Apr 222021
 
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Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (December 20, 2020)

Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports

DAVE GETTLEMAN AND CHRIS PETTIT ADDRESS THE MEDIA…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman and Director of College Scouting Chris Pettit addressed the media on Thursday (video):

Gettleman: Good afternoon. I won’t try to delay your lunch time too much with Chris. We just wrapped up two and a half weeks of draft meetings with the scouts and the coaches, of course, with their input. We’re going to continue to study the players and we’ll be ready to go a week from today. So, let the games begin.

Q: Dave, you’ve already been through one draft process with [Head Coach] Joe [Judge]. How involved is he in the evaluation process and what has he brought just to the entire draft process? Chris, what are some of the biggest things you’ve had to take going back to the last draft process? Was there anything you found beneficial that you might stick with when we get ‘back to normal’?

Gettleman: He’s very involved, he was very involved last year. I have this crazy idea that we should collaborate and this crazy idea that we should bring in players that fit coaches’ schemes. This year was obviously different because you’re touching each other, you’re in the same spot, it’s really helpful. The best part is the direction and him and his staff explaining the type of player they’re looking for. Really and truly, at the end of the day, the biggest direction is with the linebackers, very frankly. Offensive linemen, defensive linemen, back end guys, front end guys, it’s all the same. It’s really the linebacker fit and the versatility we’re looking for with certain players. You’d like to have a talented two-way go guy, a guy that can go and do a couple things. You turn around and you take a look at what [CB] Julian Love has developed into, where he’s a corner, he’s a safety, he’s here, he’s there. What it does is it gives the coordinator a lot of flexibility, so that’s where that’s at.

Pettit: Through the draft process, obviously the hardest part was not being on the road, being on campus with the players. You know, getting the Zoom background went well. The colleges were great about offering those to us, but it was different because you’re in a room with 32 other clubs and so you maybe didn’t get the intimate information you’d get on campus. I hope we don’t do that next fall, I hope we’re back on campus again. I think something that we’ll take from it maybe is the ability to get with our scouts, use the Zoom piece to meet more in the fall some more as a group, but other than that I think getting back to normal business will benefit us.

Q: Chris, just to follow up on that, what were some of the challenges of trying to evaluate players who weren’t on the field, guys who either opted out or their schools didn’t play a full slate of games? How did you go into that and how did you come out of that? Was that hard, because some of these guys were teenagers the last time they played football? Dave, what’s your take on Kyle Pitts? People talk about him as a unicorn and the best tight end that they’ve ever seen. What do you see from him?

Pettit: Well, with the opt-out guys specifically, we watched all of their film that they did play in ‘19 and going back, we went over it and over it again as much as possible because that was it, that was all we had. Really, it was sit back and wait and get them at their pro days – I mean, that was it, that was our opportunity, so we made it a point, myself especially, anyone that opted out I tried to get to that pro day to get my eyes on them. Some of these guys you watch as they come up, you know who they are, but that was it. You really just had to sit and wait on these opt-out guys. We weren’t allowed to talk to them and we talk to everybody, and you just ask your sources and build your character piece throughout the fall like any other player. You’ve got to do a lot of projecting, that’s what this business is. But you had the benefit of some showing up to the Senior Bowl, you got down there, got to see them work, see what shape they were in. Again, it’s hard, some of these guys haven’t had pads on in 20 months when we’re going to get them and that’s part of the piece that we’re going to have to take into consideration.

Gettleman: He’s a uniquely talented player. You can’t characterize him as just a receiving tight end because you watch him block and he’s got a lot of blocking grit, he’s got some nice fundamentals down and he’s certainly big enough. He’s a different breed of cat, now. He’s very talented.

Q: Dave, how do you view the opt-out guys? Are you more likely, if it’s a tie, to go with somebody who didn’t opt out of last season because there’s fresher tape? How do you view them? Is there anything you can compare it to in your scouting career, to all these guys, dozens of guys who didn’t play last year?

Gettleman: There’s nothing I can compare this to. You know, you’re almost with a handful of these guys, it’s almost like the NBA one-and-done: they go to college for a year and now, bang, they’re in the NBA. So, you have to do it on a case by case basis. Listen, they made a decision to opt out. Who am I to judge? Things haven’t changed, it’s what you do between the white lines that gives you your value as a player. Then, obviously you’re judging the character piece as well. But, no, I don’t have any preconceived notions. We’ve discussed amongst each other in the room the reason why a guy opted out. When I get on the Zoom calls – we’re still in the interview process with the players, so I’ve been doing two guys a night, tomorrow I’ll do six guys in the afternoon – and we ask them specifically, ‘Tell me your story about the opt out. What’s your journey like? Are you glad you did it?’ You know, you go through that process, but again it’s hard especially because there are guys that were 19 years old the last time they played football and oh, by the way, this will be 20 months from the last time they put pads on. You know how I talk about the underwear Olympics. The game is played in pads and it’s played on a field. It’s going to be interesting: some of the opt-out kids did a great job, showed up at their pro days and were outstanding, outstanding. And there were a few of the opt-out guys who showed up looking like me, so that wasn’t really good for them. So you do it on a case by case basis. You look at the film and you make a decision on them.

Q: Chris, how many of these pro days were you able to have an in-person interview with a guy? Were some schools able to relax some of that? Were you able to actually talk face-to-face with guys at different schools? Also, another thing about the evaluations, injury data. I know there were some guys who didn’t even get to Indianapolis like [Jaelan] Phillips from Miami, there are some Notre Dame guys. Are you still waiting on some injury data and evaluations on players or do you have all of that at your disposal at this moment? And Dave, are you trading up or trading back? What does the market look like for trades?

Pettit: No, the league did not allow us to do that, so that was a big chunk of our character-building piece that we didn’t have this year. We weren’t allowed to meet with them at the pro day, so it was just there observing. We met with all of these guys through Zooms beforehand. What we did was really leading up to the pro days, we kind of simulated what we would normally do at the Combine with our formal interviews. We did that with the coaching staff and the personnel staff, we Zoomed them, so that’s where you really get the information and where I got to meet them. The injury data and evaluations part are done. [Head Athletic Trainer] Ronnie Barnes and his staff have done a great job gathering that information. Is it as thorough because you’re not getting your hands on these guys. You know, you have 300-plus guys that normally go to the Combine, we had about 150 this year, so you’re looking at about half the people our doctors don’t have their hands on. We’re all adapting to everything during this pandemic, so you’re relying on phone calls and getting that information. But Ronnie and his staff have done that, so we have medical records on everybody going forward.

Gettleman: I’m going to involve you in the trade. You know, it’s crazy. Quarterbacks are affecting it. Who knows? I don’t think it’s going to be any different than any other year in terms of the opportunities to trade up or trade back. It’s about value, you know that. You go into the draft, you have an idea of who you’d like to take at that slot, what group of players, and if there’s someone sitting there and you have an opportunity to trade up, you trade up. If you don’t like what you’re looking at and you feel the value is better at the back end of that round, you trade back. I really don’t think it’s going to be that different, to answer your question.

Q: I’m curious, how much do you factor into your decision when you’re setting up your board the contracts of your current veterans? To use a specific example, looking at your offensive line, I think you have about four guys who are entering contract years and they may be re-signed, they may not be re-signed. So, when you set up your board do you take a look at that, factor that in and say, ‘We’ve got to keep the pipeline fresh as far as offensive line depth,’ or does that not matter when you ultimately put the board together? Also, I know you’ve said in the past that you can never have too many good players at a specific position. That said, can you have a situation or run into a situation where you have too many players at one spot, let’s say cornerback, and then not enough at another spot? And then how do you kind of weigh and balance taking a cornerback here or do we take a player at a position where maybe you’re a little thin?

