Sep 152017
 
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Steve Spagnuolo, New York Giants (September 10, 2017)

Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports

INJURY UPDATE…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (ankle), right tackle Bobby Hart (ankle), and linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion) practiced on a limited basis on Friday.

“(Beckham) responded well to treatment,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “He responded well to his work yesterday. Got a little bit more today, but he’s still limited.”

“We’ll take it day to day,” McAdoo said of Hart.

“(Robinson) took the next step in the protocol,” McAdoo said, “and was out here in a yellow jersey, and had a non-contact practice.”

Wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), defensive tackle Jay Bromley (knee), and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (ankle/hand) fully practiced.

THE COORDINATORS 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…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo and select position coaches and players will address the media on Saturday. There is no media availability on Sunday. The Giants play the Detroit Lions at home on Monday night.

Sep 072017
 
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Mike Sullivan, New York Giants (May 12, 2017)

Mike Sullivan – © USA TODAY Sports

INJURY UPDATE…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (ankle) and linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion) did not practice on Thursday.

Fullback Shane Smith (quad), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), defensive tackle Jay Bromley (knee), cornerback Eli Apple (ankle), and cornerback Michael Hunter (concussion) fully practiced.

THE COORDINATORS 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…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo and select position coaches and players will address the media on Friday. There is no media availability on Saturday. The Giants play the Dallas Cowboys in Texas on Sunday night.

Aug 242017
 
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Valentino Blake, New York Giants (August 11, 2017)

Valentino Blake – © USA TODAY Sports

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have placed cornerback Valentino Blake on the Exempt/Left Squad List. To fill that roster spot, the team signed defensive Tim Scott.

“(Blake) is dealing with some personal issues right now,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We are going to give him some time and space to deal with those.”

The 5’11”, 195-pound Scott was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Dallas Cowboys after the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent time with the Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, and Washington Redskins in 2015, but he did not play in a game and was out of the NFL in 2016.

The Giants signed  Blake as an unrestricted free agent in March 2017. Blake was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jaguars (2012), Pittsburgh Steelers (2013-2015), and and Tennessee Titans (2016). In five seasons, Blake has played in 78 regular-season games with 18 starts (16 of which came with the Steelers in 2015 when he was credited with 12 pass break-ups and two interceptions).

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (ankle), wide receiver Brandon Marshall (shoulder), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (upper body), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion), and cornerback Michael Hunter (concussion).

“(Beckham) is working through some treatment,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We will see how he responds to it tomorrow.”

Cornerback Eli Apple (ankle), linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger), and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) were limited.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Thursday 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…
There is no media availability to the Giants on Friday. The team plays the New York Jets on Saturday at 7:00PM.

Aug 232017
 
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Marquis Bundy, Arizona Cardinals (August 28, 2017)

Marquis Bundy – © USA TODAY Sports

ROSTER MOVES – VALENTINO BLAKE LEAVES TEAM?…
The New York Giants have waived offensive linemen Michael Bowie and Corin Brooks. They also waived/injured wide receivers Darius Powe (hamstring) and Andrew Turzilli (hamstring).

“We are short on receivers,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We think highly of Darius. He’s been a good, productive player for us in the offseason and for camp. It is simply a numbers issue at this point.”

To fill those roster spots, the Giants signed guard Matt Rotheram and Richard Levy, and wide receivers Marquis Bundy and C.J. Germany.

Though not officially announced by the team, the NFL transaction wire is also showing that cornerback Valentino Blake has been placed on the Exempt/Left Squad List.

The 6’5”, 325-pound Rotheram was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Green Bay Packers after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Detroit Lions. The Lions waived Rotherman last week.

The 6’6”, 315-pound Levy was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The 49ers cut him on earlier this month.

The 6’4”, 215-pound Bundy was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals after the 2016 NFL Draft. The Cardinals waived him last week.

The 5’11”, 180-pound Germany was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Los Angeles Rams after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Rams waived him last week.

