Apr 182019
 
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Dave Gettleman, New York Giants (December 29, 2017)

Dave Gettleman – © USA TODAY Sports

DAVE GETTLEMAN’S 2019 PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman held the team’s annual pre-draft press conference on Thursday. The following is the transcript from the event (video is also available courtesy of Giants.com):

Opening: Good afternoon. I would like to begin by thanking our Director of College Scouting Chris Pettit and the staff, Chris Mara, Kevin Abrams, Mark Koncz, Pat Shurmur and the coaches for all of their diligence in putting together this year’s draft board. I really can’t thank them enough. With the college draft a week away, we are coming to the second part of what I call the roster building season. Football is the ultimate team game. While it may be difficult for some to understand, building a roster is not just about collecting talent. It is not just about how fast, strong or talented a player is, but does he fit athletically, intellectually and culturally into what you are trying to accomplish, that is to win a Super Bowl.

Recently, there was an article in USA today written by Dan Wolken. I recommend that everyone read it. What he did was, he was discussing two of the premiere college basketball programs in Duke and Kentucky. The article was written after they had been eliminated from this year’s NCAA tournament. The final paragraph really put what I believe into a nutshell. And I quote: ‘As long as Krzyzewski and Calipari are still coaching, they are going to get their share of the best recruits every single year because of the pathway they have established to the NBA. Both programs have discovered in the tournament that elite recruiting and good roster construction don’t mean the same thing.’

As Lou Lamoriello most recently said, ‘players win games, teams win championships.’

The only major transaction I have not talked to you guys about since the last press conference was about Sterling and getting him extended. Obviously, we feel Sterling is a very important part of who we want to be moving forward. He earned this contract and we are thrilled to have had the ability to get him extended.

This is a pre-draft presser, so let’s talk about the draft. Let the games begin.

Q: You said this is a really strong draft. What about it makes you say that?
A: Frankly, we have pretty much set the board. We are tweaking it a little bit here and a little bit there. The scouts went home. I sent them home for the holiday. It gives me a chance to do some work on my own, some additional work. The board is really basically set. I am looking at it and we have more players rated as first, second, third or fourth-round values that I have had in any draft. This is my eighth draft as a GM. In terms of the volume of players on the board, this is the thickest.

Q: Is selecting a quarterback a priority for you?
A: The priority is to select the best players. Last year, we could not pass up on Saquon. He was the best player in the draft. You can’t do that. We have had this conversation before. Eli is closer to 40 than he is to 25. We can do that math. At the end of the day, we are going to take the best players.

Q: At number six, do you need a gold jacket guy or is that too far down?
A: For me, you are riding on the edge. There are gold jacket guys that never got drafted. That stuff happens. It is still about value. Who is going to give you the most value at that spot? When you start reaching for the need, you get into trouble. You can never have too many good players at one position.

Q: Is it important to look at every pick you guys have, you have 12, that you need to get 12 starters or do you take the approach of looking at first round talent and seventh round talent?
A: If we get 12 starters in this draft, I would have one hell of a time on Cape Cod. All kidding aside, having 12 picks is crazy. One of the things I have talked about is that you don’t want to draft a player that you are going to cut. Every guy you draft, there is a reason you are drafting him and a reason that he should make your club. First, second, third round draft picks at the very least, you are looking for a big rotational player. Everyone talks about the way the league is going down, 65-70 percent of the time you have your defensive sub package in. You can easily make the argument that your nickel is your starter. You can make that argument. Your third wide is your starter. That is what you are looking at. Guys that walk on the field and help you win now. Anything after that is a huge bonus. Earlier, David Diehl was a fifth round draft pick and a 10, 11-year starter. That is what you are looking for.

Q: You mentioned that you have a lot of value in rounds 1-4. Does that give you more flexibility if you want to move around?
A: Absolutely. Obviously, every position is different. There are some positions that are thick throughout. Some positions, it gets thick late. Some positions, you are thick, nothing, thick. It varies. Obviously, when your turn is coming up, you have to give it a look, especially when you have a number of guys that you can look at with equal value at different positions.

Q: You’ve said before that a franchise QB has to be one that you love because it is such an important position. Does that also apply to the second first-round pick? There could be a guy that you like but the value is there. Could you see yourself not being in love with a guy but taking him with that second pick or is this too important of a position?
A: With as heavy as this draft is, to answer that question, we are at 17 so I would be shocked, very surprised if there was someone there that I did not like.

Q: Could it be a guy that you are in love with?
A: Absolutely.

Q: Are you talking about QB specifically?
A: Who knows?

Q: At 17, you said you would be shocked if there was someone there that you didn’t like?
A: A player, yes.

Q: Not a QB?
A: It could be. It could be a corner, a wide receiver. It could be a sports writer.

Q: QB is so important that you don’t want to force it but if he is sitting there at 17, the value might be just too good.
A: The value might be too good for what? If we have a QB rated in the first round, we love him.

Q: Is there a lot of ‘what ifs’? A guessing game?
A: It is so crazy now. You read all the info and you have 85 mock drafts. There are about 20 guys that are in everyone’s first round. History tells you, you can bet the ranch that those guys are going to go. Times have changed. My very first draft, I was an intern with the Buffalo Bills. And Norm Pollum, who recently passed away, he has a legal pad and at that time there were 28 teams. He had 28 teams and 28 names. He turns around and gives it to me. He says take a look. I am looking at it and he says, that is the draft. He had 26 of them. That is when people didn’t have phones and there wasn’t a whole series of smokescreens and lies. And people just kibitzed. At the end of the day, you can’t count on teams taking this guy or that guy. You just have to relax. It is just a process. You relax and see what happens.

Q: Is there a better chance this year of marrying value with the position of need?
A: Yes, because it is about volume.

Q: You said that if you have a QB with a first-round grade, it means that you love him. I am curious if there are traits that lead you to a guy like that?
A: A lot of it is physical ability to play the game. One of the things that I really believe is, this is not taking a shot at anyone so don’t twist my words, please. Being a quarterback of a team in this type of market is a load. It is a mental load. You have to really vet out the background of these guys. Just like being the head coach of this team is a load, being a quarterback is a load, too. It is more than just looking at a guy’s physical talent. It is about his makeup. A lot of you guys were here Eli’s first year. He starts the last nine games of the year and there were a couple games early on, the Baltimore game, where he was what, 4 of 15? Something like that. He is there and then we are playing Dallas in the last game of the year. We are on the six-yard-line going in and we have no timeouts. There is 12 seconds left in the game and he has the cojones to audible to a draw. If we don’t score, we lose the game. You have to have a mental toughness about you to play the position here in New York. Or to play the position anywhere. That is a huge piece of it. It is important. If you don’t think it is, you need to re-think it.

