Feb 032021
 
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James Bradberry, New York Giants (October 18, 2020)

James Bradberry – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants pass defense improved from 28th in 2019 to 17th in 2020. This 11 spot jump is quite the accomplishment given the year-long swirling personnel changes at linebacker and defensive back. The Giants were tied for 4th for the fewest passing touchdowns allowed with 22 and tied for 12th in yards per passing attempt with 6.2. New York was also 2nd in red zone scoring defense. Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham and his defensive assistants deserve a lot of credit for getting both units to play at a respectable level despite significant personnel issues.

Tied in with the pass defense is the pass rush. Remarkably, despite no viable outside edge rushers, the Giants somehow finished tied for 12th in sacks with 40. Much of that had to be schemed, including blitzes from defensive backs. On the down side, the Giants only picked off 11 passes on the year, with only one player (CB James Bradberry) intercepting more than one pass.

Only three of the team’s five primary defensive back positions were set throughout the year. Free agent acquisition James Bradberry was arguably the team’s best player, locking down one corner spot. He did miss one game due to COVID-19. Rookie Darnay Holmes won the nickel slot position, but missed four games due to injury. Strong safety Jabrill Peppers missed one game due to injury, but was also a fixture in the defensive backfield, often being utilized as a hybrid linebacker.

The other two spots were revolving doors. At corner opposite of Bradberry, Corey Ballentine (Weeks 1-2), Isaac Yiadom (Weeks 3-4), Ryan Lewis (5-7), Yiadom again (Weeks 8-16), and Julian Love (Week 17) all started. At free safety, Love started the first two weeks, followed by Logan Ryan for the bulk of the season, until rookie Xavier McKinney started in the final weeks.

Graham and Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson were hampered by a number of early personnel hits. 2019 1st-round cornerback Deandre Baker was cut after his legal troubles in Florida surfaced. That was a major blow to the team as Baker was being penciled in to start opposite of Bradberry. 2018 3rd-round pick Sam Beal then surprisingly decided to sit out the season due to COVID-19. Rookie 2nd-round pick Xavier McKinney broke his foot before the season started and wasn’t available until almost December.

The primary play-makers were Bradberry, Peppers, and Ryan. Despite many teams not throwing in his direction, Bradberry led the team with interceptions (3) and pass defenses (18). He also forced two fumbles and recovered one. Peppers was third on the team in tackles (91) and second in pass defenses (11). He picked off one pass, forced one fumble, recovered one fumble, and led defensive backs with 2.5 sacks. Ryan was second on the team in tackles (94) and third in pass defenses (9). He picked off one pass, forced three fumbles, and recovered two. He also had one sack.

Bradberry was the stud of the group. Peppers improved as the year progressed with the coaching staff seemingly having a better feel for his strengths and weaknesses. He remained an inconsistent player however. Ryan quickly became a team leader and his tremendous versatility was desperately needed at safety and corner. That said, he missed plays against the run and pass at times.

It was an up and down year for the rookie Holmes. He did help to settle the secondary and his absence was noticed during the four games he missed due to injury. But his five penalties in coverage always seemed to come at the most inopportune times and he didn’t make many plays on the football (contrary to his collegiate reputation). The other corner spot was a a bit of a mess. Ballentine simply couldn’t handle the job and was eventually cut. Yiadom and Lewis were up-and-down, with Lewis missing most of the season due to injury. Love was a bit of an enigma. His playing time varied wildly on a game-to-game basis. He started the season at safety and finished at corner.

THE CORE GROUP

The Giants signed James Bradberry as an unrestricted free agent from the Carolina Panthers in March 2020. He had a major impact on the defense, arguably being the unit’s best player, and was voted to his first Pro Bowl. Bradberry started 15 games, missing one game due to COVID-19, and finished the year with 54 tackles, 18 pass defenses, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. He played in 94 percent of all defensive snaps. The 6’1”, 212-pound Bradberry was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Panthers. Bradberry is a big corner (6’1”, 212 pounds) with good speed and agility. He plays a physical game both against the run and pressing opposing corners off of the line. Outstanding in coverage, Bradberry can erase even top receivers.

