Oct 192020
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (October 18, 2020)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS PLACE LORENZO CARTER ON INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants have officially placed linebacker Lorenzo Carter on Injured Reserve. Carter ruptured his Achilles’ tendon against the Dallas Cowboys on October 11th. He will miss the remainder of the 2020 NFL season. The Giants drafted 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 started 12 games in 2019 and finishing the year with 45 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 5 pass defenses, and 1 forced fumble. Carter started the first five games this year and was credited with 14 tackles and one sack.

OCTOBER 19, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The Giants have a short week, next playing on Thursday night. The team did not practice on Monday, but issued the following estimation had the Giants practiced:

WR C.J. Board (concussion), LB Tae Crowder (hamstring), DB Darnay Holmes (neck), and DB Adrian Colbert (shoulder) did not practice.

WR Darius Slayton (foot) was limited and RB Dion Lewis (hand) fully practiced.

OCTOBER 19, 2020 JOE JUDGE PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 20-19 victory over the Washington Football Team (the video is also available on Giants.com):

Q: You gave a detailed explanation of why (Andrew) Thomas didn’t start yesterday and how that went with Matt Peart. In the second half, was it also your plan to rotate the two, or was Thomas coming out in the third quarter after a missed block a performance-based move?

A: No, there was just a plan to go ahead and move our players on through the entire game at multiple positions, so we just stuck to the plan right there. There was nothing performance-based on that at all in that right there, no. I stress again with Andrew, obviously, this is something the guy made a mistake on a team policy. Again, I’d like to stress this guy is a great dude in the building. We love Andrew. Nothing disrespectful or malicious. He just made a mistake and there are consequences.

Q: So, in the second half, the plan was to rotate them just the same as you did in the first half?

A: Yeah, Marc (Colombo) had them on a rotation. He kind of just stuck with the number of series that were going in and out at that point right there.

Q: I know you guys didn’t practice today, but how much closer is Sterling Shepard being ready? I know it’s a quick turnaround to Thursday night, but how much closer are you to having him on the field?

A: Yeah, I think we’re a little bit closer than we were last week. Obviously, he didn’t make it to the game. He worked with the trainers today. I’m going a lot right now off the information they’ve given me from today’s workout. We were in staff meetings when he was out there on the field doing some of his rehab stuff. Being a walkthrough week for us, we’ll have to go really based on what the trainers tell us. We’ll have to go ahead and look at him. We’ll see. This could go up to a pregame workout. We’re not sure. We’ll see where he’s at throughout the week.

Q: They’re pretty banged up on their side. Reports came out today no Miles Sanders, no Zach Ertz. How much does that change your preparation for a team knowing that they could be without, and probably are going to be without, two of their most dynamic weapons?

A: I think they have enough weapons on all fronts to really prepare for with these guys. Look, you don’t want to see any players get hurt, to be honest with you. You want to play teams when they’re at their best. That’s what competition is all about. We’re expecting (Alshon) Jeffery and (DeSean) Jackson to be back, and they’re going to give you a lot of trouble, along with all the other receivers they have already. They know how to use their receivers, their backs and their tight ends all very well, so it doesn’t matter who’s in there. They’re all very capable.

Q: When you prepare for Philadelphia, have you done any work prior to this week so it’s not such a short week?

A: Yeah, absolutely. I think with all opponents, we actually go back in the spring and through the summer and really build a base on what they are historically. Now, obviously, that changes within the regular season based on who’s on their roster and how certain things have shaken out for them. But I always try to work weeks ahead. Especially knowing it’s a Thursday game, you want to work a couple weeks ahead to really build your base on them. For me personally, I’m always a week ahead on the opponent as it is anyway. That’s something I’ve always done, that’s something I’ve gotten accustomed to doing through what I’ve done at different places. You just rely on your notes, you watch the tape on Monday from the previous game the night before, you update where you think you are with everything, and then that helps you as far as your planning day on Tuesday and going into Wednesday and Thursday, putting together the game plan. If you wait until the game week to really start diving into the next opponent, I don’t think there’s enough time to really dedicate recapping your game from the day before, getting into a new opponent, really learning what they are. Then at the same time, formulating a plan for it. Some people can do that. For me personally, that’s not the way I like to work.

Q: Just going back to the previous question about the left tackle. Now that Andrew has served his punishment, is he back as your starting left tackle on Thursday night?

A: Yeah, we’ll go through practice this week and kind of see where everything shakes out right now. But I was pleased with the way both he and Matt played, along with Cam (Fleming). We have multiple guys who can play the positions. Matt’s a guy that’s worked on the right and the left. We’ve practiced Andrew both on the right and the left as it is anyway, and Cam gets reps on the left as well, just to make sure we’re all in position if we have to get our numbers called. We’ll go through practice these next couple of days and kind of see how everything shakes out. But again, we expect all of them to be at the game and we expect all of them to play.

Q: When you have a decision to make on a fourth down, what goes into that? Do you have someone in your ear telling you the win probability and how it’s affected? Is it gut feeling? Just what goes into that for you?

A: There’s a lot of that. There’s a lot of, you talk through the situation as they come up. With Pat (Graham) and Jason (Garrett) calling the plays on offense and defense, as I go through a series, I’m really looking down the line of, okay, if this gives us a fourth and short here, what am I doing? Are we kicking or are we going? If this gets to a fourth and medium, what am I doing right here? What am I looking at if we punt the ball down here on a long field goal situation versus taking the attempt at a long field goal? What could be the it factor right there? To me, I’m kind of playing out the game and scenarios of what’s going to come up, what’s going to happen, and how we can best handle it. I’m always evaluating where we are with timeouts versus clock and score. Then, to be honest with you, a lot of it is just the flow of the game. You can look at the whole analytics pages of different things and they tell you when to go for two, when to go for it on fourth down. That’s all great, but you have to understand the flow of the game. Sometimes, there is a lot of emotion that goes into it, not to just go out there and pound your chest but knowing what your team needs at the time and how they’re playing.

Q: Does facing an opposing coach who you know is going to be aggressive like Ron (Rivera) was make you a little bit more conservative like you seemed to be yesterday?

A: Yeah, I wouldn’t necessarily say conservative with different things. You need to play to the strength of your team and the flow of the game and what you have confidence in. While sometimes you may say it’s conservative not to go for it on fourth down, a lot of times it’s aggressive to say we’re going to trust our defense to go out there and do the job. We’re going to have faith in our team we prepare in all three phases. That being said, you always have to consider how the other coach calls the game. When Ron had the ball and they were driving with about five minutes left in the game, you start looking in terms of they’re going to treat this like it’s a two-minute situation. You start kind of putting it through your mind and talking to the offense like, ‘ok guys, let’s be ready. We have a couple of timeouts. Let’s get ready to start working on two-minute, talking to our players, thinking about what calls we may want to make. If I have to burn a timeout here, guys, think about how that may change our calls with only one timeout.’ We talk ahead on the situations on the series to make sure everyone is on the same page. But you have to understand how the other coach calls it, Ron being a good example because he’s been very aggressive throughout his career. Is this going to be a guy who’s going to go for it at midfield? Is it going to be a fake situation? That’s how Tom (Quinn) and T-Mac (Thomas McGaughey) really do a good job getting the guys prepped and ready in the situation in the game, being aware of the gimmicks and the gadgets that may come up in the kicking game to try to extend drives. For us, we try to go ahead and apply all the principles of all the phases. But the opponent is always the biggest factor in the decisions you make. Whether you’re going for it on fourth down, it’s who are you playing, how are they playing and how are you playing against them?

