Sep 012021
 
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Quincy Roche, Pittsburgh Steelers (August 21, 2021)

Quincy Roche – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS CLAIM THREE PLAYERS OFF OF WAIVERS, CUT THREE…
The New York Giants have claimed the following players off of waivers:

  • WR Collin Johnson (from Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • LB Justin Hilliard (from San Francisco 49ers)
  • LB Quincy Roche (from Pittsburgh Steelers)

The 23-year old, 6’6”, 222-pound Johnson was originally drafted in the 5th-round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Jaguars. As a rookie, he played in 14 NFL games with no starts, catching 18 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns.

The 24-year old, 6’1”, 231-pound Hilliard was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the 49ers after the 2021 NFL Draft.

The 23-year old, 6’3”, 245-pound Roche was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Steelers.

To make room for these three players, the Giants cut wide receivers C.J. Board (contract terminated) and Dante Pettis (waived) as well as linebacker Trent Harris (waived). Board was re-signed a few hours later when the Giants placed two players on Injured Reserve.

GIANTS PLACE ELERSON SMITH AND JOHN ROSS ON INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants have placed linebacker Elerson Smith and wide receiver John Ross on short-term Injured Reserve. Both are eligible to return to the 53-man roster after the first three games of the 2021 regular season.

With these roster vacancies, the Giants re-signed wide receiver C.J. Board, who was cut hours earlier in the day, and long snapper Casey Kreiter, who was cut yesterday.

GIANTS SIGN 14 PLAYERS TO THE PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have signed the following players to the team’s 16-man Practice Squad:

  • RB Sandro Platzgummer
  • WR David Sills
  • WR Damion Willis
  • WR Matt Cole
  • TE Nakia Griffin-Stewart
  • TE Jake Hausmann
  • OC Brett Heggie
  • OG Kenny Wiggins
  • OG Jake Burton
  • OT Jackson Barton
  • DL David Moa
  • DL Willie Henry
  • LB Niko Lalos
  • S Jordyn Peters

All 14 players were with the team during training camp.

Platzgummer will spend a second season on the Practice Squad as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. Platzgummer does not count against the 16.

Three spots remain open on the Practice Squad.

MICHAEL STRAHAN TO HAVE HIS JERSEY NUMBER RETIRED ON NOVEMBER 28…
The New York Giants will retire former defensive end Michael Strahan’s #92 jersey during the November 28 game at MetLife Stadium against the Philadelphia Eagles. Strahan played for the Giants from 1993 to 2007. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Currently, 12 Giants have their jersey numbers retired by the Giants. Former quarterback Eli Manning will also have his jersey number (#10) retired during the September 26 game against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice again on Wednesday afternoon (12:30-2:30 PM). The team’s coordinators and assistant coaches will also address the media, as well as select players.

Jul 312021
 
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Nick Gates and Will Hernandez, New York Giants (July 29, 2021)

Nick Gates and Will Hernandez – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 31, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fourth full-team summer training camp practice on Saturday evening at Eddie Moraes Stadium in Newark, New Jersey in front of local high school football players.

GIANTS SIGN LB TODD DAVIS, OL JOE LOONEY, WR DAMION WILLIS…
The Giants have signed unrestricted free agent inside linebacker Todd Davis (Minnesota Vikings); wide receiver Damion Willis, who was cut by the Denver Broncos on July 20; and unrestricted free agent center/guard Joe Looney (Dallas Cowboys).

The 29-year old, 6’1”, 230-pound Davis has spent time with the New Orleans Saints (2014), Denver Broncos (2014-2019), and Minnesota Vikings (2020). He has played in 96 regular-season games with 69 starts, accruing 479 tackles, three sacks, 15 pass defenses, one interception, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.

“We’re really looking forward to getting (Davis) on the field,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “We’re excited about that and he’ll come in and compete with the other linebackers at his position and work through his defensive responsibilities, as well as his role in the kicking game. Got to meet with him today, sit down face to face and have a good conversation, liked his energy. I’ve known him as a player in the league for some time but made a good first impression personality-wise and I’m excited to get him on the field.”

The 30-year old, 6’3”, 310-pound Looney was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He has spent time with the 49ers (2012-2014), Tennessee Titans (2015), and Dallas Cowboys (2016-2020). Looney has played in 104 regular-season games with 42 starts, including 12 starts for the Cowboys in 2020. He has experience at both center and guard.

The 24-year old, 6’3”, 204-pound Willis was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Bengals waived him in July 2020 and Willis then spent time with the Cleveland Browns (2020), Jacksonville Jaguars (2020), and Denver Broncos (2021). He played in 10 games, with two starts, for the Bengals in 2019 and caught nine passes for 82 yards.