Gettleman: You’re always looking at that kind of stuff. So, just for an example, if you know you’ve got a guy that’s contract is up and because of the financial aspect you decide you’re not going to do it, then sure, you may draft a player to fill the need that you know you’re going to have. So you absolutely take that into consideration. You take the contracts – people always talk about the draft guys obviously are cheaper labor, so to speak – so you’re going to do that. That’s part of the big picture look that you have to take when you’re drafting. You have to look at what you’ve got, eventually who’s going to go out the door and how do you replenish. I hope that answers your question. And you want to always take value and I think really and truly that just because you take a guy, there’s no law against maybe flipping him or flipping the guy you already have on your roster, so it’s an asset. You don’t want to pass up good assets, you really don’t.

Q: Dave, you talked a lot about playmakers this offseason, playmakers for offense. You got a few of them in free agency, [Wide Receiver] Kenny Golladay was obviously a big fish that you hooked. Is your receivers corps done? I know things are never done, I guess. When you look at the two Alabama receivers sitting there at 11, do you think your receiving corps needs more or did Golladay kind of satisfy that? Also, the two Alabama receivers, they’re not the biggest guys. Does that concern you or if they can run by you, is it okay? Chris, the edge rusher guys, you know the [Washington Defensive End] Chase Young’s or the [Browns Defensive End] Myles Garrett’s, they don’t seem to be there in this draft. The first two or three picks, they’re going to be gone. How do you look at the edge rush situation? And at 11, can you kind of look over some of the warts on these guys or is 11 a little too rich for edge rushers this year?

Gettleman: No, you’re always looking to upgrade every position, doesn’t make a difference. Whether it’s wide receiver, tackle, whatever. You’re always looking to upgrade. I’m going to give the same response I just gave, frankly, it’s about value and how you’re building your team, what you’re looking to do. You can never have too many good players at one position. And, you know, you evaluate the film and the college film suggests that they’re very good players. There are plenty of smaller guys that have been very successful in this league just like there are plenty of huge guys that have been successful and everyone in the middle.

Pettit: I wouldn’t say it’s too rich for edge rushers. Edge rushers are how you win. You win with guys that rush the passer. Where they are on the board, we’ll see how it shakes out, there are a lot of factors to it, but I wouldn’t say there aren’t guys available.

Q: Dave, at number 11, do you envision getting a guy who will contribute right away? Chris, when you talk about hard-to-get-to-know guys, it’s inconceivable to me that you could not meet these guys face-to-face. That’s a question and topic for probably a different time in our lives, but are you confident you know these guys well enough?

Gettleman: That’s an interesting question. Yes. The cliff notes answer on it is ‘yes’. It’s really hard to take a guy at 11 that you’re betting on the potential, he’s got all the PQ’s. You know what it comes down to? I look at it this way, I’m a Celtics fan – don’t be angry – but I’m a Boston Celtics fan. A couple years ago, the Celtics drafted Robert Williams out of (Texas A&M). He was a one-and-done guy with all kinds of potential. Well, now it’s year three and he’s finally starting to play to his abilities, okay? In the NFL, I’ve got to be really cognizant of the coaches. They’re under the pressure to win all the time. Every Sunday is a referendum on their skills as coaches and you’ve got to be really careful when you start taking guys that high that you love the physical skills and the potential, but how long is it going to take for it to show on the field? So that’s kind of the balance I have to get to, to answer your question.

Pettit: Yeah, I am and that’s due to the work of our staff, the scouting staff and coaching staff. I mean, we’ve done endless amounts of Zooms. The league allows you five Zooms, but that’s just a Zoom. We’ve talked to these guys all season when we can, when we’re allowed to in scouting season, but it’s every day. The scouts have been awesome, they’ve been working the phone lines just to get to know them, so we can sit there and really, truly know him. And then also, our coaches are doing it, but we have been reaching out to the college coaches as well, going back and being thorough. So, I’ve gotten to the point where I feel like we do know these guys as we would in a normal year. Do we have the physical contact with them that we’d like? No, so I’m trusting that our staff has really worked hard enough to get that where we feel like we know them.

Q: Chris, jumping off that a little bit, you obviously have a lot of coaching staff members that have ties to a lot of these big-time college programs. Especially in a year like this when you have guys that have opted out and all the uniqueness of this situation, how valuable has that been to kind of get insight from someone like [Defensive Line Coach] Sean Spencer on Penn State or [Senior Defensive Assistant] Jeremy Pruitt on Tennessee, stuff like that?

Gettleman: Very helpful. And they’ve known these guys. They’ve touched these guys, which we unfortunately haven’t been able to do as much, so it’s quite helpful.

Pettit: We go back when some of these guys were recruited, they may not have gone to certain colleges, but these guys recruited them, so they give us another look and another view when they were in high school in the recruiting process. But, again, the scouts also can work the coaches from another angle, so you get all different opinions and we finally get to a group decision.

Q: Dave, the projection that a lot of people are making and you’re probably making them inside your own war room is that there’s going to be a bunch of quarterbacks that go early in this draft. What does that mean for you guys with the kind of player you expect to get at pick 11? And have you seen your pick be potentially more valuable at 11 than it would in a normal year in regards to people calling you and trading and that kind of stuff as a result? Chris, what do you think of that edge rusher group as a whole?

Gettleman: The more quarterbacks that go, the more players it pushes to us. It’s obviously helpful. Frankly, I’d like to see 10 quarterbacks go in front of us, but basically the more quarterbacks that go, the better it is for us. And it’s possible, yes.

Pettit: I think it’s a good group, I do. It’s a good group. There’s a bunch of them, there’s different ones, different types, which we like, there’s ones that fit our system, so I think it’s a good group. I think it’s obviously an important position that we look to fill every year, not this year over any other year. We’re going through it and hopefully if we decide to address that and one’s there at a certain time and he fits what we do, we take him.

Q: Hey guys, going back a little to the opt-out question, but also just how difficult it is, the challenges you guys have faced in the evaluation this year, is it position specific? Do you feel more comfortable or confident that you can get a better read on an opt-out at a different position when you compare an offensive lineman versus a wide receiver or a linebacker? Does that factor in as well for you guys? Do you have to treat it almost like a player by player, position by position thing or is it really a broad stroke?

Gettleman: You know, I think it’s a broad stroke, I really do. Listen, a wide receiver opts out, he can get a JUGS machine. An offensive lineman opts out, I’m not so sure, it’s different. The broader question for me is what did he do and, for us, right now what kind of a college career did he have? And the next piece is what did he do while things were going on and he wasn’t playing? And what does he do at his pro day? So you’ve got kind of three pieces to it and it’s really a broader question. I don’t think it’s necessarily position specific.

Q: Dave, is having only six picks just simply a fact of life or did you address that in free agency or does it put more pressure on you in the draft or what? And would you be influenced to make a deal to get more?

Gettleman: No, I’m very comfortable with the six picks. We don’t have the fifth-rounder, we got this guy [DL] Leo Williams instead and the seventh-rounder was like [DB] Ike Yiadom, who’s on our roster and we got him, so that’s where they went. We moved [Cardinals LB] Markus Golden to get an extra sixth. I’m fine with the number of picks we have in this draft. Going in, you don’t know what’s going to happen, so I’m fine with the six and it’s okay with me. And, again, it depends upon the deal. It depends upon the deal.

Q: Dave, something that gets attention around this time of year is your history of not trading down. Your predecessor in this job never did it. What do you think the reason is for that either from your standpoint or the organization’s? And how unusual is a circumstance where you have three division teams drafting right in a row like this and how does that affect either the trade landscape or the need for subterfuge?

