Aug 102020
 
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Markus Golden, New York Giants (August 2020)

Markus Golden – Courtesy of New York Giants

AUGUST 10, 2020 EVAN ENGRAM CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram addressed the media on Monday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: Moving into a new system with Jason Garrett, have you watched any Cowboys film? Have you spoken with Jason Witten on how to elevate your game in this system?

A: I haven’t gotten the chance to speak to Jason or any of the tight ends that have been in the system. I’m just showing up to work each and every day, diving into the offense, diving into film work to help learn the scheme, learn things. You see the impact that it has, you see the greatness in Jason Witten, the attention to detail he had and the success in the offense he had. I’m just trying to do my best to learn as much as possible and to pick up the offense as quick as possible.

Q: Is there some trait in your skill set that makes you think you can really elevate your game?

A: I’m just coming in and I’m going to be me for the offense. I think just getting in and trying to learn it right now is the biggest thing. Try to limit the mistakes, iron out the details and get the offense down.

Q: How are you feeling health wise? How big of a point is that for you? I know whenever someone talks about your capabilities, it always starts with whether or not he can stay healthy. How much do you want to prove that that’s not the only thing people need to be talking about?

A: I feel great. I’ve had a very blessed offseason. I’ve been working my butt off in rehab and getting back. Right now, I am just going out and doing everything I can for the team and what practice is with the trainers. I’m not really worried about what all the other people are saying. I can only control what’s in front of me each and every day. That’s coming in, working hard during training camp and learning this offense and being a good teammate and a good leader.

Q: You were one of the guys rehabbing at the facility before covid-19, correct? How did you manage your rehab and keep yourself on schedule? Was it as challenging as it might appear to keep it going?

A: It was an adjustment. Just being comfortable up here with our facilities and our trainers and then everything going south and shutting down. Our training staff did a good job of making connections where I was at, I was in Atlanta. I got set up with a rehab facility not too far from my house, so I was able to kind of pick back up. They were able to pick up all the details that I needed, things that I needed, and we were able to keep things in motion. We definitely had to make some adjustments, but our training staff here did a great job helping me stay on track.

Q: Did you ever doubt that you would be ready for training camp? How ready are you?

A: I had no doubt. I had my mind set. I had a very strong, very aggressive rehab. Each and every day, I was trying to find ways to get better. Right now, I am blessed to be back out there running around with my teammates. I’m having fun running around catching the ball and learning offense and getting ready for this new season.

Q: This is your third new offense in four years with the Giants. How difficult is that for a still young player to have no continuity at all? How much has the losing during that made it difficult also?

A: I wouldn’t say difficult, I would say some perseverance involved and being flexible with adjustments. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult with the losing, I think it has been very motivating to learn this new system and keep finding ways to get better each and every day. Start ironing out the things and getting better at the things that are going to turn around and win on Sundays. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, but it’s just been attacking an adjustment.

Q: What is the challenge of each year not being able to build on what you did previously because it’s not the same system?

A: That speaks to how hard you work right now, in this training camp and learning the offense. Having that continuity might help, but also honing in and honing in on the details and trying to find ways to get better each and every day. Right now, that’s all I can do and that’s all I can worry about. I’m not really worried about the past or what the circumstance is. Right now, we’re in this offense and we have an opportunity to come in each and every day and get better at it.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge for you in training camp under these circumstances?

A: Honestly, I’m just glad to be back in the building. I’m glad to be back around football with my teammates. It’s definitely different wearing masks and social distancing. The logistics of everything, going back and forth to the field and the stadium and this and that. I take it as a blessing just to be back around my guys. Another opportunity for a football season to go out there and compete.

Q: Do they have you limited, are you full go? How is that working?

A: We’re not allowed to get into the details, that’s a Coach Judge rule. I’m out there with my teammates, I’m running around doing good, trying to get better each and every day.

Q: They picked up your fifth-year option. How much do you view this as a make or break year? This could determine where your future is going and what you contract looks like.

A: I’m not really too worried about that right now. We have a lot on our plate with the offense and all the different things around training camp. All that stuff will take care of itself. Right now, my focus is I am coming in each and every day finding ways to get better. Fixing mistakes and trying to get ready for the season.

Q: Based on what you know so far, how much of this is a change from what you have been asked to do in the past? How do you like the role that is being carved out for you in this offense?