INJURY REPORT…
LG Shane Lemieux (knee), LB Blake Martinez (COVID), LB Lorenzo Carter (unknown), LB Elerson Smith (unknown), WR Kadarius Toney (COVID), WR Austin Mack (hamstring), WR Derrick Dillon (unknown), RB Mike Weber (unknown), and TE Levine Toilolo (unknown) did not practice on Saturday.

The NFL Network is reporting that Lemieux will be out two weeks with his knee injury.

Regarding Carter, Head Coach Joe Judge said, “It’s not a reaggravation of anything (Carter has) done before. We’re just going to be careful with a few things right there. With anyone coming off an injury (ruptured Achilles’ tendon) like he was, we’re just making sure that we have a plan entering training camp and how to handle him throughout it. With him and several other guys coming off injury, there are going to be periods in this training camp that you’re going to see a little bit less of them at times and then you’re going to see a lot of them. Right now, he’s in one of those periods accompanied with something else that happened in practice.”

RT Matt Peart (back) has been activated off of the Active/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. He practiced on Saturday.

LB Blake Martinez has been activated off of the Reserve/COVID-19 List. However, like Toney, he will be brought along slowly before returning to practice. He did not practice on Saturday. “Blake is back with us in the building today, he’s his normal self, smiling ear to ear, happy to be with the team,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “He’s always a lot of fun to have around, he’s always got a good comment, but definitely a guy who communicates a lot in the meetings…In terms of where he’ll be on the field with us, the plan right away is to get him with the trainers and continue his kind of ramp up and build him back physically. When we know he’s ready to go, we’ll get him back on the field.”

The following players remain on various PUP and reserve lists:

  • Reserve/COVID-19 List: S Joshua Kalu and TE Rysen John
  • Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: RB Saquon Barkley (knee), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot), OC Jonotthan Harrison (hamstring), LB Oshane Ximines (hamstring), and CB Aaron Robinson (core muscle)
  • Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List: LB Reggie Ragland (hamstring) and LB Ryan Anderson (back)

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • This evening’s session was a very light, walk-thru practice. Because of that, there was nothing noteworthy to report.
  • Kenny Wiggins continues to start at left guard with Shane Lemieux out.

HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Saturday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

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

Mar 292021
 
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Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (November 28, 2019)

Kenny Golladay – © USA TODAY Sports

Teams were officially able to begin negotiating with free agents from other teams on March 15. So although it seems as if free agency has been going on for quite some time, we’re only still at the 2-week mark since it began. More signings will continue through the spring and summer, especially as players are cut. That said, the initial free agency rush is over and we can start to make some snap opinions on what the New York Giants have and have not accomplished.

The “need” level I reference was addressed in my March 12th Free Agency Preview for the team.

QUARTERBACKS (Previous Need Level – Medium): For at least one more season, Daniel Jones is the unquestioned starter. The expectation was that the team would re-sign Colt McCoy. However, the Giants surprisingly went in another direction by signing the well-traveled Mike Glennon as Jones’ back-up. Glennon is much bigger (half a foot taller) than McCoy with a much stronger arm. Both complete around 61 percent of their passes and both have started roughly the same number of NFL games. There were media whispers too that McCoy wanted more money than the Giants were willing to pay. On the surface, this appears to be a wash, although the coaches said McCoy was a very good influence on Jones in the meeting rooms. (Mike Glennon YouTube Highlights)

RUNNING BACKS (Previous Need Level – High to Desperate): Some chided my prediction that all three running backs behind Saquon Barkley may not return in 2021, but that appears in fact to be the case. As of this moment, Wayne Gallman, Alfred Morris, and Dion Lewis remain unsigned. So much of the team’s upcoming success will depend on how well Barkley returns from a major knee injury and whether he can stay healthy for a full season. It’s quite telling that the very first player the Giants signed in free agency was the relatively-unknown Devontae Booker to a 2-year, $5.5 million contract. Fan reaction was immediately negative. But it appears the coaching staff simply wanted a veteran back who was a more reliable blocker and receiver than Gallman. Depth behind Barkley still remains shaky as the only other halfbacks on the roster are NFL cast-offs Taquan Mizzell and Jordan Chunn. The Giants also added another fullback/special teams player in Cullen Gillaspia to compete with Eli Penny. (Devontae Booker YouTube Highlights)

