Sep 022019
 
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David Mayo, Carolina Panthers (September 9, 2018)

David Mayo – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN DAVID MAYO, TRADE B.J. GOODSON…
The New York Giants signed linebacker David Mayo on Monday. To make room for Mayo, the team traded linebacker B.J. Goodson to the Green Bay Packers. Trade compensation reportedly involves a swap of conditional seventh-round picks in the Giants’ favor.

“(Mayo) is an outstanding special teams player, but he also plays well from the line of scrimmage,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “In our opinion, he’s a good four-down player. That was the attraction to him.”

The 26-year old, 6’2”, 240-pound Mayo was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. After four seasons in Carolina, Mayo signed with the San Francisco 49ers in March 2019. He was cut by the 49ers on Saturday. Mayo has played in 59 regular-season games with four starts, accruing 61 tackles and two pass defenses. He is a good special teams player.

In his third year with the Giants in 2018, B.J. Goodson had his most productive season, playing in 15 games with 13 starts, and finishing with 61 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 4 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions. Goodson was drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he played in 15 regular-season games with no starts. In 2017, Goodson started all seven games he played in, but missed most of the season with shin and ankle issues.

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN TWO MORE TO PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants finalized their 10-man practice squad by signing wide receiver David Sills and cornerback Corn Elder.

The 23-year old, 6’3”, 211-pound Sills was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Buffalo Bills after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Bills waived him on Saturday.

The 24-year old, 5’10”, 185-pound Elder was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. Elder spent his rookie year on Injured Reserve with a knee injury. He played in 13 games with no starts for the Panthers in 2018, accruing just three tackles. The Panthers waived him on Friday.

NEW YORK GIANTS 2019 TEAM CAPTAINS…
On Monday, New York Giants players elected the following seven captains for the 2019 NFL season:

Offense: Eli Manning, Nate Solder, and Saquon Barkley
Defense: Alec Ogletree and Antoine Bethea
Special Teams: Zak DeOssie and Michael Thomas

This is Manning’s 13th consecutive season and DeOssie’s ninth as captains. Solder, Ogletree, and Thomas were captains last year, their first with the team. Bethea is in his first season with the Giants, and Barkley was selected in his second pro season.

“The players voted on who they want to be their captains, and I am in total agreement with them,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “They chose wisely. This is our official leadership, but there are many players on the team who have shown the ability to lead in their own way.”

INJURY REPORT…
In the portion of practice open to the media, WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), TE Garrett Dickerson (quad), and CB Sam Beal (Injured Reserve – hamstring/groin) were working on the side with trainers. LB Nate Stupar (concussion) and CB Antonio Hamilton (groin) participated in the portion of practice open to the media.

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.

Jul 052019
 
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Lorenzo Carter, New York Giants (December 9, 2018)

Lorenzo Carter – © 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: Linebackers

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: It’s both ironic and tragic that the team so closely associated with a great linebacking legacy has become so incompetent at addressing the position. Worse, with the shift to the 3-4 defense, the importance of the position was elevated in the overall scheme of the defense. In the 3-4, the linebackers are the play-makers, the pass rushers, and the active run defenders. Despite spending assets on the position: $17 million for Olivier Vernon, $15 million for Kareem Martin, $5 million for Connor Barwin, two draft picks for Alec Olgretree, a 3rd rounder for Lorenzo Carter, and a 4th rounder for B.J. Goodson, the returns were not good. As a team, the Giants had 30 sacks, tied for 30th in the league. Only the Raiders had fewer. And of those 30 sacks, 17 came from the linebackers. Only two linebackers on the team picked off a pass. Most startlingly, Giants linebackers only forced ONE fumble all year. Overall, the run defense wasn’t good (20th), with players often being out-of-position or being successfully blocked out of position. And pass coverage against tight ends and backs remained a sore spot for yet another year.

In terms of specific players. Vernon was an injured tease (again). Barwin was invisible. Martin was one-dimensional. Ogletree alternated between being beaten like a drum in coverage to making some spectacular interceptions. Carter flashed some potential as a pass rusher. Goodson flashed as a run defender, but wasn’t consistent. Rookie free agent Tae Davis had some rough moments both against the run and the pass. Nate Stupar was a core player on an improving special teams unit.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants traded Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns. Connor Barwin was cut in February and Ukeme Eligwe was cut in May. The Giants did not re-sign Jordan Williams, who spent the year on Injured Reserve. Nate Stupar was re-signed, as was Avery Moss, the team’s 2017 5th rounder who spent the year on the Practice Squad.

In free agency, the Giants added Markus Golden from the Cardinals and “street” free agents Jonathan Anderson and Keion Adams. The Giants drafted Oshane Ximines in the 3rd round, Ryan Connelly in the 5th round, and signed rookie free agent Josiah Tauaefa after the draft. The Giants also signed rookie free agent Nate Harvey after the draft, but he was placed on Injured Reserve in May with a season-ending knee injury.

The Giants have also been playing rookie free agent collegiate safety Mark McLaurin at their “money backer” position during Spring practices. Rookie free agent Jake Carlock is another hybrid linebacker/safety type, who can also long snap.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Perhaps the biggest question mark the entire team faces is the pass rush. The Giants were near dead last in the NFL rushing the passer in 2018 and traded away arguably their best pass rusher. Many wanted the team to select a pass rusher over Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick in the draft. In the 3-4 defense, you need your outside linebackers to be good pass rushers. The Giants are hoping Markus Golden can rebound from his torn ACL and regain his 2016 form (12.5 sacks). Also, based on the pecking order during Spring practices, it appears the coaches are giving Lorenzo Carter (4 sacks as a reserve in 2018) every opportunity to supplant Kareem Martin as starter. Lurking in the wings is rookie Oshane Ximines. Most believe the Giants are screwed here as they lack the talent to get after the quarterback. It’s up to Golden, Carter, Martin, and Ximines to prove them wrong.

Inside, the problems remain the same. The team has been inconsistent stopping the run and atrocious covering tight ends for years. The Rams most likely traded Alec Ogletree to the Giants because of the same inconsistencies he demonstrated last season, both against the run and the pass. B.J. Goodson has to take the bull by the horns and prove to the coaches he’s an asset on the field. Tae Davis, a former collegiate safety, has been splitting time with Goodson with the first unit. Like Ximines outside, rookie Ryan Connelly is lurking in the wings.

ON THE BUBBLE: There are 13 linebackers on the roster (15 if you count Mark McLaurin and Jake Carlock) and the Giants are likely to keep eight, possibly nine. The obvious players on the bubble are Avery Moss, Keion Adams, Jonathan Anderson, Josiah Tauaefa, McLaurin, and Carlock. The tough decision will be Nate Stupar because of his special teams play.

