Sep 022019
 
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David Mayo, Carolina Panthers (September 9, 2018)

David Mayo – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN DAVID MAYO, TRADE B.J. GOODSON…
The New York Giants signed linebacker David Mayo on Monday. To make room for Mayo, the team traded linebacker B.J. Goodson to the Green Bay Packers. Trade compensation reportedly involves a swap of conditional seventh-round picks in the Giants’ favor.

“(Mayo) is an outstanding special teams player, but he also plays well from the line of scrimmage,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “In our opinion, he’s a good four-down player. That was the attraction to him.”

The 26-year old, 6’2”, 240-pound Mayo was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. After four seasons in Carolina, Mayo signed with the San Francisco 49ers in March 2019. He was cut by the 49ers on Saturday. Mayo has played in 59 regular-season games with four starts, accruing 61 tackles and two pass defenses. He is a good special teams player.

In his third year with the Giants in 2018, B.J. Goodson had his most productive season, playing in 15 games with 13 starts, and finishing with 61 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 4 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions. Goodson was drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he played in 15 regular-season games with no starts. In 2017, Goodson started all seven games he played in, but missed most of the season with shin and ankle issues.

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN TWO MORE TO PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants finalized their 10-man practice squad by signing wide receiver David Sills and cornerback Corn Elder.

The 23-year old, 6’3”, 211-pound Sills was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Buffalo Bills after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Bills waived him on Saturday.

The 24-year old, 5’10”, 185-pound Elder was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. Elder spent his rookie year on Injured Reserve with a knee injury. He played in 13 games with no starts for the Panthers in 2018, accruing just three tackles. The Panthers waived him on Friday.

NEW YORK GIANTS 2019 TEAM CAPTAINS…
On Monday, New York Giants players elected the following seven captains for the 2019 NFL season:

Offense: Eli Manning, Nate Solder, and Saquon Barkley
Defense: Alec Ogletree and Antoine Bethea
Special Teams: Zak DeOssie and Michael Thomas

This is Manning’s 13th consecutive season and DeOssie’s ninth as captains. Solder, Ogletree, and Thomas were captains last year, their first with the team. Bethea is in his first season with the Giants, and Barkley was selected in his second pro season.

“The players voted on who they want to be their captains, and I am in total agreement with them,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “They chose wisely. This is our official leadership, but there are many players on the team who have shown the ability to lead in their own way.”

INJURY REPORT…
In the portion of practice open to the media, WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), TE Garrett Dickerson (quad), and CB Sam Beal (Injured Reserve – hamstring/groin) were working on the side with trainers. LB Nate Stupar (concussion) and CB Antonio Hamilton (groin) participated in the portion of practice open to the media.

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

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

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

Aug 302019
 
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Kyle Lauletta, New York Giants (August 29, 2019)

Kyle Lauletta – © USA TODAY Sports

FRIDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Friday to discuss the team’s 31-29 win over the New England Patriots:

Opening Statement: I really don’t have anything to lead with. Obviously, we are going through the final process of putting the roster together. I had a meeting with the players this morning at 11:30 to talk about the weekend and some of the final thoughts on the game and some final thoughts on training camp that I’ll keep between them and myself. I will say, I appreciate everybody’s efforts. I feel like we are starting to develop the type of team we can all be proud of, but we have a long way to go. This weekend’s process of trying to establish the first 53 will be very important.

Q: A couple of us were talking to Golden Tate yesterday after the game. He was saying he was going to speak to you guys today to try to figure out the plan of what he can and can’t do in terms of contact with the team, coaches and what not. What are those plans? How much is he able to communicate with everyone?

A: Yeah, I have spoken with Golden Tate all along as to what his plans are, and we’ll keep those private. He’s going to have to leave the building for a month, and he’ll be off training and doing what he can do. We’ll get him back when we can get him back.

Q: He wants to try to do what he can so he can still mentor the guys and what not. Is that still allowed if it’s outside of the building? Is that a gray area—how does that work?

A: No, he’s going to be suspended so he can’t be around.

Q: Not in the building, but maybe outside the building?

