Aug 312019
 
Kyle Lauletta, New York Giants (August 16 2019)

Kyle Lauletta – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS REDUCE ROSTER TO 53 PLAYERS…
On Saturday, in order to meet the NFL’s 53-man roster limit, the New York Giants made the following 36 roster moves:

Placed on the Reserve/Suspended List:

  • WR Golden Tate

Placed on Injured Reserve:

  • RB Rod Smith (adductor)
  • WR Brittan Golden (calf)
  • TE Scott Simonson (ankle)
  • OT George Asafo-Adjei (concussion)
  • LB Jonathan Anderson (knee)

Waived or contracts terminated:

  • QB Kyle Lauletta (2018 4th-round draft pick)
  • RB Jon Hilliman
  • WR T.J. Jones
  • WR Reggie White, Jr.
  • WR Alex Wesley (waived/injured – foot/ankle)
  • TE C.J. Conrad
  • TE Jake Powell
  • OC James O’Hagan
  • OC/OG Evan Brown
  • OG Malcolm Bunche
  • OT Paul Adams
  • OT Chad Wheeler (waived/injured – back)
  • OT Victor Salako (waived/injured – shoulder)
  • NT John Jenkins
  • NT Chris Slayton (2019 7th-round draft pick)
  • DE Jake Ceresna
  • DE Freedom Akinmoladun
  • LB Avery Moss (2017 5th-round draft pick)
  • LB Jake Carlock
  • LB Josiah Tauaefa
  • LB Terrence Fede
  • LB Keion Adams (waived/injured – knee)
  • LB Joey Alfieri
  • CB Henre’ Toliver (waived/injured – ankle)
  • CB Ronald Zamort (waived/injured – ankle)
  • CB Terrell Sinkfield, Jr.
  • S Kenny Ladler (waived/injured – hamstring)
  • S Tenny Adewusi
  • LS Taybor Pepper
  • P Johnny Townsend

Safety Kamrin Moore, who did not count against the roster, was waived off the commissioner’s exempt list.

“We are in the second year of building the kind of team we all want,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur in the team’s press release. “The process never stops. The communication between (General Manager) Dave (Gettleman) and I and our coaches and Dave’s staff is really good. The group of 90 that was with us through the spring and summer bought into what we are building here and created the kind of competition that makes for tough decisions.

“For the players who were released today, we thank them for their effort and commitment, and we told them to stay ready because you never know when your next opportunity will come, either here or somewhere else.

“I said it last week, it’s a credit to Kyle (Lauletta) the way he came in here every day and worked to get better and competed after we drafted Daniel. Not every guy would respond that way, and Kyle improved as a result. So there was a lot to consider in that decision, but ultimately we decided to go with (Alex) Tanney.”

The Giants can begin signing players to their 10-man practice squad on Sunday.

For an overview of the existing team, see the Depth Chart section of the website.

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

Aug 312019
 
Spencer Pulley, New York Giants (August 29, 2019)

Spencer Pulley – © USA TODAY Sports

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New York Giants 31 – New England Patriots 29

QUICK RECAP

Preseason game number 4. The point where coaches have made most of their roster decisions and are now hoping for no serious injuries to their backups and rotational players. The Giants headed to New England to face off against the Patriots, as per usual, in the final game prior to the regular season. The Giants kept their starters on the bench for this one, giving roster hopefuls a shot at showing what they can do with an extended amount of snaps.

The Patriots, led by rookie Jarrett Stidham, marched down the field and put NE up 3-0 after the first drive. He had Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and Demaryius Thomas running routes and catching balls for him. If this were 2013, that could have passed for the best WR trio in the NFL. It was a good, true test for the youthful NYG defensive backs to be up against such established pass catchers even though they are past their primes.

Daniel Jones started for NYG, pulling an Eli Manning and staying out there for just one series. He remained near-perfect on the preseason, going 4/4 and 47 yards. The fact that Shurmur pulled him after one series has to tell you something.

The Giants forced a turnover via pressure from Jake Ceresna, which caused an errant pass by Stidham, landing in the arms of safety Sean Chandler. With Alex Tanney at the helm on ensuing drive, it took just two plays for NYG to reach the end zone. A perfectly thrown ball to Alonzo Russell gave them the 35-yard score, putting Big Blue up 7-3. It didn’t take long for the Giants to get the ball back, one play actually. A poor exchange on an attempted reverse resulted in the ball being put on the ground, which was recovered by Keion Adams. The Giants turned that turnover in 3 points, giving them a 10-3 lead as the first quarter came to an end.

With the all-2013 wide receiver group still in, Stidham was able to get the NE offense back on track, hitting Thomas for a 35-yard score. After a NYG three-and-out, Stidham again hit Thomas, this time for a 3-yard score and all of the sudden NE was up 16-10. Things were getting ugly for the NYG offense via penalties and eventually an interception by Tanney. It was the first of two INTs by Tanney on the night.

The Patriots offense took over the rest of the first half and entered halftime with a commanding 29-10 lead. The Giants offense couldn’t convert on 3rd down and the Pats offense was continuing to play their simple but efficient style of football.

Kyle Lauletta came out under center to start off the second half and led a nice resurgence. He was on the money for the rest of the night and led this team to within striking distance. Despite several dropped balls and some of his targets going down with lower body injuries, he looked very smooth and efficient. He threw a perfect deep pass to Scott Simonson for his first of two touchdowns. Wayne Gallman, who saw the most preseason action of the year, scored a physical 6-yard touchdown and Aldrick Rosas hit a 27-yard field goal.

The Giants defense came up with several key stops and applied a lot of pressure from the middle of the line. John Jenkins and Ceresna were standouts.

The dramatic finish had NYG facing a 29-25 deficit with 4 seconds remaining. Lauletta, who was dominant on 3rd down all night, was in his highest-pressure situation of the night, one play left from the NE 14-yard line. He hit Russell for the touchdown as time expired to complete the 19-point comeback and 21 unanswered points.

Giants win 31-29 and end the preseason a perfect 4-0.

QUARTERBACKS

-Starter Eli Manning didn’t play in this one, giving Jones his first unofficial start of his career. He was able prepare for the game as the number one guy on the depth chart all week, another check mark on the QB progression list. Jones had a quick night, just one series, and completed all 4 of his attempts. Two of those completions were to Golden Tate, a combo we are sure to see later in the year. Jones has a superb preseason and instilled as much confidence as one can during preseason action.

-Alex Tanney had a night to forget while Kyle Lauletta had arguably his best half as a Giant. The former went 4/12 – 1 TD – 2 INT, while the latter went led a 19-point comeback, going 22/40 – 247 yards – 2 TD. He was also the victim of multiple drops and could have easily wound up over 300 yards, in just one half. Perhaps the most impressive part of his game was the performance on 3rd and 4th down. He went 12/15-166 yards-2 TD. It was truly dominant.

RUNNING BACKS

-Paul Perkins ended the preseason strong with two straight strong weeks. He rushed for 54 yards on 11 carries, displaying outstanding ability in space to miss tacklers and gain yards after contact. Still not a good between the tackles runner who can push piles, though.

