Jul 222017
 
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Mike Sullivan and Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 30, 2016)

Mike Sullivan and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS.COM COACH AND PLAYER INTERVIEWS…
Video clips of exclusive Giants.com interviews with the following coaches and players are available at Giants.com:

  • Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan (Video)
  • QB Davis Webb (Video)
  • RB Shane Vereen (Video)
  • DE Avery Moss (Video)

GENERAL NEW YORK GIANTS ARTICLES…

ARTICLES ON THE NEW YORK GIANTS OFFENSE…

ARTICLES ON THE NEW YORK GIANTS DEFENSE…

Jul 192017
 
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Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants (October 23, 2016)

Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Defensive Backs

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW: The biggest reasons for the New York Giants defense’s dramatic improvement in 2016 was the improved play of the (1) defensive line and (2) defensive backs. The Giants defense went from dead last in 2015 to tenth in yardage allowed and second in scoring allowed in 2016. And while the team’s 23rd-ranked pass defense (251.1 yards per game) does not sound impressive, the unit played at a far higher level than that, as indicated by three defensive backs earning All-Pro honors.

The secondary became a team strength because the Giants signed Janoris Jenkins in free agency, drafted Eli Apple in the first round, and watched second-year safety Landon Collins develop into an impact player at his more natural strong safety position. An inconsistent player in St. Louis, Jenkins became one of the best corners in the NFL in 2016, teaming with Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC) to form perhaps the NFL’s best trio of corners. While Apple had his growing pains, he performed well enough to shut down a number of opponents and allow the coaches to move DRC to the slot corner position. Meanwhile, Collins led the Giants in tackles, was second on the team in interceptions, and third on the team in sacks. The weak spot in the secondary was free safety as promising rookie Darian Thompson and Mykkele Thompson were lost early to injuries, Nat Berhe battled concussions, and undrafted rookie Andrew Adams started the bulk of the season. While Adams didn’t embarrass himself, he did not make many plays either. Late in the season, Leon Hall – who was shifted from corner to safety – took over the position.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants chose not to re-sign CB/S Leon Hall and CB Trevin Wade. The Steelers signed CB Coty Sensabaugh. The Giants signed unrestricted free agents CB Valentino Blake and S Duke Ihenacho and re-signed practice squad players CB Michael Hunter, CB Donte Deayon, and S Ryan Murphy. The Giants surprisingly did not draft a defensive back in a DB-strong draft. But the team did sign undrafted rookie free agents CB DaShaun Amos, CB Nigel Tribune, S Jadar Johnson, and S Trey Robinson.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: At cornerback, while fan focus will be on the depth situation after the top three cornerbacks, the main story line will be determining Eli Apple’s upside. He had a solid but not great rookie season. If he can elevate his game to a different level in 2017, then the Giants defense will be very tough. The Giants do need to determine their #4 and possibly #5 corners. Injuries happen. When Rodgers-Cromartie left the playoff game, the Packers picked on his replacement. With Leon Hall, Trevin Wade, and Coty Sensabaugh gone, someone else will have to step forward.

At safety, can Landon Collins duplicate or even build upon his 2016 All-Pro season? Much attention will be focused on who starts at free safety opposite of Collins. Darian Thompson is coming off a serious lisfranc injury. Nat Berhe and Mykkele Thompson have not been able to stay healthy. “Veteran” journeymen Duke Ihenacho, Eric Pinkins, and Ryan Murphy will battle Andrew Adams and the two rookie free agents (Jadar Johnson and Trey Robinson). There are a lot of bodies, but also a lot of questions.

ON THE BUBBLE: Everyone except for Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Landon Collins, and probably Darian Thompson.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Cornerbacks Coach Tim Walton on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: “Work ethic. He’s an athletic guy, he’s smart so he understands the game. He has enough ability that wherever he works at, he could be successful at it. He’s a very intelligent guy, he’s quick, he’s long, he has experience and he still moves well. Ten years in the league and you can’t tell that by his movement. He rarely misses practice, he practices all the time… He tries to lead the young guys, and tries to direct them on things, because he has a wealth of experience. They listen to him and look up to him, so that’s good.”

Safeties Coach David Merritt on Darian Thompson: “He looks good. The fact that he’s coming off a leg injury. The one day he complained that it was sore, two weeks ago. Since then, he looks good. He’s transitioning. I see him actually bursting and coming in and out of his transition. He’s doing a good job. There is still some ways to go and hopefully training camp we will be able to really test that foot. Right now, he’s going through all the individual drills. I’m happy and excited.”

