Mar 182019
 
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Dave Gettleman, New York Giants (September 30, 2018)

Dave Gettleman – © USA TODAY Sports

DAVE GETTLEMAN ADDRESSES MEDIA…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addressed the media by conference call on Monday.

Opening Statement: Thanks for joining me, good morning. Obviously, I’m doing the call do discuss the (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) trade, which was finalized over the weekend after Odell and (Giants S) Jabrill (Peppers) passed their physicals. Before we begin the Q&A portion of the call, I’d like to address a few things that have been out there, as well as explain why we decided this move was right for the New York Football Giants. As a point of information, the only call that I initiated regarding moving Odell was to Buffalo. As you folks may or may not know, I have a personal relationship with (Bills General Manager) Brandon (Beane), being the Buffalo GM, from our time spent together in Carolina. I placed the call after I had learned they had conversations on Antonio Brown. I good naturedly chided Brandon about not calling us, and that’s where it ended. So, that’s Buffalo. San Francisco — we had numerous conversations over time; myself and (49ers General Manager) John Lynch, the GM, and frankly we couldn’t come to an agreement, so that died on the vine. As far as Cleveland is concerned, talks were initiated by them and (Browns General Manager) John Dorsey. John knew we weren’t going to give Odell away. So frankly, his initial offer peaked our interest, and away we went. So, the initial call Tuesday morning, we finalized it, it was probably about 10 hours, and there was considerable back and forth.

So, the obvious question is ‘Why?’ That’s the question that everybody has. After much discussion, we just believe this was in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. I want everybody to know that this was purely a football business decision. There’s no intrigue, there’s no he said, she said, none of that stuff. So, let’s not waste time with those types of questions after the fact. Odell was a tremendous talent, making him a valuable asset. With football being the ultimate team game — you guys know I’ve said that a number of times — with football being the ultimate team game, we turn that fact into three assets at the very least.

Some have questioned why we signed Odell and then traded him. As I said publicly twice, we didn’t sign him to trade him, but obviously things change. Frankly, what changed is a team made an offer we couldn’t refuse. As it turns out, the fact that he was signed for five more years made him very attractive and enabled us to get legitimate value. You ask me about my mantra of not quitting on talent, and yes, I believe that fully, but quitting on talent is when you cut a player, or get marginal value in return, and we all know this did not happen here. Speaking of value, you ask me how we came to this. My barometer or litmus test was the franchise tag. So, just for the sake of discussion, or explanation, if we had not signed Odell back in August, and we had played the season out and we had put the franchise tag on him — if another team had signed him, and we didn’t match it, we would’ve gotten two first-round picks. So, that was my litmus test. Oh, and by the way, as a point of reference, it has only happened once in league history, that was in ’98 with Carolina signing (DT) Sean Gilbert off the franchise tag. Again, as our litmus test, it turns out we not only got two first-round picks, but we also got a third.

I completely understand why people are going to debate the merits of this deal, because draft picks are involved. This trade really won’t be able to be completely evaluated until we get further down the road. Finally, because of Odell’s talent and personality, this was a decision we did not enter into lightly. There were a number of factors to take into consideration, and I can assure you we thoroughly discussed them all. Let the games begin.

Q: You mentioned that this was just a football decision. Were the distractions from Odell a factor in your decision at all?

A: Obviously, there’s a lot of stuff that factors in, but at the end of the day, in order for us to move Odell, the other team was going to have to knock it out of the park. As I said, we were not actively shopping him. Calls were coming to us, and the only one I reached out to was, again, Buffalo, and I was just as much giving Brandon a hard time as anything else. For us to get Jabrill Peppers, who we think is going to be a very good safety in this league. He’s young, we’ve got him under contract for three years at very reasonable value. To get another one (first-round pick), this year is number 17, I think, and to get that kind of a value in this type of a draft, and to get a third-round pick completing our dance card for April, it was just too much to pass up. It was too much value for us. You look at everything, but at the end of the day, it’s really about football. We’ve got positions to address. This was about us having the ability to address multiple positions.

Q: You said things came together in Cleveland and you only made that one call to Buffalo. Why not shop around and see what other teams had to offer, to see if you could’ve gotten a better offer?

A: That’s a very fair question. When it comes to trading, the team that makes the call is playing from behind. You’re in a much better position of strength when teams call you. You’re in a much better position. Because I wasn’t doing that — we’re not trading Odell, understand what I’m saying? That’s really why it worked out the way it worked out. It (the trade) wasn’t something we had to do, and someone was going to have to knock it out of the park.

Q: Can you best articulate what the plan is, and how letting (S) Landon Collins go, trading (WR) Odell Beckham, trading (LB) Olivier Vernon, but bringing back (QB) Eli Manning factors into your plan, and what that plan is?

A: Really and truly, very honestly, it’s not my responsibility to tell you guys what I’m doing. Just like it’s not my responsibility to respond to every rumor that comes down the pike. That’s not my job. It’s not my responsibility. Trust me, we’ve got a plan. Over time, you’ve got to be patient. Everybody wants answers now in this instant-gratification society, instant-gratification world, and everybody wants answers now. Over time, you’ll see it. You’ve got to trust it.

Q: I know it’s not your responsibility to tell us your plan, but the fans do want to have a vision. They want to know where you guys are headed.

A: I appreciate that, okay. We have positions to address, and that plan is to address those positions, plain and simple, and we’ll do it with whatever means necessary. You may do it on a draft pick, you may do it on a waiver claim, you may do it in free agency, you may sign an unrestricted free agent, you may sign a street free agent, you may sign an NQO, a third-year player that doesn’t get a qualifying offer from his team, and you may make a trade. There’s a million ways to do it. We’re exploring and using all those options.

Q: Do you view yourself as rebuilding? Or, are you trying to win as you move along here?

