giving you at the time.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.

:

Oct 032021
 
Share Button
Jabrill Peppers, New York Giants (October 3, 2021)

Jabrill Peppers celebrates OT coin toss – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 27 – NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 21 (OT)…
It took overtime to do it, but the New York Giants won their first game of the 2021 season on Sunday afternoon by upsetting the New Orleans Saints 27-21. The Giants scored 17 unanswered points late in the contest. With the win, the Giants are now 1-3 on the season.

While New Orleans dominated the Giants in the running game (170 to 83 yards) and time of possession (37:31 to 27:35), New York held the advantage in total yards (485 to 405) and net yards passing (402 to 235). The turnover battle (one apiece) and first downs gained (21 each) were equal.

Offensively, the game did not start off well for the Giants, who only picked up one first down on their first two drives of the game, both resulting in quick punts. New York managed to gain three first downs and 57 yards on their third possession, but that drive ended with place kicker Graham Gano missing a 35-yard field goal (his first miss in 37 attempts).

Meanwhile, the Saints were having their own issues on offense. Their first drive picked up 13 yards before being forced to punt. New Orleans gained 44 yards and reached the New York 29-yard line on their second possession, but on 4th-and-3, running back Alvin Kamara was held short of the 1st-down marker by defensive end Leonard Williams and linebacker Lorenzo Carter, turning the football over on downs. The Saints reached the New York 40-yard line on their third possession, but missed a 58-yard field goal.

The scoreless game broke open midway through the second quarter. On the first play of the Giants’ fourth drive, quarterback Daniel Jones threw a deep strike to wide receiver John Ross for what was originally ruled a 51-yard touchdown. Officials later ruled that Ross fumbled as he was reaching the end zone; however, since Ross recovered the loose ball within the end zone, the touchdown was upheld. The Giants led 7-0.

However, as has been a constant occurrence this year, the Giants’ defense weakened at the end of the first half and surrendered the lead. The Saints drove 75 yards in 13 plays, with quarterback Jameis Winston throwing a 15-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-6 with less than 30 seconds to play before halftime. The first half ended with an intercepted pass on a Hail Mary from Jones.

The game was tied 7-7 at the break.

Momentum kept shifting the way of the Saints at the beginning of the 3rd quarterback. New Orleans received the ball to start the second half, and it only took them three plays to gain 75 yards and score an 8-yard touchdown on run by quarterback Taysom Hill. The Saints were now up 14-7.

The Giants responded with a 10-play, 70-yard drive, setting up a 1st-and-goal from the 3-yard line. But New York couldn’t push it in and the Giants settled for a 23-yard field goal to cut the score to 14-10. It appeared matters would get worse for the Giants on New Orleans’ second drive of the half when Winston threw a 46-yard touchdown pass. However, the play was nullified by an offensive holding penalty. On the very next snap, cornerback James Bradberry intercepted a deep pass from Hill at the New York 12-yard line.

The Giants picked up one first down and punted. The Saints appeared to take control of the game on the ensuing drive as they drove 63 yards in 11 plays, with the possession ending with another 8-yard run by Hill for the touchdown, this one on 3rd-and-2. The Saints were now up 21-10 with just over 12 minutes left in the contest.

Both teams exchanged punts. New York got the ball back with seven minutes on the clock. Wide receiver C.J. Board first returned the punt 28 yards. Then, on the first offensive play, Jones found running back Saquon Barkley wide open down the left sideline. Barkley caught the ball, cut back inside, and scored from 54 yards out. Jones then scrambled for the 2-point conversion and the score was 21-18 with less than seven minutes still left to play.

The Saints gained two first downs and ran almost four minutes off of the clock. The Giants started their final drive of regulation at their own 24-yard line with 3:01 to play. New York was able to gain 59 yards in 11 plays to set up a clutch, 48-yard field goal by Gano to tie the game with about half a minute left to play. The big play on the drive was a 28-yard catch-and-run by wide receiver Kenny Golladay on 3rd-and-7. The Saints could do nothing on their final two plays and the game went to overtime.

