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 192020
 
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Darius Slayton, New York Giants (December 9, 2019)

Darius Slayton – © 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: Wide Receivers

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW: Perhaps the biggest offseason NFL story in 2019 was the trade of Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Cleveland Browns in March. While the Giants received what now appears to be more-than-adequate compensation (1st- and 3rd-round draft picks and safety Jabrill Peppers), the trade left the Giants without a clearcut #1 wide receiver who could consistently threaten opposing defenses down the field. In addition, the Giants were now very thin and top heavy at the position, with only newly-acquired Golden Tate and yet-to-breakout Sterling Shepard as headliners.

Things got even dicier early when Tate (49 catches, 676 yards, 6 TDs) was suspended for the first four games of the season for the use of performance-enhancing substances. Shepard (57 catches, 576 yards, 3 TDs) then missed six games (Week 2, Weeks 6-10) with concussions. Evan Engram (44 catches, 467 yards, 3 TDs), a hybrid tight end/wide receiver, also missed eight games (Week 6, Weeks 10-17) with knee and foot issues. Former Browns 1st rounder Corey Coleman was lost in July with a torn ACL.

Long story short was that the Giants were forced to rely on guys like perennial tease Cody Latimer (24 catches, 300 yards, 2 TDs) and no-name journeymen such as Bennie Fowler (23 catches, 193 yards), T.J. Jones (3 catches), Cody Core (3 catches), Russell Shepard (3 catches), and Da’Mari Scott (2 catches). David Sills spent the bulk of the season on the Practice Squad until mid-December but he did not have a catch.

Thank goodness for 5th-round steal Darius Slayton, who had a surprisingly productive rookie season, playing in 14 games with nine starts, and finishing with 48 catches for a team-leading 740 yards (team-leading 15.4 yards per catch) and a team-leading eight touchdowns.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants cut Fowler and Jones during the 2019 season and chose not to re-sign Latimer and Russell Shepard in free agency. The team did re-sign Coleman and Core in free agency, as well as re-sign practice squader Alex Bachman.

Surprisingly, the Giants did not sign any free agents from other teams and did not draft a receiver in what was widely-regarded as a very deep wide receiver draft. The only newcomers are undrafted rookie free agents Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack, and Derrick Dillon.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The main question is do the Giants have enough receiving targets who can stay healthy and scare opposing defenses? On paper, the Giants are pretty much in the same boat as they were at this time last year, having to rely on Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Evan Engram to stay on the field and be consistently productive. The one significant change is the emergence of Darius Slayton. Was 2019 a flash in the pan for the rookie Slayton or the start of something even better? Will he experience the dreaded “sophomore slump”? Tate proved he can still play, but the Giants are his fourth NFL team and it will be interesting to see how he interacts with Joe Judge. The big concern is Shepard’s career-threatening concussion history. How much more will he be able to play?

Cody Core is a stud special teamer but only has 33 catches in four NFL seasons. It’s a bit surprising that Da’Mari Scott is even back. Sills and Bachman have already been cut by other teams. There was some hope last year that Corey Coleman could emerge, but now he’s coming off a torn ACL. Undrafted free agents Victor, Mack, and Dillon probably couldn’t have picked a better team to sign with. At least one has a reasonable shot of making the team. Unless someone really surprises, there is very little depth at this position.

ON THE BUBBLE: Slayton, Shepard, and Tate are the sure bets with Core having a great shot because of his special teams value. That leaves probably two or three spots for the rest, who are all on the bubble. Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge will be actively scanning the waiver wire.

PREDICTIONS: There are a lot of conflicting thoughts in my head when I consider the team’s situation at wide receiver. I grew up during a time when Phil Simms largely had a bunch of no-name scrubs and still got the job done. I also witnessed how the personal excellence of Odell Beckham had no impact on the overall W-L record. On the other hand, it’s hard to see Eli Manning winning two Super Bowls without the presence of Amani Toomer, Plaxico Burress, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham.

Personally, I don’t think the Giants have enough talent at the position. If everyone stays healthy, this could be a more-than-adequate unit, but the slot receiver Shepard is one big hit away from being done and he’s never come close to cracking the 1,000-yard mark. The hybrid Engram also can’t seem to stay on the field. I also could see the show-boating Tate rubbing Judge the wrong way. There will be a lot of pressure on Darius Slayton to perform and even improve upon his rookie season. It is a long shot to believe anyone else will be meaningfully productive.

