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.
2019 YEAR IN REVIEW: As expected, the defensive line was the strongest unit on the New York defense in 2019. However, that was small consolation on a defense that finished 25th in yards allowed and 30th in points allowed. Once again, the Giants fielded one the League’s worst defenses. This has been a decade-long trend and probably the biggest reason why the team has become a doormat in recent years.
Quality run and pass defense relies on all three levels of the defense playing well together. So it is always unwise to judge each separate unit in a vacuum. Linebackers and defensive backs need to be in the right position and make the tackle in run defense. A good pass rush also depends on linebackers and defensive backs being able to cover backs, tight ends, and receivers. Long story short, the Giants defensive line did not receive much help from the back seven. This was exacerbated by a 3-4 scheme that puts the onus on the linebackers to be play-makers. The players also never seemed to fully embrace Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher’s system.
The Giants entered 2019 with what on paper looked to be a strong starting unit of RDE Dexter Lawrence (2019 1st-round pick), NT Dalvin Tomlinson (2017 2nd-round pick), and LDE B.J. Hill (2018 3rd-round picks). However, depth was very thin with only DE R.J. McIntosh (2018 5th-round pick) and Olsen Pierre (2019 free agent) in reserve. Oddly, two days after the Giants fell to 2-6, General Manager Dave Gettleman traded away two draft picks for soon-to-be-unrestricted free agent Leonard Williams, who had failed to live up to expectations with the Jets. A half-season rental was the type of move a team in the middle of a playoff fight would only be expected to make, not a team clearly needing every draft pick it could keep or acquire. Williams would soon take many of B.J. Hill’s snaps and Pierre Olsen was let go.
Overall, the Giants finished a disappointing 20th in run defense (allowing 113 yards per game) and 28th in pass defense (allowing 264 yards per game). The Giants generated only 36 sacks with only 11.5 coming from the defensive line. That said, Dexter Lawrence (38 tackles, 2.5 sacks) had a promising first season, being named to the All-Rookie Team. Dalvin Tomliinson (49 tackles, 3.5 sacks) became a more disruptive player as the season progressed. Leonard Williams (26 tackles, 0.5 sacks) started five of his eight games with the Giants. As advertised, he was a good run defender who only teased as a pass rusher. More was expected from B.J. Hill (36 tackles, 1 sack), who saw his playing time, tackles, and sacks fall from his promising 2018 rookie season. R.J. McIntosh only played in 10 percent of defensive snaps and finished with only 13 tackles, but did have two sacks in limited opportunities. 2019 7th-round Chris Slayton spent most of the year on the Practice Squad.
ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: This unit saw the least change during the offseason. Other than Olsen Pierre, who was waived last November, everyone returns. Gettleman doubled down on Leonard Williams, slapping a 1-year, $16 million Franchise Tag on him. The only newcomers are Austin Johnson (unrestricted free agent from Tennessee Titans) and Niko Lalos (undrafted rookie free agent).
TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The new coaching staff is being very coy about the new defense, vaguely repeating that it will be “multiple.” When asked if the Giants will be a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, new Defensive Patrick Graham responds, “yes.” But even a cursory look at the depth chart strongly suggests that the Giants will remain a predominately 3-4 base as the team currently has nine defensive linemen and 17 linebackers. Nevertheless, expect Graham to constantly change fronts based on opponent, game plan, and down-and-distance.
Personally, I will be curious to see if Dexter Lawrence stays at end or plays more at nose tackle. He has the ability to develop into a truly imposing force in the League. Can Dalvin Tomlinson build upon his strong second half of the 2019 season? Can B.J. Hill return to his more disruptive play as a rookie in 2018? Most importantly, is Leonard Williams worth the the two draft picks and $16 million?
As part of an integrated defense, this unit will ultimately be judged on whether the team can dramatically improve its run defense and pass rush.
ON THE BUBBLE:For a team entering training camp with a 90-man roster, this team remains awfully thin on the line with only nine players. Assuming Niko Lalos spends him time with the defensive line (they gave him a DL jersey number), he clearly is on the bubble. Austin Johnson and Chris Slayton could also be fighting for one roster spot. Barring injury, everyone else should make the team.
PREDICTIONS: Patrick Graham is a relatively unknown commodity. The 41-year old coach has only served as defensive coordinator for one season at any level, that being his 30th-ranked defense with the talent-deficient Dolphins in 2019. Miami also oddly let him out of his contract to join the Giants. One gets the sense that the defensive line will thrive or fail depending on Graham’s overall effectiveness as a coordinator and whether or not the back seven can improve its play. There is talent on the defensive line, but the coaches, linebackers, and defensive backs need to step it up. Keep in mind that Graham served as defensive line coach with the Patriots (2012-2013) and Giants (2016-2017).
It will also be interesting to see how the players respond to new Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer, aka “Coach Chaos.” Spencer has never coached at the NFL level but his relentless coaching style is vastly different from his predecessor with the Giants who was very low key (at least publicly). In addition, Outside Linebacker Coach/Senior Assistant Bret Bielema was the defensive line coach with the Patriots in 2019.
Do not expect any of the Giants’ current defensive linemen to become double-digit sack masters. None of them have that type of dynamic skill set. These are big, powerful linemen who can hold the point-of-attack, disrupt, and potentially control the line of scrimmage. But the best you can probably expect from each is 5-6 sacks in a season.
FINAL DEPTH CHART: Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill, R.J. McIntosh, Austin Johnson
Johnson was an under-the-radar singing who really could help the depth situation. Can Chris Slayton show enough to stick?
2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: After a quarter of a century of playing the 4-3 defense, the New York Giants shifted back to a 3-4 defense in 2018 under new Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher. While not the old 2-gap defense of the 1980s, the new defense did place more of the pass-rush onus on the outside linebackers than defensive ends. It was anticipated that the big, strong, tackle-like trio of nose tackle Damon Harrison and ends Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill would dominate the line of scrimmage. While the defensive line was arguably the strongest unit on a disappointing defense, much more was expected. Former All-Pro Harrison was surprisingly traded away in late October after a dreadful 1-6 start. The Giants publicly claimed this was done to move Tomlinson and Hill to more natural positions, but there was also speculation, fueled by senior official comments of bad team chemistry, that the Giants considered Harrison a locker room cancer.
Tomlinson began the year playing the 3-technique position (9 starts) before being moved to the 1-technique spot (7 starts) after Harrison was traded. He finished the season with 59 tackles and no sacks. The rookie Hill played in all 16 regular-season games with 12 starts, finishing the season with 48 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two pass defenses. Hill was shifted from the five-technique position to the three-technique after the team traded away Harrison. Others to receive significant playing time included Josh Mauro, Kerry Wynn, and Mario Edwards. 5th-rounder R.J. McIntosh missed most of the season with an undisclosed medical condition.
