Mar 042019
 
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Landon Collins, New York Giants (December 24, 2017)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports

REPORT – GIANTS WILL NOT PLACE FRANCHISE TAG ON LANDON COLLINS…
NFL.com is reporting that the New York Giants are not expected to place the Franchise Tag on safety Landon Collins, thus making him an unrestricted free agent if he hits the open market on March 13th when free agency begins. According to NFL.com, the Giants would like Collins back, but not at the Franchise Tag price of $11.5 million. The deadline to tag players is Tuesday at 4:00PM.

Despite being voted to the Pro Bowl three times from 2016-2018, Collins has not been able to replicate his breakout performance in 2016. He finished both 2017 and 2018 on Injured Reserve, first with a fractured forearm and then with a partially-torn rotator cuff. Both injuries required surgery. On top of the injury issues, Collins has struggled more in coverage against better athletes. In 2018, Collins started all 12 games he played in, finishing with 96 tackles, 4 pass defenses, and 1 forced fumble.

Collins was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. During his All-Pro 2016 season, Collins started every game and finished the year with 125 tackles, four sacks, 13 pass defenses, and five interceptions.

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN ALEX TANNEY…
The New York Giants have officially re-signed quarterback Alex Tanney, who was scheduled to be a restricted free agent. According to media reports, the contract is a 2-year deal.

Tanney, who the Giants signed in May 2018 after he was cut by the Tennessee Titans, surprisingly won the team’s back-up quarterback job last season, a role he played in 15 of 16 games. However, he did not see any regular-season action.

The 6’4”, 220-pound 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), Titans (2014), Buffalo Bills (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2015), and Titans again (2015–2018). Tanney has only played in one regular-season game, coming off the bench for the Titans in 2015. He played in three preseason games for the Giants in 2018, completing 18-of-33 passes (54.5 percent) for 177 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.

Feb 202019
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 12, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

For media pundits and fans, opinions and battle lines regarding Eli Manning have long been formed. In many ways, it’s strange to see a class act, two-time Super Bowl MVP, and holder of just about every significant passing record in team history be such a divisive topic. Perhaps that says more about us than Eli.

Quarterbacks for every team are always fan lightning rods. But the contempt for Eli seems over the top, including with “overrated” player polls which seem more than a tad disingenuous since Eli has never been regarded all that highly by most players, media types, and fans of other teams.

Manning’s best season was his League MVP-worthy performance of 2011. By the conclusion of that season, at the age of 31, in his first eight years, Manning had won two Super Bowls, was responsible for 25 game-winning drives, and sported 8-3 playoff and 69-50 regular-season records. After that, in his next seven seasons, while there were 17 more game-winning drives, Manning only played in one more playoff game and saw his regular-season record plummet to 47-64. Manning’s team have only won two more games than they have lost (116-114) and have been to the playoffs six times, losing the first playoff game on four of those occasions.

With those facts in mind, the genesis of Eli debate becomes clear. If you take away the Super Bowl seasons of 2007 and 2011, outside his longevity, Manning’s career looks like the epitome of mediocrity. But – and it’s a BIG but (cue the Pee Wee Herman joke here) – you can’t take away the 2007 and 2011 seasons. Manning played his best football during those two historic, against-all-odds, 4-0 each playoff runs. He is responsible for one quarter of the team’s NFL Championships. This alone makes his career a success.

My personal view is that the New York Giants as a franchise ruined the second half of Manning’s career. Manning was probably never going to duplicate his career season of 2011, but he should not be a 47-64 quarterback either. For most of the last seven years, the Giants have “surrounded” Eli with terrible offensive lines, no running game, shoddy defense, and abysmal special teams. The beatings Manning has taken have taken their toll. He’s not the guy he was in 2011. The same thing happened to Ron Jaworski, Neil Lomax, and others. Once you permanently lose faith in your offensive line, you become a different player.

2018 was an odd year for Eli. At times, he looked done. At other times, he was the master of efficiency. Six times he had a QB rating over 100. He completed a career-high 66 percent of his passes. He only threw 11 interceptions. But even with Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham, the offense was abysmal for much of the season. Manning threw only 21 touchdowns and the team finished the year 5-11. If a play broke down, Manning could not improvise. He was sacked a career-high 47 times (an average of three times per game).

One of Phil Simms’ best years was his final one in 1993, when the Giants surprisingly finished 11-5. Simms didn’t throw a lot of touchdowns (only 15), but he was incredibly efficient quarterback on a solid football team. My sense is that Eli Manning could still be a winning and sometimes masterful QB if his surrounding team were stronger, but that simply has not been the case. Too many times, the offensive line or defense have collapsed. Too many times the ground game couldn’t gain that one yard. Now he is 38 years old. It’s a shame.

