Mar 082019
 
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Kevin Zeitler, Cleveland Browns (December 24, 2017)

Kevin Zeitler – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS TRADE OLIVIER VERNON FOR KEVIN ZEITLER
The New York Giants have traded linebacker Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns for offensive guard Kevin Zeitler. In addition, the Giants and Browns swapped mid-round picks, with the Giants sending a 4th-round (132nd overall) selection for the Browns’ 5th-round (155th overall) selection.

Vernon was scheduled to earn $15.25 million in salary in both 2019 and 2020, and count $19.5 million against the 2019 NFL salary cap. The trade will reportedly net the Giants $1.5 million in 2019 salary cap room as trading Vernon “saved” the Giants $11.5 million while the team now takes on Zeitler’s $10 million 2019 salary. Overall, the Giants absorbed $8 million in dead money from Vernon by trading him.

The 29-year old, 6’4”, 315-pound Zeitler was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He signed a 5-year, $60 million contract with the Browns in March 2017, which at the time made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL. In seven seasons, Zeitler has started 103 of the 104 regular-season games he has played in, not missing a start in the last four seasons. Zeitler has good size and is a consistently solid run and pass blocker.

Vernon’s first three seasons with the Giants were sabotaged due to nagging injuries, including a high ankle sprain in 2018 that caused him to miss the first five games of the season. Vernon started the remaining 11 games, accruing 30 tackles, 7 sacks, 1 pass defense, and 1 forced fumble. Despite the missed time and subpar tackle production, Vernon played in the Pro Bowl as a first alternate.

Vernon was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dolphins. The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2016 to a 5-year, $85 million contract. Although Vernon played in all 16 regular-season games in 2016, a serious left hand/wrist injury affected his play. In 2017, he missed four games with an ankle injury that also continued to be a factor in other games. An undersized but athletic defensive end, the Giants shifted him to linebacker in 2018 to fit their new 3-4 scheme.

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN JON HALAPIO
The New York Giants have re-signed exclusive rights free agent center Jon Halapio, who won the starting center job in 2018, but was lost early when he was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2018 after breaking his ankle and lower leg in the second game of the season. The injuries required surgery.

Halapio was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He has bounced around different leagues and teams including the Patriots (2014), Boston Brawlers (2014), Denver Broncos (2014–2015), Arizona Cardinals (2015), Brooklyn Bolts (2015), and Patriots (2016) again. The Giants signed Halapio to their Practice Squad in 2016 and 2017. The Giants then added him to the 53-man roster in October 2017 and he played in 10 games, starting the last six at right guard.

Feb 112019
 
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Will Hernandez, New York Giants (October 7, 2018)

Will Hernandez – © USA TODAY Sports

One of the primary reasons why General Manager Jerry Reese and Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross were fired was their inability to satisfactorily address an offensive line that had begun to deteriorate during the Super Bowl season of 2011. For years, Reese and Ross invested premium draft picks and free agent resources at the position, but to no avail. Enter new General Manager Dave Gettleman, who initially won over the hearts and minds of many Giants fans tired of inept offensive line play by focusing much of public comments on the “hog mollies” up front.

So what did Gettleman do? He almost completely gutted the previous group. Justin Pugh (2013 1st rounder), Weston Richburg (2014 2nd rounder), and D.J. Fluker were allowed to walk in free agency. John Jerry was cut before the season started. Somewhat oddly, the only unrestricted free agent the team chose to re-sign was John Greco. Newcomers included Nate Solder (4 years, $62 million), Patrick Omameh (3 years, $15 million), and 2018 2nd-round draft pick Will Hernandez. Notably, Ereck Flowers (9th player taken in the 2015 NFL Draft), who the previous administration had refused to shift to right tackle, was finally moved to the spot that many argued would be his best position. The only real surprise coming out of the OTAs and training camp was that Jon Halapio beat out Brett Jones at center, with the latter eventually being traded to the Minnesota Vikings in late August. The new offensive line coach was Hal Hunter, a man with an uninspiring resume and who was also out of football in 2017.

The Giants started the season with Nate Solder at left tackle, Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio at center, Patrick Omameh at right guard, and Ereck Flowers at right tackle. This group did not play well and the offense struggled mightily to score points. Indeed, there appeared to be no measurable improvement over the previous pathetic groups. The Giants began the season 1-7, scoring an average of 15 points in six of those losses despite the presence of Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley.

