Jan 202021
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (September 29, 2019)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

As an offensive mind, former Dallas Cowboys head coach and current New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett had his advocates and detractors. But one of the areas that most agreed upon was that Garrett knew how to employ tight ends to maximum benefit in a pro offense. For years, Jason Witten and a host of other Cowboys’ tight ends have tormented the Giants and other teams. In addition, Freddie Kitchens may have been a failure as a head coach in Cleveland, but the new tight ends coach of the Giants had a strong reputation for coaching tight ends in Dallas (2006) and Arizona (2007-2012). The hope and expectation was that Garrett and Kitchens would finally be able to get 2017 1st-round draft pick Evan Engram to play up to his tremendous potential.

It didn’t happen.

In his fourth NFL season, Engram once again proved he is who he is: a very athletic tight end/receiver hybrid who flashes big-play ability but disappears for long stretches and can’t be counted on in the clutch. He’s the very definition of a “coach killer,” the guy you keep longer than you should because he is a perennial tease but who ends up losing you football games. There is no greater example of that than the Week 7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Leading 21-16 late in the 4th quarter, the Giants were well on their way to their second victory in a row as Wayne Gallman had run for 27 yards in an effort to run out the clock. On 3rd-and-7, Daniel Jones hit Engram in the hands down the field with just over 2 minutes left in the game. He dropped it. If Engram catches that pass, the Giants walk off the field victorious. If Engram catches that pass, the Giants probably win the NFC East. You can also legitimately blame the defense for not holding the lead, but it never should have come to that.

If all of this sounds a bit harsh, it is. But the Giants have turned down multiple trade offers for Engram because of his supposed upside. The truth is that once the Giants drafted Saquon Barkley with the #2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, which committed the Giants to a more run-centric offense, Engram seemed miscast on this team. Because of his body type, he’ll never been more than a subpar blocker. But you accept that if he is a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses, a receiver who consistently catches 5-8 passes per game and approaches 8-10 touchdown receptions per season. Engram is not that guy. He had ONE touchdown in 2020. His Pro Bowl invite seems like a bad joke.

Obviously there were other tight ends on the roster. Kaden Smith (45 percent of all offensive snaps) and Levine Toilolo (27 percent of all offensive snaps) saw extensive playing time as Garrett often employed 2- and 3-tight end packages. But both served more as complementary blockers, as in total Smith and Toilolo had only 23 catches and no touchdowns. Eric Tomlinson spent some time on the 53-man roster and practice squad, but was waived for good in November. He only played in one game.

Let that sink in for one moment. As a group, New York Giants tight ends caught ONE touchdown pass in 2020. Pathetic doesn’t seem like strong enough of a word.

ON THE 53-MAN ROSTER

In his fourth NFL season, Evan Engram had yet another disappointing year in 2020 despite being voted to the Pro Bowl. He was second on the team with 63 catches for 654 yards (10.4 yards per catch) and just one touchdown. Engram also had a team-high eight dropped passes. He played 83 percent of all offensive snaps. The Giants drafted Engram in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Engram had a solid rookie year, but missed five games in 2018 (knee and hamstring) and eight games in 2019 (knee and foot) with injuries. Engram is not built like a traditional tight end, but more like an H-Back/wide receiver ‘tweener. He is very athletic with excellent speed and quickness for the position, and flashes big play-making ability. However, he is not a reliable player. Engram tends to disappear for long stretches of games and the season. He drops too many passes cannot be counted on in the clutch. Due to his size, he is not a good blocker.

Kaden Smith served as the team’s top reserve tight end for the second year in a row. While his playing time increased, playing in 15 games with 12 starts, Smith’s pass-catching productivity fell from 31 catches, 268 yards, and three touchdowns in 2019 to 18 catches, 112 yards, and no touchdowns in 2020. He missed one game in late November due to COVID-19. He played 45 percent of all offensive snaps. Smith was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. The Giants claimed Smith off of waivers from the San Francisco 49ers in September 2019. While not a dynamic athlete, Smith has good size (6’5”, 249 pounds), runs good routes, and catches the ball well. He is decent blocker.