The Giants won the toss and never looked back. New York drove 75 yards in nine plays, including a 17-yard pass from Jones to Ross, an 18-yard pass to Barkley, and a 23-yard pass to  Golladay on 3rd-and-5. On 1st-and-goal from the 6-yard line, Barkley scored to win the game. (Barkley did fumble on this drive and tight end Kyle Rudolph saved the day by recovering the fumble).

Offensively, Jones finished the game 28-of-40 for 402 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He also rushed four times for 27 yards. His leading receivers were Golladay (6 catches for 116 yards), wide receiver Kadarius Toney (6 catches for 78 yards), Barkley (5 catches for 74 yards and a touchdown), and tight end Evan Engram (5 catches for 27 yards). Barkley was the leading rusher with 13 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 170 yards rushing, including 120 yards by Kamara and two touchdowns by Hill. New York defenders did not sack the quarterback and were not credited with a quarterback hit. They forced no fumbles but did pick off one pass.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Saturday, activated WR John Ross (hamstring) from Injured Reserve to the 53-man roster. The team also elevated OC Jonotthan Harrison to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring), WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), OG Ben Bredeson (hand), DE Raymond Johnson, CB Sam Beal, and CB Josh Jackson.

S Jabril Peppers (hamstring) left the game in the 4th quarter and did not return. He did make the correct call on the overtime coin toss.

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…
This was the Giants’ first victory in New Orleans since 1993. They had lost their five previous games in New Orleans.

This was the Giants’ first victory after overcoming a fourth-quarter deficit of at least 11 points since 2012.

The Giants had lost their previous 16 games in which they trailed after three quarters.

The Giants are 13-6-2 in overtime road games.

The Giants’ 402 net passing yards is the ninth-highest total in franchise history. The 402 yards is a career high for QB Daniel Jones. The 400-yard game was the first by a Giants quarterback since Eli Manning in 2017.

The interception of Daniel Jones’ pass on the Hail Mary at the end of the first half ended his streak of consecutive passes without throwing a pick at 124.

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

Sep 292021
 
Share Button
Wes Martin, Washington Football Team (August 20, 2021)

Wes Martin – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 29, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The New York Giants held a light, walk-thru practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Not practicing were WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring), WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), and OG Ben Bredeson (hand).

Limited in practice were RB Saquon Barkley (knee), FB Cullen Gillaspia (ankle), WR Kenny Golladay (hip), TE Kaden Smith (knee), CB Keion Crossen (elbow), S Logan Ryan (hamstring), S Nate Ebner (quad), and LS Casey Kreiter (knee).

The Giants have also designated wide receiver John Ross (hamstring) for return from Injured Reserve. The Giants placed Ross on Injured Reserve in early September 2021. The Giants have three weeks to activate Ross or keep him on Injured Reserve.

GIANTS SIGN WES MARTIN, PLACE BLAKE MARTINEZ ON IR…
The New York Giants signed guard Wes Martin off of the Practice Squad of the Washington Football team on Monday. The 25-year old, 6’3”, 315-pound Martin was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft by Washington. Martin played in 25 regular season games during his first two seasons, with 10 starts (five at right guard and five at left guard). Washington waived him in late August 2021 and signed him to the Practice Squad the following day.

As expected, the Giants have also placed linebacker Blake Martinez, who tore the ACL in his left knee last Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, on Injured Reserve. His season is over.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed OC/OG Sam Jones and LB Omari Cobb to the Practice Squad.

The 25-year old, 6’5”, 305-pound Jones was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He has spent time with the Broncos (2018-2019), Arizona Cardinals (2019-2020), Indianapolis Colts (2020-2021), and Atlanta Falcons (2021). Overall, Jones has played in five regular-season games with no starts.

