Oct 052022
 
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Nick Gates, New York Giants (August 29, 2021)

Nick Gates – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS PLACE AARON ROBINSON ON INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants placed starting cornerback Aaron Robinson on Injured Reserve on Tuesday with a knee injury that he suffered on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Robinson must remain on Injured Reserve for at least four games. Robinson, a 3rd round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, had missed Weeks 2 and 3 after undergoing an appendectomy on September 14.

NICK GATES RETURNS TO PRACTICE…
Offensive center Nick Gates, who is currently on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List, has returned to practice. Gates will have up to three weeks to practice with the team without counting against the 53-man roster. Once that timeframe ends, he either must be added to the roster or revert to the PUP for the rest of the season. Gates suffered a serious, career-threatening lower leg injury in Week 2 of last season requiring multiple surgeries.

Impressive,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice. “We had a walk-through earlier and had him break down the team. Much respect to really anybody that comes back from injuries, but his injuries were significant. All the surgeries and he’s had nothing but a positive mindset since he’s been here. The guys were hooting and hollering when he was breaking them down. You root for guys like that. It’s a tough industry we’re in, in terms of physical things that can happen. Just a lot of respect for him and what he’s done and proud of the young man.”

“It’s 21 days until they have to make a decision about what they want to do with me,” said Gates after practice. “I feel good. It’s nice to be back out there on the field, it’s nice to run around with the guys. It was a good time. It was a good feeling to be back out there. I didn’t think I was going to be back out there this fast… I’m not going to lie. At one point after I had my last surgery, which was No. 7, they had to take the rod out because I had an infection in my bone and put another rod in. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to play this year… The original (surgery) they put a rod in, two screws down my tibia. Then I got compartment syndrome. I’ll show you, there’s a big scar. Got compartment syndrome, so they sliced your leg open and let the swelling kind of – fasciotomy it’s called – just let the swelling do its thing and slowly close you up, that took four and then I had to get a skin graft which was No. 6. Then they had to take my rod out and put another rod in which was No. 7.”

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The Giants have signed offensive guard Solomon Kindley to the Practice Squad. To make room for Kindley, the Giants terminated the Practice Squad contract of running back Antonio Williams. The 25-year old, 6’4”, 339-pound Kindley was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins waived him in August 2022. Kindley has played in 29 regular-season games with 15 starts.

OCTOBER 5, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
QB Tyrod Taylor (concussion), WR Kenny Golladay (knee), WR Richie James (ankle), DL Henry Mondeaux (ankle), OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf), CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf), and S Julian Love (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.

“(Golladay) will not practice today,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice. “I doubt he’ll be ready to go this week.”

QB Daniel Jones (ankle), WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), OT Evan Neal (neck), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), DL Leonard Williams (knee), CB Fabian Moreau (foot), and CB Nick McCloud (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.

(Jones will) practice some,” said Daboll. “We’ll see where he’s at. We’ll see where he’s at after today… Not surprised. He’s a pretty tough individual. I think he’s made a lot or progress since after the game, and he’s been in the treatment room pretty consistently throughout these last couple of days. So, we’ll put him out there, give him some reps and see where he’s at.”

Yeah, felt good,” said Jones after practice. “Felt good out there. I’ve been working with the trainers, and I’ve made a lot of progress the last couple of days. I’ll continue to listen to them and continue to do what I can to be back out there.”

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday afternoon (12:30-2:30PM). The coordinators and select players will also address the media.

Aug 232022
 
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Nick Gates, New York Giants (September 21, 2021)

Nick Gates – © USA TODAY Sports

In order to to reduce their roster to the mandatory 80-player limit on Tuesday, the New York Giants made the following roster moves:

Linebacker Darrian Beavers (torn left ACL), tight end Andre Miller (broken forearm), and tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (toe) were placed on season-ending Injured Reserve.

Center Nick Gates (fractured lower left leg) and offensive tackle Matt Peart (ACL) were placed on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. They cannot return to the active roster until after the fourth regular-season game. Both Gates and Peart had been on the Active/PUP List since the start of training camp, along with wide receiver Sterling Shepard (Achilles). Shepard remains on the Active/PUP List and could still be on the final 53-man roster at the start of the season.

The Giants drafted Beavers in the 6th round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He was impressing as an all-around defender and receiving first-team snaps before he was injured.

The Giants signed Miller as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2022 NFL Draft. The Giants converted Miller from wide receiver to tight end, where he was impressing and receiving first-team snaps before he was injured.

The Giants signed Seals-Jones in March 2022 as an unrestricted free agent from the Washington Commanders. The 6’5”, 243-pound Seals-Jones was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by Arizona Cardinals after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017-2018), Cleveland Browns (2019), Kansas City Chiefs (2020), and Washington Football Team (2021). Seals-Jones has played in 54 regular-season games with 15 starts, accruing 90 catches for 1,044 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Last year for Washington, Jones started six games and caught 30 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns.

The Giants placed Gates on Injured Reserve in September 2021 with a serious fracture to his lower left leg that he suffered in Week 2 after being shifted to left guard. The Giants signed Gates as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He missed all of 2018 with a foot injury that caused him to be placed on Injured Reserve before the season started. In 2019, Gates was active for all 16 games with three starts (two starts at right tackle and one start at right guard). In 2020, despite having no prior experience at playing the position, and after a rough start, Gates not only solidified the center position for the Giants but rapidly became the team’s best lineman. Gates started all 16 games at center. 

2021 was a very disappointing season for Peart. The Giants selected Peart in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Peart played in 11 games with one start at left tackle. He did play in 15 percent of all offensive snaps, receiving some quality playing time. Heading into training camp in 2021, it was anticipated that Peart would be the opening-day starter at right tackle. However, he was beat out by Nate Solder. Peart ended up playing in 15 games with five starts in 2021 (three at left tackle, two at right tackle) and was up-and-down in his play. The offensive line coach publicly questioned his toughness during the middle of the season. Peart tore the ACL in his left knee in late December, ending his season and putting into doubt his availability for the 2022 season.

Sep 222021
 
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Billy Price and Ben Bredeson, New York Giants (September 16, 2021)

Billy Price and Ben Bredeson – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The New York Giants practiced on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

“The main focus on Monday was really on the New York Giants, touching base with things we did earlier in the season, some schemes going forward, some personnel looks,” said Head Coach Joe Judge before practice. “Today will be a padded day for us getting after it, some up-tempo, really get working together as a team.”