A: We’re building. The object of this is to win as many games as possible every year. We’re building. We were 3-13 when I took over. We were 5-11 last year — 12 of those games were by a touchdown or less. We’re building. I don’t understand why that’s a question. Really and truly, you can win while you’re building. Down in Carolina, I walked into a different situation. The first year, we go 12-4. Then the next year, we had to build a little bit. We had a crazy year, go 7-8-1, but make the playoffs because the NFC South was struggling. We win a playoff game, lose a playoff game. Then the next year, we did everything but win the ultimate prize. You can win while you’re building. They’re not separate pieces.

Q: You mentioned at the combine that you wanted to have ‘X’ amount of dollars for the draft, ‘X’ amount of dollars for free agency. Having $33 million in dead money towards the salary cap, how much was that a factor in your decisions?

A: Really and truly, nobody wants to have that kind of dead money, but again, it’s the long-term vision that we have in the building, and what we’re going to do. Sometimes, you’ve got to do those things. There was a team this year with something like $60 million in dead money. That was the route they chose. We talked about it. (Giants Vice President of Football Operations and Assistant General Manager) Kevin Abrams does a great job of looking at it and saying — hey, you’ve got to take a look at this, this is the way it works, this is what we’re looking at in dead money, this is what we’re looking at in cap space. Again, none of these decisions are made in a silo, none of them. Everything is interconnected. So to answer your question, we knew it, and we just decided this was the way we’re going to go.

Q: What do you say to those who say you did not get enough in return for Odell?

A: First of all, what I say is what’s reasonable, what’s the best you are going to do? Someone sits out there and says you should have gotten four first round picks, you and I know that’s not going to happen. To me, it’s what I said earlier, it’s the litmus test of the franchise tag value. Franchise tag value is two first round picks. We got two ones and a three, one of them being a player. I think really and truly you are not going to be able to know the value. You are not going to be able to give a Roman Coliseum thumb up or thumb down on this trade for a little bit. We have to see how Jabrill develops, and we have to see who this number one is, who this number three is. You guys will obviously follow Odell’s career and we will go from there. In two or three years, you guys will have your opinions like you do now.

Q: Did you have any discussions about Eli and his bonus, is there a thought of extending him beyond 2019?

A: Yes, we talked about it. We just said we are going to keep moving. Today is the day he gets his bonus and we are just going to keep moving.

Q: On Landon Collins, it was clear you guys were not willing to go to that price point. Why not trade him at the deadline?

A: First of all, the rumor that we were offered a first round draft pick isn’t even remotely close to being accurate. Did we have teams call in on Landon, yes. At that point in time, it wasn’t what I thought he was worth. At that point in time, we were really struggling, and what message are we sending by trading him. I didn’t think the value was there, and it’s about value, so that’s why we didn’t do it.

Q: How does making the roster older in certain spots (Bethea, Tate, Zeitler) jive with your building theory?

A: It’s about accumulating really good football players, who are also really good folks. The culture is important, I have said it a million times, you guys know that. The bottom line is with the way the game has evolved, 65 percent of the time you are in sub. You need a guy in the back end that can get everybody lined up and make all the adjustment calls. If you don’t have that, you can’t function. I’ve watched Antoine (Bethea) for years, you talk about a great sixth round pick. He is an adult, he’s a professional football player. He knows what he is doing, he can still play. I have this crazy idea that age doesn’t bother me. I better because my age doesn’t bother me. At the end of the day, it’s about a good football player. Antoine Bethea is still a hell of a football player, so is Kevin Zeitler, those guys can flat play. Plus, we have 12 draft picks, we are going to be really young. It’s about building a team, it’s not about individual players in silos.

Q: Are you concerned with the pressure being put on Peppers?

A: Jabrill is a hell of a kid. He is very bright, he’s young. We talked about it. At the end of the day, he is coming here to play football. He is going to have Antoine helping him out. Jabrill is very bright in terms of his intelligence. I told Antoine, in time. Jabrill should be able to make the calls back there. He doesn’t feel that pressure, he is thrilled to be coming home. He is very close to his mom, he is going to live in Bergen County, I think. I don’t think he feels that pressure. He is just excited to be a Giant. It’s the team he grew up cheering for, this kid’s coming home. I don’t think he feels that pressure, and we certainly aren’t going to put that pressure on him. There is no reason for there to be that kind of pressure on him. He is coming here to be a safety, play football and help the New York Giants win games. It’ss that simple.

Q: Last year when you brought Saquon in, you guys said you didn’t worry about putting expectations on him because you thought he could live up to it and that was from ownership on down. You have laid out expectations for Peppers coming here, you said you wouldn’t have dealt Odell in that deal without Peppers, so in a sense, you are putting those expectations on him, no?

A: I’m not putting them on him. He was an important piece of the trade. I didn’t trade Odell straight up for Jabrill Peppers. Jabrill was an important piece to that trade. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I believe in his ability. We watched film, we evaluated and we did him coming out. I was in Carolina at the time, he came in for a private visit down there, so I had personally spent time with him. He’s part of the trade and he’s an important part of the trade. He’s coming here to be a safety for the New York Football Giants.

Q: I know you talked a lot about acquiring players and having holes that you need to fill. Just curious how you justify that with bringing Eli back this year against the savings? The $13 million in cap space that it would create if he’s not on the roster. Just trying to figure out how those two ideas can coexist?

A: At the end of the day, when you blow the whistle, 11 guys have to go out there. I’ve done that study and on offense you have to have a quarterback run out there. I said it in Indianapolis and I’ll say it again, you turn around and take a look at what happened last year once we got that o-line fixed, better, we’re going to continue working on that and look at what we did the second half of the year on offense. This narrative that Eli is overpaid and can’t play is a crock, I’m telling you. At the end of the day, you guys have to say, ‘Gettleman is out of his mind’ or ‘he knows what he’s talking about when he evaluates players.’ That’s really what it is, that’s really where it’s at and I’m okay if you disagree with me, that’s fine. What I’m telling you is if you turn around and take a look at what he’s making right now, and look around the league and see what quarterbacks are making, if you were in my shoes, you would say, you know what, there is really not — the way he finished the season and what he’s making — there really wasn’t a decision to make.

