Aug 072020
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (August 6, 2020)

Sterling Shepard – Courtesy of New York Giants

BBI GUEST APPEARANCE ON GIANTS HUDDLE PODCAST…
In a wide-ranging discussion of current issues surrounding the New York Giants, Eric from BBI joined John Schmeelk on the Giants Huddle Podcast at Giants.com on Wednesday afternoon. The audio for the show is available at Giants.com.

AUGUST 7, 2020 SAQUON BARKLEY CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants running Saquon Barkley addressed the media on Friday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: Does this feel like starting over with this franchise? Last year was sort of a bridge with Eli and Zak around and sort of a link to the history. Now it’s all new guys.

A: Yeah, I would definitely say it’s a fresh new start. I heard you guys talking with Shep earlier about history. I do think we are doing a great job of, especially when we are in zoom meetings, understanding the history, understanding the guys before us. There is a tradition here. Like you said, Shep is the longest tenured Giant and he has only been in the league for five to six years, I guess. It’s a fresh new start, we are learning every single day, on the offensive side and on the defensive side. Learning a new scheme and system and trying to focus on the little things to get better every single day. Capitalize on the things we are able to do.

Q: When you study the history of the franchise, is it with an emphasis that we have to create the next chapter in the history?

A: I wouldn’t say there’s an emphasis of we have to create the next chapter. You have to understand your history and what we’re known for. The Giants are known for being tough, physical and doing the little things right. That’s something that Coach Judge and all the coaches have made a focal point for us in the short time that we have been here. That’s what we try to attack every single day and try to get better every single day.

Q: Have you spoken to Ezekiel Elliott about playing with Jason Garrett? Does his success make you excited about the prospect of playing for Jason Garrett this year?

A: I have not talked to Zeke directly about how he’s been coached by Coach Garrett or the system and stuff like that. I’m definitely good friends with Zeke and we respect each other, but I haven’t reached out. Zeke has had a lot of success. Not only Zeke but the running backs before him, McFadden, Murray, Barber, the list goes on. I think ever since Coach Garrett has been the head coach or OC, they have been at the top in the running game every single year. I wouldn’t say their success excites me, just what we have. I love our coaching staff, I love the energy they are bringing, and the attention to detail they are emphasizing for us. It’s only been small, it’s only been through walkthroughs, but I’m really excited.

Q: What’s the biggest area of growth you have seen with Daniel compared to a year ago? How excited are you about going into this season, his second year, with you two together?

A: Definitely excited for DJ. We definitely got a lot closer from this point where we are from him being a rookie to us actually hanging out, working out together and stuff. He’s a hard worker, he’s a heck of a player, he’s very talented. You just grow, not just saying system-wise but as a player. Being more comfortable from your rookie year to your second year. I know for myself from my first year to my second year how much more comfortable I was just being in the locker room and talking with the guys. That’s where you are going to grow, and you are going to continue to see him grow in that area. He’s a talented player and hard worker and I’m really excited to see what he is going to do this year.

Q: Have you noticed him stepping up and being that vocal leader going into this camp? I know it’s tough with just the zoom meetings. Now that you guys are back together, have you seen him take up that leadership role as a quarterback?

A: Yeah, I have definitely seen him take up that leadership role. You can see it through his work ethic. I have seen him work out a couple times. You just know he is taking that step. I am really excited for his growth. I am really excited to see what he is able to do this year.

Q: This has been a year where you guys have had to adapt. Aldrick was let go after the car accident. Today the Broward County prosecutor’s office filed charges against DeAndre Baker, so I assume he is not going to be around this season. How difficult has this whole year been?

A: Obviously there have been some things going on within the world and everything. At the same time, we are presented with an opportunity to get better every single day. That’s what we have to do. That time that we do have, we have to follow the procedures, especially with our masks. Try to keep everyone safe, because at the end of the day you are not just protecting yourself, you are protecting everyone in this building. You have to focus on that and then when we are on the practice field, we are out there to work, try to work at a high level and each rep get one percent better each day.

Q: Is it disappointing to see some of the guys have the off the field problems?

A: I’m not really going to be speaking on that. I’m just focusing on coming in here working every single day. Trying to grow as a leader and get better every single day to help my team.

Q: What do you want to see from yourself going into year three?

A: What I want to see from myself is just growth. I feel like I have been saying this answer so much in my first two years. I’m really focused on trying to get better in every area of my game. I feel like I have so much more room to continue to grow and there is so much I can continue to add to my game. I would say some big focal points are pass pro, in between the tackles, outside the tackles, catching the ball, ball security. Every single day, try to focus and try to get better in every area of my game. I am a big stickler when it comes to stuff like that. Definitely when our coaches sat down, they really have us focused on the details and all the little things matter. That’s the focus and where I want to improve my game, which I guess you could say is everything.

Q: Did any of your offseason training come about specifically because of the high ankle sprain?

A: No. To be completely honest, my approach was to try to get bigger, stronger, faster, which I think I was able to accomplish this offseason. Those injuries, the high ankle injury I had last year, that comes with the game. I got caught in a bad position at a bad time. It’s those other injuries that I want to try to take care of. Make sure I am hydrated right, make sure I am stretching. Make sure I am working with our trainers, and PT. Obviously when we are back into the regular season, all the extra stuff I do on the outside. Just try to focus on all the little things that I can control. The injuries that you can’t control, that’s just part of the game that I love. Hopefully I can stay away from that.

Q: How hungry are you to be a part of a winning team? Your success personally aside, it’s now been a few years since you have been a part of a team that finishes with a winning record?

A: That’s the motive. That’s why we come in every single day and why we work every single day, to get better every single day, one percent better. Yes, do we want to have a winning record? Yes, that’s every team. I’m a big believer, I know what we are getting taught and what’s going on now, that’s not going to happen if we don’t take care of the little things. I want that and if I’m hungry for that, which I am, I have to focus on today. Right now, after this meeting, get some nutrition and go into meetings and try and learn and get better in the system and this offense.

Q: When you look at this time right now, there are a lot of expectations that are very low outside of your building. New head coach, second year quarterback in a new system, things like that. What do you see as reasons for optimism? You have been around the team that’s lost. What tells you that this could be different?

A: What tells me this could be different, one, it’s a brand-new year. It’s a fresh start. From what I have seen in these first couple of days is we are steps ahead, in my opinion. We are coming in, we’re locked in. Are mistakes being made, yes, that’s part of the nature of learning a system and learning a new offense. We have what I believe is really great coaching staff starting with Coach Judge to Coach Garrett and so on down the line. They are doing a tremendous job of having us focusing on the little things and focused on situational football, which I think is a part of our game we can improve on from this year to last year.

Q: How much thought did you give to opting out? What is your level of concern with playing a season in the middle of all this?

A: Great question. To be completely honest, I believe in our training room and our team and facility and our owners. They have done a tremendous job of putting the procedures in place and giving us the right equipment to make it as safe as it could be. I want to say thank you to those guys because they are doing a really good job and every single day, they put us in the best position to stay healthy and safe to be able to compete at a high level.

Q: How concerned are you that you might not make it through the full season? You see what’s going on in baseball and there have been problems along the way? How much is that something you guys talk about and think about?

A: When you see the stuff that is going on in baseball, I guess you could say it crosses your mind. We talked about this as a team, we have to focus on how we can take advantage of this. How we need to stay committed to the procedures of wearing a mask and even when outside following the procedures to stay as healthy as we can. There hasn’t been that much talk in the locker room. We talked about it a little bit, what happened in baseball. The only way we can handle it and try to focus on the season is by focusing on us and making sure we are following the procedures to try and stay healthy.

Q: What has it been like this training camp when you are not at the facility? What would you be doing at night that you are not doing now? What’s missing from the nighttime and how are you following the protocols?

A: In camp, it’s really similar. The only thing that’s different is you are allowed to be in the hotel or your house. Instead of going to a hotel, I go home. In camp, it’s different. When the season starts, you just have to be smart. If you want to go grab a bite to eat, you have to be smart. When fans come up and ask you for pictures or an autograph, that’s something that I have seen happen to me, I have to make sure I’m wearing my mask and make sure they are wearing a mask. Obviously, still be polite. That could be that little situation that could take a turn for the worst. That’s definitely in the back of your mind. Just go in every single day and try to do the best you can. Still try to live the life that you love to live. Just do it in a smarter way because you’re not just protecting yourself, you are protecting the people in your home. When you come here, you are protecting everyone in this facility and everyone that they have at home.

AUGUST 7, 2020 STERLING SHEPARD CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard addressed the media on Friday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: I wanted to ask you a little bit about some of the things that happened in the offseason, your participation in the “I am George Floyd” video. Were you surprised at how quickly the NFL responded to that? Can you just tell us a little bit about how that came together and how that’s going to continue through the season?

A: Yeah, Mike Thomas had approached me about it, and I’m very supportive of it. That was something that I was very passionate about. I’m very supportive of change in the right way. That’s just kind of how it came about and how I heard about it. But yeah, moving forward as a team, we have things in place that we’re getting out to these communities and getting active. That’s something that I wanted to do, was take action.

Q: Are you going to wear a name or initials on your helmet, and do you know which ones yet if you are?

A: We haven’t really discussed it as a team yet, but we want to be unified. That’s something that we’ll talk about as a team.

Q: Just to get back to the first question, were you surprised about how quickly the league responded to that? I think it was probably within 24 hours that they came out with their own video.

A: Yeah, I think the impact of the video was pretty big. I expected them to handle it in the right way, and it seems like they did.

Q: You saw all of the opt-outs around the league. You have two young children. Did you give any consideration to opting out yourself? And your thoughts on the players who did?

A: I’m supportive of all the players that did. Everyone is going to make a decision based on what’s going on around them in their household, and make the decision that’s best for them. That’s the way we approached that as a family. We sat down and talked about it, and I made the decision that was best for my family.

Q: Along those same lines, what are you doing during camp? Are you going home at the end of the day? Are you staying at the hotel?

A: Yeah, I’m staying with my family. I have to get up a bit earlier because I’m not by the stadium, but yeah, that’s the decision I made to be with my family.

Q: How much of a conscious decision is it going to be to sort of limit activities when you’re not at the facility so you’re not exposing yourself, as much as you can control?

A: Yeah, for the past few months, I’ve been with the family not really doing much anyway. It’s kind of continuing the same thing. Just chilling with the family. It’s good family time.

Q: No Eli (Manning), no (Zak) DeOssie. You’re the longest-tenured member in that locker room and really the longest-tenured football player in all of New York, including the Jets. What does that mean? What does that come with? Did it come quicker than normal? You were “Young Shep” last year. Now I guess you’re “Old Shep”.

A: Yeah, I might have to shake the “Young Shep” off. I was thinking about that. I did not know that about the whole New York with the Jets and everything. But yeah, just set a good example for the young guys and kind of teach them about some of the different rivalries that we have and how important those games are to the New York Giants as an organization.

Q: You tell me, does Leonard (Williams) count? He’s been in New York one year longer but he changed teams. Does he count or are you the old guy?

A: Leonard’s up there, but if you’re talking about our team, I guess I am at the top.

Q: In terms of this offense, for you, I should have done the math but for how many new offenses, new wrinkles that you’ve had to learn since you’ve been here, what do you like about it? What have you seen from the guys you’ve trained with, obviously, with Daniel (Jones) and Saquon (Barkley) and Evan (Engram)? What has you most excited about what the new system brings?

A: Yeah, it’s an offense that utilizes everyone’s skill set. It’s a lot of moving pieces as well, which I like about it. I like to move around the field and the guys that I’ve played with like to move around, too. It makes it tough on defenses. Yeah, those are some of the things that I like about it, just being able to utilize everyone’s skill set.

Q: Do you feel like you guys have gained an understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish yet, or is that still ongoing?

A: Yeah, it’s still in the works. I’m proud of the guys and the way that everyone has been approaching each day. It’s a lot on us right now with all of the information being shoved at us. We’re kind of on a time crunch. I’m proud of the guys and the way we’ve been working.

Q: For you, I don’t know if we’ve ever even asked you this, but what does the idea of being a captain on the team mean? Have you ever thought about yourself being voted as a captain here since like you said in your previous answer, you’ve been a young guy, young guy, then all of a sudden, you’re kind of a veteran here?

A: If that’s what ends up happening and that’s the way my team sees me, then I’ll be happy to wear that badge and take that role. I’m happy with whatever role. I can lead in different ways, like I have for the last four years that I’ve been here. Whichever role they have me in, I’m going to find a way to lead.

Q: Have you spoken to Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott or any of the other Cowboys players about what it’s like playing for Jason Garrett and what to expect during the season?

A: No, I actually haven’t. I was going to reach out to Zeke at some point, but I never got around to it. I like to get my own view on the coaches and how they operate. That’s kind of what I’ve been doing these past few days.