Injury and an ineffectiveness soon led to shakeups up front. Halapio broke his ankle and leg in the second game of the season and was first replaced by John Greco and then Spencer Pulley, who was claimed off of waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers. The new regime also decided it had seen enough of Flowers and Omameh. Flowers was benched after the second game and replaced by second-year undrafted free agent Chad Wheeler. Omameh lasted a bit longer, starting the first six games before being cut in November. Greco first took his spot, then newcomer Jamon Brown, who was claimed off of waivers from the Los Angeles Rams.

The 2.0 version of the 2018 offensive line thus included Solder-Hernandez-Pulley-Brown-Wheeler. The best thing that could be said of this group was that it wasn’t as crappy as the previous group. Team scoring improved, but Pulley and Wheeler were clearly weak links. Brown looked the part, but demonstrated the same inconsistency that led to him being cut by the Rams. And it rapidly became apparent that the desperate Giants dramatically overpaid Solder, who did settle down more as the season progressed. (Unfortunately, it was the Giants’ failed attempt to land guard Andrew Norwell in free agency that led to the Giants acquiring both Solder and Omameh). While Hernandez experienced the expected rookie growing pains, he improved and was named to the All-Rookie team.

Overall, for yet another season, the line remained the offense’s Achilles’ heel, with the free agent newcomers not playing as well as expected, and the team being forced to start two mid-season waiver-wire pickups.

THE EVENTUAL STARTERS

The Giants signed Nate Solder as an unrestricted free agent from the New England Patriots in March 2018. Solder started all 16 games at left tackle but had an inconsistent season, struggling at times as both a run and pass blocker, particularly during the first-half of the year. The 6’8”, 325-pound Solder was drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Patriots. In eight seasons, Solder has started 111 of the 114 regular-season games he has played in. He is a long, lean tackle with good overall athleticism. Solder was voted a team captain in his first year with the Giants.

In his second season with the Giants, Chad Wheeler was promoted to the starter at right tackle when the team decided to bench Ereck Flowers after the second game. Wheeler ended up starting 14 games at right tackle, but was a weak link on a unit that played better during the second half of the season. Wheeler was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. Not only did he make the team, but he ended up playing in 11 games with four starts, three at right tackle and one at left tackle. Wheeler is a hardworking, versatile player and a decent athlete, but he appears to lack ideal footwork, strength, and bulk to be a starter. He may be better suited as a back-up swing tackle.

The Giants selected Will Hernandez in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. While he had some growing pains, Hernandez, ended up starting all 16 games at left guard and was named named to Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team. Hernandez lacks ideal height, but he is a big, tough, strong, powerful guard who does his best work in-line and not on the move. Hernandez is a mauler who plays with leverage and gets movement as a run blocker. He plays with an attitude and looks to finish his blocks and punish opponents. Hernandez lacks ideal foot quickness which hampers his game in space and, at times, as a pass protector, but he generally gets the job done.

The Giants claimed Jamon Brown off of waivers from the Los Angeles Rams at the end of October 2018. He was quickly inserted into the starting lineup, and played in the final eight games as the starting right guard. The 6’4”, 340-pound Brown was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Rams. Brown has played in 50 regular-season games with 38 starts. He was suspended the first two games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Brown’s size and strength is an asset in the running game, but he was too inconsistent in pass protection. He also needs to cut down on his penalties.

The Giants claimed Spencer Pulley off of waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers in September 2018. Pulley was inserted into the starting line-up in late October. He struggled in his nine starts at center and missed one game due to an injury. Pulley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chargers after the 2016 NFL Draft. Spencer started all 16 regular-season games for the Chargers in 2017 at center. He also is able to play guard.

OTHER PLAYERS OF NOTE

Jon Halapio won the starting center job in 2018, but was lost early when he was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2018 after breaking his ankle and lower leg in the second game of the season. The injuries required surgery. Halapio was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He has bounced around different leagues and teams including the Patriots (2014), Boston Brawlers (2014), Denver Broncos (2014–2015), Arizona Cardinals (2015), Brooklyn Bolts (2015), and Patriots (2016) again. The Giants signed Halapio to their Practice Squad in 2016 and 2017. The Giants then added him to the 53-man roster in October 2017 and he played in 10 games, starting the last six at right guard. Halapio is stout and strong, but he lacks ideal overall athleticism. Versatile, he can play both center and guard.