Q: I also want to ask you, I know you love talking about yourself, but you’re going back to Philly this week. What are your thoughts? What are your emotions there?

A: I’ll probably buy a helmet too because my in-laws are already buying batteries. To be honest with you, it’s not my first time going back to Philly as an opposing coach. It’s a great city. It has great, passionate fans. It’s an excellent team. It’s obviously a great rivalry. I grew up watching these games. They were always tough games, blue collar type games, when the Eagles and the Giants were playing when I was growing up watching the games. Again, you’re so focused on the opponent, the emotion doesn’t really get tied into it. We just know we have a heck of a team we have to match up against.

Q: Specific to the fourth down decision. Why punt on fourth down and two from the 38 there where you take the delay of game? You intentionally take it to punt but why not go for that there?

A: At that point right there, I had a lot of confidence in our defense. Hey, look we put the offense out there, sometimes it looks like it’s intentional, sometimes maybe, sometimes it might not be. We have a lot of situational calls and different things we work at all times. In that situation right there, it’s easy to say, hey, it’s fourth and two, go for it, it’s in short range. The defense is playing good, you got a punter you trust. You got special teams that are put on the field to create field position. If you can put the punter on a long field, you trust the way your defense is playing, then you trust them to give it back to your offense in good position.

Q: Kyler Fackrell has made big plays in two straight games now on defense. Another one of those guys who’s playing through injuries. Why has he been able to come up with some big plays in big moments for you guys?

A: I think he just does a good job executing the plan. Pat (Graham) does a really good job putting the pieces together. Bret does an excellent job coaching the guys on the edge, working with them. Kyler has a good tool set with a lot of versatility to it. Whether it’s dropping in coverage, rushing, setting the edge against the run, whatever it may be. He does a good job of really applying all his tools to it. He’s got good instincts and savvy to be able to understand, especially as the game goes on when he makes a lot of plays, what his opponent has been showing him, what he can use to kind of set that guy up to go make a play. He’s a good, smart football player. He’s made a lot of players for us when his number has been called, we’re happy to have him.

Q: I know obviously you talked about the preparation weeks in advance for opponents that you do and maybe the coaches do. I’m curious, defensively especially, you want to be week to week with the game plan. Is there hesitancy with the players to know that you don’t want to change too much and go with a blank slate on a week where you play on Thursday night? As opposed to maybe a regular week, do you guys talk about that and shift what you would do philosophically based on the time you actually have?

A: We always think about that. Really, the way we teach in the beginning is what sets us up for situations like this on a short week. Whether it’s a Thursday night game or a halftime adjustment, which we had to make plenty of them yesterday with some personnel changes in the game due to injury. The guys have to understand the concepts of what you’re trying to do. When you start teaching on the front end in training camp and back in the spring, you want to make sure all the players understand the concepts of what you’re trying to do. In a certain type of coverage, okay, what are the elements of the coverage? It’s a certain type of man coverage, what’s the leverage you have to win? It’s a certain kind of rush, what are the details of the rush we have to execute? Then you just plug people in different spots and they understand when they’re in that spot what concept applies to, they know how to play it. We make sure we drill our players and we teach them. Everyone is learning how to play deep field technique, everyone is learning how to play a hard flat technique. Everyone is learning how to play curl-flat or seam-curl, or middle run through. Everyone is learning how to set an edge in the run game. Everyone is learning how to blitz the A and the B gap. Everyone is learning how to work a stunt game and a twist coming off the edge. We make sure we put all of our guys through exercises of it so when it comes up for them, it’s not new. It may seem more new to the opponent, but for us it’s something we have been teaching from day one.

Q: A follow up on the tackle situation. Do you see any advantage for switching guys mid-game, series to series against a defense and what maybe the defense is prepared for? You have Thomas versus a Peart at left tackle.

A: I think the biggest emphasis is just it’s important for us to play as many of our guys as possible, especially these young guys who need to gain the experience. They can only really improve by being on the field and working. Matt’s a guy that’s shown a lot of improvement in the way he works in practice. We’ve seen it from the team periods, the individual one on one pass rush periods. He’s shown progress in the games and the action he’s seen. Andrew has been doing a good job for us as well. To me, it’s just important to get guys involved and let them play and learn.

Q: How much did Matt Peart earn the opportunity to play more from what he did yesterday?

A: I think he did a good enough job. I have confidence to put him on the field. I have confidence in Andrew, I have confidence in Cam. I have confidence in all of our offensive linemen. Has he earned the right to be on the field and contribute? Absolutely. That’s why he’s going to be at the games for us. Everybody on our roster and practice squad has earned the right to be here. We have confidence we’ll play any of them any time.

Q: You grew up in Philadelphia, very provincial city, we know that. I’m just curious, what do you think your friends and even your mom would’ve said to you (if you said) I’m going to be the coach of the New York Giants?

A: I don’t know. Go get ‘em? My brother walked around in a LT jersey his entire life, I think, mostly to make us mad because we were all rooting for the Eagles. Eventually you get used to seeing it and you understand why he was wearing it.

Q: You guys had Ryan Lewis following Terry McLaurin around for a little bit. I was just curious the thought process there and how you think he held up? I don’t think he gave up a catch yesterday.

A: I thought Ryan has been playing well for us. He’s definitely a guy that’s made a lot of progress for us. We’ve been familiar with Ryan for some time. I’ve had experience with him in the past. He’s definitely a guy who has really improved over the course of his career. I have a lot of confidence in Ryan on the field. He’s a tough dude. He definitely rose to the competition. McLaurin is a heck of a receiver. This guy is as explosive as can be. You talk to guys like Colt (McCoy),who had him on the team as a teammate with him. Early in the week, Colt is saying some accolades about this guy about how he’s one of the best receivers he’s ever thrown to in terms of what this guy can do to get open and then what he does with the ball in his hand. It paints a picture that this guy is an excellent player. You see it on tape. I remember when the guy came out of college, he was painted a little bit more as a special teams guy than an offensive guy. I think this guy has definitely shown he’s got versatility and he’ definitely a weapon for their offense. He’d be a player for any team in this league. Ryan did a good job for us right there. That’s just part of the matchups we established for the game plan right there. Later in the game, it was changed up for different reason, but I thought Ryan did a good job for us yesterday.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Tuesday (10:50-11:50AM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will also address the media.

Oct 112020
 
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New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (October 11, 2020)

Game-Winning Field Goal – © USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS COWBOYS 37 – NEW YORK GIANTS 34…
The New York Giants blew early and and a late leads, and ended up losing a heart-breaker to the Dallas Cowboys 37-34 in Texas on Sunday. This despite the fact that the Giants knocked Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott out of the game (and the season) by breaking his right ankle in the 3rd quarter. The Giants fall to 0-5 on the season.

Dallas received the ball to start the game and promptly drove 69 yards in 11 plays to set up a 24-yard field goal. The Giants impressively responded with their first touchdown drive in three games as New York marched 75 yards in seven plays. Tight end Evan Engram scored on an end around from three yards out and the Giants led 7-3.

New York quickly extended their lead as on the third play of Dallas’ second possession, linebacker Kyler Fackrell intercepted Prescott’s pass and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown. After a three-and-out by the Cowboys, the Giants drove 38 yards in 12 plays to set up a 55-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. The Giants now led 17-3 early in the 2nd quarter.

