Dec 312023
 
Jamie Gillan and Mason Crosby, New York Giants (December 31, 2023)

So Close, But Yet So Far – © USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES RAMS 26 – NEW YORK GIANTS 25
The New York Giants came close to upsetting the red-hot Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, but untimely missed throws, dropped passes, missed tackles, penalties, and missed kicks hurt the team. The Giants lost 26-25, falling to 5-11 on the season with one more game to play.

In terms of overall team stats, the Rams held slight advantages in first downs (22 to 17), total net yards (391 to 389), net yards passing (286 to 284), and time of possession (30:11 to 29:49). Both teams rushed for 105 yards. The Giants won the turnover battle 3 to 1.

The Rams received the football to start the game, gained 54 yards on 10 plays, but had their 4th-and-3 passing attempt from the New York 21-yard fall incomplete, turning the ball over on downs. The Giants went three-and-out on their first possession. The Rams then responded with an 8-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard run for a touchdown by running back Kyren Williams. Rams 7 – Giants 0.

The Giants tied the game on their second offensive possession with a 9-play, 75-yard drive. The Giants overcame a 3rd-and-4 and 3rd-and-6 before a 24-yard end-around for the score by wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson early in the 2nd quarter.

After both teams exchanged punts, the Giants got the ball back when safety Dane Belton intercepted an overthrown pass by quarterback Mathew Stafford. However, the Giants gave the ball right back to the Rams after a failed 4th-and-1 conversion attempt at the New York 46-yard line. Eight plays later, Stafford threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-7.

The last 1:44 of the first half was eventful. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s deep pass intended for wide receiver Darius Slayton was intercepted at the Los Angeles 27-yard line. On the very next snap, Stafford completed a 16-yard pass over the middle, but cornerback Adoree’ Jackson forced a fumble that was recovered by Belton, setting up New York at the Rams’ 43-yard line. The Giants managed to gain 30 yards in the last 58 seconds to set up a 31-yard field goal as time expired. (The first attempt was blocked however the Rams were flagged with a leaping penalty).

At the half, the Rams led 14-10.

The Giants gained one first down and crossed midfield, but were forced to punt after Taylor was sacked on the team’s first drive of the second half. Then on 3rd-and-4 from the Los Angeles 18-yard line, Stafford completed a short pass to wide receiver Puka Nacua that he broke for an 80-yard gain to the New York 2-yard line. Williams scored on the next play. The Rams missed the extra point. Rams 20 – Giants 10.

After both teams exchanged punts again, the Giants overcame a 3rd-and-10 with an 11-yard completion to tight end Darren Waller. On the next snap, Taylor threw a beautiful deep pass to Slayton that was completed for an 80-yard touchdown. However, place kicker Mason Crosby missed the extra point and the Giants trailed 20-16.

Momentum continued to shift in the Giants direction as Belton intercepted his second pass on Los Angeles’ ensuing possession, setting up the Giants at the Rams’ 34-yard line. The Giants converted on 4th-and-1 at the 25-yard line, reached the 10, but were pushed back and forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal. The Giants now only trailed by one point early in the 4th quarter, 20-19.

Here is where momentum quickly shifted back to the Rams. The Giants defense allowed a quick, 3-play, 75-yard score with two chunk plays, including a 37-yard pass by Stafford and a 28-yard touchdown run by Williams. The Rams missed the extra point again, but now extended their lead to 26-19 with 12 minutes to play.

The Giants gained two first downs and reached the Los Angeles 42-yard line, but were pushed back with another sack. After an 18-yard gain on 3rd-and-19, the Giants went for it on 4th-and-1, however Taylor’s completion to wide receiver Jalin Hyatt lost a yard, turning the ball over on downs at the Rams’ 34-yard line. Both teams then exchanged punts again.

With 4:46 left to play, the Rams began another possession, gained a first down, but then Stafford was sacked on 3rd-and-7 by inside linebacker Bobby Okereke and defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches. The ensuing punt was fielded by wideout Gunner Olszewski, who broke a tackle en route to a 94-yard score. Trailing by one point, 26-25, Head Coach Brian Daboll went for two. Unfortunately, Taylor badly missed a wide open running back Saquon Barkley for what should have been an easy 2-point conversion.

The Rams got the ball back with 3:27 left to play. On 3rd-and-9, linebacker Isaiah Simmons sacked Stafford for a 10-yard loss. After the punt and a 10-yard holding penalty on cornerback Darnay Holmes, the Giants had the ball on their own 35-yard line with 1:08 left to play. Barkley dropped a pass, but Taylor then scrambled for 31 yards to the Los Angeles 34-yard line. Taylor decided to spike the ball with 43 seconds left, losing a down. Oddly, the Giants ran the ball to Barkley with no timeouts. Worse, this play lost two yards. Taylor’s 3rd-and-12 pass was incomplete. Crosby’s 54-yard field goal came up short with 30 seconds to play and the Rams ran out the clock.

Taylor finished the game 27-of-41 for 319 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also was the team’s leading rusher with 40 yards on six carries. Robinson caught six passes for 55 yards and rushed for a 24-yard touchdown. Waller had five catches for 51 yards and Slayton had four catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. Barkley was held to 39 yards on 12 carries.

Defensively, Okereke led the team with 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a tackle for a loss. Simmons and linebacker Jihad Ward each had a sack and Nunez-Roches had a half-sack. Belton picked off two passes and recovered a fumble.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ELEVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Saturday, placed TE Lawrence Cager (groin) on Injured Reserve and signed ILB Darrian Beavers to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. The Giants also activated (standard elevation) WR Dennis Houston and PK Mason Crosby from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were CB Deonte Banks (shoulder), WR Parris Campbell, WR Dennis Houston, OC Sean Harlow, DT Timmy Horne, OLB Benton Whitley, and S Gervarrius Owens.

RT Tyre Phillips (right knee) and S Jason Pinnock (foot) were injured in the game. It is feared that the injury to Phillips is serious. Pinnock was wearing boot in the locker room, but he said x-rays were negative.

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:

CRAIG FITZGERALD DEPARTS GIANTS…
The Florida Gators have hired Craig Fitzgerald to be their new director of football performance. Fitzgerald had been the Giants’ director of strength and performance since 2020 when he was hired by then head coach Joe Judge.

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

Dec 292023
 
Deonte Banks, New York Giants (October 22, 2023)

Deonte Banks – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 29, 2023 GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Everyone on the 53-man roster practiced in some capacity on Friday.

WR Wan’Dale Robinson (quad), TE Lawrence Cager (groin), DL Dexter Lawrence (hamstring), DL A’Shawn Robinson (back), DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (knee), CB Deonte Banks (shoulder), and P Jamie Gillan (groin/knee) practiced on a limited basis. Cager is officially “doubtful” for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams. Robinson and Banks are “questionable.” Everyone else is expected to be available to play.