A: It’s a good offense in my eyes. All the details we have to know and things like that is going to help us when we get them all down. I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with Coach Garrett and Coach Kitchens and all the other coaches on the offensive side. We’re putting in a lot of hard work right now and just have to continue to do that. Keep working for the good things to happen.

Q: What about the changeover in your role? Is it much different than what you have been asked to do in the past? Have they added some new things to your responsibilities?

A: Tight end in general is a very detail specific position. I don’t really want to compare it other offenses. There is definitely a lot of things we have to learn, a lot of things we need to iron out, a lot of details we have to perfect. Like I said, it’s a process that we have to come in each and every day and keep working at it.

Q: Can you share with us the timeline of how long you were in the boot, when you got out of the boot, and when you got to top speed as far as running?

A: I honestly can’t even tell you. It was a long process, especially with everything going on. With COVID and this and that. I’m just glad to be where I’m at right now. It was just a process that was happening. Right now, I’m feeling good and running around.

Q: You said you want to be the best version of yourself in the offense. How would to describe your game at its top level, how do you open up an offense?

A: Just being myself, using my speed, being physical. Being a durable player, being available. Coming in each and every day and improving on things that need improvement. I think that’s the best way to improve, that’s the best way to help your team. The best way to help your team win games, each and every day getting better at something. That’s my goal and that’s what I plan to do for this season.

AUGUST 10, 2020 WILL HERNANDEZ CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants offensive guard Will Hernandez addressed the media on Monday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: I have a couple questions for you. Number one, you were training part of the offseason with Nick Gates, who of course is in the mix at offensive tackle, he’s in the mix at center. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that training, what you saw from Nick, especially since there’s a possibility he might be lining up next to you this season?

A: Yeah, Nick Gates and I spent a heavy amount of time training together in the offseason. We’re both from Las Vegas, Nevada, we’re really good friends. Yeah, we got after it in the offseason. I’ve always thought he was a great player. I’ve always thought he has what it takes to play. As far as where he goes, whether he lines up next to me or any of the other spots, I honestly think Nick Gates could play any spot on the line. He’s good enough to play anywhere on that offensive line.

Q: I wanted to ask you about Coach (Marc) Colombo. Obviously, he’s a recently retired NFL player. He’s been a coach for a few years. What kind of value does having a former NFL player, a guy who’s not that far removed from the game, as your coach? What does that bring to you as a young player still trying to learn the game and get better at your craft?

A: Coach Colombo is great. It’s awesome having somebody who’s actually been there, done that, 10-plus years playing. He definitely has a lot of inside information as a player himself that he can pass on to us. As far as being there with us, he’s one of us. He’s one of the guys. Of course, you separate that title. When he’s coach, he’s coach. You have that respect line. But it’s cool having somebody who is very similar to everybody in that room and kind of gets it. He just gets it. That’s something that any offensive lineman appreciates, a guy that understands you. It’s a very unique position. You don’t meet too many offensive linemen. There are not too many offensive linemen. It’s a unique position. To have somebody that actually played there, it definitely helps us out a lot. We really like having him here.

Q: It seems like it was just a couple of days ago we were asking you about being a rookie and coming in and what you can lean on and learn from Nate Solder next to you. Now, you might be in a position where you’re going to have a rookie next to you on your left, Andrew Thomas, if he winds up there, and you’ll be the veteran that kind of has to support him. First of all, how crazy is that timeline? Second of all, do you feel like you’re ready for that role?

A: Yeah, you’re right, it really does seem like just yesterday that I was a rookie behind Nate. Now, I might have the chance to do the same. All I’m going to say about that is I’m not sure who’s going to land in that position. I’ll leave that up to the coaches. As far as having that, I learned from the best. Nate Solder really taught me a lot on and off the field. But he also taught me unconsciously how to treat a rookie. I felt like I got treated by him with the utmost respect, with the utmost attention to detail, wanting to help me to get better. It’s just all those things I picked up from him looking back at it now. It’s the same things that I would instill in anybody who was brand new coming in and playing next to me. I would take a lot of the same things he did with me and add my own personality to it. But I definitely learned a lot of valuable points from Nate.

Q: What’s been your impression so far of Andrew? Obviously, you haven’t really been on the field to do much in pads and hitting and stuff, but what have you seen from the first round pick?

A: First, he’s a great guy. He can sing. He can really sing. He has a voice. He’s a really smart guy. He gets things right away. He picks up on a lot of the stuff that coach talks to him about. He’s able to absorb it and pick it up right away, which I think is very good. He just has that demeanor. You can see it through his note-taking, through his playing, through his practices, that he wants to get better. He wants to do good. That’s just some of the things I’ve seen from observing him lately. I think he’s going to be just fine. He’s doing great right now.