Q: Getting the 17th and 95th picks were a big part of the return in the Odell trade. Any extra pressure knowing that those guys will be compared to him?
A: No, not for me. I don’t mean to make light of it, but no. We are going to get good players with those picks.

Q: You have the 12 picks, two in the first round. You want to get every draft right. Does the draft pick at the top, you said you put extra value on them. Does that put extra importance in getting those right?
A: There is pressure getting it right every year. Even last year, we had five picks. That is all we had. There is no less pressure or more pressure with 12 than there was with five. It does not make a difference what job you have. You have pressure and deadlines. There are people that look at you, I look at you and say, how do you do that? You have a 4:25 start. The game ends at 7:15. You better get your crap in in about 25 minutes but you don’t have time. By the way, the game just ended and you have to run down and get interviews. You guys have pressure. It is what you do. You just roll with it. That is what I do. I don’t feel that pressure.

Q: Is it valuable for these QBs that you evaluate to have handled adversity in the past to see how they have handled it?
A: Exactly. It is a hell of a question. Back in the fall, I was talking to Pat (Shurmur) and we were having that conversation. He said, there are a lot of guys that never had adversity. You will have adversity up here. I don’t care how great a player you are. I could sit down over a year and you could give me any Pro Bowl player. I can make you a 25, 30 snap tape and you will look at it and say that you have to be kidding me, he is getting paid that kind of money. You have to be kidding me, he went to the Pro Bowl. Then, I will make the other 25-minute tape and you will say, oh my God. Everyone has adversity. Everyone. Who is mentally tough enough to say, OK, it happened once, it is not happening again. With a lot of these guys, it is a very legitimate question. You have to dig so deep to see where they have had adversity. It is painful but it is part of the evaluation.

Q: Do you need a defensive playmaker in this draft?
A: You sat there and watched it. We went 4-4 the second half of the year and we had three games that if we make a stop, we are 7-1. Obviously, you can’t have too many playmakers. You talk about roster construction, I have always been a big believer that if you look at the great defenses, they have a lead dog in every level. A legitimate playmaker at every level of their defense. I said it at the postseason presser and I will say it again, we need some defensive playmakers.

Q: Do you have a lead dog on your defense right now at any level?
A: Ogletree. Alec. Our two safeties that we brought in, Antoine and Jabrill. Antoine has been a lead dog. We are getting there.

Q: Upfront is where you think you need?
A: Listen, we are thrilled with B.J. and we are thrilled with Dalvin. We have to keep adding to that mix. The young guys on the outside, Lorenzo made a lot of strides last year. We are getting there. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Q: If you had a QB rated in the first round, is there any reason why you would wait to the second pick to take him?
A: Depends upon who is available. If you would have said that last year, I would have given you the same answer. You would have seen what happened. We will see.

Q: Is it important to have that battery going from defensive tackle to center to QB to RB where you want your lead dogs to be before you build outside?
A: I don’t know. I don’t think football is any different from any of the three other major sports. Strength up the middle is critical. Your lead dog can be an outside linebacker or an outside pass rusher. What you want is talent. That is what you want.

Q: Is between 37 and 95 a place that will be hard for you to watch 60 players come off the board?
A: Yes, it is. It won’t be fun.

Q: What position has impressed you the most in this draft?
A: The wides (wide receivers) are real thick. The offensive tackles are thick. The secondary is thick. Corners and safeties. When I say thick, I am talking about up and down the draft. Rounds 1 through 7.

Q: How does what people in front of you do complicate things and change the dynamic of what you are going to do?
A: We are going to sit there and see what is cooking at six. We will go from there.

Q: Have you had any conversations with the Cardinals?
A: I am not going there.

Q: There are only five teams that pick ahead of you.
A: Look at that, you have done the math.

Q: The guy you pick will be ranked higher or not that much lower at all because you don’t have to. You won’t force that for any position at all?
A: No. You are up at six.

Q: If you don’t have a QB in the top six, you aren’t taking one with that pick, is that safe to say?
A: I am just saying I won’t force a pick. You can’t draft for need. You will get screwed every time and make a mistake.

Q: So a QB is not its own special category?
A: No, it is not.

Q: When you look at this draft, is there a chance you get to six and all of these top stud defensive players are gone?
A: A chance that they are all gone? No.

Q: Do you see a spot this year where there is a drop off?
A: It is a really good draft. I fully expect, if we don’t move, at six and 17, we are going to get a really good player. I am not going to panic. It is going to be a good player. I do not want to sound arrogant.

Q: Do you have your guy right now hoping he is there at six?
A: We have to finish doing the board. We are still screwing around. I have an open mind.

Q: Any gold jacket guys in this draft?
A: Yes. I don’t want to put a number on it. This is a draft that has been well ballyhooed by the volume of players and the depth. It is legit.

Q: What do you think about this QB class?
A: It is good. Thick.

Q: Better than last year?
A:  I am not going there. Come on now.

Q: Ernie Accorsi always says that you draft QBs to win Super Bowls. Are there any QBs in this draft that you think are Super Bowl ready?
A: There are a couple of really good quarterbacks in this draft, yes.

Q: What is the level of urgency to land a franchise QB right now?
A: If you put a lot of pressure on it, you are going to make a mistake. I am not going to put a level on that. You let the draft come to you. We went into last season with Eli and thought he had plenty left. He proved that. We will just see how it goes.

Q: What about the level of urgency to get the KC model in place?
A: I said ‘the KC model’, people have been doing that for years. This is just the most recent one. How about the Green Bay model with Rodgers and Farve? He sat two and a half, three years. That is what you would like to do. Eli is a pro’s pro and you guys know that. To allow a quarterback to learn at the feet of Eli, it would be a sweet deal. Kyle (Lauletta) is working on that right now. Don’t forget about Kyle. You would prefer that be the situation. You would hate to take a young kid and just throw him in there.

Q: As you continue to construct this team, do you feel that you can win now and in the future?
A: We won two more games than the team did the year before. Then, you had all those games where we lost by a point, two points. We lost eight games by a touchdown or less. The NFL is tight. A few more players get you over the top and you win more.

Q: You have hit on small college guys before. What do you have to see on film to judge them?
A: A million years ago, I am scouting at Kutztown State and I am looking at John Mobley. It is October and everyone since August was telling me to go to Kutztown, have you been there yet? I said, what do we have here, Superman? So I went and watched John play. The closest Division I school is Penn State. I had to ask the question and I tell the scouts this all the time, if I am watching John Mobley, can I picture him starting at Penn State. That is the litmus test. When scouts talk about DI, II, I-AA, will he start at a big DI program. They all go to big DI programs, so they should be able to answer.

