Sep 052020
 
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Ryan Connelly, New York Giants (September 22, 2019)

Ryan Connelly – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS REDUCE ROSTER TO 53 PLAYERS…
On Saturday, in order to meet the NFL’s 53-man roster limit, the New York Giants made the following 29 roster moves:

Waived or contracts terminated:

  • QB Cooper Rush
  • QB Alex Tanney
  • RB Tavien Feaster
  • RB Sandro Platzgummer
  • WR Johnny Holton
  • WR Alex Bachman
  • WR Derrick Dillon
  • WR Austin Mack
  • WR Binjimen Victor
  • TE Eric Tomlinson
  • TE Garrett Dickerson
  • OL Jon Halapio
  • OL Eric Smith
  • OL Tyler Haycraft
  • OL Kyle Murphy
  • DL Chris Slayton (2019 7th-round pick)
  • DL Daylon Mack
  • DL Niko Lalos
  • LB Ryan Connelly (2019 5th-round pick)
  • LB Josiah Tauaefa
  • CB Grant Haley
  • CB Brandon Williams
  • CB Dravon Askew-Henry
  • CB KeiVarae Russell
  • CB Jarren Williams
  • CB Prince Smith
  • CB/S Chris Williamson (2020 7th-round pick)
  • S Montre Hartage (waived/injured with hamstring injury)
  • LS Carson Tinker

On Friday, the Giants also placed WR David Sills (fractured right foot) on Injured Reserve. Players placed on Injured Reserve before the cut-down date are done for the season.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants will establish their 16-man Practice Squad on Sunday. The players are off on Sunday and return to practice on Monday.

Sep 022020
 
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Jon Halapio, New York Giants (September 22, 2019)

Jon Halapio – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 2, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media and team sources:

  • Giants had a light, half-speed practice today in preparation for Thursday’s afternoon scrimmage. It appears much of the emphasis was on situational and game-ending scenarios.

INJURY REPORT…
Safety Xavier McKinney (left foot fracture), linebacker David Mayo (torn meniscus in left knee), wide receiver Golden Tate (hamstring?), and linebacker Tae Crowder (unknown) did not practice.

ROSTER MOVES – GIANTS RE-SIGN JON HALAPIO…
The New York Giants have re-signed Jon Halapio, who the team chose not to tender as a restricted free agent before free agency began, effectively making him an unrestricted free agent. The team also signed wide receiver Johnny Holton and long snapper Carson Tinker. To make room for these players, the Giants waived/injured safety Jaquarius Landrews (neck) and tight end Rysen John (hamstring), and waived offensive lineman Jackson Dennis.

Head Coach Joe Judge said bringing back Halapio was not an indication that the team is unhappy with their current centers. “Absolutely not,” said Judge. “It’s just an opportunity for us to add another good player to the roster. It gives us some depth and versatility inside. Jon’s a guy who can play center, but he can play guard as well. Again, it’s about position flexibility inside. You can only keep so many guys on the roster. The more players you keep inside that can play multiple positions, it gives you strength as a team right there. So no, that’s no indication on anything we feel about our current players on our roster. I have a lot of confidence in Nick (Gates) and Spencer (Pulley) and Tyler (Haycraft). They’ve done a really good job. Shane’s (Lemieux) coming along. We’re working on developing him in time. He’s been playing a lot more at guard due to our current situation, but he’s working as a center as well. We’re developing all of our guys the best we can at multiple positions.”

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 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. An underwhelming and disappointing season by Halapio in 2019 was unfortunately punctuated by him suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon in the final moments of the season finale. In all, Halapio started 15 games, missing one start with a hamstring injury. He struggled as both a run and pass blocker manning the pivot position.

The 29-year old, 6’3”, 190-pound Holton was originally signed by the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Raiders (2016-2018), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), and Pittsburgh Steelers (2019). The Steelers cut Holton in March 2020. In four seasons, Holton has played in 48 regular-season games with four starts, accruing just 14 receptions for 273 yards and three touchdowns. He does have limited experience as a kickoff and punt returner and is a good gunner on special teams.

The 30-year old, 6’0”, 237-pound Tinker was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2013 NFL Draft. He played in 69 regular-season games for the Jaguars from 2013-2018. The Jaguars cut him in March 2019 and he did not play that year.