Q: What’s his best song? What does he sing for you guys?

A: He sang one song. We made him get up there for the rookie song. I don’t remember the song name right now. All I know is it was good. I was snapping my fingers the entire time. It was a good song.

Q: How do you view how your season went last year? In what ways do you feel like you need to improve? And a follow-up on the singing, did you know Marc Colombo was in a heavy metal band when he was a player?

A: As far as last year, what’s in the past is in the past. I’ve learned a lot since then. I really have been focusing on this new offense, new techniques, kind of like a new attitude for everything. I think that we’ve gotten a lot better since the offseason, at least me personally. I’ve been able to look back on a lot of things that I did wrong or I didn’t do as best as I could, and I’ve been able to correct them. Now, I’m just focused on the future and what I’m doing now. And I was aware of it. I heard something about it or saw something about it on social media, checked it out and watched his video. Yeah, it was awesome.

Q: Since you’ve been here, now you have a second regime change. You’re a guy who we all can say losing wears on you. It doesn’t run off your back. You can feel it affects you. How much do you think it has affected you the last two years, and how much do you think ‘Enough of this? We have to move on. We have to start succeeding on the field here’?

A: I think a more appropriate word, rather than affect me, I think it’s motivated me. Every single little thing that I do now is geared towards winning, towards ‘How is this going to help me win? Is this going to help me win? Yes or no. No? Ok, I’m not doing it.’ I just feel like every single thing that I do now, whether it’s on the field or off, I either do it or not with the purpose of winning.

Q: Is that a change? In the past, were you maybe doing some things that weren’t totally geared towards that?

A: No, it wasn’t intentional. It’s just a lot of things I realized from experience, from things that I did. I was just learning and learning and learning about the mistakes that we all make, and learning from those mistakes. The motive has always been the same: win. But I think more than anything, what I did was learning from my own mistakes. That same factor of wanting to win was always there, but now, it’s like ‘Ok, I can’t make those mistakes again because I still want to win.’

Q: What does the scheme change mean for you guys as an offensive line? We look at it and we see Jason Garrett in Dallas and all the success they’ve had running the football. I’m just curious, as someone who’s part of that offensive line, how are you guys viewing it?

A: We love it. We’ve always just took the plays and the schemes that have been put in front of us and tried to do it to the best of our abilities. I’ve always loved running the ball. I personally like it. I’ve been trying my hardest to be able to get everything down so we can execute. But as far as liking it, I love it.

Q: Do you expect it to be much more run heavy? Not much more, but at least more run heavy? That seems to be the perception at least.

A: I’m not really expecting anything or wanting a certain… Whatever the coaches throw at us, whatever plays they put on that call sheet at the end of the day for the game, that’s what we’re going to run. I’m going to be going just as hard whether it’s run, pass, play action, whatever it is.

Q: In my experiences with you, you’ve always taken your job so seriously. I’m just wondering, as you head into this season, how much responsibility, or how would you describe the responsibility this offensive line has to be better, to help this offense really become much more explosive?

A: That’s exactly right. The offensive line has a big, big role in our success. We proudly carry the workload. We’ll proudly get to work and get things done. We know it starts with us and we’re definitely going to do everything it takes to get after it and make it happen.

AUGUST 10, 2020 MARKUS GOLDEN CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants linebacker Markus Golden addressed the media on Monday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: Had you ever heard of the May 5th tender before they gave it to you, and what was your reaction when you found out you were getting it?

A: I really hadn’t heard of it. I had never heard of it. But my reaction was surprised, of course. For me, it was business as usual. It’s a business at the end of the day.

Q: You don’t feel like you come back with any hard feelings?

A: No, because business is business. I know how this stuff goes. I’ve been having that mindset since my rookie year. Really since college. I have a business mindset. You have to have that mindset because that’s exactly what it is. Yeah, it’s football, a game we’ve been playing since we were kids. But when you get on this level and the college level, you start to realize that it’s a business. That’s the mindset I keep just so I’m ready for when different stuff like that happens.

Q: Was the way free agency went frustrating for you at all? I know a lot of the edge rushers haven’t been signed yet and maybe the pandemic had something to do with that. But was it frustrating having to wait as long as you did to kind of know where you’d end up this year?