However, momentum abruptly shifted back to the Cowboys. First, Dallas drove 75 yards in 12 plays, culminating in a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Ezekiel Elliott. Then on New York’s ensuing possession, quarterback Daniel Jones fumbled as he was sacked. The loose ball was returned for 29-yard defensive touchdown by the Cowboys. The game was now tied 17-17.

The Giants responded with a 9-play, 43-yard drive that ended with a 50-yard field goal by Gano with 51 seconds to play. Unfortunately for the Giants, an additional four points was wiped off of the board when an illegal shift penalty erased a 27-yard touchdown on a fake field goal. Worse, the Giants’ defense collapsed late in the half again. The Cowboys easily drove 75 yards in six plays, scoring on a trick play of their own as Prescott caught an 11-yard touchdown pass.

At the half, Dallas led 24-20.

The Giants received the ball to start the 3rd quarter, moving 39 yards in 10 plays to set up a 54-yard field goal by Gano (his third 50+ yard field goal of the game). Once again, the Giants had a touchdown taken off of the board when Jones’ 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton was erased due to an offensive pass interference penalty on wideout Damion Ratley. Cowboys 24 – Giants 23.

Despite losing Prescott seventh play of Dallas’ first drive of the second half, the Cowboys ended this possession with a touchdown when Elliott ran for a 12-yard touchdown. Cowboys 31 – Giants 23.

After both teams exchanged punts, the Giants managed a 9-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard field goal by Gano. The Giants immediately got the ball back as the Cowboys fumbled the ball away at their own 17-yard line (linebacker Blake Martinez recovered the fumble). Five plays later, running back Devonta Freeman scored from four yards out. Left tackle Andrew Thomas caught a pass from Jones on the 2-point conversion attempt. Just like that, the Giants were now up 34-31 with less than nine minutes to play.

The Cowboys were able to drive 53 yards in 11 plays on their next possession to set up a game-tying 40-yard field goal with less than two minutes to play in the game. The Giants picked up one first down but were forced to pun the ball away. Dallas started their final drive at their own 12-yard line with 52 seconds on the clock. The Cowboys picked up 72 yards on three straight plays to set up the 34-yard game-winner as time expired.

Offensively, the Giants accrued 20 first downs, 300 total net yards (89 rushing, 211 passing), and were 7-of-13 (54 percent) on 3rd-down conversion attempts. Jones completed 20-of-33 passes for 222 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. But his fumble resulted in a defensive score. Slayton was the leading receiver with eight catches for 129 yards. Freeman was the leading rusher with 17 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 28 first downs, 402 total net yards (126 rushing, 276 passing), and Dallas was 5-of-9 (56 percent) on 3rd down. Fackrell returned an interception for a touchdown and Martinez recovered a fumble. The Giants also picked up two sacks.

Video highlights are available on YouTube.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were TE Eric Tomlinson, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, and LB T.J. Brunson.

LB Lorenzo Carter (Achilles) left the game in the 1st quarter and did not return. He is likely done for the season.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants have lost seven games in a row to the Dallas Cowboys.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Oct 042020
 
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Austin Johnson, New York Giants (October 4, 2020)

Austin Johnson – © USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES RAMS 17 – NEW YORK GIANTS 9…
The game was far closer than it was expected to be, but the New York Giants fell to the Los Angeles Rams 17-9 on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. New York is now 0-4 on the season and has only scored three touchdowns in four games, and none in the last two contests.

The Giants actually out-gained the heavily-favored Rams in first downs (19 to 15), total net yards (295 to 240), net yards rushing (136 to 58), and time of possession (33:17 to 26:43). The turnover battle was also equal as both teams turned the football over once.

The game started off on a negative note for New York as the Giants quickly went three-and-out on their first drive of the game and the Rams then responded with an impressive 12-play, 65-yard effort that culminated with a 2-yard touchdown run. The Rams were quickly up 7-0.

After gaining one first down, the Giants found themselves in a 3rd-and-27 situation after a sack/fumble and a false start penalty. They punted two plays later. However, the Giants immediately got the ball back when defensive lineman Austin Johnson forced tight end Gerald Everett to fumble after a 10-yard catch. Cornerback James Bradberry recovered the loose ball at the Los Angeles 34-yard line. The Giants could only gain 17 yards on six plays, but place kicker Graham Gano kicked a 35-yard field goal to cut the score to 7-3.

After both teams exchanged three-and-out possessions, the Rams took 15 plays to drive 47 yards to set up a 32-yard field goal to extend their lead to a touchdown again, 10-3. On this possession, the Rams converted on 3rd-and-3, 4th-and-1, and 3rd-and-2, but Johnson pushed the Rams back from the 4-yard line with an 8-yard sack.

With 3:52 to go before halftime, the Giants did drive 56 yards in 13 plays to cut the score to 10-6 on Gano’s 37-yard field goal. On this possession, the Giants converted on 3rd-and-4, 3rd-and-2, and 3rd-and-10, with the first two being completions to wide receiver Golden Tate in addition to running back Dion Lewis picking up 10 yards on rushing effort.

There was no scoring in the 3rd quarter as the Rams punted twice and the Giants once. However, the Giants did begin their final scoring drive with 5:25 left in the 3rd quarter as they drove 48 yards in 11 plays, taking over six minutes off of the clock. On this possession, the Giants converted on 4th-and-1 when quarterback Daniel Jones threw a 10-yard pass to tight end Kaden Smith. However, the Giants once gain were forced to settle for a field goal, this time from 27 yards out. The Rams now led 10-9 early in the 4th quarter.

Both teams exchanged punts. With about 7 minutes to play in the game, the Rams came up with a dagger to the heart on a big 55-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass from quarterback Jared Goff to wide receiver Cooper Kupp. To put this in perspective, the next longest play the Rams had on the day was just 16 yards. The Rams now led 17-9 with less than a quarter to play.

The Giants’ first desperate attempt to tie the game failed after picking up 44 yards on nine plays. However, Jones could not connect with Tate on 4th-and-11 from the Los Angeles 31-yard line. After a three-and-out by the Rams, the Giants got the ball back with 2:05 left in the game, down by eight points. Jones threw a 33-yard pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton to the Rams’ 47-yard line. He then scrambled for a total of 24 yards on two 2nd-and-10 scrambles. With 57 seconds left, on 2nd-and-5 from the 18-yard line, Jones tried to squeeze a sideline throw to wide receiver Damion Ratley, but cornerback Darious Williams made a diving interception at the 5-yard line to end the game. Unfortunately for Jones and the Giants, he had room to run on this play.

Jones finished 23-of-36 for 190 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. He was also sacked five times, four of which occurred in the first half. Jones also rushed six times for 45 yards. Tight end Evan Engram had six catches, but for only a total of 35 yards. Running back Wayne Gallman rushed for 45 yards on six carries and running back Devonta Freeman gained 33 yards on 11 carries. Freeman also caugh four passes for 35 yards.

Defensively, the Giants held the Rams to 58 yards rushing and 182 net yards passing. Besides Austin Johnson’s sack, linebacker Kyler Fackrell also got to the quarterback. The Giants had seven tackles for losses and hit Goff five times.

Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
The Giants activated WR Austin Mack from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were WR Austin Mack, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, LB Carter Coughlin, LB T.J. Brunson, and S Jabrill Peppers (ankle).

LB Oshane Ximines (shoulder), LB Kyle Fackrell (neck), and S Adrian Colbert (neck) all left the game with injuries.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Sep 272020
 
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SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 36 – NEW YORK GIANTS 9…
The once-proud New York Football Giants got utterly humiliated by an injury-riddled San Francisco 49ers team that was missing many of its most important starters on both sides of the football on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants were crushed 36-9 in an uncompetitive game and fell to 0-3 on the season.