Merritt on the competition at free safety: “I’m going to be honest with you, you can sit here right now and say yes (Darian Thompson is the favorite to win the job), but I can’t sit here and take away from what Andrew Adams has done. I think they’re all competing for a starting job. That second safety has been elusive for us. To have two guys that can actually step in there and actually hold down the position. Hopefully we will find that solid piece this year but we need four good guys. If we can get four good guys, it’s going to be great… Darian is a very cerebral guy. He is very smart and he understands the calls as well as Landon (Collins). To have two smart guys back there and to be able to feed off of one another, it’s going to be a good mixture between Darian, Andrew and Landon of course. Darian is a very smart guy and that’s what we knew about him coming out of college. He had the mental capacity to learn Spags’ defense and do things we’re asking him to do. It’ll be pretty exciting for sure.”

Merritt on Landon Collins’ ceiling: “Right now, if I was rating him 1 to 10 as far as where he is, right now Landon is at a 7. I think he can get up to playing at an 8 ½, 9 consistently. You’re talking always in the running for (Defensive Play of the Year) and constantly making Pro Bowls, things like that. Last year was such a big jump for the kid and I’m proud of him. That was last year. Antrel Rolle after he came off his big season the next year and didn’t do as well. I’m trying to make sure he doesn’t get caught in any type of trap. I understand right now that he was the best coming out of high school and the best coming out of college. Now, he’s here every year and there is going to be a new crop of guys coming in. The safeties around the league are humble. You have to make sure you’re humble. Keep your body in shape, keep your mind strong and understand constantly learning the game of football and studying your opponents.”

PREDICTIONS: This is arguably the most-talented group of defensive backs accumulated at one time in team history. Most of the question marks here surround health and depth. The Giants top three corners are as good as anyone in the NFL. Two are already playing at an All-Pro level. Look for Eli Apple to elevate his game and make this unit even stronger. As long as his foot is OK, Darian Thompson should start at free safety and give the Giants a very formidable (and intelligent) secondary. Special teams will be a big factor in determining the back-up corners and safeties.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, Dominique Rodgers Cromartie, Michael Hunter, Mykkele Thompson, Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, Andrew Adams, and Jadar Johnson. (Thompson can play both safety and cornerback, which helps his cause. Beat writers think special teams ace Eric Pinkins has a good shot – keep an eye on him. Donte Deayon is a favorite of Steve Spagnuolo).

Jul 022017
 
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Steve Spagnuolo, New York Giants (June 13, 2017)

Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS.COM PLAYER INTERVIEWS…
Video clips of exclusive Giants.com interviews with the following players are available at Giants.com:

GENERAL NEW YORK GIANTS ARTICLES…

ARTICLES ON THE NEW YORK GIANTS OFFENSE…

ARTICLES ON THE NEW YORK GIANTS DEFENSE…

ARTICLES ON THE NEW YORK GIANTS SPECIAL TEAMS…

Jun 232017
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (June 13, 2017)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS ANNOUNCE TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE…
The New York Giants have announced their schedule for the 2017 summer training camp, which is held at Quest Diagnostics Training Center near MetLife Stadium. Only 11 practice sessions will be open to the public.

  • Thursday, July 27: Players report to training camp.
  • Friday, July 28: 11:40 a.m. – Practice
  • Saturday, July 29: 10:55 a.m. – Practice
  • Sunday, July 30: 10:55 a.m. – Practice
  • Monday, July 31: CAMP CLOSED; no practice
  • Tuesday, August 1: 10:55 a.m. – Practice
  • Wednesday, August 2: 10:55 a.m. – Practice
  • Thursday, August 3: 10:55 a.m. – Practice
  • Friday, August 4: 11:55 a.m. – Practice
  • Saturday, August 5: CAMP CLOSED
  • Sunday, August 6: CAMP CLOSED; no practice
  • Monday, August 7: CAMP CLOSED
  • Tuesday, August 8: 10:55 a.m. – Practice
  • Wednesday, August 9: 10:55 a.m. – Practice
  • Thursday, August 10: CAMP CLOSED; no practice
  • Friday, August 11: Giants vs. Steelers, 7:00 p.m., MetLife Stadium
  • Saturday, August 12: CAMP CLOSED; no practice
  • Sunday, August 13: 11:10 a.m. – Practice
  • Monday, August 14: 10:55 a.m. – Practice
  • Tuesday, August 15: CAMP CLOSED; end of training camp

*Schedule subject to change. For the most up-to-date information on training camp, visit Giants.com. In the event of inclement weather (including rain, wind, thunderstorms or extreme heat), practices will be moved indoors and be closed to the public. Please check Giants.com prior to every practice for up-to-the-minute changes in the daily practice schedule.