The 24-year old, 6’4”, 223-pound Cobb was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent most of his rookie season on the Practice Squad of the Chiefs, but did play in one regular-season game in December. The Chiefs cut Cobb in late August 2021, signed him to the Practice Squad the next day, and then cut him from the Practice Squad in mid-September.

The Giants terminated the Practice Squad contracts of WR Matt Cole, OT Foster Sarell, and DL Willie Henry.

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 Giants practice again on Thursday afternoon (12:30-2:30PM). The coordinators and select players will also address the media.

Sep 012021
 
Share Button
Quincy Roche, Pittsburgh Steelers (August 21, 2021)

Quincy Roche – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS CLAIM THREE PLAYERS OFF OF WAIVERS, CUT THREE…
The New York Giants have claimed the following players off of waivers:

  • WR Collin Johnson (from Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • LB Justin Hilliard (from San Francisco 49ers)
  • LB Quincy Roche (from Pittsburgh Steelers)

The 23-year old, 6’6”, 222-pound Johnson was originally drafted in the 5th-round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Jaguars. As a rookie, he played in 14 NFL games with no starts, catching 18 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns.

The 24-year old, 6’1”, 231-pound Hilliard was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the 49ers after the 2021 NFL Draft.

The 23-year old, 6’3”, 245-pound Roche was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Steelers.

To make room for these three players, the Giants cut wide receivers C.J. Board (contract terminated) and Dante Pettis (waived) as well as linebacker Trent Harris (waived). Board was re-signed a few hours later when the Giants placed two players on Injured Reserve.

GIANTS PLACE ELERSON SMITH AND JOHN ROSS ON INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants have placed linebacker Elerson Smith and wide receiver John Ross on short-term Injured Reserve. Both are eligible to return to the 53-man roster after the first three games of the 2021 regular season.

With these roster vacancies, the Giants re-signed wide receiver C.J. Board, who was cut hours earlier in the day, and long snapper Casey Kreiter, who was cut yesterday.

GIANTS SIGN 14 PLAYERS TO THE PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have signed the following players to the team’s 16-man Practice Squad:

  • RB Sandro Platzgummer
  • WR David Sills
  • WR Damion Willis
  • WR Matt Cole
  • TE Nakia Griffin-Stewart
  • TE Jake Hausmann
  • OC Brett Heggie
  • OG Kenny Wiggins
  • OG Jake Burton
  • OT Jackson Barton
  • DL David Moa
  • DL Willie Henry
  • LB Niko Lalos
  • S Jordyn Peters

All 14 players were with the team during training camp.

Platzgummer will spend a second season on the Practice Squad as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. Platzgummer does not count against the 16.

Three spots remain open on the Practice Squad.

MICHAEL STRAHAN TO HAVE HIS JERSEY NUMBER RETIRED ON NOVEMBER 28…
The New York Giants will retire former defensive end Michael Strahan’s #92 jersey during the November 28 game at MetLife Stadium against the Philadelphia Eagles. Strahan played for the Giants from 1993 to 2007. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Currently, 12 Giants have their jersey numbers retired by the Giants. Former quarterback Eli Manning will also have his jersey number (#10) retired during the September 26 game against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium.

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 Giants practice again on Wednesday afternoon (12:30-2:30 PM). The team’s coordinators and assistant coaches will also address the media, as well as select players.

Jul 312021
 
Share Button
Nick Gates and Will Hernandez, New York Giants (July 29, 2021)

Nick Gates and Will Hernandez – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 31, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fourth full-team summer training camp practice on Saturday evening at Eddie Moraes Stadium in Newark, New Jersey in front of local high school football players.

GIANTS SIGN LB TODD DAVIS, OL JOE LOONEY, WR DAMION WILLIS…
The Giants have signed unrestricted free agent inside linebacker Todd Davis (Minnesota Vikings); wide receiver Damion Willis, who was cut by the Denver Broncos on July 20; and unrestricted free agent center/guard Joe Looney (Dallas Cowboys).