I suspect wide receiver will be a top priority in free agency and the draft next offseason.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Darius Slayton, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Cody Core, Corey Coleman, Binjimen Victor

After my first four, the next two are my best guesses. Coleman has talent but is now on his fourth team and coming off an ACL. Still, he has the one thing you can’t teach: speed. Austin Mack is one of those receivers who is tough to cut, but I just don’t see an ability to separate in his game. Victor reminds me of a poor man’s Plaxico Burress. The 5th and 6th receivers may not be on the roster yet. Stay tuned.

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.

Dec 042019
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 22, 2019)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

HIGH-ANKLE SPRAIN FOR DANIEL JONES; ELI MANNING LIKELY TO START…
The New York Giants revealed on Wednesday that quarterback Daniel Jones suffered a “moderate” high-ankle sprain in the game against the Green Bay Packers last Sunday. Jones is in a boot and is not likely to play for at least one game, possibly the remainder of the season. Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning will start in his place if necessary on Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“Daniel hasn’t been able to practice today,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “If we had to play tomorrow, he couldn’t play. As the week goes on, it’ll be more and more evident that he’s not going to be ready to go. As we practice, Eli takes all the reps and then we move on… Eli looks good. He’s been ready to play all year. If in fact he does play this week, he will be ready to go.”

When asked if Jones is done for the season, Shurmur responded, “No. We take everything week to week.”

“It’s pretty disappointing, especially after thinking I was going to be able to play,” said Jones. “Meanwhile, I understand it, I guess, and hopefully it’ll heal up pretty quick…I think right now I’m going to take it day by day and see how it feels and do the best I can to heal as quickly as I can.”

Manning was benched after two games this season for Jones. Ironically, Manning career regular-season win-loss record is tied at 116-116. He also is 8-4 in the playoffs.

“I knew Daniel was dealing with an injury, I didn’t know the severity since he finished the game,” said Manning. “I talked to the coaches yesterday and they said he probably wasn’t going to practice today and they didn’t know the circumstances, so (they told me) just be ready to practice this week. We’ll see where it goes for Monday night.”

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The Miami Dolphins have signed offensive center/guard Evan Brown off of the Practice Squad of the New York Giants. The Giants have signed safety Rashaan Gaulden to the Practice Squad.

Brown spent most of 2019 on the Giants’ Practice Squad, although he was active for one game in November. The Giants originally signed Brown as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. While he made the team, Brown was never on the active, game-day roster in 2018.

The 24-year old, 6’1”, 200lb Gaulden was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers waived Gaulden in late November 2019. Before that, he played in 24 regular-season games with the Panthers, accruing 20 tackles and one pass defense.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice again on Thursday with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players addressing the media.

Dec 012019
 
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GREEN BAY PACKERS 31 – NEW YORK GIANTS 13…
As expected, the New York Giants lost their eighth game in a row on Sunday by losing to the Green Bay Packers 31-13 at a snowy MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the defeat, the Giants fall to 2-10 on the season.

It was actually a close game for most of the contest with the Packers finally pulling away in the 4th quarter. Oddly, the Giants had more first downs (20 to 19), total net yards (335 to 322), net yards rushing (95 to 79), and time of possession (31:17 to 28:43). But the Giants lost the all-important turnover battle 3-0 and the defense kept allowing big plays on 3rd and 4th down.

The defensive issues showed up early as Green Bay scored touchdowns on their first two drives of the game. After running back Saquon Barkley was stuffed in the backfield for a 3-yard loss on 3rd-and-1, the Packers easily drove 72 yards in seven plays with quarterback Aaron Rodgers throwing an 8-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Davante Adams. The drive also included a 43-yard pass completion.

New York responded on their second possession with an 11-play, 71 yard touchdown drive that ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones to wide receiver Sterling Shepard on 3rd-and-3. The drive was kept alive with a 12-yard reception by tight end Kaden Smith on 3rd-and-2 and an 8-yard catch by wide receiver Darius Slayton on 4th-and-5.

However, the Packers quickly regained the lead with a 5-play, 66-yard effort that ended with an easy 37-yard touchdown pass on their second possession of the game. Packers 14 – Giants 7.