ARTICLES…

Jun 142017
 
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Landon Collins, New York Giants (June 13, 2017)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 14, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The second day of the New York Giants mandatory 3-day mini-camp was held on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The mini-camp will continue with the final practice on Thursday.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Wide receiver wide receiver Kevin Snead (hamstring), tight end Evan Engram (soreness), tight end Rhett Ellison (calf), left guard Justin Pugh (back), linebacker J.T. Thomas (recovering from torn ACL), cornerback Eli Apple (illness), cornerback/safety Mykkele Thompson (unknown), and safety Darian Thompson (illness) did not practice.

“I just got a little tweak in my back,” said Pugh. “They’re holding me out as precaution. That’s something you don’t want to try to press too hard right now during mini-camp.”

Left tackle Ereck Flowers and right guard D.J. Fluker left practice early and did not return. Fluker appeared to be in a lot of pain due to a right arm injury.

Wide receiver Jerome Lane left the field with an apparent low leg/foot injury, but later returned.

Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa has been excused from the mandatory mini-camp for “personal reasons.”

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • College defensive tackle Jarron Jones continues to work with the offensive line.
  • Cornerback DaShaun Amos made a leaping interception of a deep pass from quarterback Geno Smith during 7-on-7 drills. Amos later knocked down another pass into the end zone.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. in the end zone for a sliding touchdown reception.
  • Cornerback Janoris Jenkins broke up 7-on-7 red-zone passes to wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and tight end Jerell Adams.
  • Wide receiver Brandon Marshall made a one-handed touchdown catch on a red-zone pass from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Safety Andrew Adams broke up an end-zone pass from quarterback Eli Manning to wideout Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Quarterback Josh Johnson and tight end Matt LaCosse hooked up on a pair of red-zone touchdowns. Johnson also connected with wide receiver Taverres King for a score.
  • Running back Wayne Gallman made a really nice catch of a goal line pass from quarterback Davis Webb.
  • Fullback Shane Smith saw a lot of work with the first-team offense.
  • Minicamp practice notes and observations (6/14) by John Schmeelk of Giants.com
  • Standout players from minicamp practice (6/14) by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

RYAN NASSIB SIGNS WITH THE SAINTS…
New York Giants unrestricted free agent quarterback Ryan Nassib has signed with the New Orleans Saints. Nassib was placed on Injured Reserve in December 2016 with a right elbow injury that required surgery. Nassib was drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Since 2014, Nassib had been the team’s #2 quarterback. During that time, he only saw very limited playing time with all of his regular-season throws (10 total) coming at the end of two blowout losses. Nassib has not really developed at the pro level and he struggled during the 2016 preseason, completing only 41 percent of his passes with five turnovers (three interceptions and two fumbles).

BEN MCADOO AND THE COORDINATORS 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:

ARTICLES…

Jun 132017
 
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D.J. Fluker, New York Giants (June 13, 2017)

D.J. Fluker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 13, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The first day of the New York Giants mandatory 3-day mini-camp was held on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The mini-camp will continue with practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Wide receiver wide receiver Kevin Snead (hamstring?), tight end Rhett Ellison (calf), left guard Justin Pugh (unknown), linebacker J.T. Thomas (recovering from torn ACL), cornerback Eli Apple (illness), and safety Darian Thompson (illness) did not practice.

“Justin is out right now. He’s limited,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo.

Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa missed all of the team’s voluntary Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices and continues to be absent for the mandatory mini-camp. McAdoo said Odighizuwa has been excused for “personal reasons.”

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The second-team quarterback was Josh Johnson.
  • Safety Eric Pinkins received some reps at cornerback and had an interception off of a quarterback Davis Webb that was tipped by safety Jadar Johnson.
  • With safety Darian Thompson out, Andrew Adams and Nat Berhe split time with first unit at safety with Landon Collins.
  • With cornerback Eli Apple out, Michael Hunter started at cornerback.
  • Wide receiver Sterling Shepard made several nice catches, including two for red zone touchdowns.
  • Cornerback Janoris Jenkins broke up deep passes to wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. and Tavarres King.
  • Minicamp practice notes and observations (6/13) by John Schmeelk of Giants.com

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Tuesday 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:

ARTICLES…

Jun 092017
 
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Geno Smith, New York Giants (May 25, 2017)

Geno Smith – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 9, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their tenth and final voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Friday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 13-15.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Wide receiver Kevin Norwood (unknown), tight end Rhett Ellison (calf), cornerback Eli Apple (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (unknown), linebacker J.T. Thomas (recovering from torn ACL), and safety Mykkele Thompson (unknown) did not practice.

Wide receiver Kevin Snead appeared to injure his left hamstring during practice.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., left guard Justin Pugh, right tackle Bobby Hart, defensive end Olivier Vernon, and defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa were no-shows for the voluntary OTA.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With Justin Pugh and Bobby Hart absent, the first-team offensive line consisted of left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Adam Gettis, center Weston Richburg, right guard John Jerry, and right tackle Adam Bisnowaty.
  • Defensive tackle Jarron Jones was working with the offensive linemen.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith hit tight end Evan Engram in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Safety Ryan Murphy came up with the first interception of practice off of a deflected pass.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb hit wide receiver Kevin Snead deep down the left sideline, but Snead appeared to injure his left hamstring on the play.
  • With Eli Apple out, Michael Hunter continued to see first-team reps at cornerback.