THE 15-YEAR CONSTANT

In the twilight stage of his career, the 38-year old Eli Manning completed his 15th season in 2018. The entire offense, including Manning, played much better in the second half of the year when the offensive line played better. Overall, Manning finished with 4,299 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He completed a career-high 66 percent of his passes. However, the passing attack was inconsistent. There were stretches and games where Manning and the passing game were efficient and sharp, and others where they struggled to move the chains and put points up on the board. Manning was the first player selected in the 2004 NFL Draft and immediately traded to the Giants by the Chargers. Manning owns practically every quarterback record in franchise history. He is 8-4 as a playoff quarterback and a two-time Super Bowl MVP. His best season was 2011 when he carried the Giants to the playoffs, highlighted by eight come-from-behind victories. Since then, he has struggled with consistency as the franchise has been unable to provide him with an adequate offensive line. Manning has the perfect temperament for playing in the New York metropolitan area as the intense media spotlight does not seem to faze him. He is very smart and hard-working. Manning has excellent size and decent arm strength. Relatively immobile, Manning rarely extends a play when his protection breaks down and is not a threat to harm a defense with his feet. Although he’s a tough competitor who has never missed a game due to injury in 14 seasons, Manning has become a bit more gun-shy in recent years due to shoddy pass protection. Manning excels in the mental aspects of the game and reads opposing defenses extremely well. Manning is still guilty of making the ill-advised, head-scratching throw when the smarter decision would be to throw the football away or take the sack. His gun-slinger mentality – which leads to big plays – also causes him to make some risky throws in tight windows. Manning was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2011, and played in the game after the 2012 and 2015 regular seasons as an alternate.

THE SURPRISE BACK-UP

Alex Tanney, who the Giants signed in May 2018 after he was cut by the Tennessee Titans, surprisingly won the team’s back-up quarterback job, a role he played in 15 of 16 games. However, he did not see any regular-season action. The 6’4”, 220-pound 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), Titans (2014), Buffalo Bills (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2015), and Titans again (2015–2018). Tanney has only played in one regular-season game, coming off the bench for the Titans in 2015. He played in three preseason games for the Giants in 2018, completing 18-of-33 passes (54.5 percent) for 177 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.

DRIVING MR. LAULETTA

The Giants selected Kyle Lauletta in the 4th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The team’s third quarterback for the bulk of the season, Lauletta did play late in the game of a blowout win. However, he did not distinguish himself, going 0-of-5 with one interception. Lauletta also was arrested midway through the season due to a serious traffic infraction. The scouting report on Lauletta coming out of college was that he is a smart, accurate short- to intermediate-passer whose lack of arm strength limits his overall game.

Sep 032018
 
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Olivier Vernon, New York Giants (September 10, 2017)

Olivier Vernon – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS TEAM CAPTAINS SELECTED..
Per a vote by New York Giants players and coaches, the following six players have been selected as team captains:

  • Offense: QB Eli Manning and LT Nate Solder
  • Defense: SS Landon Collins and LB Alec Ogletree
  • Special Teams: LS Zak DeOssie and SS Michael Thomas

Manning has now been selected as a team captain for 12 years in a row. DeOssie has been named eight year times in a row.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Monday due to injury were linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle) and linebacker Tae Davis (unknown).

“(Vernon) was in the training room getting treatment,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after practice. “We’re hopeful, but we’ll just have to see. The fact that he was inside today tells you that he wasn’t out here.”

Tight end Evan Engram (concussion) participated with a red, non-contact jersey. Linebacker Connor Barwin (knee) participated in individual drills.

“Yes, (Engram is) still in the protocol,” said Shurmur. “But we’re hopeful.”

NEW YORK SIGN LINEBACKER TO PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants filled one of their two remaining vacancies on the team’s 10-man Practice Squad on Monday by signing linebacker Ukeme Eligwe, who was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday. The 24-year old, 6’2”, 239-pound Eligwe was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chiefs. As a rookie, Eligwe played in 14 regular-season games with one start. He finished the year with five tackles and one sack.

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.

Aug 132018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (July 26, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

INJURY REPORT – SAQUON BARKLEY INJURED…
Not practicing on Monday due to injury were wide 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 Saquon Barkley strained his left hamstring late in practice after stretching out for a long reception. He left practice the field after that, having his leg wrapped.

