Aug 212023
 
Brandon Brown, New York Giants (June 13, 2023)

Brandon Brown – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 21, 2023 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The practices are no longer open to the public.

INJURY REPORT…
WR Wan’Dale Robinson (ACL) and CB Aaron Robinson (ACL) remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

RB Gary Brightwell (unknown), WR Cole Beasley (leg), TE Tommy Sweeney (unknown), OL Tyre Phillips (unknown), OL Jack Anderson (unknown), DL Ryder Anderson (triceps), LB Cam Brown (unknown), CB Cor’Dale Flott (unknown), S/CB Nick McCloud (unknown), and S Jason Pinnock (leg) did not practice.

DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (groin) was limited. WR Collin Johnson (knee) returned to practice. CB Darren Evans (unknown) left practice early.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The Giants were not in full pads.
  • With Jason Pinnock out, Dane Belton started at safety.
  • First-team offensive line was LT Andrew Thomas, OC John Michael Schmitz, and RT Evan Neal with Ben Bredeson, Mark Glowinski, and Joshua Ezeudu rotating constantly at the two guard spots. Glowinski even got reps at left guard.
  • The offensive line struggled blocking the Giants’ defensive front. QB Daniel Jones was “sacked” six times.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, CB Tre Hawkins intercepted QB Daniel Jones in the end zone. He also had a pass defense on WR Isaiah Hodgins.
  • By all accounts, DE Leonard Williams had a “monster” practice and was “living in the backfield,” beating all of the different guards he faced.
  • OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux beat RT Evan Neal for three “sacks” and disrupted other plays. Thibodeaux also made a tackle for a loss.
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari also had a “sack” and a tackle for loss on a screen pass to TE Darren Waller.
  • QB Tyrod Taylor threw a touchdown to WR Sterling Shepard. The Giants back-up corners had issues covering Shepard.
  • QB Tommy DeVito connected on a deep pass to WR David Sills.
  • S Xavier McKinney picked off a “Hail Mary” pass.
  • QB Daniel Jones finished practice 8-of-12 with one touchdown and one interception. The touchdown throw was to WR Parris Campbell.

ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER BRANDON BROWN…
The transcript of Brandon Brown’s press conference on Monday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Monday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice Tuesday afternoon (12:45-2:45PM). Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media.

Aug 202023
 
Isaiah Hodgins, New York Giants (August 18, 2023)

Isaiah Hodgins – © USA TODAY Sports

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 8/9 – 69 yards / 1 TD / 0 INT / 135.6 6 RAT

The only incompletion came on a Darren Waller drop. Jones was near flawless. A slight misthrow to Parris Campbell near the end zone was the only real blemish within the one drive he spent on the field. If that was the main weak point to his performance, it is going to be a fun season. Jones executed his ball fakes and overall footwork at a high level. It translated to accurate ball placement and well-timed progressions. He was in complete sync with the scheme and play calls. This offense turned the corner from an efficiency standpoint in 2022. They avoided third down (a key metric to the best/winningest teams over multiple years) and the sixth-best rate last year, after finishing second worst in 2021. Of the ten plays on this opening drive, just once did third down come up.

-Both backup quarterbacks, Tyrod Taylor and Tommy DeVito, completed 9 passes for 90 and 88 yards respectively. Taylor, the unquestioned second stringer, also led the team with 21 yards rushing and threw a 33-yard touchdown. Taylor has been the same guy for years. He shows enough flashes to make you think he really can be a starting caliber quarterback. The consistency with his mechanics is not there, and it leads to erratic ball placement. DeVito looks like he is on a fast track to confidence in the pocket, but he still needs work on getting the ball out faster. He has a cannon.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley was in pads for warmups, but he did not play in the game.

-There seems to be an interesting competition between rookie Eric Gray and second-year veteran Jashaun Corbin. On paper, the fact this regime just spent a draft pick on Gray – along with Corbin being undrafted a year ago – and they keep trying to force him into the return role says Gray will be the guy. On film? Corbin is making it a discussion. He gained 22 yards on 3 catches and his 9-yard run displayed the hunger and urgency he moves with. He also had a 17-yard run that was negated by a penalty. Gray, while he had an impressive 9-yard run that resulted in a touchdown, is struggling to consistently get downhill quickly enough. The biggest issue right now, however, is often overlooked by fans but I can guarantee you the coaches are going to be all over him about it. If Gray does not improve his blocking, he will barely see the field on offense. He allowed two hurries and a QB hit. So far this preseason, Gray has been asked to pass block 8 times. He has allowed 6 pressures.

WIDE RECEIVER

-From last week’s review: “Personally, I would like to see Hyatt more involved. They need to try and script a couple deep shots to him so they can see how he tracks the ball, fights for it, and plays the body position game in real live situations.”

-Hyatt went from just one target in the first game to five in this one. And Kafka/Daboll scripted a deep ball to him which resulted in a 33-yard touchdown. The fifth gear he has was on display. Carolina safety Eric Rowe had absolutely no shot at catching up once Hyatt had an inch of vertical space on him. You think he is moving at his top rate and then he hits the next level of fast forward. Fun play and a glimpse of what to expect from an offense that was starving for plays like this a year ago. Next up on the list, and this will be a big one, is getting more consistent at framing the football as a pass catcher on lateral routes. He had a drop on the play prior to the touchdown that stemmed from that particular ball skill.

-Parris Campbell caught all three targets for 23 yards and Isaiah Hodgins added 45 yards on two catches. Those two, along with Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard (1 rec / 6 yards), Jamison Crowder (2 rec / 18 yards), and Wan’Dale Robinson (PUP) make this receiver room arguably one of the top jumps in overall quality and depth at the position league-wide from 2022.

-Bryce Ford-Wheaton is the third/fourth stringer you can’t keep your eyes off of. He caught both of his targets for 24 yards. We know the size and speed are off the chart. We know his ball skills and route running need work. The power to his game is what stands out upon second look. Both as a gunner and off the line as a receiver. His rate of movement and sheer size add up to be very D.K. Metcalf-like. No, not even close to that level, but my point is how rare the combination is. The snaps he had as a gunner were very good. A team like this may have to find a spot for him as a special teamer because he won’t last long on the practice squad, as all 31 teams can snag him at any point.

TIGHT END

-The quality Daniel Jones performance left a nice taste in everyone’s mouth. Darren Waller, however, was my favorite ingredient to the entrée. He played 8 snaps. He was targeted 4 times, caught 3, and had one jarred loose by safety Vonn Bell. The goal of that initial first-string drive was to get him the ball early. He took a couple big hits too. They coaching staff was smart to get him out when they did. Mission accomplished and Waller has the look of a focal point to this passing game.

-Daniel Bellinger, one of the top rookie tight ends in football a year ago, caught a touchdown from a unique 12-personnel look. Even with all the depth at receiver, the options that Waller and Bellinger present when on the field together can make this passing game even more efficient. The touchdown was the highlight, but the blocking was on point. His impact on contact is sending a different jolt to the defender than I remember. That was a key component to the Eric Gray touchdown run. All the talk surrounding Waller is warranted. Don’t forget about Bellinger. He is going to make some key plays this season.

-There is some difference in opinion surrounding the third tight end. I lean toward Tommy Sweeney (who did not play). Lawrence Cager (1 rec / 4 yards) does bring more to the table as a receiver, but as mentioned above, the weapons are now deep. The presence in the trenches would be of more service to the offense. Cager continues to get tossed around in that department.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-The story of the night was Evan Neal. After missing the better part of two weeks with a concussion, he both started and tied for the second most snaps on offense. He really had just one blemish. He failed to recognize a twist upfront and the defensive tackle worked around his outside shoulder and recorded a sack. It was Neal’s fault, no question. But when it came to breaking down his physical performance, I was pleased. He looks lighter on his feet and simply cleaner. He is showing a better first three steps and we already knew how stout he is. It is all about position and balance for him. If both get check marks, he is tough to beat. Encouraging night from the guy who may be the most important variable to NYG wanting to throw downfield more often.

-The one player who saw more snaps was Matt Peart, who continues to prove he cannot handle pro edge defenders. He allowed 2 pressures and was flagged for 2 holding penalties. Korey Cunningham had a bounce back performance and recent signing Julién Davenport got his feet wet. None of the above proved to be a solution for the issue this team has at backup tackle. The classic tell from all three is the simple but difficult ability to stay square. Quality defenders can get them to fall from the waist on up, making secondary rush moves much more effective.

-Inside, we saw Ben Bredeson and Joshua Ezeudu rotate at left guard, the one spot that is up for grabs in the starting lineup. If the decision was based solely on this game alone, Bredeson is the winner. He played a clean game with a strong latch. Ezeudu’s footwork (or lack thereof) made it hard for him to mirror his man. When he gets a guy in a phone booth, his power is notable. But space is not his friend and right now he cannot be trusted in pass protection on an island.

-At center, John Michael Schmitz appears to have the stating center job locked up, as expected. This was a pass-heavy game while he was in there (29:5 actually) and he allowed one pressure. That play was a poor display of foot speed and recovery. The one concern I have with him is exactly that. But the run-game impact and mere fact he is a rookie with a high floor lessens the concern.

-Shane Lemieux, after a solid week one in Detroit, saw 18 snaps at center and struggled mightily. He clearly was not comfortable in that role. His hand techniques were all over the place and he never found his anchor. He allowed a TFL and was flagged for a hold, as was third stringer Jack Anderson.

-Wyatt Davis, after a horrific experiment at tackle last week, returned to guard for just 13 plays. His comfort and skill set are much better inside, but there is still a lot more to be desired from his sustainability and reaction speed.

EDGE

-Kayvon Thibodeaux played the first two drives before spending the rest of the night on the sideline. We saw him win against Ikem Ekwonu on an impressive rush move where he played low, stifled with a violent punch, and ripped under the outside shoulder to hit Bryce Young as he was throwing the ball. He also beat the 2022 All-Rookie tackle for a sack on a play where some confusion up front gave the explosive Thibodeaux a clear path to Young. He looks faster and twitchier, a sign the confidence is growing. On the negative side, he lost the edge twice in the running game and on both occasions the lack of a true anchor was obvious. He needs to be more disciplined there, as his natural size below the waist is below average.

-Azeez Ojulari and Jihad Ward had quiet games. Ward had a QB hit and a hurry, playing an even split between outside and inside. That is where his true value is. Last year he played a 7:1 ratio outside to inside. I like his first step quickness against interior blockers as his movement issues show up in space.

-The backup edge defenders had a night. They were constantly putting pressure on the backup Carolina quarterbacks (albeit against a poor OL that was crushed last week as well). Tashawn Bower led the group with 3 pressures. Both Oshane Ximines and Tomon Fox recorded two themselves. Fox still seems to be the leader in the clubhouse, as he had 4 tackles and a half-sack. Habakkuk Baldonado added a QB hit and a tackle late in the game.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams got the start and played 12 snaps a piece. Both are already in mid-season form. These two are the best players on this defense and the Carolina OL had no shot against them. They both did what they wanted and went where they wanted. The interior of the Carolina OL is a weakness, one of the most glaring ones in the league, but it was obvious Lawrence is simply on a different level. He did get flagged for offsides and a roughing the passer penalty (on a 3rd down stop) after an errant swipe for the pass, which also happened to be where Bryce Young’s head was. Man, he is small.

-The defensive game ball award goes to the draft pick I barely spent any time scouting last fall. Jordon Riley got an opportunity with A’Shawn Robinson, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, and D.J. Davidson sitting this one out. He had some snaps with the first-string defense and balled out. He had 3 tackles, 1 TFL, and a fourth-down run stop that was all him. He got movement off the ball, bench pressed the blocker off him, located the ball, and engulfed him at the point-of-attack. It was such a clean rep, and he went on to put a ton of quality tape together the rest of the night. He was abusing center Justin McCray, an eight-year veteran with starting experience.

-The back-end guys, Kobe Smith and Donovan Jeter, struggled in their second game of preseason. Neither held their gaps in the running game and neither pressured the quarterback on a combined 19 opportunities.

LINEBACKER

-What a refreshing sight to see Bobby Okereke on the field. I will touch on this more below, but the 2023 big ticket free agent addition played into the second quarter and led the team with 7 tackles. The power, instincts, and quick burst all showed up on multiple occasions. He will not turn around the run defense by himself, but it was easy to see how important he will be for the front seven. This is the classic NYG inside linebacker this defense has lacked for so long.

-Darrian Beavers was back on the field. His size and speed are similar to what they have in Okereke, but his reaction time and lack of precision with his footwork and overall techniques were the stark differences. He finished with 4 tackles and showed good range. His contact is what I call heavy. A classic thumper who will need to show some more progress with the ability to read and cover especially. I still think there is a good shot he starts by the end of the year over Micah McFadden, who finished with 1 tackle.

CORNERBACK

-Playing Adoree’ Jackson in the slot appears to be a real thing. Of his 21 snaps, he played inside on 16 of them. I feel confident with him anywhere on the field, but the one issue I can see with him at nickel is the lack of physical presence against more physical targets and the running game. He had a missed tackle on the night and has never been strong there.

-Rookies Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins continue to start on the outside and the 6th rounder from Old Dominion continues to play like the better player. Even Joe Schoen sounds surprised by how well he is playing this early on. The speed he is playing with, the run-game assignments he is executing at a high level, and the easy vertical burst at his size are all major attributes for this scheme.

-Cor’Dale Flott is playing good football. While his route anticipation is a step behind, his coverage is constantly right there underneath. I initially believed it was a battle between him and Darnay Holmes for the nickel job. The development of the rookie guys outside, which can shift Jackson inside, will likely push Flott into the versatile number four job. He can play both, but his run defense is a liability. He also missed a tackle and lost the edge twice.

-Darren Evans allowed a touchdown after getting beat off the line and failing to locate the ball.

SAFETY

-Xavier McKinney had a disruptive couple of plays and looked fast in coverage. He is the top dog in a deep safety group, but I still think he needs to show a full season of good football before even considering a long-term contract. Remember, there is not as much cap room now with the recent big signings. At his best, McKinney is the best safety NYG has had in a long time and would round out such a strong middle of the defense if he sticks around. He just needs to stay on the field.

-Dane Belton had 2 TFL, showing great instincts and downhill explosion. The winner of the night among the backups was rookie Gervarrius Owens, though. He also had 7 tackles and broke up a pass with picture-perfect technique and timing. He is such a natural on the back end, one who can wear every hat in the versatile safety scheme. He won’t be rushed into action, but it would be a crime to keep this kid off the field because of his draft status. This dude is a player who can defend the run and cover. His special teams impact will be strong as well. He had the most versatile alignment among all safeties in this game.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-P Jame Gillan: 3 punts / 43.0 avg – 36.3 net

3 STUDS

-DT Jordon Riley, QB Daniel Jones, LB Bobby Okereke

3 DUDS

-DT Kobe Smith, OT Matt Peart, OC Shane Lemieux

3 THOUGHTS ON CAR

1. The story surrounding this team is the #1 overall pick, quarterback Bryce Young. Not only because of where he was drafted, but what the front office had to do to get him. After failing to come up with the strong-enough trade offer for Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, and Deshaun Watson…after failing to move up in the draft for the likes of Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa…after failing to select Justin Fields when he was available, David Tepper was stuck watching the likes of Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker, Cam Newton (v2), and Teddy Bridgewater for the first few seasons of his ownership. After firing Matt Rhule, he put an end to that by sending the #9 overall, #61 overall, a 2024 1st, a 2025 2nd, and wide receiver D.J. Moore to Chicago so they could get whoever they wanted in the draft. They end up with a Seneca Wallace-body type but in an era where Young’s style of play fits the current style of NFL football the best. Throw in the intangibles, something very important to Head Coach Frank Reich, and Carolina thinks they have their guy.

2. I’m not sure if I live under a rock or if there really is a lack of chatter around Carolina’s new Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero. He is one of the best young defensive minds in the game. He came over from Denver and prior to that he was with the Rams where he won a Super Bowl. He specializes in pass defense and the team has one of the top young corners in Jaycee Horn. The rest of the personnel lacks depth but there are a few pieces that can make this defense as a whole very good in 2023.

3. Just how far can Carolina take this in 2023? Not far. It will be a tough year. I project New Orleans and Atlanta to finish 1-2. Considering the fact Reich has been all-time bad at winning games early in the year and they start off @ATL, vs NO, @SEA, vs MIN, @DET, @MIA with a rookie quarterback and shaky offensive line, I see them starting in a deep hole and unable to get out. This franchise should be looking at 2024.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

1. One could not ask for a much better drive out of the Daniel Jones-led offense. Would it have been nice to see a downfield pass? Sure. But when I watched the All-22, it was easy to see Carolina was protecting the back end with a shell. The best offenses simply take advantage of what is provided by the defensive personnel and alignment. Efficient offenses avoid third down. They kill you with a thousand paper cuts. And they protect the ball. NYG struggled to score points early in games and I like how hot they started in this one.

2. I’ve been banging the table for a linebacker for far too long. While some teams league-wide view it as a position to piece together cheaply (with success), I’ve always thought it was the missing piece (or a missing piece) to a defense that has been a roller coaster for two decades. They have not been top-16 in points allowed two straight seasons since 2002. Let that sit for a little. I always roll my eyes when media-types talk about Giants being an old school defensive-biased franchise. In all honestly, they haven’t been consistent on that side of the ball since Parcells/Belichick in the late 80’s. Almost 40 years! But before I go down that rabbit hole even deeper, my point remains this team has lacked the identity in the middle. Antonio Pierce gave them a glimpse. Okereke is the best they’ve had there since then and I’m all about it. The force he moves with, the diagnostic nature about his game, and the every-down ability will make a huge difference for this team.

3. Once game left. What to expect? There are several spots on this roster up for grabs. The backup receivers and running backs are interesting. Who gets the final OL/DL spots are interesting. The abundance of talent they have at safety is interesting. I do not want to see the key guys out there for more than 2-3 drives. I want to see the roster-competition spots filling most of the snaps because there are some very tough decisions to be made. I hope to have a projected 53-man roster out the morning after the final preseason game.

Aug 192023
 
Evan Neal and Andrew Thomas, New York Giants (August 18, 2023)

Evan Neal and Andrew Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS CUT RODARIUS WILLIAMS…
The Giants have waived cornerback Rodarius Williams, who was drafted in the 6th round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Williams suffered a torn ACL in October 2021. The injury also affected his availability in 2022. The Giants activated him off of IR in mid-November. Williams played in three games, including starting in the regular-season finale. However, he did not score many points with the new coaching staff by publicly complaining about his lack of playing time. Williams finished with 15 tackles, two pass defenses, and one interception.

AUGUST 19, 2023 BRIAN DABOLL PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Saturday (VIDEO):

Q: I have a couple questions on guys who didn’t play last night. The two defensive linemen, Nacho (Rakeem Nuñez-Roches) and A’Shawn (Robinson), was that just based on where they are coming back from things?

A: Yeah, that’s kind of the sit-down with the trainers and the sport science and develop a plan for each of those guys. They weren’t going to play last night.

Q: And then (cornerback) Rodarius Williams, was he hurt or was that just couldn’t get him in the game?

A: No, he wasn’t hurt, we actually released him this morning. We’ve got some younger guys, been busy here in meetings. That happened this morning.

Q: When you look back at last night, where do you start with evaluating? We know what we saw in the press box, it looked awfully good from there but where do you start with an evaluation of a game like that?

A: I’d say it’s the same for every game in terms of what we look at. The overall execution of the play, how each person is performing their individual job and technique and assignment. There is a lot to correct, regardless of when the game is being played, preseason, regular season, who’s playing in it. That’s the job of a coach so you go through the tape. Certainly, a lot of things to correct. You praise some of the positive things that were accomplished in the game but every game there is so many different little things to correct so we just try to stay consistent with our approach. Whether it be a preseason, a regular season, any of those. We just try to stay consistent with how we approach things. Come in as a coaching staff, we watch the tape all together, offense, defense, special teams, just as a coaching staff. I’d say in the preseason, you are really evaluating a lot of the players in terms of the competition spots, where they are at. So, you spend a lot of time doing that and then you have another meeting right now. All the coaches are with their players right now so just trying to improve on the number of things that we can improve on.

Q: It seems to me that (wide receiver) Jalin Hyatt has come a long way in a short period time, how do you see it?

A: I’d say he falls right in line with all the other rookies. I think they have been here for quite some time after the draft process. They’ve made strides each and every day. There is a lot of things that are happening to them for the first time. Just because you are not getting a lot of passes as a receiver and catches as a receiver doesn’t always necessarily mean you are not improving, and I think he’s done that since he’s been here. There is a lot to learn, he still has a lot to learn, but he’s made strides. I think (wide receivers) Coach (Mike) Groh and (offensive assistant/game manager) Cade Knox have done a really good job in that room with him along with the veterans. He would be the first to tell you that he’s got still a lot to learn and a long way to go.

Q: When you are dealing with a rookie like (running back) Eric Gray, who you are asking to do the return game, sometimes the best play is minimizing, you know what I mean, it’s not a splash play, it’s just making a catch…

A: Risk (vs.) reward.

Q: How do you assess his two? He had a couple decisions early, kind of looked like he almost let the first punt drop and then he came in, kind of waved people off and caught it. Then on the kickoff, there is a temptation maybe to get the ball when it’s bouncing around there.

A: Yeah, made a good decision there, actually got good field position off of it. Yeah, I think he has made good decisions back there. The more he does it, the better it is, particularly outside and in our stadium in particular with the wind. There was some good wind there last night in terms of the kicking game. He’s worked hard at it, he will continue to work hard at it and much like Jalin, I think he’s made some strides, but he’s still got a ways to go.

Q: Is it hard to trust a rookie in that situation because there is a lot of problems that can arise?

A: No, I think whether you are a rookie or a two-year vet, a five-year vet, you go through a process that starts back in OTAs and camp. You work hard at it, you prepare for it and if you prepare hard for it and continue to practice it, as a coach you have confidence in those players because of the amount of time and effort and energy they put into it.

Q: What did he (Eric Gray) show you on the nine-yard touchdown run? Seemed like he had to get some of that on his own.

A: I thought he ran with a good pad level. I thought it was well blocked upfront with the line and Belly (tight end Daniel Bellinger), there was some good finish in there and he had some good leg drive and finished it off there. That’s important, you have to get the ball downhill, particularly down there in the red zone and run with good pad level and leg drive, got to block it up well. The space is condensed, course patterns are a lot different. There is more guys in the box, there is usually an extra guy you are going to have to either run through or run around. It was good to see him be able to finish the play in the end zone.

Q: I wanted to ask you about Daniel Bellinger. When (tight end) Darren Waller came, Daniel kind of was the forgotten guy. What have you seen from him and how is he complementing Darren and the office?

A: He played some last year, quite a bit and then he had the eye injury, but he’s got the right mindset of kind of the person we are looking for. He’s smart, he’s tough, he’s dependable, he’s a good teammate, he works hard. He puts the team first. I think it’s good to have veterans in the room that can help those players as well, those young players. I think he’s made strides from when he played last year to where he’s at now. Time will tell once we get going here in the regular season. Good young player, has the right mindset and has a good player in the room to learn from as well now.

Q: I wanted to ask you about (tackle) Evan Neal. Obviously, came back from almost two weeks of not practicing, can you just talk about the progress he’s made and what was he doing to kind of not fall off despite the fact that he couldn’t practice?

A: Yeah, you know he was in the protocol, so whatever we could have him do, he did, relative to the rules of the protocol He’s another young player that worked hard in the offseason. He shed some weight, I’d say improved technique and it was good to have him out there. I thought he showed well here in this game.

Q: Because Darren is essentially a fourth wide receiver, you saw with (tight end Rob) Gronkowski in New England, how much does he allow you to do with your offense that maybe you couldn’t do before?

A: Yeah, I think he’s got obviously a good skillset. I wouldn’t classify him as a wide receiver; I’d say he’s a tight end. We ask him to do everything that tight ends do. I’ve coached the position for a while. A variety of blocking schemes… Again, he’s a player that you can use in different roles relative to where he lines up at the line of scrimmage or outside the line of scrimmage. He’s capable of doing those things, so he gives you some flexibility in terms of formationally and personnel usage and things like that, and he’s done that throughout his career. He’s a good guy to have on your team and work with.

Q: How important are those pre-snap alignments to what you try to do? It seemed like on the first drive you had a different formation every time you went out.

A: I’d just say I think it depends on what they’re doing defensively to you as well. So, it’s kind of like the cat-and-mouse game. You put one group in, what do they put in? Sometimes it tells you stuff, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it gives you false keys. It all depends on the defense that you’re facing and the philosophy of that defensive coordinator or that defensive play caller.

That’s something you look at during the week as you get going here into the regular season. You never have an idea of exactly how teams want to play you, so you have to have multiple things ready to go on a call sheet based on what you’re going to get formationally from another team defensively. So, that’s kind of pre-work that you do during the week, and you really don’t know until you get that out there in the game of how they want to approach it.

Q: On the Bellinger touchdown, you lined up Waller just inside him. It looked like the two defenders, their eyes went to Waller, and Bellinger obviously blocked a little bit first and then popped open. Did you feel like that formation there allowed him to get open?

A: I thought it was a pretty standard play that the players executed well that (offensive coordinator Mike) Kaf(ka) thought would be good down there in the red zone. I’d say there was a play fake with it. They were on (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) pretty good, and again, another good example of Daniel adjusting his throw and his arm angle and things like that to get around the defender that’s kind of unblocked on that play, or should I say late blocked on that play. Yeah, they did a good job executing.

Q: I was talking to (wide receiver) Bryce Ford-Wheaton last night after the game just a little bit about the message that you guys send. I’m sure you send it to all the players when they get here: ‘We know what you can do in your offense or defense, but special teams is really going to be your ticket to kind of open eyes and stick that you can be in this league.’ I know buy-in is important, but how difficult is it for players in general to kind of take that message and translate it and really make an impact on special teams, given the idea that you guys don’t necessarily have the live action that you do have in the summer? How much of it is trying to translate what their skill set might be?

A: I think it’s really not that difficult, because for some of the players, if they don’t do it, they’re not going to be on the team. So, that’s job security or not having it, and that’s the reality of it. There are obviously some players that come in and play at certain positions and that’s their role, then there’s other players that have a different role whether it be in a different punt team, or punt return team, kickoff, kickoff return… I think everybody understands that. The people in the building, and I’d say, just people in general that are competing for roster spots throughout the National Football League, that there’s a role for you if you can go out there and earn that role and show that you can do it at a high level. I would say that’s probably the biggest thing. If you can earn a role and you can do something really well, regardless of what team it is on, a defensive unit, an offensive unit, a punt team unit, a punt return team unit, and you’re really good at it, you have a chance of sticking around a place. So, there’s I’d say a lot of competitive spots right now that people are kind of vying for, and certainly special teams, particularly with role players, backup players, can make a big difference.

Q: I guess a better question would have been if the buy-in is there, but some guys can’t do it. Some guys go out there and try to do it and they can’t do it. So sometimes it’s finding that right fit, right, in terms of what guys can do?

A: Yeah, no doubt about it. If you’re not a starter or you can’t do it, then you’re probably not going to be around very long.

Q: What did you see from (offensive lineman) Josh Ezeudu and your interior offensive line, the starting group in general?

A: Yeah, I think all three of them did a good job. We rotated them as you guys saw, and I’d say they all were pretty productive in the things we asked them to do yesterday.

Q: Obviously, you’re rotating them. It was a pretty even split. Do you want to have that set, or would you like to have it set? How willing are you then to take that into the season and just keep going with that rotation?

A: Yeah, I’ve done it in multiple spots. Last year, we did it some. I’ve done it in a lot of different spots that I was at, whether it was as a coordinator or even a position coach. We’ll let those guys keep competing it out. They’ve done a good job. No decisions have to be made right now, so we’ll kind of let it play out.

Q: Do you have any other roster moves that were made this morning to go along with Rodarius?

A: No, not right now. Nope. That was the only one.

Q: Were there any injuries out of last night?

A: Yeah, I have not yet met – this is kind of like last week – with the doctors yet. So, I’ll have a better answer for the injury stuff on Monday for you.

Q: Is there a reason (running back) Saquon (Barkley) didn’t play?

A: Yeah. We just didn’t play him.

Q: You had so many passes in that opening series. I was just wondering, if we’re not going to use him with the first team, he’s not going to play?

A: It’s kind of—we have a plan for each one of our guys, and that was his plan.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Sunday and return to practice on Monday (10:00AM-Noon). Assistant General Manager Brandon Brown will also address the media on Monday.

Aug 182023
 
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (August 18, 2023)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 21 – CAROLINA PANTHERS 19…
The New York Giants pretty much got what they wanted out of their second preseason game. The Giants played almost all of their starters, easily coasted to a 21-3 halftime lead, and seem to have finished the game with no new injuries of note. New York survived a couple of 4th quarter touchdowns by Carolina to win 21-19 at MetLife Stadium on Friday night.

Running back Saquon Barkley was a healthy scratch and the Giants kept out a sizable number of players who are still recovering from injuries, but most of the starters played and played well.

The Giants received the ball to start the game. Quarterback Daniel Jones was nearly flawless, completing 8-of-9 passes for 69 yards with one drop. He also ran for six yards and completed the possession with a 4-yard touchdown toss to tight end Daniel Bellinger. Fellow tight end Darren Waller caught three passes for 30 yards, including a 12-yard reception on 3rd-and-7.

The Giants’ defense then forced a three-and-out before quarterback Tyrod Taylor came in for Jones. Taylor could not complete his 3rd-and-4 attempt and the Giants also went three-and-out.

Aided by three defensive penalties, the Panthers did gain 62 yards on 15 plays on their second drive, but were pushed back by a sack by outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux and a couple of penalties of their own. Carolina settled for a 37-yard field goal to cut the score to 7-3 early in the second quarter.

Carolina’s ensuing kickoff went out-of-bounds, giving the Giants the ball at their own 40-yard line. After Taylor scrambled for a first down on 4th-and-1 near midfield and ran for 16 yards on 3rd-and-9, he connected with wide receiver Jalin Hyatt on a 33-yard deep pass into the end zone for the touchdown. Giants 14 – Panthers 3.

Both teams exchanged punts. With just over two minutes to play before halftime, the Panthers went for it on 4th-and-1 on their own 48-yard line. Defensive lineman Jordon Riley stuffed the rushing attempt for no gain, turning the ball over on downs. Taylor threw 25 yards to wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins. After an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Panthers, running back Eric Gray plowed up the middle for a 9-yard touchdown run to make the score 21-3.

Both teams had the ball once more in the half, but the score remained 21-3 at the break.

The Panthers received the ball to start the third quarter and proceeded to cut the score to 21-6 with a 53-yard field goal after a 12-play, 40-yard drive. The Giants gained 35 yards on their only possession of the quarter, but quarterback Danny DeVito’s 4th-and-1 pass was defended for an incompletion. This turned the ball over on downs at the Carolina 34-yard line. The Panthers then responded with an 8-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, making the score 21-12.

The Giants gained 26 yards on their second drive of the half, but were again halted on a failed 4th-and-1 conversion attempt. Running back Jashaun Corbin lost two yards, giving Carolina the ball back near midfield. Six plays later, the Panthers threw a 20-yard touchdown pass over cornerback Darren Evans on 3rd-and-5. With 6:47 left in the game, the Panthers trailed by only two points, 21-19.

While the Giants did not score on their third possession of the half, they did manage to gain 30 yards and take almost five minutes off of the clock. The Panthers got the ball back just before the 2-minute warning. But they could not gain a yard and cornerback Zyon Gilbert broke up the last 4th-and-10 pass, securing the victory.

The Giants only rushed for 60 yards, with nearly half of those coming from the quarterbacks. Jones finished 8-of-9 for 69 yards and one touchdown. Taylor was 9-of-13 for 90 yards and a touchdown. DeVito was 9-of-11 for 88 yards. Hyatt led the team with four catches for 35 yards and a touchdown, but Waller, wideout Parris Campbell, and Corbin each had three catches.

Thibodeaux and outside linebacker Tomon Fox each had sacks. Safety Dane Belton was credited with two tackles for losses. Inside linebacker Bobby Okereke and safety Gervarrius Owens each had seven tackles. Inside linebacker Carter Coughlin was credited with two pass defenses.

Video highlights are available on YouTube.

INJURY REPORT…
WR Wan’Dale Robinson (ACL) and CB Aaron Robinson (ACL) remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

RB Gary Brightwell (unknown), WR Cole Beasley (leg), WR Collin Johnson (knee), TE Tommy Sweeney (unknown), OL Tyre Phillips (unknown), OL Marcus McKethan (knee), DL A’Shawn Robinson (knee), DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (groin), DL D.J. Davidson (knee), DL Ryder Anderson (triceps), LB Cam Brown (unknown), CB Rodarius Williams (unknown), and S Nick McCloud (unknown) did not play.

RB Saquon Barkley was a healthy scratch. The Giants reported no injuries from the game.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by Zoom on Saturday.

Aug 172023
 
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (August 1, 2023)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

THE STORYLINE:
So far, knock on wood, it’s been a relatively uneventful training camp and preseason for the New York Giants. And that’s the way the franchise prefers it. Keep chugging along, getting ready for the September 10th opener, which is a little over three weeks away.

Head Coach Brian Daboll has not provided any information on who will be playing against the Carolina Panthers. My guess is we will see many of the starters, possibly for as much as a quarter.

THE INJURY REPORT:
The most significant injury this summer has been the concussion suffered by RT Evan Neal on August 4th. Although he officially cleared the concussion protocol on Wednesday, he has not participated in a full-contact practice in two weeks. I think he needs to play on Friday. He’s missed too much valuable practice time.

WR Wan’Dale Robinson (ACL) and CB Aaron Robinson (ACL) remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

RB Gary Brightwell (unknown), WR Collin Johnson (knee), OL Tyre Phillips (unknown), DL Ryder Anderson (triceps), and LB Cam Brown (unknown) did not practice this week and probably won’t play. WR Cole Beasley (leg) could also be out.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
The greatest sense of unease surrounding the team right now remains the offensive line. Evan Neal’s concussion was a big setback. With only a handful of practices and one more preseason game remaining on the schedule, he probably has to play in this game just to get the reps. Expect him to be a bit rusty after missing two weeks of practice. (There was also one report that he tweaked his ankle in practice on Wednesday). At the other tackle spot, Andrew Thomas may get a few reps, but the priority is keeping him healthy. I would expect John Michael Schmitz to play possibly as much as the first half. Again, he needs the reps to acclimatize himself to the pro game.

Other than Neal, there is a great deal of uncertainty at the two guard spots. It’s pretty clear the coaching staff is still trying to determine who starts at both left and right guard. It was assumed before camp started that Mark Glowinski’s starting spot at right guard was safe. That’s not the case as Ben Bredeson is still getting snaps there and at left guard with the first unit. The Giants have not ruled out guard-by-committee approach. Regardless, with three weeks to go before the Cowboys, the Giants don’t know who two of their opening day starters on the offensive line will be. That’s a bit disconcerting.

The performance of the back-ups against the Detroit Lions last Friday also raised some red flags. Part of that was exacerbated by the absence of Tyre Phillips and Devery Hamilton from that game. Phillips will likely miss this game and Hamilton has since been waived/injured. The two worst culprits were tackles Korey Cunningham, who much more was expected out of, and Wyatt Davis, a guard who was playing out of position. The Giants signed offensive tackle Julién Davenport off of the street this week. The ones to watch here are Matt Peart and Korey Cunningham at tackle, Shane Lemieux at center and/or guard, Marcus McKethan at guard and/or tackle, and Joshua Ezeudu and Ben Bredeson at guard. The Giants are likely to keep nine offensive linemen with Thomas, Neal, Schmitz, Bredeson, Glowinski, and Ezeudu being the sure bets. That leaves Phillips (who won’t play), Peart, Cunningham, Lemieux, and McKethan fighting for three spots. A waiver-wire pick-up or trade is also an option.

While there is unease on the offensive line, there is fan confusion at wide receiver. Entering camp, nine different receivers could make a strong case for one of the six or seven roster spots. Collin Johnson’s knee injury may have taken him out of the equation, but Joe Schoen has also indicated that Wan’Dale Robinson won’t start the season on the PUP. So we still have eight players fighting for six, maybe seven openings. One has to figure that Isaiah Hodgins, Parris Campbell, Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt, and Wan’Dale Robinson make it. Two guys who fans originally did not think had much of chance – Cole Beasley and Jamison Crowder – stood out against the Detroit Lions. Sterling Shepard has yet to play, but seems to be rounding into form quicker than expected. So who goes? Are any of these guys willing to remain on the Practice Squad?

Likely influencing the discussion at wide receiver is the situation at tight end. Tommy Sweeney has not received enough attention from fans as a possible valuable back-up as a blocking tight end. With the Giants likely to run a lot of 12 personnel this year with both Darren Waller and Daniel Bellinger on the field together, it is very possible the Giants decide to keep four tight ends. That makes it tougher to keep seven wide receivers. It also begs the question is it worth keeping seven wide receivers if much of your base offense is 12 personnel? So the preseason remains very important for guys like Lawrence Cager and Tommy Sweeney. Both could make it. Or the team could let go of one.

Finally, there is a pretty good fight going on at running back too. Saquon Barkley is obviously safe and should not play much. It is very unlikely for the team to part ways with a rookie draft pick (Eric Gray), especially since they seem to grooming him for return duty. Do the Giants keep three or four running backs? If three, and the coaching staff wants Matt Breida on this roster, then James Robinson, Jashaun Corbin, and Gary Brightwell will have to hope for a Practice Squad spot. Brightwell’s injury is not helping his cause for the 53-man roster.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
When the Giants landed Deonte Banks, John Michael Schmitz, and Jalin Hyatt with their first three draft picks, fans were ecstatic to the point of largely ignoring the remaining four picks. Eric Gray got some love for being a good value in the 5th round, but the remaining 6th-round and two 7th-round selections seemed more throw-aways at the time. Fast forward to mid-August. 6th rounder Tre Hawkins is seriously pushing for a starting outside corner spot. He looks like the complete package – a big, fast, physical corner who can play press coverage. 7th rounder defensive lineman Jordon Riley has caught the eye of the coaches. Defensive Line Coach Andre Patterson, who has coached a lot of great players over the years, thinks he has the ability to be a good player. The second 7th-rounder, safety Gervarrius Owens, has flashed both in camp and the first preseason game. Right now, the 2023 Draft Class is looking like a home run. Keep that in mind when someone tells you late picks don’t matter.

Last Friday’s preseason game was interesting in that both primary back-up defensive linemen, A’Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches, did not play. Personally, I’m dying to see them both in action for the first time, as well as continued snaps from Jordon Riley. Add to the mix that D.J. Davidson was just activated from the PUP. He is recovering from an ACL. I’m curious to see if he plays. Ryder Anderson is missing a lot of time, and he may have cost himself a spot.

We also did not see the headliners at linebacker: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, and Bobby Okereke. I would expect all three to see snaps against the Panthers. Micah McFadden clearly has the advantage over Darrian Beavers, who is still being brought along slowing coming off his own ACL. McFadden flashed in run defense, but he’s still under the microscope, particularly in pass coverage. Does Beavers play this week and get a chance to make a statement?

One of the more interesting battles is back-up outside linebacker/edge. We know Jihad Ward will be one of the guys. The question is who else? Tomon Fox caused the first turnover last week. Tashawn Bower made some plays in run defense. Habakkuk Baldonado got to the quarterback twice. Oshane Ximines is also in the picture. This is also another area where the Giants may seek outside reinforcements before September 10th.

Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson said Wednesday that this was the deepest group he’s had since being with the Giants. He said all of the players on this 90-man roster can play in the NFL and that’s not always been the case for him. That seems fairly obvious at safety. Where there was once concern about the position with the departure of Julian Love, the Giants now seem to have a numbers problem. Jason Pinnock appears to have the starting spot locked up opposite of Xavier McKinney. Dane Belton seems to have a good hold on the third safety spot. That leaves Nick McCloud, Bobby McCain, Gervarrius Owens, and Alex Cook. At least two of these players have to go. And it’s not a given that they can be safely stashed on the Practice Squad.

Meanwhile, it appears the Giants got two starting cornerbacks out of the same draft. Jackpot. There will be growing pains during their rookie year. Games will be lost because of their youth. But both have the look and feel of long-term studs at a critical position. So much so that the Giants are using their only proven commodity at outside corner in the slot now. Who would have thought that a few weeks ago? Yet I’m still greedy. I want to know if we have a quality 4th outside corner on the roster. Interestingly, the Giants moved Cor’Dale Flott outside this week. That seems to suggest that Adoree’ Jackson and Darnay Holmes will be the two top slot corners with Flott now having to make his mark outside. These last two games are huge for both Rodarius Williams and Amani Oruwariye.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
I warned about a breakdown on punt and/or kickoff coverage in my preview last week, and it happened with the 95-yarder that changed the outcome of the game. Again, while I prefer that doesn’t happen, I don’t get bent out of shape over special teams snafus in the preseason. This is where the coaches are trying new players and seeing who can and can’t cut it.

More than the coverage, it’s important to note that the coaches said Jamie Gillan out-kicked his coverage. That’s a problem. He’s young, but entering his second season, he can’t do these things without causing bigger issues for his coverage team.

I also must admit that I’m not totally comfortable with handing the punt and kickoff duties to a rookie running back with virtually no experience at doing either in college. For years, this franchise has curiously ignored finding and using a true return specialist. This has come back to haunt a number of different coaching staffs, and yet the Giants appear to be going down that road again. I get it. Roster spots are valuable. But the return game matters.

THE FINAL WORD:
My expectation is that the starters will play at least a quarter. Get them in and out. Much attention will be on the offensive line, both front-line starters and reserves. We also should see Daniel Jones for the first time.

Aug 162023
 
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (August 1, 2023)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 16, 2023 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The practices are no longer open to the public.

GIANTS CUT LINEBACKER…
The Giants have waived/injured inside linebacker Troy Brown, who suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury at practice on Tuesday. The Giants signed Troy Brown as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2023 NFL Draft.

INJURY REPORT…
WR Wan’Dale Robinson (ACL) and CB Aaron Robinson (ACL) remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

RB Gary Brightwell (unknown), WR Cole Beasley (leg), WR Sterling Shepard (rest day), WR Collin Johnson (knee), TE Darren Waller (rest day), LT Andrew Thomas (rest day), OL Tyre Phillips (unknown), DL Dexter Lawrence (rest day), DL Ryder Anderson (triceps), and LB Cam Brown (unknown) did not practice.

RT Evan Neal officially cleared the concussion protocol.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Giants practiced indoors in shorts and shells. It was a “carded” (aka game plan) practice where the team practiced a lot of situational work in preparation for Friday’s preseason game.
  • First-team offensive line was LT Matt Peart, OC John Michael Schmitz, and RT Evan Neal with Ben Bredeson, Mark Glowinski, and Joshua Ezeudu rotating constantly at the two guard spots.
  • Marcus McKethan was the second-team right guard.
  • Shane Lemieux was the second- and third-team center.
  • Julién Davenport practiced with the third team at both tackle spots.
  • Lawrence Cager received some first team reps at tight end.
  • Jordan Riley saw snaps with the first team defensive line.
  • Micah McFadden continues to practice with the first team at inside linebacker.
  • QB Daniel Jones connected on a 60-yard to WR Jalin Hyatt. Jones also threw another deep pass to WR Darius Slayton.
  • WR Jalin Hyatt was used on an end around.
  • Safety Bobby McCain picked off a pass from QB Tyrod Taylor.
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson picked off one pass and broke up another.
  • S Dane Belton almost picked off a pass from QB Tommy DeVito.
  • CB Deonte Banks was step for step on an incomplete pass to WR Darius Slayton, as did CB Tre Hawkins on a deep pass to WR Isaiah Hodgins.
  • OC John Michael Schmitz picked up a twist from OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux.
  • Giants ran a fake punt with RB Matt Breida picking up good yardage.
  • WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton made a leaping touchdown catch on a pass from QB Tommy DeVito.

THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the team on Thursday. The Giants play the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium on Friday.

Aug 152023
 
Deonte Banks, New York Giants (August 1, 2023)

Deonte Banks – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 15, 2023 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The practices are no longer open to the public.

GIANTS ADD TWO PLAYERS…
Though not officially announced, the Giants have signed free agent offensive tackle Julién Davenport, who was cut by the Arizona Cardinals in June. The 28-year old, 6’7”, 315-pound Davenport was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. He has spent time with the Texans (2017-2018), Miami Dolphins (2019-2020), Indianapolis Colts (2021), Chicago Bears (2022), and Cardinals (2022-2023). Davenport has played in 60 regular-season games with 32 starts. His last action came in 2021 with Colts when he started four games.

The Giants also claimed linebacker Ray Wilborn off of waivers from the Denver Broncos. The 26-year old, 6’3”, 230-pound Wilborn was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Atlanta Falcons after the 2020 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Falcons (2020), Pittsburgh Steelers (2020), Green Bay Packers (2021-2022), and Broncos (2022-2023). Wilbon has played in only two NFL regular-season games with no starts, both with the Broncos in 2022.

To make room for Wilborn, the Giants waived/injured offensive lineman Devery Hamilton with a left foot/ankle injury. Hamilton was signed to the Practice Squad in October 2021 where he spent the remainder of the season. In 2022, Hamilton played in nine regular-season games with no starts. Most of his playing time came on special teams. The 6’6”, 311-pound Hamilton was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Las Vegas Raiders after the 2021 NFL Draft. The Raiders released him from their Practice Squad in September 2021.

INJURY REPORT…
WR Wan’Dale Robinson (ACL) and CB Aaron Robinson (ACL) remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

RB Gary Brightwell (unknown), WR Cole Beasley (leg), WR Collin Johnson (knee), OL Tyre Phillips (unknown), DL Ryder Anderson (triceps), LB Cam Brown (unknown), and S Nick McCloud (unknown) did not practice.

RT Evan Neal (concussion protocol) was limited to non-contact drills.

ILB Troy Brown left practice early with a possible ankle injury.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Giants were in full pads for a run-heavy practice.
  • First-team offensive line was LT Andrew Thomas, LG Joshua Ezeudu, OC John Michael Schmitz, RG Ben Bredeson, and RT Matt Peart. Mark Glowinski also rotated in at right guard.
  • Micah McFadden teamed with Bobby Okereke at inside linebacker with the first unit.
  • The starting outside corners were Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins with Adoree’ Jackson playing in the slot.
  • For the second day in a row, Cor’Dale Flott practiced outside with the second unit.
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari stood out in 1-on-1 pass rush drills.
  • Also in 1-on-1 drills, QB Daniel Jones connected with WR Jalin Hyatt on a deep touchdown pass, as did QB Tommy Devito to WR Jaydon Mickens.
  • RB Saquon Barkley broke a long run off the edge of the defense with WR Jalin Hyatt making a key block.
  • ILB Darrian Beavers flashed in run defense in 11-on-11 drills.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a touchdown to WR Isaiah Hodgins despite tight coverage from CB Deonte Banks.
  • Cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Amani Oruwariye knocked away passes.
  • OLB Tomon Fox had a “sack” and disrupted a screen pass.

THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice Wednesday morning (10:00AM-Noon). Head Coach Brian Daboll, the offensive and defensive position coaches, and select players will also address the media.

Aug 142023
 
Dane Belton, New York Giants (August 1, 2023)

Dane Belton – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 14, 2023 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The practices are no longer open to the public.

“We are still in training camp mode, we will be in training camp mode here for the next couple of weeks so a lot to work on,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice.

INJURY REPORT – D.J. DAVIDSON COMES OFF PUP…
WR Wan’Dale Robinson (ACL) and CB Aaron Robinson (ACL) remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

DL D.J. Davidson (ACL) passed his physical and was activated off of the PUP.

RB Gary Brightwell (unknown), WR Collin Johnson (knee), OL Tyre Phillips (unknown), OT Devery Hamilton (unknown), DL Ryder Anderson (triceps), LB Cam Brown (unknown), and S Nick McCloud (unknown) did not practice.

When asked about Johnson, who was injured during the game against the Lions, Head Coach Brian Daboll replied. “I don’t think it’s long term, but I’m not a doctor either.”

RT Evan Neal (concussion protocol) returned to practice but was limited to non-contact drills. DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (groin) also returned to practice.

TE Daniel Bellinger (unknown) appeared to be in some discomfort during 1-on-1 drills and did not participate in team drills.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Giants were in shorts and shells.
  • First-team offensive line was LT Andrew Thomas, LG Ben Bredeson, OC John Michael Schmitz, RG Mark Glowinski, and RT Matt Peart.
  • Joshua Ezeudu also rotated in with the first team at left guard and Ben Bredeson rotated in at right guard.
  • Marcus McKethan worked at third-team right guard.
  • Shane Lemieux was the second-team center.
  • RB Jashaun Corbin received first-team reps as did TE Tommy Sweeney and wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Cole Beasley.
  • Giants employed some 3-3-5 defense today with DL A’Shawn Robinson teaming with defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams.
  • Micah McFadden teamed with Bobby Okereke at inside linebacker with the first unit. McFadden nearly had an interception in team drills.
  • The starting outside corners were Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins with Adoree’ Jackson playing in the slot.
  • The second-string slot cornerback was Darnay Holmes with Cor’Dale Flott practicing outside with the second unit.
  • Dane Belton was the third safety in three-safety packages with the first unit.
  • In 1-on-1 drills, QB Daniel Jones threw touchdowns to TE Darren Waller and wide receivers Jalin Hyatt (twice), Jamison Crowder, Isaiah Hodgins, and Sterling Shepard.
  • Cornerbacks Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins each broke up a pass.
  • Also in 1-on-1 drills, QB Tyrod Taylor threw touchdowns to wideouts Kalil Pimpleton and Jaydon Mickens.
  • A pass from QB Tyrod Taylor was deflected (possibly by ILB Darrian Beavers) and intercepted by safety Gervarrius Owens, who later broke up a pass intended for TE Tommy Sweeney.
  • In the 2-minute drill, safety Dane Belton jumped an out route run by WR Darius Slayton, intercepting the pass from QB Daniel Jones and returning it for a touchdown.
  • Other than the interception QB Daniel Jones had a very sharp day. He started practice 11-of-11 with four touchdowns and completed his first 17 passes before an incompletion. Jones finished practice 22-of-26 with five touchdowns (all inside the 10-yard line).
  • In team drills, QB Daniel Jones threw a “perfect” pass up the middle to RB Saquon Barkley despite tight coverage from ILB Bobby Okereke.
  • TE Darren Waller had a fantastic practice, dominating 1-on-1 drills as well as catching six passes and multiple touchdowns in 11-on-11 drills from QB Daniel Jones. Wide receivers Isaiah Hodgins and Parris Campbell also had touchdown receptions from Jones.
  • WR Sterling Shepard had a strong practice, giving both rookie corners Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins issues.
  • QB Tommy DeVito threw a touchdown to WR Jalin Hyatt on a corner route.
  • TE Chris Myarick caught two touchdowns, one from QB Tyrod Taylor and one from QB Tommy DeVito.

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Monday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice Tuesday morning (10:00AM-Noon). Team coordinators and select players will also address the media.

Aug 142023
 
Jason Pinnock, New York Giants (August 11, 2023)

Jason Pinnock – © USA TODAY Sports

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones did not dress, giving the start to Tyrod Taylor. He played just two drives (8 snaps), completing three of four passing attempts for seven yards and gaining another seven yards on the ground. There was not much to evaluate here and barring injury, there is no question he will be the unmatched number two this season. This game, at quarterback, was all about Tommy DeVito.

-DeVito, a North Jersey local, passed for 155 yards on 15/24 passing. He threw 1 touchdown, 1 interception, and was sacked 5 times. While the pass protection was poor overall, as we see often in preseason football across the league, I saw a couple of things I liked. First, DeVito improved in-game and moving through reads in a hurry. The All-22 tape told the story there. Progression to progression, layer to layer. Now, he did miss a few throws and early on his internal clock was too delayed. However, I like how he responded to a few big hits. He is a tough kid with sneaky athletic ability. He warrants the “let’s see more” label.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley did not dress and Matt Breida barely saw the field. Rookie Eric Gray and Jashaun Corbin saw the most snaps, but James Robinson got a few looks before them. He had an unimpressive 9 yards on 6 carries. It will be interesting to see how much his experience (and possible trustworthiness in pass protection) weighs when coaches knock the roster down. Gray and Corbin have a lot to prove before they can be relied upon. While their talent and youthfulness can make the decision look easy, the coaches need to trust they can get the job done outside of carrying the ball.

-Gray handled all return duties in addition to leading the position group in snaps. First, on offense, he lacked innovation and comfort to put himself off schedule when the Detroit front was owning the point of attack. I saw two carries where the cutback lane was there, Gray did not see it. He gained just 9 yards on 5 carries and added 2 catches for 10 yards. As a returner, Gray looked uncomfortable to say the least. But keep in mind, he barely did it in college and both of his punt return attempts in 2021 (the last time he did this in a game) resulted in muffs. My thought is they know he will not be the number two back right away (and he is competing for number three), thus they need to find other ways for him to contribute.

-Corbin looked more comfortable and ran with quicker tempo. It was easy to tell the difference between the two. His 33-yard run in the fourth quarter was the biggest play of the game for the NYG offense. Remember, this is an offensive scheme that produced the fourth best explosive rush percentage in the NFL last year. The play design (and Corbin’s tempo) was outstanding. When the execution is there, they will create big plays on the ground.

WIDE RECEIVER

-The following receivers did not dress: Darius Slayton, Paris Campbell, Sterling Shepard, and Wan’Dale Robinson (PUP)

-With all of the hype from camp surrounding their first real deep threat in quite some time, Jalin Hyatt, I was hoping to see a long ball tossed his way at some point. It did not happen. His only target was a screen pass that ended up in a four-yard loss after he ran backwards. Two subtle observations on him. He did not line up in the slot at all (his primary spot in college). That is a good sign, it is too crowded in there for him. Second, his route running looks easy and smooth. He did struggle to fight through some cheap contact, but I was impressed by the joint fluidity from his hips down through the ankles. He came off the field so some of the fringe-guys could play more.

-To be blunt, I have no idea what the plan is at slot receiver. The two best NYG receivers were Cole Beasley (4 rec / 33 yards) and Jamison Crowder (2 rec / 32 yards). Between them and Shepard/Robinson, I simply cannot see a scenario where all of them are on this roster come week one. Beasley has the best route running and burst post-catch. He knows how to read a defender and can provide what Richie James did last season. Crowder stood out though. He has more presence against contact, and I trust his hands more. Perhaps they are just a hedge if there are physical issues with the guys mentioned above and I know they were matched up against backups. No need to get excited, but the floor is high with either of them.

-David Sills caught 2 passes for 36 yards, including a nice, contested catch for the biggest gain of the day for NYG via the air (22 yards). Mr. Reliable when it comes to backup roles, locker room presence, and familiarity. With all the competition at the position now, however, and the fact I expect to see Hyatt/Campbell outside, Sills is fighting uphill.

-Undrafted rookie Bryce Ford-Wheaton could end up challenging veteran Collin Johnson if the team wants more speed with the size. My guess is they both end up on the practice squad. The first NFL game action did not go well for him. He dropped a third down conversion pass, as he tried to body trap it for no reason. While he had some of the most impressive triangle numbers in the 2023 receiver draft class, his skill set (particularly ball skills) was bumpy. I also did not like some of the urgency / effort upon second look at the tape with some of his routes. He is straight line fast, but he is not very sudden. He needs to improve where he can as a route runner. The little things matter.

TIGHT END

-Both Darren Waller and Daniel Bellinger did not dress. Expect to see NYG rank top seven in the league in 12 personnel (2 tight ends / 1 back) if they stay healthy.

-The battle for the number three job is Tommy Sweeney’s to lose, another North Jersey local. He scored the lone touchdown of the night on a 14-yard pass from DeVito. I keyed in on his blocking more than anything because that is where his biggest contributions will come. The NYG offense has struggled here for awhile. With Bellinger entering year two and the presence of Sweeney, I expect an uptick in impact. He did a nice job in the running game, but he did allow a pressure in pass protection.

-Undrafted rookie Ryan Jones is an interesting practice squad candidate. He had a 10-yard reception, 5 of which came after the catch with an impressive, sudden burst upfield. I had a draftable grade on Jones out of East Carolina. The 6’1/240 body simply does not fit at receiver of tight end. Can this scheme find a role for him? He can create. Among all tight ends in FBS last season, Jones ranked third in missed tackles forced. More than Sam LaPorta, more than Michael Mayer, more than Brock Bowers. On less catches.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-If there was a negative takeaway from the game itself, it came from the backup offensive linemen, specifically outside. Before that causes a panic, you’ll find the same from over 25 other teams in the league. The lack in supply of quality backup offensive linemen in the NFL is one of the most glaring deficits. Andrew Thomas, Mark Glowinski, and Evan Neal (concussion) did not play. Backup Tyre Phillips did not play either.

-We can start with the positive. Rookie center John Michael Schmitz did have two bad losses, one of which resulted in a tackle for loss, but his overall performance was solid. His transitions and ability to stay attached proved how much movement he can get in the running game. Creating creases on multiple levels in the middle of the defense for a back like Barkley will be a difference maker. Is he overly strong and powerful? Detroit rookie defensive tackle did not think so. Is overly fast and agile? The Detroit linebackers did not think so. But the intelligence, technique, and smoothness to his footwork can get the most out of what he has. I was encouraged by his first pro action, and I expect him to start week one.

-The next best takeaway from the game was Shane Lemieux, who came in at left guard in the second half. There is open competition between Joshua Ezeudu and Ben Bredeson (the leader in my eyes) at left guard. Did we push Lemieux out of the picture too soon? The game tape says yes. He was excellent and was the best at staying latched on with good positioning and bend. Most of his issues have been health related.

-The nightmare we saw at tackle was alarming. Wyatt Davis at right tackle absolutely cannot be a potential solution. This is an odd experiment to me. Davis played 1,707 snaps in college. All 1,707 of them were at right guard. He has one career snap at right tackle as a pro. One. I cannot imagine he is a credible candidate for a backup tackle spot and the 2-sack, 3-pressure, 2-penalty performance on just 27 snaps is about as bad as it gets. He was not even close to competitive. Fellow backup hopeful Korey Cunningham was not much better. He led the offense in snaps played, splitting time between both sides of the line, and allowed 2 sacks and 4 pressures. Lastly, Matt Peart (hanging on for dear life) allowed a pressure and was torched in the running game. The speed of the NFL is too much for him and I am afraid to say the same issues we saw with his fluidity as a rookie are still there. The Giants have a problem (possibly a significant one) at backup tackle.

EDGE

-With the position group thinner than most want to believe, the trio of Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, and Jihad Ward all sat this one out.

-There is room for another edge defender, and it looks like it could end up being a close competition over the next two weeks with a possible solution currently on the street. The leader in the clubhouse if we are using this game only? Habakkuk Baldonado. Something about this franchise and names that are hard to pronounce on the edge. He had a 2 pressures and the team’s only sack. There was a nice string of plays in the fourth quarter where he sacked Adrian Martinez (canceled out by a questionable roughing penalty), just to record another one two plays later. The wins were technique and bend-based, both good signs.

-Tomon Fox hit the quarterback twice on 14 pass rush attempts, the first one aiding in the interception by Jason Pinnock. His power game has always been effective, and I have to think the defensive coaching staff (especially one led by Martindale) wants that behind the starters.

-Tashawn Bower and Oshane Ximines both graded out well. Ximines hit the quarterback twice but was beat on the edge in the running game twice. The fact we have seen him play a lot of football leaves out at least some potential hope, but I am interested to see how he responds to multiple guys on his level. Bower played a better, more well-rounded game against second/third stringers. He finished with 5 tackles, 1 TFL, and 2 pressures. This guy came into the league in 2017 from LSU. He has stuck around quite impressively and performs his best in hybrid fronts. I can’t say I’ve seen a fifth-year backup that has already been on four teams fight for a spot at such an important position. They see something in him.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-Inside is where the nucleus of this defense resides. I spoke of this a few times last year and I am glad that not only did both Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams return, but the A’Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches signings give them such a strong spike in depth. None of the four played in this game.

-Rookie seventh rounder Jordon Riley played 43 snaps, third most on the defense. Ironically, I just got done watching two of 2022 Oregon defensive tapes for some 2024 NFL Draft work. Never thought I’d be watching three games of Riley’s within two days. The body is pro-caliber and when his leverage is on point, the upper body lockout and push can get the job done. This is a massive frame with good enough bend and forward lean to turn into a stout run defender. While I don’t think there is much to work with as a pass rusher, D.J. Davidson better realize his roster spot may not be there for long. Riley had a couple of ugly losses (again, stemmed from pad level) where he was trampled by a double team. But the one stop where he helped stuff the run after peeling off the block displayed what he can do at his size. There is real talent here on a frame that stands out.

– The trio of Donovan Jeter, Kobe Smith, and Brandin Bryant will likely produce one or two guys for the practice squad. Based on this game tape alone, Smith is the one that I am intrigued by the most. He has some penetrating skills from the 3-tech spot (where he played most of the night) and that is an area I think could use another body.

LINEBACKER

-The biggest free agency addition Bobby Okereke did not play, nor did Darrian Beavers.

-Micah McFadden got the start next to the versatile special teamer Carter Coughlin. Both are what they are until I see otherwise. Smart and physical but limited in space with minimal passing game impact.

-If there was a winner of the night from the position, it was Dyontae Johnson, an undrafted rookie. All of his action came against backups, and we see linebackers/safeties make plenty of tackles and impressive plays against the run with each preseason game. Johnson’s question will be like what we saw out of Tae Crowder. Can he make faster reads, and will he get off blockers? He did not look fluid in coverage either.

CORNERBACK

-Adoree’ Jackson did not dress for the game, as he remains one of the most important players on this team because there isn’t anything trustworthy behind him yet. In even better news, they did not have him return any punts either.

-Speaking of behind Jackson on the depth chart, the chatter is rightfully positive surrounding their two draft picks. First rounder Deonte Banks and sixth rounder Tre Hawkins got the starting nods on the outside. Take where they were selected out, and it was hard to see who the better player was. Hawkins really has started on the right foot and Banks showed the speed traits we know this team was hot after draft weekend. In this man-heavy scheme, both looked at home. Banks can clean up his ball location and Hawkins was a late to anticipate routes (more so in zone), but a very positive first look for both.

-Cor’Dale Flott and Darnay Holmes are going to be battling it out for the nickel spot, I think. Part of it could depend on the team’s plans for the first rounder Banks. Both Holmes and Flott saw most of their snaps inside and by this time, we know what Holmes is. If you can live with the inevitable penalties, he is a solid option. Watching Flott’s footwork and recovery speed with such little wasted motion was encouraging. He is undoubtedly more “natural” at covering receivers than Holmes.

-The fringe guys at the position need to be worried. The likes of Rodarius Williams and Zyon Gilbert are going to have a hard time making this team. Even former Lion Amari Oruwariye looked slow in pursuit after losing leverage on a crossing route. Aaron Robinson on the PUP will help one of their causes, but I also would not rule out another free agent being signed after preseason (like how they brought in Fabian Moreau and Nick McCloud last season).

SAFETY

-Xavier McKinney and Nick McCloud both did not play. I’m not sure how high the staff really is on McCloud, but these other safeties are making a name for themselves.

-If there was one position group that “won” the intra-roster position battle, it was right here. On just FIVE snaps, Jason Pinnock broke up two passes, intercepting one and breaking up a third down attempt on the other, and had a TFL. Talk about impact. There was not a single defender that played less than him, but he was the group’s top playmaker. He is an ascending player.

-Beyond him, it stayed strong. Undrafted rookie Alex Cook led the team with 7 tackles, 2 of which were near the line of scrimmage. Seventh round rookie Gervarrius Owens broke up a pass and added 2 tackles. His break up was a result of a fast read and react that had a break on the ball start before it was thrown. His size complements his game well.

-Bobby McCain is the closest thing to Julian Love this team has right now. While he does not (and the defense does not) need to fill those shoes the exact way Love did, McCain played multiple spots in the secondary and looked fast. He had 5 tackles and brings a physical brand. He is not as big and does not tackle like Love did, but this tape showed the quick reactions and ability to both close and cover in multiple forms.

-I hope nobody is overlooking Dane Belton. He added 2 tackles and an interception. The 2022 team leader in interceptions (along with Love) saw his share of ups and downs as a rookie, but now healthy and with a year under his belt, I would bet he is a huge part of the plans for the defense. I cannot remember a time with such a deep and versatile safety group on one NYG roster. This gives them such advantages week to week based on matchups.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Graham Gano: 2/2 (Made 42, 47).
P Jamie Gillan: 5 punts / 47.6 avg – 28.2 net

3 STUDS

-S Jason Pinnock, CB Deonte Banks, OG Shane Lemieux

3 DUDS

-WR Bryce Ford Wheaton, OT Wyatt Davis, OT Korey Cunningham

3 THOUGHTS ON DET

1. Remember the name Ben Johnson. At this time next year, he will be a Head Coach in the NFL. The Offensive Coordinator for Detroit is just 37 years old and when it comes to getting the most out of personnel, there may not have been a more economic play caller in the league than him last season. Unless he falls apart in 2023, he will be the next young offensive-minded hire in the league. Washington seems like a real possibility to me, unfortunately. He has a few connections to that front office.

2. In the same breath, Detroit will not sneak up on anyone this season. And I question how smart the construction process of the roster was this past offseason. Running backs Jamaal Williams and DeAndre Swift? Gone. Wide receiver Jameson Williams is suspended 6 games. They are going to rely on a rookie tight end (odds are this will not work well) after trading T.J. Hockenson away last summer. Jared Goff has hit a peak and come crashing down a year later before. Can he create enough with the questions they have in the passing game?

3. Detroit is the hot pick to win the NFC North. We all know Minnesota was not near what their record said they were last season. Aaron Rodgers is finally out of Green Bay. Chicago was the second worst team in football last year. I believe the NFC North will be as close as any divisional race in football. I’m not ready to anoint the Lions yet, however. It’s been 20 years (!) since they won the North. The fact remains, this team was 3-6 against teams with winning records last year. They were 30th against the run. Their pass rush ranked 25th. They allowed the most first downs per game in the NFL. A few free agent signings won’t change all of that. I am keeping them in the 8-9 to 9-8 tier.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

1. The rule of preseason football: Do not react strong to anything (besides injuries). These games almost never mean anything at the end of the day. They can confirm a few things (like the thin offensive line) but they will not answer nearly as much as people think. Watch some new players, start to take in their skill sets, and check for surprises. Do not make the mistake of over-thinking a rookie (good or bad). They still have such a long way to go.

2. Someone asked me what position group excites me the most. Right now, it is the secondary (little cheating there, I know). Between the group of safeties that credibly goes six-deep (maybe seven) along with some promising young guys on the perimeter has to get you amped up. That is how a defense can win games, and with a pass rush, I expect the Giants to be top half of the league. We are not even close to the best version of defensive football under this new regime. They are going to be fun to watch.

3. What are the improvements or changes we want to see from preseason game one to game two? Personally, I would like to see Hyatt more involved. They need to try and script a couple deep shots to him so they can see how he tracks the ball, fights for it, and plays the body position game in real live situations. Defensively, seeing a few different personnel packages on third down would be my next thing. Whether the starters play or not isn’t as important. I want to see some of the edge guys shift inside, some of the defensive backs come up on the edge, and some of the inside linebackers blitz. Nobody plays as aggressive as Martindale and watching the Jets get home against Carolina in week one preseason opens the door for NYG to do the same.

Aug 122023
 
Cor'Dale Flott, New York Giants (August 11, 2023)

Cor’Dale Flott – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 12, 2023 BRIAN DABOLL PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Saturday (VIDEO):

Q: I guess the place to start is going over the injuries from last night. What can you tell us about wide receiver Collin Johnson, cornerback Cor’Dale Flott, punter Jamie Gillan and everybody else?

A: It’s probably better the next time I talk to you. There are still people getting looked at. We got in pretty late – after three o’clock last night. I’d say those are all kind of all up in the air, they’re getting looked at by the doctors now. Relative to where we are with all those, I’ll have better clarity for you guys on Monday.

Q: What about tackle Evan Neal and some of those guys?

A: Yeah, I’d say the same thing right now with all those guys. Monday morning when we talk, I’ll have better answers for you.

Q: After looking at the tape, what did you come away with?

A: I’d say there was a lot of good examples of how we want to play – physically, communication wise, team wise and then for the first preseason game, there’s always a lot to clean up. That’s where the coaches are right now is – to meet with their respective sides. Again, I know it was askedyesterday but I thought our young guys, our corners (Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III) and our center (John Michael Schmitz Jr.), I thought they showed well in the game for us. Played with confidence, did their job, so it was good to see those young guys out there playing. They played at a fairly high level.

Q: What did you see on tape from defensive tackle Jordon Riley, outside linebacker Tomon Fox, outside linebacker Habakkuk Baldonado and some of those young guys that look like they had really good games?

A: Again, probably a little bit of what I said before. There was some good plays in there, Jordon played quite a bit. He made some nice plays in the interior, certainly had some plays that could’ve been better. I’d say the same with Habs (outside linebacker Habakkuk Baldonado) and Fox. Fox obviously got off to a fast start on that first rush and contributed to that turnover that JP (safety Jason Pinnock) had. I thought they flew around, they played hard, they played physical, they ran to the ball on defense. Certainly some things to clean up but there’s a lot of good clips to show these guys of some of the stuff they’re doing in practice really translated to some of the game.

Q: What did you see from running back Eric Gray yesterday in the return game?

A: Fielded the ball well. We’ll try again, like I told you guys before, try to get him as many reps back there as we can. That was a controlled environment but made good decisions. Had the good long one, we got a holding penalty on it that took us back, we lost 25 yards of field position on that one which would have been a good start off the return. But, try to get him as much work as we can back there through these next couple preseason games to give him as many reps as he can get.

Q: Just a quick follow-up to that, what did you see then? Because we also saw him run the ball quite a few times and I guess catch too, he had a couple receptions.

A: Yeah, he caught a screen. Had a couple runs. Again, I think he is a rookie that needs to play and get experience playing. This was his first game. It would probably be a good question for all the rookies, I’m sure there was, like their always has been since I’ve been in the league, there is a little bit of anxiety. They are anxious to get out there and play in their first game but did some good things and some things we definitely have to work on. Not just him but I’d say the rest of the young players too.

Q: You mentioned last night about the little bit of rust with the coaches as well. Now this is not a normal game, in a normal game you are not trying to get everybody in and juggle things like that but what did you mean by the rust? Did you feel that actually?

A: Yeah, I mean I haven’t coached a game since January, coaches haven’t. Preseason is always a little different, there is a lot of players on your roster, there is a lot of shuffling. They come out on defense doesn’t mean they are out on kicking game or offense. It requires a great attention to detail. Look, any game is a competitive game if you are a competitor so I would say I think we have a bunch of competitors, but we have got to build on some of the good stuff that we did and correct some of the mistakes. As always, that will start with me.

Q: Does it ever happen where you have a plan for every player, right? How much you want them to play, and does it always fall that way?

A: I mean we try; we try to stay the course. We map it out. We have discussions that Friday or whatever it is, a couple of days before, after you go through the week of practice, particularly in the preseason and where they are at with the GPS numbers, what they run, the load they have and then we sit down and talk about it with the training staff and the sports science people and then get the coaches input. We try. Is it always perfect, do we stay exactly on line? No, but I’d say we are pretty close to it with the amount of reps that we anticipate each guy getting.

Q: Last year I guess your starters played a quarter, right? The first team guys I think in the first game played a quarter or so. Was the difference this year mainly because it’s the second year and you know more about those guys?

A: It’s just a different year. We sit down, we discuss it with the appropriate people that I talk to you guys about and make the decision that we thought was best. I’d say there is some good competitive situations right now going on, on our team and some young guys that we want to take a look at. Now what we do next week, that will be determined throughout the week. We will see where we are at with all those numbers and sit down at the end of the week and make a decision that we feel is best.

Q: What did you see from the guards, specifically (Joshua) Ezeudu and (Ben) Bredeson playing the first half there?

A: I thought for the most part they did a good job. They protected inside out. I thought (center) John Michael (Schmitz Jr.) did as well. The three of them communicated well with one another. They got some movement at the line of scrimmage inside there. It was a first game, a typical first game, but those guys worked well together.

Q. Why play Ben? I know you didn’t play most of your veteran starters. He’s not a first or second-year guy; he’s had some experience in the league.

A: We thought it was best for us. Wanted to see him out there communicating with those guys at that spot, and we’ll see how we do it this week.

Q. The camera caught you sort of glaring at T-Mac (special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey) after the punt return. What do you make of that? It’s going to be assumed that you were not happy with him specifically on that play or with the job that he’s doing. That’s sort of the inference that’s made out there, and I’m wondering what you think of that.

A: Non-issue. I’m a competitive guy, we’re all competitive, we’re in a competitive environment. I hold everybody, not just T-Mac, myself, and everybody else, to a high standard. Love T-Mac.

Q. I wanted to ask you about how players handle speed. It looked like some of the guys last night struggled against speed. Is that something you can teach, or is that just a matter of getting used to the speed of the game?

A: I wish you could teach speed. I wish you could teach speed. Again, for a lot of these young players, it’s their first time playing in an NFL game. And again, just like things ramp up from practices to joint practices, they ramp up from joint practices to the game and the preseason, and then they ramp up from a preseason game to a regular season game, and if you’re fortunate to go on, it even ramps up more. There’s a lot of fast people in this league that play fast, and speed usually kills.

Q. How much can technique help?

A: That can help. Technique helps with a lot of stuff. If you’re a fundamentally sound player and maybe have a little bit less long speed or short-space quickness, but you excel in your technique and you know where your help is and you play the right leverage, run the right stems, certainly, that all plays into factor. But you can’t teach speed, so the faster the better.

Q: I just wanted to follow up on something John Michael. He had mentioned just working on being loud in the communication. What did you see from him in his first kind of NFL-game atmosphere, how that’s progressing?

A: Yeah, he did a good job of communicating with his linemates and down the line of scrimmage, and with the snap, it was good. It was actually pretty loud at times in there. So, for his first outing at center for us, I was pleased with the progress that he’s made throughout camp, and I was pleased with his first game, and we’ve got to build on from that.

Q: (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) has reached a point in his career where you see him every day, you know him. There are a lot of other veterans on this team. Have you ever gotten to the point where you say he doesn’t need to play in the preseason?

A: No.

Q: So, he’ll get in at some point then?

A: We’ll talk about that at the end of the week. Again, these decisions really are made towards the end of the week like I’ve told you guys. There’s a lot of research and communication that goes into it, but I’d anticipate him playing.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Sunday and return to practice on Monday (10:00AM-Noon).