Landrews and John were signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. Dennis was signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. The Cardinals cut him in July and the Giants signed him in August.

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

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 on YouTube.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
New York Giants President/CEO John Mara will address the press on Thursday morning. The Giants hold their second scrimmage at MetLife Stadium at 1:00PM with Head Coach Joe Judge and select players addressing the media after the scrimmage.

Mar 162020
 
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James Bradberry, Carolina Panthers (September 8, 2019)

James Bradberry – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS SIGN JAMES BRADBERRY TO 3-YEAR, $45-MILLION DEAL…
Multiple media sources are reporting that the New York Giants have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent cornerback James Bradberry (Carolina Panthers). The deal is reportedly a 3-year, $45 million contract that includes $32 million in guaranteed money.

The 26-year old, 6’1”, 212-pound Bradberry was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Panthers. In four seasons with Carolina, Bradberry has started all 60 regular-season games that he has played in, accruing 222 tackles, three sacks, 47 pass defenses, eight interceptions, and two forced fumbles. In 2019, he started 15 games and finished the year with 65 tackles, one sack, 12 pass defenses, and three interceptions.

Blessed with good size and overall athletic ability, the Panthers often used Bradberry to cover the opposing team’s best receiver.

NO TENDER FOR JON HALAPIO…
ESPN is reporting that center Jon Halapio, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent, will not be tendered by the New York Giants. This means that Halapio will be an unrestricted free agent who is free to sign with any team.

An underwhelming and disappointing season by Halapio in 2019 was unfortunately punctuated by him suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon in the final moments of the season finale. In all, Halapio started 15 games, missing one start with a hamstring injury.

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 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.

Dec 312019
 
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Dave Gettleman, New York Giants (November 10, 2019)

Dave Gettleman – © USA TODAY Sports

DAVE GETTLEMAN ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addressed the media on Tuesday (video):

Opening statement: Good morning. Before we begin, I would like to wish you all a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year. Over the past weeks, there has been much speculation over the futures of Pat Shurmur and myself. Every day is a job interview in this industry and we accept that. So, I understand the question of why was Pat dismissed and I was not. Just to be clear, there were substantive discussions between myself and ownership regarding my job performance and vision moving forward over the past few weeks. So, John (Mara) and Steve (Tisch) made their decisions and here I stand. Before we go any further, I just want to be clear— Pat Shurmur is as fine a man as I’ve ever worked with. There are many reasons why the New York Football Giants are in the current state, and I take my share of culpability. As John said yesterday, I have had misses. However, given where we started in December of ’17, we’ve made progress in many areas on and off the field that we are encouraged by and see as a sound foundation for the team to come. Finally, one more point before I take questions, the person in this position must be willing to make tough decisions and I have certainly shown the willingness to do so. However, be assured, no decision is made in a vacuum. We believe in collaboration among ownership, coaching and personnel. With that, I will take questions.

Q: What is the state of the franchise? Is it about now, is it about the future, is it about patience, is it about urgency? 
A: We feel like we’ve addressed it. When I came here, I had two major goals. Number one was to find a quarterback, and I really believe we’ve done that. Daniel (Jones) had a terrific year, came on, did some great things and we have seen great things for him in the future. The second accomplishment I had as my goal was to set the team up for sustained success. So, over time since I’ve been here, we have regenerated, we have rebooted, so to speak, and done a lot of things behind the scenes that needed to be done. John alluded to them yesterday. We have completely redone our scouting situation, how we look at college personnel, how we look at pro personnel. We are in the process, we have hired four computer folks, software, and we are completely redoing the backend of our college and pro scouting systems. As John alluded to yesterday, we have hired a fulltime clinician. We are doing a lot of things behind the scenes. In terms of being forward thinking, we have also in the last few years (been) ramping up the analytic and technology piece. So, that’s where we’re going. I know that sometimes it’s difficult, the instant gratification piece. But that’s where we’re going, and I really feel good about the direction we’re headed.

