Dec 302017
 
Share Button
Bobby Hart, New York Giants (October 23, 2016)

Bobby Hart – © USA TODAY Sports Images

DAVE GETTLEMAN FIRES MARC ROSS, CUTS BOBBY HART, BENCHES ERECK FLOWERS…
Dave Gettleman, the new general manager of the New York Giants, isn’t fooling around. On Friday, he said, “My plan is to come in here every day and kick ass.” On  Saturday, the ass-kicking commenced. The Giants have fired Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross, who was in charge of the team’s college scouting process. The Giants also waived/injured starting right tackle Bobby Hart (ankle).

The 44-year old Ross had been with the Giants since 2007 and officially served as the director of college scouting for six years before his promotion to vice president of player evaluation in 2013. Ross was also one of the four candidates to interview for the general manager vacancy that was given to Gettleman.

“I worked with Marc when I was with the organization before,” said Gettleman. “I have great respect for him and high regard for his work. Clearly, we’re going in a different direction, but that doesn’t make these kinds of decisions any easier.”

Hart was drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. In three seasons, Hart played in 33 regular-season games with 21 starts at right tackle, including seven starts this past season. According to various media reports, Hart had mentally checked out, refused to practice this week, and had told the Giants he would not play this Sunday against the Redskins.

More troubling is that left tackle Ereck Flowers, who is officially “questionable” with a groin injury, has reportedly also checked out and told coaches he will not play this Sunday. Newsday is reporting that Gettleman came close to cutting Flowers and may do so at some point in coming months. According to press reports, rookie Chad Wheeler will now start at left tackle against the Redskins and rookie Adam Bisnowaty will start at right tackle.

The Giants placed wide receiver Tavarres King (concussion) on Injured Reserve and signed offensive linemen Adam Bisnowaty and Nick Becton and tight end Ryan O’Malley to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. The other roster vacancy came from cornerback Eli Apple being suspended from the team.

The Giants drafted Bisnowaty in the 6th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The 6’6”, 307-pound Bisnowaty played left tackle at the collegiate level but the Giants moved him to right tackle as a rookie. He has spent the entire season on the Practice Squad.

The 6’6”, 322-pound Becton was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He has spent time with the Chargers (2013), Giants (2014), New Orleans Saints (2014), Chicago Bears (2015-2016), Detroit Lions (2017), and Kansas City Chiefs (2017). Becton has played in six regular-season games with no starts. The Giants signed him to the Practice Squad in November 2017.

O’Malley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent time on both the Practice Squad and 53-man roster of the Raiders in 2016. The Raiders cut him in September 2017 and he spent a few weeks on the Practice Squad of the Bills.  The Giants signed the 6’6”, 260-pound O’Malley to the Practice Squad in December 2017.

ARTICLES…

Oct 202017
 
Share Button
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (September 24, 2017)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

INJURY UPDATE…
Running back Paul Perkins (ribs), center Weston Richburg (concussion), defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck), and linebacker Calvin Munson (quad) have all been officially ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle) is officially “questionable” for the game.

Guard John Jerry (tooth), safety Landon Collins (ankle), and long snapper Zak DeOssie (wrist/elbow) are unofficially “probable” 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:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The Giants play the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Oct 112017
 
Share Button
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants (October 8, 2017)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS SUSPEND DOMINIQUE RODGERS-CROMARTIE AFTER HE LEAVES TEAM…
In a bizarre turn of events, New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo announced on Wednesday that cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC) has left the team and will be suspended by the Giants.

“DRC came in yesterday,” said McAdoo. “We had a conversation that was personal upstairs and he came in today. Decided to leave. We will suspend him.”

When asked, McAdoo would not answer how long the suspension would last.

