Nov 302014
 
Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (November 30, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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The defense had their shot.

For one meaningless Sunday in November, the New York Giants defense could right so many of the wrongs that had plagued the team throughout the 2014 season. All it needed to do was not let rookie quarterback Blake Bortles lead the 1-10 Jacksonville Jaguars into field goal range.

11 plays and 55 yards later, Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee trotted onto the field and kicked a 43-yard field goal to give the Jaguars a 25-24 victory over New York in Jacksonville. The loss drops drops New York’s record to 3-9, with seven straight losses.

“I’m upset with everyone,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “I’m upset with me.”

When the game began, it appeared as if the Giants were going to snap their six-game skid. After punting on their first possession, New York scored touchdowns on its next three. Manning took the Giants on drives of 91, 54 and 63 yards. Rashad Jennings rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Manning found Preston Parker for a three-yard score in between.

With the Giants defense matching its offense’s success, shutting down the Jaguars through the early portions of the game, it was the New York offense that began to struggle. On the team’s remaining nine possessions, the Giants punted four times, missed a field goal, made a field goal, and fumbled three times, two of which were returned for touchdowns.

“We could have knelt on the ball in the second half and had a better chance to win,” said Coughlin.

Jacksonville’s comeback began with a Scobee field goal at the end of the first half. Then, a Manning fumble was recovered by J.T. Thomas in the end zone. Bortles found Marqise Lee for a 30-yard touchdown in the third quarter and then Aaron Colvin returned a Larry Donnell fumble 41 yards to put the Jaguars in front by two.

Trailing late in the fourth quarter, Manning brought the Giants back. The quarterback took New York 54 yards in eight plays to set up a Josh Brown field goal. The kick put New York up one with 3:26 to play, but Bortle’s heroics would provide the final say.

Video highlights/lowlights of the game are available at Giants.com.

—–

Quick Hits and Observations

  • QB Eli Manning completed 24-of-34 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown. RB Rashad Jennings rushed for 91 yards on 26 carries. As a team, the Giants averaged 3.3 yards per carry.
  • WR Odell Beckham Jr. led all Giants receivers with seven catches for 90 yards.
  • LB Jameel McClain (1), S Stevie Brown (1), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (1.5), LB Devon Kennard (2), DE Kerry Wynn (0.5) and DT Johnathan Hankins (1) all recorded sacks for the Giants defense.
  • For the first time in his career, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles finished a game without throwing an interception. He came in leading the league. Bortles finished 21-of-35 for 194 yards with a touchdown.
  • RB Rashad Jennings (ankle), OG Geoff Schwartz (ankle), OT James Brewer (concussion), DE Robert Ayers Jr. (pectoral) and LB Terrell Manning (ankle) all left the game with injuries and didn’t return. The status of all five is unknown, but Schwartz is said to have tendon damage.
  • The last time Giants lost seven straight game was 2003, the last year of of the Jim Fassel era, when they dropped eight straight to end season and finished 4-12.
  • Inactive for the Giants were OT Justin Pugh (quadriceps), OG Adam Snyder (knee), OG Brandon Mosley, DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), LB Jacquian Williams (concussion), and CB Jayron Hosley.

Nov 292014
 
Mathias Kiwanuka, New York Giants (September 21, 2014)

Mathias Kiwanuka – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Mathias Kiwanuka Will Not Play Against Jaguars: New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka (knee), who was originally listed as “questionable” on Friday for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, did not make the trip to Jacksonville and his status has been downgraded to “out.” Robert Ayers will start at left defensive end for Kiwanuka. Damontre Moore is likely to see his workload also dramatically increase.

DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), LB Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder), and OG Adam Snyder (knee) were ruled out of the game on Friday.

OT Justin Pugh (quadriceps), who is questionable, did make the trip but he is not expected to start at right tackle on Sunday. Geoff Schwartz is expected to start at that position for the second week in a row with Weston Richburg regaining his starting position at left guard with Snyder out.

NJ.com Q&A with CB Mike Harris: Cornerback Mike Harris ready for bigger role, wants to prove Jaguars wrong | Giants four downs by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on the New York Giants Defensive Line:

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo thinks Odell Beckham Jr. has room to improve | Weekly offensive observations by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on OG Weston Richburg: Giants’ Weston Richburg plans to rebound by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: With NY Giants future uncertain, Tom Coughlin returns to Jacksonville, where his NFL head coaching career began by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell: Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell under heavy fire | Giants defensive observations by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Nov 282014
 


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Giants Officially Eliminated from Playoff Contention: With the Detroit Lions defeating the Chicago Bears on Thursday, the New York Giants have been officially eliminated from playoff contention. This is the third season in a row and the fifth time in six years the Giants have not made the playoffs. The Giants did win the NFL Championship in 2011. The Giants are currently 3-8 and have lost six games in a row.

Odell Beckham Voted NFL Rookie of the Week: WR Odell Beckham has been voted the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week for his performance against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday. In that game, Beckham caught 10 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns, including a spectacular one-handed 43-yard touchdown reception.