Michael Bowie was signed by the Giants to a reserve/future contract in January 2017. Bowie was originally drafted in the Seattle Seahawks in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He played in nine games with eight starts as a rookie. Bowie was waived in August 2014 and claimed by the Cleveland Browns. Bowie had shoulder issues in Cleveland and did not play in a regular-season game. The Browns placed him on the reserve/retired list in August 2016 and cut him in September 2016.

Corin Brooks was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent in August 2017. Brooks was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2017 NFL Draft but waived in June.

The Giants originally signed Powe as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft and he spent his rookie season on the team’s practice squad.

The Giants signed Andrew Turzilli in August 2017. Turzilli was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tennessee Titans after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Titans (2015), San Francisco 49ers (2015), and Detroit Lions (2016-2017), but he only played in three NFL games. The Lions waived him in May.

The Giants signed  Blake as an unrestricted free agent in March 2017. Blake was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jaguars (2012), Pittsburgh Steelers (2013-2015), and and Tennessee Titans (2016). In five seasons, Blake has played in 78 regular-season games with 18 starts (16 of which came with the Steelers in 2015 when he was credited with 12 pass break-ups and two interceptions).

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (ankle), wide receiver Brandon Marshall (shoulder), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (upper body), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion), cornerback Michael Hunter (concussion), and cornerback Valentino Blake (unknown) did not practice.

“(Beckham has) got an ankle. He is in there getting treatment,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We are just taking it day by day.”

Cornerback Eli Apple (ankle), linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger), and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) were limited.

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:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday at 11:20AM.

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…

Jul 292017
 
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Davis Webb, Geno Smith, and Josh Johnson; New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Davis Webb, Geno Smith, and Josh Johnson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JULY 29, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their second summer training camp practice on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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

Safety Jadar Johnson (illness) did not practice.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Much more action today to discuss AND we got to talk one on one with DT Dalvin Tomlinson. Fun day with overcast skies and the temperature was MUCH cooler. Even had some gusts wind thrown in. We saw some 7-on-7 and 11-on-11…somewhat close to live/full speed.

Offense Notes:

  • Wide receiver Brandon Marshall is just a freak of nature. Not only is he massive (tall/long/thick)…but I am surprised to see how well he moves. When he opens up his stride, he can really get behind a defense. He toyed with cornerback Eli Apple, got physical with him at the point-of-attack then was able to turn it up a gear and get downfield. If this guy is healthy, he could be an absolute monster in this offense and role.
  • Quarterbacks Josh Johnson and Geno Smith are splitting reps with 2nd/3rd string it looks like. Open competition. Johnson is more accurate and consistent, although when Geno lines everything up and can find his target, he looks very impressive. The key there is confidence and ability to make quick reads. Both were a little shaky in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11…if I had to give a win to one of them it would be Johnson.
  • Can’t say much about the offensive line today, as they still aren’t in pads. Right guard D.J. Fluker is a GREAT guy to listen to. He is fired up about being on a winning team and he said no organization is like the New York Giants when it comes to their passion for winning, for what that’s worth. He really lumbers out there; I think he is certainly destined for right guard play and likely a backup. Good guy to have around. Left guard Justin Pugh looked very stout and powerful in their hand drills.
  • The tight end competition is very up in the air. A bunch of guys are rotating in and out with the 1st team. Ben McAdoo says its one of the toughest positions to play because of the variety of assignments, starting positions…etc. Matt LaCosse made a couple of nice grabs up and away from his body on the full move. He is very slight-framed compared to the rest of these guys, but his ball skills are noteworthy. Jerell Adams is an impressive specimen but he is a little shaky as a mover/athletically. Rhett Ellison doesn’t stand out but I don’t expect him to until the pads are on. His game is physicality.
  • I put a lot of attention on quarterback Davis Webb. I made simple + or – signs next to his name for positive or negative throws. He was flip flopping all day. No big deal yet…just noticed there isn’t a natural high level of accuracy just yet…he was errant on a few easy ones. Many completions were guys having to turn back for the ball or leap up. He did connect with wide receiver Travis Rudolph on a great timing route up the seam. He has plenty of zip, he is the best athlete within the group, and when he has everything lined up he looks high-level-caliber.
  • Don’t have much on the running backs yet. Wayne Gallman has a noticeably different style and level of patience to making his cuts than the rest of them. He is explosive and fast, but in drills where patience and cuts upfield were the focus, he didn’t show it. Khalid Abdullah, however, does. He was very impressive in these drills but equally unimpressive in blitz pickup drills. That is the quickest way to the doghouse for a running back besides fumbling.

