Sep 282020
 
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Wayne Gallman and Daniel Jones, New York Giants (September 27, 2020)

Wayne Gallman and Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

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SEPTEMBER 28, 2020 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 36-9 loss to the San Francisco (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Q: The offensive line struggled a bit again in run blocking. Are you contemplating any changes going forward?

A: Well look, every week based on a player’s practice and performance, we’re looking to put the best players on the field. We spent the day reviewing the tape as a staff. We’ll go through the rest of this week in terms of how guys are implementing the plan we put ahead for the Rams, and we’ll see who the best guys to put on the field are.

Q: If I may follow up, are you happy with this unit right now the way they’re run blocking?

A: There is work we have to do and we have to improve as a team. Everyone has to play better, everyone has to coach better. I like the urgency they come to work with every day. There are things we have to improve on, and we have to get moving fast on that.

Q: If you guys are going to struggle to run the ball without Saquon (Barkley), are you worried, concerned here that teams are going to kind of tee off on Daniel (Jones) until you guys can prove that you can run the ball better, whether that’s the offensive line or the running backs or both?

A: We have to work to be a balanced team. That’s balanced whether it’s running and passing, balanced offense and defense, balanced with the kicking game, playing complementary football. There are a lot of things right now that we have to make sure the Ying and the Yang factor out for each other. But we have to do a better job overall as a team, and we have to do a good job complementing each other on offense to help out the passing game and the running game.

Q: Any injury update? Anything from Jabrill (Peppers) or Andrew Thomas or anything maybe we didn’t see coming out of the game?

A: Nothing significant. I’d say with Andrew, you guys asked about him yesterday, he did finish the game. There was nothing significant to really go over today with the trainers. Jabrill, I don’t have a timetable on him for anything. We’re going to evaluate him day to day. We’ll see where he is. He had that lower leg. They’re going through a couple more things with the doctor this afternoon, but it looks like it could go either way at this point right here.

Q: I just want to know how you think Daniel Jones played and what you made of his turnovers? Obviously, two turnovers in each of the first three games. Separately, curious about your feelings on the penalties? (Darnay) Holmes, (Darius) Slayton, (Lorenzo) Carter. I know you guys are coaching these things, but how can you ensure that those are eliminated and they don’t happen?

A: Yeah, that starts with fundamentals and technique and making sure we execute at the right time. I think they were good calls. Look, you turn the tape on, it was a hold. Call it what it is. It was a hold. We need to make sure we don’t do that. The illegal contact part, that’s something we stress all the time. Darnay is a player we have a lot of confidence in. He’s a talented guy, he’s a young guy, he competes at a high level. One thing he really does, he learns from his mistakes. Obviously, he’s a guy that I don’t expect to see much of that from him going forward. But look, they made the calls. It’s what the rules are. We have to play within the rules.

Q: I’m kind of a big picture guy. A lot of people would look at 0-3 and be discouraged. I kind of look at the NFC East and say you’re a game out of first place. How do you approach it?

A: For us, it’s game by game. Right now, I’m really just emphasizing to our team just weekly improvement, starting with fundamentals and execution. That’s really it. We need to focus on what we’re doing day by day to really take care of our own jobs and make sure that we’re improving as a unit and as a team, and then all of the other things will start taking care of themselves.

Q: But doesn’t it make it easier if the guys see that there’s something reachable in front of them?

A: There are 13 games left. It’s the NFL. There’s a lot of ball left to be played. I’ll tell you right now, I’ve been on a lot of teams that have started off 5-0, 6-0, 7-0, 10-0 and I’m telling you right now, it’s the same feeling in every building across the league right now. All they’re thinking about is things you have to improve on, things you have to work on. It’s not sunshine and rainbows. To me, Mondays are always a day where it’s a tough day on everybody because all you can think of as a coach is what you have to get better at. It doesn’t matter what the result of the game is and how well or disappointing something may have been. You’re just focused on what you have to correct and fix and get it going fast. To be honest with you in terms of how all that goes, does anything make it easier? In the NFL, not a lot of things get easier as the year goes. We have to improve to make sure that as the year goes, we can be competitive and put our team on the field with a chance to be successful.

Q: How do you view the mental state of your team right now?

A: I think we’re fine. I think the emphasis has to be for our guys on moving forward and executing, and that’s the biggest thing. We have to be better teachers and coaches, and we have to execute better on the field for 60 minutes. That’s really it.

Q: I know you said you’ve been on teams that were 5-0, 6-0, 10-0. These guys, a lot of them have been on teams that were 0-2, 1-6, the other end of that. How much does that concern you that you don’t go down that rabbit hole with these guys?

A: Look, I’ll tell you right now, those years we started off with a lot of wins, we didn’t always finish those years as successful as the years we started off pretty rough. Sometimes early on, you really get a vision of what you are and your identity by how you have to correct your mistakes and what you have to learn from. We had a lot of years we were the most successful team in the world where it started off really, really rough. There are a lot of times you look around the meeting rooms and the locker room halfway through the year, regardless of your record, and it’s just doom and gloom. You have to make sure you kind of bring it back into perspective and understand it’s a day by day process as a team, and you’re all you got. You need to stand together as a team and you have to go ahead and make sure your guys move forward on a weekly basis to make improvements. It’s the NFL. It’s the most competitive league in all of sports in the world. It’s at the highest absolute level. It’s not supposed to be easy. What we’re trying to do here isn’t easy either. But we’re going to try to keep it simple for our players that we can improve on a weekly basis and keep moving forward.

Q: How does that work for you? It’s been a long time since you lost three in a row. How are you handling this?