In the end, the numbers were not good. Team defense “improved” from 31st in 2017 to 24th in 2018. The Giants were 20th in run defense in 2018, allowing over 118 yards per game and 4.3 yards per rush, which were very similar to their 2017 numbers. Of course, much of the blame for this disappointing result must also rest with the linebackers and defensive backs, who were often out of position and missed too many tackles. Pathetically, the defensive line was only credited with 10 sacks.
ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants did not show much interest in re-signing any of their free agent defensive ends and Josh Mauro (Raiders), Kerry Wynn (Bengals), and Mario Edwards (Saints) all left in free agency. The Giants did re-sign nose tackle John Jenkins, who hardly played in 2018.
The Giants signed Olsen Pierre from the Cardinals, Jake Ceresna from the CFL, and street free agent Alex Jenkins. The team drafted Dexter Lawrence in the 1st round and Chris Slayton in the 7th round. Rookie free agent Freedom Akinmoladun was signed after the draft.
TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The New York Giants have invested significant draft resources to rebuild their defensive line, including 2019 1st-round pick Dexter Lawrence, 2017 2nd-round pick Dalvin Tomlinson, and 2018 3rd-round pick B.J. Hill. These three are expected to form the strength of the team’s defense, stuffing the run, generating some interior pass rush, and enabling quicker defenders to get after the quarterback. It’s not exactly clear who will play where, and even the coaches have suggested it will change from game-to-game. It’s fair to say that more has been expected of Tomlinson and it will be important for him to step it up this year. Hill is coming off of a solid rookie season and it will be interesting to see if he can build upon his 5.5 sack rookie performance. The 340-pound Lawrence could develop into a Haloti Ngata-like difference-maker. The book on him is that he is strictly a run defender, but there are those who insist he is more than that.
Entering camp, the Giants are a bit thin at the position with just 10 players. It was a bit surprising that the Giants let all of their reserve ends walk in free agency. Because of that, there is pressure on R.J. McIntosh to develop quickly in what will essentially be his rookie season. Olsen Pierre could also have a bigger role than many fans anticipate. Other than the starters, the only nose-tackle-type linemen on the roster are rookie Chris Slayton and journeyman John Jenkins, who was virtually ignored in free agency, only re-signing in May.
ON THE BUBBLE:There are only 10 defensive lineman on the roster. The Giants will carry at least six. The obvious players on the bubble are Jake Ceresna, Alex Jenkins, Freedom Akinmoladun, and John Jenkins.
FROM THE COACHES: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on the defensive line this Spring: “There is no contact, so it is really hard to fully evaluate both lines until we start banging around a little bit. We like the way they are moving around. There are some youthful guys that are in there and doing a good job. They are picking up the system really well. We are pleased with what we are seeing.”
Shurmur on R.J. McIntosh: “He is caught up. He is doing well. With defensive linemen, we will see more once we can get in more hitting situations. He is moving around well and has gotten much stronger since he has gotten here. He fits well in the defense and looks like he is getting himself right for training camp.”
Shurmur on Dexter Lawrence: “I think he gets it… The first thing that jumps out about Dexter is he’s a pretty big man. He’s got a feel for things. He’s a guy that can play the run and rush the passer. We’re looking forward to getting him going. When you pick a guy from Clemson, and he’s played on the biggest stage there is in college football. The other thing that struck me is this isn’t going to be too big for him.”
Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on the defensive line: “They are working extremely hard and doing everything they are asked to do. Very aware of things they need to improve on.”
Bettcher on the players being more interchangeable up front: “I think you have to be the way the league is now. I think there is enough motions, adjustments and offensive guys are good enough now. For the most part, they are not going to let a nose just sit there and play nose the whole game. They are going to make him slide and extend the play on guards and edges of guards. They are going to motion and do enough to have to be interchangeable enough to defend what we see from an offensive standpoint. Number two, I think they all have enough position flex to do that. We want guys to have the flexibility to play up and down the line. A really good NFL defensive line room has a great rotation. The four, five and six hole spots, whoever those guys are, gaining reps, 15 snaps, 12 snaps, 20 snaps depending on the game, those are important snaps just like the other snaps… It will be competing each week to see who gets the most snaps, who will be the starter in different packages. I love that part about it.”
Bettcher on Dexter Lawrence: “One of the biggest humans that I have ever seen, moves as quick as he can move. A 330-pound guy that is going to come in and compete, help us be the type of run defense that we want to be. Also, don’t forget the guy ran about five flat at 345 pounds. That does not happen very often. A lot of people got to see him move at rookie mini-camp. We are excited to have him.”
Defensive Line Coach Gary Emanuel on Dexter Lawrence: “We think Dexter will develop into a three down player… His ability to stop the run excites everybody. For a guy that size to move as well as he does, you have to get excited about that.”
Emanuel on Chris Slayton: “Chris is a great young man and we think Chris has a great upside… He’s an inside guy who brings some versatility. He can play the nose position, he can play the 3-technique and he’s an interior defensive line player. I don’t think we’ll see him much on the edge but he has a great capacity to improve out there in the interior.”
PREDICTIONS: On paper, this should be a really good group. They are young, big, strong, and athletic for their size. They look like what you want a 3-4 defensive line to look like. But the proof is in the pudding and the team needs to improve what has been a subpar run defense. When Lawrence was drafted, I thought he would immediately be the starting nose tackle, but he appears to have spent perhaps even more time starting at end this Spring. That would suggest that the coaches are truly impressed with his movement skills for a big man. If he can push the pocket on a consistent basis, and if B.J. Hill continues to evolve as a pass rusher, this unit could surprise attacking the quarterback. Two wild cards are Dalvin Tomlinson and R.J. McIntosh. Tomlinson should be making more impact plays; he is capable of breaking out. Fans saw very little of McIntosh last year. He’s built more like a pass rusher than the starting three and could become an important role player. Don’t be surprised to see Olsen Pierre get significant playing time as a reserve.
FINAL DEPTH CHART: Dexter Lawrence, B.J. Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, R.J. McIntosh, Olsen Pierre, and Chris Slayton.
After 24 years of playing in the 4-3 defense, the New York Giants shifted back to a 3-4 defense that emphasized the pass rush coming from the outside linebackers rather than the defensive ends. It was anticipated that the big, strong, tackle-like trio of nose tackle Damon Harrison and ends Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill would dominate the line of scrimmage. While the defensive line was arguably the strongest unit on a disappointing defense, more was expected. Harrison was surprisingly traded away in late October after a dreadful 1-6 start. The Giants publicly claimed this was done to move Tomlinson and Hill to more natural positions, but there was also speculation, fueled by senior official comments of bad team chemistry, that the Giants considered Harrison a locker room cancer.
Team defense “improved” from 31st in 2017 to 24th in 2018. The Giants were 20th in run defense in 2018, allowing over 118 yards per game and 4.3 yards per rush, which were very similar to their 2017 numbers. Of course, much of the blame for this disappointing result must also rest with the linebackers and defensive backs, who were often out of position and missed too many tackles.
