Sep 012018
 
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Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (November 27, 2016)

Mark Herzlich – © USA TODAY Sports

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

Placed on the Reserve/Suspended List:

  • DE Josh Mauro (violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy)

Placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness List:

  • DE R.J. McIntosh (unknown medical issue)

Placed on Injured Reserve:

  • OT Nick Becton (ankle and wrist)
  • OG Nick Gates (foot)

Waived or contracts terminated:

  • RB Jalen Simmons
  • RB Jhurell Pressley
  • WR Kalif Raymond
  • WR Alonzo Russell
  • WR Roger Lewis, Jr.
  • WR Travis Rudolph
  • WR Amba Etta-Tawo
  • WR Jawill Davis
  • WR Marquis Bundy
  • TE Garrett Dickerson
  • TE Ryan O’Malley
  • OG Chris Scott (contract terminated)
  • OG Zac Kerin
  • OT Malcom Bunche
  • OT Victor Salako
  • NT Robert Thomas
  • NT Tyrell Chavis
  • NT Izaah Lunsford
  • DE A.J. Francis
  • LB Mark Herzlich (contract terminated)
  • LB Calvin Munson
  • LB Avery Moss
  • LB Jordan Williams (waived/injured – hip and shoulder)
  • LB Warren Long
  • CB Leonard Johnson (contract terminated)
  • CB Chris Lewis-Harris (contract terminated)
  • CB Grant Haley
  • CB Mike Jones
  • S Darian Thompson (waived/injured – hamstring)
  • S Andrew Adams
  • S Orion Stewart
  • PK Marshall Koehn

“As I’ve said, I feel like we’re on the right track,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We had a competitive training camp that forced us to make some tough decisions. We will continue to look to improve the roster in any way we can. This day is never easy because you are dealing with people who have made a commitment to your program, and while we all understand the reality of the business we’re in, it doesn’t make it any easier.

“When we started camp, I told the players that my hope for all of them is that if they don’t make our roster, I want them to make somebody else’s. So that’s my desire for the men we parted ways with today.”

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.

ARTICLES…

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

Aug 152018
 
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Lorenzo Carter, New York Giants (August 9, 2018)

Lorenzo Carter – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 15, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
While the last official training camp practice for the New York Giants was held on August 7th, the team is holding joint public practices with the Detroit Lions on August 14-16.

“Alright, day two here,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after practice. “Competitive. You could tell the guys were grinding through that, but again, we didn’t have any injuries to speak of, a couple nagging things I’m sure, but for the most part I was proud of the professionalism that our guys showed. It gets a little chippy sometimes. Detroit did a great job and I think because we set the ground rules for this thing at least until this point, really both teams have gotten a lot of really good work. I think that’s part of being a pro, is being able to do things in different settings and get a lot out of it.”

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday due to injury were wide running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), receiver Travis Rudolph (quad), tight end Ryan O’Malley (ankle), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (“soreness”), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Curtis Riley remained the starting free safety.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, wide receiver Cody Latimer made a leaping catch over cornerback Darius Slay in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Wide receiver Hunter Sharp made a “spectacular” leaping catch in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb threw a precise pass in the end zone to tight end Scott Simonson for a touchdown.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a dart to wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr. for a score.
  • Off a rollout, quarterback Eli Manning threw to wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, tight end Evan Engram made a very nice catch of a quarterback Eli Manning pass that was thrown low and behind of him.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning fired a pass between two defenders to wide receiver Hunter Sharp who made a nice catch for a touchdown.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb hit wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr. in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Webb then threw a nice back-shoulder pass to tight end Rhett Ellison for another score. Ellison had three scores in red zone drills.
  • In 11-on-11 redzone drills, linebacker Olivier Vernon blew through the line of scrimmage and nailed the back for a 3-yard loss. Vernon had at least two “sacks” and another tackle for a loss during drills.
  • Defensive end B.J. Hill “sacked” the quarterback and defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson made a couple of plays in the backfield.
  • Nose tackle Robert Thomas continues to impress, flashing throughout practice.
  • Defensive end Ziggy Ansah badly beat right tackle Ereck Flowers on a pass rush, leading to a “sack” by former Giant linebacker Devon Kennard.
  • Wide receiver Sterling Shepard drew a pass interference penalty. Then quarterback Eli Manning hit tight end Evan Engram for a touchdown against safety Glover Quin.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, quarterback Davis Webb rolled out and threw a touchdown pass off his back foot.
  • Linebacker Lorenzo Carter “sacked” the quarterback in redzone drills. He gave left tackle Tyrell Crosby problems.
  • Linebacker Alec Ogletree was having problems covering Detroit’s tight ends. Hakeem Valles and Levine Toilolo both scored against him. Ogletree did pick up one “sack” and a tackle for a loss during 11-on-11 drills.
  • Wide receiver Chris Lacy made a leaping catch over cornerback Eli Apple in the back of the endzone for a touchdown.
  • In the 2-minute drill, after committing a pass interference penalty, cornerback Eli Apple picked off a pass from quarterback Jake Rudock intended for wide receiver Marvin Jones and returned it for a touchdown.
  • In 2-point conversion attempts, the Lions were 3-for-3 while the Giants were 0-for-3.

