GREEN BAY PACKERS 31 – NEW YORK GIANTS 13…
As expected, the New York Giants lost their eighth game in a row on Sunday by losing to the Green Bay Packers 31-13 at a snowy MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the defeat, the Giants fall to 2-10 on the season.
It was actually a close game for most of the contest with the Packers finally pulling away in the 4th quarter. Oddly, the Giants had more first downs (20 to 19), total net yards (335 to 322), net yards rushing (95 to 79), and time of possession (31:17 to 28:43). But the Giants lost the all-important turnover battle 3-0 and the defense kept allowing big plays on 3rd and 4th down.
The defensive issues showed up early as Green Bay scored touchdowns on their first two drives of the game. After running back Saquon Barkley was stuffed in the backfield for a 3-yard loss on 3rd-and-1, the Packers easily drove 72 yards in seven plays with quarterback Aaron Rodgers throwing an 8-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Davante Adams. The drive also included a 43-yard pass completion.
New York responded on their second possession with an 11-play, 71 yard touchdown drive that ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones to wide receiver Sterling Shepard on 3rd-and-3. The drive was kept alive with a 12-yard reception by tight end Kaden Smith on 3rd-and-2 and an 8-yard catch by wide receiver Darius Slayton on 4th-and-5.
However, the Packers quickly regained the lead with a 5-play, 66-yard effort that ended with an easy 37-yard touchdown pass on their second possession of the game. Packers 14 – Giants 7.
With the pressure on the offense to keep pace with the red-hot Packers’ offense, Daniel Jones threw his first interception of the day on the fifth play of the ensuing drive. Green Bay only needed 24 yards to set up a successful 47-yard field goal. Packers 17 – Giants 7.
The bulk of the rest of the 2nd quarter was eaten up by an 18-play, 66-yard drive by the Giants that took nine minutes and 31 seconds off of the clock. The Giants converted a 3rd-and-6, 4th-and-1, and 4th-and-2 on this possession. Unfortunately, the Giants were forced to settle for a 27-yard field goal rather than a touchdown. The Giants’ defense finally forced a punt on Green Bay’s fourth and last possession of the half and at the break, the score was Packers 17 – Giants 10.
After allowing one first down, the New York defense forced another punt to start the 3rd quarter. The Giants pulled closer with a 10-play, 52-yard effort on their first possession of the second half, resulting in a 45-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. The big play was a 43-yard pass from Jones to wide receiver Cody Latimer on 3rd-and-12. The drive sputtered after that long completion however. Packers 17 – Giants 13.
At this point, the game began to get out of hand for the Giants. Green Bay launched their third long touchdown drive of the game, traveling 75 yards in 14 plays. The possession was kept alive with an 11-yard pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-6 by cornerback Sam Beal, a 15-yard completion on 4th-and-10, and a 6-yard completion on 3rd-and-2. Rodgers fittingly finished the drive with his third touchdown pass of the day, a 17-yard completion on 3rd-and-goal despite the Giants having 12 men on the field. Packers 24 – Giants 13.
Matters got only worse when Jones threw his second interception on the ensuing drive. The Packers took over at the New York 38-yard line. After converting on 3rd-and-5 and 3rd-and-9, Rodgers threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day and the Packers were now up 31-13 with just over seven minutes to play.
Jones threw his third interception on the second play of the ensuing drive. The New York defense forced its third punt of the day. On New York’s final possession of the game, the Giants drove from their own 6-yard line to the Green Bay 17. But the drive ended with an incomplete pass on 4th-and-4. The Packers then ran out the clock to end the game.
Daniel Jones completed 20-of-37 passes for 240 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. His two leading targets were tight end Kaden Smith (6 catches for 70 yards) and wide receiver Darius Slayton (6 catches for 44 yards). Saquon Barkley carried the ball 19 times for 83 yards.
Defensively, the Giants did not accrue a sack or force a turnover. Aaron Rodgers was only officially hit twice. Not counting the kneel down at the end of the game, Green Bay scored on five of their eight possessions.
INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
WR Golden Tate (concussion), TE Evan Engram (foot), TE Rhett Ellison (concussion), S Jabrill Peppers (back), QB Alex Tanney, OT/OG Chad Slade, and OT Eric Smith.
CB Corey Ballentine left the game with a concussion and did not return.
QB Daniel Jones injured his ankle but continued to play despite a noticeable limp. “He hurt it, but he played through it,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after the game. “Tough guy, he fought through it.”
ZAK DEOSSIE PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE…
The Giants placed long snapper Zak DeOssie on Injured Reserve on Saturday with knee and wrist issues. To fill his roster spot, the team signed long-snapper Colin Holba from the Practice Squad.
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:
NOVEMBER 20, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Tight end Evan Engram (foot) and tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.
Left tackle Nate Solder (concussion/non-contact) was limited in practice.
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion), center Jon Halapio (hamstring), right tackle Mike Remmers (back), and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (concussion) fully practiced.
All four players with concussions are still in the protocol. “You’re in the protocol until you’re not,” Head Coach Pat Shurmur said. “A lot of the times, what happens is they get cleared at the end of the week, with the anticipation that they will be cleared. I hope that’s clear.”
PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The Pittsburgh Steelers signed linebacker Tuzar Skipper off of the Giants’ Practice Squad on Tuesday. To fill that open spot, the Giants signed cornerback Derrick Baity to the Practice Squad.
The 6’3”, 246-pound Skipper was originally signed by the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants claimed Skipper off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers in September 2019. They waived him and signed him to the Practice Squad in October. Skipper played in six games for the Giants this year with no starts, being credited with three tackles and 0.5 sacks.
The 22-year old, 6’3”, 188-pound Baity was originally signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Texans waived him in late August.
HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The video of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Wednesday 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:
NEW YORK JETS 34 – NEW YORK GIANTS 27…
In a crapfest game to determine which team is the worst in New Jersey, the New York Giants earned that “honor” by falling to the New York Jets 34-27 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Giants have lost six games in a row and are now 2-8 on the season.
The Giants quickly fell behind 14-0 in the 1st quarter. The Jets drove the ball the length of the field on their opening drive, going 75 yards in 13 plays and finishing with a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Sam Darnold. After a three-and-out by the Giants, the Jets marched 50 yards in nine plays with Darnold throwing a 23-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jamison Crowder.
The Giants got back into the game in the 2nd quarter. The team drove 75 yards in eight plays on their second drive of the game, aided by a 15-yard pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-10. The possession ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones to wide receiver Darius Slayton. After forcing a punt by the Jets, the Giants scored again. On 4th-and-4 from the Jets’ 39-yard line, Jones hit Slayton over the middle on play that went the distance for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the extra point attempt was botched. Jets 14 – Giants 13.
Neither team scored the rest of the half. The Jets went three-and-out. At the 2-minute warning, Pat Shurmur decided to go for it on 4th-and-1 from his own 39-yard line. Jones was stuffed, turning the ball over on downs. However, the Jets could not take advantage of the Giants’ futility as they failed to pick up a first down and then missed the 54-yard field goal attempt. The Giants then went three-and-out and the half ended.
The Giants received the ball to start the 3rd quarter, but that ended with disaster when on the third play, safety Jamal Adams ripped the ball out of Daniel Jones’ hands and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. Jets 21 – Giants 13.
The Giants quickly cut into that lead. On 3rd-and-9, Jones threw a screen pass to wide receiver Golden Tate who broke the play for a 61-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion was called back due to an offensive pass interference penalty on Tate. Place kicker Aldrick Rosas then missed the extra point. Jets 21 – Giants 19.
For a brief moment, it looked like the Giants may pull the game out. The defense forced a three-and-out. The offense then drove 64 yards in nine plays, with Jones throwing his fourth touchdown of the game, this one from 15 yards out to Tate on 3rd-and-3. The 2-point conversion attempt to wide receiver Bennie Fowler succeeded and the Giants were up for the first time on the day, 27-21.
The Giants’ defense started to falter again, first giving up a 9-play, 46-yard drive that ended with a 53-yard field goal. The Giants now led 27-24. Not to be outdone, the Giants’ offense now came up small, going three-and-out. It only took the Jets three plays to travel 70 yards, the big play being a 33-yard pass interference penalty called against cornerback Deandre Baker. On the next play, running back Le’Veon Bell scored from one yard out. The Jets were back up for good, 31-27.
The Giants picked up one first down and then punted on 4th-and-2 from their own 44-yard line. Aided by a 47-pass play, the Jets got into field goal range and extended their lead to 34-27 on a 35-yard field goal with about seven and a half minutes remaining in the game.
