Jan 072024
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (January 7, 2024)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants upset the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in the team’s final game of the 2023 NFL season. The Giants finished with a 6-11 record. The Giants will also hold the 6th overall pick in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

Emblematic of the final score, the Giants out-gained the Eagles in first downs (22 to 19), total net yards (415 to 299), net yards passing (306 to 166), and time of possession (32:57 to 27:03). The Eagles did out-rush the Giants (133 to 109). The Giants won the turnover battle (4 to 1).

The Giants and Eagles exchanged punts to start the game. New York then put together a 9-play, 67-yard drive that resulted in a 24-yard field goal by kicker Mason Crosby. Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson jump-started this possession with a 33-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

The Eagles threatened on their second drive as well, gaining 57 yards. However, on 2nd-and-9 from the New York 27-yard line, cornerback Nick McCloud forced a fumble after a 9-yard catch. Linebacker Micah McFadden recovered and advanced the ball back to the 27. The Giants’ offense went three-and-out. The Eagles gained 34 yards but turned the football over on downs after quarterback Jalen Hurt’s pass on 4th-and-3 from their own 48-yard line fell incomplete.

New York’s fourth offensive possession began with a 3rd-and-1 conversion. Five plays later, on 3rd-and-11, Taylor found Robinson for a 26-yard gain down to the 2-yard line. Running back Saquon Barkley scored on the next snap and the Giants were up 10-0.

The Eagles went three-and-out, highlighted by a 14-yard sack by safety Dane Belton on 3rd-and-6. It took the Giants just six plays to score, with big passing plays to tight end Darren Waller for 23 yards and Robinson for 19 yards. Barkley scored his second rushing touchdown as the Giants were now up 17-0.

Linebacker Bobby Okereke sacked Hurts for a 12-yard loss and the Eagles went three-and-out again. New York then scored their third offensive touchdown in a row, highlighted by a 46-yard pass to Barkley on 3rd-and-2. Taylor then found wide receiver Darius Slayton for the 19-yard score.

The last 1:47 of the first half was eventful. On 3rd-and-8, Hurt’s deep pass was intercepted near the sideline by safety Xavier McKinney, who did a marvelous job of keeping his feet inbounds. The Giants went three-and-out. The Eagles pulled Hurts out of the game for Marcus Mariota, but his first pass was also intercepted by McKinney, setting up the Giants at the Philadelphia 12-yard line. Unfortunately, Taylor was intercepted on the next play when his pass was deflected by cornerback James Bradberry.

At the half, the Giants led 24-0.

The third quarter began with the Eagles gaining 33 yards before punting. In turn, the Giants netted 38 yards before also punting. Philadelphia finally got on the scoreboard after a 13-play, 66-yard drive ended with a 36-yard field goal. The Giants gained 21 yards and punted early in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles tightened the game to 27-10 with an 8-play, 81-yard drive that resulted in a 16-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to wide receiver Quez Watkins. However, the Giants responded with a 12-play, 72-yard drive that not only added a 21-yard field goal, but it took over six and a half minutes off of the clock.

With three and a half minutes left to play, linebacker Jihad Ward sacked Mariota, causing a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Azeez Ojulari at the Philadelpha 28-yard line. The Giants could not advance the ball and Crosby missed a 45-yard field goal at the 2-minute warning. The game ended at midfield with a 6-yard sack by Ojulari.

Taylor finished the game 23-of-32 for 297 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also rushed for 38 yards on eight carries. His leading targets were Robinson (5 catches for 85 yards), Slayton (5 catches for 62 yards), and Waller (5 catches for 45 yards). Barkley was held to 46 rushing yards on 18 carries, but he did score twice and caught two passes for 51 yards.

Defensively, the Giants picked off two passes (both by McKinney) and recovered two fumbles. The Giants also generated five sacks, two by Ojulari and one each by Okereke, Belton, and Ward.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, placed S Jason Pinnock (foot) on Injured Reserve and signed QB Jacob Eason and TE Tyree Jackson to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. The Giants also activated (standard elevation) OT Yodny Cajuste and PK Mason Crosby from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were OC John Michael Schmitz (shin), CB Deonte Banks (shoulder), QB Jacob Eason, WR Parris Campbell, TE Tyree Jackson, DT Timmy Horne, and OLB Benton Whitley.

WR Jalin Hyatt (hamstring) left the game in the first half and did not return. CB Nick McCloud (back) left in the second half. QB Tyrod Taylor (thumb) and TE Darren Waller (burner) were injured in the first half but returned to the game.

Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Monday morning.

Nov 202023
Bobby Okereke, New York Giants (November 19, 2023)

Bobby Okereke – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Monday (VIDEO):

Q: In your long time working with quarterbacks over the years, is there a difference when you get handed a top pick or an undrafted free agent? Are there special challenges and different ways to go about it depending on what kind of quarterback you are handed?

A: I wouldn’t necessarily (say) it is based on the round. It’s definitely – you look at the skillset of each player and each player is a little bit different and you try to develop that skillset. It’s a little bit harder when it’s the third guy rather than the first or the second guy but we’ve got a big staff, and we work with a bunch of those guys. I’d say (Assistant Quarterbacks Coach) Christian Jones has worked with those, kind of three quarterbacks, if you will, the assistant quarterback coach when (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kafka and (Quarterbacks Coach) Shea (Tierney) are dealing with the first two guys. I talk to (quarterback Tommy) DeVito once a week, that goes back to training camp but again, each player, each quarterback is different, has a different skillset. But there’s a part of the developmental process that goes along with every position but particularly that one’s pretty important because they don’t maybe get as many reps as some as the other guys get at different positions that you can roll in there, so it doesn’t really matter the round. It’s more focused on the player and then what does that player do well and again, it’s a little bit harder than some other positions because they don’t get as many reps. They get the show team reps and things like that, but he’s done a good job of working with the coaches and trying to improve on a day-to-day basis.