-Wayne Gallman added 29 yards on 7 carries to go along with 3 receptions for 24 yards. His 6-yard touchdown run caught me by surprise with how physically he finished it off and pushed multiple defenders into the end zone. I was surprised to see him get so much action late in the game, but I’m glad he did. It is important for running backs to knock heads a few times in live action before the season starts.

WIDE RECEIVERS

-Long-winded night for the likes of Alonzo Russell, Reggie White Jr., and T.J. Jones. It was the most they all played during preseason and you could tell it impacted their performance late in the game. Russell was the star of the group, going 5-92-2 on an amazing 15 targets. Some analysts who are overly-obsessive about numbers will tell you that was an inefficient game, but Russell all but stamped his name onto the roster. He ran good routes, he tracked the ball well, and made physical catches. With the uncertainty at WR early in the year, he will get his shot. He did, however, drop a pass and another one on a 2-point conversion.

-T.J. Jones hobbled off the field a couple times, the second appearing more serious. He has had a few issues staying healthy and even though I think his versatility can land him a roster spot, I’m not sold he has a spot locked in.

TIGHT ENDS

-Scott Simonson, whom has had a problem with drops this preseason, made arguably the best catch of his Giants career on a 27-yard touchdown. He got downfield in a hurry and made a diving grab. Unfortunately, he injured his ankle on the play and had to be carted off. As of typing the review, no final result has been publicized but it didn’t look good.

-C.J. Conrad stepped up and had a nice game in the trenches. Very stifling blocker who rarely gets beat. He has been a consistent player all preseason and continued to show he can catch the ball when it is thrown his way as well. Jake Powell got some extra action after the injury, catching three passes and dropping another.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-As I have been saying all preseason, the NYG second-string offensive line is the best it has been in quite some time, most notably on the right side. Chad Slade and Nick Gates are playing powerfully and balanced. Their footwork has been on point and both play a violent game with their hands.

-Really rough game for left tackle Brian Mihalik. He was flagged 3 times, gave up 2 pressures and allowed 1 TFL. He may win the backup left tackle job by default unless this team thinks Gate or Slade can handle it, which I would prefer.

-Evan Brown and James O’Hagan both struggled to contain the NE interior defenders. They got minimal push, if anything. There appeared to be some miscommunication on blitzes as well.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-Really active game from R.J. McIntosh and that is a word that keeps coming up every time I watch him. He gets off the ball fast and there is plenty of quick-twitch reaction and movement to his game.

-One of my NYG favorites of the preseason has been Jake Ceresna. I first noticed him in practice and then he popped up a few times in the games. He saved his best effort for last, as he finished with 2 TFL, 1 sack, and 2 pressures. This kid still has some developing to do, but the second-year undrafted free agent has done everything a back end roster player can do to make a spot for himself on the practice squad.

-John Jenkins had 2 tackles and a sack. He has really improved his quickness and game speed since coming into the league from Georgia back in 2013. The former 3rd round pick makes me feel good about the depth on the interior of this defensive line.

LINEBACKERS

-B.J. Goodson is proving he belongs on this team and can make an impact when called upon. I won’t bang the table for him to start (yet) because he isn’t the ideal schematic fit, but this guy needs to make the team. He is a tackling machine and plays with a lot of speed. He finished with a team high 6 tackles in addition to a sack. He also showed some solid downfield coverage on two occasions.

-There may be a quiet roster battle going on between Josiah Tauaefa and Nate Stupar. The latter is a leader on special teams but the former has been making plays when he gets on the field. Really fast reaction and sure tackling in addition to fitting the scheme well. Interested to see what happens there.

-Avery Moss is likely to get another shot here in 2019, but I think Jake Carlock has earned the right to take his roster spot. He had a sack taken away by a defensive hold and we have already noted the energy he brings to the table every play. Moss just doesn’t seem to have it.

CORNERBACKS

Terrell Sinkfield got beat up by the savvy veteran Demaryius Thomas. He continues to show a lack of ability to track and locate the ball. He has an impressive physical package but the skill set is inconsistent. Henre’ Toliver got some good experience in as well against the rusty but still effective Josh Gordon. His results were a bit more mixed, as he did flash here and there.

-Ronald Zamort had arguably his best performance of the preseason as he makes a push for a roster spot or a practice squad allocation. He broke up 2 passes early on.

SAFETIES

-Sean Chandler intercepted a pass and broke up 2 others. He is the one guy who I think this coaching staff really likes, as he can play multiple roles back there and has a knack for the ball.

-Solid game for Julian Love, who I loved coming out of Notre Dame but even I am surprised by how quickly he seems to have taken in both S and CB roles. Smart player who showed a physical side in this one. His future can be wherever this team needs him most, a really valuable asset.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 2/2 (Made 32 and 27). Perfect on the preseason.

-P Riley Dixon and P Johnny Townsend continued to split duties with the latter outperforming the former yet again.

3 STUDS

-QB Kyle Lauletta, WR Alonzo Russell, LB B.J. Goodson

3 DUDS

-OT Brian Mihalik, CB Terrell Sinkfield, QB Alex Tanney

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

-Now comes the most active day of the personnel/team building year. At the time this is posted, several cuts may already have been made. Before you get surprised by anything both with the NYG and around the league, just consider there is a lot of information we don’t have access to when it comes to the “why”? Money, undisclosed injuries, schematic needs…etc.

-If there is one guy I really want NYG to keep around, it is B.J. Goodson. If he an stay healthy and readily available, I think he can be a difference maker in the middle especially with what they have up front along the defensive line. He has holes in coverage, but I think he has shown improvement there and the attitude he brings as a run defender elevates the physicality of this defense.

-When it comes to my outlook of the 2019 season, I have to say I have leaned more towards being optimistic. Much more so than last year, anyway. There is something to this team and the way they come together. Nobody is walking around like they are bigger than everyone else. The team is relatively healthy. The trenches are strong. There are legitimate concerns at a few spots, namely the pass rush, but I think this team will be in the wild card hunt for most, if not all of the season.

Aug 302019
 
Kyle Lauletta, New York Giants (August 29, 2019)

Kyle Lauletta – © USA TODAY Sports

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FRIDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Friday to discuss the team’s 31-29 win over the New England Patriots:

Opening Statement: I really don’t have anything to lead with. Obviously, we are going through the final process of putting the roster together. I had a meeting with the players this morning at 11:30 to talk about the weekend and some of the final thoughts on the game and some final thoughts on training camp that I’ll keep between them and myself. I will say, I appreciate everybody’s efforts. I feel like we are starting to develop the type of team we can all be proud of, but we have a long way to go. This weekend’s process of trying to establish the first 53 will be very important.

Q: A couple of us were talking to Golden Tate yesterday after the game. He was saying he was going to speak to you guys today to try to figure out the plan of what he can and can’t do in terms of contact with the team, coaches and what not. What are those plans? How much is he able to communicate with everyone?

A: Yeah, I have spoken with Golden Tate all along as to what his plans are, and we’ll keep those private. He’s going to have to leave the building for a month, and he’ll be off training and doing what he can do. We’ll get him back when we can get him back.

Q: He wants to try to do what he can so he can still mentor the guys and what not. Is that still allowed if it’s outside of the building? Is that a gray area—how does that work?

A: No, he’s going to be suspended so he can’t be around.

Q: Not in the building, but maybe outside the building?