With the pressure on the offense to keep pace with the red-hot Packers’ offense, Daniel Jones threw his first interception of the day on the fifth play of the ensuing drive. Green Bay only needed 24 yards to set up a successful 47-yard field goal. Packers 17 – Giants 7.

The bulk of the rest of the 2nd quarter was eaten up by an 18-play, 66-yard drive by the Giants that took nine minutes and 31 seconds off of the clock. The Giants converted a 3rd-and-6, 4th-and-1, and 4th-and-2 on this possession. Unfortunately, the Giants were forced to settle for a 27-yard field goal rather than a touchdown. The Giants’ defense finally forced a punt on Green Bay’s fourth and last possession of the half and at the break, the score was Packers 17 – Giants 10.

After allowing one first down, the New York defense forced another punt to start the 3rd quarter. The Giants pulled closer with a 10-play, 52-yard effort on their first possession of the second half, resulting in a 45-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. The big play was a 43-yard pass from Jones to wide receiver Cody Latimer on 3rd-and-12. The drive sputtered after that long completion however. Packers 17 – Giants 13.

At this point, the game began to get out of hand for the Giants. Green Bay launched their third long touchdown drive of the game, traveling 75 yards in 14 plays. The possession was kept alive with an 11-yard pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-6 by cornerback Sam Beal, a 15-yard completion on 4th-and-10, and a 6-yard completion on 3rd-and-2. Rodgers fittingly finished the drive with his third touchdown pass of the day, a 17-yard completion on 3rd-and-goal despite the Giants having 12 men on the field. Packers 24 – Giants 13.

Matters got only worse when Jones threw his second interception on the ensuing drive. The Packers took over at the New York 38-yard line. After converting on 3rd-and-5 and 3rd-and-9, Rodgers threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day and the Packers were now up 31-13 with just over seven minutes to play.

Jones threw his third interception on the second play of the ensuing drive. The New York defense forced its third punt of the day. On New York’s final possession of the game, the Giants drove from their own 6-yard line to the Green Bay 17. But the drive ended with an incomplete pass on 4th-and-4. The Packers then ran out the clock to end the game.

Daniel Jones completed 20-of-37 passes for 240 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. His two leading targets were tight end Kaden Smith (6 catches for 70 yards) and wide receiver Darius Slayton (6 catches for 44 yards). Saquon Barkley carried the ball 19 times for 83 yards.

Defensively, the Giants did not accrue a sack or force a turnover. Aaron Rodgers was only officially hit twice. Not counting the kneel down at the end of the game, Green Bay scored on five of their eight possessions.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were WR Golden Tate (concussion), TE Evan Engram (foot), TE Rhett Ellison (concussion), S Jabrill Peppers (back), QB Alex Tanney, OT/OG Chad Slade, and OT Eric Smith.

CB Corey Ballentine left the game with a concussion and did not return.

QB Daniel Jones injured his ankle but continued to play despite a noticeable limp. “He hurt it, but he played through it,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after the game. “Tough guy, he fought through it.”

ZAK DEOSSIE PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE…
The Giants placed long snapper Zak DeOssie on Injured Reserve on Saturday with knee and wrist issues. To fill his roster spot, the team signed long-snapper Colin Holba from the Practice Squad.

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 by conference call on Monday.

Nov 242019
 
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Alec Ogletree, New York Giants (November 24, 2019)

Alec Ogletree – © USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO BEARS 19 – NEW YORK GIANTS 14…
The New York Giants lost their seventh game in a row, and fell to 2-9 on the season, by losing to the Chicago Bears 19-14 on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. For the first time in New York Giants history, the team did not win a game in the months of October and November.

What kind of day was it for New York? The Giants missed two field goals, committed three neutral zone infractions, and were flagged with defensive holding on a 3rd-and-10 sack, which led to a touchdown on the next play. New York’s longest gain was a 26-yard scramble by the quarterback.

Offensively, the Giants were held to 243 net yards, 14 first downs, and 1-of-12 (8 percent) on third down. Chicago’s 30th-ranked offense gained 335 net yards and 20 first downs.

The Giants and Bears exchanged punts to start the game. After another Giants’ punt, Chicago put together a 12-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a 3rd-and-9 interception by linebacker Alec Ogletree in the end zone. The Giants followed that up with their third punt in a row.

After a punt by Chicago, the Giants took a 7-0 lead after a 6-play, 42-yard drive ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones to tight end Kaden Smith. Unfortunately for New York, these would be the last points the team would score until late in the 4th quarter. Chicago would score the game’s next 19 points.