FROM THE COACHES: Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on Lorenzo Carter: “He is rushing with a plan. When you see him rush, a year ago he was trying to get off the ball as quick as he could and use his hands when he could. Now, you see a guy that is aware of how he wants to rush, aware of techniques that he wants to rush with. Guys that get in there as pass rushers, I have been in there and have coached them before personally, you see their best growth in the two and three years. You start to figure out what they are as rushers. Whether you are Chandler Jones and a really bloody rusher or a speed counter guy. He is really starting to figure that out. He is building his pass rush toolbox right now. The second thing, he is practicing as hard as anyone on the field right now. He is running around and has been a great example that we have been able to show defensively of just straining and effort, finish.”

Bettcher on Marcus Golden: “Markus unfortunately somewhere around 18 months ago had a pretty significant knee injury. Don’t ever forget that before that he was one of the best pass rushers in this league. People had to plan for him. I know that because I was one of the guys calling the plays for him on defense. I saw what he was able to do when he was healthy and running around. I love how he is moving right now and I love his work. He is a guy that is going to play exceptionally hard. As I sat here a year ago and talked to you about one of the identifying qualities we needed our defense to look like was it took relentless, work relentless and play relentless. I think that is probably the epitome of Markus.”

Bettcher on Alec Ogletree: “This is his second year in the system. You get a guy like AB (Antoine Bethea) who has been in the system before who really can get in the conversations of how we are doing it and what we should expect in certain coverages, that is where Tree is at now. He is in his second year. He is really working on his core fundamentals, but the other side of it, how are we going to attack this coverage? Where is the soft spot in coverage and how can we defend it? I think that is really what happens when guys come into the second year.”

Bettcher on Oshane Ximines: “X-man coming off the tape, I loved the way he played. Saw a guy that could flip and had athleticism to move in space. If you are picking a prototypical outside linebacker, he has some of both of those skills. He has the rush skills and has skills in his hips to open, change in space and change who the rusher is.”

Bettcher on Ryan Connelly: “Connelly is really smart. It is funny because today I was showing a cut-up to the vets and you try not to do that. You try not to show a rookie to the vets too early, but I was showing the cut-up to the vets. This is a guy from the rookie mini-camp and it was a concept and a route and he played it exactly the right way. It was a great example. Smart and tough.”

Linebackers Coach Bill McGovern on Ryan Connelly: “A guy who is smart and intelligent. He plays fast and shows good instincts. We are excited to have him… We are excited that Ryan is a quick study and he has brought things to the practice field so we are excited about that.”

McGovern on Alec Ogletree: “I think you saw him develop as the year went along. As he was getting into the system, he has been in a few different systems. As the season went along, I think he got even better and started making even more and more plays. No matter where he has been, he is a productive player. We have been seeing the ball thrown a little bit more against us and he ended up showing up and making plays in the pass game. He has always been good against the run. He sells out on everything. Again, his leadership and everything else is something that we love having him out there for. We appreciate everything he does on the field.”

McGovern on B.J. Goodson: “Just keep improving. Get better. He has his package and has to work through it. In the run game, there are things that he can use to get better.”

PREDICTIONS: This is the one area of the defense that makes a lot of people nervous. Changes are being made. Olivier Vernon was traded. It appears Kareem Martin will now be more of a role player. The early favorites to start outside and rush the quarterback are Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter. It is possible to see these two combine for 20 sacks. It’s also possible to see both underwhelm and finish with a total of just 10. With Golden, it’s all about his knee. With Carter, he has to prove he is more than a straight-line athlete. Reading between the lines, the Giants also appear to be pleased with what they’ve seen so far from Oshane Ximines. But until the pads come on, we really won’t know a thing. Going out on a limb here, I’m going to predict that Golden, Lorenzo, Ximines, and Martin are more productive pass rushers than anticipated.

Inside, it appears the Giants are well aware of their issues covering the middle of the field. Hence you see linebacker/safety hybrids like Tae Davis, Mark McLaurin, and Jake Carlock being added to the roster. It’s also telling that Davis saw quite a bit of time with the first unit during Spring practices. I’m not sure what to make of Alec Ogletree yet. Just when I had written him off as a trade bust last year, he started making game-changing interceptions. The coaches seem to think he will be more consistent in his second year in the system, but we shall see. The Rams got rid of him for a reason. I expected more from Goodson last year. I think this is a critical training camp for him. The real wild card here is Ryan Connelly, a very smart player who is a better athlete than advertised.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Markus Golden, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Kareem Martin, Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, Tae Davis, and Ryan Connelly.

(The tough call here is Nate Stupar due to his special teams value. It’s also tough to predict if a guy like Mark McLaurin or Jake Carlock do enough to stick on the 53-man roster. Special teams play will be a huge factor in determining the final numbers).

Feb 262019
 
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Olivier Vernon, Alec Olgetree, and Kareem Martin; New York Giants (December 2, 2018)

Olivier Vernon, Alec Olgetree, and Kareem Martin – © USA TODAY Sports

There are two positions on the team that management simply has not been able to “fix” for years: offensive line and linebackers. And it is not for want of effort. While the Giants have not spent a great deal of draft assets on linebackers (3rd-round pick on Lorenzo Carter, 4th-round pick on B.J. Goodson), the team certainly has spent free agent and even indirect draft (i.e. trade) assets. Three of the four Giants’ starting linebackers in 2018 were:

  • Olivier Vernon ($17 million 2018 cap hit)
  • Alec Ogletree ($4.75 million 2018 cap hit, plus 4th- and 6th-round draft picks in trade)
  • Kareem Martin (3-year, $15 million contract)

The Giants also gave Connor Barwin a 2-year, $5 million deal as a reserve.

To be blunt, the return on the investment was quite poor. The 3-4 defense relies on the linebackers to be the the play-makers and the pass rushers. They didn’t do that. As a team, the Giants had 30 sacks, tied for 30th in the league. Only the Raiders had fewer. And of those 30 sacks, 17 came from the linebackers. Only two linebackers on the team picked off a pass. Most startling, Giants linebackers only forced ONE fumble all year.

Ask a Giants’ fan about their linebacker memories for the 2018 season and they’ll probably mention Ogletree picking off five passes and returning two of those for touchdowns. Or Goodson picking off two passes in a game. They may say that the injury-prone Vernon flashed as a pass rusher as he got healthier. And that Carter showed some good things as a rookie. But mostly it was just blah. Barwin was invisible. Martin was one-dimensional. The positives from Vernon were overshadowed by a frustrating lack of impact and bonehead mistakes such a penalties or losing contain responsibility.

