Feb 222019
 
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B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson – © USA TODAY Sports

After 24 years of playing in the 4-3 defense, the New York Giants shifted back to a 3-4 defense that emphasized the pass rush coming from the outside linebackers rather than the defensive ends. It was anticipated that the big, strong, tackle-like trio of nose tackle Damon Harrison and ends Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill would dominate the line of scrimmage. While the defensive line was arguably the strongest unit on a disappointing defense, more was expected. Harrison was surprisingly traded away in late October after a dreadful 1-6 start. The Giants publicly claimed this was done to move Tomlinson and Hill to more natural positions, but there was also speculation, fueled by senior official comments of bad team chemistry, that the Giants considered Harrison a locker room cancer.

Team defense “improved” from 31st in 2017 to 24th in 2018. The Giants were 20th in run defense in 2018, allowing over 118 yards per game and 4.3 yards per rush, which were very similar to their 2017 numbers. Of course, much of the blame for this disappointing result must also rest with the linebackers and defensive backs, who were often out of position and missed too many tackles.

In January, Dave Gettleman chalked up 2018 as a valuable learning experience for the young linemen.

When we traded Snacks, part of the issue when Snacks was here was he played the one (technique), we had Dalvin playing the three (technique), and B.J. playing the five technique. Well, Dalvin’s a one technique and B.J.’s a three, so I’m very pleased with the change… B.J. came a long way. Pass rush is critical, as I’ve stated it a million times as we all know. B.J. had, I think, five and a half sacks, so he made some progress inside. Dalvin did what he does at the one, so for us, it worked out and those young guys are getting snaps. That’s the only way they’re going to get better. There’s a theory out there that young guys, once they get to 5,000 snaps, that’s when they’re really ready to rock and roll and that includes practice and game snaps and all that. I don’t know if I subscribe to it, but I’m just throwing it out there.

Overall, the run defense was not as good as expected. And while there were flashes here and there, particularly from Hill, there were no consistent pass rushers in this group.

THE NEW BUILDING BLOCKS

Dalvin Tomlinson began the year playing the 3-technique position (9 starts) in the team’s 3-4 scheme before being moved to the 1-technique spot (7 starts) after nose tackle Damon Harrison was traded. He finished the season with 59 tackles and no sacks. The Giants drafted Tomlinson in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Tomlinson started every game as a rookie and finished the season with 50 tackles and one sack. Tomlinson is an average-sized tackle who is very strong and tough. He is a good run defender who flashes the ability to disrupt plays in the backfield, but to-date, he has not proven to be much of a pass rusher (only one sack in two seasons).

The Giants drafted B.J. Hill in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He played in all 16 regular-season games with 12 starts, finishing the season with 48 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two pass defenses. Though listed as a 3-4 defensive end, the 6’3”, 303-pound Hill was shifted from the five-technique position to the three-technique after the team traded away nose tackle Damon Harrison. Hill has good quickness for his size, plays with leverage, and flashes the ability to disrupt. He needs to become a more consistent run defender.

SOLID ROTATIONAL PLAYERS

The Giants signed Josh Mauro as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2018 after he was cut by the Cardinals. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 NFL season by the NFL for the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Mauro played in the 12 remaining games, with four starts, finishing with 28 tackles and one sack. The 6’6”, 290-pound, English-born Mauro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2014 NFL Draft. He did not make the team, but was signed by the Cardinals after he was cut. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Mauro played in 47 regular-season games with 26 starts. Mauro is a hard-working run player who does not get much heat on the quarterback (only three career sacks).

In his fifth season with the Giants, Kerry Wynn started five of the 14 games that he played in, finishing with 39 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 pass defenses, and 2 forced fumbles. Wynn was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has played in 63 regular-season games, with 15 starts. Wynn has a nice combination of size, strength, and overall athletic ability. Wynn is a better run defender than pass rusher as he lacks dynamic quickness on the outside pass rush (just 4.5 career sacks). He is able to play defensive tackle in pass-rush situations. Wynn flashed more in 2018 than he has in previous regular seasons.

The Giants claimed Mario Edwards off of waivers from the Oakland Raiders in September 2018. He served as a primary back-up, playing in 15 games with no starts, and finishing the year with 14 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. The 6’3”, 280-pound Edwards was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Raiders. He missed most of 2016 with a hip injury. In three years with the Raiders, Edwards played in 30 regular-season games with 24 starts. While a disappointment in Oakland, Edwards is a good athlete who flashes against both the run and the pass.

