Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

Aug 182018
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (August 17, 2018)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS 30 – DETROIT LIONS 17…
Minus quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., and running back Saquon Barkley, the New York Giants soundly defeated the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Friday night, 30-17. Despite the overall team stats being similar, the game was not as close as the final score as the Giants led 24-3 and 30-10 in the 4th quarter. Manning and Beckham were healthy scratches from the contest and Barkley is still recovering from a hamstring strain he suffered in practice on Monday.

Detroit received the ball first but the first-string defense of the Giants forced a three-and-out. Defensive end Kerry Wynn sacked quarterback Matthew Stafford for a 10-yard loss on 3rd-and-8. New York retained possession despite a muffed punt by wideout Hunter Sharp. With quarterback Davis Webb starting for Manning, running back Jonathan Stewart for Barkley, and wide receiver Cody Latimer for Beckham, the Giants also went three-and-out as Stewart lost five yards on a 3rd-and-1 conversion attempt.

On their second possession, the Lions generated their only lead of the game as Stafford found running back Theo Riddick for a 42-yard gain against linebacker Alec Ogletree. The 57-yard drive resulted in a 44-yard field goal and a 3-0 advantage.

Webb and the Giants’ offense responded with a marathon 17-play, 79-yard drive that culminated with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Webb to running back Wayne Gallman. The drive was spurred by a perfect 27-yard deep pass from Webb to wide receiver Sterling Shepard on 3rd-and-17, an 7-yard pass to tight end Evan Engram on 3-and-7, and a successful quarterback sneak on 4th-and-1.

After two punts by the Lions and a turnover on downs by the Giants, New York added to their lead when Webb threw another perfect deep pass, this one a 40-yarder to wideout Russell Shepard. While the Giants only gained three more yards on the next three plays, place kicker Aldrick Rosas connected on a 55-yard field goal attempt and the Giants went up 10-3. The Lions missed a 49-yard field goal on the ensuing possession and the Giants maintained their 7-point advantage at the break.

The Giants went three-and-out to start the 3rd quarter, but the Giants got the ball back when linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong intercepted a deflected pass from quarterback Matt Cassel and returned it 24 yards to the Detroit 12-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Kyle Lauletta rolled to his left, juked out the defense on a cutback, and scored from 10 yards out. The Giants now led 17-3.

Detroit responded by driving from their own 25 yard line to the Giants’ 9, but on 4th-and-2, running back LeGarrette Blount was stopped by linebacker Mark Herzlich and a host of Giants for a 1-yard loss. Both teams exchanged punts, with linebacker Romeo Okwara sacking Cassel for an 8-yard loss on 3rd-and-14. The Giants then put the game away early in the 4th quarter with a 4-play, 59-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard cutback touchdown run by Gallman. The Giants were now up 24-3.

The Lions did cut into the lead by driving 77 yards in nine plays, including an 11-yard touchdown pass. However, New York followed that up with a 7-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown run by running back Robert Martin with just over four minutes to play. The Lions added a meaningless touchdown with seconds to go in the game after driving 71 yards in 14 plays.

Offensively, Webb finished 14-of-20 for 140 yards and one touchdown (QB rating of 106.2). Lauletta was only 2-of-5 for 27 yards but did have the impressive 10-yard touchdown run. The only target to catch more than two passes was tight end Jerell Adams who caught three passes for 31 yards. As for the running backs, Martin gained 47 yards on seven carries and Gallman 26 yards on five carries.

Defensively, Herzlich led the team with seven tackles and the stop on 4th-and-1. The Giants accrued four sacks, including by Wynn, Okwara, linebacker Olivier Vernon, and safety Mike Basile. Armstrong had the sole turnover on his interception.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Not playing for the Giants due to injury were running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), receiver Travis Rudolph (quad), tight end Ryan O’Malley (ankle), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (“soreness”), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

Running back Jalen Simmons left the game with a concussion. Wide receiver Russell Shepard dislocated a finger. Linebacker Calvin Munson left the game late after a hit to the head.

Quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. were healthy scratches.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media by conference call on Saturday. The players are off on that day.

Aug 172018
 
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Aug 162018
 
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Robert Thomas, New York Giants (August 9, 2018)

Robert Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports

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AUGUST 16, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS PRACTICE REPORT…
While the last official training camp practice for the New York Giants was held on August 7th. The team held its last joint public practice with the Detroit Lions on Thursday. Moving forward, all practices will be closed to the public. There was little to report from today’s practice as it was a light walk-thru session in advance of Friday’s game against the Lions.