Despite the game being tied 6-6 near the midway point of the 2nd quarter, the beat-down was complete. The 49ers out-gained the Giants in first downs (29 to 13), offensive plays (73 to 49), total net yards (420 to 231), net yards rushing (93 to 66), net yards passing (327 to 165), and time of possession (39:44 to 20:16). The 49ers were 8-of-12 (67 percent) on 3rd down conversions. The Giants turned the ball over three times and did not force a turnover. Most embarrassing of all, the 49ers never punted. And the Giants never ran a play inside the 49er redzone.

49ers drives:

  1. 10 plays, 41 yards, field goal
  2. 12 plays, 28 yards, field goal
  3. 9 plays, 38 yards, missed field goal
  4. 12 plays, 75 yards, touchdown
  5. 4 plays, 24 yards, field goal
  6. 8 plays, 75 yards, touchdown
  7. 4 plays, 30 yards, touchdown
  8. 15 plays, 92 yards, touchdown
  9. 3 plays, end of game

Giants drives:

  1. 6 plays, 28 yards, fumble
  2. 7 plays, 41 yards, field goal
  3. 6 plays 31 yards, field goal
  4. 2 plays, 0 yards, interception
  5. 13 plays, 53 yards, field goal
  6. 5 plays, 9 yards, turnover on downs
  7. 6 plays, 13 yards, punt
  8. 7 plays, 56 yards, fumble

Quarterback Daniel Jones was 17-of-32 for 179 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception. No Giants receiver had more than 53 yards. Jones was the team’s leading rusher with 49 yards. The running backs carried the ball 10 times for 17 yards.

Defensively, the Giants did not create a turnover. Defensive lineman Leonard Williams and linebacker Blake Martinez each had sacks. Cornerback James Bradberry broke up three passes.

Video lowlights are available on Giants.com.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
The Giants activated WR Johnny Holton from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were TE Eric Tomlinson, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, LB T.J. Brunson, CB Brandon Williams (groin), and S Adrian Colbert (quad).

S Jabrill Peppers (ankle) left the game in the 1st quarter and did not return. LT Andrew Thomas (unknown) left the game late, but returned.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Sep 202020
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 20, 2020)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO BEARS 17 – NEW YORK GIANTS 13…
The New York Giants battled back from a 17-0 first-half deficit against the Chicago Bears and almost stole the game late, being stopped 10 yards short from the go-head touchdown. The Giants lost 17-13 to the Bears and fell to 0-2 on the season. Worse for the Giants, running back Saquon Barkley may have suffered a very serious injury to his right knee. The NFL Network is reporting that Barkley suffered an ACL tear, ending his season. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard was also forced from the game with a toe injury.

The Bears received the ball to start the game and immediately drove 82 yards in 12 plays to take a 7-0 early lead on quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s 28-yard touchdown pass to running back David Montgomery. Chicago converted on four 3rd-down attempts on the drive including on 3rd-and-7 on the touchdown. Matters got immediately worse for the Giants when quarterback Daniel Jones was sacked and stripped of the football on 3rd-and-6 on the ensuing drive, setting up the Bears at the Giants’ 20-yard line. Chicago could not pick up a first down but went up 10-0 on the 34-yard field goal.

The Giants went three-and-out on their second drive. After a Chicago punt, the Giants drove to the Bears’ 28-yard line, but on 3rd-and-8, Jones threw an interception to halt the scoring threat. It was on this drive, on the first play of the 2nd quarter, when Barkley was hurt.

Both teams exchanged punts and the Bears took a commanding 17-0 lead on their final possession of the half by driving 80 yards in 11 plays, with Trubisky throwing a 15-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-8. With 14 seconds left, the Giants did gain 36 yards on two plays to set up a last-second 57-yard field goal attempt, but the kick failed.  The Giants gained only seven first downs and no points in the first half.

The Giants received the ball to start the 3rd quarter, picked up one first down, but were then forced to punt again. However, two plays later, cornerback James Bradberry tipped a pass that was intercepted by safety Julian Love and returned to the Chicago 25-yard line. New York had to settle for a 39-yard field goal as the Giants could not pick up even one first down. Bears 17 – Giants 3.

The Bears moved the ball 33 yards on their second possession of the half, but were forced to punt, pinning New York at the 5-yard line. However, the Giants responded with an impressive 11-play, 95-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-goal by running back Dion Lewis early in the 4th quarter. Bears 17 – Giants 10.

The Giants got the ball back again with Bradberry picked off a deep sideline pass at the New York 34-yard line. The Giants were able to drive 47 yards in 10 plays to set up a 37-yard field goal to cut the score to 17-13. Fortunately for the Giants and Jones, a 54-yard pick-6 interception was erased by a defensive pass interference penalty on this possession.

With 7:43 left in the game, the Bears were able to drive 44 yards in 12 plays to take off 5:41 from the clock and set up a 50-yard field goal. However, the Bears missed the kick. Frustratingly for New York, Chicago was able to pick up a key 1st down on 4th-and-2 when a pass deflected by the Giants was caught for a 1st down by a Chicago offensive lineman.

Nevertheless, with 2:02 left in the game, New York had the ball at their own 40-yard line, down 17-13.  Jones threw a 22-yard pass to tight end Evan Engram on 3rd-and-10. Then on 4th-and-4, he connected with Lewis for six yards to keep the drive alive at the Chicago 26-yard line with just over half a minute to play. On 4th-and-1, Jones threw a 3-yard pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton. After Jones spiked the ball to stop the clock, New York was facing a 2nd-and-10 at the Chicago 14-yard line with eight seconds left in the game. Jones threw a 4-yard pass to Lewis. With four seconds left, Jones’ pass intended for wide receiver  Golden Tate fell incomplete as Tate was flagged with offensive pass interference. Game over.

Offensively, the Giants gained 295 yards (75 yards rushing, 220 yards passing). The team only held the football for 25:31. The Giants were 3-of-13 (23 percent) on 3rd down and 3-of-3 on 4th down. Jones completed 25-of-40 passes for 241 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. He also was sacked four times and fumbled the ball away once. The leading receiver was Engram with six catches for 65 yards. Barkley was the leading rusher with 28 yards on four carries.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 304 yards (135 yards rushing, 169 yards passing), controlling the ball for 34:29. The Bears were 9-of-16 (56 percent) on 3rd down and 1-of-1 on 4th down. The defense picked off two passes (Love and Bradberry) and garnered four sacks (defensive lineman B.J. Hill and linebackers Blake Martinez, Lorenzo Carter, and Kyler Fackrell).

Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
With teams now allowed to activate two players from the Practice Squad on game day, the Giants activated CB Ryan Lewis and S Sean Chandler.

Inactive for the game were RB Wayne Gallman, TE Eric Tomlinson, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, LB T.J. Brunson, LB Carter Coughlin (hamstring), and S Adrian Colbert (quad).

RB Saquon Barkley (right knee) and WR Sterling Shepard (toe) were injured and did not return.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Sep 142020
 
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Darius Slayton, New York Giants (September 14, 2020)

Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH STEELERS 26 – NEW YORK GIANTS 16…
Despite the game remaining close for three quarters, the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled away in the 4th quarter and soundly defeated the New York Giants on Monday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants begin the 2020 NFL season 0-1.