Giants.com has provided the following notes from the last OTA:

OTA #10:

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Friday 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:

ARTICLES…

Jun 072017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (May 25, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS POSITION COACH MEDIA SESSIONS…
Transcripts and video clips of Wednesday’s media sessions with the following position coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICES…
The New York Giants held two more Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices on Monday and Tuesday. Those practices were not open to the media or public. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTA practices. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The team’s remaining OTAs will be held on June 8-9. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 13-15. Friday’s OTA practice will be open to the media.

Giants.com has provided the following notes from the last two OTAs:

OTA #7:

OTA #8:

ODELL BECKHAM, JR.’S ABSENCE FROM OTA’S CONTRACT RELATED?…
ESPN is reporting that New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. has been skipping the team’s voluntary Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices due to his desire for a new contract. Beckham is scheduled to make $1,839,027 in salary in the fourth year of his rookie contract. The Giants also picked up his $8+ million fifth-year option for 2018 earlier this offseason.

ROGER LEWIS ARRESTED…
TMZ is reporting that New York Giants wide receiver Roger Lewis was arrested last weekend in Ohio for operating a vehicle while impaired. Police told TMZ that they smelled marijuana on Lewis and noticed signs of intoxication. Lewis refused to take a breathalyzer test. Subsequent media reports say the police report indicated that police found Lewis in possession of 0.2 grams of marijuana suspected he was under the influence of alcohol.

The Giants signed Lewis as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. Lewis made the team and played in 13 regular-season games with one start. He finished with just seven catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

JALEN WILLIAMS RELEASED FROM INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants have cut wide receiver Jalen Williams from Injured Reserve. Williams was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He was waived/injured on May 31 with an undisclosed injury and placed on Injured Reserve one day later.

ARTICLES…

Apr 202017
 
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Jerry Reese, New York Giants (August 27, 2016)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE’S PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese held his annual pre-draft press conference on Thursday. The following is the transcript from the event (video is also available courtesy of Giants.com):

Reese: Good afternoon. It is draft time again. The scouts are very excited about their game day. Marc Ross and Chris Mara and all of our scouts, Kevin Abrams, all those guys are in our draft room trying to finalize our draft board and get ready for the big day. So I am ready for any questions that you guys might have.

Q: Who have you decided on?

A: We decided that we are going to take our pick at 23.

Q: Has what you have done in free agency given you some flexibility with what you can do in the draft?

A: Well, you always take that into consideration with what you have on your roster right now, but going into the draft, like I say every year, we just go in there trying to pick the best players available when we are on the clock and we will continue to use that pattern.

Q: I don’t think you have ever traded in the first round. Is there a reason for that and what is your philosophy?

A: If we have an opportunity to trade in the first round, we will do that. But right now, we will just kind of let the board fall like it does and if we feel like we want to move up to get somebody, then we will move. It costs to move up, though. If you are going to move up, then you are going to give up a lot of draft picks to move up. Even if you move up just a couple of spots, you have to give up some draft picks to do that and we like taking our picks, but if there is somebody up there that we love and we think we can move up to get, then we will keep those options open.

Q: Do you still feel like you need some help on the offensive line, whether that is early or late in the draft?

A: We feel like we can use help anywhere, at any position. We just want to create a lot of competition at every position going into the training camp, so we are going to try and upgrade at every position like we always do and offensive line is definitely a spot that we would like to upgrade as well.

Q: When you go back and look at where things stood at the combine to now, has there been that much movement as far as guys surprising you?

A: Our scouts are on top of all of these guys. At the combine, a lot of people are just now learning about these guys, but our scouts already know these people, so we don’t have a lot of surprises. Every now and then you have a couple surprises, a guy could jump up quickly out of nowhere and you have to do some extra work on him, but for the most part we don’t have a lot of surprises going into the draft.

Q: How much do you weigh what they did in college versus this three to four month process?

A: Yeah, we try to put it all together. We look at what the players do on the field. We grade the players on the field. The gymnastics stuff that they do during the combine is part of the equation, but we look at these guys as football players first and we just go on our experience as scouts and try to look at the player more than what the gymnastic numbers say. But that is part of the equation as well.

Q: D.J. Fluker is a guy who came in with 1st round pedigree. Is he someone that you think still has that potential?