A: I look at the film the same way every week regardless. Win, lose, whatever in between, I turn the tape on and I’m focused on what we have to correct going forward. Yesterday is gone. It’s done. There’s nothing we can do to bring back yesterday. There’s nothing we want to do to bring back yesterday. Our only focus right now is on the Rams. We’re moving forward with that. We have a lot of things that we know (Sean) McVay is on the other side and he’s watching. We have to make sure that we correct what’s on the tape because they’re watching the same tape right now.

Q: When you have a game-wrecker on the outside, there are things you can do with chipping and double teams and things like that. With the Rams, their game-wrecker is right in the middle. How do you kind of scheme to give Nick (Gates) as much help as you can give him against Aaron Donald?

A: I’ll tell you what, Aaron Donald is one of the best players in the NFL, and he’s definitely a force. You’re right. A lot of times, you see those guys that are game-wreckers on the edge, and they have their share of them out there as well. But with Aaron in the middle, it makes you be a little more creative in terms of how you protect and how you use some different tools in your toolbox to make sure your guys don’t always get isolated up on him. He’s definitely a guy that lives for that one on one matchup. He’s very competitive. He’s a high motor guy, he’s as explosive as can be, and he can really ruin the game inside out if you don’t give some help to whoever’s on him.

Q: I don’t think we’ve asked you about David Mayo since he went on IR, but obviously now with three games down, there’s an opportunity to possibly bring him back. I’m just curious if you could provide an update as to where he is. Do you expect to bring him to practice this week with a chance to be activated?

A: Actually, we’re going to make that decision probably sometime tomorrow. We’ll kind of look and see where that goes. He’s with the trainers. I know he’s been working hard. I see him around the building. I don’t get a lot of time with him on the grass, but they say he’s working his butt off every day and improving on a daily basis. We have to look and see where he’s at. For us, it’s in his best interest to make sure that when we start that 21-day clock, that he’s in a position that he’s not going to have any setbacks that would take him past that 21-day clock. I want to make sure we do the right thing by him by not rushing him back before he’s fully ready, and that would keep him possibly off the field for the entire year. I want to make sure we go ahead and do right by him.

Q: Has he been able to be in meetings, position meetings, team meetings, or is he just strictly with the trainers?

A: No, he’s with us in all the meetings. That’s been great. In terms of him staying up to date on the game plans, the terminology, getting mentally into the scouting reports, that’s all been really good. But David, him (Xavier McKinney), a bunch of other guys, they’ve all been very present in the meetings and involved with the team. Just once we hit the grass, they’re on their own separate program.

Q: You keep talking about areas you need to improve in. One of the areas you guys have really struggled in defensively is getting off the field on third down. What are you seeing on third down? You seem to be doing okay on first and second down, but you’re just not making those plays on third down.

A: It’s never one thing. We’re going through that right now as a staff, making sure we find the common thread and identify that. There has been a lot of times we’ve been a step away here, a step away there, but that to me is really a symptom of what are we doing on the front end of the play, and make sure we start in the right position and we can finish in the right position. But we definitely have to make more plays on third down to get off the field to shorten the drives for the opponents right there and give our offense the chance to get on the field and get some points.

Q: Just a general question here. You mention that the team has to play better, you have to coach better. I’m just wondering, though, at what point do you say to yourself ‘this just isn’t happening. We have to consider a change’? Is there a cutoff point for you? What tells you that you have to go to plan B, so to speak?

A: I’m not exactly sure what you’re clarifying as plan B. I would say this, I’d say we consider change on a daily basis. But that’s change within what we’re doing schematically, change in what we’re doing conceptually within the game plan, change in how we’re approaching something as a coaching staff, or changing how we’re using somebody on our roster personnel wise. We’re always looking for change and to evolve. We’re not looking to go ahead and be hardheaded and keep forcing the same thing in the same position. We’re looking on a daily basis at what we can do different to always improve.

Q: I’m really curious, when you look at the amount of turnovers that Daniel Jones has had, when does this become kind of a five-alarm fire for you guys? What went wrong on that pitch play there with him?

A: We just have to have better execution on that play. We thought it was a good thing to have in the game plan. Obviously, we didn’t carry through the way we needed to. These aren’t things we’re going to go ahead and completely abort going forward. We’ll look and see and make sure we execute it going better. But it’s never one person. It’s multiple guys that have to execute better, so we have to get that corrected.

Q: Do you have to talk to him? With the interception, it seemed like he was kind of locked in on Evan (Engram) the whole time before he threw it. Is that something you need to go back on the tape and kind of drill into him that he can’t telegraph throws? It just seems like this is an on-going issue with him.

A: Look, we work with him on a daily basis, obviously, every day. We’re not going to leave anything to chance with that position especially. But look, he’s a guy that works extremely hard. It’s very important to him. Everyone here has to coach better, everyone has to play better. We need to raise our level of execution, and we’re committed to doing that as a team.

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 players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday. The assistant coaches will be available to the media on Tuesday.

Sep 092020
 
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Joe Judge, New York Giants (August 28, 2020)

Joe Judge – © USA TODAY Sports

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 on YouTube.

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:

NOTES…
Under special 2020 Practice Squad rules, teams are allowed to protect four Practice Squad players from being signed by other teams on a week-to-week basis. This week, the Giants have protected QB Cooper Rush, WR Johnny Holton, OL Chad Slade, and CB Ryan Lewis.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Thursday afternoon (12:30-2:30PM). Head Coach Joe Judge, the team’s coordinators, and select players will also address the media.