The 29-year old, 6’1”, 230-pound Davis has spent time with the New Orleans Saints (2014), Denver Broncos (2014-2019), and Minnesota Vikings (2020). He has played in 96 regular-season games with 69 starts, accruing 479 tackles, three sacks, 15 pass defenses, one interception, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.

“We’re really looking forward to getting (Davis) on the field,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “We’re excited about that and he’ll come in and compete with the other linebackers at his position and work through his defensive responsibilities, as well as his role in the kicking game. Got to meet with him today, sit down face to face and have a good conversation, liked his energy. I’ve known him as a player in the league for some time but made a good first impression personality-wise and I’m excited to get him on the field.”

The 30-year old, 6’3”, 310-pound Looney was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He has spent time with the 49ers (2012-2014), Tennessee Titans (2015), and Dallas Cowboys (2016-2020). Looney has played in 104 regular-season games with 42 starts, including 12 starts for the Cowboys in 2020. He has experience at both center and guard.

The 24-year old, 6’3”, 204-pound Willis was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Bengals waived him in July 2020 and Willis then spent time with the Cleveland Browns (2020), Jacksonville Jaguars (2020), and Denver Broncos (2021). He played in 10 games, with two starts, for the Bengals in 2019 and caught nine passes for 82 yards.

INJURY REPORT…
LG Shane Lemieux (knee), LB Blake Martinez (COVID), LB Lorenzo Carter (unknown), LB Elerson Smith (unknown), WR Kadarius Toney (COVID), WR Austin Mack (hamstring), WR Derrick Dillon (unknown), RB Mike Weber (unknown), and TE Levine Toilolo (unknown) did not practice on Saturday.

The NFL Network is reporting that Lemieux will be out two weeks with his knee injury.

Regarding Carter, Head Coach Joe Judge said, “It’s not a reaggravation of anything (Carter has) done before. We’re just going to be careful with a few things right there. With anyone coming off an injury (ruptured Achilles’ tendon) like he was, we’re just making sure that we have a plan entering training camp and how to handle him throughout it. With him and several other guys coming off injury, there are going to be periods in this training camp that you’re going to see a little bit less of them at times and then you’re going to see a lot of them. Right now, he’s in one of those periods accompanied with something else that happened in practice.”

RT Matt Peart (back) has been activated off of the Active/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. He practiced on Saturday.

LB Blake Martinez has been activated off of the Reserve/COVID-19 List. However, like Toney, he will be brought along slowly before returning to practice. He did not practice on Saturday. “Blake is back with us in the building today, he’s his normal self, smiling ear to ear, happy to be with the team,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “He’s always a lot of fun to have around, he’s always got a good comment, but definitely a guy who communicates a lot in the meetings…In terms of where he’ll be on the field with us, the plan right away is to get him with the trainers and continue his kind of ramp up and build him back physically. When we know he’s ready to go, we’ll get him back on the field.”

The following players remain on various PUP and reserve lists:

  • Reserve/COVID-19 List: S Joshua Kalu and TE Rysen John
  • Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: RB Saquon Barkley (knee), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot), OC Jonotthan Harrison (hamstring), LB Oshane Ximines (hamstring), and CB Aaron Robinson (core muscle)
  • Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List: LB Reggie Ragland (hamstring) and LB Ryan Anderson (back)

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • This evening’s session was a very light, walk-thru practice. Because of that, there was nothing noteworthy to report.
  • Kenny Wiggins continues to start at left guard with Shane Lemieux out.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Saturday 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 are off Sunday and return to practice on Monday.

Mar 292021
 
Share Button
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (November 28, 2019)

Kenny Golladay – © USA TODAY Sports

Teams were officially able to begin negotiating with free agents from other teams on March 15. So although it seems as if free agency has been going on for quite some time, we’re only still at the 2-week mark since it began. More signings will continue through the spring and summer, especially as players are cut. That said, the initial free agency rush is over and we can start to make some snap opinions on what the New York Giants have and have not accomplished.