Rodgers-Cromartie told ESPN that he and McAdoo had an argument on the sidelines during the Giants-Chargers game last Sunday when the team decided to pull him out of the game. The argument apparently continued on Wednesday. “I handled it the wrong way, but to sit me a game had me hot so I left,” Rodgers-Cromartie told ESPN. “I was suspended way before I left. I left because I felt what (McAdoo) said was BS.’’

ESPN is reporting that Rodgers-Cromartie walked out of last Friday’s “recovery day” session. In addition, according to multiple press reports, the Giants were upset that DRC left the bench area and went to the locker room during the second-half of the Giants-Chargers game, although he later returned. ESPN is reporting that the incidents on Friday and Sunday led to a meeting on Tuesday where McAdoo informed DRC that he would be inactive on Sunday night against the Denver Broncos and fined. ESPN says DRC cleaned out his locker and left team facilities on Wednesday.

Rodgers-Cromartie told ESPN that he would return to the team on Thursday.

INJURY UPDATE…
Running back Paul Perkins (ribs), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), center Weston Richburg (concussion), defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck), and safety Landon Collins (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (see story above) also did not practice.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday at 11:20AM. The team’s coordinators and select players will also address the media after practice.

Oct 102017
 
Share Button
Brandon Marshall, New York Giants (October 8, 2017)

Brandon Marshall – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BRANDON MARSHALL PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE…
A day after the New York Giants placed wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. (fractured ankle) and Dwayne Harris (fractured foot) on Injured Reserve, the team also placed wide receiver Brandon Marshall on IR with an ankle injury. All three were injured during the team’s 27-22 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday and it is anticipated that all three will be out the remainder of the 2017 NFL season.

The Giants announced that Beckham had surgery on his left ankle on Monday night. Harris (5th metatarsal) and Marshall (ankle stabilization to repair torn ligaments) had surgeries performed on Wednesday.

To fill Marshall’s roster spot, the Giants signed wide receiver Ed Eagan from the team’s Practice Squad. The 5’11’, 183-pound Eagan was originally signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, and Buffalo Bills. The Giants signed Eagan in August 2017.

The Giants also signed wide receiver Kalif Raymond and offensive guard Ethan Cooper to the Practice Squad. The Giants terminated the practice squad contract of center Anthony Fabiano, who was signed last week.

The 5’9, 160-pound Raymond was originally signed by the Denver Broncos after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with both the Broncos (2016) and New York Jets (2017). Raymond has played in six NFL games. The diminutive Raymond has not caught a pass, but he has returned nine kickoffs (24.7 yards per return) and 16 punts (9.3 yards per return).

The 6’2, 322-pound Cooper was originally signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Steelers waived Cooper in early September. Cooper played at a lower level of competition in college but he has good size and is a decent athlete.

BRANDEN ALBERT VISITING THE GIANTS?…
NFL.com is reporting that left tackle Branden Albert will visit the New York Giants this week after meeting with the Seattle Seahawks and leaving without a deal. The 32-year old Albert was originally drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1st round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He has played with the Chiefs (2008-2013) and Miami Dolphins (2014-2016). In March 2017, Albert was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He announced his retirement in July, returned to the team, and was then cut in August. The 6’5, 315-pound Albert is a two-time Pro Bowler (2013 and 2015). However, Albert is clearly in the twilight of his career and has not played a full regular-season schedule since 2011.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

NOTES…
The 0-5 Giants have trailed at halftime in each of their five games this season. This season, the Giants and their opponents have each scored 56 second-half points. But the Giants have been outscored in the first half, 66-26.

The Giants have led in the fourth quarter in each of their last three games.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants return to practice on Wednesday at 11:40AM.

Oct 092017
 
Share Button
Travis Rudolph, New York Giants (May 12, 2017)

Travis Rudolph – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have placed wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. (fractured ankle) and Dwayne Harris (fractured foot) on Injured Reserve. To fill those vacant roster spots, the Giants signed wide receiver Travis Rudolph from the Practice Squad and re-signed wide receiver Tavarres King, who the team waived last month.