A: I assume so. That’s part of his personal life. In my mind, he’s going to be gone for a month. I have spoken to him at length a couple of times about what he plans to do and I’m aware of that. We’ll just look forward to getting him back when we can.

Q: I wanted to ask you about the scene at the end of the game last night when everybody came onto the field and celebrated from your bench and what you thought about that. You have spoken about what type of team you’re envisioning. How does that fit into the whole culture that you’re trying to build?

A: I don’t really use the word culture. I think what we’re trying to always do is win games. That’s obviously what you’re trying to do, and we’re certainly all well aware of the fact that game doesn’t count in the record books. The competitive spirit and part of what we’re trying to train our guys to do is finish. I think that group that was in the game, we were involved in a two-minute drive and they found a way to finish with a score that won the game. I think, regardless of what that game meant, for the players involved, it meant that we won and the excitement of winning showed up. I think that there is something good to that.

Q: Do you anticipate letting guys know today or will that all be tomorrow regarding the cutdown? I know some teams have already started, but if memory serves, you didn’t do it until Saturday last year. Will you let guys know today?

A: I wouldn’t speculate on that. I think our initial plan is to do most, if not all, of that tomorrow. I can’t say that something won’t happen today. Again, with regard to who we are keeping, the process of going through it, I really don’t want to speculate, and I don’t think it’s fair to our process here. I think it’s important to remember that since we’ve had the 90-man roster, we have talked at length about all of the players, frequently. Obviously, last night we learned something about more of the guys that will help add to the conversation. I think we’ll keep most of that private until it gets revealed.

Q: I don’t know if this counts as a speculative question that you don’t want to get into, but is there a position where you feel you’re really deep, and a position where it’s going to be exceptionally tough because you think you’re really deep and the numbers might not work out?

A: You are absolutely correct, that is a speculative question.

Q: We’ve talked a lot about how Daniel Jones has looked this summer and his development. What about your starting quarterback? How do you think he’s handled this whole summer, and do you think he’s more ready now in his second year with you to have a big season than he was last year at this time?

A: I think he’s had an outstanding offseason. It started by what he did by himself before the OTA offseason program started. I think he’s had, in my mind, an outstanding camp from the practice setting. He’s executed well in the time that he’s been in the game. He’s certainly a guy that’s got a lot of experience, and when I look at him, I just see a guy that’s much more comfortable in the system for the second year in a row, and I’m looking forward to him having a really good year.

Q: Last night, Brian Mihalik played the whole game. Can you talk about what you saw from him last night, and another guy maybe battling for a roster position, Paul Perkins? Can you talk about what you saw from them, and then maybe a little update on the injuries?

A: Mihalik, he did a good job. He’s a trustworthy guy, and he plays hard, he’s smart, and he’s got all the traits that a coach is looking for—and he’s long, he can play tackle. So, I thought he did a really good job last night in the game. Perkins made some plays and, again, I learned a little bit more about him—I would say we learned a little bit more about him last night in what he did. With regard to the injuries, we’re still finishing up visiting with the guys that you may have questions about, so I don’t have anything definitive there, unless you’ve got a question about a specific guy. That’s part of it this time of year—that’s really the unintended consequences of the fourth preseason game where you don’t play probably a third of your roster, is you’ve got a lot of guys that are playing a lot of snaps and they get exposed to injuries, but that’s just the way it goes.

Q: What’s your comfort level with Cody (Latimer) and Bennie (Fowler III) at receiver, and what kind of summers have they had so far?

A: I feel as though they’ve displayed a veteran presence. They have the skill and ability to play their positions, and I’m comfortable with both those players.

Q: At what point do you think you’ll lift your head up and take a peek around and see what’s going on with Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys?

A: Well, we’ve been quietly working on the Cowboys for a while now. We’ve known since the spring that they’re our opening game, so you always have one eye on the opener. With regard to that, Ezekiel Elliott, I think we’ll just watch that play out like the rest of the world does. Obviously, he’s an outstanding player, but those are really issues of the day for the Cowboys, not so much for us.

Q: Could you give some general insights of what the process is like over the next 12 hours or so?

A: Generally speaking, we came in this morning, we all watched the tape as coaches, graded it like we would the first three preseason games and like we do any other game, met with the players here at 11:30, and kind of sent them on their way—they’re finishing up their treatments, and they’re finishing up their weight lifting. The players will individually look at the tape and make corrections, so coaches within their little group, given that information, spend time with them. This afternoon, we’ll be in meetings discussing who’s going to make the 53—all coaches, Dave (Gettleman) and his staff, and anybody who has a good opinion as to what direction we should go.

Q: Last night, you were asked if Daniel Jones was ready, and your answer was, “He’s getting there.” Now that you get into the regular season, and presumably his reps in practice diminish as you get Eli ready, how does he take that final step to get all the way there to where if you need him at some point, he’s fully ready to go?

A: Well, I think that you continue to work, and this isn’t unique to the quarterback position. I think that the backup player, and the primary backup in this case, is a guy that gets the mental reps, he gets the physical reps before and after practice, during special teams periods—he’ll go and execute all the plays that we would execute in the game. On his own time, under our direction, we get him as ready as we can. That’s just the way this works, and we’re confident that he’s put himself in position to go in and execute at a high level, so that’s really how that works. This is not new.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Friday’s media conference calls with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Saturday and Sunday and return to practice on Monday. The Giants must reduce their roster to 53 players on Saturday.

Aug 302019
 
Alonzo Russell, New York Giants (August 29, 2019)

Alonzo Russell – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS 31 – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 29…
The New York Giants finished their 2019 preseason with a perfect 4-0 record after defeating the New England Patriots 31-29 in a dramatic come-from-behind victory on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Trailing 29-25 with four seconds left, quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alonzo Russell with no time left on the clock for the win. Although the Giants sat half their team, including virtually all starters, the game was a bit costly in that at least six Giants left the field with injuries and did not return (see injury report below).

The Patriots also sat the bulk of their starters except they did decide to play receivers such as Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas, and Josh Gordon against a New York Giants defense that fielded a mix of second, third, and fourth teamers. The Patriots put together a 10-play, 62-yard drive to start the game that ended with a 31-yard field goal.

With Daniel Jones at the helm for his only drive of the night, the Giants moved the ball 62 yards down to the Patriots’ 13-yard line but were stuffed on 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1, turning the ball over on downs. Jones was a perfect 4-of-4 on the drive for 47 yards. The Giants got the ball back when DE Jake Ceresna hit the Patriots’ quarterback Jarrett Stidham as he threw, leading to an easy interception by safety Sean Chandler who returned the football to the New England 37-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Alex Tanney threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Russell. The Giants immediately got the ball back again when the Patriots botched a handoff and linebacker Keion Adams recovered at the Patriots’ 14-yard line. The Giants could not move the ball, however, and settled for a 32-yard field goal. Giants 10 – Patriots 3.

The second quarter was a disaster for the Giants. With Tanney at the helm, New York’s five possessions in the quarter resulted in one first down, three punts, and two interceptions. Meanwhile, the Patriots scored on five of their six possessions, including three touchdown drives and two field goals. New England scored 26 unanswered points to go up 29-10 at the half. 3rd/4th string cornerbacks Ronald Zamort, Henre’ Tolliver, and Terrell Sinkfield had issues covering veteran receivers such as Demaryius Thomas and Josh Gordon.