In January, Dave Gettleman chalked up 2018 as a valuable learning experience for the young linemen.
When we traded Snacks, part of the issue when Snacks was here was he played the one (technique), we had Dalvin playing the three (technique), and B.J. playing the five technique. Well, Dalvin’s a one technique and B.J.’s a three, so I’m very pleased with the change… B.J. came a long way. Pass rush is critical, as I’ve stated it a million times as we all know. B.J. had, I think, five and a half sacks, so he made some progress inside. Dalvin did what he does at the one, so for us, it worked out and those young guys are getting snaps. That’s the only way they’re going to get better. There’s a theory out there that young guys, once they get to 5,000 snaps, that’s when they’re really ready to rock and roll and that includes practice and game snaps and all that. I don’t know if I subscribe to it, but I’m just throwing it out there.
Overall, the run defense was not as good as expected. And while there were flashes here and there, particularly from Hill, there were no consistent pass rushers in this group.
THE NEW BUILDING BLOCKS
Dalvin Tomlinson began the year playing the 3-technique position (9 starts) in the team’s 3-4 scheme before being moved to the 1-technique spot (7 starts) after nose tackle Damon Harrison was traded. He finished the season with 59 tackles and no sacks. The Giants drafted Tomlinson in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Tomlinson started every game as a rookie and finished the season with 50 tackles and one sack. Tomlinson is an average-sized tackle who is very strong and tough. He is a good run defender who flashes the ability to disrupt plays in the backfield, but to-date, he has not proven to be much of a pass rusher (only one sack in two seasons).
The Giants drafted B.J. Hill in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He played in all 16 regular-season games with 12 starts, finishing the season with 48 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two pass defenses. Though listed as a 3-4 defensive end, the 6’3”, 303-pound Hill was shifted from the five-technique position to the three-technique after the team traded away nose tackle Damon Harrison. Hill has good quickness for his size, plays with leverage, and flashes the ability to disrupt. He needs to become a more consistent run defender.
SOLID ROTATIONAL PLAYERS
The Giants signed Josh Mauro as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2018 after he was cut by the Cardinals. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 NFL season by the NFL for the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Mauro played in the 12 remaining games, with four starts, finishing with 28 tackles and one sack. The 6’6”, 290-pound, English-born Mauro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2014 NFL Draft. He did not make the team, but was signed by the Cardinals after he was cut. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Mauro played in 47 regular-season games with 26 starts. Mauro is a hard-working run player who does not get much heat on the quarterback (only three career sacks).
In his fifth season with the Giants, Kerry Wynn started five of the 14 games that he played in, finishing with 39 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 pass defenses, and 2 forced fumbles. Wynn was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has played in 63 regular-season games, with 15 starts. Wynn has a nice combination of size, strength, and overall athletic ability. Wynn is a better run defender than pass rusher as he lacks dynamic quickness on the outside pass rush (just 4.5 career sacks). He is able to play defensive tackle in pass-rush situations. Wynn flashed more in 2018 than he has in previous regular seasons.
The Giants claimed Mario Edwards off of waivers from the Oakland Raiders in September 2018. He served as a primary back-up, playing in 15 games with no starts, and finishing the year with 14 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. The 6’3”, 280-pound Edwards was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Raiders. He missed most of 2016 with a hip injury. In three years with the Raiders, Edwards played in 30 regular-season games with 24 starts. While a disappointment in Oakland, Edwards is a good athlete who flashes against both the run and the pass.
The Giants selected R.J. McIntosh in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. However, an unpublicized medical condition prevented him from practicing with the team all summer and the Giants placed him on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness List in September 2018. He was activated to the 53-man roster in early November and ended up playing in six games with no starts, accruing just five tackles. McIntosh combines good size and overall athleticism.
YET TO MAKE A MARK
The Giants signed John Jenkins in September 2018 after he was cut by the Chicago Bears. He was active for seven games, but was not credited with any tackles. The 6’3”, 327-pound Jenkins was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He has spent time with the Saints (2013-2016), Seattle Seahawks (2016), and Bears (2017-2018). From 2013 to 2015, Jenkins played in 42 regular-season games with 21 starts. However, in 2016 and 2017, Jenkins played in just 17 regular-season games with two starts. He was inactive for eight games in 2017. With only 1.5 career sacks, Jenkins is strictly a run-defending nose tackle-type.
The Giants signed Myles Humphrey to the Practice Squad in October 2018. Listed as a defensive end, the 6’3”, 238-pound Humphrey originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent most of September on the Ravens’ Practice Squad.
Kristjan Sokoli was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2018 after tearing an ACL in one of his knees in the preseason opener. The Giants Sokoli signed to the Practice Squad in late December 2017. Sokoli was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. The 6’5”, 300-pound Sokoli has spent time with the Seahawks (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2016), and New Orleans Saints (2017). The Albanian-born player has played both on the offensive and defensive lines.
NEW YORK GIANTS ACTIVATE R.J MCINTOSH…
The New York Giants have activated defensive end R.J. McIntosh from the Reserve/Non-Football Illness List. To make room for McIntosh on the 53-man roster, the Giants waived wide receiver/returner Quadree Henderson. McIntosh was drafted by the Giants in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. An undisclosed ailment prevented him from practicing all spring and summer. McIntosh finally began to practice on October 16. Today was the deadline for the Giants to active him, or McIntosh would have been forced to miss his whole rookie season.
HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
GIANTS PLACE CODY LATIMER AND RAY-RAY ARMSTRONG ON IR; CUT DONTE DEAYON…
The New York Giants have placed wide receiver Cody Latimer (hamstring) and linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong (concussion) on Injured Reserve. The team also waived cornerback Donte Deayon.
The Giants signed Latimer as an unrestricted free agent from the Denver Broncos in March 2018. He played in four games with one start, with six catches for 108 yards. The 6’2”, 215-pound Latimer was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Broncos.
Armstrong was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Rams (2013-2014), Oakland Raiders (2014-2015), and 49ers (2015-2017). The Giants claimed Armstrong off of waivers from the San Francisco 49ers in late November 2017. Armstrong played in five games for the Giants in 2017 with one start. This year, he has played in six games with one start, accruing 20 tackles.
The Giants originally signed Deayon as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the team’s Practice Squad and Injured Reserve. Deayon began the 2017 season on the Giants’ Practice Squad and was signed to the 53-man roster in October. He was placed on Injured Reserve in late November 2017 with a fractured forearm. Deayon played in four games this year before he was cut.
To fill those roster vacancies, the team signed free agent wide receiver Bennie Fowler and signed linebacker Ukeme Eligwe and cornerback Grant Haley from the team’s Practice Squad.
The 27-year old, 6’1”, 212-pound Fowler originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Denver Broncos after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Broncos (2014-2017), Chicago Bears (2018), and New England Patriots (2018). Fowler has played in 45 regular-season games with five starts. He has 56 career catches for 698 yards and five touchdowns.
