May 262020
 
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Andrew Thomas, Georgia Bulldogs (November 2, 2019)

Andrew Thomas – © 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: Offensive Line

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW: The more things change, the more things stay the same. That could be the mantra for the New York Giants franchise and their almost decade-long effort to rebuild the offensive line. 2019 was no exception. Expectations were at least slightly raised by the offseason additions of seasoned veterans Kevin Zeitler at right guard and Mike Remmers at right tackle. It was expected that left tackle Nate Solder would rebound from a disappointing debut season with the team in 2018. Center Jon Halapio returned after missing 14 games with a broken ankle and we were told by management and coaches what an underrated player he was. Left guard Will Hernandez was coming off a decent rookie season and was expected to develop into a more consistent player.

Long story short is that the offensive line not only did not improve, at times it looked worse than the ad hoc group that finished the 2018 season. Nate Solder regressed even further. Hernandez stagnated. Halapio sucked and tore his Achilles’ tendon with only minutes left in the season. Zeitler dealt with a number of injuries that most likely affected his overall play. Mike Remmers played as expected as an only adequate, temporary placeholder. As a unit, their play did not exceed or equal the sum of its parts. It played at a lesser and very much disappointing level that did not meet expectations. To be blunt, it wasn’t pretty. Saquon Barkley and his fellow running backs were often facing penetration in the backfield and quarterbacks Eli Manning and Daniel Jones were regularly under siege.

The depth situation was also not good. Seventh-rounder offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei suffered a serious concussion early in camp and was lost for the season. For the second year in a row, back-up center Spencer Pulley did not look good when he played. Reserves Eric Smith and Chad Slade were non-factors. Only 2018 undrafted rookie free agent Nick Gates showed some promise in three starts, one at right guard and two at right tackle.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Dave Gettleman re-signed exclusive rights free agents Eric Smith and Chad Slade in late December before Joe Judge was hired. The team did not tender restricted free agent Jon Halapio and he remains unsigned. Team officials contend they could still re-sign Halapio, but it is somewhat telling that they already gave his jersey number away to another offensive lineman.

Mike Remmers signed with the Chiefs. George Asafo-Adjei was waived/failed physical in March.

Journeyman offensive tackle/tight end Nate Wozniak was signed to a reserve/futures contract in late December. Unrestricted free agent offensive tackle Cam Fleming (Dallas Cowboys) was signed in March. The Giants drafted three offensive linemen in the 2020 NFL Draft, including tackle Andrew Thomas (1st round), tackle Matt Peart (3rd round), and guard Shane Lemieux (5th round). The team also signed rookie free agent guards Kyle Murphy and Tyler Haycraft after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: It’s the same as it has been for almost 10 years. Can the Giants field a respectable offensive line? The Achilles’ heel of the offensive team for the last decade has been the play of the offensive line. Every Giants fan knows that. Under two general managers and three head coaches, the team has spent high draft picks and spent a ton of free agent money to fix the problem with no improvement. The old maxim still holds true, football is indeed won and lost in the trenches. And the NFC East is filled with good front sevens. It’s no wonder why the Giants have become the punching bag for the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

While the Giants did not make a big splash this year in free agency (Cam Fleming), it certainly did in the draft by taking three offensive linemen in their first five selections, including the 4th player overall. On paper, things look much improved. The Giants appear to have four potentially adequate or more starters at tackle (Solder, Thomas, Fleming, Peart) and guard (Hernandez, Zeitler, Gates, Lemieux). The obvious sore spot is center. There is no reason to believe Spencer Pulley will develop into an adequate starter. Team officials have already publicly admitted that players such as Gates, Lemieux, and Kyle Murphy will cross-train at at both guard and center.

The hope here is twofold. First, the belief that Head Coach Joe Judge, Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett, and Offensive Line Coach Marc Colombo are superior coaches to their predecessors. And not only will they implement more coherent and viable blocking schemes that fit the existing personnel, but they will develop each individual player better. Second, that the Giants have not only improved the level of talent, but also the level of depth.

In the short term, media and fan focus will be on the center position and the development of the rookie tackles. It doesn’t help that the COVID situation has prevented the team from holding on-field spring practices.

ON THE BUBBLE: A lot of fans want to cut Nate Solder now. While an argument can be made to do so, the COVID situation makes it more unlikely that a team would want to rely on untested rookies who missed spring practices. Just as importantly, the team already paid his $3 million roster bonus in March and would be penalized with a sizable cap hit in dead money (almost $10 million if cut after June 1st).

Barring a complete collapse by Solder and/or rapid development of Thomas and Peart, the Giants are likely to keep four tackles: Solder, Thomas, Peart, and Fleming. It would also seem like the Giants will keep at least five interior linemen with Hernandez, Zeitler, Lemieux, and Gates having the inside track. Pulley’s fate may depend on who is on the waiver wire and the cross-training status of Lemieux, Gates, and Murphy.