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN CODY LATIMER…
The New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent wide receiver Cody Latimer. The Giants signed Cody Latimer as an unrestricted free agent from the Denver Broncos in March 2018 and placed him on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury in October 2018. The Giants activated him from IR in December. Latimer ended up playing in six games with two starts, catching just 11 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown. However, he really flashed in the regular-season finale with two spectacular, one-handed catches.

The 6’2”, 215-pound Latimer was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Broncos. In four seasons with the Broncos, Latimer played in 45 regular-season games with three starts. He’s a big receiver who will fight for the football. Latimer is a good gunner on special teams and has experience returning kickoffs.

JABRILL PEPPERS AND KEVIN ZEITLER ADDRESS THE MEDIA…
Safety Jabrill Peppers and offensive guard Kevin Zeitler, who were both acquired by trade last week from the Cleveland Browns, addressed the media by conference call on Monday. Their transcripts are available in The Corner Forum:

GIANTS INSIDER INTERVIEWS…
Exclusive Giants Insider interviews with the following recently-acquired players are available at Giants.com:

  • DL Olsen Pierre (Video)
  • LB Markus Golden (Video)
  • S Jabrill Peppers (Video)
  • S Antoine Bethea (Video)
Feb 152019
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 12, 2018)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 New York Giants were a top heavy team, with some elite talent at a number of positions but with the overall quality of the rest of the roster rapidly falling off. And the wide receiver position was just one example of this issue. Coming out of training camp, the team’s top wideouts were Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, Kaelin Clay, and Russell Shepard. Injuries hit this position hard, including Beckham (4 games), Latimer (placed on IR and later returning, missing 10 games), and Clay (only playing in two games before being placed on IR and later waived). Thus began a revolving door at the position for much of the season at the 3rd, 4th, and 5th receiver spots. Those who later saw playing time at wide receiver and/or special teams included Bennie Fowler, Corey Coleman, Jawill Davis, Quadree Henderson (also ended up on IR), and Stacy Coley (waived after one game).

There was no better indicator of the sharp divide between Beckham (77 catches) and Sterling Shepard (66 catches) and the rest of the wide-receiving corps than the reception totals. No other wide receiver on the roster had more than 16 catches. And combined, the other receivers had a total of just 46 receptions. Part of this was a function of Eli Manning having other options, including running back Saquon Barkley (91 catches) and tight ends Evan Engram (45 catches) and Rhett Ellison (25 catches). But it was obvious that opposing defenses did not concern themselves too much with the other wideouts.

Of course, the primary headliner was Beckham, who was coming off a very serious fractured ankle that required surgery and which caused him to miss 12 games in 2017. While some contend that Beckham did not appear to be quite the same player, statistically-speaking, his numbers were on par with his 2016 season if adjusted for the four games he missed in 2018 due to a somewhat mysterious quad injury. What was missing were the eye-opening, huge, explosive plays. The good news is that despite the media’s goal of turning him into a click-bait lightning rod, Beckham did seem to mature and did not sulk as more team and fan attention shifted to Barkley.

Sterling Shepard is a very solid, complimentary piece as a slot receiver, but it has become pretty clear that he is not a consistent vertical threat. He has averaged 63 catches, 762 yards, and 4.7 touchdowns per year in his first three NFL seasons.

Overall, it is fair to say that more was expected from Beckham, Shepard, and Latimer than a total of 154 catches and just 11 touchdown receptions.

THE HEADLINERS

Despite missing the last four games of the season with a quad injury, Odell Beckham, Jr. accrued 77 receptions for 1,052 yards (13.7 yards per catch) and six touchdowns. It was Beckham’s fourth 1,000-yard season in his first five years in the NFL (Beckham missed 12 games in 2017 with a fractured ankle that required surgery). Beckham’s accolades already include Pro Football Writers of America “Rookie of the Year” (2014), second-team All-Pro (2015, 2016), and Pro Bowl (2014, 2015, 2016). All of this despite constant double teams by opposing defenses. Beckham was drafted in the 1st round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Giants. While Beckham lacks classic size, his long arms, big hands, and tremendous jumping ability give him a very good catch radius. Beckham is an explosive athlete with excellent speed, quickness, and agility. Beckham runs good routes, is very quick out of his breaks, adjusts exceptionally well to the football, and regularly makes the circus catch. He is very dangerous with the football in his hands after the catch. Competitive, passionate, and hard working.

In his third season with the Giants, Sterling Shepard started all 16 games, finishing with 66 catches for 872 yards and four touchdowns. Shepard was selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Giants. Shepard started all 16 regular-season games as a rookie, but missed five games in 2017 with various ailments. Shepard lacks ideal size and speed, but he is a fluid athlete with good quickness. Shepard runs good routes, is tough going over the middle, and adjusts well to the football. He is guilty of the occasional drop. Shepard is not a consistent deep threat, but more of a move-the-chains underneath target. He needs to make more big plays.

THE MISFIT TOYS

The Giants signed Cody Latimer as an unrestricted free agent from the Denver Broncos in March 2018 and placed him on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury in October 2018. The Giants activated him from IR in December. Latimer ended up playing in six games with two starts, catching just 11 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown. However, he really flashed in the regular-season finale with two spectacular, one-handed catches. The 6’2”, 215-pound Latimer was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Broncos. In four seasons with the Broncos, Latimer played in 45 regular-season games with three starts. He’s a big receiver who will fight for the football. Latimer is a good gunner on special teams and has experience returning kickoffs.

After signing late with the Giants in October 2018, Bennie Fowler surprisingly played in 10 games with five starts, finishing the year with 16 catches for 199 yards and one touchdown. The 6’1”, 212-pound Fowler originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Denver Broncos after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Broncos (2014-2017), Chicago Bears (2018), and New England Patriots (2018). Fowler has played in 55 regular-season games with 10 starts. He has 72 career catches for 897 yards and six touchdowns.