Q: Just as a quick follow-up going back to the start, did you speak with Joe Judge at all about the Black Lives Matter video or social justice causes? I was wondering what his reaction to all of that stuff was.

A: No, I didn’t talk about that specifically, but we did have a talk as a team.

Q: You’ve had some time to spend with Daniel this offseason. You’ve worked with him a whole bunch. What do you expect from Daniel Jones 2.0, and what were those workouts like when you guys worked in New Jersey, and he also held the ones in Texas?

A: They were good. We were just trying to get down some of the material. Now that we’re here, that’s pretty much all that we’re focused on. All that stuff is behind us. Some of the things we were working on, Coach has added some of the little nuances in, different route techniques. Some of the stuff we thought we were doing right, but just fine-tuning those things. We’re really just focused on getting these plays down and getting down what the coaches like and getting on the same page with each other.

Q: What are your expectations for him? What are you expecting from Daniel Jones in his second year?

A: Just to continue to do what he’s doing. He’s going in the right direction. He comes in here and works his butt off every single day. If we keep doing what we’re supposed to do as a unit and he continues to work as hard as he’s been working, I feel like he’ll be doing great.

Q: I want to go back to a question that was asked earlier about you being the longest-tenured Giant here. With the departure of Eli and Zak, kind of like all the history that carried over from year to year, from generation to generation, has kind of evaporated. What are you doing or what can you do, I mean you haven’t been around long, but you are the longest-tenured guy. How are you as a team re-capturing some of that history, starting to develop an understanding and appreciation of that history from recent years?

A: When we were going through the OTA period on the Zoom calls, the coaches would have some trivia questions for us, so we did this Kahoot! challenge to kind of get guys going and understanding the history of the organization. Those were some of the different ways that we’ve already began to teach some of these newcomers and guys that really don’t know much about the history of the Giants, a way to get them caught up.

Q: How important is that to know the history of the team? Some guys come in and they’re all about ball. But I get the impression just from talking to some guys over the years that they don’t really learn the history of the franchise. The Giants are one of the most storied franchises. How much of an emphasis is being put on that?

A: Yeah, I think it’s very important to know the history. You have to know what the guys before you have done and how they played football, and to continue to play that way because that’s what this organization was built on and that’s what it’s used to. I think it’s important and the coaches do as well. That’s the reason they had us doing those different Kahoot! challenges and trivia questions.

AUGUST 7, 2020 LEONARD WILLIAMS CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams addressed the media on Friday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: What has this offseason been like for you? When you got the franchise tag, was it your intention to get a long-term deal to stay with the Giants and what happened with that?

A: I think it’s always in the player’s interest to get a long-term deal, but that’s something that worked itself out between my agents and the organization. I’m just happy to be here, play with this team again, and learn about the guys that I’ve been with since last year. I got to know them a little bit more and play again with them this year. I’ve just been training hard and was ready for anything to happen. I was just trying to stay ready so I didn’t have to get ready.

Q: Was it disappointing to not get that deal and to be playing on another make good kind of contract year?

A: I wouldn’t say it was disappointing. I kind of knew the situation I was coming off of last year. I think it’s actually a good opportunity for myself. I’m looking at it as an opportunity. I’m not looking at it as something that’s bad. I’m looking at it as an opportunity.

Q: Obviously, the trade got a lot of criticism from outsiders and the franchise tag kind of got some criticism. Do you feel like you have anything to prove this season?

A: I wouldn’t say I have something to prove necessarily. I think the coaches know and my teammates know what I bring to the table or I wouldn’t be here. I definitely still feel like I’m playing with a chip on my shoulder at the same time, though. I’m ready to just go out here and play the best that I can. It starts today. It starts one day at a time. I’m not looking towards the future or next offseason or what’s going to happen a year from now. I’m just trying to get better right now and see what I can do for my team.

Q: You’ve obviously been in the league for a few years. Do you think there’s another level you can reach?

A: Definitely. I’m definitely still a young player in this league. I feel like I still have a lot in the tank. I still feel like I have a lot of years left in me to play in this league. I think I just need to keep going and take it day by day like I said.

Q: Eli Manning retired, Zak DeOssie retired, Bilal Powell is not here anymore. Leonard Williams is the New York football player who’s been in New York the longest. Obviously, you changed teams, but you’re the guy who’s been here the longest, the longest New York NFL player. What do you like about playing here? People are hard about this city, with us, with the fans, everything is scrutinized. Do you like it or do you almost wonder sometimes what it would be like somewhere else?

A: No, I love it. It’s a great media market. It’s crazy to think, first of all, that I’ve been here the longest. I’m only 26 years old. That makes me feel really old that I’ve been here the longest in New York. But yeah, it’s a great media, it’s a great city, great teams in this area historically and things like that. It’s great to be in a city like this, and you can take advantage of it if you can.

Q: Quick follow up. You’re on that Non-Football Injury list. Do you know how it happened, what happened, and when you expect to be back?

A: We can’t really talk about injuries. If somebody wants to get more information on that, you might have to bring it up with Coach (Joe) Judge or someone else on the team. I’m definitely making strides on it and doing the best that I can to get out there with my teammates.

Q: Two-parter for you. One, your first impressions of Sean Spencer, the d-line coach, what’s it been like working with him and getting on the field with him? Two, with this being kind of such a big prove-it year for you, is there something about this scheme and this system that makes you think this could be a breakout season for you?

A: Yeah, I love the scheme. I feel like our DC, Pat Graham, I feel like he’s a genius when it comes to x’s and o’s and stuff like that. I also love working with Coach Spencer so far. I like his energy and the way he coaches his guys. He’s real hands-on. He has that loud, deep voice that as a d-line coach, it’s kind of something that I like. I like it.

Q: I saw this offseason that you and Richard Seymour had gotten together and did some training. I’m not sure if it went beyond that initial meeting, but I’m just curious how that came about, what did you look to learn from him, what kind of parts of your game did you guys kind of focus on?

A: Richard Seymour is a good guy. He basically worked with my agent back in the day, Eugene Parker. I’m kind of working with his son now. They kind of linked us together. I went to Atlanta and met up with him. He brought me into his home, we watched film together. We just talked man to man about football and life and stuff like that. I feel like he’s just a mentor to me at this point. We’ve been able to keep in touch throughout the offseason and up to this point.

Q: With the film you watched together, did you watch him, did you watch you or both? What from his game can you bring to yours?

A: Not just mine or just him, D-line film in general and stuff like that. A little bit of both mine and his. He’s a really big, tall dude who uses power and I just feel like he was trying to teach me some of the things that he did. We worked out and stuff so he could see my body type and how I move and my strengths and stuff like that. He was giving me feedback and advice.

Q: We all want instant gratification no matter what profession we are in. How have you been balancing your desire to really take your game to the next level but at the same time realizing it’s a process. Coming over to a new system, a new team and having to learn it and then on top of that learning a new playbook and then having to learn a new playbook all over again.

A: For me, I definitely understand it’s a process. I got traded midseason, I had to learn a whole new team, a whole new system halfway through the season last year. Now I’m learning a whole new team and a whole new system. Every year is a new team, and now it’s a new system again. I understand it’s a process, not just with the system but in general, it’s a process. I don’t let too much outside noise get to me, I just try to work hard, keep the blinders on and keep working and doing what I can do.

Q: Right now, it’s projected that the starting defensive line is going to remain unchanged. It’s going to be yourself, Dexter and Dalvin. How important is that continuity and what have you seen in this new system that has benefitted the group as a whole.

A: I don’t know what’s set as far as who is starting. All I know is we have been competing and pushing each other and I think in general that’s going to fuel the team to be great and to be better. When you have young guys that are dedicated to working hard and getting better, it’s a great way to drive each other. I definitely respect those guys in the room, and I think we all have great respect for each other and we learn from each other.

Q: How are you expecting to be deployed in this defense? Are you expecting to play all over like last year? How exactly did you hurt your hamstring coming into camp?

A: For the second part, like I said, you might have to bring that up to Coach Judge or someone else in the building because we’re not talking about injuries. I’ve just been working on it and getting better. I’ll be out there with my teammates when I can. For the defensive part of it, it’s only week one. We are still installing a bunch of defenses. So far, I have been seeing myself in a few different positions. At the same time, I am not fully 100 percent with the injury. I’m sure stuff will change when I am back to 100 percent and once stuff gets fully installed. There is still week one stuff going on, it’s still an introduction to the defense to the team.

Q: If the schedule were normal, you would be a couple days away from your preseason opener. Do you think that the team and players will miss anything by not having preseason games? Do you need those couple of thumps against another team to get ready? Do you think everybody can roll into the regular season and it will be football as normal?

A: I’m not sure, I think it will be a little bit of a change and a challenge. I think some of the preseason games definitely help for younger guys who have never played in the NFL or younger guys who are working to make the team. It gives the coaches an opportunity to see them in a live game type of environment. At the same time, I think the team is doing a great job of creating that competitive environment to see everybody’s best. We’re making do with what we have. The coronavirus is affecting everybody in the world and we’re not excluded from that. We are doing the best we can.

May 142020
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 29, 2019)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp hopefully beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Keep in mind that some of the players discussed may be cut as the 2020 NFL draft class signs their rookie contracts.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Running Backs

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW: Coming off an incredible debut season in 2018, where he earned “Offensive Rookie of the Year” honors and led the NFL with 2,028 yards from scrimmage, much was expected of Saquon Barkley in 2019. However, his second pro season quickly became forgettable after he suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 3. The injury caused him to miss three games and nagged him much of the remainder of the season. Playing soft and tentative at times, Barkley did not show signs of his old self until December. Nevertheless, Barkley still rushed 217 times for 1,003 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and six touchdowns behind an offensive line that did not block very well. He also caught 52 passes for 438 yards and two touchdowns.

The game that best epitomized Barkley’s frustrating season was the Week 14 contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants led 17-3 at halftime, yet the team’s offensive brain trust only called for seven runs by Barkley in the second half. Three weeks later, the Giants faced the Eagles again, this time in the Meadowlands. Barkley’s 68-yard touchdown late in the 3rd quarter tied the game at 17-17. Yet the Eagles went on to win comfortably as Barkley only touched the ball twice before the score became 34-17 in the 4th quarter. One was left with the sense that the coaching staff simply did not use Barkley to full effect.

Unbelievably, and especially when you consider the fact that Barkley missed three games and played hurt in the final 10 games, no other running back on the roster gained more than Wayne Gallman’s 110 yards. To put this in perspective, Daniel Jones rushed for 279 yards. Gallman’s stock plummeted, falling from Barkley’s primary back-up to being a healthy scratch from the game-day roster in the last five contests of the season. Gallman carried the ball only 29 times all year. Jon Hilliman only carried the ball 30 times for 91 yards. Eli Penny 15 times for 39 yards. Javorius Allen 10 times for 36 yards. In other words, all of the other backs combined only gained 276 yards, or three less than Daniel Jones (who only played 12 games).

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The team decided not to re-sign unrestricted free agent Javorius Allen, but did re-sign fullback Eli Penny to a 2-year contract. Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman, Jon Hilliman, and practice squad fullback George Aston also return.

Newcomers include Dion Lewis (signed by Giants after he was cut by Tennessee Titans), Javon Leake (undrafted rookie free agent), and Sandro Platzgummer (Austrian from the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program).

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Saquon Barkley is a generational talent. His presence on the roster had to be an immense appeal to coaches like Joe Judge, Jason Garrett, and Burton Burns, the latter coming back to coaching at the age of 67. But as we saw with Odell Beckham, talent guarantees nothing. And it is up to Judge, Garrett, and Burns to get the very best out of Barkley. Burns is an under-the-radar addition. He’s an old-school, demanding hard-ass, but running backs love playing for him.

Judge has stated numerous times that New York’s offensive game plans will change weekly depending on the opponent, to the point where he said there may be games where the Giants almost exclusively run or pass the football. Given the fact that Barkley is a superb receiving target and that Garrett had the Cowboys throw a ton to Ezekiel Elliott, Barkley should be heavily involved in any game plan. At the same time, the pressure is on all of the new offensive coaches, including offensive line coach Marc Colombo, and the blockers up front to simply give Barkley a chance to do his his thing. Too many times, Barkey was having to avoid tacklers in the backfield. Barkley also needs to touch the football, particularly in the clutch. When he does, good things happen.

There were a couple of red flags with Barkley last year. He still dances around a bit too much instead of taking what is there. And after he got hurt, Barkley looked tentative and indeed soft at times. That changed in December as his ankle got stronger. Hopefully that was only an anomaly. Other than that, Barkley is a legitimate League MVP candidate if he can stay healthy and keep his head on straight.