What killed the Giants was their inability to run the football combined with two very costly interceptions by quarterback Daniel Jones. The defense also crumbled at inopportune times, including after both turnovers and late in the first half. Running back Saquon Barkley was held to an abysmal six yards on 15 carries. Indeed, Jones was the team’s leading rusher with 22 yards as Giants’ running backs only combined for seven yards rushing.

The Giants received the football to start the game, picked up two first downs, but were then forced to punt. However, New York was handed a golden opportunity when Pittsburgh’s returner muffed the punt and the Giants recovered the loose ball at the Pittsburgh 3-yard line. But the Giants could not get the ball into the endzone after a 1-yard run and two incomplete passes as they settled for a 21-yard field goal.

After both teams exchanged three-and-outs, the Steelers tied the game at 3-3 when their 13-play, 59-yard second drive resulted in a 41-yard field goal. The Giants responded with an impressive 6-play, 75-yard possession that culminated in a 41-yard touchdown pass from Jones to wide receiver Darius Slayton. Early in the second quarter, the Giants led 10-3.

The Giants forced another three-and-out by the Steelers. With momentum clearly in New York’s favor, Jones threw his first bad interception on the first play of the subsequent drive. Linebacker T.J. Watt fooled Jones when he dropped into coverage and the Steelers had the ball at the New York 36-yard line. Six plays later, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a 10-yard touchdown. Pittsburgh missed the extra point and the Giants led 10-9.

After two punts by the Giants and one by the Steelers, Pittsburgh got the ball back at their own 22-yard line with 1:32 left before halftime. Unfortunately, the New York defense could not prevent the Steelers from easily marching 78 yards in eight plays to take a morale-sapping 16-10 lead into halftime. Roethlisberger threw a 13-yard touchdown pass with just seven seconds left on the clock.

Nevertheless, the Giants were still very much in the game. After the Steelers picked up one first down to start the third quarter, they were forced to punt. The Giants then began a marathon 19-play possession that started at their own 9-yard line. Despite no running game whatsoever, the Giants converted on 3rd-and-14, 3rd-and-1, 4th-and-1, 3rd-and-6, and 3rd-and-3 to keep the drive alive. Disaster struck when on 2nd-and-3 from the Pittsburgh 4-yard line, Jones scrambled to his left, was hit as he threw, and the pass was picked off in the end zone by a defensive lineman for a touchback. The 19-play, 87-yard, almost 9-minute possession resulted in no points. It was a devastating turn of events.

Predictably, the Steelers took advantage of the huge momentum switch as they drove 62 yards in nine plays to set up a 36-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. The Steelers now led 19-10 and the Giants were clearly in trouble.

The game was all-but-officially decided on the next two series. Despite starting their next possession at their own 40-yard line, the Giants went three-and-out. The Steelers then drove 75 yards in 11 plays to take a commanding 26-10 lead with 5:23 to play. New York drove for a garbage-time touchdown, ending with Slayton’s second touchdown catch on 3rd-and-goal from the 7-yard line with less than two minutes to play. The two-point conversion and subsequent onside kick failed. The Steelers then ran out the clock to preserve the win.

Offensively, the Giants were held to 291 total net yards (29 rushing, 262 passing). The team did convert 8-of-15 times on third down (53 percent) and 1-of-1 on 4th down. Jones completed 26-of-41 passes for 279 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was the leading rusher with 22 yards on four carries. The leading receivers were Slayton (6 catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns), Barkley (6 catches for 60 yards), and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (6 catches for 47 yards).

Defensively, the Giants allowed 349 total net yards (141 yards rushing, 208 yards passing). Pittsburgh scored on five of their 10 offensive possessions (three touchdowns and two field goals). The Giants did not force a turnover on defense. Defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence each had sacks.

Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
With teams now allowed to activate two players from the Practice Squad on game day, the Giants activated OL Chad Slade and S Sean Chandler.

Inactive for the game were WR Golden Tate (hamstring), OG Shane Lemieux, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, LB T.J. Brunson, LB Cam Brown, and LB Tae Crowder (hamstring).

The Giants reported no injuries from the game.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge will address the media by conference call on Tuesday afternoon.

Sep 102020
 
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Markus Golden, New York Giants (August 2020)

Markus Golden – Courtesy of New York Giants

SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
LB Markus Golden (illness) was the only player to not practice on Thursday.

WR Golden Tate (hamstring), TE Levine Toilolo (hamstring), LB Tae Crowder (hamstring), and DB Adrian Colbert (illness) were limited.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Friday (11:30AM-1:15PM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will also address the media.

Sep 082020
 
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Deandre Baker, New York Giants (September 22, 2019)

Deandre Baker – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS WAIVE DEANDRE BAKER…
The New York Giants have waived cornerback Deandre Baker, who has been on the Commissioner’s Exempt List since July 27th due to his legal troubles. At the team’s request, Baker had not participated in any team workouts this offseason. Baker was charged with four counts of robbery with a firearm from an incident that occurred in Florida in May. If convicted, Baker faces a minimum prison sentence of 10 years up to life.

The Giants drafted Baker in the 1st round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Baker had an up-and-down rookie season for the Giants. He started 15 of the 16 games he played in, receiving 87 percent of defensive snaps, and finishing the year with 61 tackles and 8 pass defenses. He did not intercept a pass.

GIANTS VOTE FOR TEAM CAPTAINS…
New York Giants players voted six of their teammates to represent the squad in 2020:

Offense: QB Daniel Jones, RB Saquon Barkley

Defense: DL Dalvin Tomlinson, LB Blake Martinez

Special Teams: S Jabrill Peppers, S Nate Ebner

GIANTS SIGN TWO, CUT ONE FROM PRACTICE SQUAD…
The Giants have signed RB Rod Smith and CB Ryan Lewis to their Practice Squad, and terminated the Practice Squad contract of WR Derrick Dillon.

The 28-year old, 6’3”, 236-pound Smith was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Seattle Seahawks after the 2015 NFL Draft. He was released by Seattle in October 2015. The Cowboys claimed him off of waivers and he played with the Cowboys until the end of the 2018 season. The Giants signed Smith as an unrestricted free agent in May 2019 and waived him from Injured Reserve in September 2019. He then spent time with both the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders in 2019. Smith has played in 55 regular-season games with two starts, rushing 101 times for 364 yards (3.6 yards per carry) and five touchdowns. He also has caught 30 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown.

The 26-year old, 6’0”, 195-pound Lewis was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017), New England Patriots (2017-2018), Buffalo Bills (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Washington Football Team (2020). Lewis has played in 20 NFL regular-season games with two starts, accruing 43 tackles, eight pass defenses, and one interception.

The Giants signed Dillon as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Wednesday afternoon (12:30-2:30PM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will also address the media.

Aug 062020
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (August 6, 2020)

Daniel Jones – Courtesy of New York Giants

AUGUST 6, 2020 DANIEL JONES CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones addressed the media on Thursday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: I guess the most important question I have to ask today is do you plan to opt out?

A: No, I do not plan to opt out.

Q: You did a bunch of workouts with teammates during the offseason. What did you get out of those and how valuable were they?

A: I think they were valuable for us. Obviously, this year we did all our meetings and installs virtually through Zoom, which I thought went well and we did a good job of learning and picking up through that. Getting on the field together helped and we kind of worked on some things we had discussed in meetings in trying to get guys ready for this camp and make sure we were ready to roll.

Q: When you look at this offense, are you saying to yourself that you have seen all this before, or how much do you have to learn?