Overall, the run defense wasn’t good, with players often being out-of-position or being successfully blocked out of position. And pass coverage against tight ends and backs remained a sore spot for yet another year (despite the five picks, there was a stretch of games where Ogletree was regularly abused in coverage).

THE EDGE RUSHERS

Olivier Vernon’s first three seasons with the Giants have been sabotaged due to nagging injuries, including a high ankle sprain in 2018 that caused him to miss the first five games of the season. Vernon started the remaining 11 games, accruing 30 tackles, 7 sacks, 1 pass defense, and 1 forced fumble. Despite the missed time and subpar tackle production, Vernon played in the Pro Bowl as a first alternate. Vernon was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dolphins. The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2016. Although Vernon played in all 16 regular-season games in 2016, a serious left hand/wrist injury affected his play. In 2017, he missed four games with an ankle injury that also continued to be a factor in other games. An undersized but athletic defensive end, the Giants shifted him to linebacker in 2018 to fit their new 3-4 scheme. Vernon teases with his big-play ability but he simply hasn’t been able to stay healthy and be consistently productive and reliable.

The Giants signed Kareem Martin as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2018. Though not a standout, Martin has his most productive season as a pro, playing in a 16 games with seven starts, and finishing with 48 tackles (twice as much as his previous high), 1.5 sacks, and 2 pass defenses. The 6’6”, 272-pound Martin was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Cardinals as a defensive end. The Cardinals moved him to linebacker after his rookie season. Martin is a ‘tweener who does his best work moving forward rather than moving backwards in space. He is a sold run defender, but he only has six career sacks in five seasons.

The Giants drafted Lorenzo Carter in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Carter played in 15 games as a rookie with two starts, finishing the season with 43 tackles, 4 sacks, and 4 pass defenses. He is a tall, athletic, disruptive forward mover. Carter causes problems with his quickness and closing burst but can get hung up on blocks at times. Carter flashes as a pass rusher, and he can rush the passer from the defensive end spot in certain packages.

The Giants signed Connor Barwin as an unrestricted free agent from the Los Angeles Rams in July 2018. Despite playing in 15 games with three starts, Barwin finished the year with just 12 tackles, 1 sack, and 4 pass defenses. Barwin was originally selected in the 2nd-round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Before joining the Giants, he spent time with the Texans (2009-2012), Philadelphia Eagles (2013-2016), and Rams (2017).

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

The Giants traded with the Rams for Alec Ogletree in March 2018, giving the Rams 4th- and 6th-round draft picks. In his first season with the Giants, Ogletree started all 13 regular-season games he played in, missing three games due to hamstring and concussion issues. He finished the year with 93 tackles, 1 sack, 8 pass defenses, and 5 interceptions (2 of which were returned for touchdowns). Ogletree was drafted in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Rams. He made the All-Rookie team in 2013 and was named second-team All-Pro in 2016. The 6’2”, 235-pound Ogletree lacks classic size. He’s more of a run-and-hit linebacker than take-on-and-shed guy. Team leader who was voted team captain on both the Rams and Giants. In his six NFL seasons, Olgetree has averaged almost 100 tackles per year. Despite his five interceptions in 2018, he can be exposed in man coverage by athletic pass catchers.

In his third year with the Giants, B.J. Goodson had his most productive season, playing in 15 games with 13 starts, and finishing with 61 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 4 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions. Goodson was drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he played in 15 regular-season games with no starts. In 2017, Goodson started all seven games he played in, but missed most of the season with shin and ankle issues. Goodson is a big, strong, physical linebacker who lacks ideal speed and quickness. He plays the run better than the pass.

The Giants signed Tae Davis as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. Davis not only made the team, but he played in 14 games with four starts, accruing 33 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 pass defense. The 6’0”, 222-pound Davis lacks size, but he is a good athlete with fine speed. While aggressive, Davis is not a physical player against the run and he missed too many tackles in 2018. He also needs to improve in coverage.

The Giants claimed Nate Stupar off of waivers from the New Orleans Saints in September 2018. He played in all 16 games, finishing the year with just 14 tackles. In his one start, Stupar missed three tackles. 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 Saints (2016–2017). He has played in 79 regular-season games with ten starts, six of which came in 2016 when he accrued 58 tackles. Stupar missed 11 games in 2017 with a torn ACL. He is a good special teams player.

Ukeme Eligwe was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2018 after he was waived by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Giants signed him to the 53-man roster in October 2018. Eligwe ended up playing in 10 games with no starts, accruing just seven tackles and one pass defense. The 6’2”, 239-pound Eligwe was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chiefs.

STILL HANGING AROUND

Avery Moss was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2018. Moss was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Giants. As a rookie, he played in 11 games with two starts. He finished with 14 tackles, two pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Moss has good size with long arms and is a good athlete. Moss flashes as a disruptive run defender and pass rusher, but he needs to become more consistent and get stronger at the point-of-attack.

Jordan Williams was waived/injured in September 2018 with hip and shoulder injuries, and then placed on Injured Reserve. Williams was originally signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent time with the Jets (2015) and Miami Dolphins (2015-2016) before being signed by the Giants to the Practice Squad in December 2016. He spent most of 2017 on the Giants’ Practice Squad, even though he played in one regular-season game.

Sep 122018
 
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Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Pat Shurmur – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday due to injury was linebacker Olivier Vernon (high ankle sprain).

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (back), running back Wayne Gallman (knee), and linebacker Tae Davis (hamstring) were limited in practice.

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 practice on Thursday and Friday in preparation for Sunday night’s away game against the Dallas Cowboys. The team’s coordinators will address the press on Thursday.

Sep 072018
 
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Olivier Vernon, New York Giants (August 1, 2018)

Olivier Vernon – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT – OLIVIER VERNON RULED OUT…
Not practicing on Friday due to injury were linebacker Olivier Vernon (high ankle sprain) and linebacker Tae Davis (hamstring). Both players have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“It’s safe to say (Vernon) won’t make it this week,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We’ll just worry about it week to week. He’s making great progress, so we’ll just have to see…We’re going to play with the guys that are healthy and we’ll see. Obviously you’d like to have OV on the field.”

Linebacker Lorenzo Carter (illness) fully practiced and is expected to play on Sunday.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed running back Robert Martin to the Practice Squad, two days after he was waived from the 53-man roster. To make room for Martin, the Giants terminated the Practice Squad contract of defensive lineman Josh Banks.

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…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The team plays the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at home.