Q: I know previously you spoke to a team employee about the Leonard Williams trade. Can you talk about the thought process of trading a top seven pick and multiple other draft picks to bring Williams in when he was going to be a free agent at the end of the year?
A: Basically, you know, it was a three and a five. If we sign him it moves up to a four. The thought process was, I really believe that as much as the style of play evolves, there are basic truths— you have to run the ball, you have to stop the run, you have to rush the passer. If you are seriously deficient in any one of those three areas, it makes it tough. It’s going to be tough sledding. By bringing in Leonard, we looked at it, we obviously evaluated the film, by bringing him in, we felt he could be a disruptive force inside. And, he has been. He has been.

Q: Couldn’t you have gotten him at the end of the year?
A: Well, that’s hypothetical. I understand what you’re saying, I really do, but at the end of the day, we felt good about him, he did what we wanted him to do, and he wants to be here.

Q: Why not wait until free agency?
A: Because now we know what we have, and we were willing to do that.

Q: So, you were willing to give up two draft picks, whether it’s three, four, or three, five, in order to get that information?
A: Exactly. We felt we needed him. Again, we felt good about it and we feel, and he’s proven, he’s disruptive in there. He improved our rushing defense with him in there, he buzzes around the quarterback, we’ve just got to get him to finish now. But, the bottom line is we felt it was worth the deal. The juice was worth the squeeze.

Q: You have said a few times when you’ve talked to us about how you believed in Eli Manning. It was not a mirage, you said he had several years left in him. Looking back, was it wise to use 23 million in cap space for a player who was given such a short…he only played two games and then he was a backup and a mentor. Were you blindsided that it was only going to be two games, and if so, would you have done that differently?
A: Here’s what I would say, we really believed in Daniel. We didn’t know he would come that fast. Again, you’re talking about a kid who played at Duke, in the ACC, and like I said, we had taken at six, we didn’t blink. We just didn’t realize he would come that fast. At the end of the day, it was time. It was time. Eli was great with him. Who better to learn from and who better to have his back? Eli is a pro’s pro. A big piece of being the head coach, being the quarterback, the general manager of the New York Football Giants, is speaking with you folks and getting the message to our fans. That’s a big piece of it. That’s another reason, who better for Daniel to learn from than Eli Manning. So, to answer your question— no, we’re fine with it.

Q: Do you have any regrets over the Odell (Beckham Jr.) trade? If not, why not?
A: Really and truly, we’re not going to know about that trade for two years. Two rookies, and Jabrill (Peppers) is only in his third year. We’re really not going to be able to evaluate that trade until two years. You come back in two years and hopefully I’m standing here, we can have that conversation. I’m being honest, you have to wait. People immediately want thumbs up or thumbs down. Right now, we are excited about Dexter Lawrence, Oshane (Ximines) and Jabrill (Peppers). We’re going to find out.

Q: Are you willing to give Leonard Williams the significant big contract that he very clearly wants?
A: I don’t discuss money, I don’t discuss contracts, I don’t discuss negotiations.

Q: Do you have any assurance that he won’t test the market? 
A: He was in my office yesterday and he told me he wants to be here.

Q: Do you feel like you are giving him a lot of leverage by trading for him?
A: No.

Q: How much do you feel like you have to sign him? Otherwise those two picks go just for the information that you then can’t use.
A: If we hold our water, we will get a third-round comp (compensatory pick).

Q:  I understand changes had to be made when you first came here. They were made at a rapid pace. Looking back, was the process a little too quick because it upset whatever continuity you maybe wanted to keep in the locker room and upset the chemistry?
A: No, I don’t feel that way at all. We had a culture issue that was well documented, and changes had to be made. You had an operation that had one winning season since 2012. The definition of insanity, so no, to answer your question.

Q: How do you rationalize the recommitment to analytics when the night after you drafted Saquon Barkley you mocked the concept?
A: Here’s what I would say to you about that. I did that kidding around. You turn around and learn very quickly, I’ve learned there are no throw away lines here. You guys will take anything and do that. In terms of the analytics and devaluing the running back and this and that, Saquon’s special and that’s what I should have said. Saquon’s special, he’s an outlier. We are committed to being forward thinking. We are committed to being the best in every area. We are making a determined effort to move that way. We are in the process of that process.