Gettleman: You know, you guys don’t believe me. Meanwhile, [Daniel] Jeremiah had a great line: ‘NASCAR will have right turns before DG trades back.’ Hell of a line, had a good laugh. I’ve tried in the past. Honest, I’ve tried to trade back, but it’s got to be value. I’m not getting fleeced. I refuse to do it. If somebody wants to make a bad trade back, God bless them. But we’ve had opportunities, I’ve tried. You have to understand the other piece of this is sometimes you have a trade and the guy that the team is trading up for gets picked in front of you. We’ve had that happen to us. We’ve got a trade, we’ve got a trade. So-and-so selects, no trade. ‘Dave, good bye,’ and they hang the phone up on me. So that’s happened, too. It’s almost becoming an urban myth. I’ve tried, I really have. And it is what it is. We’re all drafting around each other – we’re probably not going to trade with each other – but we’re all drafting around. I worry about us. My concern is the New York Football Giants, that’s what I’m concerned about. I talked to the guys and gal all the time, I talk to everybody all the time, you construct your team to beat the best team you are going to play. That’s the goal, that’s what we’re trying to do here and if we do that, we’ll be fine.

49ers SIGN WAYNE GALLMAN…
The San Francisco 49ers have signed New York Giants unrestricted free agent running back Wayne Gallman. In his fourth NFL season, Gallman had his best campaign despite starting the season as an afterthought. It was only after injuries to Saquon Barkley and the newly-signed Devonta Freeman that the coaching staff turned to Gallman. He ended up playing in 15 games with 10 starts, carrying the ball 147 times for 682 yards (4.6 yards per rush) and six touchdowns. Gallman also caught 21 passes for 114 yards.

Gallman was drafted in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Giants. As a rookie, Gallman played in 13 games with one start and carried the football 111 times for 476 yards (4.3 yards per carry). But Gallman saw his playing time drop significant during Pat Shurmur’s reign, carrying the ball only 80 times for 286 yards in 2018-2019.

For a complete listing of free agent moves involving the Giants, see our 2021 Free Agency Scorecard.

Jan 252021
 
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Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (November 29, 2020)

Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports

The potential trajectory of New York Giants’ 2020 season changed on September 20th. On that day, the team lost its best player, and arguably one of the top 10 players in the NFL, for the season. Many fans still don’t fully understand what a massive loss that was for the team. Saquon Barkley changes the way other teams defend an entire offense. He was the only player on the Giants who was a threat to score every time he touched the football as a runner or receiver.

Unfortunately, there is a growing group of fans who argue that Barkley was not worthy of the #2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft based on talent alone. This is revisionist thinking. Very few were saying that after his historic rookie season where he gained over 2,000 yards on an offensive team otherwise devoid of talent, especially on the offensive line. Before we proceed further, please watch his rookie highlights. Now one can argue that a rebuilding club should not take a running back with the #2 pick, that the Giants should have traded down for more picks, or selected a position with a longer shelf life, but there is no disputing Barkley’s talent. Once he was removed from the 2020 New York Giants line-up, the entire complexion of the team’s offense changed for the worse.

The franchise seemed somewhat unprepared for the potential loss of Barkley. They did not seem enamored with the other options on the roster and immediately signed Devonta Freeman off of the street. In Week 3, Freeman, Wayne Gallman, and Dion Lewis embarrassingly carried the ball 10 times for 17 yards. The coaching staff instantly favored Freeman over Gallman. Freeman carried the ball 11 times for 33 yards in Week 4, 17 times for 60 yards in Week 5, and 18 times for 61 yards in Week 6. Then Freeman hurt his ankle early in Week 7 and was also effectively lost for the season. The Giants signed Alfred Morris off of the scrapheap and were forced to turn to Gallman, who started each of the final nine games.

Gallman’s story is a curious one. Drafted in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo, Gallman fell out of favor with Pat Shurmur and then early on with Joe Judge. But when Judge finally turned to Gallman, the 4th-year pro responded by rushing 147 times for 682 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and six touchdowns. This despite only carrying the ball more than 12 times in a game just four times and more than 18 times just once. Indeed, it seemed as if Gallman was being underutilized for much of the second half of the season.

After Gallman’s 147 carries, quarterback Daniel Jones was the second leading rusher on the team, both in terms of carries (65) and yardage (423). The over-the-hill Alfred Morris become Gallman’s primary backup, averaging six carries per game in the final nine games. He finished with 55 carries for 238 yards and one touchdown, surprisingly averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Dion Lewis served as the 3rd-down back, carrying the ball just 29 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Fullback Eli Penny only played in seven percent of all offensive snaps, touching the ball just eight times.

Overall, the Giants finished 19th in rushing, averaging 110.5 yards per game. The ground game was abysmal to start the season and improved markedly as the year progressed until December. No Giant had more than 28 yards rushing in the first two games and no Giant had more than 49 yards rushing in the first four games. Jones was the team’s leading rusher in four of the first seven games of the season. When the Giants ran for over 100 yards in a game, their record was 6-3. When the Giants ran for less than 100 yards, their record was 0-7, including the 0-3 stretch in December. Long story short, when the offensive line played well, the Giants were able to run the football and won football games. When the offensive line faltered, the Giants lost. Team running backs only scored nine rushing touchdowns.

One thing to keep in mind as we move forward: since Gallman, Morris, and Lewis are all now free agents, it is quite possible that none of New York’s top three running back ground gainers in 2020 will be on the roster in a few months.

THE DEVASTATING LOSS

The Giants placed Saquon Barkley on Injured Reserve in late September 2020 after he tore the ACL, partially tore the meniscus, and sprained the MCL in his right knee in Week 2. He finished the season with 19 carries for 34 yards (1.8 yards per carry) and six catches for 60 yards. The Giants drafted Barkley with the #2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He became only the third rookie in NFL history to accrue 2,000 yards from scrimmage and breaking a number of franchise records. He also was voted to the Pro Bowl and named “Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year”, “FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year”, “Pro Football Writers of America Offensive Rookie of the Year”, and “Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year.” Barkley started all 16 games, rushing 261 times for 1,307 yards (5.0 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns. He also caught 91 passes for 721 yards and four touchdowns. Overall, Barkley led the NFL with 2,028 yards from scrimmage. Barkley also led the NFL with seven 40+ yard runs and six 50+ yard runs. The latter figure is the highest single-season total by a Giants player since the 1970 merger. All of this despite playing behind a subpar offensive line.

After that stellar rookie season, Barkley endured a forgettable sophomore season as a pro. The high ankle sprain that he suffered in Week 3 nagged him much of the remainder of the season. Playing soft and tentative at times, Barkley did not show signs of his old self until December. Nevertheless, Barkley still rushed 217 times for 1,003 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and six touchdowns. He also caught 52 passes for 438 yards and two touchdowns. Barkley is a complete three-down back who can make an impact running and catching the football. If healthy, he has an outstanding combination of size, quickness, and speed. A home-run threat every time he touches the football, Barkley has great vision, instincts, and balance. He makes defenders miss and can accelerate to full speed in a heartbeat. Barkley is big enough to run through and athletic enough to leap over tackle attempts. Barkley is a very good pass receiver who can hurt a defense down the field in the passing game. He has only fumbled the ball once in his career. His biggest negative is that he will sometimes try to do too much and dance around instead of taking what the defense gives him. Excellent intangibles. Team leader with a good work ethic. It remains to be seen if he can regain his old form after his serious 2020 knee injuries. And after two injury-plagued seasons in a row, Barkley needs to prove he can stay healthy.