Jul 292018
 
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Curtis Riley, New York Giants (July 26, 2018)

Curtis Riley – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 29, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fourth full-team summer training camp practice on Sunday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

SAM BEAL PLACED ON IR; GIANTS RE-SIGN KENNETH DURDEN…
The New York Giants have placed cornerback Sam Beal (shoulder) on Injured Reserve, ending his season. Beal aggravated an existing shoulder issue during the first training camp practice on Monday, requiring surgery and a 5-month recovery period. The Giants selected Beal in the 3rd round of the 2018 Supplemental Draft.

To fill that roster vacancy, the Giants re-signed cornerback Kenneth Durden, who the team waived on July 11th. The 6’1”, 180-pound Durden was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Raiders’ Practice Squad before being cut in September 2017. The Tennessee Titans then signed him to their Practice Squad and cut him in October 2017. The Giants signed Durden in June 2018. Durden has not played in a regular-season game.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Sunday were defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list) and tight end Garrett Dickerson (hamstring).

Cornerback Donte Deayon left practice early with an apparent hamstring injury.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Quarterback Eli Manning fired a pass between two defenders to tight end Evan Engram during 7-on-7 drills. Manning followed that up with a touchdown throw to wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. during 11-on-11 drills.
  • Cornerback Donte Deayon had excellent coverage on wideout Amba Etta-Tawo and picked off a deep sideline pass from quarterback Davis Webb.
  • Michael Thomas started at safety along with Landon Collins. Darian Thompson, Curtis Riley, and Andrew Adams have worked with the first-team with Collins on previous days.
  • Cornerback Grant Haley came up aggressively to prevent running back Robert Martin from scoring in the red zone. Martin did show some nifty moves during practice today.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a touch pass to tight end Rhett Ellison, who made the catch in the end zone for a score.
  • Linebacker Alec Ogletree ran by left tackle Nate Solder to “sack” quarterback Eli Manning, whose subsequent pass to wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. was deflected by cornerback Eli Apple and intercepted by linebacker Olivier Vernon. (Apple was flagged for pass interference on the play).
  • Running back Saquon Barkley caught a pass in the flat and badly juked out cornerback William Gay.
  • Linebacker Mark Herzlich nearly sacked quarterback Davis Webb, who rolled out to his right and fired a 40-yard bomb downfield to wide receiver Kalif Raymond.
  • Wide receiver Kalif Raymond beat safety Michael Thomas for a touchdown on a pass from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning and tight end Evan Engram continue to make plays together. Manning connected on another touchdown to Engram and also threw a nice touch pass over safety Landon Collins to Engram.
  • Running back Saquon Barkley stymied safety Landon Collins on a safety blitz, allowing quarterback Eli Manning to find wide receiver Sterling Shepard for a sizable gain against cornerback William Gay.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple broke up a pass intended for wideout Travis Rudolph.
  • Wideout Kalif Raymond stretched out to catch a pass from quarterback Davis Webb off of a rollout. Quarterback Eli Manning then found Raymond against cornerback William Gay.
  • Linebacker Olivier Vernon was able to push right tackle Ereck Flowers back into the quarterback on one rush and later beat left tackle Nate Solder for a “sack.”
  • Linebacker Kareem Martin gave both Nate Solder and Ereck Flowers problems on a couple of plays. Flower also stonewalled Martin on one rush.
  • Linebacker Connor Barwin beat right tackle Chad Wheeler for a “sack.”
  • Wide receiver Russell Shepard has quietly been making quite a few plays.
  • Saquon Barkley, Cody Latimer, Wayne Gallman, Sterling Shepard, and Jawill Davis all worked as kickoff returners.

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…

Jul 092018
 
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Alec Ogletree, New York Giants (June 12, 2018)

Alec Ogletree – © 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: Linebackers

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: As previously mentioned in our defensive line preview, one of the reasons why 2017 was such a huge disappointment was that a defense that was supposed to be the strength of the team fell from 10th in yards allowed in 2016 to 31st. Scoring defense fell from 2nd in 2016 to 27th. New York’s run defense was 27th in the NFL, allowing over 120 yards per game on average. Pass defense was 31st, allowing over 250 yards per game on average.

The problems were across the board. The defensive line and secondary were supposed to very good. They weren’t. At best, the linebackers were supposed to be average. They weren’t even that. An entire generation of New York Giants fans has now grown up without witnessing a good linebacking corps on their team. Jessie Armstead and Antonio Pierce were anomalies during the last three decades.

One would be hard-pressed to remember ANY plays made by Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, B.J. Goodson, Devon Kennard, Calvin Munson, and Kelvin Sheppard in 2017. Injuries were a major issue as Casillas, Robinson, and Goodson missed a ton of games.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: There was a much-needed house-cleaning. Of the 13 linebackers currently on the roster, only four played with the team at that position in 2017 (B.J. Goodson, Calvin Munson, Mark Herzlich, and Ray-Ray Armstrong). And re-signing Herzlich was somewhat surprising.

The Giants showed zero interest in re-signing former starters Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, and Kelvin Sheppard. It’s quite telling that all three STILL remain unemployed. The Giants also did not attempt to re-sign Akeem Ayers, Curtis Grant, and Deontae Skinner, who remain unsigned as well. Devon Kennard signed with the Detroit Lions.

The Giants traded away 4th and 6th round picks to the Rams for Alec Ogletree. The team’s first major signing in free agency was Kareem Martin from the Cardinals. Lorenzo Carter was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The team also signed street free agent Thurston Armbrister and rookie free agent Tae Davis.

And by transitioning to the 3-4 defense, the Giants have now shifted their best pass rusher – Olivier Vernon – from defensive end to linebacker. Defensive ends Avery Moss, Romeo Okwara, and Jordan Williams are also now at linebacker.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: After a quarter of a century of playing in the 4-3 defense, the New York Giants are shifting back to the 3-4. There is now an emphasis on acquiring linebackers as well as a new type of linebacker. It is no coincidence that Dave Gettleman traded away two picks for a linebacker. Or that Kareem Martin was the first player signed in free agency. Or that the Giants drafted Lorenzo Carter in the 3rd round (and tried to trade up into the 2nd round to draft him). In addition, the shift to the 3-4 led the Giants to trading away Jason Pierre-Paul and moving Oliver Vernon to outside linebacker. This defense is now predicated on the linebackers being the play makers. This is foreign territory for an entire generation of Giants fans. In 2018, the team’s leading sacker should be a linebacker. Linebackers are now expected to lead the team in tackles for losses and impact plays. Mark my words, it is only now a matter of time before the Giants draft a linebacker in the 1st round, something they haven’t done since 1984.