RB Saquon Barkley (elbow), TE Darren Waller (knee), OC John Michael Schmitz (shoulder), OG Ben Bredeson (quad), OG Justin Pugh (elbow), and CB Adoree’ Jackson (ankle) fully practiced. All six players are expected to play on Sunday.

The Daily News is reporting that RT Evan Neal, who is on Injured Reserve with an ankle injury that requires surgery, actually broke his left ankle.

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

COREY WEBSTER RETIRES A GIANT…
Former New York Giants cornerback Corey Webster, who played for the team from 2005 to 2013, officially retired as New York Giant on Friday. The video of his retirement press conference is available on YouTube.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the Giants on Saturday. The Giants host the Los Angeles Rams at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

Dec 292023
 
New York Giants fan (October 2, 2023)

© USA TODAY Sports

THE STORYLINE:
In last week’s game review, I wrote “There is a big difference between the Giants losing this game 40-6 and 20-13. I can more easily accept the latter. But another one-sided drubbing by a divisional opponent is a really tough pill to swallow.”

At halftime, the Giants were trailing 20-3, exactly on pace for a 40-6 drubbing. But a handful of plays made a statistically one-sided game close, including a fumble on a kickoff return, a pick 6, and a 69-yard touchdown pass. Despite some bad officiating, the Giants seriously threatened to send the game into overtime. In terms of the big picture, one could argue this was a good outcome. It was a competitive game, but the Giants improved their draft position.

Yet the gnawing feeling remains that there is a serious talent gap between these two teams. The Giants kept it close because of three plays, but the Eagles still proved to be the better team when taking into account every single snap. We’ll get a better read in two weeks when both these teams face each other again, with Tyrod Taylor likely playing the full game as starter.

In between, the Giants face the red-hot Los Angeles Rams. The Rams’ overall record of 8-7 is misleading. The team has won five of their last six games, with the only defeat being in overtime to the Ravens in Baltimore. One can argue that the Rams have gotten fat playing against bad teams, but they have averaged over 32 points per game in their last five games. The Giants are averaging 14 points per game.

So unless something bizarre occurs, the Giants will fall to 5-11 against a surging team fighting for a playoff spot with a quarterback playing at an elite level. The Giants’ 2023 season was over by Halloween. It’s just taking forever to officially wrap this up before one of the most important offseasons in franchise history.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Saquon Barkley (elbow – probable)
  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (quad – questionable)
  • TE Darren Waller (knee – probable)
  • TE Lawrence Cager (groin – doubtful)
  • OC John Michael Schmitz (shoulder – probable)
  • OG Ben Bredeson (quad – probable)
  • OG Justin Pugh (elbow – probable)
  • DL Dexter Lawrence (hamstring – probable)
  • DL A’Shawn Robinson (back – probable)
  • DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (knee – probable)
  • CB Deonte Banks (shoulder – questionable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (ankle – probable)
  • P Jamie Gillan (groin/knee – probable)

GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Overall, the defense of the Rams is not overly impressive. They are middle-of-the pack in yards allowed and scoring defense. However, they still have defensive tackle Aaron Donald and they like to stunt and blitz up front, the exact type of scheme that has given New York’s blockers fits. The ability of the Giants to move the ball and put points on the board will largely depend on the offensive line. That’s not encouraging.

Let’s turn to the big picture and the upcoming offseason. That’s the more interesting subject matter.

Two things appear to separate the consistently good offenses and the bad ones: quarterback and offensive line.

If you don’t have a quarterback, you’re not likely to seriously challenge for a division title, let alone a Super Bowl trophy. The Giants have invested five years and two big contracts into Daniel Jones with little to show for it. On top of that, he can’t stay healthy. Undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito’s 15-minutes may be up. He’s under contract for another year and certainly will get a chance to compete in the summer, but whether he has an NFL future in any capacity remains in question. The problem for him is he doesn’t have the longer leash provided to a draft pick. It may not be fair, but it’s the way the world works.

This brings us to Tyrod Taylor. In 2022, many felt his 2-year, $11 million contract was an indication that Taylor would be the bridge quarterback between Jones, who was on thin ice at the time, and the anticipated 1st-round quarterback taken by the team in April 2023. However, under the new coaching staff, Jones played better than expected and was rewarded with a 4-year, $160 million deal. That decision has blown up in the team’s face. The Giants now find themselves in the awkward position of perhaps having to sit a player with a $47 million cap value out of fear he may hurt himself again and lock the team into future cap trouble. Long story short, much depends on how Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll privately feel about Jones.

If Jones is on the outs, theoretically Taylor could once again become that bridge quarterback. But there are two problems. (1) Taylor’s contract is expiring and he may not even be open to returning to a team that already benched him for an undrafted rookie, and (2) Taylor simply has not been able to stay healthy in the NFL himself. It’s not impossible that the Giants and Taylor could agree to a new deal, but I would not bet on it. That all said, these last two games could change hearts and minds. Familiarity is also working in favor of a possible reunion. So these games may be more important to Taylor than anyone else on the team. He not only needs to play well, but he can’t afford to get dinged up again.

We’ve all had it with the state of the offensive line. Enough is enough. Fix the fucking line. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to see that teams that can protect their quarterback and run the football are automatically good offenses. The reverse is also obvious. The Giants have had first hand experience with this brutal reality for 12 years. A good offensive line can make an average quarterback look good. Bad ones ruined the entire second half of Eli Manning’s career.

Evan Neal’s 2023 season was a disaster. Neal suffered a concussion in training camp that caused him to miss two valuable weeks of practice. A right ankle injury nagged him for all of October, causing him to also miss two games. When he returned in early November, he broke his left ankle, an injury which requires surgery. Neal only started seven games, missing 10, and again struggled with his balance and footwork in pass protection when he did play. Schoen says they still view him as a tackle and believe he can play. If so, they had better hire new offensive line coaches and have a legitimate fallback option.

Neal has become the bogeyman for fans, but the guard situation is just as dire. Justin Pugh is clearly not answer and should not be retained. Ben Bredeson is not an NFL starter, and is best suited for a back-up role. The lack of development of 2022 3rd-round pick Josh Ezeudu, who was forced to start five games at left tackle before missing the remaining 12 games with an injury, has been an issue as well. The regime also gambled an lost on Shane Lemieux (again) and Marcus McKethan did not develop. The situation with Mark Glowinski is just weird and he is likely done here. On top of all of this, the blocking schemes don’t appear to play to John Michael Schmitz’s strengths.

Moving forward, the Giants will have Andrew Thomas and hopefully Schmitz becomes what they hoped for when they drafted him. They can’t count on Neal, Bredeson, Ezeudu, and McKethan to be starters. They must part ways with Glowinski, Pugh, Lemieux, and Matt Peart. They cut Tyre Phillips once so it will be interesting to see if they even attempt to re-sign him. In other words, the Giants haven’t improved their OL situation at all in two seasons. Once again, they have to go back to the drawing board. It’s beyond ridiculous. Fix it.

GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
Full disclosure, I was a hugely supportive of the Giants hiring Wink Martindale. I was a big fan of what his defenses did in Baltimore and I like his aggressive approach in an era of bend-but-don’t break schemes. I also was impressed with the smoke-and-mirrors job he did in 2022 with an undermanned and injury-riddled unit. Opponents continue to say how difficult his system is to prepare for. That all said, I am left underwhelmed this year. The Giants’ defense allowed 144 rushing yards per game in 2022. They are giving up 134 yards per game this year, which is 29th in the NFL. Perhaps I’m too locked into the past, but I was brought up in an era where if you can’t stop the run, you can’t play quality defense, and therefore you can’t win. What’s Wink’s excuse? They traded away Leonard Williams? That doesn’t explain the problems before he was traded and it’s not sufficient enough an excuse for just how bad the run defense has been.

You want to beat the Cowboys and Eagles? You have to stop the run. Period.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the reports, but according to my sources, Wink is indeed on the way out. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Wink did have a down year in 2023, but so did this entire coaching staff. We’ll have to pray this all works out.

What type of defense needs this team will have largely depends on who defensive coordinator will be. Will the Giants stick with a 3-4 hybrid? Will they be more of a pure 3-4? Will they consider shifting back to a 4-3? Does doing the latter even make sense with Kayvon Thibodeaux being more of a pure 3-4 outside linebacker? Whatever scheme they employ, one thing is clear, the Giants need more pass rushers. It’s the glaring talent weakness on this defense.

As for the Rams, this one could get ugly. Fans keep asking where has Thibodeaux been, but as I’ve warned for weeks now, he’s a marked man. The team has gotten one decent game from Azeez Ojulari and that’s it. Now Dexter Lawrence has been limited to half the defensive snaps due to a hamstring situation. Meanwhile, as mentioned above, the Rams are averaging 32 points per game in their past five contests. Los Angeles has the 7th-best offense in the NFL, higher than the Eagles and Chiefs. They can throw the ball and they can run it. Matthew Stafford is playing as well as anyone at quarterback and he has two studs to throw to, including Cooper Kupp and surprising rookie Puka Nacua. Deonte Banks being questionable with a shoulder injury does not help.

GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
I’ve never seen a season where the Giants have had three kickers and a punter get hurt, but here we are. Jamie Gillan is playing hurt and that would be more of a concern if the team was still alive for a playoff spot. Meanwhile, two poor punts + big returns led directly to 14 points last week. That proved decisive in a one-score game. Thomas McGaughey should be on thin ice.

FROM THE COACHES:
Wink Martindale on the Rams’ offense: “I think that Stafford is playing at a Hall of Fame-type level and they have gelled offensively. He’s making throws that you just sit there and go, ‘wow.’ From all different kind of arm angles, no looks, all those things you’ve heard about, you’re seeing him do it and they’re playing at a very high level. I think that the thing that (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) has done is that they’ve made a commitment to the run game and changing their offensive line this year. Now, it’s a two-headed monster that you have to deal with. So, they put you in a bind of what you want to try to do and how you’re going try to do it, but Stafford is playing unreal. I mean, he’s a great football player, but I think that he and (Ravens quarterback) Lamar (Jackson) should be up for the MVP candidate. That’s the kind of year he’s having, and they’ve scored over 30 points a game.”

THE FINAL WORD:
In a decade plus of forgettable games and forgettable players, we find ourselves in the final stages of another season that was over by Halloween and which took forever to end. That’s a terrible place to be, but it is what it is. At this point, stealing a win would hurt the team more than it helps. If that makes me a bad fan, so be it. I hope they keep it close, but I don’t want to fall down the draft board. No one will ever remember if they upset the Rams.

Dec 282023
 
Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants (December 25, 2023)

Kayvon Thibodeaux – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 28, 2023 GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Everyone on the 53-man roster practiced in some capacity on Thursday.

TE Lawrence Cager (groin), OG Justin Pugh (elbow), DL Dexter Lawrence (hamstring), DL A’Shawn Robinson (back), DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (knee), CB Deonte Banks (shoulder), and P Jamie Gillan (groin/knee) practiced on a limited basis.

RB Saquon Barkley (elbow), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (quad), TE Darren Waller (knee), OC John Michael Schmitz (shoulder), OG Ben Bredeson (quad), and CB Adoree’ Jackson (ankle) fully practiced.

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 team practices on Friday. Head Coach Brian Daboll, the position coaches, and select players will also address the media.

Dec 272023
 
Tyrod Taylor, New York Giants (December 25, 2023)

Tyrod Taylor – © USA TODAY Sports

TYROD TAYLOR WILL START AGAINST THE RAMS…
The New York Giants have announced that quarterback Tyrod Taylor will start on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. “I thought (quarterback) Ty did some good things in the second half of Philly so he earned the right to start this game,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll on Wednesday.

“It’s part of the business,” said Taylor. “Thankful for the opportunity. Looking forward to getting out on the field with the guys this weekend and competing.”

“I’m going to continue to be a good teammate,” said quarterback Tommy DeVito, who lost the starting job. “Obviously, it’s a coaches’ decision. I have no, obviously, say or anything in that but I’m going to continue to be a good teammate, go out and compete.”

DECEMBER 27, 2023 GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The Giants only held a walk-through practice on Wednesday and the following injury report is the team’s projection.

TE Lawrence Cager (groin), DL Dexter Lawrence (hamstring), DL A’Shawn Robinson (back), DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (knee), and CB Deonte Banks (shoulder) did not practice.

RB Saquon Barkley (elbow), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (quad), TE Darren Waller (knee), OC John Michael Schmitz (shoulder), OG Ben Bredeson (quad), OG Justin Pugh (elbow), CB Adoree’ Jackson (ankle), and P Jamie Gillan (groin/knee) were limited in practice.

RT Evan Neal (ankle), who was placed on Injured Reserve on Sunday, will undergo surgery. “He’s going to get the surgery, fairly soon, and then rehab,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll.

JAGUARS SIGN MATT BARKLEY…
The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed quarterback Matt Barkley off of the Practice Squad of the New York Giants. The Giants signed Barkley to the Practice Squad in late October 2023 and 53-man roster in early November 2023. He was shifted back to the Practice Squad in early December.

The 6’2”, 227-pound Barkley was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. The well-travelled Barkley has spent time with the Eagles (2013–2015), Arizona Cardinals (2015-2016, 2017), Chicago Bears (2016), San Francisco 49ers (2017), Cincinnati Bengals (2018), Buffalo Bills (2018-2020, 2022-2023), Tennessee Titans (2021), Carolina Panthers (2021), and Atlanta Falcons (2021).

THE HEAD COACH AND 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 players practice on Thursday afternoon. The team’s coordinators will also address the media.

