Eric Kennedy

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

Oct 142019
 
Share Button
Bennie Fowler, New York Giants (August 16, 2019)

Bennie Fowler – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS RE-SIGN BENNIE FOWLER, CUT NATE STUPAR…
The New York Giants have re-signed wide receiver Bennie Fowler and terminated the contract of linebacker Nate Stupar.

The 6’1”, 212-pound Fowler originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Denver Broncos after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Broncos (2014-2017), Chicago Bears (2018), and New England Patriots (2018). After signing late with the Giants in October 2018, Fowler surprisingly played in 10 games with five starts, finishing the year with 16 catches for 199 yards and one touchdown. Fowler made the 53-man roster again this year, playing in four games with two starts and catching 12 passes for 99 yards. The Giants cut him on October 1st.

The Giants re-signed Nate Stupar to the 53-man roster in September 2019 after he was cut earlier in the month before the regular-season started. The 6’2”, 240-pound Stupar was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. Stupar has spent time with the Raiders (2012), Philadelphia Eagles (2012), San Francisco 49ers (2012–2013), Jacksonville Jaguars (2013), Atlanta Falcons (2014–2015), and New Orleans Saints (2016–2017). The Giants signed Stupar after he was cut by the Saints in September 2018. He played in all 16 games for the Giants in 2019, finishing the year with just 14 tackles. This season, Stupar played in three games with one start, accruing just four tackles.

OCTOBER 14, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The Giants were not required to issue a formal injury report on Monday. Running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), running back Wayne Gallman (concussion),wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion), and tight end Evan Engram (knee) participated in the light practice open to the media. However, Gallman and Shepard remain in the concussion protocol. Defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (concussion) was not practicing.

“I feel really good,” Engram said. “Got out there, was running around. It was good to get out there moving around. I’ve got a long week to get ready, so coach is taking care of us, but we did get some good work in. It felt good today.”

Head Coach Pat Shurmur also said that cornerback Sam Beal, who is currently on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury, will begin practicing on Wednesday.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Monday 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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.

Oct 142019
 
Share Button
Oct 142019
 
Share Button
Oct 122019
 
Share Button
Oct 112019
 
Share Button
Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (October 10, 2019)

Pat Shurmur – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have re-signed quarterback Alex Tanney and signed running back Javorius “Buck” Allen. To make room for these two, the team waived running backs Jon Hilliman and Austin Walter.

Tanney was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2012 NFL Draft. The well-traveled journeyman has spent time with the Chiefs (2012), Dallas Cowboys (2013), Cleveland Browns (2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014), Tennessee Titans (2014), Buffalo Bills (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2015), and Titans again (2015–2018). The Giants signed him in May 2018 after he was cut by the Titans. He surprisingly won the team’s back-up quarterback job in 2018.

The 28-year old, 6’0”, 218-pound Allen was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. After four seasons with the Ravens, Allen signed with the Saints in May 2019. The Saints placed him on Injured Reserve with an undisclosed injury in late July and waived him in August. With the Ravens, Allen played in 54 regular-season games with six starts, carrying the ball 340 times for 1,249 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns. He also caught 129 passes for 814 yards and six touchdowns.

The Giants originally signed Hilliman as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The team signed him to the Practice Squad in September 2019 and promoted him to the 53-man roster later that month. Hilliman played in three regular-season games with the Giants with one start, carrying the ball 30 times for 91 yards and catching three passes for one yard. He also fumbled twice.

The 5’8”, 190-pound Walter was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The 49ers cut him in late August 2019 and the Giants then signed him to their Practice Squad. The Giants added him to the 53-man roster before the game on Friday.

FRIDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Friday to discuss the team’s 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots:

Q: Looking back at the 4th and 2 punt, now that you’ve had a chance to re-watch the film and look at the situation, what was the thought process?

A: Two scores, we had found a way to get them stopped on a few occasions, so I thought we were just going to punt the ball, get them stopped and continue to play. That was the thought at the time.

Q: I know you said that you don’t take anything out of a moral victory, but over the long-term, do you think that the way the team played against the Patriots, the defending Super Bowl champions, do you think that is something that you can build on as a positive moving forward?