“Good situational work today,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after practice. “We got some special teams, we actually shortened what we planned to train a little bit, but we got through some good situational work really to cap off what I think was a really, really good week. Very competitive. As I mentioned all week, it’s always good to go against another team and now we’ll try to get their legs back, get them ready to go and get after it tomorrow night.”

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Thursday due to injury were wide running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), receiver Travis Rudolph (quad), tight end Ryan O’Malley (ankle), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (“soreness”), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants will play against the Detroit Lions in Michigan on Friday. The players are off on Saturday, but Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media by conference call on Saturday.

Aug 162018
 
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Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham, New York Giants (August 9, 2018)

Can someone other than these two make a play? – © USA TODAY Sports

Preseason Game Preview: New York Giants at Detroit Lions, August 17, 2018

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THE STORYLINE:

Most fans know that it is unwise to make too much out of preseason game, let alone the first preseason game. That said, other than the ground game, the New York Giants were clearly out-played by an 0-16 (albeit improving) Cleveland Browns team in the opener. Even though these are practice games, there is a psychological component involved here. The Giants were 3-13 last year. They are 0-1 in the preseason. It would be a nice psychological boost for the team to experience a winning locker room again. (It would also be nice for the fans). One could legitimately argue that, based off one game, the Giants still look like a rebuilding ball club that has hitched it’s wagon to a 37-year old quarterback while passing on a number of potential franchise quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Pat Shurmur has to be thrilled with the quantity and quality of the work accomplished this week in the three practices against the Detroit Lions. And the team came out of these practices with no serious injury issues. The best way to cap this week would be a solid performance on Friday night against the Lions and have that proverbial arrow moving up rather than down.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Saquon Barkley (hamstring)
  • WR Travis Rudolph (quad)
  • TE Ryan O’Malley (ankle)
  • DE R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list)
  • LB Connor Barwin (“soreness”)
  • LB Thurston Armbrister (hamstring)
  • CB Donte Deayon (hamstring)
  • S Darian Thompson (hamstring)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:

The only real highlights to come out of last week’s game was the ground attack. Saquon Barkley’s first run was a real eye-opener, not so much for the big gain but the series of moves he strung together in order to break out into the open field. Unfortunately, he will not play on Friday. This will provide an opportunity for Jonathan Stewart and Wayne Gallman to make their respective cases for #2 back. Neither was particularly productive against the Browns on the ground (combined eight yards on six carries) but Gallman was more of  factor in the passing game (4 catches for 33 yards). He looks quicker and faster. There should also be more opportunities for guys who were pretty much regarded as “camp fodder” players, but who played well last week: Jalen Simmons (7 carries for 38 yards and a touchdown) and Robert Martin (5 carries for 39 yards). Could one of these two force their way onto the 53-man roster?

Overall, last week the Giants had 134 net yards rushing and averaged almost six yards per rush. That’s a good sign and a step forward for what has become a finesse team in recent years. The offensive line is still clearly a work in process, but it’s a start. At least the Giants were more physical.

Now to negative. I’ll keep saying it until the Giants prove me wrong: unless the Giants break a big play, they have problems sustaining drives. In recent years, the only big plays came from Odell Beckham. At least now they’ve added another big-play weapon in Saquon Barkley. But outside of Barkley’s 39-yard run, the first-team offense wasn’t good against the Browns. That bears watching moving forward. Can this offense string together four, five, six first downs and get the ball into the end zone? Forget breaking the 30-point barrier, even 20 points still seems to be an issue. With Barkley not playing against the Lions, and possibly Beckham, others need to step up and demonstrate they are legitimate first-string NFL talent. All of the positive plays in practice by Cody Latimer, Hunter Sharp, Kalif Raymond, etc. mean nothing unless it translates to actual games. Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram have to make more plays too. And Eli has to be more accurate, especially on screen passes.

Perhaps the biggest subplot this week is how Davis Webb responds to an atrocious performance against the Browns. Webb didn’t even look like a viable back-up, let alone potential future starter. Jumpy, nervous quarterbacks are worthless. He had better get that out of his system quickly. I would not be shocked to see the Giants cut him if this crap continues. This new regime has no ties to him.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:

We’ll start with the good news first again. Every defensive coordinator in football will tell you their #1 priority is stopping the run. Last week, the Giants held Cleveland to paltry 50 yards rushing (15 of which came from the QBs) and 1.5 yards per rush. The Giants were clearly the more physical team up front. That’s a positive start for a Giants defense that was 27th against the run in the NFL in 2017. As hoped and expected, the Giants defensive line is very tough to move out and the team looks to have some decent depth.