A: I assume so. That’s part of his personal life. In my mind, he’s going to be gone for a month. I have spoken to him at length a couple of times about what he plans to do and I’m aware of that. We’ll just look forward to getting him back when we can.

Q: I wanted to ask you about the scene at the end of the game last night when everybody came onto the field and celebrated from your bench and what you thought about that. You have spoken about what type of team you’re envisioning. How does that fit into the whole culture that you’re trying to build?

A: I don’t really use the word culture. I think what we’re trying to always do is win games. That’s obviously what you’re trying to do, and we’re certainly all well aware of the fact that game doesn’t count in the record books. The competitive spirit and part of what we’re trying to train our guys to do is finish. I think that group that was in the game, we were involved in a two-minute drive and they found a way to finish with a score that won the game. I think, regardless of what that game meant, for the players involved, it meant that we won and the excitement of winning showed up. I think that there is something good to that.

Q: Do you anticipate letting guys know today or will that all be tomorrow regarding the cutdown? I know some teams have already started, but if memory serves, you didn’t do it until Saturday last year. Will you let guys know today?

A: I wouldn’t speculate on that. I think our initial plan is to do most, if not all, of that tomorrow. I can’t say that something won’t happen today. Again, with regard to who we are keeping, the process of going through it, I really don’t want to speculate, and I don’t think it’s fair to our process here. I think it’s important to remember that since we’ve had the 90-man roster, we have talked at length about all of the players, frequently. Obviously, last night we learned something about more of the guys that will help add to the conversation. I think we’ll keep most of that private until it gets revealed.

Q: I don’t know if this counts as a speculative question that you don’t want to get into, but is there a position where you feel you’re really deep, and a position where it’s going to be exceptionally tough because you think you’re really deep and the numbers might not work out?

A: You are absolutely correct, that is a speculative question.

Q: We’ve talked a lot about how Daniel Jones has looked this summer and his development. What about your starting quarterback? How do you think he’s handled this whole summer, and do you think he’s more ready now in his second year with you to have a big season than he was last year at this time?

A: I think he’s had an outstanding offseason. It started by what he did by himself before the OTA offseason program started. I think he’s had, in my mind, an outstanding camp from the practice setting. He’s executed well in the time that he’s been in the game. He’s certainly a guy that’s got a lot of experience, and when I look at him, I just see a guy that’s much more comfortable in the system for the second year in a row, and I’m looking forward to him having a really good year.

Q: Last night, Brian Mihalik played the whole game. Can you talk about what you saw from him last night, and another guy maybe battling for a roster position, Paul Perkins? Can you talk about what you saw from them, and then maybe a little update on the injuries?

A: Mihalik, he did a good job. He’s a trustworthy guy, and he plays hard, he’s smart, and he’s got all the traits that a coach is looking for—and he’s long, he can play tackle. So, I thought he did a really good job last night in the game. Perkins made some plays and, again, I learned a little bit more about him—I would say we learned a little bit more about him last night in what he did. With regard to the injuries, we’re still finishing up visiting with the guys that you may have questions about, so I don’t have anything definitive there, unless you’ve got a question about a specific guy. That’s part of it this time of year—that’s really the unintended consequences of the fourth preseason game where you don’t play probably a third of your roster, is you’ve got a lot of guys that are playing a lot of snaps and they get exposed to injuries, but that’s just the way it goes.

Q: What’s your comfort level with Cody (Latimer) and Bennie (Fowler III) at receiver, and what kind of summers have they had so far?

A: I feel as though they’ve displayed a veteran presence. They have the skill and ability to play their positions, and I’m comfortable with both those players.

Q: At what point do you think you’ll lift your head up and take a peek around and see what’s going on with Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys?

A: Well, we’ve been quietly working on the Cowboys for a while now. We’ve known since the spring that they’re our opening game, so you always have one eye on the opener. With regard to that, Ezekiel Elliott, I think we’ll just watch that play out like the rest of the world does. Obviously, he’s an outstanding player, but those are really issues of the day for the Cowboys, not so much for us.

Q: Could you give some general insights of what the process is like over the next 12 hours or so?

