Nov 302018
 
Evan Engram, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Tight end Evan Engram (hamstring) did not practice on Friday and has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Linebackers Lorenzo Carter (hip) and B.J. Goodson (neck) practiced on a limited basis. Goodson has been ruled out of the game while Carter is “questionable.”

Defensive end Kerry Wynn (concussion), linebacker Tae Davis (ankle), cornerback Grant Haley (hamstring), and safety Curtis Riley (shoulder) fully practiced and are expected to play.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The team plays the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

Nov 302018
 

Bears at Giants in the Polo Grounds (December 6, 1925)

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Game Preview: Chicago Bears at New York Giants, December 2, 2018

THE STORYLINE:
With four minutes left before halftime at Lincoln Financial Field last week, New York Giants fans finally had a reason to smile. Winners of two straight, the Giants looked primed to win their third game in a row, with the added benefit of finally running roughshod over the hated Philadelphia Eagles. The defending Super Bowl champions were back on their heels, as Saquon Barkley had just ripped off a spectacular 51-yard touchdown run, his second TD of the day. The Giants led 19-3. The offensive game plan was working. An undermanned defense was holding the Eagles in check. Yet by 4PM, all of those positive thoughts and emotions were gone. And Giants fans were left with yet another painfully disheartening loss in what has becoming an embarrassingly one-sided rivalry.

There was a lot to unpack in last Sunday’s loss, including some horrific officiating that DID help to decide the game. But three things stood out to me:

  1. Strongest evidence yet that Pat Shurmur is not cut out to be a head coach. Clock mismanagement has become a serious issue with him. Sitting Barkley after the Eagles had cut the score to 19-14 in the 3rd quarter, and giving the player who was killing the Eagles only five second-half touches, suggests a lack of feel for the game. And his Sunday and Monday post-mortem media sessions were real head-scratchers. I’m a little wary of completely writing the guy off because I can remember a bunch of games that even Giants greats like Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin blew, but I’m not feeling it with Shurmur. “But John Mara would never fire a coach after just one season!” Probably true. But that doesn’t make it the correct decision.
  2. The run defense, which was supposed to a team strength, has become a problem. As bad as the New York offense was in the second half of last week’s game, the run defense was just as guilty for the loss. Even with the departure of Damon Harrison, guys like Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill were supposed to be able to hold down the fort. They haven’t. The Eagles knew they were going to win last week once they discovered the Giants couldn’t stop what had been a bottom-tier run offense.
  3. Eli… oh Eli… Two very strong games in a row, including one game where he threw only one incompletion. The early warning signs were there. He badly missed seeing a wide open target on the 2-point conversion. But the real killer was his horrifically dumb and costly interception into double/triple coverage at the end of the first half, ignoring another wide-open target, which cost the Giants certain points. Psychologically, this may have been the biggest mistake of the game. Even at age 37, Eli still makes these head-scratching throws. Once the line play deteriorated in the second half, so did Manning’s play, as New York only generated three second-half points.

So why am I rehashing all of this in what is supposed to be a preview for the Chicago Bears? Because I think the storyline for this game is going to be how competitive the Giants are going to be against one of the best teams in the NFC. If Shurmur is going to lose this team, now is the time after last week’s devastating loss, which not only ended any desperate hope for a late playoff run, but was emotionally draining and open to coaching criticism.

If the Giants play hard and keep it close, Pat Shurmur will gain respect in my eyes. But if this team starts to tank, John Mara had better reconsider all of his options.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • TE Evan Engram (hamstring – out)
  • DE Kerry Wynn (concussion – probable)
  • LB Lorenzo Carter (hip – questionable)
  • LB B.J. Goodson (neck – out)
  • LB Tae Davis (ankle – probable)
  • CB Grant Haley (hamstring – probable)
  • S Curtis Riley (shoulder – probable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:

This could get ugly. Really ugly. The Chicago Bears are 4th in defense (3rd in scoring defense, 2nd in rushing defense, 11th in passing defense). Chicago has forced a lead-leading 29 turnovers (20 of which are interceptions). They have sacked opposing quarterbacks 34 times (five off of the league-leading Steelers).

To me, much depends on how the offensive line responds. This unit had been playing better for two and a half games before falling apart again in last week’s second half. Not coincidentally, what had been an improving scoring offense went back into a shell. So does the front five rebound or regress? It’s hard to see the Giants scoring more than 13-17 points if the offensive line doesn’t rebound.

So much of New York’s future success or failure depends on what they do at quarterback. Eli is 37 years old and clearly nearing the end. He says he wants to play his entire career with the Giants and has a no-trade clause. He has one year left on his contract and will count about $22 million against the 2019 salary cap. Behind him are journeyman Alex Tanney and rookie Kyle Lauletta. After the Bears game, there are only four games left, and it appears that Lauletta still is not taking 2nd-team snaps during practice. Thus, the Giants will head into the 2019 offseason being forced to assume they will need to draft a QB high in the 2019 NFL Draft. And Eli will probably be back for one last season. This entire thing has the feel of postponing the inevitable and wasting time.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:

The 23rd-ranked (25th in scoring) New York Giants defense can’t stop the run (26th) or pass (18th). They can’t sack the opposing quarterback (14 in 11 games) or force turnovers (13). And with a game on the line, they can’t hold a lead. Besides that, everything is wonderful.

Chicago will be playing their back-up quarterback this week. That’s another kiss of death for the Giants.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:

If it were not for Saquon Barkley’s superlative rookie season, Aldrick Rosas would be the team MVP.

THE FINAL WORD:
The stands will be empty. And the empty gray seats will likely reflect the mood of the day. All of this would be somewhat acceptable if there was a sense that there was a viable rebuilding plan under proper leadership. But I still question whether John Mara has the right people in place. The Giants appear to be living in the past.

Nov 292018
 
B.J. Hill and Landon Collins, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

B.J. Hill and Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Tight end Evan Engram (hamstring) and linebacker Lorenzo Carter (hip) did not practice on Thursday.

Defensive end Kerry Wynn (concussion), linebacker B.J. Goodson (neck), linebacker Tae Davis (ankle), cornerback Grant Haley (hamstring), and safety Curtis Riley (shoulder) were limited in practice.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice again on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Nov 282018
 
Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The only player to not practice on Wednesday was tight end Evan Engram (hamstring).