Aug 312020
 
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Logan Ryan, Tennessee Titans (January 19, 2020)

Logan Ryan – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN LOGAN RYAN…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent cornerback/safety Logan Ryan (Tennessee Titans). The deal is supposedly a 1-year, $7.5 million contract.

The 29-year old, 5’11”, 195-pound Ryan was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He has spent time with the Patriots (2013-2016) and Titans (2017-2019), playing 109 regular-season games with 85 starts. In 2019 with the Titans, Ryan started all 16 regular-season games and accrued 105 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 18 pass defenses, and four interceptions. A career cornerback, Ryan has indicated he would like to be moved to safety.

AUGUST 31, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media and team sources:

  • Early part of the practice emphasized the running game.
  • QB Daniel Jones was sharp throughout practice. In 11-on-11 drills, Jones threw a long pass to WR Darius Slayton. Jones later connected with RB Saquon Barkley on a deep pass for a touchdown.
  • WR Corey Coleman has been difficult to cover for all of the defensive backs.
  • WR Alex Bachman caught a diving touchdown in 11-on-11 drills.
  • RB Dion Lewis continues to show good quickness as a runner and receiver.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, WR Derrick Dillon made a twisting, finger-tip reception on a pass from QB Colt McCoy.
  • CB Dravon Askew-Henry knocked away a short QB Colt McCoy pass intended for WR David Sills.
  • CB Corey Ballentine defended a QB Daniel Jones pass intended for WR Alex Bachman.
  • CB James Bradberry showed great timing in breaking up a QB Daniel Jones pass intended for WR Sterling Shepard.
  • Defensive linemen Dalvin Tomlinson and Dexter Lawrence batted down passes at the line of scrimmage.
  • LB Kyler Fackrell “sacked” the quarterback a couple of times during team drills.
  • TE Eric Tomlinson made a twisting touchdown reception on a pass from QB Colt McCoy against linebacker. T.J. Brunson.
  • LB Devante Downs leveled RB Sandro Platzgummer.
  • LT Andrew Thomas clobbered LB Devante Downs on a run block for RB Saquon Barkley.
  • PK Graham Gano made 5-of-6 field goals, missing a 50+ yard effort.
  • The Giants provided a video overview of today’s practice on YouTube.

INJURY REPORT…
Safety Xavier McKinney (left foot fracture), linebacker David Mayo (torn meniscus in left knee), safety Jaquarius Landrews (unknown), and tight end Rysen John (unknown) did not practice.

Wide receiver Golden Tate (hamstring?), defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (ankle?), and safety Montre Hartage (hamstring?) all left practice early.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Monday 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 Tuesday afternoon (12:30-2:30PM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media after practice.

Aug 012020
 
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Markus Golden, New York Giants (September 8, 2019)

Markus Golden – © USA TODAY Sports

MARKUS GOLDEN REPORTS TO NEW YORK GIANTS CAMP…
Although he has not yet been officially signed, free agent linebacker Markus Golden has reported to New York Giants training camp in East Rutherford, New Jersey. According to media reports, Golden is currently being tested for COVID-19 by the team. (He has to pass three tests over a 4-day period).

Back in late April, the New York Giants placed a seldom-used “May 5” tender on Golden, who had been an unrestricted free agent. Unless Golden signed with another team by July 22, the tender would enable the Giants to maintain exclusive signing rights until the 10th week of the 2020 NFL season. That deadline passed without Golden signing. Golden is expected to sign his 1-year, $4.125 million tender (which is 100 percent of his 2019 salary).

The Giants signed Golden as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2019. Golden had a strong debut season with the Giants in 2019, starting all 16 games, playing 83 percent of all defensive snaps, accruing a career-high 72 tackles, and team-high 10 sacks.

The 6’3”, 260-pound Golden was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. Golden’s break-out season was in 2016 at linebacker when he accrued 51 tackles and 12.5 sacks. He missed 12 games in 2017 with an ACL injury. While he returned in 2018, he missed five games and saw his production slip to 30 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN NICK GATES TO CONTRACT EXTENSION…
The New York Giants have signed offensive lineman Nick Gates to a contract extension. The deal is reportedly 2-contract, $6.825 million contract that could increase to $10.325 million and includes a $1.5 million signing bonus. The Giants originally 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). Despite his inexperience, Gates played decently in those three games. He’s a versatile player with good size (6’6”, 318 pounds) and some athleticism. Gates may also be in the mix at center.

GIANTS CLAIM TONY BROWN OFF OF WAIVERS FROM CLEVELAND…
The New York Giants have claimed wide receiver Tony Brown off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns. The 22-year old, 6’1”, 192-pound Brown was signed as an unrestricted rookie free agent by the Browns after the 2020 NFL Draft.

CHANDLER CATANZARO OFFICIALLY SIGNED…
The Giants officially announced the previously-reported signing of place kicker Chandler Catanzaro on Saturday. Catanzaro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2014-2016), New York Jets (2017, 2019), and Carolina Panthers (2018). Catanzaro retired from football in August 2019 after struggling in the preseason against the Giants. In five NFL seasons (2014-2018), Catanzaro was 119-of-142 (83.8 percent) on field goal attempts and 182-of-196 (92.9 percent) extra point attempts. Sixty percent of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

Jun 162020
 
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Aldrick Rosas, New York Giants (December 2, 2018)

Aldrick Rosas – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants place kicker Aldrick Rosas was arrested on Monday in California for allegedly being involved in a hit-and-run accident and driving with a suspended license. Police also report Rosas was allegedly under the influence of alcohol at the time.

TMZ is reporting that witnesses saw Rosas allegedly driving erratically around 100 miles per hour and failing to stop at a red light at approximately 8:30AM. He then allegedly crashed into the side of a truck at the intersection, but kept driving. Police report that Rosas later fled his disabled vehicle on foot. They found him near the crash site with his hands, legs, and bare feet covered in blood.