The bad news were the pass rush and pass coverage – which go hand-in-hand. The Giants only accrued one sack (by reserve Robert Thomas) and three quarterback hits last week. More was expected, particularly by the starting and reserve outside linebackers. By all accounts, Olivier Vernon has had a great camp. But it didn’t translate to the playing field last week. Same story with Connor Barwin, who is now not playing due to “soreness.” Lorenzo Carter and Kareem Martin were too quiet. If the Giants’ outside backers aren’t effective rushing the passer, this defense is going to have issues stopping opposing quarterbacks.

This brings us to pass coverage. Last year the Giants were 31st in pass defense. In a limited number of snaps, the Browns were successfully able to attack both Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple outside the hashmarks. Both played the man rather than the ball and got burned. Folks have been saying Jenkins has had a strong camp, but I keep noticing big plays against him in practice too where he isn’t turning to play the ball. And we’ve all know this has been an ongoing issue with Apple. The scary news is that despite this, these are two guys the Giants simply can’t afford to lose right now because they team has zero depth behind them. The loss of Sam Beal is looking bigger by the day. And like the offensive line, the secondary still has the appearance of a 2-year rebuilding project.

That all said, the pass coverage over the middle remains the primary liability of the New York Giants defense. It’s been a problem for years and it was a problem last week. Sy’56 correctly harped on it in his game review. Alec Ogletree was supposed to add athleticism to the inside linebacking spot, but he was burned for a long touchdown against the Browns and had issues in practice this week when covering tight ends. With Curtis Riley out last week, Darian Thompson started at free safety and he did not distinguish himself. Now he’s hurt and Riley is back so let’s see if Riley – a former cornerback – is an improvement. If the Giants are going to compete against a team like the Philadelphia Eagles, they need to be able to cover tight ends and running backs better.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:

Through one week of preseason action, 45 punters have punted. Riley Dixon has punted a league-high 10 times, but is only 21st in average (44.2 yards per punt) and 26th in net average (39.7 yards per punt). Aldrick Rosas did make a 42-yard field goal.

Kalif Raymond did have a 14 yard punt return and Hunter Sharp a 42-yard kickoff return. Kickoff coverage wasn’t good as the Browns had two kickoff returns of 30 yards or more.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:

Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Davis Webb against the Lions: “I think young players tend to improve. It was his first time in our system (last week), playing really in a new system. So yeah, I certainly hope he’s better (this week).”

THE FINAL WORD:

As long as I’ve been a fan, I’ve never come to a definitive conclusion about the importance of the preseason. But I do know that I will become increasingly nervous if the Giants lay another egg this week. The offense needs to demonstrate an ability to sustain drives and get the ball into the end zone. The defense needs to get the other team off of the field and stop giving up big passing plays.

Aug 152018
 
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Lorenzo Carter, New York Giants (August 9, 2018)

Lorenzo Carter – © USA TODAY Sports

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AUGUST 15, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
While the last official training camp practice for the New York Giants was held on August 7th, the team is holding joint public practices with the Detroit Lions on August 14-16.

“Alright, day two here,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after practice. “Competitive. You could tell the guys were grinding through that, but again, we didn’t have any injuries to speak of, a couple nagging things I’m sure, but for the most part I was proud of the professionalism that our guys showed. It gets a little chippy sometimes. Detroit did a great job and I think because we set the ground rules for this thing at least until this point, really both teams have gotten a lot of really good work. I think that’s part of being a pro, is being able to do things in different settings and get a lot out of it.”