PREDICTIONS: Things may not be pretty in the short term (this season), but I think FINALLY the Giants made some moves that will settle this position down for the long term (beyond 2020). I’m thrilled with what the Giants did in the draft at this position. With all due respect to Brad Benson, Jumbo Elliott, and David Diehl, the Giants have have not had a left tackle with the skill-set of Andrew Thomas in my lifetime. Thomas has an ideal combination of size/length, athleticism, temperament, and work ethic for the position (Ereck Flowers lacked the latter two qualities). Matt Peart has many of the same characteristics but it is assumed he will take a little longer to refine because he played at UConn. Both started as freshmen. Both have have started at right and left tackle. It is not far-fetched to dream that the Giants may have selected two 10-year starters at tackle in one draft.

Furthermore, Shane Lemieux was one of the best guards in the draft. Like Thomas, he started as a freshman in a major program. Lemieux has the size, temperament, and work ethic you want at the position. I honestly think all three will eventually start for the Giants. I also would not sleep on rookie free agent Kyle Murphy, who has played at both tackle spots, guard, and center. Based on the limited tape I’ve seen of him, this former team captain plays the game you want your offensive linemen to play (VIDEO).

What’s hard to predict is what the starting line will look like in 2020. Nate Solder and Andrew Thomas are going to start at tackle, but we don’t know who will start on each side. If Solder continues to struggle, I would not completely discount seeing Peart or Fleming in there sooner than expected. Hernandez and Zeitler should start at guard, but neither should get too comfortable with Lemieux and Nick Gates looming in the wings. Joe Judge has repeatedly said the best guys will play, regardless of their draft position or paycheck size. Zeitler is one of the better guards in the NFL and should rebound. It will be interesting to see how Hernandez responds to the new coaching staff.

The huge question mark of course is center. Nobody really wants Pulley starting. The hope is that Gates, Lemieux, or Murphy impress enough in camp to quickly take the starting job. But there is not much time.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Nate Solder, Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, Cam Fleming, Will Hernandez, Kevin Zeitler, Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, Kyle Murphy

What? No center? No way! You’re right… I’m going way out on a limb here and predicting that Lemieux, Gates, and/or Murphy show enough potential at center for not only to have one, but BOTH centers on the team to be converted guards. Teams can also carry 10 offensive linemen and I wouldn’t discount that as a real possibility with Pulley (or a waiver wire pick-up) serving as insurance. Again, I don’t think things will be pretty in the short term. But sometimes you have to take your lumps early for it to pay dividends down the road.

The Giants rolled the dice in 1984 with a converted guard starting at center, Kevin Belcher. It worked out wonderfully for the team in the short-term. (Kevin’s career ended the following offseason with a car crash).

At the very least, the depth situation looks very much improved. There will be guys who can come off of the bench and play in this league.

Nov 082019
 
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Jon Halapio, New York Giants (September 22, 2019)

Jon Halapio – © USA TODAY Sports

NOVEMBER 8, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion protocol), tight end Evan Engram (foot), center Jon Halapio (hamstring), and right tackle Mike Remmers (back) did not practice on Friday.

Shepard, Engram, and Halapio have officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. Remmers is “doubtful” for the game.

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…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The Giants play the New York Jets on Sunday.

Jun 262019
 
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Spencer Pulley and Will Hernandez, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

Spencer Pulley and Will Hernandez – © USA TODAY Sports

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: It’s clear that General Manager Dave Gettleman took one look at the team’s offensive line and had the same reaction as fans. Justin Pugh (2013 1st rounder), Weston Richburg (2014 2nd rounder), and D.J. Fluker were allowed to walk in free agency during the 2018 offseason. John Jerry was cut before the season started. The Giants started the 2018 season with newly-signed free agent Nate Solder at left tackle, 2nd-rounder Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio at center, newly-signed free agent Patrick Omameh at right guard, and Ereck Flowers at right tackle.

This group did not play well and the offense struggled to score points before the bye week. In addition, Halapio broke his ankle in Week 2 and was replaced by John Greco and then waiver-wire pick-up Spencer Pulley. Flowers was benched after the second game and replaced by second-year undrafted free agent Chad Wheeler. Omameh lasted a bit longer, starting the first six games before being cut in November. Greco first took his spot, then newcomer Jamon Brown, who was claimed off of waivers from the Los Angeles Rams.

The 2.0 version of the 2018 offensive line thus included Solder-Hernandez-Pulley-Brown-Wheeler. The best thing that could be said of this group was that it wasn’t as crappy as the previous group. Team scoring improved, but Pulley and Wheeler were clearly weak links. Brown looked the part, but demonstrated the same inconsistency that led to him being cut by the Rams. And it rapidly became apparent that the desperate Giants dramatically overpaid Solder, who did play better as the season progressed. While Hernandez experienced the expected rookie growing pains, he improved and was named to the All-Rookie team.

Overall, for yet another season, the line remained the offense’s Achilles’ heel, with the free agent newcomers not playing as well as expected, and the team being forced to start two mid-season waiver-wire pickups.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Somewhat surprisingly, the Giants re-signed both Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley. The team did not bring back John Greco, and Jamon Brown signed with the Falcons. The Giants acquired guard Kevin Zeitler via a trade from the Browns and signed tackle Mike Remmers in free agency. Street free agents Chad Slade and Austin Droogsma were signed. Surprisingly, the Giants only drafted one lineman: George Asafo-Adjei in the 7th round. Rookie free agents Paul Adams and James O’Hagan were signed after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Heading into training camp, the expected starting offensive line is Nate Solder at left tackle, Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio or Spencer Pulley at center, Kevin Zeitler at right guard, and Mike Remmers at right tackle. On paper, this appears to be the team’s best offensive line in almost a decade. Hernandez and Zeitler are arguably one of the best set of starting guards in the NFL. They are not just big, physical football players, but they play with professionalism and attitude. The Giants haven’t been in such good shape here since the days of Rich Seubert and Chris Snee.