THE STAND-INS

The Giants placed Devonta Freeman on Injured Reserve in November 2020 with ankle and hamstring injuries. He was also placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List in December. The 5’8”, 206-pound Freeman was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. In six years with the Falcons, Freeman played in 77 regular-season games with 59 starts, rushing 951 times for 3,972 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and 32 touchdowns. He also caught 257 passes for 2,015 yards and 11 touchdowns. Freeman missed most of the 2018 season with knee and groin injuries. His productivity fell to 656 yards on 184 carries (3.6 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in 2019. The Falcons cut Freeman in March 2020 and the Giants signed him in late September 2020. Freeman played in five games with the Giants, starting four, and finished 2020 with 54 carries for 172 yards (3.2 yards per carry) and one touchdown. He also caught seven passes for 58 yards.

In his fourth NFL season, Wayne Gallman had his best campaign despite starting the season as an afterthought. It was only after injuries to Saquon Barkley and the newly-signed Devonta Freeman that the coaching staff turned to Gallman. He ended up playing in 15 games with 10 starts, carrying the ball 147 times for 682 yards (4.6 yards per rush) and six touchdowns. Gallman also caught 21 passes for 114 yards. Gallman was drafted in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Giants. As a rookie, Gallman played in 13 games with one start and carried the football 111 times for 476 yards (4.3 yards per carry). But Gallman saw his playing time drop significant during Pat Shurmur’s reign, carrying the ball only 80 times for 286 yards in 2018-2019. Gallman is a well-rounded cutback runner with decent vision, elusiveness, strength for his size, and speed. He has good hands as a receiver, but he will fumble (seven career fumbles).

The Giants signed Alfred Morris to the Practice Squad in late September 2020 and the 53-man roster in November 2020. Morris ended up playing in nine games for the Giants with no starts, carrying the ball 55 times for 238 yards (4.3 yards per rush). The 5’10”, 222-pound Morris was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He has spent time with the Redskins (2012-2015), Dallas Cowboys (2016-2017, 2019), San Francisco 49ers (2018), and Arizona Cardinals (2019). Morris has played in 114 regular-season games with 70 starts. Morris was second-team All-Pro in 2012 and was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2014. Nearing the end of his career, Morris has good size and power, but what movement skills he once had have clearly faded. He is not used much in the passing game.

Dion Lewis played in all 16 games for the Giants in 2020 with no starts. He finished the year with 29 carries for 115 yards (4.0 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for for 127 yards and one touchdown. Lewis served as the team’s primary kickoff returner, averaging 22.4 yards per return and fumbling twice. The 5’8”, 195-pound Lewis was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Lewis has spent time with the Eagles (2011-2012), Cleveland Browns (2013), Indianapolis Colts (2014), New England Patriots (2015-2017), and Tennessee Titans (2018-2019). The Giants signed Lewis in March 2020 after he was cut by the Titans. Strictly a smaller, 3rd-down-type back, Lewis has good quickness but lacks the overall dynamism for the role he plays. He also had an issue with fumbling in 2020.

THE LONELY FULLBACK

Eli Penny was placed on Injured Reserve in early January 2021 due to an undisclosed illness. The sole fullback on the team for the past three seasons, Penny played in 14 games in 2020, rushing the ball six times for 15 yards (2.5 yards per carry) and catching two passes for 20 yards. The 6’2”, 234-pound Penny was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Cardinals after the 2016 NFL Draft. The Giants signed Penny off of the Practice Squad of the Arizona Cardinals in September 2018. He has played in 44 regular-season games for the Giants with four starts. Though Penny lacks classic fullback size, he is a well-rounded player who can block, run, and catch the football.

PRACTICE SQUAD

The Giants signed Taquan Mizzell to the Practice Squad in November 2020. The 5’10”, 185-pound Mizzell originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Ravens (2017), Chicago Bears (2017-2018), and New Orleans Saints (2019-2020). Mizzell has played in 12 regular-season games, serving as a running back, wide receiver, and kick returner.

Sandro Platzgummer was allocated to the Giants in April 2020 as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program, which also allowed him to remain on the team’s Practice Squad in 2020 without counting towards the Practice Squad limit. Platzgummer played for the Swarco Raiders Tirol of the Austrian Football League.

The Giants signed Rod Smith to the Practice Squad in early September 2020 and cut him three weeks later. The 6’3”, 236-pound Smith was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Seattle Seahawks after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Seahawks (2015), Dallas Cowboys (2015-2018), Giants (2019), Tennessee Titans (2019), and Oakland Raiders (2019).

Jan 032021
 
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Leonard Williams, New York Giants (January 3, 2021)

Leonard Williams – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 23 – DALLAS COWBOYS 19…
The New York Giants defeated the Dallas Cowboys 23-19 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday afternoon. The Giants finished the 2020 regular-season with a 6-10 record (4-2 in the NFC East). If the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the Washington Football Team on Sunday night, the Giants will win the NFC East and will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the playoffs.

Leading 20-9 at the half, the Giants almost let this game slip away, including some gut-wrench moments late in the 4th quarter. But defensive lineman Leonard Williams dominated with 7 tackles, 3 sacks, 5 quarterback hits, 3 tackles for a loss, and one pass defense.

The Giants received the ball to start the game and impressively drove 78 yards in six plays to take a quick 6-0 lead (the extra point was missed). A mixture of passes from quarterback Daniel Jones and runs by running back Wayne Gallman set up a 23-yard end around by wide receiver Sterling Shepard that went for the score.

Dallas picked up two first downs on their initial drive and then were forced to punt after a 3rd-down sack by linebacker Blake Martinez. However, the Giants gave the ball right back when Gallman botched a handoff from Jones. The Cowboys recovered at the New York 27-yard line. The Giants defense held when Williams sacked quarterback Andy Dalton on 3rd-and-8 from the 14-yard line. Dallas kicked the 38-yard field goal to cut the score to 6-3.

For the next six consecutive drives (three by each team), the Giants and Cowboys struggled to move the ball. New York picked up three first downs and Dallas could not pick up one. All six of these possessions ended with punts.

Midway through the 2nd quarter, the Giants’ offense began to click into gear again. New York drove 65 yards in six plays with Jones finding Shepard for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Shepard also caught a 21-yard pass earlier on this possession. Giants 13 – Cowboys 3.

The Cowboys finally began to move the ball themselves, driving 44 yards in 10 plays to set up a 46-yard field goal. Giants 13 – Cowboys 6.

With 2:13 left on the clock before halftime, New York decided to remain aggressive. It took just four plays for the Giants to drive 75 yards, the two big gains being an 18-yard pass to Shepard, followed by a 38-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Dante Pettis. The Giants now led 20-6 with under a minute to play. Unfortunately, the defense allowed Dallas to gain 35 yards in 45 seconds, setting up a successful 57-yard field goal as time expired.

At the half, the Giants led 20-9.

The Giants’ defense forced a three-and-out by the Cowboys to start the 3rd quarter. However, two plays later, on 2nd-and-10, a pass from Jones intended for tight Evan Engram bounced off of his hands and was intercepted at the Dallas 38-yard line. Worse, Cowboys’ momentum continued to surge as Dallas drove 62 yards in 10 plays to cut the score to 20-16. Running back Ezekiel Elliott scored from one yard out.

The Giants gained two first downs before an illegal crackback penalty called on Shepard pushed the Giants back, leading to a punt. The Cowboys then began a long, 13-play, 62-yard drive that was finally stopped by linebacker Kyler Fackrell’s 8-yard sack on 3rd-and-9 from the Giants’ 10-yard line. Nevertheless, the 36-yard field goal cut the score to the slimmest of margins early in the 4th quarter. Giants 20 – Cowboys 19.

