Sep 132018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed offensive tackle Brian Mihalik to the Practice Squad. The 26-year old, 6’9”, 315-pound Mihalik was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. A collegiate defensive end converted to offensive tackle, Mihalik has spent time with the Eagles (2015), Pittsburgh Steelers (2016), and Detroit Lions (2016-2017). Mihalik played in 15 games with two starts for the Lions in 2017.

“I was with Brian back in Philly, actually, and he’s played a little bit in the NFL and we like him, so we just added him to the practice squad,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We’re always looking to make changes and get better so, this is a guy that we like.”

To make room for Mihalik, the Giants terminated the Practice Squad of linebacker Calvin Munson.

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

Running back Wayne Gallman (knee) and linebacker Tae Davis (hamstring) were limited in practice.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (back) fully practiced.

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins left practice early due to a family issue.

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 night’s away game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Sep 022018
 
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Davis Webb, New York Giants (August 1, 2018)

Davis Webb – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK SIGN CLAIM SIX PLAYERS OFF OF WAIVERS…
The New York Giants claimed the following six players off of waivers on Sunday:

  • WR Kaelin Clay (Buffalo Bills)
  • OC Spencer Pulley (Los Angeles Chargers)
  • DE Mario Edwards (Oakland Raiders)
  • CB Antonio Hamilton (Oakland Raiders)
  • CB Michael Jordan (Cleveland Browns)
  • CB Kamrin Moore (New Orleans Saints)

The 26-year old, 5’10”, 195-pound Clay was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has spent time with the Buccaneers (2015), Detroit Lions (2015), Baltimore Ravens (2015–2016), Carolina Panthers (2017), and Buffalo Bills (2017–2018). Clay has played in 20 regular-season games with two starts, accruing just six catches for 85 yards. He has experience returning both punts and kickoffs.

The 25-year old, 6’4, 308-pound Pulley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Los Angeles Chargers after the 2016 NFL Draft. Spencer started all 16 regular-season games for the Chargers in 2017 at center. He also is able to play guard.

The 24-year old, 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 has played in 30 regular-season games with 24 starts. He started 14 games in 2017 and finished the year with 27 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Edwards is a very good run defender.

The 25-year old, 6’0, 190-pound Hamilton was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has played in 12 regular-season games with no starts.

The 25-year old, 6’1”, 200-pound Jordan was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Los Angeles Rams after the 2016 NFL Draft. He was claimed off of waivers by the Browns in September 2017. Jordan has played in 20 regular-season games with three starts.

The 21-year old, 5’11’, 203-pound Moore (Boston College) was drafted in the 6th round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.

For an overview of the the current roster, see the Roster and Depth Chart pages of the website.

NEW YORK SIGN CUT SIX PLAYERS, INCLUDING DAVIS WEBB…
To make room for the waiver-wire pick-ups, the New York Giants have waived or terminated the contracts of the following players:

  • QB Davis Webb
  • WR Hunter Sharp
  • TE Jerell Adams
  • OG John Jerry (contract terminated)
  • DE Josh Banks
  • CB William Gay (contract terminated)

The Giants drafted Webb in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft and Adams in the 6th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Jerry was with the Giants since 2014, starting 56 regular-season games for the team.

NEW YORK SIGN EIGHT PLAYERS TO THE PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have officially signed the following eight players to their 10-man Practice Squad:

  • RB Jhurell Pressley
  • WR Alonzo Russell
  • WR Jawill Davis
  • TE Garrett Dickerson
  • OT Victor Salako
  • LB Avery Moss
  • LB Calvin Munson
  • CB Grant Haley

All eight players were waived by the team on Saturday. The team still has two more open spots on the Practice Squad.

NEW YORK POST AND DAILY NEWS INTERVIEWS WITH JOHN MARA…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Monday.

Sep 012018
 
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Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (November 27, 2016)

Mark Herzlich – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS REDUCE ROSTER TO 53…
On Saturday, in order to meet the NFL’s 53-man roster limit, the New York Giants made 36 roster moves.