The three other spots are a bit more unsettled. Nate Solder clearly did not live up to his contract. He’s also missed the Spring workouts due to ankle surgery. However, he is another veteran presence who gives the Giants more stability and reliability at the crucial left tackle position than Ereck Flowers and Will Beatty ever did. Moreover, the Solder-Hernandez tandem on the left side should play better in their second year together. Mike Remmers has bounced around the League, now playing with his seventh team. But the self-made journeyman parlayed his improving play into a 5-year, $30 million contract with the Vikings in 2017. He played well at right tackle for that team in 2017 but was more inconsistent at right guard in 2018. A recurring back issue that required offseason surgery was a factor in the Vikings cutting him in March. If Remmers is over his back issues (which caused him to miss Spring workouts), and if he can regain his 2017 form, the Giants will have massively upgraded themselves at right tackle with another professional, veteran presence. But those are two big “ifs”. Like the left tackle position, right tackle has been a disaster for the Giants for years.

Based on offseason comments by team officials, it was assumed that Jon Halapio would be penciled in as the starting center again. However, Spencer Pulley has been pushing him and splitting snaps with the first unit during Spring workouts. The starting center position appears to be very much up for grabs. The good news is that whomever starts, they will be tremendously aided by Hernandez and Zeitler on their flanks.

Overall, the main story line is this group needs to develop cohesion and chemistry quickly. Both starting tackles missed the mini-camp and OTAs this Spring due to injuries. With so few training camp practices, there is not much time for everyone to come together.

ON THE BUBBLE: There are currently 16 offensive linemen on the roster. The Giants will probably keep nine. Barring injury, Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Kevin Zeitler, and Mike Remmers will start. Both Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley should make it unless one of the younger centers push one off the roster. That leaves three spots for ten players. Chad Wheeler probably has a leg up on being the reserve swing tackle. But it will be a dogfight for those last few spots.

FROM THE COACHES: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Mike Remmers: “I worked with Mike for two years. He is a pro, a real pro, and he played winning football for us in Minnesota. I knew a lot about Mike and then he started last year every game and played well. We were in talks with him, took a couple of physicals, just went through the process and signed him.”

Shurmur on Jon Halapio: “He was really playing well for us before he got hurt a year ago. So we had high hopes for him last season. It appears he has come back 100 percent and is back in there just like he was when he left us.”

Shurmur on George Asafo-Adjei: “We like him for all the reasons we liked him on his college tape. He is a powerful guy that has very good length. You can tell he is a very physical style player. That is important at that position.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula on the offensive line: “I think the guys that we’ve added over the course of last season and this season have brought a lot of character, intelligence, competitiveness, integrity to that room. I think it didn’t show as early as we wanted it to last year. I think it showed pretty well at the end of the year. I think we’ve kind of picked up, in fact improved since then. We are going to be leaning on them, they are going to be the starting point of our offense. Everyone knows we have Saquon, we want to run the football, we are going to be balanced. To do that it’s got to start with the offensive line. We want to run the ball, when we want to run it, we want to throw that ball when we want to throw it. To do that it starts up front. We are going to lean heavy on those guys.”

Shula on Chad Wheeler: “I think Wheels has done a really good job this offseason with our exposure with him. Again, I have only been around him for a year, but I think there is a big difference even with him and his approach. I think he, along with a lot of other guys, got better as the year went on. We all know that we were nowhere near good enough early in the year. We did a lot of good things even though it wasn’t good enough at the end of the year, but we were really, really close and trending in the right direction. He was one of those guys that falls in that category.”

Offensive Line Coach Hal Hunter on Kevin Zeitler: “You have to love Zeitler. He is a tough, hard nose guy. I have seen him play. I watched him play when he was in Cincinnati’s offense. He is a good football player. He brings a real toughness. He is all business… He is very demanding of guys around him in a positive way. You demand in yourself what you demand in others. I love that about him. I love everything about him, his personality and what he brings. He is so fun to coach.”

Hunter on Jon Halapio: “He made good progress during (the 2018 training) camp and great progress during the preseason. The way he was playing in the beginning of the Dallas game, that was shocking. He was playing really well. When you sit out all that time, you get so far behind physically and technically. Now he is back in the swing of things and he looks good. He is only scratching the surface. He is smart, tough and strong. He has athleticism and needs to continue to play at the position.”