Q: You said you talked to him once a week back when training camp got started. Anybody in that position as the number three quarterback, that’s what you would do?

A: Yeah, he’s a rookie player so we talk about a lot of different things. We meet every Thursday in the morning before everybody gets here and we go through a variety of different things. Situational stuff, basic offensive terminology, different quarterbacks around the league, different types of tapes that show up whether it’s turnover tapes, or big play tapes, or redzone tapes or decision-making tapes. Just a way to get to know the quarterback who’s really the third guy. As a head coach, I think that’s important.

Q: I asked you about Tommy DeVito before the first preseason game and while many had doubts you said, ‘give him a chance, let’s see.’ What qualities did he possess that made you believe that he could succeed if given the chance?

A: Well, he did a good job of picking up our offense. I think he operates well in the pocket, he’s got quick feet, he throws with anticipation and timing and he’s instinctive. He does a good job of seeing defenders and feeling defenses. I don’t think he’s an overprocessor, an overthinker. He can make a variety of the throws and he was a good young player to try to work with and develop and hopefully that we spend a year with him and he gets a little bit better so that maybe he can have something the following year, but things have sped up for him. I know he’s had this opportunity and look, there’s plenty of things that he knows he needs to work on, and we need to work on with him that we can help him, but he’s got the right mindset, the right approach. He’s done a good job since he’s been here.

Q: How does a quarterback develop pocket presence or pocket awareness?

A: Great question. It’s tough. You do a variety of drills with them but until you’re actually in the line of fire where you can take those shots from 310, 330 (pound players), or edge rushers, blitzers, I don’t think you have a great feel. You evaluate it on college tape but the good ones that I’ve been around have a unique way of dealing with – call it the congestion that happens in the pocket. In the different drills, you work on those on a daily basis, but I think it’s something innate that they have that they are able to keep their eyes down the field, stay in the pocket, move a little bit, maybe get out when they have to, an instinctive feel that the good ones that I’ve been around have done a good job with that. I’d say that he’s got some good pocket presence. Obviously, we’ve got some stuff to work on but for a young player, he’s willing to stand in there. He has pretty quiet feet. Quick feet but quiet feet when he has to. The line knows where he’s going to be most of the time, and he gets the ball out like he does throw with some good anticipation and timing. So again, he’s only played two games, so another tough challenge this week and a lot of things we need to work on.

Q: (Kicker) Randy’s (Bullock) got through his three elevations so what’s the kicker plan this week?

A: I’ll meet with (Senior Vice President/General Manager) Joe (Schoen) after this. Me, Joe, the doctors and the rest of the crew and come up with a plan as to how we’re going to go forward here.

Q: What does it mean that he has “quiet feet”?

A: When he gets back in the pocket he doesn’t move around a whole bunch. He stays in that pocket, if you will, and he doesn’t move too far to one side or the other side. He’s where he needs to be most of the time and when he’s not there, it’s usually for a reason – when he’s moving, these first couple games he’s played. It’ll be a challenge going forward, it is always for young quarterbacks, particularly in this league that are getting hit and rushed and things like that from some really good players, but he’s done a nice job.

Q: The play I wanted to ask you about was the 36-yard run by (running back) Saquon (Barkley). I’m just curious what he did right in that play because it felt like – looking back at it, I didn’t notice this in real time, but it looked like it had almost layers to it. Layers to the play so what did Saquon do right and maybe as importantly or more importantly, what did those offensive linemen, I think it might have been (center) John Michael (Schmitz Jr.) and I’m not sure if the other was (guard Justin) Pugh.

A: It was really five. The play got started because of (tight end Daniel) Bellinger and (wide receiver Sterling) Shep(ard). They had a pressure that went inside but they sealed the edge and prevented the penetration off the pressure. Then, (wide receiver) Wan’Dale (Robinson) really did a great job of blocking the edge guy, then we got two linemen out in front, which was a clean look for Saquon. And then once Saquon got out into the open field, he didn’t get touched for a little bit, then he made elusive plays, made a guy miss and ran with power and strength. It was a timely play call by Mike (Kafka), we hit it into a good look. The guys did a good job of getting the play started and then Saquon in space, it’s always a good thing when he’s in space.

Q: Do you think a play like that can demoralize a defense?

A: I mean, it was a good play. I’d say you just get ready to play the next play. They did a heck of a job of stopping our running game, so I don’t want to speak for them, but they were doing a dang good job of stopping our running game and controlling the line of scrimmage, so it was good to get that one. Obviously, gave us a little bit of a spark.

Q: Just real quick, do you have a (wide receiver Darius) Slayton update?

A: I don’t, no. I will on Wednesday, but I haven’t met with those guys yet.

Q: If you could take me beyond the Giants focus for a sec, I’d appreciate it. Last year, 66 different quarterbacks started games. This year, it’s already been 48 different quarterbacks have started games. Is grooming a viable backup quarterback more important than ever now in today’s NFL? You’ve been in the league 20-plus years and why do you think that is?

