Eric Kennedy

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

Sep 302023
Azeez Ojulari, New York Giants (August 21, 2022)

Azeez Ojulari – © USA TODAY Sports

LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring) did not practice on Saturday and has been ruled out of Monday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. “He practiced a little bit in individual two days ago, just wasn’t feeling right, didn’t practice him yesterday,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll. “He won’t make the game… He went through a few little drills (on Thursday), didn’t feel right, we took him out right away and just want to make sure the player’s ready to go and do the necessary rehab and stuff. So, I’d say it’s week to week. Whether he’ll be ready next week, I’m not sure. Really week to week.”

RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), TE Daniel Bellinger (neck), DL D.J. Davidson (elbow), and OLB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring) were limited in practice. OL Ben Bredeson (concussion) fully practiced. Barkley has officially been ruled “doubtful” for the game while the other four players are expected to be available.

“Saquon will practice, do a little bit more,” said Daboll before Saturday’s practice. “We’ll see where he’s at and take it right up to game time.”

“Yeah, it’s a high ankle sprain,” Barkley said after practice.

“(Ojulari) had a good week,” said Daboll. “He had good practice yesterday. Feels good, practiced well. So, unless something happens today, counting on him being there.”

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

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

Their is no media availability to the Giants on Sunday. The team plays the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium on Monday night.

Sep 302023
Leonard Williams, New York Giants (September 15, 2023)

Leonard Williams – © USA TODAY Sports

It’s clear the start of the 2023 NFL season has not gone the way New York Giants fans had hoped. The 1-2 start, including two losses by a combined 70-12 score, has readjusted perceptions about the team. 2022 may have unfairly raised expectations and it is becoming clear that this version of the Giants still is not close to competing with the big boys.

Progress is not always linear. Teams on the right track don’t always improve in the W-L column each season. There have been some rumblings among fans that the jury is still out on Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll. Of course it is. The jury is out on every executive and head coach every season. Jim Fassel took a team that probably had no business being in the game to a Super Bowl, and yet he was fired three years later. Tom Coughlin won two Super Bowls and was fired four years later. No one is safe.

However, the Giants will never improve unless there is some stability within the organization. I’ve been warning fans for years that once you start over, any progress made by the previous regime is gone. I can tell many, if not most, fans still haven’t accepted this reality. “How long does it take to rebuild this team? This offensive line? This defense? It’s been 12 years!!!” No, the Giants reset in 2022. It’s been one year for THIS regime, not 12. If you fire the general manger and head coach, the counter goes back to zero. And the odds you are going to do better than Schoen and Daboll are not good, especially with this ownership and their hiring history. My point here is to cut the crap. Stop reacting emotionally to every setback and start using your head. Spoiler alert, the Giants are not going to the Super Bowl in 2023. The last thing this team needs is another regime change.

Many of us warned that the 2023 Giants may be a better team but end the season with a worse record because of the murderous schedule. What’s bothering everyone is how uncompetitive the team was in Week 1 and Week 3. It’s not shocking that the Giants are 1-2, but it is more than a bit surprising how badly they were beaten in their two losses. Regardless of the W-L record moving forward, we need to see a more competitive team, a team making progress and heading in the right direction.

Big picture overview. If you told Giants fans that the team would be 1-2 at this point, most would not be shocked and most would have not preached doom and gloom. It’s still all in front of this team. As Wink Martindale said this week, the Giants can still shape their own destiny. The period between San Fransisco 49ers on September 21 and the Seattle Seahawks on October 2 was a de facto bye week. Hopefully the team reset and got its mind right.


  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle – doubtful)
  • TE Daniel Bellinger (neck – probable)
  • LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring – out)
  • OG Ben Bredeson (concussion – probable)
  • DL D.J. Davidson (elbow – probable)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring – probable)

Speaking of reacting emotionally, the constant search for one or two scapegoats is as tiring as it is misleading. The 1-2 start is not due to the offense or defense as a whole.  And it’s not due to Daniel Jones or Evan Neal. It’s not a copout to say everyone has had a role in this; it’s simply reality. When the offense is not performing, it will affect the defense. When the defense is not performing, it will affect the offense. Special teams can have an impact on both too. So does coaching.

Big picture again. The 31-point second-half explosion against the Cardinals counts. Through three games, Arizona has been a far more competitive team than anticipated, including soundly defeating a Dallas Cowboys team that whooped the Giants. Nevertheless, the Giants’ offense has been a big disappointment through three games. The Giants only had 14 first downs and 171 yards of total offense against Dallas and 10 first downs and 150 yards against the 49ers. Zero and 12 points. You can’t win with those numbers.

