Aug 312019
 
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Kyle Lauletta, New York Giants (August 16 2019)

Kyle Lauletta – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS REDUCE ROSTER TO 53 PLAYERS…
On Saturday, in order to meet the NFL’s 53-man roster limit, the New York Giants made the following 36 roster moves:

Placed on the Reserve/Suspended List:

  • WR Golden Tate

Placed on Injured Reserve:

  • RB Rod Smith (adductor)
  • WR Brittan Golden (calf)
  • TE Scott Simonson (ankle)
  • OT George Asafo-Adjei (concussion)
  • LB Jonathan Anderson (knee)

Waived or contracts terminated:

  • QB Kyle Lauletta (2018 4th-round draft pick)
  • RB Jon Hilliman
  • WR T.J. Jones
  • WR Reggie White, Jr.
  • WR Alex Wesley (waived/injured – foot/ankle)
  • TE C.J. Conrad
  • TE Jake Powell
  • OC James O’Hagan
  • OC/OG Evan Brown
  • OG Malcolm Bunche
  • OT Paul Adams
  • OT Chad Wheeler (waived/injured – back)
  • OT Victor Salako (waived/injured – shoulder)
  • NT John Jenkins
  • NT Chris Slayton (2019 7th-round draft pick)
  • DE Jake Ceresna
  • DE Freedom Akinmoladun
  • LB Avery Moss (2017 5th-round draft pick)
  • LB Jake Carlock
  • LB Josiah Tauaefa
  • LB Terrence Fede
  • LB Keion Adams (waived/injured – knee)
  • LB Joey Alfieri
  • CB Henre’ Toliver (waived/injured – ankle)
  • CB Ronald Zamort (waived/injured – ankle)
  • CB Terrell Sinkfield, Jr.
  • S Kenny Ladler (waived/injured – hamstring)
  • S Tenny Adewusi
  • LS Taybor Pepper
  • P Johnny Townsend

Safety Kamrin Moore, who did not count against the roster, was waived off the commissioner’s exempt list.

“We are in the second year of building the kind of team we all want,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur in the team’s press release. “The process never stops. The communication between (General Manager) Dave (Gettleman) and I and our coaches and Dave’s staff is really good. The group of 90 that was with us through the spring and summer bought into what we are building here and created the kind of competition that makes for tough decisions.

“For the players who were released today, we thank them for their effort and commitment, and we told them to stay ready because you never know when your next opportunity will come, either here or somewhere else.

“I said it last week, it’s a credit to Kyle (Lauletta) the way he came in here every day and worked to get better and competed after we drafted Daniel. Not every guy would respond that way, and Kyle improved as a result. So there was a lot to consider in that decision, but ultimately we decided to go with (Alex) Tanney.”

The Giants can begin signing players to their 10-man practice squad on Sunday.

For an overview of the existing team, see the Depth Chart section of the website.

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

Aug 302019
 
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Alonzo Russell, New York Giants (August 29, 2019)

Alonzo Russell – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 31 – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 29…
The New York Giants finished their 2019 preseason with a perfect 4-0 record after defeating the New England Patriots 31-29 in a dramatic come-from-behind victory on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Trailing 29-25 with four seconds left, quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alonzo Russell with no time left on the clock for the win. Although the Giants sat half their team, including virtually all starters, the game was a bit costly in that at least six Giants left the field with injuries and did not return (see injury report below).

The Patriots also sat the bulk of their starters except they did decide to play receivers such as Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas, and Josh Gordon against a New York Giants defense that fielded a mix of second, third, and fourth teamers. The Patriots put together a 10-play, 62-yard drive to start the game that ended with a 31-yard field goal.

With Daniel Jones at the helm for his only drive of the night, the Giants moved the ball 62 yards down to the Patriots’ 13-yard line but were stuffed on 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1, turning the ball over on downs. Jones was a perfect 4-of-4 on the drive for 47 yards. The Giants got the ball back when DE Jake Ceresna hit the Patriots’ quarterback Jarrett Stidham as he threw, leading to an easy interception by safety Sean Chandler who returned the football to the New England 37-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Alex Tanney threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Russell. The Giants immediately got the ball back again when the Patriots botched a handoff and linebacker Keion Adams recovered at the Patriots’ 14-yard line. The Giants could not move the ball, however, and settled for a 32-yard field goal. Giants 10 – Patriots 3.

The second quarter was a disaster for the Giants. With Tanney at the helm, New York’s five possessions in the quarter resulted in one first down, three punts, and two interceptions. Meanwhile, the Patriots scored on five of their six possessions, including three touchdown drives and two field goals. New England scored 26 unanswered points to go up 29-10 at the half. 3rd/4th string cornerbacks Ronald Zamort, Henre’ Tolliver, and Terrell Sinkfield had issues covering veteran receivers such as Demaryius Thomas and Josh Gordon.

The script completely flipped in the second half with Kyle Lauletta now starting at quarterback. Jarrett Stidham no longer was throwing to top receivers and the Patriots’ four second half possession ended with three first downs, three punts, and a turnover on downs, the latter occurring when New England was trying to run out the clock. Meanwhile, Lauletta and the Giants’ offense scored four times in five drives, including three touchdowns and a field goal.

The first drive, a 12-play, 66-yard effort, resulted in a 27-yard field goal after wide receiver Reggie White, Jr. dropped what should have been a 9-yard touchdown pass. On the next drive Lauletta threw a 27-yard touchdown pass down the seam to a diving tight end Scott Simonson on 3rd-and-2. Unfortunately, Simonson seriously injured his ankle on the play. Alonzo Russell could not bring in the 2-point conversion attempt and the Giants trailed 29-19. The Giants scored another touchdown on their next possession (8 plays, 42 yards) on a tough 6-yard run by running back Wayne Gallman. The two-point attempt failed again and the Giants now trailed 29-25.