Hunter on George Asafo-Adjei: “My son works at Kentucky. He works in the football office down there. We found out from the inside out – he talked about what a quality guy he was. He was probably the most respected guy on the offensive side of the ball. He talked about how he competed with Josh Allen on a day-to-day basis. He talked about his character, work ethic and his toughness. All of those things peaked interest. You watch him on tape and see that he has a lot of athleticism and power. He has a lot of toughness and plays in the best football conference in the country. We have some technical work to do. He is a rookie and you have to tell him to do something once and he goes on and does it right the next time. He picked up the offense much quicker than I thought he was going to. When you compare our offense to their offense, we have a lot more volume to it with a lot of the things that we were doing. We need to continue to work with him technically to get him up to speed but you have to like everything about him. When you read him, that is one of the first things that I found out. He had committed to Kentucky early and is a man of his word. When all those other schools came in like Alabama, that is legit. Those people tried to come in and recruit him. He gave Kentucky his word and didn’t go anywhere. He has some developmental potential.”

PREDICTIONS: Some fans have questioned me about why I am so upbeat about the 2019 offensive line since there remain some serious question marks at center and both tackle spots. I feel good because I see a group of professional, reliable veterans. For the last decade, the Giants haven’t just been bad up front, they’ve been dreadful. They were not only physically overmatched, they did not treat their jobs as professionals. And they certainly could not be relied upon.

I love our two guards. And whomever starts at center will benefit from them. Solder and Remmers aren’t pretty, but they get the job done. This group will show up to work, give you a full 60 minutes, and leave their opponents feeling sore the next day. I’ll take that any day.

My only concern is that with Solder and Remmers missing all of the Spring workouts, early-season cohesion and chemistry will be lacking. But both guys have been around the League for a long time and that will help. The Giants also have to pray Remmers’ back holds up.

There are Giants fans in their teens and 20s who have never seen their team field a decent offensive line. I think that is about to change. Don’t be surprised if both guards receive some Pro Bowl recognition.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Kevin Zeitler, Will Hernandez, Nate Solder, Mike Remmers, Jon Halapio, Spencer Pulley, Chad Wheeler, George Asafo-Adjei, Paul Adams

(I realize this is tackle heavy, but it’s easier for a tackle to play guard in a pinch rather than the other way around. The Giants also need to groom a couple of young tackles).

Mar 112019
 
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Landon Collins, New York Giants (November 14, 2016)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON REDSKINS SIGN LANDON COLLINS…
The Washington Redskins have signed New York Giants unrestricted free agent safety Landon Collins to a 6-year, $84 million deal.

Despite being voted to the Pro Bowl three times from 2016-2018, Collins has not been able to replicate his breakout performance in 2016. He finished both 2017 and 2018 on Injured Reserve, first with a fractured forearm and then with a partially-torn rotator cuff. Both injuries required surgery. On top of the injury issues, Collins has struggled more in coverage against better athletes. In 2018, Collins started all 12 games he played in, finishing with 96 tackles, 4 pass defenses, and 1 forced fumble.

Collins was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. During his All-Pro 2016 season, Collins started every game and finished the year with 125 tackles, four sacks, 13 pass defenses, and five interceptions.

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN SPENCER PULLEY…
The New York Giants have officially re-signed restricted free agent center Spencer Pulley. The deal is reportedly a 3-year, $9.6 million contract. The Giants claimed Pulley off of waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers in September 2018. Pulley was inserted into the starting line-up in late October. He struggled in his nine starts at center and missed one game due to an injury. Pulley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chargers after the 2016 NFL Draft. Spencer started all 16 regular-season games for the Chargers in 2017 at center. He also is able to play guard.

MARCH 11, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT RUMORS…
The negotiating period of NFL free agency began today. Teams can officially sign free agents from other teams on Wednesday, March 13th. Here are some of the latest rumors:

  • NJ.com is reporting that the Giants have expressed “significant interest” in unrestricted free agent linebacker Preston Smith (Washington Redskins).
  • The New York Post is reporting that the Giants are interested in unrestricted free agent linebacker Deone Bucannon (Arizona Cardinals).
Feb 112019
 
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Will Hernandez, New York Giants (October 7, 2018)

Will Hernandez – © USA TODAY Sports

One of the primary reasons why General Manager Jerry Reese and Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross were fired was their inability to satisfactorily address an offensive line that had begun to deteriorate during the Super Bowl season of 2011. For years, Reese and Ross invested premium draft picks and free agent resources at the position, but to no avail. Enter new General Manager Dave Gettleman, who initially won over the hearts and minds of many Giants fans tired of inept offensive line play by focusing much of public comments on the “hog mollies” up front.

So what did Gettleman do? He almost completely gutted the previous group. Justin Pugh (2013 1st rounder), Weston Richburg (2014 2nd rounder), and D.J. Fluker were allowed to walk in free agency. John Jerry was cut before the season started. Somewhat oddly, the only unrestricted free agent the team chose to re-sign was John Greco. Newcomers included Nate Solder (4 years, $62 million), Patrick Omameh (3 years, $15 million), and 2018 2nd-round draft pick Will Hernandez. Notably, Ereck Flowers (9th player taken in the 2015 NFL Draft), who the previous administration had refused to shift to right tackle, was finally moved to the spot that many argued would be his best position. The only real surprise coming out of the OTAs and training camp was that Jon Halapio beat out Brett Jones at center, with the latter eventually being traded to the Minnesota Vikings in late August. The new offensive line coach was Hal Hunter, a man with an uninspiring resume and who was also out of football in 2017.