Defense Notes:

  • Overall, VERY competitive group. Especially the defensive backs. They took so much pride in beating the offense in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. Very intense group that likes to get after it as a whole.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple was pretty back and forth, but he struggled when matched up against wide receivers Brandon Marshall or Odell Beckham, Jr. Tools-rich, but still unsure about the development. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins made an excellent INT going up for it against wide receiver Sterling Shepard, but was beat prior to that in a similar situation against Marshall. It was interesting to see how pumped the defense got when he came down with the INT.
  • Robert Thomas and Damon Harrison lining up next to each other at defensive tackle. Talk about a beefy duo. Don’t sleep on them as pass rushers though, they can really move and push the pocket.
  • Didn’t get to see pretty much anything else from the defensive line, they were on the other side of the complex for almost the entire time.
  • I tried to watch middle linebacker B.J. Goodson against the pass, he wasn’t challenged much though. He does look explosive and quick though. He undercut some of the interior offensive line on running plays very well.
  • The backup defensive backs saw a lot of rotating…those spots are very up in the air I think. Nobody is standing out just yet, but they like to compete.

Three Standouts:

  • Cornerback Donte Deayon. A player his size (5’9/163) is going to have a hard time making a roster in the NFL, but he is certainly making his case. He moves quicker and faster than everyone. He is a fiery competitor, maybe the most so when it comes to the defensive backs. He adds return value, he held up in coverage. I have a feeling about him so far.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham. We know he is a star. We know he is an amazing talent. But the amount of time he spends on the smallest aspects to his game is nice to see. During down time, he was working with Sterling Shepard and how to read a cornerback when coming off the line to get in to his route. Prior to that, he had a coach throw him about 15-20 balls where Beckham was stationary with his back to the ball…he just looked up in the air and waited for the ball to enter his line of vision. Then he went to make that difficult over the shoulder catch…and yes he caught every one.
  • Offensive lineman Brett Jones. Are we overlooking this guy as a possible backup inside? Arguably the top option if any of the three starters go down? He gets looks inside and out and he just seems to do everything right, in an exaggerated way. I love his build. He is a powerful, mean blocker and I am really looking forward to seeing him go live when the pads go on. There might be something there with him.

If I had to guess, I think the guys will be getting after it a little more tomorrow considering they are off on Monday.

GIDIEFOR’S PRACTICE REPORT…
Well obviously Sy’56 is the class between the two of us and I will be supplementing his observations to you guys during camp and serving in a support role.

These observations roughly follow the clips in the camp video linked below, and these clips follow Sy and my chat about today and Sy’s interview of Dalvin Tomlinson:

  • The first clip shows that the defensive line and offensive line players are doing a different set of warm ups on opposite sides of the field. This is a new view for me as opposed to prior camps I’ve attended where the players were all doing the same warm ups.
  • There was no active player on the bikes today – and one player was held out, safety Jadar Johnson, because he was ill according to Coach McAdoo. Take what you will about the new training staff – maybe it’s a fluke and still needs some more data to evaluate, but the Giants were relatively healthy last year and throughout the off season. They come into camp in very good health overall and with no steady stream of players headed to the sidelines.
  • Today’s practice was much more of a full practice than yesterday. The second practice clip shows a catch, run and hit sequence that was run at the beginning of practice.
  • While this was happening centerfield – on the right side of the field in the third clip sequence there was a group practicing coming out low from under a bar and hitting upward into a small square pad on a player target.
  • The next set of clips goes back and forth between a sequence of timing reps on one side of the field and the low to high practice that went from one on one to, two on two, to a larger formation.
  • I have a clip in there that follows Coach McAdoo for a couple of minutes. It seems to me that he blends more in with the surroundings than we have been used to in the past. Coach ribbed me after practice for filming him.
  • The next two clips are of Devon Kennard, who parked himself in front of me and he stands out as a really solid big dude. He participated in a special teams change of direction drill that was run for several minutes.
  • Sy had me look over to the right and there was Odell Beckham, Jr. taking over the shoulder catch practice. Odell really stood out on the field today, making a number of catches that showed off his incredible game speed.
  • Then the fullbacks came to the side line and I couldn’t help but notice that these guys are not very big – Rhett Ellison and Will Tye are huge in comparison to these two.
  • There’s clips of Davis Webb under center for a few reps, then some clips that show a bunch of offensive lineman and featuring Adam Gettis and Adam Bisnowaty standing next to each other. Biz dwarfs Gettis.
  • Then there are clips of 11-on-11’s first with Eli Manning – that include a nice fake and a strike to Odell. Then Geno Smith behind center. Smith seems to be the least accurate QB out there.
  • Then I have a clip of Ellison and Tye, and then Paul Perkins dwarfed by John Jerry.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • In 7-on-7 drills, wide receiver Brandon Marshall made a nice catch against cornerback Janoris Jenkins on an underthrown ball from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Tight end Evan Engram made a nice catch on a pass thrown behind him.
  • Cornerback Janoris Jenkins intercepted a deep pass from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Sterling Shepard.
  • Geno Smith was the second-team quarterback.
  • Mykkele Thompson received reps at cornerback.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. on a deep pass over the middle for a touchdown. Beckham made a number of nice grabs on the day, including a diving sideline reception against cornerback Eli Apple.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple broke up two quarterback Eli Manning passes into the end zone, the first to wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and the second to wide receiver Sterling Shepard.
  • Wide receiver Jerome Lane made a nice diving catch of a low pass from quarterback Geno Smith.
  • Defensive end Avery Moss flashed on his first pass rush attempt.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith completed a rollout pass to tight end Matt LaCosse.

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/891387867460587521

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Saturday 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 third training camp practice will be held on Sunday, starting at 10:55AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Jul 262017
 
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New York Giants 2017 Rookie Class (May 12, 2017)

New York Giants 2017 Rookie Class – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS REPORT TO TRAINING CAMP ON THURSDAY…
The football offseason is officially over on Thursday when New York Giants players report to summer training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The first practice will be held at 11:40AM on Friday and will be one of eleven practices open to the public, weather permitting. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED CHARGE DROPPED FOR ROGER LEWIS…
Following up on our June 7 report that New York Giants wide receiver Roger Lewis was arrested in Ohio for operating a vehicle while impaired, that charge was dropped on Monday. Lewis was fined $150 plus court fees for driving in marked lanes and $25 for having tinted windows. Police originally said they found evidence of drug use in Lewis’ vehicle and suspected Lewis was under the influence of alcohol, but he refused to be tested on the scene.

BOBBY RAINEY SIGNS WITH RAVENS…
Unrestricted free agent running back Bobby Rainey (New York Giants) has signed with the Baltimore Ravens. The Giants had no interest in re-signing Rainey. The Giants signed Rainey as an unrestricted free agent from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in April 2016.  He played in 15 games with no starts and finished the season with 17 carries for 63 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and 20 catches for 153 yards (7.6 yards per catch). Rainey also returned six punts (6.5 yards per return) and eight kickoffs (25.5 yards per return). Rainey was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Baltimore Ravens after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Ravens (2012), Cleveland Browns (2013), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013-2015).

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

  • Defensive Coordinator Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo (Video)
  • Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn (Video)

ARTICLES…

Jul 072017
 
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Brandon Marshall, New York Giants (June 13, 2017)

Brandon Marshall – © 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: Wide Receivers

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW:  While Odell Beckham, Jr. continued his assault on the record books as one of the game’s premiere wide receivers, more was expected from this unit in 2016. It was assumed by many that the departure of the frustratingly-inconsistent Rueben Randle would be addition by subtraction. Sterling Shepard was considered a 2nd-round steal by many. And there were high expectations about the return of Victor Cruz from three injury-sabotaged seasons in a row.