The other story line of camp is the depth situation behind Barkley. Gallman has not developed as hoped. Penny is more of a fullback. Hilliman didn’t impress as a rookie. The Giants added Dion Lewis, a smaller, elusive journeyman who did his best work in New England.

ON THE BUBBLE: Honestly, I don’t think anyone other than Barkley is totally safe. This is an area where the Giants may be actively scanning the waiver wire before the season starts. Given Judge’s familiarity with Lewis and his versatility as a runner, receiver, and returner, Lewis also has a good shot to make the roster.

PREDICTIONS: I’m a little bit wary of piling on the previous coaching staff, but I just don’t get the impression that they were terribly imaginative in using Saquon Barkley in the passing game (there was an odd, overreliance on the wheel route). The run blocking obviously wasn’t good either. Talent? Coaching? Scheme? Probably a combination of all three. When something worked, the Giants moved away from it, and just when you thought the opponent should be hit with a heavy dose of Barkley, he was nowhere to be seen.

On paper, Garrett, Colombo, Burns, and tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens are major upgrades in the coaching department. I think they will know how to use Barkley. I also expect Will Hernandez, Kevin Zeitler, and Nate Solder to play much better and for Andrew Thomas and possibly Shane Lemieux or Nick Gates to make an impact. Provided he stays healthy and focused, Barkley should hit the 2,000 yard mark again. He’s clearly one of the very best players in the entire League.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Saquon Barkley, Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman, Eli Penny

After Barkley and Lewis, this is a bit dicey. Gallman is on the bubble. Penny is replaceable. A guy like Javon Leake could easily press for a roster spot, especially given his kick return skills. Hell, a guy like Sandro Plazgummer probably couldn’t have picked a better team to compete on. My guess is Gettleman and Judge will be actively scanning the waiver wire here. Don’t be shocked to see running back a priority area next offseason. The Giants need better insurance behind Barkley.

May 132020
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (October 10, 2019)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

MAY 13, 2020 DANIEL JONES CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones addressed the media by conference call on Wednesday. (Video is available from Giants.com)

Q: Going into your second year, you have to learn a new offense, you have a new offensive coordinator, a whole new system. What kind of challenge is that like? How are you getting it remotely? What is your relationship with Jason Garrett like? How different is this whole thing for you?
A: It’s definitely different. We’re doing the Zoom meetings like we are now, over the computer, so it’s definitely different than being in person. But I think it’s going well. We’re adjusting to the different circumstances. I think guys are really picking up the system, are able to learn and be like we would in person. We’re able to get together, ask questions, converse with each other and our coaches. I think it’s been going well. The only thing I have to compare to is last year. It’s different, but having the advantage of learning a system is helping me trying to find ways that are similar, ways that are different and using that to learn as much as I can.

Q: Is it going to be like apples and oranges or like apples and a different kind of apple you think this offseason?
A: I don’t know. I think there are definitely some similarities. When you look at any offense, there will be similarities, but also a lot of differences. I don’t know if it’ll be apples to apples, but a lot of ways I can find comparisons and ways I can speed up my learning through doing things similar as the past.

Q: Just some basic questions. Where are you? How are you throwing?
A: I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m staying at my parents’ house with my three siblings, so we’re all hanging out here, packed in. I’m throwing with a small group of guys, trying to stay consistent and do our best to do that. But at the same time, keep my arm in shape, staying in shape, trying to stay on top of all of that. Down here in Charlotte, we’re obviously doing our best to social distance, but in terms of using space outside, we’re still committed to doing that. I’ve been throwing with a couple of guys.

Q: Are these college players or just friends or what?
A: Yeah, some college players, some people who I used to throw with in high school who went on to play in college at different places, and a couple other guys.

Q: What are you working on in particular this offseason from a technique, fundamental standpoint? When you looked at the film of last year, what did you pinpoint as areas where you needed to get better, and how are you kind of attacking that specifically this offseason?
A: To me, I think the biggest thing is ball security, and particularly in the pocket, protecting the ball. That’s a fundamental skill that for the quarterback position, that’s something that’s crucial but also to me a fairly simple fix in that it’s a mindfulness, being intentional with securing the ball, having two hands on it. When you’re moving, when you’re having to adjust in the pocket, you’re maintaining that security. I’m trying to emphasize that, doing different drills and making sure that I’m always cognizant of that and being very intentional in that.

Q: Are you having guys try to swat the ball out of your hands? How do you simulate that in a practice, park-like setting?
A: I’ve been working with a quarterback coach here. He’s someone who has helped me with that and we’ve talked about it a lot. He’ll make sure I’m staying on top of that while, like you said, swatting at the ball and trying to simulate things that will happen in the game.

Q: Along the same lines, as a young quarterback, how much do you think an unorthodox offseason like this can impact your development? My second question is, what was your opinion of Joe Judge the first couple of months he was hired, not throwing his weight behind you as a franchise quarterback and just kind of saying everyone has to compete for each job?
A: This offseason is obviously different for everyone, including me being a guy who’s trying to learn football, who’s trying to make a step in my second year playing in the NFL. But everyone is dealing with these circumstances. Everyone is having to adjust. I’m no different from that. No one’s going to be giving breaks to people who are working remotely because everyone is working remotely and having to do it. I understand that. I don’t think it’ll be a disadvantage if we approach it like we have, if we approach it like the opportunity it is, to use the time as well as we possibly can. The question about Coach Judge, I think Coach Judge has a policy on that. He has a way he’s going to approach those situations, and I respect that. I respect his emphasis on everyone earning their roles. I certainly wouldn’t want it to be any other way. I want to earn my role as anyone else earns theirs.

Q: I know earlier in the offseason you had a chance to bring a couple of receivers with you to Charlotte. How valuable was that? How have you, because obviously building chemistry in the offseason is a big part of being a quarterback with the wide receivers. How have you been able to simulate that?
A: Yeah, that was valuable. We actually went to Duke, a couple of guys, and threw for a little bit there. That was valuable to get that time together. I was actually back up in Jersey for most of the offseason until this outbreak, so I was able to throw with guys who were around there. We’re all doing our best to stay in shape. These conversations, a lot of our meetings have to do with routes, trying to get on the same page, trying to see things the same and talk through a lot of that, talk through a lot of those finer points. I think we can still work on those things. Although we’re not able to get on the field, we can work to come to understandings about how we’re going to run certain things, when we’re going to look for certain routes and that sort of stuff. Yeah, that was a valuable time, for sure.

Q: How much of a responsibility do you feel that you have to take on a bigger leadership role now that you’re in your second year and you’ve been around these guys a little more?
A: Yeah, I definitely feel that responsibility. We have a lot of guys on our team who are leaders, who can step up and organize guys and get things going in the right direction.  But I feel that responsibility. That’s something I need to take seriously, and I certainly do.

Q: When Jason Garrett gets hired as offensive coordinator, there’s that feeling of ‘Ok, we don’t have the playbook yet.’ But I’m curious, did you dive right into Cowboys’ film as much as you could to try to see if, obviously, you can connect the dots. As Coach Judge told us last night, this offense that he’s bringing here now is going to have a lot of similarities to what they did in Dallas. I’m just curious, even before you got the playbook here, how much of your homework was on the Cowboys and studying what they did and trying to get a head start?
A: I certainly did that, diving into some of the Cowboys’ stuff and what they had done in the past. The rules make it tough to communicate a whole lot about that stuff, so there’s a little bit of patience involved in that and getting to the point where we could get the playbook and kind of understand some of the concepts and get some of the verbiage. I did my best to be prepared for when I could get my hands on that stuff.

Q: Knowing you and how you are, I’m curious, have you got the playbook as a whole yet? I know the coaches are kind of installing it piecemeal, but for you, do you have to pull back a little bit and not go too far ahead, or are you kind of going as far as you can and seeing how much you can soak in, even before it gets put into the meetings?
A: I’m trying to stay on top of it. With all of this stuff, it’s a lot of information. It’s a whole new system. I’m trying to work at the pace we’re asked to and understanding as much as I can thoroughly and fully before trying to jump ahead and it’s not taught completely. I think the coaches have done a really good job, like you said, separating it out and getting it to us piece by piece. I’m trying to do my best to stay on top of it and be prepared for the meetings we’re having.

Q: I know you said generally there are some similarities and differences. I’m curious if you can identify what some of the biggest differences are in this offense from what you ran last year?
A: The verbiage will be different. How they name concepts, and obviously, formations and motions are different. That’s probably the biggest thing. There will certainly be different concepts, there will be concepts that we’re going to read in different ways. But there will also be some similar concepts. You notice some similarities. You get plays that it seems like a lot of teams in the NFL run. There are similarities, but I think the differences are kind of in the verbiage and how we’re going to call certain things.

Q: I’m curious, in the draft they took Andrew Thomas number four, they took three linemen. They really committed to the offensive line. I’m wondering, what makes you the most excited and what do you think the biggest impact is going to be to the organization really committing to building up the line in front of you as a young quarterback?
A: I’m excited to get to work with those guys. Andrew and the rest of the guys we drafted, I’m excited to work with them. They’re coming in and I think they understand the responsibility they have. They have to earn their roles like everyone else does. I think they understand that and they’re taking that seriously. I’m excited to get to work. I’m excited to do what I can to help the team and work with them as we go forward.

Q: Having guys like Will (Hernandez) and Andrew and potentially even someone like Shane Lemieux and yourself, all drafted in the last three years. Do you allow yourself to think about, ‘Ok, these might be the guys that are protecting me for the most of my career and we can kind of grow and develop and gel together’?
A: Right now, we’re certainly focused on what we’re doing. We’re working towards this year, working towards the 2020 season. What that looks like right now are these Zoom meetings and working together. Coach has made a big point about getting to know our teammates, even though we’re not in the building and around each other every day, that we make a point to get to know guys. To reach out to guys and stay in touch. Those are the things we’re focused on right now. Those are the important things working towards this 2020 season.

Q: Do you go into this season thinking ‘This is my team’? Part two, what kind of leader will you be?
A: I think going into this year, like I said earlier, I certainly feel the responsibility of being a leader. That’s something I take seriously. But it’s our team. I don’t know if it’s one guy’s team. It’s not coach’s team, it’s not my team, it’s not Saquon’s team or anyone else’s. It’s our team, and I understand that. Leadership wise, I’m going to do my best to, at first, take care of what I’m doing, take care of my responsibility, be prepared and playing at a high level. Hopefully that rubs off on guys, and try to do my best to help guys and work with guys as best I can. But I think at this point, what we’re doing right now, we need to stay on top of our information, make sure we’re doing our best to be prepared when we can get back up to New Jersey.

Q: I’m curious how life has changed for you right now? Last year at this time, right after the draft, I read a quote that some guy at an ice cream store didn’t even recognize you or something like that. How has life changed for you around Charlotte? Are you, for lack of a better term, are you famous now? When you go out to restaurants, do more people recognize you? You’re an NFL quarterback living with his parents and his siblings. Is it different or does it feel like it did when you were in college?
A: It feels pretty similar to how it did in college. I don’t get recognized much around here. Obviously, we’re not going out a whole lot or going to restaurants all that often. But when I am out, I’m not often recognized. It’s probably pretty similar to how it was last year or the year before when I was growing up here in Charlotte.

Q: Just from a draft standpoint, you mentioned the offensive linemen. You guys didn’t draft any running backs, any receivers. It’s pretty much you and the skilled players from last year. Do you guys feel that the offense has to be ahead of the defense while the defense integrates all of its new pieces? Does the offense feel a certain pressure I guess to lead the way?
A: I don’t think so. We’re certainly going to do our best to be prepared and to be ready to go when we get back up there. Something Coach has emphasized and made clear to us, it’s about the team. It’s about offense, defense, special teams and making sure we’re all complementing each other. We’re not concerned with one side of the ball leading the other, or like you said, out in front of the other for any reason. We’re going to make sure we’re working together. It’s about all three sides of the ball, being prepared and doing their job.

Q: I know Coach (Jerry) Schuplinski has been in your ear most of the time, but I was wondering if you could talk about the advantages of working with Coach Garrett, who is a former NFL quarterback, what he possibly brings to the equation and your learning process that maybe you didn’t have before?
A: Yeah, it’s been great working with Coach Schuplinski and Coach Garrett. I think both guys have a ton of experience working with quarterbacks, and like you said, Coach Garrett played in the NFL for a long time. That’s helpful experience, too. I’m trying to do my best to learn from them, pick up as much as I can and, like I said, stay on top of the information. It’s been going well so far, and I’ve enjoyed working with them.

Q: The second part of my question has to do with Cooper Rush, who played for Coach Garrett down in Dallas, he’s familiar with the system, the language and stuff. What has it been like having him in the room with you and how has that helped your learning process, maybe expediting it and grasping it?
A: He’s been great to have in the room so far. He’s been in the system for a number of years and understands it well. He’s able to answer a lot of our questions and, like you said, kind of speed up that learning process. We’ve enjoyed having him.