The Giants started the season with Nate Solder at left tackle, Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio at center, Patrick Omameh at right guard, and Ereck Flowers at right tackle. This group did not play well and the offense struggled mightily to score points. Indeed, there appeared to be no measurable improvement over the previous pathetic groups. The Giants began the season 1-7, scoring an average of 15 points in six of those losses despite the presence of Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley.

Injury and an ineffectiveness soon led to shakeups up front. Halapio broke his ankle and leg in the second game of the season and was first replaced by John Greco and then Spencer Pulley, who was claimed off of waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers. The new regime also decided it had seen enough of Flowers and Omameh. Flowers was benched after the second game and replaced by second-year undrafted free agent Chad Wheeler. Omameh lasted a bit longer, starting the first six games before being cut in November. Greco first took his spot, then newcomer Jamon Brown, who was claimed off of waivers from the Los Angeles Rams.

The 2.0 version of the 2018 offensive line thus included Solder-Hernandez-Pulley-Brown-Wheeler. The best thing that could be said of this group was that it wasn’t as crappy as the previous group. Team scoring improved, but Pulley and Wheeler were clearly weak links. Brown looked the part, but demonstrated the same inconsistency that led to him being cut by the Rams. And it rapidly became apparent that the desperate Giants dramatically overpaid Solder, who did settle down more as the season progressed. (Unfortunately, it was the Giants’ failed attempt to land guard Andrew Norwell in free agency that led to the Giants acquiring both Solder and Omameh). While Hernandez experienced the expected rookie growing pains, he improved and was named to the All-Rookie team.

Overall, for yet another season, the line remained the offense’s Achilles’ heel, with the free agent newcomers not playing as well as expected, and the team being forced to start two mid-season waiver-wire pickups.

THE EVENTUAL STARTERS

The Giants signed Nate Solder as an unrestricted free agent from the New England Patriots in March 2018. Solder started all 16 games at left tackle but had an inconsistent season, struggling at times as both a run and pass blocker, particularly during the first-half of the year. The 6’8”, 325-pound Solder was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Patriots. In eight seasons, Solder has started 111 of the 114 regular-season games he has played in. He is a long, lean tackle with good overall athleticism. Solder was voted a team captain in his first year with the Giants.

In his second season with the Giants, Chad Wheeler was promoted to the starter at right tackle when the team decided to bench Ereck Flowers after the second game. Wheeler ended up starting 14 games at right tackle, but was a weak link on a unit that played better during the second half of the season. Wheeler was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. Not only did he make the team, but he ended up playing in 11 games with four starts, three at right tackle and one at left tackle. Wheeler is a hardworking, versatile player and a decent athlete, but he appears to lack ideal footwork, strength, and bulk to be a starter. He may be better suited as a back-up swing tackle.

The Giants selected Will Hernandez in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. While he had some growing pains, Hernandez, ended up starting all 16 games at left guard and was named named to Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team. Hernandez lacks ideal height, but he is a big, tough, strong, powerful guard who does his best work in-line and not on the move. Hernandez is a mauler who plays with leverage and gets movement as a run blocker. He plays with an attitude and looks to finish his blocks and punish opponents. Hernandez lacks ideal foot quickness which hampers his game in space and, at times, as a pass protector, but he generally gets the job done.

The Giants claimed Jamon Brown off of waivers from the Los Angeles Rams at the end of October 2018. He was quickly inserted into the starting lineup, and played in the final eight games as the starting right guard. The 6’4”, 340-pound Brown was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Rams. Brown has played in 50 regular-season games with 38 starts. He was suspended the first two games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Brown’s size and strength is an asset in the running game, but he was too inconsistent in pass protection. He also needs to cut down on his penalties.

The Giants claimed Spencer Pulley off of waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers in September 2018. Pulley was inserted into the starting line-up in late October. He struggled in his nine starts at center and missed one game due to an injury. Pulley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chargers after the 2016 NFL Draft. Spencer started all 16 regular-season games for the Chargers in 2017 at center. He also is able to play guard.

OTHER PLAYERS OF NOTE

Jon Halapio won the starting center job in 2018, but was lost early when he was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2018 after breaking his ankle and lower leg in the second game of the season. The injuries required surgery. Halapio was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He has bounced around different leagues and teams including the Patriots (2014), Boston Brawlers (2014), Denver Broncos (2014–2015), Arizona Cardinals (2015), Brooklyn Bolts (2015), and Patriots (2016) again. The Giants signed Halapio to their Practice Squad in 2016 and 2017. The Giants then added him to the 53-man roster in October 2017 and he played in 10 games, starting the last six at right guard. Halapio is stout and strong, but he lacks ideal overall athleticism. Versatile, he can play both center and guard.

The Giants signed John Greco in November 2017. In 2018, Greco played in 15 games with seven starts (five at center, two at right guard). An older, fading player, Greco struggled at both positions and was eventually replaced in the starting line-up by players acquired during the season. Greco was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. He has spent time with the Rams (2008-2010), Cleveland Browns (2011-2016), and New Orleans Saints (2017). He’s a versatile player with experience at both guard positions and center.