A: Well, I think it’s always been important because you’re one play away from having a player have to go in there and compete and play and keep the ship sailing, so to speak. So, I don’t know that there has ever been a de-emphasis on it. I think it’s always been important. Guys that have played a little bit and have experience in that role, but if you can find a young player that you can develop and groom into that role, I think that’s helpful. It’s a tough position, obviously. It’s demanding, it’s taxing, it’s the most difficult position to play. Whether it’s mentally, physically, there’s just so many things that go on. It’s so much preparation that each player has to do to be able to play that role. I would say that having a backup quarterback, you need a guy to be able to go in there four to five games and be able to keep it going if something happens in that kind of timeframe, if you will.

Q: Why do you think that we’re seeing so many different quarterbacks? Like I said, 66 was the record last year, going to get challenged this year. Is it because of more attention to injuries? Less patience in coaches with their quarterbacks? Like why do you think the last couple of years we’ve seen more than ever before?

A: I don’t know, that’s a great question. I can only speak for us right now. We’re on our third one and both of them have been the result of injuries. I’m sure there’s a lot of – I couldn’t give you probably the answer that you’re looking for. I’ve been in the league quite some time and there’s been years that I’ve had three or four play in a season and then times where just one has played. Usually, when you only have one play, there something going right, something going good. When you have two, three or four, then there’s different challenges that come up with that. It’s a hard position. It’s a hard position to play. That’s why it’s so important to develop these young players that you have on your roster, whether they’re on the practice squad or maybe less experienced. I think that’s a very important aspect of coaching offense and football and particularly quarterbacks.

Q: I’m sure you haven’t done your deep dive or not ready to give it to us yet on the Patriots but in general, what’s it like coaching up against (Patriots Head Coach) Bill (Belichick)? And what does it mean for you? You’ve done it a couple of times as a play caller, I guess. What is it like to go up against him as an offensive coach?

A: I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect, for one, that organization. (Patriots Chairman & CEO Robert) Mr. Kraft, (President) Jonathan (Kraft), Dan, Josh, all those guys – obviously, Bill, who gave me my first opportunity in the NFL. I think – I don’t know, this might be 17 or 18, somewhere around there, of times that games that we’ve played, that I’ve coached, obviously not as a head coach, but as offensive coordinator or a position coach. Got a ton of respect for that team, for that organization and just really getting started right now on preparation for them. Does that answer your question?

Q: What does he normally do that makes him so challenging to go up against, when you were a play caller against his defense?

A: Well, they’re well prepared. He’s going to have whatever he wants to have in, relative to changes from week-to-week. That’s the approach that they’ve had there for a long time. Again, not having been back there, maybe that’s changed a little bit, maybe it’s not, I don’t want to speak for them, but they’re always well prepared. They have good coaches, good players, the usual stuff.

Q: Yesterday was the first time you had the same line together in consecutive games all season. There were times when you look at it, they seemed to struggle with communication. Is it too much to expect these guys only playing together two games in a row to have that?

A: They didn’t struggle with communication.

Q: Was it just missed blocks then or what?

A: Yeah, there was a couple plays. Again, give Washington credit. They’ve got two good interior players that do that to a lot of teams. There was, I’d say, very few mental errors. Some physical things we can shore up on, but those guys are good communicators, work well together – again, this is their second time but they’re true pros. Again, those interior guys are pretty good players. Our guys battled, competed, wasn’t always perfect, not at any position on the team. Whether it was offensive line, quarterback, defensive line, d-backs, all of us. But those guys care, they work extremely hard and they’re good guys to have.

Q: Along the lines of the line, since John Michael has gotten back from his injury and has kind of settled in again, is there anything you can point to in his game that you can see now that you weren’t really seeing earlier in the year and that kind of speaks to his development and growth as a player?

A: I’d just say there’s been steady improvement, really in every area. Are there plays that he wishes (he could have) back? Sure, everybody has those plays. Particularly the guys who play inside there, but I think it’s been good for him to have (guard Ben) Bredeson next to him as a good communicator, Pugh. Those guys are continuing to work on fundamental things that help them, but he’s got the right approach. I’d say each game he plays, he gets more experience, there’s different things that he sees that maybe he didn’t see at the college level. Different powers, different sets, different rushes, different looks that he has to communicate, but I’d say his communication has been steadily improved. He’s a smart, young player.

Q: I know you were asked about Slayton but were there any other injuries coming out of yesterday?

A: No, I think we were pretty clean. Just a bunch – a couple knicks and bruises. I’ll meet with those guys after this, but I think we’re pretty clean.

Q: Obviously, a game like yesterday it has to be a big boost for the confidence of Tommy DeVito but what about his teammates moving forward? When they see – here’s this young guy getting his break and he can have a game like that. What does it do for his teammates’ confidence to say ‘hey, you know what? Maybe we’re not spinning our wheels here. Maybe we can ascend and do a lot better than what people are giving us credit for or being able to do.’

A: I’d say that – again, I think Tommy has got a good personality and I think he draws a lot of people with him. Even the games that wasn’t the result that we wanted, we’re out on the practice field and he’s making a few throws here and there then you see three d-lineman run on the field and high-five him. He just has a good personality about him that he knows how to interact with people. I think those guys have confidence in him but it’s good for them to see him have some success because I think – again, the last few weeks that he’s been practicing, he’s brought an energy to the team, I think. Not just the offensive guys, the defensive guys that are jumping around and he’s out there singing songs, dancing in the huddle and doing some things. And I want him to be himself, everybody’s a little bit different. I think those guys were really more happy for him of kind of how he played and they know the type of commitment he’s made to them and to our team to be as good as he can be for them.