The Giants signed Russell Shepard in May 2018 after he was cut by the Carolina Panthers. He ended up playing in 12 games, with no starts, catching 12 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. The 6’1”, 195-pound Shepard was originally signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as undrafted rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft. Shepard has spent time with the Eagles (2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013-2016), and Panthers (2017). He has 57 career catches for 822 yards and six touchdowns. Shepard is a good gunner on special teams.

The Giants signed Corey Coleman to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018. He ended up playing in eight games with one start, finishing with five catches for 71 yards. Coleman’s primary contribution came on special teams as as kickoff returner (averaging 26 yards on 23 returns). The 5’11”, 185-pound Coleman was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. An explosive athlete but an injury-plagued bust in Cleveland, Coleman has also had brief stints with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots in 2018. Coleman has played in 27 NFL games with 19 starts, accruing 61 catches for 789 yards and five touchdowns.

The Giants signed Jawill Davis as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He was signed to the Practice Squad after the final preseason cutdown and then signed to the 53-man roster in September. Davis injured his knee during the last practice of the year and was placed on Injured Reserve before the last game. Davis has average size, but he is a good athlete with excellent speed. He played in seven games for the Giants, catching four passes for 40 yards. He also returned 12 punts (7.4 yards per return) and seven kickoffs (24.4 yards per return).

The Giants placed Quadree Henderson on Injured Reserve in late November 2018 with a fractured shoulder. The 5’8”, 192-pound Henderson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2018 NFL Draft. The Steelers waived him before the season started. The Giants signed Henderson to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018, and then back to the Practice Squad and the 53-man roster again in November. Henderson played in five games for the Giants and returned five kickoffs (22.4 yards per return average) and nine punts (7.6 yards per return average).

The Giants signed Alonzo Russell after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2018 rookie mini-camp and then signed him to the Practice Squad in September. He was added to the 53-man roster before the last game of the season. The 6’3”, 206-pound Russell was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Bengals’ Practice Squad. The Bengals waived him in September 2017 and he was signed to the Practice Squad of the Arizona Cardinals in November 2017. Russell has not caught a pass in a regular-season game.

Dec 302018
 
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Eli Manning and Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (December 30, 2018)

Giants End Season With Another Loss – © USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS COWBOYS 36 – NEW YORK GIANTS 35…
The New York Giants ended their 2018 season on a losing note, falling to the Dallas Cowboys 36-35 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Giants were up 35-28 with 2:35 left in the game. But Dallas drove 70 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 32-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-15 with with just over a minute to play. The successful 2-point conversion gave the Cowboys their game-winning points.

With the loss, the Giants ended the season with a 5-11 overall record (1-5 in the NFC East). The Giants have five losing seasons in the last six years.

The game did not start off well for New York. After a 38-yard kickoff return by wide receiver Corey Coleman, the Giants drove deep into Dallas territory, aided by a 24-yard reception by wide receiver Sterling Shepard and a 26-yard run by running back Saquon Barkley. However, quarterback Eli Manning was picked off in the end zone on 3rd-and-4 from the Dallas 6-yard line.

Dallas gained two first downs on their initial drive and then punted. The Giants picked up three first downs, but on 2-and-10 from the Dallas 43-yard line, Manning was sacked and he fumbled the ball away. The Cowboys drove inside the red zone on the ensuing possession but missed the 34-yard field goal.

After a three-and-out by the Giants, Dallas drove the ball 65 yards in 13 plays, the possession ending with a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dak Prescott to tight end Blake Jarwin. After another three-and-out by the Giants, the Cowboys went up 14-0 after a 9-play, 75-yard drive ended with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Jarwin.

With under two minutes to play before halftime, the Giants finally got on the board with a 10-play, 73-yard possession that ended with a spectacular, one-handed, 21-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Cody Latimer on 3rd-and-10.

At the half, the Cowboys led 14-7.

The 3rd quarter began with a three-and-out by the Cowboys. Coleman returned the ensuing punt 19 yards. The Giants’ offense was only able to gain 15 yards, but it was enough to set up a successful 48-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. Cowboys 14 – Giants 10.

Dallas appeared to take command of the game again on their second possession of the half, driving 76 yards in eight plays, and capping off the drive with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Jarwin. The Cowboys now led 21-10.

The Giants were ignited by a 68-yard run by Barkley on 2nd-and-20. Three plays later, Manning found tight end Evan Engram for a 6-yard touchdown reception and then the 2-point conversion. Cowboys 21 – Giants 18.

The Cowboys gained one first down and punted the ball away early in the 4th quarter. Aided by a 51-yard reception by Evan Engram, the Giants took their first lead of the game when running back Wayne Gallman scored from two yards out. Giants 25 – Cowboys 21.

However, a New York defense that has struggled to hold leads all year collapsed in the 4th quarter. On Dallas’ ensuing possession, the Cowboys easily drove 75 yards in five plays to regain the lead 28-25 with just over nine minutes to play. The Giants’ offense impressively responded with a 12-play, 74-yard effort. Latimer came down with a one-handed, 31-yard reception and three plays later Barkley skyed over the Dallas defense from two yards out. Giants 32 – Cowboys 28 with 3:21 left in the game.

New York appeared to pull off the upset on the very next offensive snap. After a short reception, defensive end Kerry Wynn forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker B.J. Goodson and advanced to the Dallas 18-yard line. The Giants lost two yards on the subsequent possession but kicked a 38-yard field goal to take a 35-28 lead with 2:35 left in the game.

Again, the Giants’ defense could not hold. The Cowboys drove 70 yards 83 seconds, unbelievably scoring on a broken play from 32 yards out on 4th-and-15. The subsequent 2-point conversion gave Dallas their game-winning points.