Placed on the Reserve/Suspended List:

  • DE Josh Mauro (violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy)

Placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness List:

  • DE R.J. McIntosh (unknown medical issue)

Placed on Injured Reserve:

  • OT Nick Becton (ankle and wrist)
  • OG Nick Gates (foot)

Waived or contracts terminated:

  • RB Jalen Simmons
  • RB Jhurell Pressley
  • WR Kalif Raymond
  • WR Alonzo Russell
  • WR Roger Lewis, Jr.
  • WR Travis Rudolph
  • WR Amba Etta-Tawo
  • WR Jawill Davis
  • WR Marquis Bundy
  • TE Garrett Dickerson
  • TE Ryan O’Malley
  • OG Chris Scott (contract terminated)
  • OG Zac Kerin
  • OT Malcom Bunche
  • OT Victor Salako
  • NT Robert Thomas
  • NT Tyrell Chavis
  • NT Izaah Lunsford
  • DE A.J. Francis
  • LB Mark Herzlich (contract terminated)
  • LB Calvin Munson
  • LB Avery Moss
  • LB Jordan Williams (waived/injured – hip and shoulder)
  • LB Warren Long
  • CB Leonard Johnson (contract terminated)
  • CB Chris Lewis-Harris (contract terminated)
  • CB Grant Haley
  • CB Mike Jones
  • S Darian Thompson (waived/injured – hamstring)
  • S Andrew Adams
  • S Orion Stewart
  • PK Marshall Koehn

“As I’ve said, I feel like we’re on the right track,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We had a competitive training camp that forced us to make some tough decisions. We will continue to look to improve the roster in any way we can. This day is never easy because you are dealing with people who have made a commitment to your program, and while we all understand the reality of the business we’re in, it doesn’t make it any easier.

“When we started camp, I told the players that my hope for all of them is that if they don’t make our roster, I want them to make somebody else’s. So that’s my desire for the men we parted ways with today.”

The Giants can begin signing players to their 10-man practice squad on Sunday.

For an overview of the existing team, see the Depth Chart section of the website.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Sunday and return to practice on Monday.

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

Alec Ogletree – © USA TODAY Sports

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Linebackers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Long story short… the linebackers are back baby!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin Stefanski – © USA TODAY

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

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

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

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

ARTICLES…

Nov 032017
 
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B.J. Goodson, New York Giants (August 20, 2016)

B.J. Goodson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Center Weston Richburg (concussion), offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle), defensive end Kerry Wynn (knee), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck), and linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle) will not play this Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

Cornerback Donte Deayon (ankle) is “questionable” for the game.

Running back Paul Perkins (ribs), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (calf), linebacker Calvin Munson (quad), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) are expected to play.

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 of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The Giants play the Los Angeles Rams at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Aug 222017
 
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Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, New York Giants (August 21, 2017)

Odell Beckham walks off of the field after ankle injury – © USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND BROWNS 10 – NEW YORK GIANTS 6…
The New York Giants’ offense continued to struggle in the second preseason game as the Giants fell to the Cleveland Browns 10-6 on Monday night at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. But the more alarming news for New York was on the injury front as wide receiver Odell Beckham (ankle), wide receiver Brandon Marshall (shoulder), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), and cornerback Michael Hunter (concussion) were all forced to leave the game. X-rays on Beckham’s ankle were negative, but he will undergo further evaluations on Tuesday. The Giants did not provide an update on Marshall after the game. King, who has missed a couple of weeks with an ankle injury, appears to have re-injured it. And Hunter will now enter the NFL’s concussion protocol.

For the second game in a row, the Giants failed to score a touchdown. Quarterback Eli Manning was a respectable 10-of-14 for 80 yards, but the offensive line again had issues pass and run blocking. Despite accruing 16 yards on one run, starting halfback Paul Perkins finished the night with 10 yards on six carries. Overall, the Giants were held to an embarrassing 212 total net yards (147 yards passing, 65 yards rushing) and 13 first downs. The offense also turned the football over three times, including an interception by quarterback Geno Smith and fumbles by wide receiver Sterling Shepard and running back Wayne Gallman. The Giants were 3-of-12 on third down and 0-for-2 in red zone opportunities.

