Dec 142017
 
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Justin Pugh, New York Giants (November 6, 2016)

Justin Pugh – © USA TODAY Sports

JUSTIN PUGH HEADED TO INJURED RESERVE…
The Giants announced on Thursday that offensive lineman Justin Pugh will soon be placed on Injured Reserve. Pugh missed the November 5th game against the Rams with a back injury, aggravated the injury the following game, and has been out since. Pugh ended 2017 playing in just eight games, three at left guard and five at right tackle. The good news is that Pugh will not need back surgery, as rest and rehabilitation is being prescribed by doctors.

The injury-prone Pugh has not played a full 16 games since his rookie season in 2013. He missed two games in 2014 with a quadriceps injury, two games in 2015 with an ocular concussion, and five games in 2016 with a knee injury. Pugh is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

INTERIM GENERAL MANAGER KEVIN ABRAMS…
The transcript of Kevin Abrams’ press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Roger Lewis (ankle) and offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back) did not practice on Thursday.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (hamstring), wide receiver Travis Rudolph (hamstring), tight end Rhett Ellison (finger), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (not injury related), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), cornerback Brandon Dixon (heel/hamstring), safety Landon Collins (ankle), and safety Nat Berhe (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) fully practiced.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Friday at 10:55AM. Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo and select players will address the media after practice.

Sep 292017
 
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Olivier Vernon, New York Giants (August 21, 2017)

Olivier Vernon – © USA TODAY Sports

INJURY UPDATE…
Running back Orleans Darkwa (back), offensive lineman Brett Jones (hip), defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle), and linebacker Jonathan Casillas (ankle/wrist) are officially “questionable” for the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Running back Shane Vereen (calf), right tackle Bobby Hart (ankle), linebacker B.J. Goodson (shin), and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (ankle) are unofficially “probable” for the game.

SHANE SMITH SIGNED TO PRACTICE SQUAD…
Rookie fullback Shane Smith, who was waived by the Giants on Thursday, has been signed to the Practice Squad.

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

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

ARTICLES…

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

Aug 102017
 
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Mykkele Thompson, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Mykkele Thompson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS CUT MYKKELE THOMPSON, ADD LINEBACKER…
The New York Giants have waived/injured defensive back Mykkele Thompson, who had been battling a quad injury. To fill the vacant roster spot, the Giants signed rookie free agent linebacker Jimmy Herman (Purdue University).

Thompson was drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. He missed all of his rookie season after rupturing the Achilles’ tendon in his right foot during the 2015 preseason and was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2016 after injuring his knee in Week 2. The Giants shifted him from safety to cornerback this offseason.

Herman attended the New York Giants rookie mini-camp in May on a tryout basis, but was not signed. He has a nice combination of size and athleticism. Herman played in eight games his senior season, and accrued only 28 tackles.

GIANTS.COM PLAYER INTERVIEWS…
Video clips of exclusive Giants.com interviews with the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • WR Roger Lewis (Video)
  • DT Dalvin Tomlinson (Video)

ARTICLES…

Aug 092017
 
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Stansly Maponga, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Stansly Maponga – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 9, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eleventh summer training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants waived/injured offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker on Wednesday with an undisclosed injury. To fill that vacant roster spot, the team signed rookie offensive lineman Corin Brooks (University of Texas – Permian Basin).

Dunker was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. Brooks is an athletic but raw, small-school prospect who lacks ideal size. He is versatile, having played both tackle and guard. Brooks was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2017 NFL Draft but waived in June.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

Wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), wide receiver Kevin Snead (lower body), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (“sore”), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger), cornerback Mykkele Thompson (quad), and safety Ryan Murphy (lower body) did not practice.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Beautiful day, 80-plus and sunny with a slight breeze. Two days before a game, the intensity was slightly down but I thought for the most part they were still competing. No pads, but they were in shells.