The Giants did have one final legitimate chance to win the game. Latimer returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards to the New York 48-yard line. The Giants had the ball near midfield with 65 left in the game and two timeouts. But the contest ended with four straight incompletions by Manning.

Manning finished the game 24-of-41 for 301 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. His leading receiver was Engram, who caught five passes for 81 yards. Latimer, Shepard, and Barkley each had four receptions. Barkley also gained 109 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries.

Defensively, the Giants gave up 419 total net yards, including 368 net yards passing. The Giants accrued four sacks (2.5 by linebacker Olivier Vernon) and forced one fumble.

Video highlights are available at NFL.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (quad), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion), defensive end Mario Edwards (calf), linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion), tight end Garrett Dickerson, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Cornerback Grant Haley (concussion) and wide receiver Corey Coleman (foot) left the game with injuries.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants placed wide receiver Jawill Davis on Injured Reserve on Saturday after he injured his knee dancing in the locker room on Saturday (no joke). To fill his roster spot, the Giants signed wide receiver Alonzo Russell to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad.

The Giants signed Russell after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2018 rookie mini-camp and then signed him to the Practice Squad in September. The 6’3”, 206-pound Russell was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Bengals’ Practice Squad. The Bengals waived him in September 2017 and he was signed to the Practice Squad of the Arizona Cardinals in November 2017.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media on Monday. General Manager Dave Gettleman will address the media on Wednesday.

Dec 192018
 
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Aldrick Rosas, New York Giants (December 2, 2018)

Aldrick Rosas – © USA TODAY Sports

THREE GIANTS SELECTED TO PRO BOWL…
Three New York Giants were selected to the NFC Pro Bowl team, including running back Saquon Barkley, safety Landon Collins, and place kicker Aldrick Rosas. Collins and Rosas were selected as starters. It is the third time Collins has been selected to the Pro Bowl, but the second year in a row that he will miss the game due to a season-ending injury.

Players are elected by voting from coaches, fellow players, and fans. The Pro Bowl will be played on January 27th in Orlando, Florida.

The Giants also had three alternates selected: linebacker Olivier Vernon (first alternate), special teams player Michael Thomas (first alternate), and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (second alternate). They will get the opportunity to play if other players cannot or will not participate in the game.

GIANTS PLACE ANTONIO HAMILTON ON IR; CODY LATIMER ACTIVATED…
The New York Giants have placed cornerback Antonio Hamilton on Injured Reserve with a quad injury that he suffered in last Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans. To fill the roster vacancy, the Giants activated wide receiver Cody Latimer from Injured Reserve.

The Giants claimed Hamilton off of waivers from the Oakland Raiders in September 2018. He played in 13 games for the Giants with no starts, accruing six tackles. Hamilton was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Giants signed  Latimer as an unrestricted free agent from the Denver Broncos in March 2018 and placed him on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury in October 2018. He played in four games with one start, with six catches for 108 yards. Latimer was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Broncos. In four seasons with the Broncos, Latimer played in 45 regular-season games with three starts.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (quad), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), center Spencer Pulley (calf), linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion), and safety Michael Thomas (excused absence).

Defensive end Kerry Wynn (thumb) practiced on a limited basis.

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 Indianapolis Colts.

Oct 162018
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 11, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS PLACE CODY LATIMER AND RAY-RAY ARMSTRONG ON IR; CUT DONTE DEAYON…
The New York Giants have placed wide receiver Cody Latimer (hamstring) and linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong (concussion) on Injured Reserve. The team also waived cornerback Donte Deayon.

The Giants signed Latimer as an unrestricted free agent from the Denver Broncos in March 2018. He played in four games with one start, with six catches for 108 yards. The 6’2”, 215-pound Latimer was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Broncos.

Armstrong was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Rams (2013-2014), Oakland Raiders (2014-2015), and 49ers (2015-2017). The Giants claimed Armstrong off of waivers from the San Francisco 49ers in late November 2017. Armstrong played in five games for the Giants in 2017 with one start. This year, he has played in six games with one start, accruing 20 tackles.

The Giants originally signed Deayon as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the team’s Practice Squad and Injured Reserve. Deayon began the 2017 season on the Giants’ Practice Squad and was signed to the 53-man roster in October. He was placed on Injured Reserve in late November 2017 with a fractured forearm. Deayon played in four games this year before he was cut.

To fill those roster vacancies, the team signed free agent wide receiver Bennie Fowler and signed linebacker Ukeme Eligwe and cornerback Grant Haley from the team’s Practice Squad.

The 27-year old, 6’1”, 212-pound Fowler originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Denver Broncos after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Broncos (2014-2017), Chicago Bears (2018), and New England Patriots (2018). Fowler has played in 45 regular-season games with five starts. He has 56 career catches for 698 yards and five touchdowns.

Eligwe was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2018 after he was waived by the Kansas City Chiefs. The 6’2”, 239-pound Eligwe was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chiefs. As a rookie, Eligwe played in 14 regular-season games with one start. He finished the year with five tackles and one sack.

Haley was originally signed by the team as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed wide receiver Kalif Raymond, defensive end Myles Humphrey, and cornerback Ronald Zamort to the Practice Squad.

The 5’9”, 160-pound Raymond was originally signed by the Denver Broncos after the 2016 NFL Draft. Raymond has played in 12 NFL regular-season games, four with the Broncos, two with the Jets, and six with the Giants. The Giants signed Raymond to the Practice Squad in October 2017 and the 53-man roster in November 2017. They cut him in September 2018 before the season started.

The 23-year old, 6’3”, 238-pound Humphrey originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent most of September on the Ravens’ Practice Squad.

The 26-year old, 5’10”, 174-pound Zamort originally signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Tuesday due to injury were wide receiver Russell Shepard (neck), left tackle Nate Solder (unknown), linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), and linebacker Connor Barwin (knee).