Dec 272023
 
Darius Slayton, New York Giants (December 25, 2023)

Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports

QUARTERBACK

-Tommy DeVito: 9/16 – 55 yards / 0 TD – 0 INT / 63.3. RAT

Is the ride already over? DeVito was pulled at halftime after the team was in serious need of a new spark. There is an intimidation factor the Eagles defense plays with and for a young, inexperienced quarterback like DeVito, it works in a big way. His footwork and timing were off, he did not look like he knew where to go with the ball, and the offense looked broken. There was less swagger than what we were used to seeing and it looked like the reality of this particular quarterback situation came crashing back down to earth. Should we see him again? More on that below.

-Tyrod Taylor: 7/16 – 133 yards / 1 TD – 1 INT / 68.0 RAT

Trusty Tyrod has been a forgotten man since the undrafted local hero took over under center. How quickly this offense changed the second he was back on the field was a stark reminder what Taylor has been his entire career. A more-than capable backup who can rightfully make one wonder “what if” had he gotten an opportunity like Geno Smith did in Seattle. He made multiple tight throws including a beautifully arched deep ball to Darius Slayton for a 69-yard touchdown. The most notable differences with Taylor in the game were yards per play (6.8 vs. 3.0) and third down conversion rate (50% vs 12.5%). Those numbers are obvious, but it was the fluidity and smoothness against a defense that was constantly dropping 7+ defenders into coverage. The debate will be rampant this week, who should start in weeks 17-18?

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 23 att – 80 yards – 1 TD / 3 rec – 4 yards

Full load for Barkley, as he played 89% of the team’s offensive snaps. A different running back (Matt Breida) was on the field for just 5 plays. We saw some gutsy power-running by the sixth-year pro who is just 19 touches shy of 1,500. Yes, 1,500 touches and we are still seeing some of the vision problems that have plagued him since 2019. Call it a lack of natural feel or a back who has been tarnished by such poor offensive line play (likely a combination of both), but Barkley left some yards on the field in this one. Watching him and a player like Christian McCaffrey in the following game strengthened the notion that it is the star back’s biggest and most defining weaknesses in his game. On the positive side, the successful 2-point conversion was solely on him and his leg drive that pushed the pile into the end zone. It was very…Jalen Hurts-like. As he enters the back nine of his career, I feel this needs to be a bigger part of his game. Use that massive lower body to push crowds, fall forward, and create success in short yardage situations.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Darius Slayton and Wan’Dale Robinson were the only two from the group who caught passes. Slayton brought in all three targets for 90 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown where we saw that vertical speed and big-play threat that has shown up occasionally over his career. I see plays like that one and he reminds me of Marquez Valdes-Scantling (KC, formerly GB). The kind of receiver everyone wants because of flash plays and upside, but never quite gets to the level that the fantasies created. The glimpses that sporadically show up, like this one, continue to kick the can down the road rather than shutting the door and moving on. Slayton has the talent, we know. Can it be a week-in, week-out reliable source of offensive production? NYG will run it back again in 2024 but it better not prevent them from making a serious move at receiver.

-Robinson added just 16 yards on 3 catches, continuing his role of underneath, running back-receiver mixture when it comes to play calls and impact. He was thrown to 7 times including multiple times in big moments. The diminutive radius shows up in these high-traffic situations where the passer must be near-perfect with ball placement in order for Robinson to have a realistic shot at bringing it in. The few times they did throw downfield in his direction presented very little hope.

-Isaiah Hodgins and Jalin Hyatt were on the field for a combined 62 snaps but did not receive a single target.

TIGHT END

-Darren Waller and Daniel Bellinger both played 40 snaps. Waller had 32 yards on 2 catches with a drop and Bellinger led the team with 4 catches, totaling 43 yards. Taylor underthrew Waller on a play that could have easily resulted in a touchdown, and it was solely on the shoulders of the quarterback (one of two big misses by him). That said, I have seen enough instances to label this a shortcoming on Waller when looking at the future. There are certain movement patterns where he truly shows his age. That ability to re-direct, especially coming back to the ball, is slow and tight. It has shown up multiple times where that fast-twitch athletic ability that is needed for unplanned movement will limit his ability in the future passing game. It is the biggest difference between the All-Pro version of him and what NYG has/will have. What to do with him in regard to the future is a rather easy decision in my opinion, but it won’t be the popular one.

-Bellinger continues to struggle across the board as a blocker. His lack of fast twitch was an issue against the PHI speedy linebackers and he is the one being stood up and displaced when matched up against power. The construction of this tight end group needs to change, it does not make sense for the kind of offense they’re running.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Guard Ben Bredeson is in a freefall over the final third of the season. He allowed 5 pressures, one of which resulted in a QB hit. While he did throw key blocks on a couple of NYG’s big plays (including the Barkley touchdown run), this was a matchup nightmare with what PHI marches out there along the interior. His pressures early on clearly played a part in DeVito’s mental block in the pocket in the first half. Justin Pugh also allowed 3 pressures, one of which resulting in a hit. I’ve already noted that it appears he’s run out of steam and the advanced scouting reports in the league have caught up. I will give him credit for getting downfield to look for work. He does hustle and he has situational awareness.

-Andrew Thomas allowed a QB hit, and Tyre Phillips played clean in pass protection (with some help). The majority of the issues the line had with this matchup came from the inside, but after watching the tape again, it appeared the outside defenders gave the two tackles headaches in the running game. Quick and subtle change of direction, built low to the ground, and physical. Those are the forms of defenders who Thomas can be defeated by, and he has not yet figured out the way to combat them. Trent Williams used to be in the same boat, but he’s made big strides there. Hopefully, Thomas can do the same.

-Rookie center John Michael Schmitz was coming off arguably his worst game and I zeroed in on his performance against what most consider to be a top-five defensive line. I did not count the garbage penalty against him called toward the end of the game. Even with that, he finished with the second lowest grade on the line. He allowed a TFL and 2 pressures with too many losses as a run blocker. I do like how he competes, and I’ve been told by someone I fully trust in regard to NYG personnel that he has been a key part to the communication improvements the line has seen since the front half of the season. That is encouraging because of the position but I still reserve some worry long-term about his ability to play against speed.

EDGE

-For my money, the PHI offensive tackles are the best pair in the NFL at the position. I did not expect much from Kayvon Thibodeaux or Azeez Ojulari, but I will say I still came away slightly disappointed with the lack of one-on-one wins. Thibodeaux did add a QB hit and 2 hurries to his season total and Ojulari had two hurries as well. The blitz-heavy packages aided them on those plays. Both were very ineffective against the run as well, losing control of their gaps and getting too far displaced.

-Jihad Ward split the lone sack of the day and added 2 tackles, while Tomon Fox got on the field for the first time this season. Fox rushed the passer 13 times while Thibodeaux was being moved around a bit, but did not walk away with any wins. He did set the edge against the run a couple times, something he’s always been good at.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-Dexter Lawrence played just 38 snaps, about half of the defensive snaps. For such a quiet workload compared to what are used to seeing, he had a loud game. He had 4 tackles, 2 of which went for a loss, along with a pressure. A’Shawn Robinson added 3 tackles and a pass break-up but was shutout as a pass rusher.