A: Well, we hope so. D.J. is going to come in and battle for a position just like everyone else on the squad and hopefully the change of address and just a new scene for him will re-energize him and I know he wants to prove that he is still a number one type talent and we are looking forward to giving him the opportunity.

Q: Do you see him as better at guard or tackle?

A: Yeah, coming out, we thought he could play both. We thought that he had some versatility. We thought he could play tackle, we thought he could play guard. I think he is going to get an opportunity. I am not the coach, Coach McAdoo will make the decision of where he plays, but we think he has some versatility to play guard or tackle.

Q: At the end of last season, you spoke about considering a position change for Ereck Flowers. At this point, do you see him as the left tackle?

A: Again, it is spring and it is a long time before we play. In the spring we will experiment with different lineups and situations with our offensive line, so it is a long way to go. That is to be determined later by Ben and the coaching staff, but we will tinker with a lot of things in the spring.

Q: Despite always looking for the best available player, when you look at last season, there clearly has to be some areas that you need more help.

A: Of course. You are always trying to tie best player available with what our needs are.

Q: Do you ever do that?

A: We do it a lot. Sometimes it falls that way as this is the best player available and also ties into value and need as well. We try to tie them both together, but we are not going to reach for guys just because we think it is a need position for us.

Q: Does that tie into the cost of moving up?

A: Yeah, all of it ties into the cost of moving up.

Q: You have been in a lot of drafts. Last year there were two guys that you liked a lot that teams traded up in front of you to get. Does that make you more aggressive this year so that that won’t happen again?

A: We liked all the players that got picked in front of us last year. You are saying there were two guys, but there were a lot of guys we liked in front of us. So are you going to move up every time just because you like somebody? You pick where you are for a reason. We are at 23. We had a decent season, so we are picking farther back in the draft. If you don’t play well, then you pick up front. But again, if there is someone up there that we love, that we have to have and we are dying for and we are willing to give up our draft picks to move up to get him, then we are open to doing that.

Q: Does it get muddy when you are looking at guys who are potential late 1st round and early second round picks?

A: You never know. You never know how the players are going to come off of the board. You look at this draft and you have five or six blue chip players and then you have the second level of your first round guys and you never know how they are going to come off. Some people may see them a little different than how we like them. When you are picking later in the draft, you just kind of have to sit and wait and let somebody just start to fall and you are like, ‘Let’s move up and get this guy if we really love him that much.’ But again, if you do that, then you are going to give up draft picks and we don’t like to do that.

Q: Do you have 23 names in your first row?

A: We have 32 names in the first row. That is why we call them rows. They are not all first round picks, but they are in the first row.

Q: How many players have a draftable grade on your board?

A: I am not going to talk about how many players have draftable grades, guys.

Q: Do you consider the depth chart as one of the tools in your decision-making?

A: We are just picking the best players available. We have players on our board, we have all of our players on our team currently on the board as well to see how they fit, but we are just trying to pick the best player available when we are on the clock.

Q: With Johnathan Hankins going to the Colts, how do you rate defensive tackle in terms of depth and potential need?

A: We think that, obviously, Snacks is a good player there. We have Bromley, we have Robert (Thomas), so we have a couple more guys that we expect to step up and help fill that void and obviously we will continue to look at free agency and we will look in the draft to see if we can add some depth to that position too.

Q: Were you surprised that Hankins left?

A: No, I am never surprised about anything during free agency. Money talks and we are happy for Hank. We are big Hank fans around here and we wish him well.

Q: In 2007, your draft led to a Super Bowl title. Do you look at this year’s crop and this draft in general as something that can be a key component in building a championship team this year?

A: We hope so. We hope that the kids that we draft in this draft will help supplement the needs that we have on the roster and hopefully we can get some players in here out of this draft that can help us get over the top.

Q: You said at the end of the year that Eli was on the back nine of his career. How did you go about looking at quarterbacks this year? Was it any different from the past?

A: Not really. We evaluate everybody the same every year, regardless of what we are looking for and what we think we need and where we think the depth should come from. We are giving everybody a fair assessment as we go through all the players and we grade everyone the same, whether you are from a big school, a small school, if you are short or if you are tall, it doesn’t matter. We give everyone the same degree of consideration.

Q: Did you find yourself looking more at quarterbacks this year?

A: Myself personally? I probably looked at more quarterbacks this time then I did at other times, but there are only so many guys that you can look at. You can ask Marc Ross about anybody from any school and he can tell you in two seconds because he sees all the players and evaluates all of them. Obviously it is hard for me to evaluate every single player.

Q: When you are looking for the successor for Eli, is Geno (Smith) a candidate?

A: Well, Geno is on the roster and is going to have a fair share to compete just like everyone else. He is excited about being here and we are excited to have him and he is going to come in and compete just like everybody else, so we will see where that goes.