Q: Will you move if there is urgency?
A: Look at my history. I have traded up a bunch of times in Carolina. Last year, we had to sit. We only had the five picks. I was not going to take picks from this year’s draft to move up in last year’s draft. We are going to do what we need to. If the situation calls for it and there is guy there that we feel can really help us but he is a few picks in front and we are not confident or comfortable that he will fall to us, if we feel the need, we will make the move. I am not afraid to do that.

Q: First four rounds are loaded ,would you move some picks in the back and try and get into the first four?
A: It is possible. You may. Anything is possible.

Q: Does that include moving picks from next year’s draft?
A: Maybe.

Q: How does the dynamic change when you have two first round picks?
A: I have never had that. It is fun. I am excited about it. It is weird. After you make that first pick, you can’t go get dinner. I am excited. You are going to draft two guys that you will have for five years, which is a big help with the cap now a days. I am looking forward to it.

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:

Feb 132019
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Giants drafted Saquon Barkley in the 1st round of the 2018 NFL Draft, many pundits and fans believed the Giants now had the best RB-WR-TE trio in football in Barkley, Odell Beckham, and Evan Engram. After all, despite a bad case of the dropsies, Engram was coming off an impressive rookie season in which he had led the team in receptions and touchdowns despite often being the center of the opposing defense’s attention. It was thought that the return of Beckham from a serious injury that had caused him to miss most of the 2017 season, and the addition of the explosive Barkley, would leave Engram in many extremely favorable one-on-one match-ups.

However, Engram significantly regressed in the first half of the 2018 season. Whether it was due to a knee injury that caused him to also miss three games before the bye week, or the learning curve between the new coaching staff and the second-year tight end, Engram was a virtual non-factor in the passing game until November. Through the midway point, Engram had only caught 17 passes for 145 yards. Worse, Engram’s size and power limitations as a blocker were ill-suited to a team looking to focus more on the ground game and Saquon Barkley. It began to look like team and player were mismatched.

Things changed after the bye despite the fact that Engram missed two more games, this time with a hamstring injury. It was not so much the improvement in receptions from 17 to 45, but the number of big plays Engram began to make. There were two 50+ yard run-and-catch gains and a number of 30+ yard receptions. This was the type of explosive impact that had been expected all year.

Rhett Ellison actually saw more on-field action than Engram in 2018. Ellison played in 54 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, while Engram saw the field 46 percent of the time. Ellison’s numbers were very similar to his initial season with the Giants, catching 25 passes for 272 yards and just one touchdown. Unfortunately, his blocking was inconsistent and not up to the level one would expect from a supporting-cast-type tight end.

The surprise player was Scott Simonson, a no-name tight end signed from the Carolina Panthers in June. Simonson played in 28 percent of all offensive snaps. And while he only had nine catches, at times, Simonson appeared to be the team’s best blocking tight end.

Overall, it is fair to say that more was expected from this unit because more was expected from Engram and Ellison. Engram began to redeem himself in the second half after his horrific pre-bye play. Ellison still has not lived up to his 4-year, $18 million contract.

THE PLAYERS

It was a tale of two seasons for Evan Engram in 2018. Before the bye week, Engram missed three games with a knee injury and caught just 17 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. After the bye, Engram missed two games with a hamstring injury, but his productivity increased to 28 catches for 432 yards and one touchdown, with a number of game-changing plays. The Giants drafted Engram in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Other than too many dropped passes, Engram had a very solid rookie season for the Giants in 2017, playing in 15 games with 11 starts, and finishing with a team-high 64 catches for 722 yards and a team-high six touchdown receptions. Engram is not built like a traditional tight end, more like an H-Back/wide receiver ‘tweener. The strength of Engram’s game is catching the football. He creates mismatches because of his combination of size and athletic ability. Engram is quick and fast. He runs good routes and is a natural pass receiver with a good catch radius. While Engram works hard at his blocking, he lacks the frame to ever be a significant factor as an in-line blocking tight end.

Rhett Ellison’s 2018 season was remarkably similar to his 2017 campaign, catching 25 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown. Ellison was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Vikings. He suffered a serious patellar tendon injury in December 2015. The Giants signed Ellison as an unrestricted free agent in March 2017. The 6’5”, 255-pound Ellison is versatile, having the ability to play tight end, H-Back, and fullback. While Ellison lacks ideal speed and quickness, he is a very sure-handed receiver who runs good routes. He is an adequate-at-best blocker.

Scott Simonson had his best season in 2018 after being signed by the Giants in June 2018. Simonson played in all 16 games with four starts, finishing with nine catches for 86 yards and one touchdown. The 6’5”, 255-pound Simonson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2014 NFL Draft. The Raiders waived him in June 2015 and he was then signed by the Carolina Panthers. He spent all of 2017 on Injured Reserve with a back injury. Simonson has played in 34 regular-season games with five starts. He had one catch in his NFL career before 2018. While he does not excel at either, Simonson can block and catch.

The Giants signed undrafted rookie free agent Garrett Dickerson in June 2018. He spent a couple of stints on the team’s Practice Squad and 53-man roster during the year. Overall, Dickerson played in four games with no starts and did not have a catch. The 6’2”, 244-pound Dickerson is a versatile player who can play a variety of positions including tight end, fullback, and H-Back. Though he lacks ideal size, he is a good athlete with fine hands.

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

Giants End Season With Another Loss – © USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the half, the Cowboys led 14-7.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video highlights are available at NFL.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 102018
 
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Alec Ogletree, New York Giants (December 9, 2018)

Alec Ogletree – © USA TODAY Sports

MONDAY MEDIA SESSION WITH HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the team’s 40-16 victory over the Washington Redskins (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Opening Remarks: I’ll try to update you first on some of the injuries of note. Odell (Beckham) came in today, felt a lot better than he did Friday and Saturday. He received some treatments over the weekend, so he feels better and we’ll just see where that takes us. It’s too early to tell. Rhett Ellison, as you know, had an ankle sprain during the game, feels better, we’ll just see how the week progresses for him. Then Curtis Riley had a wrist sprain that they’re getting checked out. I don’t have any details on that at this point. Beyond that we’ve just got a little bit of game wear and tear. Not much to add after last night, it’s fun to win a game – fun to win a game in that fashion. It’s very rare you ever get to 40 to nothing on a team, that’s a very unique experience, it’s hard to do, and I credit our players for getting us to that point. They did an outstanding job of playing hard. Things sort of bounced our way, but we made enough plays along the way to take advantage of some of the things that we had to. As I say every Monday, we’re back in the moment, we’re getting ready to play Tennessee, and we’re finishing up the corrections from yesterday. Monday’s, in my mind, are more important than Wednesday. You have to clean up things. That’s why it would be extremely rare they get a ‘Victory Monday’ because I think this is an important day to fix the things that may show up as we finish the season. With that, I’ll try to answer your questions.