On the positive side, the Giants’ defense continues to play well. The Browns were held to 242 total net yards (134 yards passing, 108 yards rushing) and 18 first downs. Defensive end Olivier Vernon tipped one pass that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul intercepted. Both ends also split a sack. Linebacker B.J. Goodson also picked up his second sack in two preseason games.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. left the game with an ankle injury. X-rays were negative, but the Giants said he will undergo further evaluation. Beckham was also evaluated for a possible concussion, but cleared.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall injured his shoulder in the game. Cornerback Michael Hunter left the game in the 3rd quarter with a concussion. Wide receiver Tavarres King left the game early with an ankle injury.

Not playing in the game were running back Shaun Draughn (ankle), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (upper body), wide receiver Darius Powe (hamstring), wide receiver Andrew Turzilli (hamstring), offensive lineman Adam Gettis (eye), offensive lineman Michael Bowie (arrest warrant), linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), and linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger).

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

  • Head Coach Ben McAdoo (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (Video)
  • LG Justin Pugh (Video)
  • S Landon Collins (Video)

ARTICLES…

Aug 172017
 
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J.T. Thomas, New York Giants (December 20, 2015)

J.T. Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports Images

J.T. THOMAS ACCEPTS PAY CUT…
ESPN is reporting that New York Giants linebacker J.T. Thomas has accepted a pay cut. His 2017 base salary has been reduced from $2,975,000 to $775,000. He now has a roster bonus of $20,000 and will earn $400,000 in incentives if he plays 70 percent of snaps or more.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Dwayne Harris (upper body soreness), wide receiver Darius Powe (hamstring), wide receiver Kevin Snead (lower body), linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger), and cornerback Eli Apple (ankle) did not practice.

“(Apple) felt his ankle a little bit, so we were precautionary with it,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo.

“Just got kicked a little bit going against some of the receivers,” said Apple. “It’s kind of bruised up after practice, but it’s not a big deal… I’m not sure (if I will play Monday). I’m just going to take it one day at a time and see what happens.”

“(Herzlich is) progressing,” said McAdoo. “He is not where we want him to be yet to put him back on the field, but he is working through it.”

Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle), linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee), and safety Duke Ihenacho (hamstring) were limited.

“(Thomas) is working through it,” said McAdoo. “Going through individuals, and eventually we will build him up to 7- on-7’s, some special teams work, and then team reps. But right now we are starting slow with him.”

Wide receiver Keeon Johnson left practice early with a lower body injury.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • PK Aldrick Rosas went 3-for-4 on field goal attempts.
  • FB Shane Smith was promoted to first-team punt coverage and punt-return special teams units, now working with all four special teams units. He also received first-team reps at fullback.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Friday at 11:20AM. The team’s coordinators will also address the press.

Aug 032017
 
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Landon Collins, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 3, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their sixth summer training camp practice on Thursday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), running back Shane Vereen (lower body soreness), offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker (foot), defensive end Devin Taylor (lower body soreness), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), and cornerback Valentino Blake (lower back tightness) did not practice.

“(Shepard) was sore today, was a little stiff when he woke up, but we sent him for an MRI,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “Just to make sure we’re looking at it and doing our due diligence… It looks like a rolled basketball ankle right now.”

“We’re going to start working (Taylor) back in tomorrow,” said McAdoo. “Same (with Vereen). Tomorrow.”

Wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle) and linebacker B.J. Goodson (left foot) left practice early.

“(King) rolled his ankle covering a punt,” said McAdoo.

“B.J. got stepped on,” said McAdoo. “No (concern).”