The Giants also signed wide receiver Darius Powe to the Practice Squad.

Rudolph was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft.

King was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He spent time with the Broncos (2013), Panthers (2013-14), Jaguars (2014), and Buccaneers (2014-15). The Giants signed King to the Practice Squad in late September 2015. He played in seven regular season games in 2016 and the playoff game. The Giants waived him on September 18, 2017.

The Giants originally signed Powe as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft and he spent the 2016 season on the team’s Practice Squad. He was waived/injured in August 2017 with a hamstring injury.

INJURY UPDATE…
The Giants announced that wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. will have surgery this week to repair his fractured ankle and that wide receiver Dwayne Harris will have surgery on Tuesday to repair his fractured foot (5th metatarsal).

In addition, wide receiver Brandon Marshall is undergoing further testing and examination today on his ankle. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard is day-to-day with a sprained ankle. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas (burner) and safety Landon Collins (sprained ankle) are both day-to-day.

MONDAY BEN MCADOO CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo addressed the media by conference call on Monday to discuss the team’s 27-22 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers:

McAdoo: Let’s start with yesterday’s ballgame. Defensively, I thought we played well at times, especially early in the ballgame. We had five three and outs in the first half. We had a safety and an INT in the red zone. What we need to work on, our tackling improved, but we’re not where we want to be just yet. And getting off the field in the second half.

Offensively, we started faster than we had previously, but we did leave some points off the board. Got the running game going and everyone had a hand in it. Whether it was o-line, tight ends, the backs ran hard. I thought the perimeter blocked well and the quarterback kept us in the good looks. We overcame injuries in the second half and put a couple touchdowns on the board with only two healthy receivers out there available to us. What we need to work on, we have to get our pass protection back on track. We have to take care of The Duke better and we have to eliminate the penalties that cost us.

Special teams, I thought PAT/field goal block we had some good, hard rushes out there. In the punt game, our plus area downing was a positive. Two inside the five, one in the ten, one inside the 15. In our punt return, our perimeter blocking improved, took a step there. Averaged 12.7 on average on a return. What we need to work on, our kickoff coverage squeeze and our kickoff return, our football position and delivering a blow.

Where do we go from here? We’re all disappointed and irritated to be where we are right now. No one thought we would be sitting here like this in this position. I said it once, I’m going to say it again, I believe in this group of players and coaches and what this team could be. We’re not there yet, but we owe it to each other and the organization to handle ourselves with class, prepare well this week and give us a chance to win the ballgame on Sunday night. With that, we’ll open it up.

Q: Have you had a chance to speak to Odell (Beckham)? How is he doing?

A: I spoke to him after the game. It’s a sad situation.

Q: Is it fair to say his season is over at this point?

A: Yes.

Q: How do you fill that void?

A: Yeah, we have a bunch of guys who were nicked up in the ballgame at the receiver spot. We have some guys on the practice squad, some guys on the roster that we just thought we would bump them up and give them opportunities. Next man up. They’re well deserving of opportunities. You hate to see it like this, but it’s a part of the game.

Q: Are there any long-term concerns about Odell’s injury?

A: I didn’t get into any of that. That’s unknown at this point.

Q: Does the goal of this season have to change?

A: Yeah, we just need to, like I said earlier, we owe it to each other. We put a lot of work and a lot of time and a lot of effort into this thing and we owe it to the organization to handle ourselves with class and go prepare well this week and give us a chance to win the game.

Q: How quickly can you get the new receivers that you’re bringing in up to speed?

A: Yeah, we have to go out and we have to make sure we give them as many reps as we can with the quarterback. Get them into some type of rhythm. Get some type of chemistry going. There are guys who are familiar with what we’re doing. So we have confidence there. We know them, they know us. So we just have to go out and put our work in this week.

Q: Yesterday after the game, Eli Apple said, ‘it’s not just one guy, it’s the whole culture, it’s everything. We’ve got to fix it.’ What is your reaction to the ‘whole culture’ part of that comment?