A: Relative to winning and losing, certainly there are no moral victories. I think playing hard and coaching hard, that’s part of our job description. I think we didn’t make enough plays, we made too many mistakes to win a football game. That’s what I take from it. I’ve never doubted, since we started the year, that these guys would play hard. They did, and we made enough plays early in the game to make it 14-14, and into the third quarter, I guess it was 21-14 for quite a while, but when you get to that point, I think what’s important for us to realize is that we’ve got to start making the plays necessary to win it.

Q: A few of the guys in the locker room afterwards were very adamant about feeling like, despite the end result last night, they felt like you guys were a good team. What do you feel like in terms of when you get your whole compliment of players back, where do you think this puts you guys moving forward?

A: We’re 2-4 and we’re certainly going to welcome anyone back that can get healthy to play against Arizona. Everybody talked about the players that were injured and weren’t able to be with us last night, so yeah, I’m looking forward to getting everybody back. It’s a good thing when you’ve got a lot of healthy scratches when you put your 46-man together, so we’re looking forward to that. I think we’ll get through this weekend, and we’re already started, but put all our effort into beating Arizona.

Q: Can you talk about the defense? At this point last year, I think you had something like six sacks, and you’re well over that total after six games—can you talk about the job the pass rush and that defensive front have done thus far?

A: Well, we’ve made improvements. I think that was a big topic of conversation through training camp, how we were going to create pass rush. I think, if anything, we’ve shown flashes of being a good football team, and then I still think we’re inconsistent in a lot of areas, but we’re starting to create some rush. I knew going into it that Markus Golden had that ability. It was a matter of record that he had been very disruptive the year before his injury, and he’s back and playing really hard. I knew Lorenzo Carter would be better from a year ago. Not to mention the other guys we’ve added, X-Man (Oshane Ximines) and so on. Then, I think at times we’re getting pretty decent push on the inside. We’ve got to do it consistently, but it’s improved.

Q: When you evaluate every throw that your quarterback makes–the good ones, the bad ones, certainly the interceptions—and study and get the reason for them, after you do that, with a guy like Daniel (Jones), do you look at it and say, “I understand that he’s a rookie, he hasn’t seen this before,” or is an interception an interception no matter if a 15-year veteran throws it or a rookie throws it?

A: I think, regardless of whether you’re in your first year in the league or you’ve been doing it for a very long time, what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. I think it’s fair to say that some of the things that Daniel’s going through, he’s going through for the first time. Part of his charm is he’s willing to try and fit it in there. I think he’s very accurate and he’s got good velocity on his throws, so he’s got confidence to get the ball in there, and he did that last night. Those were not the most ideal conditions to be throwing the ball at times, and I thought he made some really good throws. On the flip side of that, there were some things that happened on the interceptions that need to get corrected. That’s part of it, for all quarterbacks, and it’s a fine line between being aggressive and putting the ball in harm’s way. I think each play and each time he goes through it, he’ll learn something from it.

Q: Any other injuries outside of Olsen Pierre come out of last night’s game?

A: No, nothing of note. Just the general stuff. But no, nothing of note. That’s pretty much the one that we’ll just have to see. He’s in the concussion protocol at this point.

Q: Do you expect Saquon Barkley to return against the Cardinals?

A: We’ll see, we’ll see. He’s made good progress. He was out there running around today, so we’ll just have to see what the week brings.

Q: On a quick glance, it looked like Dalvin Tomlinson had one of his better games thus far this year. Can you talk about his effort and what you saw from him?

A: Yeah, Dalvin has been pretty steady all year. Pretty consistent in how he’s played. He doesn’t have, maybe as much flash as some of the other guys, but he’s very consistent and does his job extremely well.

Q: How do you harness a young quarterback’s aggressiveness? Or do you feel like you even need to?

A: Harness it? No, I don’t know about that. I think what you try to do is present him with the quick pictures, good clean progressions, and teach him what you want. I think you just try to use his strengths to the best of his ability. I just mentioned it, I think there is a time when there is a fine line between making an aggressive throw and putting the ball in harm’s way. Each interception last night was a little bit different on how it played out. I think that’s part of what’s going to make Dan a really good player. This has been a great month for him in terms of learning how to play in this league. Each week we talk about how the defense we’re playing is better than the one before. Certainly, the last two defenses were top five in the league. Prior to that, we played two teams where we were playing good defenses as well. He learned a great deal from this last month.