What has been the problem? A big portion of the “blame” lies with the fact that the Cowboys and 49ers are two of the very best defenses in the entire league (though the loss of Trevon Diggs is huge). Probably the biggest problem for New York has been the state of the offensive line. The special teams breakdown on the blocked field goal in Week 1 not only changed the complexion of the game, but it led to Andrew Thomas’ hamstring injury that is likely to now nag him all season. It was a disastrous result and bad omen for this team. The best offensive player on this team is not Saquon Barkley or Daniel Jones. It is Andrew Thomas.

Without Thomas, the Giants have the the youngest and most inexperienced offensive line in the NFL. Joshua Ezeudu has started four games since being draft, two at left tackle. Ben Bredeson has started 11 games in his four seasons. John Michael Schmitz has started three games as a rookie. Marcus McKethan has started two games after missing all of his rookie season. Evan Neal has started 16 games in two years. There probably have been times in the long history of the NFL where this happened before, but it can’t be often. And yet we have fans scratching their heads why this unit had issues against Nick Bosa and the 49ers defensive front. Those asking how long will it take to fix the offensive line seem to be completely ignoring that this current unit has collectively 36 total starts. That’s as green as it gets. They have literally started over.

There are those who say Daniel Jones has been a problem this year. Perhaps. I don’t really see it. Could he play better? Sure. But he also demonstrated against Arizona what he can do if the defense forces three-and-outs, the running game presents any sort of a threat, the offensive line can give him even a little time, and his receivers get open and don’t drop the ball. None of that happened against the 49ers. Let’s see how Daniel performs when he has help. No, he doesn’t have to have everything “perfect” to succeed. But the defense has to force the other team to punt. And the running backs have to gain more than 22 yards in a game. Jones also can’t be under pressure literally almost 50 percent of his drop backs.

Which brings us to Saquon, who is doubtful for the game. No one on BBI will accuse me of being a Barkley apologist. After all, I was advocating the team shopping him before the trade deadline last year. But this team and this offense is a different animal with Saquon in the lineup. Don’t believe me. Look at how other teams defend the Giants when he is or isn’t on the field. It’s one of the reasons why I shake my head at those who claim running backs no longer matter in the NFL. Of course they do. And they will always matter. Whether Barkley plays and how effective he plays on his ankle sprain moving forward will be a huge factor in how productive this offense will be. If teams have to focus on Barkley, it opens things up for the receiving targets. And visa versa.

The Seahawks. While Pete Carroll (defensive coach) is one of those guys you love to hate, you have to admire his ability and consistency as a coach as well as multiple rebuilding efforts. Seattle is a young and rising team. They were a surprising 9-8 playoff team last year and have already beaten the Detroit Lions this year. Don’t forget, last year the Giants were 6-1 when the Seahawks soundly beat New York by two touchdowns.

A lot has changed since that day. Marcus Johnson started at wide receiver. The tight ends were Chris Myarick, Lawrence Cager, and Tanner Hudson. Tyre Phillips started at right tackle and struggled. Jon Feliciano was the center, Mark Glowinksi the right guard, and Josh Ezeudu started his first NFL game at left guard.

Seattle is currently ranked 30th in defense in terms of yards allowed and 29th in points allowed. They are 31st against the pass and 6th against the run. Last season, the stats were similar with run and pass rankings flipped. The point here is while Seattle has talent, this isn’t the Cowboys or 49ers. If the Giants are going to finally get it going on offense, now is a good time to do it. Provided the young offensive line can somewhat do their job.

The problem for the New York offense last year had reared its ugly head again this season. The Giants have to get something going early in the game. It was a problem against Seattle too in 2022, as the Giants were scoreless in the first quarter and only had seven points by halftime. Move the ball early, get some first downs, get a lead for your defense.

Despite continued offensive woes, the focal point of fan ire shifted dramatically to Wink Martindale’s defense this past week. The Giants still don’t have a turnover. The pass rush has been a big disappointment. New York is 24th in yards allowed, including 28th in run defense. Missed tackles against the 49ers were a huge problem. Wink’s defense in 2022 was excellent on third down and in the red zone, but so far have disappointed this year, particularly on third down.

Again, each unit affects the other. One of the ways for the offense to become more productive is for the defense to get the opposing offense off of the field. Turnovers also lead to favorable field position and easy scoring drives. It’s all interconnected.