The play of Jabrill Peppers improved markedly as the 2020 season progressed as he seemed to become more comfortable with the team’s new defensive schemes and the coaches learned better how to use him. At times, he was a real difference maker on the field. However, there was still some annoying inconsistency in his play, particularly in coverage. Peppers played in 15 games with 14 starts (84 percent of all defensive snaps), missing one game with an ankle injury. He finished the season with 91 tackles, 19 tackles for losses, 2.5 sacks, nine quarterback hits, 11 pass defenses, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Peppers also served as the team’s primary punt returner, returning 15 punts for 187 yards (12.5 yards per punt). Peppers was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He was traded to the Giants as part of the Odell Beckham deal in March 2019. He started 11 games for the Giants in 2019 before being placed on Injured Reserve with a transverse process fracture in his back. Peppers combines good size (5’11”, 215 pounds) and overall athleticism. Still a better athlete than football player, Peppers flashes signs of being an impact safety, but he must become a more consistent player, especially against the pass. He does his best work when moving forward and attacking the line of scrimmage.

The Giants signed Logan Ryan in late August 2020. He ended up being a very important, jack-of-all-trades defensive back who was used at both safety and corner. Ryan also quickly became a team leader and solid presence in the locker room. In all, Ryan played in all 16 games with 15 starts (96 percent of all defensive snaps). He finished the season with 94 tackles, one sack, nine pass defenses, one interception, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. The 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. Ryan has spent most of his career at corner, but now prefers to play safety. While Ryan has history of being an instinctive, play-maker, he also still misses too many tackles and can be exposed in coverage at times.

The Giants drafted Darnay Holmes in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Serving as the team’s primary slot corner, he played in 12 games, with five starts, missing four games due to injuries (neck and knee). Holmes finished the season with 30 tackles, 0.5 sacks, five pass defenses, one interception, and one fumble recovery. He played in 41 percent of all defensive snaps. Holmes lacks ideal height, but he is well-built with good speed and quickness. He is overly aggressive at times, as indicated by his five penalties in coverage. While Holmes had a solid rookie season in coverage, he needs to make more plays on the ball. Holmes can also return punts and kickoffs, but did not do so in 2020.

THE UNFORTUNATE INJURY

The Giants placed Xavier McKinney on Injured Reserve in early September 2020 with a fractured left foot that required surgery. The team activated him off of IR in late November 2020. McKinney ended up playing in six games with four starts (19 percent of all defensive snaps). He finished the season with 25 tackles, one tackle for a loss, one interception, and one pass defense. The Giants drafted McKinney in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6’0”, 201-pound McKinney is versatile performer, who is capable of playing multiple positions. He is a good athlete with fine instincts for the position, but he needs to become a more consistent tackler. Most of his rookie season was a wash due to his broken foot.

IN-AND-OUT OF THE STARTING LINE-UP

The Giants traded a 7th-round pick to the Denver Broncos for Isaac Yiadom in early September 2020. Yiadom eventually won the starting corner spot opposite of James Bradberry, playing in all 16 games with 10 starts (58 percent of all defensive snaps). He finished the year with 46 tackles, 0.5 sacks, five pass defenses, and one forced fumble. The 6’1”, 190-pound Yiadom was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Broncos. In two years with Denver, Yiadom played in 29-regular season games with nine starts. Yiadom has good size and plays a physical game. However, after some decent performances, his play really deteriorated down the stretch, and he was benched for Julian Love in the regular-season finale. Yiadom also did not make many plays on the football.

Julian Love spent most of 2020 playing safety but was shifted to cornerback late in the year, starting two of the final three games at the position (one in the slot). He also saw his playing time dramatically fluctuate on a per-game basis. In all, Love played in all 16 games with six starts (66 percent of all defensive snaps). He finished the year with 64 tackles, three pass defenses, and one interception. A collegiate corner, the Giants drafted Love in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft and moved him to safety. He played in 15 games with five starts as a rookie. A bit of a cornerback/safety tweener, Love lacks ideal physicality for safety and ideal speed/quickness for cornerback. But he is a versatile performer who played well at the corner spot late in 2020. Love needs to improve his tackling and make more plays on the football.