The Giants selected R.J. McIntosh in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. However, an unpublicized medical condition prevented him from practicing with the team all summer and the Giants placed him on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness List in September 2018. He was activated to the 53-man roster in early November and ended up playing in six games with no starts, accruing just five tackles. McIntosh combines good size and overall athleticism.

YET TO MAKE A MARK

The Giants signed John Jenkins in September 2018 after he was cut by the Chicago Bears. He was active for seven games, but was not credited with any tackles. The 6’3”, 327-pound Jenkins was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He has spent time with the Saints (2013-2016), Seattle Seahawks (2016), and Bears (2017-2018). From 2013 to 2015, Jenkins played in 42 regular-season games with 21 starts. However, in 2016 and 2017, Jenkins played in just 17 regular-season games with two starts. He was inactive for eight games in 2017. With only 1.5 career sacks, Jenkins is strictly a run-defending nose tackle-type.

The Giants signed Myles Humphrey to the Practice Squad in October 2018. Listed as a defensive end, the 6’3”, 238-pound Humphrey originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent most of September on the Ravens’ Practice Squad.

Kristjan Sokoli was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2018 after tearing an ACL in one of his knees in the preseason opener. The Giants Sokoli signed to the Practice Squad in late December 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.

Jan 222019
 
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Michael Thomas, New York Giants (December 9, 2018)

Michael Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS LOSE DESHEA TOWNSEND TO BEARS…
The Chicago Bears have hired Deshea Townsend as their new defensive backs coach. The 43-year old Townsend had served as the New York Giants’ assistant defensive backs coach under Head Coach Pat Shurmur and Defensive Backs Coach Lou Anarumo.

Townsend joined the Giants last year after serving as the defensive backs coach of the Tennessee Titans in 2016-2017. He was an NFL cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1998-2009) and Indianapolis Colts (2010).

MICHAEL THOMAS TO PLAY IN PRO BOWL…
New York Giants safety Michael Thomas will play in the Pro Bowl as the team’s special team player as a replacement for Los Angeles Rams linebacker Cory Littleton. Thomas was elected as a first alternate to the Pro Bowl last month. This is the first time Thomas will play in the NFL’s all-star game, joining teammates running back Saquon Barkley, place kicker Aldrick Rosas, and linebacker Olivier Vernon (also a first alternate). Safety Landon Collins was also elected to play, but he will not do so as he is recovering from shoulder surgery.

ARTICLES…

Dec 062018
 
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James Bettcher, New York Giants (September 30, 2018)

James Bettcher – © USA TODAY Sports

LANDON COLLINS PLACED ON IR…
The New York Giants have placed safety Landon Collins on Injured Reserve with shoulder injury that will require season-ending surgery. To fill the roster vacancy, the Giants signed safety Kenny Ladler from the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants also signed punter Brock Miller to the Practice Squad.

The Giants signed Ladler to the Practice Squad in November 2018. The 6’1”, 200-pound Ladler was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Buffalo Bills after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Bills (2014-2015), Edmonton Eskimos (2016-2017), and Washington Redskins (2018). Ladler has played in seven regular-season NFL games with no starts. Five of those games came with the Redskins in 2018. The Redskins waived him in November.

Miller went undrafted in 2014. While he has worked out for a number of teams since then, he went unsigned until the San Francisco 49ers signed him in 2017. But they cut him after the 2017 NFL Draft. Miller spent some time with the Jacksonville Jaguars before last year’s AFC Championship Game, but he did not play.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
With safety Landon Collins (shoulder) being placed on Injured Reserve, the only player on the 53-man roster who did not practice on Thursday was linebacker Tae Davis (ankle).

Linebacker B.J. Goodson (neck/foot) practiced on a limited basis.

Tight end Evan Engram (hamstring), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (rib), and linebacker Lorenzo Carter (hip) fully practiced.

Running back Jonathan Stewart’s three-week practice period has expired, meaning he will remain on Injured Reserve for the remainder of the season. Stewart was placed on IR in September with a foot injury. He was designated for return last month, which opened a three-week window in which the Giants had to make the decision of whether or not to place him on the active roster.

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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice again on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins.