A: I think we’re all trying to learn and there are obviously some similar concepts and similar ideas, but it’s a new system and we are all learning it and putting it together. That is kind of what we’re focused on. Comparing it to last year, I’m not sure how much that helps in learning it. We’re taking it day by day and install by install and trying to learn it as quickly as we can and as well as we can.

Q: In terms of 2020, what are the goals? What are you trying to accomplish?

A: Right now, I think my focus is on this camp and trying to make sure I am as prepared as possible mentally. We have talked about a new system and a new offense to learn and pick up. So I think my focus right now is what we’re doing day to day here and trying to make sure we take the right steps forward and improving every single day. For me personally, I am doing a good job of picking up the offense and understanding what the coaches expect. Obviously want to improve on a lot of things from last year personally and as a team. In order to get there and to get there the right way, I think we want to focus on what we’re doing day to day in this camp.

Q: You have your five main targets back this year (Tate, Shepard, Slayton, Saquon, Engram). How has that continuity been beneficial to this point?

A: Just spending time with guys, and like we talked about, getting together in the offseason a little bit. Knowing how guys are going to get in and out of breaks is obvious and something you would expect, but that continuity helps. Also, just having a relationship with guys and me knowing how they learn and how they communicate as we all try to learn this system and try to work through it and make sure we’re on the same page. I think that continuity definitely helps with that process.

Q: Seeing photos and videos of you, it has been talked about how different you look. What was your training like and what was it about this offseason?

A: I feel good. I feel like I’m as strong as I’ve been. I feel like I’m in good shape. I was in Charlotte for most of the offseason and training there. I wanted to get stronger and wanted to gain some weight for what that does for every part of my game, standing in the pocket, running when I need to, and obviously throwing the ball as efficiently as I can using my strength, my lower body. Each piece of that was part of the goal of the offseason in my training.

Q: What are you weighing right now?

A: 229, 228.

Q: Is that up from what, 220?

A: Yeah, I was at 220.

Q: It has to be different for you walking in without Eli Manning here and you being the starter. What is the biggest difference for you walking in as the starter? And how would you describe your collaboration and relationship with Jason Garrett and what are his qualities as an offensive coordinator and a coach?

A: The biggest thing is not being a rookie and having relationships with people in the building and my teammates. Obviously we have a new staff and I’m certainly learning and going through that process like I did last year. There is a certain level of comfort in it being my second year and it’s been good. With Coach Garrett, I have enjoyed learning from him so far. He is extremely detailed in his thinking and what he expects on the field, and I think that is probably what has stood out the most. I look forward to working with him and continuing to learn this system.

Q: You kind of laughed off that first question about opting out, but I’m curious if that is something you gave any thought to it and how do you approach teammates who are considering it or who have chosen that option?

A: It’s important to realize that everyone has different circumstances, whether it be family related or personally or whatever it may be. I certainly don’t have those situations. I live by myself and I’m healthy, but everyone has got to consider their own personal situation and I certainly respect that and expect people to do that and do what’s best for them and certainly don’t hold that against them. Obviously Nate (Solder) made a decision to opt out and he’s got an extremely tough circumstance and he’s got to do what’s best for his family. All the respect in the world, all the support in the world to him.

Q: Are you surprised at how many players around the league have decided to opt out?

A: I don’t know. I’m not really sure I had an expectation. Like I said, you’ve got to look at everyone individually and personally and you have no way of knowing exactly what’s going on and why they made that decision. That’s up to them, so like I said, I certainly respect it and support it for all the people who made that decision.

Q: You and Darius Slayton came into the league at the same time. How would you describe your relationship with him and what is it like throwing to one of the faster guys on the team?

A: I’ve certainly enjoyed playing with Darius and working with Darius. He’s a guy that comes to work everyday and knows what to do and knows what’s expected of him from the coaches and does his best to do that. Obviously he’s a talented guy. Like you said, he can really get out and run. He has a big frame, he’s a big target. I’ve really enjoyed working with him and I know he’s excited going into this year and has attacked this offseason and this new system the right way, so I’m excited to continue working with him.

Q: How difficult an adjustment has it been getting used to the new protocols, especially as you are trying to become a leader of this team?

A: It has definitely been different, but I think our organization, the Giants, the medical staff, the operation people have done an unbelievable job of setting up the facility here at the stadium and making sure it is clear what they expect from us, wearing a mask and socially distancing and doing all those things. It’s different, but it’s not hard and it’s not getting in the way of us doing our work. As long as we’re conscientious about it, I think we haven’t had any problems with the policies and the procedures.

Q: Has anything been a bigger adjustment than others?

A: Not really. Just being here, just being in the stadium is different, but like I said, our organization has done a great job of setting it up and we’re lucky to have this space and do as much as we can do over here with all the space we have.

Q: As you look to the start of the season, how difficult do you envision it will be to go into that first game in a new system without having played a preseason game?

A: When you look at it, a lot of other teams have that situation. Obviously no one is playing a preseason. We’re all operating under the same rules, the same outline as far as practice and into the season. All we can do is prepare as well as we can in the time we have and make sure we’re getting the most out of every single day and those practices leading up to the first game. I think that’s our approach as a team and we’ll make sure we do that and prepare as well as possible.

Q: As a second-year quarterback going into a new system, does that put you at a little bit of a disadvantage as opposed to some veterans in the same system?

A: I don’t think so. I think it’s on me to learn the system as quick as I can and as effectively as I can. Use the time we have, use the practices we have to do that and come in prepared and ready to go.

AUGUST 6, 2020 DALVIN TOMLINSON CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson addressed the media on Thursday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: How ready can a defensive lineman be to play football with no offseason program?

A: We’ve been thinking about it with everything going on, but it’s something that you must mentally prepare for as well as try to as much as possible physically prepare for the practices for when we do get to practice with the pads on.

Q: What is your reaction to the number of optouts around the league and did you ever consider it?

A: I can’t react to them because I’ve been so locked into the playbook. I just have been trying to get the plays down with training camp going on and meetings. I’ve just been so locked in here just trying to improve and help everyone else improve. I really haven’t thought too much about opting out because I Just want to be with my teammates.

Q: Obviously this is a different offseason, a different training camp, how different does it feel to you?

A: It’s super different. Social distancing is the biggest thing to get used to, making sure you’re always six feet apart and things like that. It’s super different, different location, you’re used to being in the facility just right there with everyone and everything is super close. Things are a lot more spread out now.

Q: Obviously in the locker room you guys sit close to each other and there’s a lot of joking around. You guys really have to be conscious of that now?

A: Yeah, everyone is spread out and we’re yelling over to make sure everyone can hear you through the mask. You might lose your voice every now and again.

Q: We were just on with Blake (Martinez) and he talked about wanting to come in and be the quarterback of the defense, the guy everyone turns to when they need to know what’s going on. I know it’s really early in the process and you probably just met him in person. Have you seen him developing into that role for this defense?

A: Blake’s a great guy, a great teammate. I feel like as a linebacker, that’s what linebackers do. They coach the defense up and stuff like that. It’s super early and we have only been out here for a couple days now, I feel like our roles and things like that are going to develop a lot more in the coming weeks.

Q: What are the roadblocks that you see as you guys move through the season? Where might you guys slip up and have an outbreak that could end the season? How different is the defense you are running this year as opposed to last year? Coach Judge talks a lot about versatility? If you are going to be versatile, I’m assuming there are going to be some similarities to last year.

