Jun 262019
 
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Spencer Pulley and Will Hernandez, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

Spencer Pulley and Will Hernandez – © 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: Offensive Line

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: It’s clear that General Manager Dave Gettleman took one look at the team’s offensive line and had the same reaction as fans. Justin Pugh (2013 1st rounder), Weston Richburg (2014 2nd rounder), and D.J. Fluker were allowed to walk in free agency during the 2018 offseason. John Jerry was cut before the season started. The Giants started the 2018 season with newly-signed free agent Nate Solder at left tackle, 2nd-rounder Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio at center, newly-signed free agent Patrick Omameh at right guard, and Ereck Flowers at right tackle.

This group did not play well and the offense struggled to score points before the bye week. In addition, Halapio broke his ankle in Week 2 and was replaced by John Greco and then waiver-wire pick-up Spencer Pulley. Flowers was benched after the second game and replaced by second-year undrafted free agent Chad Wheeler. Omameh lasted a bit longer, starting the first six games before being cut in November. Greco first took his spot, then newcomer Jamon Brown, who was claimed off of waivers from the Los Angeles Rams.

The 2.0 version of the 2018 offensive line thus included Solder-Hernandez-Pulley-Brown-Wheeler. The best thing that could be said of this group was that it wasn’t as crappy as the previous group. Team scoring improved, but Pulley and Wheeler were clearly weak links. Brown looked the part, but demonstrated the same inconsistency that led to him being cut by the Rams. And it rapidly became apparent that the desperate Giants dramatically overpaid Solder, who did play better as the season progressed. While Hernandez experienced the expected rookie growing pains, he improved and was named to the All-Rookie team.

Overall, for yet another season, the line remained the offense’s Achilles’ heel, with the free agent newcomers not playing as well as expected, and the team being forced to start two mid-season waiver-wire pickups.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Somewhat surprisingly, the Giants re-signed both Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley. The team did not bring back John Greco, and Jamon Brown signed with the Falcons. The Giants acquired guard Kevin Zeitler via a trade from the Browns and signed tackle Mike Remmers in free agency. Street free agents Chad Slade and Austin Droogsma were signed. Surprisingly, the Giants only drafted one lineman: George Asafo-Adjei in the 7th round. Rookie free agents Paul Adams and James O’Hagan were signed after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Heading into training camp, the expected starting offensive line is Nate Solder at left tackle, Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio or Spencer Pulley at center, Kevin Zeitler at right guard, and Mike Remmers at right tackle. On paper, this appears to be the team’s best offensive line in almost a decade. Hernandez and Zeitler are arguably one of the best set of starting guards in the NFL. They are not just big, physical football players, but they play with professionalism and attitude. The Giants haven’t been in such good shape here since the days of Rich Seubert and Chris Snee.

The three other spots are a bit more unsettled. Nate Solder clearly did not live up to his contract. He’s also missed the Spring workouts due to ankle surgery. However, he is another veteran presence who gives the Giants more stability and reliability at the crucial left tackle position than Ereck Flowers and Will Beatty ever did. Moreover, the Solder-Hernandez tandem on the left side should play better in their second year together. Mike Remmers has bounced around the League, now playing with his seventh team. But the self-made journeyman parlayed his improving play into a 5-year, $30 million contract with the Vikings in 2017. He played well at right tackle for that team in 2017 but was more inconsistent at right guard in 2018. A recurring back issue that required offseason surgery was a factor in the Vikings cutting him in March. If Remmers is over his back issues (which caused him to miss Spring workouts), and if he can regain his 2017 form, the Giants will have massively upgraded themselves at right tackle with another professional, veteran presence. But those are two big “ifs”. Like the left tackle position, right tackle has been a disaster for the Giants for years.

Based on offseason comments by team officials, it was assumed that Jon Halapio would be penciled in as the starting center again. However, Spencer Pulley has been pushing him and splitting snaps with the first unit during Spring workouts. The starting center position appears to be very much up for grabs. The good news is that whomever starts, they will be tremendously aided by Hernandez and Zeitler on their flanks.

Overall, the main story line is this group needs to develop cohesion and chemistry quickly. Both starting tackles missed the mini-camp and OTAs this Spring due to injuries. With so few training camp practices, there is not much time for everyone to come together.

ON THE BUBBLE: There are currently 16 offensive linemen on the roster. The Giants will probably keep nine. Barring injury, Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Kevin Zeitler, and Mike Remmers will start. Both Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley should make it unless one of the younger centers push one off the roster. That leaves three spots for ten players. Chad Wheeler probably has a leg up on being the reserve swing tackle. But it will be a dogfight for those last few spots.