NT Austin Johnson (illness), LB Cam Brown (hamstring), and S Nate Ebner (quad) did not practice on Wednesday.

RB Saquon Barkley (knee), WR Kenny Golladay (hip), TE Evan Engram (calf), TE Kaden Smith (knee), and S Logan Ryan (hamstring) were limited in practice.

GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
As expected, the New York Giants have placed offensive lineman Nick Gates (broken left leg) on Injured Reserve. Gates will miss the rest of the 2021 NFL season.

The team has also signed center Jonotthan Harrison, offensive tackle Foster Sarell, and safety Steven Parker to the Practice Squad.

The Giants signed Harrison to a reserve/future contract in January 2021, but cut him in late August. The 30-year old, 6’4”, 300-pound Harrison was originally signed by the Indianapolis Colts as undrafted rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Colts (2014-2016), New York Jets (2017-2019), and Buffalo Bills (2020). Harrison has played in 84 regular-season games with 42 starts.

The 23-year old, 6’6”, 322-pound Sarell was originally signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2021 NFL Draft. The Ravens waived him in late August. He spent a few days on the Ravens’ Practice Squad in September.

The 26-year old, 6’1”, 210-pound Parker was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Los Angeles Rams after the 2018 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Rams (2018-2019), Miami Dolphins (2019-2020), Minnesota Vikings (2020), and Dallas Cowboys (2020). Parker has played in 22 regular-season games.

To make room for these players, the Giants terminated the Practice Squad contracts of running back Dexter Williams and tight end Ryan Izzo. The Las Vegas Raiders signed offensive tackle Jackson Barton off of the Giants’ Practice Squad.

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, position coaches, and select players will also address the media. Former QB Eli Manning will also address the media regarding his pending entry into the team’s “Ring of Honor.”

Sep 132021
 
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Joe Judge, New York Giants (September 12, 2021)

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 13, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The New York Giants did NOT practice on Monday. But because of the short week, they provided the following estimated injury report.

TE Evan Engram (calf), OG Shane Lemieux (knee), and LB Cam Brown (hamstring) did not practice.

RB Saquon Barkley (knee) was limited in practice.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2021 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 27-13 loss to the Denver Broncos and the upcoming game against the Washington Football Team:

Q: I know it’s a new season, but if you look at this offense since you’ve been here and since (Offensive Coordinator) Jason (Garrett) has been here, you guys haven’t really been able to score consistently. When you look at just the offensive system that you guys are running, what gives you confidence that you can get to a point where you will be putting points on the board like teams around the league do?

A: I think the big focus for us right now is really just focused on making sure we’re going to keep putting players in a position to be successful. I saw a lot of positive things yesterday from players like (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) and (Wide Receiver Sterling) Shep (Shepard). Those guys (were) making plays down the field. I think those guys definitely showed up and made an impact for us. To me, there’s a number of plays you can play with and you can draw up a lot of different patterns and routes. Obviously, we have to be creative and give the players a chance. I’m more focused right now on the fundamentals and the execution to go with, making sure we’re emphasizing ball security, running, blocking, making sure we can break tackles and extend plays right there, protecting leverage on the routes. But in terms of just the overall system, our focus right now is really more on putting the players in position and get them going. I saw a lot of improvement from a lot of guys. I was pleased with the way the offensive line played last night from a big picture standpoint. Obviously, there were some things we’ve got to clean up, but I was pleased with the step forward those guys have taken and improved consistently. It was good to have them out there for obviously the entire game length. Different than a preseason or a practice competitively, so it was good getting them out there and having a lot of execution together. That’s obviously moving in the right direction for us.

Q: (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) said after the game that he needed to see how his knee responded before meeting with the medical staff and you guys when it comes to Thursday and beyond that. Just curious how Saquon came out of yesterday and after you’ve watched the tape, what did you see from him?

A: It was good having him out there, obviously. The emphasis was really getting this guy out there, getting his feet wet. He hasn’t had the opportunity to play in the preseason. Obviously, he hasn’t played since last year when the injury happened, so the focus for us was really getting him out there, letting him get going, getting in sync of playing in the game. Obviously, it was the first time he was truly under a live fire with fully getting tackled and all that stuff from all different angles, so it was good and encouraging to see him come out of there. I thought he responded well. For all accounts right now, he came out of the game good for us. In terms of Thursday we’ll see what the game plan brings as we move on forward. I didn’t see any setbacks from anything last night and I didn’t get any reports on anything as far as medically with him. But in terms of him meeting with the medical staff, that’s kind of just part of the normal procedure for him and for all of our players that are dealing with anything.

Q: I saw that (Safety) Jabrill Peppers only played half of the snaps on defense yesterday. What was the thought process there and beyond that, how did you feel like the secondary helped up against (Broncos Quarterback) Teddy Bridgewater yesterday?

A: I think, obviously, Teddy played a really good game. They moved the ball consistently and stayed on the field, and our job is to get them off the field and disrupt his timing. I thought the guy played a good game. Obviously, give credit where credit is due and he’s a good player, he’s on a team for a reason. We’ve got to make sure we keep sharpening up how we’re calling plays and putting players in position and making sure that we execute when it’s called our way. In terms of Pep, I wouldn’t read anything into that at all. Pep’s a guy who’s going to play a lot of ball for us. Pep’s going to play a lot in a significant role, he’s a captain on this team, he’s a key member of our defense and our special teams units. A lot of it was kind of based around making sure we try to thin some of the loads out for this guy in different things he had to handle. It wasn’t anything reflected on how he’s played or performed. If anything, we came out of there with some of the things he did in the game, saying, ‘Hey, he’s a guy we want to have on the field as much as possible.’ So, we’ve just got to make sure that we consider some of the things that he’s doing and when he’s available having him out there on the field for us. The plan was really just with his best interest in mind, in terms of making sure he can stay fresh through all the different responsibilities he has on the team. But I would definitely not read too much into that. He’s a key part of our team for a reason.

Q: When (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) was asked about the fumble yesterday, he essentially said he has to be mindful of that and be better going forward, but this has been a recurring situation. How do you make him better in those spots to where he’s not turning over the ball, especially at critical times?