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:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants will practice against the Detroit Lions in Michigan on Thursday (open to public). The two teams face off on Friday night at Ford Field.

Jun 202018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (May 11, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © 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: Running Backs

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: The New York Giants have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Ahmad Bradshaw’s final season with the team in 2012. The Giants’ leading rushers since that time have been Andre Brown, Andre Williams, Rashad Jennings (twice), and Orleans Darkwa. More telling are the overall team rushing stats with the Giants finishing 29th, 23rd, 18th, 29th, and 26th in the NFL from 2013 to 2017. Last season was a continuation of this mediocrity with the Giants averaging 96.8 yards per game and scoring only six rushing touchdowns. There were four games where the Giants didn’t even rush for 50 yards and nine games where the team didn’t reach 100 yards rushing. The overall numbers are a bit inflated too by the meaningless season-finale against the Washington Redskins where the Giants rushed for 260 yards.

The Giants’ top four rushers in 2017 were Orleans Darkwa (751 yards, 5 touchdowns), Wayne Gallman (476 yards), Shane Vereen (164 yards), and Paul Perkins (90 yards). The Giants’ sixth rushing touchdown came from Eli Manning. The receiving yards for the backs were from Vereen (253 yards), Gallman (193 yards, 1 touchdown), Darkwa (116 yards), and Perkins (46 yards). Darkwa and Gallman actually were respectable, averaging 4.4 and 4.3 yards per carry respectively. But on a team that finished 21st in overall offensive yardage, 26th in rushing yardage, and 31st in scoring, nothing on offense ever felt like a “strength,” including the running attack.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants decided not to re-sign Orleans Darkwa (who had a plate removed from his leg in May) and Shane Vereen (who also still remains unemployed). Paul Perkins tore his pectoral muscle in the offseason, was waived/injured, and placed on Injured Reserve. Thus the only returning halfback appears to be Wayne Gallman unless the Giants are keeping an eye on Darkwa’s health status.

The Giants signed street free Jalen Williams in January, veteran free agent Jonathan Stewart in March after his was cut by the Panthers, and rookie free agent Robert Martin in May. But the biggest offseason move the team made was drafting Saquon Barkley with the #2 pick in the entire 2018 NFL Draft. The Giants have only drafted two running backs in their entire history this high: Tucker Frederickson #1 overall in 1965 and Skippy Minisi with the #2 pick in 1948.

Shane Smith is the only returning fullback, though tight end Rhett Ellison can play the position in a pinch. The Giants also added a couple of H-Back types who can play fullback in ex-Viking Kyle Carter and rookie free agent Garrett Dickerson.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: With General Manager Dave Gettleman throwing around phrases like “gold jacket” and “touched by the hand of God,” needless to say, the expectation level for Barkley has been set incredibly (perhaps unrealistically) high. And while the Giants have had some very good running backs in their history, including Frank Gifford, Tiki Barber, Tuffy Leemans, Rodney Hampton, Joe Morris, Brandon Jacobs, and Ahmad Bradshaw, given the team’s flagship franchise status, one would have to say that the list of top-notch running backs in team history is relatively short and a bit underwhelming. A Giants’ running back has only led the NFL in rushing four times, and that came in 1936, 1943, 1944, and 1951.

For the Giants to draft a running back with the #2 pick, and in the process pass over a number of potential “franchise” quarterbacks, Barkley needs to be damn good. No strike that. He needs to be great. It would be a disappointment if Barkley does not immediately become one of the NFL’s best backs and eventually challenge Tiki Barber’s 10,499 career rushing yards and Barber’s 5,183 career receiving yards.