Q: You’ve had a little time to digest the playbook. I’m wondering when you look at it, why do you think maybe it fits your skillset or fits the skillset of the players you have around you? What is it that you think can be successful for you and this team in general with this playbook and this offense that you’re going to run?
A: I think the biggest thing is it’s been successful. It’s scored a lot of points and gained a lot of yards. When you compare it to, I’ve only played in the NFL for one year, so there’s a lot out there I haven’t done, there’s a lot out there I don’t know. Trying to fit a system a certain way because of me, I’m not sure that makes sense. But the system has been successful. When you look at it, guys have been successful in it. I think that’s the biggest thing. I feel like we have a lot of guys that can make plays. We have guys at every position that can make plays. You’ll see that in the system like you have in the past.

Q: Have you talked to any of those guys who have been in that system in the past? Maybe Tony Romo or people like that, that have been in the system?
A:  I have a little bit, not a ton, to be honest with you. But I’m sure I will as we kind of get going.

Q: Is that talking to Tony Romo or just people in general?
A: Yeah, Tony. I spoke with Tony briefly, but we didn’t get into the system a whole lot. I look forward to talking to some of those guys and hearing their perspective on it.

Q: Has it been different without Eli (Manning) being in there also?
A: Yeah, it’s been different because we’re on the computer. But yeah, Eli not being there is different. The team is a little different, but we’re adjusting and making it work, making the best of it. It’s been good.

Q: You just talked about Eli. Last week, he was on the radio and he said that he thought things were going to be a lot easier for you this year with him gone. That it was probably a bit awkward for you to take over the team with the guy you were replacing still being on the roster. When you look back, was it awkward at all? Do you think he’s right that it probably should be a little easier for you now that Eli’s gone?
A: I think looking back, it probably was a little bit awkward at certain times. But we did a good job working together. I know I enjoyed working with him and certainly learned a ton from him and appreciate everything he did during that year. I don’t know. It certainly will be different, like we’re saying. Different in the room. But I really enjoyed working with Eli last year. I thought it was a huge advantage for me to be able to learn from him and talk to him every day. It will be different, it will be an adjustment, but I’m looking forward to this year and this team we have.

Q: When you talk to the guys, either on Zoom or privately, is there a lot of discussion about what’s going on, updates, ‘I’m hearing this, what are you hearing? What’s it like in your community? When do you think we can get back?’ You know, there’s a lot of anxiety with a lot of people, when is it going to become normal?’ Obviously, you’re not in control of anything but is there an anxiety or a feeling of ‘When we get back, is it going to be safe?’ Do guys talk about safety and things like that?
A: Yeah, just like probably everyone across the country is right now wondering about those things, wondering about how it is in certain communities, how guys are feeling about it, how people’s families are doing with it and certainly being cognizant of what’s going on in New Jersey and New York. We’re talking about that like anyone else does. But I’m not sure anyone has a great idea about any of it or really knows, like you said, when we’ll get back up there. The only thing we can really do is focus on these OTAs, on these Zoom meetings, and do what we can to be prepared whenever the opportunity to get back up there comes.

MAY 13, 2020 SAQUON BARKLEY CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley addressed the media by conference call on Wednesday. (Video is available from Giants.com)

Q: Is it hard for you like the rest of us just not knowing when you’re going to be able to get back to a sense of normalcy? You talked to the quote unquote pundits and they don’t have a lot of high expectations for you guys this year. I’m curious what your expectations are for this team and what would constitute a successful season in your eyes?
A: Yeah, I mean it is a little stressful just like everyone else. You know, everyone’s ready to get back to wherever (inaudible) and whatever it’s going to be for us. But at the end of the day, it’s a serious matter that’s going on and need to make sure everyone’s safe and healthy. With expectations, you know, right now no one can see the forecast, no one can see what’s going to happen for the season this year. The only thing that we can do as a team is try to take advantage of this time that we have. Yes, it’s a little different and a little awkward because it’s on iPads and phones and doing Zoom meetings. But, still try to take advantage of that and prepare as best as we can so when we are able to get back to what we know as normal, we’re prepared.

Q: I would imagine you’ve never played in an empty stadium before. How will you prepare yourself for the eventuality of playing football possibly with no live fans or with half built stadiums? Of course, any big play you make is accompanied by a swell of energy and you probably wouldn’t have that. From a player’s perspective how would you handle that in a game?
A: Yeah, it would definitely be different– from playing in the NFL, playing around fans with the Giants, and then obviously in college at Penn State, which is an amazing place, amazing fans there too. But at the end of the day it kind of goes down to just playing ball. Kind of when you were a kid when no one’s watching, in the backyard, or for instance when we’re at practice. I know some practices we used to have fans there and have the media there, but most of the time no one is there. It’s just us going at it and getting better every single day. I guess that’s kind of the same approach I would take if that was the case.

Q: When you hear (Head Coach Joe) Judge talk about your offense and how it could look very similar to what the Cowboys have done the past few years, how excited are you to play in this new scheme when you see how (Ezekiel Elliott) Zeke was utilized? Having Dion Lewis in the running back room, what is that element added and what do you think having both of you guys in the backfield can provide for this offense?
A: I don’t think I just get excited because of how successful Ezekiel Elliott has been, just how successful Dallas has been in recent years. Obviously, kind of just meeting coaches and talking to coaches and getting to know them, I’m kind of just more excited for that. It’s a fresh start, it’s a new start. You learn a new system, kind of feel like a rookie again. Obviously you understand football a little bit more than you probably would coming from college into the NFL, but I’m really excited to just attack it and get ready for it when an opportunity presents itself. Yeah, having Dion, anytime you can have a veteran guy who’s done it at a high level and is going to continue to do it at a high level, it’s always beneficial to be able to learn from.

Q: Do you embrace the leadership role and do you see yourself as one of the key players in that regard with this team?
A: Yeah, I definitely embrace the leadership role. That’s something that I kind of tried to take on last year and still try to continue to learn and continue to grow and continue to be better in that area. Not just seeing myself as the key player, no, I don’t see myself as that because I know it’s going to take multiple key players to try to get everyone that we can to be on the right page, get the right mindset and buy into the message that Coach Judge and Coach Garrett and all those guys are telling us. When the opportunity does come, try to attack it at a high level and create our new standard.

Q: The second season of a quarterback’s development is obviously pretty big. This is a strange offseason where you’re not getting to spend much time in person with Daniel. What makes you confident that he can keep on improving becoming the quarterback that you’ve talked about you think he can be? How have you guys been able to try to build that chemistry in this weird situation?
A: (inaudible) his mentality, you know he’s a hard worker, he’s competitive. Even through these tough times he’s going to find a way, we’re all going to find a way and try to find a way to improve. Not just as individuals, but as a team.

Q: You like to work out and make sure you’re in the best shape possible. How is that possible now? What kind of adjustments are you making? Where are you working out? How are you staying in shape and ready for when you get on the field?
A: Yeah, definitely. I am very fortunate enough to have my own little facility, gym setup I guess you could say. I kind of always wanted to get my own little gym and then this kind of happened so it kind of I guess you could say planned out perfectly for me. So, I’m really not missing a beat. I’ve kind of got everything that I kind of need. Obviously, it’s just different not being there with your teammates. That’s just the stuff you miss the most and not being with your coaches. But just trying to attack it as best as I can and try to keep my body in tip top shape for when the opportunity does come I am more than ready.

Q: Are you going out and running in fields or in the neighborhood? Where are you exactly and what does this gym setup look like?
A: Well my gym is in New Jersey, it’s my basement. So you go in my house and go downstairs in the basement and I’ve got a nice little gym setup. But, just running, whether that’s running in my neighborhood, finding little fields that you can get on, obviously I know the rules and everything. That’s kind of the way I try to stay in tip top shape but also with my strength program. I’ve kind of got a similar setup to what we have, like if you could just put in your mind what we have in our weight room and just have it for an individual, that can go for like two to three or four people on one rack, I kind of have all of that stuff that is needed.

Q: What was your reaction when you first looked at the playbook and what makes you think it’s going to be a good fit for this team and for you in particular?
A: I mean the first reaction when I looked at it was like, “Here we go again.” We’ve got to dive in, like I said earlier, kind of feeling like a rookie, obviously understanding football a little more. The terminology, the play makes have some similarity to it, but the terminology is different. The reason why I believe that we are going to be successful and have the key pieces to do it, is because I know what we have in this team. I know the coaches that we have in the building, I know the way that we are attacking it right now. I think that’s going to be a key reason for us to hopefully have success in the future.

Q: What’s been your initial impression of Joe Judge? What have your interactions been with him so far?
A: It’s been great, it’s been great. He’s definitely, he’s very detailed, he’s setting the standard, I think that’s great. Any time he talks you pay attention and you listen. The only things I can say are only good things about him. I’m really excited and hopefully, hopefully sooner rather than later, we all can get together as a team.

Q: What are you looking to build on from last year and how much more challenging is it not being able to be on the field or go through drills to work on stuff going into this offseason?
A: What I’m trying to build on is just trying to improve every single day right now with these meetings and being that guy coming to these meetings locked in, making sure that I’m taking notes, paying attention to the details and anytime that I do get a chance to work on my little craft, whether I get on the field or not, focus on the things that are being taught in meetings and try to apply it to the field. Just try to stay focused and try to stay locked in so when it does come I’m ready.

Q: They’ve really committed to the offensive line, especially through the draft, they took Andrew Thomas in the first round, (Shane) Lemieux and (Matt) Peart. As a running back, how can that really help you when they make that kind of commitment to the guys in front of you to open up the running lanes?
A: Obviously as a running back you see offensive linemen getting drafted, you get excited. But, it wasn’t just about that. You trust the guys up front, you trust the guys up in the front office to make the right decisions and trust they are going to bring the guys in here that, whether the position is offensive lineman, running back, tight end, so on and so on, they are going to bring in guys that are ready to work and compete and try to get this team back to where we know that we can be. So, that’s what I’m just excited about.

Q: What have your first impressions been of your position coach, Burton Burns?
A: Burns, Coach Burns…he’s great, he’s great. Of the little time that we do get to have in the meetings, I can’t wait to spend more time not just only with Coach Burns but all of the guys on the team, the coaches, hopefully, like I said, it’s sooner rather than later. But, he’s great. He’s got a great history with running backs at Alabama. He’s very attention to detail, very focused on the little things, and not only him but Stephen Brown too, our running backs assistant. They’ve been doing a really great job of preparing us and getting us ready as best as we can for when the opportunity does come.

Q: What are the challenges of being a leader for a virtual team? You can’t get your hands on people, you can’t just saddle up the guys in the locker room, how do you be a leader in this environment?
A: The same way you would do probably in team meetings, or in the locker room. Obviously you’re not there face to face, but I think the key thing is the times where we’re all logging in and we get that little bit of time before we dive into our installs, try to make it as natural as it could possibly be. That’s something that it’s not like I’m focusing on, I’m just being myself. I’m being myself, (Sterling Shepard) Shep, all of those guys are being themselves and we’re chalking it up, whether we’re joking on each other, or we’re just checking in on each other. I think that’s the key important thing during these meetings right now and I think we’re doing a pretty good job so far.

Q: Coach said he keeps an eye on that and he’s kind of scouting people. Not necessarily analyzing and judging people, but he’s taking notes on how guys are interacting in these meetings. Are you doing the same for the coaches? You obviously aren’t there with them in person, you only get to spend two hours a day with them. Are you making judgements about the coaching staff in these meetings?
A: No, I’m just taking notes and trying to make sure that I’m ready for whenever this thing starts. Like I said, it’s obviously, at the end of the day it’s football. The terminology may be a little different, but I just want to make sure that I’m on my p’s and q’s when this thing starts. To be honest, I feel like, maybe some people agree with me, maybe some people don’t, you’re probably learning more during this time and with the meetings over Zoom, having more time at home. I think it’s going to be beneficial, not only for myself but for the new rookies that we have and all the guys. If we just keep that right mindset and take advantage of it, I think it’ll help.

Q: I hope you’re not judging us either if you’re not judging the coaches then.
A: No (laughter). I miss you guys actually.

Q: I’m sure last month you saw Christian McCaffrey got the big contract extension and everybody’s follow story after that was Saquon’s going to be the next big one. Has your mind at all jumped to that? Have you thought about at all what could be coming in a year or so? Just knowing that kind of negotiation is down the road, do you feel you still have something to prove?
A: Well, I always feel like I’ve got something to prove. That’s always been my mindset. Always going to try to be the best player and person that I can be, not only for myself but for my team. Yes, when Christian signed that big contract the first thing that came to my mind was I’m happy for him. I know Christian personally and talking to him throughout the season, throughout the years, whether the offseason or through the season. I worked out with him one time and you could just see his work ethic and how attention to detail he is. It was more happy for him, he deserves it. But for me, I’m a big believer of taking care of the little things first. That’s right now coming into the meetings and try to be the best leader, the best player I can from this, I don’t know what size of a box you would call it. I feel like if you take care of that the other things take care of themselves in the future.