Q: Do you think the couple of days off that he’s going to get this weekend to kind of reset and get a breather is going to help him?

A: I don’t know that. I think everybody, we have to keep working through the weekend, but I’m giving everybody a chance. Organically, that’s what happens after the Thursday game, you get a little extra time to get some rest. That’s what I’m going to encourage the players to do.

Q: I just meant because it’s probably been quite a whirlwind for him ever since that day you named him the starter. This is kind of his first chance to look around and catch his breath.

A: Maybe so. That’s probably, when you talk to him, maybe a good question for him. I think for all rookies it’s a little bit of a whirlwind the whole year. I’m sure it won’t be any different for him.

Q: You obviously mentioned the schedule and a little extra time. You go from a short week in which you guys were kind of up against it as a coaching staff to prepare for a game to now, you have a little bit extra time. Do you use that extra time any differently this week? Whether it’s tweaks, looking at things differently – how do you approach the extra time?

A: No. Well, today is like a Monday in our world, and we treated it as such in terms of bringing the players in— I call it settling all debts. We have to make the corrections and move forward. Then, of course, they’ll get the couple of days here. We’ll get an extra day of practice, which will be good, this week. Then we’ll get at it. This is obviously, because of the compressed Thursday night week and then a little bit of length here, the biggest thing is to be able to get the players rested so that we come back and train and are ready to go.

Q: Are you okay with the way Golden Tate handled those last two or three yards before he reached the endzone?

A: That was a heck of a play on his part, and I think sometimes those things play out that way. I’m happy that he got himself in the endzone. That’s what’s most important to me.

Q: With Sterling Shepard moving forward, how concerned are you guys about his long-term health with the two concussions in such a short period of time?

A: Health is always on the front burner for us in terms of short-term and long-term. So, that’s why we are going to proceed like we are and just see where it takes us. He’s a very competitive guy, and sometimes you can’t predict when these types of injuries happen. Listen, we’ve got a lot of really smart people that are going to advise us on when it’s best to put him on the field. When he’s ready to play, he’ll play. Then we’ll try to do everything in our power to make sure he plays safely and has a good, long career.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Friday’s media conference calls with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Saturday and Sunday. They return to practice on Monday.

Oct 112019
 
Share Button
Oct 112019
 
Share Button
Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants (October 10, 2019)

Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 35 – NEW YORK GIANTS 14…
In a game that was closer than many expected for much of the contest, the New York Giants fell 35-14 to the New England Patriots on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Giants are now 2-4 on the season.

New York’s defense kept the team in the game for most of the contest and also scored. On the other hand, New York’s special teams allowed a touchdown on a blocked punt and the offense turned the ball over four times, one resulting in a defensive score for the Patriots.

New England’s first five offensive possessions resulted in a turnover on downs with nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson stuffing the run on 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1, a punt after a three-and-out, an interception by Janoris Jenkins that he returned 62 yards, and two more punts.

But the Giants had even less success, with their first five possessions ending with three punts, and interception, and a blocked punt for a New England touchdown that gave them a 7-0 advantage late in the 1st quarter. After both teams exchanged punts early in the 2nd quarter, quarterback Daniel Jones threw his second interception, this one returned 27 yards to the New York 20-yard line. Five plays later, running back Brandon Bolden scored from one yard out on 3rd-and-goal to make it 14-0.

The only points generated by the Giants’ offense on the night came on the ensuing drive. After New York had picked up 11 yards on two plays, Jones connected with wide receiver Golden Tate on a 64-yard touchdown pass – the first touchdown pass given up by New England this season. Even better, the Giants tied the game at 14-14 a few plays later when linebacker Lorenzo Carter sacked quarterback Tom Brady, forcing a fumble that linebacker Markus Golden recovered and returned for a 42-yard touchdown.

New England responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive right before halftime that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Brady and a 21-14 lead at halftime. This was the only long scoring drive the defense gave up in the first half.