After New England’s third punt in three possessions, the Giants drove from their 24-yard line to the New England 33. However, the drive ended when Lauletta’s 4th-and-3 pass to wide receiver T.J. Jones was dropped. Jones was also injured on this play and did not return.

With 6:27 left in the game, the Patriots picked up two first downs and ran over four minutes off of the clock before turning the ball over on downs at the Giants’ 30-yard line when defensive lineman John Jenkins sacked Stidham on 4th-and-4.

The Giants got the ball with 2:16 left and were pushed back to their own 23-yard line when Lauletta was sacked on the first play of the drive. But Lauletta and the Giants methodically moved the ball down the field, converting on 3rd-and-6, 2nd-and-15, 3rd-and-10, and 4th-and-6. With only four seconds left on the clock, Lauletta threw a 14-yard, walk-off touchdown throw to Alonzo Russell to win the game. The Giants had scored 21 unanswered points despite not kicking one extra point and missing two 2-point conversions.

Jones completed 4-of-4 passes for 47 yards. Tanney completed only 4-of-12 passes for 53 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Lauletta completed 22-of-40 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Alonzo Russell was the leading receiver with five catches (on 15 targets) for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Paul Perkins carried the ball 11 times for 54 yards and Wayne Gallman carried the ball seven times for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, linebacker B.J. Goodson, defensive end Jake Ceresna, and nose tackle John Jenkins all had sacks. Linebacker Keion Adams recovered a fumble and safety Sean Chandler had an interception.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT AND HEALTHY SCRATCHES…
RB Rod Smith (adductor), WR Sterling Shepard (thumb), WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), WR Alex Wesley (ankle), TE Garrett Dickerson (quad), OT Chad Wheeler (back), OT George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), LB Alec Ogletree (calf), CB Antonio Hamilton (groin), CB Sam Beal (hamstring) and S Kenny Ladler (hamstring) did not play.

WR T.J. Jones (ankle?), WR Brittan Golden (calf), TE Scott Simonson (ankle), LB Keion Adams (knee), LB Nate Stupar (concussion), and CB Ronald Zamort (ankle) all left the game with injuries and did not return. Simonson left the locker room on crutches and wearing a boot on his left foot.

QB Eli Manning, RB Saquon Barkley, WR Cody Latimer, WR Benny Fowler, WR Russell Shepard, TE Evan Engram, TE Rhett Ellison, OG Kevin Zeitler, OG Will Hernandez, OT Mike Remmers, OT Nate Solder, OC Jon Halapio, NT Dalvin Tomlinson, DE B.J. Hill, DE Dexter Lawrence, DE Olsen Pierre, LB Markus Golden, LB Lorenzo Carter, LB Tae Davis, LB Kareem Martin, LB Oshane Ximines, CB Janoris Jenkins, CB Deandre Baker, CB Grant Haley, CB Corey Ballentine, S Jabrill Peppers, S Antoine Bethea, S Michael Thomas, and LS Zak DeOssie were healthy scratches.

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)
  • RB Paul Perkins (Video)
  • WR Golden Tate (Video)
  • WR Alonzo Russell (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media by conference call on Friday. 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 142019
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 14, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fifteenth full-team summer training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The remaining training camp practices are no longer open to the public.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have placed wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo (torn Achilles’ tendon) on Injured Reserve. The team also waived/injured tight end Isaiah Searight (hip), waived punter Ryan Anderson, and waived defensive end Alex Jenkins (calf) off of Injured Reserve.

The Giants signed tight end Jake Powell and cornerback Terrell Sinkfield, and claimed punter Johnny Townsend off of waivers from the Oakland Raiders.

The 6’6”, 230-pound Powell was originally signed by the New Orleans Saints after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Saints cut him last weekend.

The 28-year old, 6’1”, 195-pound Sinkfield was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. Since then, he has spent time with seven different NFL teams, three CFL teams, and one AAF team. Sinkfield has not played in a regular-season NFL game.

The 24-year old, 6’1”, 205-pound Townsend was drafted in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Raiders. In 2018, he averaged 42.2 yards per punt (38.3 net) on 70 punts with 17 downed inside the 20-yard line.

Etta-Tawo was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time on the Practice Squads of the Jaguars (2017), Kansas City Chiefs (2017), Giants (2017-2018), and Houston Texans (2018). Etta-Tawo also played for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football in 2019. The Giants re-signed Etta-Tawo in July 2019.

The Giants signed Searight in July at the start of training camp. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2019 NFL Draft as an undrafted rookie free agent but was waived/injured in May with a hamstring injury.

The Giants signed Anderson after he impressed at the 2019 rookie mini-camp. Anderson last punted for Rutgers in 2017 when he was named First-Team, All-Big Ten, averaging 44.4 yards per punt.

The Giants waived/injured Jenkins with a calf injury in early August 2019 and then placed him on Injured Reserve. Born in England, Jenkins was part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program and spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the Practice Squad of the New Orleans Saints. The Giants signed Jenkins after he impressed as a tryout player during the 2019 rookie mini-camp.

INJURY REPORT…
Offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), offensive tackle Brian Mihalik (burner), linebacker Alec Ogletree (calf), cornerback Deandre Baker (knee), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (thumb) participated with a non-contact jersey. Wide receiver Cody Latimer was excused from practice for personal reasons.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • In advance of Friday’s preseason game, this was a lighter, preparatory practice for that game.
  • WR Reggie White, Jr. beat CB Terrell Sinkfield on a long post route, but he could not bring in the pass from QB Daniel Jones. White later dropped another pass from Jones over the middle.
  • QB Eli Manning connected on a 30-yard out pass to TE C.J. Conrad.
  • QB Eli Manning threw touchdown passes to WR T.J. Jones, WR Bennie Fowler, and WR Sterling Shepard.
  • QB Kyle Lauletta rolled to his right and threw a touchdown pass to TE C.J. Conrad. Lauletta later rolled to his right again and threw a touchdown pass to WR Alex Wesley.
  • S Sean Chandler intercepted a pass from QB Kyle Lauletta near the goal line.