Q: Have you decided if you are going to exercise the fifth-year option on Odell?

A: We are going to discuss that when the time gets closer. We will keep all of our options open with respect to that.

Q: You had some critical comments about him at the end of the season. How do you think he has responded to that?

A: You guys called it critical. I don’t think it was critical. I think some of you guys framed it as critical, but I didn’t see it that way.

Q: Critiqued maybe. How do you think he responded to the general message?

A: Again, I think he is a guy that hears what we are saying and like John (Mara) said, ‘We are not worried about Odell.’ He is a young kid, he is growing up every day and we think that he is going to continue being a tremendous football player and a tremendous representative of our organization here.

Q: At the owners meeting, Ben McAdoo said that Geno compares favorably to the quarterbacks in this class. Does that change what you guys might do next week at quarterback?

A: No.

Q: How do you personally evaluate this team’s draft performance over the last three or four years?

A: It is not my job to do that. You guys can do that. We go in every year and do our best to draft the best players available and try to develop the kids that we get on the roster, so if you win, it is a good draft and if you don’t win, then it is a bad draft. You guys can evaluate that. I am not here to talk about how we are evaluating what the drafts are.

Q: If you take a quarterback next week, I am sure that you hope he doesn’t play soon, but how do you weigh taking a pick higher in the draft that is going to be a developmental guy?

A: Again, you just take the best player available and however he fits on roster – if you take a quarterback high, if you take him in the seventh round, wherever you take him, you hope that everything falls right for them. If they have to play, you hope it is the right time for them to play. But if you are worrying about when is he going to play, when is he not going play, you might miss out on the right player. You just have to take the best player available.

Q: Isn’t quarterback different though?

A: Yeah, but again, everyone has to get picked somewhere. Last year Prescott got picked and people didn’t regard him highly and he played tremendous. He was at the right place at the right time, got the right opportunity and he did a very nice job for them.

Q: Would you rule out drafting a first round quarterback?

A: We will keep all of our options open.

Q: If you draft a quarterback this year, do you think they will need two or three years to sit and develop behind Eli?

A: Again, who knows what will happen. If you draft a quarterback in the first or second round, if Eli gets hurt and we don’t have a quarterback that is ready to go and you have a quarterback on the roster, you have to get them ready to play. That is the coaches’ job to do that, it is our job to have somebody waiting in the wings to play, so you just never know. We think that Eli has some good years left to play for us and we are trying to put good people around him as well and hopefully the offense can pick up the pace more than last year.

Q: Do you agree with the consensus that the quarterbacks in this class all could use time to sit and develop?

A: That is what you say every year. It is hard to bring guys right out of college, and to play up here is such a different game and the college game is a lot different now, so it is hard for guys to just jump in and play up here right away. But we have seen guys do it, but I think you have to limit what they do and you can’t give them everything at the beginning.

Q: As you personally look at this draft of quarterbacks, where is your determining factor on if a certain player can be your guy for the future?

A: Well, again, we look at what their skillset is and we look at what we like to do and see how many guys have that skillset and what part of the draft can they be possible picks for us if we decide to pick one.

Q: What is Ben’s involvement in the draft process?

A: Just like always, all of our coaches are part of the process and everyone has an opinion on who we take, so he is a big part of it, like every coach has been here.

Q: But you have the final decision?

A: It is our decision. If it doesn’t work out, then it is my decision.

Q: Have you ever looked back at a draft pick and admitted to no one but yourself that you made a mistake?

A: Plenty of times. You don’t get all of them right. I don’t think anyone is batting 1.000 picking players. But yeah, plenty of times.

Q: How do you factor age into drafting players?

A: That is not a big issue for us. If a guy is 24 or 25, that is still super young.

Q: How has the role of the tight end changed since this team picked one in the first round with Shockey?

A: I think it is whatever your offensive coordinator is, what your head coach’s philosophy is, and I think that is what determines what your tight end role is. You look at different teams and tight ends are a big part of what they do and you look at us and we haven’t been a two tight end kind of offense under Ben. But we do feel like a tight end could come in and help us. We brought (Rhett) Ellison in to be part of that equation of helping the run game, and I think he is a very capable receiving as well, so there are some good tight ends in the draft, we believe. I like a lot of different positions, but it just depends on what the offensive coordinator thinks and how much he wants to use a tight end.

Q: Have you not used that aspect of Ben’s offense because of the personnel here?

A: You can ask Ben about that. I think that the best coaches make an adjustment to really what your personnel is and I think that is part of being a coach. You don’t always have the perfect pieces to what you want and you have to make the adjustment and I think the best coaches do that.

Q: What is the challenge in evaluating players that are multi-dimensional? Guys like Jabrill Peppers and Christian McCaffery.