Rosas was treated at a nearby medical facility before being booked by police.

The Giants released the following statement today: “We are aware of the situation and have been in contact with Aldrick. We have no further comment at this time.”

The Giants re-signed Rosas as a restricted free agent to a 1-year, $3.259 million contract in April.

After a stellar sophomore pro season in 2018, Rosas regressed in 2019. Rosas was 12-of-17 (70.6 percent) on field goal attempts and missed four of his 39 extra point attempts (89.7 percent). Seventy percent of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

Rosas was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tennessee Titans after the 2016 NFL Draft. He did not make the team. The Giants signed him to a reserve/futures contract in January 2017. He had a poor first season with the Giants, converting on just 72 percent of his field goals and 87 percent of his extra points. However, in 2018, Rosas made the Pro Bowl after making 32-of-33 field goal attempts, including a team-record 57 yarder.

ARTICLES…

 
May 262020
 
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Andrew Thomas, Georgia Bulldogs (November 2, 2019)

Andrew Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp hopefully 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. Keep in mind that some of the players discussed may be cut as the 2020 NFL draft class signs their rookie contracts.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW: The more things change, the more things stay the same. That could be the mantra for the New York Giants franchise and their almost decade-long effort to rebuild the offensive line. 2019 was no exception. Expectations were at least slightly raised by the offseason additions of seasoned veterans Kevin Zeitler at right guard and Mike Remmers at right tackle. It was expected that left tackle Nate Solder would rebound from a disappointing debut season with the team in 2018. Center Jon Halapio returned after missing 14 games with a broken ankle and we were told by management and coaches what an underrated player he was. Left guard Will Hernandez was coming off a decent rookie season and was expected to develop into a more consistent player.

Long story short is that the offensive line not only did not improve, at times it looked worse than the ad hoc group that finished the 2018 season. Nate Solder regressed even further. Hernandez stagnated. Halapio sucked and tore his Achilles’ tendon with only minutes left in the season. Zeitler dealt with a number of injuries that most likely affected his overall play. Mike Remmers played as expected as an only adequate, temporary placeholder. As a unit, their play did not exceed or equal the sum of its parts. It played at a lesser and very much disappointing level that did not meet expectations. To be blunt, it wasn’t pretty. Saquon Barkley and his fellow running backs were often facing penetration in the backfield and quarterbacks Eli Manning and Daniel Jones were regularly under siege.

The depth situation was also not good. Seventh-rounder offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei suffered a serious concussion early in camp and was lost for the season. For the second year in a row, back-up center Spencer Pulley did not look good when he played. Reserves Eric Smith and Chad Slade were non-factors. Only 2018 undrafted rookie free agent Nick Gates showed some promise in three starts, one at right guard and two at right tackle.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Dave Gettleman re-signed exclusive rights free agents Eric Smith and Chad Slade in late December before Joe Judge was hired. The team did not tender restricted free agent Jon Halapio and he remains unsigned. Team officials contend they could still re-sign Halapio, but it is somewhat telling that they already gave his jersey number away to another offensive lineman.

Mike Remmers signed with the Chiefs. George Asafo-Adjei was waived/failed physical in March.

Journeyman offensive tackle/tight end Nate Wozniak was signed to a reserve/futures contract in late December. Unrestricted free agent offensive tackle Cam Fleming (Dallas Cowboys) was signed in March. The Giants drafted three offensive linemen in the 2020 NFL Draft, including tackle Andrew Thomas (1st round), tackle Matt Peart (3rd round), and guard Shane Lemieux (5th round). The team also signed rookie free agent guards Kyle Murphy and Tyler Haycraft after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: It’s the same as it has been for almost 10 years. Can the Giants field a respectable offensive line? The Achilles’ heel of the offensive team for the last decade has been the play of the offensive line. Every Giants fan knows that. Under two general managers and three head coaches, the team has spent high draft picks and spent a ton of free agent money to fix the problem with no improvement. The old maxim still holds true, football is indeed won and lost in the trenches. And the NFC East is filled with good front sevens. It’s no wonder why the Giants have become the punching bag for the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

While the Giants did not make a big splash this year in free agency (Cam Fleming), it certainly did in the draft by taking three offensive linemen in their first five selections, including the 4th player overall. On paper, things look much improved. The Giants appear to have four potentially adequate or more starters at tackle (Solder, Thomas, Fleming, Peart) and guard (Hernandez, Zeitler, Gates, Lemieux). The obvious sore spot is center. There is no reason to believe Spencer Pulley will develop into an adequate starter. Team officials have already publicly admitted that players such as Gates, Lemieux, and Kyle Murphy will cross-train at at both guard and center.

The hope here is twofold. First, the belief that Head Coach Joe Judge, Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett, and Offensive Line Coach Marc Colombo are superior coaches to their predecessors. And not only will they implement more coherent and viable blocking schemes that fit the existing personnel, but they will develop each individual player better. Second, that the Giants have not only improved the level of talent, but also the level of depth.

In the short term, media and fan focus will be on the center position and the development of the rookie tackles. It doesn’t help that the COVID situation has prevented the team from holding on-field spring practices.

ON THE BUBBLE: A lot of fans want to cut Nate Solder now. While an argument can be made to do so, the COVID situation makes it more unlikely that a team would want to rely on untested rookies who missed spring practices. Just as importantly, the team already paid his $3 million roster bonus in March and would be penalized with a sizable cap hit in dead money (almost $10 million if cut after June 1st).

