David Syvertsen

David Syvertsen, aka Sy'56, has worked for Ourlads Scouting LLC since 2013, starting off as a college depth chart manager and now a lead scout for one the most-sold NFL draft guides year-in, year-out. He has been scouting for over 10 years and will compile anywhere from 400-600 scouting reports per season, with that number increasing year by year. He watches and studies game films 20-25 hours per week throughout the entire year with his main focus being NFL Draft prospects.

Sep 202022
 
Oshane Ximines, New York Giants (September 18, 2022)

Oshane Ximines – © USA TODAY Sports

QUICK RECAP

After a week of the coaches and players unofficially clamoring the NYG faithful to show up ready to rock for the 2022 home opener at MetLife Stadium, the juices were flowing. Once again, a “this feels different” kind of vibe poured into the seats as the fans watched their 1-0 New York Giants at home for the first time since September 18, 2016 when Eli Manning took on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. The Giants ended up winning that game 16-13 behind a 368-yard performance by Manning and his number one target, rookie Sterling Shepard, who caught all 8 of his targets for 117 yards.

Fast forward six years to the day, and the 2016 head coach for NYG, Ben McAdoo, was up in the booth employed by Carolina Panthers as their offensive coordinator. Whether it was a revenge game or not for him does not matter, but human nature must create a notion he wanted to stick it to the Giants. His offense was due to get the ball first but a fumble by second-year running back Chuba Hubbard that was recovered by NYG forced him to wait. NYG did put a quick three points on the board via a 36-yard field goal by Graham Gano.

McAdoo and the CAR offense did get their shot at a drive following the next kickoff. They failed to cross midfield (a penalty brought them back after crossing) and it ended with a 3rd-and-22 wide receiver screen (remember those?) that ended in another fumble, this one by receiver Robby Anderson, that was also recovered by NYG. For the second straight series, the offense began in CAR territory and for the second straight series, the offense settled for three points.

CAR added three points of their own via 31-yard field goal by Eddy Pineiro after a 13-play drive that ended with a Shi Smith drop that would have given them 1st-and-goal at around the 5-yard line. CAR was shooting themselves in the foot over and over, including a 4th-and-1 false start by rookie left tackle Ikem Ekwonu. NYG’s offense was being halted by penetration by the CAR front and quarterback Daniel Jones struggling to make quality decisions from the pocket. Pineiro hit a 32-yarder to tie it up and the score was 6-6 at the half.

NYG went three-and-out on their opening second-half drive and CAR came out hot like the way NYG did last week in Tennessee. Three plays (two passes and a 17-yard scramble by Baker Mayfield) put them in the end zone to score the game’s first touchdown and give NYG their first deficit via a 16-yard pass to D.J. Moore. Down 13-6, it did not take long for them to get right back to even. Jones made a couple of aggressive, big-time throws and the offense put together four straight 10-yard+ plays. The drive ended on a pitch, catch, and run from Jones to rookie Daniel Bellinger for the 16-yard score. Can’t ask for a much better first-career reception than what the fourth rounder from San Diego State produced.

NYG held CAR scoreless on the next drive but lost defensive tackle Leonard Williams to a knee injury. He would not return. The game remained tied up at 13 as they went into the fourth quarter. Gano gave them a three-point lead via a 51-yarder. A sneaky key contributor prior to the attempt was the 3rd-and-7 play where Jones had to tuck and run after dropping back. He clearly had no shot at a first down, but those five yards were essential to the attempt. Hidden yards appear once again. I wonder if McAdoo was paying attention.

CAR quickly tied the game back up with a 38-yard field goal. Once again, they were in a position to do damage but errant throws by Mayfield, drops by the pass catchers, and penalties stopped their momentum, and NYG had control of the game with over 10 minutes left. An 11-play drive that took 7:12 off the clock set Gano up for a 56-yard field goal attempt. He put it right down the middle for his career-long in a Giants uniform and longest of his personal career since 2018 when he was with Carolina (a 63-yarder that beat…NYG).

CAR did creep toward midfield but a 3rd-down sack by Julian Love created a 4th-and-15, forcing CAR to punt the ball back to NYG with just over two minutes left. With a three-point lead, this is where teams need learn how to win. In just four plays and with the help of an encroachment penalty by CAR, NYG secured two first downs and CAR were without timeouts as the clock dwindled to triple zero.

NYG wins, 19-16.

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 22/34 – 176 yards / 1 TD – 0 INT / 87.4 RAT

Jones also added 21 hard-earned yards on the ground. One of the more fascinating things to follow under the Jones umbrella will be his willingness to make aggressive throws. Watching from the birds eye, Jones simply did not see open targets or he was too hesitant to let it rip. I say that from the comfort of my chair, whereas he had multiple elite, enormous athletes bearing down on him trying to rip his head off behind a shaky offensive line. But at some point, and Brian Daboll has stated this as well, Jones will need to alter his mindset. There is too much hesitation in his game, and it almost cost the team. Sure, he is playing with a sub-par group of pass catchers, but he needs to be more aggressive. If it is a matter of him not seeing the action, that is a different discussion. But Jones CAN do it. He DID it in this game. Make tight throws in big moments that are considered “elite” throws. Will Daboll get this out of him? Keep an eye on it.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 21 att – 72 yards / 3 rec – 16 yards

The Week 1 NFC Offensive Player of the Week took a step back in overall production and did not score. The CAR front gave the NYG offensive line all they could handle and more. That said, NYG scoring 13 points in the second half (after just 6 in the first) was largely a result of Barkley gaining 69 yards on the ground in the final two quarters. He came to life, broke multiple tackles, and ran physically. The one negative on his sheet was a poor pass block that created pressure and led to a sack.

-Gary Brightwell gained 14 yards on one carry that may have been the best play of the day by this offense. A 3rd-and-1 in the fourth quarter where he lined up as a fullback, Brightwell took it through the line in a hurry up field as if was shot out of a cannon. It was his only snap of the game, and nobody saw it coming.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Last week it was Kadarius Toney, this week it was Kenny Golladay, when it comes to a surprising number of snaps. The $18 million per year receiver saw a grand total of two. He was not seen in the locker room after the game but according to Daboll, this was pre-decided and discussed during the week. Speaking of Toney, the 2021 first rounder did see an uptick in playing time. He caught 2 passes that totaled 0 yards (yes, zero) and dropped a pass. His biggest gain of the day (36 yards) was nullified by a David Sills offensive pass interference.

-Sterling Shepard had 6 catches for just 34 yards and Richie James (the current leading receiver on team after 2 weeks) added 54 yards on 5 catches. Both bring similar, if not identical, traits to the passing game and once Wan’Dale Robinson comes back, the same could be said for him. The NYG passing game will feed off these guys especially on third down but make no mistake, they aren’t taking the top off a defense unless the secondary gets fooled. Shepard did almost get another deep ball in this one, though.

-David Sills was the beneficiary of the hit to Golladay’s playing time. Good for this kid and I personally enjoy seeing him get his shot. If you remember back, I wanted NYG to take him in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He went undrafted and linked up with Buffalo (where Daboll was at the time) and here we are in 2022, Sills saw a career-high 67 snaps, which led all receivers. Separation and speed issues were his downfall as a prospect, and they are still limiting him now but I do think he can offer something as a number four guy this season. That said, his bonehead decision to run backwards after a catch on 3rd down at the end of the first half was a terrible play that brought out the boo birds as the team went to the locker room.

TIGHT END

-Daniel Bellinger was targeted one time (two less than backup Tanner Hudson) but he made the most of it. He caught the ball, quickly turned upfield, and showed a nice burst to the front corner of the end zone before outstretching his 6’5” frame to the pylon for the touchdown. Hudson grabbed 2 passes for 22 yards. Both were beat up at the point-of-attack by the physical CAR front, with Bellinger allowing a TFL. Chris Myarick saw time as the team did use an above average amount of 13 personnel and graded out in the green as a blocker.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Very rough day for the group overall. The CAR front is a solid group, but they played above their pay grade thanks to poor blocking by the NYG line. The interior is where most of the losses were found. Center Jon Feliciano put out a second straight poor performance. In the fourth quarter with the game tied at 16, he allowed a TFL and then was flagged for holding, nearly knocking them out of field goal range. He also allowed 2 pressures and was flagged for a false start (where he did not snap the ball on time). Derek Brown had his way with him.

-Mark Glowinski is a blue-collar guy who won’t ever be a dominant presence, but I do feel good about him from a macro-perspective. Nevertheless, in this game, he allowed 3 pressures and a sack. He isn’t a stout guy at all. While he does produce enough power on the move as a run blocker, his anchor against an elite bull rusher gives him problems. Ben Bredeson and Joshua Ezeudu rotated at left guard again, but it was 77%-23% in favor or Bredeson when looking at snaps played. Rightfully so. Ezeudu was flagged twice (one was declined) and allowed a pressure. Bredeson graded out as the top OL on the team. I forecast the rotation continuing but if this difference in play keeps appearing, Bredeson will likely take a firm hold of the job until Shane Lemieux is back.

-The tackles were both beat up by Brian Burns multiple times. While they both ended up in the average tier of my grading system, they need to be better than what we saw in Week 2. Andrew Thomas allowed 2 pressures and a sack. His sack was a result of Jones running into his engagement due to pressure coming from Barkley, however. Thomas has set the bar high and many outside of New York are catching on. The catch with that? Your margin for error is much smaller. Evan Neal was the top graded run blocker. On a 17-yard run by Barkley, Neal blocked two different defenders within a second of each other that cleared the path. He did allow 1 TFL, 2 pressures, and 1 sack. More struggles but also more positives.

EDGE

-Hats off to Jihad Ward. One of the most overlooked NYG signings this past offseason stemmed from a previous relationship with Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale in Baltimore (2019-2020). A hybrid DT/DE has been placed into a pure outside linebacker role with the injuries to starters Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux. He was one of the stars of the defense in this complete team effort. He had 4 tackles, 2.5 TFL, and a pressure. You won’t see a ton in the highlight reel from him (although that is an impressive stat line vs the run), but Ward’s impact on this defense was huge. A true edge setter and vocal leader on this unit that has more swag than any group in recent memory.

-Oshane Ximines also had the best game of his career. He had 2 tackles, a sack, a pass breakup, and 3 pressures (1 untouched). It has been a rocky tenure here in New York for Ximines. While I’m not going to all the sudden label him a star, his role on this defense can be huge, especially if he is a rotational backup-type once the starters come back. The biggest difference in him is mental. There is a lot less hesitation in his game.

-Tomon Fox had a quiet game in his 20 snaps.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-Leonard Williams going down is something to keep an eye on. At the time of this writing, I do not have any sort of update but I saw a clear difference at the point-of-attack after he left. Prior to him getting hurt, Christian McCaffrey carried the ball 11 times for 39 yards. After he left? 4 carries for 63 yards including a 49-yarder. The 4-man pass rush took a hit as well. Williams had 3 pressures, one of which created a sack for the defense.

-Dexter Lawrence had a dominant day. He is playing with some extra fire right now and his bull rush is as effective as you will find in the league. He had 4 pressures and a half-TFL. Arguably the most impressive play was a pursuit of Baker Mayfield to the sideline. It was 3rd-and-4 in the first quarter. Mayfield had a clear line to the first down marker, and he took off from midfield. Lawrence chased him from the middle of the line and essentially beat him to the marker. CAR did convert the 4th-down conversion the next play but I loved seeing Lawrence, a 345-pounder, go step for step with a 215-pound quarterback who ran a 4.8 at the Combine. You won’t find many guys who can do that.

-Nick Williams rotated with Justin Ellis with some D.J. Davidson sprinkled in. It was a small sample size (as it was in Week 1), but I trust Davidson more than the former two. He has a little more pop off the ball and is twice as stout as Williams, the biggest catalyst in NYG’s occasional run struggles.

LINEBACKER

-To combat Christian McCaffrey (arguably the league’s top dual threat back), Martindale played almost the entire game with one linebacker on the field. Tae Crowder played 48 snaps, and the combination of Micah McFadden and Austin Calitro combined for 15 snaps. More on that below. Crowder had just 2 tackles and missed one. He was non-existent against the inside run but was not challenged much in coverage, a questionable approach by McAdoo.

CORNERBACK

-Aaron Robinson was sidelined because of an appendectomy, giving the start to rookie Cor’Dale Flott. The third rounder missed a sizeable portion of camp and preseason with a groin injury, and I felt this was a vulnerable part of the defense. McAdoo did not try to exploit it until the second half. Flott was beat twice on the CAR touchdown drive, including the score. He was rotated out for most of the game afterward. He also missed 2 tackles.

-Adoree’ Jackson shut down Robbie Anderson (3 rec / 32 yards). He also recovered a fumble and broke up a pass. Anderson is on the field for one reason, and one reason only. Run deep, stretch the secondary, make explosive plays. He isn’t physical. He isn’t effective underneath. This is the ideal matchup for Jackson, and I believe that is why he was put on a shadow-role in this one. He covered Anderson in over 80% of drop backs. Great game by him despite the illegal-contact penalty.

-Darnay Holmes was flagged for pass interference again and he missed 2 tackles. But he had pressure (untouched) and forced a fumble that NYG recovered. Have to take the good with the bad with him, partially why I think he is a fit with Martindale.

-Fabian Moreau rotated in for Flott when they benched him. He had a quiet game from there.

SAFETY

-Julian Love is blossoming into the player many of us thought he could right before our eyes. He had 7 tackles, 1 sack (in a key moment), 2 TFL, and a pressure. He also made an impact on special teams. He was one of three defenders to play every single snap and he was all over the field. Not every scheme maximizes a player like this, but Martindale’s does.

-Xavier McKinney was second on the team with 5 tackles and a pressure (untouched). He also batted two balls at the line (a staple in Mayfield’s game as a passer) and played excellent over-the-top pass defense. The combination of these two is a big-time contributor to the strong defense we have seen through two weeks.

-Dane Belton had a great start to his career after missing Week 1. He recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and played just under 80% of the snaps, contributing 4 tackles and was inches away from an interception. Belton did miss two tackles though, one thing to keep an eye on as that was a red flag on his scouting report coming out of Iowa. The middle of this defense on the back third is something I will touch on below. Hint, this may change the defense as much as any group on the team.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Graham Gano: 4/4 (Made 36, 33, 51, 56)
-P Jamie Gillian: 5 punts / 50.6 avg – 43.2 net

3 STUDS

-EDGE Jihad Ward, S Julian Love, K Graham Gano

3 DUDS

-OC Jon Feliciano, DT Nick Williams, OG Mark Glowinski

3 THOUGHTS ON CAR

1. If you want to see a team that has completely mismanaged the quarterback position year after year, check out what CAR has done. In 2020, they could have made an aggressive trade up from #7 overall with one of multiple teams that already had a QB (WAS-Haskins, NYG-Jones, DET-Stafford). They did not pony up and watched Tua go #5 and Herbert go #6. They went forward with Teddy Bridgewater. In 2021, they tried to get Stafford but were outbid by the Rams. They chose not to draft Mac Jones or Justin Fields. They instead ate $17 million of dead cap and traded multiple picks for Sam Darnold. In 2022, they were outbid in trade attempts for both Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson. They ended up trading for Mayfield. Moral of the story? You are going to need to overpay in a quarterback situation and be OK with it.

2. Matt Rhule was minutes away from being the NYG Head Coach. Now? I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as the first one fired this season. They went 5-11 in his first year, 5-12 in his second year, and are currently 0-2 in the one season where the NFC South looks most vulnerable. They look like a team that is simply running in place. Not getting any worse, not getting any better. There was a huge blowback when NYG did not get Rhule by many fans. Remember, sometimes the best deals you make are the ones you do not. Rhule is showing to be a college-only type. I bet we see him down there again within 1-2 years at a marquee program (Oklahoma? Nebraska? Auburn?).