The Bears would punt the ball twice more on their next two possessions, with four of their first five possessions ending with punts. The Giants could not take advantage as both of their next two possessions ended with missed field goals, from 42 and 43 yards out. The first attempt was set up by a 40-yard punt return by safety Jabrill Peppers.

Chicago’s only points of the first half came on their last possession before halftime, as the Bears drove 59 yards in nine plays to set up a 26-yard field goal.

At the half, the Giants led 7-3.

Place kicker Aldrick Rosas, who is having a terrible season, kicked the opening kickoff of the second half out of bounds. The Bears needed just five plays to go the remaining 60 yards. The killer play came on 3rd-and-10 from the New York 37-yard line. Linebacker Markus Golden had his 3rd-down sack wiped out by a defensive holding penalty by cornerback Janoris Jenkins. On the very next snap, wide receiver Allen Robinson scored on a pass from 32 yards out, beating cornerback Corey Ballentine, as the Bears went up 10-7.

After a three-and-out by the Giants, the Bears extended their advantage to 13-7 after an 8-play, 88-yard drive ended with a 24-yard field goal. On the first play of New York’s ensuing drive, linebacker Khalil Mack beat left tackle Nate Solder and stripped-sacked Jones of the ball. The Bears recovered at the Giants’ 3-yard line. On 3rd-and-goal, quarterback Mitchell Trubiski ran in from two yards out. The Bears now were up 19-7.

The Giants went three-and-out again on their third possession of the half. On the first play of the 4th quarter, safety Julian Love intercepted a Trubiski pass at the New York 20-yard line and returned it 30 yards to midfield. However, the Giants could not gain a first down, being stopped after a 1-yard pass play on 4th-and-4. The Giants did not gain a first down on their first four possessions of the second half.

The Bears gained one first down and punted, the ball being down at the 3-yard line. Aided by a 26-yard scramble by Jones, a 19-yard reception by wide receiver Darius Slayton, and a 22-yard run by running back Saquon Barkley, the Giants reached the Chicago 15-yard line. However, the next three plays lost eight yards and the Giants were now facing a 4th-and-18 from the 23-yard line. As Jones was getting smashed by Mack again, he lofted a perfect 23-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Golden Tate. The Giants now trailed 19-14 with 4:10 left in the game.

The Giants had a chance to win at the end. Markus Golden stuffed the Bears for a 1-yard loss on 3rd-and-1, forcing a punt. However, the Giants were caught off guard when the Bears’ punt team came onto the field late. The Giants did not have a returner in the game and the ensuing 61-yard punt was downed at the 6-yard line. Jones threw a 17-yard pass to Slayton on 4th-and-4 from the 12-yard line, but his second 4th-and-4 attempt four plays later fell incomplete as he was getting hit. Game over.

Jones finished the game 21-of-36 for just 150 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also lost his tenth fumble of the season, including seven in his last five games. His “leading” targets were tight end Kaden Smith (5 catches for 17 yards) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (5 catches for 15 yards). Slayton did have four catches for 67 yards. Barkley was held to 59 yards on 17 carries, with 22 of those yards coming on one run.

On the defensive side of the football, linebackers Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter picked up sacks. Alec Ogletree and and Julian Love both had interceptions.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were TE Evan Engram (foot), TE Rhett Ellison (concussion), QB Alex Tanney, WR Bennie Fowler, OT/OG Chad Slade, OT Eric Smith, and LB Chris Peace.

S Jabrill Peppers left the game with a hip injury and did not return. He was in a lot of pain after the game and will undergo an MRI on Monday.

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)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (Video)
  • LB Alec Ogletree (Video)

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

Nov 022019
 
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Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants (October 27, 2019)

Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports

NOVEMBER 2, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
All 53 players on the active roster practiced on Saturday. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion), cornerback Corey Ballentine (concussion), and cornerback Grant Haley (knee) practiced fully.

“Sterling Shepard and Corey Ballentine have cleared the concussion protocol, so they’ll be available and ready to go (against Dallas),” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur.

Cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring), who is currently on Injured Reserve, is eligible to be activated to the 53-man roster. “There’s a possibility,” said Shurmur of Beal being added to the 53-man roster. “More likely next week.”

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 Sunday. The Giants play the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night at MetLife Stadium.