November 28, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), LB Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder), and OG Adam Snyder (knee) did not practice on Friday. All three players have been officially ruled out of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

With Snyder out, Weston Richburg regains his starting position at left guard.

OG Geoff Schwartz (toe), RT Justin Pugh (quadriceps), and DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee) practiced on a limited basis. Pugh and Kiwanuka are “questionable” for the game while Schwartz is “probable.”

WR Odell Beckham (back), LB Jameel McClain (knee), and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) fully practiced. All three are “probable” for the game.

November 28, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com:

Giants.com Q&A with Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The Coughlin Corner: How to win close games by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

November 28, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on the 2014 New York Giants: The Giants Are Thankful for Beckham’s Catch…and That’s It by Jason Gay of The Wall Street Journal

Article on Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell: Giants defensive end Damontre Moore should’ve been on field for final drive; so why wasn’t he? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on WR Odell Beckham: The non-catch reasons the Giants love Odell Beckham by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on TE Daniel Fells: Daniel Fells grateful to be part of the team by Jeff Roberts of The Bergen Record

Article on OG Weston Richburg: Giants’ Weston Richburg back in the starting lineup after a strong week of practice by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Terrifying: Jason Pierre-Paul’s days at tight end by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on LB Jon Beason: Perry Fewell says Giants miss Jon Beason by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Nov 282014
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 23, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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New York Giants at Jacksonville Jaguars, November 30, 2014

Before December, the Giants have been officially from playoff contention. It is the third season in a row, and fifth time in six years, the Giants will not be in the playoffs. The remaining five games are now more about preparing for 2015.

FOUR DOWNS:

First Down
What does Odell Beckham Jr. do for an encore?
It was the catch that broke twitter as Odell Beckham Jr. dove backwards and pulled in the uncatchable with three fingers. So, what’s he do for an encore? Despite missing the first six games of the season, Beckham is closing in on 1,000 yards receiving and making general manager Jerry Reese look very smart for drafting the rookie with the No. 12 pick int he draft this year.

Second Down
Can Perry Fewell save his job?
There’s a good chance nothing can save Fewell’s job as the Giants defense, even with its additions, is 31st in the NFL. Last week’s game-winning drive by the Dallas Cowboys was filled with questionable calls from Fewell and even bigger questions as to the players he chose to put on the field. Can Fewell salvage something, anything, these last five games to show he can still be a solid defensive coordinator in the NFL?

Third Down
Will Damontre Moore play more?
The New York Giants are in desperate need of a pass rusher. Arguably the team’s most talented continues to sit on the sideline. With the team officially eliminated from the playoffs with the Detroit Lions victory over the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving, there’s nothing to lose by playing Moore every snap. Mathias Kiwanuka has struggled this year, Moore hasn’t been given the chance to. Will the defensive coaches put the second-year pro on the field?

Fourth Down
How will the Giants play against Jacksonville?
The New York Giants got through the easy portion of their schedule with victories over the “bad” teams in the NFL. After going winless against the good teams, how will New York now play against the one-win Jaguars? There’s nothing to play for anymore for the Giants, will they play down the Jaguars?

BREAKING DOWN JACKSONVILLE:

OFFENSE – by Connor Hughes
Strength?
With Maurice Jones-Drew in Oakland, Denard Robinson has been a pleasant surprise for the Jacksonville Jaguars on offense. Robinson has rushed for 508 yards this season and four touchdowns. He’s averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

Weakness?
Blake Bortles had a nice preseason for the Jaguars. Blake Bortles has not had a nice regular season for the Jaguars. Since being handed the starting quarterback job back Sepember 21, Bortles has thrown just eight touchdowns to a league-leading 15 interceptions. Bortles has thrown an interception in every game he’s played and multiple interceptions in five of nine starts. The rookie is taking his lumps and the Giants secondary should be able to take advantage.

DEFENSEby Eric Kennedy
Strength?
Despite the fact that the Jaguars are 30th in defense, they can rush the passer. Jacksonville is third in the NFL in sacks with 33. And 14.5 of those sacks have come from the interior defensive line. The defense of the Jaguars is also extremely tough in the red zone, allowing an NFL low 39 percent conversion rate.

Weakness?
The Jacksonville secondary is not very good. Not only are the Jaguars 27th in pass defense but secondary only has two interceptions on the season (three others by non-defensive backs).

SPECIAL TEAMS – by Eric Kennedy

Jordan Todman leads the NFL with 23 kickoff returns of 20 or more yards and his 26.3-yard average is sixth in the league.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Eli Manningby Connor Hughes
Eli Manning has been under fire the last two games as the quarterback has been one of the reasons the Giants have lost each. Had it not been for five interceptions versus the San Francisco 49ers, and an overthrow to Preston Parker against Dallas, there’s a chance New York sits better than 3-8. Manning has always been a quarterback that puts his numbers aside and takes chances when things start looking bad. Things are now looking bad, Manning could look to start forcing the issue.

Against Jacksonville, Manning should be able to find the same success he had earlier in the season. Or, things continue to spiral down.