The problem for the Giants is Seattle is averaging almost 30 points per game (4th in the NFL) despite being middle-of-the-pack in both rushing and throwing the football. They also have a number of dangerous players including Kenneth Walker, one of the more dangerous running backs in the NFL. The receivers are very good and compliment each other extremely well, including D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Seattle also has a trio of tight ends they will employ as both blockers and receivers. All of these weapons make it easier for resurgent Geno Smith to perform. Smith threw for 30 touchdowns in 2022 and has done a decent job of protecting the football.

The weak spot right now is a banged up offensive line with injury issues at left tackle, center, and right guard. The time is now for Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Kavyon Thibodeaux, and the returning Azeez Ojulari to make a difference. For the Giants to have a chance in this game and hold Seattle to 20 points or less, the front seven must win their individual matchups. The linebackers and secondary will have their hands full with the receiving targets. First and foremost, the Giants absolutely must get their run defense issues resolved. In all three games thus far, the defense has allowed opposing offenses to do far too much damage on the ground. If Walker gets going, the team will be in for a long night.

Many things have changed in football over the years. But one thing has not and I doubt will ever change. You stop the run and make the other team one-dimensional. Then you can get after the quarterback. It’s always been that simple. Martindale did this in Baltimore. For some reason, it has not translated to New York. If you stop the run, you are the more physical team. By making the other team one dimensional, that will lead to sacks, hits on the quarterback, mistakes and turnovers on their part. The crowd also feeds off of this.

Speaking of physical, I don’t want to see anymore standing around on defense while the ball carrier is still alive. Swarm to the ball. Gang tackle. If you put on the NY helmet, you have responsibility to live up to a defensive legacy that is bigger than you.

Despite the final score (27-13), the game against the Seahawks in Seattle was close into the 4th quarter. Indeed, it can be argued that the game really was primarily influenced by two fumbled punt returns by Richie James. Seattle’s special teams are coached by Larry Izzo, who was an assistant special teams coach with the Giants under Tom Coughlin from 2011-2015.

Mike Kafka on the offense: “We obviously want to start a lot faster.”

Wink Martindale on the defense: “We still control the narrative.”

We all know this is a big game. 1-3 can become 1-5 very easily. At that point, we will all be looking at the NFL Draft again in October. On paper, Seattle is arguably the better team. They certainly have played better and been coached better than the Giants thus far this year. But this is a winnable game.

On offense, get the ball to Jalin Hyatt and Darren Waller. I also think Daniel Bellinger has been underutilized as a receiving threat in two tight end packages. Defensively, stop the run. Then your big four pass rushers (Lawrence, Williams, Thibodeaux, and Ojulari) need to get to Geno Smith.

If the Giants can win this game, and somehow steal a win against the Dolphins or Bills, they will be in respectable shape at 3-3. But it must start with Seattle on Monday night.

Sep 292023
Daniel Bellinger, New York Giants (September 21, 2023)

Daniel Bellinger – © USA TODAY Sports

LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring) did not practice on Friday after practicing on Thursday. Head Coach Brian Daboll said “Let’s give it a couple of days before making a decision.”

RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), TE Daniel Bellinger (neck), DL D.J. Davidson (elbow), and OLB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring) were limited in practice. OL Ben Bredeson (concussion) fully practiced.

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

The team practices again on Saturday (11:45AM-1:15PM). Head Coach Brian Daboll, the position coaches, and select players will also address the media.

Sep 282023
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 17, 2023)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

Everyone on the 53-man roster practiced on Thursday.

RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), TE Daniel Bellinger (neck), LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring), DL D.J. Davidson (elbow), and OLB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring) were limited in practice. OL Ben Bredeson (concussion) fully practiced.

“So, everybody will practice today,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll. “Some in a limited role, but we’ll see where they go from individual, team, but they’re all practicing today.”

When specifically asked about Barkley, Daboll responded, “Going to put him out here, go through some individual stuff, let him run around and see how he does. But again, making progress. I think this is a good evaluation today in pads to see where he’s at.”

The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

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

The team practices again on Friday afternoon (12:45-2:45PM). The coordinators and select players will also address the media.

Sep 262023
Brian Daboll and Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (July 26, 2023)

Brian Daboll and Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Tuesday (VIDEO):

Q: Injury updates?

A: Injury. Yeah, that’s okay. That’ll come out on Thursday. I’ll just say everybody has been rehabbing, they’re getting better. I’ll give you an update on Thursday but we’re making progress with everybody who has been on that report or missed, we’re making progress.