A: Of course. Of course, it was. You put in a lot of work during the season. This is a game where they say if you put the work in, the hard work pays off, the game will pay you back in different ways. Of course, it was frustrating. But then again, after a while, you go back to that ‘business is business’ mindset, as it is. That’s the mindset you need to have in this business. Like I said, it was a little frustrating, but you just need to work hard and use everything as motivation.

Q: What do you think about coming back to the Giants? It’s obviously almost a new look team from last year. A lot of new players, completely new coaching staff. How do you feel about being back here?

A: I feel good. I feel good about being back. It’s a good place. It’s a good place to be able to come back and be able to compete and be able to play ball. At the end of the day, I love playing ball and that’s what I’m about. I love playing ball, I love competing. This is the situation I’m in right now. I can’t sit back and complain and fuss about it. I have to go out and get it no matter what. That’s the mindset that I’m going to keep. That’s just who I am. That’s how my parents raised me to be. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to keep my mindset and if I get the opportunity to do what I need to do, I’m going to be ready to compete no matter what.

Q: Was there any point before they put that tender on you that you thought you would be back with the Giants?

A: You never know. You never know how it goes. I’ve been through free agency before, and it didn’t go my way the first time around. I’m the type of guy that remembers that. When I go through something once, I remember everything that happened during that time. I really just was open to whatever was going to happen. Whatever was going to happen, I was going to be able to go with it. That was my mindset really, like I said, because I have been through this before. I know this stuff can be up and down. It can be good for you in one moment, then the next minute it can change on you. That’s just how my mindset is. That’s how it is in St. Louis where I’m from. You just never know. You have to take it and go with it. I really wasn’t hoping for nothing. Of course, you just go with the flow. This is how it ended up, so this is what I have to roll with.

Q: But did the Giants show any interest in you early in free agency? Were there any talks about coming back on a long-term deal?

A: Of course, of course. You’ve seen what I’ve done for the Giants. Of course, you want a player to come back and be able to help your team and be able to get out there and help your team because I showed what I can do. But it didn’t work out like that. It didn’t work out like that, but I’m back now and I’m back on different circumstances. But I’m back and that’s what it’s about at the end of the day. At the end of the day, no matter what, I’m going to be me. I’m going to go out and compete. I’m going to lay it on the line because at the end of the day, I play the game for a different reason. I play the game for my family. I play the game to win. I know what I need to do to be able to play for my family, be able to make my family proud. I know what I need to do to be able to win and help my team.

Q: You’re back with a group that is pretty similar in terms of the edge guys to what it was last year. Most people would have said the pass rush wasn’t quite good enough, do you see reason for optimism with some of these guys as to why you guys can be better? Maybe specifically with Lorenzo and Oshane? Is it too early to judge any improvement from those guys?

A: They’re working hard. Zo and X work hard, that’s all those guys do. Since they were young last year, they have always been working hard. You have to respect those guys and the work they put in. Me, myself, I expect big things from them. I know they are working hard. They expect things from themselves, but at the end of the day it’s another year in the league and you can always come back better.

Q: Is there another level you think you can get to that maybe people haven’t seen yet?

A: I don’t really think about that. I know one thing I’m going to do and that’s come out and compete. I’m going to come out and compete. This offseason I worked really hard to get better. I’m working hard in these workouts to get better and that’s what I am going to do every day. At the end of the day, it’s football. You are going to pad, you are going to put your helmet on, go out there and go to war, that’s what football is. I look forward to getting out there and competing, that’s what I do. I look forward to getting out there and competing.

Q: What do you like about the schemes Coach Graham is bringing to the table that might differ from what you guys did last year?

A: I’ll still be playing a little bit of linebacker and defensive end in nickel. It’s football at the end of the day. The plays can be this, you can call whatever you want to call, but at the end of the day you have to know your job and know what you have to do out there. I’m not really worried about last year or comparing the two, I’m really just focusing on learning these plays and getting locked on these plays and then going out there and doing my job. At the end of the day, its’s football. You can’t make it that difficult. You have to get the play, line up, and know what you have to do. That’s what I’m focusing on, learning what I have to do on the defense. Going out every day and working hard to get better.

Q: It seemed like last year you were trying to prove the injury was behind you and you could get back to that double digit sack level. How does that change not only with your training but your motivation that you can kind of pick up where you left off after kast year?