Q: When you traded Odell, we asked you why you didn’t call the 49ers. You said whoever picks up the phone to make the phone call gives up leverage.
A: I talked to the 49ers.

Q: We asked you why you didn’t shop around for a better offer than the Browns. You said whoever picks up the phone to make the call loses leverage. In your in-house interview, you said you picked up the phone to call the Jets for Leonard Williams, you initiated the conversation. Why?
A: Because I heard rumors. I had heard rumors that he was available. So, I called to ask, I called Joe and said, ‘hey Joe’ and heard all over the place he’s available.

Q: So my question was going to be did you feel like you lost leverage by doing that?
A: I felt like we got trade value. When you’re in the trade business, you want to get to a win-win. Most people are savvy enough where it’s going to have to be fair.

Q: Yesterday, John Mara said he expects results, more results, better results in 2020. He thinks the team should be better and will be better. How close is this team right now to being a playoff contender in your mind?
A: It all depends upon how quickly the puppies come along. We have a lot of young kids. We led the league in snaps by rookies. A big part of it is how quickly they come.

Q: When you look at the coaching process and hiring a new coach, obviously, you are looking at the college and pro guys. What are some of the benefits of a college coach? Because they tend to handle both duties of GM technically and also coach. How is that dynamic when you are interviewing guys coming from the collegiate level?
A: One of the things that I find interesting is we are getting younger and younger players in the league. These kids we’re drafting are 21 years old, they have been in college for three years. In Carolina, I drafted two kids that were 20 years old. The (Tremaine) Edmonds kid that Buffalo drafted was 19. You are drafting younger kids so to take a college coach now, I think he would have that advantage of having been connected to these college kids for so long. Understanding the culture and what they’re at, what they’re about and where they’re at. I appreciate that as far as him being the GM. Obviously he has his recruiting war room and he’s the one doing that. It’s a collaborative process, everything is a collaborative process. This is a monster up here and anybody that’s doing it on their own, it’s difficult. I would say to anybody, any college coach that we talk to, I’m here to help him. One of the things that I’ll tell you is we’re all support staff, we really truly are.

Q: There’s been some speculation that there may be some coaching candidates who might not want to work with you in your situation, not knowing whether you have ownership’s support for multiple years. Is that something you’ve heard at all? Do you have any concerns that maybe candidates will say no?
A: I don’t understand the notion that I’m tough to work with. I think it would be from people who don’t know me. Obviously, as we move forward in the coaching search, it’s the dating game. There will be an opportunity for them to look me in the eyes and say, ‘Hey Dave, what up?’ I don’t understand that. I really don’t. I don’t know where it’s coming from. I would say this. I went to Carolina, Ron (Rivera) was there. I didn’t fire anybody there and three years later, we were in Santa Clara at the Super Bowl.

Q: What if it’s because they don’t believe running the ball, stopping the run and rushing the passer are their three (priorities)?
A: That’s part of the conversation. It’s just part of the conversation. We’ll see.

Q: In April, in an interview with Steve Politi, he asked if there was a culture problem, and you said ‘Not anymore’ with a smile, according to what Politi wrote. You now have a season where you have four wins, more than half of your losses are by two scores at least, and you did have some locker room issues this season. But it’s clear you think the culture is somehow better. Why?
A: Part of the problem is when you lose year after year after year, you need to get that winning feeling back. In terms of culture problems downstairs this year, I know this, I saw a team that came out, practiced hard every day, and played hard on Sundays. I’m not sure where that comes from. First time it’s ever been mentioned to me, and I’m through that locker room all the time on a daily basis.

Q: You don’t think with Janoris Jenkins you had an issue with the locker room this year, and some other players?
A: What Janoris said, he said. He came out and he said what he said. He’s it. He was it.

Q: Do you feel like you’ve been put on notice a little bit from John Mara yesterday? He said you need to have a better batting average in free agency and all that. Do you feel like you’ve been put on notice this year going into 2020? As far as your job status.
A: Oh absolutely. We’re all on notice. We truly are.

Q: It’s different from a first-year GM to a third-year GM.
A: Right, absolutely. I feel that pressure every day, whether I’m in my first year or 15th year.