Eligwe was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2018 after he was waived by the Kansas City Chiefs. The 6’2”, 239-pound Eligwe was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chiefs. As a rookie, Eligwe played in 14 regular-season games with one start. He finished the year with five tackles and one sack.
Haley was originally signed by the team as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft.
PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed wide receiver Kalif Raymond, defensive end Myles Humphrey, and cornerback Ronald Zamort to the Practice Squad.
The 5’9”, 160-pound Raymond was originally signed by the Denver Broncos after the 2016 NFL Draft. Raymond has played in 12 NFL regular-season games, four with the Broncos, two with the Jets, and six with the Giants. The Giants signed Raymond to the Practice Squad in October 2017 and the 53-man roster in November 2017. They cut him in September 2018 before the season started.
The 23-year old, 6’3”, 238-pound Humphrey originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent most of September on the Ravens’ Practice Squad.
The 26-year old, 5’10”, 174-pound Zamort originally signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft.
NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Tuesday due to injury were wide receiver Russell Shepard (neck), left tackle Nate Solder (unknown), linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), and linebacker Connor Barwin (knee).
Tight ends Evan Engram (knee) and Rhett Ellison (foot) both practiced.
Defensive end R.J. McIntosh, who is currently on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List is now eligible to begin practicing with the team. McIntosh was drafted by the Giants in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. An undisclosed ailment prevented him from practicing all spring and summer. The Giants have a 21-day window to activate him to the 53-man roster. If they do no activate him, McIntosh will remain on the Reserve List.
HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
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.
NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN CONNOR BARWIN…
The New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent outside linebacker Connor Barwin (Los Angeles Rams) to reportedly a 2-year, $5 million deal. The 31-year old, 6’4”, 255-pound Barwin was originally selected in the 2nd-round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. He has spent time with the Texans (2009-2012), Philadelphia Eagles (2013-2016), and Rams (2017). Barwin has played in 127 regular-season games with 108 starts, accruing 55.5 career sacks. His best season was in 2014 when he compiled 64 tackles and 14.5 sacks. Barwin finished 2017 with 34 tackles and five sacks. Barwin is a solid, well-rounded linebacker who is on the downside of his career. He is a good presence both on and off the field.
I’m excited to announce I’ve agreed to terms with the New York Football Giants. Let’s go G-Men! #GiantsPride
NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN R.J. MCINTOSH…
The New York Giants have signed their 5th-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh. All of the Giants currently on the roster are now under contract, including all of the 2018 NFL Draft picks. However, who missed all of the spring workouts with an undisclosed medical issue, will start camp on the Active/Non-Football Illness (NFI) list.
2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: One of the reasons why 2017 was such a huge disappointment was that a defense that was supposed to be the strength of the team fell from 10th in yards allowed in 2016 to 31st. Worse, scoring defense fell from 2nd in 2016 to 27th.
In 2017, New York’s run defense was 27th in the NFL, allowing over 120 yards per game on average. Pass defense was 31st, allowing over 250 yards per game on average. These numbers are so bad that every position and the coaching staff must share responsibility.
Two position groups were supposed to carry the defense: the defensive line and the secondary, covering up for a linebacking corps that has been considered sub par for years. Both groups failed miserably. Up front, not only could the Giants not stop the run, but they couldn’t rush the passer either. Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon were paid huge sums of money to get after the quarterback, yet finished with a total of 15 sacks. These numbers look even worse when one realizes that JPP and Olivier were each held sackless in 10 games. And after these two, the rest of the line had an embarrassing 4.5 sacks in 16 games. Sometimes sacks are overrated if your pass rushers are getting hits on the quarterback. But the Giants were 27th in quarterback hits with 70 – or a little over four per game.
ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants traded Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March. The team also let Jay Bromley walk in free agency. The Giants re-signed Kerry Wynn and Robert Thomas in free agency, as well as signing newcomers Josh Mauro (Cardinals) and A.J. Francis (Redskins). The Giants drafted B.J. Hill (3rd round) and R.J. McIntosh (5th round) in the 2018 NFL Draft. Tyrell Chavis was signed as a rookie free agent.
TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: After a quarter of a century of playing in the 4-3 defense, the New York Giants are shifting back to the 3-4. While it won’t be the Giants’ old 2-gap system, and the team will shift at times back to the 4-3, the switch is a big deal. We’ve already seen the fallout with the personnel department acquiring more 3-4-type defensive linemen and linebackers. Because the Giants will play a hybrid defense, and because in the 3-4 the outside linebackers tend to be more forward-movers, defining who is a defensive end, nose tackle, defensive tackle, and even linebacker becomes more complicated and partially moot. For example, even back in 1980s, one could argue Lawrence Taylor was a glorified standup defensive end. When you hear the coaches now talking about 5-man fronts, they are not talking about just defensive linemen, but the outside linebackers.
What we do know is this, Damon Harrison will be the starting nose tackle. Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill are likely to be the starting defensive ends, especially with Josh Mauro starting the year with a 4-game suspension. Meanwhile, Olivier Vernon, Romeo Okwara, and Avery Moss are with the linebackers now. When the Giants go the 4-3 in certain pass-rush packages, expect these three to put their hand in the dirt.
On paper, the trio of Tomlinson, Harrison, and Hill up front seems imposing and a problem for opposing teams that want to establish the run. The good news is that Tomlinson and Harrison have previous experience in similar systems so the adjustment should not be that difficult for them. Hill’s college coaches talk about his position flexibility and he has impressed his new coaches and teammates with the Giants. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher brought defensive end Josh Mauro and hyrid linebacker/defensive end Kareem Martin over from his old team with him. Base-defense depth could be an issue if any of the starters get hurt.
The big question is are there any pass rushers in this group? Can Tomlinson and Hill get any heat on the quarterback from the 3-4 defensive end spots? Bettcher has also said they will work to get Harrison more favorable one-on-one match-ups rather than facing constant double teams. In a traditional 3-4 system, the pass rush usually comes from the outside linebackers (Olivier Vernon, Kareem Martin, Lorenzo Carter, etc.), but these guys will also put their hands in the dirt in certain packages. Regardless of style of defense or position, the team must get heat on the passer in order to be a good defense.
ON THE BUBBLE:Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill are the sure bets. Normally, R.J. McIntosh would be too, but he has been sidelined all spring with a mysterious ailment and still remains unsigned. The Giants knew about Mauro’s 4-game suspension when they signed him so he will likely make the team. If Harrison were to get hurt, Tomlinson and Hill could probably play nose tackle, but finding another 3-4-type reserve is important. Robert Thomas and A.J. Francis will probably be battling each other for one of these spots. Kerry Wynn had a good spring, but I’m not sure where his body type fits on this defense. Josh Banks, who spent last year on IR, was also active in the spring workouts. He faces an uphill climb as do Kristjan Sokoli, Jordan Williams, and Tyrell Chavis.
FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on his defensive line: “I think B.J.’s (Hill) really coming along. I’m really excited with where he’s at right now…(Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Damon Harrison) have done a great job for us and I think Kerry Wynn has had a really, really good offseason and excited to see him in pads. Josh (Mauro), (A.J.) Francis, the list can go on. Robert (Thomas). I’m going to leave guys out if I keep going. But I’ll say this: I’m excited about where that group is at right now, but more importantly I’m excited about putting some pads on and seeing where we’re really at.”
Bettcher on if B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson can rush the passer: “I do think so. I do think so. And one of the things when we drafted B.J., that was part of us selecting him because we thought he has a potential to be a three-down player. Whether that’s a middle push guy, whether that’s a guy that can beat some guards and create some disruption for either edge players, or edge pressure guys. Dalvin’s the same kind of player. Has some slipperiness to him, has the ability to get on edges. Excited to get to – again, I keep saying that, but I’m anxious to get to training camp to really see where some of that’s at. But I do expect those guys to be able to help us.”
Bettcher on Damon Harrison: “We went and looked initially, all the one-on-ones that he had in the run game, and there wasn’t anyone that blocked him one-on-one in the run game. And I think what he’ll find and what we’ll find is we’ll be able to get him some one-on-ones. Whether that’s matched up on a center, on a guard, we’ll be able to get him some one-on-ones in the run game.”
Damon Harrison on B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson: “He can play. He can play and that’s the first thing our defensive line coach told me when I got here. He said, ‘You’re going to love 95.’ He said, ‘He can play.’ So, I got out here and I’ve been watching him. He’s strong and he’s got some wiggle to him and he has some move to him. So, that’s somebody else who I think with some time and a little more experience will be a dominant player in this league, as well as Dalvin Tomlinson, who I think will take the next step this year.”
PREDICTIONS: Perhaps I’m too guilty of drinking the offseason Kool-Aid, but I’m very optimistic about the team’s starting front three if they can stay healthy. Dalvin Tomlinson, Damon Harrison, and B.J. Hill are not only a combined 1,000 pounds of muscle up front, but they are darn good. There aren’t many teams in this league that can field three players of this caliber. James Bettcher’s 3-4 system is not a two-gap system where the responsibility of the linemen is to absorb blocks and allow the linebackers to make a play. Bettcher’s system is a penetrating defense where he will look to create favorable one-on-one match-ups. The Giants (and Bettcher) are very fortunate to have had two players (Harrison and Tomlinson) on the roster with 3-4 position versatility. Drafting B.J. Hill simply completed the picture. THIS is what enabled the team to move forward with the new scheme. For the first time in decades, the Giants have the TYPE of players to play the 3-4.
FINAL DEPTH CHART: It is difficult to predict how many defensive linemen the Giants will carry because of the hybrid nature of the defense and the hybrid nature of many of the players in this defense. Personally, I would prefer the team carry at least five true defensive tackle types (three starters and two reserves) beyond any other situational players. The three starters are Harrison, Tomlinson, Hill. Mauro will start the year on the suspension list so he won’t count against the roster. McIntosh is a question mark at this point because of his health too. Right now, if you put a gun to my head, I would guess Kerry Wynn, Robert Thomas, and McIntosh make the September team. But Thomas could be pressed by Francis. And Josh Banks could sneak onto this roster… he’s physically well suited for a 3-4 end.
MAY 12, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS ROOKIE MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The second day of the New York Giants rookie mini-camp was held on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Sixty-one (61) players – draft picks, signed rookie free agents, first-year players who have not completed a season of credited service, and street and rookie free agent tryout players – were in attendance.
“Day two. I think day one was very productive,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “I thought the guys competed pretty well. They were able to take from the meeting rooms and the walk through to the field and really perform at a pretty high level for the first time out. We’ll try to add to it today. Because of the rain, we walked through inside. We’ll still try to go outside if we can. We will make it a game time decision whether we’ve got to come back inside here. But otherwise, I thought it was a pretty productive day, and we’ll just try to build on yesterday, today.”
2018 NFL Draft Picks (6):
RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
OG Will Hernandez, UTEP
LB Lorenzo Carter, Georgia
DL B.J. Hill, North Carolina State
QB Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
DL R.J. McIntosh, Miami*
*McIntosh did not participate in today’s practice due to a “mild medical condition.” He watched from the sidelines. “I’m dealing with a medical condition and I’m being treated for it,” said McIntosh. “I should hopefully be back soon.”
2018 Signed Rookie Free Agents (11):
WR Jawill Davis, Bethune-Cookman
TE Stephen Baggett, East Carolina
OC Evan Brown, SMU
OG Nick Gates, Nebraska
OT Tyler Howell, Missouri
DT Tyrell Chavis, Penn State
LB Tae Davis, Tennessee-Chattanooga
CB Aaron Davis, Georgia
CB Bryon Fields, Duke
CB Grant Haley, Penn State
S Sean Chandler, Temple
New York Giants First-Year Players (8):
RB Jalen Simmons
WR Amba Etta-Tawo
OC Ethan Cooper
OL Adam Bisnowaty
LB Derrick Mathews
CB Tim Scott
S Orion Stewart
PK Marshall Koehn
There were also 36 rookie and veteran tryout players in attendance.
Some snippets from various media sources:
CB Grant Haley broke up a pass and appeared to provide good coverage throughout practice.
Linebackers had problems covering RB Saquon Barkley as a receiver as he was too quick and fast out of his cuts.
QB Kyle Lauletta had a “rough” day with inconsistent accuracy and a couple of interceptions. He did do a nice job of recognizing blitzes and getting the ball out quickly.
LB Lorenzo Carter is quick off the snap and moves very well.
CB Tim Scott intercepted a pass from QB Kyle Lauletta. He also made a nice play defending a WR bubble screen.
LB Derrick Mathews had a one-handed interception.
RB Robert Martin – a rookie tryout player – showed a nice burst.
Tryout WR William Watson flashed with his route running, ability to adjust, and hands.
Tryout TE/H-Back Garrett Dickerson made a number of catches.
With their 4th and 5th round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected 6’2”, 222-pound quarterback Kyle Lauletta from the University of Richmond and 6’4”, 286-pound defensive tackle R.J. McIntosh from the University of Miami.
KYLE LAULETTA SCOUTING REPORT: Lauletta was a three-year starter who led his conference in passing each of those seasons. Lauletta lacks ideal height, but he’s a well-built quarterback. Lauletta knows how to run an offense, makes smart decisions, is poised, has a quick release, and is an accurate thrower. A good short- to intermediate-passer, Lauletta’s lack of arm strength limits his game outside the hashmarks and down the field. Most pundits see him more as a career back-up than potential NFL starter. MVP of the Senior Bowl.