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

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

Aug 132019
 
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John Mara, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 13, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fourteenth full-team summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

NFL UPHOLDS 4-GAME SUSPENSION FOR GOLDEN TATE…
The NFL has ruled against the appeal of New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate on his 4-game suspension for violating the League’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Tate can continue to practice and play with the team during the preseason, but he cannot practice or play during the first month of the season.

INJURY REPORT – AMBA ETTA-TAWO TEARS ACHILLES…
Running back Wayne Gallman (foot), wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo (Achilles’ tendon), tight end Isaiah Searight (hip), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), offensive tackle Brian Mihalik (burner), linebacker Alec Ogletree (calf), cornerback Deandre Baker (knee), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Tuesday.

Etta-Tawo tore his Achilles’ tendon in practice on Monday and is done for the year.

“(Gallman) has just a little bit of a sore foot,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “He’s fine. He just needed a day.”

“(Asafo-Adjei is) in the concussion protocol, and so he’s working through that behind the scenes,” said Shurmur. “As he works through that protocol, there are stages. You can do work, the meeting room, then eventually progress to the field. He just hasn’t quite got there yet.”

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (thumb) participated with a non-contact jersey.

RG Kevin Zeitler, RT Mike Remmers, and FS Antoine Bethea were given the day off (“maintenance day”).

TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS FROM GIDIEFOR…
It was a gray day with occasional sprinkles of rain today. Practice was in full gear before the public and press were let in. The players were in shells today. The offense was in blue jerseys; the defense in white; and the QBs in Red. The public portion of practice was held on the near field between the stands and the indoor training center.

I have written before that there is not much to make of practice in shells, because there is no hitting. Notwithstanding that I am going to report on my observations for the day.

The most exciting news for me was WR Darius Slayton, the Giants’ 6’1,” 194 lb, 5th-round draft pick from Auburn was on the field and very active today. He took reps with the 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-teams and special teams, caught a few passes, blocked, acted as a decoy, caught a punt, and did not look overwhelmed with anything at all. He looked pretty damn good to me. I think the Giants are going to be hard pressed to let someone with all that going for him go. He has star potential in every sense of the word.

The second thing I want to note is the TE group. There are six TEs on the roster. It really looks as if Evan Engram (6’3” 240 lbs) is the 1, Rhett Ellison (6’5” 255 lbs) is the 2, Scott Simonson (6’5” 261 lbs) is the 3, Garrett Dickerson (6’3” 252 lbs) is the 4, C.J. Conrad (6’4” 247 lbs) is the 5, and then Isaiah Searight (6’4” 250 lbs), who was not practicing and is not doing himself any favors. This is a very deep group and as much good stuff as Conrad has been doing, he’s the smallest of the lot and it’s hard to see him beating out any of the 4 guys in front of him. Dickerson is looking pretty good and so is Simonson. Ellison is “Mr. Reliable” and Engram’s speed and catching ability make them clear favorites as the 1 and 2.

Looking at the WR group 87 Sterling Shepard (5’10” 196 lbs), 15 Golden Tate (5’11” 191 lbs), 18 Bennie Fowler III (6’1” 218 lbs), 2 T.J. Jones (6’ 190 lbs), 5 Da’Mari Scott (6’ 205 lbs), 12 Cody Latimer (6’3” 222 lbs), 13 Reggie White, Jr. (6’2” 212 lbs), 80 Alex Wesley (6’, 191 lbs), 81 Russell Shepard (6’ 194 lbs), 83 Brittan Golden (6’ 196 lbs), 84 Alonzo Russell (6’4” 218 lbs), and 86 Darius Slayton, (6’1,” 194 lbs) are all making noise out there. Of the 12 of them, every single one of them had catches today. However, Russell Shepard, Darius Slayton, T.J. Jones, Cody Latimer, Golden Tate, and Sterling Shepard all take reps catching on special teams so one would think that this gives them an edge.

Looking at the RB group (who practiced having the ball punched at, and stepping and hitting drills, right in front of us today), we have 26 Saquon Barkley (5’11” 233), 22 Wayne Gallman (6’ 210 lbs), 28 Paul Perkins (5’11” 213), 45 Rod Smith (6’3” 235), 39 Ellijah Penny (6’2” 234 lbs), and 23 Jonathan Hilliman (5’11 216 lbs). Gallman didn’t practice today, but it does seem clear that Barkley and Gallman (barring injury) are the 1 and the 2. Penny is the FB and plays special teams. Rod Smith is playing on special teams also. Smith, Perkins and Hilliman were getting their looks on 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-teams today. Is it possible that they keep Penny, Perkins, and Smith with Hilliman being the odd man out?

There was some sideline discussion about the value of keeping QB Kyle Lauletta over QB Alex Tanney today. Ironically, Tanney didn’t have a very good day today, and Lauletta was crisper. The core of this argument was that if you thought Kyle Lauletta had value as a backup, that keeping him on the roster to be Jones’ backup down the road made more sense than keeping Alex Tanney, who is a WYSIWYG player with little upside. I thought this was probably worth batting around as a discussion.

Another discussion was held regarding whether or not QB Eli Manning had it in him be named comeback player of the year this year.

I took a lot of play notes today, but there was no real hitting, except at the end of practice when someone ripped off T Chad Wheeler’s helmet and he struck back at who we couldn’t tell.

Notes:

  • RG Kevin Zeitler, RT Mike Remmers, and FS Antoine Bethea were given the day off.
  • WR Sterling Shepard practiced without any bandages on his hand and wore the yellow jacket for the scrimmage portions of practice.
  • All plays were being run with cards.
  • RB Saquon Barkley made a nonchalant one-hand grab.
  • WR Bennie Fowler made a beautiful catch down the right side from QB Eli Manning.
  • Eli Manning had more reps than the rest of the QBs today.
  • WR Brittan Golden made a good grab.
  • CB Ronald Zamort made a good play against WR Bennie Fowler on a QB Danel Jones pass break up.
  • TE Garrett Dickerson made a beautiful grab up the seam from QB Daniel Jones.
  • TE C.J. Conrad made a nice grab from QB Alex Tanney, who missed on a bunch of throws today
  • Both punters had a spell punting today. I thought 17 Ryan Anderson punted much better than 9 Riley Dixon. He seemed to have better control of the ball and more kicks with a tighter spiral. Dixon had more shots go out-of-bounds today too.
  • WR Golden Tate crash-landed on a sideline pass and caused some concern, but he got up and shook it off and kept playing.
  • QB Eli Manning made a nice throw that WR Cody Latimer reeled in on the right side.
  • WR Alonzo Russell and WR Russell Shepard each made a nice play on comebacks throws by QB Daniel Jones.
  • QB Kyle Lauletta made a crisp throw to WR Da’Mari Scott up the middle.
  • TE T.J. Conrad dropped a QB Daniel jones pass.
  • QB Daniel Jones was intercepted on a pass to the right side.
  • LB Ryan Connelly made a nice break up against QB Daniel Jones.
  • WR Alonzo Russell made a nice grab on the left side from QB Kyle Lauletta.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Nick Gates was the first-team right guard and Chad Slade the first-team right tackle.
  • The second-team tackles were Chad Wheeler at right tackle and Paul Adams at left tackle.
  • Julian Love started at free safety with Antonio Hamilton starting at cornerback along with Janoris Jenkins.
  • LB Ryan Connelly received first-team reps.
  • QB Eli Manning connected with WR Bennie Fowler on a deep post pattern.
  • The kick returners were WR Cody Latimer, WR Brittan Golden, and WR Darius Slayton.
  • QB Eli Manning hit both WR Cody Latimer and WR Golden Tate on passes down the field, but neither could come down with the ball.
  • QB Eli Manning connected with TE Evan Engram on a 20-yard gain.
  • WR Darius Slayton made a nice catch on a high pass from QB Alex Tanney.
  • DL B.J. Hill beat RT Chad Wheeler to the inside for a “sack.”
  • CB Grant Haley “sacked” the quarterback on a blitz.
  • LB Tae Davis got to the quarterback untouched on back-to-back “sacks.”
  • QB Kyle Lauletta missed on a deep out to WR Reggie White, Jr., but then connected with WR Darius Slayton over the middle.
  • QB Kyle Lauletta connected on a 60-yard touchdown pass to WR Reggie White, Jr. over CB Henre’ Tolliver.
  • WR Sterling Shepard was active catching the football despite his thumb injury.
  • WR Golden Tate, WR Darius Slayton, and WR T.J. Jones returned punts.
  • QB Kyle Lauletta connected on 20-yard pass to WR Alonzo Russell.
  • LB Oshane Ximines “sacked” QB Daniel Jones.
  • S Jabrill Peppers picked off a pass from QB Kyle Lauletta intended for WR Alonzo Russell.
  • LB Nate Stupar intercepted a pass from QB Daniel Jones that was deflected.
  • CB Janoris Jenkins knocked away a QB Eli Manning deep pass to WR Cody Latimer.
  • QB Daniel Jones connected down the field with TE Garrett Dickerson.

GIANTS CO-OWNER JOHN MARA…
The transcript of John Mara’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

Jul 262019
 
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Oshane Ximines and C.J. Conrad, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Oshane Ximines and C.J. Conrad – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 26, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their second full-team summer training camp practice on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT – COREY COLEMAN TEARS ACL…
Wide receivers Corey Coleman (knee), Darius Slayton (hamstring), and Alex Wesley (PUP List – unknown) did not practice on Friday. Neither did tight end Evan Engram (“managing his workload”).

The Giants announced that Coleman tore his ACL in practice on Thursday. “Corey Coleman unfortunately hurt his knee yesterday, so we’ll just have to see where it goes for him,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “I feel bad for the guy because he’s worked really hard… So most likely (he will be lost for the season)… He’ll go through the process. He’ll get second opinions and all that stuff… He was a guy that had a chance to be in there and compete to either start or have a role.”

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (fractured thumb) was limited in practice, not catching any passes. “(Shepard will) be back soon,” said Shurmur. “It’s the tip of his thumb. He’ll be out there running around today. I’m not concerned about that one at all… no surgery.”

Linebacker Markus Golden (cramps), cornerback Grant Haley (cramps), and wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin) left practice early.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • George Asafo-Adjei and Chad Wheeler received some first-team reps at offensive tackle.
  • S Michael Thomas sacked QB Daniel Jones on a blitz.
  • QB Daniel Jones started 5-of-6 during 11-on-11 drills.
  • CB Ronald Zamort made a nice diving break-up of a pass from QB Alex Tanney.
  • CB Grant Haley made a leaping interception off a QB Kyle Lauletta pass tipped by CB Corey Ballentine, who also tipped away another pass from QB Alex Tanney.
  • LB Tae Davis saw a lot of reps with the first-team nickel defense, along with LB Alec Ogletree.
  • LB Ryan Connelly, WR Reggie White Jr., and S Sean Chandler received praise from Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a nice deep pass to WR Russell Shepard, who made a fingertip grab for a touchdown, beating CB Julian Love. Jones finished 11-of-13 with eight straight completions.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a nice deep sideline pass to WR Golden Tate over CB Julian Love.
  • LB Oshane Ximines “sacked” QB Daniel Jones off a rollout.
  • WR Brittan Golden scored a long touchdown, but was injured on the play and left the field after being knocked over by CB Antonio Hamilton.
  • WR Russell Shepard had an active day catching the football from QB Daniel Jones.
  • LB Lorenzo Carter flashed in run defense (setting the edge) and as a blitzer (with a “sack”).
  • Julian Love saw reps at nickel corner with both the first- and second-teams. He also played safety with the second-team defense.

GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN…
The transcript of Dave Gettleman’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

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

Jul 152019
 
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Aldrick Rosas, New York Giants (December 2, 2018)

Aldrick Rosas – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Special Teams

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: Despite the fact that the New York Giants’ special teams have been a liability for years, special teams ended up being the team’s strongest unit in 2018. New Head Coach Pat Shurmur chose not to bring back long-time special teams coordinator Tom Quinn and hired Thomas McGaughey to be the new coordinator and Anthony Blevins as his assistant. However, since McGaughey was diagnosed with cancer during the 2018 offseason, Quinn was retained as “assistant special teams coordinator.”

Overshadowed by Saquon Barkley’s phenomenal rookie season, place kicker Aldrick Rosas, who struggled in 2017, had the best year of any place kicker in team history, only missing one field goal all season. Newcomer punter Riley Dixon, who was acquired by trade, finished 7th in net punting. The Giants were 7th in the NFL in kickoff returns (24.4 yards per return) and 28th in punt returns (6.2 yards per return). The Giants were also 2nd-best in defending kickoff returns (20.4 yards per return) and 7th-best in defending punt returns (6.6 yards per return). The Giants did not return a punt or kick for a touchdown and they did not allow a punt or kick to be returned against them for a touchdown.

Two Giants made the Pro Bowl as special teams players, Rosas and first-team alternate Michael Thomas, who led the team with 12 special teams tackles. Other leading tacklers included Kerry Wynn (8), Kenny Ladler (8), Nate Stupar (8), and Russell Shepard (6).

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Six Giants returned punts in 2018, including Jawill Davis (12), Quadree Henderson (9), Odell Beckham (8), Kaelin Clay (5), Stacy Coley (2), and Corey Coleman (1). All but Coleman are gone. Five Giants returned more than one kickoff, including Coleman (23), Davis (7), Cody Latimer (5), Henderson (5), and Coley (2). Only Coleman and Latimer return.

Kerry Wynn, who had a very good year covering kicks, signed with the Bengals. The Giants did sign running back Rod Smith from the Cowboys, who was a core special teams player for that team.

The Giants signed punter Ryan Anderson after he impressed at the 2019 rookie mini-camp. Anderson last punted for Rutgers in 2017 when he was named First-Team, All-Big Ten, averaging 44.4 yards per punt.

Journeyman wide receiver/returner Brittan Golden was signed in January.

The team also added two long snappers: Taybor Pepper (who played in four games with the Packers in 2017) and rookie free agent Jake Carlock.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Can the Giants replicate their 2018 special teams success and even build upon it? Or will they regress back to their usual norm?

Aldrick Rosas had an incredible season in 2018. He increased his field goal percentage from 72 percent in 2017 to 97 percent in 2018, missing just one field goal, making the Pro Bowl in the process. Was his performance a flash in the pan, similar to Ali Haji-Sheikh in 1983, or is Rosas set to become one of the NFL’s best kickers for many years to come? It is interesting to note that the Giants do not have another place kicker in camp.

While Riley Dixon finished the year 7th in net punting, some think the Giants could do better. Ryan Anderson does have a strong leg and could challenge Dixon.

The Giants were very good at covering both punts and kickoffs in 2018. Using a wide cast of characters, they did a respectable job returning kickoffs but were poor in returning punts. The real questions here are who will be the primary returners in 2018? Corey Coleman averaged 26 yards per kickoff return in 2018. Cody Latimer and Jabrill Peppers also have experience returning kickoffs. Who will return punts is an even bigger mystery. The only obvious candidate at the moment is the starting strong safety Jabrill Peppers, although starting wide receiver Golden Tate also has punt return experience. However, Pat Shurmur has said that impressive rookie wide receiver Darius Slayton is also a candidate to return both kickoffs and punts.

At some point, Zak DeOssie will have to hang it up as the Giants’ long snapper. Does he hold on another year?

ON THE BUBBLE: The kickers are most likely set although Ryan Anderson could challenge Riley Dixon. Taybor Pepper or Jake Carlock would have to be really impressive to unseat Zak DeOssie as long snapper. Brittan Golden has experience returning kickoffs and punts, but has an uphill climb to make the team. The Giants have a number of core special teams players who may not make it including Nate Stupar, Kenny Ladler, Russell Shepard, Antonio Hamilton, and Rod Smith.

FROM THE COACHES: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Jake Carlock: “He is a very good long snapper. We are always looking for guys at skill positions. He is a very accomplished linebacker as well. Much like (Eric) Dungey who can compete at different areas, he is going to do the same.”

Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey on whether he would hesitate to have a starter return kicks or punts: “Nope, not at all. It’s a play-making position. When you think about it over the years and you watch punt returners that have had success that have played on defense – the Deion Sanders, and all those guys. That’s a play-making position. That’s one of those positions where you can change the game just like that. I have no reservation by putting any kind of starter back there, because that’s a play that can change the game. We know 75 percent of game in the NFL comes down to the last possession. Any time you could gain an advantage on your opponent, you want to get that advantage.”

McGaughey on Jabrill Peppers: “High energy, the guy is a for sure ball handler. Can make all the cuts full speed. He just brings juice. I’ve known the kid since he was 16 years old. I recruited him when I was at LSU. Jabrill is a special athlete. He can do anything – run the football, catch the football, whatever. He’s just a great athlete… Yes, he’s going to (return kicks and punts for us)… That’s football – he’s a safety in the NFL. Those guys primarily do everything. When you look at them, most of them are three-core, four-core guys when they play. That’s just the reality of it, especially a young safety with a lot of energy like Jabrill.”

McGaughey on WR Russell Shepard, LB Nate Stupar, and CB Antonio Hamilton: “Those guys were the foundation of what we did last year. Whenever you can get veteran leadership and you can have continuity, that’s the most important thing. When you get guys that have done it before, and they’ve done it at a high level, and you can keep them in the same spots – it’s no different from having an offensive line with continuity, a secondary with continuity, it’s the same thing. A core group of special teams players. They’re no different from anyone else. You got to have that continuity if you want to have consistency.”

McGaughey on Rod Smith: “Big, strong, athletic, smart, playmaker – whenever you can get a guy like that on your roster to provide depth, and having value as a running back. (General Manager Dave) Gettleman always talks about having value on offense and defense, not just on special teams. He punches all the tickets. He’s a hard worker, he’s a pro, and he does everything you ask him to do. He’s 6’3”, 235 pounds, and has a skillset. He’s one of those guys if you’re sitting in a room, you won’t even know he’s there. He’s quiet, he comes in, and he works, and he does his job.”

McGaughey on Ryan Anderson: “Ryan is a lefty. Whenever you can bring a lefty in, and you can get a righty spin and a lefty spin is always good. Ryan has a lot of potential. His maturation from last year to this year has been huge. He came here last year to our local day. To see him again this year was a big difference. You can tell he’s been working on his craft, and he’s been working hard. It’s good to have him in to have a little competition. It’s always good to have two guys in where they can kind of compete against each other. It makes it better.”

McGaughey on Jake Carlock: “He’s a young guy with a lot of potential. He can run, he’s very athletic. So what we’ll see what happens with Jake. We’re excited about the chance of working with him.”

McGaughey on Eric Dungey: “He’s going to have a chance somewhere, right? We’ll put him out there. We’ll find a home for him. He’s athletic, he’s a tough kid. We’ll find a home for him. Those types of kids in college that are athletic quarterbacks, they always kind of find a way. They’ll figure out something. They’re athletic, they’ve always competed at a high-level, so they’ll find a way… Anytime you can get a big athlete that’s tough, that’s smart, that’s played the quarterback position, anytime you can get a style of athlete like that, and he’s coachable and is willing, a lot of good things can happen.”

PREDICTIONS: Saquon Barkley overshadowed the incredible performance of Aldrick Rosas in 2018. But the psychology of kickers tends to be on the fragile side and Rosas has to prove that 2018 wasn’t a fluke. If he becomes a perennial Pro Bowler, Rosas may be one of Jerry Reese’s most positive legacies.

Who returns kickoffs and punts seems up in the air at this point. My guess is that Corey Coleman remains the leading candidate to return kickoffs, but he could be pressed by Darius Slayton. For as much press as Jabrill Peppers receives as an athletic returnman, he only averaged 22 yards per kickoff return thus far in the NFL.

Peppers could end up being the primary punt returner, as he has returned 55 punts in the last two season for the Cleveland Browns, averaging 7.3 yards per return.

I think the Giants are going to face some tough roster decisions on veteran special teams players such as Rod Smith, Russell Shepard, Nate Stupar, Antonio Hamilton, and Kenny Ladler. My gut also tells me that either Eric Dungey or Jake Carlock will make the team as a special teams ace and jack-of-all-trades type player. The Giants face a bit of a dilemma with the ever-consistent Zak DeOssie. He plays a position where age isn’t a huge factor, and not only does he do a fine job of long-snapping, but he’s good at covering kicks. But he also doesn’t play another position. That said, Giants fans know all too well how costly having a bad long snapper can be.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Aldrick Rosas and Riley Dixon the kickers. Zak DeOssie as the long snapper, Corey Coleman as the kickoff returner and Jabrill Peppers as the punt returner. It’s too early to tell how legitimate a shot that Eric Dungey or Jake Carlock have in making the team, but I think one of these two will. If both falter, another one of the veteran core special teams players will make it.

Jun 192019
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (October 22, 2018)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Wide Receivers

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: Things did not going exactly according to plan at the wide receiver position in 2018. Injuries hit the position hard, thus beginning a revolving door of players coming and going to not only serve as pass receivers but also returners. In the end, the only receiver to play all 16 games was Sterling Shepard. Odell Beckham, Jr. and Sterling Shepard were responsible for 76 percent of the wide receiver receptions (143) with no other wide receiver catching more than 16 passes. Instead, the Giants threw more to the backs (113 catches) and tight ends (79 catches).

The headliner – Beckham – missed four games. While he remained productive when he played, the explosive big plays seemed to be lacking. And despite playing all 16 games, Shepard still could not crack the 1,000-yard mark. Free agent acquisition Cody Latimer only played in six games, catching a total of 11 passes. It is fair to say more was expected from these three.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Somewhat surprisingly, the Giants decided to re-sign all of their free agent wide receivers, including Corey Coleman, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, and Russell Shepard. A year before he was due to become a free agent, the Giants also extended Sterling Shepard with a 4-year, $41 million contract.

The big offseason move was the trade of Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. His New York career began with fireworks and died with a whimper. The Giants also cut Quadree Henderson and Jawill Davis in the offseason.

The Giants surprisingly signed free agent Golden Tate away from the Eagles to a 4-year, $37.5 million contract. Street free agent journeyman Brittan Golden was signed in January. The Giants drafted Darius Slayton in the 5th round of the draft and signed rookie free agents Reggie White, Jr. and Alex Wesley after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Fan and media attention will be on how the departure of Odell Beckham, Jr. will affect the overall offense and whether or not that trade was a huge mistake. Contrary to what the Giants say publicly, it is clear the organization felt Beckham was a detriment to team culture. As dynamic as he was, Beckham was exhausting to deal with. It will be interesting to see how the team performs without him, and how Beckham does in Cleveland.