The Giants placed Ryan Lewis on Injured Reserve in early November 2020 with a hamstring injury. Before that, he had played in five games for the Giants, starting three (25 percent of defensive snaps). Lewis finished the year with 13 tackles and one pass defense. Lewis was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017), New England Patriots (2017-2018), Buffalo Bills (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Washington Football Team (2020). The Giants signed Lewis to the Practice Squad in early September 2020 and to the 53-man roster two weeks later. Lewis has played in 25 NFL regular-season games with nine starts. Lewis had a mixed performance in his three consecutive starts in October, playing well at times and struggling in one game.

The Giants placed Adrian Colbert on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury in early November 2020 and reactivated him to the 53-man roster in mid-December. He ended up playing in six games with two starts (10 percent of all defensive snaps) and finished the year with 13 tackles. The 6’2”, 205-pound Colbert was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Colbert has spent time with the 49ers (2017-2019), Seattle Seahawks (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Kansas City Chiefs (2020). The Giants claimed Colbert off of waivers from the Chiefs in early September 2020. He has played in 33 regular-season games with 19 starts, accruing 74 tackles and eight pass defenses. Colbert has also played cornerback and is a good gunner on special teams. He had mixed reviews in his two starts in 2020.

The Giants drafted Corey Ballentine in the 6th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Ballentine played in 13 games with two starts, receiving 27 percent of all defensive snaps. He finished with 26 tackles and two pass defenses, often struggling in coverage. Ballentine won the starting corner spot opposite of James Bradberry to start the 2020 season, but was benched after just two games. He played in seven more games, returning 10 kickoffs, before the Giants waived him in November. He spent the rest of the season with the New York Jets.

SPECIAL TEAMS AND PRACTICE SQUAD

The Giants signed Nate Ebner as an unrestricted free agent from the New England 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 6’0”, 215-pound Ebner was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Patriots. In eight seasons in New England, Ebner has played in 111 regular-season games with no starts.

The Giants signed Madre Harper off of the Practice Squad of the Las Vegas Raiders in late September 2020. He was placed on Injured Reserve in mid-December with a knee injury after playing in nine games with no starts. The Giants activated him to the 53-man roster in early January 2021, but he did not play in the season finale. Harper ended up playing in just three percent of all defensive snaps and was credited with five tackles and one fumble recovery. The 6’1”, 196-pound Harper was signed by the Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft.

Montre Hartage alternated between the Giants’ Practice Squad and the 53-man roster a number of times in 2020. He only played in two games (two percent of all defensive snaps) and was not credited with a single tackle or pass defense. Hartage originally signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants claimed Hartage off of waivers from the Dolphins in April 2020. Hartage has played in six NFL games.

The Giants signed Jarren Williams in early August 2020 after he was waived by the Arizona Cardinals. He spent most of the year on the Practice Squad, but did play in two games exclusively on special teams. The 5’10”, 187-pound Williams was signed by the Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Giants signed Quincy Wilson to the Practice Squad in November 2020. The 6’2”, 193-pound Wilson was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He has spent time with Colts (2017-2019) and New York Jets (2020). Wilson has played in 32 regular-season games with 11 starts, accruing 59 tackles, 8 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions.

The Giants placed Brandon Williams on Injured Reserve in late September 2020 with a groin injury and reactivated him to the 53-man roster in early November. The team cut him a month later. In all, Williams played in six games, exclusively on special teams. Williams was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. The Giants signed him in late August 2020.

The Giants originally signed Sean Chandler as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent all of 2018 and parts of 2019 on the team’s 53-man roster. He began 2020 on the team’s Practice Squad, but was activated for three games, playing almost exclusively on special teams. The Carolina Panthers signed him off of the Giants’ Practice Squad in October.