FROM THE COACHES: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Mike Remmers: “I worked with Mike for two years. He is a pro, a real pro, and he played winning football for us in Minnesota. I knew a lot about Mike and then he started last year every game and played well. We were in talks with him, took a couple of physicals, just went through the process and signed him.”

Shurmur on Jon Halapio: “He was really playing well for us before he got hurt a year ago. So we had high hopes for him last season. It appears he has come back 100 percent and is back in there just like he was when he left us.”

Shurmur on George Asafo-Adjei: “We like him for all the reasons we liked him on his college tape. He is a powerful guy that has very good length. You can tell he is a very physical style player. That is important at that position.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula on the offensive line: “I think the guys that we’ve added over the course of last season and this season have brought a lot of character, intelligence, competitiveness, integrity to that room. I think it didn’t show as early as we wanted it to last year. I think it showed pretty well at the end of the year. I think we’ve kind of picked up, in fact improved since then. We are going to be leaning on them, they are going to be the starting point of our offense. Everyone knows we have Saquon, we want to run the football, we are going to be balanced. To do that it’s got to start with the offensive line. We want to run the ball, when we want to run it, we want to throw that ball when we want to throw it. To do that it starts up front. We are going to lean heavy on those guys.”

Shula on Chad Wheeler: “I think Wheels has done a really good job this offseason with our exposure with him. Again, I have only been around him for a year, but I think there is a big difference even with him and his approach. I think he, along with a lot of other guys, got better as the year went on. We all know that we were nowhere near good enough early in the year. We did a lot of good things even though it wasn’t good enough at the end of the year, but we were really, really close and trending in the right direction. He was one of those guys that falls in that category.”

Offensive Line Coach Hal Hunter on Kevin Zeitler: “You have to love Zeitler. He is a tough, hard nose guy. I have seen him play. I watched him play when he was in Cincinnati’s offense. He is a good football player. He brings a real toughness. He is all business… He is very demanding of guys around him in a positive way. You demand in yourself what you demand in others. I love that about him. I love everything about him, his personality and what he brings. He is so fun to coach.”

Hunter on Jon Halapio: “He made good progress during (the 2018 training) camp and great progress during the preseason. The way he was playing in the beginning of the Dallas game, that was shocking. He was playing really well. When you sit out all that time, you get so far behind physically and technically. Now he is back in the swing of things and he looks good. He is only scratching the surface. He is smart, tough and strong. He has athleticism and needs to continue to play at the position.”

Hunter on George Asafo-Adjei: “My son works at Kentucky. He works in the football office down there. We found out from the inside out – he talked about what a quality guy he was. He was probably the most respected guy on the offensive side of the ball. He talked about how he competed with Josh Allen on a day-to-day basis. He talked about his character, work ethic and his toughness. All of those things peaked interest. You watch him on tape and see that he has a lot of athleticism and power. He has a lot of toughness and plays in the best football conference in the country. We have some technical work to do. He is a rookie and you have to tell him to do something once and he goes on and does it right the next time. He picked up the offense much quicker than I thought he was going to. When you compare our offense to their offense, we have a lot more volume to it with a lot of the things that we were doing. We need to continue to work with him technically to get him up to speed but you have to like everything about him. When you read him, that is one of the first things that I found out. He had committed to Kentucky early and is a man of his word. When all those other schools came in like Alabama, that is legit. Those people tried to come in and recruit him. He gave Kentucky his word and didn’t go anywhere. He has some developmental potential.”

PREDICTIONS: Some fans have questioned me about why I am so upbeat about the 2019 offensive line since there remain some serious question marks at center and both tackle spots. I feel good because I see a group of professional, reliable veterans. For the last decade, the Giants haven’t just been bad up front, they’ve been dreadful. They were not only physically overmatched, they did not treat their jobs as professionals. And they certainly could not be relied upon.

I love our two guards. And whomever starts at center will benefit from them. Solder and Remmers aren’t pretty, but they get the job done. This group will show up to work, give you a full 60 minutes, and leave their opponents feeling sore the next day. I’ll take that any day.

My only concern is that with Solder and Remmers missing all of the Spring workouts, early-season cohesion and chemistry will be lacking. But both guys have been around the League for a long time and that will help. The Giants also have to pray Remmers’ back holds up.