Q: The flip side of that, Todd Gurley was cut. The Rams got rid of him really quickly. Was that shocking to you and was that a reminder of how quickly things can go away in the NFL?
A: Yeah, definitely shocking. I know TG pretty well. Obviously it sucks that he had to leave the Rams, but he’s got a fresh new start and hopefully he can remind the league of how dominant of a player he is. No, I don’t need Todd Gurley getting traded or cut or however it happened to remind me how the NFL is. That’s just the NFL that’s the business. That’s why you have to try to take advantage of it every single day you can.

Q: We asked you about the Cowboys offense and I know you have a previous relationship with Zeke. Have you reached out to him to talk about what it’s like to be in this type of offense? When Burton Burns was mentioned earlier, I know immediately it seemed like Alabama guys reached out to you on social media to tell you what kind of a coach you were getting. What was that response like?
A: Yeah, I definitely heard from a lot of guys on Bama. I know Mark (Ingram), Mark hit me up telling me I got a good one. He’s 100 percent right from everything that I’ve seen so far. It’s only going to improve and get better when we actually get together and work with each other. But with Zeke, no. I actually haven’t contacted Zeke yet. That’s something that I do plan on doing. I kind of want to dissect it and get the system down myself and then get to Zeke and see what he was doing here, what he was doing there because it’s kind of like with anything. Obviously there are some basic stuff that you learn and the big stuff that you’ve got to be able to do, but at the end of the day there’s some stuff that you’ve got to do as a football player and become great and use your creativity. I’ll definitely use him and try to learn from him to see what he was able to do.

Q: When this offseason was your ankle fully, 100 percent healthy? When was it, because I know it was this offseason? I’m just wondering, you’ve been productive your first two years when healthy obviously, but Zeke’s been in the league a little longer and he’s been uber productive in Jason Garrett’s offense. Will you watch some tape of him, or is there curiosity there on your part in terms of how productive you’ve been, can you be even more productive with Jason Garrett as your OC?
A: I mean yeah, when you watch film Zeke definitely stands out. He’s always stood out to me. I always say, I’m a fan of the game, I like watching running backs and learning from them. It’s cool to be able to go back and see some plays that I’ve watched before, now actually be on this side and actually understanding the play behind it, how it works for him. So, he’s been very productive. For me, I’ve just always believed and was always taught to believe in yourself. I feel like every year I’m going to try to improve and with the help of not just Jason Garrett’s offense but with my work ethic and my team that’s around me. Not only myself as an individual, I feel like we can be more productive on the offensive side of the ball and obviously all three phases of the game, playing complementary football. Then, with the ankle injury, the ankle felt good after the season let’s just say that. That’ll be the answer I’ve got for you.

MAY 13, 2020 DALVIN TOMLINSON CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson addressed the media by conference call on Wednesday. (Video is available from Giants.com)

Q: Are there any similarities between what you were running and what Patrick Graham is trying to install now?
A: There are similarities in pretty much every defense that we run. It’s a change compared to different defenses we have run in the past. I feel like it’s a great defense. I love the coach and I love the schematics we have put in so far.

Q: You played for Pat Graham when he was here. What were your impressions of him then? Back then, did you think he had defensive coordinator in his future?
A: Most definitely. He’s a great coach, super high energy. He coaches you to the fullest because he wants the full potential brought out of you. Back then, the way he coached the D-line, you could just tell he was going to be a D-coordinator soon.

Q: You are going into your fourth year and you are already going to be on your third head coach technically. What’s that like going through that much turnover? What’s your early impression of Joe Judge?
A: Coach Judge is a great guy. I remember when I was getting recruited by Alabama, that was when I met him for the first time. It’s just crazy how small the world is. He’s a great guy and so is the whole coaching staff. Every day you come in the locker room, just make sure you are ready to work every day. Bring your A game and make sure everyone around you is ready to work. That’s all you can do, come to work and do your best.

Q: Do you remember anything about when he recruited you? Do you remember anything about his personality?
A: He used to always joke about me playing kickoff in college.

Q: Where are you and what are you able to do as far as working out and staying in football shape? What concerns do you have about the idea of coming back to football in a couple months?
A: I’m currently in New Jersey. I pretty much have a gym in my garage, I guess you could say. I work out here at home just to stay safe. Safety is the number one concern with this pandemic going on right now. I feel like the NFL is going to make sure everything is safe for the players as well as the coaching staff and pretty much everyone in the building before they can return. Like I said, safety is the number one priority for everyone right now.

Q: When Leonard Williams came on board last year, the two of you seemed to form an instant chemistry. What was it about playing with him that made it work for you guys? How excited are you to have him back for this year?
A: I love Leonard, he is a great guy. I feel like we clicked off the field for the most part because we both love animated video games. We became instant best friends I guess you could say. I love playing beside him, he is a great guy, he brings great energy. Like you said, we have great chemistry. I’m looking forward to playing with him this upcoming season.

Q: We talked to Coach Judge about the Zoom calls. Your position is one of them where a lot of you guys know each other, you already have that bond. What do you think that chemistry does to help you guys moving forward?
A: I feel like it helps out a lot because most of us know each other already. I feel like we get to interact more with the other positions as well as the offense. You can put names to faces for the new guys on the team. It helps us bond a lot better so when we get back nobody is a stranger.

Q: What’s your impressions of Coach Spencer?
A: Super high energy guy. He always has energy no matter what time of the day it is. I’m looking forward to doing some of his drills when we get back to practice.

Q: What do you think about the moves that were made in the offseason, especially on defense? They drafted another Alabama guy. Is there anything you like about the virtual offseason program?
A: I feel like the virtual offseason program helps out simply because we can’t go in the building. It helps everybody put a name with a face. You get to bond with people in a different way I guess you could say. I always love to have an Alabama guy here, that Roll Tide culture in our blood. With the moves in the offseason, whoever they bring in, I am going to welcome them as a teammate, and we are going to get to work every day. I’m going to push them to be as best as they can be as well as myself.

Q: I know you have no control of free agency, but Coach Judge said he had been in contact with Markus (Golden) about possibly coming back. I was wondering, have you talked to Markus? If he doesn’t come back, how do you replace 10 sacks?
A: I haven’t talked to Markus in the last couple of weeks, I haven’t been up to date with him lately. I honestly don’t know how to answer that question. All I can say is Markus is a great guy, I hope the best for him, and I love that guy. Whatever the team and coach decide, that’s up to them. Whatever happens, happens. We all have to just wait and see.

Q: It’s your contract year. Obviously, that’s a big motivator for guys. Do you expect that to have any impact with you? What can you tell us about any negotiations your agent has had with the Giants.
A: Pretty much we have been taking every day one day at a time because of the pandemic. I’m not really focused on the contract because all I can do is try to get better and be as much prepared as I can for when we get back to training camp and get back to the facility as early as possible. I have been focusing on getting better and improving with my teammates as much as possible, that’s my biggest goal right now.

Q: With all the Zoom meetings, Coach Judge has talked about you guys bonding. Has there been anything that has happened during these meetings that’s odd or strange? Is there anything about your teammates that you learned through this virtual environment that you didn’t know?
A: I don’t think there has been anything strange. Everybody has been bonding in the meetings, I guess you could say, getting to know each other. Some of us FaceTime each other. A lot of us play video games together in a group. We all have been on Call of Duty lately, bonding with that. There hasn’t been anything strange, I guess you could say.

Q: Who is the best Call of Duty player?
A: Right now, I would have to put myself in the top three. I haven’t played with Blake Martinez yet, but I’m looking forward to it. He might be number one.

Q: The defensive line for the most part was left intact. You added Austin Johnson and a few undrafted free agents. What does that mean to you? What does that say to you that they are going to be relying on you to help with the pass rush and have it start up front with you guys?
A: As a front, we want to help across the board, no matter what part of the game it is. We’re all trying to build our brotherhood even stronger than it was before. Just continuing to improve as a unit so we can feed off each other.

Q: Does the familiarity with each other help give you guys an advantage in that you know how each other thinks? Even though you are all learning a new system, does it give you an advantage?
A: I feel like it gives us an advantage in learning the system more easily because we know how each other learns things and picks up things on a day to day basis.

Q: Do you think this defense has something to prove this year? How do you think this defense will respond overall?
A: We’ll have to see when we get pads on. I love the defense and I’m super excited to play in it and run some of the plays we’ve installed. With the players we have on the team, I feel like it can get very exciting.

Q: You talked about Coach Judge joking about putting you on the kickoff team. That’s sounds like something he might not be joking about? Has that come up at all and is that something you would be up for?
A: It hasn’t come up at all. I can tell you now that was a whole different type of body type back then when I was coming out of high school compared to now. I highly doubt I will be on kickoff, but if he wants to put me on it, I’ll be more than happy to do it.

Dec 302019
 
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John Mara, New York Giants (September 8, 2019)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports

JOHN MARA ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
New York Giants President and Chief Executive Officer John Mara addressed the media on Monday after the team fired Head Coach Pat Shurmur and retained General Manager Dave Gettleman (video):

Opening Statement: Steve (Tisch), Dave (Gettleman) and I met with Pat Shurmur early this morning and informed him that we were going to make a change at our head coaching position. These decisions are never easy, particularly when you have someone like Pat with his character, his integrity, his work ethic. But at the end of the day, we just didn’t win enough games, and we believe that we have to move in another direction. It’s certainly not all Pat’s fault, he did a lot of good things here; in particular, his role in selecting and training Daniel Jones. It’s a difficult day when you have to do something like this. The first thing that I always think of is the effect that it has on so many good people and their families. But at the end of the day, it was a decision that we just felt like we had to make going forward. In terms of Dave, I know you’re going to ask me about that, but Steve and I decided to retain Dave and give him a chance to finish what he has started, which includes so many changes in this organization that people really don’t know about. We’ve made a lot of turnover in our scouting area, we’ve completely changed our grading system in how we grade college players, we’re deeper into analytics and technology than we’ve ever been before, and that process is ongoing. We’ve completely re-organized areas in our football operations, we’ve added a staff psychologist on a full-time basis, and we believe it would be a mistake to pull the plug on that after two years, particularly when you consider that Dave spent a good part of the first year fighting for his life. Personnel-wise, we’ve had some hits, we’ve had some misses, and we have a lot of young players who have shown some promise, but it remains to be seen whether they’re going to develop into quality NFL players or not. The point I’m trying to make is it’s not business as usual here at the Giants. We’ve made a lot of changes, changes that you don’t necessarily know about, and we felt like we needed to give it a chance to see if it’s going to succeed or not. All that being said, we need to win more games, and Dave knows that, and that’s going to be the challenge going forward. We’re going to start the coach search immediately. I’m not going to comment on specific candidates, but we will inform you as people are being interviewed. With that, I’ll take your questions.

Q: Why do you feel that you only needed to take one of the two prongs at the top between your coach and your GM, even though the call from the fans was to do a complete overhaul?
A: Well, I’m not sure that was the call from all the fans, but I understand the criticism that’s out there. But I just explained why I think we need to give Dave a chance to finish the job.

Q: Not much has gone right for this organization over the last eight years, the one playoff year, other than that–
A: I’m painfully aware of that.

Q: How much blame do you deserve for that?
A: It all starts at the top. So, yes, you can criticize me all you want, and it would be warranted because it all starts at the top. The success, the failures, and the last eight years have been pretty miserable. So, I’ll accept my share of blame for that.

Q: What specifically went into the decision to fire Pat Shurmur but retain Dave Gettleman, who built the roster that Shurmur was the coach of, especially when you credit Shurmur with helping identify Jones and develop him?
A: Like I said with Dave, I think we’ve had some hits and some misses. He implemented so many changes within our organization, we just felt like at this stage to pull the plug on all of that would not be the wise thing to do. I’m excited about what I see in the future for this team because of the young players we have, because of the changes that we’re making. With Pat, it ends up being as much a gut instinct as anything else. I just felt like we weren’t winning enough games, we weren’t winning the games that we should have won, and we just need to go in a different direction.

Q: Were there specifics in-game or philosophically with Shurmur that made you believe that he was more to blame than the guy getting the pieces and bringing in the personnel?
A: Well, it’s a collaborative effort when you have a coach and a general manager. They worked very well together, they were in sync on all the personnel decisions that we made here, but I just felt like there were so many games that I felt like we should have won, and we just didn’t get the job done.