The team’s third tight end in 2020, Levine Toilolo played in all 16 games with two starts (27 percent of all offensive snaps). He finished with just five catches for 46 yards. The 6’8”, 268-pound Toilolo was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. He has spent time with the Falcons (2013-2017), Detroit Lions (2018), and San Francisco 49ers (2019). The Giants signed Toilolo as an unrestricted free agent from the 49ers in March 2020. In eight NFL seasons, Toilolo has played in 124 regular-season games with 69 starts. Toilolo is a huge tight end who is a better blocker than receiver.

Eric Tomlinson spent most of September and October on the 53-man roster, but was waived in November. He only played in one game with a couple of offensive snaps. The Ravens picked him up and he actually played in six games with two starts for Baltimore. The Giants signed Tomlinson as an unrestricted free agent from the Las Vegas Raiders in March 2020. This was Tomlinson’s second stint with the Giants as the team also signed him in September 2019 after he was cut by the New York Jets. Tomlinson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2015 NFL Draft.

ON THE PRACTICE SQUAD

The Giants signed Rysen John to the Practice Squad in late October 2020. The Giants originally signed John as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. The Giants waived/injured John in early September 2020 with a hamstring injury. The 6’7”, 220-pound John was a receiver in college.

The Giants re-signed Nakia Griffin-Stewart to a future/reserve contract in January 2021. The Giants signed Griffin-Stewart to the Practice Squad in November 2020 and cut him in December. The 6’5”, 260-pound Griffin-Stewart was originally signed as rookie free agent by the Minnesota Vikings after the 2020 NFL Draft. He also spent time on the Practice Squad of the Green Bay Packers that year before signing with the Giants.

The Giants re-signed Nate Wieting to a future/reserve contract in January 2021. The Giants originally signed Wieting to the Practice Squad in November 2020 and cut him in December. The 6’4”, 250-pound Wieting went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent some time with the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins before signing with the Giants.

Jan 142021
 
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Andrew Thomas, New York Giants (September 14, 2020)

Andrew Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports

ANKLE SURGERY FOR ANDREW THOMAS…
New York Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas had ankle surgery this week. The New York Post is reporting that the surgery was “to correct an issue that was known when he entered the league and had nagged him since training camp. He waited to get it fixed without fear of doing further damage.” Thomas is expected to recover by March.

GIANTS SIGN THREE MORE TO RESERVE/FUTURE CONTRACTS…
The New York Giants have re-signed tight ends Nakia Griffin-Stewart and Nate Wieting, and signed linebacker Cale Garrett to reserve/future contracts.

The Giants signed Griffin-Stewart to the Practice Squad in November 2020 and cut him in December. The 6’5”, 260-pound Griffin-Stewart was signed as rookie free agent by the Minnesota Vikings after the 2020 NFL Draft. He also spent time on the Practice Squad of the Green Bay Packers that year before signing with the Giants.

The Giants signed Wieting to the Practice Squad in November 2020 and cut him in December. The 6’4”, 250-pound Wieting went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent some time with the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins before signing with the Giants.

The 23-year old, 6’3”, 230-pound Garrett was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tennessee Titans after the 2020 NFL Draft. Garrett also spent time on the Practice Squad of the Minnesota Vikings.

Dec 092020
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (November 29, 2020)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

RAY PERKINS PASSES AWAY…
Former New York Giants head coach Ray Perkins, who coached the team from 1979-1982, has passed away at the age of 79. Perkins’ Giants compiled a 23-34 regular-season record and 1-1 playoff record in his four years with the team. The 1981 Giants returned to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years, compiling a 9-7 record and defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs. Perkins resigned from the Giants after the 1982 strike season in order to coach at the University of Alabama.

“Ray was George Young’s first hire as general manager in 1979,” said team President/CEO John Mara. “I remember George saying, ‘He will make it very uncomfortable for our players to lose.’ Ray did a good job for us and got us into the playoffs in 1981 for the first time in many years. During the 1982 season, which was shortened due to a players strike, he announced he was leaving at the end of the year to go to Alabama, which he described as his dream job. He left behind a team that had Lawrence Taylor, Phil Simms, and Harry Carson, among others and this was the nucleus of the group that would go on to great success in the 1980’s and win two Super Bowls. I always wondered whether he later regretted that decision. But he certainly left our team in much better shape than he found it in, including having Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick on his staff.”