There are Giants fans in their teens and 20s who have never seen their team field a decent offensive line. I think that is about to change. Don’t be surprised if both guards receive some Pro Bowl recognition.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Kevin Zeitler, Will Hernandez, Nate Solder, Mike Remmers, Jon Halapio, Spencer Pulley, Chad Wheeler, George Asafo-Adjei, Paul Adams

(I realize this is tackle heavy, but it’s easier for a tackle to play guard in a pinch rather than the other way around. The Giants also need to groom a couple of young tackles).

Jun 042019
 
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Golden Tate, New York Giants (June 4, 2019)

Golden Tate – © USA TODAY Sports

JUNE 4, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The first day of the New York Giants 3-day mandatory mini-camp was held on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. All 90 players on the current roster were present.

“First day of mini-camp,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after practice. “It was very competitive and very spirited. Very typical of the way the OTA’s have been. We got a lot done today. A lot of red zone, a lot of third-down stuff, situational things we need to work on and have been working on. It is just a continuation in my mind of the OTA’s to this point. It felt that way as well.”

INJURY REPORT…
Quarterback/tight end Eric Dungey (back), wide receiver Brittan Golden (unknown), tight end Evan Engram (“soreness”), left tackle Nate Solder (recovering from ankle surgery), right tackle Mike Remmers (recovering from back surgery), defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (unknown), linebacker Markus Golden (unknown), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), and safety Sean Chandler (unknown) did not practice.

Quarterback Kyle Lauletta (recovering from knee surgery) practiced on a limited basis.

“Just minor things (on the injury front),” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “No one long term. We feel good about having everyone back here soon and definitely by the time we start camp.”

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants waived/injured outside linebacker Jeremiah Harris (knee) on Tuesday. To fill his roster spot, the team signed outside linebacker Keion Adams. The Giants signed Harris as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. Adams was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Adams spent his rookie season on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury. He spent the 2018 season on the Practice Squad of the Steelers. They cut him in May 2019.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Jon Halapio was the primary first-team center; Spencer Pulley also received a few first-team reps.
  • Corey Coleman saw reps with the first unit as the #3 wide receiver.
  • The starting defensive line consisted of Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill with all three players seeing some reps at nose tackle.
  • Lorenzo Carter and Kareem Martin were the first-team outside linebackers.
  • Alec Ogletree and B.J. Goodson were the first-team inside linebackers. Tae Davis continues to see reps with the first-team unit as nickle inside linebacker. Safety Mark McLaurin also continues to see reps at inside linebacker.
  • Deandre Baker and Janoris Jenkins were the first-team cornerbacks with Grant Haley playing in the slot.
  • Linebacker B.J. Goodson intercepted a pass from quarterback Kyle Lauletta.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning completed a deep pass over linebacker Tae Davis to tight end Rhett Ellison.
  • Quarterback Daniel Jones threw a perfect deep sideline pass to wide receiver Reggie White, Jr. against cornerback Tony Lippett. Jones threw a touchdown on a well-thrown fade pass to wide receiver Cody Latimer, but also had two interceptions off of tipped passes.
  • Cornerback Deandre Baker deflected a pass from quarterback Eli Manning, but wide receiver Golden Tate caught the ball off of the deflection for a long gain.
  • Cornerback Julian Love intercepted a pass deflected by linebacker Jonathan Anderson.
  • Safety Antoine Bethea intercepted a pass but was stripped of the football by wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who also recovered the ball.
  • Quarterback Daniel Jones ran for a long touchdown off a read-option play, faking out the entire defense.
  • While both quarterbacks Eli Manning and Daniel Jones threw interceptions, quarterback Alex Tanney had a very good day throwing the football. Taney hit both wide receiver Darius Slayton and Cody Latimer deep.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

Feb 112019
 
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Will Hernandez, New York Giants (October 7, 2018)

Will Hernandez – © USA TODAY Sports

One of the primary reasons why General Manager Jerry Reese and Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross were fired was their inability to satisfactorily address an offensive line that had begun to deteriorate during the Super Bowl season of 2011. For years, Reese and Ross invested premium draft picks and free agent resources at the position, but to no avail. Enter new General Manager Dave Gettleman, who initially won over the hearts and minds of many Giants fans tired of inept offensive line play by focusing much of public comments on the “hog mollies” up front.