New York Giants Offensive Line – by Eric Kennedy
As noted above, the Jaguars can rush the passer, statistically better than the 49ers and Cowboys who gave New York’s line problems. The Giants offensive line needs to protect Eli to allow him time to get the ball to downfield targets who should be able to exploit a pretty bad secondary. Also of note, the Jaguars are 28th in run defense. New York’s ground game has been anemic for six games. It’s time to turn that around.

FROM THE COACHES’ MOUTH:

Tom Coughlin – “I worry that we’re not winning the games that were the close games. I worry that we put ourselves in position to score and we don’t score, and we don’t win. One week, it’s score and the next week, it’s stopping them…There is no doubt that (the team almost waits for something to go wrong). Why would we have the ball first-and-goal at the four (against the 49ers) and not score?…(Against the Cowboys), they’ve got to go 80 yards. We have eliminated getting beaten by a field goal. They’re got to score a touchdown. They’ve got to go 80 yards and they’ve got to score a touchdown. Why would that not be a challenge?”

Gus Bradley – “I think their skill positons, their receiving corps, tight end, and Eli Manning, I think they are very talented on the perimeter. Obviously with Odell Beckham Jr., he has kind of made a name for himself the last five games. We really liked him coming out in the draft, as did many teams.”

FINAL WORD:

(by Connor Hughes) The Giants aren’t a very good team right now, but they’re much better than the Jacksonville Jaguars. Truthfully, I believe it will take New York making all the wrong mistakes to even give Jacksonville a chance, and even then New York could probably still pull out a win. The Giants offensive line should be able to control the line of scrimmage which in turn will open up running lanes. If the Giants can establish a rushing attack, that then makes the passing game more effective. I believe they’ll get both going against Jacksonville. Giants 24 – Jaguars 14.

(by Eric Kennedy) The Jaguars may be 1-10 but they continue to play hard and many of their games against far better teams have been very competitive, including the Colts last week. For weeks, some of the Giants players have been saying they could still make the playoffs. Well, officially that pipe dream has ended. Will the team come into this game with the proper frame of mind with reality finally hitting them in the face? I think Perry Fewell’s defense is simply just bad and the defensive players uninspired. I also worry about Eli against this pass rush. Jaguars 20 – Giants 3.

Nov 272014
 
Jacquian Williams, New York Giants (September 8, 2014)

Jacquian Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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November 27, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: LB Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder), OG Geoff Schwartz (toe), and OG Adam Snyder (knee) did not practice on Thursday.

RT Justin Pugh (quadriceps), DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), and LB Jameel McClain (knee) practiced on a limited basis.

WR Odell Beckham (back) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) fully practiced.

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Why this milestone game is extra special for Giants’ Tom Coughlin by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on WR Rashad Jennings: Former Jaguars RB Rashad Jennings finds home with Giants by Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union

Article on WR Odell Beckham: NY Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr. wants to be known for more than just ‘The Catch’ by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on on LB James Davidson: Davidson still working hard with N.Y. Giants by Gene Schallenberg of The Huntsville Item

Giants Online – Giants vs. Jaguars Preview: The video of this week’s Giants Online is available at Giants.com.

Nov 262014
 


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November 26, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee), LB Jameel McClain (knee), S Antrel Rolle (personal excuse), and OG Adam Snyder (knee) did not practice on Wednesday.

RT Justin Pugh (quadriceps), OG Geoff Schwartz (toe), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder) practiced on a limited basis.

WR Odell Beckham (back) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) fully practiced.

Giants Sign Michael Bamiro to Practice Squad: The New York Giants have signed offensive tackle Michael Bamiro to the Practice Squad. Bamiro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2013 NFL Draft. He spent the 2013 season on the Eagles’ Practice Squad before being waived in August 2014. Bamiro is a very raw player with an intriguing combiation of size (6’8”, 340 pounds) and overall athleticism.

“We found the biggest man we could,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. “No, I’m just kidding. He is huge, he’s a big man. He worked out yesterday, worked out well. He’s in outstanding shape, so he’s here.”

November 26, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Wednesday’s press conference are available at Giants.com.

Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham, and Eli Manning;New York Giants (November 23, 2014)

Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham, and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

November 26, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of media sessions on Wednesday with the following players are available at Giants.com:

7 takeaways from Giants Media Hour by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on the 2014-2015 New York Giants: There are reasons to be thankful, Giants fans (yes, really) by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Here’s the right way for the Giants to part with Tom Coughlin by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Articles on the New York Giants Defensive Line:

Article on the Giants-Cowboys Game: Film Room Week 12: Cowboys’ offensive line vs. Giants’ pass rush on final drive by Nick Klopsis of Newsday

Sights and Sounds from Giants-Cowboys Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-Cowboys game is available at Giants.com.