WIDE RECEIVERS (Previous Need Level – Desperate): The Giants have significantly upgraded this position with the addition of one player to the tune of a 4-year, $72 million contract. Kenny Golladay is not only a true #1 receiver, but he fills a desperate need that this team had for a physical receiver with size. His presence also allows Darius Slayton to become the #2 and Sterling Shepard the slot receiver, roles that both are far better suited for. From Golladay’s style of play to the team’s extended wooing period to satisfy personality issues, this signing is highly reminiscent of the Giants’ signing of Plaxico Burress in 2005. And Golladay is quite capable of having a Plaxico-type impact on this team. In addition, before the Giants signed Golladay, they signed the 9th overall player taken in the 2017 NFL Draft, John Ross. While Ross did not live up to expectations in Cincinnati, he brings true deep speed to a team that desperately needs it. It would not be shocking to see Ross get cut, but it also would not be shocking for him to press for a starting job opposite of Golladay. In addition to wanting to prove doubters wrong, Ross will rejoin his old college receiving teammate, Dante Pettis, on what had been an explosive University of Washington receiving corps. Overall, the make-up of this unit is far different now than it was just two weeks ago. (John Ross YouTube Highlights)

TIGHT ENDS (Previous Need Level – Desperate): Right or wrong, the front office and coaching staff appear willing to continue to hope Evan Engram develops into the player hoped for when he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft. But the team decided to team him with a mentor. Kyle Rudolph has been one of the NFL’s best tight ends for the past 10 years. While not an explosive player, he can catch and block. Just as importantly, he is reliable, something Engram is not. The downside is that Rudolph turns 32 in November and is coming off a foot injury (The Athletic is reporting it is a Lisfranc injury) that required surgery AFTER the Giants signed him. Much depends on how well he recovers. On paper, if he is healthy, this looks like a major addition both in terms of helping out Daniel Jones and the offensive line. (Kyle Rudolph YouTube Highlights)

OFFENSIVE LINE (Previous Need Level – Medium): This is one area where it is debatable if the team has improved in free agency. The Giants were able to force Nate Solder to take a big pay cut to remain with the team. He will now compete against Matt Peart for the starting tackle spot opposite of Andrew Thomas. The Giants somewhat surprisingly simply cut Kevin Zeitler without approaching him about a pay cut. To fill that void, they signed right guard Zach Fulton, who had an inconsistent stay with the Houston Texans. Fulton will compete with Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux for a starting spot. Fulton does not feel like an upgrade over Zeitler. Where the team probably did get better is at back-up center with the signing of Jonotthan Harrison back in January. He is a better player than Spencer Pulley. Look for the team to continue to address the offensive line in the upcoming draft.

DEFENSIVE LINE (Previous Need Level – Low to High Depending on Tomlinson): Undoubtedly, the biggest loss the team suffered in free agency was losing nose tackle Davlin Tomlinson to the Minnesota Vikings for what appeared to be a reasonable 2-year, $22 million contract. The Giants re-signed back-up nose tackle Austin Johnson to a 1-year, $3 million deal in anticipation of the loss. Johnson will now have to start at nose tackle or the team will be forced to move Dexter Lawrence from end, or sign a veteran or draft a player. Moving Lawrence seems like an obvious option, but that would have a domino effect in that B.J. Hill would probably then become the new starter at end opposite of Leonard Williams. Thus, what had been a somewhat shaky depth situation becomes even more dubious. The team was extremely fortunate in 2020 that no one got hurt up front. The only back-ups on the roster right now are R.J. McIntosh, David Moa, and Breeland Speaks, the latter signed by the Giants in January. Speaking of Williams, the Giants were able to re-sign him to a 3-year, $63 million deal. There will be tremendous pressure on him to live up to that contract.

(Late Note: The Giants signed 6’2”, 335-pound nose tackle Danny Shelton today. Drafted in the 1st round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, Shelton was cut by the Detroit Lions and will help fill the void created by the departure of Tomlinson).

LINEBACKERS (Previous Need Level – High): On paper, the Giants lost one free agent (Kyler Fackrell) and signed three (Ifeadi Odenigbo, Reggie Ragland, Ryan Anderson). All three newcomers were relatively inexpensive, 1-year deals. Ragland will likely compete with Tae Crowder for the inside linebacker spot next to Blake Martinez. He has started 38 regular-season games in the NFL and is a former 2nd-round pick so he has a good shot to win that job. Anderson is another former 2nd-round pick who was stuck behind a plethora of outstanding outside linebackers in Washington. He is known more as an overachiever who saw most of his playing time on special teams, but he could surprise as his competition will be Lorenzo Carter (coming off of a torn Achilles), Oshane Ximines (coming off of shoulder surgery), and last year’s rookies (Carter Coughlin, Cam Brown, Niko Lalos). What about Odenigbo? Good question. He was the first defensive player the Giants signed in free agency. He played exclusively on the defensive line in Minnesota, primarily at end, but also shifting inside in pass-rush packages. However, his lack of size (6’3”, 258 pounds) strongly suggests he will be used like “linebacker” Jabaal Sheard was used by the Giants last year, that is, an edge rusher in 4-man pass rush packages. The Giants could also push him inside like the Vikings did in obvious passing situations in 4-man fronts. It is doubtful that he should be considered a true outside linebacker because he simply does not have experience dropping into coverage. Because of that, one could actually argue he should be included in the defensive line review. Also, the Giants did re-sign inside linebacker Devonta Downs, who started at inside linebacker for the Giants in 2020 until Tae Crowder beat him out. He will have to fight just to make the team however.