A: Well, it is not the challenge, I think that when you get a player that has a skillset like McCaffery and maybe Peppers, these guys do a lot of different things for their team and you can save yourself a roster spot more than anything else. If you get a guy like that, then maybe you don’t have to go out and get a return specialist or…obviously both those guys would be tremendous on special teams, so they can do a lot of things. But to their defense a little bit, I think they get hurt a little bit because they play so many different positions and people say, ‘Well, what does this guy do?’ I think that maybe devalues them a little bit. But we like guys with a lot of versatility and those are two good players.

Q: The mock drafts say that the Giants have to take an offensive lineman at 23. To that, you would say?

A: I would say that we are going to pick the best player available.

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:

GIANTS INSIDER WITH RB PAUL PERKINS…
The video of a Giants Insider Q&A with running back Paul Perkins is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…

Feb 172017
 
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Landon Collins, New York Giants (October 23, 2016)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The biggest reasons for the New York Giants defense’s dramatic improvement in 2016 was the improved play of the (1) defensive line and (2) defensive backs. The Giants defense went from dead last in 2015 to tenth in yardage allowed and second in scoring allowed in 2016. And while the team’s 23rd-ranked pass defense (251.1 yards per game) does not sound impressive, the unit played at a far higher level than that, as indicated by three defensive backs earning All-Pro honors.

The secondary became a team strength because the Giants signed Janoris Jenkins in free agency, drafted Eli Apple in the first round, and watched second-year safety Landon Collins develop into an impact player at his more natural strong safety position. An inconsistent player in St. Louis, Jenkins became one of the best corners in the NFL in 2016, teaming with Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC) to form perhaps the NFL’s best trio of corners. While Apple had his growing pains, he performed well enough to shut down a number of opponents and allow the coaches to move DRC to the slot corner position. Meanwhile, Collins led the Giants in tackles, was second on the team in interceptions, and third on the team in sacks. The weak spot in the secondary was free safety as promising rookie Darian Thompson and Mykkele Thompson were lost early to injuries, Nat Berhe battled concussions, and undrafted rookie Andrew Adams started the bulk of the season. While Adams didn’t embarrass himself, he did not make many plays either. Late in the season, Leon Hall – who was shifted from corner to safety – took over the position.

THE STARTERS

In his first season with the Giants, Janoris Jenkins had his best season to date, being voted to his first Pro Bowl and his first All-Pro (second-team) selection. Jenkins started every game, except for missing one game due to a back injury, and finished the season with 49 tackles, one sack, 18 pass defenses, three interceptions, and one forced fumble. Jenkins was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. The Giants signed him as unrestricted free agent in March 2016. Jenkins is an average-sized corner with excellent speed and quickness. He is a confident, instinctive coverman who has gotten better each year and has developed into an elite shut-down corner. Jenkins plays well in both man and zone coverage. He plays with swagger.

The Giants drafted Eli Apple in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He missed two games with hamstring and groin injuries, but surprisingly started 11 of the 14 regular-season games he played in. Apple finished the season with 51 tackles, seven pass defenses, one interception, and one forced fumble. Apple combines good size with excellent overall athletic ability, speed, and quickness. He flashes as a physical run defender and tackler, but needs to become more consistent in that area. Apple had a bit of an up-and-down rookie season in coverage. While he mostly handled his opponent, there were times when he gave up big plays. Apple makes a lot contact with receivers in coverage and he needs to continue to work on his technique. He has a big upside and looks to be developing into a fine player.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC) had another strong year for the Giants, being named second-team All-Pro. He missed one game with a groin injury but started nine of the 15 regular-season games he played in, taking most of his snaps inside at the slot corner position. DRC finished the year with 49 tackles, one sack, 21 pass defenses, six interceptions, and one forced fumble. Rodgers-Cromartie was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 and signed with the Broncos as an unrestricted free agent in 2013 and the Giants in 2014. Rodgers-Cromartie combines superb size and overall athletic skills, including speed, size, and leaping ability. Rodgers-Cromartie is one of the better cover corners in the NFL and capable of shutting down even top wide receivers. He has improved his toughness as a hitter and tackler. Rodgers-Cromartie made the Pro Bowl in 2009 and in 2015, the latter as an alternate. While he has not missed many games, DRC seems to battle a lot of nagging injuries.

In his second season, Landon Collins had a break-out year, being voted to his first Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro. Collins started every game and finished the year with 125 tackles, four sacks, 13 pass defenses, and five interceptions. Collins was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. He is a big, tough, physical safety who lacks ideal quickness and recovery speed. Collins is good hitter and tackler and plays the run very well. He dramatically improved his play against the pass in 2016 and has rapidly developed into one of the best safeties in the NFL.