3. Where will CAR go this year? What is their long term outlook? While I don’t consider them a basement-caliber team (they have some serious pieces on defense), they’re exactly where you don’t want to be. Good enough to win 5-7 games, not good enough for .500. That is a spot that is hard to build from especially when you don’t have a QB. I think Mayfield is a backup somewhere else next year and Darnold as well. Matt Corral was drafted this past spring and unless this team makes an aggressive move this year (maybe Tepper has finally learned his lesson) the long-term outlook is bleak at best. My prediction? They go all in on the top QB in a draft trade or try to get Lamar Jackson.

3 THOUGHTS ON NYG

1. The Wink Martindale scheme is one of, if not the most, versatile schemes in the NFL. Many will talk about being “multiple” and in some context it is true. Some teams are so deep up front they can rotate bodies all game and change up their looks based on personnel. Over the course of a season, however, those trends can be forecasted. Martindale does a great job of completely altering his approach on all levels to surprise an offense. You think he’s sending the house? He will rush four via zone blitz. You think he’s rushing four? He’ll send seven. You think he is going to jam the box with extra linebackers? He brings another defensive back on the field. I compare Martindale to the Bruce Arians of defenses. No risk it, no biscuit. Scared money don’t make money. This may end up biting them at some point but when looking at it from a bird’s eye lens, I trust it will help more than hurt.

2. Sticking with that defensive theme, keep a close eye on this trio of safeties. McKinney and Love are ascending stars in this league who can do so much for a defense to help win games. Opposing offenses will never know where they are going to line up. Throw in Belton who, at the very least, can play fast and shows the ability to play up and down, and this group is going to hide the issues they have at linebacker and pass rush for the time being. 3 of their 4 leading tacklers were these guys and they added pass break ups, plays behind the line of scrimmage, and pressure on the quarterback. Finding good safeties can be very difficult and the Giants have two of them.

3. Through two games, how is the offense projecting moving forward? They are bottom third in yards per play. Bottom third in EPA. Bottom three in sack percentage. Third most sacks allowed. Bottom six in yards per pass attempt. The saving grace? They are sixth in yards per rush attempt and have turned it over just twice in 2 games (small sample size, but rank top half in that department in the good way). The concern still resides up front with the line. If these tackles don’t have a superb game, do we trust the interior to keep it together or do the wheels fall off? It is clearly impacting Jones as he cannot step up in the pocket and I think it is messing with his internal clock. Yes, part of that is on Jones, but the inside guys need to be better. There is no way around it. This team needs to score more and get more yards through the air if they are going to sustain success. I really think over 80% of that is on the shoulder of the guard-center-guard. Play better.

Sep 132022
 
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (September 11, 2022)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

QUICK RECAP

Week 1 in the NFL. Besides postseason play, this is the most anticipated week of the season, and soon after, the most over-reacted week of the season. The nature of the beast. What now seems to be an every-other-year tradition in New York, NYG was introducing a new era of football under a new regime. This one, in comparison to the previous three, feels different. A new General Manager AND a new Head Coach coming from a more modern era of football and no previous association with the franchise. Less personnel staff carry over. And an owner who vowed to let the new guys do their thing. The 2022 season kicked off in Tennessee against the defending #1 seed from the AFC.

The game started with a three-and-out by the Giants offense followed by a 46-yard punt return by rookie Kyle Philips. Starting in NYG territory, TEN needed just five plays before scoring a touchdown on a 7-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill to Dontrell Hilliard up the seam. NYG was without both of their starting edge defenders, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, and it showed both right away and for the rest of the game. NYG’s second drive never made it past midfield and included back-to-back plays that went sack / delay-of-game penalty. The two teams then traded three-and-outs before TEN put another three points on the board via a 46-yard field goal by Randy Bullock. TEN was up 10-0 as the second quarter was under way and it appeared to be more of the same for NYG.

The approach on offense changed. They went hurry-up mode and it led to two first downs and action inside TEN territory. Jones then fumbled on a sack by TEN star pass rusher Jeffery Simmons, giving TEN the ball back in NYG territory. The defense held TEN to a field goal, at least, putting the score at 13-0. That is where the score remained for the rest of the half. While there were subtle differences between this version of NYG and what we saw a year ago, the result was the same. A double-digit deficit on the road and 0 points.

This all changed right away in the third quarter. This is the period where, in my opinion, coaching shows brightest or darkest. A quick 15-minute period to communicate and adjust for the team. NYG knew they had to make a change from a macro-perspective on offense. After forcing a three-and-out on defense, NYG’s first play of the second half was a 68-yard run by Saquon Barkley. The #2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft has been on a steady decline since his Rookie-of-the-Year season in Eli Manning’s second-to-last year in the league. That seems like a lifetime ago. NYG then kept their weight on the run-pedal for the next three plays and it ended with Barkley crossing the goal line for the first touchdown of the season. A bad snap kept the extra point off the board.

NYG forced their second straight three-and-out. It then took just two plays before Jones hit Sterling Shepard, who last scored in the team’s Week 1 game of 2021, for a 65-yard touchdown. In under 7 minutes and after just 6 offensive plays for NYG, they were tied 13-13 and more than doubled their total yards for the game.

TEN responded with a touchdown-scoring drive despite three offensive penalties. The NYG defense could not capitalize on the momentum and they were up against one of the best close-game teams in the NFL on the road. The pass rush was non-existent, and the linebackers were being roasted in coverage, as Hilliard caught his second touchdown of the game. The two offenses traded three-and-outs as the fourth quarter began with TEN winning 20-13.

NYG’s drive halted near midfield. They caught a huge break as Philips muffed a punt and turned it over. They were 1st-and-10 from the TEN 11. Two runs resulted in three yards, forcing Jones into a must-throw situation. He forced a ball to Barkley in the end zone, who was not even close to being open, resulting in an interception by safety Amani Hooker. Tennessee had the football with a 7-point lead, Derrick Henry, and 8:50 left in the game as a team that was 13-4 in one score games since the start of 2021, second best in the NFL.

On 3rd-and-1, the TEN brain trust looked past a traditional run by Derrick Henry for the second time in this game, opting for a reverse to rookie fourth rounder Chigoziem Okonkwo that resulted in a 4-yard loss. It was the second time of the day the rookie touched the ball after a college career that saw him carry the ball three times back in 2018. Questionable decision to say the least.

The door was open for Jones and the offense to redeem him and themselves. A 12-play drive that consisted of 9 runs and 3 passes brought NYG into the end zone via a 1-yard pass to tight end / fullback Chris Myarick, his second career touchdown. NYG was an extra point away from tying it up, but the special teams group never came on the field. Daboll had already decided they would go for two, and the lead, had they scored. A shovel pass to Barkley, a brilliant broken tackle, and some help from the refs (false start by Evan Neal) put 2 points on the board for NYG. 21-20 was the score with just over a minute left.

TEN did get the ball into field goal range. Two defensive holding penalties on third down and 21-yard pass from Tannehill to Philips set up Bullock for a 47 yard try. Bullock, who has hit just 76% of his field goals over his career from 40-49 yards and went 8-for-13 from there last year (62%), went wide left as time expired.

NYG wins 21-20. The first Week 1 win since 2016 and the first time they’ve been above .500 since that year as well.

QUARTERBACK

Daniel Jones: 17/21 – 188 yards / 2 TD – 1 INT / 115.9 RAT

Jones also added 25 yards on 6 rushing attempts. The 21 attempts were second fewest he’s ever thrown in a game that he both started and finished. There could be multiple reasons for that, but I will touch on that below. Only Justin Fields (who played in horrific conditions) threw less times than Jones in Week 1. But he made the most of those attempts, averaging a third-best in the league 9 yards per attempt. Numbers aside, Jones played an average game. He made quick decisions and was under fire often in the first half. The big-time touchdown pass to Shepard was nullified (from an evaluation standpoint) by the bonehead interception thrown in the end zone. His ability to run came up big on a couple of occasions including the 4th-and-1 conversion on their final drive. Solid first game in the new system. And no, the fumble cannot be pegged on him.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 18 att – 164 yards – 1 TD / 6 rec – 30 yards

Barkley did fumble once but it fortunately rolled out of bounds. This was the best one-game version of Barkley we have seen since he became a Giant. I went through old performances and my old notes to make sure I am not overreacting. We’ve seen more output, we’ve seen more yards per touch, we’ve seen more touchdowns. But when combining the burst, agility, long speed, and most importantly, toughness, we haven’t seen this yet. Barkley came up huge in this game. There is no way they win this one without him. This is a different player in a different system with a different OL in front of him. Get ready.

-Matt Breida was the backup who spelled Barkley here and there. He produced well, gaining 24 yards on 5 carries.

WIDE RECEIVER

-One of the bigger stories of the game. Kadarius Toney was the sixth receiver on the depth chart. Sixth. He did not see a single target. He received 2 carries (one of which was intended for him to throw). Very interesting story to follow here and I will touch more on it below. Those 2 carries, by the way, gained 23 yards and he displayed the elite ability with the ball in his hands we have seen several times.

-Richie James led the team with 5 catches, totaling 59 yards. He dropped a ball on 3rd down but also gained 62 yards as a punt returner. This is a kid who last played in a regular-season game for SF in 2020. Talk about a comeback and something tells me he will be the Cole Beasley in this version of the Daboll offense.

-Sterling Shepard caught 2 balls, 1 of which was the 65-yard score that helped NYG tie the game up. His biggest impact beyond that play was in the running game. No, not as a rusher. Shepard made multiple key blocks both in and out of the box. They’re using him like the Rams use Cooper Kupp as a blocker. Motion to create momentum and move the eyes of the defenders, then as a trap-type blocker for Barkley to work off of once he gets through the traffic. Excellent dirty work by him.

-Kenny Golladay caught both of his targets for 22 yards but rookie Wan’Dale Robinson left the game early with a knee injury we still do not have clarity on at the time of this writing. He caught his lone target for 5 yards.

TIGHT END

-Another unsung hero of the running game success was rookie Daniel Bellinger. He was not involved in the passing game at all, but he had a couple of big-time blocks at the second level on big gains.

-Chris Myarick caught a touchdown that set NYG up for the lead. He moved around a bit as a blocker and got the job done there as well but had a holding penalty declined and missed a tackle on special teams. Tanner Hudson was the number three and didn’t see any action.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Andrew Thomas played a clean game. The steady performance we talked about all summer and preseason carries on. He and Mark Glowinski both finished with positive grades. Glowinski did allow a pressure and was flagged for a hold, but was very steady besides that. He also made a key block on one of Barkley’s big runs.

-Rookie Evan Neal struggled in his debut. He allowed 2 TFL and 1 sack. The sack and one of those TFLs were not fully graded against him, however. Jones ran into Neal’s man because of back side pressure. The issue I saw with Neal centers around lateral speed. He was beat badly on two plays where he had to get across Simmons’ face, and he failed to do so. In addition, he was luckily not called for a false start on the NYG successful 2-point conversion attempt. Who knows what would have happened had the refs called it. Neal had a lot of impressive snaps and there is no denying the talent. Great movement as a straight-ahead run blocker, fared well in pass protection for the most part, and he never looked mentally fooled. He just needs to continue to hammer away at the footwork which will create more lateral upside and balance.

-The left guard/center combination was very up-and-down and often the source of pressure on Jones. Center Jon Feliciano allowed 2 sacks and a pressure. He seemed out of control at times, but it did look like he was limping around a bit. I did recently hear about his family situation and while I do separate personal news from football evaluation, anything with kids hits different. I took him off the Dud list because of that.

-Ben Bredeson and Joshua Ezeudu split snaps nearly down the middle at left guard. I am fine with the approach, as neither has taken the bull by the horns yet. Who played better? I have the edge to Bredeson. He was flagged for a false start and did not have the peak plays that the rookie Ezeudu did, but he was much more consistent. Ezeudu did have a couple of monster, highlight-reel plays but also allowed the sack on the play Jones fumbled and allowed a pressure that led to another sack. It is important for the rookie to play, make mistakes, and see how he responds. I do like, however, how the keys were not just handed over to him.

EDGE

-With Thibodeaux and Ojulari out, Jihad Ward and Oshane Ximines were the starters. The pass rush was non-existent from these two. Ximines did get one pressure and deflected a pass but was completely shut down otherwise. Ward’s impact was felt in the running game, setting the edge and finished with 6 tackles, second most on team. He is one of the main emotional and physical tone-setters on the team.

-Tomon Fox was the next guy up ahead of Quincy Roche. Both played, but Fox saw much more time. The undrafted rookie actually had the lone sack on the day, but it resulted in a 0-yard loss as he went untouched on the naked bootleg play by TEN.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-Containing the TEN run game was largely a result of Ward setting the edge but also the ability of Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence to maintain depth at the point-of-attack on both inside and outside runs. Williams had 1 pressure and Lawrence had 2. They both made tackles outside of the numbers in lateral pursuit as well. Quietly, a very solid game from these two.

-Nick Williams, Justin Ellis, and rookie D.J. Davidson rotated at the other DL spot with the veterans seeing more time. Ellis was effective over the center but was a little late to the outside on a couple of occasions and Williams was pushed around a bit.

LINEBACKERS

-The low point of the defense. I know Tae Crowder made a couple of highlight-reel hits (he’s done that multiple times over his career). But he was roasted against the pass, and it wasn’t receivers who beat him. He had a hard time covering TEN running back Hilliard, allowing a touchdown, and giving up another big gain to him on a crossing route. He is late to recognize route concepts and takes poor angles, showing very little space-awareness. He did lead the team with 7 tackles and added a 0.5 TFL.

-Austin Calitro allowed the first touchdown in coverage but did add 1.5 TFL. If he is playing next to a very good ILB, his play is good enough. But next to Crowder, this exposes a major issue in the middle of the defense.

CORNERBACK

-The two outside corners played a very solid game against a less-than-inspiring group of outside receivers. Adoree’ Jackson fared well against his former team besides one pass interference penalty. It was Aaron Robinson who played the standout game, however. He finished with 4 tackles and a pass break up on 3rd down, a near interception, and played excellent on special teams to boot. Robinson was a major factor as a run defender as well.

-Darnay Holmes was nearly the main culprit in the late-game defensive meltdown. He was flagged for 2 defensive holds (an ongoing problem for him) and allowed a 21-yard reception that set up TEN for the game-winning field goal attempt.

SAFETY

-Xavier McKinney and Julian Love played every snap and both were all over the field. From the All-22 tape, I was impressed with how quickly they were able to get over the top of TEN’s deep routes. They were well prepared. They combined for 9 tackles, and both filled multiple roles in coverage against the run and as pass rushers.

-Veteran Tony Jefferson played a lot in the final quarter. Interesting to see Martindale use him at that point of the game, and he blitzed as often as he did not. He did accrue a pressure. Jason Pinnock, another post-camp signing, recovered the muffed punt.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Graham Gano: 2/2 XP
P Jamie Gillian: 6 punts – 51.5 avg / 41.2 net

*LS Casey Kreiter botched a snap on the first extra point attempt – forcing a missed point

3 STUDS

-RB Saquon Barkley, OT Andrew Thomas, CB Aaron Robinson

3 DUDS

-CB Darnay Holmes, LB Tae Crowder, LS Casey Kreiter

3 THOUGHTS ON TEN

1. TEN has out-kicked their coverage almost every year of the Vrabel era. What I mean by that is their end-of-season record exceeds what many believe is within their reach when considering their roster. As I mentioned earlier, they are one of the best, if not the best, in the league when it comes to winning close games. They’ve had a top-10 offense just once in four years. They’ve never had a top-10 defense. They’ve had a double-digit sack defender just once over that span (and he just tore his ACL before the season). There is a template here to follow for NYG as they build the roster, and even though they want to eventually be better than this, there is a lot to be said for playing quality fundamental football with minimal mistakes.