Sep 062018
 
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James Bettcher, New York Giants (August 1, 2018)

James Bettcher – © USA TODAY Sports

SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR THOMAS MCGAUGHEY BATTLING CANCER…
New York Giants Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey revealed on Thursday that he is battling intestinal and lymphatic cancer.

“This past offseason, they found a growth in my bowel duct,” said McGaughey. “In that growth was cancer. They removed it. I had a very extensive procedure, called a whipple procedure. During the whipple, they found a cancer in one of my lymph nodes. I’ve been doing chemotherapy for about the last two months. I’m going on my fifth treatment, and it’s going good…I have a couple more treatments left. It is what it is…I had a scan, it was in Hackensack, three weeks ago. It was fine.”

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT – OLIVIER VERNON STILL NOT PRACTICING…
Not practicing on Thursday due to injury were linebacker Olivier Vernon (high ankle sprain) and linebacker Tae Davis (hamstring). Linebacker Lorenzo Carter (illness) was limited in practice.

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

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Aug 212018
 
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Kalif Raymond, New York Giants (August 17, 2018)

Kalif Raymond – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 21, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS PRACTICE REPORT…
There are no more New York Giants training camp practices open to the public this summer. However, the team will continue to practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center each week, including Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Tuesday due to injury were wide running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), running back Jalen Simmons (concussion), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (knee), linebacker Calvin Munson (concussion), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

“As we all know, (Barkley) tweaked his hamstring, and he’s training really well and doing more and more each day,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We like the path he’s on.”

Defensive lineman A.J. Francis left practice early with an unknown injury, but later returned.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The Giants were in full pads for the second day in a row.
  • Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong continued to work with first-team nickel defense.
  • William Gay was the second-team free safety.
  • Donte Deayon received some reps at first-team slot corner.
  • Linebacker Kareem Martin penetrated into the backfield for a “sack” against right tackle Ereck Flowers.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple jumped a sideline toss from quarterback Eli Manning but dropped the potential interception.
  • For the second straight day, quarterback Kyle Lauletta hit wide receiver Jawill Davis deep. Lauletta later connected with Davis again on a fade pass for a score.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit tight end Evan Engram on a post pattern for a long touchdown. Manning later connected with wide receiver Sterling Shepard for another long score.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb threw a touchdown strike to wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo who was being double covered.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a fade touchdown pass to wide receiver Alonzo Russell over cornerback Leonard Johnson.
  • Cornerback Grant Haley knocked away a sideline pass intended for wideout Kalif Raymond.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb threw a fade touchdown pass to wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo, who made a one-handed catch, over cornerback Grant Haley.
  • Cornerback Janoris Jenkins broked up a deep pass from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Cornerback Donte Deayon picked off a pass from quarterback Davis Webb near the goal line.

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/1031986796303806464

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…

VICTOR CRUZ RETIRES FROM THE NFL…
Former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (2010-2016) has retired from the NFL. In his seven seasons with the Giants, Cruz played in 70 regular-season games with 53 starts, catching 303 passes for 4,549 and 25 touchdowns. Signed as a rookie free agent after the 2010 NFL Draft, Cruz’s football career ended prematurely after suffering three lower-leg injuries that seemed to rob him of his quickness, including arthroscopic knee surgery in 2013, career-threatening patellar tendon knee injury in 2014, and a calf injury that required surgery in 2015. The Giants cut him in February 2017.

Aug 102018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (August 9, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND BROWNS 20 – NEW YORK GIANTS 10…
Although the starters did not play long, the New York Giants were clearly out-played in a preseason match-up between the NFL’s two worst teams last season. The Giants fell to the Browns 20-10 on Thursday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The highlight of the night for the Giants came on their very first offensive snap when rookie running back Saquon Barkley broke off a 39-yard run, demonstrating vision, shiftiness, power, and speed. (Barkley’s other four carries picked up a total of four yards before he was pulled for the evening). Despite the big initial gain, the Giants’ first drive stalled at the Cleveland 23-yard line as New York settled for a 42-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas.

The Browns responded with a big play of their own, a 32-yard strike from quarterback Tyrod Taylor to wide receiver Jarvis Landry over cornerback Janoris Jenkins. But Landry was flagged for taunting on the play. The defense then held and Cleveland punted.