Q: Is (guard Ben) Bredeson in protocol still?

A: No, he’ll be good to go. Ben will be good to go.

Q: What is (running back) Saquon (Barkley) able to do today?

A: Well, we’re doing kind of a jog through, so I don’t think he’ll do much today. But he’s really now, I’d say, in the day-to-day category. Feels a lot better today but we’ll kind of take that all the way throughout the week and see how he improves.

Q: (Tackle) Andrew (Thomas) a lot better?

A: He’s better, yep. Again, we’ll get here Thursday, get out here and give them a couple more days but I’d say all of them are making progress.

Q: Nothing from the game is long term?

A: No. Nope.

Q: If Andrew returns, do you have some decisions to make about offensive line and how you want to configure it? I think you’ve had three different configurations in three games.

A: Yeah, I’d say if those guys are back, it’ll look like it looked when Ben and Andrew were out – when they were back playing. But again, we’ll see where they’re at. I don’t want to make a decision right now. We’ll see where we’re at Thursday.

Q: Does that mean you’ll stick with (offensive lineman Marcus) McKethan at that other guard spot?

A: Yeah. Yep.

Q: What has he shown you?

A: I think he’s done a good job. Again, he’s only played a couple games, he was out all last season. Improving. Big body, moves well, so again, the experience that he’s played in the first couple of games will help him.

Q: You guys were, I know it’s a different year but very effective as a running team last year, especially early in the season and it helped you guys a lot. Is there part of you that wants to get back to that this year and obviously it’s difficult to do against a team like Seattle, who is very good at stopping the run.

A: I’d say again, each week we’ll look at the team, we’ll do what we need to do. We really need to improve in every area so that’s certainly one of them.

Q: How do you feel about the way the cornerback configuration has worked out after three games? Moving (cornerback) Adoree’ (Jackson), getting (cornerback) Tre (Hawkins III) in there?

A: I’d say again, much like the run game, everything’s a work in progress. We’ve got to get better in a lot of areas and that’s what we’re going to try to do.

Q: But you’re comfortable with it? Nothing you would change.

A: Yeah. Look, each week we’ll go into it and we’ll look at how guys are doing. They’ve been competing but there are a lot of improvements that need to be made.

Q: When you come back after a little longer break, do you treat it in terms of with the players as a reset a little bit?

A: Not really. They’ve had a couple of days off, been grinding on some things as a coaching staff. Again, this week is its own week, like every NFL week, and we’ve got to do everything we can to get ready to play a really good team that’s won the last two games, scored 37 points in each game, and continue to work on our process, refine things that we need to refine, improve things we need to improve and have a good week.

Q: You obviously embrace the process every week, process over results, but there is also urgency I’d imagine. I know you attack every week with urgency but the next time you take the field for a game, it’s in October already. The season flies by very quickly. How do you in your communication with the team express that on the daily basis?

A: You have to live in the moment in our profession and you have to address the things that need to be addressed each week. Every year is different, every week is different. It’s a week-to-week league so stay in the moment, focus on the things we need to improve on, all of us, and that’s what we try to do every week. There’s urgency every week. This is a one-game season – every game is a one-game season. You just focus on doing the best you can do each week, prepare the right way, and then ultimately go out there and perform the right way.

Q: Seven days between when you’re playing, and you said you’re doing a walkthrough today —

A: Yeah, so we’re going to make it a normal week leading up. We’re going to get an extra day here with our mental reps. The guys have been in working in the weight room, doing their conditioning stuff. We’ve been working on Seattle, so this is a really good day to go ahead and implement the game plan, the first and second down stuff. Come out here and have a good mental day and then we’ll treat it (like) the normal week. So tomorrow will be like a Tuesday and Thursday will be like a Wednesday.

Q: After the game some of the 49er’s players said “yeah, we knew that they were going to blitz, and they were going to keep blitzing.” (49ers quarterback Brock) Purdy ended up saying something like “it’s a four-quarter game” meaning that they were able to adjust. Do you have any concerns about the level of blitzing or the fact that when it doesn’t get home what happens?

A: I think each week you go into a gameplan with the things you need to do and throughout the game you’re always adjusting. So, it’s not just the first quarter, second quarter, maybe it’s a different blitz, maybe it’s not a blitz. Focus on the things we can improve on and keep improving.

Q: Does the CBA allow you to have a practice today or are you only allowed to have like three practices?

A: The way we set this up was come back, have this right here, have this walkthrough/jog through, have some good meetings. Take tomorrow to go ahead and as a coaching staff, kind of adjust things that we’ve talked about and then just have a normal week. That’s the way we’ve planned it out.