“I’ll start out offering our thoughts and prayers to coach Perkins’ family,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “Coach was a guy who touched a lot of lives in the National Football League as well as college football. There are a lot of relationships around this country with him. Personally, I’ve had some crossover with coach through his time coming through Tuscaloosa when I was down there, as well as some contact early in my tenure here. But I appreciate everything he did for me, the time he shared with me, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

GIANTS-BROWNS GAME FLEXED TO SUNDAY NIGHT…
The NFL has flexed the Cleveland Browns at New York Giants game on December 20th to Sunday night. The game had originally been scheduled for 1:00PM on CBS. It will now be aired at 8:20PM on NBC.

DECEMBER 9, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
LB Blake Martinez (back), OT Matt Peart (ankle), and CB Madre Harper (knee) did not practice on Wednesday.

QB Daniel Jones (hamstring) and CB Darnay Holmes (knee) were limited in practice.

“As far as Daniel, we’re going to give him an opportunity today to move around the field,” Head Coach Joe Judge said before practice. “We’re still in that point of the week where I haven’t seen him do anything physical yet this week since the last week really. We’ll see him move around today. We’re optimistic, I know he’s going to tell us everything we want to hear, we’ve got to again use our eyes instead of our ears with Daniel, so we’re going to put him out there today and make sure we give him a chance to progress. Today’s a walk-thru, tomorrow we’ll be on the field moving around and then Friday will be a big day for us to kind of make a final decision hopefully going into the weekend.”

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants signed defensive end/linebacker Niko Lalos from the team’s Practice Squad to the 53-man roster. To make room for Lalos, the team waived linebacker Trent Harris.

The Giants also signed quarterback Joe Webb to the Practice Squad and terminated the Practice Squad contract of tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart.

The Giants signed Lalos as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent more than half of the season on the Practice Squad but was elevated to the 53-man roster the past two games.

The Giants signed Harris to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2020. He played in four games with two starts for the Giants. The 6’2”, 255-pound Harris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Practice Squad of the Patriots. The Miami Dolphins claimed Harris off of waivers in September 2019. He played in 11 games with three starts with the Dolphins, accruing 20 tackles and 1.5 sacks. The Dolphins cut him in early September 2020.

The 34-year old, 6’4”, 231-pound Webb was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He has spent time with the Vikings (2010-2013), Carolina Panthers (2014-2016), Buffalo Bills (2017), Houston Texans (2018-2019), and Detroit Lions (2020). Webb has played in 102 regular-season games with four starts, completing 90-of-159 passes (56.6 percent) for 888 yards, three touchdowns, and six interceptions. He also has caught 10 passes in his career and returned 18 kickoffs.

The Giants signed Griffin-Stewart to the Practice Squad in November 2020. The 6’5”, 260-pound Griffin-Stewart was signed as rookie free agent by the Minnesota Vikings after the 2020 NFL Draft. He also spent time on the Practice Squad of the Green Bay Packers that year before signing with the Giants.

LEONARD WILLIAMS NAMED “NFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK”…
New York Giants defensive end Leonard Williams has been named the “NFC Defensive Player of the Week” for his performance against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday. In that game, Williams was credited with three tackles, two tackles for losses, 2.5 sacks and five quarterback hits.

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

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

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

Nov 252020
 
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Xavier McKinney, New York Giants (November 23, 2020)

Xavier McKinney – Courtesy of New York Giants

NOVEMBER 25, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
CB James Bradberry (family matter) did not practice on Wednesday. WR Sterling Shepard (hip/toe) was limited in practice. OG Kevin Zeitler (concussion) fully practiced.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart to the Practice Squad. To make room for Griffin-Stewart, the Giants terminated the Practice Squad contract of wide receiver Corey Coleman.

The 24-year old, 6’5”, 260-pound Griffin-Stewart is a rookie free agent who spent some time with the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers in 2020. The Giants signed Coleman to the Practice Squad in late October. Coleman was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. The Giants signed Coleman to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018. He ended up playing in eight games with one start. Coleman missed all of 2019 with a torn ACL knee injury.

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…
There is no media availability to the Giants on Thanksgiving. The New York Giants practice on Friday afternoon (12:20-1:45PM). Head Coach Joe Judge, the team’s coordinators, and select players will also address the media.