Defensive end Kerry Wynn (concussion), linebacker Lorenzo Carter (hip), linebacker B.J. Goodson (neck), linebacker Tae Davis (ankle), cornerback Grant Haley (hamstring), and safety Curtis Riley (shoulder) were limited in practice.

Wide receiver Cody Latimer, who is currently on Injured Reserve due to a hamstring injury that he suffered in October, returned to practice. Latimer has missed five games and must sit out eight before he is eligible to return to the active roster. After the game against the Tennessee Titans on December 16, the Giants will have three days to decide whether to activate Latimer or keep in on Injured Reserve.

Latimer joins running back Jonathan Stewart as players on injured reserve who have been designated for return/returned to practice. Stewart is eligible to rejoin the roster now. If the Giants do not make that moved by December 6, Stewart must remain on Injured Reserve for the rest of the season.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed tight end Hakeem Valles to the Practice Squad. The 26-year old, 6’3”, 250-pound Valles was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He also spent time with the Detroit Lions in 2017-2018. Valles has played in 15 regular-season games with one start, and has caught two passes for 11 yards.

To make room for Valles, the Giants terminated the Practice Squad contract of Marshall Koehn, who the Giants had re-signed last week. Koehn was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Dolphins (2016), Minnesota Vikings (2017), and Cincinnati Bengals (2017). The Giants signed Koehn to a reserve/futures contract in January 2018, but waived him before the season started.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice again on Thursday and Friday in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Nov 272018
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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Philadelphia Eagles 25 – New York Giants 22

QUICK RECAP

The Giants took their annual trip down the Turnpike to Lincoln Financial Field against an Eagles team that NYG has lost 20 out of 30 games to during the Eli Manning era. To say this team has had Big Blue’s number would be a massive understatement. However, if there were ever a game to reverse those fortunes, this would be it. The 3-7 Giants came in winners of 2 straight whereas the defending Super Bowl Champions Eagles came in at 4-6 with injuries mounting and losers of 2 straight.

The Giants newfound fluidity on offense picked up where they left off from last week. They spread the ball around, but rookie Saquon Barkley continued to stomp on the idea that you can’t take a RB high in the draft with 44 total yards capped by a 13-yard middle screen pass where he burst into the end zone untouched despite defenders having the angles. Then came an odd decision by Pat Shurmur. PHI was flagged for 12 men on the field for the PAT attempt, moving the ball up to 1-yard line. That 1 yard made Shurmur spontaneously decide to go for a 2-point conversion in the 1st quarter. I have always believed you take sure-thing points on the road early in games, but to each their own. The attempt left NYG short and with a 6-point lead rather than a 7-point lead.

PHI was quick to give the ball back, running just 4 plays before being forced to punt. NYG chipped away before a 39-yard downfield connection from Manning to Odell Beckham put them inside the 10-yard line. The PHI secondary was without 3 starters and a key backup, thus I expected to see a ton of this throughout. NYG gave three opportunities to Barkley, 2 on the ground and 1 via the air but they only gained 3 yards total. Aldrick Rosas came in and nailed a 25-yard FG to make the lead 9-0.

Carson Wentz and the PHI offense continued to putter, as Mario Edwards ended their drive with a sack and NYG began their third drive of the day on their own 13-yard line. Manning spread the ball out well, hitting Russell Shepard for 29 yards, Beckham for 14 yards, and Rhett Ellison for 18 yards. NYG shot themselves in the foot with three penalties however, and it ended up making them settle on a long field goal attempt by Rosas. He drilled a 51 yarder through the uprights and even though NYG was yearning for more, they had s 12-0 lead in the 2nd quarter.

PHI finally replaced the 0 on the scoreboard with some points, as Jake Elliot hit a 42 yarder at the end of a quick drive highlighted by a 32-yard run by Corey Clement. NYG then made sure everyone knew who had who by the throat. On the third play of the drive, Barkley ran through 2 tacklers before out-unning the PHI defensive backfield to the end zone for a highlight-reel 51-yard touchdown. Remember…you don’t take a RB high in the first round.

NYG was up 19-3 and they sucked their fans back in; this team was inching its way back into legit contention. Wentz and the offense took advantage of a poor-tackling NYG defense, scoring a touchdown on a pass to Zach Ertz. They went for 2 and easily converted, making it an 8-point game with a minute left in the half and PHI starting the 3rd quarter with the ball. NYG opted to make a run at getting more points on the board thanks to yet another long return by Corey Coleman, this one for 46 yards. They got the ball to the 27-yard line and with 17 seconds left, Manning made a poor decision to try and force the ball to Beckham near the end zone, which resulted in an interception by Malcolm Jenkins. NYG, once again, had points available on the road early in the game but they got too aggressive and came up with nothing.

The 2nd half had a different feel to it, almost right away. PHI came out aggressive, hungry, and willing. NYG came out soft, satisfied, and hesitant. The NYG defense was bleeding, getting owned at the point of attack but they did come up with some big plays in key moments. PHI netted 3 points via 3 possessions. They moved the ball well but shot themselves in the foot via penalties and missed blocking assignments that led to sacks. NYG, however, gained just 3 net yards in the 3rd quarter. Even worse than that, Barkley touched the ball twice. The offensive line started to get pushed around and the PHI faithful could smell blood. Never has a 19-14 lead felt so miniscule.

PHI buckled up their helmets and opted to simply run over the Giants to start off the 4th quarter, literally. Running backs Corey Clement and Josh Adams gained a total of 61 yards capped off by the latter trucking into the end zone. On this drive, there was a stretch of 4 plays that, play by play, netted 23-8-15-11 yards. NYG couldn’t stop anything at the point of attack. PHI now held their first lead for the first time in the month of November, 22-19, after Adams successfully converted for 2 points on a, you guessed it, easy rushing attempt.

Manning and the passing game started to find their hot point again, thankfully. He hit Beckham and Ellison on consecutive plays for 48 yards. Shurmur once again forgot to follow his own words of getting Barkley 25+ touches per game. He gave it to him once, resulting in 1 yard, before Manning missed Beckham in the end zone many thanks to a missed pass interference penalty by the PHI secondary. One of their several misses for both sides on the day. Rosas hit his 3rd field goal of the day tying it at 22.