The script completely flipped in the second half with Kyle Lauletta now starting at quarterback. Jarrett Stidham no longer was throwing to top receivers and the Patriots’ four second half possession ended with three first downs, three punts, and a turnover on downs, the latter occurring when New England was trying to run out the clock. Meanwhile, Lauletta and the Giants’ offense scored four times in five drives, including three touchdowns and a field goal.

The first drive, a 12-play, 66-yard effort, resulted in a 27-yard field goal after wide receiver Reggie White, Jr. dropped what should have been a 9-yard touchdown pass. On the next drive Lauletta threw a 27-yard touchdown pass down the seam to a diving tight end Scott Simonson on 3rd-and-2. Unfortunately, Simonson seriously injured his ankle on the play. Alonzo Russell could not bring in the 2-point conversion attempt and the Giants trailed 29-19. The Giants scored another touchdown on their next possession (8 plays, 42 yards) on a tough 6-yard run by running back Wayne Gallman. The two-point attempt failed again and the Giants now trailed 29-25.

After New England’s third punt in three possessions, the Giants drove from their 24-yard line to the New England 33. However, the drive ended when Lauletta’s 4th-and-3 pass to wide receiver T.J. Jones was dropped. Jones was also injured on this play and did not return.

With 6:27 left in the game, the Patriots picked up two first downs and ran over four minutes off of the clock before turning the ball over on downs at the Giants’ 30-yard line when defensive lineman John Jenkins sacked Stidham on 4th-and-4.

The Giants got the ball with 2:16 left and were pushed back to their own 23-yard line when Lauletta was sacked on the first play of the drive. But Lauletta and the Giants methodically moved the ball down the field, converting on 3rd-and-6, 2nd-and-15, 3rd-and-10, and 4th-and-6. With only four seconds left on the clock, Lauletta threw a 14-yard, walk-off touchdown throw to Alonzo Russell to win the game. The Giants had scored 21 unanswered points despite not kicking one extra point and missing two 2-point conversions.

Jones completed 4-of-4 passes for 47 yards. Tanney completed only 4-of-12 passes for 53 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Lauletta completed 22-of-40 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Alonzo Russell was the leading receiver with five catches (on 15 targets) for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Paul Perkins carried the ball 11 times for 54 yards and Wayne Gallman carried the ball seven times for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, linebacker B.J. Goodson, defensive end Jake Ceresna, and nose tackle John Jenkins all had sacks. Linebacker Keion Adams recovered a fumble and safety Sean Chandler had an interception.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT AND HEALTHY SCRATCHES…
RB Rod Smith (adductor), WR Sterling Shepard (thumb), WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), WR Alex Wesley (ankle), TE Garrett Dickerson (quad), OT Chad Wheeler (back), OT George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), LB Alec Ogletree (calf), CB Antonio Hamilton (groin), CB Sam Beal (hamstring) and S Kenny Ladler (hamstring) did not play.

WR T.J. Jones (ankle?), WR Brittan Golden (calf), TE Scott Simonson (ankle), LB Keion Adams (knee), LB Nate Stupar (concussion), and CB Ronald Zamort (ankle) all left the game with injuries and did not return. Simonson left the locker room on crutches and wearing a boot on his left foot.

QB Eli Manning, RB Saquon Barkley, WR Cody Latimer, WR Benny Fowler, WR Russell Shepard, TE Evan Engram, TE Rhett Ellison, OG Kevin Zeitler, OG Will Hernandez, OT Mike Remmers, OT Nate Solder, OC Jon Halapio, NT Dalvin Tomlinson, DE B.J. Hill, DE Dexter Lawrence, DE Olsen Pierre, LB Markus Golden, LB Lorenzo Carter, LB Tae Davis, LB Kareem Martin, LB Oshane Ximines, CB Janoris Jenkins, CB Deandre Baker, CB Grant Haley, CB Corey Ballentine, S Jabrill Peppers, S Antoine Bethea, S Michael Thomas, and LS Zak DeOssie were healthy scratches.

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)
  • RB Paul Perkins (Video)
  • WR Golden Tate (Video)
  • WR Alonzo Russell (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media by conference call on Friday. The players are off on Saturday and Sunday and return to practice on Monday. The Giants must reduce their roster to 53 players on Saturday.

Aug 282019
 
Oshane Ximines, New York Giants (August 22, 2019)

Oshane Ximines – © USA TODAY Sports

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Preseason Game Preview: New York Giants at New England Patriots, August 29, 2019

THE STORYLINE:
The primary goals of the final preseason game are (1) get out as healthy as possible, and (2) make final determinations on roster spots. We already know Eli Manning won’t play. Saquon Barkley is surely a healthy scratch and most starters won’t play or will barely play. Knock on wood, but the Giants have thus far made it through the summer without any serious injuries other than Corey Coleman. That said, the injury report (see below) is fairly long and quite a few players who would have benefited from playing in this game will not play.

THE INJURY REPORT:
The following players are not likely to play on Thursday night:

  • RB Rod Smith (adductor)
  • WR Golden Tate (concussion)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (thumb)
  • WR Darius Slayton (hamstring)
  • WR Alex Wesley (ankle)
  • TE Garrett Dickerson (quad)
  • OT Chad Wheeler (back)
  • OT George Asafo-Adjei (concussion)
  • LB Alec Ogletree (calf)
  • CB Antonio Hamilton (groin)
  • CB Sam Beal (hamstring)
  • S Kenny Ladler (hamstring)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
It is believed that the offense will be the stronger side of the ball once the regular season starts. Eli Manning has had a strong summer. He has  his best offensive line in almost a decade. The Giants arguably have the best running back in football. Evan Engram can be a real match-up problem for safeties and linebackers. On paper, the wide-receiving corps looks weak and lacks a dynamic deep threat, but they may benefit from the threat of Barkley and Engram.

Manning won’t play on Thursday. Depending on what transpires during the next three months, this may be the final time we see Daniel Jones in a game until August 2020. Don’t take this the wrong way, but he’s due for a “bad game.” Right now, his overall numbers are insane: 25-of-30 (83.3 percent completion rate) for 369 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a 140.1 quarterback rating! That can’t continue. But if he has a decent game on Thursday, his rookie preseason has to be considered a tremendous success.

In terms of the pecking order, Alex Tanney still officially the 3rd-string quarterback with Kyle Lauletta pulling up the rear. Do the Giants carry three quarterbacks? If so, do they part ways already with their 4th-round pick in last year’s draft?

Saquon Barkley is the starter. Wayne Gallman is the back-up. Although he has only touched the ball once this preseason, Elijhaa Penny is the only back on the roster with fullback blocking skills. “I’m very fond of (Penny) because he’s one of the people in this building that, in my opinion, has never had a bad day,” said Pat Shurmur last week. “He’s a little bit of an inspiration to me because he just keeps going. He loves the game and he keeps playing. He’s done some good stuff for us.” Perhaps I’m falling for false praise, but I think he makes it. On the other hand, none of the other backs really impresses me. Paul Perkins has flashed catching the ball, but he plays small. I would not be shocked to see the Giants just carry three backs again. Or perhaps pick someone up off of the waiver wire.