Perhaps the biggest issue on defense is the successful transition of Oliver Vernon from defensive end to linebacker. For this defense to be effective, Vernon has to become the team’s best pass rusher from the outside linebacker spot. While he will mostly be moving forward, and at times will be shifted to defensive end in some pass-rush packages, he needs to be able handle playing in space or opposing teams will target him. Vernon has some experience in this role from his days with the Miami Dolphins, but this is a big adjustment. Vernon also has to stay healthy, something he hasn’t been able to do since joining the Giants in 2016.

There are some people who feel Alec Ogletree is best suited for outside linebacker, but he has already been designated as the defense’s leader from one of the inside linebacker spots. A mobile athlete, Ogletree will be complemented by the more physical thumper B.J. Goodson right next to him. Ogletree could thrive with 1,000 pounds of defensive linemen in front of him. Goodson needs to stay healthy and improve his pass coverage.

Flying under the radar is Kareem Martin, whose overall stats in Arizona were unimpressive. But James Bettcher loves the former defensive end and thinks he is just scratching the surface of his ability as a linebacker. Regardless, he could be pressed by Lorenzo Carter, who has rare athletic ability.

Long story short… the linebackers are back baby!

ON THE BUBBLE: There is a decent chance that the Giants will now carry as many as eight linebackers. Barring the unforeseen, Olivier Vernon, Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, Kareem Martin, and Lorenzo Carter make the team, leaving probably two or three spots for Romeo Okwara, Avery Moss, Jordan Williams, Mark Herzlich, Calvin Munson, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Thurston Armbrister, and Tae Davis.

FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on the team’s defense: “I think each and every down we might look different on defense. But again, I’ll tell you what – I can’t tell you today who we’re going to be on defense and really what we’re going to look like until we get through training camp, until we get into meetings, until we actually get on the field, until we don’t just play some basketball on grass in the offseason program. Until we get to training camp and we have helmets and pads on and we’re striking and separating and playing off of blocks and what we’re really going to look like. But yeah, there are certainly some 3-4 principles if that’s a term we want to use. There are certainly some 4-3 principles if that’s a term you want to use. At the end of the day, it’s about playing hard with a relentless mindset, playing fast, playing physical and being a smart football team.”

Kareem Martin on the team’s defense: “We’re gonna have a lot of exotic schemes, a lot of guys coming, mixing up the fronts, just so guys won’t get a bead on where we’re coming from and it’s gonna I think cause for a lot of havoc in the backfield.”

Alec Ogletree on James Bettcher: “He’s definitely a linebackers coach, for sure. That’s what he started as. So, for us, he definitely puts it on us to lead the group, and we put it on ourselves as well to be that leader and be that dominant voice out there and get everybody ready and set to run the plays. We definitely take that responsibility.”

Bettcher on Oliver Vernon: “OV, we know is a dynamic guy. A guy that can rush from different angles, a guy that you can move around and put in different match-ups. And he’s embraced everything that we’ve done to this point. I’ve loved working with him and I think he’s making some great progress, not just in this scheme, but I think as I’ve looked at him as a player, he’s sharpening his tools right now.”

Kareem Martin on Olivier Vernon: “Real smooth football player. He’s just a natural, just really fluid player. He does some things I haven’t seen guys do before, one of the strongest linebackers I’ve played with, and just to see him be able to do some of the things and contort his body has just been amazing.”

Bettcher on Alec Ogletree: “You watch his play and I’m not just talking about his ability to make tackles or run down things on the sideline, I’m talking about his play, his mindset, his physicality at which he plays the game, how hard and passionate he plays the game. Those were some of the first things that jumped off the charts for me when we had a chance to get him here. Certainly excited about him as a leader and a guy that is going to bring a ton of energy to our room.”

Bettcher on Kareem Martin: “One of the most improved players that I’ve ever been around.”

PREDICTIONS: While this is going to be more of a hybrid defense than pure, old-fashioned 3-4, this is still going to be a bit of a culture shock for any fan under 40 years old. Linebackers setting the edge, getting into the backfield, creating turnovers, sacking the quarterback. Linebackers actually making plays! If everyone can stay healthy (ahem Vernon and Goodson), on paper, this looks like a potentially strong group. The two inside linebackers complement each other well. Olivier Vernon is no LT, but he will be expected to take on that type of pass-rush role while Kareem Martin does more of the dirty work (à la Carl Banks). Both will also be employed from the down position quite a bit. The wild card is Lorenzo Carter who I am willing to bet will press for pass rush snaps fairly early, either from a standup or down position.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Olivier Vernon, Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, Kareem Martin, and Lorenzo Carter are the obvious ones to make it. Avery Moss looks the part of a 3-4 pass-rush linebacker, but missed the spring rehabbing an injury. Word has it that Romeo Okwara looked pretty good in the spring workouts. Is there room for both? Finding depth inside could be a challenge. The leading candidates are Calvin Munson, Ray-Ray Armstrong, and possibly even Mark Herzlich. A waiver-wire pick-up here might be in the cards. Special teams ability will be key for anyone looking to make the final 53.

May 292018
 
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Odell Beckham and Eli Manning, New York Giants (May 21, 2018)

Odell Beckham and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

MAY 29, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their fourth voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Tuesday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

“OTA 4, you got to watch it, it was a good day for us,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “Coming off a four-day weekend, we had little bit of heat to it. We promised (defensive end Olivier Vernon) this was going to feel like Miami, and it did, finally. It’s always good when you add the elements to it. I told the players that we want to build a gritty team that can overcome the environment, and this is the first they had a little bit of heat and I think it was good, they pushed through it. So, again, just one more step closer to being a good football team. The guys competed well and we’ll get a chance to have two more of these this week.”

The six remaining OTA practices will be held on May 30-31, and June 4-7. There will be media availability for the June 4th practice. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 12-14.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (recovering from ankle surgery) and cornerback Janoris Jenkins did not attend Tuesday’s OTA. Head Coach Pat Shurmur did say that Beckham was “pretty close” to being cleared to return to practice.

Although he was held out of 11-on-11 team drills, safety Landon Collins (recovering from arm surgery) participated in individual and 7-on-7 drills. “(Collins) was out there competing in a limited basis and he’s trying to do everything he can as he finishes up his rehab,” said Shurmur.

Defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (unknown medical issue) and linebacker Avery Moss (unknown injury) did not practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Place kicker Marshall Koehn was 5-of-7 on field goal attempts, with misses from 41 and 50 yards out.
  • The starting defensive line was Dalvin Tomlinson at right end, Damon Harrison at nose tackle, and B.J. Hill at left end.
  • First-team offensive line combinations included Nate Solder at left tackle, Patrick Omameh at left guard, Brett Jones at center, John Greco at right guard, and Ereck Flowers at right tackle. The Giants also employed Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio at center, and Patrick Omameh at right guard.
  • John Jerry took reps with second-team at right guard and Chad Wheeler was with the second-team at right tackle.
  • Tight end Evan Engram beat linebacker Kareem Martin deep down the sideline and quarterback Eli Manning hit him with a perfect pass for the touchdown.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple knocked down a pass over the middle intended for wide receiver Cody Latimer.
  • Wide receiver Kalif Raymond made a great catch on a deep pass from quarterback Davis Webb.
  • Tackles Nate Solder, Ereck Flowers, and Chad Wheeler worked together after practice was over.

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…

May 072018
 
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Ryan Murphy, New York Giants (December 24, 2017)

Ryan Murphy – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS WAIVE FIVE PLAYERS…
The New York Giants have officially waived the following players:

  • RB Terrell Watson
  • WR Canaan Severin
  • OG Damien Mama
  • S Ryan Murphy
  • P Austin Rehkow

The Giants signed Watson to a reserve/futures contract in January 2018. Watson originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with Bengals (2015), Cleveland Browns (2016), Denver Broncos (2016), Philadelphia Eagles (2016), and Pittsburgh Steelers (2017).

The Giants signed Severin in August 2017 after he was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers, waived him before the season started in September, and then re-signed him to the Practice Squad in late December. Severin was originally signed by the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Giants signed Mama off of the Practice Squad of the Kansas City Chiefs in December 2017. He did not play in a regular-season game. Mama was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chiefs after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Chiefs waived him in their final round of cuts in early September and then signed him to the Practice Squad.

Murphy was signed to the Practice Squad in September and the 53-man roster in December 2017. He played in the last three games of the season as a back-up and was credited with just one tackle. Murphy was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks waived him in their final round of cuts in September 2015. He spent time on the Practice Squad of the Denver Broncos in both 2015 and 2016. The Giants signed Murphy to the Practice Squad in late December 2016.

The Giants signed Rehkow to a reserve/futures contract in January 2018. Rehkow was signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Bills waived him in August that year.

ARTICLES…

Apr 192018
 
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Brandon Marshall, New York Giants (October 8, 2017)

Brandon Marshall – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS CUT BRANDON MARSHALL…
The New York Giants released wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Thursday after he failed his physical. Marshall was placed on Injured Reserve in October 2017 after suffering an ankle injury in Week 5 that required stabilization surgery to repair torn ligaments. Marshall finished his disappointing debut season with the Giants with only 18 catches for 154 yards (8.6 yards per catch).

Marshall was entering the final year on a 2-year, $11 million contract and was set to count $6,156,250 against the 2018 salary cap. By cutting him, the Giants “saved” $5,156,250 with $1 million lost in dead money. The Washington Post is reporting that Marshall had agreed to take a pay cut in March. No formal re-structuring had taken place however.

Marshall was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He has played with the Broncos (2006-2009), Miami Dolphins (2010-2011), Chicago Bears (2012-2014), and Jets (2015-2016). Marshall is a six-time Pro Bowler (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015) and two-time All-Pro (2012 and 2015). Marshall is the only player in NFL history with six seasons of 100 or more receptions. In 2016, he started 15 regular-season games despite battling knee and foot injuries that he suffered in Week 2. Marshall caught 59 passes for 788 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers were down dramatically from his 109-catch, 1,502-yard, 14-touchdown 2015 season. The Giants signed Marshall in March 2017 after he was cut by the New York Jets.

DAVE GETTLEMAN’S 2018 PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman held the team’s annual pre-draft press conference on Thursday. The following is the transcript from the event (video is also available courtesy of Giants.com):

Opening Statement: Just before we begin, I’d like to thank Pat Shurmur, Chris Mara, Chris Pettit, Kevin Abrams, the scouts, the coaches and all of the support staff that we have that are just doing a terrific job helping us put the whole board together. Everybody has done a great job adjusting to the different philosophy and methodology. We have gotten meaningful dialogue and collaboration, we’ve watched a ton of film together and the ensuing dialogue is going to be very insightful and meaningful and my hat is off to all of them. They just did a great job and with that being said, let the games begin.

Q: You mentioned the different philosophies. Can you explain the changes that you brought in?

A: Well, the college football game is so different from ours it is not even close. It is a very, very different game and in the old days we would grade, you would have critical factors and you have position specifics. In the old days you had kids that were on scholarship, a lot of them were five-year guys, there was no such thing as the 20-hour rule and when those guys were coming out, all you had to do was put a little polish on them and you had a player. The guys that are coming out now and I’m not criticizing anybody, they’re not as fundamentally and technically as sound as those guys used to be. So, to grade them position specific and plus since the game has changed, the college game is different, it’s hard for us to really decipher what each player is being asked to do, it’s different. So, what I’ve tried to get everyone to understand is you have to grade the critical factors. You have to grade instincts, competitiveness, strength, explosion, athletic ability, and you’ve got to grade their play. I don’t care what a guy runs on the watch in his underwear, I don’t care. It’s how fast can he play on the field, how does he carry his pads, that’s what’s important, so with this 20-hour rule and everything, you can’t really knock it if we’re going to take a linebacker. You have to be careful if you knock his grade down because he doesn’t shed well. You don’t know what he’s being taught, you don’t know what he’s being told, you don’t know how much time is being spent on that skill and it is a skill, but that is a skill that can be coached, that’s something that we can improve, so that’s why I don’t grade on (?) I’m not as concerned much with the position specifics as I am with the critical factors, so that’s a different way of looking at it. And then just the whole methodology of setting the board up. I learned a really unique way of looking at it when I went to Carolina. I had never seen it before and when I looked at it — of course, I’m a little anxious because these guys got to understand that they are teaching me to a certain degree and they were very gentle (laughs). At the end of the day, it is a great way of looking at it and it really brings clarity to what you do and the other thing is the detail work, really knowing the player, digging deep – what kind of a guy is he? Is he trained? How important is football to him? I think in my opening presser I said I don’t want guys that like to play football, I want guys that hate to lose, that’s what I want. There isn’t anybody in this room that would say, who likes to win and everybody raise their hand, we have gone through this exercise before, it’s just the way it is. It’s that detail work that’s really important and everybody is getting it and it was really neat sitting around and watching film as a group. It’s great from looking at a guy that’s played in the Southeast Conference and it’s great for the scouts that didn’t get an opportunity to see them play. It’s vice versa as you’re looking at players around the country, so I thought it was a great exercise, it was a great teaching moment, we can all learn from each other and I thought that was very good. The scouts were excellent in terms of chiming in and telling me what they thought. I told them at our opening, the first time we all sat down, I said, ‘Listen, you’re getting paid for your opinion. You leave this room wishing you had said something but didn’t, shame on you because you’re not doing your job, you’re thinking about it.’ So it was great. We had a great time to prep, the scouts are home right now, we all got tired of looking at each other and it was time for them to see their families, so they’re home. They will be back Sunday night, we’ll take a good, hard look at the board again on Monday and Tuesday morning and then we’ll be ready to roll.