So what did Gettleman do? He almost completely gutted the previous group. Justin Pugh (2013 1st rounder), Weston Richburg (2014 2nd rounder), and D.J. Fluker were allowed to walk in free agency. John Jerry was cut before the season started. Somewhat oddly, the only unrestricted free agent the team chose to re-sign was John Greco. Newcomers included Nate Solder (4 years, $62 million), Patrick Omameh (3 years, $15 million), and 2018 2nd-round draft pick Will Hernandez. Notably, Ereck Flowers (9th player taken in the 2015 NFL Draft), who the previous administration had refused to shift to right tackle, was finally moved to the spot that many argued would be his best position. The only real surprise coming out of the OTAs and training camp was that Jon Halapio beat out Brett Jones at center, with the latter eventually being traded to the Minnesota Vikings in late August. The new offensive line coach was Hal Hunter, a man with an uninspiring resume and who was also out of football in 2017.

The Giants started the season with Nate Solder at left tackle, Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio at center, Patrick Omameh at right guard, and Ereck Flowers at right tackle. This group did not play well and the offense struggled mightily to score points. Indeed, there appeared to be no measurable improvement over the previous pathetic groups. The Giants began the season 1-7, scoring an average of 15 points in six of those losses despite the presence of Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley.

Injury and an ineffectiveness soon led to shakeups up front. Halapio broke his ankle and leg in the second game of the season and was first replaced by John Greco and then Spencer Pulley, who was claimed off of waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers. The new regime also decided it had seen enough of Flowers and Omameh. Flowers was benched after the second game and replaced by second-year undrafted free agent Chad Wheeler. Omameh lasted a bit longer, starting the first six games before being cut in November. Greco first took his spot, then newcomer Jamon Brown, who was claimed off of waivers from the Los Angeles Rams.

The 2.0 version of the 2018 offensive line thus included Solder-Hernandez-Pulley-Brown-Wheeler. The best thing that could be said of this group was that it wasn’t as crappy as the previous group. Team scoring improved, but Pulley and Wheeler were clearly weak links. Brown looked the part, but demonstrated the same inconsistency that led to him being cut by the Rams. And it rapidly became apparent that the desperate Giants dramatically overpaid Solder, who did settle down more as the season progressed. (Unfortunately, it was the Giants’ failed attempt to land guard Andrew Norwell in free agency that led to the Giants acquiring both Solder and Omameh). While Hernandez experienced the expected rookie growing pains, he improved and was named to the All-Rookie team.

Overall, for yet another season, the line remained the offense’s Achilles’ heel, with the free agent newcomers not playing as well as expected, and the team being forced to start two mid-season waiver-wire pickups.

THE EVENTUAL STARTERS

The Giants signed Nate Solder as an unrestricted free agent from the New England Patriots in March 2018. Solder started all 16 games at left tackle but had an inconsistent season, struggling at times as both a run and pass blocker, particularly during the first-half of the year. The 6’8”, 325-pound Solder was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Patriots. In eight seasons, Solder has started 111 of the 114 regular-season games he has played in. He is a long, lean tackle with good overall athleticism. Solder was voted a team captain in his first year with the Giants.

In his second season with the Giants, Chad Wheeler was promoted to the starter at right tackle when the team decided to bench Ereck Flowers after the second game. Wheeler ended up starting 14 games at right tackle, but was a weak link on a unit that played better during the second half of the season. Wheeler was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. Not only did he make the team, but he ended up playing in 11 games with four starts, three at right tackle and one at left tackle. Wheeler is a hardworking, versatile player and a decent athlete, but he appears to lack ideal footwork, strength, and bulk to be a starter. He may be better suited as a back-up swing tackle.

The Giants selected Will Hernandez in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. While he had some growing pains, Hernandez, ended up starting all 16 games at left guard and was named named to Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team. Hernandez lacks ideal height, but he is a big, tough, strong, powerful guard who does his best work in-line and not on the move. Hernandez is a mauler who plays with leverage and gets movement as a run blocker. He plays with an attitude and looks to finish his blocks and punish opponents. Hernandez lacks ideal foot quickness which hampers his game in space and, at times, as a pass protector, but he generally gets the job done.

The Giants claimed Jamon Brown off of waivers from the Los Angeles Rams at the end of October 2018. He was quickly inserted into the starting lineup, and played in the final eight games as the starting right guard. The 6’4”, 340-pound Brown was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Rams. Brown has played in 50 regular-season games with 38 starts. He was suspended the first two games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Brown’s size and strength is an asset in the running game, but he was too inconsistent in pass protection. He also needs to cut down on his penalties.

The Giants claimed Spencer Pulley off of waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers in September 2018. Pulley was inserted into the starting line-up in late October. He struggled in his nine starts at center and missed one game due to an injury. Pulley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the 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.