A: Like him, with any other player as well, you’ve got to show them on tape what’s happening, show them what the symptom is and why it’s been an issue, and then you’ve got to make sure you drill it on the field and improve the technique. We’ve got to keep doing a better job of coaching, putting our players in a position within practice where we’re getting the ball attacked and the exact fundamentals of what they’re getting issues with. We’ve just got to keep stressing on a daily basis with all of our players, which we make an emphasis of, but we’ve got to keep doing a better job of coaching that and making sure going forward it’s not an issue with any player on our team.

Q: A quick follow-up to that, as a teaching moment for the Daniel Jones fumble, would you and your staff tell him if he slid there that he could avoid that fumble?

A: That’s part of what we teach anyway. There are times where a guy’s going to be aggressive and he’s going to have to go ahead and lower his shoulder to get an extra yard in a got-to-have-it type of situation. There are other times as a quarterback where you go ahead, and you slide, and you avoid the contact. Look, Daniel’s a tough dude and I’m the one that’s got to tell him to slide sometimes. I know he hates hearing that. He doesn’t want to be treated like he’s got kid gloves on, but that’s part of what we teach him in terms of getting down and protecting. You can see obviously on the runs after that run right there, he worked to go ahead and get on the ground and protect it until he got in the endzone on the final play.

Q: That was a first-down play, so he’s not necessarily fighting for extra yards or anything. He already had a nice gain, so in that specific play is the coaching instruction – you have to slide there and that solves the problem with the fumble?

A: I’d say the coaching on any of these situations is if it’s not a got-to-have it, you want to protect the ball as best as we can, whether it’s getting out of bounds or sliding and getting down.

Q: How do you balance demanding better from your team with still finding the positives which you have detailed yesterday and today?

A: To be honest with you, that’s what our meeting was about today. Look, it’s real simple for me and again, a win or a loss, you’ve got to come out and you’ve got to show your team the truth of what happens on tape. You’ve got to show them examples of winning football, what we did well, things we can build on and things that are going to help us move forward and win as a team. Then, you’ve got to show them things that you have to eliminate as a team, things you have to improve on, and you have to do it fast to make sure you don’t eliminate opportunities. To me, it’s not about going in there and giving motivational speeches or trying to get in there and embarrass anybody. It’s just you put the tape on, you teach through it and you correct it. Our job is to be teachers. Guys come in everyday, they sit in meetings in a classroom, and they’ve got to learn, and that’s really what it is. We go out there on the practice field and we have to take what we’ve talked about in the film room and put it on the practice field and make sure they can execute it. But to me, our guys have always been very good. We preach about being mentally tough and it can’t be an emotional rollercoaster. Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. The emphasis every week is you come in and work to improve. That was the emphasis today, as well.

Q: Is Saquon going to play barring his knee having a problem here?

A: This week coming up?

Q: Yeah, I mean, is that the plan? It is three days of rest and it’s a very awkward situation for a guy coming off a big knee injury.

­­A: I would say unless the medical team tells us something else, our intention’s going to be to keep on progressing this guy throughout the season and playing with him, unless there’s some kind of setback. Look, he came out last night, from all accounts, in a good position. Our plan to this point is to go ahead and include him in the game plan as we work through this next day and a half.

Q: How unique is this spot though, to have that coming off of this major knee injury and only have three days after your first game?

A: I couldn’t speak specifically on the uniqueness of it. I don’t know what other players have done this in our league and turned around and had to play in this. But every injury is unique in itself, so we have to rely on the information from our medical team here in terms of what we can and can’t do safely with our players.

Q: I’m sure you’ll give a full rundown on Washington tomorrow, but just at first glance, what do you think of their quarterback situation and (Washington Quarterback Taylor) Heinicke?

A: First off, I’ve got a world of respect for Fitz (Washington Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick). Never having coached this guy but competing against him a lot for a long time in different spots, this guy’s a great competitor. He does a great job. I’d say with Heinicke, to me obviously, it’s not the same guy, but there’s a lot of the same characteristics. I think you can get a little of a gunslinger in both these guys and I don’t say that in an insulting way. I say that in a very complimentary way that he’s a guy that can go out there and can really function and operate and think outside the box, extend plays, be creative within the system and, obviously, he’s been very competitive in all the games he’s been in. I’ve got a lot of respect for this guy as a player. Obviously, I started watching this guy back in the playoffs and all last year as well as some other spots he’d been in. Seeing this guy out there on the field, he’s going to be a challenge for us. He’s going to be a challenge for us. He’s a competitor and he’s going to look for ways to extend plays and get the ball downfield to their receivers.

Q: You said that you liked how your offensive line played yesterday. Just wanted to know specifically what did you like about what they did?

A: I liked the way we gave ourselves an opportunity for Daniel to get back there and get the ball out on time. Really did a good job of operating upfront, the guards and centers playing with a good, flat, firm pocket. The tackles did a good job for the most part of staying inside-out, keeping the rush riding on by. There are always a couple extra ones that we’ve got to go ahead and correct and build off of. That’s all been addressed today in the meetings and that’ll be a focus going forward as it always is. But seeing consistent progress from that group and how they played together and progressed, that’s something that’s moving in the right direction for us.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants will hold a light practice on Tuesday morning (10:50-11:50AM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will also address the media.

Sep 082021
 
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Nick Gates, New York Giants (August 29, 2021)

Nick Gates – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 8, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The New York Giants practiced on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Today was the first time the Giants were mandated by the NFL to issue an official injury report.

TE Evan Engram (calf) is the only player who did not practice.

RB Saquon Barkley (knee), WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring), WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot), TE Kaden Smith (knee), LT Andrew Thomas (ankle), NT Danny Shelton (neck), LB Justin Hilliard (foot), CB Adoree’ Jackson (ankle), and CB Josh Jackson (calf) were limited in practice.

GIANTS RE-SIGN NATE EBNER, OTHER ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have re-signed special teams player/safety Nate Ebner. To make room for Ebner, the team terminated the contract of wide receiver C.J. Board.

The Giants then re-signed Board to the Practice Squad, as well as signing offensive tackle Korey Cunningham to the Practice Squad. To make room for Board and Cunningham, the team terminated the Practice Squad contracts of guard Kenny Wiggins and safety Jordyn Peters.

The 6’0”, 215-pound Ebner was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. In eight seasons in New England, Ebner played in 111 regular-season games with no starts. The Giants signed Ebner as an unrestricted free agent from the Patriots in March 2020. Almost exclusively a special teams player, Ebner only saw limited snaps on defense in five games, finishing with eight tackles and one pass defense.