Q: How close are you to making a final decision at this point or how close are you at narrowing it down to a couple guys?

A: How close? You can’t close your mind. You can’t close your mind. You don’t know what is going to happen.

Q: Well it’s a little easier at No. 2 isn’t it?

A: Sure. Listen, we’ll know when we know. I’m not making any decisions before that.

Q: How important is this pick to the future of this franchise?

A: Well, when you’re picking this high, if you make a mistake, you’re done. We talk that when you miss on a quarterback, you really hurt the franchise for probably five years. It’s a five-year mistake. Yeah, it’s a big decision, but as long as you’ve done your homework and turned all the rocks over, you will come to the right answer. You ask the right questions and you will get the right answers.

Q: The last year or two it seemed like this quarterback class was very anticipated. Now that you have done all of your pre-draft homework, how do you think this group stacks up against other groups of quarterbacks in previous drafts?

A: It’s funny, it’s a really a neat group to evaluate because they are all different players. With the second pick, I’m sitting at Ben and Jerry’s and I’ve got a lot of flavors to look at and they’re all different. I can’t compare it to the ‘83 draft if that’s what you’re asking. The ‘83 draft you had (John) Elway, (Jim) Kelly, (Dan) Marino. C’mon Steve, help me. (Ken) O’Brien, (Tony) Eason at that time on my Patriots.

Q: What about 2004?

A: That was a heck of a group, too. Everything is different and, again, we’re in a different time with college football being just different. It’s funny, when I went to Carolina, at the opening presser they say, (?). I said listen, ‘At the end of the day, I don’t care what kind of quarterback you are, I don’t care who you play for, if you can’t make plays from the pocket, then you can’t win. You can’t win. You’ve got to be able to make plays from the pocket.’ So they take that and they run with it and I am going to trade Cam. The bottom line is all of these guys are interesting, they’re unique, there is depth there for sure and it’s a heck of a group to watch. It’s fun.

Q: When you talk about the quarterbacks in this class and the importance of the position, do you still apply your gold jacket standard?

A: I’m going to turn the question on you. My mother told me that it was never polite to answer a question with a question, but I’m going to do it anyway. If you think about all the quarterbacks that you’ve seen, who of them have made everybody better? That’s what you’re looking for. Does he make everybody around him better? That’s what you’re looking for.

Q: Is it naïve to think that the three days next week where you will see Davis Webb can change your board?

A: Nothing is going to totally change the top of the board. Seeing Davis next week is going to be fun for us because he’s a great kid, he works his fanny off, he has been following Eli (Manning) around like a little puppy dog since he walked in the door and it will be a neat opportunity to see him play. Yeah, sure, everything affects the board. I’d be lying if I said no, but at the end of the day, I’m looking forward to it.

Q: Do you like the fact that there are so many opinions about what you’re going to do at No. 2?

A: Like it? I love it. Are you kidding me? By the way, when you were on Sirius the other day, it was Saturday and I was in here holed up watching film, I was listening to you and it was hysterical what you were saying. I loved it. Yeah, I do.

Q: Was I correct?

A: Yeah, you were in the response that you made that Dave Gettleman doesn’t care about what the media says. It’s true.

Q: When people bring up smokescreens and information has leaked…

A: Let me tell you something – when I was a little kid, every time I lied, I got caught and when I was seven years old, my father kicked my butt and I haven’t lied since then. To me it’s silly, but that’s me.

Q: So who are you picking?

A: I’m taking you, Steve.

Q: That’s a five-year mistake.

A: (Laughs) What else have you got, kids?

Q: Is (Penn State RB) Saquon Barkley a generational talent?

A:  I’m not going to lie. He’s a tremendous talent. You put the film on of a defensive guy and if they’re playing Penn State, then I’m watching Saquon. He’s one of those guys that my mother could have scouted. She could have figured that one out.

Q: If a certain group is considered deep in the draft, do you stay away from that position due to the depth in the later rounds?

A: You’ve got to stay with the value. You have to stay with the value because you guys have heard a million stories, I’ve heard a million and one and you’ve probably heard half a million where a guy says, ‘Don’t worry, he’ll be there in the next round.’ Then the next round comes around and he ain’t there. You have to stay with your board, you have to stay with value. You can’t get too cute. Guys have kind of laughed around the league when we’d be on the clock in Carolina and I’d have my pick in in 28 seconds. If you know what you want, then go do it. Don’t be shy. If you get too cute, you’re going to lose. You’re going to come up on the wrong end and it’s about value. You can never have too many good players at one position.

Q: Along those lines how do you weigh the running back value in the NFL with the talent of a guy like Saquon also taking into account the value of the quarterback in the NFL?

A: I think that the devaluing of the running back is really a myth. If you have a great running back, he immediately makes your quarterback better, your offensive line better and your passing game. So I don’t believe in it. It’s how you evaluate the players, how we value them, how we rate them and then you go on from there.

Q: How much does shelf life come into consideration?

A: That’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to look at it that way. Anthony Munoz failed everybody’s physical and he only played 15 years and went to the Hall of Fame. Thurman Thomas had no ACL – I think he had a pretty long career. You make yourself crazy. You just can’t get into that. It’s the value, it’s the player – does he fit your scheme? If he fits your scheme and the value is there, pull the trigger and keep moving.

Q: What about the value of having the No. 2 pick helps you now as opposed to picking a quarterback helping the franchise in the future?

A: It’s a consideration. It’s a consideration. You think about stuff.

Q: How many good years do you think Eli Manning has left?

A: Well, you know we’ve talked about it. There is no ability to predict that. Eli takes great care of his body, he’s very fit. We watched the film and he still has plenty of arm. Who knows? Did anybody know that, I’m drawing a blank on his name; he played quarterback at the age of 45. Who knows? I know the Oakland kicker Blanda played a game late, right Steve? You played a game late and there was another quarterback, he played for Atlanta. But anyhow, like I said, Eli takes great care of himself, he’s very fit and he still has plenty of arm.