A: For the roadblock question, pretty much everyone just needs to follow the protocols and hopefully we can stay safe as possible, that’s the number one priority right now. The new defense, I’m just trying to pick up everything. I really haven’t been able to compare it to last year simply because it’s still pretty new for the most part. We’ve been able to walk through stuff and everything. Just trying to take it day by day and continue to improve on the things we are installing each day.

Q: What’s the biggest difference watching Dexter Lawrence now compared to where he was a year ago?

A: The biggest difference is you get used to the NFL, the meetings and things like that. I guess you get a little but more comfortable going into your second year. Everybody, as a rookie coming in, you are nervous because you are a rookie. Now he is a second-year player. He comes in with his work hat on every day ready to work. I love the energy he brings and just how excited he is to come to work and get better each day.

Q: You are going into your fourth year here. What are your expectations this year for yourself? How do you think this new defense is going to help you reach those?

A: I am super excited about the new defense. I want to be able to help in the run and pass game this year and just keep improving across the whole board. Help out and be disruptive in the middle as much as possible throughout the whole season.

Q: What do you like about the defense and how does it apply to you specifically?

A: I feel like I am super aggressive on the inside. The scheme is fun. It reminds me of the Alabama defense and the Alabama days and the techniques I used to use and stuff like that.

Q: You are not the oldest player on this team, but you are the longest tenured defensive player. What does that tell you about the business, about yourself, about the Giants? That you can be such a young guy and the elder statesman as far as time served with Giants on the defense?

A: Everybody knows it’s a business. You have to be able to understand that coming in. I just keep my head down and focus on getting better each and every day and keep working. That’s all you can do. I’m just blessed to be in the position I’m in and be in this chair talking to you guys. Come in each and every day and don’t take a day for granted.

Q: Do you ever look around and say where did all those guys go?

A: I guess you could say that sometimes. Not really, though, I have been so locked in on everything we are installing and stuff like that. Trying to get me and everyone around me better, just trying to improve everybody.

Q: You were here last time Coach Graham was here as the D-line coach. Are you seeing some carryover in what he taught when he was the defensive line coach versus what he is teaching now? How has he grown since he last here a defensive line coach?

A: He is a great guy who has grown a lot. You can just tell it’s a lot of pretty much the same techniques. I always catch him coming into the D-line room and talking to us all the time. We are his favorite group, I guess you could say, because he used to be a D-line coach. He’s always teaching us different techniques that remind me of the stuff he used to teach my rookie year. A lot of great stuff going on and we just keep improving on the techniques he’s teaching us.

Q: Does that make it easier for you transitioning to this new defense because there is some familiarity?

A: It does make it a little bit easier because the techniques are similar.

AUGUST 6, 2020 BLAKE MARTINEZ CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants linebacker Blake Martinez addressed the media on Thursday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: Coach talked about using the spring to make sure there were no strangers once you guys finally do get on the field. How quickly have you come together in the last week or so? Do you feel like there is anything that’s missing from not having that spring?

A: Especially me being a new guy, I thought about the OTA’s portion, especially if you are a rookie or new a free agent, as that earning the respect portion. I think that’s a big miss. You can work out together and you get to see everybody’s work ethic, you get to see the guys doing extra. See the guys take control in certain tough situations, whether it’s conditioning, meetings, walk throughs and things like that. I think overall we did a great job as a team making sure we took advantage of what we were given. The zoom meetings, being able to add in video games at nighttime with guys, just chatting with guys after the meetings ended. Overall, walking in it was just having to see the guy’s face for the first time in person. Being like, oh sweet, that’s what you look like, it’s not just your face, I get your whole body now. That portion was different, but overall, it was cool to walk in and make it seem like we have been friends for the last six months.

Q: Being the guy who is going to be in the middle of the huddle making all the calls and checks. How do you simulate that? Without any preseason games, are there things you will do with your defense between now and September 14 to make sure you’re ready for when the lights go on?

A: For us, right now our big focus is everyone focusing on the fundamentals of doing what we need to do each day to grow as individuals. Overall, for me it’s just being able to allow those guys to understand that I’m going to be on top of everything from checks, making sure people are lined up in the right position, that I am that calming factor. For me, I take every single day to keep chipping at that. Whether it’s walk throughs, talking in meetings, guys start to recognize this guy knows what going on, this guy is going to allow me to not have any freak moments. If things are moving fast, he’s the guy that I can turn to and calm myself down.

Q: Who is the guy you look to, to calm you down if you start to get a little antsy?

A: That’s the reason I am here, to be that guy. For me, I pride myself on not being too flustered in any moments and being that rock for the defense. Especially obviously for me being the quote, unquote, quarterback on the defense. Being that guy that’s always calm, cool, and collected.

Q: From a player perspective, what roadblocks do you see that could potentially end the season?

A: I try to not look at the negative aspects. For me, I think Coach Judge has hit it on us and probably spoke to you guys about it. It’s just focusing on what we can control. Following every protocol that’s necessary. Doing everything, whether it’s showing up on time, doing our test every single day, walking in making sure we are wearing our masks, wearing the certain things to know we are distanced apart. Following certain protocols put on the ground, whatever is put in place in every aspect. Whether it’s on the field or in the meeting rooms. As long as everyone starts the day focusing on that and ends the day focusing on that, I think we are going to be in a good spot.

Q: You were in Arizona for the entirety of this pandemic and it got hit pretty hard by the virus. What has this stretch of months been like for you where you have been forced to stay at home and not be able to go play football like you would have wanted to? What do you make of all the guys that have been opting out?

A: For me, I was extremely blessed and lucky that my dad ended up building the facility that we had. I think I left that facility maybe four times. Once I realized Whole Foods delivered, I think I cut down to zero times. That was a blessing in disguise. Overall, my offseason was safe and controlled and I always made sure there wasn’t any more than maybe five people in there at a time with me at least. The opting out with everyone else, for me, everyone has their individual decision. I respect their decision, I’m not living their life, I’m living my own life. I made my own decision to obviously play.

Q: This last week here in camp, away from the facility, how have you structured your nights as opposed to training camps in the past?

A: Right now, we are here so late, and we have all the stuff. Our nutritionist Pratik (Patel) has been awesome, making sure we have all the meals. Before we leave, we have snack handed to us. Food wise, I’m good. Once I get home, I basically spend an hour doing a normal life out of football. Whether I’m watching a tv show with my wife or playing video games for thirty minutes or so. Just something where I can decompress. The other night my daughter woke up right as I got home, and I played with her for 30 minutes and it was awesome to see her.

Q: How much value do you think there is in the preseason? How much will you lose not having it this year?

A: Overall, an easy one is guys trying to make the team and having those live reps against another team and things like that. For me, I don’t know exactly what we are going to do to change it. Right now, we are still in phase one. Once it gets there, I’m projecting there will be some type of way to get a competitive aspect and get those reps that can match a preseason some way. I think that’s kind of the big thing for preseason. For me, looking at the preseason, like you said, this will be my fifth year in the league, and for me I should know how to tackle and do all these things. Overall, for practice it’s just working on those fundamentals. Whether it’s the fundamentals of the right feet, the right stance, the right approach to tackle and the perfect drops and things like that. Once you get on the football field, you know how to tackle and how to go play.

Q: In any other year of your career, you would have been in the same system, know the system cold and it just would have been dealing with this craziness. For someone like you who needs to know the whole defense and tell your defense everything, is this a special challenge for you? Whereas another guy who is going into a system who has been there three, four or five years, he can sit back and get ready at his own pace. You have to learn this all in a very unusual situation.