The Giants signed John Greco in November 2017. In 2018, Greco played in 15 games with seven starts (five at center, two at right guard). An older, fading player, Greco struggled at both positions and was eventually replaced in the starting line-up by players acquired during the season. Greco was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. He has spent time with the Rams (2008-2010), Cleveland Browns (2011-2016), and New Orleans Saints (2017). He’s a versatile player with experience at both guard positions and center.

Sep 192018
 
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Elijhaa Penny, Arizona Cardinals (August 31, 2017)

Elijhaa Penny – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed running back/fullback Elijhaa Penny from the Practice Squad of the Arizona Cardinals. The 25-year old, 6’2”, 234-pound Penny was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Cardinals after the 2016 NFL Draft. Penny spent his rookie season on the Cardinals’ Practice Squad. He was active all 16 regular-season games in 2017 with no starts and finished the season with 31 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 38 yards.

The Giants also claimed wide receiver Stacy Coley off of waivers from the Minnesota Vikings. The 24-year old, 6’0”, 195-pound Coley was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Vikings. Coley played in four games in 2017 and the first two games of 2018, but he does not have a career catch. He has returned one kickoff.

To make room for Penny, the Giants waived fullback Shane Smith and placed center Jon Halapio on Injured Reserve. Halapio broke his ankle and lower leg in the game against the Cowboys last Sunday. He underwent surgery on Monday.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday due to injury were linebacker Olivier Vernon (high ankle sprain), linebacker Connor Barwin (knee), and cornerback Eli Apple (groin).

Wide receiver Kaelin Clay (ankle) and tight end Evan Engram (ankle) were limited in practice.

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 practice on Thursday and Friday in preparation for Sunday’s away game against the Houston Texans. The team’s coordinators will address the press on Thursday.

Sep 172018
 
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Eli Manning and Jon Halapio, New York Giants (September 16, 2018)

Eli Manning and Jon Halapio – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY UPDATE – JON HALAPIO DONE FOR THE SEASON…
New York Giants center Jon Halapio is done for the 2018 NFL season as the team revealed that he suffered fractures to his lower leg and ankle during the game on Sunday night. He will soon undergo surgery to repair the injuries.

Head Coach Pat Shurmur did not have an update on cornerback Eli Apple, who was also injured in the game. “I have no updates other than he had to leave the game with a groin, I guess it was,” said Shurmur. “We’ll see where it’s at. We’ll know more tomorrow.”

MONDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Monday to discuss the team’s 20-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys:

Opening Remarks: After watching the tape, I don’t have really anything new to add aside from the fact that we’ve just got to play better in some areas, and we’ve got to make more plays and give ourselves a chance to win. I’d like to see us get a faster start and basically continue to play hard through the game like we did, but we’ve just got to find a way to make the plays necessary to win. I’ll take your questions.

Q: What can you do as a head coach and especially as a play caller to try to get those fast starts? Obviously you’re trying to start fast every game, but seeing what went on the first two games, what could you do to change things up to maybe force feed a faster start?

A: Certainly we want to stay on the field, see if you can get some big plays in there, that’s important. We had one third down that we missed by inches and I chose to punt it the first time. At times, to be able to drive the ball and get big chunks – that’s what you want to try to do on every drive, we’ve just got to try to it better, sooner. We’ve got to get in the end zone, quite frankly.

Q: After watching the film and looking what the Cowboys did on defense with the twists and all that stuff, how much of that caused confusion with the offensive line, and were they prepared for what was thrown at them?

A: I think our guys were prepared. We were well aware of the fact they have been a defensive front that moves quite a bit. They have done it for years, that’s their style. We were aware of it and some of the pressures we practiced. I think we had a hat for them in most occasions, one time we had it picked up and we just didn’t slide through it. We’ve just got to do a better job, I don’t think we faced anything we hadn’t seen. We’ve just got to be cleaner with our blocks. They got on our edges a little bit too much.

Q: We know that Jon Halapio broke his leg and ankle and is out for the year, where do you go at center now?

A: We have guys on the roster who have played center, John Greco went in there and played and then we brought in Spencer Pulley on the roster who played all last season at center, so we’ve got guys that have done it and they’ll just slide up and get ready to go.

Q: Is Greco the first option or were you just going with the guy who was active last night?

A: We’ll start with John and then obviously get Spencer ready to go.

Q: Do you have an update on the severity of Eli Apple’s injury?

A: I have no updates other than he had to leave the game with a groin, I guess it was. We’ll see where it’s at. We’ll know more tomorrow.