The 26-year old, 6’6”, 311-pound Cunningham was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He was traded to the New England Patriots in August 2019. The Patriots cut Cunningham in late August 2021. In three NFL seasons, Cunningham has played in 18 regular-season games, with six starts, all with the Cardinals in 2018. He has experience at both tackle positions.

The Giants also waived wide receiver Austin Mack from Injured Reserve with an injury settlement.

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.

Aug 272021
 
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Rodarius Williams, New York Giants (August 22, 2021)

Rodarius Williams – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 27, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held a light summer training camp practice on Friday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

I thought we got a lot of productive work with the Patriots,” said Head Coach Joe Judge before practice. “Playing against any quality opponents, which we did with the Browns and the Patriots has been two very, very good weeks for our team. I think these competitive practices against other teams are probably the best thing you can do for your team in training camp in terms of preparing them for the competition they’re going to see. Obviously, the intensity raises up. The volume’s very high as far as building in the conditioning and the fundamentals for the players. You get some schemes that you haven’t predicted on the front end, some things different teams are trying out. While they’re not in a preseason game, they’re trying them out on different opponents to watch on tape. So, you get a look at a lot of different things that you can adjust as coaches and players and move forward. I’m pleased with the work we’ve got in the last two weeks. We’re a better team for it. Now, our focus shifts on to the game Sunday against the Patriots, and obviously we’ll get ready for the season after that.” 

INJURY REPORT…
CB Aaron Robinson (core muscle) remains on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring), WR Kadarius Toney (unknown), WR John Ross (hamstring?), WR Austin Mack (hamstring?), LB Elerson Smith (hamstring), CB Adoree’ Jackson (ankle sprain), and CB Josh Jackson (calf) did not practice on Friday. 

OG Shane Lemieux (knee) was limited.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Today was a light, walk-thru practice in advance of Sunday’s preseason finale.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available 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 Saturday. The team plays the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

Aug 152021
 
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Rodarius Williams, New York Giants (August 14, 2021)

Rodarius Williams – © USA TODAY Sports

INJURY UPDATE – T.J. BRUNSON TEARS ACL, JOSH KALU TEARS PEC…
There was bad news on the injury front coming out of Saturday night’s game against the New York Jets. Inside linebacker tore the ACL in his left knee. His season is unofficially over. Safety Josh Kalu also tore his pectoral muscle. No word yet on if his season is also over.

QB Clayton Thorson also continues to be evaluated for an undisclosed injury. “We’re going to wait to see what the doctors say about him.,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “He spent time with the medical team today. We’re going to find out his final status. Obviously, we’ll make more of a decision on that. Hopefully it all comes out for the best, he’s been working hard for us. If there’s an injury at quarterback, we’ll look to bring in an additional player to help us go ahead and function for the remainder of training camp or however long someone’s out.”

AUGUST 15, 2021 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Sunday to discuss his team’s 7-12 loss to the New York Jets:

Q: Just looking back now and taking a look at what that first group did, the first 18-20 snaps. Obviously, you didn’t have a lot of your marquee quarterbacks, receivers and running backs out there, but just the work of the offensive line in their 18 snaps, what did you see from them?

A: There’s definitely some positives out there to build on. First time action is always enough to get a clean up and focus on the meetings today and going through, starting with fundamentals, going through the assignments, communication to make sure we’re all on the same page. There were enough positives right there to really get a look in terms of what we can do to keep helping these guys and put them in the right position, and maybe some things you want to stay away from in the future in terms of play calling or snaps. But this is the time of year you really find out about that. In practice, you find out about some things. When you see a foreign opponent, you find out a little bit more about it right there. In terms of how they worked, how they responded on the sideline, the adjustments they made, that was encouraging. We’ve got to keep making progress and moving forward.

Q: Obviously, you have some injuries on the offensive line and you probably would bring some guys in basically to have a look. On the offensive line, is it just a matter of communication and a matter of getting used to each other. Realistically, how quickly can new guys coming in get up to speed to do what you need them to do in your offense?

A: First part of the question I’d say is we’re talking to personnel today and tomorrow on the entire roster. Obviously, there’s some moves we have to make with league rules. We’re looking at the week going into Cleveland, but then also just building our own depth on all parts of the roster. In terms of bringing some players in, we’re looking at guys at all positions around the league. There’s going to be a lot of guys that are available, so it’s our job to do our due diligence to make sure we know who’s out there and available in the league. On the offensive line, you’ve got to have a lot of bodies to operate, so in terms of bringing somebody in, there’s a good chance that we’re going to look to bring somebody in before going to Cleveland. In terms of how fast somebody can get caught up, I’d say that it’s really independent to the individual and their experience level, but I would say as coaches it’s our job to get them caught up with what we’re going to ask them to do. You don’t start with the entire playbook, you start with the install they have to operate with, harp on the technique and the calls they’re going to have at the line of scrimmage to make sure they can go out there and operate with your guys.

Q: Two things, how did (Quarterback) Clayton Thorson come out? And if he’s banged up, do you need another quarterback just to operate a practice?

A: We’re going to wait to see what the doctors say about him. He spent time with the medical team today. We’re going to find out his final status. Obviously, we’ll make more of a decision on that. Hopefully it all comes out for the best, he’s been working hard for us. If there’s an injury at quarterback, we’ll look to bring in an additional player to help us go ahead and function for the remainder of training camp or however long someone’s out.

Q: Strange note on the game snaps, it seems that (Linebacker) Cam Brown didn’t play any defensive snaps. Was there a reason he didn’t get in defensively? Is he down the depth chart or is something holding him back?

A: No, actually it had nothing to do with that at all. The focus for him was going to be play special teams last night. He got in, did a good job for us, I saw what I needed to see. In terms of defense, we had some other guys we wanted to evaluate who have been doing a good job for us in practice. Him not playing last night really doesn’t reflect specifically anything on his status defensively. I really wouldn’t read too much into that at all, to be honest with you, but he did a good job for us on teams last night.

Q: Just wanted to check on (Linebacker) Blake Martinez because there was a group of inured players that we didn’t see and I didn’t realize he was injured. Did he get injured during the week?