2. Ryan Tannehill is the quarterback I compared Daniel Jones to when he came out of Duke in 2019. While they have different styles and backgrounds (remember Tannehill started at WR in college), I can see the trajectory of Jones’ career heading in a similar direction. The ceiling being a guy who absolutely needs the team around him to be top notch. This is a tough kind of player to plan around when it comes to long term finances. Tannehill has the biggest cap number in the NFL ($38.6 million). And the team just drafted Malik Willis in round 3. They will be looking at a tough decision next offseason. Pay him the 5th-most among all QBs or take the $18 million cap hit to release him. In terms of dollars spent and production he creates, the value is poor. But the flip side could be much, much worse. NYG could be heading toward a similar situation.

3. I projected TEN to win 9 games, finishing 2nd in the weak AFC South, and missing out on the playoffs. Their roster situation was brittle and the loss of A.J. Brown in addition to the preseason injury to Harold Landry is going to expose the lack of versatility on this roster. While I do put DT Jeffery Simmons into the elite tier of defensive linemen, and this young secondary has the upside of being a top-5 group, I don’t see enough options offensively to rely on in big moments. They will be on the outside looking in.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

1. There are several takeaways from the first game when projecting how this season will go and where NYG is headed long term. The biggest one is simple. This team finally has a pulse. It is amazing how big the contrast is between this coaching staff and what NYG has employed in recent years. The design of the offense. The construction of the personnel (while being handicapped by the cap). The innovation and adjustments. While it is just one week and there is still a long, steep hill to climb, the aura is different.

2. The offensive approach seemed advanced. Not just better than what we have seen, but fully mapped out and ready for adjustment. Watching several games around the league and keeping the past decade of NYG football in the memory bank, this was a different level of preparation and planning. Some of the hidden components to quality offensive football are what they did on 3rd-and-long in the first quarter. On the second and third offensive drives, respectively, NYG faced 3rd-and-long deep in their own territory. How many times have we seen a low-success running plays in those situations? Gain 2-4 yards, then punt. Or a wide receiver screen. Or a dump-off pass that did not reach the line of scrimmage. NYG gained 14 and 16 yards on those plays. Sure, the result was still a punt, but those hidden yards change games. Whether it is field position or information gathering for future 3rd-down situations. As simple and as unimportant as that sounds, those are signs this coaching staff is looking to get ahead at all times. Never throw up the white flag. Never a “get ‘em next time” mantra. And then you have the obvious analytic + momentum decision of going for 2 at the end. This is such a different era of NYG football and we’re here for it.

3. Where does this passing game go from here? NYG could end up being one of the more run-dominant teams in the league, but this run-pass ratio will not continue. 32 runs and 21 passes (+5 sacks). PHI was the most run-heavy team in the NFL last year and they still threw more than they ran. This one-game sample size is way too small (wait 4 weeks, then take a look), but fully expect to see this ratio get closer to 55-pass / 45-run. NYG’s wide receiver situation and usage needs to be ironed out. This was a wakeup call for Toney, I hope. He is clearly one of the most three talented players on this offense and with more passing on the way, the looks will be there. But he needs to earn it. He needs to change his ways behind closed doors. Nobody believes the likes of Richie James and David Sills bring more to the table. But this game (and this offense) requires much more than talent and status that stems from a previous regime using a 1st rounder on you.

Aug 292022
 
Austin Calitro, New York Giants (August 28, 2022)

Austin Calitro – © USA TODAY Sports

QUICK RECAP

The NFL’s decision to knock the four-game preseason schedule down to three a year ago is easily one of the best they’ve made under Roger Goodell. The next time we watch NYG football, we will be in the regular season. The fact they get the extra week of preparation and recovery time is another feather in the cap. Before NYG moved onto TEN, they first had to face off against the cross-town rival New York Jets just three days following their joint practice together. Most of the NYG starters did not step on the field after the team warm-up period and Jets Coach Robert Saleh opted to give his ones some snaps in the first half. To each their own.

The Jets, led by their likely Week 1 starter, 37-year-old Joe Flacco, put together a solid drive to start off the game. On a 3rd-and-10 short pass to running back Michael Carter, the second-year back made it to the sticks, but rookie linebacker Micah McFadden knocked the ball loose, which was recovered by fellow linebacker Austin Calitro. NYG responded with a 3-and-out, but at least it allowed the field position battle to go back into NYG’s favor somewhat. The two offenses traded scoreless possessions before Greg Zuerlein nailed a 49-yard field goal through the uprights to make it 3-0.

Ryan Santoso, signed as Graham Gano recovers from a concussion, hit a 36-yard field goal on the ensuing drive as the second quarter got under way. Calitro then took part in his second takeaway of the game, this time an interception from Flacco, and turned it into six points as he made his way into the end zone. Talk about an ascent from camp body / special teamer to a guy that who proven he should be a part of the ILB rotation.

Backup QB Mike White came in for NYJ and engineered a touchdown-scoring drive that ended on a pass to Braxton Berrios, a big part of the NYJ offense and special teams. After two scoreless drives by NYG, White led the offense on a 2-minute drill with just 1:06 remaining from their own 35-yard line. It took just under :40 of game clock to get another touchdown on the board, this time a pass to Calvin Jackson on a 19-yard play. NYJ went into the half with a 17-10 lead after scoring 14 straight points.

Up until the start of the second half, NYG felt a little overmatched in terms of who they were putting on the field vs. what NYJ’s approach was. Once the third quarter began, however, the teams were playing on an even playing field. 2nd, 3rd, 4th stringers hoping for a spot on the roster, practice squad, and/or another team. Davis Webb, who came in the game earlier than expected because of a Tyrod Taylor injury, led the team on a beautiful drive to start it off. 12 plays, 75 yards, two third-down conversions, and one on fourth down eventually led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Jashaun Corbin.

Then on the opening play of the fourth quarter, Webb found rookie tight end Austin Allen for an 18-yard score and NYG was back on top by seven. The two teams traded 3-and-outs before Chris Streveler, who has been the catalyst to some highlight-reel late game plays for the Jets in the preseason, threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Denzel Mims. Mims, a 2020 second-round pick who has recently requested a trade, went off in what may have been his final action in a Jets uniform.

With the game tied up at 24, Santoso came back on the field and hit a 49-yard field goal just over 2:00 remaining. Streveler engineered yet another fourth-quarter drive that resulted in a touchdown, this one on a pass Calvin Jackson again (his second of the day). NYG was down four with under :30 left. Webb did have a shot at the end zone on a late Hail Mary pass, but it fell to the ground. Preseason over.

NYG loses, 31-27.

QUARTERBACK

-Tyrod Taylor was injured on the 9th play of the game. He took a brutal hit from rookie freight train Michael Clemons. He was on the sideline afterward. My guess, without seeing an update at the time of this writing, was a back injury that will not be serious.

-Davis Webb: 30/38 – 202 yards / 1 TD – 0 INT / 97.6 RAT

Webb essentially played the entire game with Taylor coming out early on. He capped off an incredible preseason. Tell you what, if this was a rookie that had been putting him these kinds of numbers, the excitement generated would have broken the NYG internet. Even though most of his action has been against backups and players who will be cut, he did what he was supposed to do. Webb got the ball out fast, he knew where to go with the ball, and he set up his receivers well for after-catch yardage. The funny thing? I think he should be cut and signed to the practice squad. How come? I don’t want to use a 53-man roster spot on him, and I don’t think an opposing team will scoop him up for their own active roster. I am impressed with Webb this time around, much more so than his first time with the Giants. His arm angles are changing, he is throwing better balls, and he appears to be comfortable with the speed and urgency one needs at QB.

RUNNING BACK

-Jashaun Corbin was the most used back. He carried the ball 6 times for 23 yards and a touchdown in addition to catching all 5 targets for 33 yards, most of which came after the catch. Corbin showed enough for a practice squad spot. His best trait stems from balance, body control, and lower body strength which created several missed tackles.

-Gary Brightwell, Antonio Williams, Matt Breida, and Sandro Platzgummer split the remaining snaps. Williams fumbled but it was recovered by NYG. Platzgummer had a 15-yard catch. This position group will not carry a fullback as of right now, so it could enable the team to keep five running backs. This will be interesting to watch. I lean toward keeping four on the 53-man roster with both Corbin and Platzgummer on the PS. If they need an extra PS spot, the latter gets the boot.

WIDE RECEIVER

-It was interesting to me that David Sills, Darius Slayton, and Richie James all played under 15 snaps. From the outside, it looks like this position group is very much up in the air and this game could have been the final piece of information needed for the tough decisions. Slayton is likely to be traded, thus it made sense to keep him off of the field. But seeing Sills and James stay on the sideline tells me those two are definites for the 53.

-Alex Bachman, an easy guy to root for but may not have a spot open for the roles he fills on an offense, led the team with 6 catches for just 27 yards.

-Wan’Dale Robinson had a catch for 4 yards and a carry on a reverse that gained 11 yards. Three preseason games and we finally got to see a successful gadget play for the rookie who I do think will be a big part of the offense. Jaylon Moore had a drop and will likely join Keelan Doss and Travis Toivonen on the cut-list by the time this is published. Impressive one-handed catch by Toivonen, but he was only brought in to take up snaps, not compete for a job.

TIGHT END

-Rookies Daniel Bellinger and Austin Allen both caught all of their targets for a combined 77 yards (7 rec). Allen had his best game the preseason, hauling in a 18-yard touchdown, showing excellent ball skills near the sideline. The height really is something, there aren’t many who measure in like him and he does have accurate hands + timing.

-I still believe this will be the position group that adds someone who shakes free over the next 24-48 hours. There are plenty of teams with over-crowded tight end rooms. BAL, BUF, DEN to name a few that I have been keeping my eye on. Bellinger is the only one who I feel has a very secure hold on a roster spot.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Daboll smartly held most of the starters out of this one despite NYJ marching out their starting group of talented defensive linemen. It did produce some muddy action early on, but it was good to see who could hold their own. Devery Hamilton did allow a TFL but otherwise played a very solid game. His lack of a power game got him walked back a bit but he stays connected to the defender and he can move his feet in a hurry. He is going to be an important 6th-7th lineman this season.

-The two worst grades of the day were Will Holden and Eric Smith. Both were added after training camp began and I had positive remarks about both from separate practices. They were roasted in this game. Smith allowed 3 pressures and was abused by Bryce Huff (an EDGE who I like a lot). Holden was flagged for a false start and allowed 2 pressures. Both get good initial contact, but the reaction time and sustainability were poor. I suspect both will be gone.

-Jamil Douglas and Max Garcia are veterans with starting experience. There is some value in that, but don’t overreact to it. I think there is a shot Daboll keeps both for the 53-man roster if Lemieux is out for extended time. If I had to choose between the two, I would go with Douglas. He did allow a sack and a pressure in this one but graded out much higher than Garcia in the running game.

-Josh Rivas allowed 2 pressures but was effective in the running game. He is not ready for pro ball but he is worth a PS spot.

EDGE

-Jihad Ward is an interesting guy. Just about 10% of his 1-year deal is guaranteed. The team could save $1 million by cutting him loose. Not that they are going to be in need of the money, I struggle to see the role for him here. The multi-front scheme and Martindale’s experience with him should land him a spot, but I do think this defense will not need him at edge. I also think keeping Ryder Anderson is essential. Looking at the numbers along this DL, Ward would be my choice to cut loose. He played 16 snaps and besides setting the edge, he does not offer much.

-Oshane Ximines will likely keep his spot unless Kayvon Thibodeaux, Elerson Smith, and Azeez Ojulari all come back healthy and ready for Week 1. Will be interesting to watch. We have seen him play a lot of football here and his performance against NYJ was more of the same. Some physical play against the inside run, but inconsistent setting the edge, feeling blocks, and rushing the passer despite seeing 39 snaps.

-Quincy Roche and Tomon Fox both had quiet games even though they saw a lot of time. The pass rush was very poor in this one with neither of these guys stepping up. Fox is destined for the PS and Roche is the one I would keep around over the two names mentioned above. Martindale may not see enough size, however.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-David Moa and rookie D.J. Davidson both played a solid game, finishing with 4 tackles and stuffing inside running lanes. This regime just brought in Davidson; they did not bring in Moa. Those are the two strong reasons why I think the former will stick around with Justin Ellis and Dexter Lawrence inside. Ellis played some in the first half, making 2 tackles including one on a screen that brought him all the way outside the numbers. Impressive short area burst.

-Ryder Anderson made a tackle at the line of scrimmage and missed a TFL by inches. His tool set, combined with nifty hand work to get off blocks, is impressive. He needs to finish on the 53-man roster if you’re asking me. I would keep him over Jalyn Holmes, Jihad Ward, and Nick Williams without hesitation if it were up to me.

LINEBACKER

-Blake Martinez and Tae Crowder saw some action early. They are the unquestioned leaders for starting positions in this defense.

-Micah McFadden and Austin Calitro saw most of the snaps otherwise. They were all over the field and combined for 8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 FF, 1 FR, and 1 INT. If you don’t have the time to watch other teams trust me on this: Martindale creates production from linebackers as well as any defensive coordinator in the league. 1st rounders, UDFAs, veterans who have been cut. They all do well under him, and he knows how to find the right fit. Calitro and McFadden do tend to get burned to the sideline and may not impact the opposing passing game, but these two are tacklers. They excelled between the tackles, and they blitz well. This is a solid quartet of inside linebackers.

-With that said, I think Carter Coughlin’s spot is in jeopardy as Cam Brown will be kept around for special teams. Coughlin did add a pressure in this game, but the past regime drafted him, he was hurt for most of camp, and there isn’t much he does better than any of the others to put it simply.

CORNERBACK

-Maybe the most hectic position on the team in terms of who is sticking around and where they fall on the depth chart. Again, this is a VERY important position in the Martindale scheme. Zyon Gilbert and Olaijah Griffin missed tackles and were beat in coverage multiple times. Khalil Dorsey was flagged for a pass interference that led to a NYJ touchdown late in the game and Harrison Hand allowed a touchdown. It was a rough day for the roster hopefuls.

-Adoree’ Jackson, Darnay Holmes, and Aaron Robinson are the top three, no question. The former two did not play and Robinson finished with 3 tackles and a PD to go along with a missed tackle. Cor’Dale Flott was just drafted, and Rodarius Williams is a second-year player who fits the scheme well. I believe it will be Darren Evans who sticks while the others are cut loose or put on the PS. Remember, Julian Love can play the nickel if needed.

SAFETY

-Nate Meadors was the only defender to play every snap. He led the team with 12 tackles and had an interception negated by a Griffin pass interference. He may have played his way into a PS spot, but I don’t see room for him on the 53-man roster even with rookie Dane Belton recovering from a collar bone injury. Trenton Thompson, however, continued to flash against the run. He pursues well and tackles well in space. He had 4 tackles total and will be a key special teamer.

-Yusuf Corker was cut while I started writing this. He will end up on the PS unless another team wants to bring him onto their 53, which is possible. He was very sought after following the NFL Draft. He finished with 5 tackles, but missed 2 others. That was a problem for him in college.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Ryan Santoso: 2/2 (made 36, 49)
-P Jamie Gillian: 5 punts / 55.6 avg – 44.8 net

3 STUDS

-LB Austin Calitro, QB Davis Webb, RB Jashaun Corbin

3 DUDS

-OT Will Holden, OT Eric Smith, CB Olajiah Griffin

3 THOUGHTS ON NYJ

1. I admire General Manager Joe Douglas from afar as much as any GM in the league. While his regime may fully rest on the shoulders of Zach Wilson, his approach to building a roster from the trenches is a breath of fresh air. I think this team will be competitive this season, right around .500, and playing meaningful football in December. The biggest reason is what they have along the OL and DL. Free agent signings, draft picks, waiver adds, and financial commitments have been spot on here. I think they are going to get multiple trade offers for their DL.