“Saquon has a mild strain, and we’ll be smart with him as we move along here,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • It was a light practice today as the team heads to Michigan to practice against the Detroit Lions.
  • For the second straight practice, the Giants limited the number of snaps quarterback Eli Manning received.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb received first-team snaps again today. He found wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. twice for touchdowns in red zone drills, including against cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb also overthrew three receivers and was involved in a fumbled snap.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta connected with wideout Kalif Raymond on a perfect deep pass between safety William Gay and cornerback B.W. Webb.
  • Linebacker B.J. Goodson and left guard Will Hernandez grabbed each other’s face masks and nearly came to blows.
  • Safety Michael Thomas picked off quarterback Kyle Lauletta.
  • Curtis Riley was the first-team free safety and William Gay the first-team slot corner for the second practice in a row.
  • Running back Saquon Barkley badly beat linebacker Alec Ogletree on a wheel route and out-ran cornerback Janoris Jenkins to the end zone on a pass from quarterback Kyle Lauletta. (This was the play where Barkley injured himself).
  • Quarterback Alex Tanney connected with wide receiver Jawill Davis on a deep pass.

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:

ARTICLES…

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

Aug 012018
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (July 26, 2018)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 1, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their sixth full-team summer training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

GIANTS CLAIM VICTOR SALAKO OFF OF WAIVERS…
The New York Giants have claimed offensive tackle Victor Salako off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns. The 24-year old, 6’5”, 316-pound Salako was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent time on the Practice Squads of both the Eagles and Browns in 2017. Salako has good size but lacks ideal athleticism.

To make room for Salako, the Giants waived offensive tackle Jarron Jones, who was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Giants cut him in September 2017, but re-signed him June 2018 after he had spent time with the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday were safety Curtis Riley (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (unknown), tight end Garrett Dickerson (hamstring), and defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list).

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Linebacker Olivier Vernon beat left tackle Nate Solder around the edge to “sack” quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Darian Thompson teamed with Landon Collins as the first-team safeties. When the Giants went to “dime” coverage, the extra corners were William Gay and B.W. Webb.
  • Second-team defense included Grant Haley and Teddy Williams at corner and Michael Thomas in the slot.
  • Chad Wheeler practiced at second-team left tackle today with Nick Becton at second-team right tackle, flipping from where they had been lining up.
  • John Jerry was working with the third team at right tackle.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb threw a perfect deep pass to wide receiver Kalif Raymond for a 40-50 yard gain between cornerback Grant Haley and safety Andrew Adams.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta hit wide receiver Marquis Bundy deep down the left sideline.
  • Returning kickoffs were Hunter Sharp, Wayne Gallman, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Left tackle Nate Solder did a good job of picking up a blitz by linebacker Alec Ogletree.
  • Linebacker Mark Herzlich slammed wideout Kalif Raymond after a short catch over the middle.
  • Linebacker Alex Ogletree tipped a pass from quarterback Eli Manning that was intercepted by safety Landon Collins and returned for a touchdown during the 2-minute drill.
  • Defensive end B.J. Hill expertly sniffed out a screen pass for running back Saquon Barkley and tackled him for a loss.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. worked together after practice.

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

Jun 182018
 
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Alex Tanney, Davis Webb, Eli Manning, and Kyle Lauletta; New York Giants (June 12, 2018)

Alex Tanney, Davis Webb, Eli Manning, and Kyle Lauletta – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Quarterbacks

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: 2017 was one of the worst seasons in the almost 100-year history of the New York Giants. No one escaped the carnage, including arguably the best quarterback in franchise history. Regardless of the extenuating factors, Eli Manning saw his numbers decline for the second year in a row. In comparison with his 2015 statistics, Manning saw a precipitous fall in passing yards (from 4,432 to 3,468), touchdowns (from 35 to 19), and QB rating (from 93.6 to 80.4). The Giants offense was 21st in yardage, 19th in passing yardage, and 31st in scoring. And it just wasn’t the numbers. Manning seemed off. Saddled with a poor supporting cast, he was jumpy in the pocket and missed too many open receivers.

But as bad as all of that was, 2017 will always be remembered for the year that Eli Manning got benched by his since-fired head coach who never really seemed to have his back. It was not so much the decision to sit Manning for an early December game when the team was 2-9, but the way he was benched. Ben McAdoo announced the decision matter-of-factly while John Mara and Jerry Reese hid. And a tearful Manning was left to address a frenzied New York press corps in front of his locker with teammates laughing in the background. Worse, the Giants did not use the benching to evaluate their 3rd-round draft pick, Davis Webb, but handed over the reins to persona non grata Geno Smith. Predictably, a pissed-off fan base erupted. What was astonishing was this reaction seemed to shock team brass who quickly kowtowed by firing Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese and re-inserting Manning as starter right after the Geno Smith-led Giants lost to the Oakland Raiders. The Giants then proceeded to lose three of their last four games and finish the year 3-13. In summary, the season was a shit show.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Unsurprisingly, the Giants made no effort to re-sign Geno Smith. The Giants passed on Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Josh Allen in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. But they did select Kyle Lauletta in the 4th round. The Giants also signed free agent Alex Tanney after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: For better or worse, ownership, the new general manager, and the new head coach have made it clear over and over again that the 37-year old Eli Manning is not only the established starter heading into 2018, but possibly beyond. So in a matter of a few months, Manning went from the bench to being untouchable. If one were being truly objective, it appears a bit odd that the New York Giants believe so strongly that a clearly declining, 37-year old quarterback on a 3-13 team has another Super Bowl run in him. Their evidence? The December 17th loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The pressure is on Manning. The Giants have changed an offensively-minded head coach for the second time in three years. They fired the GM. They brought in three new starters on the offensive line. They added a premier running back with the #2 pick in the draft to go along with Odell Beckham, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard on offense. The excuses are running out. Eli is a $22 million per year QB who hasn’t played like one in quite some time.