Nov 262014
 
Amari Cooper, Alabama Crimson Tide (November 8, 2014)

Amari Cooper – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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New York Giants 2015 NFL Draft – November 26, 2014 Report

By Colin Lindsay (Great Blue North Draft Report)

After posting some draft comments last weekend, a couple of erstwhile, not to mention discerning, BigBlueInteractive.com regulars asked if I would consider posting some draft thoughts based on where the Giants stood regarding the 2015 draft between now and the end of the season given there isn’t much else to really get excited about in Big Blue land. Along the way, I’d also hope that at least when it comes to the draft that folks really try and think like a pro rather than carry on like a pampered frat house sophomore or a drunk hollering in a bar.

First off, people just have to stop talking about Jerry Reese’s draft picks. JERRY REESE DOESN’T MAKE THE PICKS! Neither does Marc Ross for that matter. The fact is that the Giants invest literally millions of dollars and hundred of man hours putting a grade on every draft eligible player out there and then coalescing as a collective around the guys they like.

Second, if guys are going to talk about the draft, it would be nice if they understood how it really works. In particular, when people say the it’s a lottery or a crapshoot what they mean is that the draft IS a lottery or a crapshoot. It is like flipping coins. George Young probably said it best when he said that when it comes to the draft you gather as much information as you can get, make the best picks you can, and then you cross your fingers. Hit a bunch of heads and they call you a genius; hit too many tails and they start calling your 4th round picks – that only had a 25% or so probability of ever working out in the first place – that don’t work out BLUNDERS!

Thirdly, folks could really humor this old draft guy by not posting who they’d take. Trust me, nobody cares! Fact is nobody should care who I’d take. Folks might care a tad, though, who I think the Giants might be looking because I have a pretty good track record of dissecting and predicting what they might be thinking, although nobody’s perfect!

Where we stand … If the draft were held this week the Giants would have the 7th pick in the opening round, the same as last week as each of the team’s just ahead of the Giants also lost. Of course, the lay of the land could change for the Giants as the next couple of weeks as they head into what can only be described as the ‘easy’ part of the schedule. Indeed, the Giants next four opponents have a combined record of 10-34, whereas during the current 6-game losing streak the opponents combined W-L record was 45-21. In fact, if its any small consolation to Giants’ fans, the 8 losses so far this year came against teams with a combined winning % of almost 70%; indeed, even throw out the wins against the Giants and they are still 53-27 or 66% against the rest of the league.

The good news for the Giants is that even if they are able to win the majority of their remaining games, although that’s hardly a given, they won’t lose all that many draft spots as there are just aren’t a whole lot of teams within striking distance ahead of them in the standings. In fact, even were the Giants able to run the table the rest of the year, they aren’t likely to draft much higher than the 13-14 range.

The less good news for the Giants if indeed their 2015 first round pick is to be in the #7 range is, at least how looks right now (although of course a whole bunch is going to change between now and April 30), that it appears that there is a major drop-off after the top 4-5  players in this year’s draft which right now look to be QBs Mariota and Winston (assuming he doesn’t get red-flagged), DEs Williams and Gregory and WR Cooper. Of that group, Alabama WR Amari Cooper is the most likely to somehow slip down to the 7th spot – and it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise that if the Giants had their druthers they would love to add a big-play receiver like Cooper to pair with Beckham and hopefully Cruz, but it could very well take a trade up to guarantee getting the Tide star.

At the same time, again at least at this point in time, it does not appear as if there would be a particularly neat match between the top players available and the Giants’ draft priorities. The next best guys, at least on a consensus NFL board, for example, look like Alabama SS Landon Collins and OTs Brandon Scherff of Iowa and A&M’s Cedric Ogbuehi. Each would fill a need, but none is the kind of real impact player that a team like the Giants would likely like to add if they were to get a top 10 pick this year. Collins, for example, is more an in-the-box type SS and the Giants would almost certainly prefer a rangy FS type. Of course, the Giants would be very intrigued by a so-called Blue Goose-can’t miss OT, but I am not sure there is such an animal in this year’s draft. Scherff, who has been described as this year’s Zach Martin, might be the most interesting OL option if it came to that. He’s not that athletic, but is a big, really tough, physical guy who you could start out at OG, but ultimately move to either OT if the need arose.

That said, I don’t see the Giants entering the draft with the OL the #1 priority. The one real gap they have is RG and there other ways to address that than use the highest pick you have had in almost two decades. My best guess is that heading into the 2015 draft the Giants top priorities will be a) upgrading the pass rush; b) adding some more weapons on offense including another WR and RB; and c) adding some speed and athleticism to the defensive back 7, along with the OL. Obviously, they likely won’t be able to accomplish everything with just three premium picks, but obviously some of those issues can be addressed just as well in free agency.

In fact, in the end, if the Giants were ultimately to pick around #7, there is a very good chance that the player they take isn’t rated quite in that area at this time as there are a bunch of players hovering just outside the top 10-15 right now with the upside to go higher. That group includes WRs Kevin White of West Virginia, Michigan tweener Devin Funchess, Davante Parker of Louisville, Jaelen Strong of Arizona State, along with enigmatic 6-5 Dorial Green-Beckham of Oklahoma, 6-9 Baylor DE Shawn Oakman, and dynamic Washington OLB Shaq Thompson. Time will tell.