A: Generally speaking, we came in this morning, we all watched the tape as coaches, graded it like we would the first three preseason games and like we do any other game, met with the players here at 11:30, and kind of sent them on their way—they’re finishing up their treatments, and they’re finishing up their weight lifting. The players will individually look at the tape and make corrections, so coaches within their little group, given that information, spend time with them. This afternoon, we’ll be in meetings discussing who’s going to make the 53—all coaches, Dave (Gettleman) and his staff, and anybody who has a good opinion as to what direction we should go.

Q: Last night, you were asked if Daniel Jones was ready, and your answer was, “He’s getting there.” Now that you get into the regular season, and presumably his reps in practice diminish as you get Eli ready, how does he take that final step to get all the way there to where if you need him at some point, he’s fully ready to go?

A: Well, I think that you continue to work, and this isn’t unique to the quarterback position. I think that the backup player, and the primary backup in this case, is a guy that gets the mental reps, he gets the physical reps before and after practice, during special teams periods—he’ll go and execute all the plays that we would execute in the game. On his own time, under our direction, we get him as ready as we can. That’s just the way this works, and we’re confident that he’s put himself in position to go in and execute at a high level, so that’s really how that works. This is not new.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Saturday and Sunday and return to practice on Monday. The Giants must reduce their roster to 53 players on Saturday.

Aug 192019
 
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Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Dexter Lawrence – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 19, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their seventeenth full-team summer training camp practice on Monday 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), linebacker Tae Davis (illness), cornerback Antonio Hamilton (groin), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Monday.

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

Safety Michael Thomas was excused for NFL business.

TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS FROM SY’56…
So I have been to probably a little more than a dozen training camp practices and this one was, by a fair margin, the hottest one yet. I have a high tolerance for the heat and sun because I enjoy being outdoors, but an hour into practice I was absolutely baking. Humidity was really thick. Practice ended up getting shortened because of it, I think. It was just a 90-minute session, if not a little less.

Deandre Baker was back on the field for individuals. Didn’t seem like he was going full speed but he wasn’t limping or anything. That was pretty much it for him.

-One of the new bodies out there in the defensive backfield was Terrell Sinkfield, Jr. He played both S and CB today and I was impressed with the physical package he brought to the table. He was beat off the ball a couple times because of poor footwork but he recovered well.

-Defensively, the pass rush was disruptive early on. It seemed like this was a very blitz-heavy day and the second/third level guys were getting through. Always hard to tell though when they can’t hit the QB.

Markus Golden and Dalvin Tomlinson were sent into coverage a couple times via the zone-blitz. The latter, I mean what can you expect from a 310 pound DT? Golden, however, looked just as uncomfortable. Burned as badly as one can be burned on a short slant route by Evan Engram.

B.J. Goodson was in there with Ryan Connelly at inside linebacker because of the absence of Alec Ogletree (calf) and Tae Davis (illness). It was a good day for him with extra urgency and pop. It seemed like he smelled an opportunity and wanted to really get after it. He ended his day with an interception off a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage. I will keep saying this, I hope he gets a shot. I think he adds something to this defense attitude wise.

Corey Ballentine got picked on in coverage today. From my vantage point he got beat by Engram, Cody Latimer, and Bennie Fowler.

-I watched CB Janoris Jenkins a lot today. I wanted to visibly see the difference between him and the others. That is what this position group is, Jenkins and a bunch of hopefuls. Jenkins excels at efficient movement. No wasted steps, no lackluster decision making. He did gamble twice (and was wrong) but he didn’t get exposed because the QB was looking elsewhere. Corner is, outside of QB, the toughest position to play and project in my opinion. But it is easy to see Jenkins simply moves differently out there, a different level of coordination and control.

-Nice TFLs for both DT Olsen Pierre and S Kenny Ladler. Pierre may have had a sack as well but it was hard to tell for sure.

-Offensively, Eli Manning looked exceptional today. Very sharp all over the field. Left, right, middle, short, intermediate, his throws were on the money. He audibled at the line a couple times and ended up completing passes for 10+ yards. There was a heavy emphasis on play-action today. He really has a different look about him and I will go to my grave saying it stems from the OL. The physical and mental impact that has on a QB cannot be overlooked.