OTHER PLAYERS OF NOTE

Jon Halapio won the starting center job in 2018, but was lost early when he was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2018 after breaking his ankle and lower leg in the second game of the season. The injuries required surgery. Halapio was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He has bounced around different leagues and teams including the Patriots (2014), Boston Brawlers (2014), Denver Broncos (2014–2015), Arizona Cardinals (2015), Brooklyn Bolts (2015), and Patriots (2016) again. The Giants signed Halapio to their Practice Squad in 2016 and 2017. The Giants then added him to the 53-man roster in October 2017 and he played in 10 games, starting the last six at right guard. Halapio is stout and strong, but he lacks ideal overall athleticism. Versatile, he can play both center and guard.

The Giants signed John Greco in November 2017. In 2018, Greco played in 15 games with seven starts (five at center, two at right guard). An older, fading player, Greco struggled at both positions and was eventually replaced in the starting line-up by players acquired during the season. Greco was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. He has spent time with the Rams (2008-2010), Cleveland Browns (2011-2016), and New Orleans Saints (2017). He’s a versatile player with experience at both guard positions and center.

Nov 282018
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The only player to not practice on Wednesday was tight end Evan Engram (hamstring).

Defensive end Kerry Wynn (concussion), linebacker Lorenzo Carter (hip), linebacker B.J. Goodson (neck), linebacker Tae Davis (ankle), cornerback Grant Haley (hamstring), and safety Curtis Riley (shoulder) were limited in practice.

Wide receiver Cody Latimer, who is currently on Injured Reserve due to a hamstring injury that he suffered in October, returned to practice. Latimer has missed five games and must sit out eight before he is eligible to return to the active roster. After the game against the Tennessee Titans on December 16, the Giants will have three days to decide whether to activate Latimer or keep in on Injured Reserve.

Latimer joins running back Jonathan Stewart as players on injured reserve who have been designated for return/returned to practice. Stewart is eligible to rejoin the roster now. If the Giants do not make that moved by December 6, Stewart must remain on Injured Reserve for the rest of the season.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed tight end Hakeem Valles to the Practice Squad. The 26-year old, 6’3”, 250-pound Valles was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He also spent time with the Detroit Lions in 2017-2018. Valles has played in 15 regular-season games with one start, and has caught two passes for 11 yards.

To make room for Valles, the Giants terminated the Practice Squad contract of Marshall Koehn, who the Giants had re-signed last week. Koehn was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Dolphins (2016), Minnesota Vikings (2017), and Cincinnati Bengals (2017). The Giants signed Koehn to a reserve/futures contract in January 2018, but waived him before the season started.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice again on Thursday and Friday in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Oct 032018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 30, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday due to injury were wide receiver Sterling Shepard (cyst on back), tight end Evan Engram (knee), nose tackle Damon Harrison (knee), and linebacker Connor Barwin (knee).

“Looks like we’re going to get more guys out there practicing today, I don’t know what that will mean for the game but we’ll have more guys out there,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur before practice. “(Shepard) had a little thing taken off the base of his back that is just going to take him a day or so to get back from, otherwise he’ll be fine…Just a little cyst. It’s fine.”

Wide receiver Cody Latimer (knee), linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), cornerback Eli Apple (groin), and cornerback Antonio Hamilton (groin) practiced on a limited basis.

GIANTS SIGN JYLAN WARE TO PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have signed offensive tackle Jylan Ware to the team’s Practice Squad, filling the vacancy created last week when wide receiver Jawill Davis was promoted to the 53-man roster. The 24-year old, 6’7”, 317-pound Ware was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders waived him before the 2018 regular season started. He has played in one regular-season game with no starts.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday and Friday in preparation for Sunday’s away game against the Carolina Panthers. The team’s coordinators will address the press on Thursday.

Jul 022018
 
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Will Hernandez, New York Giants (May 11, 2018)

Will Hernandez – © 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: Offensive Line

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: No other position epitomizes the futility of the New York Giants since their last Super Bowl appearance than the team’s offensive line. It is a myth to say that Jerry Reese and Marc Ross ignored the position. Instead, one could argue that their demise was largely due to the allocation of significant draft and free agent resources with negative returns.