A: I glanced over it last night and someone said something to me. He actually had a non-football injury, so he’s actually back in the building with us today. It was one of those things that sprung up. We just wanted to get him away from our players and just make sure everything is good before having him in the building. It had nothing to do with football and, to be honest with you, if it was a regular season game, he would’ve been able to go ahead and tough on through it. We just wanted to make sure he had time to rest and put him away.

Q: And (Cornerback) Rodarius Williams. Obviously, you want a guy to get a ton of reps like that. How did you evaluate how he performed? And you played him inside – I don’t know that you’d done that in camp at all. How much of a challenge do you think that is to throw him in that situation?

A: To start with the question on him playing inside, there was a function of that that was due to where we were at in the game with who we wanted to play and keep on the field and really evaluate. A lot of these younger guys you want to see them through some extended play and see how they can handle the volume of the game and some of the things that come up. To be honest with you, we’re always looking to build up a player’s versatility. He’s done a little bit of that in practice for us through spring, a little bit through training camp, but it was an opportunity to put him in there and see how he functioned. So, he showed some things he did well and some things we’ve got to keep on building with him. In terms of just the overall volume, he’s a young player. He’s done a good job for us in practice making plays. We’ve got to keep bringing him along. I think for any guy in the first game, I don’t care if it’s regular season or preseason, there’s always an adjustment. It’s not unique or different for him as well, so there’s definitely some things we will show him that he did well and other things that we’re going to correct, whether it’s communication-wise, technique-wise, going forward. I was pleased he was able to go out there and play a lot of football last night. That was a lot of experience in a game that will help him going forward.

Q: Last night you mentioned (Wide Receiver) Matt Cole and (Wide Receiver) C.J. Board as standouts for their special teams work. At that position, how important is it for guys to be able to contribute on special teams? On the flip side, I know (Wide Receiver) David Sills (V) didn’t get any special teams time, so is that something that could be held against him when you have to make decisions?

A: No, and Sills contributes on special teams for us, so again, everyone’s plan last night in the game was very unique and different to them. Some of it’s for the function and how to operate offensively and defensively throughout the game and the majority of it was really to see certain players and evaluate them for extended periods of play. In terms of Sills, we made a decision last night just to play him on offense. In terms of C.J., he was going to carry a heavier load in the kicking game, so the decision was to play him in the first half on offense and have him alive for the entire game on special teams. That’s where it was at in terms of C.J. and Sills and how that goes. I’d say for any player, you’ve got to do more than one thing. It’s something our players understand. If you can only do one thing, you better do it at an absolutely elite level, but everyone’s got to contribute to the team in multiple ways. You only take 46 guys to a game, 47 now, but you only take a certain amount of guys to the game, so you’ve got to be able to play multiple roles. Whether you’re an offensive player or a defensive player, the kicking game’s a part of your job description and everyone has a role whether that’s playing on field goal protection if you’re a defensive lineman at times. Whether that’s part of the hands team if you’re a skill player who’s not necessarily a coverage specialist. Everyone has to have a role and both those guys have carved out nice ones. They’ve competed throughout training camp at a high level for us. C.J. and Matt last night went out there and their strength is their speed and that flashed on tape right there for us when we watched the game today. They’re both guys that are quiet. They just do their job every day and come to work and are fun to be with.

­­Q: Do you intend to take injured players with you to Cleveland and specifically (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney), do you think he will be on that trip and able to participate in those practices?

A: Yeah, right now we are planning to take injured players with us. The purpose being going out there and letting them do some of their rehab and recovery while we’re out there either at Cleveland’s facilities or on the field while we’re practicing, so that will be the plan right now. If something changes or someone has a unique situation that could include a person, two people, whatever may come up right now that we don’t have listed as an issue. But as we go through medical meetings today and tomorrow, that’s something we’ll have to address.

Q: What’s the next step for (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) in the progression here?

A: We’re going to sit down with the doctors later today and go through that. He responded well last week to the volume and the load. I thought the plan of obviously putting him through a couple of days, backing him off, ramping him back up, so obviously they have a really good feel for his body working with him throughout these last few months through the rehab process. At this point, the focus is really to kind of get him moving more and more within the football movements. In terms of what that’s going to mean for him this week in Cleveland, we’ll have to wait and see. I wouldn’t anticipate him being in any kind of live drills this week. As of this point, that would be the plan, but we’ll see where it goes as we go on down further and further when his body is ready for all the football.

Q: What have you seen from (Linebacker) Reggie Ragland? He obviously wasn’t active for the first week of training camp, but he seemed to be pretty active last night in making some plays and getting off blocks.

A: Reggie’s a real smart, instinctive player. He’s a thick bodied and physical player, which is big to play in that inside linebacker role. He definitely makes plays with awareness, a good communicator. He’s got a lot of fire to him and Reggie’s fun to have around. He’s a real straight-shooter and he’ll tell you what’s on his mind, which is good to have around the building. He’s not afraid to have a tough conversation with you, so I’m really glad he’s a part of our team right now.

Q: We haven’t had cuts like this – it’s been 90 to 53 the last couple of years – will you just cut from the bottom of the roster? Washington cut some veteran guys to maybe to let them see if they can catch on somewhere else. How will you approach the cuts?

A: We’re looking to keep the best 53 players when we make our final roster decisions. We’ll talk through the roster over the next couple of days before we have to make our official moves. We’ll keep all of that in mind. In terms of releasing vets for any specific reason, that’s not something that’s been a part of our conversations at any point. Everyone we have in our program we have a plan to work with and develop and have a role on this team. We’ll just have to talk through what’s best for the team going forward.

Q: One of the strangest reactions on the bench last night was seeing (Running Back) Sandro (Platzgummer) run 50 yards, everybody exploded. What happened with that?

A: You know what, everyone likes Sandro. Best way I can put it. Everyone likes him. He works hard. Everyone was glad to see his opportunity, and everyone was happy for him when he got in and made the most of it. I think you can boil it down right there. He’s a guy that the players really respect and like. These guys in the program he’s in, as far as some of the overseas players, it’s always a different path for these guys, a different background. I think these guys understand and recognize he’s from Austria, he’s far away from home. There’s some unique things about Sandro. He’s really finishing up and finalizing being a doctor over in Europe, so there’s a lot of things to him. He works hard. He doesn’t say boo. He doesn’t ever complain. He just comes in and does his job and the team respects the way he works. When anybody has success like that, I think everyone shares and enjoys it.