Q: Was there a push and pull with you and Steve Tisch about this, or when you guys spoke—was it today you spoke with–
A: I speak to Steve all the time, and we’ve been in lockstep on this all along. Our relationship, contrary to what I read the other day, has never been better. We communicate on these issues, any issues regarding the team, all the time, and this has been a conversation we’ve been having for at least the last few weeks anyway.

Q: So, no one had to convince one another about the decision?
A: Absolutely not. That’s absolutely false, no.

Q: Is there a chance that whoever the next coach is would influence or factor into Dave’s role here, that the next coach would have some say over keeping Dave?
A: He’s not going to have any say over keeping Dave, but certainly I’m going to want somebody that’s going to be able to work hand-in-hand with him. Dave and Pat’s relationship has been terrific, they worked very well together, there was no personnel decision that has been made here in the last two years that Pat wasn’t fully on board with.

Q: Do you have any concern that Dave’s presence could have a negative impact on the pool of candidates?
A: I’m aware that that’s a perception that’s out there, but I don’t have that concern because I think once they meet him and get to know him, that won’t be an issue.

Q: Are you committed to maintaining the power dynamic that you’ve had with the general manager and director of personnel and–
A: I’m always willing to look at whatever’s going to improve the team, and if I felt that there was somebody coming in here as a head coach who wanted a different role and he could convince Steve and I that that would make sense for our organization, we would certainly consider that.

Q: Is Dave going to run the coaching search?
A: Dave and I will be involved in the coaching search. Steve will be involved as well.

Q: What if some of these candidates, you said that talking to Dave they won’t have a problem, but what if they do?

A: If they do, they do. We’re going to try to get the best candidates in here that we can, and we’re going to try to convince them why this is a good job opportunity for them. We’ve got a terrific young quarterback, we’ve got a young roster, we’re in the best cap space shape we’ve been in in many years. There’s a lot to this organization that I think would attract a lot of different candidates.

Q: Your past two coaching hires obviously haven’t worked out. Before that, a long time since you brought in Tom (Coughlin). What do you say to the questions about whether you guys are in tune with what it takes in the modern NFL to bring in a successful coach, given the last few hires?
A: That’s fair criticism. We’ve failed twice in a row now, and you have to keep working at it, try to find the right guy, that’s all. I’m not convinced that either of the past two coaches couldn’t have been successful over a longer period of time, but there comes a point in time when your patience runs out, your gut tells you that you need to make a change, and that’s what happened this time.

Q: You had specific criteria the last two coaching searches about who you were looking for, what you saw as the next head coach. Has that criteria changed a bit? If I recall, over the last two searches, you did not bring in any college head coaches, or anyone without any coaching experience in the NFL. Will that expand when you’re looking at new candidates?

A: There well could be college candidates here. I’m really looking for leadership, that’s the big thing going forward. Somebody who can come in and take control of this roster, help build a culture that is going to lead to winning. Somebody who is going to help us with our football re-organization during the process we’re undergoing right now. We’re looking for all those qualities from the next candidate.

Q: When you look at Dave’s stay here as GM, how do you balance, if you do, his successes with analytics and things behind the scenes that you outlined with the significant misses in free agency, if not a miss overall on a player, perhaps overpaying for others?
A: Well, we could have differences in opinion whether those were hits or misses. There definitely have been some misses, no question about it. I think that can happen to anybody. There were reasons for some of those personnel decisions. He does know that the batting average has got to increase going forward though.

Q: What’s your message to the fans in terms of how long this process will take before you see a winning team on the field?
A: Well, I’d like to think that we can start winning next year. It’s been too many years since we’ve had a winning team on the field. Nobody feels that more than Steve and myself. It’s not easy to sit in your stadium and watch fans from the other team, you know, and that’s happened too often this year. So, believe me, we live this every day, we feel it as much if not more so than the fans do, and we’re committed to try and get this thing right.

Q: You mentioned the fans from other teams cheering in your building. It was very pronounced this year. Have you ever been through an entire season where that consistently happened, with the Packers, to the Cowboys, to the Eagles?

A:  Probably not, it’s probably the worst. I think that’s more of the norm in the NFL now, when your team is not winning, your fans sell their tickets, and often times it’s the fans of the opposing team that come in. We had that situation when we were in Tampa, when we were in Washington, we had large contingents of fans down there. But listen, we haven’t been winning, the fans are getting fed up with that, and so they sell their tickets. I get that.

Q: You just mentioned that Dave knows his batting average in free agency and that personnel needs to improve. Worst case scenario, what if it doesn’t? Do you run the risk of hiring a head coach and potentially having to fire a GM a short time after and kind of throwing that power structure out of whack?
A: Yes, we do run that risk.

Q: How much did you weigh that these last couple of days?

A: Weigh what exactly?

Q: The risk?
A: That’s certainly something we are aware of, but I happen to believe in Dave. I happen to believe in the changes that he’s making here, and I think those are going to pay off.

Q: You said that you needed to see progress at the end of training camp when we talked to you. Do you need to see wins next year for Dave’s sake?
A: I’m not going to quantify the number of wins I need to see. We need to be able to put a better product on the field, that’s all.

Q: What role did Eli Manning’s early benching play into Pat Shurmur’s firing and the fact that you guys signed off on it. I’m curious how that process went?
A: It had absolutely nothing to do with this decision. How that process went, if I recall, Dave called me on Sunday evening after the Buffalo game. He said he had spoken to Pat and Pat wants to play Daniel. My only question was, do you think Daniel is ready? If you think he is ready, then whatever Pat wants to do. He’s the head coach, he makes those decisions.

Q: How important will it be that the next head coach has a background in developing young quarterbacks?
A: It either has to be that or it has to be his coordinator or his quarterback coach. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the head coach, I’m not ruling out defensive coaches here.

Q: You talk about wanting to find a coach with leadership. How hard is it to find somebody who is a leader but at the same time is not too totalitarian?
A: Obviously, it is pretty hard. Those people are out there. I’ve always believed that the toughest decision that Steve and I ever have to make in this business is finding the right guy to stand up here in front of the team and lead them and develop a winning program going forward. That’s what we are going to put all of our efforts into now, trying to find that guy. It’s obviously not an easy thing to do.

Q: What made now the right time of the season versus say during the nine-game losing streak? The Redskins and the Panthers were obviously getting a head start on their coaching search?
A: You can argue we could have done it earlier. I wanted to give him the chance, I held out hope, quite frankly, for quite some time hoping things would turn around. They just didn’t, so it just was a decision we felt we had to make.

Q: If that’s the case, if you guys had won yesterday, would that have made this decision tougher?
A: Probably not. It probably would have been the same decision.

Q: Is it fair to say you think the roster is better than what the record has been?
A: I think we could have won more games, yes. You’re playing a rookie quarterback, you’re playing all those rookies on the back end on defense. You are going to have some problems, but again at the end of the day we just didn’t win enough games.

Q: Considering the state of the roster, you guys are still in a rebuild. How reasonable is it to expect this team to be a significant winner next year, a playoff team?
A: I think we’ve got the answer at quarterback. I think we have a lot of good young players. We just need them to take it to the next level and hopefully the next coach will help them do that. None of them will be rookies anymore and again we have a very good cap situation and we’re picking fourth in the draft. We should be better next year.

Q: After the spending in 2016, I do recall you saying that that is not how you want to conduct business moving forward. You mentioned the cap space, how do you walk that line?
A: It’s a tough line to walk. In 2016, it paid off in that first year and then afterwards, not so much. The key is still the draft. You have to make good draft picks. You have to supplement that with making wise decisions in free agency. You can’t think that you are going to fix all your problems in free agency. It just doesn’t work.

Q: You said the last two coaches, you didn’t get right. What is your confidence level going into this search?
A: I think there are some very attractive candidates who will have interest in this job. I believe we will get it right this time.

Q: Are you bringing anybody in from the outside to advise? Ernie (Accorsi) is obviously a name that comes to mind?
A: No, I don’t think so.

Q: Is Ernie (Accorsi) going to be a part of the process again?
A: No, I don’t think so. I talk to him all the time, but he’s not going to be a part of the process.

STEVE TISCH ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
New York Giants Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch addressed the media on Monday after the team fired Head Coach Pat Shurmur and retained General Manager Dave Gettleman (video):

Q: As John (Mara) just said, there’s been some talk before this that there might be some friction between you two on what direction you saw this team going. Was there any of that?
A: There was no friction. John and I have been partners going on 15 years. As you know, the Giants, the ownership is unique. It’s the only team with two equal partners. We’ve been talking as partners for 15 years. We talked about these issues starting weeks ago, today, and we will going forward. Everything you and I read about friction, differences of opinion, I didn’t say it, John didn’t say it. I read it, but it’s not true.

Q: Did you feel like you had the very honest conversation that you needed to have?
A: I’ve got to say, I would characterize every conversation that I’ve had with John as honest, straightforward. I feel very comfortable expressing my opinion on a whole bunch of matters, and I know John feels very comfortable expressing his opinion. It’s a partnership and as I just mentioned, it’s the only true partnership between owners in the NFL. At times, it’s challenging, but the bottom line is it’s been hugely rewarding for both families and I think for the organization.

Q: Did you have to be talked into or persuaded to keep Dave (Gettleman) or was that just part of the process?
A: No. It was part of a process. At the risk of repeating myself, John and I have a very, very, good dialogue constantly. When I’m not here in the building, we speak three or four times a week, home games, away games, we’re constantly speaking, sitting with each other. So, to say that there’s any issues with our communication is a total mischaracterization.

Q: What are you looking for, what qualities do you want in your next head coach?
A: Leadership, an ability to put together a great staff, an ability to really work with the players, the rookies. I think it’s really important that the next head coach has to have a point of view, a very strong point of view, and he will be supported by ownership.

Q: How hard is it to balance being patient with letting the process play out?
A: I think patience is a virtue, I’m not the first person to say that. But at times I think patience can be tested. But I think if I stay very focused, I sort of have the same…I see the same goal line that John Mara sees. Sometimes, the path to that goal line may be a little different, but we see the same goal line, we cross it, and it’s been a very, very, functional relationship. It’s been hugely functional.

Q: What was the deciding factor in keeping Dave Gettleman? What was the deciding factor in the conversation that made you believe he should stay?
A: The deciding factor was, when John and I started talking about this literally weeks and weeks ago, assets, liabilities, good news, bad news, and at the end of the day we decided that we were going to jointly make a decision to keep Dave, to work with Dave going forward into the next season. As John mentioned just now, we have tremendous cap space. I can’t stand here today and say our next head coach is Paul Schwartz (laughter), but I think the search is going to be fruitful and I think we’re going to find a terrific number of candidates and the right decision will be made.

Q: When you look at the last eight years, and the failures that have gone on here and the failures of the last two coaching hires, what do you say to fans who question your ability and John’s ability to lead this organization back to success?
A: I say to the fans I totally understand your frustration, your concern, I read your emails, I get it. But, John and I make decisions that sometimes may not be popular, may not be supported by the fans, but we’re the ones making the decisions, we live by them. It’s been a very frustrating four years, certainly the record indicates that, those numbers don’t lie. Going forward, John and I want to make sure that those numbers change in the next season dramatically.

Q: Why do you think you guys will get it right this time?
A: Because I’m an optimist and I think we know what qualities, what kind of character we want in the next head coach. We’re very focused on that. There’s going to be a real priority to make sure the next head coach has strong leadership abilities and a very impressive track record.

Q: What’s your desire to be more involved? John is the day-to-day guy here, he hasn’t had a lot of success over the last eight years. What’s your desire to be more involved, if it is at all, in the day-to-day operations?
A: I am involved. I would like to be more involved, I will become more involved. So, going forward in 2020, the day after tomorrow. We have a great dialogue with each other. As I mentioned, it’s a very, very, functional, working relationship. Partnerships are hard, professional ones and domestic ones, but I feel we have a very good one and we always, with some differences of opinions expressed and communicated, we get to the same point.

Q: Does that mean you physically want to be here more? Is that what you mean?
A: Yes, I will be here more physically. But, the opportunities that John and I spend with each other in the same building, or the same stadium, or the same locker room will increase.

COACHING SEARCH NEWS…
According to media reports, the New York Giants have requested to interview the following head coaching candidates:

  • Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy
  • New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Josh McDaniels

The 50-year old Bieniemy has served as Kansas City’s offensive coordinator since 2018. Before that he was the running backs coach for the Chiefs (2013-2017), Minnesota Vikings (2006-2010), UCLA (2003-2005), and University of Colorado (2001-2002). He also served as offensive coordinator at the University of Colorado (2011-2012).