A: I’m not sure what you’re referring to. What was the question about that he was asked?

Q: He was asked about being benched and he ended up saying, “it’s not just one guy, it’s the whole culture, it’s everything. We’ve got to fix that.” Do you think you have a problem with the culture?

A: I think we are in a slump right now and we have to get back to work. Make sure we are holding each other and ourselves accountable. The standards can’t drop. The standards have got to stay high and we have to figure out a way to close these games in the fourth quarter with wins.

Q: Given the way the season has gone, are you going to give younger players more of a chance to go out and play?

A: Yeah, we are going to take a look. At this point, we have some guys that are nicked up, so it’s going to create opportunities just naturally for some younger players and for some other players to jump in there and play. And that sort of takes care of itself when you have the type of guys nicked up that we do. But we don’t shy away from playing young players, regardless.

Q: Is Victor Cruz an option to bring back?

A: To my knowledge, he is not an option, but never say never.

Q: What do you look for when you’re dealing with a situation like this?

A: Usually the day after the game and a little bit on Tuesday morning, the emotions are still there. That’s normal, that’s a part of it, that’s healthy. That means nobody is numb. But you have to flush those emotions before you get to that Wednesday practice and really after you correct the game on Tuesday, you have to flush the emotions and you have to move onto the next opponent. You have to keep your chin up and you got to be full speed ahead on the next one. That’s the most important thing for us. Be all in on the next one.

Q: How do you think Eli (Manning) played yesterday?

A: I thought he directed the runs well. I’m sure there were some throws he would like to have back.

Q: Are you at a point now where there is stuff that you can change? Or do you just stick to the program and hope it works out?

A: I think we just got to get better at getting better. Wholesale changes are tough at this point. Your players are your players, your coaches are your coaches. We need to find a way to go out and improve the fundamentals and prepare with class and give ourselves a chance to win.

Q: Are the next guys up Tavarres King and Travis Rudolph?

A: Nothing is set in stone right now, but those would be two pretty good options.

Q: During your slump, do you feel like you’re carrying over what happened from game to game?

A: Obviously the last three games have come down to the fourth quarter. We’ve been right in the ballgames and have had a lead in the fourth quarter in these ballgames and we haven’t been able to extend the lead and haven’t been able to keep the lead. There is a connection there whether you like to have that, no you wouldn’t, but that’s part of being in a slump. You got to find a way to win with each team you have and year to year it changes, and we haven’t been able to get that done and that’s my responsibility.

Q: How do you get that through to them?

A: We have to keep throwing effort at it. Yesterday, again, no excuses, we ran out of some firepower on offense. But the guys kept fighting. We have a lot of fight in this team. I’ll say that about them. There is a lot of fight, the games go down to the wire. We just got to find a way to find our path to victory.

Q: Do you have a problem with Janoris Jenkins leaving the field with 40 seconds left?

A: We’ll handle all those issues in-house.

Q: Have you had any conversations with ownership recently about how this season is going?

A: Everyone is disappointed, I am aware of it. Everyone is irritated, I am aware of it. But my focus right now is trying to help with the personnel department to field a football team this week to give us a chance to prepare and win.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Select players will be available to the press on Tuesday. The Giants return to practice on Wednesday.

Sep 192017
 
Share Button
Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 18, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT LIONS 24 – NEW YORK GIANTS 10…
The Detroit Lions defeated the New York Giants 24-10 on Monday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants are now 0-2 on the season, having scored only one offensive touchdown so far this year. Going back to the 2016 season, the Giants’ offense has not scored 20 points now for eight games in a row.

Both offenses struggled for most of the game as the Giants actually out-gained the Lions in total net yards (270 to 257), first downs (14 to 12), and average gain per play (4.9 to 4.6). But the Giants defense allowed 138 yards rushing, quarterback Eli Manning was sacked five times, and the Giants allowed an 88-yard punt return that sealed the game for Detroit in the 4th quarter.