The Giants’ first-team offense only played one more series (and two overall). The drive ended when with a 10-yard sack on quarterback Eli Manning by a free blitzing linebacker coming up the middle. Manning finished the night 4-of-7 for 26 yards.

Taylor carved up New York’s first-team defense on his second series, completing a 21-yard pass against cornerback Eli Apple and then burning inside linebacker Alec Ogletree on a 36-yard touchdown pass to tight end David Njoku. Browns 7 – Giants 3.

Quarterback Davis Webb entered the game with the second-team offense on the third series and played into the 3rd quarter. The jittery Webb was awful, completing just 9-of-22 passes (41 percent) for 70 yards. The Giants’ offense ground to a halt. In six straight possessions with Webb at the helm, the Giants punted five times and watched the clock expire before halftime at the Cleveland 21-yard line.

Meanwhile, the #1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Baker Mayfield entered the game and put on a show, completing 11-of-20 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns, including a second touchdown catch by Njoku (from 10 yards out, 2-point conversion attempt failed). Mayfield also completed a 54-yard catch-and-run score to wide receiver Antonio Callaway, who got away from cornerback Leonard Johnson and safety Orion Stewart, early in the 4th quarter.

The Giants’ only other score in the game came early in the 3rd quarter after defensive end Kerry Wynn forced a fumble on a punt return that was recovered by long snapper Zak DeOssie at the Cleveland 14-yard line. Three plays later, running back Jalen Simmons scored from five yards out. This was Webb’s last possession and his sole contribution here was a 6-yard scramble.

By the 4th quarter, both teams were playing their third and fourth teamers, with both Kyle Lauletta (6-of-9 for48 yards) and Alex Tanney (3-of-7 for 49 yards) seeing time at quarterback for the Giants. Neither team scored after Mayfield’s last pass early in the 4th quarter that went for the 54-yard touchdown.

Overall, the Browns out-gained the Giants in total net yards (372 to 310) and net yards passing (322 to 176) while the Giants were superior in first downs (19 to 15) and net rushing yards (134 to 50). The Giants did not turn the football over. Defensively, nose tackle Robert Thomas accrued New York’s lone sack on the night.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Not playing for the Giants due to injury were wide receiver Travis Rudolph (unknown), tight end Ryan O’Malley (foot/ankle), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), safety/cornerback William Gay (hamstring), and cornerback/safety Curtis Riley (hamstring).

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and safety Mike Basile were healthy scratches.

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

GIANTS SIGN SAFETY MIKE BASILE….
The New York Giants have signed undrafted rookie free agent Mike Basile (Monmouth University). The 6’1”, 185-pound Basile lacks ideal speed, but he is a hard-working, tough, smart, and instinctive football player with good foot quickness.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media by conference call on Friday. The players are off on Saturday, the same day the team’s summer training camp officially ends. The players will practice on Sunday and Monday (no public access) before traveling to Michigan to practice against the Detroit Lions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (open to public).

Aug 072018
 
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Robert Martin, New York Giants (August 7, 2018)

Robert Martin – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 7, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eleventh full-team summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Although the Giants will practice publicly against the Detroit Lions for three days in Michigan next week (August 14-16), today’s practice was the last public training camp practice in New Jersey. The Giants’ practices in New Jersey on August 12-13 are not open to the public.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Tuesday were tight end Ryan O’Malley (protective boot for right foot/ankle), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), and defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list).

Cornerback William Gay (hamstring) returned to practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Giants practices in helmets and shells with no pads. It was a light practice featuring individual drills and install periods in order to prepare for Thursday’s preseason opener.
  • Wide receivers Jawill Davis and Alonzo Russell both dropped passes. Russell broke open deep but bobbled the bomb from quarterback Alex Tanney. Later in practice, Tanney found Russell again deep and this time he came up with a 50-yard touchdown grab.
  • Quarterback Alex Tanney hit wide receiver Roger Lewis deep down right seam for a touchdown.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta hit wide receiver Alonzo Russell deep down the right side for a touchdown. But then Lauletta was picked off by safety Sean Chandler.

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…

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

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

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

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

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

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

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

Jul 112018
 
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Sam Beal, Western Michigan Broncos (September 2, 2017)

Sam Beal – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS DRAFT SAM BEAL IN SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT…
The New York Giants have drafted cornerback Sam Beal (Western Michigan) in the 3rd-round of the Supplemental Draft. By drafting Beal now, the Giants forfeit their 3rd-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. This is the first time the Giants have selected a player in the Supplemental Draft since safety Tito Wooten in 1994.