Neither team scored in the 3rd quarter. Jones threw his third interception of the game on New York’s first drive of the half, turning the ball over at the New England 18-yard line. A clock-killing, 9-minute, 16-play, 60-yard drive by the Patriots ended with a missed 40-yard field goal. The quarter ended with another punt by Riley Dixon after one Giants’ first down.

The 4th quarter began with the Patriots turning the ball over on downs on a 4th-and-5 incomplete pass. But then disaster struck for the Giants. On 3rd-and-9, running back Jon Hilliman fumbled the ball after a catch. The loose ball was recovered by the Patriots and returned 22 yards for a defensive score, giving New England a two touchdown advantage with just over eight and a half minutes to play.

On the ensuing possession, the Giants faced a 4th-and-2 at their own 33-yard line with just over seven minutes to play. Head Coach Pat Shurmur decided to punt the ball away. Dixon’s punt only traveled 30 yards. And New England then went on to put the game away by driving 63 yards in seven plays, with Brady rushing for his second 1-yard touchdown run of the game.

With the Patriots now up 35-14 with just under four minutes to play, New York could only gain one first down before turning the ball over on downs. The Patriots then ran out the clock.

Minus three of their best offensive players, New York could only gain 10 first downs and 213 total net yards against the NFL’s #1 defense. Jones finished the game 15-of-31 for 161 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Sixty-four of his yards came on his touchdown throw to Tate, who finished the game with six catches for 102 yards. Giants’ backs only gained 52 yards on 16 carries. As stated, the offense turned the ball over four times.

The Giants’ defense allowed 27 first downs and 427 total net yards, but they kept New York in the game, allowing only two long touchdown drives, one of which came late in the contest. Brady was picked off once (by Jenkins) and sacked three times, one leading to a defensive score. Aside from Carter, the other sacks were accrued by linebacker Alec Ogletree (1), linebacker David Mayo (0.5), and linebacker Markus Golden (0.5).

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), RB Wayne Gallman (concussion), WR Sterling Shepard (concussion), TE Evan Engram (knee), LB Tae Davis (concussion), OT Eric Smith, and OT/OG Chad Slade were inactive.

Defensive lineman Olsen Pierre left the game with a concussion and did not return.

ROSTER MOVES…
Before the game, the New York Giants signed running back Austin Walter from their Practice Squad and terminated the contract of quarterback Alex Tanney.

The 5’8”, 190-pound Walter was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The 49ers cut him in late August 2019 and the Giants then signed him to their Practice Squad.

Tanney was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2012 NFL Draft. The well-traveled journeyman has spent time with the Chiefs (2012), Dallas Cowboys (2013), Cleveland Browns (2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014), Tennessee Titans (2014), Buffalo Bills (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2015), and Titans again (2015–2018). The Giants signed him in May 2018 after he was cut by the Titans. He surprisingly won the team’s back-up quarterback job in 2018.

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

  • Head Coach Pat Shurmur (Video)
  • QB Daniel Jones (Video)
  • S Jabrill Peppers (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media by conference call on Friday.

Oct 102019
 
Share Button
Oct 102019
 
Share Button
Oct 092019
 
Share Button

Game Preview: New York Giants at New England Patriots, October 10, 2019

THE STORYLINE:
Last Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings was a litmus test, and the undermanned New York Giants failed miserably. The team wanted to be 3-2 heading into New England, not 2-3. They will soon to be 2-4. That’s not doom-and-gloom pessimism but simple reality.

  • The away team on Thursday night football is always at a serious disadvantage.
  • The away team rarely wins in New England.
  • The Patriots are defending Super Bow champions.
  • The Patriots currently have the NFL’s #1 defense, allowing only two touchdowns in five games.
  • The Giants’ best running back, wide receiver, and tight end are out.
  • The Patriots currently have the NFL’s #11 offense.
  • Tom Brady, arguably the best quarterback in NFL history, faces a secondary that Kirk Cousins just tore apart.
  • Bill Belichick versus Pat Shurmur?
  • The Patriots are well on their way to another Super Bowl appearance. The Giants are in the eighth year of their 20-year rebuilding program.

It’s no wonder why the Giants are more than two touchdown underdogs.