Oct 062019
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (October 6, 2019)

Sterling Shepard could not hold onto this pass in the end zone – © USA TODAY Sports

MINNESOTA VIKINGS 28 – NEW YORK GIANTS 10…
The Minnesota Vikings soundly defeated the New York Giants 28-10 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the loss, the Giants fall to 2-3 on the season.

New York entered the game with injury issues at running back and linebacker. Running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), linebacker Ryan Connelly (Injured Reserve – knee), linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring), linebacker Tae Davis (concussion), and linebacker Lorenzo Carter (neck) did not play. Worse, the Giants lost running back Wayne Gallman (concussion) in the 1st quarter. The Vikings were able to exploit these absences. The Vikings also both lines of scrimmage.

Minnesota took control of the game early, controlling the ball and the clock for 12 of 15 minutes in the 1st quarter, en route to an early 10-0 lead. Shoddy coverage tackling did not help. First, the Vikings drove 62  yards in 11 plays, settling for a 31-yard field goal. After the first Giants’ possession stalled at the Minnesota 39-yard line, the Vikings then embarrassingly drove 98 yards in 11 plays, with quarterback Kirk Cousins throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Adam Thielen on 3rd-and-4 on the first play of the second quarter, beating cornerback Grant Haley. At this point in the game, Cousins was 9-of-10 for 119 yards.

Cornerback Corey Ballentine sparked the Giants on the ensuing kickoff by returning the ball 52 yards to midfield. Five plays later, quarterback Daniel Jones threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton. New York had cut the lead to 10-7.

The Vikings scored points again on their third possession, this time moving the ball 45 yards in eight plays to set up a 48-yard field goal to extend the lead to 13-7.

After the Giants punted the ball away on their third possession, the Vikings drove from their 20-yard line to the New York 24-yard line. On 2nd-and-6, running back Dalvin Cook broke off a 19-yard run, but safety Jabrill Peppers stripped him of the football at the 5-yard line. Linebacker Tuzar Skipper recovered the loose ball at the 1-yard line. However, on the very next offensive snap, running back Jon Hilliman was tackled in the end zone for a safety. The Vikings now led 15-7.

After the free kick, the Vikings extended their lead to 18-7 with a 32-yard field goal after a 9-play, 49-yard drive. Other than the fumble at the 5-yard line, Minnesota scored on their four other first-half possessions. On the other hand, New York’s five first-half possessions resulted in one touchdown, a Minnesota safety, and three punts. The Vikings held the ball for over 20 minutes in the first half.

The Giants began the third quarter with a marathon 15-play, 61-yard drive that unfortunately only resulted in a 32-yard field goal despite the Giants facing both 1st-and-goal from the 6-yard line and 1st-and-goal from the 5-yard line. That field goal represented New York’s last points of the day.

The Vikings then responded with a devastating 5-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard touchdown from Cousins to Thielen again, this time beating cornerback Deandre Baker. Minnesota now led 25-10 with just under five minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.

New York threatened to score a touchdown again on their second drive of the half, reaching the Minnesota 3-yard line. But on 4th-and-2, Jones was sacked for a 9-yard loss at the end of the 3rd quarter.

After a three-and-out, the Giants drove into Vikings’ territory again, but turned the ball over on downs after a 4th-and-12 incomplete pass from the Minnesota 27-yard line. The Vikings then added another field goal, from 45 yards out, after gaining 46 yards on nine plays. With just over four minutes to play, the Vikings held a commanding 28-10 lead.

New York’s last possession ended on 4th-and-2 when Jones was intercepted. Minnesota then ran out the clock.

New York’s offense only gained 211 yards, 147 net passing yards and 64 net rushing yards. Worse, the Giants were 0-for-2 in the red zone. Jones completed 21-of-38 passes for 182 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He was sacked four times for a loss of 35 yards. His leading targets were tight end Evan Engram (6 catches for 42 yards), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (5 catches for 49 yards), and Slayton (4 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown). Hilliman only gained 20 yards on nine carries.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 490 yards and 22 first downs to an offense that had been struggling. Minnesota rushed for 211 yards and Cousins completed 22-of-27 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Peppers did force one fumble that Skipper recovered. Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh, and linebacker Markus Golden also had sacks.