The PHI offense marched back on knowing exactly what to do. They continued to control the point of attack, rely on poor tackling and a weak defensive tackle play in addition to owning the middle of the field via the air attack. NYG did force a 4th and 1. Yet even after a timeout, they were outclassed by the PHI coaching staff. Wentz hit Nelson Agholor who couldn’t have been more wide open in the middle of the field which was as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning. PHI bled the clock out, leaving NYG with no timeouts and under 30 seconds left. Elliot came back out and nailed a 43-yard field goal because, well, opposing kickers don’t miss field goals against NYG.

Manning and the offense had no shot without any timeouts. They ran a couple of plays but nothing deep and time ran out.

NYG loses 25-22.

QUARTERBACKS

-Eli Manning: 26/37 – 297 yards – 1 TD / 1 INT. Manning and the NYG offense came out on fire. The were firing on all cylinders, keeping the PHI defense off balance, and executing with ease. They had a game plan and it was working. However, Manning’s poor decision at the end of the first half to force a ball to Beckham who was double/triple covered that led to an interception rather than 3 points via a field goal was a turning point. Those were big points to not get, as was the missed 2-point conversion on the first touchdown which can be blamed on Manning not throwing to a wide open Rhett Ellison. Manning’s flow wasn’t the same in the second half, as the running game was non-existent and the OL got leaky. Manning just can’t create on his own and when things start to go awry, he doesn’t rise above. Not a bad game for the 15th year pro, but it was limited.

RUNNING BACKS

-Saquon Barkley: 13 att / 101 yards / 1 TD – 7 rec / 41 yards/ 1 TD. What we saw out of Barkley in the first half was a continuation of Barkley further stomping down on the idea that drafting a RB high in round 1 was a bad idea. His level of play is elite on all levels. One thing I’m not sure everyone appreciates enough? 11 games in – 0 fumbles – 0 drops. Running backs are dropping passes weekly and what this kid does when it comes to reliability and consistency is just different level. Once again Shurmur simply underused him. I understand not wanting to give him 40 touches, but this kid needs 25+ as often as possible. Especially when you have a lead like the Giants had in the second half. It is a crime, it is inexcusable, that Barkley had 5 touches total in the second half. Unbelievable.

-Wayne Gallman and Elijah Penny combined for 30 yards on 8 touches. Gallman was solid on the ground, spelling Barkley on a few occasions. He continues to show very good burst upfield, something NYG is still trying to get Barkley to do more consistently.

WIDE RECEIVERS

-Odell Beckham: 5 rec / 85 yards. On a day where the PHI secondary came in depleted, depending on a bunch of backup corners, Beckham wasn’t featured enough. Man, it must really be frustrating for him to see the opportunities that some of the other WRs in this league are getting. Beckham’s came down with a 39-yard gain in the first quarter and I expected to see more and more of it, but they just didn’t seem to look his way enough. 2 of his 9 targets were garbage attempts that had no shot. He likely would have had a TD catch in the 4th quarter on a play where the ref missed a hold as Beckham leapt for the ball.

-Sterling Shepard: 4 rec / 37 yards. Shepard was the victim of 2 missed penalties where the PHI defensive backs held him out of his breaks. Shepard is a next-level route runner with a combination of explosion, balance, and quickness when he is trying to get open. Unfortunate these refs didn’t see him get tugged.

-Russell Shepard and Bennie Fowler combined for 3 catches / 52 yards. Important to know these guys can come down with some big plays when called upon.

TIGHT ENDS

-Rhett Ellison: 4 rec / 77 yards. With Evan Engram out with a hamstring injury suffered in pregame warmups, Ellison got the nod and played all but 7 snaps on offense. He responded with 4 catches for a career-high 77 yards. Ellison was one of the bigger surprises of the day, catching balls up the seams and near the sideline, showing effective ability after the catch to gain extra yards. He did have one drop in the 2nd quarter, however. Ellison also allowed a sack and a pressure and even though most TEs can’t handle NFL defensive ends in pass protection, he continues to underwhelm in that department.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

-Nate Solder had his best game as a Giant grade-wise. He was very smooth, very consistent, and actually showed some more physical play than what we have been used to this season. He held Brandon Graham in check all afternoon. His false start penalty seemed to be on Manning’s shoulders, who messed up the snap count. Chad Wheeler allowed a half sack and got pushed around a bit in the run game. Michael Bennett is one of the toughest DEs in the game when it comes to cutting him off inside against the run, and that is where he really struggled. His play has been consistently average all year. He is up and down each week.

GUARDS/CENTERS

-Jamon Brown has received some positive attention lately in addition to the NYG offense taking a turn in the right direction. I think too many have been anointing Brown as a catalyst for the change but now that we have seen him for 3 games, I’m not overly optimistic. He has been better than what NYG has trotted out there, but he is still struggling to gain the consistency I want out of a starter. He allowed one TFL, one pressure, a half sack, and was flagged for holding which got declined. Big picture he was OK, but the quickness inside got to him and he was a non-factor at the second level. Just looked a little slow and heavy.

-Will Hernandez had a solid game. He really pushed Fletcher Cox around for most of their match-ups and he truly is one of the best DTs in the game. He got flagged once for a holding penalty on a play where he struggled to adjust his weighty laterally, a theme we have seen with him all year.

-Spencer Pulley is further proving this team needs a new OC in 2019 and it will be near the top of the priority list. He just can’t beat guys one on one and can’t sustain his position on guys. He allowed a TFL and a pressure, a constant every week with him.

EDGE

-Overall, a very quiet day from the NYG edge defenders. Olivier Vernon had 2 pressures and 2 tackles, with Lorenzo Carter finishing with 1 pressure and 2 tackles. Neither could consistently beat their man one on one. Vernon’s 2019 status is going to very much depend on how he finishes this year. On one hand, the team’s pass rush went from non-existent to at least sometimes-effective when he came back form injury. On the other hand, he isn’t worth the money he is being paid if he is gonna net under 8 sacks a year with average run defense.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

-The middle of the NYG defense was pounded, pushed around, and toyed with. While it wasn’t all on the shoulders of the tackles, Dalvin Tomlinson and BJ Hill need to be better. If not, add nose tackle to the team-needs list. Hill had his most up and down game of his rookie season, finishing with 3 tackles, 1 TFL, and a pass break up. He also had a missed tackle and an offsides penalty in addition to just not holding his ground against lone and double blockers alike. Both are solid and active, but neither scare anyone.

-Mario Edwards finished with a sack and a pressure in his limited action. Have to be careful wanting more playing time with him, however, because he is a real tweener. He isn’t stout against the run and he needs specific match-ups to be an effective pass rusher. Solid role player that I want to see here in 2019.