Q: You’re going to have a lot of cap space. Are you planning on being very aggressive?
A: Well, first of all, whatever amount of money we end up having, you have to put $20 million and put it to the side, put it in a passbook savings account because you want to be in a position in-season to do extensions. If an attractive player is there, you want to have the cap space to make the decision, instead of saying ‘We can’t afford this guy, we can’t afford that guy.’ So, you take $20 million aside. You build the team through the draft. Free agency is really to a certain degree, and I’ve said it before, free agency is to set yourself up so that in the draft… You address issues with free agency so that you can set yourself up in the draft so you take the best player available.

Q: I have a few. One, you said Leonard Williams improved your run defense. The Eagles controlled the ball on the ground both times you played them, 239 yards, four touchdowns with a guy named Boston Scott at running back. I’m curious why you think he improved the run defense? Two, why don’t you talk and take accountability more? It seemed like Pat Shurmur was out in front kind of taking all of the bullets, and then of course gets fired and you do not. Third, why should players, free agents, trust you when you say you didn’t sign a guy to trade him, and then you trade him? Why should people trust what you say?
A: You hit me with three. You got your money’s worth. The bottom line is with why should people trust me, why shouldn’t they? We made the deal with Odell. At the beginning of the year, I told him, ‘Come in, we’ll get it done,’ and we did. It’s as simple as that. Then from that point on, you make decisions. What was the next question? Oh, the run defense? It takes more than one guy. That’s my response to that. You have a number of people playing defense. Football is the ultimate team game. You can’t pin an offense’s performance or a defense’s performance on one player. What was the third question?

Q: Why don’t you talk publicly more and take accountability when things are going wrong?
A: Here’s what I would say to you. We looked at it. We probably need to address it, and it may change next year. But there are very few GMs that talk in-season. Most GMs, and I did this in Carolina, I did not talk. Once the season starts, to me, it’s about the players and coaches. It really is. Even in the Super Bowl season, I was behind the scenes. The only time I talked in the Super Bowl season once the season started was in the first or second week of the playoffs when Ron was getting inundated by requests. So, I stepped in for 20 minutes one day before practice. But that’s it. I really and truly believe, and if you go around the league… you know, I was feeling guilty about it. I felt guilty that Pat was up there taking the bullets. So, I turned around and had Pat Hanlon go around the league and see what people are doing. Most GMs, if the GM talked in-season this year, it was because of a big deal. That was it.

Q: You made one. Leonard. That was a fairly high-profile deal.
A: Well, we didn’t talk.

Q: Just to follow up on something Ralph (Vacchiano) asked earlier. I know you talked about are you worried about certain things turning off coaching candidates, and he mentioned being difficult to work with, I think more of what he was getting at was, you’ve been put on notice. You’re clearly on the hot seat entering 2020. There’s uncertainty that this coach may not be working for the GM that hires him in 2021. Does that concern you in terms of potentially turning off prominent head coaching candidates?
A: I think that the power of this franchise, this is an iconic franchise, the power of this franchise and the stability of this ownership will allay the fears of any coach that thinks about that.

Q: You said earlier talking about the Leonard deal that you felt as though the draft assets you were giving up were worth the player coming here. Then, in a later question you talk about how to build a team, and the team needs to be built with the draft. So, how do you explain the–
A: The contradiction? From your view, yeah.

Q: I don’t think it’s just me. There’s no question that you’re contradicting the idea of giving away assets versus protecting assets so you can build a team.
A: Leonard is 25 years old, he’s young, he’s about to enter his prime. I felt that what he gave us with the potential that he gives us was worth those two assets.

Q: What do you say to the Giants fans who’ve seen nine wins the last two seasons, four this season, and you’re generally kind of telling us today that everything’s okay?
A: I’m telling you everything’s okay? Is that the vibe you’re getting? It’s getting better, and this is frustrating for all of us. I’m not happy about this. Ownership’s not happy, we’re all frustrated. But unfortunately, it takes time.