After both teams exchanged punts, with another sack by Williams, the Giants put together a key 8-play, 48-yard possession that ended with a clutch 50-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. Shepard caught another 21-yard pass from Jones on this drive. Giants 23 – Cowboys 19 with six and a half minutes left to play.

Starting at their own 25-yard line, the Cowboys began a potential game-winning, marathon, 17-play possession that took over five minutes off of the clock. All looked lost when Dallas was able to set up a 1st-and-goal from the 7-yard line. But Williams sacked Dalton for a 10-yard loss. Then on 3rd-and-goal from the 17-yard line, safety Xavier McKinney intercepted Dalton in the end zone with 1:15 left to play.

However, the game was not over and Gallman gave New York fans a huge scare when he fumbled on an 8-yard gain on 2nd-and-5. Gallman recovered the loose ball at the New York 39-yard line. The Giants then knelt on the ball to run out the clock.

Daniel Jones finished the game 17-of-25 for 229 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. His leading receiver was Shepard, who caught 8 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown (he also ran for a 23-yard touchdown). No other Giants had more than two catches. Gallman carried the ball 11 times for 65 yards.

Defensively, the Giants sacked Dalton six times: Williams (3), Martinez (1), Fackrell (1), and defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson (1). The defense was also credited with nine tackles for losses and six pass defenses. Linebackers Martinez and Tae Crowder were each credited with 11 tackles.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
P Ryan Santoso was activated from the Practice Squad for this game.

Inactive for the game were WR Golden Tate (calf), OT Jackson Barton, OL Kyle Murphy, DE R.J. McIntosh, CB Madre Harper, and P Ryan Santoso.

The Giants reported no injuries from the game.

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

POST-GAME NOTES…
If the finish in first place, they will be the first six-win playoff team in NFL history.

The Giants ended a seven-game losing streak to Dallas. They had last defeated the Cowboys in December 2016.

The Giants won despite finishing 0-for-7 on 3rd-down conversion attempts. This is the first time the Giants won a game without converting a third down since the 1970 merger.

This was the fifth game this season in which the Giants did not allow a first half touchdown.

This was the first time in wide receiver Sterling Shepard’s 5-year pro career that he scored two times in a game.

The Giants finished the season with 40 sacks, their highest total since they had 47 in 2014. Leonard Williams led the team with 11.5 sacks, the most by a Giants’ player since Jason Pierre-Paul’s 14.5 in 2014.

Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson became the first Giants defensive player to begin his career with the Giants and start each of his first 64 games in the league since the NFL went to 16 games in 1978.

Kicker Graham Gano’s 50-yard field goal with 6:27 remaining in the 4th quarter was his 30th consecutive successful attempt, a franchise record. Gano made 31-of-32 attempts this season, a .9687 percentage that is the second highest in Giants history. In 2018, Aldrick Rosas made 32-of-33 attempts, a success rate of .9696. Gano kicked his fifth field goal this season of 50 or more yards, including four against the Cowboys. That is a franchise single-season record.

ROSTER MOVES…
On Saturday, the Giants activated linebacker Kyler Fackrell and cornerback Madre Harper from Injured Reserve. To make room for these two, the team placed fullback Eli Penny (illness) on Injured Reserve and cut quarterback Joe Webb.

The Giants placed Fackrell on Injured Reserve in early December 2020 with a calf injury. Up until that point, he had played in all 11 games, starting eight, and accruing 30 tackles, three sacks, and one interception that he returned for a touchdown. Fackrell was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. The Giants signed Fackrell an unrestricted free agent from the Packers in March 2020.

Harper was placed on Injured Reserve in mid-December with a knee injury after playing in nine games with no starts. He was signed by the Las Vegas Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. The Giants signed Harper off of the Practice Squad of the Raiders in late September 2020.

The sole fullback on the team for the past three seasons, Penny played in 14 games in 2020, rushing the ball six times for 15 yards (2.5 yards per carry) and catching two passes for 20 yards. The 6’2”, 234-pound Penny was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Cardinals after the 2016 NFL Draft. The Giants signed Penny off of the Practice Squad of the Arizona Cardinals in September 2018. He has played in 44 regular-season games for the Giants with four starts.

The Giants signed Joe Webb to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in December 2020. Webb was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He has spent time with the Vikings (2010-2013), Carolina Panthers (2014-2016), Buffalo Bills (2017), Houston Texans (2018-2019), and Detroit Lions (2020).

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

Dec 132020
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 13, 2020)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

ARIZONA CARDINALS 26 – NEW YORK GIANTS 7…
The New York Giants got their collective asses kicked by the Arizona Cardinals 26-7 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the loss, the Giants fell to 5-8 on the season.

The statistical domination was total. The Cardinals out-gained the Giants in first downs (22 to 10), total net yards (390 to 159), net yards rushing (159 to 78), net yards passing (231 to 81), and time of possession (37:52 to 22:08). The Giants also lost the turnover battle 3 to nothing.

To say the Giants’ offense struggled would be an understatement. Quarterback Daniel Jones returned to the starting lineup after missing a game due to a hamstring injury, but he clearly was not healthy. Jones only completed 11 of 21 passes for 127 yards. He was sacked six times, losing 52  yards in the process. His back-up, Colt McCoy, was also sacked twice. No-name Cardinals linebacker Hasson Reddick set a single-game franchise record with five sacks and forcing three fumbles.

The tone was set on New York’s first drive. After picking up two first downs and reaching midfield, Jones was sacked by former Giants linebacker Markus Golden on 2nd-and-10. Jones fumbled on the play and Golden recovered the football and returned it 30 yards to the New York 9-yard line. The Giants’ defense did stop the Cardinals on 4th-and-goal. That was the high point of the game for New York.

New York went three-and-out on their second drive, but the Giants’ special teams gave up a 24-yard punt return to the Giants’ 38-yard line. The Cardinals gained 22 yards in six plays to set up a 34-yard field goal. Cardinals 3 – Giants 0.

After two punts by the Giants and one by the Cardinals, Arizona extended their lead to 6-0 after driving 34 yards in 11 plays to up a 34-yard field goal. Matters got quickly worse when running back Dion Lewis fumbled on the ensuing kickoff return. The Cardinals recovered at the New York 21-yard line. Quarterback Kyler Murray threw a 7-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-goal to give Arizona a 13-0 advantage.

Both teams had two more possessions before intermission, but neither scored. The Cardinals continued to lead 13-0 at halftime.

Arizona received the football to start the 3rd quarter. They immediately drove 77 yards in 11 plays to go up 20-0. The Giants responded with their only scoring drive of the game. After a 39-yard pass from Jones to wide receiver Golden Tate, Lewis scored from one yard out to make it 20-7.

After that, it was all Cardinals. The Giants only gained two first downs for the rest of game, punting three more times and fumbling the ball away again on their last possession. While the Cardinals also punted twice, they added two more field goals to comfortably extend their lead to 26-7. The game was never in doubt.

Video lowlights are available on Giants.com.

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
On Friday, the New York Giants placed cornerback Madre Harper on Injured Reserve with a knee injury. To fill that roster spot, the Giants signed safety Montre Hartage from the Practice Squad.

The Giants signed Harper off of the Practice Squad of the Las Vegas Raiders in late September 2020. This year, he has played in nine games, mainly on special teams.

After spending time with the Giants in training camp, the Giants re-signed Hartage to the Practice Squad in late October 2020. He was signed to the 53-man roster in November and moved back to the Practice Squad earlier this month. Hartage originally signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATION, INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
CB Jarren Williams was activated from the Practice Squad for this game.