Barring a complete collapse by Solder and/or rapid development of Thomas and Peart, the Giants are likely to keep four tackles: Solder, Thomas, Peart, and Fleming. It would also seem like the Giants will keep at least five interior linemen with Hernandez, Zeitler, Lemieux, and Gates having the inside track. Pulley’s fate may depend on who is on the waiver wire and the cross-training status of Lemieux, Gates, and Murphy.

PREDICTIONS: Things may not be pretty in the short term (this season), but I think FINALLY the Giants made some moves that will settle this position down for the long term (beyond 2020). I’m thrilled with what the Giants did in the draft at this position. With all due respect to Brad Benson, Jumbo Elliott, and David Diehl, the Giants have have not had a left tackle with the skill-set of Andrew Thomas in my lifetime. Thomas has an ideal combination of size/length, athleticism, temperament, and work ethic for the position (Ereck Flowers lacked the latter two qualities). Matt Peart has many of the same characteristics but it is assumed he will take a little longer to refine because he played at UConn. Both started as freshmen. Both have have started at right and left tackle. It is not far-fetched to dream that the Giants may have selected two 10-year starters at tackle in one draft.

Furthermore, Shane Lemieux was one of the best guards in the draft. Like Thomas, he started as a freshman in a major program. Lemieux has the size, temperament, and work ethic you want at the position. I honestly think all three will eventually start for the Giants. I also would not sleep on rookie free agent Kyle Murphy, who has played at both tackle spots, guard, and center. Based on the limited tape I’ve seen of him, this former team captain plays the game you want your offensive linemen to play (VIDEO).

What’s hard to predict is what the starting line will look like in 2020. Nate Solder and Andrew Thomas are going to start at tackle, but we don’t know who will start on each side. If Solder continues to struggle, I would not completely discount seeing Peart or Fleming in there sooner than expected. Hernandez and Zeitler should start at guard, but neither should get too comfortable with Lemieux and Nick Gates looming in the wings. Joe Judge has repeatedly said the best guys will play, regardless of their draft position or paycheck size. Zeitler is one of the better guards in the NFL and should rebound. It will be interesting to see how Hernandez responds to the new coaching staff.

The huge question mark of course is center. Nobody really wants Pulley starting. The hope is that Gates, Lemieux, or Murphy impress enough in camp to quickly take the starting job. But there is not much time.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Nate Solder, Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, Cam Fleming, Will Hernandez, Kevin Zeitler, Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, Kyle Murphy

What? No center? No way! You’re right… I’m going way out on a limb here and predicting that Lemieux, Gates, and/or Murphy show enough potential at center for not only to have one, but BOTH centers on the team to be converted guards. Teams can also carry 10 offensive linemen and I wouldn’t discount that as a real possibility with Pulley (or a waiver wire pick-up) serving as insurance. Again, I don’t think things will be pretty in the short term. But sometimes you have to take your lumps early for it to pay dividends down the road.

The Giants rolled the dice in 1984 with a converted guard starting at center, Kevin Belcher. It worked out wonderfully for the team in the short-term. (Kevin’s career ended the following offseason with a car crash).

At the very least, the depth situation looks very much improved. There will be guys who can come off of the bench and play in this league.

Nov 082019
 
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Jon Halapio, New York Giants (September 22, 2019)

Jon Halapio – © USA TODAY Sports

NOVEMBER 8, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion protocol), tight end Evan Engram (foot), center Jon Halapio (hamstring), and right tackle Mike Remmers (back) did not practice on Friday.

Shepard, Engram, and Halapio have officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. Remmers is “doubtful” for the game.

THE COACHES 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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The Giants play the New York Jets on Sunday.

Jun 262019
 
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Spencer Pulley and Will Hernandez, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

Spencer Pulley and Will Hernandez – © USA TODAY Sports

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: It’s clear that General Manager Dave Gettleman took one look at the team’s offensive line and had the same reaction as fans. Justin Pugh (2013 1st rounder), Weston Richburg (2014 2nd rounder), and D.J. Fluker were allowed to walk in free agency during the 2018 offseason. John Jerry was cut before the season started. The Giants started the 2018 season with newly-signed free agent Nate Solder at left tackle, 2nd-rounder Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio at center, newly-signed free agent Patrick Omameh at right guard, and Ereck Flowers at right tackle.

This group did not play well and the offense struggled to score points before the bye week. In addition, Halapio broke his ankle in Week 2 and was replaced by John Greco and then waiver-wire pick-up Spencer Pulley. Flowers was benched after the second game and replaced by second-year undrafted free agent Chad Wheeler. Omameh lasted a bit longer, starting the first six games before being cut in November. Greco first took his spot, then newcomer Jamon Brown, who was claimed off of waivers from the Los Angeles Rams.

The 2.0 version of the 2018 offensive line thus included Solder-Hernandez-Pulley-Brown-Wheeler. The best thing that could be said of this group was that it wasn’t as crappy as the previous group. Team scoring improved, but Pulley and Wheeler were clearly weak links. Brown looked the part, but demonstrated the same inconsistency that led to him being cut by the Rams. And it rapidly became apparent that the desperate Giants dramatically overpaid Solder, who did play better as the season progressed. While Hernandez experienced the expected rookie growing pains, he improved and was named to the All-Rookie team.