Q: Obviously, the tackling has been a problem, right? The missed tackles in the games. What can you do during the season, how much can get guys in pads, how much do you believe in getting guys in pads and working on that throughout the season?

A: Yeah, we’ll be in pads Thursday. And again, you are always focusing on your fundamentals, so we do that every practice, whether that’s press coverage, tackling, ball disruption, shedding blocks. Those are things that you work on. Same thing with the offense, double teams, pass protection, games, pass protection for the backs, press releases, those are things that you constantly evaluate. Leading up to a week and getting ready for, in this case Seattle, you always adjust practice and things individual wise or maybe team wise of things that you are really putting an emphasis on.

Q: So, you plan to do more practicing tackling wise with what you can?

A: We normally, like during the early part of the year, we normally practice once a week in pads and that’s an important day for us.

Q: (Defensive lineman) Leonard Williams said last week before the game, so that with context, but the idea of if you don’t have sacks defensively and you don’t have takeaways, sometimes you chase that and was very conscious of saying we can’t do that. Do you see that a little bit defensively that maybe guys are starting to chase things, that you kind of have to reel them back in again and focus on what you need to focus on?

A: Yeah, I think it’s important that we all do our job. And again, those are points of emphasis every week of creating some negative plays or getting turnovers and we’ve got to continue to work them during the week and ultimately we’ve got to get them done on Sunday. Monday.

Q: Do you think too much pressure can cause a quarterback to see it when it’s not there because it’s just so often happening that they have to get sped up in the process.

A: In the pocket?

Q: Yeah.

A: I think there is always an element to that. When you can affect the quarterback, I think it speeds up things. Again, there is always when you are game planning, shorter routes, get it out quicker, less of the protection. You want to run deep routes, you have some more protection in. So, definitely an area that we’ve got to improve is making sure that we give our quarterback a clean pocket and it’s not just always the line. There is backs involved, there is timing in the passing the game, there is receivers getting open, so it’s really a collective thing when it comes to that.

Q: Is there anything you can glean from last year’s game against Seattle or is it two completely different teams?

A: No, you certainly look at it. They have the same coordinators. That’s something that you go back, like you are playing a team that’s right there in your division. They are in our conference, we played them at their place, hard place to play at, obviously with some noise and things like that, but certainly some matchups and things that they’ve done. (Seahawks head coach) Pete’s (Carroll) done a heck of a job; he’s been there for a long time. Some of the same players, obviously some different players, but yeah that’s definitely a game you watch and evaluate.

Q: Is there anything you can do as a coach to get your team to start faster? I think the number is 77 to 6 or something like that.

A: Yeah, not very good. So, we are working on it, yeah, we are working on it.

Q: Can you open up like in a no-huddle offense or just things to put an offense …

A: Yeah, you can do a lot of different things. Something we need to do better collectively and something that will be, it’s always a point of emphasis, hasn’t shown up, understand that. No excuses for it, so we are working on that.

Q: With Saquon how much do you factor or how much have you talked to him about, he’s had ankle injuries before, right? He’s had that before, he’s come back, hasn’t played at the level that he’s like and then in retrospect has basically said I might’ve come back too early, so how much have you talked to him about that and how much do you factor that in?

A: Yeah, again, to me I think every injury is different, even though it’s the same body part. Let him rehab, let him get with the trainers, get a feel for where he’s at. Let’s talk to the trainers and see where they are at with his injury and then make the decision when it comes time to make the decision, but he’s getting better. We’ll see how it goes.

Q: Do you see (offensive lineman) Josh Ezeudu now as a swing tackle or is he still a reserve guard or a reserve tackle?

A: I think he can play four spots for us. So, both tackle spots and then he can also go inside and play, having done that some, so I think he’s done a good job of filling in, but he has, I’d say, four-position flex for us.

Q: Is there as much value or maybe even more value in Ezeudu playing that role than it is to, you know what we’ve got to get him to as one of our five guys. I mean I know you would play him if he was one of your five, but the value of having a guy like that, that you know if someone goes down you can plug him in four or five spots, I would imagine that’s pretty high in this day and age.

A: That’s why we move guys around a bunch during the preseason and training camp months because you can. If you’re not starting five, you better have some position flexibility to play multiple spots, so certainly an important aspect for us.

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

There is no media availability to the team on Wednesday as the players have the day off. The Giants practice on Thursday afternoon (12:45-2:45PM) with Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players also addressing the media.