The first step in doing that is staying healthy. Running backs get hit more than any other player in the NFL. Barkley is built like a tank, but in order to do the things he needs to do, he must stay on the field. Step two is keeping his head on straight and not letting the immense pressure get to him. That’s easier said than done. All eyes will be on Barkley. Every time he touches the ball, many will expect something special. Barkley readily admits he often tried to do too much on a given play during his career at Penn State. Take what the defense gives you. The big plays will come. In the meantime, eschew the bright lights of the big city and focus on football.

The good news is this: Barkley appears to be the real deal. The early returns from the OTAs and mini-camp is he is practically uncoverable by linebackers and even some safeties. At the very least, Barkley should be a major asset in the passing game, provided he can develop a rapport with Eli Manning, a quarterback not known for his screen and swing passes. What will be interesting to see is how effective he will be running the ball. The Giants really haven’t been a top-notch running team since 2008, when the team led the NFL in rushing. Can the Giants move out of the bottom tier into the upper tier of rushing in just one year? The expectation is that Barkley will finally force teams to respect the Giants’ running game, and thus open things up for Manning, Odell Beckham, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard in the passing game. In the last three seasons, the Giants have scored a total of 17 rushing touchdowns, or an average of less than six per season. That needs to change too.

Finally, the temptation will be to keep Barkley on the field on every play. The Giants must constantly evaluate his wear-and-tear. They want him to last more than five years in this League.

ON THE BUBBLE: The key questions here are how many halfbacks will the Giants keep? And is there a roll for a fullback in Pat Shurmur’s offense? With Barkley likely to receive the overwhelming bulk of the playing time, the Giants may decide to go light at halfback and go with Barkley, Jonathan Stewart (who they paid big money to be a mentor), and Wayne Gallman. The players clearly on the bubble include Jalen Simmons and Robert Martin. It’s anyone’s guess at this stage if Shurmur is leaning towards a roster spot for a fullback like Shane Smith or Kyle Carter.

FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on Saquon Barkley: “He’s a special player. Special player. Guy that, any single down, is going to create a lot of matchup nightmares for coordinators in this league and players in this league.”

Linebacker Alec Ogletree on Saquon Barkley: “A guy that comes to work the right way. He’s a true professional, even at a young age. He’s always asking questions and you can just tell he loves football and loves to learn and do the right thing.”

Tight End Rhett Ellison on Saquon Barkley: “He’s a humble guy. He just comes in and he works. Anytime you have a rookie, especially a first round pick like that, and they come in just ready to work with their head down, that’s the best you can ask for. Obviously, it’s hard to tell when you’re playing in underwear to see the physicality of the game. But I’d say his work ethic and just his humility is pretty cool.”

Saquon Barkley on what it takes to be a good running back: “I think it is instinct. Actually breaking down film and watching the David Johnson’s and Le’Veon Bell’s, instinct is one thing, but also what (Jonathan Stewart) has been teaching me, it is how to set up your blocks. For me, I did it so natural in college that I didn’t even notice I was doing it. Now, understanding and seeing the play before it develops and seeing the linebacker overflowing, that is how you set up cutback lanes. A guy who does it the best is Le’Veon Bell. I was watching him this morning and how he was picking up blocks. I think you have to be versatile as a running back. Catch the ball in the backfield and be able to block. Be able to run in between tackles and outside of tackles. If you really think if the three backs, the top five backs, that is what they are able to do. They block, catch the ball in the backfield and are able to run the ball. Just the way they set up their blocks. That is what it takes to be a top back in the NFL. ”

PREDICTIONS: I can’t imagine the amount of pressure that is on the shoulders of Saquon Barkley. There are fans who didn’t want him who will mock him every time he doesn’t break off a big play. Gettleman has Hall of Fame expectations. But there is an aura about this kid. In the age of “look at me,” Barkley seems like an old-school throwback who knows he is good but is more interested in the overall success of the team. Veterans have been impressed with his humility, work ethic, intelligence, and skillset. I think there will be grumblings early from fans, especially since the NFL schedule makers have the Giants opening with the very tough Jacksonville Jaguars defense. But I look for Saquon to get better and better as the season progresses, with his earliest impact coming in the passing game as the new offensive line will take some time to build cohesion.