Overall, for yet another season, the line remained the offense’s Achilles’ heel, with the free agent newcomers not playing as well as expected, and the team being forced to start two mid-season waiver-wire pickups.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Somewhat surprisingly, the Giants re-signed both Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley. The team did not bring back John Greco, and Jamon Brown signed with the Falcons. The Giants acquired guard Kevin Zeitler via a trade from the Browns and signed tackle Mike Remmers in free agency. Street free agents Chad Slade and Austin Droogsma were signed. Surprisingly, the Giants only drafted one lineman: George Asafo-Adjei in the 7th round. Rookie free agents Paul Adams and James O’Hagan were signed after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Heading into training camp, the expected starting offensive line is Nate Solder at left tackle, Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio or Spencer Pulley at center, Kevin Zeitler at right guard, and Mike Remmers at right tackle. On paper, this appears to be the team’s best offensive line in almost a decade. Hernandez and Zeitler are arguably one of the best set of starting guards in the NFL. They are not just big, physical football players, but they play with professionalism and attitude. The Giants haven’t been in such good shape here since the days of Rich Seubert and Chris Snee.

The three other spots are a bit more unsettled. Nate Solder clearly did not live up to his contract. He’s also missed the Spring workouts due to ankle surgery. However, he is another veteran presence who gives the Giants more stability and reliability at the crucial left tackle position than Ereck Flowers and Will Beatty ever did. Moreover, the Solder-Hernandez tandem on the left side should play better in their second year together. Mike Remmers has bounced around the League, now playing with his seventh team. But the self-made journeyman parlayed his improving play into a 5-year, $30 million contract with the Vikings in 2017. He played well at right tackle for that team in 2017 but was more inconsistent at right guard in 2018. A recurring back issue that required offseason surgery was a factor in the Vikings cutting him in March. If Remmers is over his back issues (which caused him to miss Spring workouts), and if he can regain his 2017 form, the Giants will have massively upgraded themselves at right tackle with another professional, veteran presence. But those are two big “ifs”. Like the left tackle position, right tackle has been a disaster for the Giants for years.

Based on offseason comments by team officials, it was assumed that Jon Halapio would be penciled in as the starting center again. However, Spencer Pulley has been pushing him and splitting snaps with the first unit during Spring workouts. The starting center position appears to be very much up for grabs. The good news is that whomever starts, they will be tremendously aided by Hernandez and Zeitler on their flanks.

Overall, the main story line is this group needs to develop cohesion and chemistry quickly. Both starting tackles missed the mini-camp and OTAs this Spring due to injuries. With so few training camp practices, there is not much time for everyone to come together.

ON THE BUBBLE: There are currently 16 offensive linemen on the roster. The Giants will probably keep nine. Barring injury, Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Kevin Zeitler, and Mike Remmers will start. Both Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley should make it unless one of the younger centers push one off the roster. That leaves three spots for ten players. Chad Wheeler probably has a leg up on being the reserve swing tackle. But it will be a dogfight for those last few spots.

FROM THE COACHES: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Mike Remmers: “I worked with Mike for two years. He is a pro, a real pro, and he played winning football for us in Minnesota. I knew a lot about Mike and then he started last year every game and played well. We were in talks with him, took a couple of physicals, just went through the process and signed him.”

Shurmur on Jon Halapio: “He was really playing well for us before he got hurt a year ago. So we had high hopes for him last season. It appears he has come back 100 percent and is back in there just like he was when he left us.”

Shurmur on George Asafo-Adjei: “We like him for all the reasons we liked him on his college tape. He is a powerful guy that has very good length. You can tell he is a very physical style player. That is important at that position.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula on the offensive line: “I think the guys that we’ve added over the course of last season and this season have brought a lot of character, intelligence, competitiveness, integrity to that room. I think it didn’t show as early as we wanted it to last year. I think it showed pretty well at the end of the year. I think we’ve kind of picked up, in fact improved since then. We are going to be leaning on them, they are going to be the starting point of our offense. Everyone knows we have Saquon, we want to run the football, we are going to be balanced. To do that it’s got to start with the offensive line. We want to run the ball, when we want to run it, we want to throw that ball when we want to throw it. To do that it starts up front. We are going to lean heavy on those guys.”

Shula on Chad Wheeler: “I think Wheels has done a really good job this offseason with our exposure with him. Again, I have only been around him for a year, but I think there is a big difference even with him and his approach. I think he, along with a lot of other guys, got better as the year went on. We all know that we were nowhere near good enough early in the year. We did a lot of good things even though it wasn’t good enough at the end of the year, but we were really, really close and trending in the right direction. He was one of those guys that falls in that category.”

Offensive Line Coach Hal Hunter on Kevin Zeitler: “You have to love Zeitler. He is a tough, hard nose guy. I have seen him play. I watched him play when he was in Cincinnati’s offense. He is a good football player. He brings a real toughness. He is all business… He is very demanding of guys around him in a positive way. You demand in yourself what you demand in others. I love that about him. I love everything about him, his personality and what he brings. He is so fun to coach.”

Hunter on Jon Halapio: “He made good progress during (the 2018 training) camp and great progress during the preseason. The way he was playing in the beginning of the Dallas game, that was shocking. He was playing really well. When you sit out all that time, you get so far behind physically and technically. Now he is back in the swing of things and he looks good. He is only scratching the surface. He is smart, tough and strong. He has athleticism and needs to continue to play at the position.”

Hunter on George Asafo-Adjei: “My son works at Kentucky. He works in the football office down there. We found out from the inside out – he talked about what a quality guy he was. He was probably the most respected guy on the offensive side of the ball. He talked about how he competed with Josh Allen on a day-to-day basis. He talked about his character, work ethic and his toughness. All of those things peaked interest. You watch him on tape and see that he has a lot of athleticism and power. He has a lot of toughness and plays in the best football conference in the country. We have some technical work to do. He is a rookie and you have to tell him to do something once and he goes on and does it right the next time. He picked up the offense much quicker than I thought he was going to. When you compare our offense to their offense, we have a lot more volume to it with a lot of the things that we were doing. We need to continue to work with him technically to get him up to speed but you have to like everything about him. When you read him, that is one of the first things that I found out. He had committed to Kentucky early and is a man of his word. When all those other schools came in like Alabama, that is legit. Those people tried to come in and recruit him. He gave Kentucky his word and didn’t go anywhere. He has some developmental potential.”