Small note about the layout of practice and this team’s approach to Special Teams…a TON of time is spent on this phase. Gidie made a note that the Coughlin era did not spend nearly this amount of time on specials and that McAdoo appears to run a much more organized, regimented practice. It is a very smooth process from start to finish.

  • K Aldrick Rosas has such a powerful leg. There is a trend in the league right now with kickers. They are MUCH better athletes than I remember watching growing up. Rosas fits the mold, he definitely spends time in the weight room and the trajectory of his kicks shows. He has the inside track for the number one job as long as he doesn’t mightily struggle in preseason games.

Offense Notes:

  • The talk of the day from the “story” side of things will be Chad Wheeler and his short stint with the number ones. I don’t think there is any speculation deserved on him being in an under-the-radar competition for the starting LT spot. He has been impressive, which we have noted a few times, but no way is this team giving up on Ereck Flowers yet. Wheeler was beat badly by Olivier Vernon on his first play, and may have gotten away with a hold on the next. However this is important for his maturation process, to see what a top half of the league DE actually plays like. He is one of my focal points for Friday night, something he is really pumped about.
  • The newly signed OL Corin Brooks looks like a guard, that is my first impression based on just checking him out and going through individuals. I don’t think he got on the field with the offense today.
  • WR Sterling Shepard looks to be getting better each day, he faced off in some one-on-one drills. He made a nice body-adjusting catch where again, he seemed to have zero hesitation on his ankle.
  • WRs Darius Powe and Roger Lewis are competing for a spot. There is a chance both will make the roster but I think it’s slim. Powe offers more size and strength and I think more reliable hands. Lewis is the better, looser-hipped athlete who will make the big-play that raises eyebrows. He has also been good for an obvious drop pretty much every day and appears to be misreading defenses on his option routes. If it comes down to special teams, Lewis will win out.
  • TE Evan Engram lined up split out wide against LB Jonathan Casillas one play in 11-on-11. He didn’t get the ball thrown his way but it was a very simple 4-5 steps before he was running deep leaving Casillas in his rear-view mirror. If this kid can get match-ups like that in space….
  • TE Matt LaCosse with ANOTHER impressive catch. No, you aren’t reading yesterday’s report, or the one before that, or the one before that. This kid is getting it done every day. I hope he gets some first-team looks in games over the next few weeks. While we are discussing backup TEs, I am still waiting on Colin Thompson’s first drop because it hasn’t happened yet.
  • The offense had a bit of a sloppy day. Eli Manning didn’t see DE Olivier Vernon on a zone blitz as he dropped in to coverage, throwing a near INT on a 5-yard pass. Weston Richburg sailed a snap over Manning’s head soon after, and Paul Perkins dropped an easy pass in the flat later on.
  • RB Wayne Gallman isn’t getting a ton of reps, but he showed a jump cut today that most backs can’t do. LeSean McCoy is the master of the jump cut if you need a visual, and Gallman caught a ball while twisting in the air, landed, and jump-cut his way to a TD. Not sure many people even noticed it but again, most backs can’t move like that.
  • RB Khalid Abdullah’s main weakness is unplanned movement. He looks strong and explosive when he is running straight ahead without adjustment. But when he has to innovate on his own, react to a defender, or turn his body to get a pass away from his body he looks very unnatural.

Defense Notes:

  • Soon after I spoke about not knowing or understanding if LB Stansly Maponga can fit in this scheme, he goes out and has a day. He showed a strong pass rush presence against OT Adam Bisnowaty. He gets his pad level really far down and his weight plus lower body strength makes him hard to alter. He may get caught in the number’s game but he does have versatility on his side.
  • DT Damon Harrison seemed to uptick a bit today despite not being in full pads. I will stand by my statement I made a few weeks ago. He is the most important player on this defense. If he stays healthy, he alone will keep this run defense competitive.
  • And I hate to sound like I am wearing blue-colored glasses, but I strongly believe this defense can be the best in the league. There are stars and potential stars everywhere. Seeing Harrison eat double teams with ease, then watching the DEs Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon rush the edge, with arguably the best top three CB combo in the league and a budding star in Landon Collins…I think NYG fans need to soak this up. This might be the best defense in a long time that this team has had.
  • Two LBs at the bottom of the depth chart looking up are Deontae Skinner and Curtis Grant. Both are straight-line guys with stiffness when moving laterally. In addition, I don’t see the quick, easy reactions to the offense right after the snap. They are a step behind. The contrast between them and a guy like B.J. Goodson when it comes to instincts is blatantly obvious.
  • DE Olivier Vernon looks great, albeit against tackles that may be a step below what he will face most Sundays. What I like about him, and something I always look for in pass rushers during the scouting process, is his ability to stay low, balanced, powerful, and quick. He values run defense as we saw last year and I predict we will see more sacks than what he put out in 2016. They have him standing up on some plays, something I think he prefers.
  • Did S Duke Ihenacho move up on the depth chart over Andrew Adams? Looked like he was 2nd-string guy today. I don’t have much on him but he does have more experience than every safety on this roster and a lot of coaches around the league like a guy back there like that.

Three Standouts:

  • CB Donte Deayon: I can tell Spags really likes this kid both from how he treats him in practice and what he says about him to the media. There are guys that some coaches quietly root for, and Deayon is one of them. He plays all out, all the time. He follows his assignments. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He is rarely out of position. That sounds good for a 5th/6th corner. His size limits him in a lot of areas but there isn’t a guy on this team that can stick to Odell Beckham the way Deayon has showed.
  • QB Eli Manning: It’s time we talk about him a tad. He has become so reliable and consistent year to year that NYG fans likely take him for granted. McAdoo said this has been Manning’s best camp when it comes to understanding the offense and it’s intentions, completing passes, and teaching others. I think it is fair to suggest this may be his best year yet. It was nice to see Manning walk off the field with TE Evan Engram after 11-on-11 talking about what to do when he starts checking down/scrambling. That relationship will be HUGE for this offense.
  • TE Rhett Ellison: When Ellison was drafted by MIN, the primary focus was him blocking and aiding the Adrian Peterson show. He never quite got to expose himself as a receiver consistently. Knowing how much Manning uses the TE in any scheme he’s in and how reliable Ellison looks like as a route runner and pass catcher, I think he may be THE safety blanket that Manning could have used last year.

Our video today includes an interview with OT Chad Wheeler

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • WR Sterling Shepard adjusted well to a deep ball from QB Eli Manning against CB Valentino Blake.
  • PK Aldrick Rosas was 3-for-4 on field goal attempts.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a slant pass to WR Sterling Shepard in front of CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Then WR Odell Beckham, Jr. wrestled away a Manning pass over the middle from CB Donte Deayon.
  • CB Michael Hunter defended a QB Josh Johnson pass intended for WR Dwayne Harris.
  • QB Geno Smith threw a touchdown pass to WR Keeon Johnson.
  • FS Darian Thompson made a diving pass break-up of a long pass from QB Eli Manning to TE Evan Engram.
  • WR Roger Lewis made a diving, toe-dragging reception of a pass from QB Eli Manning for a touchdown. But then Lewis dropped a pass from Manning before making a leaping catch down field from QB Josh Johnson.
  • S Landon Collins broke up a QB Eli Manning pass coming on a blitz.
  • WR Travis Rudolph beat CB Valentino Blake on an out route.
  • Chad Wheeler received a few first-team snaps at left tackle, but was beaten badly by DE Olivier Vernon on his first snap.
  • QB Josh Johnson hit WR Roger Lewis for a touchdown against CB Valentino Blake.
  • QB Davis Webb participated in his first 11-on-11 drills of the summer. He threw a strike to WR Kevin Norwood on the right sideline, but struggled to move the ball after that.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’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:

GIANTS ON ESPN RADIO…
The following New York Giants officials and players were interviewed by ESPN Radio on Tuesday:

  • Team President/CEO John Mara (Audio)
  • General Manager Jerry Reese (Audio)
  • Head Coach Ben McAdoo (Audio)
  • QB Eli Manning (Audio)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (Audio)
  • LG Justin Pugh (Audio)
  • S Landon Collins (Audio)

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the team on Thursday. The Giants play a home preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday. The twelfth and second-to-last public training camp practice will be held on Sunday, starting at 11:10AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Aug 012017
 
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Eli Manning and Paul Perkins, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Eli Manning and Paul Perkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 1, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fourth summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN KICKER MIKE NUGENT…
The New York Giants announced on Tuesday that they have signed place kicker Mike Nugent, who fills the roster void created when safety Jadar Johnson retired on Sunday.

The 35-year old Nugent was originally drafted in the 2nd-round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. He has spent time with the Jets (2005-2008), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009), Arizona Cardinals (2009), and Cincinnati Bengals (2010-2016). Nugent was released by the Bengals in December 2016 after he had missed six extra points. He finished the season 23-of-29 (79.3 percent) on field goal attempts and is a career 80.8 percent on field goal attempts. Forty-four percent of his 2016 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

Running back Shane Vereen (lower body soreness) and defensive end Devin Taylor (lower body soreness) did not practice. Wide receiver Dwayne Harris (shoulder) left practice early.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Another sunny day, the heat was a bit more intense. First day in full pads and it was nice to both see and hear these guys run into each other, as silly as that sounds. Felt like real football although these guys are told to not bring each other to the ground.

Offense Notes:

  • The first full contact I zeroed in on were run-game based. Half a line, 2 backs or 1 back/1 extra TE up against 2 DL and 2 LB. Defenders have a slight advantage knowing the run is coming, but the point of the drill was run blocking/filling lanes and simple assignments. Rookie UDFA Shane Smith stood out a few times against Jonathan Casillas. Delivered violent blows and knocked his man back a few steps. Impressive presence, power, and technique. Casillas got the best of the other FB competing for a spot, Jacob Huesman, on a few occasions.
  • OT Bobby Hart was impressive today, he’s come a long way with his technique and fundamentals. He has such a natural power presence coming from his lower body and his foot speed is more than good enough. Consistency in games is what needs to be seen there.
  • Ereck Flowers was bested by Olivier Vernon on a couple of occasions. The concern there is that Vernon is the kind of guy Flowers has always struggled against. Low to the ground, powerful, quick change of direction. Flowers just doesn’t look natural when he is moving laterally, the inconsistent techniques keep coming up. That said, he dominated DE Romeo Okwara more than once. When the action is in front of him and he gets his hands on, he is very effective. But there are still legit questions about his ability moving sideways.
  • D.J. Fluker was fooled badly on a stunt where rookie DE Avery Moss shot inside. Fluker was late to recognize it and he simply doesn’t recover well. So top heavy. He was tested the same way a couple plays later and was ready for it. He is another guy with a really high level of hand strength and power. When he locks on, it’s over.
  • The two rookie tackles, Adam Bisnowaty and Chad Wheeler, showed some warts that I had on them coming out of college. Bisnowaty (who also saw some snaps at RG) had a hard time sticking and anchoring to his man, while Wheeler didn’t get movement on his assignments Both are still showing their power presence isn’t ready for the NFL just yet.
  • Tight end Jerell Adams showed excellent blocking technique and power. For a long guy, he sure does get his hips low with a strong punch. He sticks to his man and recovered well after being beat a couple times. He may be the best blocker outside of Rhett Ellison. That said, his movement skills look awkward and slow when he has to change direction. Little clumsy, tripping over his feet and double catching the ball.
  • Quarterback Josh Johnson, for the 3rd practice in a row, outshine Geno Smith by a wide margin. Johnson throws such a smooth ball and it is almost always where it needs be. Smith still looks shaky in his new scheme.
  • WR Kevin Snead is a guy I keep wanting to watch. You don’t see speed like this very often, he may be one of the fastest NYG has ever had. I would love to see one of the QBs air it out downfield to him in one of these scrimmages. His issue is the hands which is a major red flag. He was dropping more punts than he was catching.