Q: Did you say Kadarius is coming with you guys to Cleveland to rehab out there?

A: Yes, all plans are to have him out there. There’s no conversations at this point of anything different. That will be the same for all of our players. The only thing is if maybe some of these injuries coming out of the game that may be something different for those players. In terms of everything prior to this game, the plan is to have all those players with us out in Cleveland.

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

 

Aug 062021
 
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Joe Judge, New York Giants (July 29, 2021)

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 6, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their ninth full-team summer training camp practice on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Practices are not open to the public this year.

We’ll progress with our training camp back in pads today, moving around,” said Head Coach Joe Judge before practice. “It’ll be kind of an on and off the field type of day due to some of the numbers and availability to kind of work with some guys in some different situations. So we’ll be on the field today, progress on our install. We’ll start building a little bit more into team periods and kind of the flow of calling the plays from the sideline and get guys lined up and hearing the play in the huddle, break it and get going. We’re kind of getting away a little bit of the transition of drill to drill that you guys see in the first part of camp that we operate with. We’ve got to get in this next couple flow of weeks and just playing some football, getting out there and letting our guys operate.”

ZACH FULTON RETIRES…
New York Giants reserve guard Zach Fulton has retired from the NFL. He is the third Giant to retire this past week, joining linebacker Todd Davis and center/guard Joe LooneyThe Giants signed Fulton in March 2021 after he was cut by the Houston Texans. The 6’5”, 321-pound Fulton was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He spent four seasons with the Chiefs before signing with the Texans in 2018. In all, Fulton has played in 107 regular-season games with 90 starts. Fulton started 44 games at right guard for the Texans, including all 16 games in 2020. He has also started games at center and left guard in his career.

I had a good conversation with Zach last night,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “He talked with me, (Offensive Line Coach) Rob (Sale), (Offensive Consultant Pat Flaherty), (Offensive Coordinator) Jason (Garrett), (General Manager) Dave Gettleman and a few other people in the organization. I would say specifically to Zach’s situation, look Zach was doing a good job for us. He’s a guy that I didn’t want to see go; however, I respect his decision. I’ll let him speak completely for himself. I would say that a lot of these older vets, they’re at a different point in their life with different things. Zach’s a guy that started a business in the offseason, he just had his son. His family is down in Texas. This is an opportunity for him to get back. We talked a lot about just the duration, a career and different things. Without going into everything, look, he indicated to us, hey listen, coming out of where he was last year, your body’s in a different point than when you’re younger. You get to the point to see do I think I have it for 16 games? And you have to respect when these guys look us in the eye and say, ‘listen, I really wanted to see if I could push through it, but I don’t think my body’s at that point,’ and you can leave this point in the game with your health.

“I’d say all three situations are different. Everyone has a different personal circumstance. I respect all three. We’ve left the door open for all three. These are three good guys who worked hard for us. Listen, I can’t tell you how much respect I have for the players who come in and work hard for us. I know this is a demanding place. I know this is a place that will want to work them, but we’re smart about how we work our players and we’re very calculated. But at the same time, we have to push our players and train them that when they go on the field, number one, they’re safe and, number two, they play effectively. It’s our job to help these players produce on the field and put them in position. It’s training camp. There’s different things that come up along with it, but I think in terms of these three vets, look, it’s not unique to the league. I know there’s been several vets that are retiring. It’s not unique to this year. One thing I’ll say that is a little different this year than previous years is there’s more people that you call that are on the street trying to get into camps calling, where the agents indicated that they’re done playing football. I’d say these are guys with varying ages, but mostly guys that I’d say have six years in the league. You call these guys this time of year normally and everyone’s training and waiting to get to training camp. This year’s just been a different year.”

INJURY REPORT…
WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring), WR Dante Pettis (unknown), TE Levine Toilolo (torn Achilles’ tendon), CB Adoree’ Jackson (unknown/possible maintenance day), LB Lorenzo Carter (calf), LB Elerson Smith (hamstring), LB Trent Harris (unknown), and WR Austin Mack (hamstring) did not practice on Friday.

DL Raymond Johnson left practice early, possibly due to a heat issue. OLB Ifeadi Odenigbo and RB Gary Brightwell also left practice early.

The following players remain on various PUP and reserve lists:

  • Reserve/COVID-19 List: TE Rysen John
  • Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: RB Saquon Barkley (knee), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot), LB Oshane Ximines (hamstring), and CB Aaron Robinson (core muscle)
  • Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List: LB Ryan Anderson (back)
  • Reserve/Injured: WR Derrick Dillon (unknown) and RB Mike Weber (hip flexor)

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • WR Kadarius Toney participated in 11-on-11, full-team drills with the second-team unit.
  • Brett Heggie was working at second-team right guard with the retirement of Zach Fulton. Kyle Murphy also saw increased reps. When Heggie and Murphy were flagged with false starts, they were replaced on the second unit by Nick Gates and Jake Burton.
  • Niko Lalos received first-team reps at outside linebacker again. Azeez Ojulari was the other first-team outside linebacker.
  • CB Rodarius Williams tipped a QB Daniel Jones pass intended for WR Sterling Shepard. S Jabrill Peppers intercepted the ball off of the deflection.
  • CB Rodarius Williams, playing with the first-team defense, then undercut WR Alex Bachman to intercept another pass from QB Daniel Jones.
  • CB Quincy Wilson intercepted an overthrown pass from QB Clayton Thorson intended for WR Alex Bachman, who was well covered by CB Darnay Holmes.
  • LB Niko Lalos broke up a QB Daniel Jones pass at the line of scrimmage intended for WR Sterling Shepard.
  • LB Cale Garrett broke up another pass.
  • CB James Bradberry had excellent deep coverage on WR John Ross to break up a pass.
  • S Josh Kalu intercepted a pass from QB Mike Glennon. Kalu also broke up another pass.
  • RB Corey Clement had a few big runs.
  • DLs Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence pressured the quarterback a number of times on Friday.
  • OLs Andrew Thomas and Kenny Wiggins impressed in 1-on-1 drills.
  • WR C.J. Board continues to make receptions in practice.
  • TE Evan Engram had another big catch from QB Daniel Jones. Jones also had a big gain on a quarterback keeper.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available 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 Saturday (10:45 AM-12:45 PM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will also address the media.