A: It’s simple, with all my years in the league, I have been going hard and competing to make sure I make plays to help my team win. The only time that didn’t happen was when I hurt myself. I’m feeling healthy and I don’t really worry about everybody else. I don’t worry about, oh, I have to go prove this to this guy, I’m not worried about it. If you don’t know what I can do by now, then you are not worth proving anything to. I focus on proving it to myself. I have a lot of people back home in St. Louis that believe in me. I focus on making them proud. They are the same people that have been with me this whole way. That’s where my focus is, really proving to myself that I’m going to keep working hard and getting better.

Q: How much more productive was this offseason since you were not rehabbing an injury and you could hit the ground running?

A: It was really productive. I’m a guy that likes to work pass rushing by myself. I like to go out and work pass rush by myself a lot. I got to do that a lot by myself. That’s what really felt good. Just being able to go to a local park and just have my cones and have all the stuff I need and just be out there working pass rush by myself. I worked at PEP out in Arizona, I got a lot of great work there. It was a normal offseason for me besides being able to get out there and really work pass rush and overwork every day. That’s what I got back to and that felt really good to be able to get back to working pass rush all the time as much as I want.

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

Andrew Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 102019
 
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The Giants found their destiny.

NEW YORK JETS 34 – NEW YORK GIANTS 27…
In a crapfest game to determine which team is the worst in New Jersey, the New York Giants earned that “honor” by falling to the New York Jets 34-27 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Giants have lost six games in a row and are now 2-8 on the season.

The Giants quickly fell behind 14-0 in the 1st quarter. The Jets drove the ball the length of the field on their opening drive, going 75 yards in 13 plays and finishing with a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Sam Darnold. After a three-and-out by the Giants, the Jets marched 50 yards in nine plays with Darnold throwing a 23-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jamison Crowder.

The Giants got back into the game in the 2nd quarter. The team drove 75 yards in eight plays on their second drive of the game, aided by a 15-yard pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-10. The possession ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones to wide receiver Darius Slayton. After forcing a punt by the Jets, the Giants scored again. On 4th-and-4 from the Jets’ 39-yard line, Jones hit Slayton over the middle on play that went the distance for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the extra point attempt was botched. Jets 14 – Giants 13.

Neither team scored the rest of the half. The Jets went three-and-out. At the 2-minute warning, Pat Shurmur decided to go for it on 4th-and-1 from his own 39-yard line. Jones was stuffed, turning the ball over on downs. However, the Jets could not take advantage of the Giants’ futility as they failed to pick up a first down and then missed the 54-yard field goal attempt. The Giants then went three-and-out and the half ended.

The Giants received the ball to start the 3rd quarter, but that ended with disaster when on the third play, safety Jamal Adams ripped the ball out of Daniel Jones’ hands and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. Jets 21 – Giants 13.

The Giants quickly cut into that lead. On 3rd-and-9, Jones threw a screen pass to wide receiver Golden Tate who broke the play for a 61-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion was called back due to an offensive pass interference penalty on Tate. Place kicker Aldrick Rosas then missed the extra point. Jets 21 – Giants 19.

For a brief moment, it looked like the Giants may pull the game out. The defense forced a three-and-out. The offense then drove 64 yards in nine plays, with Jones throwing his fourth touchdown of the game, this one from 15 yards out to Tate on 3rd-and-3. The 2-point conversion attempt to wide receiver Bennie Fowler succeeded and the Giants were up for the first time on the day, 27-21.

The Giants’ defense started to falter again, first giving up a 9-play, 46-yard drive that ended with a 53-yard field goal. The Giants now led 27-24. Not to be outdone, the Giants’ offense now came up small, going three-and-out. It only took the Jets three plays to travel 70 yards, the big play being a 33-yard pass interference penalty called against cornerback Deandre Baker. On the next play, running back Le’Veon Bell scored from one yard out. The Jets were back up for good, 31-27.

The Giants picked up one first down and then punted on 4th-and-2 from their own 44-yard line. Aided by a 47-pass play, the Jets got into field goal range and extended their lead to 34-27 on a 35-yard field goal with about seven and a half minutes remaining in the game.

Again, the Giants picked up one first down but were forced to punt. The Jets went three-and-out and the Giants got the ball back at their 12-yard line with 4:17 left to go. Pass protection was eroding and the Giants went three-and-out, punting on 4th-and-19 from their own 3-yard line. The Jets did not pick up a first down, but by the time the Giants got the ball back, there was only 18 seconds left in the game. The game ended with a fumble by Tate.