Evan Engram had a drop on a tough, but very doable catch. He was a little late and slow out of his break and just didn’t see it right away.

Saquon Barkley was given the ball, I would say, 8-9 times today. Few handoffs and pitches in addition to a few catches. They split him out wide a couple times and the safety Jabrill Peppers went out to cover him man on man. Barkley had a deep pass tossed his way (about 25-30 yards) on a vertical route and he leapt up gracefully, seamlessly caught the ball, and came down ready to explode downfield. I do think in a game, Antoine Bethea had the angle to light him up after the catch. It wouldn’t have been a touchdown but it would have been a big gain. Manning could have put it more outside if I am gonna nitpick.

Paul Perkins received a ton of praise from coaches and players alike for a jump cut he made after a handoff on a play where the defense sent blitzers up the middle. The reaction and balance were superb. You can easily tell that a lot of the guys really like him.

-Nice day for rookie WR Darius Slayton. He was a full-go in team drills, the first I got to see up close. It is easy to forget about him since he hasn’t been here long and hasn’t practiced much. His burst out of his breaks is notable, he can move at a different speed than the others. He didn’t get any deep looks.

-QB Daniel Jones had, you guessed it, an up-and-down day. Broken record, I know. The worst I have seen him has been in practice and the best I have seen him has been in the games. I want to take that as a good sign. He threw a beautiful ball downfield but WR Golden Brittan couldn’t get under it. I think a speed receiver gets it and scores a TD.

Daniel Jones is a very underrated athlete when rolling out. He gets out on those bootlegs in a hurry but I haven’t seen him show a ton of accuracy. He didn’t seem as comfortable besides the plays where he quickly got it out to a target in the flat. He did tuck it and run once and it would have been a 10+ yard gain. He is a long strider who will gain chunks when they are there. That is something NYG hasn’t had in….well…Hostetler?

-Head Coach Pat Shurmur brought the whole team together before red zone offense vs. defense. Not sure what he said but there was a challenge presented that got everyone fired up. It was second-team offense vs. second-team defense…players were chirping. Play 1 was…a tipped pass at the line that was intercepted by B.J. Goodson. That was it, they then put the third-stringers in.

-Good to see plenty of guys getting extra work in after practice. The entire TE group. OT Brian Mihalik vs. OLB Jake Carlock. Quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Alex Tanney and a few others.

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

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

Aug 012019
 
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Ryan Connelly, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Ryan Connelly – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 1, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their seventh full-team summer training camp practice on Thursday 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), defensive end Alex Jenkins (unknown), linebacker B.J. Goodson (hamstring), linebacker Markus Golden (load management), linebacker Mark McLaurin (foot), cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring), and cornerback Henre’ Toliver (ankle) did not practice on Thursday.

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.

Cornerback Grant Haley left practice early with a shoulder or arm injury.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The Giants practiced in just helmets and shells on Thursday.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a “beautiful” deep ball down the middle to WR T.J. Jones, who beat CB Julian Love.
  • S Kenny Ladler knocked away a deep pass from QB Kyle Lauletta to WR Reggie White, Jr. Lauletta then fired a mid-range strike to WR Amba Etta-Tawo. Later in practice, Ladler intercepted Lauletta in the back of the end zone and knocked down another pass.
  • CB Grant Haley made a diving break-up of a short pass from QB Alex Tanney, but Haley hurt himself on the play, forcing him to leave practice early.
  • In red-zone drills, QB Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to TE Evan Engram, who beat LB Ryan Connelly. (Connelly was playing with the first-unit on this play).
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a “perfect” deep ball to RB Paul Perkins off a wheel route for a 50-yard score, beating LB Jonathan Anderson.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, QB Daniel Jones threw a touchdown pass over the middle to WR Russell Shepard. Jones then threw another touchdown pass to TE Scott Simonson, who made a nice diving catch.
  • S Michael Thomas broke up a QB Daniel Jones pass to TE C.J. Conrad. Conrad then made a diving touchdown reception in the back left corner on a pass from QB Alex Tanney, beating LB Ryan Connelly.
  • QB Alex Tanney threw a touchdown pass to WR Reggie White, Jr., beating CB Corey Ballentine.
  • CB Corey Ballentine stripped the ball away from RB Rod Smith and LB Jonathan Anderson recovered the loose ball.
  • DE Jake Ceresna flashed on the third-team defense.
  • QB Eli Manning finished 13-of-17 with two touchdowns, including one to WR Bennie Fowler.
  • QB Daniel Jones finished the day 11-of-13 with three touchdowns.