Defense Notes:

  • On the first O vs D play from scrimmage, linebacker B.J. Goodson proved what we talked about Sunday, he wants to HIT. He tossed wide receiver Sterling Shepard to the ground. Yes I do think it was on purpose. Shepard wasn’t happy about it but the scuffle was over shortly.
  • DT Robert Thomas keeps getting the 1st-team looks next to Damon Harrison. He is a guy NYG fans will like. Hyper active, spark-plug-type guy.
  • DT Dalvin Tomlinson looked a little overwhelmed at times. He had a hard time breaking away from D.J. Fluker. Tough guy to go against in straight-ahead drills though.
  • LB Jonathan Casillas plays angry. He wants to be the most physical guy on the field and you have to love that. He and Goodson both have a way of sneaking underneath and through traffic to locate the ball on running plays. This LB group is fast and physical, a nice place to start.
  • CB Eli Apple and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie won most of their 1-on-1 battles today. They move with confidence and assurance.
  • Defensive tackle Damon Harrison looks more and more like a young Vince Wilfork with each day that passes. He gives this scheme a lot of versatility and because of it; there may be some 3-4 looks.

Three Standouts:

  • WR Sterling Shepard: He was getting some extra work in with Manning between sessions. Discussing when to turn his head around on certain routes. He was flawlessly fielding punts. He was getting off tight coverage with ease. And he was making catches away from his body routinely. His ball skills are among the best in the league and it looks like he is the kind of worker that wont stop trying to perfect his craft.
  • S Landon Collins: Collins was a steady presence all day but a few things stood out to me today. While the entire team was on a “TV Timeout”, Collins was on the side field working with Spags on over-the-shoulder catches. Just him. After practice, we were in the field house waiting for about 30 minutes. The rest of the guys by that time are eating lunch but Collins comes strolling in from the field to fulfill his media duties still wearing his pads. The kid is a worker. I’ll say it again, he will be the leader of this defense.
  • Rhett Ellison: I have a feeling this guy is going to be Mr. Dependable whether NYG needs a blocker on 3rd-and-2 or a pass catcher on 3rd-and-5. Ellison is as sure-handed as anyone I have seen here so far and the consistency he showed as a violent and sure blocker was nice to see. NYG could have really used a guy like this.
  • And yes…Aldrick Rosas was perfect on his FG attempts. All of which were good by 15+ yards, including his 50 yarder.

Another full pads day tomorrow, hoping to see some more secondary vs. wide receivers…as they were on the opposite end today. And tomorrow’s focus on the OL will be Weston Richburg, Justin Pugh, and John Jerry along with the interior backups.

Below is the video report and interview with fullback Shane Smith.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including kicks from 30, 37, 42, and 50 yards out.
  • Giants continue to alternate Josh Johnson and Geno Smith at the #2 spot at quarterback. Today was Smith’s turn.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, cornerback Eli Apple knocked away an out-route pass from quarterback Eli Manning intended for wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Safety Nat Berhe defended a pass intended for tight end Evan Engram from quarterback Geno Smith. Smith then hit tight end Jerell Adams for a 20-yard gain.
  • Wide receiver Brandon Marshall caught a pass over the middle from quarterback Eli Manning. Marshall then dropped a slant pass from Manning near the goal line.
  • Wide receiver Travis Rudolph dropped a pass then made a diving reception from quarterback Josh Johnson.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Sterling Shepard over the middle.
  • Wide receiver Kevin Snead dropped 3-of-4 punt return attempts.
  • Wide receiver Darius Powe was active catching the football in the team portion of practice.