While Pat Shurmur is a West Coast Offense guy, his offense will be more vertical and use more play-action than his predecessor. The Giants will run the football more. All of this should help. Yet, in an era where teams are moving more and more to athletic quarterbacks, Eli remains a bit of an old-school dinosaur whose lack of mobility clearly impacts the overall offense. Manning must compensate with better toughness, pocket awareness, decision-making under duress, and accuracy. Can he shake off the gun-shyness and inaccuracy that plagued him in 2017? Can he get his mojo back?

With an inevitable transition looming – whether it be in one, two, or three years – comes the second major storyline: is the heir apparent currently on the roster? The contenders are Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta. Webb has the arm, frame, and work ethic teams look for. Lauletta lacks the arm and ideal height, but may have a better feel for the game. He also had the inherent advantage that he was drafted by the team’s new general manager and head coach. Both, one, or neither may have an NFL future. Can either really replace a living legend when the time comes? Or will the Giants rue the day they passed on Darnold, Rosen, or Allen?

ON THE BUBBLE: Barring and injury or the unlikely event the Giants trade Davis Webb, the Giants will go into 2018 with Manning, Webb, and Lauletta as the quarterbacks. Alex Tanney is simply a camp arm.

FROM THE COACHES: Pat Shurmur on Eli Manning: “He looks great. He’s doing great…He is a joy to coach… I’m always surprised at how smart he is and at how things, I don’t want to say come easy to him because he studies, but he has a great feel for the game and that great feel for the game is backed up by a heck of a lot of work, and so when you have that combination, a guy that can really see the game and then a guy that really works at it, then I think the sky is the limit.”

Shurmur on Davis Webb: “I think he has improved every day. I think he’s got an outstanding skillset. I mean, big, strong, can throw… He can run around and he’s gotten more and more comfortable with what we’re doing. So, he’s made steady improvements through this spring.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula on Kyle Lauletta: “He has a nice calmness about himself that if things don’t go exactly how they are drawn out on the board, his mind works pretty fast so far and he finds the next guy, gets through his progressions. He has a good feel for anticipation and touch and things like that, so I think he’s off to a good start. ”

PREDICTIONS: Eli Manning will always be a controversial sports figure. He’s a legitimate two-time Super Bowl MVP who played at an elite level during two miraculous playoff runs. But take away those two runs, and his career looks more mundane and based on longevity. Most Giants fans will long wonder what could have been had the Giants personnel department (exacerbated by a series of career-impacting injuries to key players) not squandered his years after 2011. But Eli is responsible for half of the team’s Super Bowl hardware. Period. And for better or worse, and whether or not the motivation is based on guilt or fear of fan reaction, the Giants hierarchy is going to give him another chance in 2018 and probably 2019, the latter being the final year of his current contract.

My best guess is that Eli rebounds with a strong season in 2018, but one that still causes fans to debate whether the team is foolishly postponing the inevitable by not making the quarterback transition sooner. My wish is that he proves us all wrong and has one more magical run in him with the Giants. At the very least, he will have an opportunity to finish his Giants career on better terms than 2017.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Eli Manning, Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta

May 022018
 
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Alex Tanney, Tennessee Titans (August 12, 2017)

Alex Tanney – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN ALEX TANNEY AND A.J. FRANCIS…
The New York Giants have officially signed free agent quarterback Alex Tanney, who was cut by the Tennessee Titans on Monday. The 30-year old, 6’4”, 220-pound Tanney was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2012 NFL Draft. The well-traveled Tanney has spent time with the Chiefs (2012), Dallas Cowboys (2013), Cleveland Browns (2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014), Titans (2014), Buffalo Bills (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2015), and Titans again (2015–2017). Tanney has only played in one regular-season game, coming off the bench for the Titans in 2015.

The Giants have also officially signed defensive tackle A.J. Francis, who was cut by the Washington Redskins on Monday. The 27-year old, 6’5”, 327-pound Francis was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Miami Dolphins after the 2013 NFL Draft. Francis has spent time with the Dolphins (2013), New England Patriots (2013), Dolphins again (2013–2015), Seattle Seahawks (2015), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2016), and Redskins (2016–2017). Francis has played in nine regular-season games with no starts.

ARTICLES…