-Good to see Jordon Riley on the field for a season-high 35 snaps. His previous high was about half of that. He had a tackle near the line of scrimmage where he looked like a the rookie version of Lawrence. I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves with this evaluation, but the way he abused All-Pro Center Jason Kelce on the play is something we see happen to Kelce maybe a handful of times in an entire season. Heavy hands, fast bench press, excellent pad level, dense presence, and a strong finish. These flashes are very encouraging for the future of the defensive line.

-D.J. Davidson added two tackles in relief and newcomer Timmy Horne (from ATL) got his feet wet with 7 snaps. I wouldn’t mind seeing some more of him, the initial look was promising.

LINEBACKER

-Bobby Okereke led the team with 10 tackles and added both a pressure and a pass break-up. I did not count the awful delay-of-game penalty called against him at the end of the first half. That alone put three points on the board for PHI and it changed the flow of the game for the rest of the contest. Besides that, I thought he played yet another solid game and continues to be incredibly durable and reliable.

-Micah McFadden had 5 tackles and 3 misses. The last couple of weeks have not been good for him when looking at the season as a whole. I feel good about his future next to Okereke if, and only if, he can clean up the misses. Of the 52 linebackers who have played over 600 snaps this season, he leads the NFL in missed-tackle percentage. I have applauded his progress (across multiple facets) but the whiffs are hurting the defense in key moments. There are positives weekly, don’t get me wrong. He beat Kelce underneath and he accrued 2 pressures. There is growth in his game, we just need to see it be more mistake-free.

-Isaiah Simmons was active in coverage, breaking up a pass playing fast in man schemes. He made a major mental gaffe on the 3rd-and-20 conversion where he was in zone and completely lost the needed awareness of what was going on around him on a broken, long-winded play. That lack of football sense shows up the more he plays and it further explains what he has turned into after being a top ten pick.

CORNERBACK

-Deonte Banks was shadowing A.J. Brown for the first half and the All-Pro receiver caught just 1 of 3 targets for 7 yards. Banks injured a shoulder and played just over half the team’s defensive snaps. Once he was out, Brown 5 catches for 73 yards. The obvious gap between Banks and the next best corner on this team was known coming into this game, but really highlighted the second he left this matchup.

-Adoree’ Jackson came up with the defensive play of the game (and the best we’ve seen all year) with a pick six. It was the first of his career and the first interception since 2021. He made a great play on the ball with help from PHI tight end Dallas Goedert tripping over his own feet out of his break.

-We saw some extra Cor’Dale Flott and Nick McCloud following the injury to Banks and both were roasted. The gap between them and the PHI receivers is huge. Crossing routes, double routes, and simple execution within these one-on-one matchups (notably in man coverage) is a big enough gap to keep this defense from being able to compete against an offense like PHI (which even has taken a step back in 2023 compared to 2022). Flott has abruptly hit a wall this final third of the season.

SAFETY

-Xavier McKinney played every snap (again) and ended with 9 tackles, zero misses and a half-sack. Jason Pinnock played all but one snap and ended with 6 tackles, 3 misses. He ranks 10th among NFL safeties in missed tackles but the number is a tad overrated because of how many snaps he’s played this season. The future of these two is one of the most interesting low-key debates over the next few months. Economics are a part of this, but when looking at what they do (and what they can do in a better situation), there is a level of uniqueness and dependability most teams do not have league-wide and it changes how the defense plays.

-Dane Belton saw the field for 27 snaps, the second most of the season. When Banks went down, we saw some more of him in nickel/dime packages. He added 2 tackles and missed one. His deep coverage traits looked good on a couple of occasions where PHI went vertical with their route combos.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Mason Crosby: 1/1 (Made 52)
-P Jamie Gillan: 4 punts / 39.5 avg – 23.0 net

3 STUDS

-WR Darius Slayton, S Xavier McKinney, CB Deonte Banks

3 DUDS

-CB Cor’Dale Flott, OG Ben Bredeson, OG Justin Pugh

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

(1) This is not the Philadelphia of 2022. They are still head and shoulders above NYG and that is not a part of this discussion. Over the summer, I picked them to go 14-3. I overlooked (even after acknowledging) just how easy their schedule of opposing defenses was in 2022, in addition to losing an offensive coordinator who was a HUGE part of the Jalen Hurts ascent. Things are not as fluid as they were, but guess what? They’re top ten in yards per play, top ten in point, first in first downs, first in fourth-down conversion rate, second in third-down conversion rate. Not bad for an off year. I still would not want tp face them in the postseason, period.

(2) What is the kryptonite of this team? Simply put, their defense. More specifically, their corners. Not an area you want to be weak at when San Francisco and Dallas are standing in your way (at their home stadiums). NYG fans know first hand what a pass rush can do to hide slight deficiencies in the secondary. But you still need to be at a minimum on the outside and they’re not.

(3) Is it the city of Philadelphia or does it seem like an implosion is coming? Head Coach Nick Siriani does not annoy me the way he does some people, but he does seem like the kind of guy a town will turn on in a hurry and he seems like the kind of guy who flips the bird walking off the field to a flock of boo-birds. Time will tell but I don’t like what I see when adversity hits that team.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

(1) This is not the first time we have talked about the DeVito vs. Taylor debate. With two games remaining, this QB controversy is as interesting as it gets for a team that has twice as many losses as they do wins. Yet, here we are. Taylor is the better and more established player, there is no denying it. DeVito makes more economic sense when looking at the future spending of this team and the resources already being pumped into the position. I’ll call out a BS on those who are just now saying this “DeVito thing was never real” after a poor half against the Eagles in Philadelphia with their backs pressed up against the wall. I’m surprised some are even trying that line right now. It is bizarre and embarrassing. I understand Taylor probably gives this team the best option to win games right now in a business of winning games, but this is about 2024 and beyond now. At least get DeVito the starts, at least give him a half of football in both games. Life will be easier paying a minimum backup salary if he can get himself to a trusted, consistent level and there is only one way to find out if he can do it. He needs to play.

(2) Now that they are mathematically eliminated from contention, we need to keep severe limits on the snaps of their key pieces who are banged up. Lawrence and Thomas are the foundations of where I want this team to build this offseason. The offensive and defensive lines need to be upgraded but if these two get dinged up over these next two weeks, the can is simply being kicked even further down the road. Not having Thomas out there is a riskier strategy because their backup OL has been so poor and it breaks the offense when he isn’t out there. But keeping Lawrence on the sideline for over half the snaps is a move worth considering.

(3) Had this been a situation where NYG was vying for a playoff spot, everyone revolving around NYG would have every right to be furious about the refs and their ineptitude. I am very slow to turn on refs and put a loss on their shoulders (and I am not putting this loss on them), but there is a difference between messing up a holding penalty or a pass interference and seeing what we saw with the Schmitz false start and/or the Okereke delay of game. Human error is part of the game and in an oddly changing world that is becoming more and more reliant on robots and AI, I believe there is value in humans making mistakes. I do not have the popular opinion on this and I am aware of that, but the last thing I want are more game stoppages and review processes. Maybe an extra set of eyes on the field or different training protocols. I agree a change is needed.