Of course, the draft runs more than one round and if the draft were held this week the Giants would also have the 38th and 71st picks. And if there is some good 2015 draft news for the Giants its that it appears there will be excellent depth at several positions of interest including RB, WR, and safety, while there should also be some decent depth at positions like OG, OT and MLB. There could also be a couple or three DE prospects available in the second round, including Nate Orchard of Utah, Kentucky’s Bud Dupree and LSU junior Danielle Hunter; however, DE does not look like it will be particularly strong at the 2015 draft and any team that wants to upgrade at the position won‘t want to dawdle.

Meanwhile, the list of other players that could be on the Giants’ radar in the second round include RBs Tevin Coleman of Indiana, Miami’s Duke Johnson and Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska; WRs Sammie Coates of Auburn and Stanford’s Ty Montgomery, South Carolina OG A.J. Cann; and safeties Gerod Hollimon of Lousiville, Cody Prewitt of Ole Miss and Derron Smith of Fresno State. For the record, there could also be a number of very good OT candidates in the 2nd round including Tyrus Thompson of Oklahoma, Ty Sambrailo of Colorado State, Ereck Flowers of Miami, and Spencer Drango of Baylor.

Nov 252014
 


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Giants Sign LB Terrell Manning from Bengals Practice Squad: The New York Giants signed linebacker Terrell Manning from the Practice Squad of the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday. Manning was with the Giants in training camp before being waived on August 30.

Terrell Manning, Green Bay Packers (August 9, 2013)

Terrell Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Manning was originally drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Manning has spent time with the Packers (2012-13), Chargers (2013), Vikings (2014), Giants (June-August 2014), Dolphins (2014), Bears (2014), and Bengals (2014). In three seasons, Manning has played in nine NFL games with no starts.

Manning lacks ideal overall athleticism and size, but he is an instinctive, aggressive, physical player who hits and tackles well.

To make room for Manning, the Giants waived linebacker Justin Anderson, who most likely will be re-signed to the team’s Practice Squad.

S Antrel Rolle on WFAN Radio: The audio of Tuesday’s WFAN interview with S Antrel Rolle is available at CBS New York

Article on the 2014 New York Giants: Time for Giants to think about next year by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell: Giants can’t bring back Perry Fewell next year by Bob Glauber of Newsday

Articles on Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz:

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Even Under Microscope, Catch by Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. Earns Applause by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on S Antrel Rolle: Antrel Rolle takes Perry Fewell off hook, blames blitzers by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on the Giants and Eagles: Giants tried to hire former Oregon defensive coordinator to help them beat Chip Kelly, Eagles by Eliot Shorr-Parks for NJ.com

Article on the Giants-Cowboys Game: What were the Giants doing on final defensive drive vs. Cowboys? | Film breakdown by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Nov 242014
 
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (November 23, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Dallas Cowboys 31 – New York Giants 28

Game Overview

The catch was nice, but who really cares? The Giants are 3-8, losers of six straight and one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Last week’s game review started off with the following sentence:

It was a close game and the Giants came very close to pulling off the upset, but this team finds new ways to lose every week.

Did it really surprise anyone that the NFL’s 31st-ranked defense allowed the Cowboys to march 80 yards in seven plays and two minutes for the game-winning drive? Did it surprise anyone that the Giants couldn’t even gain one first down in their last desperate attempt to tie the game?

The fans and media expect the New York Giants to lose every week. But what’s worse, the New York Giants players expect to lose every week now. Two and a half seasons removed from their last NFL Championship, the cultural mindset of this team has changed completely.

But hey, at least ownership is happy.

Robert Tisch after Dallas scores its first touchdown

Steve Tisch after Dallas scores its first touchdown

Offensive Overview

The Giants out-gained the Cowboys in total yards (417 to 385), first downs (27 to 18), and time of possession (35:07 to 24:53). The Giants were nearly 70 percent on their third-down conversions (11-of-16). Both teams committed one turnover. The Giants had fewer penalties. The Giants ran more offensive plays (74 to 53). With numbers like that, you expect to come out on top.

Not counting their last possession in the second quarter (9 seconds left), the Giants had four first-half possessions and scored touchdowns on three of them, including drives of 13 plays and 80 yards, 6 plays and 66 yards, and 11 plays and 80 yards. At the half, the Giants led 21-10.

In the second half, the offense cooled dramatically. In hindsight, the Giants were too conservative on their first two series of the third quarter. The Giants went three-and-out on their first two possessions, drove to the Dallas 18 before Eli threw a killer interception, and then punted again. By this point in the game, the Cowboys had gone up 24-21.

Finally with nine minutes to go, New York drove the ball 93 yards in 14 plays, taking over six minutes off of the clock to regain the lead 28-24. But the Giants’ defense quickly surrendered the lead again. With one minute to go, the Giants had a legitimate opportunity to at least give Josh Brown a chance to tie the game, but New York couldn’t pick up one first down and turned the football over on downs. Six second half possessions – one score. Not good enough.

Quarterback

Again without a viable running game (2.8 yards per carry) and inconsistent pass protection, Eli Manning played mostly well and finished the game 29-of-40 for 338 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception (112.3 quarterback rating).