Wide receiver is a bit convoluted because of Golden Tate’s suspension and nagging injuries to Sterling Shepard (thumb) and Darius Slayton (hamstring). Tate will start the season off of the 53-man roster on the suspended list. They won’t IR Slayton because of a hamstring. They will likely carry him on the 53-man roster and hold him inactive for a few weeks on game day. Sterling Shepard should be fine. I originally thought the Giants may only carry five wideouts but now I’m leaning towards six. Until Tate gets back, Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler will see a lot of playing time. T.J. Jones was only signed when camp started, but he has surprisingly performed well and has veteran starting experience. Unless the Giants carry seven wideouts, that leaves only one spot for Russell Shepard (very good special teams player), Alonzo Russell (good size and has flashed), and Brittan Golden (special teams return ability and has flashed in passing game). I think they go with Russell Shepard. Look for at least one of these guys and Reggie White, Jr. to end up on the Practice Squad.

Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison remain the top two tight ends. But do the Giants carry three or four? Shurmur has praised C.J. Conrad’s blocking. Garrett Dickerson has flashed as a receiver, but is hurt by the fact he probably won’t play in this game. Scott Simonson can block, but he hasn’t helped his cause with some dropped passes.

We know who the starters are. It will be interesting to see if they play a series or two on Thursday with Daniel Jones. Interestingly, Nick Gates and Chad Slade came out of nowhere and seem to have elevated themselves as the primary OL back-ups other than Spencer Pulley. That’s eight; the Giants may keep nine. It was expected that Chad Wheeler (slowed by back issues) and Brian Mihalik (slowed by burner) would have been in the mix, but they may now be both outside looking in. George Asafo-Adjei’s summer was wrecked by a concussion and he is likely headed to IR.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The defense is expected to be the weak spot on the 2019 New York Giants. We shall see. The prevailing narrative is that they should be tough to run on (inconsistent evidence of this in the preseason), have issues rushing the passer (confirmed during the preseason), and field a green secondary that will screw up but get better as the year progresses.

Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill, and Dexter Lawrence are the starters up front. They will be backed up by R.J. McIntosh and Olsen Pierre. Probably the only real battle here is John Jenkins versus Chris Slayton if the Giants only carry six defensive linemen.

The outside linebackers will be Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden, Kareem Martin, and Oshane Ximines. The Giants are probably hoping Jake Carlock makes it to the Practice Squad. Inside, Alec Ogletree, Tae Davis, and Ryan Connelly are the sure bets. The tea leaves suggest the Giants are going to mistakenly keep Nate Stupar over B.J. Goodson. Josiah Tauaefa might end up on the Practice Squad.

Sam Beal missed both of his first two training camps. Like Darius Slayton, I think the Giants will carry him on the 53-man roster and keep him inactive until his hamstring is better (he’s finally doing individual drills). Deandre Baker’s knee injury and Antonio Hamilton’s groin injury has also complicated the picture. Based on the preseason pecking order, the coaches obviously like Hamilton more than most fans had expected.

Janoris Jenkins and Deandre Baker will be the starting corners with Grant Haley being the slot corner. Corey Ballentine will make the team, as well as Beal and Hamilton. That makes six. I think the Giants will keep four safeties. Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea will start. Michael Thomas and Julian Love will be the back-ups. I don’t see a spot for Sean Chandler or Kenny Ladler unless the Giants carry 11 defensive backs.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
It’s pretty clear the coaches are not happy with the punting situation. The team will probably be scouring the waiver wire. The Corey Coleman injury did impact the return game and it seems like the Giants are still scrambling a bit. I’m still not sure who will be the opening day punt and kickoff returners. They could put Jabrill Peppers back there.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Benny Fowler and Cody Latimer: “There’s a veteran presence there. They know how to play the game. They played a lot of football, and there’s a confidence that they know what to do, they’ll compete and make plays.”

THE FINAL WORD:
The Giants must reduce the roster from 90 to 53 on Saturday so we will see at least 37 roster moves and probably more.

Aug 272019
 
Daniel Jones, Kyle Lauletta, and Eli Manning; New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Daniel Jones, Kyle Lauletta, and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

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AUGUST 27, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their twenty-first and last full-team summer training camp practice of this summer on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Officially, the team’s summer training camp is over.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Rod Smith (adductor), wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), tight end Garrett Dickerson (quad), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), and safety Kenny Ladler (hamstring) did not practice on Tuesday.

Cornerback Antonio Hamilton (groin), cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring), and offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (back) were limited to individual drills.

Wide receiver Alex Wesley (left ankle) had to be carted off of the field after injuring himself in a non-contact drill. “Ankle,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “His ankle has been a little sore. They’re checking it out.”

Left tackle Nate Solder was excused from practice for personal reasons.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Today’s practice was more of a 3/4 speed preparation for Thursday’s game.
  • Chad Slade and Paul Adams both took reps as the first-team left tackle.
  • WR Alonzo Russell caught three long passes, including two from QB Daniel Jones and one from QB Alex Tanney.
  • In red-zone drills, QB Daniel Jones threw touchdown passes to WR Brittan Golden (twice), TE Jake Powell, and WR Alonzo Russell.
  • In red-zone drills, QB Alex Tanney threw a touchdown pass to TE C.J. Conrad.

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:

  • CB Corey Ballentine (Video)
Aug 262019
 
Rhett Ellison, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Rhett Ellison – © USA TODAY Sports

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AUGUST 26, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their twentieth full-team summer training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The remaining training camp practices are no longer open to the public.

“Good practice,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “(We did) Thursday (regular-season) things today. We did red zone, we did a little two minute (drill), which was good. Very spirited and competitive today. I think we got a lot done, and so we’ll push forward tomorrow. We’ll try to scheme it up like we would on a Friday for the most part. It’ll have a training camp feel to it, but it’ll be like a Friday and then we keep rolling.”

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Rod Smith (adductor), wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), tight end Garrett Dickerson (quad), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), cornerback Antonio Hamilton (groin), and safety Kenny Ladler (hamstring) did not practice on Monday.

“We’ll just see where he’s at,” Head Coach Pat Shurmur said of Slayton, who returned to the sidelines with a hamstring injury. “He’s making good progress, so we’ll just see how this little thing affects him.”

Cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) participated in individual (but not team) drills for the second day in a row.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Deandre Baker and Corey Ballentine continued to alternate at corner opposite of Janoris Jenkins with the first team. Grant Haley remained the first-team slot corner.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a perfect pass to TE Evan Engram down the left sideline, just over the head of S Jabrill Peppers.
  • QB Daniel Jones hit WR Bennie Fowler on a deep sideline pass against CB Corey Ballentine.
  • QB Daniel Jones then connected on a series of passes to WR Russell Shepard, including a slant, a deep seam pass, and a 40-yard go-route for a touchdown.
  • FS Antoine Bethea intercepted a pass from QB Eli Manning intended for WR Golden Tate.
  • CB Ronald Zamort deflected a QB Kyle Lauletta pass that was intercepted by LB Jonathan Anderson.
  • During red-zone drills, despite running 18 plays, the defense kept the offense out of the end zone, including two coverage sacks.
  • The first-team offense scored during the 2-minute drill, highlighted by a 34-yard catch by TE Evan Engram from QB Eli Manning and a 1-yard touchdown run by RB Saquon Barkley.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a long sideline pass to TE Scott Simonson. CB Ronald Zamort then intercepted Jones on a short, dump-off pass. But as Zamort was headed toward the endzone, Jones pursued and punched the ball out of Zamort’s hands.