Inactive for the game were CB Darnay Holmes (knee), WR Dante Pettis, OT Jackson Barton, OL Kyle Murphy, DE R.J. McIntosh, and LB T.J. Brunson.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Dec 062020
 
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Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, New York Giants (December 6, 2020)

Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 17 – SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 12…
In perhaps the team’s most impressive victory in years, the New York Giants defeated the Seattle Seahawks 17-12 on Sunday at Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington. The win was New York’s fourth in a row, improving their overall record to 5-7 and keeping the Giants in first place in the NFC East. The heavily-favored Seahawks fell to 8-4.

Playing without starting quarterback Daniel Jones, back-up quarterback Colt McCoy and the Giants’ offense struggled in the first half. New York’s five first-half possessions resulted in three punts, an interception, and a safety. The Giants were only able to generate four 1st downs, 95 yards, and no points. The safety came with 33 seconds left before halftime when Riley Dixon’s punt was blocked with the ball exiting the end zone.

Fortunately for New York, the Giants’ defense was up to the challenge, holding the NFL’s 5th-rated offense to one field goal in the first half. Those points came on Seattle’s first drive of the game, as the Seahawks drove 57 yards in nine plays to set up a 31-yard field goal. Seattle did nothing after that, with their next four drives resulting in a punt, punt, fumble, and a punt. Rookie defensive end/linebacker Niko Lalos recovered the fumble.

At the half, the Seahawks led 5-0.

Both teams exchanged punts to start the 3rd quarter. The Giants’ offense finally got the big play they needed on their second drive when running back Wayne Gallman broke off a 60-yard run around left end. Running back Alfred Morris gained 13 yards on the next snap and then Morris finished off the 4-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. McCoy hit wide receiver Sterling Shepard in the end zone for the successful 2-point conversion and the Giants were now up 8-5.

Seattle gained one first down on their second possession and decided to gamble on 4th-and-1 at their own 48-yard line. Quarterback Russell Wilson’s pass was broken up by cornerback Isaac Yiadom and the Seahawks turned the ball over on downs. The Giants then made Seattle pay with a 5-play, 48-yard drive that ended with a touchdown. Gallman rushed for 3, 13, and 23 yards. Then Morris ran for three before catching a 6-yard pass from McCoy for the score. Place kicker Graham Gano missed the extra point and the Giants now led 14-5.

The Seahawks gained two first downs but were pushed back by a 15-yard sack by defensive end Leonard Williams and were forced to punt again early in the 4th quarter. The Giants went three-and-out, but New York got the ball right back when cornerback Darnay Holmes picked off a deflected pass at the Seattle 39-yard line. New York’s offense could only gain nine yards, but it was good enough to set up a 48-yard field goal and a 17-5 lead with less than 10 minutes to play.

Seattle made things interesting when they followed up with an 11-play, 82-yard drive than ended with a 28-yard touchdown pass by Wilson. Their sole touchdown of the game cut New York’s lead to 17-12 with 6:09 left to play.

The Giants were able to pick up two first downs and take 4:21 off of the clock. But the Seahawks got the ball back with 1:48 left to play and a chance to steal the game. Starting from their own 20-yard line, Seattle did pick up two first downs, cross midfield, and reach the New York 46-yard line. The New York defense then stiffened as Wilson threw two incomplete passes and was sacked for an 8-yard loss by Leonard Williams on 3rd-and-10. Wilson’s last desperate 4th-and-18 deep pass fell incomplete.

McCoy finished the game 13-of-22 for 105 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. His leading targets were tight end Evan Engram (four catches for 32 yards) and wide receiver Golden Tate (four catches for 30 yards). Gallman rushed 16 times 135 yards and Morris chipped in with eight carries for 39 yards and a rushing touchdown as New York rushed for 190 yards against the NFL’s 3rd-ranked run defense.

Seattle was held to 327 total yards on 70 offensive snaps. The Seahawks were 4-of-13 on 3rd down and 0-of-2 on 4th down. The Giants picked off one pass and recovered one fumble. Linebacker Blake Martinez led the team with 10 tackles. Linebacker Tae Crowder had seven tackles and one sack. Safety Jabrill Peppers had 5 tackles, one sack, and two pass defenses. Leonard Williams was credited with 2.5 sacks and five quarterback hits. Linebacker Jabaal Sheard had 0.5 sacks.

Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants re-signed quarterback Alex Tanney to the team’s Practice Squad on Saturday. Tanney was cut by the Giants on September 5th. The Giants also placed running back Devonta Freeman, who is currently on Injured Reserve with an ankle injury, on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
QB Clayton Thorson and DE/LB Niko Lalos were activated from the Practice Squad for this game.

Inactive for the game were QB Daniel Jones (hamstring), WR Dante Pettis, OT Jackson Barton, OL Kyle Murphy, DE R.J. McIntosh, LB Trent Harris, and LB T.J. Brunson,

LB Blake Martinez left the game in the fourth quarter with a lower back injury and did not return.

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

  • Head Coach Joe Judge (Video)
  • QB Colt McCoy (Video)
  • RB Wayne Gallman (Video)
  • RB Alfred Morris (Video)
  • DE Leonard Williams (Video)
  • S Jabrill Peppers (Video)

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

Oct 232020
 
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Jabrill Peppers, New York Giants (October 22, 2020)

Jabrill Peppers – © USA TODAY Sports

OCTOBER 23, 2020 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Friday to discuss his team’s 22-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles (the video is also available on Giants.com):

Q: There was a report that Saquon’s (Barkley) surgery is scheduled for next week. Is that true and do you have any other information on that?

A: At this point, I don’t have any information on that. I have to check with Ronnie (Barnes) and see when everything is final. I know Saquon was with us this weekend on the trip. As far as when his surgery can officially take place, I don’t have a date right now specifically myself. But I’ll talk to Ronnie when we’re done here about a lot of guys today.

Q: How did Devonta Freeman come out of last night? I know he had the ankle. Were there any other meaningful injuries coming out of the game?

A: Again, I have to check with a lot of guys in terms of where they’re at today with Ronnie. But I would say with Devonta, he finished the game for us. He’s been obviously playing through a bunch of nicks and bumps like a lot of guys in the league are at this point in time. But he’s a tough dude. He never complains, so you’d never really know anything is wrong with him.

Q: You guys have seen seven games of Andrew Thomas now at left tackle. I’m just curious what has he done that makes you believe he deserves to be the starting left tackle still?

A: He’s done a lot. Andrew’s a good guy to build with. We have a lot of plans long-term with Andrew. He’s the kind of guy we want to work with, both physically and his personality off the field. We have a lot of confidence in Andrew. We’re going to keep working with him and developing him going forward. I fully expect Andrew to have a very productive, long career in this league. We enjoy him being a Giant.

Q: A follow up on Andrew, do you think his confidence has been hurt at all with the struggles he’s gone through?

A: I see him coming to work every day with a good attitude, effort and energy. When you see guys with confidence issues, normally the urgency goes down. I see this guy work tirelessly every day, so no. He’s a pleasure to be around right there. Look, he’s a young player who’s still learning to develop in this league. Nothing is going to be perfect all the time. We need to keep doing a good job of coaching him and bringing him along.

Q: What do you need to do to sort of clean up some of the mistakes that keep showing up time and again?

A: I think with any young player, it always comes down to just fundamentals, that you can execute your technique at the right time against the speed of the game.

Q: In the last three weeks and maybe throughout the season, the two-minute defense has struggled. Is there a common thread there?

A: They’re all different opponents and they attack you in different ways. We’ve had different personnel on the field throughout all those games for the most part, some changing parts. Look, we just need to do a better job of coaching the situation and executing as players. Everyone has to raise their level of play. That’s something that we have to work on as a team, and need to see marked improvement going forward.