Again, the Giants picked up one first down but were forced to punt. The Jets went three-and-out and the Giants got the ball back at their 12-yard line with 4:17 left to go. Pass protection was eroding and the Giants went three-and-out, punting on 4th-and-19 from their own 3-yard line. The Jets did not pick up a first down, but by the time the Giants got the ball back, there was only 18 seconds left in the game. The game ended with a fumble by Tate.
Offensively, Jones was 26-of-40 for 308 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. He was also the team’s leading rusher with just 20 yards. Jones’ fumble led to a defensive touchdown and he was sacked SIX times and hit 10 times. Running back Saquon Barkley was held to ONE yard rushing on 13 carries as the Giants only rushed for 23 yards as a team. Jones’ leading target was Slayton, who caught 10 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
The defense allowed 27 points (three touchdowns, two interceptions) to a team that had struggled to score most of the season. The Jets rushed for 76 net yards and passed for 218 net yards. Nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and linebacker Markus Golden picked up sacks. But the defense did not force a turnover.
On special teams, the Giants failed on two extra point attempts.
INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
WR Sterling Shepard (concussion), tight end Evan Engram (foot), center Jon Halapio (hamstring), right tackle Mike Remmers (back), QB Alex Tanney, OT/OG Chad Slade, and LB Chris Peace.
Left tackle Nate Solder and cornerback Janoris Jenkins both left the game with concussions.
EVAN BROWN ADDED TO 53-MAN ROSTER, OLSEN PIERRE WAIVED…
On Saturday, the New York Giants signed center Evan Brown from the team’s Practice Squad. To make room for Brown on the 53-man roster, the team waived defensive end Olsen Pierre.
The Giants originally signed Brown as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. While he made the team, Brown was never on the active, game-day roster in 2018. Brown has experience at guard and center.
The Giants signed Pierre as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2019. The 6’5”, 293-pound Pierre originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Chicago Bears after the 2015 NFL Draft. The Bears cut him in August 2015 and he then signed with the Cardinals. In three seasons with the Cardinals, Pierre has played in 24 games with eight starts, accruing 42 tackles and 5.5 sacks. This year, Olsen played in nine games with the Giants with no starts, being credited with eight tackles and two sacks.
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:
SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), wide receiver Russell Shepard (foot), defensive end Olsen Pierre (knee), linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring), and linebacker Tae Davis (concussion) did not practice on Thursday.
“Saquon got his second opinion,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur, who also said Barkley would not be placed on Injured Reserve. “He’s obviously consulted with Dr. O’Malley and Dr. Anderson. I guess it’s been determined we’ll just rehab him and get him ready to go and we’ll see how that plays out. Obviously, as coaches, we have a short time horizon, so he won’t be available this week, but we’ll just see when he is. I don’t want to put any time frame on how long it will take him to come back… you never know how long some of these things take.”
Wide receiver Bennie Fowler (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.
Wide receiver Cody Latimer (concussion) and linebacker Lorenzo Carter (elbow) fully practiced.
THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
JULY 26, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their second full-team summer training camp practice on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.
INJURY REPORT – COREY COLEMAN TEARS ACL…
Wide receivers Corey Coleman (knee), Darius Slayton (hamstring), and Alex Wesley (PUP List – unknown) did not practice on Friday. Neither did tight end Evan Engram (“managing his workload”).
The Giants announced that Coleman tore his ACL in practice on Thursday. “Corey Coleman unfortunately hurt his knee yesterday, so we’ll just have to see where it goes for him,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “I feel bad for the guy because he’s worked really hard… So most likely (he will be lost for the season)… He’ll go through the process. He’ll get second opinions and all that stuff… He was a guy that had a chance to be in there and compete to either start or have a role.”
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (fractured thumb) was limited in practice, not catching any passes. “(Shepard will) be back soon,” said Shurmur. “It’s the tip of his thumb. He’ll be out there running around today. I’m not concerned about that one at all… no surgery.”
Linebacker Markus Golden (cramps), cornerback Grant Haley (cramps), and wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin) left practice early.
Some snippets from various media sources:
George Asafo-Adjei and Chad Wheeler received some first-team reps at offensive tackle.
S Michael Thomas sacked QB Daniel Jones on a blitz.
QB Daniel Jones started 5-of-6 during 11-on-11 drills.
CB Ronald Zamort made a nice diving break-up of a pass from QB Alex Tanney.
CB Grant Haley made a leaping interception off a QB Kyle Lauletta pass tipped by CB Corey Ballentine, who also tipped away another pass from QB Alex Tanney.
LB Tae Davis saw a lot of reps with the first-team nickel defense, along with LB Alec Ogletree.
LB Ryan Connelly, WR Reggie White Jr., and S Sean Chandler received praise from Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey.
QB Daniel Jones threw a nice deep pass to WR Russell Shepard, who made a fingertip grab for a touchdown, beating CB Julian Love. Jones finished 11-of-13 with eight straight completions.
QB Eli Manning threw a nice deep sideline pass to WR Golden Tate over CB Julian Love.
LB Oshane Ximines “sacked” QB Daniel Jones off a rollout.
WR Brittan Golden scored a long touchdown, but was injured on the play and left the field after being knocked over by CB Antonio Hamilton.
WR Russell Shepard had an active day catching the football from QB Daniel Jones.
LB Lorenzo Carter flashed in run defense (setting the edge) and as a blitzer (with a “sack”).
Julian Love saw reps at nickel corner with both the first- and second-teams. He also played safety with the second-team defense.
GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN…
The transcript of Dave Gettleman’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.
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:
2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: Despite the fact that the New York Giants’ special teams have been a liability for years, special teams ended up being the team’s strongest unit in 2018. New Head Coach Pat Shurmur chose not to bring back long-time special teams coordinator Tom Quinn and hired Thomas McGaughey to be the new coordinator and Anthony Blevins as his assistant. However, since McGaughey was diagnosed with cancer during the 2018 offseason, Quinn was retained as “assistant special teams coordinator.”
Overshadowed by Saquon Barkley’s phenomenal rookie season, place kicker Aldrick Rosas, who struggled in 2017, had the best year of any place kicker in team history, only missing one field goal all season. Newcomer punter Riley Dixon, who was acquired by trade, finished 7th in net punting. The Giants were 7th in the NFL in kickoff returns (24.4 yards per return) and 28th in punt returns (6.2 yards per return). The Giants were also 2nd-best in defending kickoff returns (20.4 yards per return) and 7th-best in defending punt returns (6.6 yards per return). The Giants did not return a punt or kick for a touchdown and they did not allow a punt or kick to be returned against them for a touchdown.
Two Giants made the Pro Bowl as special teams players, Rosas and first-team alternate Michael Thomas, who led the team with 12 special teams tackles. Other leading tacklers included Kerry Wynn (8), Kenny Ladler (8), Nate Stupar (8), and Russell Shepard (6).
ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Six Giants returned punts in 2018, including Jawill Davis (12), Quadree Henderson (9), Odell Beckham (8), Kaelin Clay (5), Stacy Coley (2), and Corey Coleman (1). All but Coleman are gone. Five Giants returned more than one kickoff, including Coleman (23), Davis (7), Cody Latimer (5), Henderson (5), and Coley (2). Only Coleman and Latimer return.
Kerry Wynn, who had a very good year covering kicks, signed with the Bengals. The Giants did sign running back Rod Smith from the Cowboys, who was a core special teams player for that team.
The Giants signed punter Ryan Anderson after he impressed at the 2019 rookie mini-camp. Anderson last punted for Rutgers in 2017 when he was named First-Team, All-Big Ten, averaging 44.4 yards per punt.
Journeyman wide receiver/returner Brittan Golden was signed in January.
The team also added two long snappers: Taybor Pepper (who played in four games with the Packers in 2017) and rookie free agent Jake Carlock.
TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Can the Giants replicate their 2018 special teams success and even build upon it? Or will they regress back to their usual norm?
Aldrick Rosas had an incredible season in 2018. He increased his field goal percentage from 72 percent in 2017 to 97 percent in 2018, missing just one field goal, making the Pro Bowl in the process. Was his performance a flash in the pan, similar to Ali Haji-Sheikh in 1983, or is Rosas set to become one of the NFL’s best kickers for many years to come? It is interesting to note that the Giants do not have another place kicker in camp.
While Riley Dixon finished the year 7th in net punting, some think the Giants could do better. Ryan Anderson does have a strong leg and could challenge Dixon.