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:

ARTICLES…

Jul 252019
 
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Jabrill Peppers, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Jabrill Peppers – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 25, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their first full-team summer training camp practice on Thursday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT – STERLING SHEPARD BREAKS THUMB…
Wide receivers Darius Slayton (hamstring) and Alex Wesley (PUP List – unknown) did not practice on Thursday.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard left practice early. X-rays revealed that he fractured his thumb and will be “evaluated on a week-to-week basis.”

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The starting offensive line consisted of LT Nate Solder, LG Will Hernandez, OC Jon Halapio, RG Kevin Zeitler, and RT Mike Remmers.
  • The second-team offensive line consisted of LT Brian Mihalik, LG Nick Gates, OC Spencer Pulley, RG Chad Slade, and RT Chad Wheeler.
  • The third-team offensive line consisted of LT Paul Adams, LG Austin Droogsma, OC Evan Brown, RG Victor Salako, and RT George Asafo-Adjei.
  • Wheeler and Mihalik also received first-team reps at left tackle. Wheeler received first-team reps at right tackle and Pulley first-team reps at center.
  • The quarterback pecking order was Eli Manning, Daniel Jones, Alex Tanney, and Kyle Lauletta.
  • The starting defensive line consisted of DE Dexter Lawrence, NT Dalvin Tomlinson, and DE B.J. Hill.
  • The starting linebackers were Lorenzo Carter, B.J. Goodson, Alec Ogletree, and Kareem Martin.
  • The starting corners were Janoris Jenkins and Deandre Baker with Grant Haley playing the nickel spot. The second-team corners were Sam Beal and Antonio Hamilton with Julian Love playing the nickel.
  • WR Golden Tate caught a touchdown pass from QB Eli Manning against CB Grant Haley in 1-on-1 drills. WR Sterling Shepard then did the same against CB Sam Beal.
  • A blitzing LB Kareem Martin forced QB Eli Manning to spike the ball into the ground.
  • LB Markus Golden beat second-team RT Chad Wheeler for what would have been a sack.
  • CB Antonio Hamilton punched the ball out of RB Rod Smith’s hands, forcing a fumble that Hamilton picked up and returned for a touchdown.
  • S Jabrill Peppers flashed into the backfield on a blitz.
  • QB Eli Manning completed 10-of-13 passes, with one interception on a screen pass.
  • QB Daniel Jones hit WR Bennie Fowler deep over the middle for what should have been a touchdown, but Fowler dropped the ball. Jones was 0-for-6 on his first six passes.
  • QB Daniel Jones’ first completion was a dump-off pass to RB Paul Perkins. He then completed three more passes in a row to Perkins, WR Bennie Fowler, and WR Alonzo Russell. Jones finished practice going 6-of-8, and ended the day 6-of-14.
  • LB Lorenzo Carter chased down WR Golden Tate on an end-around. Carter then broke up a screen pass intended for RB Saquon Barkley, picked off the ball before it hit the ground, and returned it for a defensive score.
  • WR Alonzo Russell was very active catching the football.
  • QB Daniel Jones and WR Bennie Fowler stayed after practice for some extra work.

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have re-signed place kicker Joey Slye and claimed wide receiver Da’Mari Scott off of waivers from the Buffalo Bills. In addition, the Giants terminated the contract of cornerback Tony Lippett and received a Commissioner’s roster exemption for safety Kamrin Moore, who was suspended by the team last week after his alleged involvement in a domestic violence incident. Moore now will not count against the 90-man roster.

Slye graduated from Virginia Tech and did not play pro football in 2018. As a senior, he converted on 15-of-22 field goal attempts (68 percent) and 37-of-37 extra point attempts. The Giants signed him on May 6 but cut him on May 14.