Dec 262023
 
Brian Daboll, New York Giants (December 25, 2023)

Brian Daboll – © USA TODAY Sports

DECEMBER 26, 2023 BRIAN DABOLL PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Tuesday (VIDEO):

Q: Where are you on naming a quarterback for this week?

A: We’ll talk about it as a staff. We’re finishing up this game and we’ll talk about it tonight.

Q: We only have two games left. Will anything for the future go in? Or is it just about these two games? Because obviously, as (Senior Vice President/General Manager) Joe (Schoen) pointed out, (quarterback) Tommy’s (DeVito) is the only backup quarterback under contract, so will that factor in? Or is it just about these two games?

A: We’re just getting ready for the Rams here; we’ll talk about that tonight.

Q: When you look at this season – and I know there will be time for a real dissection of the season, but how do you keep your players in these final couple weeks of just being sort of – knowing they’re out of it and maybe showing some of that in their play or approach?

A: Look, I thought we competed hard yesterday. We have a bunch of competitors that are going to do their jobs. Come in, get ready to go against the Rams and try to play and coach as good as we can.

Q: With your receiver rotation, I’ll call it. I’m not sure what else to call it, your rotation of receivers, are you satisfied with the way that the big plays were made? We see (wide receiver Darius) Slayton with a big play yesterday, that kind of thing. (Wide receiver) Wan’Dale (Robinson) gets a lot of opportunities for not a lot of yardage. Is that one of the things maybe that you’ll particularly look at?

A: Right now, we’re just going to try to do as good as we can against the Rams and put together a plan. There’ll be a time for all that but now it’s get ready to go here on the Rams.

Q: A couple of things. Down the stretch, you’ve been in a lot of seasons, in the playoffs, out of the playoffs, who you’re playing, who you’re not playing. I mean, down the stretch here, you’ve played the Eagles, you’ll play them twice, the Rams, obviously in the thick of the playoff race. Is that a carrot that you can show to your team? I mean, you’re playing against teams that are in it, hungry and need to win, you know what I mean? And you need to match that, obviously, or things won’t go well.

A: I’d just say we try to do everything we can do each week. Certainly, haven’t got the results that we want but compete and do everything you can do to get ready to play a game in this league. Regardless of where I’ve been or what I’ve been, if you’re a competitor, that’s what you get excited to do.

Q: Do you notice these games can be different against – two teams in it, two teams out of it, teams fighting for position. In other years, the Rams might be coming here, they’re not in it, they’re making a long trip, you can kind of sense it. That’s not going to be the sense that you’re going to get from the Rams, I’m sure, this week.

A: I don’t sense that (in) any game I’ve ever coached in. You’re playing pros that are competitive. You try to everything you can do each week to win.

Q: You have two players on your defense who played every snap this year, (inside linebacker) Bobby (Okereke) and (safety Xavier) McKinney. That’s obviously not an easy thing to do. Do they ever ask for a play off? Or is it a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell?’

A: They do a really good job of taking care of their bodies, prehabbing. They practice, too, almost every play, so durability is obviously an important thing and both of those guys have been good players for us. It’s certainly a hard thing to do.

Q: (Tackle) Evan Neal, was he not close? You put him on IR. It was a long time with the ankle but was it just not going to work?

A: Evan’s done everything he could possibly do but couldn’t make it here so there’ll be stuff down the road, but the young man’s done everything he could possibly do. Just didn’t work out.

Q: Stuff down the road as far as a procedure or something he may need?

A: Yeah.

Q: Were there any injuries out of yesterday’s game that might be a concern heading into next week?

A: We’ll have more – I haven’t met with the trainers yet. They’re still meeting the doctors, so I’ll have more for you tomorrow.

Q: Now that you’re eliminated, is there like this – for a moment you let yourself feel a sense of disappointment or do you worry about that after the season?

A: Certainly, you’re disappointed. You put everything you have into it each year to get an opportunity to compete in the postseason, but our focus and my focus right now is on to the next week and to do everything we can do to go out there and play a good game against the Rams.

Q: I wanted to ask about (punter) Jamie Gillan and how he was doing. There was a report on the broadcast yesterday that he had to wear a wrap on his kicking leg. Was there any consideration on him not going yesterday?

A: Jamie was good to go. He miss-hit that first ball – actually, what happened (was) that first return that they had, returned it all the way down to positive territory, he was going to make the tackle and he landed on his knee and that’s what’s bothering him right now. So, it was on the tackle on the returner on that first punt.

Q: How’s he doing today?

A: I haven’t talked to those guys yet.

Q: If he’s feeling badly, is there talk about I guess kind of maybe bringing someone in for workouts? I know you haven’t had those conversations.

A: We’ll have that conversation here in about an hour.

Q: Regarding guys who are able to practice, not miss a practice, not miss a snap, what goes into that thinking? Because obviously you guys, with the sports scientists, you monitor practice reps, you monitor game reps, obviously there is bumps and bruises, so how do you kind of determine, okay Bobby and Xavier, they’re good to go, this guy isn’t good to go. I mean, especially this time of year when guys are banged up.

A: Yeah, we try to take that into account with all our practice routines, so some are more walk throughs. There might be times where we give X or Bobby a little bit of – a couple reps here and back off them a little bit but they are as competitive as I’ve seen and I’ve been around some players a long time ago that took every rep at practice, every rep in the game, every rep on show team, every rep on special teams show team when they were on it, so these two guys, you call them throwbacks a little bit in terms of their ability to stay durable and perform down in and down out.

Q: Do you find that sometimes you have to protect guys from themselves because they really want to go out there and they are maybe not good enough to go out there, so to speak?

A: Yeah, sure and I think our guys do a good job in the training room and strength and conditioning of making sure that we’re on top of that, but you also appreciate players like that, that want to be out there all the time.

Q: When you make a move like you did yesterday at quarterback, you know seeking a spark, is that an in the moment thing for you? Or do you guys discuss going into the game circumstances and say, ‘okay, this is the week we are going to make a move if we need to make a move’? How does that decision making play itself out for you in this situation?

A: I made that decision at halftime. Just felt we needed to do something to try to spark us. I think we were one-of-eight on third down, 55 yards passing and that was a collective thing, though. For everybody. But it’s a decision I made at halftime and that’s how we went with it.

Q: Is that always a difficult situation to make in that situation when you’re trying to judge? Because the previous week, you guys had struggled offensively as well but you didn’t make that decision, go down that road the previous week.

A: Yeah, I just felt for that particular game that was the decision that I needed to make.

Q: Will you consider backing off (running back) Saquon (Barkley) and (defensive lineman) Dexter (Lawrence II), in particular, given the circumstances now?