The Giants were very good at covering both punts and kickoffs in 2018. Using a wide cast of characters, they did a respectable job returning kickoffs but were poor in returning punts. The real questions here are who will be the primary returners in 2018? Corey Coleman averaged 26 yards per kickoff return in 2018. Cody Latimer and Jabrill Peppers also have experience returning kickoffs. Who will return punts is an even bigger mystery. The only obvious candidate at the moment is the starting strong safety Jabrill Peppers, although starting wide receiver Golden Tate also has punt return experience. However, Pat Shurmur has said that impressive rookie wide receiver Darius Slayton is also a candidate to return both kickoffs and punts.
At some point, Zak DeOssie will have to hang it up as the Giants’ long snapper. Does he hold on another year?
ON THE BUBBLE: The kickers are most likely set although Ryan Anderson could challenge Riley Dixon. Taybor Pepper or Jake Carlock would have to be really impressive to unseat Zak DeOssie as long snapper. Brittan Golden has experience returning kickoffs and punts, but has an uphill climb to make the team. The Giants have a number of core special teams players who may not make it including Nate Stupar, Kenny Ladler, Russell Shepard, Antonio Hamilton, and Rod Smith.
FROM THE COACHES: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Jake Carlock: “He is a very good long snapper. We are always looking for guys at skill positions. He is a very accomplished linebacker as well. Much like (Eric) Dungey who can compete at different areas, he is going to do the same.”
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey on whether he would hesitate to have a starter return kicks or punts: “Nope, not at all. It’s a play-making position. When you think about it over the years and you watch punt returners that have had success that have played on defense – the Deion Sanders, and all those guys. That’s a play-making position. That’s one of those positions where you can change the game just like that. I have no reservation by putting any kind of starter back there, because that’s a play that can change the game. We know 75 percent of game in the NFL comes down to the last possession. Any time you could gain an advantage on your opponent, you want to get that advantage.”
McGaughey on Jabrill Peppers: “High energy, the guy is a for sure ball handler. Can make all the cuts full speed. He just brings juice. I’ve known the kid since he was 16 years old. I recruited him when I was at LSU. Jabrill is a special athlete. He can do anything – run the football, catch the football, whatever. He’s just a great athlete… Yes, he’s going to (return kicks and punts for us)… That’s football – he’s a safety in the NFL. Those guys primarily do everything. When you look at them, most of them are three-core, four-core guys when they play. That’s just the reality of it, especially a young safety with a lot of energy like Jabrill.”
McGaughey on WR Russell Shepard, LB Nate Stupar, and CB Antonio Hamilton: “Those guys were the foundation of what we did last year. Whenever you can get veteran leadership and you can have continuity, that’s the most important thing. When you get guys that have done it before, and they’ve done it at a high level, and you can keep them in the same spots – it’s no different from having an offensive line with continuity, a secondary with continuity, it’s the same thing. A core group of special teams players. They’re no different from anyone else. You got to have that continuity if you want to have consistency.”
McGaughey on Rod Smith: “Big, strong, athletic, smart, playmaker – whenever you can get a guy like that on your roster to provide depth, and having value as a running back. (General Manager Dave) Gettleman always talks about having value on offense and defense, not just on special teams. He punches all the tickets. He’s a hard worker, he’s a pro, and he does everything you ask him to do. He’s 6’3”, 235 pounds, and has a skillset. He’s one of those guys if you’re sitting in a room, you won’t even know he’s there. He’s quiet, he comes in, and he works, and he does his job.”
McGaughey on Ryan Anderson: “Ryan is a lefty. Whenever you can bring a lefty in, and you can get a righty spin and a lefty spin is always good. Ryan has a lot of potential. His maturation from last year to this year has been huge. He came here last year to our local day. To see him again this year was a big difference. You can tell he’s been working on his craft, and he’s been working hard. It’s good to have him in to have a little competition. It’s always good to have two guys in where they can kind of compete against each other. It makes it better.”
McGaughey on Jake Carlock: “He’s a young guy with a lot of potential. He can run, he’s very athletic. So what we’ll see what happens with Jake. We’re excited about the chance of working with him.”
McGaughey on Eric Dungey: “He’s going to have a chance somewhere, right? We’ll put him out there. We’ll find a home for him. He’s athletic, he’s a tough kid. We’ll find a home for him. Those types of kids in college that are athletic quarterbacks, they always kind of find a way. They’ll figure out something. They’re athletic, they’ve always competed at a high-level, so they’ll find a way… Anytime you can get a big athlete that’s tough, that’s smart, that’s played the quarterback position, anytime you can get a style of athlete like that, and he’s coachable and is willing, a lot of good things can happen.”
PREDICTIONS: Saquon Barkley overshadowed the incredible performance of Aldrick Rosas in 2018. But the psychology of kickers tends to be on the fragile side and Rosas has to prove that 2018 wasn’t a fluke. If he becomes a perennial Pro Bowler, Rosas may be one of Jerry Reese’s most positive legacies.
Who returns kickoffs and punts seems up in the air at this point. My guess is that Corey Coleman remains the leading candidate to return kickoffs, but he could be pressed by Darius Slayton. For as much press as Jabrill Peppers receives as an athletic returnman, he only averaged 22 yards per kickoff return thus far in the NFL.
Peppers could end up being the primary punt returner, as he has returned 55 punts in the last two season for the Cleveland Browns, averaging 7.3 yards per return.
I think the Giants are going to face some tough roster decisions on veteran special teams players such as Rod Smith, Russell Shepard, Nate Stupar, Antonio Hamilton, and Kenny Ladler. My gut also tells me that either Eric Dungey or Jake Carlock will make the team as a special teams ace and jack-of-all-trades type player. The Giants face a bit of a dilemma with the ever-consistent Zak DeOssie. He plays a position where age isn’t a huge factor, and not only does he do a fine job of long-snapping, but he’s good at covering kicks. But he also doesn’t play another position. That said, Giants fans know all too well how costly having a bad long snapper can be.
FINAL DEPTH CHART: Aldrick Rosas and Riley Dixon the kickers. Zak DeOssie as the long snapper, Corey Coleman as the kickoff returner and Jabrill Peppers as the punt returner. It’s too early to tell how legitimate a shot that Eric Dungey or Jake Carlock have in making the team, but I think one of these two will. If both falter, another one of the veteran core special teams players will make it.
2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: Things did not going exactly according to plan at the wide receiver position in 2018. Injuries hit the position hard, thus beginning a revolving door of players coming and going to not only serve as pass receivers but also returners. In the end, the only receiver to play all 16 games was Sterling Shepard. Odell Beckham, Jr. and Sterling Shepard were responsible for 76 percent of the wide receiver receptions (143) with no other wide receiver catching more than 16 passes. Instead, the Giants threw more to the backs (113 catches) and tight ends (79 catches).
The headliner – Beckham – missed four games. While he remained productive when he played, the explosive big plays seemed to be lacking. And despite playing all 16 games, Shepard still could not crack the 1,000-yard mark. Free agent acquisition Cody Latimer only played in six games, catching a total of 11 passes. It is fair to say more was expected from these three.
ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Somewhat surprisingly, the Giants decided to re-sign all of their free agent wide receivers, including Corey Coleman, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, and Russell Shepard. A year before he was due to become a free agent, the Giants also extended Sterling Shepard with a 4-year, $41 million contract.
The big offseason move was the trade of Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. His New York career began with fireworks and died with a whimper. The Giants also cut Quadree Henderson and Jawill Davis in the offseason.
The Giants surprisingly signed free agent Golden Tate away from the Eagles to a 4-year, $37.5 million contract. Street free agent journeyman Brittan Golden was signed in January. The Giants drafted Darius Slayton in the 5th round of the draft and signed rookie free agents Reggie White, Jr. and Alex Wesley after the draft.
TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Fan and media attention will be on how the departure of Odell Beckham, Jr. will affect the overall offense and whether or not that trade was a huge mistake. Contrary to what the Giants say publicly, it is clear the organization felt Beckham was a detriment to team culture. As dynamic as he was, Beckham was exhausting to deal with. It will be interesting to see how the team performs without him, and how Beckham does in Cleveland.
Unless someone like Darius Slayton and Corey Coleman comes on like gangbusters, the Giants appear to lack a true deep threat who can take the top off a defense. Good offenses can survive without a true deep threat, but it does make things more challenging. It appears the Giants will rely more on the short-to-intermediate passing game and run-after-the-catch yardage. This is where Golden Tate excels. The team desperately needs Sterling Shepard to become a more productive player. They are paying him more on potential than productivity to date (he’s averaged 63 catches, 762 yards, and 4-5 touchdowns per season in his first three years in the league). Tate and Shepard are viewed more as slot receivers by some.
To be frank, the other veterans on the roster have been unimpressive journeymen to date. Cody Latimer is capable of making contested circus catches, but may not be able to separate from defensive backs on a consistent basis. The same concern exists with Bennie Fowler and Russell Shepard. Both have spent time with three other teams. Corey Coleman is a former first rounder and has the speed to get deep, but three other teams have let him go since 2016.