Dec 302018
 
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Eli Manning and Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (December 30, 2018)

Giants End Season With Another Loss – © USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS COWBOYS 36 – NEW YORK GIANTS 35…
The New York Giants ended their 2018 season on a losing note, falling to the Dallas Cowboys 36-35 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Giants were up 35-28 with 2:35 left in the game. But Dallas drove 70 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 32-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-15 with with just over a minute to play. The successful 2-point conversion gave the Cowboys their game-winning points.

With the loss, the Giants ended the season with a 5-11 overall record (1-5 in the NFC East). The Giants have five losing seasons in the last six years.

The game did not start off well for New York. After a 38-yard kickoff return by wide receiver Corey Coleman, the Giants drove deep into Dallas territory, aided by a 24-yard reception by wide receiver Sterling Shepard and a 26-yard run by running back Saquon Barkley. However, quarterback Eli Manning was picked off in the end zone on 3rd-and-4 from the Dallas 6-yard line.

Dallas gained two first downs on their initial drive and then punted. The Giants picked up three first downs, but on 2-and-10 from the Dallas 43-yard line, Manning was sacked and he fumbled the ball away. The Cowboys drove inside the red zone on the ensuing possession but missed the 34-yard field goal.

After a three-and-out by the Giants, Dallas drove the ball 65 yards in 13 plays, the possession ending with a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dak Prescott to tight end Blake Jarwin. After another three-and-out by the Giants, the Cowboys went up 14-0 after a 9-play, 75-yard drive ended with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Jarwin.

With under two minutes to play before halftime, the Giants finally got on the board with a 10-play, 73-yard possession that ended with a spectacular, one-handed, 21-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Cody Latimer on 3rd-and-10.

At the half, the Cowboys led 14-7.

The 3rd quarter began with a three-and-out by the Cowboys. Coleman returned the ensuing punt 19 yards. The Giants’ offense was only able to gain 15 yards, but it was enough to set up a successful 48-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. Cowboys 14 – Giants 10.

Dallas appeared to take command of the game again on their second possession of the half, driving 76 yards in eight plays, and capping off the drive with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Jarwin. The Cowboys now led 21-10.

The Giants were ignited by a 68-yard run by Barkley on 2nd-and-20. Three plays later, Manning found tight end Evan Engram for a 6-yard touchdown reception and then the 2-point conversion. Cowboys 21 – Giants 18.

The Cowboys gained one first down and punted the ball away early in the 4th quarter. Aided by a 51-yard reception by Evan Engram, the Giants took their first lead of the game when running back Wayne Gallman scored from two yards out. Giants 25 – Cowboys 21.

However, a New York defense that has struggled to hold leads all year collapsed in the 4th quarter. On Dallas’ ensuing possession, the Cowboys easily drove 75 yards in five plays to regain the lead 28-25 with just over nine minutes to play. The Giants’ offense impressively responded with a 12-play, 74-yard effort. Latimer came down with a one-handed, 31-yard reception and three plays later Barkley skyed over the Dallas defense from two yards out. Giants 32 – Cowboys 28 with 3:21 left in the game.

New York appeared to pull off the upset on the very next offensive snap. After a short reception, defensive end Kerry Wynn forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker B.J. Goodson and advanced to the Dallas 18-yard line. The Giants lost two yards on the subsequent possession but kicked a 38-yard field goal to take a 35-28 lead with 2:35 left in the game.

Again, the Giants’ defense could not hold. The Cowboys drove 70 yards 83 seconds, unbelievably scoring on a broken play from 32 yards out on 4th-and-15. The subsequent 2-point conversion gave Dallas their game-winning points.

The Giants did have one final legitimate chance to win the game. Latimer returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards to the New York 48-yard line. The Giants had the ball near midfield with 65 left in the game and two timeouts. But the contest ended with four straight incompletions by Manning.

Manning finished the game 24-of-41 for 301 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. His leading receiver was Engram, who caught five passes for 81 yards. Latimer, Shepard, and Barkley each had four receptions. Barkley also gained 109 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries.

Defensively, the Giants gave up 419 total net yards, including 368 net yards passing. The Giants accrued four sacks (2.5 by linebacker Olivier Vernon) and forced one fumble.

Video highlights are available at NFL.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (quad), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion), defensive end Mario Edwards (calf), linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion), tight end Garrett Dickerson, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Cornerback Grant Haley (concussion) and wide receiver Corey Coleman (foot) left the game with injuries.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants placed wide receiver Jawill Davis on Injured Reserve on Saturday after he injured his knee dancing in the locker room on Saturday (no joke). To fill his roster spot, the Giants signed wide receiver Alonzo Russell to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad.

The Giants signed Russell after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2018 rookie mini-camp and then signed him to the Practice Squad in September. The 6’3”, 206-pound Russell was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Bengals’ Practice Squad. The Bengals waived him in September 2017 and he was signed to the Practice Squad of the Arizona Cardinals in November 2017.

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 and select players will address the media on Monday. General Manager Dave Gettleman will address the media on Wednesday.