Those are very strong numbers – and usually game-winning numbers.

But the one interception when the Giants were driving for a touchdown late in the third quarter is what most people will remember, not the four long touchdown drives orchestrated by him.

On 2nd-and-10 from the Dallas 18-yard line, Manning had WR Preston Parker running absolutely free over the middle of the defense. Eli’s pass was high and intercepted. The pick was returned 45 yards and the Cowboys scored four plays later. It was a 10 or 14 point swing in the game.

Missed opportunity #1

Missed opportunity #1

“Just high, just threw it high,” said Manning. “(Parker) was a little flatter than I anticipated and just kind of… no excuse though, you’ve got a guy running open, I’ve got to hit him right in the numbers.”

Head Coach Tom Coughlin also seemed to suggest that there was an issue with the route by Parker.

“There was a little bit more of an adjustment that had to be made in the route and that was the expectation,” said Coughlin. “As a result, the ball was thrown high and it ended up being a tipped ball.”

Following up this screw-up, on the very next possession, Eli missed seeing Beckham breaking free for what should have been an 87-yard touchdown.

Missed opportunity #2

Missed opportunity #2

To Eli’s credit, he helped to orchestrate the 14-play, 93-yard drive in the 4th quarter that gave the Giants a 28-24 lead with three minutes to go. He had one last opportunity to tie the game late, but his offensive line didn’t give him the time.

Running Backs

A common theme in all six straight losses? The Giants can’t run the football. Rashad Jennings carried the ball 19 times for 52 yards (2.7 yards per carry) and Andre Williams carried the ball 10 times for 35 yards (3.5 yards per carry). Williams did have an 18-yard run and scored a 3-yard touchdown, but he was also very lucky that his fumble right before the score wasn’t ruled a turnover. The biggest positive impact by the backs was in the passing game where Jennings caught 8-of-10 passes thrown his way for 68 yards, including a 27-yard swing pass on the last TD drive. That said, Jennings was held just short of the 1st down marker on the Giants last 4th-and-2 offensive play.

In recent weeks, Henry Hynoski has become a bit of a short-yardage specialist for the Giants. He picked up 4 yards on 3rd-and-1 early in the game.

Wide Receivers

Odell Beckham remains the sole bright spot in otherwise dreadful season. His 43-yard touchdown reception is clearly one of the best in NFL history. Unfortunately for the Giants, Beckham’s impact was largely limited to the first half, where he caught all eight passes thrown in his direction for 125 yards and two touchdowns. In the second half? Beckham caught just 2-of-3 passes for 21 yards. He did leave the game early in the fourth quarter with a painful back injury, but returned.

Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 23, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

In the first half, he had a key 12-yard catch on 3rd-and-5 on the first scoring drive and a diving 13-yard catch on 2nd-and-11 on the second scoring drive, which was capped by his brilliant one-handed 43-yard reception.

But it’s interesting to see how fast he has become the ONE guy the other team worries about, and how the Giants are beginning to take advantage of that to open up other areas of the offense. For example, on the first TD drive, on 3rd-and-3, Beckham was lined up in the backfield. Eli – with time – looked in his direction, drawing the defense, then threw a slant pass to a wide open Rueben Randle for a 21-yard gain.

Eli glances at Beckham, drawing defense's attention...

Eli glances at Beckham, drawing defense’s attention…

...that leaves Rueben Randle wide open on the slant

…that leaves Rueben Randle wide open on the slant

A few plays later, Manning faked an end around to Beckham, opening up an exceptionally well setup screen pass to Rashad Jennings that gained 15 yards. The drive finished with a 3-yard touchdown to Beckham.

Eli fakes end around to Beckham, again drawing defense's attention...

Eli fakes end around to Beckham, again drawing defense’s attention…

...instead Eli dumps ball off to Rashad Jennings on well-orchestrated screen pass

…instead Eli dumps ball off to Rashad Jennings on well-orchestrated screen pass

Beckham continued to make an impact on the run-heavy third TD drive by helping the Giants to convert on 3rd-and-8 (14-yard catch) and 3rd-and-6 (12-yard catch). Note the interesting four-receiver set employed by Ben McAdoo.

four receiver bunch formation designed to get Beckham open quickly

four receiver bunch formation designed to get Beckham open quickly

Beckham  had a 12-yard reception on 3rd-and-2 in the third quarter two plays before Manning’s interception.

Rueben Randle was only targeted three times, catching all three passes for 36 yards. Preston Parker caught one pass for 16 yards. Of the 38 passes thrown, only seven were thrown at the #2 and #3 wideouts. Parker was flagged with a false start early in the fourth quarter, contributing to a failed possession.

Tight Ends

For the first time all season, all three tight ends were actively involved in the passing game. Daniel Fells actually led the group with 3 catches (out of four targets) for 35 yards. He was up and down in the blocking department. And he had two critical 13-yard receptions in two 3rd-and-12 situations. Larry Donnell caught 2-of-4 passes for 24 yards. He had a key 16-yard reception in heavy traffic on 3rd-and-7 on the Giants’ last TD drive. His blocking was also up and down, but he gives a good effort. Adrien Robinson caught a 1-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-goal to put the Giants up 28-24 with three minutes to play. Robinson did a nice job of selling the fake on his initial block.