CORNERBACKS (Previous Need Level – Desperate): Like the wide receiving position, the make-up of this position completely changed with the addition of one free agent, adding Adoree’ Jackson to a 3-year, $39 million contract after he was cut by the Tennessee Titans. Opinions on his play vary, but Jackson is clearly a major upgrade over everyone else on the team’s roster with the exception of Pro Bowler James Bradberry. The former 1st rounder is a physical and aggressive press corner who plays with a lot of confidence. Depth is still a concern, but on paper, the Giants now look like they have one of the better secondaries in the NFL as long as Darnay Holmes continues to develop at slot corner.

SAFETIES (Previous Need Level – Low): While Adrian Colbert and Nate Ebner remain unsigned, the Giants still look to be in decent shape at this position with Jabrill Peppers, Xavier McKinney, Logan Ryan, and Julian Love – the latter two who can also play corner. Depth will be added later in free agency or the draft.

KICKERS/LONG SNAPPER (Previous Need Level – Low to Average Depending on Kreiter): When the Giants re-signed long snapper Casey Kreiter, this position was largely settled other than camp bodies. The only real question is are the Giants looking to upgrade at punter at some point.

SUMMARY: In my March 12th article, I argued this roster was a train wreck. Two weeks later, with the addition of 11 free agents and counting, it feels vastly different. It’s not just the quantity, but the quality. Keeping Leonard Williams was a big deal. Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson were two of the best, if not the very best, players available at desperate need positions.  If healthy, Kyle Rudolph could be a major addition as a security blanket for both Daniel Jones and the offensive line. Golladay and Jackson will start. Rudolph will be a quasi-starter. John Ross (1st rounder), Reggie Ragland (2nd rounder), Ryan Anderson (2nd rounder), and Zach Fulton might start. Devontae Booker is now the primary back-up behind Saquon Barkely, Ifeadi Odenigbo will add to the pass rush.

The risk? The money. While most of the deals were relatively cheap, the team did dole out $174 million on three players – Leonard Williams, Kenny Golladay, and Adoree’ Jackson. If they are wrong about any of these three, the team will be paying for it for years. We’ve seen that before and it’s one of the major reasons why the Giants have been mired in the basement of the NFL for a decade. One could also argue that the team should have allocated its resources a bit differently in order to keep Dalvin Tomlinson, extending his contract even last year.

Mar 162021
 
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Leonard Williams, New York Giants (January 3, 2021)

Leonard Williams – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS RE-SIGN LEONARD WILLIAMS…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants have re-signed free agent defensive lineman Leonard Williams to a 3-year, $63 million contract that includes $45 million in guaranteed money. The Giants placed the non-exclusive Franchise tag on Williams last week, which tied up over $19 million in this year’s cap. The new deal reportedly will drop his cap hit to around $11 million in 2021.

The 6’5”, 302-pound Williams was the sixth player taken overall in the 2015 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. The Giants acquired Williams by trade from the in late October 2019. In his sixth NFL season, Williams had his best year as a pro in 2020. Williams played in all 16 games with 12 starts (74 percent of defensive snaps) and finished the year with 57 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, 30 quarterback hits, one pass defense, and one fumble recovery.

GIANTS SIGN JOHN ROSS…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent wide receiver John Ross (Cincinnati Bengals) to a 1-year, $2.5 million contract that includes $1 million in guaranteed money.

The 25-year old, 5’11”, 194-pound Ross was drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. In four seasons with the Bengals, the speedy Ross played in just 27 games with 20 starts, accruing 51 catches for 733 yards and 10 touchdowns. In addition to not performing up to expectations in Cincinnati, Ross spent time on Injured Reserve with shoulder and foot injuries in 2019 and 2020.

GIANTS SIGN CULLEN GILLASPIA…
The New York Giants have signed fullback Cullen Gillaspia, who was waived/failed physical by the Houston Texans last week. The 25-year old, 6’2”, 235-pound Gillaspia was drafted by the Texans in the 7th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. In two seasons with the Texans, Gillaspia played in 23 regular-season games with no starts. He has not carried the ball in a regular-season game and only has one catch for six yards. To date, he has played mainly on special teams. Gillaspia missed half of 2020 with a back injury.