The Giants selected Chris Williamson in the 7th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent most of the season on the team’s Practice Squad until he was cut in December.

COVID-19 OPT-OUT

Sam Beal opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the COVID-19 issue. Beal has had a rough start to his pro career. The Giants selected Beal in the 3rd round of the Supplemental Draft in July 2018. He missed all of his rookie season when he was placed on Injured Reserve in July 2018 with a shoulder injury that required surgery. The Giants placed Beal on Injured Reserve again in September 2019 with hamstring and groin injuries, but added him to the 53-man roster in early November. Beal missed the last game with another shoulder issue. In all, Beal played in six games with three starts, receiving 26 percent of defensive snaps, and accruing 26 tackles and one pass defense. Beal combines good size (6’1”, 177 pounds) and overall athleticism. Stating the obvious, Beal needs to stay healthy. But he flashes the ability to be a solid coverman when he does play.

Jan 042021
 
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Xavier McKinney, New York Giants (January 3, 2021)

Xavier McKinney – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 2021 OPPONENTS SET…
The New York Giants’ 2021 opponents have been mostly set:

Home:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Denver Broncos
  • Las Vegas Raiders
  • Los Angeles Rams

Away:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Chicago Bears

The NFL will reportedly add a 17th regular-season game. If so, the Giants are expected to play a team from the AFC East. If the match-up is determined by division ranking, it will be the Miami Dolphins.

The league’s 2021 schedule will be announced in the spring.

NEW YORK GIANTS TO PICK 11TH IN 2021 NFL DRAFT…
The New York Giants now hold the 11th pick in the 1st round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

GIANTS RE-SIGN 15 PLAYERS…
The Giants have re-signed two exclusive rights free agents and 13 players to reserve/future contracts.

The two exclusive rights free agents are OT Jackson Barton and CB Madre Harper. Barton spent the entire year on the 53-man roster, but was only active for one game. Harper played in nine games for the Giants this year.

The 13 reserve/future players are:

  • QB Clayton Thorson
  • QB Alex Tanney
  • RB Taquan Mizzell
  • WR Alex Bachman
  • TE Rysen John
  • OG Chad Slade
  • OG Kenny Wiggins
  • DT David Moa
  • LB Trent Harris
  • CB Jarren Williams
  • CB Quincy Wilson
  • S Montre Hartage
  • LS Carson Tinker

All 13 of these players finished the year on the team’s Practice Squad.

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:

Dec 192020
 
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Bret Bielema, New England Patriots (November 3, 2019)

Bret Bielema – © USA TODAY Sports

BRET BIELEMA LEAVES GIANTS FOR ILLINOIS…
New York Giants Outside Linebackers Coach Brett Bielema has left the coaching staff to accept a position as head coach of the University of Illinois. Inside Linebackers Coach Kevin Sherrer will assume Bielema’s responsibilities and will be assisted by defensive assistant Jody Wright.

“We always want to be supportive of our coaches and players in terms of advancing their careers,” said Head Coach Joe Joe Judge. “We appreciate everything Bret did for this organization and our coaching staff. He did he a great job with our outside linebackers and made a significant impact on our overall defensive effort. Bret is a great teacher, and he brings great perspective on how he sees the game. We wish him all the best at the University of Illinois. The Illini program is in great hands.”

NEW YORK GIANTS MAKE SIX ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have made the following six roster moves:

  • Safety Montre Hartage was waived.
  • Safety Adrian Colbert was activated from Injured Reserve.
  • Quarterback Joe Webb was signed to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad.
  • Quarterback Clayton Thorson was activated from the Practice Squad as a COVID-19 (temporary) replacement for cornerback James Bradberry.
  • Cornerbacks Jarren Williams and Quincy Wilson were activated from the Practice Squad as standard (temporary) elevations.

Hartage has alternated between the Giants’ Practice Squad and the 53-man roster a couple of times this year. Hartage originally signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants claimed Hartage off of waivers from the Dolphins in April 2020.