Video lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), LB Alec Ogletree (hamstring), LB Tae Davis (concussion), LB Lorenzo Carter (neck), QB Alex Tanney, OT Eric Smith, and OT/OG Chad Slade were inactive.

RB Wayne Gallman (concussion) left the game in the 1st quarter 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:

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

Sep 302019
 
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Ryan Connelly, New York Giants (September 29, 2019)

Ryan Connelly – © USA TODAY Sports

RYAN CONNELLY DONE FOR YEAR WITH TORN ACL…
The New York Giants officially confirmed on Monday that rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly tore his right ACL in the game against the Washington Redskins. The Giants have placed Connelly on Injured Reserve, ending his season.

“It has been confirmed he’s got an ACL,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We can assume that needs to get fixed here, so that’ll probably finish up his year for him unfortunately. It’s unfortunate, but he’s got a real bright future and he’ll come back from this. He was doing a lot of really good things for us. He’s a young player. Part of being a pro sometimes is coming back from injury. If he approaches this the way he has approached playing in the game, he’ll be back to full strength here soon.”

The Giants drafted Connelly in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He was elevated to starter after the first game of the season, starting three games, and accruing 20 tackles, one sack, and two interceptions.

GOLDEN TATE RETURNS…
The 4-game suspension for wide receiver Golden Tate for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances is over. He is now on the Exempt/Commissioner Permission List for up to a week until the Giants activate him. In the meantime, he can fully participate in all Giants activities.

“I think it’s going to be great he’s back,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “He should be fresh and ready to go. I have already spoken to him this morning. He’s in the building, and he’s looking forward to getting back at it.”

GIANTS CLAIM CHRIS PEACE OFF OF WAIVERS…
The New York Giants have claimed defensive end/linebacker Chris Peace off of waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers. The 23-year old, 6’2”, 250-pound Peace was signed by the Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. Peace accrued two sacks in the preseason for the Chargers.

MONDAY PAT SHURMUR PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the team’s 24-3 win over the Washington Redskins (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Opening Statement: I don’t really have much to add in terms of my comments from the game. I think I kind of covered most of it last night. From an injury standpoint, Ryan Connelly, it has been confirmed he’s got an ACL (injury). We can assume that needs to get fixed here, so that’ll probably finish up his year for him unfortunately. It’s unfortunate, but he’s got a real bright future and he’ll come back from this. He was doing a lot of really good things for us. He’s a young player. Part of being a pro sometimes is coming back from injury. If he approaches this the way he has approached playing in the game, he’ll be back to full strength here soon. With that, I’ll try to answer your questions.

Q: How close are (Alec) Ogletree and Tae Davis to being back? Obviously, you are pretty shorthanded there with (Ryan) Connelly being down.
A: They are much closer than they were last week. I think there’s a chance we could get both back, but we’ll just have to see what the week brings.

Q: Could you see (David) Mayo starting if they are not ready?
A: Yeah, he’d have to. If you just do the math. He played quite a bit yesterday.

Q: What did you think of how he played?
A: I thought he played well.

Q: Lorenzo Carter?
A: Yeah, it’s a neck deal. We’re going to kind of count it as game soreness at this point, so we’re hopeful he’ll be back.

Q: How significant is it to get back (Golden) Tate for your offense?
A: Well, I think it’s going to be great he’s back. He should be fresh and ready to go. I have already spoken to him this morning. He’s in the building, and he’s looking forward to getting back at it.

Q: Is Sterling (Shepard) okay? It looked like his hamstring was bothering him and we didn’t see him after the game.
A: That was a cramp. He was cramped up. That episode on the field?

Q: Yeah.
A: Cramps, he’s fine.

Q: Will you guys look for a roster exemption for (Golden) Tate?
A: I think we have one. We have one, so that’ll give us a week. I don’t know the details other than that’ll give us 54 bodies out here for a week, more or less.

Q: I just figured in terms of you may be looking to injuries and everything else you’re looking at, you could be looking to make multiple moves.
A: Well, we’re going to have to make a move just obviously with Golden coming back. That’ll give us a couple more days to have to make that decision, if we choose to.

Q: You or maybe it was (Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey) T-Mac sat down TJ Jones for one punt after he dropped the two and then he went back to it. What was that?
A: Just settled him down. We trust our players, so we just take them out, settle them down, and put them back in. That’s what went into it.