The 23-year old, 6’0”, 205-pound Scott was originally signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns waived him in December and he was then signed by the Bills. While he played in three regular-season games with the Bills, he does not yet have a reception in the NFL.

The Giants signed Lippett in to the 53-man roster in October 2018. He ended up playing in three games, with no starts. A former wide receiver, the 6’3”, 192-pound Lippett was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. In three years with the Dolphins, from 2015 to 2017, Lippett played in 25 regular-season games with 13 starts. He missed all of the 2017 season with with a torn Achilles’ tendon. The Dolphins cut Lippett before the 2018 season started.

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:

Jun 242019
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Evan Engram – © 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: Tight Ends

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: After a strong rookie season, Evan Engram did not play as well as expected in 2018. He missed five games with injuries (knee, hamstring) and was a virtual non-factor before the bye week, catching only 17 passes for 145 yards. In addition, his subpar run blocking appeared mismatched for a team increasingly relying on Saquon Barkley. The good news is that despite missing two games, Engram played much better after the bye week, catching 28 passes for 432 yards with a number of big plays (two 50+ yard catches and three 30+ yard catches). Overall, the receiving tight end played in 11 games and caught 45 passes for 577 yards and three touchdowns.

Rhett Ellison actually played more than Engram, but finished the year with a pedestrian 25 catches for 272 yards and a touchdown. He was also an inconsistent blocker. The Giants signed journeyman Scott Simonson in June 2018. He surprisingly played in all 16 games with four starts, catching just nine passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. At times, he looked like the best blocker of the group. Rookie free agent Garrett Dickerson spent most of the year on the Practice Squad, but did play in four games.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The only change was the addition of undrafted rookie free agent C.J. Conrad after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Last season, Evan Engram played his best football in the second half of the season when Odell Beckham did not play. In four games in December, Engram caught 22 passes for 320 yards and a touchdown. With Beckham now in Cleveland, the Giants need Engram to consistently produce at that level or more. Engram has the tools to become one of the most dangerous pass-receiving tight ends in the game. Not many tight ends have his ability to create physical mismatches and stretch a defense. But Engram has to stay healthy, cut down on his drops, and not disappear for long stretches. (Note that Engram missed much of the Spring workouts with another hamstring issue).

The Giants clearly overpaid Rhett Ellison when they signed him to a 4-year, $18 million contract in 2017. His 2019 cap hit is $5.75 million and cutting him would save $3.25 million. However, at this point in time, Ellison is the one guy the coaching staff and quarterback can count on. Can he hold off challenges from Scott Simonson, Garrett Dickerson, and C.J. Conrad? Conrad went undrafted due to a heart issue, but he was consistently productive throughout Spring practices.

ON THE BUBBLE: Probably everyone aside from Evan Engram, and some think Engram could still be trade bait.

FROM THE COACHES: Tight Ends Coach Lunda Wells on Evan Engram: “Obviously, he needs to stay healthy. You know, being on the field. Second thing is just kind of letting the game come to him, playing a little more calm, more relaxed. I think as he realized what he was being asked to do, he started to play a little more calm and a little more relaxed, especially at the back end of the season, which in turn allowed him to play some of his best ball. And like always, you kind of always want to be climbing during the season and then at the back end of the season playing your best football in December. So, that’s kind of the trend we are trying to do. Build on December and get better throughout the season… He’s moving forward and progressing really well and we are really excited about him this season.”

Wells on C.J. Conrad: “I like Conrad. He’s tough. He’s smart. He can learn. He’s not a blazer, but he’s instinctive in the pass game. It didn’t take a long time to figure out that this guy is very determined about being a really good player and I like that about him. He takes coaching very well. I really like that kid from what we saw over the three-day rookie mini-camp… Easy going, again, loves football. He’s a good guy for (the tight end) room.”

PREDICTIONS: I thought Evan Engram would have a 1,000-yard season in 2018. I was way off, but I’m going to double down on that prediction. I think Pat Shurmur and Mike Shula have a better understanding of Engram’s strengths and weaknesses. And with Odell Beckham out of the picture, we’ll see the coaching staff try to create more mismatches with Engram out in space. Engram is basically a wide receiver in a tight end’s body. Linebackers and most safeties should not be able to cover him. My biggest worry with Engram is his ability to stay healthy. He needs to play a full 16 games and him missing so much time in the Spring is not a good omen.