2. Rookie Michael Clemons (the one that hurt Taylor) is a guy you can’t help but stare at both in person and on film. He is massive, he plays angry and powerful, and he has first round-caliber plays here and there. There are some character issues here but if this coaching staff keeps him dialed in, he will be an impact player on this team. He wins with hustle and power more than quickness and burst, but this scheme can use that better than others.

3. Is there a template NYG can take from NYJ when it comes to roster building? The one thing I take is very macro-level. And it is the fact that the GM and Head Coach speak the same language, they have the same vision, and they want to build the roster a specific way. Time will tell if Daboll and Schoen are on the same page, but many signs point toward that being the case. That alone is a major positive this franchise has seemed to miss out on since the Coughlin-era.

3 THOUGHTS ON NYG

1. The more we see this offense operate under Kafka/Daboll, the more I am confident they will get the ball out faster than we have seen possibly ever. While the best offenses can do both, this will help cancel many of the negative plays. Even the urgency Daboll wants from his running backs will add to this positive difference. Step one to fixing that side of the ball is getting rid of plays where the chains go backward. I am very confident we will see that in 2022.

2. Speaking of the offense and Kafka/Daboll, I am curious who they will choose to call plays. Daboll was the play-caller in BUF and he does not need to manage much (if anything) defensively. I would feel better about him calling the plays this season. Allow Kafka to take in more from a game-planning and observation role to pick up any differences / similarities to what he saw in KC with Andy Reid, the best offensive mind in football.

3. NYG was put through the wringer with injuries throughout the first half of camp and preseason. It does seem they are in a good enough spot for the start of the season though. The OL injuries appear very minor, Thibodeaux should be ready by Week 3 at the absolute latest, the best defensive players are a full-go, and the receivers + Barkley are ready to rock. All in all, things appear just fine on the injury front.

EXTRA

Below is my 53-man roster projection with a TE waiver claim. This is SO fluid with cuts from other teams and the injury situations (couple of these guys could be put in IR and come back in October), but based on my time watching the game films and multiple practices, here it is:

QB(2)

Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor

RB(4)

Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, Antonio Williams, Gary Brightwell

WR(6)

Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, Wan’Dale Robinson, David Sills V, Richie James

TE(3)

Daniel Bellinger, Chris Myarick, Waiver Pick-Up*

OL(10)

Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, Jon Feliciano, Mark Glowinski, Evan Neal, Devery Hamilton, Joshua Ezeudu, Ben Bredeson, Jamil Douglas, Max Garcia

EDGE (5)

Jihad Ward, Azeez Ojulari, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Elerson Smith, Quincy Roche

DL (5)

Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Justin Ellis, Ryder Anderson, DJ Davidson

ILB (5)

Blake Martinez, Tae Crowder, Micah McFadden, Austin Calitro, Cam Brown

CB (6)

Adoree’ Jackson, Darnay Holmes, Aaron Robinson, Cor’Dale Flott, Rodarius Williams, Darren Evans

S (4)

Xavier McKinney, Julian Love, Trenton Thompson, Dane Belton

SPT (3)

-Graham Gano, Jamie Gillian, Casey Kreiter

Aug 222022
 
Alex Bachman, New York Giants (August 21, 2022)

Alex Bachman – © USA TODAY Sports

QUICK RECAP

Week 2 of the preseason brought the defending AFC champions to MetLife Stadium. The Cincinnati Bengals opted to sit their starters and majority of top contributors on both sides of the ball. For the second week in a row, NYG had a quasi-starting line up (what is left of them) against the opponent’s backups. With that said, NYG has been bit hard by the injury bug throughout training camp. Nearly half of their offensive line was out and key playmakers at receiver also haven’t been practicing. NYG also opted to keep out some of their most important players like Saquon Barkley and Leonard Williams. The blurry line between prepping for the regular season and keeping this team healthy has been tough to manage for this new regime.

NYG’s first two possessions resulted in turnovers. The first one was a 4th-and-1 stop at midfield and the second was an interception on a pass from Daniel Jones that went through the hands of rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger. That second turnover resulted in three points for CIN on a 50-yard field goal by Evan McPherson. The next possession would be NYG’s best of the night with starters on the field.

Jones threw the ball on the first nine snaps, connecting on eight of them and using five different receivers. That brought them to the 6-yard line where consecutive runs brought them across the goal, with rookie Jashaun Corbin getting the score. CIN responded with another three points on a 44-yard field goal after a long kickoff return and quickly got the ball back via a fumble by C.J. Board on the ensuing kickoff. The defense held up again, keeping CIN to another field goal. Their first four possessions started at the CIN 48, NYG 49, NYG 24, NYG 15. All things considered, the fact CIN only had 9 points on the board at this point was a big win for Wink Martindale’s defense.

The NYG backups made their way onto the field and the score remained locked in at 9-7 (CIN up) for the rest of the half. #5 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Kayvon Thibodeaux, was taken off the field in the second quarter on what initially appeared to be a bad knee injury. While it looks like they avoided a serious one, it was a quick reminder how sensitive this roster is at the moment. They can’t afford more bodies dropping before a meaningful snap is played.

The second half opened with a touchdown-scoring drive by CIN. A one-yard score by running back Trayveon Williams was put on the board as Davis Webb marched onto the field for the rest of the night. Will Holden was put in at center, a position he had never played, and his poor snaps threw off the timing and fluidity of the offense on Webb’s first drive. They punted after an ugly series of plays.

On their next possession, punter Jamie Gillan was forced to come on the field for a field goal attempt as Graham Gano was ruled out with a concussion. With safety Julian Love playing the role as holder, Gillan put it through the uprights for three points. They shortened CIN’s lead to 16-10. After another stop by the defense, NYG’s first possession of the fourth quarter resulted in a touchdown by Davis Webb. It was a short pass to Alex Bachman, a roster hopeful, that he turned into a 22-yard touchdown. A successful 2-point conversion resulted in a 18-16 lead for NYG.

CIN then put together a successful drive of their own, 83 yards on 12 plays, that resulted in a touchdown. Jacques Patrick crossed the goal line on a 3-yard run and CIN was up 22-18 with just 3:05 left.

Webb marched back onto the field and went a perfect 6/6 in hurry-up fashion, using four different targets to move the ball. Bachman took over once again. A 15-yard touchdown put NYG up 25-22 with Gillan hitting an extra point to cap it off. CIN was left with just :35 and while they did cross midfield with a big-time kicker waiting on the sideline, Tomon Fox delivered the hit of the night and it forced a fumble. Newly-signed Olaijah Griffin hopped on the loose ball and the game was over.

NYG wins, 25-22.

QUARTERBACK

Daniel Jones: 14/16 – 116 yards / 0 TD – 1 INT / 1 att – 5 yards

A very encouraging performance for Jones. Of the practices I have been to and the two preseason games we have under our belt, this was the best I have seen of him. Take the stats out of it and do not consider the fact he has only played against backups (he does not control that, and he wasn’t exactly playing with a first-string offense to say the least), Jones played the position great. He was on time, he played with great tempo, and he was accurate to all levels of the route tree with good touch.

Davis Webb: 22/27 – 204 yards / 2 TD – 0 INT / 2 att – 1 yard

Lost in the positive Jones performance was the fact that Webb completely took this game over in the second half. After a shaky start because of poor snaps from a center who has never played center, Webb created a lot of plays on his own when needed but also stayed within the system very well. I will expand more on this below in my final NYG thoughts, but both quarterbacks played efficient football and took what the defense gave. It is one of the simpler common grounds to the best offensive systems in the NFL.

RUNNING BACK

-Antonio Williams played throughout the game. He started and also played with the third string as Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, and Gary Brightwell did not play. He totaled 26 yards on 5 carries in addition to catching all 7 of his targets for 46 yards. He has had a very productive start to preseason action.

-Jashaun Corbin led the team with 9 carries, totaling 27 yards and scored a touchdown. He also caught all his targets (4) for another 15 yards. While I think he will be the odd man out when rosters get cut down, he has cemented a spot on the practice squad.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Alex Bachman: 11 rec / 122 yards / 2 TD

I can’t remember the last time we saw a stat line out of a receiver in a preseason game from a guy who played under 50% of the snaps. How this team handles cuts at receiver will be one of the more interesting spots to watch and Bachman, who I had not projected to make the 53, did what he could to at least make the decision makers take another look at the third-year pro from Wake Forest. He is a hungry guy who plays hard and fast at all times. While he won’t make a difference with speed and explosion, there is something to be said for guys who play as hard as he does. He also made a big hit on special teams, another feather in his cap that coaches do care about.

-David Sills: 5 rec / 56 yards

If it weren’t for Bachman’s performance, Sills would have been the standout of the group. He played with the ones and produced well on just 37% of the game’s snaps. He made multiple tough catches where he had to adjust to the ball with a defender right on him. The latter part of that will be the one thing potentially between him and a roster spot. He rarely separates on his own, but he does well in these contested situations. It will be an uphill fight to end up on the 53, but his ball skills and rapport with Jones certainly helps.

-Collin Johnson hauled in a 23-yard gain from Jones, NYG’s biggest gain of the day. The deep crossing route has been a staple of the offense every time I’ve seen them in person and Johnson is clearly the one who has had the most success running it.

-Wan’Dale Robinson had 3 catches for a total of -3 yards. One resulted in a 1-yard gain; the others were both losses. He hasn’t hit the ground running yet as what I perceive to be the gimmick part of the offense. Again, not an insult to him at all. The size will limit his impact in some areas, but the movement traits and versatile background will give this offense options. But we haven’t seen it quite yet in game-action. Still seems a little unnatural to this point, which is understandable.

TIGHT END

-Daniel Bellinger caught 2-of-3 targets for 10 yards. The one he did not come down with, however, was a ball that went through his hands and ended up as an interception for CIN first rounder Dax Hill. These are the passes he will need to catch and there is nothing more to say about it. Bellinger has the incredible opportunity to start Week 1 as a 4th rounder at tight end (by default, really) and these are the kind of plays that will land him on the bench if they are repeated a few more times.

-Chris Myarick and Austin Allen both caught 1 pass for 4 yards. Myarick made an impact as a blocker on two big plays. One a touchdown and the other a short 3rd-down conversion.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-The starting group was without their LG and OC. The three guys who did play, Andrew Thomas, Mark Glowinski, and Evan Neal continued the trend they’ve been on since the start of camp. Thomas looks nearly unbeatable, stemming from quick and powerful initial steps/contact, in addition to his fast adjustments. Glowinski never completely looks the part, but he constantly gets the job done. Neal had some ugly plays, some dominant plays. His set up and trust in himself looked better in traditional one-on-one matchups. He needs to play to his strengths, and that is size, power, stability. He is adjusting, sometimes when not necessary, and continues to lose his balance. The footwork and ability to stay square/upright need work. I think we are going to see him get beat to his inside shoulder often this season. As a run blocker, he has the goods already.

-Devery Hamilton played left guard and left tackle, both at a high level with above average success rate. He seems to be one of the biggest winners of preseason/camp. He played his way into the 6th-lineman role, maybe 7th if everyone comes back healthy. He has credible ability at both spots. He simply does not lose often.

-Max Garcia played over half the snaps (OG and OC). He allowed 2 pressures and looked stiff in the running game. He lacks knee bend, and it labors his movement when he needs to adjust laterally. He has been very unimpressive. But his experience at OC and the fact NYG has multiple injuries there right now, he probably makes the team. Nevertheless, I’m not confident he will be here all season.

-Will Holden, one of my camp favorites among backups, had a rough game. He played second string LG and third string OC. He allowed 2 pressures. In his defense, this was the first time he ever played OC in a game. His shotgun snaps early on were horrible and it threw off the timing of their quick passing game. He did get it together in the fourth quarter, though. If you’re asking me, I take him over Garcia even though experience does mean something with this coaching staff.

-One of the low-key top performances came from Roy Mbaeteka. He has come a long way in a short time. The post-snap bend and set up have improved a lot and he appeared to use his elite-length as a true weapon. Interesting project to keep an eye on.

EDGE

-Kayvon Thibodeaux had his night end early after a rough looking cut block at his knee which was firmly planted into the ground. I’ll touch on this below, but it was not a dirty hit. Before the play, he finished with 1 pressure and got locked up by the backup CIN tackles elsewhere. He has not shown much in the limited action we have seen in two games.

-Good to see Azeez Ojulari on the field, albeit only for 7 plays. Oshane Ximines, a sneaky candidate for a surprise cut when they go down to 53, had a pressure but lost on the edge in run defense multiple times. This has been an issue for him his entire career and this is a major no-no in the Martindale scheme.

-On the flip side, Quincy Roche was the star of the night defensively. While he lacks the ideal size Martindale wants there, the flexibility of the scheme and Roche’s play strength appear to be a good fit. He finished with 2 tackles, 1 TFL, and 2 pressures. He also looks to be a leader of the front, making calls and getting teammates in position.

-Don’t sleep on Tomon Fox, either. He plays a very powerful game and got some extra playing time last night. He finished with a tackle, forced fumble, and 2 pressures. His hit at the end of the game was an energy stick for what Martindale wants out of his front.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-Leonard Williams stayed off the field in this one, but we did see some Dexter Lawrence. He played next to Nick Williams and Justin Ellis, quite the load. Jalyn Holmes got playing time with the ones as well. This should give us a decent idea who is being viewed as the contributing portion of this group. Not much to report here, but there is a chance one of Williams/Ellis will not stick long term if rookie D.J. Davidson is healthy.

-Speaking of Davidson, he limped off the field in the fourth quarter. He is one guy I hope can get on the field early, as I think he can be an important piece moving forward. Playing time now will make this defense better next year and beyond. The run stuffer ended with 2 pressures. He is more than just a big body who can eat up double teams.

-Ryder Anderson saw a lot of time. He finished with 2 tackles and a TFL along with 1 pressure. There is still some work to be done on his ability to stay home against the run without getting turned around. But there is such a unique skill set here. I still think he makes this team, but it may have to be at the expense of someone else. I don’t see him making it through waivers if they try to stash him on the PS.

LINEBACKER

-Micah McFadden led the team with 5 tackles. He continued to get from his starting position to the ball carrier efficiently and finishing upon arrival. He has been a low-key stud among backups, and I expect to see him move up a spot as Darian Beavers appears to have injured his knee. Unfortunate for the rookie as he has been impressive in camp so far and has the skill set to thrive in this scheme.

-Tae Crowder put his speed on full display throughout his time on the field. He added 4 tackles and 1 TFL. His range against passes to the flat was on display over and over and he sealed the deal in open field. He has his warts, but he adds an element of speed and physicality to the front seven. While I think the long-term future of this position will not include him, Crowder does bring positives to the attacking nature of this defense.

CORNERBACK

-Veteran Adoree’ Jackson is a solid cover man, but one difference I see right now compared to his time in Tennessee and his college tape at USC is the willingness to come downhill on ball carriers. He has been aggressive on all fronts and, combined with his easy speed and acceleration, he appears to be in line for the best season of his career. Sometimes all it takes is a new scheme.

-We may be watching a competition between Zyon Gilbert and Darren Evans for the final cornerback spot unless one of the injured guys in front of them starts off on IR. Evans was thrown at a ton with mixed results. He had 4 tackles and a pass break up and was flagged for a roughing the passer penalty. Gilbert showed better in coverage, albeit wasn’t thrown at nearly as much. Evans’ tools are attractive, and I think coaches will lean toward him if they had to choose. He is getting slightly better at locating the football, but still has a little ways to go there.

-Aaron Robinson got away with a pass interference in the end zone. I like the movement he is showing but I am concerned by how grabby he is getting. Coaches have often told me that these young corners need to learn how to cover with their feet and body positioning, not their hands. Robinson is still behind there, and I do think when his back gets turned to the quarterback he loses some of his body control. Something to keep an eye on.