-Josh Mauro had a couple of subtle but important missed tackles on the day. He isn’t known for dynamic playmaking ability, we know that. But he can’t miss tackles the way he did against running backs that weight 70 pounds less than him.

-RJ McIntosh made his debut with the club. Just 12 plays total, but he looked small and weak compared to what I saw out of him at Miami last year. He appears to be on his way back still and I expect to see him get looks each week from here on out. I liked him a lot during the pre-draft process.

LINEBACKERS

-Maybe the worst overall performance we have seen out of this position group all year. On the stat sheet, Alec Ogletree had a solid game. 4 tackles, 1 sack, and a pass break up. But if you really dive in to the all 22 game tape, he was arguably the biggest reason why PHI ran wild on this defense. Poor angles, inability to get off blocks, and late reactions were present the entire game. Is this guy a winning player? Does he create on his own? To me, it seems like opposing offenses can’t wait to attack him whether it be via the run or pass.

-Tae Davis out-snapped BJ Goodson by a comfortable margin. He finished with 3 tackles and a sack but proved he just isn’t physically ready for the NFL trenches. Goodson needs to continue to dominate the snap count, as I trust him to make the tackles and not get run over.

CORNERBACKS

-Lost in the emotion of this game was a very solid overall performance by Janoris Jenkins. He kept Alshon Jeffrey in check throughout most of their 1 on 1 battles. On the coverage sacks, Wentz was looking in his direction and his coverage couldn’t have been better. He still has that top 10 CB in him.

-BW Webb and Grant Haley both had solid games. Webb was flagged for a hold and also missed a tackle, but he finished with 3 tackles and a TFL. His coverage on the outside was solid. Haley almost had 2 interceptions for the second week in a row. He is going to come down with one at some point, I almost-guarantee it. He is making quick and correct reads but I can tell there isn’t that full-bore confidence in himself yet. That will come with time and NYG could have their slot corner set up going in to the offseason.

SAFETIES

-More of the same from Landon Collins. Once again he led the team with 9 tackles, 2 TFL, and added a pressure. He was active near the line of scrimmage and made a few impressive tackles. However he added 2 missed tackles and was outclassed in man coverage twice. If he can’t stick with tight ends underneath and he can’t be trusted in deep coverage, is he really a safety you want to build around? His highlight reel is impressive, I will give him that. But the other 90% of the plays leave a lot to be desired.

-Curtis Riley and Michael Thomas are both aggressive, physical players. They combined for 9 tackles but also combined for 3 missed tackles and are writing the book on how not to pursue ball carriers. Their angles were terrible.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 3/3 (Made 25-51-29). Rosas is now 23/24 and may be heading towards a Pro-Bowl spot if he can keep this up. Glad to see this staff is getting him more long FG looks than what we saw last year.

-P Riley Dixon: 3 att / 44.3 avg / 43.0 net. Solid bounce back performance overall, but he did duff one which gave PHI prime field position in the 3rd quarter (the defense saved him on that drive).

-KR Corey Coleman averaged 33.7 yards and has been the most dangerous KR in the league over the past 3 weeks. He did drop one in the passing game, but the value he is showing in this role alone can keep him in NY. PR Quadree Henderson took a nasty hit and will be out the rest of the year. Curious to see if they give Coleman a look at PR although that is a very different role.

3 STUDS

-RB Saquon Barkley, LT Nate Solder, CB Janoris Jenkins

3 DUDS

-LB Alec Ogletree, DL Dalvin Tomlinson, RT Chad Wheeler

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

-Because I tend to be stubborn, I am sticking to my pick of PHI winning the division when all is said and done. I said it before the year and I said it after their rough start to the season. They aren’t overly impressive but I think there is some winning DNA in their culture. As bad as NYG handled that second half, PHI seemed to have confidence the entire game that they were still going to win. They made adjustments and trusted them. I think they end up 9-7 and win the NFC East.

-What is the strength of this PHI team? To me, it’s an easy answer. They walk into almost every weekly match-up with advantages in the trenches. Their OL is elite, maybe the best in the NFL. Their DL is not on the same level but they are deep and more dependable. I’ll say this all offseason…the OL and DL need to be the main priority of this team from a personnel perspective. You never have enough there, ever.

-I usually wait 3 seasons to evaluate a QB. Wentz is coming up on that mark with a few missed games due to the knee injury. Initially I had a mid to late 1st round grade on him coming out. Good, not great. You can build around him, he can win plenty of games. But looking at him and some of the other young QBs in this league, I don’t see elite.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

-More on Landon Collins, as I think this will be one of the most important personnel decisions on the team among players who are currently on the roster. I have seen a lot of Vikings game in recent years and the one standout of that defense is Harrison Smith. He does everything and maybe more against the run that Collins does, but is head and shoulders above him in coverage. Smith’s cap number is $10 million. With a growing cap each year, I still don’t think Collins’ number can be within $2 million of that. On a team with holes all over the place, I am leaning more and more towards letting him walk or maybe a franchise tag, as the funds may not be needed in 2019, especially if Manning is off the books.

-I hear this from people I respect all the time. “By Thanksgiving, real football is being played because teams have now established their identity”. Here we are, entering week 13 and I truly think Pat Shurmur has yet to establish the identity of this team, namely on offense. They have an elite back who takes care of the ball as well as anyone. He can be effective inside, outside, rushing, receiving. Yet they just can’t seem to get him the ball enough even though each week he states they need to get him more touches. Taking a few weeks to get that going, I get it. 12 weeks in and it still isn’t set up? That’s on you coach.

-The weekly debate will be when to start a new QB over Eli Manning. It is going to get annoying to listen to but as much as I like Manning and believe he has gotten the short end of the stick, Lauletta needs to get 3+ starts. This team has 5 games left. You can’t make the sentimental-based decision here with Manning. He’s been paid very well, he’s been starting for a decade and a half. It’s time to get a better idea how to best approach the 2019 offseason because I’m not sure how much the NYG fan base can handle this low-level product.

Nov 272018
 

Eric Kennedy of BigBlueInteractive.com and Greg Breton of the ManCave Huddle join YES Network’s Chris Shearn on his latest “And…We’re Off” podcast. We discuss the New York Giants after another brutal loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Where does Big Blue go from here? Is Eli the primary signal caller the rest of the year? Is Kyle Lauletta getting a look? Alex Tanney? All these questions and more were discussed.

Nov 262018
 
B.J. Hill, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

B.J. Hill – © USA TODAY Sports

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GIANTS PLACE QUADREE HENDERSON ON IR…
The New York Giants have placed wide receiver/returner Quadree Henderson on Injured Reserve. Henderson fractured his shoulder during Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 5’8”, 192-pound Henderson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2018 NFL Draft. The Steelers waived him before the season started. The Giants signed Henderson to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October, and then back to the Practice Squad and the 53-man roster again in November. Henderson played in five games for the Giants and returned five kickoffs (22.4 yards per return average) and nine punts (7.6 yards per return average).

To fill the roster vacancy, the Giants signed tight end Garrett Dickerson, who the Giants signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in June. Dickerson began the season on the team’s Practice Squad, was added to the 53-man roster, re-signed to the Practice Squad, and cut from the Practice Squad last week. The 6’2”, 244-pound Dickerson is a versatile player who can play a variety of positions including tight end, fullback, and H-Back. Though he lacks ideal size, he is a good athlete with fine hands.

MONDAY MEDIA SESSION WITH HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the team’s 25-22 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Opening Remarks: We’ll start with the significant injuries from yesterday. Quadree Henderson had a shoulder fracture, so he’ll be out a significant amount of time, there might be a roster move there. Evan Engram pulled his hamstring in warm-ups, I don’t know how long that’s going to be, we’re just going to have to see once that settles down. (B.J. Goodson) is questionable with a shoulder stinger, and just some game wear and tear. It’s a disappointing loss from the standpoint of we did a lot of things really well, felt like we had a good plan against them. Really at the end, we just couldn’t hold the lead. We had opportunities to score more points so that we could hold the lead better, but we didn’t and ended up losing. Ultimately, just didn’t make enough plays in the game to win it, and so that’s what happened. So we move on, we’ve already started working on the Bears here, getting ready to play them on Sunday and take it from there. I’ll take your questions.

Q: Odell (Beckham) said that he didn’t think there was enough in the game plan to attack the secondary down the field. What do you think of that?

A: I don’t know. We ran the ball 18 times and threw it 37. That’s twice as many throws as there were runs. We had seven explosive gains in the passing game. The only game we played that we had more was Carolina when we had eight. There’s many times when we tried to throw it to him, the long throw down the right sideline to Rhett (Ellison) was designed to go to Odell. They cushioned on him, we threw it to Rhett. You’ll have to ask him to define it after he watches the tape, but I felt like we were trying to do the things necessary to win the game. We still got production in the running game, had a couple third down calls in the red zone that were close. If it goes in, that’s a different story.

Q: Will Eli (Manning) start against the Bears?

A: Yes.

Q: What’s the balance there? The playoffs are mathematically impossible, and trying players-

A: You go into every week with giving your team the best opportunity to win the football game each week. That’s how you do this thing. This isn’t player tryouts, this is do everything in your power to win the next game. Today’s Monday, so we’re in the Monday phase of that process.

Q: On the two-point conversion to start the game, obviously you were going to kick it until the penalty, so when the ball is on the 1-yd line, does that change your play? Does it change your decision to go for it because it’s on the 1-yd line?

A: Absolutely. That’s why I did it.

Q: So the play was a designed pass?

A: Correct, a play action pass in a big formation, which is typically what you do.

Q: So you were trying to sucker them into thinking you’re just going to hand the ball to Saquon (Barkley)?

A: Yes, then throw a pass to a guy in the flat or a guy at the back pylon. What’s confusing about that?

Q: I’m just trying to have you say what (you wanted to do).

A: Yeah, so what happens is they give us the ball at the (1-yd line) instead of the (2-yd line). It’s the first score of the game, and it was an aggressive approach. I feel like we had something good there, we didn’t execute properly. Ultimately at the end of the game, at one point at the end of the game, it was 22-22. Because we didn’t make it, they start chasing points and they did a good job of scoring on their two-point conversions. That’s why I did it. And I’d do it again. I think that’s a good, aggressive approach. If they’re going to screw up on a try and give us the ball on the 1, I’ve got confidence in our guys to make sure – now, there could be something tactically about just making sure you get the (one point) at a certain stage of the game. This was the first drive of the game, and they did something that they didn’t want to do and gave us on the ball on the 1, so we took (a chance).

Q: Is giving the ball to Saquon there just not the right call?

A: It could’ve been a good choice. We have seven goal-line plays in that big formation. You’re just questioning whether it should’ve been Saquon or the other? It could’ve been a good choice.

Q: You also had a guy wide open in the end zone, so you could have flipped it to him. It’s not an argument, I just wanted to hear you say it.

A: (Shrugs shoulders) For the record, that was a shoulder shrug.

Q: I understand as a coach you have a weekly mindset, but isn’t there an obligation to look at the big picture if you aren’t going to make the playoffs?

A: Always looking at the big picture. What’s the big picture though?

Q: Pertaining to the quarterback. (John Mara) admitted the team made a mistake not getting a look at Davis Webb last year, so in your mind, wouldn’t seeing Kyle Lauletta be a priority at some point in the last five weeks?

A: Why are you jumping over (Alex) Tanney? There’s my point. What you try to do is win each game and then as we go forward here, you make your decision based on winning the game, and you base your decision on putting a team on the field that gives you the best chance to win the game. I get that, but as a coach, I stay in the moment. We certainly have conversations about what runs parallel, the short-term and the long-term. There’s conversations about that that happen all the time in any organization. You’re a big corporation, your short-term gains and, ‘ok, where the hell are we going?’ I’m not foolish enough to think that doesn’t happen.

Q: Is Tanney a potential long-term solution at quarterback compared to a guy like Lauletta?

A: Who knows? That’s where you’re getting bogged down here. Who knows?

Q: Do you have to design opportunities for them within the games now? Obviously they haven’t happened organically to this point, there’s been no lopsided games.

A: We’re going to try to do what we can to win the game, but along the way, we do keep a long-term mindset.

Q: The focus with Lauletta would be the fourth-round pick you invested in a young guy planning to develop.

A: At some point, regardless of where they’re picked, unless you’re one of those top-four quarterbacks, who cares where you’re picked? He’s a Giant. You went to college. If you were third in the class, you’re third. Are we going to worry about the other two? What’s the difference?

Q: My point is you signed him for four years, that’s the draft pick, and Tanney is on a one-year deal, he’s 30 years old.

A: But we drafted a lot of other players as well that are out there playing. Some are, some aren’t. We’re just trying to put the best team on the field. I get where you’re going. Trust me, I understand where you’re going, and I can appreciate you have a job to do, but that’s the coach’s view.

Q: If you’re looking to put the best team on the field, that has to be Eli at this point as your quarterback right?

A: Eli’s going to start the game against the Bears.

Q: Can you envision a scenario where you would start Alex Tanney rather than starting Kyle Lauletta?

A: If we felt like he was giving us the best chance to win. That’s the coach’s view.

Q: What have you seen from Alex that would make you think that he would give you the best chance to win over evaluating Kyle?

A: Doing what quarterbacks do. All along, he’s been our number-two guy. Aside from the fact that Kyle was drafted in the fourth-round, all along he’s been out number-two guy. He does the things that we think can help us win a game.

Q: You did have your rationale going into the season of why you wanted Alex to be the number-two quarterback. You talked a lot about the veteran presence, a guy who can come into games without much prep or snaps and be able to pick the team up, but it is a different story if you’re planning for a quarterback starting a game in 2019, 2018, whenever it is. I don’t know how you could ever get to the point this year where you look at your other quarterbacks from what you’ve seen on the field and say they are a better option to help the Giants win a football game than Eli Manning.

A: And we’ve got to evaluate that on every Monday as we get ready to play the next game.

Q: Is there any concern on Odell that there would ever even be that perception from him, that you weren’t attacking their weakness because they were so banged up in the secondary?

A: That was one man’s opinion after an emotional loss, but what happens is you get an opportunity to get a good night’s sleep, watch the tape, and maybe change his opinion.

Q: Do you feel the need to discuss it with him?

A: I discuss a lot of things with all the players.

Q: When you go back and watch the tape, you were up 19-3 at one point, 19-11, and Saquon only touched the ball five times in the second half. Were there missed opportunities to continue running the ball in that situation?

A: Yeah, really the part of the game that was disappointing for me was the first couple drives of the third quarter. We had three penalties in one drive. We had a dropped pass that got us back on schedule – would’ve gotten us back on schedule – and then we had the long third down situations, which certainly plays into the hands of the team that has an excellent pass rush. What happens is, they’re controlling the ball. The third quarter kind of goes away quickly, so what I would say is this, if we didn’t have those penalties, if we didn’t drop that pass, we would have been able to stay on the field and get to doing some of the things that we would have liked to have done in the third quarter that we did in the first and second. Then all the sudden, it’s in the fourth quarter. That can happen in a lot of games.

Q: When you decide to give Saquon a drive off like that, how early do you decide that? Is that at pre-game, is that at halftime, is that in the moment?

A: It’s a feel, but I don’t understand why everybody’s confused about that because (Wayne) Gallman went in and had productive runs. Is it more about Saquon or is it about Wayne? What’s the question here? It happened to be in the third quarter when we were doing a lot of other things that kept us from having more plays, so it’s a little bit of a perfect storm in the Saquon basket.

Q: Once Eli throws that interception, you can feel the game turning, Odell’s not on the field-

A: Who felt the game turning? I didn’t. We’re up by eight going into halftime, we’re going to come out and play another half of football. But you guys know I’m nuts, so it doesn’t matter. I didn’t feel the game turning. We were in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at halftime, right? What was the score? 19-11. And you come out, you keep swinging, you keep fighting and do what you can to score more points and keep them from scoring points. Done.

Q: For a team that’s won six games in the last 27, how important is it to create a belief that you can win, as opposed to who can play/who can’t play?

A: It’s huge, because I think we need to learn how to win again here. The last two weeks, we won one by coming back. A week ago, we won one by playing from the front. This week we got ahead on a team, and didn’t hold the lead, so there’s things to be learned in all three of those as you learn to win a game. We’re doing it with a lot of very young players, and a lot of really backup-type players from our initial roster, so it’s a great opportunity for them to help us win.

Q: I don’t want to limit this to just sacks, but other trackable numbers – hurries, pressures – is it concerning that you’re not getting more out of Olivier Vernon, given his resume?

A: We look at that. Certainly getting pressure on the quarterback is important. We want all of our really good players to get production. He’s out there, he’s contributing. You don’t sack the quarterback or the quarterback has a pretty good day throwing the ball. Certainly part of it is the rush.

Q: Why don’t you think it’s happened for him this year then, at least to the level people expected?

A: He got a little bit of a slow start, missed six games.

Q: You don’t see teams putting more attention towards him?

A: No, not really. Again, this is my first exposure to OV. You know way more about him than I do in terms of his history here with the Giants. But no, I don’t see teams spending extra resources to block him.

Q: What’s your level of concern with the defense at this point? Do you think there’s any carryover from almost letting the Bucs get back into it and letting the Eagles back into it?

A: No, when you look at it, I think it comes down to isolated plays. You always start when a team has some success running the ball like they did with run fits. Obviously, stopping the run is a team thing. We’ve just got to make sure we’re good there, and then when they drop back to pass, whether we’re playing in zone, we’ve got to disrupt when they’re throwing or if it’s man, we’ve got to cover down real well and then get pressure as we just alluded to. We’ve got to just keep working on all those things. We’ve got a lot of young, new players in there playing and we’ve just got to continue to get better in all areas.

Q: Is there more of an attitude that needs to be clear on defense to finish these games off, as opposed to just X’s and O’s and classroom stuff?

A: This game didn’t work out in the way we wanted it to. Two weeks prior, it did. They had the ball, the two games that we’ve won, the team we were playing had the ball at the end and we didn’t let them in the end zone. That was good. Yesterday was not.

Q: After the 1-7 start, you had the break, then you won two games and there was a sense that guys were juiced up by that.

A: You called it a little buzz, right?

A: Yes, a little buzz. Do you think now that they’ve lost this difficult game on the road in the division, it changes the way the records look a little bit, do you need to speak to them or get them back up? Because they did have that little buzz.

A: It’s just like he was worried about the feeling when we were winning 19-11, the buzz thing – no. You get back to work, and you put a team on the field to beat the Bears, and you create that buzz by winning the game.

Q: Do you have to guard against guys checking out? You win that game, you’re two games out of first place, a lot more to fight for. Do you feel like losing that game, it’s a challenge to keep guys invested?

A: Guard against? No. Just watch behavior. Do your job, be a good teammate, bust your ass, do what you have to do to help win a game. You don’t guard against it, you coach it back.

Q: Should there have been a penalty on that last play on the tripping (leg whip)?

A: No, I don’t think you’re allowed to trip (leg whip). I did the math on that though. If that is in fact a penalty, then we would have been kicking with the wind for a 62-yarder with a strong-legged kicker.

Q: Tripping is a 15-yard penalty?

A: I think tripping is 15. Then that would have given us – we had a 63-yarder made against us. So, who knows?

Q: Sterling (Shepard) only has 11 targets coming out of the bye in the last three weeks. Is that just a byproduct of committing more to the run?

A: He actually had a couple yesterday that were designed to go to Odell, that deep ball. He’s had some good production. I thought yesterday he had the deep two he caught, he caught a naked, so he’s had production. It’s good when we throw it to him. He does a good job.

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:

NOTES…
The Giants are 0-4 in the NFC East.

The Giants have lost five in a row, nine of the last 10, and 18 of their last 22 games against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants have lost five consecutive games in Lincoln Financial Field.

The Giants did not force a turnover for the fourth time this season. They are 0-4 this season and have lost their last nine games in which they did not have a takeaway.

The 100-yard rushing games was Saquon Barkley’s fourth of the season, a record for a Giants rookie. He had been tied with Eddie Price, who ran for more than 100 yards in three games in 1950.

Barkley increased his season total to 829 rushing yards. That moved him ahead of Ron Dayne (770 yards in 2000) and into second place on the Giants’ single-season rookie list, just one yard shy of the record-holder, Hall of Famer Tuffy Leemans, who rushed for 830 yards in 1936.

Barkley has scored 12 touchdowns, tying the Giants’ rookie record set by Bill Paschal in 1943, and matched by Odell Beckham, Jr. in 2014.

Barkley increased his yards from scrimmage total to 1,410 (829 rushing, 581 receiving). That is also a Giants rookie record. Beckham had held the mark with 1,340 yards from scrimmage in 2014.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.

Nov 252018
 
Jake Elliott, Phildelphia Eagles (November 25, 2018)

So Predictable – © USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 25 – NEW YORK GIANTS 22…
After trailing 19-3, the Philadelphia Eagles came back to defeat the New York Giants 25-22 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon. With the loss, the Giants fell to 3-8 overall on the season.

The Giants received the football to start the game and put together an impressive 9-play, 75-yard opening drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning to running back Saquon Barkley. The Eagles were flagged with a penalty on the touchdown and Head Coach Pat Shurmur decided to go for the 2-point conversion, which failed. The Giants led 6-0.

The Eagles picked up one first down on their first drive, but punted. The Giants then drove 87 yards in 10 plays, but could get no closer than the 7-yard yard line and settled for a 25-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. The Giants now led 9-0.

The Eagles picked up one first down on their second drive, but once more were forced to punt. Again the Giants responded with points as New York drove 54 yards in 10 plays to set up a 51-yard field goal by Rosas. Giants 12 – Eagles 0.

Philadelphia finally got on the board on their third possession as they moved the ball 46 yards in seven plays to set up a 42-yard field goal. The Giants quickly charged back with tight end Rhett Ellison gaining 20 yards on a reception, Barkley picking up four yards, and then Barkley breaking off a spectacular 51-yard touchdown run. With just over four minutes to go before the half, the Giants led 19-3.

The final four minutes of the half proved critical however. First, the Eagles scored a touchdown quickly by driving 75 yards in six plays, with the possession culminating with a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Carson Wentz to tight end Zach Ertz. The Eagles also converted the 2-point conversion to cut the Giants lead to 19-11. The Giants then wasted a 46-yard kickoff return by wideout Corey Coleman when Manning foolishly threw to a well-covered wide receiver Odell Beckham at the Eagles 2-yard line. The pass was picked off, ending the scoring threat, and the chance for at least another field goal.

The third quarter began with both teams exchanging punts but the Eagles winning the field position battle in the exchange. Philadelphia began their second drive of the half in Giants’ territory, which led to a 29-yard field goal. Giants 19 – Eagles 14.

After Barkley gained 94 yards rushing and 37 yards receiving with two touchdowns in the first half, the Giants inexplicably went away from calling his number. Barkley only carried the ball four times in the second half of the game, and caught one more pass. Not surprisingly, the Giants punted again on their next two possessions..

The Eagles went ahead in the 4th quarter on a 7-play, 61-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run and another successful 2-point conversion. Philadelphia now led 22-19 with 10 minutes left in the game.

New York finally scored their first (but unfortunately only) points of the second half by responding with an 8-play, 56-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard field goal. With 5:49 left, the game was tied 22-22.

The ensuing game-winning drive by the Eagles was predictable. Philadelphia drove 50 yards in 10 plays, eating 5:27 off of the clock. The defense had a chance to stop them on 4th-and-1, but the Eagles easily converted with a 12-yard pass completion over the middle.

The Eagles kicked the game-winning field goal with 22 seconds left on the clock. The last three plays by the Giants only resulted in seven yards. Game over.

Manning finished 26-of-37 for 297 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. His leading targets were Barkley (7 catches for 41 yards and one touchdown) and Beckham (5 catches for 85 yards). Barkley gained 101 rushing yards and one touchdown on 13 carries.

Defensively, the Giants did not force a turnover. They did have three sacks, with one each by linebacker Alec Ogletree, linebacker Tae Davis, and defensive lineman Mario Edwards.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were defensive end Kerry Wynn (concussion), quarterback Kyle Lauletta, wide receiver Jawill Davis, center Evan Brown, nose tackle John Jenkins, cornerback Tony Lippett, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Tight end Evan Engram injured his hamstring during pre-game warm-ups and did not play.

Wide receiver/returner Quadree Henderson left the game with a fractured shoulder and did not return.

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

  • Head Coach Pat Shurmur (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (Video)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media on Monday.

Nov 232018
 
Kerry Wynn, New York Giants (September 23, 2018)

Kerry Wynn – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Defensive end Kerry Wynn (concussion) was the only player to not practice on Friday. He has officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed place kicker Marshall Koehn to the Practice Squad and terminated the Practice Squad contract of tight end Garrett Dickerson.