PREDICTIONS: Some fans have questioned me about why I am so upbeat about the 2019 offensive line since there remain some serious question marks at center and both tackle spots. I feel good because I see a group of professional, reliable veterans. For the last decade, the Giants haven’t just been bad up front, they’ve been dreadful. They were not only physically overmatched, they did not treat their jobs as professionals. And they certainly could not be relied upon.

I love our two guards. And whomever starts at center will benefit from them. Solder and Remmers aren’t pretty, but they get the job done. This group will show up to work, give you a full 60 minutes, and leave their opponents feeling sore the next day. I’ll take that any day.

My only concern is that with Solder and Remmers missing all of the Spring workouts, early-season cohesion and chemistry will be lacking. But both guys have been around the League for a long time and that will help. The Giants also have to pray Remmers’ back holds up.

There are Giants fans in their teens and 20s who have never seen their team field a decent offensive line. I think that is about to change. Don’t be surprised if both guards receive some Pro Bowl recognition.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Kevin Zeitler, Will Hernandez, Nate Solder, Mike Remmers, Jon Halapio, Spencer Pulley, Chad Wheeler, George Asafo-Adjei, Paul Adams

(I realize this is tackle heavy, but it’s easier for a tackle to play guard in a pinch rather than the other way around. The Giants also need to groom a couple of young tackles).

Sep 012018
 
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Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (November 27, 2016)

Mark Herzlich – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS REDUCE ROSTER TO 53…
On Saturday, in order to meet the NFL’s 53-man roster limit, the New York Giants made 36 roster moves.

Placed on the Reserve/Suspended List:

  • DE Josh Mauro (violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy)

Placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness List:

  • DE R.J. McIntosh (unknown medical issue)

Placed on Injured Reserve:

  • OT Nick Becton (ankle and wrist)
  • OG Nick Gates (foot)

Waived or contracts terminated:

  • RB Jalen Simmons
  • RB Jhurell Pressley
  • WR Kalif Raymond
  • WR Alonzo Russell
  • WR Roger Lewis, Jr.
  • WR Travis Rudolph
  • WR Amba Etta-Tawo
  • WR Jawill Davis
  • WR Marquis Bundy
  • TE Garrett Dickerson
  • TE Ryan O’Malley
  • OG Chris Scott (contract terminated)
  • OG Zac Kerin
  • OT Malcom Bunche
  • OT Victor Salako
  • NT Robert Thomas
  • NT Tyrell Chavis
  • NT Izaah Lunsford
  • DE A.J. Francis
  • LB Mark Herzlich (contract terminated)
  • LB Calvin Munson
  • LB Avery Moss
  • LB Jordan Williams (waived/injured – hip and shoulder)
  • LB Warren Long
  • CB Leonard Johnson (contract terminated)
  • CB Chris Lewis-Harris (contract terminated)
  • CB Grant Haley
  • CB Mike Jones
  • S Darian Thompson (waived/injured – hamstring)
  • S Andrew Adams
  • S Orion Stewart
  • PK Marshall Koehn

“As I’ve said, I feel like we’re on the right track,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We had a competitive training camp that forced us to make some tough decisions. We will continue to look to improve the roster in any way we can. This day is never easy because you are dealing with people who have made a commitment to your program, and while we all understand the reality of the business we’re in, it doesn’t make it any easier.

“When we started camp, I told the players that my hope for all of them is that if they don’t make our roster, I want them to make somebody else’s. So that’s my desire for the men we parted ways with today.”

The Giants can begin signing players to their 10-man practice squad on Sunday.

For an overview of the existing team, see the Depth Chart section of the website.

ARTICLES…

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

Jul 022018
 
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Will Hernandez, New York Giants (May 11, 2018)

Will Hernandez – © USA TODAY Sports

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: No other position epitomizes the futility of the New York Giants since their last Super Bowl appearance than the team’s offensive line. It is a myth to say that Jerry Reese and Marc Ross ignored the position. Instead, one could argue that their demise was largely due to the allocation of significant draft and free agent resources with negative returns.

2017 was supposed to be the year that the three premium draft picks (Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Ereck Flowers), signed and then re-signed John Jerry, and self-proclaimed “best right tackle in football” Bobby Hart turned a team weakness into at the very least a middle-of-the-pack unit. However, once again, the Giants offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL. The line couldn’t protect Eli Manning (31 sacks, the second most in his career despite an offensive system predicated on the short passing game) or open holes for running backs (26th in rushing). Justin Pugh talked a big game (again) and got hurt (again), missing half the season. Weston Richburg only started four games before ending up on IR with a concussion that he insisted wasn’t IR-worthy. Ereck Flowers – punching bag for fans and opposing pass rushers – struggled mightily both at the beginning and end of the season, and was benched. John Jerry played all 16 games (12 at left guard) but remained a soft player. D.J. Fluker started six games at right guard, performing reasonably well as a road grader, but was placed on IR in November with a toe injury. By the end of the year, you had guys like Jon Halapio (six starts at right guard), Brett Jones (12 starts at center), and Chad Wheeler (three starts at right tackle, one at left tackle) manning the front wall.