The teams exchanged punts to start the game. The Lions drove 54 yards in nine plays on their second drive to go up 7-0 on quarterback Matthew Stafford’s 27-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones, who beat cornerback Eli Apple on the play. The scoring drive was kept alive by a 13-yard scramble by Stafford on 3rd-and-9. The Giants responded with their sole touchdown drive of the young season, an 8-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Manning to tight end Evan Engram (who was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after the touchdown).

Things got a little crazy in the second quarter. Place kicker Aldrick Rosas’ kickoff after the touchdown went out of bounds, giving the Lions the ball at their own 45-yard line. After driving to the Giants’ 33-yard line, the Lions turned the ball over when defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul sacked Stafford and forced a fumble that linebacker Devon Kennard recovered. But on the very next snap, Manning’s pass intended for Engram was off-the-mark, intercepted, and returned 18 yards to the Giants’ 29-yard line. Five plays later, Stafford threw his second touchdown pass and the Lions went up 14-7.

After two punts by the Giants and one by the Lions, Detroit added to their lead late in the second quarter by driving 37 yards in six plays to set up a 56-yard field goal. The Lions led 17-7 at the half.

Detroit did not score on offense in the second half of the game, but it did not matter as the Giants’ offense and special teams struggled. The Giants’ offense only managed one second-half scoring drive, a 10-play, 68-yard affair that ended with a 25-yard field goal by Rosas in the 3rd quarter. When the Giants got the ball back early in the 4th quarter and trailing by 17-10, the game turned when wide receiver Brandon Marshall dropped a deep pass from Manning on 2nd-and-8. Two plays later the Giants punted and Brad Wing’s punt was returned 88 yards for a touchdown that put the Lions up by two touchdowns with 13 minutes left to go in the game. New York’s final two possessions end with turnovers on downs as the Giants failed to convert on a 4th-and-3 at their own 48-yard line and 4th-and-10 at the Detroit 29-yard line. Ball game.

Manning finished the game 22-of-32 for 239 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. His leading receivers were Engram (4 catches for 49 yards and a touchdown) and wideout Odell Beckham, Jr. (4 catches for 36 yards). The Giants continued to struggle to run the ball as Shane Vereen was the leading ground gainer with 28 yards on six carries. The Giants were held to 62 yards rushing.

Defensively, while the Giants gave up 138 yards rushing, Detroit was held to only 119 net passing yards. The Giants sacked Stafford twice, once by Pierre-Paul when he forced the fumble and another time by Calvin Munson, who started at middle linebacker for the injured B.J. Goodson.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were cornerback Janoris Jenkins (ankle/hand), linebacker B.J. Goodson (calf), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion), quarterback Davis Webb, running back Wayne Gallman, tight end Matt LaCosse, and defensive end Avery Moss.

Right tackle Bobby Hart re-injured his ankle and left the game in the 1st quarter. Hart was spotted on crutches and wearing a boot after the game. Linebacker J.T. Thomas left the game in the second half with a groin injury.

GIANTS SIGN CURTIS GRANT FROM PRACTICE SQUAD, CUT TAVARRES KING…
On Monday afternoon, the New York Giants waived wide receiver Tavarres King and signed linebacker Curtis Grant to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad.

King was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He has spent time with the Broncos (2013), Panthers (2013-14), Jaguars (2014), and Buccaneers (2014-15) – playing in just two regular-season games. The Giants signed King to the Practice Squad in late September 2015. Last year, King played in seven regular-season games, finishing the year with just two catches for 50 yards. He caught three passes for 73 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown pass in the playoff loss to the Packers.

Grant was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Chargers (2015), Falcons (2015), Titans (2016), Raiders (2016), and 49ers (2016). Grant was signed by the Giants to a reserve/future contract in January 2017.