The 43-year old McDaniels was interviewed by the Giants for their head coaching vacancy two years ago when the team decided to hire Pat Shurmur instead. McDaniels is best known for serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during two stints with the Patriots (2005-2008 and 2012-2019). In between, he was head coach of the Denver Broncos (2009-2010) and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach of the St. Louis Rams (2011). McDaniels served in a variety of roles with the Patriots from 2001-2004 before becoming offensive coordinator.

There is also rampant media speculation that the Giants will interview Baylor University Head Coach Matt Rhule, who was an offensive line assistant with the Giants under Tom Coughlin in 2012. Rhule has served as head coach at Baylor for three years (2017-2019). Before that, he was head coach at Temple University (2013-2016).

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN 13 PLAYERS…
The New York Giants have announced that they have signed the following 13 players:

Reserve/future signings:

  • RB Jon Hilliman
  • FB George Aston
  • WR Reggie White, Jr.
  • WR Alex Bachman
  • OC Tanner Volson
  • OT Nate Wozniak
  • DE Kevin Wilkins
  • CB Derrick Baity
  • LS Drew Scott
  • P Sean Smith

Except for Scott and Smith, all of these players finished the season on the team’s Practice Squad. Smith spend a couple of stints on the Practice Squad as well. Scott has spent time with the Raiders and Cowboys.

The Giants also announced that they have re-signed the following players who were set to become exclusive rights free agents:

  • OG Chad Slade
  • OT Eric Smith
  • LB Devante Downs

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
General Manager Dave Gettleman will address the media on Tuesday at 11:00AM.

Dec 292019
 
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Philadelphia Eagles (December 29, 2019)

Philadelphia Eagles celebrate their dominance over New York Giants – © USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 34 – NEW YORK GIANTS 17…
An injury-depleted Philadelphia Eagles team humiliated the New York Giants 34-17 at a rainy, dreary MetLife Stadium on Sunday in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants could have ended the Eagles’ season, but instead Philadelphia won the NFC East. New York’s 2019 season ends with a 4-12 overall record. The Eagles now have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Giants.

Aside from a few plays, the Giants largely slept walk through the game. The Eagles were not overly impressive; the Giants were simply that bad.

The Eagles received the football to start the game and drove 55 yards on their opening drive to the New York 38-yard line. But on 4th-and-7, linebacker Oshane Ximines pressured quarterback Carson Wentz into an incomplete pass and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs. The Giants gained one first down due a defensive holding penalty on the Eagles and then punted. On their second drive, Philadelphia drove 69 yards in nine plays to set up a successful 31-yard field goal. Eagles 3 – Giants 0.

The Giants and Eagles then combined for six punts on each team’s next three possessions. At this point in the contest, the Giants had gained only one first down (by penalty) and five net yards.

Finally, midway through the 2nd quarter, the Giants moved the ball, gaining 67 yards in seven plays to set up a 37-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. The game was tied at 3-3. However, the Eagles quickly regained the lead on their next possession as the defense surrendered an 8-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Wentz to tight end Josh Perkins. Neither team scored on their final possessions of the half.

At halftime, the Eagles led 10-3 with the Giants only gaining six first downs and 108 yards of offense, punting the ball away five times in six possessions.

New York offered a glimmer of hope in the 3rd quarter before fading fast. The Giants drove 76 yards in 10 plays on their opening drive of the second half, with quarterback Daniel Jones finding wide receiver Golden Tate for a 20-yard touchdown to tie the game at 10-10. After a punt by the Eagles and a turnover on downs by the Giants, Philadelphia once again regained the lead 17-10 with a 9-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by running back Boston Scott. Nevertheless, the Giants tied the game in one play when running back Saquon Barkley broke off a 68-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 17-17.

It was all downhill after that. The Eagles responded with their second scoring drive in a row, moving 43 yards in eight plays to set up a 50-yard field goal. Then disaster struck when an errant snap from center Jon Halapio was fielded by Jones but quickly snapped out of his hand by another defender. This resulted in a fumble that was knocked backwards 25 yards and recovered by the Eagles at the New York 2-yard line. Scott scored on the very next play and the Eagles were quickly up 27-17 early in the 4th quarter.

After both teams went three-and-out, the Giants turned the ball over on downs again when Barkley was stuffed on 4th-and-2 at the New York 38-yard line. Four plays later, Scott scored his third touchdown of the game and the Eagles led 34-17 with just over six minutes to play.

The Giants’ seventh possession of the half ended with an interception at the Philadelphia 6-yard line when wide receiver Darius Slayton slipped on the play. The Eagles went three-and-out. The Giants threatened on their last drive but couldn’t make the final score more respectable.

Jones finished the game 28-of-47 for 301 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He was also sacked four times and officially hit 10 times. Jones’ leading targets were tight end Kaden Smith (8 catches for 98 yards), Tate (5 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown), and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (5 catches for 39 yards). Barkley carried the ball 17 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 25 first downs and 400 total net yards (121 rushing and 289 passing). The Giants only accrued one sack and did not force a turnover.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were RT Mike Remmers (concussion), CB Sam Beal (shoulder), QB Alex Tanney, RB Wayne Gallman, WR David Sills, OG Chad Slade, and NT Chris Slayton.

FB Eli Penny (back), WR Cody Core (concussion), and OC Jon Halapio (Achilles) left the game and did not return.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants finished in third place in the NFC East.

The Giants’ were 2-6 in home games in MetLife Stadium for the third consecutive season. They also lost there as visitors to the Jets.

The Giants were 2-4 in NFC East games.

The Giants have lost seven consecutive games to the Eagles.

The Giants did not intercept a pass in any of the final five games.

Daniel Jones  led all rookie quarterbacks with 24 touchdown passes this season, the fourth-most by a rookie quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Only Baker Mayfield (27 in 2018), Peyton Manning (26 in 1998), and Russell Wilson (26 in 2012) had more.

Jones threw a touchdown pass in each of his last 12 games – all starts – the longest streak by a Giants quarterback since Eli Manning threw for a score in 12 straight games in 2008. The Giants’ record is 15 consecutive games from 1962-64 by Y.A. Tittle.

Jones rushed for 289 yards in 2019. That is the third-highest total by a Giants quarterback in the Super Bowl era, surpassed only by Fran Tarkenton in 1967 and 1968 (306 and 301 yards, respectively).

Saquon Barkley rushed for 1,003 yards in 2019. He is the first player in Giants history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons and the first with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons since Brandon Jacobs in 2007-08.

NEW YORK GIANTS 2020 OPPONENTS SET…
The New York Giants’ 2020 opponents have been set:

Home:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Away:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Redskins
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Chicago Bears

NEW YORK GIANTS TO PICK 4TH IN 2020 NFL DRAFT…
The New York Giants now hold the 4th pick in the 1st round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

ROSTER MOVES…
On Saturday, the New York Giants placed tight end Scott Simonson on Injured Reserve. Simonson suffered a concussion during last Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins. To fill that roster vacancy, the Giants signed tight end Garrett Dickerson to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad.

Simonson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2014 NFL Draft. Simonson spent time with the Raiders (2014-2015) and Carolina Panthers (2015-2017) before signing with the Giants in June 2018. He had his best season with the Giants in 2018, paying in all 16 games with four starts, finishing with nine catches for 86 yards and one touchdown. The Giants placed Simonson on Injured Reserve in August 2019 with an ankle injury, cut him from Injured Reserve in September, and re-signed him to the 53-man roster in November. He played in five games in 2019 with one start, catching just two passes for 11 yards.

The Giants originally signed undrafted rookie free agent Garrett Dickerson in June 2018. He spent a couple of stints on the team’s Practice Squad and 53-man roster in 2018. Dickerson made the 53-man roster in 2019, but was waived in October and then re-signed to the Practice Squad in November. Dickerson has played in seven regular-season games for the Giants, but he does not have a catch.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is unspecified media availability to the team on Monday. General Manager Dave Gettleman told the press after the game that he would speak to them on Tuesday.

Dec 262019
 
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Deandre Baker, New York Giants (December 15, 2019)

Deandre Baker – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 26, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Right tackle Mike Remmers (concussion) and CB Corey Ballentine (back) did not practice on Thursday.

Wide receiver Darius Slayton (knee), tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion/non-contact), tight end Scott Simonson (concussion), offensive lineman Nick Gates (shoulder), LB Lorenzo Carter (knee), LB Alec Ogletree (back), cornerback Deandre Baker (knee), and cornerback Sam Beal (shoulder) were limited in practice.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
On Tuesday, the New York Giants terminated the Practice Squad contract of left-footed punter Sean Smith. The team also signed fullback George Aston to the Practice Squad. The 6”0”, 240-pound Aston was originally signed by the Denver Broncos as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Broncos cut him in August 2019.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice again on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s home game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Dec 232019
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 22, 2019)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

MONDAY PAT SHURMUR PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the team’s 41-35 overtime win against the Washington Redskins (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Opening Statement: Injury-wise, we had (Alec) Ogletree who couldn’t make it, his back, we’re doing some more evaluation on him. (Mike) Remmers with the concussion, obviously, we’ll just have to see where he’s at. Aside from that, just game soreness. We’ll just see how they feel tomorrow. They’re all in today. We had real good meetings, looking at yesterday’s film and then moving forward on Philly. And then we’re going to work tomorrow, and then as I already mentioned, they’re going to be off on Christmas Day, and then normal Thursday, Friday and Saturday. So, that’s what the week looks like. We’re looking forward to playing the Eagles again. Looking forward to finishing the game better than we did the first time we played them. We got off to a good start and we didn’t finish well enough, so hopefully we can get that fixed for this weekend. So, I’ll take your questions.

Q: Does the game take on any more significance because of what’s at stake for Philly?
A: I don’t think so. I think what’s important for us, we’ve got to focus on doing things the right way and winning the game. We try every week to win the game we’re playing, and we’re going to do the same this week.

Q: You guys made kind of a big deal at the end of last season and in the offseason about how you finished last season better, you went 4-4, I think, in the last eight, but you actually lost your last three games last year. Going into this offseason winning games, would that change anything momentum-wise?
A: Well, it only changes things if you build on it through the offseason and then play better to start the year. But, yeah, I think when we have the number of young players that we have going through this for the first, some of them just for the second time, them learning how to win in December is very important so that when we win more games early in the season, it’ll be meaningful.

Q: Having young players is one thing, but having the right players is something different. How confident are you that you have the right young players? Not just Daniel (Jones), but defense, everywhere, you have the right guys moving forward?
A: We’re confident we do, and as they play out their careers, we’ll see. But, I think that the guys that are in there playing are all improving. I say it this way and it’s really the case, they’re having more good plays and less bad plays, and I think that the important thing is you get experience, because we all would agree that experience matters, and for some of these young guys who on most teams would be backups or maybe practice squad players, they’re front line guys for us and this is huge for them to be able to compete as starters.

Q: Do you put Kaden Smith in that group?
A: Yeah, I mean, he’s done a terrific job. He’s got a real feel for playing, and he blocked extremely well yesterday, he caught passes, caught two touchdowns, and he’s been a very steady performer for us. So, I don’t know what group I’d put him in, but he’s been very productive, and we’re glad he’s here.

Q: Last year with Saquon (Barkley) as a rookie, you often spelled him one series. You sometimes got criticized for it, like ‘Why is Saquon not in the game?’
A: (Laughter) You really can weave criticism in anywhere.

Q: This year, Saquon plays a lot of the downs and Buck (Allen) a little bit once in a while, but it’s really Saquon’s show. Is there a difference in year number one and year number two you see with that?
A: No, I think some of it is flow of the game. Some of the games that you’re referring to, the last game when we did stay on the field and do enough on third (down) — when you get enough plays, then he’s able to go. But, I think it’s smart for us to have him on the field, but we trust the other guys we put in there. I think yesterday he had a huge impact, obviously, running the ball and catching passes, so that’s what you want.

Q: The story of the day on social media is your team out last night having a good time after the game. Videos of them at a bar drinking, whatnot. Are you okay with everything that went on last night?
A: Yeah. They’re grown men and they look after each other. They were celebrating a victory. They should have invited me.

Q: We thought you were the one filming it.
A: No, no. You should know me better than that. The fact that they can’t go enjoy themselves without it becoming public, those are the things that I’ll never feel comfortable about.

Q: I know you said you’re going to focus on you and not necessarily what’s at stake for the Eagles, but in this situation, this isn’t just another game in terms of what you’re preparing for. I mean, this is essentially a playoff game for your opponent. Will you coach your guys up to that level of the importance of not only what you need to do right, but this is essentially a playoff game that you’re playing in, even though it’s not necessarily at stake for you?
A: Well, I don’t know how you’re going to write it. I’m sure there’s a narrative there. But I will say this. This is our last game, and I assure you they’re going to put everything into making sure this last game goes the right way. We’ll see what happens.