Q: I don’t know if you’ve had the chance to think about this, but for you personally, you mentioned some of the changes behind the scenes, but for you personally, how do you anticipate you’re going to do things and be different and be better, because I’m sure you want to be better moving forward? So, what kind of changes, and how do you anticipate you’ll be better next year?
A: Well, I know this may sound crazy, but I met recently with a big analytics guy. I’m going to learn from my mistakes. I never stop asking myself the question, ‘What could we have done differently? What could we have done better?’ That question never stops getting asked. I always ask that question. We evaluate, we re-evaluate, we go backwards and forwards with it. And that’s what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to talk to other GMs, inside and outside the industry, and continue to grow.

Q: If I recall from your first press conference, one of your big themes was ‘hog mollies,’ the offensive line, your top priority. It wasn’t good the first year, had some moments this year, where do you stand in that rebuilding. What pieces do you have? How much more work do you have to do?
A: That part of it has been frustrating. George Young, may he rest in peace, used to call that the ‘Dance of the Elephants,’ and those five guys have to work together as a unit, and if they don’t, it’s messy. We feel like, unfortunately, Pio (Jon Halapio) got hurt again, he tore his Achilles as you guys know, so now he is not going to be ready until camp most likely, but we feel like we’ve got some good pieces there, and they’ve just got to continue to work together and improve. We’re always going to look to add, we’re not afraid to draft over anybody, so we’ll continue to work that.

Q: You stated that you can turn things around pretty quickly, but in the last three years, your record says what your record says. So, why would this year be different in your mind in terms of winning?
A: Well, I just told you, these young kids are getting better. That’s what this next roster building season is about. It really is. I would say this to you, when you’re talking about teams that get turned around quickly, take a look at what they started with first. Okay? Just take a look.

Q: You mentioned before that you felt guilty watching Pat go up there every day–
A: It was hard.

Q: Well, like you said, when you felt guilty about that and then you said we should have a study to see what other GMs do. But why did that matter to you, if your gut tells you you’re feeling guilty?
A: I talked about it with Pat and we decided to stay the course.

Q: Your job is in the biggest media market in the country, so you realized coming in that there are probably certain obligations. Are you concerned at all that your lack of availability to the media at large over five months projected a vibe of weakness to the fanbase? And if not, why not?
A: I’m concerned about that very much, and that’s why we’re going to address it.

Q: One thing that John Mara mentioned yesterday is that he would be willing to listen to a coaching candidate, that he could be convinced that that coach could say, ‘I want more personnel say than a coach typically has here,’ that he’d be open to that. How do you feel about that?
A: Number one, whatever’s in the best interest of the New York Football Giants, I will do. Whatever’s in the best interest of the club. Number two, what I would say is there were no major decisions made without everybody’s opinion. For some reason there is a—we’re collaborative here. We are collaborative.

Q: What type of head coach does this team, this franchise, need at this point?
A:  We need a head coach that can bring together a staff that’s enthusiastic. We need a head coach with leadership. We need a head coach with intelligence, and one that can connect with these players. That’s what we need.

Q: Do you understand why a lot of paying customers are skeptical you can get this job done?
A: Do I understand why? Sure.

Q: With Daniel, you sound very optimistic about him, there obviously were a lot of reasons to be optimistic, but the turnovers, obviously the fumbles, 11, I think, 12 interceptions, why do you think that’s correctable?
A:  It’s legit, what you’re saying is legit, obviously. In later games, he did a better job. He had a bad run, and in later games as you watch the pressure around him or whatever, you see him feel it better and have two hands on the ball. He cut it down the last handful of games. He knows it, he’s going to work on it. He’s that kind of a kid.

Q: If the personnel decisions are collaborative, how come you get credit for drafting Daniel and for what he looks like, but Pat (Shurmur) does not?
A: I have no idea what you’re talking about. Very frankly, no idea.

Q: Just a couple of housekeeping questions, you talked to the previous staff, did you ask anybody to come back?
A: Here’s what we did, when I spoke to the staff yesterday, there’s a number of housekeeping things. Number one, we told them they’re under contract and they are welcome to use the facilities. Number two, we will certainly recommend, suggest, that the new head coach speak with them. Number three, we will send them all to the Senior Bowl because that is the ‘job fair,’ for lack of a better term, in the NFL. We have a couple of our young coaches that are probably going to coach in the East-West game that we’re going to send. Yes, I think that’s it.