2017 was supposed to be the year that the three premium draft picks (Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Ereck Flowers), signed and then re-signed John Jerry, and self-proclaimed “best right tackle in football” Bobby Hart turned a team weakness into at the very least a middle-of-the-pack unit. However, once again, the Giants offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL. The line couldn’t protect Eli Manning (31 sacks, the second most in his career despite an offensive system predicated on the short passing game) or open holes for running backs (26th in rushing). Justin Pugh talked a big game (again) and got hurt (again), missing half the season. Weston Richburg only started four games before ending up on IR with a concussion that he insisted wasn’t IR-worthy. Ereck Flowers – punching bag for fans and opposing pass rushers – struggled mightily both at the beginning and end of the season, and was benched. John Jerry played all 16 games (12 at left guard) but remained a soft player. D.J. Fluker started six games at right guard, performing reasonably well as a road grader, but was placed on IR in November with a toe injury. By the end of the year, you had guys like Jon Halapio (six starts at right guard), Brett Jones (12 starts at center), and Chad Wheeler (three starts at right tackle, one at left tackle) manning the front wall.

The Giants have been a soft, finesse offensive football team for years because of their offensive line play.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Bobby Hart was cut before 2017 was over. The Giants made no effort to re-sign Justin Pugh (2013 1st-round pick) and Weston Richburg (2014 2nd-round draft pick). D.J. Fluker signed a 1-year contract with the Seahawks. Adam Bisnowaty (2017 6th-round draft pick) was cut in May. Dave Gettleman re-signed Jon Halapio (exclusive rights), Brett Jones (restricted), John Greco (unrestricted), and Ethan Cooper (practice squad player).

The newcomers are Nate Solder (4 years, $62 million); Patrick Omameh (3 years, $15 million); Will Hernandez (2nd-round draft pick);  lesser-known “street” free agents Chris Scott, Malcolm Bunche, and Jarron Jones; and rookie free agents Nick Gates and Evan Brown.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: So now the never-ending attempt to rebuild the offensive line falls upon new shoulders. Dave Gettleman will try to accomplish what Jerry Reese failed. Enter the third new head coach and third new offensive line coach as well. To the team’s credit (but also embarrassment), they at least had the courage to part ways with most of their previous mistakes. John Jerry remains but he has already fallen out of the starting line-up. Coming out of the spring, the starters entering camp appear to be left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Will Hernandez, center Jon Halapio, right guard Patrick Omameh, and right tackle Ereck Flowers.

Most of the attention will be focused on whipping-boy Ereck Flowers, who started off on the wrong foot by throwing a hissy fit and not showing up to the early “voluntary” workouts due to his ego being bruised by the shift to right tackle. He returned once he hired a professional agent. The good news is that Nate Solder has attempted to take him under his wing. But Flowers – who the team did shop before the draft – still seems to have a learning disability when it comes to grasping three years of pro coaching. My guess is he will be on a short leash. The problem is there is no obvious replacement. Chad Wheeler flashed but was very shaky as a rookie. On paper, the other vulnerable spot is center. Brett Jones may have already fallen behind journeyman Jon Halapio, who has played with such stalwart “pro” franchises as the Boston Brawlers and Brooklyn Bolts. The Giants tried but failed to sign veteran center John Sullivan in free agency. That tells you they are concerned about the position. Don’t be surprised if the team actively scans the waiver wire throughout the year. The hard truth may be the team needs one more offseason to address two potentially glaring holes.

But while we may all be focusing on the individual component parts, the real issue is finding five starters who can form a viable, physical, and cohesive unit. And the priority appears to have changed. The offensive focus may no longer be pass blocking for Eli Manning and his targets but run blocking for Saquon Barkley. In other words, there may be a real emphasis on becoming a physical football team up front again and not just talking about it. If they don’t, then drafting Barkley with the #2 pick made little sense. New offensive line coach Hal Hunter was out of football in 2017. The pressure is on him to fix a unit that Pat Flaherty and Mike Solari couldn’t.

ON THE BUBBLE: Again, the starters coming out of the spring workouts were Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Jon Halapio, Patrick Omameh, and Ereck Flowers. Others who received some 1st-team reps and/or quite a bit of time with the second unit were Nick Becton, John Greco, Brett Jones, John Jerry, and Chad Wheeler. Right now, though things can quickly change, these players appear to be the top candidates to make the roster. That said, except for Solder, Hernandez, and Omameh, I would be renting rather than buying a home in northern New Jersey.

FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Ereck Flowers: “He’s actually done a really good job. He’s an excellent athlete and he’s handling the move pretty seamlessly…I think he’s made improvements…He’s been great. He’s been communicating well, he looks like he’s having fun playing out there, he’s worked in with the offensive line and he’s done everything we’ve asked and I anticipate that will continue.”

Nate Solder on Ereck Flowers: “I have been very impressed with his character and his humility – work ethic, everything…the way he goes about his business, the way that he has put it behind him, he’s just doing his thing and he’s trying hard and he cares and he’s asking questions. He is doing everything that you would want a guy to do.”