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

ARTICLES…

Aug 312017
 
Share Button
Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (August 31, 2017)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 40 – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 38…
The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 40-38 on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Giants – who blew a 34-14 first-half lead – won the game with no time remaining on place kicker Aldrick Rosas’ 48-yard field goal. The Giants finished the preseason 2-2.

The Giants and Patriots treated the game more like a scrimmage. Only one of the Giants’ projected 22 starters played in the game: safety Darian Thompson.

The starting offense consisted of quarterback Geno Smith; running back Orleans Darkwa; fullback Shane Smith; wide receivers Roger Lewis, Jr. and Travis Rudolph; tight end Will Tye; and offensive linemen Chad Wheeler, Jon Halapio, Brett Jones, D.J. Fluker, and Adam Bisnowaty.

The starters on defense were ends Kerry Wynn and Devin Taylor; defensive tackles Robert Thomas and Josh Banks; linebackers Romero Okwara, Calvin Munson, and J.T. Thomas; cornerbacks Donte Deayon and Nigel Tribune; and safeties Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams.

On the second offensive snap to start the game, Tye fumbled the ball away to New England after a short reception. Six plays later, on 3rd-and-6, Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett threw a 9-yard touchdown pass. The Giants back-ups responded with an impressive drive against the Patriots back-ups, moving the ball 75 yards in eight plays and culminating with a Smith 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Matt LaCosse. On New England’s very next offensive snap, Wynn intercepted Brissett’s pass and returned it 15 yards four a touchdown. Giants 14 – Patriots 7.

After forcing a three-and-out, the Giants put together another long drive, going 74 yards in 14 plays. However, this time New York had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Rosas. New England responded with a quick 5-play, 75-yard effort that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass. Giants 17 – Patriots 14.

Back came the Giants with another 14-play, 74-yard effort. But unlike the preceding New York drive, this one resulted in a touchdown as running back Shaun Draughn scored from one yard out. On the first offensive play of the Patriots ensuing drive, linebacker J.T. Thomas forced a fumble that fellow linebacker Stansly Maponga recovered at the New England 27-yard line. Quarterback Josh Johnson then hit Tye for a 24-yard gain. Two plays later he found LaCosse for the tight end’s second score of the contest. Giants 31 – Patriots 14.

The Giants forced a three-and-out. New York got the ball back near mid-field with 30 seconds left. Johnson found wide receiver Travis Rudolph for 27 yards, helping to set up Rosas from 31 yards out. At the half, the Giants led 34-14.

After picking up one first down, the Patriots were forced to punt to start the third quarter. The Giants drove from their own 23-yard line to the Pats 27-yard line, but on 4th-and-1, running back Wayne Gallman was nailed for a 1-yard loss. The Patriots then drove 72 yards in 14 plays to cut the Giants lead to 31-21.

With Davis Webb now at the helm for the Giants, New York responded with a 12-play, 66-yard effort that ended with a 27-yard field goal by Rosas. The Giants were now up 34-21 early in the fourth quarter.

The Giants defensive third- and fourth-teamers could not hold the lead however. New England scored 17 points in the final quarter, including touchdown drives of 9-plays, 79-yards and 12-plays, 87-yards. The Patriots got the ball back at their own 31-yard line with 1:42 left to play. In seven plays, they managed to drive to the New York 37-yard line, setting up what looked to be a game-winning 55-yard field goal with 44 seconds left to play.

After returning the kickoff, the Giants started their last offensive possession at their own 25-yard line with 39 seconds to play. Webb completed 4-of-6 passes for 45 yards to set up Rosas from 48 yards out with four seconds on the clock. Rosas made the kick as time expired.