Tight ends Evan Engram (knee) and Rhett Ellison (foot) both practiced.

Defensive end R.J. McIntosh, who is currently on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List is now eligible to begin practicing with the team. McIntosh was drafted by the Giants in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. An undisclosed ailment prevented him from practicing all spring and summer. The Giants have a 21-day window to activate him to the 53-man roster. If they do no activate him, McIntosh will remain on the Reserve List.

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 are off on Wednesday and return to practice on Thursday in preparation for Monday night’s road game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Aug 192018
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (August 17, 2018)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 19, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS PRACTICE REPORT…
There are no more New York Giants training camp practices open to the public this summer. However, the team will continue to practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center each week, including Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week.

“It was a good day today,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after practice. “We brought them in a little bit later so they could get their rest. I mentioned that sleep was overrated, not for the players. We got home late yesterday, the plan was to then let them get their rest so we can put in another really good week of work. I mention it again, we’re playing the Jets here at the end of the week, but this is still training camp, so we’ll come out in pads the next couple of days and get some stuff done – not only for the Jets but also thinking ahead to Jacksonville.”

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

Wide receiver Travis Rudolph (quad), tight end Ryan O’Malley (ankle), and cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring) returned to practice after being out the past two weeks. “They’ve got to get back in there,” Head Coach Pat Shurmur said. “Again, their health is a front burner deal for us. We want to make sure they’re healthy before we put them out in an uncontrolled setting, so yeah they’ve got to catch up. That’s just the nature of being out.”

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Giants practiced in helmets and shells, without pads.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw a perfect pass to wideout Sterling Shepard, who beat cornerback Eli Apple and free safety Curtis Riley.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta connected on a deep post to wide receiver Alonzo Russell, who ran past cornerback Eli Apple.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb threw a touchdown to tight end Evan Engram in red-zone drills on a slant pass between defensive backs William Gay and Michael Thomas.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a touchdown pass to tight end Garrett Dickerson, who made a juggling, finger-tip catch against safety Orion Stewart.
  • Wide receiver Kalif Raymond played some running back and scored on a run.
  • The inside linebackers in the first-team nickel defense were Ray-Ray Armstrong and Alec Ogletree.
  • Quarterback Alex Tanney connected on a long pass to wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo.
  • In 7-on-7 red-zone drills, quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. for a touchdown on a fade pass.
  • Cornerback Grant Haley knocked away a corner throw from quarterback Kyle Lauletta to wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo.
  • Cornerback Leonard Johnson intercepted a pass from quarterback Alex Tanney in the end zone.

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

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

ARTICLES…

Aug 132018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (July 26, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

INJURY REPORT – SAQUON BARKLEY INJURED…
Not practicing on Monday due to injury were wide receiver Travis Rudolph (quad), tight end Ryan O’Malley (ankle), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (“soreness”), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

Running back Saquon Barkley strained his left hamstring late in practice after stretching out for a long reception. He left practice the field after that, having his leg wrapped.

“Saquon has a mild strain, and we’ll be smart with him as we move along here,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • It was a light practice today as the team heads to Michigan to practice against the Detroit Lions.
  • For the second straight practice, the Giants limited the number of snaps quarterback Eli Manning received.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb received first-team snaps again today. He found wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. twice for touchdowns in red zone drills, including against cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb also overthrew three receivers and was involved in a fumbled snap.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta connected with wideout Kalif Raymond on a perfect deep pass between safety William Gay and cornerback B.W. Webb.
  • Linebacker B.J. Goodson and left guard Will Hernandez grabbed each other’s face masks and nearly came to blows.
  • Safety Michael Thomas picked off quarterback Kyle Lauletta.
  • Curtis Riley was the first-team free safety and William Gay the first-team slot corner for the second practice in a row.
  • Running back Saquon Barkley badly beat linebacker Alec Ogletree on a wheel route and out-ran cornerback Janoris Jenkins to the end zone on a pass from quarterback Kyle Lauletta. (This was the play where Barkley injured himself).
  • Quarterback Alex Tanney connected with wide receiver Jawill Davis on a deep pass.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Monday 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 will practice against the Detroit Lions in Michigan on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (open to public).

Aug 032018
 
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Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (August 1, 2018)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 3, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eighth full-team summer training camp practice on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

“Another morning practice, and tomorrow what we’re going to do is we’re going to go back to the afternoon and then we’re going to have a little barbeque after that for the families,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after practice. “But, good work. You’ll notice I took the pads off them. Four days in a row here, I thought we banged really well the last two days, very physical, went back today to a lot of individual, a lot of isolated drill work, some ball security, ball disruption stuff, stuff you work on all the time but we put a little bit more of an emphasis on it. Then we got some good team work, especially stuff we did in the red zone. So, productive day, I thought it was very competitive, thought there was good energy, and now we’ll keep moving on.”

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN LEONARD JOHNSON…
The New York Giants have signed cornerback Leonard Johnson. The 28-year old, 5’10”, 194-pound Johnson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Buccaneers (2012-2015), New England Patriots (2015), Carolina Panthers (2016), and Buffalo Bills (2017). In six NFL seasons, Johnson has played in 77 regular-season games with 27 starts, including seven starts with the Bills in 2017, when he was the team’s slot corner. Johnson has five career interceptions, but the last came in 2014.

To make room for Johnson, the Giants waived cornerback Kenneth Durden again. The Giants signed Durden in June 2018, cut him, and re-signed him in July 2018. The 6’1”, 180-pound Durden was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Raiders’ Practice Squad before being cut in September 2017. The Tennessee Titans then signed him to their Practice Squad and cut him in October 2017.

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

Cornerback William Gay (hamstring?) left practice early with his thigh wrapped.