In 2015, quarterback Eli Manning’s top three wide receiver targets were Beckham, Randle, and Dwayne Harris. These three totaled 189 catches for 2,643 yards, and 25 touchdowns. In 2016, Beckham, Shepard, and Cruz totaled 205 catches for 2,636 yards, and 19 touchdowns. The telling stat was there was a 24 percent decline in touchdowns.

Opponent defensive game plans were obvious and consistent: double- and sometimes even triple-team Odell Beckham and dare the Giants to beat them with their running game or passing the ball to other targets. The Giants failed to be able to make other teams pay and the passing offense fell from 7th (271.4 yards per game) to 17th (242.4 yards per game). Much of this decline had to do with the loss of running back Shane Vereen (59 catches for 494 yards and four touchdowns in 2015) and the unproductive tight ends (only 79 catches and three touchdowns as a group).

But while Beckham continued to produce, and Shepard had a respectable rookie season, it was Cruz who was the biggest disappointment. Slowed by three consecutive leg injury issues from 2013-2015, Cruz seemed miscast as an outside receiver instead of the slot position which Shepard now occupies. Cruz struggled to separate from defenders and finished the season with only one touchdown – ironically a game-winner that he scored in the opener. In other words, he was kept out of the end zone for the final 16 regular- and post-season games. Randle had 57 catches for 797 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015 as an outside receiver. Cruz had just 39 catches for 586 yards.

The nadir of Beckham’s 2016 season was obviously the playoff game. Much was expected and Beckham failed miserably to deliver (four catches for 28 yards) against a weak secondary. Exacerbating the situation – right or wrong – was his boat trip to Miami six days before the game on the players’ day off. But keep in mind that the receivers as a group went on that trip – including the veteran Cruz – and the top three all failed to perform at a high level (Cruz had three catches for 30 yards and Shepard four catches for 63 yards). None scored.

Beckham is extremely competitive and the best player on the team. But he clearly is a diva with a media target painted on his back. How much of this is self-promotion, blown out of proportion to sell newspapers, or distracting to the team are questions subject to passionate debate.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Easily one of the biggest changes the team made this offseason was at the wideout position opposite of Odell Beckham, Jr. The Giants unceremoniously cut Victor Cruz in February and signed the aging but still-productive super-stud receiver Brandon Marshall in March after the Jets released him. The Giants also signed undrafted rookie free agents Travis Rudolph, Keeon Johnson, Kevin Snead, and Jerome Lane.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Right or wrong, the media has smelled blood in the water with Odell Beckham, Jr. and he will likely remain the subject of unsavory media attention for the remainder of his NFL career. Much of this is self-inflicted, but also much of it is media-whore click-bait. The focus on Beckham distracts from real issues and is a waste of print space and Q&A media time, but it is what it is. Expect of a heavy does of boring and repetitive Beckham stories in camp.

The real focus of attention should be two-fold: (1) how much does Brandon Marshall have left in the tank? and (2) is Sterling Shepard ready to make a huge impact on the passing game?

Marshall is the only player in NFL history with six seasons of 100 or more receptions. Two years ago, Marshall put up huge numbers and had a Pro Bowl and All-Pro season, catching 109 passes for 1,502 yards, and 14 touchdowns. But the 33-year old Marshall suffered through a injury-plagued 2016 campaign where his numbers dropped to 59 receptions for 788 yards and just three touchdowns. He says he only wants to play two more years. If Marshall can regain even a bit of his 2015 form (with crappy Jets quarterbacking), look out. Eli Manning hasn’t had a big, physical receiver like this since Plaxico Burress in 2008.

Shepard largely flew under the radar with a promising initial season, starting all 16 regular-season games as a rookie, catching 65 passes for 683 yards (10.5 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns, mostly out of the slot. But Shepard did not make many impact plays, his longest reception being just 32 yards. Shepard made a lot of noise this spring during non-contact workouts. He could be poised for a big season with defenses focused more on Beckham and Marshall.

“What am I looking to work on? Really just after the catch,” said Shepard. “I feel like I could have gotten a lot more YAC (yards after catch) yardage last year. That is something that I looked at on film and I want to get better on.”