-Quick release, holds it high and has no wasted motion on short throws
-Excellent foot speed and balance, keeps him under control
-Advanced eye-work, can move and manipulate the defense
-Arm strength is a problem on intermediate throws where the ball needs to be placed into small window
-Too quick to tuck and run
-Deep ball has too much loft
Fifth year senior that started for four years. Lauletta wasn’t really on the radar until Senior Bowl week. I thought he did a favor for someone by even getting on to one of the rosters. As the week progressed he was consistently proving to be a really effective short to intermediate passer. The release stood out to me. It was so quick and repeatable and the ball was almost always put on the money. I went back and was able to get 4 of his games in from 2017, 2 from 2016. There is a hole in his power game, as he just can’t put the ball on the rope and his throws outside the hash marks lack zip. But in a system that can hide those issues somewhat, Lauletta does a lot of other things at a high level. I think he is a career backup, but a dependable one that can stay under control and keep things sane.
R.J. MCINTOSH SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry. McIntosh is a tall, athletic defensive tackle who could project to defensive end in the Giants’ 3-4 defense. He has a very quick first step, is agile, and will chase in lateral pursuit. Active, hustling play-maker who is able to penetrate into the backfield. McIntosh can have issues at the point-of-attack against the double team. He flashes as a pass rusher.
-Active after the snap when needed, can change his style on the fly
-Powerful when engaged with run blockers, will hold his ground
-Very ball-aware, knows where to be and what to do, instinctive
-Inconsistent use of leverage, plays high when he tires
-Doesn’t handle the double team well, lack of block awareness
-Will get out of control and spend too much time recovering off balanced
Junior entry that has been a steadily growing presence in the ACC for the past 2 seasons. Overlooked in the exciting, playmaking, talent-loaded defense at Miami. McIntosh is a versatile playmaker that has a natural sense in the trenches. He is very good at getting his hands up against the short passes, very active against the run, and will make his presence known at some point. He had one of the more impressive performances against Quenton Nelson in 2017.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN AND HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR: (Video)
Gettleman: Kyle Lauletta of Richmond. He was just too good of a value to pass up there. He’s got all the stuff – he’s tough, he’s not shy in the pocket, he’s got pocket presence, patience and feel, which, again, those are instinctive things that you can’t teach. He throws a really nice ball, he’s accurate, he’s got a sense of anticipation and timing and the other part is he’s a runner. He’s got legitimate escape dimensions and we’re really pleased about that. He was just too good of a value there for us. We’re really thrilled to get him there. I really expected him to be long gone.
Shurmur: With Kyle, I think Dave said it, we want to develop a good and a solid quarterback culture here. This is a guy that’s a winner. I think there are people that say he doesn’t have enough arm strength. I disagree. I think he’s got all the traits, all the things you’re looking for in a quarterback – he’s tall enough, he’s got good mobility and really arm strength is about fourth on the list. You have to be a good decision-maker, you have to have a sense of timing and you have to throw an accurate ball, which he does. He does all those three things well and he uses his feet to get the ball where he needs to get it and that’s really what I was impressed by – he’s got a good set of legs, he’s tall enough, he’s a winner, he’s got moxie, he’s very competitive and so we’re glad to add him to the group and he’s one of those guys that’s going to come in and compete and be as good as he can be. If at some point he is not the starter, then he is going to do what he can to help the starter be good and that’s what I’m talking about when I say we want a great quarterback room. I’m really thrilled that we could bring him in and try to develop him and see how good he can be.
Gettleman: As far as RJ McIntosh is concerned, he’s an inside player, an inside defensive tackle. You can never have too much power in there. The kid has good power, he’s a good athlete and the other thing is – I talk about pass rush and everybody rolls their eyeballs at me upstairs. He’s got inside pass rush potential and there is stuff going around that he is 285, 290 – he really played at 300 pounds and had some kind of thyroid condition and got a little out of whack, so by the time they put him on the scale he was light. I’m not concerned about that at all. He’s young and he’s got upside, I know you guys hear it all the time, but this kid is athletic, he’s got power and he has the ability to develop into an inside pass rusher.
Shurmur: Not much more to add. I think he can play a three-technique, he can play the critical five-technique for us. He’s developmental in some ways with his body, we feel like he can be a really, really big man and that’s what you’re looking for. He’s got a really good skillset and good traits in terms of movement and he was productive and played well on a really good team, not to mention he’s a high character guy as well. We finished the draft with six guys we all really liked as players, so we feel really good about him being our sixth.
Q: You talked last week about the balance of long-term and short-term. Is Lauletta a good example of that?
Gettleman: Where we had him on the board, we couldn’t pass up the value. Very honestly and very frankly. I always am. I had a GM send me a text – they wanted to pull the trigger in the second round, but they got into team needs or whatever. At the end of the day, like Pat said, you want a good quarterback culture in the room and I think it’s going to be really healthy. This kid is driven just like Davis is driven and just like Eli is driven and you can’t put a price tag on that. Were we thinking long-term? Yeah, you have to because if you’re not thinking long-term, you always give into that situation where a guy retires or you cut him and you have nobody in line to replace him. You’ve put yourself in a very uncomfortable situation.
Q: Was it always your intention to have three quarterbacks and what does this say about Davis Webb?
Shurmur: Yeah, I think once again to your point, I think it’s good to have three quarterbacks. I think this league and our game is about good quarterback play and I think it’s about development of the quarterbacks. So the longer they’re around you, the longer they can develop in your system. We wanted to go to camp with three and we’ll probably add another one – four quarterbacks — and go through camp that way and then just see where it goes. For a very long time, I was on teams where we would just keep three quarterbacks active. Another model is to have two and one on the practice squad, so we’ll see where it goes. Picking Kyle has less to do about Eli and Davis and more to do about Kyle. We liked the player and we wanted to add him to our team and then just let them compete. The one good thing about quarterbacks is I’ve watched it with my son, they’re always drafting, or in the case of college, they’re always recruiting the guy to replace you, so they’re used to competition. I don’t think you’re going to be a very good quarterback if you don’t look forward to it, so there is competition in the room – Kyle is going to be smart enough to learn everything he can from Eli and Davis and they’ll all try to be as good as they can be and then whoever becomes the starter, the other two guys can help him during the week, so that they can perform at a high level. So that’s a long answer to your question.
Q: But neither Webb nor Lauletta of those guys have taken any regular season snaps. Does that worry you?
Shurmur: No. We put the best guy in there and you can only go with the information that you have. We’ll try to get them as good as they can be within our practice format and then in the preseason and then just see where it takes us. There’s a reason why not all first round draft pick quarterbacks make it and all late round quarterbacks don’t make it. You just put them out there, let them play and see what happens.
Q: How much did the uncertainty of Davis not playing at all last year play into taking Lauletta?
Shurmur: Not at all. Like I said, it was all about Kyle and less about Davis and Eli.