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/892416445023440896

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’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:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The fifth training camp practice will be held on Wednesday, starting at 10:55AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Jul 102017
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (May 12, 2017)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Tight Ends

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW:  Not good. The West Coast Offense, particularly the Green Bay Packers version that Ben McAdoo brought to the New York Giants, is heavily dependent on the performance of the tight ends. Entering the 2016 training camp, pundits and fans outside of the organization worried that the Giants had not invested enough serious resources to address the position. Both leading candidates to start (Larry Donnell and Will Tye) were former undrafted rookie free agents. The position was not addressed in the 2016 Draft until the 6th round (Jerell Adams). The other two prospects in the picture were also undrafted free agents (Matt LaCosse and Ryan Malleck).

Based on 2016 results, those pundits and fans were right to be concerned. The poor performance of the tight ends was a major factor in the team’s offensive decline, from 8th in the NFL in 2015 to 25th in 2016. Run blocking by the tight ends was sub-par. And any pass-receiving tight end should have feasted on opposing defenses that double-teamed wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and had to address slot receiver Sterling Shepard.

Larry Donnell was the starter before the bye, but he only averaged 2.5 catches per game and finished the year with an embarrassing total of 92 yards and one touchdown. Donnell was benched after the bye with Will Tye becoming the new starter. Tye was better, but not by much. In his 10 starts (one before the bye), Tye averaged just 3.2 catches per game and also finished the season with just one touchdown. Factoring in rookie Jerell Adam’s lone score, Giants tight ends scored just THREE touchdowns all year. No wonder this team had issues in the red zone.

This may have been the worst group of tight ends in the NFL in 2016.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Fortunately, the Giants made dramatic moves in this area. The Giants chose not to re-sign unrestricted free agent Larry Donnell. The team then signed Rhett Ellison to a 4-year, $18 million contract. The final big move was drafting TE/WR hybrid Evan Engram in the 1st-round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In addition, the team did re-sign exclusive rights free agents Will Tye and Matt LaCosse and added rookie free agent Colin Thompson after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The obvious focus will be on 1st-round pick Evan Engram and how the coaching staff plans to employ the hybrid. It is hoped and expected that Engram will be a Cover-2 buster and help open the entire offense for the receivers, particularly Odell Beckham, Jr. Rhett Ellison will probably have the similar, unsexy role he had in Minnesota and that is of versatile (tight end/H-Back/fullback) blocker who occasionally catches a pass. First, he has to prove he has moved past a nagging calf injury that sidelined him the entire spring.

The focus beyond the top two will be do the Giants keep three or four tight ends, and who do they keep? The injury-prone Matt LaCosse turned a lot of heads this spring, but he has to prove he can stay on the field.”(LaCosse) is a big target down there in the green zone,” said Ben McAdoo. “Matchup-wise, he gives you that length that you are looking for, he can run and he is a functional blocker, so he has a nice skillset.”

Jerell Adams has the size/athletic ability to become a quality two-way tight end, but he has to show he can mentally handle the pro game. With one former starter (Larry Donnell) already gone and still unemployed, the other 2016 starter (Will Tye) will have to fight just to make the team.

One of the interesting things to watch is how often the Giants now move away from the 11-personel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers) that they used almost exclusively in 2016. And when they move away from it, how much will that cut into the playing time of a player like Sterling Shepard?

ON THE BUBBLE: Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison are safe. One would think Jerell Adams is still very much in the picture given his potential, but he is no sure bet. Everyone else is on the bubble, specifically, Will Tye, Matt LaCosse, and Colin Thompson.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Kevin M. Gilbride on Rhett Ellison: “He can catch more than he’s shown from a statistic standpoint. He has good routes and is a good run blocker as everyone knows.”