Offensively, Jones was 26-of-40 for 308 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. He was also the team’s leading rusher with just 20 yards. Jones’ fumble led to a defensive touchdown and he was sacked SIX times and hit 10 times. Running back Saquon Barkley was held to ONE yard rushing on 13 carries as the Giants only rushed for 23 yards as a team. Jones’ leading target was Slayton, who caught 10 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns.

The defense allowed 27 points (three touchdowns, two interceptions) to a team that had struggled to score most of the season. The Jets rushed for 76 net yards and passed for 218 net yards. Nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and linebacker Markus Golden picked up sacks. But the defense did not force a turnover.

On special teams, the Giants failed on two extra point attempts.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the Giants were WR Sterling Shepard (concussion), tight end Evan Engram (foot), center Jon Halapio (hamstring), right tackle Mike Remmers (back), QB Alex Tanney, OT/OG Chad Slade, and LB Chris Peace.

Left tackle Nate Solder and cornerback Janoris Jenkins both left the game with concussions.

EVAN BROWN ADDED TO 53-MAN ROSTER, OLSEN PIERRE WAIVED…
On Saturday, the New York Giants signed center Evan Brown from the team’s Practice Squad. To make room for Brown on the 53-man roster, the team waived defensive end Olsen Pierre.

The Giants originally signed Brown as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. While he made the team, Brown was never on the active, game-day roster in 2018. Brown has experience at guard and center.

The Giants signed Pierre as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2019. The 6’5”, 293-pound Pierre originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Chicago Bears after the 2015 NFL Draft. The Bears cut him in August 2015 and he then signed with the Cardinals. In three seasons with the Cardinals, Pierre has played in 24 games with eight starts, accruing 42 tackles and 5.5 sacks. This year, Olsen played in nine games with the Giants with no starts, being credited with eight tackles and two sacks.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media by conference call on Monday. Select players will be available to the media on Tuesday.

Nov 052019
 
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Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (November 4, 2019)

Pat Shurmur – © USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS COWBOYS 37 – NEW YORK GIANTS 18…
It was a close game for a while, but the Dallas Cowboys pulled away late to defeat the New York Giants 37-18 on Monday night at MetLife Stadium. The Giants fell to 2-7 on the season, losing their fifth game in a row and sixth straight game to the Cowboys.

The key takeaway from this game was the Giants’ ineptitude in the red zone, as New York settled for short field goals on 4-of-5 trips inside the 20-yard line. The Cowboys also out-gained the Giants in total net yards (429 to 271), net yards rushing (172 to 100), and net yards passing (257 to 171).

On the game’s first snap from scrimmage, free safety Antoine Bethea intercepted Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott at the 15-yard line, returning the ball to the 8-yard line. Unfortunately, the Giants settled for a 21-yard field goal to go up 3-0 early. The Cowboys tied the game at 3-3 on their second possession by driving the ball 58 yards in 11 plays to set up a 35-yard field goal.

The Giants went three-and-out on their second possession. Although the Cowboys picked up 38 yards and three first downs on their third drive, they missed a 54-yard field goal attempt. The Giants responded with a 10-play, 56-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-goal from quarterback Daniel Jones to wide receiver Cody Latimer. However, place kicker Aldrick Rosas missed his second extra point of the season. The Giants led 9-3.

After the Cowboys picked up two first downs and 44 yards, the Giants got the ball back when strong safety Jabrill Peppers forced a fumble after at short pass to wide receiver Randall Cobb that Bethea recovered at the New York 20-yard line. The Giants then drove 73 yards in 12 plays, but once again were forced to settle for a short field goal, this time from 25 yards out. Nevertheless, with 2:50 left in the half, the Giants surprisingly led 12-3.

At this point, the game turned against New York. The Cowboys easily drove 75 yards in six plays, capping the drive with a 42-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to tight end Blake Jarwin, who has scored five of his six career touchdowns against New York. Giants 12 – Cowboys 10.

It got worse for the Giants before halftime. Facing a 3rd-and-10 from their own 26-yard line with 39 seconds left, Jones’ deep pass intended for wide receiver Darius Slayton was intercepted and returned 29 yards to the New York 39-yard line. Although the Cowboys only gained five yards, it was enough to set up a successful 52-yard field goal.

At the half, Dallas led 13-12.

Latimer returned the opening kickoff of the 3rd quarter 50 yards to the New York 48-yard line. Despite this great field position, the Giants could only pick up one first down and then punted. After a three-and-out by the Cowboys, Dallas got the ball right back when Daniel Jones fumbled the ball away after scrambling for a first down on 3rd-and-6. Dallas recovered near midfield and drove deep into Giants’ territory, but were forced to settle for a 28-yard field goal. Cowboys 16 – Giants 12.