Unless someone like Darius Slayton and Corey Coleman comes on like gangbusters, the Giants appear to lack a true deep threat who can take the top off a defense. Good offenses can survive without a true deep threat, but it does make things more challenging. It appears the Giants will rely more on the short-to-intermediate passing game and run-after-the-catch yardage. This is where Golden Tate excels. The team desperately needs Sterling Shepard to become a more productive player. They are paying him more on potential than productivity to date (he’s averaged 63 catches, 762 yards, and 4-5 touchdowns per season in his first three years in the league). Tate and Shepard are viewed more as slot receivers by some.

To be frank, the other veterans on the roster have been unimpressive journeymen to date. Cody Latimer is capable of making contested circus catches, but may not be able to separate from defensive backs on a consistent basis. The same concern exists with Bennie Fowler and Russell Shepard. Both have spent time with three other teams. Corey Coleman is a former first rounder and has the speed to get deep, but three other teams have let him go since 2016.

That all said, Coleman, Fowler, and newcomer Darius Slayton did flash during Spring workouts. It remains to be seen if they can build upon this success and push for regular-season playing time.

ON THE BUBBLE: Only Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate are really safe.

FROM THE COACHES: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Golden Tate: “You can see that he has the ability to break tackles. He is nifty. Obviously, before the ball is thrown and then once he catches it, he has a way of breaking tackles or making them miss. I can see that is going to be a part of his game already… He is a pro… He fit in immediately. He is smart, has picked up what we are doing offensively and finds a way to make plays. He is a real veteran presence. He has made a heck of an impact.”

Shurmur on Darius Slayton: “Darius has done a really good job. I think he is the most improved in my eyes. We expected a lot out of him when he got here. The rookie mini-camp was unremarkable, but since that time… He is very fast. He is practicing punts and kicks. He has done a nice job playing receiver. I really think he has done a nice job during OTA’s and mini-camp.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula on Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard: “I think (Tate) is going to bring productivity because he is really good with the ball in his hands, versatility, and flexibility. You can put him inside, you know, we know with Shep that Shep can play both inside and out. Now, we have two guys that can do that. I think when you have two guys who can do that, you become less predictable and I think it gives you another guy when the ball is in his hands, he’s pretty good… (Tate) provides the experience, the knowledge, the route awareness, sudden changes that you might not have to make that are kind of hard to cover all of the time with some of the younger guys. He is going to bring that to the table. And like I said, he is really good with the ball in his hands, so getting him the ball, he can lower his shoulder at times and make guys miss. Not necessarily defensive linemen, but DBs that are trying to tackle him. I think he is going to be a good weapon for us on all downs. ”

Shula on Darius Slayton: “I think Slayton has been pretty consistent. He’s been a really good pick for us. As long as he stays on track he’s got good speed, he uses his hands you can see. He’s got more confidence in his hands, he’s catching the ball more consistently. I think he’s a good route runner, that was one thing kind of coming out of the draft I was anxious to see how he did with maybe our routes, which were maybe a little bit different that the routes he ran at Auburn. He does a good job at the top end of those routes.”

Shula on how defenses will change with Odell Beckham now gone: “I think kind of based on last year, not as much as you might think. I mean, there might have been certain teams that had an all-out double team, but other than that, there really wasn’t much, and part of that probably was because of Saquon. I mean you got to be careful doubling receivers when you’ve got a back like that.”

Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert on Darius Slayton: “Slayton, I saw what we saw on tape. I saw a guy who has some pretty good size, who can run. His first practice, you know, he was trying to figure a lot of stuff out in the first half of the first practice, had a couple of drops, for the second half of that practice he made some good catches in traffic and had two good remaining days. So looking for explosive plays from Darius Slayton, he’s an explosive player who’s made a lot of plays, 21 or 22 yards a catch, something like that in college and I’m looking forward to him bringing that to the Giants.”

Tolbert on Corey Coleman: “It is a big opportunity, especially him being in the offseason program with us. He’s getting the whole gambit if you will: from the very first install to the whole, you know, all the way through. Last year when he came in we were his fourth offense he’s been in, in maybe the span of 3 months. Now it’s just our offense the whole time so he can grasp what we’re doing and have a solid contribution. He’s doing well this year. He’s doing much better than he did last year.”

PREDICTIONS: After Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, it’s difficult to predict what the make-up of this unit will look like. Darius Slayton has obviously caught the attention of the coaches, but it remains to be seen how much of an impact he can make as a rookie. One gets the sense that Eli Manning’s main targets will be Shepard, Tate, running back Saquon Barkley, and tight end Evan Engram (a de facto year-on-year change of Beckham with Tate). The good news is the Giants will have the ability to move Shepard, Tate, Barkley, and Engram all over the place, keeping defenses on their toes.

As previously stated, unless Coleman or Slayton surprise with significant playing time, we are not likely to see many 40+ yard touchdowns on deep routes by this group. But the run-after-catch damage could be significant. And as a group, most of the receivers are good run blockers who could have a significant impact on the ground game. In my mind, the guy on the hot seat is Shepard. He needs to justify his $41 million contract, be more productive, and make more big plays.

The wild cards here are numerous, but it is unwise to count on Cinderella stories. Can the talented Corey Coleman turn his career around? Have Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler finally found a home? Did the Giants find small school gold in Reggie White, Jr. or Alex Wesley?