Cornerback Teddy Williams was excused from practice due to personal reasons.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Giants were in helmets and shells today with no tackling.
  • Tight end Evan Engram appeared to beat cornerback William Gay deep down the field, but Gay was able to recover and knock the pass away.
  • Running back Jonathan Stewart picked up a blitzing cornerback Janoris Jenkins, but quarterback Eli Manning was still chased down by linebacker Olivier Vernon for a “sack.”
  • John Jerry was back at second-team right guard with Victor Salako now the third-team right tackle.
  • For the second day in a row, cornerback C.W. Webb, who has been taking some first-team snaps at slot corner, picked off quarterback Davis Webb. Later, Webb was picked off again, this time by linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong.
  • Brett Jones practiced with the first team at center and John Greco with the second team at center. Jon Halapio was back as the first-team center by the end of practice.
  • Safety Orion Stewart picked off quarterback Alex Tanney near the goal line on a deep pass intended for wide receiver Alonzo Russell.
  • Cornerback William Gay, who has been playing nickel corner and some safety, did a nice job of covering tight end Evan Engram in the end zone.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple broke up a deep pass from quarterback Eli Manning intended for wideout Sterling Shepard.
  • Giants continue to split running back Saquon Barkley out wide as a receiving target with good success. He beat cornerback Janoris Jenkins for a touchdown on a slant route.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. made a diving catch in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown on a pass from a scrambling quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Running back Rob Martin flashed some explosiveness on a run up the middle. He also made a one-handed catch on a screen pass.
  • Wide receiver Jawill Davis made a sliding catch in the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Linebacker Connor Barwin continues to give second-string tackles Nick Becton and Chad Wheeler fits.
  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas was 3-of-4 on field goal attempts.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Friday 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…

Jul 162018
 
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Aldrick Rosas, New York Giants (August 31, 2017)

Aldrick Rosas – © 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: Special Teams

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: Hired by the team in 2006, Tom Quinn somehow managed to become one of the longest tenured assistant coaches on the New York Giants. From 2006-2017, there was a revolving door of offensive coordinators, defensive coordinators, and position coaches. But Quinn survived each offseason until January 2018 despite the fact that New York’s special teams were annually a sub-par unit. His last year may have been his worst. In 2017, the Giants were:

  • 31st in field goal percentage (72 percent).
  • 32nd in extra point percentage (87 percent).
  • 32nd in net punting (38.6 yards per punt).
  • 28th in kickoff returns (19.6 yards per return).
  • 31st in punt returns (5.5 yards per return).
  • 14th in kickoff coverage (20.5 yards per return).
  • 27th in punt coverage (10.4 yards per return).

In short, the Giants were a train wreck on special teams.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Punter Brad Wing’s statistics plummeted in 2017 and the Giants cut him in March. Punt/kickoff returner Dwayne Harris spent most of the season on IR and was also cut in March.

Place kicker Marshall Koehn was signed in January 2018. The Giants acquired punter Riley Dixon by trade from the Denver Broncos shortly before the draft. The Giants also signed punter Taylor Symmank in June.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Enter Thomas McGaughey as the team’s new special teams coach. Ironically, McGaughey served under Tom Quinn from 2007 to 2010. Even more ironically, the Panthers decided to let McGaughey walk when his contract expired as they wanted to promote former Giants’ linebacker Chase Blackburn to the position.

Riley Dixon replaces Brad Wing as punter. Both players were acquired by trade. Hopefully, Dixon works out better than Wing did. The 6’4”, 221-pound Dixon was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Broncos. In 16 regular-season games as a rookie, Dixon punted 89 times and averaged 45.7 yards per punt (41.3 yard net). He was named to the all-rookie team. In 2017, Dixon punted 73 times and averaged 45.6 yards per punt (40.2 yard net) with two blocked punts.

The 6’2”, 195-pound Taylor Symmank was not drafted in 2016. The Minnesota Vikings signed him in January 2017 and waived him in early September of that year. Symmank punted nine times during the 2017 preseason, averaging 42.9 yards per punt.

More media and fan focus is likely to be on Aldrick Rosas. The Giants gambled on the green kicker in 2017 and got burned. Rosas was 17-of-25 (72 percent) on field goals and 20-of-23 (87 percent on extra points). Most alarming was his inconsistency on field goal attempts from 30 to 49 yards out, where he was 7-of-14 (50 percent). Somewhat surprisingly, the Giants still have not signed a veteran to compete against him. Marshall 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), but he’s played in only one regular-season game with no field goal attempts. So the new coaching staff also appears enamored with Rosas’ potential. Will their patience pay off?

With Dwayne Harris gone, it is not clear who will return kickoffs and punts for the team in 2018. The diminutive Kalif Raymond ended up the leading kickoff and punt returner last season, but there is no guarantee that he will even make the 2018 squad. Even if he does, ball security is an issue with him as Raymond has seven fumbles in his 12 NFL regular-season games.

The good news is that it appears the Giants made a conscious effort to sign good special teams players in the offseason, including wide receiver Russell Shepard, safety Michael Thomas, wide receiver Cody Latimer, and cornerback Teddy Williams.

ON THE BUBBLE: Everyone. Kickers don’t need to know schemes or playbooks. They are easily replaceable if a decent one hits the waiver wire. The 2019 7th rounder the Giants gave the Broncos for Riley Dixon is a conditional pick. So he’s not safe. The Giants kick and punt returners also may not be on the roster yet.

FROM THE COACHES: Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey on Michael Thomas: “Absolutely (one of the best special teams players in the NFL). Mike is the ultimate competitor, he does an outstanding job in the coverage game, he’s a smart player…Mike is a high impact player and we look forward to him making big plays.”

McGaughey on Aldrick Rosas: “I see a kid that was a rookie last year and like most rookies in this league, they’re inconsistent. It’s rare where you see a rookie that just comes in and just rips it up just walking through the door. He’s young and like Dave Gettleman always says, we’re not going to give up on talent. He’s a talented guy and there’s some things that he can do that a lot of people can’t do and I think there’s some talent there and we’re going to work with that talent.”