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Another picture-perfect, sunny day. Could be me but at the start of practice I thought the energy was a little down. Part of the dog days and with those pads on, the heat has to be intense. Soon after that thought, however, the fights began and it got pretty intense. Guys getting knocked down. Damon Harrison and Justin Pugh are the alpha males in those fights. They are the ones calling the shots and rarely does anyone even try to hold them back when they are involved with another player.

K Aldrick Rosas very impressive today, hit a 56 yarder by a lot. He’s got the power, that’s for sure.

Offense Notes:

  • The OL as a whole came out and competed today, much more than what we have seen to this point. Bobby Hart and Ereck Flowers did a nice job getting their hands inside. Hart was juked out of his shoes a couple times by Jason Pierre-Paul. The question with Hart has nothing to do with effort; he has it. However, the upside/talent gets exposed when a guy like JPP lines up across from him. I think his ceiling is pretty limited. Flowers showed off his immense upper body power on a few occasions today. OGs D.J. Fluker and John Jerry had a good day at the expense of DT Dalvin Tomlinson and veteran Robert Thomas. Excellent run blocking, good enough pass blocking.
  • We know this already, but WR Odell Beckham, Jr. makes me say “wow” about 7 times a day. What he can do in terms of catching the ball with such ease and consistency in addition to his burst, speed, and agility is incredibly rare. Fun kid to watch and he practices hard.
  • QB Davis Webb doesn’t get a ton of reps (if any) during the live 7-on-7/11-on-11 team drills, as this team needs to figure out the Josh Johnson vs. Geno Smith situation. He did get his own little 7-on-7 display at the end of practice. It’s not fair to really evaluate him yet as a physical player; there is so much being thrown at him. He shows the live arm, smooth release, and surprisingly very solid footwork. What I am more impressed by, he is incredibly active when he isn’t the QB that is up. Going through all the signals, helping the coaches get the right groups out there, running from drill to drill while others walk. Those are the little things that are important. He has really put his best foot forward.
  • Nice to see a fade pass from QB Eli Manning to WR Brandon Marshall for a short TD. Eli has been missing the guy to throw that to for a long time now. The Manning/Marshall connection is there, it appears.
  • RB Wayne Gallman is showing some impressive running techniques when moving through traffic. Low pad level, high feet with outstanding agility and burst. I had more of a straight line-mover type view on him coming from Clemson, but he can shake and move laterally better than I thought.
  • WR Kevin Snead got less special team looks today after his nightmare on Tuesday, but he did catch the longest pass of the day from Josh Johnson for a TD. He burned CB Nigel Tribune and S Duke Ihenacho. On the flip side, he was mangled at the line of scrimmage by Tribune earlier. He is a space-only threat right now.
  • TE Will Tye looks quicker than he was last year. Did he lose some weight? Did he work on foot speed? Is he simply more confident in the scheme? Not sure. But he gets in to his routes fast and his head around even faster. He had a nice day catching the ball.
  • TE Matt LaCosse continues to make his argument for making the team among a crowded group. He has shown he can catch the ball on the move, but today he made some physical catches with defenders draped all over him. Catching the ball in traffic like that is very important for a guy like him. His presence as a blocker is less than ideal, but his effort is always there.

Defense Notes:

  • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is lining up all over the place. I like the versatility he brings to the table. Such a smooth backpedal and burst out of it. He has a nice feel for what the offense is trying to do, a great weapon to have considering how much they have him roaming.
  • CB Michael Hunter another impressive day. His size and speed in combination with the quick-twitch reactions has to be bumping him up the totem pole. Guys like him are hard to find.
  • DE Owa Odighizuwa is physically impressive. Great body, bends well, has some power to him but there is lot of hesitation to his game. He doesn’t disengage from blockers and has been routinely getting beat.
  • DT Jay Bromley is a name I haven’t discussed too often, but he had a couple nice plays in team drills. He completely schooled OC Weston Richburg on one play that would have resulted in a sack.
  • DT Robert Thomas ended up at Eli Manning’s knee/foot area during live drills, not good. They don’t need to be seeing that.
  • LB B.J. Goodson is playing fast, especially evident when he is pursuing to the sidelines and covering laterally.
  • FS Darian Thompson came down with an easy INT on an overthrow from Manning to RB Orleans Darkwa, but right place/right time is the name of the game for those guys.
  • I don’t want to rank these guys or project final depth chart until the end of the month, but the safeties are really being given opportunities. I think it is completely open behind the starters + Andrew Adams. Eric Pinkins continues to stand out and rookie UDFA Trey Robinson came out of nowhere a couple times to make a play.