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday due to injury were wide running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), receiver Travis Rudolph (quad), tight end Ryan O’Malley (ankle), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (“soreness”), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Curtis Riley remained the starting free safety.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, wide receiver Cody Latimer made a leaping catch over cornerback Darius Slay in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Wide receiver Hunter Sharp made a “spectacular” leaping catch in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb threw a precise pass in the end zone to tight end Scott Simonson for a touchdown.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a dart to wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr. for a score.
  • Off a rollout, quarterback Eli Manning threw to wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, tight end Evan Engram made a very nice catch of a quarterback Eli Manning pass that was thrown low and behind of him.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning fired a pass between two defenders to wide receiver Hunter Sharp who made a nice catch for a touchdown.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb hit wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr. in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Webb then threw a nice back-shoulder pass to tight end Rhett Ellison for another score. Ellison had three scores in red zone drills.
  • In 11-on-11 redzone drills, linebacker Olivier Vernon blew through the line of scrimmage and nailed the back for a 3-yard loss. Vernon had at least two “sacks” and another tackle for a loss during drills.
  • Defensive end B.J. Hill “sacked” the quarterback and defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson made a couple of plays in the backfield.
  • Nose tackle Robert Thomas continues to impress, flashing throughout practice.
  • Defensive end Ziggy Ansah badly beat right tackle Ereck Flowers on a pass rush, leading to a “sack” by former Giant linebacker Devon Kennard.
  • Wide receiver Sterling Shepard drew a pass interference penalty. Then quarterback Eli Manning hit tight end Evan Engram for a touchdown against safety Glover Quin.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, quarterback Davis Webb rolled out and threw a touchdown pass off his back foot.
  • Linebacker Lorenzo Carter “sacked” the quarterback in redzone drills. He gave left tackle Tyrell Crosby problems.
  • Linebacker Alec Ogletree was having problems covering Detroit’s tight ends. Hakeem Valles and Levine Toilolo both scored against him. Ogletree did pick up one “sack” and a tackle for a loss during 11-on-11 drills.
  • Wide receiver Chris Lacy made a leaping catch over cornerback Eli Apple in the back of the endzone for a touchdown.
  • In the 2-minute drill, after committing a pass interference penalty, cornerback Eli Apple picked off a pass from quarterback Jake Rudock intended for wide receiver Marvin Jones and returned it for a touchdown.
  • In 2-point conversion attempts, the Lions were 3-for-3 while the Giants were 0-for-3.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants will practice against the Detroit Lions in Michigan on Thursday (open to public). The two teams face off on Friday night at Ford Field.

Aug 142018
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 7, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

ANNUAL BBI CONTRIBUTION CAMPAIGN CONTINUES…
Our annual contribution campaign continues. Big Blue Interactive (BBI) relies on voluntary donations from our readers to supplement our advertising revenue in order to stay in business. Please consider helping out! Every dollar matters. For more information, see our 2018 Big Blue Interactive Contribution Campaign page.

AUGUST 14, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
While the last official training camp practice for the New York Giants was held on August 7th, the team is holding joint public practices with the Detroit Lions on August 14-16.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Tuesday due to injury were wide running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), receiver Travis Rudolph (quad), tight end Ryan O’Malley (ankle), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (“soreness”), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

“(Barkley) just tweaked his hamstring (on Monday during practice),” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “(It’s) day to day, we’ll just see where he’s at, but really nothing to add from yesterday. Nothing serious, I think. Just day to day.”

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Curtis Riley remained the first-team free safety.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning connected on a deep ball with wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., who blew past Lions’ cornerback Chris Jones.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. made a sharp cut against Lions’ cornerback Darius Slay for a catch over the middle. Beckham later beat Slay again in 7-on-7 drills and scored.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb badly overthrew wideout Hunter Sharp in the flat.
  • Running back Wayne Gallman burst through the line, made a nice cut, and got to the second level of the defense. Left guard Will Hernandez had a nice block on defensive end Ziggy Ansah on the play.
  • Cornerback B.W. Webb and wide receiver Kalif Raymond did a nice job as gunners on punt returns.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning overthrew wideout Cody Latimer in the end zone. Latimer made a one-handed catch by was ruled out of bounds.
  • Linebackers Olivier Vernon and Avery Moss were the Giants’ most disruptive pass rushers.
  • Defensive linemen Robert Thomas and B.J. Hill flashed.
  • The Giants’ offensive line did a good job of keeping the quarterbacks clean throughout practice.
  • In 7-on-7 redzone drills, quarterback Eli Manning was 4-of-5 with three touchdowns.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, quarterback Eli Manning stepped up into the pocket and fired a pass to wide receiver Sterling Shepard over the middle on a post pattern. Manning finished 5-of-5 to five different receivers in this team drill.
  • In 2-minute drills, cornerback Eli Apple leapt up and knocked away a pass intended for wide receiver Marvin Jones in the end zone. But then quarterback Matthew Stafford found Jones for a touchdown against Apple and over safety Landon Collins.
  • In 2-minute drills, wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. made a leaping catch over corner back Nevin Lawson. But then the Giants’ possession ended with quarterback Eli Manning being intercepted by safety Glover Quinn.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants will practice against the Detroit Lions in Michigan on Wednesday and Thursday (open to public).

Aug 142018
 
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