Jun 282018
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (May 29, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS ANNOUNCE 2018 TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE…
The New York Giants have announced the team’s 2018 summer training camp schedule. The Giants will only hold nine practices open to the public:

  • Thursday, July 26: 2:45 p.m. – Practice
  • Friday, July 27: 2:45 p.m. – Practice
  • Saturday, July 28: 2:45 p.m. – Practice
  • Sunday, July 29: 2:45 p.m. – Practice
  • Monday, July 30: 2:45 p.m. – Practice
  • Wednesday, August 1: 2:45 p.m. – Practice
  • Thursday, August 2: 10:30 a.m. – Practice
  • Friday, August 3: 10:30 a.m. – Practice
  • Saturday, August 4: CAMP CLOSED
  • Monday, August 6: CAMP CLOSED
  • Tuesday, August 7: 10:30 a.m. – Practice (End of Public Training Camp practices)

*Schedule subject to change. For the most up-to-date information on training camp, visit Giants.com or call the Training Camp Hotline at (201) 935-8111 (ext. 107).

For general information for fans who wish to visit training camp, see this Giants.com primer.

ARTICLES…

Jun 282018
 
Evan Engram, New York Giants (November 5, 2017)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

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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: Tight Ends

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: The tight end position was one of the few bright spots in another wise dreary season for the New York Giants in 2017. Despite a bad case of the dropsies, rookie tight end Evan Engram led the team with 64 catches for a near team-high 722 yards and a team-high six touchdown receptions. Rhett Ellison may have been overpaid and underutilized, but he was solid contributor as a blocker and receiver. He caught a career-high 24 passes, which made him the 7th-highest receptions leader on the team. Jerell Adams was the third tight end and finished the year with eight catches.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The top three tight ends from last year – Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, and Jerell Adams – all return. The Giants also retained late-season addition Ryan O’Malley. The newcomers are January waiver-wire pick-up Kyle Carter from the Vikings, ex-Raider and ex-Panther Scott Simonson, and rookie free agent Garrett Dickerson. Carter and Dickerson are built more like H-Backs than traditional in-line tight ends.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: While most of the eyes of the media and fans will be focused on Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley, the development of Evan Engram will be one of the most important facets of the team to watch. One gets the sense that Engram just scratched the surface of his potential in 2017. On a terrible team with few weapons, Engram produced at a level that few rookie tight ends achieve. Now with hopefully better offensive coaching, a better offensive system, and a better supporting cast, Engram should be poised to become one of the more dangerous pass-receiving tight ends in the League. A couple of under-reported aspects from the offseason workouts were (1) Eli Manning’s favorite target appeared to be Engram, and (2) Engram didn’t drop passes.

What will also be interesting to see will be how important the tight end position is in Pat Shurmur’s New York Giants offensive scheme. Most Giants fans know that Ben McAdoo was particularly wed to the three-wide receiver, one-back, one-tight end formation (or 11 personnel). Will Rhett Ellison, Jerell Adams, or others get a chance to see the field more in 2018?

Also under-reported is that the Giants have a new tight ends coach. Lunda Wells was the assistant offensive line coach for the Giants under both Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo. He now shifts to a new position.

ON THE BUBBLE: Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison are locks to make the team. Jerell Adams probably has an upper hand, but the team did bring in some players – including an ex-Viking who worked with Pat Shurmur in Minnesota – who could beat him out if he falters. At this point, it is impossible to know how important the tight end/H-Back position will be in terms of numbers of players kept on the roster. The role of fullback will be a factor too in whether or not the Giants keep three or four tight ends.

FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Tight Ends Coach Lunda Wells on Evan Engram: “He’s a guy that we all understand he has a unique skillset in terms of the pass game, but he’s a very sharp kid and he can do a little bit of it all. I can’t say that I can see him as just a guy that is split out because I think we’d be doing an injustice to him because he is a very sharp kid and a willing blocker and a guy that’s willing to do everything that goes into it. He’s a guy that we can play at the Y-tight end, we can split him out. I think you’re going to see some of that this year in terms of him being able to play in a lot of different spots.”

Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Evan Engram: “The fact that we have a pass catching tight end is something that is very valuable to a team because now a defense has to decide when you have two tight ends and him being one of them, him being Evan, that are they going to stay base or play nickel? And then the chess game begins from there.”

Evan Engram on year two: “The thing I’ve noticed, just being out here, going full-speed, is that the game is a lot more slowed down. The game has slowed down a lot. And that’s allowing me to kind of dig deeper into my bag of route techniques, or getting open and being able to focus more on the run game and getting stronger and just getting more comfortable out there. Last year, I kind of was, head was on a swivel a lot, the game was so fast and I wasn’t used to it. But just having a year under my belt and kind of getting thrown into some tough situations last year definitely helps slow the game down and allowed me to kind of focus on a lot of the little things and enhance my talents to be a better player.”

PREDICTIONS: I think there is a good chance that Evan Engram once again leads the team in catches and touchdown receptions. I think he will also break the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: The same three from last year – Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, and Jerell Adams. The Giants could carry four tight ends which would help the chances of one of the other four players.

Jun 252018
 
Cody Latimer, New York Giants (May 21, 2018)

Cody Latimer – © USA TODAY Sports

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Wide Receivers

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: It was widely expected that the wide receiving position on the New York Giants in 2017 was going to be a team strength. The opposite occurred. By early October, Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Dwayne Harris had all been placed on Injured Reserve with season-ending injuries. Even replacements such as Darius Powe and Tavarres King ended up on IR. By the end of the year, the likes of Marquis Bundy, Travis Rudolph, and Hunter Sharp were starting. The leading receiver ending up being Sterling Shepard (59 catches for 731 yards and two touchdowns), who also suffered through an injury-plagued 2017 with ankle, migraine, and neck issues that caused him to miss five games. Roger Lewis was next with just 36 catches for 416 yards and two touchdowns. And despite missing almost three months of the season, Beckham was sadly third with 25 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns. No other receiver had more than 18 catches. Even before he was hurt, the highly-touted Brandon Marshall looked like a shadow of his former self. In the end, this was arguably the least productive wide receiving corps in the NFL with just 11 touchdown receptions.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants cut Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris in the offseason. The Giants also let Tavarres King walk in free agency. Newcomers include free agents Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard, and Alonzo Russell. The team also signed rookie free agent Jawill Davis after the 2018 NFL Draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: As long as he is with the team, Odell Beckham will always be the center of attention. Coming off a serious ankle injury and entering the final year of his rookie contract, expect daily stories on his health and contractual status. When will he practice? Will he be limited? Will he holdout? Will he play in the preseason? Is he still the same explosive player? Then of course will be the somewhat legitimate but often shit-stirring, click-bait media stories about his character. What will be interesting to see is the interpersonal dynamic between Beckham and the fan bases new darling, Saquon Barkley. The good news is that Beckham appears to very much get along with the rookie. With Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard on the roster, Beckham will most likely have to accept fewer touches if he truly wants to win more games.

More diehard fans know that the bigger issue may be finding the complementary pieces to Beckham. Whether accurate or not, the current perception is that Sterling Shepard isn’t best suited for an outside position, but better suited for the slot. This is a big year for him. Shepard saw his touchdowns drop from eight in his rookie year to two in 2017. Ironically, those two long-distance touchdowns against the Eagles in 2017 were the first evidence that Shepard can make plays deeper down the field. Can he build upon that or is strictly a 10-12 yards-per-catch underneath guy? Being a really good slot receiver is no crime, but if Sterling is limited, then finding another outside target becomes imperative. The leading candidates are ex-Broncos Cody Latimer and Hunter Sharp, ex-Buccaneer and Panther Russell Shepard, and Roger Lewis. None of these players have to put up big numbers, but just present enough of a threat to draw some attention.

ON THE BUBBLE: Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard are the only two sure bets to make the roster. Cody Latimer is likely to make it simply because of his special teams ability as a gunner. Russell Shepard also has made plays as a gunner with the Buccaneers and that could help him. The Giants also are still need of returners which could be a factor in retaining Hunter Sharp and Kalif Raymond. The Giants did bring back Travis Rudolph, Marquis Bundy, and Amba Etta-Tawo from last year, but all three have to be considered long-shots at this point. Same with rookie speedster Jawill Davis and bigger target Alonzo Russell. Then there is the enigmatic Roger Lewis, who alternates between flashes of ability and frustrating lapses.

FROM THE COACH: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Odell Beckham: “I think we’re just still getting to know each other. But I’ve said it before, this guy loves to play football, and he gets it as well. So, when I see him in the meetings, when I see him on the field, regardless of what he’s doing, when I see him on the field he’s really engaged and you can see, just by him running routes versus air and some of the drill work we’re doing, that he can really help us.”

Shurmur on if there is a #3 receiver on the roster: “I don’t know. We’ll just have to find out as we go, but we’ve added some guys to the mix. You guys tell me who’s one, two, or three, or four or five and six or whatever. But Cody Latimer is here. We’ve got some young guys, Travis Rudolph has done a good job. So I think there are guys on our roster that we’re going to develop a trust in and put them out there and we expect them to produce.”

PREDICTIONS: Provided health and finances don’t become issues, the Giants appear to have an outstanding outside receiver and a quality slot receiver. But another outside starter and depth are very much concerns. The loss of Beckham or Sterling Shepard to injury would be significant. The other 10 receivers on the roster have flashed at times in the OTAs and mini-camps, but it’s a pretty hodgepodge group. The three ex-Broncos – Cody Latimer, Hunter Sharp, and Kalif Raymond – have the advantage that the team’s new position coach, Tyke Tolbert, coached them in Denver. My best guess at this time is that Latimer becomes the #3, but if he falters, it would not surprise me for the Giants to keep a close eye on the waiver wire. Don’t discount Roger Lewis if he can become a more consistent and reliable player. Also note that Hunter Sharp’s name has been consistently and positively mentioned throughout the spring.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, Hunter Sharp, and Roger Lewis. Giants may carry six, but you could throw a dart at the roster trying to figure out who that may be. Again, don’t be shocked to see a waiver-wire pick-up here. This position is not as strong as some fans think it is.

Jun 202018
 
Kevin Abrams, New York Giants (June 12, 2018)

Kevin Abrams – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS FRONT OFFICE AND SCOUTING CHANGES…
The New York Giants have announced the following personnel changes to their front office and scouting departments:

  • Kevin Abrams, a member of the organization since 1999 and the assistant general manager for the last 16 years, has added the title of vice president of football operations.
  • Mark Koncz, brought in by Gettleman as a consultant prior to the 2018 NFL Draft, is now the director of player personnel. Koncz was a member of the Carolina Panthers organization from 1994-2017 and was their director of pro scouting from 2000-2017. He worked under Gettleman when the latter was the Panthers’ general manager from 2013-2016.
  • Chris Pettit has been named director of college scouting after spending the previous 13 years as an area scout. He joined the Giants’ scouting staff in 2005 after spending the 2004 season as a scouting intern for the team. Pettit first worked for the Giants as a training camp pro personnel intern from 1998-2000.
  • Patrick Hanscomb has been named an area scout whose concentration will be the Mid-Atlantic area. Hanscomb spent the previous 10 seasons in the team’s pro personnel department.
  • Marcus Cooper has been hired as an area scout who will focus in the Southeast. Cooper spent the previous seven seasons with the Buffalo Bills, first as a player personnel assistant, then as an area scout, and last year as the team’s scout in the BLESTO Scouting Combine.

Beginning this season, each area scout will concentrate on a specific region. In addition to Hanscomb and Cooper, the Giants’ area scouts are D.J. Boisture (west), Jeremy Breit (regional), Steve Devine (Midwest), Donnie Etheridge (southwest), Ryan Jones (northeast), Michael Murphy (west), Steve Verderosa (regional), and Chris Watts (midlands). These eight scouts have all served with the Giants for a number of years.

Jeremiah Davis and Marquis Pendleton will continue to serve as executive scout and BLESTO scout, respectively.

“We talk all the time about the importance of working together and communicating effectively and efficiently,” said General Manger Dave Gettleman. “These appointments and promotions are well deserved, and we feel like we are well-positioned to move forward with the group of people we have in player personnel and football operations. All are collaborators and communicators and understand the significance of self-improvement to make the organization the best it can be.”

A complete listing of these positions is available in the New York Giants team administration section of the website.

NY POST Q&A WITH DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR JAMES BETTCHER…
James Bettcher, the blue-collar guy now leading Giants defense by Steve Serby of The New York Post

ARTICLES…

Jun 202018
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (May 11, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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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: Running Backs

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: The New York Giants have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Ahmad Bradshaw’s final season with the team in 2012. The Giants’ leading rushers since that time have been Andre Brown, Andre Williams, Rashad Jennings (twice), and Orleans Darkwa. More telling are the overall team rushing stats with the Giants finishing 29th, 23rd, 18th, 29th, and 26th in the NFL from 2013 to 2017. Last season was a continuation of this mediocrity with the Giants averaging 96.8 yards per game and scoring only six rushing touchdowns. There were four games where the Giants didn’t even rush for 50 yards and nine games where the team didn’t reach 100 yards rushing. The overall numbers are a bit inflated too by the meaningless season-finale against the Washington Redskins where the Giants rushed for 260 yards.

The Giants’ top four rushers in 2017 were Orleans Darkwa (751 yards, 5 touchdowns), Wayne Gallman (476 yards), Shane Vereen (164 yards), and Paul Perkins (90 yards). The Giants’ sixth rushing touchdown came from Eli Manning. The receiving yards for the backs were from Vereen (253 yards), Gallman (193 yards, 1 touchdown), Darkwa (116 yards), and Perkins (46 yards). Darkwa and Gallman actually were respectable, averaging 4.4 and 4.3 yards per carry respectively. But on a team that finished 21st in overall offensive yardage, 26th in rushing yardage, and 31st in scoring, nothing on offense ever felt like a “strength,” including the running attack.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants decided not to re-sign Orleans Darkwa (who had a plate removed from his leg in May) and Shane Vereen (who also still remains unemployed). Paul Perkins tore his pectoral muscle in the offseason, was waived/injured, and placed on Injured Reserve. Thus the only returning halfback appears to be Wayne Gallman unless the Giants are keeping an eye on Darkwa’s health status.

The Giants signed street free Jalen Williams in January, veteran free agent Jonathan Stewart in March after his was cut by the Panthers, and rookie free agent Robert Martin in May. But the biggest offseason move the team made was drafting Saquon Barkley with the #2 pick in the entire 2018 NFL Draft. The Giants have only drafted two running backs in their entire history this high: Tucker Frederickson #1 overall in 1965 and Skippy Minisi with the #2 pick in 1948.

Shane Smith is the only returning fullback, though tight end Rhett Ellison can play the position in a pinch. The Giants also added a couple of H-Back types who can play fullback in ex-Viking Kyle Carter and rookie free agent Garrett Dickerson.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: With General Manager Dave Gettleman throwing around phrases like “gold jacket” and “touched by the hand of God,” needless to say, the expectation level for Barkley has been set incredibly (perhaps unrealistically) high. And while the Giants have had some very good running backs in their history, including Frank Gifford, Tiki Barber, Tuffy Leemans, Rodney Hampton, Joe Morris, Brandon Jacobs, and Ahmad Bradshaw, given the team’s flagship franchise status, one would have to say that the list of top-notch running backs in team history is relatively short and a bit underwhelming. A Giants’ running back has only led the NFL in rushing four times, and that came in 1936, 1943, 1944, and 1951.

For the Giants to draft a running back with the #2 pick, and in the process pass over a number of potential “franchise” quarterbacks, Barkley needs to be damn good. No strike that. He needs to be great. It would be a disappointment if Barkley does not immediately become one of the NFL’s best backs and eventually challenge Tiki Barber’s 10,499 career rushing yards and Barber’s 5,183 career receiving yards.

The first step in doing that is staying healthy. Running backs get hit more than any other player in the NFL. Barkley is built like a tank, but in order to do the things he needs to do, he must stay on the field. Step two is keeping his head on straight and not letting the immense pressure get to him. That’s easier said than done. All eyes will be on Barkley. Every time he touches the ball, many will expect something special. Barkley readily admits he often tried to do too much on a given play during his career at Penn State. Take what the defense gives you. The big plays will come. In the meantime, eschew the bright lights of the big city and focus on football.

The good news is this: Barkley appears to be the real deal. The early returns from the OTAs and mini-camp is he is practically uncoverable by linebackers and even some safeties. At the very least, Barkley should be a major asset in the passing game, provided he can develop a rapport with Eli Manning, a quarterback not known for his screen and swing passes. What will be interesting to see is how effective he will be running the ball. The Giants really haven’t been a top-notch running team since 2008, when the team led the NFL in rushing. Can the Giants move out of the bottom tier into the upper tier of rushing in just one year? The expectation is that Barkley will finally force teams to respect the Giants’ running game, and thus open things up for Manning, Odell Beckham, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard in the passing game. In the last three seasons, the Giants have scored a total of 17 rushing touchdowns, or an average of less than six per season. That needs to change too.

Finally, the temptation will be to keep Barkley on the field on every play. The Giants must constantly evaluate his wear-and-tear. They want him to last more than five years in this League.

ON THE BUBBLE: The key questions here are how many halfbacks will the Giants keep? And is there a roll for a fullback in Pat Shurmur’s offense? With Barkley likely to receive the overwhelming bulk of the playing time, the Giants may decide to go light at halfback and go with Barkley, Jonathan Stewart (who they paid big money to be a mentor), and Wayne Gallman. The players clearly on the bubble include Jalen Simmons and Robert Martin. It’s anyone’s guess at this stage if Shurmur is leaning towards a roster spot for a fullback like Shane Smith or Kyle Carter.

FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on Saquon Barkley: “He’s a special player. Special player. Guy that, any single down, is going to create a lot of matchup nightmares for coordinators in this league and players in this league.”

Linebacker Alec Ogletree on Saquon Barkley: “A guy that comes to work the right way. He’s a true professional, even at a young age. He’s always asking questions and you can just tell he loves football and loves to learn and do the right thing.”

Tight End Rhett Ellison on Saquon Barkley: “He’s a humble guy. He just comes in and he works. Anytime you have a rookie, especially a first round pick like that, and they come in just ready to work with their head down, that’s the best you can ask for. Obviously, it’s hard to tell when you’re playing in underwear to see the physicality of the game. But I’d say his work ethic and just his humility is pretty cool.”

Saquon Barkley on what it takes to be a good running back: “I think it is instinct. Actually breaking down film and watching the David Johnson’s and Le’Veon Bell’s, instinct is one thing, but also what (Jonathan Stewart) has been teaching me, it is how to set up your blocks. For me, I did it so natural in college that I didn’t even notice I was doing it. Now, understanding and seeing the play before it develops and seeing the linebacker overflowing, that is how you set up cutback lanes. A guy who does it the best is Le’Veon Bell. I was watching him this morning and how he was picking up blocks. I think you have to be versatile as a running back. Catch the ball in the backfield and be able to block. Be able to run in between tackles and outside of tackles. If you really think if the three backs, the top five backs, that is what they are able to do. They block, catch the ball in the backfield and are able to run the ball. Just the way they set up their blocks. That is what it takes to be a top back in the NFL. ”

PREDICTIONS: I can’t imagine the amount of pressure that is on the shoulders of Saquon Barkley. There are fans who didn’t want him who will mock him every time he doesn’t break off a big play. Gettleman has Hall of Fame expectations. But there is an aura about this kid. In the age of “look at me,” Barkley seems like an old-school throwback who knows he is good but is more interested in the overall success of the team. Veterans have been impressed with his humility, work ethic, intelligence, and skillset. I think there will be grumblings early from fans, especially since the NFL schedule makers have the Giants opening with the very tough Jacksonville Jaguars defense. But I look for Saquon to get better and better as the season progresses, with his earliest impact coming in the passing game as the new offensive line will take some time to build cohesion.

Overall, it’s extremely difficult to see an offense with Odell Beckham, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley not being explosive. As long as Eli Manning has some gas left in the tank and the offensive line can become somewhat respectable, then this should be a very fun offense to watch.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Saquon Barkley, Jonathan Stewart, and Wayne Gallman at halfback. Given the fact that the Giants keep adding H-Back types, I think it is safe to say they may keep one as a fullback candidate. I have no idea who that will be however.

Jun 182018
 
New York Giants Helmet (October 15, 2017)

© USA TODAY Sports

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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.

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN SCHEDULE:

Jun 182018
 
Alex Tanney, Davis Webb, Eli Manning, and Kyle Lauletta; New York Giants (June 12, 2018)

Alex Tanney, Davis Webb, Eli Manning, and Kyle Lauletta – © USA TODAY Sports

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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: Quarterbacks

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: 2017 was one of the worst seasons in the almost 100-year history of the New York Giants. No one escaped the carnage, including arguably the best quarterback in franchise history. Regardless of the extenuating factors, Eli Manning saw his numbers decline for the second year in a row. In comparison with his 2015 statistics, Manning saw a precipitous fall in passing yards (from 4,432 to 3,468), touchdowns (from 35 to 19), and QB rating (from 93.6 to 80.4). The Giants offense was 21st in yardage, 19th in passing yardage, and 31st in scoring. And it just wasn’t the numbers. Manning seemed off. Saddled with a poor supporting cast, he was jumpy in the pocket and missed too many open receivers.

But as bad as all of that was, 2017 will always be remembered for the year that Eli Manning got benched by his since-fired head coach who never really seemed to have his back. It was not so much the decision to sit Manning for an early December game when the team was 2-9, but the way he was benched. Ben McAdoo announced the decision matter-of-factly while John Mara and Jerry Reese hid. And a tearful Manning was left to address a frenzied New York press corps in front of his locker with teammates laughing in the background. Worse, the Giants did not use the benching to evaluate their 3rd-round draft pick, Davis Webb, but handed over the reins to persona non grata Geno Smith. Predictably, a pissed-off fan base erupted. What was astonishing was this reaction seemed to shock team brass who quickly kowtowed by firing Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese and re-inserting Manning as starter right after the Geno Smith-led Giants lost to the Oakland Raiders. The Giants then proceeded to lose three of their last four games and finish the year 3-13. In summary, the season was a shit show.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Unsurprisingly, the Giants made no effort to re-sign Geno Smith. The Giants passed on Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Josh Allen in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. But they did select Kyle Lauletta in the 4th round. The Giants also signed free agent Alex Tanney after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: For better or worse, ownership, the new general manager, and the new head coach have made it clear over and over again that the 37-year old Eli Manning is not only the established starter heading into 2018, but possibly beyond. So in a matter of a few months, Manning went from the bench to being untouchable. If one were being truly objective, it appears a bit odd that the New York Giants believe so strongly that a clearly declining, 37-year old quarterback on a 3-13 team has another Super Bowl run in him. Their evidence? The December 17th loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The pressure is on Manning. The Giants have changed an offensively-minded head coach for the second time in three years. They fired the GM. They brought in three new starters on the offensive line. They added a premier running back with the #2 pick in the draft to go along with Odell Beckham, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard on offense. The excuses are running out. Eli is a $22 million per year QB who hasn’t played like one in quite some time.

While Pat Shurmur is a West Coast Offense guy, his offense will be more vertical and use more play-action than his predecessor. The Giants will run the football more. All of this should help. Yet, in an era where teams are moving more and more to athletic quarterbacks, Eli remains a bit of an old-school dinosaur whose lack of mobility clearly impacts the overall offense. Manning must compensate with better toughness, pocket awareness, decision-making under duress, and accuracy. Can he shake off the gun-shyness and inaccuracy that plagued him in 2017? Can he get his mojo back?

With an inevitable transition looming – whether it be in one, two, or three years – comes the second major storyline: is the heir apparent currently on the roster? The contenders are Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta. Webb has the arm, frame, and work ethic teams look for. Lauletta lacks the arm and ideal height, but may have a better feel for the game. He also had the inherent advantage that he was drafted by the team’s new general manager and head coach. Both, one, or neither may have an NFL future. Can either really replace a living legend when the time comes? Or will the Giants rue the day they passed on Darnold, Rosen, or Allen?

ON THE BUBBLE: Barring and injury or the unlikely event the Giants trade Davis Webb, the Giants will go into 2018 with Manning, Webb, and Lauletta as the quarterbacks. Alex Tanney is simply a camp arm.

FROM THE COACHES: Pat Shurmur on Eli Manning: “He looks great. He’s doing great…He is a joy to coach… I’m always surprised at how smart he is and at how things, I don’t want to say come easy to him because he studies, but he has a great feel for the game and that great feel for the game is backed up by a heck of a lot of work, and so when you have that combination, a guy that can really see the game and then a guy that really works at it, then I think the sky is the limit.”

Shurmur on Davis Webb: “I think he has improved every day. I think he’s got an outstanding skillset. I mean, big, strong, can throw… He can run around and he’s gotten more and more comfortable with what we’re doing. So, he’s made steady improvements through this spring.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula on Kyle Lauletta: “He has a nice calmness about himself that if things don’t go exactly how they are drawn out on the board, his mind works pretty fast so far and he finds the next guy, gets through his progressions. He has a good feel for anticipation and touch and things like that, so I think he’s off to a good start. ”

PREDICTIONS: Eli Manning will always be a controversial sports figure. He’s a legitimate two-time Super Bowl MVP who played at an elite level during two miraculous playoff runs. But take away those two runs, and his career looks more mundane and based on longevity. Most Giants fans will long wonder what could have been had the Giants personnel department (exacerbated by a series of career-impacting injuries to key players) not squandered his years after 2011. But Eli is responsible for half of the team’s Super Bowl hardware. Period. And for better or worse, and whether or not the motivation is based on guilt or fear of fan reaction, the Giants hierarchy is going to give him another chance in 2018 and probably 2019, the latter being the final year of his current contract.

My best guess is that Eli rebounds with a strong season in 2018, but one that still causes fans to debate whether the team is foolishly postponing the inevitable by not making the quarterback transition sooner. My wish is that he proves us all wrong and has one more magical run in him with the Giants. At the very least, he will have an opportunity to finish his Giants career on better terms than 2017.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Eli Manning, Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta

Jun 142018
 
Kalif Raymond, New York Giants (June 12, 2018)

Kalif Raymond – © USA TODAY Sports

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JUNE 14, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The third and final day of the New York Giants 3-day mandatory mini-camp was held on Thursday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. All 90 players on the current roster were present.

“All right, that was the last day of the spring training,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “The guys will be on their way for a couple of weeks and then we will be back. Really have not announced it, but July 22, we are going to have the rookies, selected vets and the quarterbacks come in. The whole squad will then be together on July 25. Done this in the past. It is a great way for the rookies to get a lot more reps. It is a good way for the quarterbacks to get going. Those can be a very productive two days. Then, we will have the vets and the whole team together on the 25th. It has been written we are going to practice with Detroit for a couple of days prior to playing them in a preseason game. I have done that in the past. It can be very productive, especially for the younger players to get a lot of reps. In terms of the training camp schedule, for the most part we will have walk-throughs in the morning and practice in the afternoon. There will be a handful of practices where we practice in the morning. We will just change it up a little bit. It was a very productive offseason. I told the players we have come a long way, but we have a long way to go in all areas.”

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (recovering from ankle surgery) has been cleared to practice. On Thursday, he participated in individual and walk-thru drills, but not team drills.

Safety Landon Collins (recovering from offseason arm surgery) did not participate in full-team drills.

Defensive end Josh Mauro (unknown), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), and safety Darian Thompson (unknown) did not practice.

“(McIntosh) is going to have to have a procedure here but there is no real update or change in the situation,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We are hopeful (that he will be ready for training camp.”

“(Moss) is one of those guys that had an injury a year ago and is working through it,” said Shurmur. “We are hoping he will be ready to go come training camp.”

Left tackle Nate Solder tweaked his knee during practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Quarterback Eli Manning did not take any reps during the team portion of practice.
  • Playing with the first team in goal line drills, quarterback Davis Webb first ran a bootleg for a touchdown. He then hit tight end Rhett Ellison for another score.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb made a nice touch pass to tight end Kyle Carter over safety Orion Stewart for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone.
  • Wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr. dropped another well-thrown pass into the endzone by quarterback Davis Webb.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta also made a really nice throw for a touchdown to wide receiver Travis Rudolph.
  • Left guard Will Hernandez and nose tackle Damon Harrison got into a fight with punches thrown.
  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas was 3-of-4 on field goal attempts while place kicker Marshall Koehn was 2-of-4.
  • Notes and observations from minicamp (6/14) by John Schmeelk of Giants.com
  • Who stood out at minicamp finale (6/14) by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Thursday 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…

Jun 132018
 
Landon Collins, New York Giants (June 12, 2018)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports

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JUNE 13, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The second day of the New York Giants 3-day mandatory mini-camp was held on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. All 90 players on the current roster were present.

The mini-camp will conclude with a practice on Thursday.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (recovering from ankle surgery) has been cleared to practice. On Wednesday, he participated in individual and walk-thru drills, but not team drills.

Safety Landon Collins (recovering from offseason arm surgery) did not participate in full-team drills.

Defensive end Josh Mauro (unknown), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), and safety Darian Thompson (unknown) did not practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • For the second day in a row, the first-team offensive line was left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Will Hernandez, center Jon Halapio, right guard Patrick Omameh, and right tackle Ereck Flowers.
  • The starting safeties again were Andrew Adams and Curtis Riley.
  • Cornerback Donte Deayon intercepted a pass in early passing drills.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Cody Latimer during redzone drills, beating cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Latimer was active catching the football.
  • Safety Andrew Adams nicely broke up an endzone throw to tight end Evan Engram.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb made an excellent throw to wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr. on a fade route. Lewis made a one-handed catch but his second foot was out of bounds.
  • Place kicker Marshall Koehn was 7-of-8 on field goal attempts; he missed his shortest attempt.
  • Linebacker Lorenzo Carter flashed a nice burst off the edge on a blitz.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning overthrew wide receiver Sterling Shepard deep over the middle.
  • Running back Saquon Barkley demonstrated outstanding quickness and acceleration after catching a pass in the flat from quarterback Eli Manning, splitting two defenders, and then streaking downfield for a touchdown. Linebackers have had a very hard time covering Barkley.
  • Wide receiver Kalif Raymond received some first-team reps. He dropped a pass but also caught a touchdown on a fly pattern from quarterback Davis Webb.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb demonstrated nice touch on a wheel route to running back Wayne Gallman.
  • The defensive front batted down a lot of passes at the line of scrimmage.
  • Notes and observations from minicamp practice (6/13) by John Schmeelk of Giants.com
  • Who stood out at Giants minicamp? (6/13) by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

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

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

ARTICLES…

Jun 122018
 
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (May 29, 2018)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

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JUNE 12, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The first day of the New York Giants 3-day mandatory mini-camp was held on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. All 90 players on the current roster were present.

“All right, so first day of mandatory mini camp,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “I told the players this and really it’s the case, it’s really OTA 11 in my mind because anytime they come on the field with their helmets on, it’s about the ball, it’s about the ground and it’s about getting yourself better. They handled today just like they have the other OTAs, so good work, was very competitive. You saw at the end there – everyday we do a situation and today was the two-point play and the defense did a good job with those two-point plays today.”

The mini-camp will continue with practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (recovering from ankle surgery) has been cleared to practice. On Tuesday, he participated in individual and walk-thru drills, but not team drills. He also fielded punts after practice.

“He ran maybe three or four routes, but he looks good coming out of his breaks,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “From what I have seen, he looks sharp and ready to go.”

Safety Landon Collins (recovering from offseason arm surgery) wore a non-contact jersey and did not participate in full-team drills.

Defensive linemen Josh Mauro (unknown) and R.J. McIntosh (unknown) and linebacker Avery Moss (unknown) did not practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The first-team offensive line was left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Will Hernandez, center Jon Halapio, right guard Patrick Omameh, and right tackle Ereck Flowers.
  • The second-team offensive line was left tackle Nick Becton, left guard John Greco, center Brett Jones, right guard John Jerry, and right tackle Chad Wheeler.
  • The starting safeties were Andrew Adams and Curtis Riley.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Cody Latimer for a redzone touchdown against cornerback Janoris Jenkins and safety Curtis Riley.
  • Fullback Shane Smith made a nice catch in the flat, tipping the ball to himself and then heading up-field.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb overthrew wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr. but then came back with a nice throws to wide receivers Travis Rudolph and Kalif Raymond.
  • Wide receiver Marquis Bundy made a nice play on an underthrown pass by quarterback Kyle Lauletta.
  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas went 8-for-8 on field goal attempts, many of them from long distance.
  • Running back Saquon Barkley toasted linebacker B.J. Goodson on a wheel route and quarterback Eli Manning hit him downfield for the touchdown.
  • Wide receiver Sterling Shepard beat cornerback Eli Apple along the sideline and made a nice catch on a pass from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple, cornerback Donte Deayon, linebacker Mark Herzlich, and defensive lineman D.J. Hill all broke up passes. Late in practice, safety Curtis Riley, safety Orion Stewart, and linebacker Thurston Armbrister broke up 2-point conversion attempts.
  • Defensive back Curtis Riley made a nice break-up of a sideline pass intended for wide receiver Hunter Sharp.
  • Wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo made a number of nice plays, including beating cornerback Eli Apple.
  • Notes and observations from minicamp practice (6/12) by John Schmeelk of Giants.com
  • Who stood out at Giants minicamp? (6/12) by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

B.J. HILL SIGNED…
The New York Giants have signed defensive lineman B.J. Hill, one of their two 3rd-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, to a 4-year contract. The only two remaining unsigned draft picks are running back Saquon Barkley (1st round) and defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (5th round).

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed free agents tight end Scott Simonson, offensive tackle Jarron Jones, and cornerback Kenneth Durden. The team also waived offensive tackle Tyler Howell and waived/injured cornerback Aaron Davis (hamstring) both rookie free agents who were signed after the 2018 NFL Draft.

The 26-year old, 6’5”, 255-pound Simonson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2014 NFL Draft. The Raiders waived him in June 2015 and he was then signed by the Carolina Panthers. He spent all of 2017 on Injured Reserve with a back injury. Simonson has played in 18 regular-season games with one start. He has one catch in his NFL career.

The 24-year old, 6’6”, 320-pound Jones was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. A collegiate defensive tackle, the Giants moved him to offensive tackle, but cut him in early September 2017. Jones then spent time on the Practice Squads of the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys in 2017. The Cowboys waived him in May 2018.

The 26-year old, 6’1”, 180-pound Durden was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Raiders’ Practice Squad before being cut in September 2017. The Tennessee Titans then signed him to their Practice Squad and cut him in October 2017. Durden has not played in a regular-season game.

GIANTS AND LIONS TO HOLD JOINT PRACTICES IN AUGUST…
The New York Giants and Detroit Lions will hold joint training camp practices at Detroit’s headquarters and training facility in Allen Park, Michigan on August 14-16. The two teams play a preseason game on Friday, August 17 at Ford Field.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Tuesday 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…