Offensively, Smith completed 10-of-11 passes for 111 yards and one touchdown, Johnson 11-of-14 for 135 yards and one touchdown, and Webb 8-of-14 for 103 yards. The leading receivers were LaCosse (5 catches for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns), Tye (4 catches for 48 yards), and Rudolph (3 catches for 46 yards). The leading rushers were Draughn (14 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown), Orleans Darkwa (6 carries for 40 yards), and Gallman (8 carries for 27 yards).

The Giants only had one sack in the game, by defensive tackle Robert Thomas.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Not playing in the game due to injury were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (ankle), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), defensive tackle Jay Bromley (sprained knee), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion), linebacker Mark Herzlich (burner), cornerback Eli Apple (ankle), cornerback Michael Hunter (concussion), and Duke Ihenacho (sprained knee).

The Giants did not appear to suffer any significant injuries in the game.

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

MASSIVE CUT-DOWN DAY ON SATURDAY…
Clubs must reduce their active rosters to 53 players by 4:00PM ET on Saturday.

ARTICLES…

Aug 022017
 
Share Button
Romeo Okwara and Steve Spagnuolo, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Romeo Okwara and Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 2, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fifth summer training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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

Running back Shane Vereen (lower body soreness), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (rest day), defensive end Devin Taylor (lower body soreness), and cornerback Valentino Blake (lower back tightness) did not practice.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (rolled ankle) was carted off the field with what originally appeared to be a serious injury. Reporters tweeted that Shepard was in obvious pain. The NFL Network is reporting that initial test results say the injury is a low-ankle sprain.

“Sterling, at this point, he looks like he has a rolled ankle,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “A basketball-type ankle, but we’ll see how he responds to treatment and go from there… He was running a hammer route, put his foot in the ground and rolled his ankle… Again, we’ll all know more when I go in and we take a look at it. At this point it just looks like he has a sprained ankle.”

Offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker (foot) was also carted off of the field.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
First off, apologies we didn’t have time to do an interview today. I had to jet out of there at 12:40 today. We were there for the majority of practice, when they moved the team inside the facility we opted to leave, as the meat of the action was over.

Saw Mike Nugent get the kicks today, don’t read into depth chart stuff there. These guys aren’t going to kick a lot of volume at this point, they may even flip-flop each day. This will be a battle that goes to the end. Rosas’ leg is stronger.

Offense Notes:

  • Was looking at the OL as much as possible today. Ereck Flowers still struggles with his pad level. Defenders are constantly getting underneath him, causing him to lean over and bend at the waist, making his hand placement sub-par. More of the same there but he did have a couple of run blocks where his natural power and strength were on full display. That’s one thing he always has, strong punches and ability to anchor. Right guard anyone? LG Justin Pugh got in to a couple fights today. He looks to be the enforcer of this offense; he doesn’t want any of his guy taking extra hits and showed no hesitation in defending them when they did.
  • I wanted to get more looks at UDFA Jessamen Dunker. Early in practice, Dunker impressed me with both straight line and lateral movement. Definitely a plus athlete who can be where he needs to be at the right time. But body wise, he is a year away. He will be one of my practice squad predictions but he did get hurt today; we’ll see there. OT Jarron Jones is at the very beginning of a very long road when it comes to his OT progression. He won’t be a factor on the field this season, not even close. Expectedly so, he looks 2-3 steps behind every time he is out there in live action. My question is, will they use a practice squad spot on him? He will have to show a consistent work ethic and approach if he has any shot.
  • Was rough to see WR Sterling Shepard go down. I saw the whole process and at first I thought it was an Achilles, he was visibly upset and in pain. A sprained ankle can linger for months and in some cases can be worse than a fracture. Now it’s a waiting and hoping game.
  • Who is going to step up in his place? Tavarres King was with the first three WR set. He is the best short area mover of the rest. Quality route runner, can be slippery after the catch. Roger Lewis may have more raw talent but he’s still towards the beginning of his WR maturation process. I see the team trying to get more and more looks at Darius Powe. Physical pass catcher with some ability after the catch. They like the dependability of Dwayne Harris. Could this open a door for the fastest guy on the team, Kevin Snead?
  • TEs Matt LaCosse and Jerell Adams caught passes on the all-out move today, a welcoming sign for a team that didn’t get enough from that position in 2016.  Hard to ignore the every-down upside of Adams.