Q: In regards to Saquon in the passing game, how much of his involvement or increased involvement was gameplan wise for that specific game? And why do you think he hasn’t been a bigger factor throughout this year? You mentioned that play that he scored a touchdown on, you guys did it all summer, he’s been asking for it to be called.

A: Again, it was a timely call by Mike (Kafka). We got the exact right look that we had practiced against for the last few weeks. The first 3rd-and-10, he made a nice play on a loose scramble. Then down in the redzone, he’s run that a fair amount. It’s just a little cross, kind of flare type route. So again, they were doing a good job of – two ways you can get him involved, one in the pass game, one in the run game, so we try to use him the best we can. They were doing a good job of preventing some of these runs breaking out. Thought it would help to get him the ball in a couple different spots in the pass game.

Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

The players are off on Tuesday and there is no media availability to the team. The players return to practice on Wednesday.


Oct 222023
Deonte Banks, New York Giants (October 22, 2023)

Deonte Banks – © USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t pretty, but the New York Giants won their second game of the season by defeating the Washington Commanders 14-7 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. The Giants snapped a four-game losing streak and are now 2-5 (1-1 in the NFC East).

The Giants were without starting quarterback Daniel Jones (neck) for the second game in a row, as well as three starting offensive linemen, including both offensive tackles. Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (neck) also missed the game.

The contest should not have been as close as it was. Two fumbles and a dropped interception turned what should have been a blowout by the Giants into a nail-biter that was decided by a goal line stand at the end of the games.

The Giants out-gained the Commanders in first downs (16 to 14), total net yards (356 to 273), net yards rushing (106 to 76), and net yards passing (250 to 176). New York also held Washington to 1-of-15 (6.7 percent) on 3rd down. Washington won the time-of-possession battle (31:14 to 28:46) and turnover battle (2 to 1).

The two teams combined for 17 first-half offensive possessions. Washington’s eight possessions resulted in 46 yards, two first downs, seven punts, and an interception by cornerback Deonte Banks. Quarterback Sam Howell was also sacked five times, doubling New York’s league-low sack total entering the game.

Meanwhile, the Giants started off slowly with a three-and-out on their initial possession. They followed that up with a 9-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a missed 42-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. Their third possession resulted in another three-and-out.

The Giants scored an offensive touchdown for the first time in the first half of game this year on their fourth possession. New York drove 88 yards in eight plays, as the team overcame a red-zone holding penalty, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw a 15-yard strike to tight end on 3rd-and-goal. The Giants led 7-0 early in the 2nd quarter.

The Giants’ fifth offensive possession resulted in their third three-and-out. But after Banks picked off Howell, the offense responded with their second and last scoring drive of the game. It took two plays, the first a 16-yard throw to Waller and the second a 32-yard catch-and-run by running back Saquon Barkley for the touchdown. With just under nine minutes to play in the first half, the Giants led 14-0.

The Giants could have put the game away had outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux held onto a pass thrown right to him. It should have been an easy defensive score, giving the Giants a 21-0 lead. Instead, both offenses sputtered for the remainder of the first half.

At the break, the Giants still led 14-0.

Washington received the ball to start the second half and promptly went three-and-out again. However, New York’s punt return woes now came to the forefront. Running back Eric Gray had muffed a punt (recovered by the Giants) early in the game and had left the contest with a calf injury. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who was now returning punts, muffed the Washington punt. It was recovered by the Commanders at the New York 21-yard line. Six plays later, including a 4th-and-1 conversion, running back Brian Robinson scored from four yards out to cut the score to 14-7 early in the 3rd quarter.

Neither team’s offense did much for the remainder of the quarter. Three New York possessions resulted in one first down and three punts. Two Washington possessions resulted in one first down and two punts.

However, the Commanders threatened to tie the game late in the 3rd quarter and early into the 4th quarter. They drove 81 yards in eight plays, reaching the red zone. There the Giants’ defense held and Washington’s 27-yard field goal attempt was blocked by defensive lineman Leonard Williams. The score remained 14-7 with 13:23 left to play.

The Giants’ offense responded with what looked like game-clinching drive. New York took 5:37 off of the clock and gained 72 yards in 10 plays. However, on 1st-and-goal from the 10-yard line, Barkley fumbled the ball away at the 8-yard line, giving Washington the chance they needed to tie or win the game with 7:46 left on the clock.

In a nearly 7-minute long possession, the Commanders gained 85 yards and six first downs in 17 plays, including another 4th-and-1 conversion. With a minute left in the game, Howell’s 4th-and-5 pass to wide receiver Jahan Dotson was dropped, sealing the victory for the Giants.

Taylor finished the game 18-of-29 for 279 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. He was sacked four times and rushed for 25 yards on eight carries. His leading receiver was Waller, who caught seven passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. Wideout Jalin Hyatt caught two passes for 75 yards. Barkley carried the ball 21 times for 77 yards and caught three passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.

The Giants’ defense came into the game with five sacks, but got to Howell six times, including sacks by defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (2), Thibodeaux (1.5), Williams (1), safety Jason Pinnock (1), and linebacker Micah McFadden (0.5).

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants activated QB Tommy DeVito and OL Jalen Mayfield from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were QB Daniel Jones (neck), LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring), RT Evan Neal (ankle), OC John Michael Schmitz (shoulder), OT Matt Peart (shoulder), CB Adoree’ Jackson (neck), and DL Jordon Riley.