-Khalil Dorsey finished with a sack as he continues to make his case for the backup nickel job. I’m not sure I see the spot unless they go with just 3 safeties, but he has done everything right performance wise.

SAFETY

-Xavier McKinney and Julian Love were on the field for just a couple series. The depth behind them is still scary-thin until Dane Belton can come back and even then, it is limited group early on.

-Andrew Adams, Yusuf Corker, and Trenton Thompson saw plenty of time and were active against the run. It is a trio of aggressive players who tackle well in space. My unknown with them, Thomson and Corker especially, is the impact they can make in deep coverage. Thompson shows better movement, Corker shows a quicker mind. I still think there is a strong possibility that only Adams makes it to the 53.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Graham Gano: left game with concussion
-P Jamie Gillan: 3 punts / 36.0 avg / 36.0 net & filled in at kicker, hitting a 31-yard FG and one extra point

3 STUDS

-WR Alex Bachman, QB Daniel Jones, OL Devery Hamilton

3 DUDS

-TE Daniel Bellinger, OG Max Garcia, WR C.J. Board

3 THOUGHTS ON CIN

1. The defending AFC champions caught the league by surprise and had an Eli Manning-led, Giants-type run to the Super Bowl. Maybe not the best team all year, but the team that got hot at the right time and a clutch quarterback who brought his entire team to another level. The additions they made on the offensive line (FA and draft) and one of the most underrated defenses in the league will steady this ship and keep them very much in the picture. I am projecting CIN to make the Super Bowl again (a rarity for Super Bowl losers the next season) because of how much I believe in the presence of Burrow and arguably the most balanced roster in the league.

2. Kicker Even McPherson is a name you should remember. If you don’t know much about him yet, I believe he is the next Justin Tucker-caliber point scorer in the league. He missed a field goal Week 13 against SF in a 3-point loss. From there? A perfect 21/21 through the Super Bowl, including 3 game winners (2 in postseason). Another reason I’m on CIN this year.

3. CIN has the most ideal salary cap situation in the league when looking at the next 2-3 years. A star quarterback and maybe even a bigger star at WR both on rookie deals taking up a tiny part of the cap for at least another two seasons, most likely three and could even be four. This is a franchise that will need to be a little more aggressive than what they’ve been in recent contention years. Where could they upgrade the most? An interior pass rusher and a true number one corner would be on my scope. They might need to hit up the trade market and then pay up after (think what LAR did to get Jalen Ramsey).

3 NOTES ON NYG

1. I have seen a lot of football practices over the years. The block that CIN tight end Moss put on Thibodeaux that ended up spraining his MCL is practiced in nearly every single one of them. Football is a violent game filled with the most powerful athletes in the world. While I hate to see things like this happen in preseason action, it is a part of the game. Moss did nothing wrong and if you watch enough film with attention to these blocks, you will see them in almost every game.

2. When it comes to getting the ball out in a hurry, both Jones and Webb excelled in this game compared to what I have seen at camp. This is reason #150 why strong reactions to camp should be ignored, plain and simple. Games like this give us a better idea where the players are at when it comes to the comfort within the system that is being implemented. These short, fast throws are a proven way to produce consistent positive gains to keep the offense moving upfield. Once that becomes clock work, everything else opens up. The foundation is being set by Brian Daboll and I am happy to report the initial feel on TV was strengthened upon further review of the All-22.

3. I will be at the joint practice Thursday with the Jets. I plan to watch this defensive backfield closely. There are a lot of bodies who I grade in a very similar tier, but the numbers game is going to pick off a few of them. Even the newly-signed Olaijah Griffin flashed in limited time from a tool set perspective. I have to think what Martindale wants (physical guys who can survive on an island downfield) will win out, but we will know in a couple weeks for sure.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Personally, I love the move from 4 preseason games to 3. Whether you’re a team that sits starters or plays them, with the injury rate what it is in today’s NFL, 3 is enough. I could even see them moving to 2 at some point in the near future. I hate to see players injured, notably anyone from the nucleus of a team, but there is a ton of value to get some live action under their belts before Week 1. Now, NYG has one more game and a joint practice before they move onto TEN with some extra time in between. The injuries have piled up but it appears most will be back between now and then.

Aug 152022
 
Tyrod Taylor, New York Giants (August 11, 2022)

Tyrod Taylor – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 15, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT… (by Sy’56)
Another beautiful weather day. Sunny but not too hot. The dryness we have seen in the NE this summer is not good for my lawn, but it is beneficial for the practice operation to be outside this often. The mere difference in space provides the option for all the position groups to work with plenty of room.

Anyway, the roster cut downs are coming up soon. NYG will be letting go of just a couple guys tomorrow and another 5 next week. Because of that, I am trying to put a little more focus on the backups and roster battles. I’m not sure if this discussed often here, as most of my time away from camp and reports revolves around the college scouting work that I am about to dive in on. But there will be a few very hard decisions made when the roster cuts go down. Not necessarily because there is an abundance of talent (however there are some deep spots on defense). There are players from the previous regime who are respectable assets but simply do not fit into the new scheme and/or they were not brought in by the new regime. That will be the primary focus of today’s report, although I will still give some feedback on the starters (what’s left of them) at the bottom of each side of the ball. Hint, the defense won.

DEFENSE

-The guy I am going to go out on a limb for is Ryder Anderson. The defensive end from Indiana has been mentioned in my camp reports a few times. I have really focused in on him the past 2 days and it looks like the coaches are too. He is drawing a lot of praise from the staff via special teams and the skill set he brings to the table gives them options along the DL. He plays heavy handed with good bend on a very long frame. Putting him on the Practice Squad (PS) is a risky proposition, as every team has a clear shot at him from there. I am leaning toward him getting a spot and seeing a surprise veteran cut (Jalyn Holmes? Nick Williams?).

-Khalil Dorsey is impressive from the slot. He plays ultra-sticky and has a power presence to him that gives him nickel-potential behind Holmes.

-Outside corners Darren Evans and Zyon Gilbert both made nice plays on the ball in team drills. Their length and catch-up speed show. Both are getting beat on vertical routes as they are too late to find the ball, if at all. I assume that is a major no-no in the Martindale scheme.

-With Carter Coughlin back, this is an incredibly tough ILB group to figure out. Martinez and Crowder are the ones and Beavers is quietly creeping through Crowder’s shadow. Another solid run stuff by the rookie that resulted in a TFL where he torched Max Garcia. Micah McFadden continues to do all the little things right and gets to the ball on nearly every play. Cam Brown is the top special teamer on the squad and Austin Calitro is right behind but has shown more at ILB defensively. Do all these guys make the team? That is a lot of inside linebackers in a scheme and era where nickel + dime packages are taking over.

-Justin Ellis and rookie D.J. Davidson appear to be the backup NTs. Some schemes only carry one backup, but I think this scheme will carry two. David Moa and rookie Christopher Hinton continued to struggle to penetrate. Their lateral range isn’t there either.

-The OLB group is another tough one to figure out. With Azeez Ojulari back and Kayvon Thibodeaux an unquestioned starter, the battle between Oshane Ximines, Elerson Smith (injured, however), and Quincy Roche will likely only produce two out of the fire (unless Smith’s injury lands him on IR). I think it would come down to the latter two. Roche had another strong day today and I think his run defense is becoming noticeably better. More stout, better hand work, and more precise with his positioning. The point I am getting at? Ximines may have a really hard time making this team. He doesn’t win enough 1-on-1’s as a pass rusher and he got sealed off on an outside run (one of NYG’s top gains of the day).

-I don’t have a very strong feel at S partially because Dane Belton has been out for nearly all of camp. Trenton Thompson has popped a few times, but Yusuf Corker seems to do more for the defense.

-When it comes to the starters, I stood there today thinking this group has the strong likelihood of being a very formidable defense. Take away the fact they are up against a struggling offense. There is proven talent at every level. They have a new scheme that the opposition will not have tape on, making it a bit tougher to plan against. And they have potential superstars (top 5 at their position in league) at multiple spots in the middle in Leonard Williams and Xavier McKinney. They are fast, physical, and show excellent anticipation. Darnay Holmes and Julian Love both made spectacular reads on short balls. Holmes turned his into an INT. Thibodeaux looks like he is getting through the pass protection more often than not. Ojulari was back out there with the 1’s in live action and beat Neal on a couple of running plays for what would have been TFL. If this side of the ball stays healthy and considering their schedule, games will be kept close. No question.

OFFENSE

-The OL is very banged up. Matt Peart, Shane Lemieux, Jon Feliciano, Jamil Douglas, Joshua Ezeudu were all out. Don’t forget about Nick Gates, too. I’ll discuss the starting group in a moment, as I want to keep focus on roster hopefuls. If all of those guys above come back relatively soon (minus Gates, and Peart looks close), there may not be many spots even open. But the one I have been impressed by the most is Devery Hamilton. He has played both LT and LG, but I think his best spot is inside. He stays on his man, he shows proper hip extension and footwork, and he looks athletic enough to handle late lateral looks by the defense. Will Holden is the other one I would feel safest with out there. Garrett McGhinn and Roy Mbaeteka look over-matched when it comes to speed and change of direction.

-Will NYG carry a fullback? They have one option right now and that is Jeremiah Hall. It is always possible someone shakes free from another roster, but BUF always used a fullback under Daboll. Hall got looks with the 1’s today and they do not use any of their TEs in the backfield.

-The TE group is still a spot I see the team needing to bring in outside help. Nobody knows the deal with Ricky Seals-Jones, but I am assuming he is just out of the picture for now. Daniel Bellinger and Chris Myarick seem to get the most looks with the ones and it is more of the same. Myarick does not have an upside, but he is gritty enough to get by. I think he is more of a #3 though. Bellinger is easy to like. I spent time watching the group run routes both against air and linebackers/safeties. The rookie is the smoothest mover in and out of his breaks and shows the softest hands. I don’t see Austin Allen being a 53-man guy though. Gotta love the height but his pad level is so up and down as a route runner. He has a hard time accelerating and changing direction, but he does have some stride speed. Certainly, someone you want to try and work with on the PS.

-The receiver group is a back-and-forth battle each day. Collin Johnson has separated himself. He made a great play on a ball from Jones in the team portion of practice, likely their top pass gain of the day. Richie James is all over the field and offers some in the return game. But as I have said, does he get bumped the second Shepard comes back? Jones seems to like to throwing to him and he does play a sudden game as a route runner. The radius isn’t there though and he continues to get thrown off his point in traffic. Size is really important for a receiver, and he is bottom tier there. NYG already has a guy like that in Robinson. One name I am interested to see how they handle is Marcus Kemp. NYG gets a bunch of passes downfield throughout each practice and he is the one that seems to come down with the acrobatic catches the most often. Robert Foster and Keelan Doss could not do it today.

-Lastly, the RB group is likely to carry four guys and it easy to figure out. Saquon Barkley-Matt Breida (still not practicing)-Antonio Williams-Gary Brightwell (out today). Jashaun Corbin is impressive and I do think he could beat out Brightwell, just not right away.

-As for the starting offense, my biggest positive was Ben Bredeson. He simply looks more efficient at center than he does at guard. I would love to hear him speak on that. He was making all of the calls and made a couple of key blocks on what appeared to be large chunk gains in the running game. Both Barkley and Williams had big runs.

-Daniel Jones and the passing game were better at being timely today. Jones had a few quick strike throws to Wan’Dale Robinson that I liked. It is bizarre to me how many times he tucks and runs the ball. That could be by the direction of Mike Kafka and Brian Daboll, however. And analytics do say the most efficient play in football is the QB non-designed run. Probably not the most ideal when it comes to keeping the QB on the field, though.

-Jones misfired on a short pass to Robinson (I think) and it got tipped up in the air for a Holmes INT.

-Tyrod Taylor had another off-day as well. He threw an INT where he simply lofted a ball with too much air underneath it. He also misfired on a ball where he didn’t set his feet and faded back as he released it. He air mailed it over the 6’8” tight end Allen – a hard guy to overthrow on a dump off pass.

-I’m not sure of the defense dialed it back a notch with the complex looks, but it did seem the NYG offense had more space to work with. Andrew Thomas looks rock solid, and Mark Glowinski looks like Mr. Reliable. Evan Neal was flagged for a false start and had a couple of ugly plays. He walked off the field very frustrated a couple of times. The speed of the game is too much for a guy in space to struggle with footwork and balance. Still have a ways to go there.

SUMMARY

That is it for me this week. I am making plans to get to the joint practice next week with NYJ. The overall feel of this team is bizarre when looking at how many guys are not practicing. I track the NFL Depth Charts for Ourlads via practice reports and I can’t think of a team with this many 1st/2nd stringers on the sideline. I don’t say that to create a narrative, it is simply an observation. I also don’t think it is doomsday. It appears most will be just fine by September and if anything, it leads me to the notion this roster is actually pretty deep. We will see how well some of these guys actually play, but as I opened with, creating the 53-man roster is actually going to force some really hard decisions especially if they bring in a guy or two from another team when they make their own cuts.

ANDRE PATTERSON RETURNS TO THE TEAM…
New York Giants Defensive Line Coach Andre Patterson, who has been on a leave of absence since camp started with an undisclosed medical issue, returned to the team on Monday. “Patterson’s back today,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll. “Probably won’t be on the field but was in the building. So, it’s good to have him back.”

INJURY REPORT…
WR Sterling Shepard (Achilles), OC Nick Gates (leg), and OT Matt Peart (knee) remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

RB Matt Breida (unknown), RB Gary Brightwell (unknown), WR Kadarius Toney (knee/leg), WR Austin Proehl (leg/calf), TE Andre Miller (broken right forearm), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (unknown), OC Jon Feliciano (right arm), LG Shane Lemieux (foot), OL Joshua Ezeudu (unknown), OL Jamil Douglas (ankle), LB Blake Martinez (returning from ACL), LB Jihad Ward (unknown), LB Elerson Smith (lower right leg), LB Cam Brown (unknown), CB Cor’Dale Flott (groin), CB Rodarius Williams (unknown), and S Dane Belton (broken left collarbone) did not practice.

When Head Coach Brian Daboll was asked about three players injured in practice yesterday (Feliciano, Smith, and Ward), he responded, “They’ll be okay. They probably won’t go today, but they’ll be alright… We should be alright with those guys.”

WR Darius Slayton (unknown), WR David Sills (unknown), DL Leonard Williams (unknown), DL Justin Ellis (unknown), and CB Adoree’ Jackson (unknown) were limited in practice.

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 at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The team practices again on Tuesday morning (10:00AM-noon). Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media.

Aug 142022
 
Antonio Williams, New York Giants (August 11, 2022)

Antonio Williams – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 14, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT… (by Sy’56)
Beautiful day at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. It has been a warmer-than-usual summer and last week at this time, you could tell the heat was getting to the guys. Not nearly as hot today. The first standout component to today’s practice were how many guys were out (whether it was a scheduled day off or injury). Several starters and second-stringers at WR, OL, OLB, ILB, and S. It led to some ugly football to say the least.

I opted to put a little more focus on the DB vs WR matchups today and I am glad I did. With Shane Lemieux and Joshua Ezeudu both out, Ben Bredeson was at left guard. It wasn’t pretty, even with Leonard Williams out. Dexter Lawrence was in the backfield and breaking the pocket the entire practice. This should not surprise anyone and it wasn’t worth spending more effort zeroing in on. I wanted to see these defensive backs work.

DEFENSE

-Corner Adoree’ Jackson probably had the best practice performance of the day. Multiple pass breakups and an interception. He nearly had another on a throw near the end zone. He was jumping routes and sticking to the likes of Richie James, Collin Johnson, and Wan’Dale Robinson like a glove.

-Darnay Holmes had the play of the day with a one-handed interception in the end zone while defending tight end Austin Allen. He continues to shine.