Nov 182018
 
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Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (November 18, 2018)

Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 38 – TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 35…
The New York Giants won their second game in a row and improved their overall record to 3-7 by defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-35 on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Quarterback Eli Manning only threw one incompletion, running back Saquon Barkley scored three touchdowns, and the defense intercepted four passes, returning one for a touchdown.

The Buccaneers significantly out-gained the Giants in a number of categories including first downs (31 to 19), total net yards (510 to 359), and net yards passing (359 to 196). But the Giants dominated the turnover battle (4-0). The Giants were 4-of-4 in red zone opportunities, while the Buccaneers were 4-of-5.

The Giants scored touchdowns on their first two offensive possessions of the game. Wide receiver Corey Coleman returned the opening kickoff 40 yards. Four plays later, Manning found wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. for a 41-yard gain to the Tampa Bay 7-yard line. Two after that, Manning hit a wide-open Barkley for a 6-yard touchdown reception.

The Buccaneers drove 68 yards on their initial possession, but were stopped on 4th-and-1 on the 12th play of the drive, turning the ball over on downs at the Giants’ 5-yard line. The NYG offense then responded with a 12-play, 95-yard drive that ended with Barkley scoring from five yards out. The Giants now led 14-0.

After both teams exchanged punts, Tampa Bay cut the score to 14-7 with an 8-play, 64-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on 4th-and-goal. The Giants managed to drive the ball to the Buccaneers 37-yard line on the following possession, but Head Coach Pat Shurmur decided to punt the ball away on 4th-and-2. The Buccaneers threatened to score again before safety Michael Thomas intercepted Fitzpatrick at the Giants’ 13-yard line with less than 30 seconds before intermission.

At the half, the Giants led 14-7.

The Buccaneers received the ball to start the second half. On their second offensive snap, linebacker Alec Olgetree snatched a ball away from fellow defender cornerback Janoris Jenkins and returned it 15 yards for a defensive touchdown. The Giants were now ahead 21-7. Tampa Bay drove to the NYG 32-yard line on their second possession of the half, but Fitzpatrick was picked off in the end zone by safety Curtis Riley who returned the interception to the Giants’ 40-yard line. The Buccaneers bench Fitzpatrick after his third turnover.

A 23-yard run by Barkley helped to set up a 52-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas, giving the Giants a 24-7 advantage midway through the third quarter. However, the Giants’ defense then largely collapsed against quarterback Jameis Winston, who led the Buccaneers on four straight touchdown drives of 74, 77, 70, and 66 yards. Thankfully for New York, Manning and his offensive teammates also managed two touchdown drives of their own. The first was a 7-play, 71-yard affair that culminated with an 8-yard touchdown reception by Beckham on 3rd-and-5. The second was a 5-play, 67-yard drive, where the big play was a 54-yard gain by tight end Evan Engram. Three plays later, Barkley scored from two yards out.

Despite all of this, Winston’s 41-yard touchdown with less than two-and-a-half minutes left in the game cut the score to an uncomfortable 38-35. The Giants went three-and-out and Tampa got the ball back with 23 seconds to play. But Winston’s first pass of Tampa’s final possession was intercepted by cornerback B.W. Webb at the Giants’ 25-yard line, ending the game.

Offensively, Manning completed 17-of-18 passes for 231 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a QB rating of 155.8. Beckham was the only Giants’ player to catch more than two passes, catching four for 74 yards and a score. Barkley rushed for 142 yards on 27 carries. He scored on two runs and added another touchdown on a pass reception.

The good news for the defense was the four interceptions (including one for a score) and the stop on 4th-and-1 at the 5-yard line. But the defense allowed over 500 yards of offense and five touchdowns. The Giants accrued only one sack (by linebacker Kareem Martin).

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were quarterback Kyle Lauletta, wide receiver Jawill Davis, center Evan Brown, defensive end R.J. McIntosh, nose tackle John Jenkins, cornerback Tony Lippett, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Defensive end Kerry Wynn left the game with a concussion 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 38 points was their highest total since November 1, 2015, when they lost at New Orleans, 52-49. It was the most points they’ve scored in a victory since a 45-14 victory at Washington on September 25, 2014.

Quarterback Eli Manning’s 94.4 completion percentage is a Giants record in a game with at least 10 attempts.

Running back Saquon Barkley is the first Giants rookie to score on a reception and a run in the same game since wide since running back Butch Woolfolk vs. the Houston Oilers on December 5, 1982.

Barkley’s receiving yardage total for the season is 540, a Giants record for a rookie running back. David Meggett previously held the record with 531 yards in 1989.

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

Oct 262018
 
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Alec Ogletree, New York Giants (June 12, 2018)

Alec Ogletree – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT – ALEC OGLETREE RULED OUT…
Not practicing on Friday due to injury were linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring) and wide receiver Jawill Davis (concussion). Both players have been ruled out of the game against the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Guard Patrick Omameh (knee) and wide receiver Russell Shepard (neck) fully practiced. Both are unofficially “probable” for the game on Sunday.

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…
There is no media availability to the Giants on Saturday. The team plays the Washington Redskins at home on Sunday.

Oct 202018
 
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Patrick Omameh, New York Giants (October 7, 2018)

Patrick Omameh – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS OFFENSIVE LINE SHAKEUP…
According to multiple media reports, John Greco will be moved from center to right guard to replace Patrick Omameh in the starting line-up. Spencer Pulley will now start at center.