The Giants placed Colbert on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury in early November 2020. Colbert was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Colbert has spent time with the 49ers (2017-2019), Seattle Seahawks (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Kansas City Chiefs (2020). The Giants claimed Colbert off of waivers from the Chiefs in early September 2020. He has played in 30 regular-season games with 19 starts, accruing 74 tackles and eight pass defenses.

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

The Giants signed Thorson to the Practice Squad in late September 2020. Thorson was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles cut him in August 2019 and he was then signed to the Practice Squad of the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys cut him in early September 2020.

The Giants signed Williams in early August 2020 after he was waived by the Arizona Cardinals and signed him to the Practice Squad in early September 2020. Williams was signed by the Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Giants signed Wilson to the Practice Squad in November 2020. Wilson was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He has spent time with Colts (2017-2019) and New York Jets (2020). Wilson has played in 32 regular-season games with 11 starts, accruing 59 tackles, 8 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions.

SECOND GIANTS COACH TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19…
The New York Giants have announced that offensive assistant Stephen Brown has tested positive for COVID-19. Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett tested positive earlier this week and will miss Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

Nov 162020
 
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New York Giants Defense (November 15, 2020)

New York Giants Defense – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS EXTEND GRAHAM GANO THROUGH 2023…
On Sunday, the New York Giants announced that they have extended the contract of place kicker Graham Gano through the 2023 NFL season.

The Giants signed Gano to a 1-year contract in August 2020. Gano spent most of his NFL career with the Washington Redskins (2009-2011) and Carolina Panthers (2012-2019). However, he missed the last four games of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season with a knee injury. The Panthers released him in late July 2020.

The 33-year old Gano has made 21 of his 22 field goal attempts this year for the Giants, only missing a 57-yard effort. He also has made all 16 PAT attempts.

GIANTS SIGN THREE TO THE PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have signed running back/wide receiver Taquan Mizzell, offensive guard Kenny Wiggins, and cornerback Quincy Wilson to the Practice Squad.

The 27-year old, 5’10”, 185-pound Mizzell originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Ravens (2017), Chicago Bears (2017-2018), and New Orleans Saints (2019-2020). Mizzell has played in 12 regular-season games, serving as a running back, wide receiver, and kick returner.

The Giants cut Wiggins on November 13th. The team originally signed him on November 3rd after he was cut by the Detroit Lions. The 6’6”, 315-pound 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). Overall, Wiggins has played in 79 regular-season games with 38 starts.

The 24-year old, 6’2”, 193-pound Wilson was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He has spent time with Colts (2017-2019) and New York Jets (2020). Wilson has played in 32 regular-season games with 11 starts, accruing 59 tackles, 8 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions.

NOVEMBER 16, 2020 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 27-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Q: Can you just go through what your next couple days are going to be looking like going into the bye? How much will the coaches be in the building, when the players are in, and just kind of a sense of what your schedule is?

A: We gave the players actually a victory Monday today and let them get a little bit extra rest today. Tomorrow and Wednesday, we’ll have the players in the building. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, they’ll be completely off. We’ll have some available open gym time if you would as far as the weight room and training room. There’s absolutely nothing required per rule and all. We just want to give them some time to refresh. But because a lot of these guys have to stay in town, or all of them have to stay in town obviously with the (COVID) testing on a daily basis, what I found out from a lot of other clubs who have already had their bye weeks is different than previous bye weeks in previous years, there have been a lot of guys coming through the building on the weekend basically occupying time, getting some body work done, getting an extra workout, things of that nature. So, we’ll make sure we have the facilities open for them if that’s something they want to do. Coaching wise, we’re really focusing these next few days on some self-scouting internally. We do a little bit of a deal where we’ll go ahead and have the offense scout the defense and vice versa. It gives us a little bit different perspective. Sometimes when you just self-scout yourself on offense or on defense or in the kicking game within your own schemes, at times, you’re still too close to it to really see something that an opponent may see. We wanted to go ahead and take the time to really cross reference each other and see if we can pick up on something tendency wise to illuminate something for the coaches to change going forward. Then we want to build in to really our next six opponents of things we may see schematically, and then also with our younger players, really develop them and get guys ready to play in these next six games that we go ahead and have the best plan going forward, give ourselves a bit of a jumpstart on it.