That all said, Coleman, Fowler, and newcomer Darius Slayton did flash during Spring workouts. It remains to be seen if they can build upon this success and push for regular-season playing time.
ON THE BUBBLE:Only Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate are really safe.
FROM THE COACHES: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Golden Tate: “You can see that he has the ability to break tackles. He is nifty. Obviously, before the ball is thrown and then once he catches it, he has a way of breaking tackles or making them miss. I can see that is going to be a part of his game already… He is a pro… He fit in immediately. He is smart, has picked up what we are doing offensively and finds a way to make plays. He is a real veteran presence. He has made a heck of an impact.”
Shurmur on Darius Slayton: “Darius has done a really good job. I think he is the most improved in my eyes. We expected a lot out of him when he got here. The rookie mini-camp was unremarkable, but since that time… He is very fast. He is practicing punts and kicks. He has done a nice job playing receiver. I really think he has done a nice job during OTA’s and mini-camp.”
Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula on Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard: “I think (Tate) is going to bring productivity because he is really good with the ball in his hands, versatility, and flexibility. You can put him inside, you know, we know with Shep that Shep can play both inside and out. Now, we have two guys that can do that. I think when you have two guys who can do that, you become less predictable and I think it gives you another guy when the ball is in his hands, he’s pretty good… (Tate) provides the experience, the knowledge, the route awareness, sudden changes that you might not have to make that are kind of hard to cover all of the time with some of the younger guys. He is going to bring that to the table. And like I said, he is really good with the ball in his hands, so getting him the ball, he can lower his shoulder at times and make guys miss. Not necessarily defensive linemen, but DBs that are trying to tackle him. I think he is going to be a good weapon for us on all downs. ”
Shula on Darius Slayton: “I think Slayton has been pretty consistent. He’s been a really good pick for us. As long as he stays on track he’s got good speed, he uses his hands you can see. He’s got more confidence in his hands, he’s catching the ball more consistently. I think he’s a good route runner, that was one thing kind of coming out of the draft I was anxious to see how he did with maybe our routes, which were maybe a little bit different that the routes he ran at Auburn. He does a good job at the top end of those routes.”
Shula on how defenses will change with Odell Beckham now gone: “I think kind of based on last year, not as much as you might think. I mean, there might have been certain teams that had an all-out double team, but other than that, there really wasn’t much, and part of that probably was because of Saquon. I mean you got to be careful doubling receivers when you’ve got a back like that.”
Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert on Darius Slayton: “Slayton, I saw what we saw on tape. I saw a guy who has some pretty good size, who can run. His first practice, you know, he was trying to figure a lot of stuff out in the first half of the first practice, had a couple of drops, for the second half of that practice he made some good catches in traffic and had two good remaining days. So looking for explosive plays from Darius Slayton, he’s an explosive player who’s made a lot of plays, 21 or 22 yards a catch, something like that in college and I’m looking forward to him bringing that to the Giants.”
Tolbert on Corey Coleman: “It is a big opportunity, especially him being in the offseason program with us. He’s getting the whole gambit if you will: from the very first install to the whole, you know, all the way through. Last year when he came in we were his fourth offense he’s been in, in maybe the span of 3 months. Now it’s just our offense the whole time so he can grasp what we’re doing and have a solid contribution. He’s doing well this year. He’s doing much better than he did last year.”
PREDICTIONS: After Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, it’s difficult to predict what the make-up of this unit will look like. Darius Slayton has obviously caught the attention of the coaches, but it remains to be seen how much of an impact he can make as a rookie. One gets the sense that Eli Manning’s main targets will be Shepard, Tate, running back Saquon Barkley, and tight end Evan Engram (a de facto year-on-year change of Beckham with Tate). The good news is the Giants will have the ability to move Shepard, Tate, Barkley, and Engram all over the place, keeping defenses on their toes.
As previously stated, unless Coleman or Slayton surprise with significant playing time, we are not likely to see many 40+ yard touchdowns on deep routes by this group. But the run-after-catch damage could be significant. And as a group, most of the receivers are good run blockers who could have a significant impact on the ground game. In my mind, the guy on the hot seat is Shepard. He needs to justify his $41 million contract, be more productive, and make more big plays.
The wild cards here are numerous, but it is unwise to count on Cinderella stories. Can the talented Corey Coleman turn his career around? Have Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler finally found a home? Did the Giants find small school gold in Reggie White, Jr. or Alex Wesley?
Don’t discount the importance of special teams in determining who makes it. A guy like Russell Shepard was a core special teamer last season. Slayton and Coleman can also return.
FINAL DEPTH CHART: Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, Corey Coleman, Russell Shepard
NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE #10 COMPLETE…
The Giants held their tenth and last voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Thursday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.
The practice was not open to the media, but Giants.com provided the following summaries of the action:
This marks the end of the Giants’ 9-week offseason program for the veterans. Rookies will stick around one more week before also breaking. Rookies report to summer training camp on July 22 and veterans on July 24. The first summer training camp practice will be on July 25.
NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN JOHN JENKINS…
The New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent nose tackle John Jenkins. The Giants signed Jenkins in September 2018 after he was cut by the Chicago Bears. He was active for seven games, but was not credited with any tackles.
The 6’3”, 327-pound Jenkins was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He has spent time with the Saints (2013-2016), Seattle Seahawks (2016), and Bears (2017-2018). From 2013 to 2015, Jenkins played in 42 regular-season games with 21 starts. However, in 2016 and 2017, Jenkins played in just 17 regular-season games with two starts. He was inactive for eight games in 2017. With only 1.5 career sacks, Jenkins is strictly a run-defending nose tackle-type.
NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN TWO MORE DRAFT PICKS…
The New York Giants have announced that they have signed two more players from their 2019 NFL Draft class: inside linebacker Ryan Connelly (5th round) and wide receiver Darius Slayton (5th round).
Cornerback Julian Love (4th round), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (7th round), and defensive lineman Chris Slayton (7th round) were signed earlier this month.
The Giants have five remaining unsigned draft picks: quarterback Daniel Jones (1st round), nose tackle Dexter Lawrence (1st round), cornerback Deandre Baker (1st round), outside linebacker Oshane Ximines (3rd round) and cornerback Corey Ballentine (6th round).
COREY BALLENTINE JOINS TEAMMATES…
Cornerback Corey Ballentine, who the Giants drafted in the 6th round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Washburn University, has joined his teammates in the offseason program. Ballentine was wounded in the butt during a shooting in Topeka, Kansas the day after he was drafted. Ballentine’s physical condition is not yet publicly known but he is participating in classroom activities.
On Saturday, the New York Giants made six more selections in the 2019 NFL Draft:
4th Round: CB Julian Love, 5’11, 195lbs, 4.54, University of Notre Dame
5th Round: LB Ryan Connelly, 6’2”, 242lbs, 4.68, University of Wisconsin
5th Round: WR Darius Slayton, 6’1”, 190lbs, 4.37, Auburn University
6th Round: CB Corey Ballentine, 5’11, 196lbs, 4.46, Washburn University
7th Round: OT George Asafo-Adjei, 6’5”, 306lbs, 5.03, University of Kentucky
7th Round: DT Chris Slayton, 6’4”, 307lbs, 5.09, Syracuse University
CB JULIAN LOVE SCOUTING REPORT: Love is a Junior entry who started three years in college. Love lacks ideal height and speed, but he is a quick, instinctive, dependable coverman. He sticks to his man in coverage and will make plays on the football. Love is not afraid to mix it up with a receiver and reacts well to double moves.
SY’56’s Take on CB Julian Love: Junior entry who was an All American in both 2017 and 2018. Leaves Notre Dame as the all time leader in pass break ups and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award this past season. Love is a pro-ready corner that checks a lot of boxes when it comes to technique, reaction speed, and quickness. He is a weapon against the pass when covering the short and intermediate passing game. While his lack of size and strength can be exposed by certain match-ups, Love has the kind of game that can be moved inside-out. Safe and reliable corner that has starter written all over him.
*The thing that stood out to me about Love over and over was his safe, dependable play. He looked like a pro each week from an awareness and technique perspective respectively. Rarely did I ever find him out of position or lacking the control needed to make plays on the ball. I know I’m not getting a star here, but I am getting dependability and as I said earlier, that is what I want at the position.
LB RYAN CONNELLY SCOUTING REPORT: Connelly was a 2-year starter in college. Instinctive, smart, tough inside linebacker. He has a nice combination of size and overall athleticism. Connelly is a good, solid run defender who is at his best when moving forward. He needs to become a more consistent tackler. Connelly is better in zone coverage than man-to-man. He should do well on special teams.
SY’56’s Take on LB Ryan Connelly: Inside guy who fits the Giants’ scheme well. Two-year starter who was productive and consistent in both a good and bad way. Won’t reach the sidelines via speed but he showed good instincts, good reactions. Not a guy you want in coverage. I think he will be a good special teamer, has a nose for the ball and gets through traffic on the move.
WR DARIUS SLAYTON SCOUTING REPORT: Slayton is a junior entry who started two years in college. He combines good size with outstanding overall athletic ability and speed. Slayton stretches the field and can get deep. He is dangerous after the catch. Slayton needs to improve his route running and become more consistent catching the football.
SY’56’s Take on WR Darius Slayton: Fourth year junior entry. Slayton arrived at Auburn as an accomplished high school track athlete and enters the NFL with a very high ceiling. His speed and burst are functional and usable on the field, he is much more than a track athlete. He consistently averaged near-20 yards per catch over his career and displayed dominant stretches against SEC cornerbacks.. He is a deep threat who will make a defense account for him at all times. While there are limitations to his game underneath and at the point of attack, this kind of deep threat and ability to extend plays after the catch is worth the risk. Boom or bust.
*I am taking a chance on Slayton, I simply have too many plus game notes over the past two seasons to ignore it. The Auburn offense is difficult to scout as it could create numerous false opportunities but at the same time it may prevent a guy like Slayton from really showing everything he can do. I love the way he moves and his worst case may be a Ted Ginn caliber vertical threat.
CB COREY BALLENTINE SCOUTING REPORT: Ballentine was a 2-year starter at a Division-II college. He combines decent-size and excellent overall athletic ability, quickness, and speed. Raw, he will need a lot of technique work. Ballentine proved he can compete with the big boys at the Senior Bowl. He has experience returning kicks.
OT GEORGE ASAFO-ADJEI SCOUTING REPORT: A two year starter at right tackle in college, Asafo-Adjei combines decent size and athleticism with good effort. He was a team captain.
DT CHRIS SLAYTON SCOUTING REPORT: Slayton was a 3-year starter in college. Versatile, he has experience at both tackle and end, and probably projects to the latter in the Giants’ 3-4 defense. He is strong with decent size, long arms, and first-step quickness. Slayton is a good run defender who plays with leverage. He can be disruptive and flashes at times, but he needs to do it more often. Team captain.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN AND HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR: (Video)
DAVE GETTLEMAN: We got 10 guys, seven on defense, three on offense. You know, really we feel like we addressed everything we pretty much wanted to with this group. You know, today we had a lot of speed today. Notre Dame kid, Wisconsin, Auburn, Ballentine, all those guys can run. Julian Love, we see him competing for the nickel and he can play outside, as well. Ryan Connelly, we see him as a versatile Mike linebacker, very smart, instinctive kid. Darius Slayton is a take the top off the coverage guy. He’s a 4.3 guys who plays 4.3, so he’s got big time speed. Corey Ballentine, another height, weight speed guy and just played at a small school, and he’s got ball skills, he’s got ball production. He has played the nickel, as well. We’ve got the big tackle from Kentucky, George (Asafo-Adjei). I’m not going to try to pronounce his last name. I don’t want to embarrass myself. But we see him competing at right tackle, and then we’ve got the Chris Slayton kid from Syracuse who’s a big, violent, inside banger.
So we just — I stated previously in the postseason presser and a couple times since then that we needed to help this defense, and I feel we addressed that and we filled in some holes with the offense.
PAT SHURMUR: These are all guys that are going to — the first few guys certainly come in and we’re going to expect a lot from them, and everybody here has got a role on our team. Julian Love is a really, really good football player. He can play in the slot. He can play high. He’s kind of got that tweener kind of corner safety ability, which makes him a unique player for us. Ryan Connelly we add to the linebacker group, he’s one of those guys, he can run sideline to sideline, very physical, and he’s a very, very effective, very productive guy. Darius Slayton is an outside receiver that has some inside characteristics, but the 4.3 speed shows up on tape. He’s extremely fast. He can get behind the defense, and we all know the effect that can have for an offense. And then Corey Ballentine, he’s just a good solid football player, and he’s a guy that’s going to come in and compete. And the one thing to remember is all these guys as they fight for a spot on 1st, 2nd and 3rd down, these guys all can run, so they’ll be contributing on 4th down, on special teams. And then the last two picks, the seventh-round picks, these were guys that we had targeted, so we picked an offensive and a defensive lineman to fill out the group The good thing about this, and as I watch the process, these are all players that we like for numerous reasons, and they were available and in the conversation when we were picking them, so we weren’t reaching around the board trying to find guys. In fact, we just kind of hit it right with these players, and so they’re medically fine, they’re great human beings, and they’re outstanding football players, so we’re glad to add them to our team.
Q. What’s the reason for three corners, not a safety or three corners before the offensive tackle?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Well, I think that, again, I’m not going to reach. I mean, they were there. These guys were graded and evaluated, and again, what happened was — with the tackles and the defensive linemen, really after we took Dexter, it feels like three weeks ago, after we took Dexter two days ago, the defensive tackle group fell off the face of the earth, and once we got down through the — once the fourth round was over, our offensive tackles, that value was pretty much wiped out The Kentucky kid we had in the fifth round, and the Slayton kid, they were both fifth-round values for us. You can never have too many corners, either. Let’s let them compete. We’ve got some really good-quality — some good returning guys. Really another draft pick for us is Sam Beal. He had the surgery. He’s coming along well. The way the league is, you guys are the ones that keep banging at us, pass rushers, corners, that’s what we did. We listened to you, you know.
Q. Did you know — you ended up taking 10 guys. Did you know — you have to see how it all manipulates and you can’t force it, but did you pretty much go into this on Thursday and say we’re going to get a lot of defensive players, it’s not going to be three or four, we have to build this defense and we’re going to do that, whether it’s five, six, seven, eight, it’s got to be a lot of defensive players?
PAT SHURMUR: Well, I think from my perspective, when we were getting ready to pick, there were some offensive players that ended up being in the conversation on the same line, and we just made some decisions that directed us towards the defense. We knew we were going to make some significant changes to the defense, and we already have, two safeties, Markus Golden. So we’ve done some significant things on defense prior to the draft. We just want to try to improve our football team and make moves that are going to improve the whole team, and I think it’s pretty obvious by the way the season played out, there was a pretty — it was pretty bright that we needed to make some significant changes in some areas, so we went into the draft trying to make our team better. Each individual pick you go through the process of deciding, is this the guy or the guy next to him, and it kind of fell to where we probably picked maybe a corner or two more just because the value of those players was good. So that’s how it kind of filled out.
DAVE GETTLEMAN: I’ll give you an example. Corey Ballentine, he’s 5’10”, he’s 196 pounds, he runs 4.44 plays 4.44. He’s got ball skills, he’s played the nickel, he’s played outside. How do you pass him up?
Q. The natural reaction when you draft corners is, is Janoris still going to be on your roster. Is there any doubt in your mind that he won’t be here?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: No, Janoris has a bunch of puppies he’s got to train.
PAT SHURMUR: He’ll become a good teacher. I admire Janoris. He’s tough. He’s competitive. He always answers the bell, and I’ve gained a huge appreciation for him coaching him over the last year or so, and so just keep — put all these young guys in a room with him, and I think Janoris will be Janoris, and if these young guys are smart enough to listen, then they’re going to learn a lot of really good stuff.
Q. We only talked to these guys for a couple minutes after you drafted them, but a lot of them seemed like extremely high-character guys, team captains, very grateful, very — what you’re looking for, right, as far as culture. Is it tough when you’re scouting these players to — because you don’t want to reach, right, to find a guy who has the value and talent and also has that character along with it, especially in a class that you assembled here with a lot of them who seem to have both?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: You know, it’s part of the evaluation process, and I bang on our scouts big time, you’ve got to vet these guys out. Very honestly, these are the kinds of kids we want to bring in here, smart, intelligent kids who hate to lose, and that’s what we’re looking for. This was an especially unique group. But we put blues on these kinds of guys, and we had a draft that was almost completely blue because that’s what you want to build around.
Q. What about George (Asafo-Adjei) specifically impressed you? On the phone he told us a little bit about his adversity, his background, single mom, all that, and obvious that he’s not a guy who’s on a lot of mock drafts, so something must have clicked, right?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Well, it’s the length. It was the toughness. You know, he’s played in the SEC — he’s going to see good pass rushers every week. He’s kind of getting a little taste of what’s ahead of him. Like I said, the length, the toughness, and the ability to fight through, lining up in the SEC every Saturday.
Q. We know Remmers came in for a visit a month ago. Any update on where that stands?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Well, he’s still rehabbing, and we’re continuing to talk with him, so we’ll see.
Q. Are you optimistic that that could happen?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Time will tell. Got to rehab. Going to bring him in and take another look eventually.
Q. That’s essentially the plan then, bring him in another time?
PAT SHURMUR: We had a good visit when he was in.
Q. Did you feel like only taking one offensive lineman, it seems like you’re leaving yourself a little light, that’s why Remmers —
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Right, no, it makes sense.
Q. Do you have guys that you like now and in the drafting period that maybe you didn’t have grades to draft them but you like them coming —
DAVE GETTLEMAN: That’s what’s going on upstairs right now. There are a couple guys specifically, and we’re hoping to land them.
Q. Your son Kyle apparently is signing with Kansas City…
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah.
Q. How was that for you today, having to balance your draft and what was happening with your son?
PAT SHURMUR: No, I think it’s terrific. I think certainly my history with Andy (Reid) runs deep, and so as we’re watching the picks come off, certainly that was running parallel, hoping he was going to end up in a really good place, and I think regardless of whether he was picked or not, he’s ending up in a really good place, so he’ll go there and compete, and I think he’s going to be with a terrific team, and what I consider to be an outstanding quarterback culture, and that’s what you want for a young player that’s going to learn how to play the position at this level, so I’m happy for him.
Q. I know that you drafted a quarterback, but was that ever going to be an option here, or did you want that to be separate?
PAT SHURMUR: He and I talked about it, and I think that’s got to run separate. That’s the way we always parented, as well – listen, we’re here to support you, but go make your way in the world. We’re going to try to help you in every way possible, and as we all know, sometimes this is not very kind. And so he’s always known that, and he’s always known that he had to go out and do it and compete, and this is just the next step in that, next phase actually.
Q. You’re lined up to have a lot of cap space the next off-season?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Right.
Q. Is that a big part of your plan, are you looking ahead knowing that that’s a deliberate thing, it didn’t just kind of happen that way?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: It was kind of both. You know, it’s funny, if you have confidence in your drafting skills, you know that two, three years with the — you’re going to be able to start extending, and you always want to be in a position to extend. It was like when I was in Carolina this — I’m holding on to cap space, and they’re screaming about why aren’t you doing this, why aren’t you doing that. I said, I don’t know, call me crazy, there’s this guy Luke Kuechly we’re going to have to extend and some guy named Cam Newton you’re going to have to extend, and these things are going to happen. It’s one of those deals where there’s obviously different theories on how to manage that cap, but at some point in time, shame on you if you can’t keep your good young players home. In Carolina there were a couple times where I just couldn’t do it. Financially we had to pick between Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei, had to pick between Trai Turner and Andrew Norwell. They’re both going to cost a fortune, so you had to make decisions and keep moving and take the comp picks. But to answer your question here, no, it’s part of it, because you can’t — you don’t want to get in a position where you’re kicking cans down the road and you’re restructuring and you’re adding cap issues down the road. In an ideal world you clear it and then you can do what you call — you can get the long-term contracts with flat paragraph 5s and back loading and doing all that kind of crazy stuff. So to answer your question, the short answer is, yes, it’s part of the plan.
Q. Going back to day one, when you come into a draft off two tough seasons where you’ve won eight games, is it tough to make a pick for a future quarterback? You’re using a 6 and you know he’s probably not going to play until next year so there’s no immediate benefit?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: That’s a great question, and that’s why I always say, I’m on a tightrope. I’ve got to think short-term, and I’ve got to think long-term. That’s the box I’m in. That’s the position I’m in. Coaches have to win now, and I ask myself — I’ve told you guys a million times, I ask myself that question, am I giving Pat and the guys enough players to win with, okay. And really, you know, it’s tough. But I can say this to you guys right now. When we got in here Thursday night, the question was posed, why didn’t you wait until 17. Well, I know for a fact there were two teams that would have taken him in front of 17. I know that for a fact. So it’s tough, it really is. It wasn’t easy for me to pass up Josh Allen. For me, my background, that was very, very difficult. But I think that much of Daniel Jones and his future as an NFL quarterback.
Q. How much did you try and move up with that 17 pick, maybe get ahead of those two teams so you had two first-round picks, let’s say in the top 10?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: After we picked Daniel?
Q. Or did you contemplate it beforehand?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: No, I didn’t — no, did not contemplate beforehand. We were going to make the pick at 6 and then go from there. I had no intention of moving up. None.
Q. You guys both said Thursday night that you talked to Eli and he was okay, then there was a report on the radio yesterday that he was upset. Anything you guys — do you guys still believe he’s okay? And did you talk to Lauletta?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Oh, gosh.
PAT SHURMUR: We saw Lauletta in the training room the next day.
Q. So you talked to him?
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, our people talked to him.
Q. And he was okay?
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, as far as we know.
Q. Do you want to comment on the radio?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: I’m not going to respond to that. Come on, now.
Q. How much better do you feel about walking the tightrope and having the long-term and short-term crunch, how much clearer is that long-term vision? How much better do you feel about it now after this draft?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: I feel much better. I thought we had a very — a real quality draft. And time will tell. We’re going to know how good this draft was in three years. That’s when we’ll know. We’ll know how good last year’s draft was in two more years.
Q. Without being flippant, but do you ever sit here after a draft and look at the things and say to yourself, this didn’t work out for us this year, I don’t have a good feeling about this?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: You mean like tonight I’m going to look at these tonight and have that feeling?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: I’m telling you right now, no.
Q. I don’t mean this year, I mean in any year would you ever think that? Or do you always think I picked these guys that are good players?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Of course. You know, as far as I’m concerned, we had a hell of a weekend, you know? I mean, gosh. They’re good players here.
Q. Is there — with Oshane Ximines, you’ve got interior pressure on the D-line too, is there more you’d still like to add to the pass rush from the outside?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: We’ll see. You know, we’ll see. Again, you guys are forgetting, Markus Golden two years ago before the ACL had 14 sacks. He’s coming back, whatever he had, five last year. We added him. Lorenzo (Carter) is going to be better. He had the five last year. They get better. The young kids do improve, you know? And really at the end of the day — listen, my first year at Carolina, we had 60 sacks. It was nuts, okay. Do I want to have 60 sacks every year? Who doesn’t? I know Pat wouldn’t be upset. But at the end of the day, it’s about moving guys off their spots. It’s about all the other stuff. So you know, it’s a game within a game.
Q. Pat, what do you need to see from Daniel when he gets here on Thursday, Friday or Saturday?
PAT SHURMUR: We’re just going to get him started, put him through the paces, and I think every time they go on the field, you want them to execute what we’ve given him to do that day, and so we’ll start at square one with him and get him up and running and see how far he can take it and how quickly he can learn it. Our anticipation is he’s going to learn quickly, and we’ve seen that he can perform at a high level. It’s just got to look like good football, and I think that’s make good decisions, throw on time, be accurate, execute well, be smart with the football, all the things you’re looking for on Sunday you want to see it in practice, and you give him a little bit at a time, as time goes on, it builds up, and you just hope he builds on that.
Q. Is there a number of slots for the UDFA’s that you’re looking for?
DAVE GETTLEMAN: Well, we started with 67, 67 plus 10 is 77. I’m counting in my head, I’m not making fun. So basically got 13 — we may sign just half a dozen guys. I’m not in a rush — I think I told you guys yesterday, I’m not in a rush to get to 90. In an ideal world you want 90 guys that belong in a camp. So we’re — upstairs those guys know, if he doesn’t belong in a camp, we’ll wait. We’ve got rookie mini-camp coming in, we’ll have tryout guys, rookie mini-camp next weekend. There will be guys there on tryouts. The first team to 90 doesn’t win the Super Bowl, so we’ll just kind of do that.
MEDIA Q&A WITH CB JULIAN LOVE:
Q: What do you think you demonstrated at Notre Dame to show that you can be a starter at this level?
A: I had a pretty great three years at Notre Dame. I started a lot of games, played in all my games. I was healthy, I competed with the best at Notre Dame. So I know I can do a lot of things, so I think that’s what teams saw. I’m excited to showcase that going forward.
Q: What do you do best?
A: I think I’m a pretty physical player, I don’t shy away from contact at all. If anything, I show a lot of effort, I’m a smart player and I make plays. That’s what I’ve done my whole life and I’m excited to do that going forward. I’m just going to continue to be a playmaker.
Q: Do you have a chip on your shoulder about how it ended, not being able to finish what you started in the Cotton Bowl?
A: I do, there’s a lot of pride with my friends from Notre Dame and the community. I did want to end this perfect season the right way. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that and I’m carrying that with me. You can’t take anything for granted. You have to finish the job no matter what. That’s definitely on my mind, in the back of my head.
Q: Do you like being in the slot?
A: I do, I think my skillset allows me to be inside, which is great. I can play outside or inside. Wherever they need me, I am going to compete to the best of my abilities. I feel pretty good about playing inside.
Q: Did you have much contact with the Giants during this process?
A: Not fully, no. This process was a lot, I talked to a lot of teams, but I’m happy to be in New York. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
MEDIA Q&A WITH LB RYAN CONNELLY:
Q: Did you have any idea of where you might go? Were you surprised when you got the call?
A: “Yeah, I was a little surprised. I knew somewhere around this time was kind of when I was slotted to go. We were just kind of waiting for the call, and it came.”
Q: What do you think you can bring to the table for this team?
A: “I’m just really excited to see all my new teammates and get going on this defense, learning the defense. That’s probably going to be the first thing, is figure out everything I need to figure out, just so I can help the team in any way I can.”
Q: Can you talk about your journey from walk-on to today?
A: “It’s pretty surreal just coming from a high school quarterback, to walking on at Wisconsin, and now getting to play for the New York Football Giants. It’s pretty crazy, and it doesn’t even seem real to me yet.”
Q: You said you played high school quarterback. When did you make the switch to linebacker?
A: “Right when I got to Wisconsin.”
Q: Was it your choice? Or, was it a coaches’ decision?
A: “No, it was a coaches’ decision. I think they needed some people to fill up the inside linebacker room, and that’s just kind of where I ended up, and I’ve been there ever since.”
Q: What was your interaction with the Giants before today? Any meetings with coaches at Pro Day or bowl games?
A: “Yeah, I met with them at the Combine. I talked to the linebacker coach at Pro Day. Those went well, obviously. So, that was my interaction before today.”
Q: How much special teams did you play in college?
A: “I played a lot my first two years, and then my last two years, I was on punt and kickoff. That’s definitely something I’m willing to do.”
Q: Did I read something that your season was ended by a surgery?
A: “Yeah, I had a sports hernia at the end of last season that I had been playing through, and finally decided to get it fixed back in December, but I’m fully healed. That hasn’t affected me at all to this point.”
Q: Are you going to any Islanders playoff games?
A: I’m gonna try to now, for sure.”
Q: You played inside linebacker at Wisconsin, right?
Q: Is that where you see yourself suited for with the Giants in their 3-4 (defense)?
A: “Yeah, that’s where I’m definitely most comfortable, but like I said, I’ll play wherever they need me.”
Q: How would you evaluate yourself in the coverage game? How comfortable are you with covering tight ends and running backs?
A: “At Wisconsin, we did a little bit of everything – whether it features zone (coverage) or man (coverage), man (coverage) on the tight end, man (coverage) on the running back, we kind of switched it up a lot. Kind of experienced kind of doing all those different things there.”
Q: What did (Defensive Coordinator) James Bettcher just tell you when you talked to him on the phone when they picked you?
A: “Just welcome to the Giants, and that they’re happy to have me, and happy to get started. I don’t know, honestly, it’s just kind of all a blur at that point. I was just trying to pay attention as close as I could.”
Q: How’s your mom doing?
A: “She’s doing great, thanks for asking.”
Q: Yesterday was the big day, right?
A: “It actually got pushed back one week. Next Friday will be the next day.”
Q: What is he referring to Ryan?
A: “My mom’s cancer treatment will be ending next Friday, and then hopefully the checks will be all clear for lung cancer.”
Q: Were you a Vikings fan or a Packers fan?
A: “I grew up as a Packer fan.”
Q: Position wise, what did teams view you as? Where do you think you fit best in this defense?
A: “I’m more of an off the ball linebacker – a ‘WILL’ (weak side linebacker), a little ‘MIKE’ (middle linebacker). Those were kind of the main things they talked to me about.”
MEDIA Q&A WITH WR DARIUS SLAYTON:
Q: Do you think the way you ended your college career kind of sent you over the top?
A: “I definitely think it was a nice exclamation point to my career, for sure.”
Q: How would you describe your game? What have teams told you about what they like about you?
A: “I think my biggest strength is my speed. I’m able to push the field vertically, as well as catch the ball intermediately, and I have ability to go and score. That’s probably some of the biggest things I’ve heard from teams that I hope to be able to bring the Giants. Just help take the top off the defense and help us win games.”
Q: Where do you see your speed paying off the most? Long deep balls, or catch-and-run concepts?
A: “I can do either/or, but obviously the deep ball is probably the main area. I just want to go out there and show that I can do it all. I can do underneaths, I can do deep, I can do whatever they need me to do.”
Q: You don’t return kicks or punts, right?
A: “No sir, I didn’t in college.”
Q: You ran the entire route tree in college, didn’t you?
A: “For the most part, yes ma’am.”
Q: What’s it like playing in that Auburn offense, because it’s not exactly the same as playing in the Washington State office. Do you have to block a lot there?
A: “Yes, but that’s anywhere in the SEC. There’s big-time running backs, so you obviously have to do a little more blocking probably in the SEC as opposed to the Pac-12. I feel like on the pro level, especially somewhere like the Giants when they have a back like (RB) Saquon (Barkley), you got to do your part and block for him, as well when it comes time to run routes and catch the ball, then do your own job. I think it’s prepared me to come into this situation and be successful.”
Q: You seem pretty subdued. Is this later in the draft than you expected to go? Or, are you just a calm guy?
A: “No, I’ve had a couple of minutes to collect myself. If this had been five minutes ago, I couldn’t talk at all (laughter), but I’ve had a couple of minutes to collect myself. Just trying to manage my excitement. Everybody says first-round slip, or whatever you want to call it, but at the end of the day, getting drafted into the NFL is a really hard thing to do. I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”
Q: What was your initial thought of how you’re going to fit in the offense, and what your role can be here?
A: “The phone just went off, and it actually shows up as New Jersey. So, my brain didn’t register New York Giants at first until the coach on the phone said the New York Giants, and I was like, ‘That’s crazy.’ I remember they took the quarterback in the first-round, and obviously have Eli Manning, who has been a really good vet. I feel like they’re going to have good quarterbacks and have had some good receivers over the past few years. Like I said, just hope I can get in there and do my part.”
Q: What do you want to show them that you don’t feel like you’ve shown the league yet?
A: “Just that I’m a complete player. I think through this process, I was fighting people putting me in a box as just a deep guy, or just a this guy, just a whatever guy. Just to have a complete game – that I can run the full route tree, I can get in and out of breaks, as well as beat you deep with my speed. I think that’s the biggest thing I have to show as soon as I get there.”
Q: How much were you personally limited by the offense this year?
A: “It was just one of those things where sometimes you just don’t always execute on all cylinders as a team, but at the end of the day, I had opportunities to make plays while I was there this year and last year. I did what I could with my opportunities.”
Q: Have you had a chance to study the Giants? Do you know much about the offense they run other than having Eli Manning here?
A: “When (Browns WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) was there, I watched a fair amount of Odell film, but I haven’t had the chance to dive deep into their scheme, personally. Honestly, just kind of on the surface. Looking at receivers like Odell, like (WR) Sterling (Shepard). I actually had a high school teammate of mine who signed on with the Giants as a free agent a couple of years ago. It’s been a team I’ve watched a little bit.”
Q: Who was that teammate?
A: “(Free agent WR) Kalif Raymond – played for the Giants a little while. I don’t think he’s on the team anymore.”
Q: What did you think of the Patriots drafting (Former Auburn QB) Jared (Stidham) behind (Patriots QB) Tom Brady?
A: “I’m happy for Jared. I think he’s really going to excel, especially in that offense where he’ll be able to – I think he can be Tom Brady-esque, because Jared is really smart, he throws very well from the pocket, he’s good at making quick decisions. So, I think that’s a great fit for him, and he loves Tom Brady to death. I’m sure that’s like getting drafted by God for him. I’m happy for him.”
MEDIA Q&A WITH CB COREY BALLENTINE:
Q: How did you end up at Washburn?
A: I wasn’t really highly recruited for football coming out of high school. I was a late bloomer, I was recruited more for track. Washburn was one of my few football offers that believed in me. They believed they could help me grow and get better as a player. I met with the coaches and I figured it being close to home and I was comfortable with my coaches and teammates, it would be the best option for me. That’s why I chose it over other schools. I had a couple other D2 offers but I figured Washburn was the best one out of the other offers.
Q: Is it satisfying you never had to transfer to get to this moment?
A: No, I never transferred. I was at Washburn for 5 years, I redshirted, and I was a three-year starter so I never went anywhere else.
Q: You only played 2 years in high school, right?
A: I played all four years but I wasn’t on varsity until my junior year. I played varsity for two years.
Q: Inside/outside, you do it all as far as what you can handle in the secondary?
A: I used to play free when I was in high school. I got recruited to Washburn as a corner. When I started playing, I started as a down safety in our defense, so kind of like nickel. I played nickel for two years then I played corner in 2017 and 2018. I’m comfortable playing both positions inside and outside. I don’t have a problem with either.
Q: How important was the Senior Bowl for a guy coming from a small school?
A: It was definitely very important for me. I’ve always felt like I could compete with that type of competition as far as being with those D1 guys. This was kind of like my first real opportunity and I think I went out there and I did well. My real goal was just to improve every day. I knew I wasn’t going to go out there and immediately just lock everyone down, but as long as I was growing mentally and growing physically and getting my technique better, I felt like that was more important. I ended up starting the game, so I felt like someone was seeing the improvements I was making as well. It was definitely important, kind of an eye opener for me because there is a lot of things I haven’t seen as far as routes, route combinations that I haven’t seen in Division II. When I got to the practices and one on ones and stuff, I saw that for the first time. It kind of opened my eyes and let me know I need to be more on my p’s and q’s. There are certain things I can get away with in Division II football that I can’t get away with there or in the NFL. I am definitely prepared for the challenge, but I’m glad I went there. I am definitely grateful for the opportunity.
Q: Did the Giants give you any sense of where they would like to start you off?
A: No, we never really talked about it too much yet. I’m happy to fill in wherever I need to, I’m not too worried about what position I’m going to be playing because I feel like I can learn and adjust. I feel like that’s what the game is about, adjustments and adjusting to adversity. I’ll take whatever (inaudible) we haven’t really talked about it. I’m assuming corner and maybe a little bit of nickel corner, it doesn’t really matter to me.
Q: Are you also a return guy?
A: I’ve been returning for a while. In 2017, I averaged 30 yards a return. They stopped kicking to me in 2018. I’m definitely a return guy, I didn’t do punt returns but I will do it, I don’t have a problem with it. I’m on every special team, so I will definitely be on special teams with the Giants as well.
Q: They put up a graphic that said you were born in Jamaica?
A: Yeah, that’s right, I was born in Montego Bay and moved to Kansas when I was about six years old around 2001, 2000.
Q: What was it like getting the call from the Giants?
A: It was surreal, I’m sure you have heard it a lot, but this is something I have always dreamed of. It took me back to the moment when I got recruited to college and I told my coaches this is something I wanted to do, I wanted to go to the NFL. We were all kind of giggling and here the moment is, I’m getting the call from the New York Giants. It’s just surreal because I didn’t know how I was going to do it, I know I wanted to do it, I just didn’t know how. Now that the moment is here, I’m trying to soak it in really. I worked so long to prepare for this moment, going to the combine and the Senior Bowl not knowing what my future was holding. Now I’m finally getting to figure out my destination. I’m really just trying to soak in the moment. I have already talked to the head coach and the defensive coordinator and my position coach. I’m definitely getting a feel for them already. I’m enjoying the ride already.
Q: In the Senior Bowl did you play against Daniel Jones?
A: I’m sure I did. They rotated the quarterbacks every quarter so I’m sure I was in there at some point. I’m not sure.
Q: What were your pre-draft meetings with the Giants like?
A: They had sent scouts out to my school during the season maybe three times. I met with them at the Senior Bowl as well. I met with the D-coordinator and I talked with him. I had at least a 30-minute, 40-minute conversation with him just going through schemes and things that we do at my school compared to things that they do and my strong suits and whatnot. I talked to him for a while and he kind of let me know enjoy the process and embrace the grind. That’s what I have been trying to do. I also had a conversation about a week ago about how I would adjust to living in New York being from a small city and whatnot. I think I’ll adjust fine. I haven’t really had any visits to or been to New York. Like I said, it’s an adjustment that I will have to get used to. I don’t think it will be a problem for me, I have no character issues, I have none of those issues, so I’m looking forward to it.
Q: Have you ever been to New York?
A: I have never been to New York. This will be my first time. I’m definitely looking forward to the change of scenery. I’m in Kansas right now, so it is probably way different, but I’m definitely ready for it.
MEDIA Q&A WITH OT GEORGE ASAFO-ADJEI:
Q: How exciting is it to get the call that you are coming to the Giants?
A: Oh my gosh, I feel like the luckiest man in the world. I’m blessed, truly blessed.
Q: Were you surprised it was the Giants?
A: Honestly, I was a bit surprised. I was not expecting that, I had been in contact with them before, but like I said it was a surprise honestly. God is good.
Q: What was your experience like building up to the draft, what were your expectations?
A: My expectations were just work hard in the off-season. I have had a passion for the game since I started playing. I haven’t played my whole life, I gained a love for it and I saw what it did taking me out of situations at home and all that kind of stuff. I’m just blessed, and I kept pursuing it because I believed this was my ticket. I worked hard in the off-season, did well in the pro day, got a lot of hype and I’m just blessed to be in this position right now.
Q: What was it like going up against a top ten pick in Josh Allen every day, how much better did he make you?
A: It was a great experience. We both sharpened each other honestly. He had troubles going against me, I’m a speed guy I’m good with the pass rush. He’s a great edge rusher, I gave him problems, we both helped each other. You saw it in the outcome of the season and the outcome of our play. It’s just a blessing to be on a team like that with multiple other players.
Q: You were born in the Bronx?
A: Yes, sir I was born in the Bronx.
Q: Did you grow up here, where did you grow up?
A: I moved from the Bronx when I was about 8 years old and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. I remember the Bronx. I have visited there almost every summer.
Q: Are you a Yankees fan?
A: No, I don’t follow baseball.
Q: You alluded earlier to what football did for your life, what kind of adversity did it help you through?
A: My mom works hard, she has worked hard since I was born. She has been working 3 jobs, literally 3 jobs every day. She probably gets 4 hours of sleep every day, we went through some rough patches in life, but we overcame thanks to God. He’s taken me out of that situation, and he has taken our family out of that situation. I’m happy for our blessings. I don’t have a father in my life, that’s been much harder as well. I thank God, God is good and he answers prayers.
Q: Do you have a lot of family in New York?
A: Yes, for sure I do.
Q: You went on a mission to Ethiopia?
A: Yes, we went to Ethiopia last year in May. I’m from Africa, I’m not from Ethiopia I’m from Ghana. It was still good to be back in the homeland of Africa. It was a blessing to be a blessing to others and help others and pray for people. It was a very beautiful thing and I loved that experience. It’s even shaped me to continue that in my life and I even opened a LLC. I want to give back to any poor countries and any poor communities around here. It’s eye opening to see those people don’t have anything, but they are the happiest people in the world. Anyone can take something from that, just seeing them struggle I want to give back to them so bad.
Q: When you said you didn’t have a father, was your mother a single mom?
A: Yes, she was a single mother. It’s been rough growing up, but by God’s grace she was able to provide. We went through rough patches between me and her. By God’s grace we were okay, and we’ve overcame. Forgiveness is a big part, I’m just happy to be in the situation I’m in right now. God is more than good.
Q: Is it just you and your mother or do you have brothers and sisters?
A: I have a sister, but I didn’t meet her until I was 14 because the process to bring people from Ghana is a long process. My mom had to work on it since I was born, and it took that many years just to accept her into the U.S. and get a visa. That’s a blessing too, I love my sister she has overcame a lot herself, so it’s just a blessing for us all to be together as a family.
Q: What was you Mom‘s reaction when you got drafted?
A: She was screaming, going crazy. I’m happy for her, she gets to see her boy make it. I’ve worked really hard for this. I’m going in there not to just goof around, but I’m going in there to take a job, I’m going in there to make a name for myself. I truly believe I’m a dog. I can’t wait for you guys to see that.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DT CHRIS SLAYTON:
Q: What was your reaction when you heard it was going to be the Giants who was taking you?
A: It was a great reaction man. I was excited. My mom called me as soon as it happened. They’re excited for me. All around, it’s a big moment for us.
Q: Who are you watching the draft with?
A: Right now, I’m alone at my apartment. I was going to meet my parents afterwards.
Q: What was your pre-draft interaction with the Giants? Did you meet with them at a bowl game or a Pro Day?
A: I first met them down at the East-West Shrine Game week, and at the Combine. I liked them a lot, and they liked me, so it all worked out.
Q: Are you a three-tech or a one-tech? Where do you play exactly on the defensive line?
A: Either or, both.
Q: What do you bring to this team?
A: Just a strong work ethic. I love to compete. I’m a high competitor.