The Giants originally signed Andrew Adams as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. Adams was signed to the Practice Squad, and then the 53-man roster in September 2016 after injuries hit the safety position hard. Force-fed into the starting line-up, Adams played in 14 regular-season games with 13 starts. He finished the year with 46 tackles, five pass defenses, and one interception. Adams lacks ideal height and speed but he is a well-built, athletic safety with good quickness. While Adams failed to make many plays on the ball in coverage, he was surprisingly reliable in that opposing offenses did not exploit him as much as would have been expected. That said, Adams saw his playing time decrease at the very end of the season in favor of Leon Hall.

THE RESERVES

Trevin Wade played in every game in 2016 with two regular-season starts. He received about 33 percent of defensive snaps and finished the year with 26 tackles and three pass defenses. Wade was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He has spent time with the Browns (2012-13), Saints (2013-14), and Lions (2014). The Giants signed Wade to a reserve/future contract in January 2015. Wade is a decent-sized corner with only average athletic ability and speed. He can handle the slot corner position. Wade flashes solid cover skills at times but also gives up a fair share of completions.

Coty Sensabaugh was signed by the Giants in October 2016 after he was waived by the Los Angeles Rams. He played in 10 regular-season games with no starts and finished the year with 15 tackles. Sensabaugh was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. The Rams signed him to a 3-year, $15 million contract in March 2016. Sensabaugh has played in 72 regular-season games with 29 starts. Sensabaugh is an average-sized corner whose strength is playing the slot nickel corner spot.

The Giants signed Leon Hall in August 2016. The Giants started him off at his usual slot corner position before shifting him to safety when injuries hit that position hard. Hall played in 12 regular-season games with two starts, finishing with 31 tackles, two sacks, two pass defenses, one interception, and one forced fumble. Hall was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. In his nine seasons with the Bengals, Hall played in 121 regular-season games with 105 starts. Hall is nearing the end of a productive career, but his corner cover skills have eroded due to father time and injuries (Achilles’ tendon injuries in 2011 and 2013 and back surgery in 2016). Hall’s final playing days may be best suited for safety.

Michael Hunter spent time on both the Practice Squad and 53-man roster in 2016. He played in two regular-season games and finished the season with four tackles. The Giants originally signed Hunter as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. Hunter has a nice combination of size and speed. He is a physical, press corner who was up-and-down during the 2016 preseason for the Giants.

Nat Berhe had his second injury-plagued season in a row in 2016. Berhe missed nine regular-season games with two concussions. He ended up playing in seven games with two starts, finishing with 21 tackles, one pass defense, and one forced fumble. Berhe was drafted in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Giants. He played in all 16 games as a rookie, mostly on special teams. But he missed all of 2015 due to a blood clot in his calf. Berhe lacks ideal size and speed, but he is a smart, physical, and aggressive defender who hits hard. The two concussions combined with his physical style of play cloud his NFL future.

Eric Pinkins was signed to the Practice Squad in October and the 53-man roster in November. He ended up playing in five games, mostly on special teams. Pinkins was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks, who moved him to linebacker. Pinkins was waived by the Seahawks in September 2016. Pinkins has a nice combination of size and speed, but his instincts have been questioned.

PRACTICE SQUAD

Ryan Murphy was signed to the Practice Squad in late December 2016. Murphy was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks waived him in their final round of cuts in September 2015. He spent time on the Practice Squad of the Denver Broncos in both 2015 and 2016. Murphy has a nice combination of size and athletic ability.

INJURED RESERVE

Donte Deayon was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2016 and placed on the Practice Squad/Injured Reserve in October 2016 with an unknown injury. The Giants originally signed Deayon as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. Deayon is a fluid, dimunitive corner with very good quickness and leaping ability. He is tough and confident, but struggled at times for the Giants during the 2016 preseason.

Having won the starting free safety position in the preseason, Darian Thompson missed virtually the entire season after suffering a Lisfranc foot injury in Week 2. Thompson tried to return in November, suffered a setback in practice, and was placed on Injured Reserve. The Giants drafted Thompson in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Thompson has a nice combination of smarts, maturity, size, and overall athletic ability. Thompson has natural cover skills and makes plays on the football in coverage. It remains to be seen how much the lisfranc injury affects his career.

Mykkele Thompson was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2016 after injuring his knee in Week 2. Thompson was drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. He missed all of his rookie season after rupturing the Achilles’ tendon in his right foot during the preseason. Somewhat still raw, Thompson is a former quarterback and wide receiver who converted to cornerback and then safety in college. Thompson is a bit of a corner-safety ‘tweener. He is tall and thin with good speed, but he lacks ideal quickness for cornerback and ideal physicality for a safety. Thompson is versatile and smart. He is a good special teams player who blocked three punts in college. With two serious leg injuries in his first two seasons, his NFL future is cloudy.