Offensive Line

There were two line-up changes with Geoff Schwartz starting at right tackle for the injured Justin Pugh and Adam Snyder starting in place for the benched Weston Richburg. Richburg returned to the lineup late in the game when Snyder left with a knee injury. James Brewer also saw some snaps at left tackle when Will Beatty suffered an eye injury (but later returned).

Run blocking remained a problem as the Giants only averaged 2.8 yards per carry against a middle-of-the-pack defense. The Giants had problems blocking MLB Rolando McClain (11 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss) all night. There was one drive – the third TD drive of the first half – where the Giants did get the ground game going. On this drive, the Giants ran the ball eight times for 45 yards, including runs of 12 and 18 yards. But it was fleeting moment in the game.

One of the few big holes for the Giants' backs...this was a well-blocked play

One of the few big holes for the Giants’ backs…this was a well-blocked play

Pass protection was decent early but deteriorated as the game wore on. The two sacks came late in the second quarter. On the first, Schwartz had some problems with the defensive end. Then Beatty and Snyder couldn’t handle a stunt, resulting in a 9-yard sack. When the Giants got the ball back after the sole Dallas turnover at the Cowboy 42-yard line, Beatty gave up immediate pressure, Manning was hit and threw the ball away and intentional grounding was called. This prevented the Giants from getting into field goal range right before intermission.

Pass protection was strong early, as on this TD pass to Beckham

Pass protection was strong early, as on this TD pass to Beckham

It didn’t get better after the break. Beatty and Snyder had problems with a stunt early in the third quarter and Eli was forced to dump the ball off prematurely on failed 3rd down conversion attempt. The line came up small on the last desperate drive as Schwartz was bull-rushed twice into Eli’s face and then Jerry let his man blow by him to hit Manning.

Defensive Overview

Just another really shitty performance by the NFL’s 31st-ranked defense. Again, this is the third time in four seasons that the Giants are on pace for giving up over 6,000 yards of offense (the only times in team history this has happened).

The defense allowed RB DeMarco Murray to run for 121 yards on 24 carries (5 yards per carry). Once again, Romo owned the Giants. Last month in the first Giants-Cowboys game, Romo completed 17-of-23 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. His QB rating was a gaudy 135.7. This game? Romo was 18-of-26 for 275 yards and four touchdowns with a QB rating of 143.4.

The defense can’t blame fatigue on their performance. Dallas only ran 53 offensive plays. But Dallas averaged 7.3 yards per play. 150 yards came on FIVE pass plays.

There were some positive signs. The Cowboys were 4-of-10 on third-down conversions. And in five first-half offensive possessions, while the Cowboys did score 10 points on two long drives, they also went three-and-out twice and fumbled the ball away once.

But in the second half, Dallas scored three touchdowns in five possessions. Worst of all, once again, as has been the history of this unit for the past three years, the defense could not hold a late-game lead as the Cowboys tore through the defense to win the game, driving 80 yards in just seven plays and two minutes.

The defense came up smallest at points in the game where you think they should have been motivated to perform at their best: (1) allowing the Cowboys to drive 77 yards in 9 plays right after Beckham’s one-handed catch, and (2) with the game on the line at the end.

Deciding not to copy the game-winning defensive scheme of the Washington Redskins to blitz Tony Romo heavily – especially with his bad back – Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell usually decided to rush only four, with little impact.

It was a typical – but still odd decision – by a coordinator who has to know his job is on the line. What did he have to lose? On the game-winning drive, by rushing four, plus not using pass rushers Robert Ayers and Damontre Moore, Fewell probably has sealed his fate. Romo went 6-for-6 for 66 yards on the final 80-yard drive.

Defensive Line/Linebackers

The Giants allowed the Cowboys to average 5 yards per carry on the ground against a defense intent on stopping the run. It didn’t matter. Look at the Cowboys’ third drive of the game. Five of the nine plays were runs with gains of 5, 13, 4, 4, and 3…nothing spectacular…just slow death. And the productive running game set up excellent misdirection plays including a 27-yard screen pass off a fake end around and then a 4-yard shovel pass to TE Jason Witten for the TD.

While Tony Romo was sacked twice and officially hit four times, the numbers are misleading. Romo often had all night to throw, especially on the game-winning drive when he had between 8-10 seconds on two plays, including the game-winning touchdown throw.

It was not a good performance by anyone in the front seven. Jason Pierre-Paul (53 snaps, 2 tackles, 1 QB hit, 1 fumble recovery) probably played the best. He had a few nice plays against the run and pass, including drawing a holding penalty that wiped out a 39-yard pass play, but it wasn’t enough. More was needed and is expected, especially on the game-winning drive by Dallas.