“No (nothing wrong with Aldrick Rosas), this time of year and you’ll see as we go through the season, we’re just kicking tires on guys,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “Obviously he competed well for us during camp and we brought him back in midseason, you just never know when you might need a guy, and kicker’s the same as any other position.”

Koehn was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Dolphins (2016), Minnesota Vikings (2017), and Cincinnati Bengals (2017). The Giants signed Koehn to a reserve/futures contract in January 2018, but waived him before the season started. He’s played in only one regular-season game with no field goal attempts.

The Giants signed undrafted rookie free agent Garrett Dickerson in June 2018. He began the season on the team’s Practice Squad, was added to the 53-man roster, and then re-signed to the Practice Squad.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The team plays the Eagles on Sunday in Philadelphia.

Nov 232018
 
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (September 24, 2017)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

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Game Preview: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, November 25, 2018

THE STORYLINE:
December 2016 was the last time the Giants won two games in a row. And it seems like it was longer ago than even that. With much justification, critics will charge that the victories came against two bad football teams. But given that the Giants have been one of the very worst teams in football the past two seasons, this is measurable progress. Now comes the ultimate litmus test for the New York Giants – their long-time nemesis, the team that has treated them like little bitches since 2007.

In last week’s preview, I raised the following five questions:

  1. Is Pat Shurmur the right coach to turn this thing around?
  2. Is Dave Gettleman the right general manager?
  3. Who will quarterback this team in 2019?
  4. How do we improve the pass rush?
  5. Is the team getting better?

The jury is still out on Shurmur. To his credit, the team has not quit on him and what had been a pathetic offense has showed some signs of life the past two weeks. However, each week there seems to be in-game coaching issues, and that bears watching.

Dave Gettleman’s initial free agent period with the Giants was a disaster, while his draft class appears strong. Gettleman was roundly criticized for taking Saquon Barkley, but thus far, Barkley has lived up to the hype. Gettleman has also done a nice job in picking up a couple of players in-season that were cut loose by other teams such as Jamon Brown and Corey Coleman. This roster needs a ton of work however.

Just when many were ready to bury him for good, Eli Manning plays two strong, back-to-back games. These are the kind of games many of us expected from Eli entering the 2018 season. Can he keep it up? His loyal advocates continue to assert that if you give Eli time, he will play well. (That is true of most viable NFL quarterbacks). But he also may be at the stage of his career when he does better limiting his passing attempts (only 18 last week). Regardless, after a very rough first-half of the season, it is a safe bet that if Manning finishes 2018 on a high note, John Mara and Dave Gettleman are far more likely to hitch their wagon to him for another season.

The Giants continue to average a sack per game. This is a major problem that simply must be addressed in the offseason.

It feels like the team is getting better. Winning – even against bad teams – does that for you. The offense is clearly improving as the Giants have broken the 27 offensive point mark the past two games. The defense feels like a patch job holding on for dear life. Again, the truer litmus test will be on Sunday. Will the team regress back to its old form or will they begin to get that green monkey off of their back?

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • DE Kerry Wynn (concussion – out)

Even counting the players on Injured Reserve, this is the healthiest the Giants have been in memory.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:

The last time these two teams played in October, the Giants only scored 13 points, the touchdown coming when the game was already out-of-hand at 31-6. Once again, the Eagles’ defensive front abused the Giants’ offensive line. Saquon Barkley played well with 130 rushing yards and 99 receiving yards. But Eli Manning was terrible and threw a killer interception right off the bat. Odell Beckham was limited to 44 yards and Sterling Shepard to 37 yards.

The Eagles secondary is a mess with their top five corners are nursing injuries. On paper, Beckham and Shepard should eat this group alive. However, the primary issue remains. The Giants’ offensive front can’t seem to block the Eagles. Nate Solder, Chad Wheeler, John Greco (now benched), and Patrick Omameh (since cut) struggled in October. Hopefully, the presence of Jamon Brown will continue to improve the line, but both tackles need to play far better against the Eagles’ outside pass rushers.

So the key question here is do the Giants get away from worked so well against Tampa Bay and start throwing the ball more to take advantage of the Eagles’ secondary, while at the same time exposing Eli to hits and negative plays? Or do they minimize the passing attempts and rely on Saquon Barkley to carry the load?

Right or wrong, my guess is Pat Shurmur will be too tempted to throw the football more than he did last week. I hope he at least keeps some degree of balance because the Giants and Eli have gotten into trouble most times they start winging the ball all over the place. At this stage of his career, and during a season where he has already been sacked 36 times, relying on the run seems to settle Eli down.

The Eagles will undoubtedly double Odell. Sterling Shepard may be primed for a big game.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:

As Sy’56 discussed in his last game review, the Giants’ run defense has clearly deteriorated since the team traded away Damon Harrison. And covering anyone over the middle of the field continues to be a major problem. As discussed above, the Giants simply are unable to rush the passer with any degree of consistency.

The Eagles are struggling to run the football this year, falling to 25th in the NFL. They are 14th in passing. What remains interesting with them is their passing game appears almost exclusively focused on tight end Zach Ertz (an incredible 77 receptions, 5 touchdowns), wide receiver Nelson Agholor (46 catches, 1 touchdown), and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (37 catches, 4 touchdowns). No other target has more than 18 catches.

As much as Jeffery and Agholor can cause issues, most fans recognize that Ertz and fellow tight end Dallas Goedert (3 touchdowns) are the two most likely to feast on the Giants’ piss poor pass defense over the middle. The team also can’t ignore the backs despite the fact they haven’t been a major factor in the Philly pass attack in 2018.

The Giants need a good game by Janoris Jenkins from start to finish against Jeffery, and hope that B.W. Webb has another solid performance. Landon Collins did not play well the last time these two teams met.

The weaknesses are obvious. Put yourself in the shoes of an opposing offensive coordinator. He knows the Giants safeties and linebackers can’t cover. And the Giants can’t get any heat on the quarterback. Ertz has to be salivating.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:

The Giants gave up a 23-yard punt return to the Eagles in October that helped to set up a touchdown. Aldrick Rosas had his only miss on the season too, from 52 yards out.

THE FINAL WORD:
The Eagles are most likely going to score more than 20 points against the Giants’ defense. So the Giants’ offense is going to have to keep up, and score touchdowns in the red zone. We are about to get a much better read on Eli Manning. He’s got to accept the fact that he is going to get hit in the mouth, and still make plays for his team to win.