The Giants have been a soft, finesse offensive football team for years because of their offensive line play.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Bobby Hart was cut before 2017 was over. The Giants made no effort to re-sign Justin Pugh (2013 1st-round pick) and Weston Richburg (2014 2nd-round draft pick). D.J. Fluker signed a 1-year contract with the Seahawks. Adam Bisnowaty (2017 6th-round draft pick) was cut in May. Dave Gettleman re-signed Jon Halapio (exclusive rights), Brett Jones (restricted), John Greco (unrestricted), and Ethan Cooper (practice squad player).

The newcomers are Nate Solder (4 years, $62 million); Patrick Omameh (3 years, $15 million); Will Hernandez (2nd-round draft pick);  lesser-known “street” free agents Chris Scott, Malcolm Bunche, and Jarron Jones; and rookie free agents Nick Gates and Evan Brown.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: So now the never-ending attempt to rebuild the offensive line falls upon new shoulders. Dave Gettleman will try to accomplish what Jerry Reese failed. Enter the third new head coach and third new offensive line coach as well. To the team’s credit (but also embarrassment), they at least had the courage to part ways with most of their previous mistakes. John Jerry remains but he has already fallen out of the starting line-up. Coming out of the spring, the starters entering camp appear to be left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Will Hernandez, center Jon Halapio, right guard Patrick Omameh, and right tackle Ereck Flowers.

Most of the attention will be focused on whipping-boy Ereck Flowers, who started off on the wrong foot by throwing a hissy fit and not showing up to the early “voluntary” workouts due to his ego being bruised by the shift to right tackle. He returned once he hired a professional agent. The good news is that Nate Solder has attempted to take him under his wing. But Flowers – who the team did shop before the draft – still seems to have a learning disability when it comes to grasping three years of pro coaching. My guess is he will be on a short leash. The problem is there is no obvious replacement. Chad Wheeler flashed but was very shaky as a rookie. On paper, the other vulnerable spot is center. Brett Jones may have already fallen behind journeyman Jon Halapio, who has played with such stalwart “pro” franchises as the Boston Brawlers and Brooklyn Bolts. The Giants tried but failed to sign veteran center John Sullivan in free agency. That tells you they are concerned about the position. Don’t be surprised if the team actively scans the waiver wire throughout the year. The hard truth may be the team needs one more offseason to address two potentially glaring holes.

But while we may all be focusing on the individual component parts, the real issue is finding five starters who can form a viable, physical, and cohesive unit. And the priority appears to have changed. The offensive focus may no longer be pass blocking for Eli Manning and his targets but run blocking for Saquon Barkley. In other words, there may be a real emphasis on becoming a physical football team up front again and not just talking about it. If they don’t, then drafting Barkley with the #2 pick made little sense. New offensive line coach Hal Hunter was out of football in 2017. The pressure is on him to fix a unit that Pat Flaherty and Mike Solari couldn’t.

ON THE BUBBLE: Again, the starters coming out of the spring workouts were Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Jon Halapio, Patrick Omameh, and Ereck Flowers. Others who received some 1st-team reps and/or quite a bit of time with the second unit were Nick Becton, John Greco, Brett Jones, John Jerry, and Chad Wheeler. Right now, though things can quickly change, these players appear to be the top candidates to make the roster. That said, except for Solder, Hernandez, and Omameh, I would be renting rather than buying a home in northern New Jersey.

FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Ereck Flowers: “He’s actually done a really good job. He’s an excellent athlete and he’s handling the move pretty seamlessly…I think he’s made improvements…He’s been great. He’s been communicating well, he looks like he’s having fun playing out there, he’s worked in with the offensive line and he’s done everything we’ve asked and I anticipate that will continue.”

Nate Solder on Ereck Flowers: “I have been very impressed with his character and his humility – work ethic, everything…the way he goes about his business, the way that he has put it behind him, he’s just doing his thing and he’s trying hard and he cares and he’s asking questions. He is doing everything that you would want a guy to do.”

Shurmur on Jon Halapio: “Yeah, he has done a very good job. Pio is very smart, he’s got good instincts – he snaps the ball well…He does all of those things well and he’s very competitive and he knows how to play the game. I think (Brett) Jonesey is doing the same thing. They’re just in there competing. I wouldn’t over-evaluate who is getting the first team reps, but I think if you’re talking about Pio specifically, he has really sort of opened his eyes that he has a chance to play.”

PREDICTIONS: The strength of the line should be the left side. Nate Solder should be the team’s best left tackle in years. Even without the pads on, Will Hernandez has flashed a much-needed enforcer mentality. Patrick Omameh should be a more physical presence as a run blocker at right guard than John Jerry. Center and right tackle remain the primary concerns as well as overall depth. We’ve heard all of the pleasantries about Ereck Flowers before. Now he is shifting to a spot he didn’t even play in college. There is no guarantee he will be a better player on the right side. Much rides on play. Perhaps the new chemistry in the locker room will help. It was no secret that Flowers and Bobby Hart didn’t get along with Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg. Regardless, Flowers is out of excuses.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Thank the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), but teams don’t have many practices in training camp to get ready for the season. Thus, despite what the coaches say, it is pretty telling that Hernandez was playing left guard, Omameh right guard, Flowers right tackle, and Halapio center for the latter half of the offseason program. These four (plus obviously Nate Solder at left tackle) have to be considered the favorites to start right now at those specific positions. The next four appear to be John Greco, John Jerry, Brett Jones, and Chad Wheeler. But Greco and Jerry don’t offer much positional flexibility so one would appear vulnerable. My gut tells me the Giants will be adding one or two more offensive linemen from the waiver wire. A veteran swing tackle would be ideal.