Running backs Eric Gray (calf) and Gary Brightwell (hamstring) left the game in the first half. RB Saquon Barkley hyperextended his left elbow in the first half but remained in the game.

Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Oct 082023
New York Giants Defense (October 8, 2023)

Giants defense gave up over 500 yards

For the fourth time in five games, the New York Giants were obliterated by their opponent, this time losing 31-16 to the Miami Dolphins. Worse, quarterback Daniel Jones suffered a neck injury in the 4th quarter. X-rays were taken after the game and he will undergo further scans on Monday. Jones suffered a neck injury in Week 12 in 2021, which caused him to miss the rest of that season.

As for the game, it was more of the same for the Giants. New York still has not scored an offensive touchdown in the first half of a game this season, and did not score an offensive touchdown in this game. An offensive line already missing three players lost another during the contest. Jones was sacked six times and back-up quarterback Tyrod Taylor was also sacked once. The defense finally created a turnover, actually three, but gave up over 500 yards of offense.

Miami out-gained New York in first downs (22 to 15), total net yards (524 to 268), net yards rushing (222 to 85), and net yards passing (302 to 183). The Giants did win the time of possession (35:59 to 24:01) and turnover (3 to 0) battles.

The Giants received the ball to start the game, picked up one first down, and then punted. The Dolphins then easily drove 89 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 early lead with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa throwing a 2-yard touchdown pass. The Giants held the ball for more than seven minutes on their second possession, but only netted 38 yards on 13 plays. Place kicker Graham Gano missed his 55-yard field goal on the first play of the 2nd quarter.

Miami’s second possession ended when safety Xavier McKinney forced running back De’Von Achane to fumble with linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux recovering the loose ball at the New York 38-yard line. However, the Giants’ offense went three-and-out. The ensuing punt was downed at the 6-yard line. Three plays later, Achane redeemed himself with 76-yard touchdown sprint to give the Dolphins a 14-0 advantage.

New York’s offense finally put points on the board on their fourth and final possession of the first half, as the team took another six minutes off of the clock with a 13-play, 44-yard drive that ended with a 49-yard field goal by Gano to cut the score to 14-3 with 3:41 left before halftime.

Highlighted by a 64-yard pass to wideout Tyreek Hill, it only took Miami two plays to reach the Giants’ 4-yard line. However, on 3rd-and-goal, Tagovailoa’s pass to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle was deflected by linebacker Bobby Okereke and intercepted in the end zone by safety Jason Pinnock. He returned the pick 102 yards for a defensive touchdown.

Despite the one-sided game, the Giants only trailed by four points with 1:35 to play. Miami’s offense did put more points on the board before halftime, moving 50 yards in nine plays to set up a 40-yard field goal.

At the half, the Dolphins led 17-10.

A back-breaker occurred early in the 3rd quarter. On Miami’s third play, on 3rd-and-4, Tagovailoa completed a 69-yard touchdown to Hill. In less than a minute, the score was now 24-10. The Giants responded with a couple of first downs and punted. Nevertheless, New York was still very much alive when Okereke intercepted Tagovailoa on 3rd-and-4, returning the ball to the Miami 22-yard line. A holding penalty on reserve offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield pushed the Giants back on 3rd-and-3 and the team settled for a 37-yard field goal by Gano. Dolphins 24 – Giants 13.

For all intents and purposes, the Dolphins put the game away on their next possession. An 8-play, 75-yard drive ended with a 2-yard touchdown run at the end of the 3rd quarter. Every yard of this possession was gained on the ground.

Both teams went three-and-out early in the 4th quarter. Jones was then knocked out of the game on the first play of the second New York possession of the quarter. Taylor replaced him at quarterback with the Giants only netting 18 yards in 10 plays to set up a 51-yard field goal to make the score 31-16 with just under nine minutes to play.

After another three-and-out by the Dolphins, Taylor and the Giants gained 66 yards on 13 plays, but the possession ended with Taylor being tackled just short of the first-down marker on 4th-and-3 at the 19-yard line with 1:21 left to play. The Dolphins then ran out the clock.

Jones was 14-of-20 for 119 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. He was sacked six times and left the game injured. Taylor was 9-of-12 for 86 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He was sacked once. The leading receiver was tight end Darren Waller with eight catches for 86 yards. Running back Eric Gray led the team in rushing with just 25 yards on 12 carries. Running back Matt Breida had 21 yards on nine carries.

Defensively, the Giants allowed over 500 yards of offense, including chunk plays of 76, 69, and 64 yards. The Giants finally did create their first turnovers of the year, with three, including a defensive score. Thibodeaux had the team’s only sack.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants activated offensive linemen Jaylon Thomas and Jalen Mayfield from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring), OC John Michael Schmitz (shoulder), OL Shane Lemieux (groin), ILB Micah McFadden (ankle), DL Jordon Riley, and S Gervarrius Owens.

QB Daniel Jones (neck), OG Marcus McKethan (knee), and OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle) all left the game with injuries. QB Tyrod Taylor also had the wind knocked out of him and CB Deonte Banks injured his ankle late in the contest.

Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Jul 102023
Adoree' Jackson, New York Giants (September 18, 2022)

Adoree’ Jackson – © 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.



2022 YEAR IN REVIEW: Don “Wink” Martindale’s aggressive defensive system places a great deal of pressure on defensive backs, who must be able to be left alone on an island in man coverage. One mistake could result in an easy touchdown. With that understanding in mind, it is a minor miracle that the Giants defensive backfield was able to hold up as well as it did in 2022 given injuries and the pedigree of many of the component parts that made up the whole unit.