A: No. No, if they are ready and capable to go, then they’ll be playing.

Q: I know in the moment yesterday; you are very wary of what you can say about some of those controversial calls. With some time to breath, I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on the calls or if maybe you can dance around it like (quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor) did and say do you feel like a game should be officiated at the end the same way it is throughout the game and what the teaching point is for Bobby at the end of the first half, if that’s kind of a fine line between how you are supposed to know if that’s a fumble versus a delay of game.

A: Appreciate the question, well thought out.

Q: It really was well thought out, wasn’t it?

A: It was, but you know, officials have a job to do. I respect the job that they have to do it. Any decisions or calls, you can ask them about it.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players address the media on Wednesday.

Dec 252023
 
Adoree' Jackson, New York Giants (December 25, 2023)

Adoree’ Jackson – © USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 33 – NEW YORK GIANTS 25
The New York Giants made a game out of it, but untimely letdowns on offense, defense, and special teams plus questionable officiating led to another defeat. The Giants lost to the Eagles 33-25 at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday, falling to 5-10 on the season. The Giants were also officially eliminated from playoff contention.

The overall team stats were one-sided in favor of the Eagles. They led in first downs (28 to 14), total net yards (465 to 292), net yards rushing (170 to 106), net yards passing (295 to 186), and time of possession 34:38 to 25:22). Philadelphia was also markedly better on 3rd and 4th down conversions. The Giants did win the turnover battle two to one.

The Eagles dominated the first half. The Giants went three-and-out on their first possession and then gave up a 54-yard punt return that set the Eagles up at the New York 13-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Jalen Hurts rushed for a 1-yard touchdown. The Giants responded with their only scoring drive of the half, a 10-play, 41-yard affair that set up a successful 52-yard field goal by place kicker Mason Crosby. Eagles 7 – Giants 3.

Philadelphia’s second possession traveled 72 yards in 18 plays, lasting over eight minutes. Nevertheless, New York’s defense held in the red zone with the Eagles settling for a 28-yard field goal early in the 2nd quarter. The Giants went three-and-out, followed by a bad punt and 12-yard return. With the Eagles starting at their own 48-yard line, it took them only three plays to score on a 36-yard touchdown pass. Eagles 17 – Giants 3.

New York gained 12 yards and punted for the third time in four possessions. The Giants’ defense then forced their first three-and-out. The offense converted on two 4th-and-1’s, but were stopped on their third 4th-and-1 effort, turning the ball over on downs at the Philadelphia 25-yard line. The Eagles added another field goal before halftime with an 11-play, 72-yard drive. However, the officials handed the Eagles this field goal opportunity. Hurts was tackled in-bounds as time expired, but the officials called a bogus delay-of-game penalty on linebacker Bobby Okereke when he jumped on the loose football.

At the half, the Eagles led 20-3. Head Coach Brian Daboll also decided to bench quarterback Tommy DeVito in favor of Tyrod Taylor at the break.

The Giants caught a break at the start of the second half as two Eagles collided on the kickoff return, causing a fumble that linebacker Isaiah Simmons recovered at the Philadelphia 14-yard line. Three plays later, on 3rd-and-3, running back Saquon Barkley scored from seven yards out to cut the score to 20-10.

The Giants’ defense forced a three-and-out. The Giants picked up a couple of first downs and crossed midfield but were forced to punt. The Eagles then began a long drive from their own 6-yard yard line, gaining 76 yards and reaching the New York 18-yard line before an illegal block penalty pushed them back 10 yards. Then on 2nd-and-20, cornerback Adoree’ Jackson intercepted Hurts at the 24-yard line and returned the pick 76 yards for a touchdown. Barkley scored on the 2-point conversion attempt and the Giants were now only down 20-18 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

Unfortunately, the Eagles responded with an 8-play, 75-yard drive that resulted a 5-yard touchdown run by running back D’Andre Swift. On this possession, the Eagles converted on 3rd-and-20. Philadelphia was up 27-18 with 11 minutes to play.

The Giants crossed midfield on the ensuing possession, reaching the Philadelphia 42-yard line. But quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s 4th-and-1 pass fell incomplete and the Giants turned the ball over on downs. The Eagles gained 32 yards in seven plays, resulting in a 44-yard field goal that extended their advantage to 30-18 with six minutes to play.

The Giants made things interesting again as it took just two plays for New York to score a touchdown. Taylor threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton. Eagles 30 – Giants 25. However, the defense allowed the Eagles to take over four minutes off of the clock, gain 50 yards in nine plays, and add another field goal. With 1:10 left to play, the Eagles led 33-25.

The Eagles were flagged with roughing the passer on the first play of New York’s last desperate drive. Taylor then hit tight end Darren Waller for 12 yards on 3rd-and-10 as the Giants crossed midfield. The Giants missed an opportunity when Taylor’s deep pass to wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson fell incomplete. On 4th-and-8 with 26 seconds left, Taylor and Waller connected again, this time for 20 yards. But Waller was hurt on the play and it took the Giants some time to spike the ball. With four seconds left, Taylor’s last pass from the 28-yard line into the end zone was intercepted.

DeVito finished the game 9-of-16 for 55 yards. Taylor was 7-of-16 for 133 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Tight end Daniel Bellinger was the leading receiver with four catches for 43 yards, although Slayton had 90 yards on three catches. Barkley carried the ball 23 times for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Giants only were credited with one sack, split between safety Xavier McKinney and linebacker Jihad Ward. McKinney and Okereke were each credited with 10 tackles.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ELEVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Sunday, the Giants activated OT Matt Peart from Injured Reserve. To make room for Peart on the 53-man roster, the team placed RT Evan Neal (ankle) on Injured Reserve. The Giants also activated (standard elevation) OLB Tomon Fox and PK Mason Crosby from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were TE Lawrence Cager (groin), DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (knee), WR Parris Campbell, OC Sean Harlow, OLB Boogie Basham, OLB Benton Whitley, and S Gervarrius Owens.

CB Deonte Banks (shoulder) left the game in the second half and did not return.

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 on Tuesday.

Dec 242023
 
Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants (January 15, 2023)

Dexter Lawrence – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS LOSE ANOTHER KICKER TO INJURY…
The New York Giants have placed their third place kicker on in injured list. Cade York, who was set to kick for the team on Monday, suffered a quad injury in practice on Thursday and was placed on the Practice Squad/Injured List on Friday. Graham Gano (knee) was placed on Injured Reserve in November and Randy Bullock (hamstring) was placed on Injured Reserve on Thursday.

Because of the loss of York, the Giants signed Mason Crosby to the Practice Squad on Friday. The 39-year old, 6’1”, 212-pound Crosby was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. Crosby spent 16 seasons in Green Bay from 2007 to 2022. His career field goal average is 81.4 percent.

DECEMBER 23, 2023 GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
RT Evan Neal (ankle) and DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (knee) did not practice on Saturday. Both have been officially ruled out of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.