Head Coach Pat Shurmur on whether or not he would risk Saquon Barkley on returns: “He’ll perform return duties – typically, not normally your first returner.”

PREDICTIONS: Special teams studs Cody Latimer and Mike Thomas should really help the coverage units. More linebackers on the roster such as Lorenzo Carter should also help. Riley Dixon most likely will be the punter. If Aldrick Rosas is shaky in the preseason, look for the Giants to make a move either by trade or picking up a discarded veteran. Who returns kickoffs? Who returns punts? With so many unknowns, Thomas McGaughey is not in an enviable position.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: At this point, it would appear Riley Dixon will be the punter. The Giants obviously are pulling for Aldrick Rosas to nail down the place-kicking job. Are the returners even on the roster? If the answer is yes, Kalif Raymond probably makes the team.

Jun 252018
 
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Cody Latimer, New York Giants (May 21, 2018)

Cody Latimer – © 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: Wide Receivers

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: It was widely expected that the wide receiving position on the New York Giants in 2017 was going to be a team strength. The opposite occurred. By early October, Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Dwayne Harris had all been placed on Injured Reserve with season-ending injuries. Even replacements such as Darius Powe and Tavarres King ended up on IR. By the end of the year, the likes of Marquis Bundy, Travis Rudolph, and Hunter Sharp were starting. The leading receiver ending up being Sterling Shepard (59 catches for 731 yards and two touchdowns), who also suffered through an injury-plagued 2017 with ankle, migraine, and neck issues that caused him to miss five games. Roger Lewis was next with just 36 catches for 416 yards and two touchdowns. And despite missing almost three months of the season, Beckham was sadly third with 25 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns. No other receiver had more than 18 catches. Even before he was hurt, the highly-touted Brandon Marshall looked like a shadow of his former self. In the end, this was arguably the least productive wide receiving corps in the NFL with just 11 touchdown receptions.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants cut Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris in the offseason. The Giants also let Tavarres King walk in free agency. Newcomers include free agents Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard, and Alonzo Russell. The team also signed rookie free agent Jawill Davis after the 2018 NFL Draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: As long as he is with the team, Odell Beckham will always be the center of attention. Coming off a serious ankle injury and entering the final year of his rookie contract, expect daily stories on his health and contractual status. When will he practice? Will he be limited? Will he holdout? Will he play in the preseason? Is he still the same explosive player? Then of course will be the somewhat legitimate but often shit-stirring, click-bait media stories about his character. What will be interesting to see is the interpersonal dynamic between Beckham and the fan bases new darling, Saquon Barkley. The good news is that Beckham appears to very much get along with the rookie. With Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard on the roster, Beckham will most likely have to accept fewer touches if he truly wants to win more games.

More diehard fans know that the bigger issue may be finding the complementary pieces to Beckham. Whether accurate or not, the current perception is that Sterling Shepard isn’t best suited for an outside position, but better suited for the slot. This is a big year for him. Shepard saw his touchdowns drop from eight in his rookie year to two in 2017. Ironically, those two long-distance touchdowns against the Eagles in 2017 were the first evidence that Shepard can make plays deeper down the field. Can he build upon that or is strictly a 10-12 yards-per-catch underneath guy? Being a really good slot receiver is no crime, but if Sterling is limited, then finding another outside target becomes imperative. The leading candidates are ex-Broncos Cody Latimer and Hunter Sharp, ex-Buccaneer and Panther Russell Shepard, and Roger Lewis. None of these players have to put up big numbers, but just present enough of a threat to draw some attention.

ON THE BUBBLE: Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard are the only two sure bets to make the roster. Cody Latimer is likely to make it simply because of his special teams ability as a gunner. Russell Shepard also has made plays as a gunner with the Buccaneers and that could help him. The Giants also are still need of returners which could be a factor in retaining Hunter Sharp and Kalif Raymond. The Giants did bring back Travis Rudolph, Marquis Bundy, and Amba Etta-Tawo from last year, but all three have to be considered long-shots at this point. Same with rookie speedster Jawill Davis and bigger target Alonzo Russell. Then there is the enigmatic Roger Lewis, who alternates between flashes of ability and frustrating lapses.

FROM THE COACH: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Odell Beckham: “I think we’re just still getting to know each other. But I’ve said it before, this guy loves to play football, and he gets it as well. So, when I see him in the meetings, when I see him on the field, regardless of what he’s doing, when I see him on the field he’s really engaged and you can see, just by him running routes versus air and some of the drill work we’re doing, that he can really help us.”

Shurmur on if there is a #3 receiver on the roster: “I don’t know. We’ll just have to find out as we go, but we’ve added some guys to the mix. You guys tell me who’s one, two, or three, or four or five and six or whatever. But Cody Latimer is here. We’ve got some young guys, Travis Rudolph has done a good job. So I think there are guys on our roster that we’re going to develop a trust in and put them out there and we expect them to produce.”

PREDICTIONS: Provided health and finances don’t become issues, the Giants appear to have an outstanding outside receiver and a quality slot receiver. But another outside starter and depth are very much concerns. The loss of Beckham or Sterling Shepard to injury would be significant. The other 10 receivers on the roster have flashed at times in the OTAs and mini-camps, but it’s a pretty hodgepodge group. The three ex-Broncos – Cody Latimer, Hunter Sharp, and Kalif Raymond – have the advantage that the team’s new position coach, Tyke Tolbert, coached them in Denver. My best guess at this time is that Latimer becomes the #3, but if he falters, it would not surprise me for the Giants to keep a close eye on the waiver wire. Don’t discount Roger Lewis if he can become a more consistent and reliable player. Also note that Hunter Sharp’s name has been consistently and positively mentioned throughout the spring.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, Hunter Sharp, and Roger Lewis. Giants may carry six, but you could throw a dart at the roster trying to figure out who that may be. Again, don’t be shocked to see a waiver-wire pick-up here. This position is not as strong as some fans think it is.