Beal was widely considered the best player available in the Supplemental Draft since wide receiver Josh Gordon was selected by the Browns in 2012. He was also projected by some to be a top-five corner in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Beal combines good body length (6’1”, 185 pounds) and overall athleticism (4.5 in the 40-yard dash). He’s a smooth, natural cover corner who can flip his hips and has quick feet. Beal does need to improve his run defense.

“We feel like we’re getting our third-round pick now,” said General Manager Dave Gettleman. “We discussed it at length yesterday, and had a great conversation. We basically had a draft meeting in the office, with people on the speaker phone who had seen him. It was a very thorough conversation.

“We’re very, very excited about getting Sam in the draft. He’s long, he’s very athletic for a corner, he has all the physical skills, he can carry the vertical, he has very good play speed, he shows instincts out there, he has ball awareness, he doesn’t panic when the ball is thrown at his guy, and he is a very willing tackler. We just feel it gives us a really talented young kid with the ability to ascend.”

To make room for Beal, the Giants waived cornerback Kenneth Durden. The Giants signed Durden in June 2018. He 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.

ARTICLES…

Jul 052018
 
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B.J. Hill, New York Giants (June 12, 2018)

B.J. Hill – © 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: Defensive Line

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: 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. Worse, scoring defense fell from 2nd in 2016 to 27th.

In 2017, 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. These numbers are so bad that every position and the coaching staff must share responsibility.

Two position groups were supposed to carry the defense: the defensive line and the secondary, covering up for a linebacking corps that has been considered sub par for years. Both groups failed miserably. Up front, not only could the Giants not stop the run, but they couldn’t rush the passer either. Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon were paid huge sums of money to get after the quarterback, yet finished with a total of 15 sacks. These numbers look even worse when one realizes that JPP and Olivier were each held sackless in 10 games. And after these two, the rest of the line had an embarrassing 4.5 sacks in 16 games. Sometimes sacks are overrated if your pass rushers are getting hits on the quarterback. But the Giants were 27th in quarterback hits with 70 – or a little over four per game.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants traded Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March. The team also let Jay Bromley walk in free agency. The Giants re-signed Kerry Wynn and Robert Thomas in free agency, as well as signing newcomers Josh Mauro (Cardinals) and A.J. Francis (Redskins). The Giants drafted B.J. Hill (3rd round) and R.J. McIntosh (5th round) in the 2018 NFL Draft. Tyrell Chavis was signed as a rookie free agent.

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. While it won’t be the Giants’ old 2-gap system, and the team will shift at times back to the 4-3, the switch is a big deal. We’ve already seen the fallout with the personnel department acquiring more 3-4-type defensive linemen and linebackers. Because the Giants will play a hybrid defense, and because in the 3-4 the outside linebackers tend to be more forward-movers, defining who is a defensive end, nose tackle, defensive tackle, and even linebacker becomes more complicated and partially moot. For example, even back in 1980s, one could argue Lawrence Taylor was a glorified standup defensive end. When you hear the coaches now talking about 5-man fronts, they are not talking about just defensive linemen, but the outside linebackers.

What we do know is this, Damon Harrison will be the starting nose tackle. Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill are likely to be the starting defensive ends, especially with Josh Mauro starting the year with a 4-game suspension. Meanwhile, Olivier Vernon, Romeo Okwara, and Avery Moss are with the linebackers now. When the Giants go the 4-3 in certain pass-rush packages, expect these three to put their hand in the dirt.

On paper, the trio of Tomlinson, Harrison, and Hill up front seems imposing and a problem for opposing teams that want to establish the run. The good news is that Tomlinson and Harrison have previous experience in similar systems so the adjustment should not be that difficult for them. Hill’s college coaches talk about his position flexibility and he has impressed his new coaches and teammates with the Giants. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher brought defensive end Josh Mauro and hyrid linebacker/defensive end Kareem Martin over from his old team with him. Base-defense depth could be an issue if any of the starters get hurt.