-Aaron Robinson was tested several times on corner fade passes to Kenny Golladay. The second-year corner from UCF won every single one. While Golladay + Jones may not be the best metric to measure against, he got the job done with great techniques and ball location. Golladay did not come down with any of the targets thrown his way. Robinson was tested physically via positioning more than athletically down the field. The thing I look for here is timing and accuracy. Timing to get after the ball at the right moment, accuracy with his hands to get the ball and avoid  penalties. He passed his tests there over and over.

-The Julian Love + Xavier McKinney duo was fun to watch from my angle. These two may be the two biggest assets to the defense if they start creating pressure and confusing the opposing quarterbacks. They look fast, explosive, and balanced. They both were lining up all over the place and McKinney got home on a blitz for an easy sack.

-Corners Cor’Dale Flott and Rodarius Williams were out. So, I got to see a little extra of Darren Evans and Gavin Heslop on the outside. Both guys really look the part, but it is Evans who has more of my attention. The size and smoothness he shows when he turns and runs upfield can be a factor, something nice to build from. His issues show up in ball location and overall eye discipline, but the tools are there. He should take one of the Practice Squad spots, maybe even on the final 53 if a couple injuries are not overcome by Week 1.

-The thinness at safety is possibly opening the door for Trenton Thompson. He had a few snaps with the 1’s today.

-Up front they were without Leonard Williams and Justin Ellis and then lost Elerson Smith and Jihad Ward. The name that keeps jumping out at me is Ryder Anderson. One of my top graded UDFAs around the league. They are finding ways to use him on special teams as well. I think they want to create a spot for him but if not, he is a sure thing for the Practice Squad. He showed high level run defense today with his quick recognition and natural power presence. His size stands out too.

-Carter Coughlin was back out there today. He had a couple wins, as did Micah McFadden, on pass rush drills vs RBs and TEs. Their hand work looked excellent. In team drills they located the football in a hurry and filled their lanes.

-Azeez Ojulari went full speed in individual drills, but I don’t think he played in the live team offense vs. defense. He looked good. Clearly a different level of burst and bend from the other guys (Oshan Ximines, Jihad Ward, Quincy Roche).

OFFENSE

-Daniel Jones had a horrific day. I don’t have an exact stat line for him (although the beat guys do a really job of that, you can see what they had there). The macro-level takeaway was he looked overmatched. He held on to the ball forever and seemed to throw two incomplete passes for every completion. The ones he did connect on were almost all check-downs or immediate passes that looked pre-determined. Jones also threw two interceptions. The internal clock wasn’t there and that was another difference between him and Tyrod Taylor. 2.5 seconds is the approximate time you want a QB to get the ball out, Jones was probably over 4 seconds (that still did not connect) on probably more than half of his throws. Taylor, on the other hand, got it out much quicker.

-One of the potential shortcomings of this offseason was the lack of talent added to the group of pass catchers. While I can’t say the decision-makers ignored the position, they just appear to lack juice. They don’t have a deep threat. They don’t have much size beyond guys who can’t get open on their own. And they don’t have seam busters or a tight end who poses as a real matchup problem. With Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard off the field, it really looked like an overmatched group against coverage.

-That said, Saquon Barkley looks better and better each day. The biggest play of the day was a well-engineered misdirection run that completely fooled the defense. It gave Barkley a slight window and head start into space and the burst he showed was stunning. We may forget sometimes just what kind of different-level this athlete really is. He also delivered the most violent pop of the day in pass protection on Tae Crowder. Big time contact that stunned the linebacker.

-I did not spend a ton of time breaking down the offensive line. It wasn’t pretty though. Hard to tell without seeing the tape if Jones just wasn’t finding the open man or what, but the OL shouldn’t be expected to hold their blocks for 4-5 seconds. That is an eternity.

-Richie James may have been the most targeted receiver, partially because he was often a check-down option. Anyway, his reach is just so limited. He can’t box anyone out and defensive backs easily reach around him.

-C.J. Board is an interesting player. As I start to put together the 53-man roster + Practice Squad projection, he seems like a near-must for this group. He is the one guy who can get behind the defense and make a play on the ball. He came down with two deep balls, however both ended with him not getting his second foot in bounds. His return ability helps his cause. It may come down to him or James for a roster spot and gun to my head right now, it is Board. James just adds yet another tiny body and I don’t see him making anything happen down the field.

SUMMARY

In closing, sorry if this gets repetitive, but this team looks very injured. Just all around. The negative tone there is obvious. These guys need to get on the field. They need to play. The positive, however, is that the depth on this team may not be as bad as some think. Matt Peart (remember him?) appeared to be moving very well on the back field. Close to full-speed, straight-line movement. DT Justin Ellis was in full pads working on the sled by himself. Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard look fine with straight-line movement. Leonard Williams appeared to be fine, perhaps it was a scheduled day off. CBs Flott and Williams were cutting with ease. I don’t see many guys who appear to have long term issues beyond Shane Lemieux. While you always want these guys out there, they still have just under a month to get back to 100% for Week 1. I am optimistic on the overall health of the team.

ROSTER MOVES…
LB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring) was activated from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List and he returned to practice.

The Giants also waived offensive guard Josh Rivas and cornerback Michael Jacquet, and terminated the contract of safety Jarrod Wilson.

The Giants signed Josh Rivas as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Giants signed Michael Jacquet in May 2022. The 6’1”, 203-pound Jacquet was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent time on both the Practice Squads of the Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021.

The Giants signed Jarrod Wilson as a street free agent in early August 2022. The 6’1”, 209-pound Wilson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jaguars (2016-2020), New York Jets (2021), and San Francisco 49ers (2021).

INJURY REPORT…
WR Sterling Shepard (Achilles), OC Nick Gates (leg), and OT Matt Peart (knee) remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

RB Matt Breida (unknown), WR Kadarius Toney (knee/leg), WR Austin Proehl (leg/calf), TE Andre Miller (broken right foream), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (unknown), LG Shane Lemieux (foot), OL Joshua Ezeudu (unknown), OL Jamil Douglas (ankle), DL Leonard Williams (unknown), DL Justin Ellis (unknown), LB Blake Martinez (returning from ACL), LB Cam Brown (unknown), CB Cor’Dale Flott (groin), CB Rodarius Williams (unknown), and S Dane Belton (broken left collarbone) did not practice.

Shane won’t be out there today,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice. “He probably won’t be out there this week. We’ll see. We’ll kind of take it day-by-day… We’ll see (if it lingers into the regular season)… It’s something with his foot.

(Ezeudu is) working back through some stuff, too. Same (with Flott). He’ll be working back. We’ll see where he’s at by the end of the week. So, we had some guys that got a little big dinged up. I don’t think anything real serious, but also trying to do right by the players to get them back as healthy as we can.

Probably not (have Toney back this week). I think he’ll be rehabbing still. He could towards the end of the week. But early in the week, we’re not there yet.”

Linebackers Elerson Smith (lower right leg) and Jihad Ward (unknown) and center Jon Feliciano (right arm) left practice early and did not return.

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Sunday 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 at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Training camp practices open to the public are over. The team practices again on Monday morning (10:00AM-noon). Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media.

Aug 132022
 
Gary Brightwell, New York Giants (August 11, 2022)

Gary Brightwell – © USA TODAY Sports

QUICK RECAP

The next era of NYG football took another big step. After a couple weeks of training camp which inevitably led to a team-wide brawl on Monday, the Giants took a road trip up to Foxborough to take on the Patriots. The former employer of current NYG Head Coach Brian Daboll against the current employer of last year’s NYG Head Coach Joe Judge. If preseason football had more juice, this would be quite the storyline. Instead, the two-time Super Bowl opponents marched into the first inter-squad scrimmage of the year with two entirely different approaches. The Giants, coming off a 4-13 season and working with its fourth Head Coach in 7 years against the Patriots, coming off a 10-7 season and working with the same Head Coach since 2000. The Giants, marching out all but just three starters, against the Patriots, who opted to keep the vast majority of their starters off the field.

Daniel Jones, officially in a contract year after new General Manager Joe Schoen declined the option on the fourth-year quarterback from Duke, played the first two series of the night. He looked sharp, both mentally and physically. The offense was on the field for 19 plays, and it gained a total of 87 yards while scoring 3 points. When it comes to production, especially against backups, that is not anything to write home about. The positives were enough to give them a pass, however. The pass blocking created a pocket several times, Saquon Barkley was used in space the way many have been calling for since 2019, and Jones himself looked decisive.

The rest of the night belonged to the backups. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor played the entire second quarter, which included a touchdown scoring drive, ending on a pass from Taylor to Richie James. NYG led 10-7 at the half before more of the 3rd- and 4th-string players on both squads came in. The NYG offense was led by Davis Webb and rookie Bailey Zappe was handling the snaps for New England.

The Patriots’ initial second half drive resulted in a touchdown run by rookie running back Kevin Harris. NYG responded on the very next drive after a 34-yard kick return combined with a 15-yard personal foul face mask penalty by NE to start at midfield. Nine plays later, Antonio Williams crossed the goal line on a 2-yard score, giving them a 17-14 lead over New England. Sound familiar?

The fourth quarter scoring began with a 40-yard field goal by Graham Gano to make it a six-point lead. After the two offenses traded punts, NE marched into the red zone via an equal blend of passing and rushing. On 3rd-and-10, Zappe hit Lil’Jordan Humphrey for a touchdown on one of his several downfield passes up the sideline, most of which did not connect, but this one did. NE had a 21-20 lead with under 5 minutes remaining.

The backup NYG running backs had a great night and it was capped off on this final drive. They accrued 62 of the team’s 79 yards gained on a drive that brought them all the way down to the NE 6-yard line. NYG was able to bleed out the clock and kick a short field goal through the uprights as time expired.

NYG wins, 23-21.

QUARTERBACK

Daniel Jones: 6/10 – 69 yards / 80.8 RAT / 1 att – 6 yards

There was not much to take away from just two offensive drives led by Jones. I expected to see him for 2-3 drives, not much more. The only thing I look for here is avoiding mistakes, and that is exactly what Jones did. He got the ball out, or tucked and ran, quickly. He was accurate and could have possibly had a touchdown had Kenny Golladay not dropped a pass in front of the goal line.

Tyrod Taylor: 13/21 – 129 yards / 1 TD / 95.1 RAT / 1 att – 2 yards

Taylor essentially only played 1 quarter but played just one less snap than Davis Webb who played the entire second half. He started off red hot 10/12, but then went 3/9 from there. This is by far the best backup QB the Giants have had since…dare I say Hostetler? I loved his different release points and the ultra-quick release. He did hit a struggle point after his hot start, but overall, a very reassuring performance from the backup.

Davis Webb: 8/16 – 51 yards / 57.0 RAT

Webb moves and throws more like the backups we have watched here in recent years. He did help engineer the game winning drive and I am in the camp that believes those moments do mean something, no matter the opponent. He was 3-of-4 for 32 yards on that drive.

RUNNING BACK

-This was overall the most impressive position group on the team. Let’s start with the backups. Antonio Williams averaged 6.8 yards on 9 carries. Gary Brightwell averaged 5.7 yards on 7 carries. Sergio Platzgummer averaged 7 yards on 3 carries. Jashaun Corbin averaged 3.8 yards on 6 carries, and they all combined for 8 catches on 10 targets. The common theme between all of them? They ran hard, aggressively, and got downhill in a hurry. This builds off what I have been seeing a camp. A truly physical running game with coaches who emphasize getting to the line of scrimmage in a hurry behind a line that gets a solid initial push.

-Matt Breida did not play. Saquon Barkley got 5 touches (4 rush / 1 catch) for a total of 21 yards. The highlight play was his 3rd-down conversion reception that saw him matched up on an island against a linebacker in coverage. Great play design, great route, soft hands. We need to see more of this. This kid that had 91 catches as a rookie. If the names above can take some of the physical downhill running off Barkley’s plate, he could be a 100+ reception asset and he does his best work in space.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Collin Johnson led the group with 7 catches for 82 yards. He is a clear favorite of Taylor, something I have seen at camp as well. His body has changed for the better and his showing more short area twitch than what we saw a year ago. He clearly has put in the work. Give me Johnson at $895,000 cap number (0.43% of cap) over Kenny Golladay and his $21 million cap number (10% of cap) any day. Speaking of Golladay, he had a drop near the goal line and showed zero separation down the field.

-Richie James is a spark plug who continues to make splash plays. He had 44 yards on 3 catches which included the biggest gain of the night for the offense (26 yards) and a touchdown. He is the leader in the clubhouse for the 6th receiver if they keep that many.

-Keelan Doss had 2 drops, a bit of a surprise as he has shown great hands at camp. Also, another guy who struggled to separate.

-Darius Slayton was higher up on the depth chart than expected. I really think this coaching staff is testing him in every way possible to see how he responds. In addition, he is a player who some teams could be interested in via the trade market. It is easier to showcase him with a 1st string offense.

TIGHT ENDS

-Rookie Daniel Bellinger and fourth-year veteran Chris Myarick each caught a ball. Both were below average as blockers. Bellinger was flagged for a hold and allowed a pressure while Myarick allowed a sack. I don’t want to be too hard on this crew yet, but they are not doing well at the point-of-attack as run blockers. We’ve seen worse, but there are going to be better tight ends available after rosters get cut down. Bellinger did make a couple of nice blocks on the move, so that was a positive.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-The starters were on the field for 2 drives, but Andrew Thomas came off after one. Overall, the group controlled the point-of-attack (against backups) and stayed on their man. Rookie Evan Neal had the most inconsistent night. Get used to that. His balance problems are going to be an issue against some of the pros he faces off against. He also allowed 2 pressures. On one play, he did not see the inside blitz quickly enough. On another, it caused a sack. The positive was the push he got in the running game and how easy it was to pass protect when his balance was there. He looks unmovable from the defender’s perspective.

-The standout backup was center Ben Bredeson. I thought his power presence stemming from his hands and hip extension made a big difference in the NYG running game. Rookie Josh Ezeudu was my next highest grade among backups. If Shane Lemieux is out for extended time, I think there is a real shot he ends up being a starter. The league’s track record with two Week One starters on the offensive line is not a strong one, but his game looks very developed. He showed some recovery techniques that I almost never see from day three picks early in their careers. He knows what he is doing, but there was and will be inconsistency that will cause plus-plays for the defense (he allowed a pressure and a TFL).

-I did not like what I saw out of Garrett McGhinn. He allowed 2 pressures and was beat in the run game multiple times. I’ll take Will Holden over him in a heartbeat. Max Garcia looks like he hasn’t gotten his foot speed yet. He looked faster last year but there is value in guy who has started recently (11 starts for ARI in ’21).

EDGE

-Uneventful night for Kayvon Thibodeaux. He had a few pass rush opportunities that did not evolve into anything. He will be very reliant on his initial burst this season. Nothing wrong with that, but the power from his hand fighting and lack of lower body strength could make him disappear at times in a way we saw last night. That said, he barely played.

-Elerson Smith had a pressure that nearly resulted in a safety (the refs missed the intentional grounding call) and Quincy Roche had a pressure. Besides them, we didn’t see much from Oshane Ximines or Tomon Fox.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-We did not see Leonard Williams, as the team kept him out. Justin Ellis also didn’t play. Dexter Lawrence was on the field for 5 plays.

-The most impressive backup was rookie D.J. Davidson. He is an absolute boulder who shows both the power capacity and technique to anchor against the double team. He has stood out to me a few times at camp, and I think we are going to see him play this year. There isn’t much there as a pass rusher but the value of a 2-gap nose tackle in this scheme is huge.

-Jalyn Holmes led the group in snaps and had a pressure along with 2 tackles. Chris Hinton and David Moa struggled off the ball and did not make an impact on the passing game. I’m not sure I see the fit for them on the 53.