Q:  Back to the stunts and blitzes. If you were prepared, why do you think you didn’t handle the pressure well? Was it a communication issue, there’s a lot of former players out there turned analysts today saying that it was a schematic thing – do you not see it that way?

A: I don’t know, I’d have to ask whoever those former players are what it was. There are times when we had a hat for them, you’ve got to pick it up. We had one certainly on the fumble where it was a full slide, we just didn’t slide through, it was communicated. I don’t know. Whoever made those comments, they’d have to ask me.

Q: Is it too early in the season to make any kind of drastic personnel changes? Would you prefer to remain consistent whether it’s a player on the offensive line or wherever else – would you prefer to try and remain consistent or do you think with an 0-2 start, some consistency struggles with something like that could be necessary for week 3?

A: We look at everything all the time. I think what’s important is we stay the course, get the players that we have playing better, and try to make more plays to do what’s necessary to win the game.

Q: When you look at the first game against Jacksonville, really good team you played well – was this past Sunday a step back?

A:  No. Absolutely not. We didn’t win the first game and we didn’t win the second game. That goes back into that thinking you did good when you didn’t win. We’ve got to do what we have to do to do the things necessary to win the game, period. We really don’t worry about all of that stuff.

Q: Through two games, considering the personnel you do have on offense, why has it been so difficult to sustain drives, to get into the end zone, to score points?

A: I think I’ve been answering the same question over and over in different ways, but we’ve got to do more to stay on the field instead of ending six inches short, just keep the drive alive. We’ve got to do better in all areas, we just have to play better.

Q: On your third downs this year, an inordinate number of those plays the ball has been thrown short of the sticks. What do you think of that?

A: First of all, I don’t think that’s correct, but go ahead.

Q: All seven of your third downs in the first half, you didn’t throw the ball to the sticks. Is that not inordinate to you? The second half of the last game, too, I think it was six of seven. I’m just wondering what you think of it? Is that what you’re trying to do on offense, is that just circumstance?

A: Obviously, the plays are designed to get the first down, and there’s times when you’re playing against man coverage where you get catch-and-run scenarios, and then there’s other times when you have layered passes where you have a downfield throw and then kind of a shorter throw that requires a run to get the first. Depending on how all that plays out, really doesn’t matter as long as you get the first.  Then if you didn’t get it, you didn’t get it.

Q: Did you see opportunities yesterday where (Eli Manning) could have hit (Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard), or was the pass rush such that you didn’t have a chance on those kinds of plays?

A: There are times when you have to move slightly or dependent on what’s happening, you don’t have the ability to get the ball down the field. Certainly we’re always trying to do that and we didn’t get the chance to do that as much as we wanted to.

Q: I know you’re aware of what happened last year. Do you feel like you have to be cognizant of where this team is mentally right now more so because of that or do you just view it as everyone has a clean slate and it’s still the second week of the season?

A: We’re trying to grow away from that the best we can, and put all our efforts into beating Houston. That’s where we’re at. A question like this just kind of brings it into focus when that’s not something that we think about.

Q: When you look at the number of hits (Eli Manning) has taken, obviously you worry about him physically, but do you worry about him getting a little bit of whiplash from those hits and maybe speeding things up knowing that he’s going to take another big hit?

A: Eli is a competitor. We’re going to do everything we can to protect him. There was times last night where he wasn’t protected well enough, and we just keep playing and try to get better in all areas.

Q: On the defense’s performance – what did you see in the handling of Dak Prescott, especially when he was on the run? It looked like there wasn’t a lot contain on the edges.

A: I thought the general part of their running game, I thought our guys did a pretty good job. There were a couple times in the zone read situations where we could have done a little bit better job.

Q: When you look at the tape and look at that game yesterday, can you single out some players who you thought played well?

A: We lost the game. There are certainly some guys that behind the scenes will be told that this was good, but here still are your mistakes. Ultimately, we didn’t play well enough to win.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of the conference call media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

NOTES…

  • The Giants are 0-2 for the second year in a row and for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
  • Running back Saquon Barkley set a Giants franchise, single-game record with 14 receptions (for 80 yards).

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

Sep 092018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 9, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 20 – NEW YORK GIANTS 15…
The New York Giants lost their opening game of the 2018 season by falling 20-15 to the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. It was a tightly-fought and winnable game for New York, but too many mistakes on offense and special teams did the team in.