The “need” level I reference was addressed in my March 12th Free Agency Preview for the team.

QUARTERBACKS (Previous Need Level – Medium): For at least one more season, Daniel Jones is the unquestioned starter. The expectation was that the team would re-sign Colt McCoy. However, the Giants surprisingly went in another direction by signing the well-traveled Mike Glennon as Jones’ back-up. Glennon is much bigger (half a foot taller) than McCoy with a much stronger arm. Both complete around 61 percent of their passes and both have started roughly the same number of NFL games. There were media whispers too that McCoy wanted more money than the Giants were willing to pay. On the surface, this appears to be a wash, although the coaches said McCoy was a very good influence on Jones in the meeting rooms. (Mike Glennon YouTube Highlights)

RUNNING BACKS (Previous Need Level – High to Desperate): Some chided my prediction that all three running backs behind Saquon Barkley may not return in 2021, but that appears in fact to be the case. As of this moment, Wayne Gallman, Alfred Morris, and Dion Lewis remain unsigned. So much of the team’s upcoming success will depend on how well Barkley returns from a major knee injury and whether he can stay healthy for a full season. It’s quite telling that the very first player the Giants signed in free agency was the relatively-unknown Devontae Booker to a 2-year, $5.5 million contract. Fan reaction was immediately negative. But it appears the coaching staff simply wanted a veteran back who was a more reliable blocker and receiver than Gallman. Depth behind Barkley still remains shaky as the only other halfbacks on the roster are NFL cast-offs Taquan Mizzell and Jordan Chunn. The Giants also added another fullback/special teams player in Cullen Gillaspia to compete with Eli Penny. (Devontae Booker YouTube Highlights)

WIDE RECEIVERS (Previous Need Level – Desperate): The Giants have significantly upgraded this position with the addition of one player to the tune of a 4-year, $72 million contract. Kenny Golladay is not only a true #1 receiver, but he fills a desperate need that this team had for a physical receiver with size. His presence also allows Darius Slayton to become the #2 and Sterling Shepard the slot receiver, roles that both are far better suited for. From Golladay’s style of play to the team’s extended wooing period to satisfy personality issues, this signing is highly reminiscent of the Giants’ signing of Plaxico Burress in 2005. And Golladay is quite capable of having a Plaxico-type impact on this team. In addition, before the Giants signed Golladay, they signed the 9th overall player taken in the 2017 NFL Draft, John Ross. While Ross did not live up to expectations in Cincinnati, he brings true deep speed to a team that desperately needs it. It would not be shocking to see Ross get cut, but it also would not be shocking for him to press for a starting job opposite of Golladay. In addition to wanting to prove doubters wrong, Ross will rejoin his old college receiving teammate, Dante Pettis, on what had been an explosive University of Washington receiving corps. Overall, the make-up of this unit is far different now than it was just two weeks ago. (John Ross YouTube Highlights)

TIGHT ENDS (Previous Need Level – Desperate): Right or wrong, the front office and coaching staff appear willing to continue to hope Evan Engram develops into the player hoped for when he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft. But the team decided to team him with a mentor. Kyle Rudolph has been one of the NFL’s best tight ends for the past 10 years. While not an explosive player, he can catch and block. Just as importantly, he is reliable, something Engram is not. The downside is that Rudolph turns 32 in November and is coming off a foot injury (The Athletic is reporting it is a Lisfranc injury) that required surgery AFTER the Giants signed him. Much depends on how well he recovers. On paper, if he is healthy, this looks like a major addition both in terms of helping out Daniel Jones and the offensive line. (Kyle Rudolph YouTube Highlights)