Latimer returned the ensuing kickoff 41 yards to the New York 48-yard line. The Giants once again drove inside the 20-yard line, setting up a 1st-and-10 from the 13, but settled for yet another short field goal, this time from 26 yards out. Dallas now led 16-15 as the quarter neared completion.

The Cowboys went up 23-15 early in the 4th quarter after a 9-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to wide receiver Michael Gallup. A huge 65-yard gain by running back Saquon Barkley on a screen pass set up the Giants at the Cowboys’ 11-yard line. New York could get no closer and kicked a 29-yard field goal. Cowboys 23 – Giants 18.

A pivotal moment came on the ensuing Cowboys’ drive. Cornerback Deandre Baker was flagged with a questionable 26-yard pass interference penalty on a 3rd-and-6 incomplete pass from the Dallas 15-yard line. Six plays later, on 3rd-and-12, wide receiver Amari Cooper was left wide open down the middle of the defense on a 45-yard scoring play that put Dallas up 30-18 with eight minutes left to play.

Both teams exchanged punts. The Giants got the ball back with 4:18 left to play in the game. A far-too-slow 2-minute drill ended up taking almost four minutes off of the clock. With 22 seconds left in the game, Jones was sacked while he was in the throwing motion, the loose ball was recovered by the Cowboys and returned 63 yards for a touchdown with just six seconds left in the game.

Daniel Jones completed 26-of-41 passes for 210 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also fumbled twice and was the team’s leading rusher with 54 yards on six carries. Jones’ leading targets were Barkley (6 catches for 67 yards), tight end Evan Engram (6 catches for 48 yards), and wide receiver Golden Tate (6 catches for 42 yards). Barkley was held to a paltry 28 yards rushing on 14 carries. The Giants allowed five sacks.

The defense did not accrue a sack. The Giants picked off one pass and recovered one fumble.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
WR Sterling Shepard (concussion), QB Alex Tanney, OT Eric Smith, OT/OG Chad Slade, DE R.J. McIntosh, LB Chris Peace, and LB Devante Downs were inactive.

Shepard was originally expected to play but suffered a setback. “He practiced fully this week and was limited with no contact the two weeks before that,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur in a written statement on Sunday. “He told (Senior Vice President Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie (Barnes) last evening (Saturday) he didn’t feel well and was sent for examination and evaluation. When he arrived for work this morning, he still did not feel well. At that point, the decision was made to continue in the concussion protocol.”

Shepard has suffered two concussions this season, one in the opener against the Cowboys and another in early October against the Vikings.

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

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

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.

Aug 122019
 
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Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 12, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their thirteenth full-team summer training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT – DEANDRE BAKER “DAY-TO-DAY”…
Tight end Isaiah Searight (unknown), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), offensive tackle Brian Mihalik (burner), defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (unknown), linebacker Alec Ogletree (calf), cornerback Deandre Baker (knee), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Monday.

“They did further tests on Deandre Baker’s knee, and it appears like it’s just day-to-day,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We’ll see moving forward how much he can do and if we can get him ready to play… It’s a big relief, certainly. He’s been coming along real well, and to know that it’s not serious at this point is good.”

“I have no update (on Beal),” sad Shurmur. “Again, he is day-to-day, too. He’s making progress.”

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (thumb) and running back Jon Hilliman (concussion) participated with non-contact jerseys.

Wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo (unknown) had to be helped off of the field and left practice early.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Antonio Hamilton and Corey Ballentine received first-team reps at cornerback along with Janoris Jenkins.
  • LB Markus Golden had two “sacks” against the first-team offense.
  • CB Henre’ Tolliver broke up a long pass intended for WR Golden Tate.
  • QB Eli Manning connected with WR Bennie Fowler on a long pass down the left sideline.
  • LB Nate Stupar jumped a route and nearly picked off a pass by QB Daniel Jones.
  • WR Darius Slayton returned punts along with S Jabrill Peppers, WR Golden Tate, WR T.J. Jones, and WR Brittan Golden.
  • CB Grant Haley broke up a long pass from QB Eli Manning to WR Sterling Shepard.
  • QB Eli Manning hit TE Evan Engram for a big gain down the right seam. Manning then found RB Wayne Gallman on wheel route, beating LB Markus Golden. Manning finished 11-of-19 in practice.
  • QB Daniel Jones overthrew WR Alex Wesley on a 50-yard post pattern.
  • TE Garrett Dickerson made a one-handed catch of a pass from QB Daniel Jones.
  • During goal-line drills, CB Janoris Jenkins broke passes intended for TE Evan Engram and RB Rod Smith.
  • DL B.J. Hill stuffed RB Saquon Barkley on a red-zone run.
  • QB Daniel Jones looked off a receiver and then fired a short touchdown pass to WR Russell Shepard on a slant. Then Jones threw a touchdown passes to WR T.J. Jones on a fade and TE Garrett Dickerson. Jones finished 10-of-12 in practice.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’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:

ARTICLES…

Aug 052019
 
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Deandre Baker, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Deandre Baker – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 5, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their tenth full-team summer training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have waived offensive guard Austin Droogsma and re-signed offensive tackle Malcom Bunche.

The Giants signed Droogsma after he impressed at the 2019 rookie mini-camp. The 6’4”, 345-pound Droogsma was a star shot-putter at Florida State. He has not played football since high school in 2012.

The 27-year old, 6’6”, 319-pound Bunche was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2015 NFL Draft. Bunche has spent time with the Eagles (2015), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2017), and Jacksonville Jaguars (2017). The Giants signed Bunche after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2018 rookie mini-camp, but cut before the season started. He has not played in a regular-season game.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (unknown), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Monday.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (thumb) and cornerback Grant Haley (shoulder) participated with non-contact jerseys.

Defensive end B.J. Hill was excused from practice due to the birth of his child. Safety Michael Thomas and long snapper Zak DeOssie were excused in order to participate in NFLPA duties.

Offensive tackle Brian Mihalik (burner) left practice early.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The quarterbacks completed 14 of their first 16 pass attempts, primarily focused on the short passing game.
  • CB Deandre Baker broke up a long pass from QB Eli Manning to WR Golden Tate.
  • LB Ryan Connelly was unblocked o a blitz up the middle and “sacked” the quarterback; LB Alec Ogletree also got to the quarterback with an inside spin move.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a “perfect” deep pass to WR Cody Latimer over CB Janoris Jenkins.
  • CB Janoris Jenkins broke up two passes.
  • At one point in practice, Corey Ballentine and Deandre Barker were the first-team corners with Janoris Jenkins playing in the slot.
  • CB Corey Ballentine broke up a pass intended for WR Sterling Shepard.
  • QB Alex Tanney connected with WR Alex Wesley, who ran a good route and beat CB Grant Haley.
  • LB Kareem Martin got past LT Nate Solder on a blitz and forced QB Eli Manning to spike the ball into the ground.
  • In red zone drills, tight coverage from CB Corey Ballentine caused an incomplete pass from QB Daniel Jones to WR Bennie Fowler. But then Jones threw a touchdown pass to WR T.J. Jones against Ballentine.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, CB Grant Haley knocked away a QB Alex Tanney pass intended for WR Da’Mari Scott in the end zone.
  • QB Daniel Jones had a good day, completing 10-of-16 passes with three of those going to WR Bennie Fowler.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’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:

ARTICLES…

Jul 042019
 
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New York Giants Helmets October 27 2013

JARED LORENZEN PASSES AWAY…
Former New York Giants back-up quarterback Jared Lorenzen passed away on July 3rd due to heart and kidney issues. Lorenzen was 38 years old. The Giants signed Lorenzen as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2004 NFL Draft. He served as a reserve quarterback for four years, from 2004-2007, first as a third-string quarterback and later as the primary back-up to Eli Manning.

“Jared was a special person, and a beloved Giant,” said Manning. “He was an important member of our 2007 team, one that created its own destiny. Our thoughts are with Jared’s family and friends who loved and appreciated him so much. Just as our organization and our fans did. Jared was a great teammate and friend. We competed against each other in college and came to the Giants together in 2004. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I will always remember his competitive spirit and his good nature. Jared has left us all way too soon.”

“I’m shocked to learn of Jared’s passing,” said former New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “Jared had a fun-loving, yet serious attitude. He was a good athlete, he had touch and versatility, and he was serious about trying to get his weight under control. Jared got along well with his teammates, and he contributed a lot in his hometown. He worked with young kids in teaching them the game of football. My thoughts are with Jared’s family and the Giants family. It’s sad to lose a kid who tried so hard to play again.”

ARTICLES…

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

Spencer Pulley and Will Hernandez – © USA TODAY Sports

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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