The Jaguars received the ball to start the game and went up 3-0 after an 11-play, 59-yard drive set up a successful 39-yard field goal. New York’s opening offensive possession almost ended in disaster with a safety as the team found itself in a 3rd-and-23 situation from its own 1-yard line. Two penalties on right tackle Ereck Flowers, including a holding penalty that wiped out a 34-yard completion to tight end Evan Engram, pushed the Giants back.

After the Giants punted, New York quickly got the ball back. Defensive end Kerry Wynn and linebacker Kareem Martin sacked quarterback Blake Bortles for an 8-yard loss. Then Janoris Jenkins picked off Bortles at the Giants 37-yard line. Sparked by a 10-yard run by running back Saquon Barkley and a 24-yard pass to wideout Odell Beckham, the Giants managed to move the ball 54 yards in nine plays to set up a 27-yard field goal. Unfortunately, the Giants couldn’t score a touchdown after setting up a 1st-and-goal from the 8-yard line.

The Jaguars retook the lead 6-3 on their ensuing possession in the 2nd quarter by driving 54 yards in 15 plays to set up a 39-yard field goal. After a three-and-out by the Giants, Jacksonville added to their advantage with a 5-play, 57-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Bortles to running back T.J. Yeldon, beating safety Landon Collins in coverage. The Jaguars now led 13-3.

Quarterback Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense put together a 10-play, 62-yard drive right before halftime to set up another field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas, this one from 31 out with just seconds left on the clock. The Giants overcame a sack and a 3rd-and-12 situation with a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Beckham drew two pass interference penalties that picked up a total of 45 yards, but the Giants were stopped inside the red zone again.

At the half, the Jaguars led 13-6.

The Giants received the ball to start the second half and immediately cut into Jacksonville’s lead with an 11-play, 49-yard drive that set up a 44-yard field goal by Rosas. Neither team could move the ball the remainder of 3rd and beginning of the 4th quarters. After a three-and-out by the Jaguars, Barkley was stuffed on a 4th-and-2 effort from the Jacksonville 38-yard line as New York turned the ball over on downs. Then came five consecutive punts.

The game-changer came with just under 12 minutes left to play. Facing a 2nd-and-7 from their own 30-yard line, Manning was under immediately pressure as Flowers could not handle the outside rush. Right guard Patrick Omameh’s opponent then tipped Manning’s pass that was intercepted and returned for a 32-yard touchdown by linebacker Myles Jack. The Jaguars were now up 20-9.

However, just as it looked liked the game was all but over, Barkley broke off a spectacular 68-yard touchdown run, breaking three tackles in the process (and with an excellent downfield block by Sterling Shepard). The 2-point conversion attempt failed and the Giants now trailed 20-15 with just over 10 minutes left to play.

Frustratingly, the Giants could get no closer. The defense forced a three-and-out, but the Giants’ offense also then went three-and-out. The Jaguars picked up one first down and then punted again with just over four minutes to play. The Giants picked up two first downs and moved the ball to the Jacksonville 36-yard line, but then turned the ball over on downs with two incomplete passes on 3rd- and 4th-and-6.

After another three-and-out by the Jaguars, it appeared the Giants would get one more desperate chance to win the game with 45 seconds left, but punt returner Kaelin Clay muffed the punt and Jacksonville recovered to secure the win.

Offensively, the Giants were limited to 15 first downs and 324 total yards. Manning finished the game 23-of-37 for 224 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception that was returned for a touchdown. He was sacked twice and hit six times. His leading target was Beckham who caught 11 of 15 passes thrown in his direction for 111 yards (and 45 yards of pass interference penalties). Barkley rushed 18 times for 106 yards, but the bulk of that came on the 68-yard touchdown run.

Defensively, the Giants held Jacksonville to 17 first downs and 305 total yards. The Giants only picked up one sack and hit Bortles four times. Jenkins defensed two passes and picked off Bortles.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), linebacker Tae Davis (hamstring), quarterback Kyle Lauletta, center Evan Brown, center/guard Spencer Pulley, cornerback Michael Jordan, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Running back Wayne Gallman left the game with a knee injury, but said he was fine after the game.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media on Monday.

Aug 262018
 
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Olivier Vernon, New York Giants (December 17, 2017)

Olivier Vernon – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK TRADE BRETT JONES TO THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS…
The New York Giants have trade center Brett Jones to the Minnesota Vikings. Newsday and The NFL Network are reporting that the Giants will receive a 7th-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft as compensation. By trading Jones, the Giants “save” $2.914 million against the 2018 salary cap, the amount of salary (no bonus) Jones was tendered as a restricted free agent. Jones had been playing as the team’s second-team center behind Jon Halapio since the team’s offseason program began.