Q: They’re free to pursue offers?
A: Oh yeah, that’s right, the other thing. They’re free to pursue other opportunities. They’re under contract, obviously, so if it’s an offensive line coach and he’s going for an offensive line job, theoretically we could block it. We will not do that.

Q: Is Eli (Manning) officially done with the Giants?

A: I haven’t spoken to him yet. He took some time, and I’m assuming he’s going to get back to me.

Q: How would you grade yourself over the last two years?
A: Over the last two years? Not good enough. Really, it hasn’t been good enough. It will get better.

COACHING SEARCH UPDATE…
According to media reports, the New York Giants have requested to interview the following head coaching candidates:

  • Former Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy
  • Baltimore Ravens Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale
  • Dallas Cowboys Defensive Backs Coach/Defensive Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard
  • New England Patriots Special Teams Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Joe Judge
  • Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy
  • New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Josh McDaniels

The 56-year old McCarthy was fired by the Packers in December 2018 after serving 13 seasons as head coach of the franchise. With the Packers, McCarthy was responsible for a 125–77–2 (.618) regular-season record and a 10–8 (.556) post-season record, winning one NFL Championship in 2010.

The 56-year old Martindale has served as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator since 2018. Before that he was the linebackers coach for the Ravens (2012-2017), defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos (2010), linebackers coach of the Broncos (2009), and linebackers coach of the Oakland Raiders (2004-2008).

The 40-year old Richard has served as Dallas’ defensive backs coach and defensive passing game coordinator since 2018. Before that he served in a variety of roles with the Seattle Seahawks, including defensive coordinator (2015-2017), defensive backs coach (2012-2014), cornerbacks coach (2011), and assistant defensive backs coach (2010).

The 37-year old Judge has held mainly special teams titles with the Patriots since 2012, including special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach (2019), special teams coordinator (2015-2018), and special teams assistant (2012-2014).

The 50-year old Bieniemy has served as Kansas City’s offensive coordinator since 2018. Before that he was the running backs coach for the Chiefs (2013-2017), Minnesota Vikings (2006-2010), UCLA (2003-2005), and University of Colorado (2001-2002). He also served as offensive coordinator at the University of Colorado (2011-2012).

The 43-year old McDaniels was interviewed by the Giants for their head coaching vacancy two years ago when the team decided to hire Pat Shurmur instead. McDaniels is best known for serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during two stints with the Patriots (2005-2008 and 2012-2019). In between, he was head coach of the Denver Broncos (2009-2010) and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach of the St. Louis Rams (2011). McDaniels served in a variety of roles with the Patriots from 2001-2004 before becoming offensive coordinator.

There is also rampant media speculation that the Giants will interview Baylor University Head Coach Matt Rhule, who was an offensive line assistant with the Giants under Tom Coughlin in 2012. Rhule has served as head coach at Baylor for three years (2017-2019). Before that, he was head coach at Temple University (2013-2016).

JON HALAPIO TORE HIS ACHILLES…
General Manager Dave Gettleman confirmed that center Jon Halapio tore his Achilles’ tendon late in the season-finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. Halapio, who underwent successful surgery today, is currently scheduled to be a free agent this offseason.

Sep 182019
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (September 15, 2019)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 18, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Cody Latimer (concussion), right guard Kevin Zeitler (shoulder), and cornerback Grant Haley (illness) did not practice on Wednesday.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion), wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), and tight end Garrett Dickerson (quad) were limited in practice.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants terminated the practice squad contract of tight end C.J. Conrad on Tuesday. The Giants originally signed Conrad as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Giants also signed running back Austin Walter to the Practice Squad. The 23-year old, 5’8”, 190-pound Walter was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The 49ers cut him in late August.

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:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Thursday, with the team’s coordinators also addressing the media.

Aug 062019
 
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Kareem Martin, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Kareem Martin – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 6, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eleventh full-team summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (back), offensive tackle Brian Mihalik (burner), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Tuesday.

“(Wheeler is) dealing with a back thing that’s… Those are a little bit tricky sometimes,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “He’s sort of day-to-day.”

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (thumb) and cornerback Grant Haley (shoulder) participated with non-contact jerseys.