The Giants claimed Pulley off of waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers in September 2018. The 25-year old, 6’4, 308-pound Pulley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chargers after the 2016 NFL Draft. Spencer started all 16 regular-season games for the Chargers in 2017 at center.

Offensive line coach Hal Hunter telegraphed these moves earlier in the day. “(Pulley has) doing a great job,” said Hunter. “He’s really smart. The first thing I did when we got him I called Phillip Rivers to ask about him and Phillip gave me great insight into the guy and so based on that it helped me coach the guy a little bit. He’s tough and he’s athletic. I think he’s got a good grasp of the offense and I think he is pushing toward perhaps maybe being one of the first five. We’ll see what happens as the season goes on.

“Greco’s done a great job filling in. He did the same thing for me in Cleveland. He was a guard that actually was forced into playing center when our center got hurt in Cleveland. That’s kind of what’s happened here. He’s a guard that’s been forced into center play and he’s been really solid at the center position these last couple of weeks.”

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Right guard Patrick Omameh (knee) and wide receiver Jawill Davis (concussion) did not practice on Saturday. Omameh was added to the injury list on Saturday and he is officially listed as “questionable” for the game against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. Davis has already been ruled out of the game.

“Yeah, (Omameh) kind of got his leg tangled up yesterday in practice so we’ll just see how it responds here overnight,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We’ll just have to see.”

Wide receiver Russell Shepard (neck) practiced on a limited basis and is “questionable” for the game.

Tight end Evan Engram (knee), tight end Rhett Ellison (foot), left tackle Nate Solder (neck), and linebacker Olivier Vernon (ribs) fully practiced. All four are expected to play.

DICK MODZELEWSKI PASSES AWAY…
Dick Modzelewski, who played eight years with the New York Giants at defensive tackle from 1956-1963, died on Friday at the age of 87. Modzelewski also served as defensive coordinator of the Giants in 1978. As a player Modzelewski played in six NFL Championship games with the Giants.

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…
There is no media availability to the Giants on Sunday. The team will play the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night in Georgia.

Sep 022018
 
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Davis Webb, New York Giants (August 1, 2018)

Davis Webb – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK SIGN CLAIM SIX PLAYERS OFF OF WAIVERS…
The New York Giants claimed the following six players off of waivers on Sunday:

  • WR Kaelin Clay (Buffalo Bills)
  • OC Spencer Pulley (Los Angeles Chargers)
  • DE Mario Edwards (Oakland Raiders)
  • CB Antonio Hamilton (Oakland Raiders)
  • CB Michael Jordan (Cleveland Browns)
  • CB Kamrin Moore (New Orleans Saints)

The 26-year old, 5’10”, 195-pound Clay was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has spent time with the Buccaneers (2015), Detroit Lions (2015), Baltimore Ravens (2015–2016), Carolina Panthers (2017), and Buffalo Bills (2017–2018). Clay has played in 20 regular-season games with two starts, accruing just six catches for 85 yards. He has experience returning both punts and kickoffs.

The 25-year old, 6’4, 308-pound Pulley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Los Angeles Chargers after the 2016 NFL Draft. Spencer started all 16 regular-season games for the Chargers in 2017 at center. He also is able to play guard.

The 24-year old, 6’3”, 280-pound Edwards was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Raiders. He missed most of 2016 with a hip injury. In three years with the Raiders, Edwards has played in 30 regular-season games with 24 starts. He started 14 games in 2017 and finished the year with 27 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Edwards is a very good run defender.

The 25-year old, 6’0, 190-pound Hamilton was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has played in 12 regular-season games with no starts.

The 25-year old, 6’1”, 200-pound Jordan was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Los Angeles Rams after the 2016 NFL Draft. He was claimed off of waivers by the Browns in September 2017. Jordan has played in 20 regular-season games with three starts.

The 21-year old, 5’11’, 203-pound Moore (Boston College) was drafted in the 6th round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.

For an overview of the the current roster, see the Roster and Depth Chart pages of the website.

NEW YORK SIGN CUT SIX PLAYERS, INCLUDING DAVIS WEBB…
To make room for the waiver-wire pick-ups, the New York Giants have waived or terminated the contracts of the following players:

  • QB Davis Webb
  • WR Hunter Sharp
  • TE Jerell Adams
  • OG John Jerry (contract terminated)
  • DE Josh Banks
  • CB William Gay (contract terminated)

The Giants drafted Webb in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft and Adams in the 6th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Jerry was with the Giants since 2014, starting 56 regular-season games for the team.

NEW YORK SIGN EIGHT PLAYERS TO THE PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have officially signed the following eight players to their 10-man Practice Squad:

  • RB Jhurell Pressley
  • WR Alonzo Russell
  • WR Jawill Davis
  • TE Garrett Dickerson
  • OT Victor Salako
  • LB Avery Moss
  • LB Calvin Munson
  • CB Grant Haley

All eight players were waived by the team on Saturday. The team still has two more open spots on the Practice Squad.

NEW YORK POST AND DAILY NEWS INTERVIEWS WITH JOHN MARA…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Monday.