Jun 042021
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (May 27, 2021)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

JUNE 4, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their sixth voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Friday, and second one open to the media. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

Right now, it’s all about football movement, getting these guys in shape and training their bodies,” said Head Coach Joe Judge before practice. “That’s the most important thing for us at this time as a team, and understanding the systems and the schemes.”

A mandatory mini-camp will be held June 8-10. The two remaining OTA practices will be held on June 14-15.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Cornerback Aaron Robinson (unknown) was present at practice, but did not participate. Not present at Friday’s practice were:

  • RB Saquon Barkley (knee)
  • RB Corey Clement
  • RB Taquan Mizzell
  • WR Kadarius Toney
  • WR John Ross
  • TE Kyle Rudolph (foot)
  • OLB Ryan Anderson
  • OLB Cam Brown
  • CB James Bradberry
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson
  • CB Darnay Holmes
  • CB Isaac Yiadom
  • CB Sam Beal
  • S Jabrill Peppers
  • S Logan Ryan
  • S Xavier McKinney
  • S Julian Love
  • K Graham Gano

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Most of Friday’s action was limited to three-quarter speed with a focus on teaching.
  • The starting offensive line remained the same: LT Andrew Thomas, LG Shane Lemieux, OC Nick Gates, RG Will Hernandez, and RT Matt Peart.
  • The second-team offensive line was LT Chad Slade, LG Kenny Wiggins, OC Jonotthan Harrison, RG Zach Fulton, and RT Nate Solder.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judges’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:

KADARIUS TONEY SIGNS
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants have signed wide receiver Kadarius Toney, their 2021 NFL Draft 1st-round selection, to a 4-year, $13,719,508 contract. The deal is fully guaranteed and reportedly includes a $7.3 million signing bonus and a fifth-year option. The team’s entire 2021 NFL Draft class is now signed.

ARTICLES…

Jan 182021
 
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Shane Lemieux and Nick Gates, New York Giants (November 2, 2020)

Shane Lemieux and Nick Gates – © USA TODAY Sports

New Head Coach Joe Judge was hired by the New York Giants in early January 2020. After an atypically long vetting process, the team announced its complete staff a month later in early February. The extremely well-organized new head coach was all set to initiate his program to turn the franchise around. Then disaster struck. COVID-19 forced the league to shut down in the spring and much of the summer. The challenges for a new head coach trying to rebuild most of the roster seemed almost insurmountable.

Probably the position most affected by these developments was the offensive line. The Giants entered 2020 knowing they would have to have new starters at center and at least one of the tackle spots. That quickly became three starters when left tackle Nate Solder decided to sit out 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. Right tackle Mike Remmers had already signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. The only free agent addition was journeyman swing tackle Cam Fleming. It was obvious that most of the help would have to come from the draft, where the Giants selected Andrew Thomas in the 1st round, Matt Peart in the 3rd round, and Shane Lemieux in the 5th round. Despite those additions, there was still a glaring hole at center, with no obvious candidate to start other than the disappointing Spencer Pulley and talk of possible conversion projects.

With the desperate need to sort all of this out, Joe Judge was being told he could have no mini-camps, no Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices, a dramatically scaled back training camp, and no preseason. Teams were told they could only hold 14 padded practices before the season. 14 practices to get rookie Andrew Thomas ready at left tackle. 14 practices to find and name a starting center. 14 practices to figure out who to start at right tackle. 14 practices to build cohesion and chemistry for a group largely unfamiliar with each other.

The early returns were predictable. The line struggled. Converted guard/tackle Nick Gates was moved to center, a position that he had never played, and he had a rough start. Andrew Thomas did not look like the 4th player taken in the draft and fans began to question the pick, arguing the team drafted the wrong lineman. There was no time for Matt Peart to seriously challenge Cam Fleming for the right tackle job, and Fleming continued to demonstrate he really wasn’t an ideal starter. All of this was made worse by the fact that the two guys who the team needed to rely on, guards Kevin Zeitler and Will Hernandez, were once again not playing as well as expected.

Saquon Barkley was lost in Week 2 and the Giants had no ground game early in the season outside of Daniel Jones running for his life. No Giant had more than 30 yards rushing in the first two games and no Giant had more than 50 yards rushing in the first four games. Jones was the team’s leading rusher in four of the first seven games of the season. Jones was also getting sacked early and often, something that never really totally abated as he was sacked 45 times and NYG quarterbacks sacked 50 times on the season (or over three per game).

Despite all of this negativity and an 0-5 start, something began to change in October. A hodgepodge group of backs and Jones began to hurt teams on the ground as the offensive line began playing better. In eight of their next nine games, the Giants ran for over 100 yards or more. In seven of these games, they ran for over 130 yards or more. The high point was a 190-yard rushing effort against the Seattle Seahawks on December 6th. The line appeared to be developing into a physical, smash-mouth unit almost overnight.

Why? First, Nick Gates made a miraculous transformation from an undrafted tackle to a big, feisty, physical presence at center. In just a few games, he clearly became the team’s best offensive lineman. Second, Andrew Thomas settled down and started playing much, much better. Third, the Giants replaced Will Hernandez with Shane Lemieux at left guard, and while that created some pass protection issues, Lemieux’s presence seemed to be an upgrade in the run-blocking department. Finally, Kevin Zeitler started to play better. Matt Peart did receive increased playing time, receiving significant snaps in half of the games, but right tackle remained a bit of a sore spot with Cam Fleming.

In mid-November, Joe Judge surprisingly fired Offensive Line Coach Marc Colombo, bringing onboard outsider Dave DeGuglielmo, who ironically had served under Tom Coughlin from 2004 to 2008. DeGuglielmo would later miss the last week of the season due to COVID-19.

The line struggled in three-game stretch in December before finishing strong in the season finale against Dallas. In those three games, New York never rushed for more than 80 yards and Giants’ quarterbacks were sacked 13 times. Nevertheless, the overall impression was despite all of COVID-19-related handicaps, the Giants actually finally made progress in rebuilding the offensive line in 2020. There appears to be a young, talented foundation to work with.

THE STARTERS

Despite having no prior experience at playing the position, and after a rough start, Nick Gates not only solidified the center position for the Giants but rapidly became the team’s best lineman. Gates started all 16 games at center. He was flagged with five penalties (two holding, one false start, one unnecessary roughness, and one illegal block). The Giants signed Gates as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He missed all of 2018 with a foot injury that caused him to be placed on Injured Reserve before the season started. In 2019, Gates was active for all 16 games with three starts (two starts at right tackle and one start at right guard). Gates is a versatile player, able to play tackle, guard, and center. He has good size and brings toughness and attitude to the offensive line. Gates is a solid pass and run blocker.