The release of James Bradberry in May left a gaping hole at cornerback with the injury-prone Adoree’ Jackson remaining as the only proven starter. Nickel corner and 2021 3rd-rounder Aaron Robinson was moved outside and won the job opposite of Jackson in training camp. However, Robinson missed Weeks 2 and 3 with with appendicitis. He then tore his ACL and MCL in Week 4 and was lost for the season. Another 2021 draft pick, Rodarius Williams, was still recovering from a previous ACL and was also on IR. That left the Giants with three options outside: Nick McCloud (who was claimed off of waivers from the Bills in late August), Justin Layne (who was claimed off of waivers from the Steelers in late August), and Fabian Moreau (who was released by the Texans in late August). The defensive staff turned to Moreau, who started the rest of the season except for Week 11 (oblique injury) and Week 17 (healthy scratch). While Moreau was not an ideal starter, he performed better than anticipated.

The situation at outside corner got even shakier in the second half of the season when Jackson was lost for the final seven regular-season games with an MCL knee sprain he suffered while the coaching staff foolishly had him returning a punt. Jackson, who had been playing at a very high level, did not return until the playoffs. The Giants then turned to McCloud, who started those remaining seven games. McCloud had his ups and downs in coverage, particularly against upper echelon receivers, but played better than expected.

The Giants waived Layne in mid-November when Rodarius Williams was healthy enough to return (however, Williams only played in three games all season). Undrafted rookie free agent Zyon Gilbert spent the entire season on the Practice Squad but was a standard elevation three times, starting once.

At slot corner, the Giants had drafted Cor’Dale Flott in the 3rd round, but it was Darnay Holmes who served as the team’s primary nickel corner. He missed one game due to a shoulder injury. Holmes played a physical, aggressive game, but had issues in coverage at key moments of football games. Holmes also was a penalty machine, being flagged nine times. Flott saw quite a bit of action, playing in 11 games.

Safety was not immune to drama either. The Giants had parted ways with Jabrill Peppers in the offseason, opening the door for Julian Love, who had a career season. Love started 16 regular-season games and finished the year with a team-high 124 tackles. He played in 95 percent of defensive snaps and was flagged only once.

The problem was Xavier McKinney was lost for virtually the entire second-half of the season due to an off-the-field ATV accident during the bye week that caused multiple fractures in his left hand, requiring surgery. McKinney missed seven regular-season games. He also was a “healthy” scratch in the regular-season finale. This meant the team was without its two best defensive backs for the second-half of the year.

Making matters worse at safety was that veteran Tony Jefferson, who the had been added to the 53-man roster in early October, was lost a week later when he was placed on IR with a foot injury. He did not return until December. Rookie 4th-rounder Dane Belton broke his clavicle in early August in training camp. He missed the entire preseason and first regular-season game. Belton also appeared on the injury report a few times in November and December with a clavicle injury and was never completely healthy. Nevertheless, Belton did play in 15 regular-season games with five starts.

With Love shifting to Xavier McKinney’s spot, it was Jason Pinnock who picked up much of the slack. The Giants claimed Pinnock off of waivers from the Jets in late August. He played in 14 games, starting five contests in the second half of the season. However, he also missed three games due to shoulder and ankle injuries.

Undrafted rookie free agent Trenton Thompson spent the year on the Practice Squad, but did play in one game on special teams. The Giants also signed ex-Ram Terrell Burgess to the Practice Squad in November 2022. Burgess played in one regular-season game, also exclusively on special teams.

In summary, for much of the season, the Giants were without their two best defensive backs, being forced to start three players who had been cut in August (Moreau, McCloud, Pinnock). When you factor in the injuries on the defensive line (including Leonard Williams missing a month), Kayvon Thibodeaux starting off slowly due to injury, Azeez Ojulari missing most of the year, and in-season pick-ups starting at inside linebacker, you really appreciate what the defensive staff was able to accomplish with those who were still standing. If you had told fans that in August, they would have predicted a 3-14 season.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants did not re-sign any of their unrestricted free agents. Fabian Moreau, who started 11 games for the Giants, remains a free agent. Tony Jefferson also found no takers, retired, and has joined the Ravens’ scouting department. The team’s biggest free agent loss was clearly Julian Love, who signed a 2-year, $12 million contract with the Seahawks. At one point, the Giants had attempted to re-sign him, but it appears he priced himself out their price range.

The Giants did re-sign Practice Squaders Zyon Gilbert, Trenton Thompson and Terrell Burgess, but Burgess was waived after failing a physical in May.

In free agency, the Giants added CB Amani Oruwariye (UFA from the Lions) and S Bobby McCain (cut by Commanders). Undrafted CB Leonard Johnson, who did not play in 2022, was also signed.

The big addition was the 1st-round selection of Deonte Banks, who the team moved up one spot to acquire. The Giants also drafted CB Tre Hawkins in the 6th round and S Gervarrius Owens in the 7th round, meaning that almost half of their draft picks were spent on the defensive backfield. The Giant signed undrafted rookie free agents CB Gemon Green and S Alex Cook after the Draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES:  Last season, this coaching staff made due with other team’s castoffs. Just as with the defensive line and linebacker, there appears to be more stability now. Most eyes will be focused on how quickly and effectively Deonte Banks, as a rookie, can nail down the starting cornerback spot opposite of Adoree’ Jackson. But there are many interesting and important story lines at this position.