Q: Did his Senior Bowl do something to shoot him up the board for you?
Gettleman: It’s interesting. There is a rule of thumb about All Star games – they can’t hurt you, they can only help you and watching him during the week and watching him play in the game, the cliff note answer is yes. He was impressive and he made some strong throws into tight windows, anticipated things and for me, that’s what really peaked my curiosity. I heard all the stuff about him from the scouts, but after watching that Senior Bowl, I said, ‘We’ve got to dig into him. You guys have to dig into him. There is something here. We just have to figure out what it is.’
Q: Did you see him in a private workout?
Shurmur: Yeah, we had a private with him. The one thing I would add to what Dave would say about his performance is when you see a Senior Bowl setting for a guy that played a lower level of competition, it’s the first time you can see ? competition and see how they perform and he did an excellent job. Again, being a coach, that’s our real first exposure to the players is at the Senior Bowl, so guys that perform well there, as Dave said, a good performance there then all of sudden we dig deeper. We found out there was a lot there that we liked.
Gettleman: When I was in Denver, John Mobley was at Kutztown and he just dominated that level of competition. I saw him play a game and in the second quarter he knocked the kid out, he just whacked him and I said, ‘Okay, I can go home now.’ So he got invited to the Blue-Gray game and played well, handled himself well and then he goes to the Senior Bowl and he steps up again, and that’s what convinced me that he was a first round pick and he had a nice eight, nine-year career.
Q: Did you guys talk to Davis Webb so that he doesn’t get a perception of it being a lack of confidence in him?
Shurmur: No. There is no lack of confidence. He doesn’t need to hear that from me.
Q: This morning Saquon Barkley was talking about being a leader as a young player. Have you ever seen that happen on teams that you have been a part of?
Gettleman: It’s very possible. Again, it’s like when I talk to these young kids and they’re 20, they’re 21-years-old and I tell them that they’re walking into a locker room with 28 and 29-year-old men who have families and mouths to feed. He’s smart and he’ll figure it out. I’m sure he’ll understand when he needs to assert himself, so to speak, and he’s a very self aware guy. It’s doable. There is no reason he can’t be. Leaders are leaders.
Shurmur: I would certainly agree with that – the whole leadership thing and new players, old players. Really good older players tend to watch rookies because there are certain things that they may know that they don’t know, so I think a guy that can come in and be genuine and be his best can – young players can be good leaders. In my opinion and I’ve said this before, you don’t have to be extraordinary in any way to lead. You just have to have the courage to do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons and not really worry about the consequences — there’s no reason to say that a young player can’t do it as well as an old player — then you start to lead. What we have to do and what Dave has done is we want to put a locker room of more of those guys together and then they lead one another – then the culture of your team starts and ends in that locker room.
Q: What’s your overall feeling on the draft?
Gettleman: Has any GM ever sat in this presser and said we just drafted crap? No. I’m thrilled. I felt like we did really well. Again, you’re talking about a first rounder in the second round, two-second rounders you draft in the third round, we had Kyle where we had him rated and we had RJ where we had him rated. I’m thrilled with this draft. We got big butts, we got power, we got speed. Sorry if that was inappropriate. And we got a quarterback that we really liked, so I’m not angry.
Q: When you look at the roster, how much do you look at it and think that there are still spots to fill?
Gettleman: Part of this, part of the exercise, is creating competition – bringing in players to create competition. Listen, the roster process isn’t over. It’s not over and you build your roster. Roster building is a 12-month period. So am I happy with where we are right now? Yes. Do we have some needs? Yes. Do I want us to be better? Yes. It takes time. Folks, you have to understand, Rome wasn’t built in a day. This is a brick-by-brick deal and at the end of the day we’re going to keep making moves, shake up the back end of the roster until we get it right.
Q: Any chance of trading back into the last two rounds of the draft?
Gettleman: If I was going to do that, would I be sitting here talking to you?
Q: Did anything surprise you about how the draft board fell for you guys?
Gettleman: No, it didn’t. It’s really funny, it was a whole different process than we’ve done in the past and I think that there were some anxious moments when we were a little concerned, but we sat and we stayed patient and we stayed poised and where the board fell for us, we’re just thrilled how it worked out. The other part of it is that other teams are looking for different stuff. There were a couple of nerve-wracking moments, I won’t lie, but it fell to us.
Q: How did you balance ranking best player against need?
Gettleman: You put a value on the player. You can’t overvalue players. I don’t know if I ever told you this story, but when I pulled the franchise tag on Josh Norman, down in Carolina, anybody in any English-speaking nation knew we needed corners, okay? But when we got into the draft room, I told everybody, ‘We are not going to overvalue any corners and go for need.’ Let me tell you something: every time you go for need, you’re going to be angry with yourself. You’re going to be angry because you’re reaching. And if you’re in the second round, you’ve got two guys with second round values, and you’re reaching into the fourth round for need, I promise you it’s going to bite you. So, you don’t do it.
Q: A few months ago, you may have not imagined sitting in that chair. How much did you enjoy this weekend?
Gettleman: I had a ball. It was fun. It’s no different than you guys. Do you like your jobs? Please say yes. Someone that I knew owned a restaurant and said to me, ‘You’ve got a lot of pressure.’ I looked at him and I said, ‘And you do, too. You’ve got 8,000 people waiting in line, you’ve got to get the food out and it’s got to be quality food and you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that. I’d crack under that. You don’t.’ It’s what you do. I said it when I was talking to somebody before when somebody asked the same question, you guys have deadlines. You guys have deadlines and the editor’s screaming at you, ‘I want 15 articles on ‘bupkis.’ And you’re going to provide the 15 articles on ‘bupkis’. So, you’ve got to get it done. You can’t sit there and scratch your head and claw your eyes out. You’ve got to get down and sit at the computer and get it done. And you guys do it. I do it.
Q: You have a lot of time now before the end of the draft. How do you guys plan on attacking the undrafted free agents?
Gettleman: [Assistant General Manager] Kevin Abrams runs that. He’s already spoken to everybody. First of all, as Pat likes to say, you don’t win a toaster for being the first team to get to 90 players. Our goal is not to get to 90; our goal is to get to the right players. If we only get to 85, then we get to 85. If we get to 80, we get to 80. I’m not stressed out about it. We will target certain players that we want and we’re going to do our best to go get them. I told you the Andrew Norwell story, the Philly Brown story, we’ll do that. And that means – you guys understand you’ve got an undrafted rookie salary cap. You only get x amount of dollars that you can spend. So, we will use that as wisely as we can. So we will target guys, if that was your question.
Q: Pat, can you clarify the toaster comment?
Shurmur: I said that before about other things. Whatever it is, you win a toaster if you do something a lot, or too much. There’s really no context [laughs].
Q: Can you explain where all the defensive tackles will fit?