Q: What do you value about Alec Ogletree, both as a leader and as a player?

A: You sort of answered it in your question. He’s a leader because he has courage and he does the right thing at the right time for the right reasons, doesn’t care about the consequence, but in order to be a leader you have to be really good at what you do. He’s had a chance to get turnovers, I think he played one of his better games. Again, he’s played well, he’s playing better and better and better, I guess I could say. He’s played well throughout the season, but he’s playing better and better, and that’s a credit to him.

Q: Are you giving him an offensive package? He has five receptions.

A: Yeah, we joked about that. Sure, I’d love for him to play offense. (Laughter)

Q: Was it just kind of a process for him to get used to this defense and the system?

A: No, I think he’s played well throughout. It’s easy as you look at a play, and a player has high expectations, to maybe look at a play or two that doesn’t go well and say he’s not playing the way he should, but Alec has played steady throughout the season and played very well. He’s just made more impact plays probably in the past few games, but his presence has been felt throughout the season.

Q: Eli (Manning) said yesterday he thinks the offense is starting to run through Saquon (Barkley) more and more. Obviously the success you’ve had since the bye, was there a tipping point where you saw something and thought that was the direction that would yield the best results?

A: I think it’s all connected. I’m an old offensive lineman, and I understand the importance of blocking. I can remember when Lorenzo White and Andre Rison and Bobby McAllister were getting praise for doing what they do, the five of us (linemen) sat in the corner, drank one more beer, and were just happy about the fact that we were winning games. It starts up front, and I think our guys are doing a better job blocking, which helps the run game. It’s much easier as a play caller also to call runs when you’re gaining yards, and when you hand the ball to a runner that can score touchdowns. I thought his touchdown run, I’ve never seen him run that fast, even in college. I think there’s data to tell us that was pretty fast. And everything plays off itself – it helps the play action, it helps the quarterback, his feet are clean because they think it’s a run, so it all plays off itself. If we’re playing right, then we need to be able to run the ball.

Q: What did you see when you looked at your wide receivers, the way they’ve contributed as blockers?

A: There’s some terrific blocks. I thought Sterling Shepard, he had some terrific blocks. The one long run, he kind of slid back and blocked 36, and that was the key block that sprung Saquon, and then on Saquon’s next run, he flipped around and saw 24 and had a good block that helped spring him even further. That’s his nature, he’s gritty, he’s tough, he understands the importance of being a good blocker and he found his way in the end zone as well. Two Shep’s and a Bennie scored for us, but the group themselves, I thought they did a good job.

Q: Size-wise, you don’t have the biggest receivers out there.

A: I think they’re typical of what receivers look like. There’s some certainly that are bigger and some are smaller, but I’ve never thought that we’ve had a small group of wide outs.

Q: This offense, the way you’re playing now, do you think it bucks a trend in the league, and if so, are you ok with that?

A: I really don’t care about trends in the league. I think we as coaches have to do what’s best for our team based on the players that we have, but from the beginning of time, a team that can run the football has a better chance to play good team offense. I really believe this, and we just played two really outstanding defenses. We saw what the Bears did last night against the Rams certainly, and we were able to score against them, and I really thought the Redskins defense is a top-tier defense in the league. But defenses are too good if you just start the game dropping back and throwing them. I think you’ve got to be able to run the ball throughout, and it helps not just for your offense but for your whole team. I don’t know if that’s bucking a trend, but I think that we as coaches all know that.

Q: You drafted Saquon where you did and have said many times why you valued that pick at that position. Do you think no matter who your quarterback would be, that if you draft a Saquon number two and he’s the kind of player he is, that it makes sense to tailor a lot around this guy as opposed to whoever the quarterback is?

A: It all goes hand in hand. You just can’t put Joe Schmo in at quarterback and think you’re going to win games. You’ve got to have a guy that can play the position. But the best friend of a quarterback is really the running back, because he can take some pressure off of him, but the running back can’t do it unless you block for him, so it’s all connected. That’s what we’re seeing. I think from an offensive standpoint we’re seeing a much better connection, that’s the way I would phrase it, since the bye – blocking, running, throwing, scoring points. I think in the last five weeks we’ve scored over 30 points a game, which in the first eight would have been tough to say, so it all goes hand in hand.

Q: What did you think of (Evan) Engram bouncing back coming off an injury?

A: Yeah, bouncing back from injury, I thought he did a terrific job. He had some explosive gains, he did a good job in the run game as well, got a couple knockdowns. It was good to see him have success. I’m rooting for him because I think he really works hard at being a good player. The guys that really work hard at it – right is right, you’ve got to go out and do it – but the guys that really work hard at it, I’m pulling for to make sure that they do well.

Q: Isn’t that second part especially important for him? If he’s putting some guys on the ground in the run game, that can enable the play caller to have him on the field?

A: Sure, more situations, absolutely. I think that’s, really unless you’re the quarterback, sometimes when you run reverse, it is what he has to do. Unless you’re the quarterback, everybody has to block for the runner. Everybody does, so tight ends certainly – it’s in everybody’s job description, and especially tight ends.

Q: You said there was data on Saquon’s fast run?

A: No, I’m just looking at it, but I know that they take data. There’s people that look at that kind of stuff, but when I was watching the run and then saw it again on the tape on the train ride home, just my naked eye and it looked like he was running pretty fast.

Q: It was the fastest running back touchdown this year. 21.91 miles per hour.

A: Somebody told me that. It all goes hand in hand. Everything’s connected.

Q: What was it that you guys did so well up front defensively when you looked at it?

A: Yeah, I thought we did a good job in the run fits, which was important so you didn’t allow Adrian (Peterson) to go that way fast. The one thing about Adrian, if he hits it, he can do what Saquon did on his run, so we were able to make him kind of have to move his feet side to side, which then negates all his skill and ability, so the run fits were very good. Then I thought we tackled better. I think we had a couple that kind of spit out, one comes to mind where the back backed up, or it spit out and Jackrabbit did a good job of a one-on-one tackle that could have been a big run if he missed it. Really in the run game, it comes down to run fits and tackling, and I think we did those two things better than we did at times in the last couple of games.

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:

NOTES…
The Giants improved their all-time regular-season record against Washington to 100-68-4 to become the first NFL franchise with 100 regular-season victories against another franchise.

Quarterback Eli Manning’s 197 passing yards increased his career total to 55,142. He is the seventh quarterback in NFL history with at least 55,000 passing yards.