LINEBACKER

-With Blake Martinez being held out, rookie Darian Beavers got the start. He was all over the field against both the run and pass, as he is already being used exactly the way I envisioned when he was drafted. Big enough to rush the passer as an upfield threat, quick enough to cover backs in man coverage, and physical enough to make his presence known on contact. After a missed tackle on the first drive, he finished with 3 tackles including one for a loss.

-Austin Calitro had the play of the game on a pass he deflected into the air before coming down with it himself for an interception in the fourth quarter. This turned into 3 points for the Giants.

-Rookie Micah McFadden tied for the team lead 4 tackles. His greatest strength was put on display multiple times. He is incredibly quick and savvy downhill against blockers. He has a way of missing them and maneuvering his way to the football with his eyes and chest up, ready to pounce.

CORNERBACK

-Aaron Robinson was attacked in coverage early on. NE tested him deep including two straight deep balls down the sideline. He was beat once for a completion and another resulted in an incomplete pass. I was more interested to re-watch from a technique perspective. His recognition was solid, but his transition from backpedal-to-run had a couple of extra steps. The catch-up speed and ease-to-acceleration were a bit worrisome. Robinson is indeed fast enough to cover on an island, but that transition needs to be cleaner. He allowed a touchdown and was flagged for holding (which was declined) later on. Rookie Cor’Dale Flott, who played with the backups, was a clear example of how a smooth transition can cover that route up with ease. I liked what I saw out of Flott both in coverage and against the run. He plays aggressively, but also with smooth quickness and speed. I can already see the plus-body control on all angles here.

-The backup situation may end up being worrisome. This team is an injury or two away from marching out guys that just can’t play yet. Zyon Gilbert allowed a touchdown as he continues to struggle to locate the ball on vertical routes. Darren Evans was flagged for a hold and got beat downfield for a big play. Both look the part and both are undrafted rookies. I won’t look down on them at all, but in regard to the 2022 squad, it would be nice to have another veteran in front of them. I think this is another spot to look at when cuts start happening.

SAFETY

-Xavier McKinney was on the field for just 5 plays, which I am fine with. I think he is the most, or the second most, important defender on the team. Julian Love saw 14 snaps, thus the backups got plenty of action.

-Rookie undrafted free agents Yusuf Corker and Trenton Thompson both made standout plays as downhill defenders. Thompson had a sack and Corker made a stuff at the line of scrimmage. Both are aggressive and fast when going after the run.

-Andrew Adams looks like the clear number three safety on this team. His deep range in coverage was good to see in their Cover 1 looks and he also made a run stop at the line of scrimmage.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Graham Gano: 3/3 (Made 25, 40, 24)
P Jamie Gillian: 4 punts / 48.8 avg / 35.5 net

3 STUDS

-LB Darian Beavers, RB Jashaun Corbin, OC Ben Bredeson

3 DUDS

-OT Garrett McGhinn, CB Darren Evans, WR Keelan Doss

3 THOUGHTS ON NE

1. I can’t remember a time where such an established franchise has gone this deep into the preseason without clarity on their offensive play-calling. Joe Judge, who has made his money as a special teams coach and failed miserably as a head coach, and Matt Patricia, who has made his money as a defensive coach and failed miserable as a head coach are sharing duties here? Bill Belichick is the greatest coach of all time, but even he is not an offensive guy in an era where modern offense has taken over the game. Incredibly bizarre situation in NE.

2. Running back James White just retired a few days ago. He missed 14 games last season and has seen his snap count decrease year by year since 2018. I don’t view this as a big factor for the team, but his role does need to be replaced. They had a hard time doing so in 2021 and their leading pass catcher out of the backfield, Brandon Bolden, signed with the Raiders. J.J. Taylor has always been on my scope since his days at Arizona, but he has just 5 career catches and 42 career carries in his two seasons. This will be the best opportunity he has had to date.

3. The number one goal of the Patriots offseason was to add speed on defense. Because of the enormous money they spent in the 2021 offseason, they had to get creative with it. Most of notable additions they made in that department were rookies. They’ve always done a nice job of taking traits and adding value to their system, but they lost so much veteran talent this year and much of their hope will be on mid-round draft picks from the past 2 years who haven’t shown a thing yet. I project them to finish in 4th place in the AFC East.

3 THOUGHTS ON NYG

1. My biggest takeaway from the combination of being at camp and then watching this game was the aggressive running style this offense is going to deploy. It was refreshing to watch. Less dancing around, more hitting the point-of-attack with bad intentions to create via physical force rather than dancing around hoping a crease opens up. Yes, the OL will need to get their job done, but the overall mindset and play design is going to create more positive plays, less tackles for loss. Step one to improving the bottom-tier offense is avoiding negative net gain plays.

2. There is not a QB controversy in NY. Jones is the unquestionable guy, as he should be. One more shot on a rookie contract, and in his defense, this will be the first time he is in a credible offensive system and this is likely to be the best OL he has played behind. That said, it is incredibly refreshing to see a backup quarterback who is not only better than most in that role across the league (rather than worse than all of them), but a guy who could really come in and bring a similar level of play. Do not forget, Taylor has a winning record in the NFL, and he has not exactly played on the best teams in the league.

3. As Joe Schoen stated in his interview, the pro personnel staff will have their hands full in the coming weeks. There are a couple positions on this team that will likely add a piece once the rosters get cut down. If you are watching any preseason football outside of NYG, I would keep a close eye on tight ends, safeties, and nickel corners.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

As I say every year, don’t be the guy or girl with strong reactions in any direction after a preseason game. Hope for no serious injuries, watch the young guys and bubble players, and look for progress week-to-week. This is the time you want to see mistakes so we can see how a player responds. It is a huge part of player development. This roster already appears to be at a higher level than a year ago and it truly is a very young roster with a lot of quality players on their rookie contracts. The coaching staff looks more plugged in with modern football and there will be more cohesion all around. Real evaluation can come when these guys play a half of football against starters.

Aug 082022
 
Tyrod Taylor, New York Giants (July 29, 2022)

Tyrod Taylor – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 8, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT… (by Sy’56)

Knowing I don’t get to watch the practice film, I have to try and focus on specific groups / position battles. I have put a lot of attention in the trenches so far, thus today I was almost completely focused on the skill positions.

OFFENSE

-The two duds of the day were Kadarius Toney and Daniel Jones. Toney dropped two passes in full speed team drills and dropped THREE balls in half-speed positional drills. The ones he did snag were double catches, too much wiggle after contact. This was very bizarre to me. Like I always say, you can’t over-analyze the good or bad in camp (especially without the film) but this stood out. You see drops here and there, rarely from the starters, but three? He missed more than he caught at half speed without a defender in the area. He was shaking his finger after one, maybe he hurt it?

-Jones threw two interceptions. Both stemmed from mistakes I expect to see from a first- or second-year player. The first was a loft on a ball that did not need to be lofted. He had Collin Johnson open (loved the route concept) but simply did not put enough zip on it. My guess for the reason behind that was a lack of confidence in where the underneath coverage was. Great play on the ball by Xavier McKinney. The second INT was a slightly delayed decision but had more to do with poor ball placement.

-WanDale Robinson caught the ball in those individual drills the way I would want Toney to. He was quick with his hands, looked the ball in, and secured it upon contact. Kenny Golladay made a couple of nice grabs away from his body too. Golladay was targeted more during team drills. The separation isn’t there at all. They are trying to get him the ball on comeback routes, short-sudden throws. He did make a couple of physical grabs with Aaron Robinson all over him.

-Saquon Barkley with another strong day. The juice and power were on full display when he got in space. I am encouraged to not see him shy away from contact the way he was last year.

-Matt Breida was not practicing today. Antonio Williams (who I still believe is the most physical north-south runner) did not get enough going on the ground. There wasn’t a lot of room for him but he isn’t a guy who will create much himself. He runs tight.

-The backup receivers had a bit more success (albeit against the backup DBs). Collin Johnson has developed into a solid player from his days at Texas. He has clearly spent time in the weight room and there is a little more bend and flexibility to his frame that was very tight coming out of college. He appears to be the favorite of Tyrod Taylor and was getting looks with the 1’s.

-Robert Foster was the backup / roster hopeful who stood out the most. He made two outstanding acrobatic grabs and Richie James looked untouchable with the ball in his hands. Both of these guys will need the special teams coaches to like them in order to make the roster, but I like the playmaking potential they bring to the table.

-I got some looks at the tight ends and backs in a pass protection drill. While this is always tilted in the favor or the defenders, it was ugly. Daniel Bellinger got roasted on all three attempts I saw, and it wasn’t close. Cam Brown got him twice and Darian Beavers got him once. The best blocker of the group was the one who also made the best catch in team drills, Jordan Akins. I know the job will belong to Bellinger, but if I had to win one game and I needed my most reliable TE out there, it is Akins. I think we will see a TE signed in a few weeks.

-The final statement I will make may be premature. But I am removing any emotion from it. I hope you can do the same. If I walked in off the street and did not know who Daniel Jones or Tyrod Taylor were. If I did not know their age, when they were drafted, etc. I would, without question, say that Taylor looks like the better QB. Not just the interceptions. I am talking about the fluidity in the pocket, the ball placement, the quickness to get the ball out, the confidence. That is all on that for now.

DEFENSE

-Xavier McKinney with the play of the day. I had a great angle on it and his read on the QB was excellent, the tracking of the ball was excellent, the burst to the ball was excellent, and he finished it off with a receiver-caliber grab.

-Darian Beavers is already making noise. I knew Martindale would like him. He was getting plenty of action with the 1’s when they took Martinez off of the field. The best run stop of the day was a goal line stop by Beavers who shot right through a front side crease with full power and gave a shock to Barkley. He knows what he is doing.

-Leonard Williams was abusing the interior offensive line. The new, confusion-based scheme may be an ideal fit for him. He has the plus quickness and elite-level power to take advantage of a blocker on his heels in a way most DTs do not.

-Aaron Robinson was sticky in coverage. He was often matched up against Golladay, so that isn’t saying much. But he passed the test of staying sticky without getting too grabby. He broke up a pass early in team drills without locating the ball. He stuck his hand out at the last second based on the receiver’s reaction to the pass, a high level play.

-Darnay Holmes appears to have a certain rapport with Martindale. Just watching the two interact, it looks different. Holmes looks confident in this aggressive role. They send him and Love on blitzes so often. Eventually Holmes will have to prove he can cover someone, but this role and this scheme may be ideal for him.

-Andrew Adams and Yusef Corker continue to stand out against the backups. I have to think those two easily have the backup jobs locked up based on their placements on the depth chart and overall performance.

-Julian Love sniffed out a jet sweep in an instant. He is sniffing out the play-action and misdirection well. A classic right-place, right-time player, which is exactly what you want from the position.

-The final note I’ll leave is a positive. Even though I spent most of my time there looking at the skill positions, Kayvon Thibodeaux stood out again. He had at least one sack against Andrew Thomas. I don’t think camp could have started better for him, and I mean that. He looks like such a natural on so many fronts.

SUMMARY

Do some people overreact and pile on to the “offense is struggling” train? Sure. It is A LOT easier to look sloppy on offense than it is on defense in this environment. I think most teams experience it tilting in that direction this time of year. But this is concerning because it is beyond sloppy. Several drops, multiple turnovers, struggles at the line getting set up pre-snap. I would assume the general feeling inside that building is that side of the ball needs to be further along than where they are now. Nobody can put the nail in the coffin right now and anyone that does needs to sit down and relax with a beer. But with each day that we do not see improvement, the more momentum we get into the possibility that we will be hearing the boo-birds at MetLife during the regular season.

The frustration appears to be growing, as seen with the brawl and long talk from Brian Daboll afterward.

GIANTS SIGN OFFENSIVE LINEMAN…
The New York Giants have signed free agent offensive lineman Eric Smith, who was waived by the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday. The 26-year old, 6’4”, 308-pound Smith was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Miami Dolphins after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Dolphins (2017-2018), New England Patriots (2018), New York Jets (2018-2019), Giants (2019-2020), Dallas Cowboys (2020-2021), and Cardinals (2021–2022). Smith has played in four regular-season games, including two with the Giants in 2019, but with no starts.

INJURY REPORT…
The following players remain on injury lists:

  • Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: WR Sterling Shepard (Achilles), OC Nick Gates (leg), and OT Matt Peart (knee)
  • Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List: LB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring)

RB Matt Breida (maintenance day), TE Andre Miller (unknown), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (unknown), OL Josh Ezeudu (unknown), LB Carter Coughlin (unknown), CB Rodarius Williams (returning from ACL), and S Dane Belton (broken left collarbone) did not practice.

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 at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice Tuesday morning (10:00AM-noon). The practice is open to the public. The position coaches and select players will also address the media.

Aug 072022
 
Kenny Golladay, New York Giants (July 29, 2022)

Kenny Golladay – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 7, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT… (by Sy’56)

Today was a little less eventful. I was glad to see they were in full pads, as I wasn’t sure what to expect considering the scrimmage from two nights ago and a game this Thursday night.

The team’s focus was red-zone offense/defense. All plays were inside the 10-yard line from what I saw, with several inside the 5-yard line. Because of this, the offensive play-calling was run-dominant. A lot of traffic, a lot of running into piles, and standing on the sideline was not the most ideal view for it. But with that said, here are some observations:

OFFENSE

-The clear emphasis for the running backs was hitting the holes. No dancing behind the line of scrimmage. Daboll was on Saquon Barkley about that right away and he responded well. Barkley was full of juice, he lowered his pads, and sent a few violent jolts into tacklers. I think we sometimes forget Barkley is 225+ pounds and creates burst in a very short amount of time. Physical running, however, is more about mindset than size. It was good to see him take the coaching and respond with a few powerful runs. For those wondering about the speed and acceleration, it is 100% there. He scored a TD on an outside run of about 8-10 yards where he outran angles of safety Julian Love and corner Darnay Holmes.

-Matt Breida appears firmly planted as the team’s number two back. He seemed a little bounce-happy on his attempts.

-Antonio Williams was clearly the most physical downhill runner. The sounds he created when running into linebackers was different from everyone else.

-Evan Neal is a roller coaster. He shined on a couple down blocks where he came from his RT spot into the defensive tackles and got great movement. The running lanes he can create are massive. But overall I would say he got beat too often for TFLs. I counted two. He also allowed a sack to Jihad Ward. His approach here looks too all-or-nothing.

-Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano are definite upgrades over who’s been playing inside in recent years. But Leonard Williams had their number today. While I do like the push these guys get off of the line, something they had very little of last season, they weren’t sustaining good positions today.

-Josh Ezeudu played exclusively at left guard today. His hands were accurate, and the footwork looked really good. He continues to impress with pro traits considering where NYG got him in the draft.

-My biggest negative from the day was the inability of the tight ends to control their engagements. Daniel Bellinger, Jordan Akins, Austin Allen, Chris Myarick all lost more than they won. NYG had some success running inside but they rarely had success running outside of the tackle. In addition, the power-run defenders the defense uses on the edge (more on them below) were de-cleating the likes of Allen and Myarick multiple times and stuffing the inside lanes. This is going to be a problem for the running game unless they get someone else in here.

-Not much we can say about the quarterbacks, as Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor combined for about 8-9 passes. Taylor threw a couple of outstanding throws and he continues to find Keelan Doss all over the field. He has been making a name for himself.

DEFENSE

-I put extra attention on the defensive line today and I’m glad I did. This is a really powerful, big, stout group. I think some don’t realize how big of a human Leonard Williams is. Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and Jihad Ward epitomize “heavy hands.” Ward and Williams both had a TFL each. The former was abusing the tight ends from the outside.

-More on Ward: he plays the unique hybrid OLB role that Wink Martindale deploys. He is a heavy-footed, stiff athlete in space. His change of direction looks lethargic, but he hides it well. He plays such a powerful and savvy game. He feels blocks, keeps his pad level low, and anticipates the action. He also appears to have taken one of the leadership roles on this team. Fun dude to watch play and if he is used correctly, which I think he will be, he will be a difference maker in the running game especially.