Shurmur on Jon Halapio: “Yeah, he has done a very good job. Pio is very smart, he’s got good instincts – he snaps the ball well…He does all of those things well and he’s very competitive and he knows how to play the game. I think (Brett) Jonesey is doing the same thing. They’re just in there competing. I wouldn’t over-evaluate who is getting the first team reps, but I think if you’re talking about Pio specifically, he has really sort of opened his eyes that he has a chance to play.”

PREDICTIONS: The strength of the line should be the left side. Nate Solder should be the team’s best left tackle in years. Even without the pads on, Will Hernandez has flashed a much-needed enforcer mentality. Patrick Omameh should be a more physical presence as a run blocker at right guard than John Jerry. Center and right tackle remain the primary concerns as well as overall depth. We’ve heard all of the pleasantries about Ereck Flowers before. Now he is shifting to a spot he didn’t even play in college. There is no guarantee he will be a better player on the right side. Much rides on play. Perhaps the new chemistry in the locker room will help. It was no secret that Flowers and Bobby Hart didn’t get along with Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg. Regardless, Flowers is out of excuses.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Thank the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), but teams don’t have many practices in training camp to get ready for the season. Thus, despite what the coaches say, it is pretty telling that Hernandez was playing left guard, Omameh right guard, Flowers right tackle, and Halapio center for the latter half of the offseason program. These four (plus obviously Nate Solder at left tackle) have to be considered the favorites to start right now at those specific positions. The next four appear to be John Greco, John Jerry, Brett Jones, and Chad Wheeler. But Greco and Jerry don’t offer much positional flexibility so one would appear vulnerable. My gut tells me the Giants will be adding one or two more offensive linemen from the waiver wire. A veteran swing tackle would be ideal.

Dec 202017
 
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Dave Gettleman, Carolina Panthers (March 1, 2017)

Dave Gettleman – © USA TODAY Sports

DAVE GETTLEMAN INTERVIEWS FOR GM POSITION…
The New York Giants announced on Wednesday that they have interviewed Dave Gettleman for the team’s general manager position. The 66-year old Gettleman was the Giants’ pro personnel director (1999-2011) and senior pro personnel analyst (2012) before becoming the general manager of the Carolina Panthers (2013-2017). The Panthers fired Gettleman in July 2017.

Gettleman interviewed with team President/CEO John Mara, Chairman/Executive Vice President Steve Tisch, and former general manager Ernie Accorsi, who is consulting with the franchise on the selection process. Gettleman is the second known candidate to interview for the position. Giants’ Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross interviewed earlier this week.

Kevin Abrams is currently serving as the team’s interim general manager.

LANDON COLLINS VOTED TO PRO BOWL…
New York Giants safety Landon Collins has been voted to his second consecutive Pro Bowl as the NFC’s starting strong safety. Collins was the only Giants player selected this season. Collins is leading the team with 103 tackles and also has six pass defenses, two interceptions, and one forced fumble despite playing most of the season with a nagging ankle injury that he suffered in early October.

“I think my second half was better than my first half, because of my (ankle) injury,” Collins said. “And I think I’ve played pretty good to get everybody’s attention, and being one of the best in the game right now. I’m just humbled by it and grateful for it, going back-to-back times. It’s a blessing.”

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Tavarres King (concussion), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (finger), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), and safety Landon Collins (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday.

Offensive center Brett Jones (ankle), cornerback Brandon Dixon (heel/hamstring), safety Darian Thompson (knee), and safety Nat Berhe (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.

Wide receiver Travis Rudolph (hamstring) and tight end Rhett Ellison (groin/finger) fully practiced.

INTERIM HEAD COACH STEVE SPAGNUOLO…
The transcript of Steve Spagnuolo’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Thursday at 11:35AM. Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo, Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan, Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn, and select players will also address the media after practice.

Nov 212017
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (November 12, 2017)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (illness), guard D.J. Fluker (toe), guard/tackle Justin Pugh (back), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), and linebacker Calvin Munson (quad) did not practice on Tuesday.

“Sterling is not feeling well,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We kept him in the training room and they’re taking a look at him. They’re looking at all the possibilities…Yeah (it might be something different than migraines). They’re looking at it right now. They’ll let me know when they know.”

Running back Orleans Darkwa (hamstring), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), defensive end Olivier Vernon (shoulder), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (ankle), defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (ankle), and linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (groin) were limited in practice.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Wednesday. The team plays the Washington Redskins in Maryland on Thursday night.