Gilbride on Evan Engram: “He can (block). It’s important to him. He’s very functional in that area… He shows a very much so willingness to block and to finish and strain the way we’re asking our guys to strain. Again, that’s not pads so that’ll change things to an extent, but I don’t see him backing down. He has a toughness and a willingness to go against anyone on our defense and I’m hoping that remains through the course of this season… He understands coverage and understands the leverage of the coverage, how it changes and how he needs to run his route. He came in with that and it has continue to progress from there. “

PREDICTIONS: There were a lot of reasons why the Giants offense was so bad in 2016. Many have focused on the blocking of the offensive line. Others correctly point out that former skill position STARTERS were readily cast aside this offseason (running back Rashad Jennings and wide receiver Victor Cruz). But a major sore spot both in the blocking and pass-receiving departments was the play of Larry Donnell (now also gone) and Will Tye (fighting for his NFL future). On paper, the Giants are vastly improved at tight end. Evan Engram could develop into one of the NFL’s best pass-catching tight ends. Rhett Ellison is one of the NFL’s better run blocking tight ends. Jerell Adams – who has two-way skills – will be entering his second season. Matt LaCosse was consistently making plays during spring practices. If the Giants get the tight end position fixed, the entire offense will benefit, including the running game as perimeter blocking hopefully will be much improved. And when Eli Manning drops back to throw, coverage should be looser on Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard. On paper, this is a very dangerous (albeit finesse) offense.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, Jerell Adams, and Matt LaCosse.

Jun 092017
 
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Geno Smith, New York Giants (May 25, 2017)

Geno Smith – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 9, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their tenth and final voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Friday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 13-15.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Wide receiver Kevin Norwood (unknown), tight end Rhett Ellison (calf), cornerback Eli Apple (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (unknown), linebacker J.T. Thomas (recovering from torn ACL), and safety Mykkele Thompson (unknown) did not practice.

Wide receiver Kevin Snead appeared to injure his left hamstring during practice.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., left guard Justin Pugh, right tackle Bobby Hart, defensive end Olivier Vernon, and defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa were no-shows for the voluntary OTA.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With Justin Pugh and Bobby Hart absent, the first-team offensive line consisted of left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Adam Gettis, center Weston Richburg, right guard John Jerry, and right tackle Adam Bisnowaty.
  • Defensive tackle Jarron Jones was working with the offensive linemen.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith hit tight end Evan Engram in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Safety Ryan Murphy came up with the first interception of practice off of a deflected pass.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb hit wide receiver Kevin Snead deep down the left sideline, but Snead appeared to injure his left hamstring on the play.
  • With Eli Apple out, Michael Hunter continued to see first-team reps at cornerback.

Giants.com has provided the following notes from the last OTA:

OTA #10:

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

Jun 022017
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (May 25, 2017)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 2, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their sixth voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Friday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

The four remaining OTA practices will be held on June 5-6, and June 8-9. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 13-15.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall (soreness), tight end Rhett Ellison (calf), cornerback Eli Apple (hamstring), and linebacker J.T. Thomas (recovering from torn ACL) did not practice.

“We have a couple guys who are sore, so we held them out today for precautionary reasons,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo.

“Just a sore calf,” said Ellison. “Right now we are just being smart with it. We have been running on it and we are just being real smart this time of the year.”

Wide receiver Kevin Norwood left practice early with an undisclosed injury.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., left guard Justin Pugh, defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, linebacker Jonathan Casillas, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and safety Nat Berhe were no-shows for the voluntary OTA.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • QB Eli Manning threw early touchdown passes to wideouts Dwayne Harris and Sterling Shepard.
  • Geno Smith received second-team snaps at quarterback. Smith hit TE Evan Engram for a red-zone touchdown on a rollout pass.
  • TE Matt LaCosse saw a lot of action with the first-team offense and was active catching the football. He came up with two impressive touchdown grabs on passes from QB Davis Webb.
  • QB Davis Webb made a nice sideline throw to WR Travis Rudolph, who kept both feet in-bounds.
  • QB Josh Johnson hit WR Roger Lewis for a touchdown on a fade pass.
  • CB Donte Deayon saw first-team reps at slot corner again after Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
  • With Janoris Jenkins absent and Eli Apple sidelined, the starting outside corners were Michael Hunter and Valentino Blake.
  • With Justin Pugh absent, Adam Gettis started at left guard.
  • Safety Landon Collins made a leaping interception.
  • OTA practice notes and observations (6/2) by John Schmeelk of Giants.com
  • Standout players from OTA practice (6/2) by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have waived cornerback SaQwan Edwards and waived/injured wide receiver Jalen Williams with an undisclosed injury. Williams was then placed on Injured Reserve.