Q: How much does he factor into the equation of what you’re going to do at No. 2?

A: Everybody factors in. Your team factors into the equation, everybody does. Here is the deal – as the G.M., I walk a tight line. I have to look at the short term and I have to look at the long term and that’s the tight rope that I walk and I have to take all that into consideration in making decisions, whether it’s the draft, whether it’s unrestricted free agency, whether it’s trading for an Alec Ogletree. Whatever it is, making claims – you have to think about it. So I’m on that tight rope doing the best I can with the information that I have and we move forward.

Q: What do you say to the idea of picking at No. 2 means you have to take a quarterback?

A: I say hogwash. How is that?

Q: You never traded back in the five drafts in Carolina? Is that philosophical?

A: No, I never did, did I? It just kind of never happened, I guess. I traded up a bunch, I know that. It just kind of never happened. There was nothing ever meaningful enough that would keep me from a player that we had that was there for us to take. I guess that’s what it is. Like I said, you can outsmart yourself and you can have a player there that you like, but someone wants to trade and you go, ‘Alright, I can get extra draft picks.’ Woo and you get into that. Nobody ever offered us – you know what, in Carolina I never got a meaningful enough offer to trade back.

Q: Are you open to it if a meaningful enough offer came your way?

A: Sure. It depends on what’s on the board and who is still on the board. I’m open to it. Listen, you have to be open to everything. You have to listen. You can’t be afraid of conversation. You have to be open.

Q: Do you get more offers and calls because of your position?

A: We’ve had calls. I’ll admit to that.

Q: What do you think the likelihood is of you making a move?

A: I’m not going to put a percentage on that. If I had the answer to that, I wouldn’t be sitting here and I would be in Vegas.

Q: Are you adamant that you have to get a great player in this draft?

A: Sometimes you have to look at it this way and I’m not saying this is the way I always look at it, but sometimes you have to look at it this way – we’re all in school, do I want to get an A and four C’s or do we want an A-, a couple of B+’s and a couple of B’s? Winning requires depth. If you don’t have depth – I’ve seen teams that had great defenses that folded in the fourth quarter because they had no depth and now you’ve got guys on the field for 95-98 percent playing time. You can’t win that way, guys wear down, so there is obviously different ways of looking at it depending upon what the A looks like. But, if you get a chance to accumulate quality, you put yourself in a position to potentially accumulate picks and have a lot of very solid players, there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with that.

Q: There is a report that you are releasing Brandon Marshall. Can you comment on that?

A: Really? Yes, we have.

Q: Why now?

A: We’re releasing him – failed physical.

Q: Does that mean that you guys have interest in Dez Bryant?

A: I have interest in everybody. We do our film work and you never know.

Q: Now that we’re closer to the draft, are you able to say for sure that Odell Beckham Jr. is not going to be traded?

A: I’m not going to say. He’s on our team, he’s a valued member of our football team.

Q: Is No. 2 too high to draft a lineman?

A: It was really funny, we did some background work and there has only been one interior guy taken with the second pick of the draft and it was in (1966) and it was (Tom Mack) of the Rams. Brandon Scherff was taken at No. 5. In the old days, people would shoot you in the head. You were considered brain dead and they’d drag you out by your toes. Is it ever too early to take a great player? You know my philosophy – big men allow you to compete and you have to build your lines. I’m going to build this team from the inside out. You look at the teams that go deep in the playoffs, you turn around and you take a look at how (Eagles General Manager) Howie (Roseman) has built Philly – both fronts, let’s go. Because again, those three truths don’t change, you’ve got to run the ball, you’ve got to defend the run and rush the passer. So, everyone else wants to talk about skill guys and I want to talk about hog mollies.

Q: You said that you’ve traded up a lot. Do you have enough assets to trade up in this draft and would you dip into future drafts to trade up?

A: I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you that right now. Right now, I have no intention of dipping into future drafts. None.

Q: Can you explain how you set up your draft board?

A: It’s a combination of vertical – by position, you set it up vertically and then once you’ve set your values on the players vertically, then you start working horizontally. So, let’s say that I’ve got Russ Salzberg at a 7.4 and I’ve got Art Stapleton at a 7.4 and I’ve got Paul Schwartz at a 7.4 and Russ is the running back, Art is the tackle and Paul is a pass rusher, I’ll give him something. What you’re going to do now is if they all have the same value, they’re all in the same conversation, so when the pick comes up and those three characters are all 7.4’s, you talk about what it is and if there is a need at one of those positions, then you take the need. If there is not a need, then you take the best guy, but that’s the conversation. We’re not talking about 25 guys, we’re talking about three guys. Does that make sense to you guys?

Q: I know you laid out the process. If you had to make the pick right now, in your mind and your heart, do you know who you want to take at No. 2?

A: No. I’m being honest.

Q: Is all the information that you got during the visits overkill?

A: It’s not overkill at all, it really isn’t because what is interesting is seeing a guy out of his own element because there is a little less comfort and you can’t know too much about a guy. Remember, you’re bringing him into your locker room, how is he going to handle that, do you want him in your locker room? Who is he coming here with? Is he living alone, does he know how to boil water? How is he going to handle New York City? It is all that stuff and we have to find that out because when you come into the National Football League and so many of these guys are 21, 20 years old when they get out there for the first time and there is some 28, 29 year-old man staring them in the face, they better be ready for that because it’s going to be a rude awakening, and if you don’t bring in the kinds of guys that you know are going to be able to stand up to that, then you’re making a mistake. The 30 visits are not overkill. The amount of contact that we have with these guys over the draft process, all star games, Indianapolis and then their Pro Days workouts and then the 30 guys we can bring in here, it’s very, very meaningful and it’s important.

Q: When you talk about the quarterbacks about being in Ben and Jerry’s and having a lot of different flavors, does that also translate to there is no one that has it all?

A: Not necessarily. They are four different, distinct personalities. But no, not necessarily.

Q: Do you know in your mind right now if you will take a quarterback?

A: Time will tell.

Q: By your own barometer of envisioning the player you take at No. 2 wearing a gold jacket some day, is there a chance that that player is out there, he can help you win now and it’s actually not that hard of a decision?

A: Yes.

Q: You took Christian McCaffrey at No. 8 last year and you described the pick as a no brainer. Could you argue at No. 2 that Saquon is a no brainer to help this team?

A: You could argue that either way.

Q: One of the things that you need from a player is that they have to love football. There are reports that Josh Rosen maybe lacks a desire to play the game. You met with him. What was your impression of him?

A: He wants to play football. He came off as bright, insightful and he wants to play football.

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