Q: Well, I guess the way I will write it is the idea that when you talk about what’s at stake, playoff teams rise to the occasion. There’s something there at stake and you want to see how teams respond to that. Do you think it will say something about your team if you’re able to respond to that level, even though you’re not the one playing for the playoffs?
A: Our team understands what’s at stake this weekend. We’re playing the Eagles, and we’re going to do everything in our power to put a winning performance on the field. I can assure you they know what’s at stake for the other team as well. I just mentioned, it’s our last game. I really believe that our guys are going to sell out like they do every Sunday, and do what they can to win the game.

Q:  Because there’s everybody and there’s Daniel, this is Daniel’s first chance playing the Eagles. What do you think he took from watching them last time, earlier this month really, and can now carry over to what he takes onto the field with him?
A: I don’t know. That’s probably a better question for him. He did some things yesterday. He got the ball off a little quicker in some situations, which was good. Maybe he learned some of that by watching Eli. Again, that’s probably a better question for Dan. I don’t know what to tell you there, other than I do believe the best way to learn is by playing. He was injured, so he was forced to watch. But the mental reps that you get by watching are also important. I’m sure there’s something that he learned, and he could probably tell you better than I can.

Q: Do you believe, just because it’s the same team within a four-week span here, that there will be a carryover from whatever studying he did?
A: Oh yeah. I mean, there is. We change, from a game plan standpoint, you always change. You run different plays at certain times. But the blueprint for how you play offense and defense is pretty well set for the year. You have to play. You have rules, you have things you need to do so that when a new play does come up or a new defense comes up, you know where to go with the ball. That’s always the challenge when you play a team the second time.

Q: You’re talking a lot about the Eagles have the playoffs at stake and things like that. That’s the spoiler role. Do you not like the words ‘spoiler role’? Can you at least acknowledge that people maybe inside the building or maybe outside the building really take that to heart? Fans, maybe front office.
A: Sure, sure. No, I understand that. The internal messaging is we have to do everything in our power to win a game. That’s the internal messaging. But we’re well-aware of what the external messaging is. We’re going to do what we can to put a winning performance on the field.

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:

POST-GAME NOTES…
By sweeping the Redskins, the Giants “clinched” third place in the NFC East.

The Giants gained 552 yards, the franchise’s highest total ever in a road game.

Quarterback Daniel Jones is the first rookie in NFL history with at least 300 passing yards, five touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a game. Jones is also the first rookie in Giants’ history to throw five touchdown passes.

This was Jones’ third game with at least four touchdown passes. The only other rookies in NFL history to do that were Deshaun Watson in 2017 and Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton in 1961.

Jones increased his season total to a Giants rookie-record 23 touchdown passes. Charlie Conerly had held the record since 1948, when he threw for 22 scores.

Running back  Saquon Barkley set a franchise record with 279 yards from scrimmage (189 rushing and 90 receiving). The previous record of 276 yards was set by Tiki Barber vs. Philadelphia on December 28, 2002. Barber rushed for 203 yards and added 73 receiving yards.

Barkley is the fifth player with at least 275 scrimmage yards and both a rushing and receiving touchdown in a single game since 1970, joining Priest Holmes (Week 13, 2001 and Week 12, 2002), Chris Johnson (Week 2, 2009), Herschel Walker (Week 15, 1986), and Delvin Williams (Week 9, 1976).

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Dec 222019
 
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Kaden Smith, New York Giants (December 22, 2019)

Kaden Smith – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 41 – WASHINGTON REDSKINS 35 (OT)…
In a game filled with terrible defense by both teams, the New York Giants defeated the Washington Redskins 41-35 in overtime on Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. With the win, the Giants improved their overall record to 4-11 with one game left to play. The downside to the victory is the Giants probably lost out on any chance to land the #2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft with the possibility of drafting highly regarded pass rusher Chase Young out of Ohio State.

The story of the game for the Giants was the play of quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley. Jones completed 28-of-42 passes for 352 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. He became the first rookie in NFL history with 350+ passing yards, five touchdown passes, and no interceptions in a single game. Barkley rushed 22 times for 189 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 4 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown for a total of 279 yards from scrimmage.

The two teams combined for five straight 75-yard touchdown drives to begin the game, three by New York and two by Washington:

  • Giants: 5 plays, 75 yards, 23-yard TD pass to wide receiver Sterling Shepard from Jones
  • Redskins: 9 plays, 75 yards, 10-yard TD pass from quarterback Dwayne Haskins
  • Giants: 2 plays, 75 yards, 67-yard TD run by Barkley
  • Redskins: 12 plays, 75 yards, 6-yard TD pass from Haskins
  • Giants: 10 plays, 75 yards, 33-yard TD pass to Barkley from Jones

Haskins didn’t throw his first incompletion until midway through the 2nd quarter on a possession that resulted in Washington’s first punt of the game. Jones was almost equally perfect with one incompletion at this point in the contest.

The Giants were finally forced to punt on their fourth possession of the first half. After Washington’s second punt, the Giants went ahead by two scores late in the half on a 9-play, 73 yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jones to wide receiver Cody Latimer with 38 seconds left.

At the half, the Giants led 28-14.

The Redskins lost Haskins on their first drive of the 3rd quarter when he suffered an ankle injury when he was sacked by linebackers Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter. Case Keenum then entered the game for Washington at quarterback.

Both teams exchanged punts to start the second half before the Redskins tightened the game at 28-21 with a 7-play, 60-yard scoring drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass by Keenum. The Giants responded with a 5-play, 73-yard touchdown drive of their own that was sparked by a 51-yard screen pass to Barkley. Jones finished the possession with a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kaden Smith on 3rd-and-5. Giants 35 – Redskins 21.

Momentum began to swing Washington’s way in the 4th quarter. After a Redskins punt, New York punter Riley Dixon had his punt blocked and recovered by Washington at the Giants’ 17-yard line. Running back Adrian Peterson scored from 1-yard out and the Redskins were once again within one touchdown at 35-28.

The Giants reached the Washington 35-yard line on the ensuing drive but place kicker Aldrick Rosas missed a 53-yard field goal attempt. Both teams then exchanged punts, with the Giants downing their effort at the Washington 1-yard line with 6:28 left to play. Nevertheless, the Redskins proceeded to drive 99 yards in 14 plays to tie the game up at 35-35 with 29 seconds left in the game. Washington converted on 3rd-and-9, 3rd-and-5, 3rd-and-1, and 4th-and-3 (pass interference on the Giants) on this game-tying possession. Keenum finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown scramble.

With two seconds left in regulation, Head Coach Pat Shurmur originally had his field goal team line up for what would have been a 63-yard attempt. Instead, he called a time out and tried a Hail Mary by Jones that fell incomplete.

The Giants won the overtime coin toss and proceeded to win the game with an 11-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a dramatic Jones-to-Smith 3-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-goal.

The Giants finished with 552 yards of offense (206 rushing, 346 passing) and 28 first downs. New York’s defense allowed 361 yards of offense (80 rushing, 281 passing) and 25 first downs. The Giants did have three sacks: Carter (1.5), Golden (0.5), and defensive lineman B.J. Hill (1.0). The defense did not force a turnover.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were TE Rhett Ellison (concussion), QB Alex Tanney, RB Wayne Gallman, WR David Sills, OT Eric Smith, OG Chad Slade, and S Rashaan Gaulden.

LB Alec Ogletree (back) did not play due to a back injury. RT Mike Remmers (concussion) left the game and did not return. WR Darius Slayton (knee) left the game, returned, sat out again, and returned late in the contest.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Pat Shurmur (Video)
  • QB Daniel Jones (Video)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media on Monday.

Dec 192019
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 15, 2019)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 19, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Safety Antoine Bethea (not injury related) and cornerback Antonio Hamilton (not injury related) did not practice on Thursday. Bethea’s wife recently gave birth.

Right guard Kevin Zeitler (ankle) and tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion/non-contact) were limited in practice.

Quarterback Daniel Jones (ankle) and linebacker Oshane Ximines (ankle) 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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice again on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins.

Dec 152019
 
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New York Giants Fans (December 15, 2019)

© USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 36 – MIAMI DOLPHINS 20…
The New York Giants ended their 9-game losing streak by defeating the Miami Dolphins 36-20 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the win, the Giants’ overall record improved to 3-11 on the season with two games left. Quarterback Eli Manning, who might have played in his last game as a Giant, also improved his career regular-season win-loss record as a starter to 117-117. He received a standing ovation at the end of the game.

“I don’t know what the future is,” said Manning after the game. “I don’t know what lies next week, let alone down the road. Obviously, the support and the fans, their ovation, chanting my name from the first snap to the end, I appreciate that. I appreciate them always and all my teammates coming up to me. It’s a special day, a special win and one I’ll remember.”

The Dolphins gained 39 yards on their first 10 plays of the game, but came away empty when their kicker missed a 49-yard field goal. The Giants picked up one first down on their initial drive before punting. Miami drove 52 yards in 10 plays on their second possession, but on 4th-and-1 from the New York 10-yard line, safety Julian Love and nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson stuffed the back for a 3-yard loss as the Dolphins turned the ball over on downs.

The Giants gained two first downs on their second possession, but punted again. The Dolphins responded with a 9-play, 89-yard drive that culminated with a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to wide receiver DeVante Parker. Dolphins 7 – Giants 0.

The New York offense finally produced a scoring drive of its own as the Giants quickly responded with a 3-play, 75-yard effort that ended with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Manning to wide receiver Golden Tate. The game was now tied at 7-7.

After a punt by Miami pinned the Giants down at their own 1-yard line, the New York offense managed to reach their own 41-yard line before a holding penalty pushed them back. On the next snap, Manning was intercepted and the Dolphins had the ball at the New York 28-yard line. The Dolphins gained one first down before settling for a 24-yard field goal with 44 seconds left in the half. Manning was intercepted for the second time on the final play of the 2nd quarter.

At the break, the Dolphins led 10-7.

The Giants took the lead for good on their first possession of the second half. Assisted by a 26-yard pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton and a 21-yard pass to wide receiver Cody Latimer, the Giants drive 70 yards in six plays with Manning finishing the possession with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Slayton. Giants 14 – Dolphins 10.

Both teams then exchanged turnovers. After a big hit from linebacker Alec Ogletree, defensive end Leonard Williams forced Fitzpatrick to fumble with safety Sean Chandler recovering at the Miami 33-yard line. However, three plays later, on 3rd-and-1, Manning was intercepted at the Miami 15-yard line and the pick was returned 34 yards to near midfield. The Dolphins picked up one first down before kicking a 47-yard field goal. Giants 14 – Dolphins 13.

The Giants only gained one first down and punted on the ensuing drive. However, the Dolphins were pinned inside their own 5-yard line. Cornerback Sam Beal then tackled the Miami running back in the end zone for a safety. The Giants now led 16-13.

New York began to take control of the game after the free kick. Wide receiver Da’Mari Scott returned the ball 34 yards to the Miami 40-yard line. Two passes from Manning to wide receiver Sterling Shepard for a total of 39 yards set up the Giants at the 1-yard line. Running back Saquon Barkley then scored and the Giants were up 23-13.

After the Dolphins went three-and-out, the Giants responded with their third touchdown drive of the half, marching 66 yards in eight plays. Barkley scored his second touchdown, this time from 10 yards out on the first play of the 4th quarter. Giants 30 – Dolphins 13.

Both teams gained one first down before punting on the next two possessions. Then the Dolphins turned the football over on downs at their own 44-yard line. With 6:35 left in the game, New York put the contest to bed with a five play drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown by running back Buck Allen. Aldrick Rosas missed the extra point. Giants 36 – Dolphins 13.

The New York defense got a bit sloppy on the ensuing possession as the Dolphins easily drove 75 yards in eight plays to cut the score to 36-20 with less than two minutes to play. The Giants began to kneel on the ball, but took Manning out of the game so he could receive an ovation from the home crowd. The Dolphins got the ball back with 46 seconds remaining but chose to simply run out the clock.

Manning finished 20-of-28 for 283 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. His leading target was Shepard, who caught nine passes for 111 yards. Barkley carried the ball 24 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Giants surrendered 384 total net yards (122 rushing, 262 passing). New York forced one turnover on a fumble recovery and picked up three sacks: Tomlinson (1), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (1), linebacker Markus Golden (0.5), and linebacker Oshane Ximines (0.5).

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were QB Daniel Jones (ankle), TE Evan Engram (foot), TE Rhett Ellison (concussion), RG Kevin Zeitler (ankle/wrist), RB Wayne Gallman, and OT/OG Chad Slade. There was no seventh player inactive because the Giants came into the game with only 52 players on the roster.

Cornerback Deandre Baker hurt his knee but returned to the game.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media by conference call on Monday.