Edwards was signed by the Giants after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2017 rookie mini-camp. Edwards was originally signed by the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft and spent most of the 2015 season on the team’s Practice Squad and all of 2016 on Injured Reserve with an undisclosed injury. Williams was an undrafted rookie free agent signed by the Giants after the 2017 NFL Draft.

To fill these vacant roster spots, the Giants signed undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Jerome Lane (University of Akron) and re-signed undrafted rookie free agent cornerback Nigel Tribune.

The 6’3”, 220-pound Lane is a big, physical receiver who lacks ideal speed and quickness. Lane will make the tough catch over the middle but may struggle to separate from NFL defensive backs.

Tribune was originally signed after the draft by the Giants but waived two days later when Edwards was signed. Tribune is an experienced corner who started games every year at Iowa State. He was suspended for a drunk driving arrest his senior year.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

Apr 042017
 
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Owamagbe Odighizuwa, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Owamagbe Odighizuwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

IS OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA RETIRING FROM FOOTBALL?…
New York Giants defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa sent out three tweets on Monday that strongly suggested that he is retiring from the NFL. The tweets read:

I have all love for everyone.. at the point and time I believe it’s in my best interest to take sometime to get away from the game. However this is the best platform to express something of the things that has been on my mind for a while. I truly apologize that it has to be made known like this.

ESPN is reporting: “The Giants were looking into the tweets and are currently unsure of Odighizuwa’s future with the team. It is believed to be a fluid situation as he deals with some ’emotional things’ at this time.'”

Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants, Odighizuwa has not developed as hoped or expected. Hamstring and foot injuries caused him to miss 12 games of his rookie season. He missed two regular-season games in 2016 with a knee injury and the playoff game with a hamstring injury.

In his 18 regular-season games, Odighizuwa has been credited with just six tackles and one pass defense. Odighizuwa looks the part. He is a strong, well-built, and athletic defensive end with long arms and huge hands. Odighizuwa has the ability to play defensive tackle in pass rushing situations. He is a hard worker who simply has not been able to put it together yet.

ARTICLES…

Apr 022017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 18, 2016)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ELI MANNING AND BRANDON MARSHALL BEGIN WORKING TOGETHER…
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will begin his annual unofficial passing camp at Duke University this upcoming week. The Daily News reported on Tuesday that newcomer wide receiver Brandon Marshall will participate. Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and other Giants receivers have participated in previous years.

The workouts are overseen by current Duke University head football coach David Cutcliffe, who was Eli Manning’s head coach at the University of Mississippi from 2000 to 2003. Cutcliffe uses these workouts to help his friend Manning as well as expose his players to the work ethic of professional football players.

“The benefits for (the Giants players) are great as they come in here and get a great, private opportunity to work,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Tuesday. “I just enjoy my time with Eli. It’s something that’s celebrating five years of being together in college. At the same time, what a gifted player and person. Not only am I working with Eli and these phenomenal receivers, our players are affected as well. It’s a golden opportunity for us. One of our receivers can ask Odell Beckham questions.”

The program consists of on-field work that lasts two and a half hours per day, split into two sessions. The players will also receive treatment and rehab (if necessary) and do strength and film work. For years, Cutcliffe has coached Manning on his fundamentals, including footwork and throwing motion.

“What those guys are doing is creating the proper chemistry and the proper timing to get more prepared for OTAs (Organized Team Activity practices),” Cutcliffe said. “We work on all types of throws in all areas of the field.”

The New York Giants offseason program begins on April 18 and the first OTA practice will be held on May 22.

“We’re going to throw and watch film,” Marshall said of the Duke University workouts. “It’s just a jump-start on chemistry building and coming together and learning the offense for me. I think for me personally it’s about getting a jump-start on learning the offense and what they are expecting of me.”

ARTICLES…