Running back Saquon Barkley extended his Giants rookie record by increasing his season total to 1,124 rushing yards. Barkley’s 1,000-yard season is the 24th in Giants history, and first since Ahmad Bradshaw’s 1,015 yards in 2012. Barkley’s 1,124 yards is the highest total by a Giants back since Bradshaw ran for 1,235 yards in 2010.

Barkley scored his 13th touchdown (nine rushing, four receiving), a new Giants rookie record. He had been tied with running back Bill Paschal (12 in 1943) and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (12 in 2014). Barkley has five touchdowns from scrimmage this season of 50 or more yards, the most ever by a Giants rookie.

Barkley’s four receptions increased his season total to 78, breaking a tie with tight end Jeremy Shockey (2002) and moving into second place on the Giants’ rookie list. Beckham is first with 91 catches in 2014.

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

Dec 072018
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (September 23, 2018)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
All of the players on the 53-man practiced on Friday.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham (quad), linebacker B.J. Goodson (neck/foot), and linebacker Tae Davis (ankle) practiced on a limited basis. Beckham is expected to play against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, but Goodson and Davis are officially “questionable” for the game.

Tight end Evan Engram (hamstring), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (rib), and linebacker Lorenzo Carter (hip) fully practiced. All three players are expected to play.

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

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts 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…
There is no media access to the New York Giants on Saturday. The Giants play the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Nov 262018
 
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B.J. Hill, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

B.J. Hill – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS PLACE QUADREE HENDERSON ON IR…
The New York Giants have placed wide receiver/returner Quadree Henderson on Injured Reserve. Henderson fractured his shoulder during Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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

To fill the roster vacancy, the Giants signed tight end Garrett Dickerson, who the Giants signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in June. Dickerson began the season on the team’s Practice Squad, was added to the 53-man roster, re-signed to the Practice Squad, and cut from the Practice Squad last week. The 6’2”, 244-pound Dickerson is a versatile player who can play a variety of positions including tight end, fullback, and H-Back. Though he lacks ideal size, he is a good athlete with fine hands.

MONDAY MEDIA SESSION WITH HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the team’s 25-22 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Opening Remarks: We’ll start with the significant injuries from yesterday. Quadree Henderson had a shoulder fracture, so he’ll be out a significant amount of time, there might be a roster move there. Evan Engram pulled his hamstring in warm-ups, I don’t know how long that’s going to be, we’re just going to have to see once that settles down. (B.J. Goodson) is questionable with a shoulder stinger, and just some game wear and tear. It’s a disappointing loss from the standpoint of we did a lot of things really well, felt like we had a good plan against them. Really at the end, we just couldn’t hold the lead. We had opportunities to score more points so that we could hold the lead better, but we didn’t and ended up losing. Ultimately, just didn’t make enough plays in the game to win it, and so that’s what happened. So we move on, we’ve already started working on the Bears here, getting ready to play them on Sunday and take it from there. I’ll take your questions.

Q: Odell (Beckham) said that he didn’t think there was enough in the game plan to attack the secondary down the field. What do you think of that?

A: I don’t know. We ran the ball 18 times and threw it 37. That’s twice as many throws as there were runs. We had seven explosive gains in the passing game. The only game we played that we had more was Carolina when we had eight. There’s many times when we tried to throw it to him, the long throw down the right sideline to Rhett (Ellison) was designed to go to Odell. They cushioned on him, we threw it to Rhett. You’ll have to ask him to define it after he watches the tape, but I felt like we were trying to do the things necessary to win the game. We still got production in the running game, had a couple third down calls in the red zone that were close. If it goes in, that’s a different story.

Q: Will Eli (Manning) start against the Bears?

A: Yes.

Q: What’s the balance there? The playoffs are mathematically impossible, and trying players-

A: You go into every week with giving your team the best opportunity to win the football game each week. That’s how you do this thing. This isn’t player tryouts, this is do everything in your power to win the next game. Today’s Monday, so we’re in the Monday phase of that process.

Q: On the two-point conversion to start the game, obviously you were going to kick it until the penalty, so when the ball is on the 1-yd line, does that change your play? Does it change your decision to go for it because it’s on the 1-yd line?

A: Absolutely. That’s why I did it.

Q: So the play was a designed pass?

A: Correct, a play action pass in a big formation, which is typically what you do.

Q: So you were trying to sucker them into thinking you’re just going to hand the ball to Saquon (Barkley)?

A: Yes, then throw a pass to a guy in the flat or a guy at the back pylon. What’s confusing about that?

Q: I’m just trying to have you say what (you wanted to do).

A: Yeah, so what happens is they give us the ball at the (1-yd line) instead of the (2-yd line). It’s the first score of the game, and it was an aggressive approach. I feel like we had something good there, we didn’t execute properly. Ultimately at the end of the game, at one point at the end of the game, it was 22-22. Because we didn’t make it, they start chasing points and they did a good job of scoring on their two-point conversions. That’s why I did it. And I’d do it again. I think that’s a good, aggressive approach. If they’re going to screw up on a try and give us the ball on the 1, I’ve got confidence in our guys to make sure – now, there could be something tactically about just making sure you get the (one point) at a certain stage of the game. This was the first drive of the game, and they did something that they didn’t want to do and gave us on the ball on the 1, so we took (a chance).

Q: Is giving the ball to Saquon there just not the right call?

A: It could’ve been a good choice. We have seven goal-line plays in that big formation. You’re just questioning whether it should’ve been Saquon or the other? It could’ve been a good choice.

Q: You also had a guy wide open in the end zone, so you could have flipped it to him. It’s not an argument, I just wanted to hear you say it.

A: (Shrugs shoulders) For the record, that was a shoulder shrug.

Q: I understand as a coach you have a weekly mindset, but isn’t there an obligation to look at the big picture if you aren’t going to make the playoffs?

A: Always looking at the big picture. What’s the big picture though?

Q: Pertaining to the quarterback. (John Mara) admitted the team made a mistake not getting a look at Davis Webb last year, so in your mind, wouldn’t seeing Kyle Lauletta be a priority at some point in the last five weeks?

A: Why are you jumping over (Alex) Tanney? There’s my point. What you try to do is win each game and then as we go forward here, you make your decision based on winning the game, and you base your decision on putting a team on the field that gives you the best chance to win the game. I get that, but as a coach, I stay in the moment. We certainly have conversations about what runs parallel, the short-term and the long-term. There’s conversations about that that happen all the time in any organization. You’re a big corporation, your short-term gains and, ‘ok, where the hell are we going?’ I’m not foolish enough to think that doesn’t happen.

Q: Is Tanney a potential long-term solution at quarterback compared to a guy like Lauletta?

A: Who knows? That’s where you’re getting bogged down here. Who knows?