OFFENSIVE LINE (Previous Need Level – Medium): This is one area where it is debatable if the team has improved in free agency. The Giants were able to force Nate Solder to take a big pay cut to remain with the team. He will now compete against Matt Peart for the starting tackle spot opposite of Andrew Thomas. The Giants somewhat surprisingly simply cut Kevin Zeitler without approaching him about a pay cut. To fill that void, they signed right guard Zach Fulton, who had an inconsistent stay with the Houston Texans. Fulton will compete with Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux for a starting spot. Fulton does not feel like an upgrade over Zeitler. Where the team probably did get better is at back-up center with the signing of Jonotthan Harrison back in January. He is a better player than Spencer Pulley. Look for the team to continue to address the offensive line in the upcoming draft.

DEFENSIVE LINE (Previous Need Level – Low to High Depending on Tomlinson): Undoubtedly, the biggest loss the team suffered in free agency was losing nose tackle Davlin Tomlinson to the Minnesota Vikings for what appeared to be a reasonable 2-year, $22 million contract. The Giants re-signed back-up nose tackle Austin Johnson to a 1-year, $3 million deal in anticipation of the loss. Johnson will now have to start at nose tackle or the team will be forced to move Dexter Lawrence from end, or sign a veteran or draft a player. Moving Lawrence seems like an obvious option, but that would have a domino effect in that B.J. Hill would probably then become the new starter at end opposite of Leonard Williams. Thus, what had been a somewhat shaky depth situation becomes even more dubious. The team was extremely fortunate in 2020 that no one got hurt up front. The only back-ups on the roster right now are R.J. McIntosh, David Moa, and Breeland Speaks, the latter signed by the Giants in January. Speaking of Williams, the Giants were able to re-sign him to a 3-year, $63 million deal. There will be tremendous pressure on him to live up to that contract.

(Late Note: The Giants signed 6’2”, 335-pound nose tackle Danny Shelton today. Drafted in the 1st round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, Shelton was cut by the Detroit Lions and will help fill the void created by the departure of Tomlinson).

LINEBACKERS (Previous Need Level – High): On paper, the Giants lost one free agent (Kyler Fackrell) and signed three (Ifeadi Odenigbo, Reggie Ragland, Ryan Anderson). All three newcomers were relatively inexpensive, 1-year deals. Ragland will likely compete with Tae Crowder for the inside linebacker spot next to Blake Martinez. He has started 38 regular-season games in the NFL and is a former 2nd-round pick so he has a good shot to win that job. Anderson is another former 2nd-round pick who was stuck behind a plethora of outstanding outside linebackers in Washington. He is known more as an overachiever who saw most of his playing time on special teams, but he could surprise as his competition will be Lorenzo Carter (coming off of a torn Achilles), Oshane Ximines (coming off of shoulder surgery), and last year’s rookies (Carter Coughlin, Cam Brown, Niko Lalos). What about Odenigbo? Good question. He was the first defensive player the Giants signed in free agency. He played exclusively on the defensive line in Minnesota, primarily at end, but also shifting inside in pass-rush packages. However, his lack of size (6’3”, 258 pounds) strongly suggests he will be used like “linebacker” Jabaal Sheard was used by the Giants last year, that is, an edge rusher in 4-man pass rush packages. The Giants could also push him inside like the Vikings did in obvious passing situations in 4-man fronts. It is doubtful that he should be considered a true outside linebacker because he simply does not have experience dropping into coverage. Because of that, one could actually argue he should be included in the defensive line review. Also, the Giants did re-sign inside linebacker Devonta Downs, who started at inside linebacker for the Giants in 2020 until Tae Crowder beat him out. He will have to fight just to make the team however.

CORNERBACKS (Previous Need Level – Desperate): Like the wide receiving position, the make-up of this position completely changed with the addition of one free agent, adding Adoree’ Jackson to a 3-year, $39 million contract after he was cut by the Tennessee Titans. Opinions on his play vary, but Jackson is clearly a major upgrade over everyone else on the team’s roster with the exception of Pro Bowler James Bradberry. The former 1st rounder is a physical and aggressive press corner who plays with a lot of confidence. Depth is still a concern, but on paper, the Giants now look like they have one of the better secondaries in the NFL as long as Darnay Holmes continues to develop at slot corner.