A: Definitely, that’s the challenge of this. Everything right now, challenges pop up every single day. The playbook aspect is just nailing down things and doing whatever is necessary. We have an hour break right now so instead spending the whole hour chatting, okay let’s spend 30 minutes watching film or going through certain installs and things like that. Talking to Pat (Graham) about certain checks and things, what he’s thinking. It’s just going to take that much more effort, just kind of chipping away like I said earlier to get where I need to be when the season gets going.

Q: How much easier is it for you, as the guy who going to make all the calls, that you played under Patrick Graham? You have that trust built in there. What is the dynamic like between you two? Does your past experience with Graham make this summer a little bit easier?

A: We have great relationship. We grew it my third year in Green Bay and it makes it a lot easier to walk into his office anytime. Any concerns I have, or certain questions I have, I can go straight to him and we chat just like anybody else. It’s made it a lot easier to get new updates on anything that he is changing throughout the day.

JOSIAH TAUAEFA COMES OFF OF RESERVE/COVID-19 LIST …
Linebacker Josiah Tauaefa was activated off of the Reserve/COVID-19 List on Wednesday, a day after he was placed on it. Players who are placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List either test positive for the virus or have come into contact with someone who did. The Giants originally signed Tauaefa as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. They then signed Tauaefa to the Practice Squad in September 2019 and the 53-man roster in October 2019. He played in 12 games with no starts as almost all of his playing time came on special teams.

The Giants currently have no other player on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.

Jun 082020
 
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Blake Martinez, Green Bay Packers (December 29, 2019)

Blake Martinez – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp hopefully 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. Keep in mind that some of the players discussed may be cut as the 2020 NFL draft class signs their rookie contracts.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Linebackers

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW: If we go back in time one year, many believed that while the defensive line and secondary would improve, it was the linebacking unit that still seemed very much unsettled. After all, the 3-4 defense relies on the linebackers to be the play-makers. The Giants had traded away their best pass rusher, Olivier Vernon. Markus Golden was signed in free agency, but he had yet to return to his pre-injury form from 2016 (12.5 sacks). There was a desperate hope and need for second-year player Lorenzo Carter to beat out disappointing free agent Kareem Martin, relegating the latter to reserve duty. The Giants had also drafted Oshane Ximines in the 3rd round.

Inside linebacker was also a bit confused. The Giants were hoping that Alec Ogletree would become more consistent. It wasn’t clear if B.J. Goodson or Tae Davis would start alongside him. Much wasn’t expected immediately of 5th rounder Ryan Connelly.

So what happened? Golden actually ended up being a good signing, starting all 16 games and accruing a career-high 72 tackles, and team-high 10 sacks. On the other hand, Carter disappointed. Despite starting 12 games, he finished the year with just 45 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Martin was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2019 with a knee injury that he suffered in the regular-season opener. He was activated back to the active roster in December and finished the year with only three tackles in five games, with no starts. Ximines had a mixed performance as a rookie, receiving significant playing time (45 percent of all defensive snaps). While he flashed at times as a pass rusher (4.5 sacks), he struggled against the run. The Giants also added some in-season pick-ups who saw limited playing time such Devante Downs, Chris Peace, and Tuzar Skipper.

Inside, it was worse. Goodson was traded to the Packers before the season started. Davis was cut during the season in October. Ogletree missed three games and his overall play noticeably declined. At times, he simply appeared to be going through the motions. The brief bright spot was rookie Connelly, but he tore his ACL in Week 4. The Giants signed David Mayo in September after he was cut by the 49ers and surprisingly ended up starting 13 games. He played just OK. Special teams player Nate Stupar was waived, re-signed, and waived again. Undrafted rookie free agent Josiah Tauaefa made the team but saw most of his action on special teams. Deone Bucannon was signed in October after he was cut by the Buccaneers, starting one game, but playing mostly in a reserve role.

Overall, except for Golden and a brief couple of games from Connelly, the linebacking corps once again was a disappointment in all phases: run defense, rushing the passer, and coverage. The Giants finished 20th in run defense. The team generated 36 sacks with 23.5 coming from the linebackers (10 of those from Golden alone). Coverage on opposing tight ends and running backs remained abysmal.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The revolving door at this position continues. The team’s best linebacker in 2019, Markus Golden, remains in limbo as an unsigned unrestricted free agent. Joe Judge says the team would like him back. Expensive David Gettleman mistakes Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin were let go in February. Deone Bucannon signed with the Falcons in May. The Steelers re-signed Skipper from the Giants’ Practice Squad in November.

Devante Downs and David Mayo were re-signed. The Giants signed free agents inside linebacker Blake Martinez ($31 million) and outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell ($4.6 million). An influx of rookies arrived in April, including Cam Brown (6th round), Carter Coughlin (7th round), T.J. Brunson (7th round), Tae Crowder (7th round), Dominique Ross (UDFA), Dana Levine (UDFA), and Oluwole Betiku (UDFA).

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: There are a lot of bodies (17), but how many are good players? The team’s most productive pass rusher, Golden, remains unsigned. As of now, the Giants are relying on Kyler Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, and a late draft pick/rookie free agent to supply the outside pass rush. While the first three players have flashed at times, that’s asking a lot. The belief by many is that new Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham will have to scheme the pass rush.

Inside, much depends on the performance of Blake Martinez and how well Ryan Connelly comes back from a serious knee injury. Opinions on Martinez vary wildly. And Connelly has to prove he hasn’t lost speed/agility. Mayo provides depth and insurance.

Did the Giants find gold with any of the late four draft picks or three undrafted rookie free agents?

ON THE BUBBLE: When you have 17 players at one position, a lot of people are on the bubble. Barring injury, one would think that Fackrell, Carter, and Ximines are safe outside and Martinez and Connelly will make it inside. Mayo has an experience advantage, but he faces competition from at least two rookies (Brunson and Crowder). Will the Giants re-sign Golden? All five rookie outside linebackers have intriguing characteristics, but they all can’t make it. Special teams play probably will be a significant factor.

PREDICTIONS: Stating the obvious, the Giants don’t have an edge rusher who scares the heck out of the opposition and demands potential double-team attention. Even if the team re-signs Golden, he’s more of a complimentary piece than headliner. Fackrell could surprise as he did have a double-digit sack season in 2018 under Patrick Graham. So much depends on whether or not new outside linebacker coach Bret Bielema can develop Carter and Ximines. (Incidentally, a nice addition for Carter was that he former college coach is now coaching the inside linebackers). The pass rush could be aided if the inside linebackers and safeties can improve their coverage against tight ends. The longer a QB has to hold the football, the more time the pass rushers will have to get to the QB. Barring an unlikely breakout season by someone, the Giants are not likely to be a strong pass rushing team in 2020.

On the other hand, contrary to many, I’m a bit more bullish on the inside guys as long as Ryan Connelly can fully recover from his ACL injury. Martinez and Connelly are two smart, heady, better-athletes-than-advertised players who could form a very respectable duo inside.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Kyler Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin, Blake Martinez, Ryan Connelly, David Mayo, T.J. Brunson

I’m throwing darts at a dartboard when it comes to predicting rookies at this point. For example, who knows if Brunson or Crowder will show more? The heart of any special teams unit are the reserve linebackers and defensive backs so a lot of these guys could make it. I would not be shocked to see one or even two of the undrafted rookie free agents really push for a roster spot. Don’t sleep on guys like Ross, Levine, and Betiku.