Mathias Kiwanuka (45 snaps, 1 tackle, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble) and Robert Ayers (20 snaps, 1 tackle) were too quiet. Kiwanuka continues to receive the bulk of the playing time despite (1) a knee injury that has caused him to miss practice time each of the last few weeks, and (2) ineffective play. Damontre Moore (1 tackle, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 sack, 1 QB hit) only played 6 snaps. His sack was more of a coverage sack, but at least he got to the QB.

Inside, Johnathan Hankins (48 snaps, 5 tackles, 1 QB hit) played virtually the entire game. One gets the sense he isn’t getting much help. Mike Patterson (27 snaps, 3 tackles) and Markus Kuhn (13 snaps, 0 tackles) are simply not getting the job done. Jay Bromley played six snaps but did not show up on the stat sheet. Perhaps the Giants made the wrong decision to let Linval Joseph go, even with his big contract.

Despite briefly leaving the game with a knee injury, Jameel McClain (53 snaps, 5 tackles) played most of the defensive snaps, followed by Devon Kennard (34 snaps, 5 tackles), Mark Herzlich (25 snaps, 6 tackles), and Spencer Paysinger (6 snaps, 2 tackles). No one really made any plays of note, especially against the run.

The linebackers and safeties actually did a decent job on the top two tight ends as Jason Witten was held to 4 catches for 30 yards (and one touchdown) and Gavin Escobar did not catch a pass. But James Hanna did make a 27-yard reception against Paysinger on a 3rd-and-1 play-action fake where everyone bit on the run fake.

Defensive Backs

Tony Romo completed 18-of-26 passes (69 percent) for 275 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions (143.4 QB rating). Romo threw 26 times and there were no interceptions and only one pass defense.

Most of the damage in the receiving game was done by WR Dez Bryant (7 catches for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns) and WR Cole Beasley (2 catches for 66 yards and 1 touchdown).

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (40 snaps, 5 tackles) and Zack Bowman (43 snaps, 2 tackles, 1 pass defense) formed the primary cornerback duo with Jayron Hosley (29 snaps, 2 tackles) and Chykie Brown (20 snaps, 1 tackle) also receiving significant playing time. DRC played pretty well.

At safety, Antrel Rolle (53 snaps, 7 tackles) continues his very quiet season. Stevie Brown (42 snaps, 3 tackles) saw more action than Quintin Demps (29 snaps, 3 tackles). Rolle has a sure interception in the end zone pass right through his hands. One play later, Dallas kicked a 38-yard field goal.

The inability to stop the Dallas ground game (which is also the responsibility of the defensive backs who had trouble getting off blocks) caused problems in the passing game.

For example, note how both Hosley and Brown bit too hard on the end around fake to the wide receiver. This left the running back all alone on a screen play that picked up 26 yards down to the NYG 7-yard line.

Jayron Hosley and Stevie Brown badly bite on the end around fake

Jayron Hosley and Stevie Brown badly bite on the end around fake

One of the big screw-ups of the game was obviously Beasley’s 45-yard touchdown catch-and-run. Hosley was beaten badly by Beasley and then Bowman missed a tackle. Aside from this play, Bowman actually played pretty well against the pass, including a late knock down of a key 3rd-and-3 pass intended for WR Terrance Williams.

Then on Dallas’ next possession, I have no idea what the Giants were doing when they left Bryant all alone for an easy 31-yard touchdown.

Oompa Loompas

Giants zone defense on Bryant’s 31-yard TD

On Dallas’ game-winning drive, the first really big play was the 21-yard pass to Beasley, where nobody seemed to cover him.

On two of the last three pass plays, including the game winner, you can’t blame the secondary. Romo had all night to throw. You can’t expect to cover for 8-10 seconds.

Special Teams

Josh Brown did not attempt a field goal. Four of his five kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. One return went for 22 yards.

Steve Weatherford punted four times, averaging 55 yards per punt (only netting 38 however). Dallas returned all four punts for a total of 68 yards, averaging an unacceptable 17 yards per punt return.

The Giants only returned one punt with Odell Beckham losing 1 yard on his only return. Preston Parker returned four kickoffs for 99 yards, with a long of 37 that helped to set up one score. But he also screwed up by fielding one return close to the sideline, his momentum carrying him out at the 13.

(Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, November 23, 2014)
Nov 242014
 


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November 24, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Monday conference call is available at Giants.com.

November 24, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts of media conference calls on Monday with the following players are available at Giants.com:

QB Eli Manning on WFAN Radio: The audio of Monday’s WFAN interview with QB Eli Manning is available at CBS New York

Article on the New York Giants and the Upcoming Offseason: How these offseason fixes will make Giants contenders in 2015 by Bart Hubbuch of The New York Post

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Giants and Tom Coughlin Near a Crossroads by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on LB Devon Kennard: Giants rookie aims high by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on S Antrel Rolle: This might be Antrel Rolle’s final Giants-Cowboys game by Bob Glauber of Newsday

Article on Former Giants TE Kevin Boss: Ex-Giants TE Kevin Boss to watch his old team play for first time as fan by Tom Rock of Newsday

Articles on the Giants-Cowboys Game: