Jun 012020
 
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B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp hopefully beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Keep in mind that some of the players discussed may be cut as the 2020 NFL draft class signs their rookie contracts.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Defensive Line

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW: As expected, the defensive line was the strongest unit on the New York defense in 2019. However, that was small consolation on a defense that finished 25th in yards allowed and 30th in points allowed. Once again, the Giants fielded one the League’s worst defenses. This has been a decade-long trend and probably the biggest reason why the team has become a doormat in recent years.

Quality run and pass defense relies on all three levels of the defense playing well together. So it is always unwise to judge each separate unit in a vacuum. Linebackers and defensive backs need to be in the right position and make the tackle in run defense. A good pass rush also depends on linebackers and defensive backs being able to cover backs, tight ends, and receivers. Long story short, the Giants defensive line did not receive much help from the back seven. This was exacerbated by a 3-4 scheme that puts the onus on the linebackers to be play-makers. The players also never seemed to fully embrace Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher’s system.

The Giants entered 2019 with what on paper looked to be a strong starting unit of RDE Dexter Lawrence (2019 1st-round pick), NT Dalvin Tomlinson (2017 2nd-round pick), and LDE B.J. Hill (2018 3rd-round picks). However, depth was very thin with only DE R.J. McIntosh (2018 5th-round pick) and Olsen Pierre (2019 free agent) in reserve. Oddly, two days after the Giants fell to 2-6, General Manager Dave Gettleman traded away two draft picks for soon-to-be-unrestricted free agent Leonard Williams, who had failed to live up to expectations with the Jets. A half-season rental was the type of move a team in the middle of a playoff fight would only be expected to make, not a team clearly needing every draft pick it could keep or acquire. Williams would soon take many of B.J. Hill’s snaps and Pierre Olsen was let go.

Overall, the Giants finished a disappointing 20th in run defense (allowing 113 yards per game) and 28th in pass defense (allowing 264 yards per game). The Giants generated only 36 sacks with only 11.5 coming from the defensive line. That said, Dexter Lawrence (38 tackles, 2.5 sacks) had a promising first season, being named to the All-Rookie Team. Dalvin Tomliinson (49 tackles, 3.5 sacks) became a more disruptive player as the season progressed. Leonard Williams (26 tackles, 0.5 sacks) started five of his eight games with the Giants. As advertised, he was a good run defender who only teased as a pass rusher. More was expected from B.J. Hill (36 tackles, 1 sack), who saw his playing time, tackles, and sacks fall from his promising 2018 rookie season. R.J. McIntosh only played in 10 percent of defensive snaps and finished with only 13 tackles, but did have two sacks in limited opportunities. 2019 7th-round Chris Slayton spent most of the year on the Practice Squad.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: This unit saw the least change during the offseason. Other than Olsen Pierre, who was waived last November, everyone returns. Gettleman doubled down on Leonard Williams, slapping a 1-year, $16 million Franchise Tag on him. The only newcomers are Austin Johnson (unrestricted free agent from Tennessee Titans) and Niko Lalos (undrafted rookie free agent).

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The new coaching staff is being very coy about the new defense, vaguely repeating that it will be “multiple.” When asked if the Giants will be a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, new Defensive Patrick Graham responds, “yes.” But even a cursory look at the depth chart strongly suggests that the Giants will remain a  predominately 3-4 base as the team currently has nine defensive linemen and 17 linebackers. Nevertheless, expect Graham to constantly change fronts based on opponent, game plan, and down-and-distance.

Personally, I will be curious to see if Dexter Lawrence stays at end or plays more at nose tackle. He has the ability to develop into a truly imposing force in the League. Can Dalvin Tomlinson build upon his strong second half of the 2019 season? Can B.J. Hill return to his more disruptive play as a rookie in 2018? Most importantly, is Leonard Williams worth the the two draft picks and $16 million?

As part of an integrated defense, this unit will ultimately be judged on whether the team can dramatically improve its run defense and pass rush.

ON THE BUBBLE: For a team entering training camp with a 90-man roster, this team remains awfully thin on the line with only nine players. Assuming Niko Lalos spends him time with the defensive line (they gave him a DL jersey number), he clearly is on the bubble. Austin Johnson and Chris Slayton could also be fighting for one roster spot. Barring injury, everyone else should make the team.

PREDICTIONS: Patrick Graham is a relatively unknown commodity. The 41-year old coach has only served as defensive coordinator for one season at any level, that being his 30th-ranked defense with the talent-deficient Dolphins in 2019. Miami also oddly let him out of his contract to join the Giants. One gets the sense that the defensive line will thrive or fail depending on Graham’s overall effectiveness as a coordinator and whether or not the back seven can improve its play. There is talent on the defensive line, but the coaches, linebackers, and defensive backs need to step it up. Keep in mind that Graham served as defensive line coach with the Patriots (2012-2013) and Giants (2016-2017).

It will also be interesting to see how the players respond to new Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer, aka “Coach Chaos.” Spencer has never coached at the NFL level but his relentless coaching style is vastly different from his predecessor with the Giants who was very low key (at least publicly). In addition, Outside Linebacker Coach/Senior Assistant Bret Bielema was the defensive line coach with the Patriots in 2019.

Do not expect any of the Giants’ current defensive linemen to become double-digit sack masters. None of them have that type of dynamic skill set. These are big, powerful linemen who can hold the point-of-attack, disrupt, and potentially control the line of scrimmage. But the best you can probably expect from each is 5-6 sacks in a season.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill, R.J. McIntosh, Austin Johnson

Johnson was an under-the-radar singing who really could help the depth situation. Can Chris Slayton show enough to stick?

Jan 152020
 
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Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys (December 22, 2019)

Jason Garrett – © USA TODAY Sports

REPORT – GIANTS INTERVIEWING JASON GARRETT FOR OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR…
The NFL Network is reporting that new New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge is interviewing former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett for the team’s vacant offensive coordinator position. The Cowboys decided not to renew Garrett’s contract when it expired on Tuesday. Ironically, the Giants had expressed interest in interviewing Garrett for their head-coaching vacancy before hiring Judge.

The 53-year old Garrett served as Dallas’ head coach since 2011, accruing a 85–67 (.559) regular-season record and a 2-3 (.400) post-season record. Before that he served in other roles for the Cowboys, including interim head coach (2010), assistant head coach and offensive coordinator (2008-2010), and offensive coordinator (2007). He was also quarterbacks coach of the Miami Dolphins (2005-2006).

Garrett also was a well-traveled, journeyman back-up quarterback who spent time with five NFL teams, including the New York Giants (2000-2003).

REPORT – JOE JUDGE INTERVIEWED MIKE SHULA FOR OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR…
ESPN is reporting that new Head Coach Joe Judge interviewed Mike Shula for the team’s vacant offensive coordinator position on Monday. Shula served in the same capacity for the Giants under recently-fired Head Coach Pat Shurmur in 2018-2019. However, Shula did not call the plays under Shurmur, who handled those responsibilities himself.

The 54-year old Shula has also been offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers (2013-2017), quarterbacks coach for the Panthers (2011-2012), quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2007-2010), head coach at the University of Alabama (2003-2006), quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins (2000-2002), offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-1999), tight ends coach for the Chicago Bears (1993-1995), coaches assistant for the Dolphins (1991-1992), quarterbacks coach for the Buccaneers (1990), and offensive assistant for the Buccaneers ( 1988-1989).

REPORTS – PATRICK GRAHAM ALSO DESIGNATED ASSISTANT HEAD COACH…
Multiple sources are reporting that Patrick Graham will not only be the team’s new defensive coordinator, but will also be given the title of assistant head coach. The 40-year old Graham served with new Head Coach Joe Judge on the New England Patriots staff from 2012 to 2015 until he joined former Head Coach Ben McAdoo’s staff with the Giants in 2016-2017. Graham’s first year as a defensive coordinator was 2019, when the undermanned Miami defense finished 30th in the NFL in yards allowed and 32nd in points allowed.

Before becoming Miami’s defensive coordinator, Graham was the defensive run game coordinator and inside linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers (2018), defensive line coach for the New York Giants (2016-2017), linebackers coach for the New England Patriots (2011, 2014-2015), defensive line coach for the New England Patriots (2012-2013), defensive assistant for the New England Patriots (2010), coaching assistant for New England Patriots (2009), defensive line coach for the University of Toledo (2009), graduate assistant for the University of Notre Dame (2007-2008), tight ends coach for University of Richmond (2005-2006), defensive line coach for the University of Richmond (2004), and a graduate assistant for Wagner College (2002-2003).

REPORTS – NEW YORK GIANTS ASSISTANT COACHES NOT BEING RETAINED…
According to various reports, the following New York Giants assistant coaches who served under former Head Coach Pat Shurmur will not be retained:

  • Defensive Line Coach Gary Emanuel
  • Inside Linebackers Coach Bill McGovern
  • Outside Linebackers Coach Mike Dawson
  • Defensive Backs Coach Everett Withers
  • Assistant Defensive Backs Coach Henry Baker
  • Offensive Assistant Ryan Roeder

In addition, Tight Ends Coach Lunda Wells has also accepted the same position with the Dallas Cowboys.

DEXTER LAWRENCE NAMED TO PFW ALL-ROOKIE TEAM…
The Professional Football Writers of America (PFW) have named defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence to their 2019 All-Rookie Team. Lawrence started all 16 games, playing 63 percent of all defensive snaps, and accruing 38 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 pass defense, and 1 forced fumble. The Giants drafted Lawrence in the 1st round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Dec 022019
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 1, 2019)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

MONDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Monday to discuss the team’s 31-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers:

Opening Statement: I kind of said what I needed to say last night, so I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Q: After watching the film, what are your more nuanced thoughts on Daniel’s (Jones) performance, the good and the bad, maybe that wasn’t apparent yesterday?
A: Yeah, I think he made some really good throws. He competed throughout the game even after he got his ankle twisted. Obviously, the interceptions are the focus, but he made an excellent throw on the touchdown pass and he made good throws throughout the game. Certainly, we can’t make those… the first interception he tried to fit it in and he’d want that one back. The second interception, he tried to throw the inside route on four verticals and he just overthrew Shep (Sterling Shepard). Shep ran a good route. I think certainly a completion there would’ve kept the drive alive. Then the last one he threw a go ball to (Darius) Slayton. I think he put a good throw on it, Slayton ducked inside the corner late in the down. We’ve just got to disrupt that. So, those are the ones. Certainly, we can’t throw interceptions. Sometimes they happen, but we’ve got to get it cleaned up.

Q: How’s his ankle feeling?
A: Fine. He’s got some game soreness but he’s fine.

Q: I’m sure by now you are aware of what Janoris Jenkins said after the game. I’m wondering if you can react to what seemed like him questioning (Defensive Coordinator) James Bettcher’s scheme. Have you talked to him about it and is there any validity to his question of whether he should be traveling with the other team’s top receiver?
A: Yeah, we all know, you guys have gotten to know him, and I know Rabbit (Janoris Jenkins) really well, he’s a spirited guy and he wants to have an impact on the game. I think his assessment of we’re the only team that doesn’t travel isn’t quite accurate. I just came from the Minnesota Vikings who don’t. I think there’s a lot that goes into that. Again, he’s a competitive guy and I’m sure those are just immediately after the game comments. Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to talk to him, he left immediately (because) there was an illness in his family that he had to go attend to. I’m sure I’m going to have a conversation with him when he gets back.

Q: Do you have a problem with a player openly criticizing and questioning a coaching staff’s scheme like he did?
A: I’m not sure that’s what he was doing, that may be the impression. I think coaches and players talk about a lot of things behind the scenes. But obviously anything that we do we should do behind the scenes.

Q: You said you didn’t do it in Minnesota with traveling the cornerback. Is that something you believe in or is that just the way it worked out that they didn’t do it there and now you don’t do it here for the most part?
A: No, I mean there’s reason for it at times with the way teams shift and motion. It’s just philosophical in terms of just doing it that way. We did it earlier in the season and we felt with some of the guys we had out there playing, to settle down the whole unit we just felt as though it was best not to do that. That’s all.

Q: At the other corner spot I know you had a planned rotation, but was the plan to put (Sam) Beal in mid-series sometimes because of (DeAndre) Baker or what was the plan behind that?
A: No, just playing them both. That’s all.

Q: Saquon (Barkley) said after the game yesterday that he thinks you guys practice like you’re 10-2. You said a few different times that you see a lot of progress behind the scenes. Why do you think that’s not translating to Sunday? What’s not happening in the game that might be working really well in practice?
A: Well obviously we’re not getting the final result we’re looking for, but throughout the game you see a lot of really good plays on both sides of the ball. I think it’s fair to say that we did a really good job against their run game on defense. I think their longest run was a scramble by (Aaron) Rodgers. They had one other medium sized run. Then we gave up a couple of long passes for touchdowns that you obviously can’t do. But then there were a lot of plays that we defended well. Same thing on offense, we ran the ball much better, we did throw the ball with some efficiency, threw a touchdown pass, but then you have three interceptions. So, it’s one of those, it probably plays into what Saquon is saying— there are times when things look really good and then we have those mistakes that hurt us. Especially against a good football team.

Q: I’m sure that one of the points of pride for you is that the locker room has been upbeat during this losing streak. I’m wondering if in hindsight if there’s any regret in terms of all the value you guys placed on culture and whatnot if maybe you valued culture over talent a little too much this offseason, if you wish you had some more veteran players rather than all the young players?
A: Unfortunately, we don’t have the win total that we’re looking for. We believe in guys that are certainly talented enough to play that are good teammates, you know, you need both. Listen, I regret that our record isn’t much better. That’s the only thing I regret. Our job is obviously to get it better, and when it’s not, obviously it falls on my shoulders.

Q: You said after the game that it’s a historically young team. Just curious what you meant by that.
A: Well, I think we’ve got a lot of young players playing. That’s all. Again, that’s more descriptive than an excuse. But we have more than a lot of places. That’s all.

Q: Have you seen something that makes it historic? Have you seen a number or heard a number behind the scenes or anything that makes it historic in terms of the amount of snaps or rookies playing or anything?

A: We’ve had a lot of rookies playing throughout the season. We’ve had a lot of second year players certainly starting and contributing. And then we don’t quite have as many veterans as you normally see. That’s all.

Q: Did Daniel go for any tests on his ankle, an MRI or anything?
A: No, just a normal evaluation.

Q: Any other injuries out of the game? I think we saw (Aldrick) Rosas walk into the X-ray room. Any other injuries of note?
A: You saw (Corey) Ballentine, right, with the concussion. Then, let me just look through here, Jones, yeah Rosas I guess is sore, he made a tackle. That’s about it. That’s just game soreness.

Q: This year in Tampa, you did kind of have Janoris (Jenkins) track Mike Evans a little bit, if not for a large portion of the game. Mike had a really good game that day, did that play into your guys’ strategy going forward to not have Rabbit travel as much?
A: No, I think—listen, what we’re trying to do is eliminate big plays in the back end and get guys in the right places. It’s more of a total scheme thing.

Q: Is this Corey Ballentine’s second concussion? Any concern that this could be season-ending?
A: No, no concern. He was good today. But again, he’s got to go through the protocol, so we’ll see as time goes on.

Q: You mentioned yesterday, and other times, you don’t get into the feeling-type questions—how this is feeling or how that is feeling. I’m sure you would agree that emotion plays a pretty big part in success and failure. How do you kind of gauge the emotional level of your players in these games, and do you like it? Is the emotional level as you would like it? Is it higher, is it lower? What’s your sense of that?
A: I think the guys played hard throughout the game. They’re in it to win it, you know. I don’t think that’s a problem as far as gauging it. I think they’re out there playing every snap to have success and have a positive impact on the game. I don’t worry about that.

Q: Obviously, Daniel was able to play through the ankle, but what’s the readiness of your backup quarterback right now?
A: They’re ready to go. You’re talking about Eli (Manning) and Alex (Tanney)? They’re ready to go.

Q: In a game it would be Eli, yes?
A: Yeah, no, he’s ready.

Q: Is there any real chance that Eli will have to play next week?
A: Is there a real chance? I don’t know that. We’ll have to just see what the week brings.

Q: How about (Evan) Engram? Is he coming back soon?

A: We’re hopeful. He’s making progress. He’s feeling a little bit better each week, so we’ve got actually one more day this week to get him out there, so hopefully he’ll be available. Can’t say for certain, though.

Q: Just to clarify, your expectation is that Daniel is able to practice this week?
A: Yes, that is my expectation.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Monday’s media conference calls with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

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

Sep 162019
 
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Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (September 15, 2019)

Pat Shurmur – © USA TODAY Sports

MONDAY PAT SHURMUR PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the team’s 28-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Opening Statement: Let me talk about the injuries. You saw Cody Latimer had a concussion. Sterling Shepard is improving from his concussion. (Kevin) Zeitler has a shoulder that he’s been dealing with. Then we just have some game soreness. Markus Golden got hit in the throat, I guess. That’s about all I have for that. I don’t really have much to add to what I talked about last night. There were areas in the game where all three sides played well. I also think there wasn’t enough consistent play. They were four-for-four in the red zone against us. We were one-for-one. We had other opportunities to score that we didn’t. We moved the ball well at times. We didn’t do well enough on third downs. There were some opportunities out there that we didn’t take full advantage of that you need to do against a good team. As we go along, you’re going to see that they’re a good team. They were a good defense. We knew that going into it. They played well on offense against us, and we got beat. We’re looking at all things moving forward, finishing up our evaluation of this game and then having talks as to, like we always do, what we’re going to do moving forward. With that, I’ll take your questions.

Q: You said you’re looking at all things moving forward. Does that include the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game?
A: We always do that. Obviously, Eli’s been our starter to this point. I’m not really ready to get into any of those conversations about any position.

Q: Do you mean conversations with us or conversations…
A: No, we’re going to talk about everything we’re doing moving forward. That’s fair at this point. We’re 0-2. There are areas where we have to get better. We’re going to address all areas and try to find ways to put a winning performance on the field.

Q: Is Eli (Manning) your starting quarterback this week?
A: He’s been our starter to this point. I don’t want to talk about anything else moving forward from that standpoint. Not ready to discuss that.

Q: That’s going to leave it open for debate.
A: I understand that. I do.

Q: Do you think Daniel’s (Jones) ready if he is named the starter?
A: I think anybody that we put in there, we put in there with the idea that they’re ready to go. What I find interesting, too, this is why I’m a digital minimalist, is you all quickly quit listening to me and you’re looking at your phones. I find that fascinating.

Q: What goes into that decision this week?
A: We’re looking at everything that we can do to get better. That’s really what we do every week. To this point, what we’ve done hasn’t been good enough.

Q: Your third downs have been bad. Is there any thought of when you have third and long, putting Daniel in so you have a greater option to, if the pass isn’t there, run?
A: Third and long is usually what you’re presented with are longer yardage situations where they can take away the deep throw, you check it down. You see that around the league. We just need to do a better job of making sure we’re not in those situations, number one. Then number two, everyone once in a while, you have to try to fit one in there. But your option of just putting a guy in there… the ability to run with the football in those pass rush type situations, typically the runs become scrambles where you drop back and throw. The quarterback run game is typically thought of and used more in shorter, third down situations or first and second down, typically. Red zone, situational ball. Not usually on third and long.

Q: What did you think of Janoris Jenkins’ comments after the game about the pass rush?
A: I don’t think that reflects him that well. We spoke today. I talked to him about how things that we say can be interpreted. He was referring to one play and not to anything in general. But I spoke to him and we discussed what should be said moving forward.

Q: Did you disagree with what he said?
A: I don’t like anybody making excuses for anything.

Q: What about just the frustration? Is it almost, I don’t want to say a good thing, but the fact that he showed he cares and he’s tired of losing?
A: Listen, we’re all disappointed that we lost. We can’t get frustrated. We obviously need to make sure we’re saying the right things all the time.

Q: Getting back to third downs real quick, you guys are 5-for-24 through the first two weeks offensively. Obviously, you can get better on first and second down, but how do you create more manageable third down situations and prolong drives?
A: Well, you’re sort of answering the question within your question. We have to be in more manageable ones. Those situations, we’ve had more longer yardage third downs than the law allows. We need to make sure we do a better job of making them more manageable. That’s where it starts. Then everybody needs to do their job. You have to protect well. We have to make sure we’re running crisp routes. Then we need to throw and catch.

Q: Would you agree that your offensive line is playing well enough, and that your running game is good enough that you should be scoring more points if the passing game were producing?
A: We’re producing yards in the passing game. The critical situations, obviously the third downs and then when we get closer, scoring… With regard to the offensive line, I think they’ve played much better than they did a year ago. There are still errors in there. We’re doing some things better in the run game than we did a year ago.  We’ve made improvements in some areas. Not good enough to win yet. I don’t want it to come out that way. But moving forward, we can build on that.

Q: You guys poured weeks of practices and training camp into Tae Davis with the ones, Antonio Hamilton somewhat with the ones. They went from starting Week 1 to zero snaps defensively. Is that you just decided to move on and go with the rookies? How do you go from starting to zero snaps?
A: Everybody gets reps in the offseason. Most of the guys that made it on our 53 (man roster) got reps at some point with the ones. Sometimes you get more reps with the ones in situations where a guy in front of you is injured. I wouldn’t look at that as being the reason. We felt like we wanted to make a couple changes. We wanted to put (DeAndre) Baker in there and dedicate him to playing at corner so that he can improve, and the same thing with Ryan (Connelly).

Q: How have you been handling Daniel’s reps?
A: Typical of every place I’ve been. He’ll get a couple reps, as you do a rack of plays with the ones, Daniel will get a couple of those.

Q: Does 10 percent of the reps sound about right? 50 percent?
A: A lower percent, closer to 10 than to 50.Q: So, similar to what you did with Alex Tanney as your number two last year?
A: Yes, very similar.Q: When you look at Eli yesterday—the way he ran the offense, managed the team, utilized the players he had yesterday—where could he have improved in your mind?
A: I think those are internal discussions and things that we look to improve on moving forward. Everybody that played in the game—we’re all responsible for when we win and when we lose—and even when you win, you make mistakes. So, those are internal conversations so that we can make those corrections moving forward.Q: You mentioned the designed run that Josh Allen scored a touchdown on yesterday–
A: That was a good play. Well designed and he did a nice job. They blocked it well—it’s typical of the play they were running with the running back, the G-sweep—they carved us out and got in.Q: Around the league in this day in age, you see a lot of the time quarterbacks are scoring and getting first downs on designed runs. You don’t do that with your starting quarterback–
A: There are other teams—there’s a lot of teams that don’t run quarterback-structured runs. We could sit here and make a list of the ones that don’t. I think when you do that, and you have a quarterback that can do those things, I think that’s smart, I think that’s utilizing the talents of the player that you’re working with.

Q: Is it fair to say that—you don’t do that with Eli, no one has ever done that with Eli—whenever Daniel Jones gets his chance, that’s something his skill set would allow you to do?
A: He has a much better skill set to do those types of things than say Eli. Yes, that’s fair.

Q: When you say that you look at every position every week, when you’re looking at the quarterback position, how do you balance giving you the best chance to win this week versus maybe the future?
A: We’re always trying to do what we can to win this next game, and then behind the scenes, we’re always having those long-term discussions, but I think that’s the challenge each week—just doing what you can to win the next game. That’s really my focus as the coach, and certainly that’s what the players’ focus is.

Q: Is Ryan Connelly okay? It looked like he was shaken up on the touchdown.
A: Yeah, he’s not on my list. I don’t see him on there.

Q: Do you expect more from Jabrill Peppers than what he’s shown you through two weeks?
A: I think everybody needs to play a little better, and we’ve got to coach better, that’s all. Here’s the thing with Jabrill—I’m a big fan of his energy and his enthusiasm, his toughness, and I think he’s one of those guys, if there are mistakes in there, he’ll get them corrected and move on fast.

Q: When it comes to making changes at quarterback, is it more complicated because of the position? Is the discussion more complicated because of the personnel involved and who you’re dealing with, as far as Daniel and Eli, and (Alex) Tanney? 
A: I think anything that we choose to do, and when I say we have discussion amongst us as coaches, and then I certainly keep Dave (Gettleman) and John (Mara)—everybody upstairs sort of knows, okay moving forward this is how we plan to play the game—we have those conversations. It really, fundamentally, happens the same way.

Q: Both Dave and John said, “Pat’s going to make that decision.” Do you feel like you have the final say on who your quarterback is?
A: I think at this time of year when we’re talking about the team and moving forward, I’m right in the middle of all of it.

Q: Do you think not being definitive to us about this, and we’re not being definitive to the public right now—is that an edge of uncertainty that you want around this team?
A: Uncertainty about what?

Q: About not coming out and saying Eli is starting this week again. Is a little edge, a little uncertainty, good in the locker room?
A: Listen, I don’t want to be dishonest with anyone. Like I said, we’re evaluating everything moving forward, and I’m not ready to talk about all that right now.

Q: Have you talked about it with Eli?
A: Again, at this point we’ve had meetings, and they’re still finishing up their meetings.

Q: Is it fair to say that by drafting Daniel in the spring, you guys internally have already had most of the conversations leading up to the point at which a change would be made?
A: I wouldn’t say all conversations have happened, or haven’t happened. We’re very honest and open behind the scenes with everything that’s going on. I think I’ve tried to portray that with regard to the quarterbacks all along here.

Q: Is it fair to say that you will have made the decision by Wednesday when you get on the practice field, if you’re going to make a change?
A: Yeah, we’re moving forward, absolutely.

Q: Is Sterling Shepard clear from the protocol?
A:  I don’t know. It says here (on the injury report) “non-contact practice,” so yeah, he’s going through the steps, it appears like, in time to make it for this game. But again, they’re all different, the concussion things are different. Once you’re in the protocol, there’s a set standard that we follow, and obviously player safety is important. We don’t want to bring a guy back too soon.

Q: On draft night, you said it would be Eli’s job to keep Daniel off the field. How is he doing in that regard, in your opinion?
A: I think he’s doing a good job. I think we need to do more, all of us included, everybody, to win football games. That’s why when I say we’re doing what we have to do each week to put a team on the field that’s going to compete and win a football game, that falls on all of us. That’s the beauty, in my opinion, that’s the challenge, that’s what gets me going, the challenge each week to try and do that. We’ve all been around situations where you’ve had an outstanding team and there’s less you need to do each week. Then, we’ve all been faced with struggles as coaches to fight and scratch to do what you have to do in other ways, and so that’s the fun part for us behind the scenes, is to just kind of put that all together and then watch them do it on Sunday.

Q: Is Darius Slayton making progress?
A: He is. Let’s see what we say here about Slayton—he’ll be out there practicing this week, so we’ll see how much closer. We can revisit that.

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 players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.

Sep 042019
 
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Garrett Dickerson, New York Giants (August 16, 2019)

Garrett Dickerson – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 4, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), TE Garrett Dickerson (quad), and right tackle Mike Remmers (illness/back) did not practice on Wednesday.

“Slayton and Dickerson probably won’t make it this week,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur.

LB Nate Stupar (concussion) and CB Antonio Hamilton (adductor) fully practiced.

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 New York Giants practice on Thursday, with the team’s coordinators also addressing the media.

Aug 202019
 
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Cody Latimer, New York Giants (August 16, 2019)

Cody Latimer – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 20, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eighteenth full-team summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The remaining training camp practices are no longer open to the public.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), cornerback Antonio Hamilton (groin), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Tuesday.

Cornerback Deandre Baker (knee) participated in individual drills. Linebacker Alec Ogletree (calf) was limited.

Safety Michael Thomas was excused for NFL business.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • After physical practices on Sunday and Monday, the Giants had a lighter, carded, no-pads practice on Tuesday.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a perfect 40-yard bomb down the left sideline to WR Darius Slayton.
  • WR Sterling Shepard made a nice fingertip catch on a rollout pass from QB Kyle Lauletta.
  • WR Bennie Fowler made a fingertip catch on 50-yard post pass from QB Eli Manning. Then Manning threw a 20-yard out to WR Reggie White, Jr.
  • In 11-on-11 red-zone drills, QB Daniel Jones threw a TD pass to TE Scott Simonson. Jones then found WR T.J. Jones for another score.
  • QB Kyle Lauletta threw a seam touchdown pass to TE C.J. Conrad and then tossed another touchdown to WR Da’Mari Scott.

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

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

Aug 062019
 
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Kareem Martin, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Kareem Martin – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 6, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eleventh full-team summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (back), offensive tackle Brian Mihalik (burner), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Tuesday.

“(Wheeler is) dealing with a back thing that’s… Those are a little bit tricky sometimes,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “He’s sort of day-to-day.”

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (thumb) and cornerback Grant Haley (shoulder) participated with non-contact jerseys.

Defensive end B.J. Hill was excused from practice due to the birth of his child. Safety Michael Thomas and long snapper Zak DeOssie were excused in order to participate in NFLPA duties.

TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS FROM SY’56…
Even though a practice two days prior to a game can seem boring and uninformative at times, I still found value in being there. First, it was great to catch up with gidie. That guy does a lot of work behind the scenes for BBI so you guys can enjoy it…and I hope all of you remember it. Second, we had some decent conversation about the noticeable and maybe not-so-noticeable differences in this team. So while there really wasn’t a ton to write about today regarding practice, the wheels were spinning on what exactly needs to go right for this team to get back in to contention-mode. After all, gun to my head I think this team finishes under .500 but I’ve seen too many “sure things” go in the opposite direction to pretend I know what is going to happen. In sports, anything can happen.

One glaring missing piece, and we all know this, to the defense is a lack of edge presence. I didn’t oppose the trade of Olivier Vernon because of what it brought back and Vernon never really stuck with me. But that trade nearly left the cupboard bare and one of the most frustrating, team-killing components of this team in recent years has been the lack of pass rush. They have ranked bottom three in the league three of the past four years – yes you read that right. One who looks like he is ready for the next step is Lorenzo Carter. The tools he brings to the table are second-to-none when it comes to height, newfound bulk, and speed. If the skill set develops, I see a potential Danielle Hunter (MIN) in him. If he breaks out in 2019, the reward for the defense could be enormous as I think the inside DL will be getting plenty of push from Lawrence-Hill-Tomlinson.

Back to the OL…the acquisition of Kevin Zeitler cannot be underestimated. He isn’t just a solid presence, he is an elite 330+ pound pass protector who constantly makes good, powerful contact as a run blocker. Will Hernandez – Jon Halapio – Zeitler might be the heaviest (332-316-330) interior group in the league if I have my information correct. The OL has held this team back more than anything you can think of and even though the RT spot is a weaknesses, if these guys can be as dominant as I think they can be, the entire outlook of the offense changes.

Those who have been around the past few years, you know my affinity to quality linebackers. I have wanted the team to put serious resources in to the position (free agency money/high draft picks, etc.) and I realize it may not be among popular belief. But I look at a team like Dallas and the impact they have had from their second level defenders and I see what a Darius Leonard has done for IND, I just can’t shake the thought. Maybe I am stubborn. Anyway, the battle for the spot next to Alec Ogletree is going to be interesting. Tae Davis is the smallest, but quickest among the three who I think will end up competing for the spot. B.J. Goodson is, by far, the most imposing and physical. Rookie Ryan Connelly looks like the gamer who knows the defense so well and can really take in coaching. They are awfully different players and a lot will depend on what the coach wants out of that spot, but whomever gets the job needs to help rid the NYG defense of getting torched week-after-week, year-after-year in the middle of the field.

The backfield is going to need to be more than good if this offense is going to soar. As I said last week, I just see too many limitations in the passing game for me to think they will be dangerous. That is fine. However the running backs need to be elite. We have that in Saquon Barkley, nothing new there. But as good as he is, you can’t run this guy in to the ground with 35 touches a game every week. He and Wayne Gallman appear to be much more assertive and explosive. Part of that will come from the confidence of better OL play, but I think they are making it a point to keep themselves moving forward as they diagnose the lanes and holes. Both, more so Barkley, had a tendency last year to side shuffle too much after getting the ball. Those extra 1-2 yards per carry mean more than you think if you know anything about analytics and “early down success.” With the way this offense is put together, these backs need to stick with this “fall forward” approach much like we see Ezekiel Elliot do so well.

My general point in all this, and it is backed up by analysis around the league, these second/third year players MUST make the jump if this team has any shot at competing. Rookie contracts are arguably the greatest asset to a franchise on the field and the ascent in levels of these guys is completely critical. Veterans like Manning, Latimer, Solder, Ogletree, Jenkins…etc., we know that they are and we can only hope they don’t decline. The performance on the 2019 Giants mostly sits on the shoulders of these young guys, maybe the rookies as well, taking it to the next step. If they don’t, see ya next year.

TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS FROM GIDIEFOR…
It was warm and overcast today. You could smell the rain in the air, but the rain held off, and the players and coaches got practice in before any rainfall. The players were all in shells. As has been the usual the players were out in groups with their coaches doing drills as we waited to get on the field. Today, TE Evan Engram, WR Sterling Shepard, and RB Saquon Barkley were right in front of us throwing passes at the practice net trying to make baskets from about thirty yards away. Saquon Barkley is a pretty accurate thrower. Sterling made a few quite a few himself, or at least hit the net. Engram hit the net a few times himself. The four quarterbacks in their red shirts were again to the right of us practicing their footwork. There was not a lot to read into today’s practice, some of it was with cards, and they mostly practiced setting up play action in their sets without hitting. The Giants were getting ready to play the Jets in two days.

We were let onto the practice area and escorted to the field at our far right. The defense was in white jerseys and the offense was in blue today. After the stretches, were position drills. We were standing where the backfield did their drills and watched them and I peaked at the offensive lineman drills at the edge of the field to our left, and saw LT Nate Solder knock T Paul Adams hard into the ground, and noted that LB Alex Ogletree has switched his uniform number from 52 to 47.

One of the conversations we had were about the differences between this year’s team and the team two years ago. As I have mentioned previously, it is noticeable that the Giants have invested in big men especially up front on both offense and defense. Consider that of the offensive line starters: LT Nate Solder is 6’9” 319lbs, LG Will Hernandez is 6’3” 332lbs, C Jon Halapio is 6’4” 315lbs, RG Kevin Zeitler is 6’4” 330lbs, and RT Mike Remmers is 6’5” 308 lbs. Sy’56 noted that the majority of the NFL isn’t built that way anymore, whereas on the Giants every lineman above 300 lbs and they range from 6’3” to 6’9” – the guards being a little shorter and nearly 15 lbs heavier than the tackles. The starters on the defensive line are DL Dalvin Tomlinson at 6’3 319 lbs, DL Dexter Lawrence at 6’4” 342lbs, and DL BJ Hill at 6’3” 310 lbs. These are all Giants. Coach Pat Shurmur and GM Dave Gettlemen have stated that this is a big man’s game and clearly that is how they are building the roster with very big men who are strong and athletic and cannot be pushed around so easily.

As we watched the first sets setting up play-action, it is easy to see the Giants being a throwback team this year with the big men up front giving RB Saquon Barkley a little more breathing room, and we hope learning to keep moving forward, and buying time with the play-action to set up the quick-passing game. WR Sterling Shepard and WR Golden Tate will be key to this type of game with crossing patterns and other short passes and with getting big chunks of yardage on the fly after the catch. TE Evan Engram will also play a big role up the seam and running sideline routes. TE Rhett Ellison will be counted on as a burly outlet and has been stout in practice in the red zone. One or more of WR Cody Latimer, WR Alonzo Russell, WR Bennie Fowler, and WR Darius Slayton – when and if they play – will be asked to stretch the field.

On defense, the big front will be tasked with stopping the run and penetrating the line to get to the QB. LB Lorenzo Carter, albeit that he has yet to prove it, is probably set up to be the Giants best weapon off the edge with LBs Kareem Martin and Markus Golden opposite him. By the way, the new LB/ER Joey Alfieri was given first- and second-team reps off the edge today and looked almost comical getting engulfed by LT Nate Solder and LT Paul Adams. He looks a little small, way too light at 226, and not too fluid. The other new addition, G Malcolm Bunche, does look the part of the big man, however, at 6’6” 310lbs.

Notes:

  • WR Cody Latimer made the first big play today with a 50-yard reception down field by the end zone.
  • We remarked how disconcerting it is to see CB Deandre Baker wear Brandon Jacobs old number. Also, WR Reggie White, Jr. wearing OBJ’s old number. Both of their body types are polar opposites to their predecessors. LB Ryan Connelly had his helmet off for a while today and looks a little like Mark Herzlich.
  • RB Paul Perkins looks like he is filling out, and looks more the part of a running back.
  • CB Deandre Baker made a strong play boxing out WR Bennie Fowler III on another long pass.
  • S Jabrill Peppers looks very comfortable out there catching punts, and build-wise looks a lot like Tiki Barber. He also wears Tiki’s old number.
  • WR Alonzo Russell made a nice catch today.
  • During the final series of 11-on-11’s and then 7-on-7’s, the team practiced getting into formation and getting the snap off before the 40-second play-clock elapsed.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • QB Daniel Jones hit WR Reggie White, Jr. for a 30-yard touchdown over CB Ronald Zamort.
  • QB Kyle Lauletta connected with WR Da’Mari Scott for a roughly 30-yard gain over CB Grant Haley.
  • S Jabrill Peppers broke up a short pass to WR Alex Wesley.
  • QB Alex Tanney hit WR Da’Mari Scott for a long pass down the right sideline.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to WR T.J. Jones.
  • CB Janoris Jenkins tipped a QB Kyle Lauletta pass that was intercepted by CB Grant Haley.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a touchdown pass to WR T.J. Jones on a corner route.
  • CB Deandre Baker broke up a long pass from QB Eli Manning to WR Bennie Fowler.
  • QB Eli Manning fired a touchdown pass to WR Sterling Shepard against CB Grant Haley.

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

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

ARTICLES…

Jul 302019
 
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Corey Ballentine, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Corey Ballentine – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 30, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fifth full-team summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin), wide receiver Alex Wesley (PUP List – unknown), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), linebacker Nate Stupar (load management), linebacker Mark McLaurin (broken foot), and cornerback Henre’ Toliver (ankle) did not practice on Tuesday.

Cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring/groin) participated in individual drills, but not team drills.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (thumb) participated, but was limited, in full-team drills wearing a yellow “non-contact” jersey and catching some passes with his good hand.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • QB Kyle Lauletta hit WR Amba Etta-Tawo up the seam with Etta-Tawo out-running the secondary. He also threw a red-zone touchdown on a slant pass to WR T.J. Jones.
  • QB Eli Manning found TE Evan Engram, who made a one-handed touchdown catch down the seam. Manning also hit WR Bennie Fowler for a touchdown, finishing 3-of-4 with two touchdowns in red-zone drills. Fowler beat CB Deandre Baker on the play.
  • CB Corey Ballentine picked off QB Daniel Jones in the end zone. Jones was 1-of-4 in the redzone with one touchdown and one interception.
  • Fielding punts were WR Sterling Shepard, WR T.J. Jones, and S Jabrill Peppers.
  • LB Ryan Connelly dropped a interception from QB Daniel Jones.
  • Spencer Pulley continues to see some reps at first-team center.
  • CB Corey Ballentine broke up a slightly underthrown deep pass from QB Kyle Lauletta to WR Bennie Fowler.
  • RB Saquon Barkley broke off a big run up the gut after making a jump cut.
  • LB Oshane Ximines batted down a QB Daniel Jones pass at the line of scrimmage. Ximines also had a “sack”, beating LT Nate Solder.
  • CB Antonio Hamilton stripped WR Russell Shepard of the ball and CB/S Julian Love recovered.
  • WR Bennie Fowler made a circus catch, keeping his feet in-bounds as he fell backwards near the sideline.
  • DE Olsen Pierre received some first-team reps with the pass-rush package.
  • S Michael Thomas knocked away a pass intended for TE Scott Simonson.
  • The Giants worked a bunch on the screen game during practice.
  • QB Eli Manning finished practice 12-of-15 with two touchdowns. Manning hooked up a number of times with WR Golden Tate and TE Evan Engram.
  • QB Daniel Jones was 5-of-14 with one touchdown and one interception.

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

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

Jul 012019
 
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B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson – © 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: Defensive Line

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: After a quarter of a century of playing the 4-3 defense, the New York Giants shifted back to a 3-4 defense in 2018 under new Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher. While not the old 2-gap defense of the 1980s, the new defense did place more of the pass-rush onus on the outside linebackers than defensive ends. It was anticipated that the big, strong, tackle-like trio of nose tackle Damon Harrison and ends Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill would dominate the line of scrimmage. While the defensive line was arguably the strongest unit on a disappointing defense, much more was expected. Former All-Pro Harrison was surprisingly traded away in late October after a dreadful 1-6 start. The Giants publicly claimed this was done to move Tomlinson and Hill to more natural positions, but there was also speculation, fueled by senior official comments of bad team chemistry, that the Giants considered Harrison a locker room cancer.

Tomlinson began the year playing the 3-technique position (9 starts) before being moved to the 1-technique spot (7 starts) after Harrison was traded. He finished the season with 59 tackles and no sacks. The rookie Hill played in all 16 regular-season games with 12 starts, finishing the season with 48 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two pass defenses. Hill was shifted from the five-technique position to the three-technique after the team traded away Harrison. Others to receive significant playing time included Josh Mauro, Kerry Wynn, and Mario Edwards. 5th-rounder R.J. McIntosh missed most of the season with an undisclosed medical condition.

In the end, the numbers were not good. Team defense “improved” from 31st in 2017 to 24th in 2018. The Giants were 20th in run defense in 2018, allowing over 118 yards per game and 4.3 yards per rush, which were very similar to their 2017 numbers. Of course, much of the blame for this disappointing result must also rest with the linebackers and defensive backs, who were often out of position and missed too many tackles. Pathetically, the defensive line was only credited with 10 sacks.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants did not show much interest in re-signing any of their free agent defensive ends and Josh Mauro (Raiders), Kerry Wynn (Bengals), and Mario Edwards (Saints) all left in free agency. The Giants did re-sign nose tackle John Jenkins, who hardly played in 2018.

The Giants signed Olsen Pierre from the Cardinals, Jake Ceresna from the CFL, and street free agent Alex Jenkins. The team drafted Dexter Lawrence in the 1st round and Chris Slayton in the 7th round. Rookie free agent Freedom Akinmoladun was signed after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The New York Giants have invested significant draft resources to rebuild their defensive line, including 2019 1st-round pick Dexter Lawrence, 2017 2nd-round pick Dalvin Tomlinson, and 2018 3rd-round pick B.J. Hill. These three are expected to form the strength of the team’s defense, stuffing the run, generating some interior pass rush, and enabling quicker defenders to get after the quarterback. It’s not exactly clear who will play where, and even the coaches have suggested it will change from game-to-game. It’s fair to say that more has been expected of Tomlinson and it will be important for him to step it up this year. Hill is coming off of a solid rookie season and it will be interesting to see if he can build upon his 5.5 sack rookie performance. The 340-pound Lawrence could develop into a Haloti Ngata-like difference-maker. The book on him is that he is strictly a run defender, but there are those who insist he is more than that.

Entering camp, the Giants are a bit thin at the position with just 10 players. It was a bit surprising that the Giants let all of their reserve ends walk in free agency. Because of that, there is pressure on R.J. McIntosh to develop quickly in what will essentially be his rookie season. Olsen Pierre could also have a bigger role than many fans anticipate. Other than the starters, the only nose-tackle-type linemen on the roster are rookie Chris Slayton and journeyman John Jenkins, who was virtually ignored in free agency, only re-signing in May.

ON THE BUBBLE: There are only 10 defensive lineman on the roster. The Giants will carry at least six. The obvious players on the bubble are Jake Ceresna, Alex Jenkins, Freedom Akinmoladun, and John Jenkins.

FROM THE COACHES: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on the defensive line this Spring: “There is no contact, so it is really hard to fully evaluate both lines until we start banging around a little bit. We like the way they are moving around. There are some youthful guys that are in there and doing a good job. They are picking up the system really well. We are pleased with what we are seeing.”

Shurmur on R.J. McIntosh: “He is caught up. He is doing well. With defensive linemen, we will see more once we can get in more hitting situations. He is moving around well and has gotten much stronger since he has gotten here. He fits well in the defense and looks like he is getting himself right for training camp.”

Shurmur on Dexter Lawrence: “I think he gets it… The first thing that jumps out about Dexter is he’s a pretty big man. He’s got a feel for things. He’s a guy that can play the run and rush the passer. We’re looking forward to getting him going. When you pick a guy from Clemson, and he’s played on the biggest stage there is in college football. The other thing that struck me is this isn’t going to be too big for him.”

Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on the defensive line: “They are working extremely hard and doing everything they are asked to do. Very aware of things they need to improve on.”

Bettcher on the players being more interchangeable up front: “I think you have to be the way the league is now. I think there is enough motions, adjustments and offensive guys are good enough now. For the most part, they are not going to let a nose just sit there and play nose the whole game. They are going to make him slide and extend the play on guards and edges of guards. They are going to motion and do enough to have to be interchangeable enough to defend what we see from an offensive standpoint. Number two, I think they all have enough position flex to do that. We want guys to have the flexibility to play up and down the line. A really good NFL defensive line room has a great rotation. The four, five and six hole spots, whoever those guys are, gaining reps, 15 snaps, 12 snaps, 20 snaps depending on the game, those are important snaps just like the other snaps… It will be competing each week to see who gets the most snaps, who will be the starter in different packages. I love that part about it.”

Bettcher on Dexter Lawrence: “One of the biggest humans that I have ever seen, moves as quick as he can move. A 330-pound guy that is going to come in and compete, help us be the type of run defense that we want to be. Also, don’t forget the guy ran about five flat at 345 pounds. That does not happen very often. A lot of people got to see him move at rookie mini-camp. We are excited to have him.”

Defensive Line Coach Gary Emanuel on Dexter Lawrence: “We think Dexter will develop into a three down player… His ability to stop the run excites everybody. For a guy that size to move as well as he does, you have to get excited about that.”

Emanuel on Chris Slayton: “Chris is a great young man and we think Chris has a great upside… He’s an inside guy who brings some versatility. He can play the nose position, he can play the 3-technique and he’s an interior defensive line player. I don’t think we’ll see him much on the edge but he has a great capacity to improve out there in the interior.”

PREDICTIONS: On paper, this should be a really good group. They are young, big, strong, and athletic for their size. They look like what you want a 3-4 defensive line to look like. But the proof is in the pudding and the team needs to improve what has been a subpar run defense. When Lawrence was drafted, I thought he would immediately be the starting nose tackle, but he appears to have spent perhaps even more time starting at end this Spring. That would suggest that the coaches are truly impressed with his movement skills for a big man. If he can push the pocket on a consistent basis, and if B.J. Hill continues to evolve as a pass rusher, this unit could surprise attacking the quarterback. Two wild cards are Dalvin Tomlinson and R.J. McIntosh. Tomlinson should be making more impact plays; he is capable of breaking out. Fans saw very little of McIntosh last year. He’s built more like a pass rusher than the starting three and could become an important role player. Don’t be surprised to see Olsen Pierre get significant playing time as a reserve.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Dexter Lawrence, B.J. Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, R.J. McIntosh, Olsen Pierre, and Chris Slayton.

Jun 152019
 
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Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants (May 3, 2019)

Dexter Lawrence – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS SIGN DEXTER LAWRENCE AND DEANDRE BAKER…
The New York Giants have officially signed defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence and cornerback Deandre Baker, two of their three 2019 first-round draft picks. Lawrence was the 17th overall selection and Baker was the 30th overall selection. Both have already been playing with the starting defense during spring practices.

Eight of the team’s ten 2019 draft picks are now signed. The remaining two are quarterback Daniel Jones (1st round) and linebacker Oshane Ximines (3rd round).

ARTICLES…