Q: Do you have to design opportunities for them within the games now? Obviously they haven’t happened organically to this point, there’s been no lopsided games.

A: We’re going to try to do what we can to win the game, but along the way, we do keep a long-term mindset.

Q: The focus with Lauletta would be the fourth-round pick you invested in a young guy planning to develop.

A: At some point, regardless of where they’re picked, unless you’re one of those top-four quarterbacks, who cares where you’re picked? He’s a Giant. You went to college. If you were third in the class, you’re third. Are we going to worry about the other two? What’s the difference?

Q: My point is you signed him for four years, that’s the draft pick, and Tanney is on a one-year deal, he’s 30 years old.

A: But we drafted a lot of other players as well that are out there playing. Some are, some aren’t. We’re just trying to put the best team on the field. I get where you’re going. Trust me, I understand where you’re going, and I can appreciate you have a job to do, but that’s the coach’s view.

Q: If you’re looking to put the best team on the field, that has to be Eli at this point as your quarterback right?

A: Eli’s going to start the game against the Bears.

Q: Can you envision a scenario where you would start Alex Tanney rather than starting Kyle Lauletta?

A: If we felt like he was giving us the best chance to win. That’s the coach’s view.

Q: What have you seen from Alex that would make you think that he would give you the best chance to win over evaluating Kyle?

A: Doing what quarterbacks do. All along, he’s been our number-two guy. Aside from the fact that Kyle was drafted in the fourth-round, all along he’s been out number-two guy. He does the things that we think can help us win a game.

Q: You did have your rationale going into the season of why you wanted Alex to be the number-two quarterback. You talked a lot about the veteran presence, a guy who can come into games without much prep or snaps and be able to pick the team up, but it is a different story if you’re planning for a quarterback starting a game in 2019, 2018, whenever it is. I don’t know how you could ever get to the point this year where you look at your other quarterbacks from what you’ve seen on the field and say they are a better option to help the Giants win a football game than Eli Manning.

A: And we’ve got to evaluate that on every Monday as we get ready to play the next game.

Q: Is there any concern on Odell that there would ever even be that perception from him, that you weren’t attacking their weakness because they were so banged up in the secondary?

A: That was one man’s opinion after an emotional loss, but what happens is you get an opportunity to get a good night’s sleep, watch the tape, and maybe change his opinion.

Q: Do you feel the need to discuss it with him?

A: I discuss a lot of things with all the players.

Q: When you go back and watch the tape, you were up 19-3 at one point, 19-11, and Saquon only touched the ball five times in the second half. Were there missed opportunities to continue running the ball in that situation?

A: Yeah, really the part of the game that was disappointing for me was the first couple drives of the third quarter. We had three penalties in one drive. We had a dropped pass that got us back on schedule – would’ve gotten us back on schedule – and then we had the long third down situations, which certainly plays into the hands of the team that has an excellent pass rush. What happens is, they’re controlling the ball. The third quarter kind of goes away quickly, so what I would say is this, if we didn’t have those penalties, if we didn’t drop that pass, we would have been able to stay on the field and get to doing some of the things that we would have liked to have done in the third quarter that we did in the first and second. Then all the sudden, it’s in the fourth quarter. That can happen in a lot of games.

Q: When you decide to give Saquon a drive off like that, how early do you decide that? Is that at pre-game, is that at halftime, is that in the moment?

A: It’s a feel, but I don’t understand why everybody’s confused about that because (Wayne) Gallman went in and had productive runs. Is it more about Saquon or is it about Wayne? What’s the question here? It happened to be in the third quarter when we were doing a lot of other things that kept us from having more plays, so it’s a little bit of a perfect storm in the Saquon basket.

Q: Once Eli throws that interception, you can feel the game turning, Odell’s not on the field-

A: Who felt the game turning? I didn’t. We’re up by eight going into halftime, we’re going to come out and play another half of football. But you guys know I’m nuts, so it doesn’t matter. I didn’t feel the game turning. We were in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at halftime, right? What was the score? 19-11. And you come out, you keep swinging, you keep fighting and do what you can to score more points and keep them from scoring points. Done.

Q: For a team that’s won six games in the last 27, how important is it to create a belief that you can win, as opposed to who can play/who can’t play?

A: It’s huge, because I think we need to learn how to win again here. The last two weeks, we won one by coming back. A week ago, we won one by playing from the front. This week we got ahead on a team, and didn’t hold the lead, so there’s things to be learned in all three of those as you learn to win a game. We’re doing it with a lot of very young players, and a lot of really backup-type players from our initial roster, so it’s a great opportunity for them to help us win.

Q: I don’t want to limit this to just sacks, but other trackable numbers – hurries, pressures – is it concerning that you’re not getting more out of Olivier Vernon, given his resume?

A: We look at that. Certainly getting pressure on the quarterback is important. We want all of our really good players to get production. He’s out there, he’s contributing. You don’t sack the quarterback or the quarterback has a pretty good day throwing the ball. Certainly part of it is the rush.

Q: Why don’t you think it’s happened for him this year then, at least to the level people expected?

A: He got a little bit of a slow start, missed six games.

Q: You don’t see teams putting more attention towards him?

A: No, not really. Again, this is my first exposure to OV. You know way more about him than I do in terms of his history here with the Giants. But no, I don’t see teams spending extra resources to block him.

Q: What’s your level of concern with the defense at this point? Do you think there’s any carryover from almost letting the Bucs get back into it and letting the Eagles back into it?

A: No, when you look at it, I think it comes down to isolated plays. You always start when a team has some success running the ball like they did with run fits. Obviously, stopping the run is a team thing. We’ve just got to make sure we’re good there, and then when they drop back to pass, whether we’re playing in zone, we’ve got to disrupt when they’re throwing or if it’s man, we’ve got to cover down real well and then get pressure as we just alluded to. We’ve got to just keep working on all those things. We’ve got a lot of young, new players in there playing and we’ve just got to continue to get better in all areas.

Q: Is there more of an attitude that needs to be clear on defense to finish these games off, as opposed to just X’s and O’s and classroom stuff?

A: This game didn’t work out in the way we wanted it to. Two weeks prior, it did. They had the ball, the two games that we’ve won, the team we were playing had the ball at the end and we didn’t let them in the end zone. That was good. Yesterday was not.

Q: After the 1-7 start, you had the break, then you won two games and there was a sense that guys were juiced up by that.

A: You called it a little buzz, right?

A: Yes, a little buzz. Do you think now that they’ve lost this difficult game on the road in the division, it changes the way the records look a little bit, do you need to speak to them or get them back up? Because they did have that little buzz.

A: It’s just like he was worried about the feeling when we were winning 19-11, the buzz thing – no. You get back to work, and you put a team on the field to beat the Bears, and you create that buzz by winning the game.

Q: Do you have to guard against guys checking out? You win that game, you’re two games out of first place, a lot more to fight for. Do you feel like losing that game, it’s a challenge to keep guys invested?

A: Guard against? No. Just watch behavior. Do your job, be a good teammate, bust your ass, do what you have to do to help win a game. You don’t guard against it, you coach it back.

Q: Should there have been a penalty on that last play on the tripping (leg whip)?

A: No, I don’t think you’re allowed to trip (leg whip). I did the math on that though. If that is in fact a penalty, then we would have been kicking with the wind for a 62-yarder with a strong-legged kicker.

Q: Tripping is a 15-yard penalty?

A: I think tripping is 15. Then that would have given us – we had a 63-yarder made against us. So, who knows?

Q: Sterling (Shepard) only has 11 targets coming out of the bye in the last three weeks. Is that just a byproduct of committing more to the run?

A: He actually had a couple yesterday that were designed to go to Odell, that deep ball. He’s had some good production. I thought yesterday he had the deep two he caught, he caught a naked, so he’s had production. It’s good when we throw it to him. He does a good job.

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:

NOTES…
The Giants are 0-4 in the NFC East.

The Giants have lost five in a row, nine of the last 10, and 18 of their last 22 games against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants have lost five consecutive games in Lincoln Financial Field.

The Giants did not force a turnover for the fourth time this season. They are 0-4 this season and have lost their last nine games in which they did not have a takeaway.

The 100-yard rushing games was Saquon Barkley’s fourth of the season, a record for a Giants rookie. He had been tied with Eddie Price, who ran for more than 100 yards in three games in 1950.

Barkley increased his season total to 829 rushing yards. That moved him ahead of Ron Dayne (770 yards in 2000) and into second place on the Giants’ single-season rookie list, just one yard shy of the record-holder, Hall of Famer Tuffy Leemans, who rushed for 830 yards in 1936.

Barkley has scored 12 touchdowns, tying the Giants’ rookie record set by Bill Paschal in 1943, and matched by Odell Beckham, Jr. in 2014.

Barkley increased his yards from scrimmage total to 1,410 (829 rushing, 581 receiving). That is also a Giants rookie record. Beckham had held the mark with 1,340 yards from scrimmage in 2014.

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

Nov 182018
 
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Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (November 18, 2018)

Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 38 – TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 35…
The New York Giants won their second game in a row and improved their overall record to 3-7 by defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-35 on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Quarterback Eli Manning only threw one incompletion, running back Saquon Barkley scored three touchdowns, and the defense intercepted four passes, returning one for a touchdown.

The Buccaneers significantly out-gained the Giants in a number of categories including first downs (31 to 19), total net yards (510 to 359), and net yards passing (359 to 196). But the Giants dominated the turnover battle (4-0). The Giants were 4-of-4 in red zone opportunities, while the Buccaneers were 4-of-5.

The Giants scored touchdowns on their first two offensive possessions of the game. Wide receiver Corey Coleman returned the opening kickoff 40 yards. Four plays later, Manning found wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. for a 41-yard gain to the Tampa Bay 7-yard line. Two after that, Manning hit a wide-open Barkley for a 6-yard touchdown reception.

The Buccaneers drove 68 yards on their initial possession, but were stopped on 4th-and-1 on the 12th play of the drive, turning the ball over on downs at the Giants’ 5-yard line. The NYG offense then responded with a 12-play, 95-yard drive that ended with Barkley scoring from five yards out. The Giants now led 14-0.

After both teams exchanged punts, Tampa Bay cut the score to 14-7 with an 8-play, 64-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on 4th-and-goal. The Giants managed to drive the ball to the Buccaneers 37-yard line on the following possession, but Head Coach Pat Shurmur decided to punt the ball away on 4th-and-2. The Buccaneers threatened to score again before safety Michael Thomas intercepted Fitzpatrick at the Giants’ 13-yard line with less than 30 seconds before intermission.

At the half, the Giants led 14-7.

The Buccaneers received the ball to start the second half. On their second offensive snap, linebacker Alec Olgetree snatched a ball away from fellow defender cornerback Janoris Jenkins and returned it 15 yards for a defensive touchdown. The Giants were now ahead 21-7. Tampa Bay drove to the NYG 32-yard line on their second possession of the half, but Fitzpatrick was picked off in the end zone by safety Curtis Riley who returned the interception to the Giants’ 40-yard line. The Buccaneers bench Fitzpatrick after his third turnover.

A 23-yard run by Barkley helped to set up a 52-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas, giving the Giants a 24-7 advantage midway through the third quarter. However, the Giants’ defense then largely collapsed against quarterback Jameis Winston, who led the Buccaneers on four straight touchdown drives of 74, 77, 70, and 66 yards. Thankfully for New York, Manning and his offensive teammates also managed two touchdown drives of their own. The first was a 7-play, 71-yard affair that culminated with an 8-yard touchdown reception by Beckham on 3rd-and-5. The second was a 5-play, 67-yard drive, where the big play was a 54-yard gain by tight end Evan Engram. Three plays later, Barkley scored from two yards out.

Despite all of this, Winston’s 41-yard touchdown with less than two-and-a-half minutes left in the game cut the score to an uncomfortable 38-35. The Giants went three-and-out and Tampa got the ball back with 23 seconds to play. But Winston’s first pass of Tampa’s final possession was intercepted by cornerback B.W. Webb at the Giants’ 25-yard line, ending the game.

Offensively, Manning completed 17-of-18 passes for 231 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a QB rating of 155.8. Beckham was the only Giants’ player to catch more than two passes, catching four for 74 yards and a score. Barkley rushed for 142 yards on 27 carries. He scored on two runs and added another touchdown on a pass reception.

The good news for the defense was the four interceptions (including one for a score) and the stop on 4th-and-1 at the 5-yard line. But the defense allowed over 500 yards of offense and five touchdowns. The Giants accrued only one sack (by linebacker Kareem Martin).

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were quarterback Kyle Lauletta, wide receiver Jawill Davis, center Evan Brown, defensive end R.J. McIntosh, nose tackle John Jenkins, cornerback Tony Lippett, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Defensive end Kerry Wynn left the game with a concussion and did not return.

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

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants 38 points was their highest total since November 1, 2015, when they lost at New Orleans, 52-49. It was the most points they’ve scored in a victory since a 45-14 victory at Washington on September 25, 2014.

Quarterback Eli Manning’s 94.4 completion percentage is a Giants record in a game with at least 10 attempts.

Running back Saquon Barkley is the first Giants rookie to score on a reception and a run in the same game since wide since running back Butch Woolfolk vs. the Houston Oilers on December 5, 1982.