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

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

Aug 252019
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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AUGUST 25, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their nineteenth full-team summer training camp practice on Sunday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The remaining training camp practices are no longer open to the public.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Rod Smith (groin), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), cornerback Antonio Hamilton (groin), and safety Kenny Ladler (unknown) did not practice on Sunday.

Cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) participated in individual drills. “He was out there today for the first time,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur of Beal. “He’s closer. We’ll just have to see where he’s at as we move forward.”

Wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) and linebacker Josiah Tauaefa (unknown) wore a non-contact yellow jerseys and were limited.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Deandre Baker returned to practice and split time with Corey Ballentine at cornerback with the starting defense.
  • During the blitz period, QB Eli Manning was 5-of-6 with a sack; QB Daniel Jones was 4-of-6.
  • QB Kyle Lauletta made a nice throw on a slant to WR Reggie White, Jr. for a good gain.
  • QB Alex Tanney hit WR T.J. Jones deep over the middle for a touchdown.
  • Overall, the defense performed much better than the offense, the latter being a bit sloppy by multiple accounts.
  • S Jabrill Peppers was active, with a “sack” and a couple of tackles for a loss.
  • CB Janoris Jenkins dropped an interception when WR Sterling Shepard slipped. Jenkins later committed a pass interference penalty on WR Bennie Fowler, who beat him deep.
  • Returning punts were wide receivers Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Brittan Golden, and T.J. Jones.
  • PK Aldrick Rosas was 5-of-6 on field goal attempts.

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

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

ARTICLES…

Aug 242019
 
Brittan Golden, New York Giants (August 22, 2019)

Brittan Golden – © USA TODAY Sports

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New York Giants 25 – Cincinnati Bengals 23

QUICK RECAP

The Giant took their show away from MetLife Stadium for the first time in 2019, as they matched up against the Cincinnati Bengals, led by the youngest coach in the NFL, Zac Taylor. The Giants opted to keep RB Saquon Barkley on the sideline as well as WR Sterling Shepard (thumb) and WR Golden Tate (concussion). Defensively they were without LB Alec Ogletree and CB Deandre Baker, among others.

Eli Manning, for the third week in a row, played one series. It was a long, 15 play drive that saw a nice run/pass balance but had some sloppiness to it. Cody Latimer dropped two passes, the second of which would have been a touchdown and the Giants had to settle on a short field goal to get the initial lead, 3-0. Daniel Jones took over the offense with the rest of the night’s first string still in. The two teams traded three-and-outs and then CIN QB Andy Dalton picked up chunk gain after chunk gain. He completed five straight passes, the last of which was a 26-yard touchdown to TE C.J. Uzomah on a perfectly placed ball, beating S Jabrill Peppers.

The sloppiness ensued as the second quarter began, as both sides of the ball were getting flagged too often. Perhaps the two best throws of the night came on the second drive of the quarter with Jones hitting Brittan Golden for 35 yards and Darius Slayton for 27 yards, which got them to the CIN 1-yard line. They were both big time throws respectively and this was on a drive where Jones got absolutely clocked by both CIN edge rushers at the same time. RB Rod Smith soon after burst through the pile for a 1-yard touchdown run, which gave NYG their lead back, 10-7.

The NYG defense remained iffy at best on the next drive with missed tackles and a huge hands-to-the-face by Olsen Pierre which negated a 3rd-down stop. This allowed the 12-play drive to cut out most of the remaining time on the clock in the first half and led to a 50-yard field goal that tied the game up.

The Giant gave the second half to the two QBs who are competing for the the number three job, Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta. The third quarter saw the two teams trade scoreless possessions multiple times. CIN was moving the ball well thanks to poor tackling by the backup NYG defenders, particularly at the second and third levels. Offensively the three standouts were Lauletta, RB Paul Perkins, and WR Brittan Golden.

CIN took a 17-10 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard pass from Jacob Dolegala to Damian Willis. NYG responded with a touchdown scoring drive of their own ending with a Jon Hilliman 1-yard dash across the goal line that saw him push the pile on the right side of the line. Lauletta was 3-out-of-4 for 66 yards, making passes on all levels of the route tree from both the pocket and on the move. NYG went for 2, because why not, and successfully got the 2 points via a pass to Alonzo Russell, who continued to impress on multiple levels in this game.

Golden, who had his loudest performance of the entire preseason/training camp process, returned a punt for a 68-yard score thanks largely to the aforementioned Russell throwing two outstanding downfield blocks. A strong receiving night and a punt return touchdown was going to possibly put his name in the mix for the last WR spot on the 53-man roster but a muffed punt, which resulted in a turnover, on the next drive put a damper on his night. CIN turned that fumble in to 7 points via another short pass from Dolegala, this time to Justin Hunter.

With a 25-23 lead and under three minutes left, NYG was able to burn the rest of the clock and walk away with their third preseason win in as many chances.

Giants win 25-23.

QUARTERBACKS

-Eli Manning played just one drive for the third straight week, going 4/8 for 41 yards. It was a 15-play drive that gained NYG the initial 3-0 lead. Manning continues to look sharp and more decisive than in the past which, as I have stated a few times, stems from the improved OL play in my opinion.

-Daniel Jones played the remainder of the first half, also continuing his superb preseason. He got the most snaps he’s had with the first string and he passed yet another test. He went 9/11 for 141 yards including two downfield passes for gains of 35 and 27 yards. Jones did get sacked, causing a fumble (his third of the preseason) but it did not result in a turnover. The glaring positive that came from that was the fact that on the very next play, he hit fellow rookie Darius Slayton for a 27-yard gain that was 1-yard shy of a touchdown. Jones is proving to be tough and even keel, an absolute must for success at the position in this league.

-The Alex Tanney vs. Kyle Lauletta competition is going to come down to the wire. Lauletta looked better in this one, as he was hitting his targets on all levels of the route tree from both the pocket and on the move. Two of his incompletions were drops by the receivers on nicely-placed balls. Tanney was overthrowing his deep passes and never really got into a flow.

RUNNING BACKS

-Saquon Barkley sat out again as it appears his first live action will be week 1 in Dallas. The running game altogether was ugly, as the middle of the NYG offensive line did not get enough movement. Wayne Gallman did show a nice cutback-and-burst run that gained 14 yards. He is the unquestioned backup and won’t need much more work.

-Paul Perkins had a solid night via the passing game, catching 3 balls for 27 yards showing excellent burst and balance on a couple of occasions. Rod Smith had a hard time, gaining 8 yards on 5 attempts. He is a guy who absolutely needs space to work with because he isn’t a quick-acceleration back. Jon Hilliman scored a touchdown in the second half and continues to compete for a final roster spot, although I don’t think it will happen for him.

WIDE RECEIVERS

-With the two top targets out (Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate), the opportunities for roster hopefuls continued to be present from start to finish. Brittan Golden was the one who jumped off the screen with receptions of 35 and 24 yards in addition to a punt return touchdown. His muffed punt that resulted in a turnover left a poor taste on the night overall, however. Not catching the ball is a major no-no.