Overall, it’s extremely difficult to see an offense with Odell Beckham, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley not being explosive. As long as Eli Manning has some gas left in the tank and the offensive line can become somewhat respectable, then this should be a very fun offense to watch.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Saquon Barkley, Jonathan Stewart, and Wayne Gallman at halfback. Given the fact that the Giants keep adding H-Back types, I think it is safe to say they may keep one as a fullback candidate. I have no idea who that will be however.

Jan 102018
 
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Steve Wilks, Carolina Panthers (September

Steve Wilks – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS HEAD COACHING SEARCH UPDATE…
The New York Giants have officially announced that team President/CEO John Mara, General Manager Dave Gettleman, and Assistant General Manager Kevin Abrams have interviewed the following head coaching candidates:

  • New York Giants Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo (on January 3)
  • New England Patriots Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia (on January 5)
  • New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels (on January 5)
  • Minnesota Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur (on January 6)
  • Carolina Panthers Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks (on January 9)
  • Denver Broncos Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville (on January 10)

Team Chairman/Executive Vice President Steve Tisch was also present for the interview with Wilks.

As of today, no other interviews are known to have been scheduled.

The 43-year old Patricia has spent his entire professional coaching career with the Patriots (starting in 2004) and has been New England’s defensive coordinator since 2012. The Detroit Lions are said to be front runners for Patricia’s services, although SI.com is reporting that Patricia favors the Giants.

The 41-year old McDaniels not only has served as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator and quarterback coach (2006-2008, 2012-2017) in recent years but he also was the head coach of the Denver Broncos (2009-2010) where he compiled an 11-17 (.393) record. The Indianapolis Colts are also interested in McDaniels.

In recent years, the 52-year old Shurmur has served as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback coach (2002-2008), St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator (2009-2010), Cleveland Browns head coach (2011-2012), Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator (2013-2015), and Vikings tight ends coach (2016). Shurmur was promoted to Vikings offensive coordinator in 2017. He also served as interim head coach for the Eagles in 2015. Shurmur has drawn interest from the Lions and Arizona Cardinals.

The 48-year old Wilks has served as as a defensive backs coach with the Washington Redskins (2005), Chicago Bears (2006-2008), San Diego Chargers (2009-2011), and Panthers (2012-2016). He was also named an assistant head coach of the Panthers in 2016 and promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017. Wilks was scheduled to interview with the Cardinals on Wednesday and the Colts on Thursday.

The 50-year old Studesville served as the Giants’ running back coach under Head Coach Jim Fassel (2001-2003) before going on to hold the same position with the Buffalo Bills (2004-2009) and Broncos (2010-2017). Studesville also served as interim head coach of the Broncos for four games in 2010 and became an assistant head coach in 2017.

GIANTS COACHES MOVING ON…
Members of Ben McAdoo’s coaching staff have begun moving on to new jobs:

  • Denver Broncos have hired Giants Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan as their quarterbacks coach.
  • Green Bay Packers have hired Giants Quarterbacks Coach Frank Cignetti, Jr. as their quarterbacks coach.
  • Green Bay Packers are interviewing Giants Defensive Line Coach Patrick Graham.

GIANTS SIGN THREE MORE TO RESERVE/FUTURES CONTRACTS…
The New York Giants have signed running back Jalen Simmons, offensive tackle Laurence Gibson, and linebacker Thurston Armbrister to reserve/futures contracts.

Simmons was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Carolina Panthers after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent the 2016 on the Practice Squad of the Panthers and spent time in 2017 on the Practice Squads of the Panthers and San Diego Chargers. Simmons is a short, stocky running back who lacks ideal speed, but he plays with a low center of gravity and good vision.

Gibson was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He has spent time with the Cowboys (2015), Chiefs (2015), Falcons (2016), Bears (2016), Giants (2016), Texans (2016-2017), and Browns (2017). The Giants signed him to their Practice Squad in September 2016 and cut him a few months later in December. He has yet to play in a regular-season game. Gibson is a very athletic lineman with good height and long arms. A better testing athlete than football player so far, Gibson needs to play with more strength and power.

Armbrister was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jaguars (2015) and Detroit Lions (2016-2017). Armbrister has played in 30 regular-season games with five starts, and has accumulated 38 tackles and one pass defense. He did not play in a regular-season game in 2017. Armbrister lacks ideal size and athleticism, but he is a good run defender with fine intangibles.

ARTICLES…