Honestly, if I were Pat Shurmur, I would treat this game as a glorified preseason game. I would use it as an opportunity to experiment both in terms personnel and play calling. For example, this may be the time to give players like Corey Ballentine and Julian Love some playing time. The team may also want to try some things on offense and defense that are out of character. What do you have to lose? You want to be predictable and undermanned against Bill Belichick? “You play to win the game!” Screw that, let’s have some fun!

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle – out)
  • RB Wayne Gallman (concussion – out)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (concussion – out)
  • TE Evan Engram (knee – out)
  • LT Nate Solder (neck)
  • LB Alec Ogletree (hamstring)
  • LB Tae Davis (concussion)
  • LB Lorenzo Carter (neck – questionable)
  • LB Josiah Tauaefa (knee)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
This is a horrible spot for Daniel Jones to be in. Barkley out. Gallman out. Shepard out. Engram out. Offensive line struggling. Now on a short week, the rookie quarterback faces the #1 defense and the #1 defensive mastermind of all time without his best offensive weapons. The Giants have no running game without Barkley. None. His two security blanks – Shepard and Engram – will not play. Yikes!

Instead of focusing on this mismatched contest, let’s use this as an opportunity to look at the bigger picture moving forward:

Quarterback: Barring a devastating injury or complete meltdown during the last 11 games, Daniel Jones is the franchise quarterback. As I’ve talked about in previous game previews, he’s the central focus for the rest of the season. Regardless of his and the team’s performance, these games are invaluable learning moments for him. Really, for Jones, this is about preparing more for 2020 at this point. Eli Manning won’t be on the team next year. The Giants have to decide if they can do better than Alex Tanney as Jones’ back-up after Manning is gone.

Running Back: The Giants’ offense is a completely different animal without Saquon Barkley. As great as it has been for Giants fans to get to watch Daniel Jones earlier than expected, it sucks that Barkley’s high-ankle sprain has taken away one of the few reasons to watch this team. That all said, the Giants may have learned a valuable lesson here about making sure they have proper NFL depth behind Barkley. Is Wayne Gallman the guy you want backing him up? I think we’ve seen enough of Jon Hilliman. In this game, I would like to see Eli Penny receive the bulk of the carries.

Wide Receiver: The Giants need to upgrade this position. Pray Sterling Shepard’s concussions are not an issue moving forward because they can ill-afford to see yet another one of their promising receivers have his career end prematurely (Plaxico Burress, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, etc.). With Shepard out, this will be Golden Tate’s opportunity to shine. But he and Cody Latimer don’t look like the answers moving forward. On the other hand, the Giants may have hit the jackpot with Darius Slayton in the 5th round.

Tight End: As long as he can stay healthy (a big if), Evan Engram looks like one of the more dynamic receiving-threat tight ends in football. He’s a weapon. Pat Shurmur obviously loves tight ends. There are currently four on the 53-man roster (and the team had five at one point). Rhett Ellison is steady, but as this season progresses, Shurmur may want to get a better look at Garrett Dickerson and Kaden Smith in real games.

Offensive Line: It’s beyond ridiculous now. The Giants simply can’t seem to field a legitimate offensive line. As has smartly been pointed out in The Corner Forum this week, when you have a good offensive line, everything looks better. See the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers as prime examples. The Giants made a huge mistake signing Nate Solder to that contract. He’s been terrible. Mike Remmers was signed to be a temporary stop-gap but he’s only marginally better than Chad Wheeler, who replaced Bobby Hart. I still don’t know what Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur see in Jon Halapio, who has played for five other teams, including the Boston Brawlers and Brooklyn Bolts. Making matters worse is that Kevin Zeitler is playing with a bad shoulder that is clearly affecting his play. The Giants NEED two new starting offensive tackles, and ideally a starting center. That’s a tall order in one offseason.