The Giants drafted Andrew Thomas in the 1st round of the 2020 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Thomas started 15 games at left tackle despite playing on a left ankle injury that required offseason surgery in January 2021. Thomas was benched for the start of one game for being late to a team meeting. In terms of his overall play, Thomas struggled early, but markedly improved as both a pass and run blocker as the year progressed. He was flagged with five penalties (three false start and two holding penalties) on the season. Thomas has a big frame (6’5”, 315lbs) and long arms. He is a strong, physical run blocker who can get movement at the point-of-attack. He is athletic enough to get to the second level and works to finish his blocks. Thomas is a good athlete and he flashes excellent pass protection skills, but he needs to improve his overall technique and consistency in that department.

The Giants signed Cam Fleming as an unrestricted free agent from the Dallas Cowboys in March 2020. He ended up starting all 16 games at right tackle, by far the most in his career in a single season. But Fleming was arguably the weak link up front, regularly missing blocks. Fleming was also credited with four false starts and two holding penalties. The 6’5”, 320-pound Fleming was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. After four years in New England, he played two seasons with the Cowboys. In seven NFL seasons, Fleming has played in 91 regular-season games with 42 starts. Fleming is versatile lineman who can play both tackle spots. He has good size. However, Fleming seems better suited to a reserve, swing-tackle type role than starter.

While the overall play of Kevin Zeitler improved in his second season with the Giants, he still did not meet expectations in 2020. Zeitler started all 16 games at right guard. He was flagged four times on the year (one holding, three false starts). Zeitler was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He signed a 5-year, $60 million contract with the Browns in March 2017, which at the time made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL. The Giants acquired Zeitler by trade from the Cleveland Browns in March 2019 in exchange for linebacker Olivier Vernon. In eight seasons, Zeitler has started 134 of the 135 regular-season games he has played in. Zeitler has good size (6’4”, 315lbs). Once regarded as one of the best guards in the game as both a run and pass blocker, Zeitler’s play in recent years has been more inconsistent. Nevertheless, he is still a solid, steady, veteran presence up front.

The Giants drafted Shane Lemieux in the 5th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He surprisingly ended up playing in 12 games with nine starts starts at left guard, stealing Will Hernandez’s position. He was only flagged once (false start) all year. The 6’4”, 310-pound Lemieux started an incredible 52 games in college, never missing a game. He is a tough, feisty, blue-collar lineman with some athletic limitations. Lemieux needs to get stronger, but he is a physical presence in the ground game with a feel for blocking angles. He struggled at times as a pass protector.

After starting every game in his first two years in the league in 2018 and 2019, Will Hernandez lost his starting left guard job to Shane Lemieux after the seventh game of the season. Hernandez missed two games in early November due to COVID-19. He was flagged only once (one holding penalty) all year. The Giants selected Hernandez in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He was named named to Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team. Hernandez has good size, strength, and toughness for the guard position, but he appears to lack ideal lateral agility. This hampers his play as a run blocker on the move and as a pass blocker when isolated against quick defenders. He can move defenders with his strength and power.

THE RESERVES

The Giants selected Matt Peart in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Peart played in 11 games with one start at left tackle. He did play in 15 percent of all offensive snaps, receiving some quality playing time. He missed one game in late November due to COVID-19. The 6’7”, 318-pound Peart was a 4-year starter in college with experience at both tackle spots. Peart combines excellent size, long arms, and good overall athletic ability. He has the frame to get bigger and stronger. As expected, Peart was inconsistent as a rookie and needs more technique refinement.

Spencer Pulley spent all of 2020 as the team’s primary reserve center, but he did not play. Pulley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers after the 2016 NFL Draft. Spencer started all 16 regular-season games for the Chargers in 2017 at center. The Giants claimed Pulley off of waivers from the Chargers in September 2018. That season, Pulley was inserted into the starting line-up in late October. He struggled in his nine starts at center and missed one game due to an injury. In 2019, Pulley played in four games with one start in which he again struggled. He also is able to play guard.

The Giants claimed Jackson Barton off of waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs in early September 2020. Despite remaining on the 53-man roster all season, Barton never played in 2020. The 6’7”, 302-pound Barton was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. The Chiefs signed him off of the Colts’ Practice Squad in 2019. He has yet to play in a regular-season NFL game.

The Giants signed Kyle Murphy as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. He was signed to the Practice Squad in early September and then signed to the 53-man roster in mid November. Murphy did not play in a regular-season game in 2020. Murphy was a 3-year starter in college with experience all along the offensive line.

The 6’5”, 315-pound Chad Slade was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Houston Texans after the 2015 NFL Draft. Slade spent his rookie season on Injured Reserve, and the 2016 and 2018 seasons on the Practice Squad of the Texans. In 2017, Slade played in five games with three starts (two at right guard and one at tight end) for the Texans. The Giants signed Slade to a reserve/futures contract in January 2019. While he surprisingly made the team, he wasn’t active for any game. Slade spent all of 2020 on New York’s Practice Squad.

The 6’6”, 315-pound Kenny Wiggins was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Baltimore Ravens after the 2011 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Ravens (2011), San Francisco 49ers (2012-2013), San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (2013-2017), and Lions (2018-2020). The Lions cut Wiggins in late October 2020. The Giants signed Wiggins to the 53-man roster in November, cut him 10 days later, and then signed him to the Practice Squad for the remainder of the season. Overall, Wiggins has played in 79 regular-season games with 38 starts.

COVID-19 OPT-OUT

Nate Solder opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the COVID-19 issue. In March 2018, the Giants made Solder the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL when they signed him away from the New England Patriots as unrestricted free agent. However, despite 32 straight starts at left tackle for New York, Solder has not played well at all with the Giants. He really struggled during the first half of 2018 before settling down a bit during the second half of the season. In 2019, his inconsistent play throughout the year both as a pass protector and run blocker was a significant factor in the team’s struggles. The 6’8”, 325-pound Solder was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Patriots. In nine seasons, Solder has started 127 of the 130 regular-season games he has played in. He is a long, lean tackle with good overall athleticism. However, off-the-field issues with a sick child could understandably be affecting his focus and play.