Three Standouts:

  • S Landon Collins: Fast. Big. Strong. Powerful. This guy is putting everything on display and when he’s not on the field, he is in the coaches ear. Very into practice. His instincts have been jumping out at me. He is in the right place before the right time almost always.
  • TE Evan Engram: If Sterling Shepard is going to miss any time, look for Engram to see an uptick in snaps. He has WR movement and what I’ve noticed more than anything, the ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls. Yes he is a rookie and there is a lot to take in playbook-wise, but he is too talented to keep on the sidelines. He can be a matchup nightmare.
  • WR Travis Rudolph: Again, as Sterling Shepard misses practice you want to see guys step up and take advantage. Rudolph is getting more and more action each day. He isn’t big or physical, but he knows how to make himself slippery to defenders. He may not be the best athlete, but he is so mechanically sound as a route runner and he sells well. He can run himself open better than I thought and most importantly, he catches EVERYTHING.

Below is our video recap and interview with TE Matt LaCosse.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including one from 56 yards out.
  • For the second day in a row, there was a lot of pushing and shoving between the offense and defense after the play.
  • In run defense drills, defensive tackle Jay Bromley penetrated into the backfield to tackle the back behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Wide receivers Tavarres King and Kevin Norwood caught deep passes in 7-on-7 drills. King beat defensive back Mykkele Thompson on a pass from quarterback Geno Smith.
  • Defensive back Mykkele Thompson broke up a Geno Smith screen pass.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Marshall, despite being well-covered by cornerback Eli Apple.
  • Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul blew past right tackle Bobby Hart for what would have been a sack. JPP then knocked down a slant pass.
  • Safety Landon Collins put a big hit on running back Paul Perkins after he broke through the line. Collins later broke up a quarterback Eli Manning pass intended for tight end Rhett Ellison.
  • Brett Jones received first-team reps at center.
  • Safety Darian Thompson picked off a pass from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith hit wide receiver Kevin Snead deep for a touchdown.
  • Safety Nat Berhe picked off a tipped pass from quarterback Josh Johnson.
  • Linebacker/tight end Mark Herzlich made a diving catch on a pass from quarterback Davis Webb.
  • Safety Trey Robinson picked off a quarterback Davis Webb pass intended for wide receiver Kevin Snead.
  • Tight end Jerell Adams dropped a pass from quarterback Davis Webb.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Thursday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The seventh training camp practice will be held on Friday, starting at 11:55AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Jul 172017
 
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B.J. Goodson, New York Giants (August 20, 2016)

B.J. Goodson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Linebackers

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW: Ever since the New York Giants moved to the 4-3 defense in 1994, the team has largely de-emphasized the acquisition of linebackers in terms of premium resources. The last time the Giants drafted a linebacker in the 1st round was 1984 (Carl Banks). The last three linebackers drafted in the 2nd round were Clint Sintim (2009), Kanavis McGhee (1991), and Pepper Johnson (1986). From time to time, the Giants have spent big money on linebackers in free agency, including Michael Barrow (2000), Antonio Pierce (2005), and Michael Boley (2009). Not surprisingly, the overall play of the position has declined since its golden era of the 1980s, with the last linebackers to make the Pro Bowl being Pierce (2006) and Jessie Armstead (2001). Now annually, the team’s talent level at the position is usually considered sub-par and the defensive weak spot.

In 2016, of the defense’s three levels, the linebacking corps once again took a backseat to the defensive line and secondary. But while the linebackers were not a team strength, they did play at a more respectable level than their recent predecessors. This is a polite way of saying, “Well, at least the linebackers didn’t suck!”

