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.

ARTICLES…

Feb 102018
 
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Kevin Stefanski, Minnesota Vikings (August 9, 2015)

Kevin Stefanski – © USA TODAY

REPORT – VIKINGS DENY GIANTS PERMISSION TO INTERVIEW KEVIN STEFANSKI…
ESPN is reporting that the Minnesota Vikings have denied the New York Giants permission to interview Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski. The Giants were interested in Stefanski as the team’s new offensive coordinator. The 35-year old Stefanski has served in various assistant coaching capacities for the Vikings since 2006.

Media speculation is that the Giants may now turn to former Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell or Philadelphia Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley. However, the Eagles could also deny Staley permission to interview with the Giants.

REPORT – DAVE GETTLEMAN HIRES DRAFT CONSULTANT…
The New York Post is reporting that New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman has hired Mark Koncz as a scouting department consultant. Koncz worked with Gettleman with the Carolina Panthers as director of pro scouting, a position that Koncz had held since 2000. Gettleman promoted him to director of player personnel in May 2017 before the Panthers fired Koncz in July after Gettleman was also let go.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Exclusive Giants.com interviews with the following players are available at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

Dec 272017
 
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Eli Apple, New York Giants (December 24, 2017)

Eli Apple – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS SUSPEND ELI APPLE…
The New York Giants announced Wednesday afternoon that they have suspended cornerback Eli Apple for the final week of the team’s season, including the season finale against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. Apple’s season is officially over.

“We have suspended Eli for a pattern of behavior that is conduct detrimental to the team,” said Interim General Manager Kevin Abrams.

Apple, the 10th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has had a troubled year both off the field (family issues and conflict with teammates) and on the field (injuries and being benched by the Giants).

On Tuesday, safety Landon Collins took a harsh shot at Apple during his weekly interview with ESPN Radio. “There’s only just one corner that… needs to grow, and we all know who that is,” said Collins. “That would be the only person I would change out of our secondary group. Besides, the other two guys, (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) and (Janoris Jenkins), I love those two guys. They play hard. They love what they do. But that first pick… he’s a cancer.”

This was the continuation of an escalating feud between Collins and Apple that began two weeks ago when Collins originally defended Apple and said he had privately talked to Apple, offering him advice and counsel. Apple denied that Collins had done that, initiating a conflict inside the locker room (one press report saying Collins had to be restrained when confronting Apple) and publicly on Twitter. Last week on ESPN Radio, Collins said Apple needed to “grow up.”

On Wednesday, Collins tweeted, “I met with Coach Spags and Eli this morning and I apologized for the things I said yesterday. I never stop supporting my brother/teammate Eli and the rest of my teammates as we move forward. Just want him to know I’m always here for him (100 percent).”

“Listen, I think Landon has already addressed what happened the other day,” said Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo after practice and before Apple was suspended. “Just real quickly – I love Landon. We had a quick conversation this morning and then I had a quick conversation with Eli (Apple) and then all three of us had a really good conversation and it was very productive and I’ll just leave it at that. It’s between them and they were really great. I’ll just leave it alone.”

For his part, Apple did not address the media on Wednesday other than to let them know he had to “take a shit” on his way to the bathroom. Shortly after that, Apple was suspended. The NFL Network is reporting that Apple’ suspension was “due in part to his refusal to take the field with the scout team” and that “he then got into it with a coach.”

GIANTS PLACE B.J. GOODSON ON INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants have placed linebacker B.J. Goodson on Injured Reserve with a high ankle sprain that has nagged him much of the season. Goodson missed two games in September with a shin injury, returned to the starting lineup in October, but then missed six of his next eight games with the ankle issue. In all, Goodson started seven games and finished 2017 with 53 tackles, two pass defenses, and one forced fumble.

To fill that roster vacancy, the team signed wide receiver Marquis Bundy from the Practice Squad. The 6’4”, 215-pound Bundy was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals after the 2016 NFL Draft. The Cardinals waived him in August 2017 and the Giants then signed him.

The Giants have also signed wide receiver Canaan Severin and defensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli to the Practice Squad.

The Giants signed the 6’2”, 205-pound Severin in August 2017 and waived him before the season started in September. Severin was originally signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury. The Steelers waived him in August 2017.

Sokoli was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. The 6’5”, 300-pound Sokoli has spent time with the Seahawks (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2016), and New Orleans Saints (2017). The Albanian-born player has played both on the offensive and defensive lines.

DAVIS WEBB PROMOTED…
With one game left in the 2017 regular season, Davis Webb has replaced Geno Smith as Eli Manning’s primary back-up at quarterback.

“Davis Webb will be the second quarterback going into this game,” said Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo. “Having said that, that’s no reflection on Geno. Last week I told you all that we were going to try to get Davis Webb ready in case we could get him in the game. There’s no guarantees that we will get him in the game, but he will be the number two on Sunday.”

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (neck0, wide receiver Tavarres King (concussion), tight end Evan Engram (rib), and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) did not practice on Wednesday.

Wide receiver Roger Lewis (ankle), offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (groin), offensive tackle Bobby Hart (ankle), and defensive end Avery Moss (hip) practiced on a limited basis.

INTERIM HEAD COACH STEVE SPAGNUOLO…
The transcript of Steve Spagnuolo’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 New York Giants practice on Thursday at 11:35AM. Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo, Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan, Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn, and select players will also address the media after practice.

Nov 272017
 
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D.J. Fluker, New York Giants (August 26, 2017)

D.J. Fluker – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS PLACE FOUR ON INJURED RESERVE, INCLUDING D.J. FLUKER…
The New York Giants have placed right guard D.J. Fluker (toe), linebacker Curtis Grant (knee), linebacker Deontae Skinner (hamstring), and cornerback Donte Deayon (fractured forearm) on Injured Reserve.

Fluker injured his toe in the November 19 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The other three players were injured during the Thanksgiving game against the Washington Redskins.

The Giants also claimed linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong off of waivers from the San Francisco 49ers and signed free agent linebacker Jeremy Cash.

Armstrong was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Rams (2013-2014), Oakland Raiders (2014-2015), and San Francisco 49ers (2015-2017). The 49ers waived him in November 2017. The 6’3”, 220-pound Armstrong has played in 58 regular-season games with ten starts, five of which came in 2017 with the 49ers.

Cash was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Carolina Panthers after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Panthers (2016-2017) and New York Jets (2017). The 6’0”, 230-pound Cash has played in nine NFL games with no starts.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Select New York Giants players will be available to the press on Tuesday. The Giants return to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s away game against the Oakland Raiders.