Q: What kind of explanation did you get on (Cody) Latimer’s offensive pass interference? Was that one you thought of challenging?
A: Yeah, in hindsight…He was in bump and run, it was physical, and it was deemed to be OPI. That’s one of those in hindsight that I might have challenged. But, the explanation that I was given is that he pushed off. I’m not going to go there. Stay tuned. At some point, I’ll go there. I’m not going there.

Q: What will your emotions be like facing your former team, Minnesota? Does the game have extra meaning? You obviously have some memories with that team.
A: Yeah, it was a very meaningful part of my career being there for two years. I am very fortunate to be a part of a 13-3 season. In fact, Case Keenum and I reminisced about that a little bit after the game yesterday. There are a lot of people there that I worked with intimately, a lot of people there that I care about, but after a few handshakes we get to the business of playing the game. I think they would probably answer the question the same way. We’ll just see what happens.

Q: You have two tough games coming up, in 10 days I guess, both with really good defenses. What kind of challenge is that for a young quarterback?
A: Well, I think we’ve had four tough games already. The next one is going to be really tough, certainly, against the Vikings. Then we’ll keep a short horizon here and then we’ll talk about the Patriots when it happens. But we’ve played against four really tough defenses already. The Cowboys were tough. We saw again what Buffalo did yesterday against New England, they’ve got a really outstanding defense. Tampa Bay was a tough defense, and then this front that we played against yesterday – that was a really physical group. We talked all week about (Washington Redskins Linebacker Ryan) Kerrigan and all that. That’s what NFL football is all about, is playing against tough defenses. Certainly, when we play the Vikings this week, I know all too well what they can do to an offense.

Q: Would you prefer that Daniel (Jones) slide on some of those scrambles? I’m thinking of the third down one where he sort of lunged forward.
A: Yeah, I mean those are acceptable slides now if you go head first. If you give yourself up, they are not supposed to be able to hit you. Those are sort of…it’s like baseball now. You can slide head first or you can slide feet first. That’s kind of an acceptable body language to not get whacked. You always want to protect yourself if you can.

Q: How much, particularly on game days, does Daniel provide with his ability to make something when nothing seems to be there, and at times make the exceptional play? How much do you think he gives hope to your team?
A: Oh, I don’t know about hope. Hope is not a strategy. I’ve always said that.

Q: Confidence might be a better word.
A: Yeah, I think possibly. I do think it’s important for the quarterback to use his legs. Daniel has displayed in his last two outings the ability to either convert a third down or get out of trouble and make a throw. Typically, if you have a long scoring drive, we can watch this as we go, it’ll be a fun little project for all of us, but I know this is the case. Typically, if you have a long scoring drive, the quarterback, somewhere in there, has to do something with his feet to help keep it alive. It may be a scramble and throw the ball away, scramble to get some yards, maybe scramble and throw what I call a 60-yard check down. Guys have the ability to do that. But typically, and that’s what you see around the league. Now the important thing is when all of that happens, you’re smart about it and you use good judgement, just like you would if you were in the pocket.

Q: You’ve now won two games with him though where there have been turnovers and in some cases, enough turnovers that perhaps percentages would indicate you’d lose a game like that. To what do you attribute the idea that he has won in improbable moments already in his career?
A: I don’t know. He’s helped lead us to two victories. That’s good. That’s what you want from your quarterback. But there are a lot of other things that happened around him. We had four turnovers yesterday, but we created a bunch of turnovers. It’s a team thing. You’d like to think that every player out there is doing his job but adding value in other areas. We’ll just watch it as we go.

Q: Does that ability to run enable you to go with an empty backfield on that fourth down because he’s still a threat?
A: No. That empty was… I’ve called that pass before with Eli (Manning) in there. That had nothing to do with it. We emptied it out with the idea we were going to throw it. He made a good throw and in that case, Sterling (Shepard) made a good catch.

Q: Saquon (Barkley) sent a photo out to the world of him without a walking boot yesterday. What’s the latest on him? Is he totally out of that? Anymore of a timetable (on his recovery)?
A: Yeah, I think he’s out of the boot. When I see him moving around here…He’s into his rehab. He’s eager and chomping at the bit to get back. But obviously, that’s what I would expect from any of our players. Try to get back as quickly as possible, and then we’ll just make those decisions on a week-to-week basis whether he’s ready to play or not.