Barkley’s receiving yardage total for the season is 540, a Giants record for a rookie running back. David Meggett previously held the record with 531 yards in 1989.

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

Nov 132018
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 12, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 27 – SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 23…
It was an ugly football game between two bad football teams, but the New York Giants won their second game of the 2018 season on Monday night by defeating the San Francisco 49ers 27-23 in dramatic fashion at Levi’s Stadium. The Giants are now 2-7 overall.

The 49ers actually out-gained the Giants in first downs (24 to 17), total net yards (374 to 277), and time of possession (34:14 to 25:46). But the Giants won the turnover battle 2-0 and were aided by a big kickoff return.

The Giants received the football to start the game but quickly went three-and-out. A 23-yard punt return by the 49ers set them up at their own 46-yard line. While the 49ers only gained 19 yards on six plays, it was enough to set up a successful 53-yard field goal and an early 3-0 advantage.

The Giants picked up a couple of first downs on their second drive, but punted the ball away again. New York got the ball back when cornerback Janoris Jenkins deflected a pass that was intercepted by linebacker B.J. Goodson at the San Francisco 17-yard line and returned to the 12-yard line. On 3rd-and-8, quarterback Eli Manning found wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. for a 10-yard touchdown. Giants 7 – 49ers 3.

The 49ers regained the lead 10-7 on their ensuing possession by easily driving 75 yards in seven plays, culminating with a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Matt Breida. Both teams then exchanged punts before the Giants began a long, 14-play, 80-yard possession that unfortunately only resulted in a 20-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. With 1:50 to go before halftime, the New York defense allowed the 49ers to drive 57 yards in 11 plays to set up a 36-yard field goal.

At the half, the 49ers led 13-10.

San Francisco received the ball at the start of the 3rd quarter and put together an 11-play, 60-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-8 from quarterback Nick Mullens to Breida. The 49ers were now up 20-10.

The Giants got a kick start on their first drive of the second half when wideout Corey Coleman returned a kickoff 51 yards. Manning then found Beckham for 30 yards. Two plays later, Manning threw a perfect 20-yard strike to Beckham for the score. The Giants now trailed 20-17.

The Giants’ defense forced a three-and-out, and the Giants began the ensuing possession at the 49ers’ 47-yard line. A 27-yard end around by wide receiver Sterling Shepard helped to set up a 31-yard field goal. The game was now tied 20-20 late in the 3rd quarter.

Goodson picked off his second pass of the game early in the 4th quarter near midfield, but the Giants could not take advantage of the turnover. The 49ers and Giants exchanged punts before the 49ers managed to put together an 11-play, 54-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard field goal and a 23-20 lead with 2:46 left in the game.

It was now do-or-die time for the Giants’ offense. Manning found tight end Evan Engram for a 31-yard gain to the 49ers’ 44-yard line. The Giants then were bailed out on an incomplete 3rd-and-12 pass with a defensive holding penalty, and then again on 2nd-and-20 with a 16-yard defensive pass interference penalty. Two plays later, Manning hit running back Saquon Barkley over the middle for a 23-yard gain. Two plays after that, Manning found Shepard for a 3-yard, game-winning touchdown with 53 seconds left on the clock.

The 49ers did make things interesting by driving to the Giants’ 21-yard line with just one second left on the clock, but their last desperate pass fell incomplete.

Offensively, Manning finished the game 19-of-31 for 188 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. His leading targets were Beckham (4 catches for 73 yards and 2 touchdowns), Engram (4 catches for 46 yards), and Barkley (4 catches for 33 yards). Barkley also gained 67 yards on 20 rushing attempts.

Defensively, the Giants did not accrue a sack and only registered three hits on the quarterback. Goodson did intercept two deflected passes. Linebacker Lorenzo Carter was credited with three tackles for losses.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were quarterback Kyle Lauletta, wide receiver Jawill Davis, center Evan Brown, defensive end R.J. McIntosh, nose tackle John Jenkins, cornerback Tony Lippett, and safety Kamrin Moore.

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

  • Head Coach Pat Shurmur (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (Video)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (Video)
  • TE Evan Engram (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media on Tuesday.

Nov 082018
 
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Lorenzo Carter, New York Giants (October 22, 2018)

Lorenzo Carter – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Jawill Davis (concussion) practiced on a limited basis on Thursday. Offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (ankle) and linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring) fully practiced.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed wide receiver/returner Quadree Henderson to the Practice Squad. Henderson was waived from the 53-man roster on Tuesday. To make room for Henderson, the Giants terminated the Practice Squad contract of running back Jhurell Pressley.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Friday and Saturday in preparation for Monday night’s road game against the San Francisco 49ers. The team’s coordinators address the media on Friday.

Oct 282018
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 28, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON REDSKINS 20 – NEW YORK GIANTS 13…
The New York Giants lost yet another game on Sunday, falling 20-13 to the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants are now 1-7 overall.

The Giants have now failed to score 20 points or more in five of their first eight games. And the Giants’ lone touchdown in the game came with 17 seconds left in the contest. How bad was the New York offense?

  • Not counting the 1-play “possession” right before halftime, the Giants had 11 possessions. Five ended with punts, two with interceptions, and one was a turnover on downs.
  • The Giants only had one drive that picked up more than three first downs.
  • The Giants were 2-of-14 on 3rd down (14 percent).
  • The Giants were held to 37 net yards rushing.
  • Eli Manning was sacked seven times.
  • The offense average 4.9 yards per pass play.
  • The Giants were 1-of-4 in the red zone (25 percent).
  • Most importantly, the team was held to six points until the final seconds of the game.

The defense, minus two players traded earlier in the week (Damon Harrison and Eli Apple), as well as starting middle linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring), played better. The defense kept the game close into the 4th quarter. But as has been the case most of the year, when the defense needed to make one more stop late in the game, they could not. After the Giants cut the score to 13-6 with just over four minutes to play, running back Adrian Peterson broke off a 64-yard touchdown run to seal the game.

Offensively, Eli Manning finished the game 30-of-47 for 316 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. He was sacked seven times. His leading targets were running back Saquon Barkley (9 catches for 73 yards) and wide receiver Odell Beckham (8 catches for 136 yards). Barkley was held to 38 yards on 13 carries.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 360 total net yards (182 rushing, 178 passing). The defense did not accrue a sack or interception, but safety Landon Collins did force a fumble that was recovered and returned 43 yards by linebacker Olivier Vernon.

Video lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring), wide receiver Jawill Davis (concussion), quarterback Kyle Lauletta, center Evan Brown, cornerback Mike Jordan, cornerback Tony Lippett, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Right tackle Chad Wheeler left the game with an ankle injury and did not return.

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

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