“I think the trade was good for both (Minnesota and us),” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We got a pick in return for Brett Jones. He’s one of my favorite guys and he’s going to a really good place. With their situation in the offensive line, he’s going to have a chance to compete to maybe be their starter. I’m pretty familiar with their situation and he’s going to a very good place, so I’m happy for him, because he’s a real likeable guy. He works hard, he’s tough, and I feel like if he can’t be here – I tell the players all the time, we want you all to be here; if you can’t be here, we want you to be somewhere good, and that’s a good place.”

In 2017, Jones took over the starting center spot for 12 games after Weston Richburg was lost for the season. Jones was originally drafted by the CFL Calgary Stampeders in 2013 and named the CFL’s “Most Outstanding Rookie” after that season. Jones was also named the CFL’s “Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman” in 2014. He signed by the Giants in February 2015 and placed on Injured Reserve in September 2015 after spraining the MCL in his knee on the preseason finale. In 2016, Jones was on the active roster for 14 regular-season games and made one start at left guard.

INJURY REPORT – OLIVIER VERNON INJURES ANKLE, SAQUON BARKLEY RETURNS…
Not practicing on Sunday due to injury were tight end Evan Engram (concussion), offensive guard Nick Gates (unknown), defensive end A.J. Francis (unknown), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown), and linebacker Connor Barwin (knee).

“(Barwin is) day to day,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “He’s making good progress.”

Linebacker Calvin Munson (concussion) was in a red, non-contact jersey. Engram, despite being in the concussion protocol, did some running on the side. McIntosh participated in some limited football activities on the side for the first time this summer.

Linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle) left practice early on a cart. Vernon missed four games in 2017 with an ankle injury that limited in him in other games as well. “He kind of just went inside the block and got his feet tangled up,” said Shurmur. “I think it’s his ankle. He’s being evaluated. I don’t have much right now.”

Running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), running back Jalen Simmons (concussion), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring) returned to practice.

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

Aug 252018
 
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Hunter Sharp, New York Giants (August 24, 2018)

Hunter Sharp – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 22 – NEW YORK JETS 16…
The New York Giants defeated the New York Jets 22-16 in their annual third preseason game match-up on Friday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants improved their preseason record to 2-1.

The Giants out-gained the Jets in total net yards (344 to 240), net yards rushing (87 to 66), and net yards passing (257 to 174). Two key differences in the game were penalties and special teams return yardage. The Jets were flagged 13 times for 108 yards while the Giants were flagged half of that with six penalties for 50 yards. The Giants dominated the Jets in punt return yardage: 145 to zero.

The game did not start off well for the Giants as the New York Jets, behind rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, drove his team 75 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 10-yard touchdown run by running back Bilal Powell. In response, the Giants’ offense gained one first down on their initial drive and punted.

The Giants defense settled down after the Jets’ first possession. They forced a three and out, which was key as wideout Hunter Sharp returned the ensuing punt 45 yards for a touchdown that tied the game at 7-7.

The Giants’ defense then forced another three-and-out and the G-Men got the ball back on their own 40-yard line. On the first offensive play of this series, quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Cody Latimer for a 54-yard gain deep down the middle of the field to the Jets’ 6-yard line. However, on the very next snap, running back Jonathan Stewart fumbled the ball away to the Jets, who returned it 39 yards to the Giants 47-yard line, blowing a great scoring opportunity. Five plays later, Darnold threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. The Jets missed the extra point and led 13-7.

The Giants responded with an 11-play, 50-yard drive that led to a 48-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. After forcing a three-and-out, the Giants quickly got the ball back and tied the game at 13-13 after another 50-yard drive resulted in a 40-yard field goal by Rosas. Both drives were sparked by long completions from Manning to wide receiver Sterling Shepard.

The Giants got the ball back right away again when linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong forced a fumble on the ensuing Jets’ kick return. Tight end Jerell Adams recovered the ball and the Giants were set up at the 16-yard line. However, the Giants could not get the ball into the endzone and settled for another field goal by Rosas, this one from 27 yards out as the Giants went ahead for good, 16-13. The Giants were able to add to their advantage before halftime by forcing their fourth three-and-out of the half. Wide receiver Kalif Raymond returned the ensuing punt 35 yards to the Jets’ 30-yard line. Again, the Giants stalled in the red zone, settling for a 21-yard field goal and a 19-13 halftime lead.