Gettleman: Let me tell you something, okay? You can never have too many good players at a position. You don’t reach for need. There was one year in Carolina and we came out and we had 11 defensive linemen on the active [roster]. I don’t sit there and say, ‘I’ve got to have two of these, three of these, five of these.’ When we cut to 53, they will be the 53 best players on our football team regardless of position. Regardless. And the reason you want – first of all, you want competition. The fewer guys that you have – guys have got to understand that they’re not on scholarship anymore. You’ve got to earn your spot. And you don’t want anybody to feel like all they’ve got to do is show up, breathe, get their cleats on properly and not fall down getting out of the tunnel. The more competition, the better. You cannot have too many good players at a position. Whether it’s defensive tackle, quarterback, o-line, I don’t care. And the other thing you’ve got to understand is, the problem you get into, and I’ve seen it a number of times, you have a really good 11 or 12 guys and you don’t have quality depth behind them. What happens is the coaches, and rightly so, don’t want to put in the backups that aren’t very good. Okay? So, what happens is, guys end up playing 95-98 percent. In the fourth quarter, their tongues are hanging out. They are gassed. Let me tell you something right now, you see teams that consistently blow fourth quarter leads. Obviously that’s on the defense. I promise you they’ve got no depth. They’ve got no depth. You have to have quality depth. This is not about here or here, here, here. And I’ll tell you this: you’ve got a powerful defensive line and you can get pressure with four, you and I can play back there.
Q: So, is the bottom line that you can have a really good draft after you finish 3-13?
Gettleman: Hopefully, when we’re 13-3, we’re having just as good a draft.
MEDIA Q&A WITH KYLE LAULETTA:
Q: Did you see the Giants on your radar and what was your emotion when you got the call?
A: They were definitely on my radar. That was actually, the Giants were actually the very first team that I worked out for and Coach (Ryan) Roeder and I, I just feel like I hit it off with him and we connected really well and I was thrilled. Just the mix of emotions, getting that call, I’ve been dreaming about that for a long long time and just to have my whole family here, it was a dream come true.
Q: What are your thoughts on just walking into this quarterback situation?
A: Yeah, I mean obviously Eli has had a heck of a career and Davis, too, and honestly I just want to get in there and just get to know the guys and I believe it’s so important in the NFL to have a strong quarterback room and have a strong relationship with each other. There are so many times where you can help each other out and learn from each other, so first and foremost, I just want to get to know those guys and just get in front of the playbook and like I said, just get to know my teammates and just try to add value to that quarterback room.
Q: A lot of times when a team picks a quarterback, a team looks at you as the quarterback of the future. With Davis already here, is that a little strange for you to have to come in and compete with another guy that’s in a similar situation to you?
A: No, I don’t think so at all. They only have two guys, so they needed a third guy one way or another, and I don’t really look at it like that. Obviously in the NFL, you’re always going to bring guys in and you’re always trying to improve your team and that’s what training camp is for. I’m not really thinking about any of that right now. First and foremost, you’ve just got to get to know the guys and work hard and gain the respect of your teammates, and I’m looking forward to meeting Davis and Eli and I’ve heard a lot of great things. It’s interesting, going to the University of Richmond, there have been quite a few players that have gone to the Giants and they all say great things. Like I said, I’m just excited to get to know the guys and I just couldn’t be happier. I think it’s a great fit and I can’t wait to get started.
Q: Do you come here feeling like you have something to prove?
A: I don’t know. It’s kind of been the story for me my whole career, being doubted and kind of being the underdog. In high school I didn’t have all those big time offers that some of the other guys had and even coming out of college after my senior season, the scouts had me rated lower than I ended up getting picked, but I don’t worry about that. I’ve always been a firm believer in just honestly controlling what you can control and God has a plan and God saw fit that I would land with the New York Giants and I couldn’t be happier. I’m not coming here with something to prove. Obviously I want to compete and give the organization my everything and do my best to improve and be the best version of myself and in the end, that’s really all you can do and I’m just excited. This offseason has been long and especially these past two weeks before the draft just seems to drag on, but once you get that call, it’s just a big sigh of relief and I’m just excited to move in and just get to work and start building those relationships, because in football it’s such a great team sport and that’s the most important thing, is having a unified team and I just want to be a great teammate and help the team out however I can.
Q: What do you think when you hear comparisons to San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz?
A: Well, that’s good company to be compared to. I think obviously the comparison because of the FCS connection. I don’t know, I think maybe my game resembles a little bit more of Garoppolo than Wentz, but two great young players, two smart guys, good people, too. That’s what I’ve heard around the league, is that they’re both great guys with great futures. So, if I’m mentioned in the same breath as those two, I’m thrilled. I’m just excited, like I said. I’m excited to be here and excited to get to work.
Q: Has it sunk in yet, being a teammate to Eli Manning after growing up a fan of his brother, Peyton?
A: You know, it has. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Eli and like I said, having the Richmond connection, a lot of players have over the years, I’ve kept in contact with those guys and they’ve told me about Eli and what a great guy he is and I can’t wait to meet him. Definitely Peyton Manning was one of my idols growing up and I admired his game, but I admired Eli’s game, too, and the fact that he won a Super Bowl and he has the pedigree that he has and the family that he has, I just can’t wait to learn from him and just kind of watch the way he goes about his business and kind of take away anything that I can to help my game out. But it’s awesome. I’ve watched so much NFL football and Eli has done it at a high level for a long time, so can’t wait to get in front of him and just hear what he has to say and just learn.
Q: How would you describe your game?
A: I think, first and foremost, I’m a very accurate passer. I think I understand the game well. I’ve had four offensive coordinators in four years at Richmond. I’ve been exposed to so many different offenses and I think I have good feet, I think I throw the ball on time and just have a good understanding of where to go with the football and throwing it on time and putting it on the money. And I think there’s a lot of hype about sometimes how big you are, or how big your arm is and those sort of things, but Eli’s a perfect example. He’s not the biggest physical specimen in the NFL, but he’s incredibly intelligent, he understands the game and he’s accurate. And if I can model my game around a guy like that, like I said, I’d be absolutely thrilled. So, just excited for the opportunity.
MEDIA Q&A WITH R.J. MCINTOSH:
Q: Are you going to bring University of Miami’s ‘turnover chain’ with you to the Giants?
A: I wish I could [laughs].
Q: Do you think the Giants are a good fit for you?
A: Yeah, definitely. I think it’s a great fit. I think especially with the history of the D-line they have there and the players who are there. Definitely, a great fit.
Q: How would you describe your game?
A: I think I’m a good player, I’m a quick player off the ball. I’m a hard worker and I think the New York Giants just got a great player. I’m ready to work.
Q: You’ve played both 3-4 tackle and end at Miami, right?
A: Yes, my first year I played at end and my sophomore and junior years, I played D-tackle.
Q: Do you know defensive end Olivier Vernon at all?
A: Not much. I’m sure I will get to know him a little bit more.