Depth at cornerback. As we saw last year, players get hurt. And Adoree’ Jackson has missed time for four seasons in a row. Aaron Robinson had won the starting job before he got hurt, but he’s coming off a serious knee injury. He will compete against Amani Oruwariye, Rodarius Williams, Tre Hawkins, Zyon Gilbert, Leonard Johnson, and Gemon Green. Oruwariye is a wild card. At times, he was spectacular in Detroit, at other times awful. Rodarius Williams has flashed but also left a bad taste last year while publicly complaining about playing time. While Hawkins was a late pick, he also was one of the team’s 30 pre-draft visits.

Cor’Dale Flott will likely press Darnay Holmes at slot corner. He could also be a factor outside while Robinson could also be moved back inside. The ability of all three of these players to play inside does help their respective chances.

McCloud could be a more important piece than realized with the loss of Julian Love. The Giants had McCloud working at safety this spring, and that kind of versatility is what the coaching staff appreciated about Love. Regardless, the Giants must fill this vacancy, and that battle will be one of the most interesting of training camp. The leading contenders are McCloud, Bobby McCain, Dane Belton, and Jason Pinnock.

ON THE BUBBLE: There are currently 19 defensive backs on the 90-man roster. The Giants are likely to carry somewhere between 10 and 12 on the roster. The only sure bets are Adoree’ Jackson, Deonte Banks, and Xavier McKinney. However, Cor’Dale Flott and Dane Belton have a greater chance to make it given their 2022 draft status. Nick McCloud’s versatility also seems to be growing in importance. While everyone else is “on the bubble”, this may be the toughest position group on the team to predict as most of these guys have enough talent to make a roster. In other words, don’t count out guys even like Zyon Gilbert.

FROM COACHES AND PLAYERS: Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale on Deonte Banks: “I just think he’s everything you want in a corner, starting off with he is tough and he can tackle. He likes to play press coverage and he likes to be on the island out there. He loves the challenge of it. You can see he’s that way here. Very humble kid.”

Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson on Deonte Banks: “When you see his physical skillset, you’re absolutely excited about that. His size, his speed, his strength, his toughness, his one-on-one demeanor. We think we got a good one. I was really excited to get the guy we wanted.”

Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson on slot corners: “It used to be that you only put little corners inside, twitchy small guys. But now it’s become a match-up game and it depends on who their slot (receiver) is because you get some big guys in there to deal with. That’s why we like having so many guys with versatility, when you think of X (McKinney), McCloud, Bobby McCain, and you add our corners into the mix, we have options to match the bodies hopefully and get it right… You may have that guy who you like versus anybody. Hopefully, we have that guy. If we don’t, we’ll go by the committee approach.”

Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson on Nick McCloud:“He’s been repping at safety in the spring. He played everything (last season). Big, physical, fast, versatile. We do so much with our safeties covering the slot. We’re blitzing the nickel (cornerback) and now we need a guy who can cover that slot receiver. So we like him for that. We like him for his toughness, we like him for his competitiveness. We thought he would help us at the safety position… Right now, he’s just playing safety.”

Adoree’ Jackson on Nick McCloud: “I think Nick is a man, a Swiss Army knife. A guy that is going to do whatever you ask him to do, he’s going to do it at a high level. One thing I can say I appreciate Nick never put his head down, never wavering, never being woe is me, just like, ‘coach what do you need me to do’. Him being able to switch around it’s great because we can utilize him in different ways. I say I just appreciate Nick for him being unselfish. A lot of guys probably would be mad or whatever it may be, but him just going out there and loving the game, having fun with it, good things happen. It gets him on the field as well.”

PREDICTIONS/CLOSING THOUGHTS: Let’s be clear. Wink Martindale did not have two outside cornerbacks who he could completely trust to leave on an island last season. As I said above, it’s a minor miracle the Giants got as far as they did with late August castoffs. Things change now with Adoree’ Jackson and Deonte Banks. Yes, Adoree’ has to stay healthy. And yes, there will be growing pains with Banks. But when the two of them are on the field together, Martindale can really dial it up.

At corner, my focus really is going to be more at the slot position, and outside depth. Darnay Holmes is a lightning rod for fans. He’s an aggressive, physical player. But he was successfully targeted by opposing teams late in games, and he obviously gets too grabby, which leads to penalties. Holmes says he’s been working on this hard this offseason. We shall see. Meanwhile, Cor’Dale Flott lurks as does potentially Aaron Robinson.

Outside, the Giants really need to find solid 3rd and 4th corners. Robinson got hurt before he could demonstrate he could play outside. Tre Hawkins was obviously on the team’s radar scope, but he’s raw. As already mentioned, Oruwariye is a wild card. He could thrive under Jerome Henderson and Wink’s press-man schemes. On the other hand, he could be one of the first guys on the chopping block.

Keep one important thing in mind, Jackson is in the last year of his expensive contract ($19 million cap hit in 2023). Like the situation with Leonard Williams and the defensive line, cornerback could also be pretty high on the draft priority list in 2024.

Finding someone to play opposite of Xavier McKinney at safety is one of the more interesting training camp battles. Strong (and premature) cases could be made for Bobby McCain, Dane Belton, and Jason Pinnock winning a starting job. But now Nick McCloud enters into the picture. Could he be the next Julian Love? And don’t completely discount a guy coming out of nowhere like rookie Gervarrius Owens.