-Cody Latimer had a night to forget, as he had two drops on balls that hit him square in the chest. The second one would have likely been a touchdown pass on the opening NYG drive and had that been a regular-season game, it would have been a big deal. Those are the kinds of mistakes that really swing the outcome of a game and it cannot happen. He has the opportunity of a lifetime in 2019, especially weeks 1 through 4.

-Reggie White vs. Alonzo Russell is an interesting roster battle. Russell has been here longer and continues to make things happen on special teams. We have noted the vertical speed and size, which is lacking elsewhere in this WR core. However, White keeps popping up during practice and it is carrying over into game action. White seems to have more natural pass catching ability and it was shown on the 36-yard downfield grab he brought in.

-Darius Slayton finally got his first game action with the club. I expect him to get a lot of reps next week because as I said back in the spring when the team drafted him, he is going to factor at some point this season. He is going to need some time but the speed and ball skill he possesses creates a much needed deep threat for this offense. He was 1-yard shy of a touchdown on his 27-yard catch.

-Brittan Golden has never really been a guy who I thought would make this team and even though he had the night of his life against CIN, I still don’t see the 30-year-old journeyman taking a spot away from the guys who are younger and bigger.

TIGHT ENDS

-Evan Engram played just 10 snaps, as this team is being more cautious than in the past with their top expected playmakers. Rhett Ellison had 2 catches for 26 yards, including some tough YAC. We know what we have in him.

-Is there more competition for that third TE spot than most are thinking? Scott Simonson had another drop and did not stand out as a blocker. If you are going to consistently drop the ball, you better dominate the trenches. Garrett Dickerson on the other hand caught 2 passes for 30 yards and showed sneaky YAC ability with his power and balance with the ball. He definitely has more play-maker in him. C.J. Conrad also caught his lone target on the night for 11 yards and is a prime candidate for the practice squad.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-The left side of the line had a night to forget, not something we want to see in week 3 of the preseason. Guard Will Hernandez was flagged three times and Nate Solder allowed a sack and pressure. Hernandez is still struggling with the late inside move, something that bit him hard multiple times in 2018. Solder just looks stiff and weak if I am going to be honest. I think the veteran in him can make up for some physical deficiencies but at some point this guy is going to need to anchor himself better. Too much lack of presence when moving laterally as a run blocker in addition to pass protection.

-Solder’s backup, Brian Mihalik, was back in game action and also had a rough night. He allowed a sack and a pressure as well. There isn’t much hope behind Solder, as Mihalik looks like his little brother in terms of stiffness and weakness.

-Kevin Zeitler and Mike Remmers were quiet for the most part. The latter allowed a pressure that would have been a sack had Solder’s man not reached Jones first on the fumble-causing sack.

-I continue to be impressed with the combination of Chad Slade and Nick Gates. I think these two are going to make the team because of the position-versatility they bring to the table.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-A much better night from rookie Dexter Lawrence in this one. He was more disruptive and mobile after initial contact, and he also batted a pass down. He came off on passing downs, which I expect to see more of because if there is one thing I keep on noticing, he isn’t very well conditioned. He tires easily and gets sluggish. He didn’t play much, the same with Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill.

-R.J. McIntosh looked active and disruptive despite not recording any tackles or pressures. He made the offense adjust to him on a couple of occasions, however the stoutness isn’t there yet. John Jenkins and Olsen Pierre, on the other hand, both held their ground and kept the LBs clean. Pierre was flagged for a costly illegal-hands-to-the-face pnealty though.

-Jake Ceresna had a pressure and despite not seeing a ton of time, has been very disruptive every week. I hope they have a spot for him on the practice squad.

LINEBACKERS

-Rookie Oshane Ximines had a mini-breakout game. He recorded 2 sacks, the second of which he was untouched. He played crafty and efficient. The coaches are noting how far along he is with hand techniques and if the pass rush stalls at some point, he could end up being the feature guy – as early as week 1.

-Lorenzo Carter and Markus Golden played sparingly, not making much of an impact. Same with Kareem Martin who seems to be entrenched as the #3 guy, a role that is ideal for him.

-Alec Ogletree remained out with his calf injury, thus Ryan Connelly and Tae Davis got the starting nod again. Davis missed a tackle but also recorded a pressure on a well-timed and schemed blitz. His lack of size equally helps and hurts him, as does the athletic ability as he overshoots angles sometimes.

-Nate Stupar took a major step back in this game. He missed 4, yes 4, tackles. That is a number that is simply unacceptable for a linebacker. IF a decision needs to be made between him and B.J. Goodson, that’s an easy one if you are asking me. Goodson is showing he can, at least, still lay the lumber and be a reliable run defender. Stupar is a solid special teamer which I know the coaches love, but I don’t want him anywhere near the defense.

-Outstanding game for the LB that nobody is talking about, but everyone notices. Josiah Tauaefa led the team with 7 tackles and also recorded a sack. The knock on him coming out of college was a lack of speed but he is showing excellent reaction time and really good pursuit angles. He finishes what he starts too.

-Once again, don’t sleep on Jonathan Anderson. He had 2 tackles, including a TFL. I am thinking practice squad for him, especially if the team isn’t fully confident in Ogletree’s calf heading in to week 1. Those injuries can really linger.

CORNERBACKS

-Corey Ballentine got the starting nod with Deandre Baker and Antonio Hamilton missing the game with respective injuries. He was picked on early and often and also missed 2 tackles. The talent is there and we all know it, but there are some serious growing pains with him. He is late to recognize which is understandable but once teams get deep into scouting this defense, he will be a focal point. I look forward to seeing how he responds. He did stay aggressive all night and finished with 7 tackles and a TFL.

-Ronald Zamort and Terrell Sinkfield both allowed short touchdown passes. The latter was a result of poor footwork and too much concentration on his hands, something he was getting grilled for at practice last Monday. I don’t think either of these guys have a shot at making the team unless the injuries to Baker, Beal, and Hamilton are serious.

SAFETIES

-Jabrill Peppers was playing fired up again but that aggression hurt the defense as he bit hard on play-action and didn’t realize until it was too late that the CIN tight end got behind him. Dalton threw a perfect pass and it ended up putting 6 on the board for the bad guys. Other than that, he was solid across the board but those plays can’t happen.

-Kenny Ladler missed a tackle and gave up a long gain in the passing game, but on a play-to-play basis, I have been impressed with him this preseason. I think they have something in him. Sean Chandler recorded a sack and 2 tackles in addition to breaking up a pass. This coaching staff likes him a lot.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-P Johnny Towsend got 3 punts in while Riley Dixon got only one. I wonder if this has been an overlooked intra-team position battle.

-Brittan Golden got his opportunity to show what he has in the return game and he responded with a 68 yard touchdown but also muffed one that ended in a turnover.

3 STUDS

-QB Daniel Jones, OL Nick Gates, LB Josiah Tauaefa

3 DUDS

-LB Nate Stupar, WR Cody Latimer, OT Nate Solder

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

-One can easily make the argument that this preseason could not have gone any better for Daniel Jones. I agree that his command of the offense, his accuracy, and his toughness all have checks on the QB list. However, we are now looking at 3 fumbles in 3 games. He has to clean that up.