Q: The other thing quickly was Graham Gano, it looked like he tweaked his kicking leg. Could he have kicked last night a long one?

A: Yeah, Graham finished the game for us. We had no plans of changing anything we would have done with him differently. We’ll see where he’s at physically today. But he kicked the ball really well for us last night. To answer that question for you, you can easily see a lot of times with kickers based on their kickoffs. In terms of the plan on kicking a long field goal, you look at Graham, the hang time and the distance he had on the kickoffs, I think that kind of shows you where his leg was at last night. We moved the ball around a little bit and placed the ball differently. But when we asked Graham to go ahead and bang the ball, he banged it pretty good and put it deep in the end zone with good hang time. That answers your question right there in terms of where we thought he was physically last night.

Q: When a player has a play like Daniel’s (Jones) run last night that sort of ended ignominiously, it kind of takes on a life of its own. That’s sort of the social media world we live in. Is that any part of your purview to help him get through that part of it? And what you saw on that play?

A: I thought he made a nice run. Look, we’d like him to stay up and finish it. He stumbled. That’s something you don’t want to happen. Look, internally, that’ll be something eventually we’ll be able to laugh about. Right now, we’ll correct some techniques and things. I thought Jason (Garrett) made a good call at the right time. Daniel did a good job on the mesh as far as hiding that thing, disguising it and pulling it. He made a real nice run to get down there. It was a huge gain for the team, put us in a position to score and the team capitalized on it. In terms of the social media part of it right there, look, the internet is undefeated. There are funny things all over the place. You just need to have a sense of humor. When someone sends you something or shows you something, you have to be willing to laugh at yourself sometimes.

Q: Your next game is a day before the trade deadline. How does last night’s game affect what you’re going to do in the next 10 days leading up to that?

A: We haven’t really had too many conversations as of yet as far as how that would affect anything right there. Our focus right now with this long weekend is just reviewing what we’ve done the first half of the season, coaching and playing, and making sure when the players come back that we’ve made some adjustments going forward. That can be something in terms of how we practice, how we prepare, techniques we’re using with certain players, whatever that may be. We’re kind of treating this a little bit right now like we would in a bye week. It’s a good opportunity for the players to get physically refreshed, mentally refreshed, and when they come back on Monday, getting back into ball with those guys.

Q: When you looked at the Evan Engram play, the drop near the end of the game, did you think he should have caught the ball? If so, is there anything wrong with a head coach frankly saying, ‘I think he should have caught the ball’?

A: I think everyone has their own style right there. To me, across the board, it’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback for a lot of people. We expect our players to perform in critical situations. Evan put us in position to be in that part of the game yesterday with how he performed. I thought he did a good job showing up, he was very productive for us. I like the way he comes to work, prepares and battles. Look, we’ll address that internally with how we can do things. I have no complaints on how Evan comes to work, what kind of teammate he is, and what he’s helping us build going forward right there. With how some other head coach wants to handle that, that’s on them.

Q: Coaches always say when you’re trying to build a team and gain confidence as a team, when you get some positive reinforcement, it’s easier. They win and you can point out mistakes and also point out things they did well. With so little winning this year, does it make your job harder to try to get positive reinforcement and build a team where there is so much losing that comes as a result of that?

A: I’ve always been very blunt and honest from day one. Regardless of if it’s coming off the field after a hard practice, coming off the field after a win or a loss, they are getting the same personality and feedback regardless. When you do something good, I’m going to highlight it and point it out. When you do something wrong, I’m going to show that to the team as well and make sure we correct it. Everyone has to learn the lesson. In terms of trying to use wins or losses at times to motivate or address players, to me you just have to be consistent on a daily basis. You don’t have to wait for the right time to correct someone, the right time to get motivation for somebody. The thing is to be consistent as a coach every day, so the players know what to expect coming in. They’ve been very consistent and very repetitive the entire way as well, all of them. I understand what you’re saying, I’ve worked for a lot of coaches who have said in the past, ‘hey, you can correct more after a win and after a loss you have to kind of pick them up.’ I’m going to be honest with you, that’s not really my personality. I think you just tell it like it is and people aware. They take the corrections as they come.

Q: I know you said you haven’t had much time to discuss the trade deadline. Any of those decisions, do you expect to have input on those decisions? Kind of like free agency and the draft with personnel.

A: We’ve had great synergy in the building since I have been here with everybody involved. We’ve been very open with a lot of discussions and talking through the personnel. Whether that was free agency or the draft, training camp or final cuts. There’s been great communication across the board. I expect that to continue. We’ve done a good job working together as a team.

Q: Any moves you do make, and I understand you haven’t made any and you don’t know if you will, any moves that you do make, do you have to consider what kind of message that sends to the locker room? How that affects some of the young guys’ development? Say it was an offensive guy, do you have to consider the ripple effect from those moves?

A: I don’t know that there needs to be an assumption that there is going to be a string of moves anyway. Right now, I think if I comment on a lot of this, all of the sudden you have players kind of anticipating what are we looking to do. I’m very clear with the players from day one that any decision we make is in the best interests of the team. That’s something I told them from day one and I always reiterate that to them. However, just because there is a trade deadline coming up doesn’t mean there is going to be a string of moves or something we’re going to have to look to go ahead and do and flip a lot of things. We always have personnel conversations. We always discuss (inaudible). We always make sure we’re on the same page. This week is no different just because there is a deadline approaching.

Q: How do you balance as a head coach trying to put the best team on the field for this year and looking at the big picture of wanting to continue to build around a young roster? Maybe not give up draft picks or assets at the deadline.

A: Part of the question you guys ask me every week, who do we expect to play at certain positions. I’ve been telling you every week, anyone at the game is going to play. We’re into developing all of our players. Whether that’s rotating linemen at different positions, getting a couple new DB’s in, make sure they are getting exposure. Make sure guys are getting reps in the kicking game. We saw TJ Brunson got into the game yesterday for the first time. He made a real nice play on kickoff. Went down there and showed what we have been seeing at practice for the time right now. We’re looking to develop our players all the time. To me, we’re going out there to be competitive and win every game every week. We’re not racing for some kind of a draft pick, that’s not our priority right now. We’re trying to go out there, we’re trying to win, that’s our goal as an organization. In terms of bringing players along, we’re using every player we have to develop to the future. We’re always thinking about the future in what we do. The future includes the Sunday game coming up that week as well as the long-term picture. The balance is always how it works off each other all the time anyway.

Q: I was curious with the Madre Harper late hit last night and then the hit on Desean Jackson, just your thoughts on seeing that on film and how you addressed it internally with Madre?

A: We haven’t had team meetings yet, so I haven’t had a chance to look at the tape before addressing Madre. I talked to him in the locker room. I’ll keep that conversation between me and him right now. When we have team meetings on Monday when the players come back, anything we have to correct, we will.

Q: After the game last night, Evan Engram was understandably down, given his performance. He’s had a rough start to his year. I’m just wondering what’s your approach in keeping his confidence up. Not letting his struggles manifest in his performance moving forward.

A: I’m not going to try and be a psychologist with him. I’m going to let him know right now, he’s an important player for us. He makes a lot of big plays. He put us in a position last night be competitive down the stretch. We all have to coach better, we all have to make plays and execute on the field. To me, there is not a player on our team that needs to worry about confidence or these questions about confidence issues. Confidence comes from practice, execution, and then in-game success. In terms of Evan as a player, we have all the confidence in him possible. We’re going to keep giving him the ball, keep making him the focal point of our offense. We expect him to keep showing up. He did a lot of good things for us last night.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Saturday and Sunday. There will be no media availability to the team on Saturday-Monday.