SAFETIES (Previous Need Level – Low): While Adrian Colbert and Nate Ebner remain unsigned, the Giants still look to be in decent shape at this position with Jabrill Peppers, Xavier McKinney, Logan Ryan, and Julian Love – the latter two who can also play corner. Depth will be added later in free agency or the draft.

KICKERS/LONG SNAPPER (Previous Need Level – Low to Average Depending on Kreiter): When the Giants re-signed long snapper Casey Kreiter, this position was largely settled other than camp bodies. The only real question is are the Giants looking to upgrade at punter at some point.

SUMMARY: In my March 12th article, I argued this roster was a train wreck. Two weeks later, with the addition of 11 free agents and counting, it feels vastly different. It’s not just the quantity, but the quality. Keeping Leonard Williams was a big deal. Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson were two of the best, if not the very best, players available at desperate need positions.  If healthy, Kyle Rudolph could be a major addition as a security blanket for both Daniel Jones and the offensive line. Golladay and Jackson will start. Rudolph will be a quasi-starter. John Ross (1st rounder), Reggie Ragland (2nd rounder), Ryan Anderson (2nd rounder), and Zach Fulton might start. Devontae Booker is now the primary back-up behind Saquon Barkely, Ifeadi Odenigbo will add to the pass rush.

The risk? The money. While most of the deals were relatively cheap, the team did dole out $174 million on three players – Leonard Williams, Kenny Golladay, and Adoree’ Jackson. If they are wrong about any of these three, the team will be paying for it for years. We’ve seen that before and it’s one of the major reasons why the Giants have been mired in the basement of the NFL for a decade. One could also argue that the team should have allocated its resources a bit differently in order to keep Dalvin Tomlinson, extending his contract even last year.

Mar 162021
 
Share Button
Leonard Williams, New York Giants (January 3, 2021)

Leonard Williams – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS RE-SIGN LEONARD WILLIAMS…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants have re-signed free agent defensive lineman Leonard Williams to a 3-year, $63 million contract that includes $45 million in guaranteed money. The Giants placed the non-exclusive Franchise tag on Williams last week, which tied up over $19 million in this year’s cap. The new deal reportedly will drop his cap hit to around $11 million in 2021.

The 6’5”, 302-pound Williams was the sixth player taken overall in the 2015 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. The Giants acquired Williams by trade from the in late October 2019. In his sixth NFL season, Williams had his best year as a pro in 2020. Williams played in all 16 games with 12 starts (74 percent of defensive snaps) and finished the year with 57 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, 30 quarterback hits, one pass defense, and one fumble recovery.

GIANTS SIGN JOHN ROSS…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent wide receiver John Ross (Cincinnati Bengals) to a 1-year, $2.5 million contract that includes $1 million in guaranteed money.

The 25-year old, 5’11”, 194-pound Ross was drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. In four seasons with the Bengals, the speedy Ross played in just 27 games with 20 starts, accruing 51 catches for 733 yards and 10 touchdowns. In addition to not performing up to expectations in Cincinnati, Ross spent time on Injured Reserve with shoulder and foot injuries in 2019 and 2020.

GIANTS SIGN CULLEN GILLASPIA…
The New York Giants have signed fullback Cullen Gillaspia, who was waived/failed physical by the Houston Texans last week. The 25-year old, 6’2”, 235-pound Gillaspia was drafted by the Texans in the 7th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. In two seasons with the Texans, Gillaspia played in 23 regular-season games with no starts. He has not carried the ball in a regular-season game and only has one catch for six yards. To date, he has played mainly on special teams. Gillaspia missed half of 2020 with a back injury.