Ellison is one of those guys who coaches trust. He’s not going anywhere until another player can duplicate that level of trust. Scott Simonson has been in the League since 2014. His resume doesn’t suggest he will be that guy, but Simonson did flash at times as a blocker and receiver last season. Garrett Dickerson is a relative unknown who is built more like a versatile H-Back.

The wild card here is C.J. Conrad. Though not a flashy athlete, Conrad seemed to impress all observers this Spring with his consistently reliable pass catching. Now we have to find out about his blocking.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, Scott Simonson, C.J. Conrad

(I think it is becoming increasingly clear that Engram is more TE/WR hybrid than true down tight end. He’s the reason why I see the Giants carrying five wide receivers and four tight ends. Don’t discount the Giants replacing one of these guys with a waiver-wire pick-up).

Jun 112019
 
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Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (June 5, 2019)

Pat Shurmur – © USA TODAY Sports

JUNE 11, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their eighth voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Tuesday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed. The two remaining OTA practices will be held on Wednesday and Thursday. They will not be open to the media.

“Last week of OTA’s,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after practice. “We were a little disappointed we didn’t get to go to the Yankee game last night (as part of a team-building exercise). Obviously weather kicks in and baseball games get moved around. At some point we will try and do something as a team. We were still able to get practice in yesterday. Got a good one today and we have a couple more, then we will send them on way for the summer.”

PAT SHURMUR LEAVES DOOR SLIGHTLY AJAR FOR QB CONTROVERSY…
During Tuesday’s press conference, New York Giants Head Coach did not absolutely close the door on rookie quarterback Daniel Jones potentially starting as soon as the regular-season opener.

“I think (Jones) has had a really good offseason,” said Shumur. “I think he has had a really, really productive offseason. He is on track with the goal to be ready to play day one.

“I think we are going to play the very best player and I know we are dancing around the words there. Right now, Eli is getting ready to have a great year and Daniel is getting ready to play. You see what happens with it. We feel good about where Eli is. He is our starting quarterback and we have a young player that we think is going to be an outstanding player, getting himself ready to play.

“The players that give our team the best chance to win, play. Period. And you have seen Eli do that for a very long time, so we will see what happens as we go down the road.”

When asked if he could envision any scenario where Jones would start in Week 1, Shurmur responded, “Oh, you never know what is going to happen, but as I said, Eli is getting ready to play and so is Daniel.”

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Quarterback/tight end Eric Dungey (back), wide receiver Alex Wesley (unknown), tight end Evan Engram (hamstring), left tackle Nate Solder (recovering from ankle surgery), right tackle Mike Remmers (recovering from back surgery), defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (unknown), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), cornerback Antonio Hamilton (unknown), and safety Sean Chandler (unknown) did not practice.

“(Engram) hurt his hamstring and he is coming back from that injury,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We will be smart with him just like we would be during the season… If he was able to be out there, he would be. We all know he will be out there very soon. That may be just to start training camp. I think it is important that you get the players all the work they can get, but you need to be smart about what they are dealing with so that when training camp starts and the season starts, they are at their best.”

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Daniel Jones appears to now be receiving all second-team reps at quarterback with Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta splitting third-team reps.
  • First-team corners remain Janoris Jenkins and Deandre Baker outside with Grant Haley playing the slot.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, quarterback Eli Manning threw a perfect pass on a deep post route to wide receiver Russell Shepard.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning and running back Wayne Gallman failed to connect on a couple of red-zone passes, the first being an errant throw and the second a dropped pass.
  • Wide receiver Darius Slayton received first-team reps. He caught a seam pass early from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Wide receiver Bennie Fowler made a full-extension reception over the middle of the defense.
  • Tight end C.J. Conrad, who received some first-team reps today, continues to stand out, catching everything thrown his way.
  • Safety Jabrill Peppers flashed with both his run defense and pass coverage.
  • Cornerback Grant Haley, safety Kenny Ladler, and safety Kamrin Moore all made plays in coverage.

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:

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.