With special teams ace Dwayne Harris likely to make the squad, much fan attention will be spent on which players fill out the #5 and probably #6 receiver spots. 2016 hold-overs Tavarres King, Roger Lewis, Darius Powe, and Kevin Norwood will compete with the four undrafted rookie free agents signed after the draft. King passed Lewis on the depth chart late in the 2016 season and made some noise with a couple of long receptions. King received some quality snaps with the first unit during spring workouts while Lewis was arrested on a substance-abuse charge. But don’t discount Lewis or 2016 practice squad player Powe, who has good size and has worked hard this offseason. Of the newcomers, Rudolph probably has the best shot. Those who stand out on special teams will have the inside track.

ON THE BUBBLE: Tavarres King, Roger Lewis, Darius Powe, Kevin Norwood, Travis Rudolph, Keeon Johnson, Kevin Snead, and Jerome Lane.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Adam Henry on Brandon Marshall: “He has been really good and a really good professional. Just helping the guys with little things for us, just pulling them to the side and helping them on different techniques and things like that… The thing is he goes out there and blocks. He does like the dirty work and he is not scared to do that. It’s just him finding a role and he knows he embraces whatever we ask him to do. He’s been good about it.”

Henry on Sterling Shepard: “Right now he has been working hard and he has been out there and he looks really good right now.”

PREDICTIONS: Victor Cruz and Larry Donnell/Will Tye were major drags on the passing game in 2016. The additions of Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram should not only be substantial upgrades in themselves, but should dramatically open things up for Odell Beckham, Jr. and Sterling Shepard. If Eli and Marshall can develop anything similar to the chemistry Eli had with Plaxico Burress, then the passing game should become one of the NFL’s best again. Watch out for Shepard, who may feast on single coverage out of the slot. (Though with the additions of Engram and Rhett Ellison at tight end, Sheppard may see his playing time cut, particularly in the red zone).

Barring injury, it will be hard for any other receiver to make substantial noise with Beckham, Marshall, Shepard, Engram, and Ellison bound to see so much playing time.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, Dwayne Harris, Tavarres King, and Darius Powe. (The last WR spot is one of the hardest predictions to make).

Jun 072017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (May 25, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS POSITION COACH MEDIA SESSIONS…
Transcripts and video clips of Wednesday’s media sessions with the following position coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICES…
The New York Giants held two more Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices on Monday and Tuesday. Those practices were not open to the media or public. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTA practices. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The team’s remaining OTAs will be held on June 8-9. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 13-15. Friday’s OTA practice will be open to the media.

Giants.com has provided the following notes from the last two OTAs:

OTA #7:

OTA #8:

ODELL BECKHAM, JR.’S ABSENCE FROM OTA’S CONTRACT RELATED?…
ESPN is reporting that New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. has been skipping the team’s voluntary Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices due to his desire for a new contract. Beckham is scheduled to make $1,839,027 in salary in the fourth year of his rookie contract. The Giants also picked up his $8+ million fifth-year option for 2018 earlier this offseason.

ROGER LEWIS ARRESTED…
TMZ is reporting that New York Giants wide receiver Roger Lewis was arrested last weekend in Ohio for operating a vehicle while impaired. Police told TMZ that they smelled marijuana on Lewis and noticed signs of intoxication. Lewis refused to take a breathalyzer test. Subsequent media reports say the police report indicated that police found Lewis in possession of 0.2 grams of marijuana suspected he was under the influence of alcohol.

The Giants signed Lewis as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. Lewis made the team and played in 13 regular-season games with one start. He finished with just seven catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

JALEN WILLIAMS RELEASED FROM INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants have cut wide receiver Jalen Williams from Injured Reserve. Williams was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He was waived/injured on May 31 with an undisclosed injury and placed on Injured Reserve one day later.

ARTICLES…

Feb 022017
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 6, 2016)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

While Odell Beckham, Jr. continued his assault on the record books as one of the game’s premiere wide receivers, more was expected from this unit in 2016. It was assumed by many that the departure of the frustratingly-inconsistent Rueben Randle would be addition by subtraction. Sterling Shepard was considered a 2nd-round steal by many. And there were high expectations about the return of Victor Cruz from three injury-sabotaged seasons in a row.