-Why not another week of Jones vs. Manning debate? Sorry to say it but we are going to hear this non-stop until it happens. Two thoughts I want to leave you with: What does Manning do that Jones cannot? And why does this team have to be losing, or out of the playoff picture, for Jones to take the job? Eli Manning took the job from Kurt Warner in 2004 when Big Blue was 5-4.

-I don’t think I can remember a year where so many rookies are in line to start OR be major pieces to the rotation puzzle on defense. Ryan Connelly, Dexter Lawrence, Deandre Baker, and Oshane Ximines are going to be starting or playing in serious game situations within the first few weeks, if not week 1. Is that an indictment of a lack of talent on the team? Or do we finally have a legit scouting staff running the personnel department?

Aug 232019
 
Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (August 22, 2019)

Pat Shurmur – © USA TODAY Sports

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FRIDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Friday to discuss the team’s 25-23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals:

Opening Statement: Nothing really to add to what I spoke about last night, so let’s use our time. If you’ve got questions, I’d be happy to answer them for you.

Q: Are you guys considering starting Daniel Jones in Week 1?
A: I think what we’re doing is, and I’ve said it all along, Eli’s our starter and we’re getting Daniel ready to play. I think he’s done a good job in the preseason, as I’ve mentioned all along. He’s getting better, and he’s going to continue to do that so that at whatever time we need him to play, he’ll be ready.

Q: So you’re not ready to say for sure that Eli will be your starter in Week 1?
A: I just said Eli’s the starter. Didn’t I just say that? Excuse the fact that I had to repeat it, but I felt like I just said that. It’s all good.

Q: A while ago, you were asked about how you teach this team to win, and I’ve noticed throughout the preseason you’ve been a little bit more willing to take chances. I know the results don’t count for anything, but I’m just wondering if that’s a way you’re showing this team how to win, by showing them that you’re not afraid to take chances, make mistakes, and hence they shouldn’t be afraid to put it out there and make a mistake at this point.
A: Yeah, I don’t know about taking chances, but I think we want to have an aggressive mindset. Actually, last year I think we were the second-most in terms of teams that went for it on fourth down, so I don’t think that’s taking chances, I think it’s trying to be aggressive. I tried to use the timeouts that way yesterday before the half—we took a timeout on third down, trying to preserve time because I wanted to get a two-minute drill and if they kicked a long field goal and missed it, then we would’ve had the ball. Then, they made it, but then I still used a timeout, which forced them to kick a long field goal just so we could work on those types of things. I thought it was smart to go for two yesterday. So, I don’t know, I think it’s important as a coach to present an aggressive mindset, and we as a staff think that way, but I think it’s more of just the mindset of being aggressive and less about just flat-out trying to take chances.

Q: Can you talk about Corey Ballentine’s overall performance last night, and maybe some of the things he needs to clean up on?
A: I thought he competed well, I think he had over 40 snaps, I guess, on defense. Very competitive, he had a couple of nice pass breakups. He did give up a couple plays in the passing game, but he was matched up man-to-man, but I do think he was tighter in coverage this week than he was last week, but he’s also a very sure tackler. Some of the tackles he made along the sideline were very sure in terms of the ball was completed certainly in the zone, and then he kind of was the first responder on the play and made the tackle, so he’s making really good progress and we’re pleased with the path that he’s on.

Q: Was Corey (Ballentine) supposed to provide help for Jabrill Peppers on the touchdown to the tight end?
A: It was both. Certainly, Jabrill needs to be a little tighter, but then certainly Corey should back him up on that.

Q: What about Jon Halapio makes him the clear number one over Spencer at center?
A: I feel like we have two starting centers. I think Pio has done a really nice job and I feel like we really have six guys there, if you think of it in terms of two centers. We are going to need both of them at some point, for whatever reason we need help at guard, Pio can play guard, Spencer can play center. I’m happy with all of that and I don’t really think of it in the way that you do.

Q: Oshane Ximines had two sacks last night, each of them with kind of a different move. Is that what you saw when you drafted him and you talked about being able to use counter moves?
A: Yes, I think so. I think as he plays more he will develop more of that. He probably was as disruptive as he’s been in the preseason. He’s just getting used to playing, I think he is one of the guys that he can find a way to the quarterback. We were pleased with some of the rushes he had last night. He was a little better in the run game as well. Much like my answer with regard to Corey Ballentine, I think we are seeing that type of progress from X-Man.

Q: Will it be tougher to make cuts this year than it was last year?
A: I think so. I think that’s a good thing. You want competition within the groups. A year ago, we cut from 90 to 53 and there was only a couple guys that ended up on other rosters. I sort of feel like this year we may end up cutting more guys that are going to be attractive to maybe another team, which tells me that our 90 is better, and also tells me the players are embracing what we are talking about. The goal is to either make our team or somebody else’s. I believe in our team, I love our team, I love what our team is trying to do. It’s going to be much tougher for me this year when we get to that point, having to say goodbye to some players that I am very fond of. I’m just hopeful that they are available if we need them or somewhere they can go on and keep their career going.

Q: Has Kyle Lauletta played dramatically better football now than last year? If he is doing that, what is he doing?
A: He’s playing better each week. I don’t know how to phrase it, but he’s doing some really good things with the reps that he’s getting. He made some good plays again last night. I am pleased with his progress, and I think he’s making good progress as well. It’s a credit to him.

Q: Any other injuries of note come out of the game?
A: I haven’t heard. We didn’t get home until 3 o’clock so the training room start opened up a little later. I don’t know of anything. Anybody specific that you know of that you’re asking about?

Q: No.
A: Jonathan Anderson has his knee— we have to get that checked out. Rod Smith, I think it’s a fancy word they call that, the adductor, he’s getting that checked out. There is always something that shows up. We aren’t anticipating that there is anything bad.

Q: You always feel with your quarterbacks you need to be able to get them outside on bootlegs and things like that. One year working with Eli Manning— do you think he can do even more of that this year because he is more familiar and maybe in better shape?
A: I believe in moving the pocket. If you are going to be effective running the ball, you have to do that to help control the edges. I did it a lot last year. I think it’s safe to say, Eli even ran more bootlegs, to use your term, than he did since he was at Ole Miss in one year. I really don’t think it comes down to the condition of the quarterback. I don’t think it comes down to their ability to run. All quarterbacks should be able to fake a run and then get to the perimeter and make a throw. That will always be a part of what we do. They are in every game plan, and it’s safe to say I’ll call a bootleg or two, or ten, in each game.

Q: Are you concerned about your linebacker depth? Who do you think is standing out at linebacker?
A: I’m not concerned about our depth. I thought Ryan Connelly did a good job yesterday, he made three tackles. As he’s going along, he’s getting more and more comfortable within the scheme. For the most part, Tae Davis played well. He had the one where he kind of got behind in coverage and missed the tackle, but he’s done a good job. B.J. Goodson has done a nice job, (Nate) Stupar is sort of a backup linebacker that has a huge impact on special teams. All that being said— that’s what’s going on behind (Alec Ogletree) Tree until he gets back, which will be very soon. He’ll be ready to go, certainly, by Week One. I feel better about that group this year than last year, if that’s what you’re asking.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Saturday and return to training camp practice on Sunday.