The big question is are there any pass rushers in this group? Can Tomlinson and Hill get any heat on the quarterback from the 3-4 defensive end spots? Bettcher has also said they will work to get Harrison more favorable one-on-one match-ups rather than facing constant double teams. In a traditional 3-4 system, the pass rush usually comes from the outside linebackers (Olivier Vernon, Kareem Martin, Lorenzo Carter, etc.), but these guys will also put their hands in the dirt in certain packages. Regardless of style of defense or position, the team must get heat on the passer in order to be a good defense.

ON THE BUBBLE: Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill are the sure bets. Normally, R.J. McIntosh would be too, but he has been sidelined all spring with a mysterious ailment and still remains unsigned. The Giants knew about Mauro’s 4-game suspension when they signed him so he will likely make the team. If Harrison were to get hurt, Tomlinson and Hill could probably play nose tackle, but finding another 3-4-type reserve is important. Robert Thomas and A.J. Francis will probably be battling each other for one of these spots. Kerry Wynn had a good spring, but I’m not sure where his body type fits on this defense. Josh Banks, who spent last year on IR, was also active in the spring workouts. He faces an uphill climb as do Kristjan Sokoli, Jordan Williams, and Tyrell Chavis.

FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on his defensive line: “I think B.J.’s (Hill) really coming along. I’m really excited with where he’s at right now…(Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Damon Harrison) have done a great job for us and I think Kerry Wynn has had a really, really good offseason and excited to see him in pads. Josh (Mauro), (A.J.) Francis, the list can go on. Robert (Thomas). I’m going to leave guys out if I keep going. But I’ll say this: I’m excited about where that group is at right now, but more importantly I’m excited about putting some pads on and seeing where we’re really at.”

Bettcher on if B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson can rush the passer: “I do think so. I do think so. And one of the things when we drafted B.J., that was part of us selecting him because we thought he has a potential to be a three-down player. Whether that’s a middle push guy, whether that’s a guy that can beat some guards and create some disruption for either edge players, or edge pressure guys. Dalvin’s the same kind of player. Has some slipperiness to him, has the ability to get on edges. Excited to get to – again, I keep saying that, but I’m anxious to get to training camp to really see where some of that’s at. But I do expect those guys to be able to help us.”

Bettcher on Damon Harrison: “We went and looked initially, all the one-on-ones that he had in the run game, and there wasn’t anyone that blocked him one-on-one in the run game. And I think what he’ll find and what we’ll find is we’ll be able to get him some one-on-ones. Whether that’s matched up on a center, on a guard, we’ll be able to get him some one-on-ones in the run game.”

Damon Harrison on B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson: “He can play. He can play and that’s the first thing our defensive line coach told me when I got here. He said, ‘You’re going to love 95.’ He said, ‘He can play.’ So, I got out here and I’ve been watching him. He’s strong and he’s got some wiggle to him and he has some move to him. So, that’s somebody else who I think with some time and a little more experience will be a dominant player in this league, as well as Dalvin Tomlinson, who I think will take the next step this year.”

PREDICTIONS: Perhaps I’m too guilty of drinking the offseason Kool-Aid, but I’m very optimistic about the team’s starting front three if they can stay healthy. Dalvin Tomlinson, Damon Harrison, and B.J. Hill are not only a combined 1,000 pounds of muscle up front, but they are darn good. There aren’t many teams in this league that can field three players of this caliber. James Bettcher’s 3-4 system is not a two-gap system where the responsibility of the linemen is to absorb blocks and allow the linebackers to make a play. Bettcher’s system is a penetrating defense where he will look to create favorable one-on-one match-ups. The Giants (and Bettcher) are very fortunate to have had two players (Harrison and Tomlinson) on the roster with 3-4 position versatility. Drafting B.J. Hill simply completed the picture. THIS is what enabled the team to move forward with the new scheme. For the first time in decades, the Giants have the TYPE of players to play the 3-4.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: It is difficult to predict how many defensive linemen the Giants will carry because of the hybrid nature of the defense and the hybrid nature of many of the players in this defense. Personally, I would prefer the team carry at least five true defensive tackle types (three starters and two reserves) beyond any other situational players. The three starters are Harrison, Tomlinson, Hill. Mauro will start the year on the suspension list so he won’t count against the roster. McIntosh is a question mark at this point because of his health too. Right now, if you put a gun to my head, I would guess Kerry Wynn, Robert Thomas, and McIntosh make the September team. But Thomas could be pressed by Francis. And Josh Banks could sneak onto this roster… he’s physically well suited for a 3-4 end.