Q: Jabrill (Peppers) trash talked a little bit after the game to Washington. What do you think of that? Do you like that kind of emotion after a big game?
A: I really don’t know what happened in that scenario. I think I mentioned it yesterday. I was talking to Jay (Gruden) and he was like, ‘Hey, we’ve got a fight going on.’ I still don’t know a lot of the details. Listen, Jabrill is a very competitive guy. Who knows what… There’s a lot that gets said by a lot of people during games. You certainly don’t want confrontations like that. But I don’t know exactly what happened. I guess since you guys are curious about it, I better find out the details.

Q: Coaches always talk about the next game. You’ve put together a couple of wins in a row now. Is there a carryover from that?
A: Well, I think confidence is something that you’re looking for. I mentioned it yesterday with regard to our defense. That was a pretty darn good outing. But the catalyst for that outing was the week of practice we had here. You develop the confidence to play in the game by the work you do during the week. That’s the important thing to remember. As you go along here, football is a game you have to practice. You have to do it in a way where it points toward the team you’re playing. Then when you go out, even after a good week of practice, it doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to play well. All of that plays into it, but once you’ve done something a few times and had a little bit of success, I think it does help you.

Q: What’s been the difference with (DeAndre) Baker the last two games?
A: He’s a young player. When he played against the Cowboys, that was the first time he had done it on the NFL level. The next week against Buffalo was the second time, and now he did it yesterday for the fourth time. I think he’s getting to be more and more comfortable. For rookies…it seems like we talk about rookies playing a lot here a lot, especially in the last two years. There’s a lot running parallel that’s new out there. When you’re a corner, that’s the bright, hot spotlight when teams throw the ball to really good players. He’s like any young player. He’s getting better with each outing.

Q: After four games, what have you learned about this team?
A: I guess we’ve finished the first quarter. The one thing about this team is I think we have a bunch of tough guys that are willing to work. If you’re willing to do that, then we have a chance to improve. With some of the improvements that we’ve made, we’ve found a way to win games the last two weeks. That’s really what this is about. As we go through this journey, which involves 12 more regular season games, we have to continue to improve and point that toward getting wins. I think this group has shown me that they’re capable of winning, and they’re willing to work.

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 players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.

Sep 252019
 
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New York Giants Helmets (September 22, 2019)

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SEPTEMBER 25, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), wide receiver Russell Shepard (foot), defensive end Olsen Pierre (knee), linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring), and linebacker Tae Davis (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.

“Saquon will be out for an extended period here,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “He’s getting a second opinion on his ankle… Tae Davis is in the concussion protocol, and then Ogletree with the hamstring. They didn’t practice today. Then Russell Shepard with the foot, and Olsen Pierre just had some soreness from the game. Those are the injuries of note.”

Wide receiver Cody Latimer (concussion), wide receiver Bennie Fowler (hamstring), and linebacker Lorenzo Carter (elbow) practiced on a limited basis.

GIANTS RE-SIGN NATE STUPAR, CUT ERIC TOMLINSON…
The New York Giants have re-signed linebacker Nate Stupar, who the team cut on September 6th. To make room for Stupar, the team terminated the contract of tight end Eric Tomlinson.

The 6’2”, 240-pound Stupar was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. Stupar has spent time with the Raiders (2012), Philadelphia Eagles (2012), San Francisco 49ers (2012–2013), Jacksonville Jaguars (2013), Atlanta Falcons (2014–2015), and New Orleans Saints (2016–2017). The Giants signed Stupar after he was cut by the Saints in September 2018. He played in all 16 games for the Giants, finishing the year with just 14 tackles. Stupar has played in 79 regular-season games with ten starts, six of which came in 2016 when he accrued 58 tackles.

The Giants signed Tomlinson in September 2019 after he was cut by the New York Jets. The 6’6”, 263-pound Tomlinson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2015 NFL Draft. The Eagles cut him before the season started and he was then signed to the Practice Squad of the Houston Texans. In November 2016, the Jets signed him to their 53-man roster. In three seasons with the Jets, Tomlinson has played in 36 regular-season games with 30 starts. He has 16 career receptions for 193 yards and one touchdown.

DANIEL JONES NAMED “NFC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK”…
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has been named “NFC Offensive Player of the Week” for his performance last Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his first NFL start, Jones completed 23-of-36 passes for two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed four times for 28 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with just over a minute to play in the contest.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Thursday, with the team’s coordinators also addressing the media.