Offensive Summary: On paper, the Giants look like they have their starting quarterback, running back, and tight end. But 3/5ths of the offensive line needs to be replaced and another outside receiver needs to be added to complement Slayton and Shepard.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
I grew up spoiled on great New York Giants defense. As much justifiable criticism as Eli Manning, the offensive line, and the offense as a whole have received for the past eight years, in my mind, the defense may be even more guilty for the team’s demise. Good defense can cover for a multitude of sins and keep teams competitive. Even in terrible seasons like 1995, the Giants were in just about every game because the defense kept them in every game. In the last eight years, the New York defense has finished:

  • 2011: 27th
  • 2012: 31st
  • 2013: 8th
  • 2014: 29th
  • 2015: 32nd
  • 2016: 10th
  • 2017: 31st
  • 2018: 24th

They are currently 30th.

Like the offensive line, the Giants can’t seem to fix the defense. They keep changing players, coaches, and schemes. But the team remains at the bottom of the league in defense. Until the defense markedly improves, it won’t matter what Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley do on the field.

Defensive Line: This is currently the strongest area of the team. Dexter Lawrence, B.J. Hill, and Dalvin Tomlinson are good enough to win with, although I’d like to see more flash from Tomlinson. Lawrence is starting to give offensive linemen fits. Depth is shaky with only R.J. McIntosh and Olsen Pierre on the 53-man roster as back-ups.

Edge Rusher: Some fans still think Lawrence and Hill are supposed to be like Michael Strahan or Justin Tuck in the Giants’ old 4-3 scheme. In James Bettcher’s 3-4, the outside rush has to come from the outside linebackers or “edge rushers.” Lost in the crappy defensive play is that Markus Golden (4.5 sacks) is quietly averaging just under sack per game. More was expected of Lorenzo Carter, but it’s still early and he has been dealing with injuries. Oshane Ximines and Tuzar Skipper have flashed but as their play against the run last week showed, they both still has a lot to learn. Ideally, this team needs an edge rusher who scares opposing offensive coordinators and quarterbacks. That’s not on the roster right now.

Inside Linebacker: Long gone are Sam Huff, Brian Kelly, Harry Carson, Gary Reasons, Pepper Johnson, Antonio Pierce. Hell, even Michael Brooks, Michael Barrow, Corey Widmer, or Chase Blackburn would look great right now. The Giants have gone from Linebacker U. to Linebacker Hell. And when they finally draft a good one for the first time in years and years (Ryan Connelly), he tears his ACL in his third start. Look at the outstanding defenses around the NFL and they all have good linebackers. The “help wanted” sign has been out here since Antonio Pierce left. This group can’t play the run and can’t play the pass. They make the entire defense worse.

Cornerback: The Giants focused on rebuilding this position in the 2019 Draft. The jury is still out on Deandre Baker, but he is starting and learning. That’s about as good as  you can expect from a rookie corner. Sam Beal missed most of the offseason with a nagging hamstring injury but has returned to practice and will likely be added to the 53-man roster soon. Corey Ballentine should be seeing more playing time. The Giants need to start reducing Grant Haley’s role. At this point, the Giants may want to shop Janoris Jenkins in advance of the trade deadline. He won’t be a part of the rebuild.

Safety: The good news is that after a slow start, Jabrill Peppers is starting to make some plays. The bad news is that Antoine Bethea looks done. At some point very soon, perhaps even this game, the Giants need to sit him. Julian Love should start playing more. Sean Chandler didn’t look good against Minnesota but he should also see his workload increase so the Giants can fully evaluate him. If Love or Chandler can’t handle the position, the Giants have a huge need at this position entering the offseason.

Defensive Summary: A great edge rusher will make everyone better. If you can’t rush the passer in this League, you’re in trouble. Much depends on Ryan Connelly moving forward. Will he be the same player? Regardless, the Giants need to add one or two more inside linebackers as well. Safety remains a sore spot unless Julian Love can handle the transition to free safety.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Ironically, after years are dismal special teams units, the Giants are in pretty good shape here.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Head Coach Pat Shurmur on his team being 16.5-point underdogs: “I have no reaction to it.”

THE FINAL WORD:
I doubt my words will be heeded, but I suggest most Giants fans don’t get too upset over this game. The Giants are going to get their asses kicked by the best team in the NFL. And this year, it’s the Patriots’ defense that is carrying them. I’ll be happy if Daniel Jones gets out of this game healthy.

Based on needs alone, this team is more than one offseason away from seriously competing again. It has to start with the offensive line, edge rushers, and inside linebackers.