The surprising headliner was Jonathan Casillas, who arguably had the best season of his career. Keenan Robinson stayed healthy and added more speed to the position. And Devon Kennard finally stayed healthy for a full 16 games. Overall, there weren’t many big plays from this group, but they did a respectable job on a defensive unit that improved from dead last in the NFL to 10th in terms of yardage allowed and 2nd in terms of points allowed.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants chose not to re-sign Kelvin Sheppard, who started 11 regular-season games at middle linebacker for the team in 2016. The Giants re-signed unrestricted free agents Keenan Robinson and Mark Herzlich to 1-year deals. The team also signed journeyman street free agent Curtis Grant and rookie free agent Calvin Munson.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Once again, the Giants made no major player acquisitions at linebacker. The #1 story line here is tracking how well second-year player B.J. Goodson can take over at middle linebacker for Sheppard. Goodson has been praised by coaches and players for his work during the spring, but he has to demonstrate that he can not only stuff the run, but cover tight ends and running backs. The middle linebacker is usually a defensive leader on most teams and it will be a big jump for Goodson, who only played a handful of defensive snaps in 2016.

It assumed by many that Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, and Devon Kennard will remain the other top linebackers on the team. Can Casillas continue his career renaissance or was 2016 his high point? Can the injury-prone Robinson string together two healthy years in a row? One gets the sense that Kennard still hasn’t reached his true potential, but he must also stay healthy.

ON THE BUBBLE: Mark Herzlich, J.T. Thomas, Deontae Skinner, Curtis Grant, Stansly Maponga, and Calvin Munson.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Bill McGovern on B.J. Goodson: “I think he, like everybody has kind of has noticed, he just seemed a little bit more comfortable being in the system another year being around it. You see him more comfortable gaining more confidence as he continues to get more and more reps in practice… He has a really good skill set. He looks like he will be good in the run, but again, without pads on right now, we’re moving around but it’s not anything that is going to be real definitive right now, but he is a guy that looks like he can tackle, we’ve seen on tape that he can tackle. He moves well. It looks like he is moving better in the pass but again you always move better once you always have a better understanding of how you fit in this scheme… the mike linebacker position is one that has got to control our defense, make some calls, make some checks, get us lined up, and let us play.”

McGovern on Keenan Robinson: “I think Keenan, in particular in our sub-package really was a positive for us in terms of coverage. He has length, he has size, and he has athleticism so he was a real positive. Hopefully, again we will continue to expand his role in that.”

McGovern on Devon Kennard: “I think (last year) it was kind of learning, again, more about DK and DK kept taking on more and more responsibility. Finding his skill set improved a little bit in that he has value rushing the passer and that he has value on first down, second down, and third down. It was one of those situations as we developed through the year we realized that he had more and more value and he has continued to work on it through the offseason and we are excited about where he is headed now.”

PREDICTIONS: This group is lucky to be sandwiched between the talent on the defensive line and defensive backs. As of July 2017, clearly there are still no headliners at this position for the Giants. That could change if Goodson or Kennard have breakout years. The key with Goodson will probably be his coverage ability. Can he become a three-down linebacker? I keep waiting for Kennard to have that breakout game. He has the smarts and physical tools. It just hasn’t happened for him yet. Casillas and Robinson had solid seasons, but they have to prove they can do that again.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Barring injury, the obvious ones are B.J. Goodson, Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, and Devon Kennard. After that, it gets murky. The Giants could keep as few as six linebackers. It is doubtful they will keep eight. Herzlich keeps seeing his defensive snaps reduced, but is clearly still valued as a core special teams player. The wild card is J.T. Thomas, who is still recovering from a serious knee injury. The fact that he has not been cut seems to indicate the Giants still have plans for him or see him as insurance. I’ll say the Giants keep seven linebackers, including special teams aces Herzlich, Thomas, and Deontae Skinner. I would not be shocked to see the Giants replace one of these three after the final roster cuts.