TE Lawrence Cager (groin), DL Dexter Lawrence (hamstring), DL A’Shawn Robinson (back), and P Jamie Gillan (groin) were limited in practice. Cager, Lawrence, and Robinson are “questionable” for the game while Gillan is expected to play.

RB Matt Breida (hamstring), RB Gary Brightwell (hamstring), TE Darren Waller (hamstring), OG Justin Pugh (calf/neck), OT Matt Peart (shoulder), ILB Carter Coughlin (neck), and S Xavier McKinney (illness) fully practiced. Brightwell is “questionable” while the six other players are expected to be available.

WR Isaiah Hodgins (illness) was added to the injury report on Sunday and is “questionable” for the game.

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

Dec 232023
 

THE STORYLINE:
Do the New York Giants want to remain the Washington Generals? Or do they want to become gladiators?

For the past 10 years or so, the once-proud Giants have been the punching bags of the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Their respective fan bases have correctly pencilled in two automatic wins, their annual highlight videos peppered with big offensive and defensive plays against Big Blue. And with respect to Philadelphia, the Giants have proven to be the “get right” opponent when their season has occasionally been on the brink. The 10-4 Eagles may have lost three games in a row, but they remain tied for first place in the NFC East and are counting on two wins against the Giants to get them over the finish line.

The Washington Generals are supposed to lose every time they play the Harlem Globetrotters. It’s not even supposed to be close, with everyone laughing at the Generals along the way. In the 2000 films Gladiator, a ragtag group of slaves was supposed to serve the same purpose in the Coliseum for the Roman Emperor Commodus in a re-enactment of the Battle of Carthage. The slaves were supposed to die, to be the punching bags against opponents that were to slaughter them. In the film, the opposite occurred.

No one expects the Giants, playing with a third-string undrafted rookie quarterback, to beat the Eagles in Philadelphia on Christmas Day. But we want to see some fight. We’re tired of being humiliated by two teams in our own division. Giants’ lore is filled with bad teams playing their hearts out against top teams. But in the 100-year history of the team, those kind of games have been noticeably absent in the past decade. We don’t expect you to be victorious, but we expect you to give us a game, not something we turn off at halftime.

Entertain us. Be gladiators. For once.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Matt Breida (hamstring – probable)
  • RB Gary Brightwell (hamstring – questionable)
  • TE Darren Waller (hamstring – probable)
  • TE Lawrence Cager (groin – questionable)
  • OG Justin Pugh (calf/neck – probable)
  • RT Evan Neal (ankle – out)
  • OT Matt Peart (shoulder – probable)
  • DL Dexter Lawrence (hamstring – questionable)
  • DL A’Shawn Robinson (back – questionable)
  • DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (knee – out)
  • ILB Carter Coughlin (neck – probable)
  • S Xavier McKinney (illness – probable)
  • P Jamie Gillan (groin – probable)

GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Pundits, media, and fans fall for the same trap every year. How a team plays at the beginning and middle of a season does not guarantee the same in the all-important months of December and January. Hot teams cool down. Mediocre teams start to heat up. We see it every year. At the end of November, the Eagles were 10-1 and widely considered an automatic participant in the conference championship game. Three losses in a row has shaken their confidence and the confidence others had in them only a few weeks ago. At the heart of their struggles has been a defense that has allowed 341 points this year, three more than the New York Giants. After allowing 109 points in three straight games (one win and two losses), the Eagles replaced defensive coordinator Sean Desai with Matt Patricia. The Eagles gave up fewer points (20) in their last game, but still lost.

So the Giants should have an easier time of it against Philadelphia? Not so fast. The 109 points were against three of the better offenses in the NFL – Bills, 49ers, and Cowboys. Meanwhile, after a 24-point “explosion” against the Packers, the Giants are back to having problems scoring 7 points per game. Indeed, through 14 games, the Giants only have 189 points (which includes two defensive touchdowns and field goals set up by the defense). The Giants are battling the Patriots for worst-scoring team in the NFL.

It’s no coincidence that the Giants’ offensive productivity seems intimately tied to the performance of the offensive line. When the OL plays better, everyone on offense looks better. When the OL falls apart, the offense looks putrid. The latter happened against the Saints and the team only managed six points. Say what you want about Philadelphia, but their defensive line has abused the Giants for a decade. And it’s reason #1 why Philadelphia is 25-7 against New York since 2008. Every preview I’ve written about these two teams for 10 years has said the same thing.

The Giants don’t have a quarterback. However, until this franchise successfully addresses the offensive line, nothing much is going to change. Spending high draft picks and big free agent money means nothing if you don’t bring in actual good players who you can coach up properly.

GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
In last week’s preview, I wrote “The problem with turnovers is that you can’t count on them. They come and go, being at the whim of the football gods. My point here is we will have to see how the defense performs when the turnovers cease.” Well, we found out and the results were not pretty. After holding New Orleans to seven points in the first half, the defense was a significant factor in the game getting out of hand by allowing three straight scoring drives to start the second half. What made this worse was this was against an opponent who was missing their top wide receiver and starting right tackle. The inconsistent Derek Carr finished with a 134.8 quarterback rating, throwing only five incompletions.

My point here is that the quality defensive performances are being offset against bad ones. Regardless of what Wink Martindale says publicly, the defense doesn’t seem to be trending upwards. It’s still up and down, up and down. Like much of the entire coaching staff, Martindale has lost a lot of his luster this season. And he is 0-4 against the Cowboys and 0-3 against the Eagles since last year, with two more anticipated losses to Philadelphia on the horizon. 0-9 against your two top rivals?!

As much as Philadelphia’s defense has been under fire, their offense has slowed noticeably in December as well. Through 11 games, the Eagles were averaging 28 points per game. That’s winning football. During the 3-game losing streak, they have averaged 16 points per game. That’s losing football. (Giants average 13 points per game).

So the challenge here for Wink and his defensive players is can they play on par with the 49ers, Cowboys, and Seahawks, and keep the Eagles under 20 points? Or will the defense come up small against a better opponent once again? Yeah, I get it, New York’s offense is not helping. But sometimes you have to rise the occasion and make up for the other side of the ball. Jalen Hurts has not been playing at an MVP level in recent weeks. Stop the run and you have a chance.

The fly in the ointment is the injury situation on the defensive line. The top three linemen, Dexter Lawrence, A’Shawn Robinson, and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are all ailing. This is not a good opponent to be missing guys up front against.

GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Three place kickers on IR? LOL.

THE FINAL WORD:
“Moral victories are for losers.” Probably. But in my mind, there is a big difference between the Giants losing this game 40-6 and 20-13. I can more easily accept the latter. But another one-sided drubbing by a divisional opponent is a really tough pill to swallow. The coaching staff is not inspiring right now. They look and sound defeated. I hope their public face is not the same behind closed doors.

In a nutshell, I’m not sure where this team is headed. The way the team lost to the Saints didn’t sit well with me. I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and that’s troubling.