The back-ups played in the second half and neither team did much scoring after the break. Both teams punted twice in the 3rd quarter. The Giants began their third drive of the half at their own 16-yard. A penalty and sack put the team in a 3rd-and-19 situation from their own 7-yard line, but quarterback Davis Webb and wide receiver Alonzo Russell bailed the Giants out of trouble with a 47-yard deep strike that helped to set up a 44-yard field goal by place kicker Marshall Koehn. The Giants now led 22-13 early in the 4th quarter.

After both teams exchanged punts again, the Jets’ second- and third-teamers drove 78 yards in 13 plays. However, their drive stalled at the 2-yard line and the Jets were forced to settle for a 20-yard field goal with just under three minutes to play. The Giants were able to run most of the rest of the clock out before punting and the game ended.

On special teams, Rosas was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts with kicks from 48, 40, 27, and 21 yards out. The Giants returned seven punts for 145 yards and also forced a turnover on a Jets’ kickoff return. (By the way, the TOTAL punt return yardage for the Giants team in 2017 was 148 yards!)

Offensively, Manning played well and finished the game 17-of-23 for 188 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. His leading receiver was Sterling Shepard with seven catches for 78 yards. Running back Wayne Gallman was held to 23 yards on 11 carries, but newcomer Jhurell Pressley rushed for 71 yards on 11 carries.

Defensively, the Jets were held to 66 yards rushing and 174 yards passing. Defensive end Kerry Wynn picked up another sack and linebacker Lorenzo Carter and defensive end Josh Mauro shared a sack. The defense did not force a turnover however.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT – EVAN ENGRAM SUFFERS CONCUSSION…
Not playing for the Giants due to injury were wide running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), running back Jalen Simmons (concussion), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (knee), linebacker Calvin Munson (concussion), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

Running back Robert Martin did not play and there is media speculation that an ankle or foot injury kept him out.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., quarterback Alex Tanney, and cornerback Mike Jones were healthy scratches.

Tight end Evan Engram left the game with a concussion. Tight end Rhett Ellison left the game with an eye injury.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media by conference call on Saturday. The players are off on that day.

Aug 212018
 
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Kalif Raymond, New York Giants (August 17, 2018)

Kalif Raymond – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 21, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS PRACTICE REPORT…
There are no more New York Giants training camp practices open to the public this summer. However, the team will continue to practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center each week, including Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Tuesday due to injury were wide running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), running back Jalen Simmons (concussion), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (knee), linebacker Calvin Munson (concussion), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

“As we all know, (Barkley) tweaked his hamstring, and he’s training really well and doing more and more each day,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We like the path he’s on.”

Defensive lineman A.J. Francis left practice early with an unknown injury, but later returned.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The Giants were in full pads for the second day in a row.
  • Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong continued to work with first-team nickel defense.
  • William Gay was the second-team free safety.
  • Donte Deayon received some reps at first-team slot corner.
  • Linebacker Kareem Martin penetrated into the backfield for a “sack” against right tackle Ereck Flowers.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple jumped a sideline toss from quarterback Eli Manning but dropped the potential interception.
  • For the second straight day, quarterback Kyle Lauletta hit wide receiver Jawill Davis deep. Lauletta later connected with Davis again on a fade pass for a score.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit tight end Evan Engram on a post pattern for a long touchdown. Manning later connected with wide receiver Sterling Shepard for another long score.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb threw a touchdown strike to wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo who was being double covered.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a fade touchdown pass to wide receiver Alonzo Russell over cornerback Leonard Johnson.
  • Cornerback Grant Haley knocked away a sideline pass intended for wideout Kalif Raymond.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb threw a fade touchdown pass to wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo, who made a one-handed catch, over cornerback Grant Haley.
  • Cornerback Janoris Jenkins broked up a deep pass from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Cornerback Donte Deayon picked off a pass from quarterback Davis Webb near the goal line.

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/1031986796303806464

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

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

ARTICLES…

VICTOR CRUZ RETIRES FROM THE NFL…
Former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (2010-2016) has retired from the NFL. In his seven seasons with the Giants, Cruz played in 70 regular-season games with 53 starts, catching 303 passes for 4,549 and 25 touchdowns. Signed as a rookie free agent after the 2010 NFL Draft, Cruz’s football career ended prematurely after suffering three lower-leg injuries that seemed to rob him of his quickness, including arthroscopic knee surgery in 2013, career-threatening patellar tendon knee injury in 2014, and a calf injury that required surgery in 2015. The Giants cut him in February 2017.