Defense Notes:

  • This LB core looks angry. All of them. While the group fights may be a little over the top and the coaches supposedly don’t like them, part of me likes the fact these LBs are starting them. They are hitting a little too hard but they are doing it on purpose. It’s a personality trait to a defense that you want. B.J. Goodson, Devon Kennard, and Jonathan Casillas especially were instigating. This defense is VERY physical.
  • Still a little confused how this team plans on using LB Stansly Maponga. He is very strong and stout. But I don’t see him performing well in space and he can’t play DE in this scheme. I think he is a 3-4 OLB-only type but maybe NYG has a role for that kind of guy more than we think.
  • DT Dalvin Tomlinson got some snaps against first-team linemen. He has great short area burst and closing speed. I think there is some more pass rush potential here than I initially thought. On the flip side, he got handled by D.J. Fluker a couple times on running plays.
  • S Eric Pinkins is interesting to me. There is a lot of talk about backup safeties and I have to think this hybrid S/LB, plus athlete is in the mix. He is a superb athlete with good size. Physical kid and he was performing very well in special team drills.
  • I haven’t seen much out of DT Corbin Bryant and with the DL being pretty crowded depth wise, he will need to stand out over the next few days if he is going to make this team.

Three Standouts:

  • OT Bobby Hart – For the second day in a row, I walked away with a positive impression on Hart. He looks more confident and quick-minded out there. Reacting more so than thinking his way through things. He wins almost all of his physical one on one battles, and his pass protection techniques look like they’ve been cleaned up.
  • DE Romeo Okwara – On a team full of physical specimens, Okwara takes the cake. He is by far the most impressive athlete on this team. He is still a little raw and too straight line dependent when it comes to movement, but the tools are there and if NYG is patient, I think he is going to be a good one. Pad level, post-engagement moves, and consistent leverage are things he needs work on but in time, they are very correctable. I am really excited about him.
  • OG D.J. Fluker – Really good day for this big man. And I mean BIG. He swallows defenders, even makes DT Damon Harrison look small. I’ll say this about Fluker, if he gets his hands on the man he needs to run block, it’s over. He won every battle I watched him on. I think RG is the perfect home for him.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Place kicker Mike Nugent was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including kicks of 30, 32, 37, and 42 yards.
  • The Giants continue to alternate Josh Johnson and Geno Smith at the #2 quarterback spot. Today Johnson was the #2 quarterback.
  • With wide receiver Sterling Shepard out, Odell Beckham, Jr. and Dwayne Harris were spotted playing in the slot with the first-team with Tavarres King outside.
  • Wide receiver Darius Powe had his second active day in a row catching the football.
  • Cornerback Donte Deayon broke up a deep pass intended for tight end Evan Engram.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith hit wide receiver Travis Rudolph down the right sideline for a big gain.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. for a touchdown.
  • With Jason Pierre-Paul out, Kerry Wynn received some first-team reps at defensive end.
  • Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, and Nat Berhe were the safeties in one three-safety package.
  • Defensive end Avery Moss continues to flash on the pass rush.
  • Wide receiver Roger Lewis caught a long bomb from quarterback Geno Smith over defensive back Mykkele Thompson.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb hit wide receiver Travis Rudolph for a deep touchdown over cornerback Nigel Tribune and safety Eric Pinkins.

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/892778125930770432

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

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

ARTICLES…

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

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

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

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

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

Safety Jadar Johnson (illness) did not practice.

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

Offense Notes:

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

Defense Notes:

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

Three Standouts:

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

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

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

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

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

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

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

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

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

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

ARTICLES…

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

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

Brandon Marshall – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Wide Receivers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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