Aug 312020
 
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Logan Ryan, Tennessee Titans (January 19, 2020)

Logan Ryan – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN LOGAN RYAN…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent cornerback/safety Logan Ryan (Tennessee Titans). The deal is supposedly a 1-year, $7.5 million contract.

The 29-year old, 5’11”, 195-pound Ryan was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He has spent time with the Patriots (2013-2016) and Titans (2017-2019), playing 109 regular-season games with 85 starts. In 2019 with the Titans, Ryan started all 16 regular-season games and accrued 105 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 18 pass defenses, and four interceptions. A career cornerback, Ryan has indicated he would like to be moved to safety.

AUGUST 31, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media and team sources:

  • Early part of the practice emphasized the running game.
  • QB Daniel Jones was sharp throughout practice. In 11-on-11 drills, Jones threw a long pass to WR Darius Slayton. Jones later connected with RB Saquon Barkley on a deep pass for a touchdown.
  • WR Corey Coleman has been difficult to cover for all of the defensive backs.
  • WR Alex Bachman caught a diving touchdown in 11-on-11 drills.
  • RB Dion Lewis continues to show good quickness as a runner and receiver.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, WR Derrick Dillon made a twisting, finger-tip reception on a pass from QB Colt McCoy.
  • CB Dravon Askew-Henry knocked away a short QB Colt McCoy pass intended for WR David Sills.
  • CB Corey Ballentine defended a QB Daniel Jones pass intended for WR Alex Bachman.
  • CB James Bradberry showed great timing in breaking up a QB Daniel Jones pass intended for WR Sterling Shepard.
  • Defensive linemen Dalvin Tomlinson and Dexter Lawrence batted down passes at the line of scrimmage.
  • LB Kyler Fackrell “sacked” the quarterback a couple of times during team drills.
  • TE Eric Tomlinson made a twisting touchdown reception on a pass from QB Colt McCoy against linebacker. T.J. Brunson.
  • LB Devante Downs leveled RB Sandro Platzgummer.
  • LT Andrew Thomas clobbered LB Devante Downs on a run block for RB Saquon Barkley.
  • PK Graham Gano made 5-of-6 field goals, missing a 50+ yard effort.
  • The Giants provided a video overview of today’s practice on YouTube.

INJURY REPORT…
Safety Xavier McKinney (left foot fracture), linebacker David Mayo (torn meniscus in left knee), safety Jaquarius Landrews (unknown), and tight end Rysen John (unknown) did not practice.

Wide receiver Golden Tate (hamstring?), defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (ankle?), and safety Montre Hartage (hamstring?) all left practice early.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Monday 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 Tuesday afternoon (12:30-2:30PM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media after practice.

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

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Running Backs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct 032019
 
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Mike Shula and Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (September 29, 2019)

Mike Shula and Pat Shurmur – © USA TODAY Sports

OCTOBER 3, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) and linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring) did not practice on Thursday.

“We’ll have to see (if Barkley plays this weekend),” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “I think there are certain things we need to see a player do before we deem him ready to play. Deciding whether a player is out or not, those are Friday things. Today is Thursday… I would (consider it a possibility that he plays). I think we check constantly with our doctors, and we make sure that he’s on the right track to come back. So, we’ll just see. Really, if you think about this globally, people outside the building put time frames on things. Within the building, we know that all people are different and that’s why you hear us say, typically, day to day, or week to week. I think that’s where we’re at with all the injuries because as different as people are, they respond differently to injuries. Sometimes the injuries are more or less severe but still get categorized as this. That’s where I think we have to be careful when people are trying to predict when a player comes back.”

Running back Wayne Gallman (neck), linebacker Lorenzo Carter (neck), and linebacker Tae Davis (concussion) were limited in practice.

Right guard Kevin Zeitler (shoulder) and left tackle Nate Solder (neck) fully practiced.

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

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

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

Sep 292019
 
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Jabrill Peppers, New York Giants (September 29, 2019)

Jabrill Peppers – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 24 – WASHINGTON REDSKINS 3…
In a sloppy game filled with eight turnovers, the New York Giants soundly defeated the Washington Redskins 24-3 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday. With the win, the Giants improved their overall record to 2-2. However, the victory came with a cost, as linebackers Ryan Connelly (knee) and Lorenzo Carter (neck) left the game with injuries. Connelly’s injury appears serious, possibly a season-ending ACL tear.

New York took control of the game from the beginning of the contest. On Washington’s third snap of the game, Connelly intercepted quarterback Case Keenum and returned the ball five yards to the Redskins’ 32-yard line. After picking up 15 yards on 3rd-and-17, the Giants decided to go for it on 4th-and-2 from the 24-yard line. Quarterback Daniel Jones completed a 5-yard pass to wide receiver Sterling Shepard for the first down. Three plays later, Jones and Shepard converted again on 3rd-and-6. The drive ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jones to running back Wayne Gallman, who was starting for the injured Saquon Barkley.

The Giants defense forced a punt on Washington’s second possession. New York then drove the field, going 94 yards in 13 plays to go up 14-0 early in the second quarter. The drive was fortunately kept alive by a defensive holding penalty after Jones was sacked on 3rd-and-9. The Giants gained 23 yards on a pass to Shepard and 22 yards on a run by Gallman. The drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Gallman as well.

Washington went three-and-out on their third and fourth possessions, but the Giants’ momentum stuttered when Jones threw two back-to-back interceptions. The second set up the Redskins at the New York 37-yard line with rookie Dwayne Haskins now entering the game for Washington at quarterback. The Redskins gained just 34 yards in 11 plays and settled for a 21-yard field goal after facing a 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

Jones and the Giants responded with just over two minutes to go before halftime with a 10-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard field goal to once again extend the lead by two touchdowns, 17-3. The big plays on the drive were a 31-yard pass to tight end Evan Engram and a 20-yard pass to Gallman on 2nd-and-20.

Neither team scored an offensive point in the second half, while the Giants added to their advantage with a defensive score. Both teams punted to start the third quarter. The Giants then drove from their own 40-yard line to the Redskins’ 5-yard line. But on 2nd-and-goal, running back Jon Hilliman fumbled the ball away at the 2-yard line. Two plays later, Haskins threw an interception to safety Jabrill Peppers that was returned 32 yards for a touchdown and a 24-3 lead.

After both teams punted again early in the fourth quarter, the Giants forced another turnover when Haskins threw his second interception, this time to cornerback Janoris Jenkins on a deep ball down the right sideline. Both teams then exchanged punts again. With under five minutes to play, Gallman fumbled the ball away when the Giants were attempting to run out the clock. Washington gave it right back with Haskins’ third interception, and second by Jenkins, this time off of a tipped ball. New York then successfully ran out the clock to seal the win.

Offensively, the Giants generated 24 first downs and 389 yards, but turned the ball over four times. Jones completed 23-of-31 passes for 225 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He also rushed for 33 yards on five carries. His leading targets were Shepard (7 catches for 76 yards) and Gallman (6 catches for 55 yards and a touchdown). Gallman carried the ball 18 times for 63 yards and a touchdown; Hilliman gained 33 yards on 10 carries.

Defensively, the Giants only allowed eight first downs and 176 yards of total offense (55 rushing, 121 passing). The defense intercepted four passes, two by Jenkins, one by Connelly, and one by Peppers for a touchdown. The Giants also accrued three sacks, one by Connelly and half-sacks by linebacker Oshane Ximines, linebacker Markus Golden, nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, and linebacker Tuzar Skipper.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

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

LB Ryan Connelly (knee) and LB Lorezno Carter (neck) left the game with injuries 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 are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.