Q: Just one other thing on the idea of the players being away. I know you mentioned last week that you may give players’ families an option or even the coaches’ families the option to come to town, kind of be a part of the testing. Did any of that materialize? Did anyone take you up on that offer?

A: To be honest with you, I have to check with Ronnie (Barnes) on that. I just announced to the team, we talked in the meeting, I just let them know that hey listen, if there’s someone coming in town, obviously, we want to control who’s coming in. We want to make sure they’re smart about the number of people we expose ourselves to. We want to make sure that on the frontend, we make sure that we test and that we make sure we’re putting ourselves in the safest environment possible. At the same time, we’re realists. We want to make sure that if something does happen, we’re treating it the best way possible and that we’re doing it in the safest way possible. We made it available to the players, I’ve echoed to all the players that if they have someone coming in that they need tested, to go to our training staff and talk with Ronnie and make sure we get that arranged on the frontend. That’s both for this week coming up, as well as Thanksgiving the next week. I haven’t heard any reports back from our training staff, but I’ll double check on that today and see if there’s anyone that’s been involved with that. At the same time too, I want to make sure the players know we’re not trying to look over their shoulder and check up on who has someone coming to town. That’s not our reason at all. I just want to make sure more of the players, I don’t have any specific names, are utilizing what we’re offering to them.

Q: I know you focus a lot on the daily and weekly development and improvement of the players and coaches. I’m wondering if you can talk about where you think you’ve improved the most as a head coach throughout these past 10 weeks?

A: I think time usage. Throughout the season, you kind of figure out what times a week are most efficient to do certain deals. Early in the season, you try to do everything on the frontend of the week to be completely ahead of everything. You work ahead a good deal to give yourself a jumpstart. But you have to kind of pace your time throughout the week. What I found early on was it was taking away a little bit from my interactions with players, maybe not able to sit in with different coaching game planning meetings by trying to bombard everything on the frontend of the week and have all the answers. I’ve kind of pulled back a little bit in terms of everything on the frontend spread out throughout the rest of the week, and I’ve been able to kind of just time manage a little bit better. I think that’s something that’s helped me personally a good deal as far as managing each day. Other than that, I think it’s just more or less growing within what I’m doing on a daily basis. The interactions at practice, like I said, the first experience I had walking on the field as a head coach for any practice was in training camp. That’s a weird feeling walking out there, not having one specific position. What I found early in the process is having a plan of who you want to look at on a daily basis, making sure you get eyes on every player at some point in practice and really making sure you’re watching everyone’s growth. But it has to be something very planned out and very specific, so there’s a lot of time I dedicate before practice to going through the practice schedule and the individual scripts offensively and defensively of really identifying what schemes do I have to really evaluate in person, and what players do I really have to see do certain things on certain days, and making sure I map out my own time of why I float drill to drill at a certain point in practice.

Q: Is there anything you want to improve on further moving forward?

A: Yeah, everything. Absolutely everything. I want to find better ways to coach my players, better ways to set up scheme within games. I want to make sure that we’re efficient on time management at all points. I always want to find better ways to practice. We’re really not stuck into any specific drill or routine. I’m always looking for inventive ways and better ways of doing things. I’m watching as much tape around the league, seeing what different teams are doing, talking with as many resources as I have. I just have to keep finding better ways to help the players on the field and help the coaches off the field.

Q: I’m just curious what you guys thought when you heard that all the charges were dropped against DeAndre (Baker) today?

A: Yeah, to be honest with you, I’ve been pretty busy all day as far as watching tape. Pat Hanlon gave me kind of a quick bullet point thing before I walked in here, I saw that. Look, I wish him the best of luck in the future. We’ve made the decision that we think is best for the program, and that’s really all I have to say about that.