Nov 192017
 
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Roger Lewis, New York Giants (November 19, 2017)

Yes, Roger Lewis caught this pass! – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 12 – KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 9…
Heavy underdogs to the Kansas City Chiefs, the New York Giants pulled off the upset on Sunday afternoon at a very windy MetLife Stadium, winning 12-9 in overtime. With the victory, the New York Giants improved to 2-8 on the season.

The Chiefs actually out-gained the Giants in first downs (22 to 20), total net yards (363 to 317), net yards rushing (134 to 112), net yards passing (229 to 205), and time of possession (37:16 to 30:50). But turnovers were the great equalizer as the Chiefs threw three interceptions and the Giants one.

The Chiefs moved the ball 37 yards on their first possession, but punted. New York pulled out all of the stops on their first series as the Giants ran three trick plays, including a fake punt that picked up a first down and, unfortunately, a halfback pass by Shane Vereen that ended with an interception at the Chiefs’ 1-yard line. The Giants got the ball back seven plays later when defensive tackle Damon Harrison picked off a shovel pass at the Chiefs’ 35-yard line, returning it to the 26. Six plays after that, running back Orleans Darkwa scored from one yard out. However, place kicker Aldrick Rosas missed the extra point. The Giants led 6-0.

Kansas City responded with a 15-play, 61-yard drive that took over nine minutes off of the clock, but settled for a 31-yard field goal to cut New York’s lead in half with just over four minutes to play. Neither team could move the ball for the remainder of the first half and the Giants were ahead 6-3 at the break.

The Giants went three-and-out to start the third quarter. The Chiefs gained 33 yards and punted. New York put together a decent drive that gained 58 yards in 11 plays, but turned the ball over on downs on 4th-and-9 at the Chiefs’ 33-yard line. This opened the door for the Chiefs who drove 54 yards in seven plays to tie the game 6-6 early in the 4th quarter on a 31-yard field goal.

Both teams went three-and-out. After the Giants gained a couple of first downs and punted, the Chiefs turned the ball over when a trick-play pass by the tight end was intercepted deep by safety Landon Collins at the Giants’ 14-yard line. The Giants picked up one first down and punted again with just over four minutes to play in regulation. New York got the ball back four plays later when quarterback Alex Smith’s was intercepted at the Chiefs’ 40-yard line by cornerback Janoris Jenkins and returned 17 yards to the 23. Five plays later, Rosas kicked a 26-yard field goal to give the Giants a 9-6 advantage with 1:38 to play.

New York’s defense could not hold as the Chiefs drove 69 yards in nine plays and 97 seconds to tie the game on a 23-yard field goal with one second left on the clock.

The Chiefs received the ball to start overtime but were forced to punt after gaining one first down. The Giants then put the game away with a 10-play, 77-yard drive, the highlight being a spectacular 34-yard catch by wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr. on 4th-and-5 down to the Chiefs’ 2-yard line. Two plays later, Rosas kicked the 23-yard field goal for the win.

Manning finished the game 19-of-35 for 205 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. Wide receivers Roger Lewis (55 yards), Tavarres King (48 yards), and Travis Rudolph (34 yards) each had three receptions to lead the team. Orleans Darkwa gained 74 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries. Rookie Chad Wheeler started at right tackle.

Landon Collins led the defense with 14 tackles and an interception. Linebacker Calvin Munson had 12 tackles and linebacker Devon Kennard had the team’s lone sack. Damon Harrison and Janoris Jenkins each had interceptions as well.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were wide receiver Sterling Shepard (migraine), offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (groin), cornerback Eli Apple, quarterback Davis Webb, and offensive lineman John Greco.

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

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants are 20-15-2 in regular-season overtime games since 1974, when the extra period was first played.

The Giants improved to 11-3 vs. the Chiefs, including 7-0 in home games.

Quarterback Eli Manning started his 209th consecutive regular-season game, breaking a tie with his brother, Peyton, for the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history, behind Brett Favre’s 297 straight starts. It is the sixth-longest starting streak among all NFL players since the 1970 merger.

Manning engineered his 35th game-winning, regular-season drive (drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in which he led the Giants from a tie or deficit to win the game).

ARTICLES…

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

Nov 162017
 
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Eli Manning and Mike Sullivan, New York Giants (October 1, 2017)

Eli Manning and Mike Sullivan – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), and linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (groin) did not practice on Thursday.

Offensive guard D.J. Fluker (knee), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (ankle), defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (ankle), Devon Kennard (quad), linebacker Calvin Munson (quad), and cornerback Donte Deayon (ankle) were limited in practice.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo and select position coaches and players will address the media on Friday.