Aug 202018
 
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Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (August 17, 2018)

Pat Shurmur – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 20, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS PRACTICE REPORT…
There are no more New York Giants training camp practices open to the public this summer. However, the team will continue to practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center each week, including Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week.

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed free agents running back Jhurell Pressley and linebacker Warren Long.

The 26-year old, 5’10, 206-pound Pressley was originally signed by the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Vikings (2016), Green Bay Packers (2016), Atlanta Falcons (2016-2017), and Jacksonville Jaguars (2017). Pressley hasn’t played in a regular-season game.

“I was with (Pressley) before, good runner, fast, tough guy,” Head Coach Pat Shurmur said. “We brought him in, he’s got some familiarity with what we do offensively, and we’ll get him in the mix.”

A converted running back, the 23-year old, 5’11”, 212-pound Long was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Seattle Seahawks after the 2018 NFL Draft. The Seahawks cut him on Saturday.

To make room for Pressley and Long, the Giants waived/injured linebacker Thurston Armbrister and waived safety Mike Basile.

Armbrister has been sidelined for weeks with a hamstring injury. The Giants signed Armbrister to a reserve/futures contract in January 2018. 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.

The Giants signed Basile, an undrafted rookie free agent, on August 8th.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Monday due to injury were wide running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), running back Jalen Simmons (concussion), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (knee), linebacker Calvin Munson (concussion), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The Giants practiced in full pads.
  • The defense clearly out-practiced the offense today with the defense getting too much penetration against the offensive line.
  • Curtis Riley remains the first-team free safety and William Gay the first-team slot corner.
  • Linebacker Alec Ogletree blew threw the line to nail running back Wayne Gallman for a loss.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a long touchdown pass to wide receiver Jawill Davis against cornerback Mike Jones.
  • Linebacker Alec Ogletree knocked away a quarterback Eli Manning pass intended for wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. across the middle of the defense. Then Ogletree picked off a lazy deep pass from Manning to wide receiver Hunter Sharp.
  • Wide receiver Travis Rudolph dropped two passes.
  • Quarterback Alex Tanney threw a nice deep corner route to wideout Jawill Davis over safety Sean Chandler.
  • Linebacker B.J. Goodson knocked away a pass intended for running back Shane Smith.

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

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

ARTICLES…

Aug 012018
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (July 26, 2018)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 1, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their sixth full-team summer training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

GIANTS CLAIM VICTOR SALAKO OFF OF WAIVERS…
The New York Giants have claimed offensive tackle Victor Salako off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns. The 24-year old, 6’5”, 316-pound Salako was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent time on the Practice Squads of both the Eagles and Browns in 2017. Salako has good size but lacks ideal athleticism.

To make room for Salako, the Giants waived offensive tackle Jarron Jones, who was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Giants cut him in September 2017, but re-signed him June 2018 after he had spent time with the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday were safety Curtis Riley (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (unknown), tight end Garrett Dickerson (hamstring), and defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list).

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Linebacker Olivier Vernon beat left tackle Nate Solder around the edge to “sack” quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Darian Thompson teamed with Landon Collins as the first-team safeties. When the Giants went to “dime” coverage, the extra corners were William Gay and B.W. Webb.
  • Second-team defense included Grant Haley and Teddy Williams at corner and Michael Thomas in the slot.
  • Chad Wheeler practiced at second-team left tackle today with Nick Becton at second-team right tackle, flipping from where they had been lining up.
  • John Jerry was working with the third team at right tackle.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb threw a perfect deep pass to wide receiver Kalif Raymond for a 40-50 yard gain between cornerback Grant Haley and safety Andrew Adams.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta hit wide receiver Marquis Bundy deep down the left sideline.
  • Returning kickoffs were Hunter Sharp, Wayne Gallman, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Left tackle Nate Solder did a good job of picking up a blitz by linebacker Alec Ogletree.
  • Linebacker Mark Herzlich slammed wideout Kalif Raymond after a short catch over the middle.
  • Linebacker Alex Ogletree tipped a pass from quarterback Eli Manning that was intercepted by safety Landon Collins and returned for a touchdown during the 2-minute drill.
  • Defensive end B.J. Hill expertly sniffed out a screen pass for running back Saquon Barkley and tackled him for a loss.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. worked together after practice.

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

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

ARTICLES…