Q: On a separate note, what makes you guys so successful, or Daniel (Jones) so successful, with that zone read? Is it opposition based or is it something in particular that makes him good at it?

A: The coaches are doing a good job in terms of setting up the schemes based on who we’re playing. It’s never exactly the same thing. It’s similar in nature, but there are different versions of it. I think it just comes down to the blocking the offensive line creates, the threat of the running backs going vertically with the ball, and then Daniel’s ability to read it and pull the ball and make some yardage with his legs on the edge. It’s never one person. It’s a good call at the right time, it’s good blocking upfront, it’s the threat of the running backs running with the ball, and it’s Daniel’s ability to execute with the ball in his hands. It’s all the pieces that have to come together. It’s something we’ve been able to make a strength for us. We want to continue building on that and use it when the opportunity arises in each game.

Q: This isn’t meant to be a weird question at all, but the way your team played against Washington and Philly, was the way they played enough that you would have seen progress? The win obviously makes it all the better, but I think you know what I’m getting at. Did they perform in those games to a standard that alone would have pleased you?

A: Yeah, I wouldn’t stop short and say anything that we’ve arrived. I don’t think we ever want to look at something and say like ‘ok, we’ve gotten to the point we want to be at.’ There’s a lot of improvement we want to keep making. There are a lot of things that we want to clean up. I would say this though. On a weekly basis, I’ve seen a lot of improvement from our team. To me, it’s most evident when you turn the tape on. Look, there are several plays from yesterday that really encapsulate what I want our players to show everyone that watches that tape, and it’s important they look at it. Whether it’s Wayne’s (Gallman) touchdown on the fourth down and one where we drove everyone into the end zone and finished the blocks, or Wayne going over the top with good ball security. Whether it’s converting some tough, get back on track situations, defense getting off the field when they have to, special teams covering kicks and establishing field position. There were a lot of positive things to me, the effort, the urgency… look, one of the things that we’ve emphasized as a team to be honest with you that showed up yesterday that I was very proud of is you see when our players score, everyone running into the end zone celebrating with them. That’s important to me. It’s not a hot dog thing, but we don’t really want individualistic celebrations. We want the team to celebrate. It’s not about one guy getting into the end zone. It’s what did the line do to block to get you down there? What previous plays are you celebrating? It could be a receiver having a touchdown catch. Alright, well the running back should go down and celebrate because he had runs previous in the series that helped get us down there. The offensive line is a part of every play. The quarterback is obviously a big part of every play. We want the team celebrating together and acknowledging that it takes all 11 on the field every time to be successful. It takes everyone on the sideline as well, to be part of it, to be collectively successful.

Q: When you come back from the bye, will you mention the division race to your team? Someone is going to win this division and it certainly could be you guys. Will that be a bullet point of yours?

A: No, the importance needs to be improving as a team. All that other stuff will take care of itself. Cincinnati is a good team. We have to get ready and go ahead and improve ourselves internally. Turn the page and move on to Cincinnati and get ready for a tough game out there. We have a tough stretch of games coming up. We can’t go ahead and start looking at rankings and division races and all that type of stuff. We just have to focus on getting better each week. That’s what will ultimately help us in the long run.

Q: You’ve continually said this division race is irrelevant as far as what the records are. Some of the players don’t think it’s irrelevant. They are excited that they can have a share of first place. Do you think they can balance that with going about the business of improving every day?

A: One of my core beliefs is, motivation, to me, is an individual thing. As long as you’re working for something and it collectively raises the team, that’s a positive thing. It’s professional football, I don’t care if a guy is working for a paycheck or a guy is working for a championship. If both guys come out and they are giving their best every day, that’s going to make the team better. Whatever motivates these guys, that’s great. My job as the head coach is to make sure they understand the big picture goal. Right now to me, that’s improving on a daily basis and getting to be the best football team we can be at the end of the season. All that other stuff takes care of itself.