Don’t discount the importance of special teams in determining who makes it. A guy like Russell Shepard was a core special teamer last season. Slayton and Coleman can also return.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, Corey Coleman, Russell Shepard

Jun 052019
 
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C.J. Conrad, New York Giants (June 5, 2019)

C.J. Conrad – © USA TODAY Sports

JUNE 5, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The second day of the New York Giants 3-day mandatory mini-camp was held on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Quarterback/tight end Eric Dungey (back), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (wrist), wide receiver Brittan Golden (unknown), wide receiver Alex Wesley (unknown), tight end Evan Engram (“soreness”), 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 Sam Beal (personal matter), safety Jabrill Peppers (tooth extraction), safety Sean Chandler (unknown), and safety Jake Carlock (unknown) did not practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The Giants continue to alternate first-team centers. Today was Spencer Pulley, a day after Jon Halapio was with the first unit.
  • Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter were the first-team outside linebackers. Linebacker Oshane Ximines also saw some first-team reps and did a nice job in underneath coverage on one play against wide receiver Golden Tate.
  • The starting corners were once again Janoris Jenkins and Deandre Baker, with Grant Haley playing slot corner.
  • Kamrin Moore was the first-team strong safety with Antoine Bethea at free safety.
  • Cornerback Corey Ballentine saw reps with the second-team defense.
  • At one point, quarterback Eli Manning was 10-for-10 in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, but cooled off some after that. He started off the day with a nice deep post pass to wide receiver Corey Coleman.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, quarterback Eli Manning found tight end Rhett Ellison deep against safety Kamrin Moore.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw touchdowns to wide receiver Golden Tate, wide receiver Bennie Fowler, and tight end Rhett Ellison in red-zone drills.
  • Tight end C.J. Conrad stood out in red-zone drills with a pair of touchdown receptions from quarterback Daniel Jones. Conrad also made a one-handed catch near the sidelines.
  • Quarterbacks Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta also threw touchdowns in red-zone drills.
  • Cornerback Grant Haley “sacked” quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Quarterback Daniel Jones threw a perfect deep pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton despite blanket coverage by cornerback Tony Lippett. Jones followed that up with a nice “dart” to tight end Scott Simonson. Jones also hit wide receiver Bennie Fowler deep down the left sideline.
  • Wide receiver Darius Slayton had a strong day and has been getting separation on deep routes. He caught a touchdown pass on a fade route
  • Safety Michael Thomas was active and stripped wide receiver Reggie White, Jr. of the ball after a reception.

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…

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:

Mar 152019
 
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Markus Golden, Arizona Cardinals (October 1, 2017)

Markus Golden – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN MARKUS GOLDEN AND OLSEN PIERRE…
The New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agents linebacker Markus Golden (Arizona Cardinals) and defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (Cardinals). Golden’s deal is reportedly a 1-year, $4.75 million contract that includes $2.225 million in guaranteed money.

The 28-year old, 6’3”, 260-pound Golden was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. Versatile, he has played both defensive end and linebacker at the pro level. In four seasons, Golden has played in 46 regular-season games with 24 starts. Golden’s break-out season was in 2016 at linebacker when he accrued 51 tackles and 12.5 sacks. He missed 12 games in 2017 with an ACL injury. While he returned in 2018, he missed five games and saw his production slip to 30 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

The 27-year old, 6’5”, 293-pound Pierre originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Chicago Bears after the 2015 NFL Draft. The Bears cut him in August 2015 and he then signed with the Cardinals. In three seasons with the Cardinals, Pierre has played in 24 games with eight starts, accruing 42 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

The transcript of Golden’s conference call with the media on Friday is available in The Corner Forum.

GOLDEN TATE ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
Wide receiver Golden Tate, who the New York Giants signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Philadelphia Eagles, addressed the media on Friday. The transcript is available in The Corner Forum.

MIKE REMMERS LEAVES WITHOUT A DEAL…
Free agent offensive lineman Mike Remmers, who was cut by the Minnesota Vikings earlier this week, finished his visit with the New York Giants on Friday and left without a deal. His agent tweeted, “Mike Remmers just wrapped up a great visit with the New York Giants. Very good chance we could be getting something done with them in the not too distant future… Just to clarify, nothing imminent between Mike Remmers and the New York Giants. The interest is mutual and we will be staying in touch. Good chance something could happen a little further down the road.”

The 29-year old, 6’5”, 310-pound Remmers was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Denver Broncos after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Broncos (2012), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012–2013), San Diego Chargers (2013), Vikings (2013), St. Louis Rams (2014), Carolina Panthers (2014–2016), and Vikings again (2017–2018). Remmers has started 59 regular-season games in the last four seasons, missing five games in 2017 with a concussion and lower back issues. While Remmers has experience at both tackle and guard, he played much better at right tackle in 2017 than he did at right guard in 2018.

OAKLAND RAIDERS SIGN JOSH MAURO…
The Oakland Raiders have signed New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive end Josh Mauro to a reported 1-year, $1.4 million contract. The Giants signed Mauro as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2018 after he was cut by the Cardinals. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 NFL season by the NFL for the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Mauro played in the 12 remaining games, with four starts, finishing with 28 tackles and one sack. The 6’6”, 290-pound, English-born Mauro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2014 NFL Draft. He did not make the team, but was signed by the Cardinals after he was cut. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Mauro played in 47 regular-season games with 26 starts.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS SIGN MARIO EDWARDS…
The New Orleans Saints have signed New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive end Mario Edwards to a reported 2-year, $5 million contract that can also include another $1.5 million based on sack production. The Giants claimed Edwards off of waivers from the Oakland Raiders in September 2018. He served as a primary back-up, playing in 15 games with no starts, and finishing the year with 14 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. The 6’3”, 280-pound Edwards was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Raiders. He missed most of 2016 with a hip injury. In three years with the Raiders, Edwards played in 30 regular-season games with 24 starts.