If any of these young guys want to really help their chances, they should go all out on special teams, especially with the Giants possibly parting ways with core special teamers come cutdown day.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: This was the toughest group for me to predict. Here are my thoughts:

Corner: Adoree’ Jackson, Deonte Banks, Aaron Robinson, Cor’Dale Flott, Amani Oruwariye, Tre Hawkins

I wanted to go with seven, but there simply isn’t room. I’d prefer to keep Darnay Holmes but someone had to go and if he’s pressed by Flott and/or Robinson, keeping him makes less sense with an almost $3 million cap hit. However, things change if Robinson is on the PUP and/or Oruwariye continues to struggle like he did in 2022. My guess here is Wink has a preference for big corners who can press, which gives the nod to Oruwariye and Hawkins behind the two starters. Flott and Robinson are the slot guys. Their ability to also play outside helps them immensely. Regardless, the competition here is intense and I would not completely discount Rodarius Williams.

Safety: Xavier McKinney, Bobby McCain, Nick McCloud, Dane Belton, Jason Pinnock

I wanted to go with six, but again, a numbers game. Gervarrius Owens, who made some plays this spring, could easily make the final 53. Heck, Alex Cook was sporting the green dot with the back-up safeties. His best shot, however, is likely the Practice Squad.

Aug 312022
Jason Pinnock, New York Jets (January 2, 2022)

Jason Pinnock – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants claimed the following four players off of waivers on Wednesday:

  • G Jack Anderson (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • CB Justin Layne (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • CB Nick McCloud (Buffalo Bills)
  • S Jason Pinnock (New York Jets)

The 23-year old, 6’4”, 314-pound Anderson was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Bills. The Eagles signed Anderson off of Buffalo’s Practice Squad in September 2021. He played in two games with one start for Philadelphia. Anderson spent part of the 2021 season on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury.

The 24-year old, 6’2”, 192-pound Layne was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Steelers. In three years with Pittsburgh, Layne played in 43 regular-season games with no starts, being credited with 41 tackles.

The 24-year old, 6’0”, 193-pound McCloud was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Bills after the 2021 NFL Draft. The Cincinnati Bengals claimed him off of waivers in September 2021 and cut him in November. The Bills then re-signed McCloud to their Practice Squad. McCloud played in two regular-season games with the Bengals.

The 23-year old, 6’0”, 205-pound Pinnock was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Jets. He played in 12 games with two starts as a rookie, accruing 16 tackles, one pass defense, and two forced fumbles.

When asked about Pinnock, Head Coach Brian Daboll responded, “He’s good on teams. He had some good film out there. He’s played in the deep part of the field. We practiced against them; we played against them. He has some redeeming qualities and traits that when the guys watched him in the scouting department and our coaches, thought it would be a good claim.”

When asked about Anderson, Daboll replied, “He played (both guard and center). Smart – you know he got claimed by Philadelphia (when I was in Buffalo). So, didn’t want to lose him. I remember we didn’t want to lose him, but he had an opportunity to go and get claimed and looking forward to working with him again. He can play inside – either spot – and he can play center too.”

To make immediate room for these four, the Giants terminated the contracts of the following players:

  • TE Tanner Hudson
  • OG Max Garcia
  • DL Nick Williams
  • ILB Austin Calitro

Some or all of these four players may be back as soon as tomorrow. Players on the initial 53-man roster could not be officially placed on short-term Injured Reserve until 4PM on Wednesday. Daboll said on Wednesday that the team intends to place the following three players on short-term Injured Reserve:

  • OG Shane Lemieux (foot)
  • OLB Elerson Smith (ankle/foot)
  • CB Rodarius Williams (ACL)

These three players will have to remain on Injured Reserve for at least four games. “I think there’s a chance (all three could return this season),” said Daboll.

(Lemieux is) pretty resilient,” said Daboll. “Unfortunately, he’s been through it once, but he’s in good spirits. So, he’ll work back. He’s been already rehabbing, and he’ll be back as soon as he can.”

The New York Giants have signed the following players to the team’s 16-man Practice Squad:

  • QB Davis Webb
  • RB Jashaun Corbin
  • WR C.J. Board
  • WR Jaylon Moore
  • TE Austin Allen
  • OT Will Holden
  • OT Roy Mbaeteka
  • OT Garrett McGhin
  • DL Ryder Anderson
  • OLB Quincy Roche
  • CB Harrison Hand
  • CB Zyon Gilbert
  • CB Darren Evans
  • S Trenton Thompson
  • S Nate Meadors

All 15 of these players were cut by the Giants yesterday.

Meanwhile, according to multiple media reports, safety Tony Jefferson is expected to be signed to the Practice Squad shortly. The 30-year old, 5’11”, 211-pound Jefferson was originally signed as undrafted rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2013-2016), Ravens (2017-2019, 2021-2022), and San Francisco 49ers (2021). Robinson has played in 104 regular-season games with 66 starts. However, he has not started a game since 2019, when he tore his ACL mid-season. Robinson has only played in six regular-season games since 2019.

The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

TE Daniel Bellinger (concussion), OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee), OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf), and ILB Blake Martinez (excused absence) did not practice.

Day-to-day,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll about Thibodeaux and Ojulari. “Both of those guys – I’d say him and Azeez are rehabbing and doing a good job and getting better each day… They’re getting better. I know that.”

Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

The Giants practice Thursday (11:45AM-1:15PM). General Manager Joe Schoen, Head Coach Brian Daboll, and select players will also address the media.