Q: You were asked about Daniel jones and the zone read. The more he runs obviously the more punishment he is going to take. How do you balance that? He took some pretty big hits near the goal line against the Eagles.

A: Daniel is a tough dude. That being said, we don’t need him to take unnecessary punishment. We’ve talked to Daniel, a lot of times there is a time to lower your shoulder and get the extra yard, and there is a time to step out of bounds, slide and protect the ball. I think he’s made pretty good decisions. When he’s had to lower his shoulder… yesterday was a very competitive game. There was a lot of positions he was in with the ball where there wasn’t really the opportunity to just slide and get down. A lot of them were close to the goal line. A few of them were on third down situations where he had to really go ahead and drop his weight to try to get that extra yard to get the first down for us. We’ve talked to him, I think he understands that. I think he’s done a good job of balancing that out. He’s definitely aggressive, very competitive dude. He’s a tough natured guy. He’s definitely a guy you have to pump the brakes on a little bit more and kind of take less hits off of him. He’s not the guy who is going to shy away from contact at any point.

Q: In victory formation yesterday, there was kind of a little bumping after one of the kneels. I couldn’t help but notice you colorfully told your guys to get back in the huddle. Is there a point where you stop coaching and you just enjoy?

A: At the point you are referring to yesterday, we don’t want our players getting mixed up in anything. It’s going to be a penalty to be honest with you. At that point in the game, you’re kneeling the ball down. You’re trying to run the clock out. The worst thing you can do is create a penalty and stop the clock. That’s an advantage you can give to the opponent. We don’t want to do anything stupid. There’s that fine line between sticking up for yourselves, sticking up for your teammates and then just crossing a line and doing something dumb that’s going to give the other team an advantage with penalty yards and stopping the clock. For us in that moment there, the smart thing to do is just get back. Get away, get into the huddle. Come back out the next play, kneel it down and then we can all go shake hands and celebrate in the locker room. (Jokingly) I didn’t realize that was on TV.

Q: When you first took the job, you talked about putting out a team that represented the people of New York and New Jersey. Being tough, being tough minded. Do you feel like you are seeing that with your team?

A: Yeah, absolutely. You talk about our team and one word I use all the time is resilient. When I think about people in this area, blue-collar people who work hard every day. It’s obviously a very competitive area to be in. That’s what you have to be up here. We want our guys to be successful on the field, but it matters to us how we’re successful. We want to play with the right attitude. We want to play a tough brand of football. We want to run the ball, stop the run, cover kicks. We want to go out there and be able to play in tough elements and be successful. We’re not going to be a team that makes excuses or comes back an says we had them, but this happened instead. That’s not the way we’re made up, that’s not what we’re going to do. I think we’re getting closer to putting a product on the field that hopefully people can see themselves in. That people are proud to put on those blue caps or t-shirts on Mondays and go to work and celebrate that they root for the Giants. That’s something that’s important to us here. We want this team to be about the area. Not just about the guys in the building.

Q: On your clock management, it seems very solid. Have you studied that over the years? Who may have underscored the importance of that?

A: I’d say probably the first time I got into it was when I took the job in New England and I started becoming more involved with it. College is much, much different in terms of clock management. It’s not really as emphasized as it probably should be in a lot of ways. Coach Saban is very thorough in what he did. I just wasn’t personally involved in that part of it at that point. When I got to New England, part of my responsibility was tied into a lot of the situations. As far as being a part of special teams, it’s a large part of what your job is. Your job and responsibility grows over time with that. Over the eight years of being there, my role and responsibility in terms of in-game clock or input in how we could better manage situations grew. That’s obviously something I emphasize for myself in how I can help the team. I’m not calling offensive plays or defensive plays and T-Mac (Thomas McGaughey) is running the kicking game. There’s a lot of things throughout the game I look to help with. Making adjustments or having an overview of things. Talking to coordinators about the flow of the game or big picture concepts. To me, controlling the clock, the timeouts, things of that nature, that’s really where I can make a positive impact for the team.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Select players will address the media on Tuesday. Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media on Wednesday.