-Justin Ellis was the fourth lineman on the field in their “base” package for this goal line-type defense. He made arguably the most impressive TFL of the day. Another huge body with such powerful traits. I expect this red-zone defense, notably against the run, to be a formidable unit.

-If you did not know Blake Martinez tore his ACL last year, you would have no idea right now. His burst and agility in traffic were outstanding.

-The backups were a little less dominant. Elerson Smith was abusing Austin Allen. He de-cleated him twice and sent him on to his back once. While his movement still looks a bit manufactured, he swallows so much space in a hurry. Easy bend, great length, and a strong lockout game. He is clicking and I expect to see him make an impact this season.

-A 3rd stringer who made two standout plays today is Ryder Anderson, UDFA rookie from Indiana. He has the size and body that Martindale is going to want behind Ward. If I made a list of three of the most impressive undrafted guys, he’s on it.

-Rookies Micah McFadden and Darian Beavers appear firmly planted into the backup jobs at ILB. Beavers rotated in with the 1’s at a point. Both got fooled badly on misdirection/play-action.

-Rookie D.J. Davidson is yet another young, big body inside and he has now flashed two times in a row. He beat Evan Neal on an inside move Friday night and made two plays at the line of scrimmage today. He is sneaky-quick.

-I’m curious to see if Quincy Roche is going to make this team. His power is notably a step behind the guys in front of him and I think Martindale will err more on the side of size and strength.

-Safety Nathan Meadors made the play of the day on an interception on a ball from Davis Webb. He came across and made an acrobatic grab, reaching the ball at the apex of his leap.

SUMMARY

My main takeaway, if I had to choose one, was the upside I see out of this defensive front to stuff the run. For the personnel on this team last year, they underachieved. They allowed 4.5 yards per carry (10th worst in league). While that isn’t solely on the defensive line and missing Martinez was a factor, I expect them to be MUCH better in 2022. Martinez is back, Lawrence is in a better role for his play style, the Williams + Ward duo can be dangerous, and the depth is great. I will be curious to see what they do with Ward when Ojulari comes back.

Offensively, we all know this is going to be an uphill fight but I have little doubt it will be better than what we have seen in recent seasons. The scheme itself, I expect to be better and the OL will be improved. The concern I have from watching today is what these tight ends can contribute. It is one thing to struggle as a blocking force if big contributions are coming in the receiving game. I don’t see either here.

I plan to be at camp tomorrow, Tuesday is up in the air.

ROSTER MOVE – MARCUS McKETHAN DONE FOR THE SEASON…
The Giants announced on Saturday that rookie offensive lineman Marcus McKethan tore the ACL in his right knee during Friday’s scrimmage. He was placed on Injured Reserve and will miss the entire 2022 NFL season. The Giants selected McKethan in the 5th round of the 2022 NFL Draft. 

For a young player to have a non-contact injury, it was tough,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll on Sunday. “But he’s in good spirits. So, he’ll have to start rehabbing. But we’ll try to do whatever we need to do. Whatever it needs to do, we’re going to try to do.”

INJURY REPORT…
The following players remain on injury lists:

  • Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: WR Sterling Shepard (Achilles), OC Nick Gates (leg), and OT Matt Peart (knee)
  • Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List: LB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring)

WR David Sills (unknown), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (unknown), LB Carter Coughlin (unknown), CB Rodarius Williams (returning from ACL), and S Dane Belton (broken left collarbone) did not practice.

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Sunday 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 at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice Monday morning (10:00AM-noon). The practice is open to the public. The coordinators and select players will also address the media.

Aug 062022
 
Mike Kafka, New York Giants (July 28, 2022)

Mike Kafka – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 5, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT… (by Sy’56)

It was a very typical humid, uncomfortable, August night. Usually we are on the field just a few yards away from the action, but tonight we were up in the press box. There are advantages to both. I get to see more of the macro-level concepts and combinations from up top and it is easier to get eyes on multiple players and matchups at once. On the field, however, it is easier to hone in on the techniques as well as getting the real feel for contact, power, and balance. This is why, when I go on college scouting trips in the fall, I love having access to both. Because I had to stay upstairs the entire time, I went in with the focus on:

  • One-on-one matchups
  • Offense vs. defense pressure (pass rush)
  • Daniel Jones progressing through reads
  • Personnel groupings

The beat writers do an excellent job giving play-by-play via their Twitter feeds. If you want more of that, head over there. They don’t miss a thing.

ONE-ON-ONE MATCHUPS

-If there was one thing I watched the most, it was Andrew Thomas vs. Kayvon Thibodeaux. Thomas, it being year 3 of his career, is more established and has performed on the pro stage. Thibodeaux is the shiny new toy. Tonight? You could easily force a newbie into believing otherwise and I mean that in the best way possible. Thibodeaux was incredibly impressive. His variety of moves (both inside and outside shoulder) look so refined already. His space and situational awareness combined with elite-level balance and control constantly gave him the upper hand. He had multiple pressures but was also a factor setting the edge as a run defender.

Who won between these two? Thibodeaux. That is not an indictment against Thomas, by the way. It was just good a good old, classic matchup between two good players. Thomas looks the part of a quality NFL left tackle. Speed, quickness, staying square, and strong hands. This is more of a compliment to the Giants rookie edge rusher. Thomas did get flagged twice though (holding/false start).

One final thing. I saw two plays where Thibodeaux dropped in to coverage. He moved faster and easier than all of their inside linebackers. He dropped 10-15 yards in a blink, stayed low, and showed the feel for a route combination by wide receivers. It was very impressive.

-Last time I was at camp (without full pads), Dexter Lawrence was abusing the Giants interior offensive line. Jon Feliciano did not dress. Tonight, he did and it made a world of difference. Feliciano gets to the defender fast and brings immediate power. I knew he was feisty but the snap and violence he showed from his hands stood out. Also good to see some attitude. He tossed rookie Micah McFadden to the ground at the whistle on one of the final reps. As karma usually does, it showed up a play or two later where Lawrence put Feliciano on his butt and made a TFL on a running play inside the 5-yard line.

Lawrence has stood out to be both times I have seen this defense play live. He will finally be in the role I always envisioned him in.

-Adoree’ Jackson and Aaron Robinson played sticky in coverage on the outside. Jackson looks a step or two above, but against this subpar WR group, they both appeared to handle their coverage roles with ease. Kenny Golladay can only separate on initial quick-strike slant passes. However, as they get into 5-7 step drop backs and/or the play gets extended, those two were attached to him all over the field.

Golladay can be a factor on these quick passing plays because of his size, but it will require accuracy from Jones which I am not seeing. More on him later.

-Darnay Holmes had another strong practice. The unquestioned nickel if you’re asking me. He did get flagged for a hold early on (he really needs to fix that) but Wink Martindale used him on disguised blitzes a few times and he got home. He would have finished with a sack on the play where Jones hit rookie WR Wan’Dale Robinson for a long gain. He did not have the feel for coverage against Robinson and Kadarius Toney the way Julian Love did. Love made anticipated breaks on the ball a couple of times and was fast enough for man coverage against all of the NYG receivers.

-The one backup matchup that was fun to watch was cornerback Zyon Gilbert against Darius Slayton. This was with the 3rd string (yes, Slayton is a 3rd stringer). There were several downfield targets thrown at this matchup and Gilbert won all of them. He is long and nimble, attacks the ball with great timing and accuracy. Slayton did not have any standout plays. He simply did not display the necessary ball skills (timing, accuracy, coordination). Now, the throws from Davis Webb could have been better, but I would have liked to see Slayton make the play at least once. I believe he was 0-for-5.

PASS RUSH

-I discussed a couple of individual matchups already. On a macro level, I loved the complexity we saw from Martindale. On multiple occasions we saw the front bring 6-7 guys up to the line pre-snap, spread out evenly. Then, once the ball was snapped, all of the rushers on one side of the center dropped back and all of the rushers on the other side pursued the passer. While there are advantages for the defense in these situations, it was simply good to see what we have discussed with Martindale: aggression, speed, and the no-fear approach.

-Mark Glowinski had a quiet night and I mean that in the best way possible. Never saw him beat. Evan Neal had a back-and-forth night. He handled the edge well but got into trouble when his man rushed inside. The same balance issues I saw at Alabama and discussed multiple times showed up, and it isn’t just speed that gets him. Rookie defensive tackle D.J .Davidson beat him badly on one play, not exactly a guy known for his suddenness.

-The one guy I did not get a good feel for was Shane Lemieux. He was with the 1’s at left guard and played some OC with the 2’s. Not having film in these situations can make it tough. I did see him matched up against Leonard Williams a few times and Williams did not stand out in any way, so that could be a win for Lemieux. Can’t say that for sure, though.

-Elerson Smith looked to be Thibodeaux’s backup. He saw some action with the 1’s, but was mostly with the 2’s. He only had one play where you could make a case he had an impactful pressure. To me, it looks like he is trying hard to get his foot / hand placement down and playing it slow. There isn’t juice off the edge but he does firmly plant his legs into the ground to hold his positioning.

-Rookie Josh Ezeudu is going to be a factor this year. We discussed this in May after the draft, but the notion is even stronger now. He played right and left tackle, and left guard. He looks so natural with his footwork and patience. He got beat once in pass protection, I’m not sure against who. But this versatility is going to get him on the field and a case COULD be made he is one of the best 5 linemen on the team right now.

DANIEL JONES

-I won’t beat around the bush. Jones did not look good. Again, it would help to have film to re-watch a few plays. But his overall accuracy and feel weren’t there. He was inches away from an early pick-six to Adoree’ Jackson. It was a slightly late throw AND it was inaccurate on a simple read and toss. He air mailed a simple throw to Daniel Bellinger (saw the same thing last time I was at practice). He overthrew Robinson on a downfield pass with touchdown potential by at least 6 yards. He held on the ball for too long 2 or 3 times (could be a coverage win though). He did not feel where the pressure came from on the complex blitzes Martindale sent. And lastly, he did not show a smooth feel when moving within the pocket.

Again, Jones’ best plays were scrambles and runs where the defense is not allowed to breathe on him, let alone tackle.

I remain on the side of the fence that this isn’t going to work if you “need” an answer from me on that subject.

-Tyrod Taylor (playing against the 2’s) had the best pure throws of the night. He showed much better body control and had a quicker release when he gets moved off his platform via the pass rush. He went downfield to Collin Johnson 3 or 4 times and I feel more confidence he is going to get the ball to where it needs to be.

PERSONNEL GROUPINGS

-Rookie inside linebackers Darian Beavers and Micah McFadden appeared to be second string: McFadden playing more of the MIKE role and Beavers playing more of the WILL role. I enjoyed watching them; they both move well in coverage. Beavers surprised me with how much depth he got on his drop backs. Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin both played with the 3’s (some action with 2’s) but I think their roster spots are safe because of special teams. Brown stands out there. Speed, aggression, length, and ability to get through traffic.

-Justin Ellis and Nick Williams are both backup defensive tackles with Williams showing some looks on the outside shoulder of the tackle. Neither will impress as pass rushers but they are both stout and powerful. I feel good about both when it comes to run defense and giving Williams + Lawrence a break.

-Andrew Adams is clearly the top backup safety. His play speed, anticipation, and reaction time stood out in comparison to the others. We know this is a thin group and I do expect this front office to add a safety once roster cutdowns get under way. But with how much they want to move Love around, we are going to see Adams get meaningful snaps.

-The backup running backs Matt Breida and Antonio Williams are my front runners to make this team. They could keep 4 on the roster and that will likely come down to Corbin vs. Brightwell. Corbin saw punt return action and that could end up getting him the spot.

-The backup offensive line looks SO MUCH more refined that what we have seen in the past. Ezeudu who I discussed along with Max Garcia made for a really solid left side. Jamil Douglas and the newly signed Will Holden won their matchups. Holden was a guy I liked coming out of Vanderbilt a few years ago and while it is easy to see there is a low ceiling to his talent, his hands looked heavy and he stays square. I think he makes this practice squad and has an outside shot at making the 53 because he can play tackle.

-The tight end group remains a mystery. Bellinger looks to be TE1 as long as Ricky Seals-Jones is off of the field. Jordan Akins is a 3rd stringer. Rookie UDFA Andre Miller caught the touchdown with the 1’s. It just looks like it isa group that is all over the place and for me, I don’t see any starting-caliber players and I don’t see any difference makers.

SUMMARY

-I remain unimpressed by the offense as a whole. While Saquon Barkley did display his elite burst and speed on a couple of plays, which I am encouraged about, it is going to come down to the passing game. Simply put, is Jones good enough? Are the receivers going to make plays? I am confident the offensive line and overall scheme will be improved. But the two concerns I noted are enough to keep this offense as a whole in the cellar.

-On the flip side, I am very encouraged by the defense and their potential to keep things close. They should be able to accomplish that in a variety of ways. Thibodeaux already looks like the most important player on this side of the ball. And step one to being difference-making pass rusher is the ability to consistently win one-on-one matchups. He was the winner against Andrew Thomas last night, a guy I have graded as one of the top-10 left tackles in football.

A potential stud pass rusher, a potential stud free safety in Xavier McKinney, potential two stud interior guys in Williams and Lawrence, and a scheme that knows how to create confusion for opposing passers can make a lot of noise on that side of the ball.

I plan to be at practice at least two of the next three days.

ROSTER MOVES – GONO’S CAREER MAY BE OVER…
Right tackle Matt Gono was placed on the Exempt/Left Squad List on Wednesday. ESPN is reporting that Gono may have a career-ending neck injury. The Giants signed Gono in March 2022 as a street free agent. The 6’4”, 305-pound Gono was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons released him in January.

The Giants also waived outside linebacker Niko Lalos. The Giants signed Lalos as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. Lalos spent most of the season on the Practice Squad but was elevated to the 53-man roster in December. He played in six games with no starts as a rookie (17 percent of all defensive snaps in those games). Lalos finished the season with six tackles, one interception, one pass defense, and one fumble recovery. Lalos spent 2021 on the team’s Practice Squad.

To fill those roster vacancies, the Giants claimed safety Nate Meadors off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns on Thursday, and signed street free agent offensive tackle Will Holden on Friday.

The 25-year old, 5’11”, 194-pound Meadors was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Minnesota Vikings after the 2019 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Vikings (2019-2020), Jacksonville Jaguars (2020-2021), Philadelphia Eagles (2021), and Browns (2021-2022). He has only played in three NFL games, all with the Vikings in 2019-2020.

The 28-year old, 6’7”, 312-pound Holden was originally drafted in the 5th-round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017-2018, 2018-2019), Indianapolis Colts (2018, 2020), New Orleans Saints (2018), Miami Dolphins (2019), Seattle Seahawks (2019), San Francisco 49ers (2019), Baltimore Ravens (2019-2020) Indianapolis Colts (2020), and Detroit Lions (2021). Holden has played in 27 regular-season games with nine starts, including at left tackle, right tackle, and guard.

INJURY REPORT – MARCUS McKETHAN SUFFERS LEG INJURY…
The following players remain on injury lists:

  • Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: WR Sterling Shepard (Achilles), OC Nick Gates (leg), and OT Matt Peart (knee)
  • Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List: LB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring)

WR David Sills (unknown), WR Robert Foster (unknown), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (unknown), CB Rodarius Williams (returning from ACL), S Dane Belton (broken left collarbone), and S Nate Meadows (unknown) did not practice.

OG/OT Marcus McKethan suffered what could be a serious right leg injury during practice. He was carted off the field. “We’ll see what happened with Marcus, take a look at that tonight. Give you guys an update the next time I see you,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll. “Obviously, a lower body but we will see where it’s at.”

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Friday 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 at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media or public availability to the team on Saturday. The players have the day off. The team returns to practice on Sunday morning (10:00AM-noon). The practice is open to the public. Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media.