In 2015, quarterback Eli Manning’s top three wide receiver targets were Beckham, Randle, and Dwayne Harris. These three totaled 189 catches for 2,643 yards, and 25 touchdowns. In 2016, Beckham, Shepard, and Cruz totaled 205 catches for 2,636 yards, and 19 touchdowns. The telling stat was there was a 24 percent decline in touchdowns.

Opponent defensive game plans were obvious and consistent: double- and sometimes even triple-team Odell Beckham and dare the Giants to beat them with their running game or passing the ball to other targets. The Giants failed to be able to make other teams pay and the passing offense fell from 7th (271.4 yards per game) to 17th (242.4 yards per game). Much of this decline had to do with the loss of running back Shane Vereen (59 catches for 494 yards and four touchdowns in 2015) and the unproductive tight ends (only 79 catches and three touchdowns as a group).

But while Beckham continued to produce, and Shepard had a respectable rookie season, it was Cruz who was the biggest disappointment. Slowed by three consecutive leg injury issues from 2013-2015, Cruz seemed miscast as an outside receiver instead of the slot position which Shepard now occupies. Cruz struggled to separate from defenders and finished the season with only one touchdown – ironically a game-winner that he scored in the opener. In other words, he was kept out of the end zone for the final 16 regular- and post-season games. Randle had 57 catches for 797 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015 as an outside receiver. Cruz had just 39 catches for 586 yards.

The nadir of Beckham’s 2016 season was obviously the playoff game. Much was expected and Beckham failed miserably to deliver (four catches for 28 yards) against a weak secondary. Exacerbating the situation – right or wrong – was his boat trip to Miami six days before the game on the players’ day off. But keep in mind that the receivers as a group went on that trip – including the veteran Cruz – and the top three all failed to perform at a high level (Cruz had three catches for 30 yards and Shepard four catches for 63 yards). None scored.

Beckham is extremely competitive and the best player on the team. But he clearly is a diva with a media target painted on his back. How much of this is self-promotion, blown out of proportion to sell newspapers, or distracting to the team are questions subject to passionate debate. If the Giants are to reach the next level, he has to continue to mature (he did with respect to his reaction to on-field taunting) and perform in the clutch in the post-season. But the Giants also have to get him more help.

THE STARTERS

Odell Beckham is one of the game’s best players and had another stellar season in his third year, starting all 16 regular-season games and finishing with 101 catches for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns. In his first three seasons, Beckham has accrued 288 catches for 4,122 yards and 35 touchdowns in 43 regular-season games. Beckham’s accolades already include Pro Football Writers of America “Rookie of the Year” (2014), second-team All-Pro (2015, 2016), and Pro Bowl (2014, 2015, 2016). All of this despite constant double teams by opposing defenses. Beckham was drafted in the 1st round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Giants. While Beckham lacks classic size, his long arms, big hands, and tremendous jumping ability give him a very good catch radius. Beckham is an explosive athlete with excellent speed, quickness, and agility. He is able to play multiple positions, including the slot. Beckham runs good routes, is very quick out of his breaks, adjusts exceptionally well to the football, and regularly makes the circus catch. He is very dangerous with the football in his hands after the catch. Competitive, passionate, and hard working, Beckham’s biggest negatives are his maturity and temperament. Beckham has a target painted on his back and has to deal with other teams trying to get under his skin. He did not play well in the playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers and suffered from more drops than usual in 2016, which may partly have been the result of a thumb injury.

Sterling Shepard was selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Giants. Shepard started all 16 regular-season games as a rookie, catching 65 passes for 683 yards (10.5 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns, mostly out of the slot. Shepard lacks ideal size, but he is strong and quick with good speed. Shepard runs good routes, is tough going over the middle, adjusts well to the football, and has good hands. He did not make many plays down the field however, with his longest reception being for 32 yards.

The good news is that Victor Cruz finally returned to the playing field in 2016 after missing most of 2014 with a career-threatening patellar tendon knee injury and all of 2015 with a calf injury – both of which required surgeries. The bad news is that Cruz no longer looks like the same player he was in 2011-2012, when he was one of the best in the game. Three lower leg surgeries in three years, including arthroscopic knee surgery in 2013, have taken their toll. In 15 regular-season games in 2016, Cruz caught just 39 passes for 586 yards and one touchdown. Signed as a rookie free agent after the 2010 NFL Draft, the rags-to-riches Victor Cruz story is well known, culminating with his impact season in 2011, first Pro Bowl in 2012, and big offseason contract in 2013. In 2011-2012, Cruz compiled 168 catches for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns. Cruz always had ordinary size and timed speed. However, his pre-injury quickness and ability to separate from defenders appears to be gone. Cruz has good hands and is capable of making the circus catch, though he sometimes will drop the easy reception. Cruz is better suited for the slot position.

THE RESERVES

In his second year with the Giants, Dwayne Harris suffered through a frustrating, injury-plagued season. While he played in all 16 regular-season games with one start, Harris was hampered by a variety of nagging injuries all season. A year after his career-best 36 catches for 396 yards and four touchdowns, Harris caught only one pass for 13 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, his special teams return numbers plummeted with his punt return average falling from 10.0 yards to 5.9 yards and his kickoff return average falling from 28.7 yards to 24.2 yards. He also did not score a year after becoming the first Giants player in 60 years to return a kickoff and punt for a touchdown in the same season. Harris did remain a force on punt coverage and he was voted to his first Pro Bowl. Harris was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Cowboys. The Giants signed him in free agency in March 2015. Though he lacks height, Harris is a well-built athlete with decent speed and quickness. He is tough and physical and an asset as a blocker in the running game. Harris can play in the slot and has decent hands. Harris has four career returns four touchdowns and has won the “NFC Special Teams Player of the Week” award four times in his career.

The Giants signed Roger Lewis as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. Lewis made the team and played in 13 regular-season games with one start. He finished with just seven catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Lewis has decent size and is a good athlete. He flashed the ability to make plays down the field but he needs to become a more consistent pro-level route runner. Lewis was utilized on special teams as a gunner on punt coverage.

Tavarres King played in seven regular-season games, finishing the year with just two catches for 50 yards. He caught three passes for 73 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown pass in the playoff loss to the Packers. King was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He has spent time with the Broncos (2013), Panthers (2013-14), Jaguars (2014), and Buccaneers (2014-15) – playing in just two regular-season games. The Giants signed King to the Practice Squad in late September 2015. King is a tall, thin receiver with very good speed. He is not a physical player and is best suited as an outside receiver.

PRACTICE SQUAD

Darius Powe was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2016. The Giants originally signed Powe as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. Powe is a big receiver with decent overall athleticism.

Kevin Norwood was signed to the Practice Squad in November 2016. Norwood was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Norwood has spent time with the Seahawks (2014), Carolina Panthers (2014-2015), and San Diego Chargers (2016). The Chargers terminated his Practice Squad contract in November. Norwood has played in 10 regular-season games with two starts. He has nine career receptions for 102 yards. Norwood is a big (6’2”, 210lbs), physical possession receiver who runs good routes. He lacks ideal speed and quickness.

INJURED RESERVE

Ben Edwards was waived/injured and then placed on Injured Reserve in May 2016 after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in one of his knees during the rookie mini-camp. Injuries have plagued Edwards who tore an ACL in college in 2013, an injury that caused him to miss all of 2014; pulled his hamstring in a June 2015 mini-camp, an injury that led him to being waived/injured; and sprained his knee in an April 2016 mini-camp. The Giants originally signed Edwards after the 2015 NFL Draft, waived/injured him in June, re-signed him to the Practice Squad in November, and signed him to the 53-man roster in December. He played in the final two games of 2015 and finished the season with one catch for nine yards. Edwards lacks ideal size and timed speed, but he is a quick receiver who plays faster than he times. Edwards runs very good routes, adjusts well to the football, and has good hands. He has experience playing in the slot and returning punts.