Defensive end B.J. Hill was excused from practice due to the birth of his child. Safety Michael Thomas and long snapper Zak DeOssie were excused in order to participate in NFLPA duties.

TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS FROM SY’56…
Even though a practice two days prior to a game can seem boring and uninformative at times, I still found value in being there. First, it was great to catch up with gidie. That guy does a lot of work behind the scenes for BBI so you guys can enjoy it…and I hope all of you remember it. Second, we had some decent conversation about the noticeable and maybe not-so-noticeable differences in this team. So while there really wasn’t a ton to write about today regarding practice, the wheels were spinning on what exactly needs to go right for this team to get back in to contention-mode. After all, gun to my head I think this team finishes under .500 but I’ve seen too many “sure things” go in the opposite direction to pretend I know what is going to happen. In sports, anything can happen.

One glaring missing piece, and we all know this, to the defense is a lack of edge presence. I didn’t oppose the trade of Olivier Vernon because of what it brought back and Vernon never really stuck with me. But that trade nearly left the cupboard bare and one of the most frustrating, team-killing components of this team in recent years has been the lack of pass rush. They have ranked bottom three in the league three of the past four years – yes you read that right. One who looks like he is ready for the next step is Lorenzo Carter. The tools he brings to the table are second-to-none when it comes to height, newfound bulk, and speed. If the skill set develops, I see a potential Danielle Hunter (MIN) in him. If he breaks out in 2019, the reward for the defense could be enormous as I think the inside DL will be getting plenty of push from Lawrence-Hill-Tomlinson.

Back to the OL…the acquisition of Kevin Zeitler cannot be underestimated. He isn’t just a solid presence, he is an elite 330+ pound pass protector who constantly makes good, powerful contact as a run blocker. Will Hernandez – Jon Halapio – Zeitler might be the heaviest (332-316-330) interior group in the league if I have my information correct. The OL has held this team back more than anything you can think of and even though the RT spot is a weaknesses, if these guys can be as dominant as I think they can be, the entire outlook of the offense changes.

Those who have been around the past few years, you know my affinity to quality linebackers. I have wanted the team to put serious resources in to the position (free agency money/high draft picks, etc.) and I realize it may not be among popular belief. But I look at a team like Dallas and the impact they have had from their second level defenders and I see what a Darius Leonard has done for IND, I just can’t shake the thought. Maybe I am stubborn. Anyway, the battle for the spot next to Alec Ogletree is going to be interesting. Tae Davis is the smallest, but quickest among the three who I think will end up competing for the spot. B.J. Goodson is, by far, the most imposing and physical. Rookie Ryan Connelly looks like the gamer who knows the defense so well and can really take in coaching. They are awfully different players and a lot will depend on what the coach wants out of that spot, but whomever gets the job needs to help rid the NYG defense of getting torched week-after-week, year-after-year in the middle of the field.

The backfield is going to need to be more than good if this offense is going to soar. As I said last week, I just see too many limitations in the passing game for me to think they will be dangerous. That is fine. However the running backs need to be elite. We have that in Saquon Barkley, nothing new there. But as good as he is, you can’t run this guy in to the ground with 35 touches a game every week. He and Wayne Gallman appear to be much more assertive and explosive. Part of that will come from the confidence of better OL play, but I think they are making it a point to keep themselves moving forward as they diagnose the lanes and holes. Both, more so Barkley, had a tendency last year to side shuffle too much after getting the ball. Those extra 1-2 yards per carry mean more than you think if you know anything about analytics and “early down success.” With the way this offense is put together, these backs need to stick with this “fall forward” approach much like we see Ezekiel Elliot do so well.

My general point in all this, and it is backed up by analysis around the league, these second/third year players MUST make the jump if this team has any shot at competing. Rookie contracts are arguably the greatest asset to a franchise on the field and the ascent in levels of these guys is completely critical. Veterans like Manning, Latimer, Solder, Ogletree, Jenkins…etc., we know that they are and we can only hope they don’t decline. The performance on the 2019 Giants mostly sits on the shoulders of these young guys, maybe the rookies as well, taking it to the next step. If they don’t, see ya next year.

TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS FROM GIDIEFOR…
It was warm and overcast today. You could smell the rain in the air, but the rain held off, and the players and coaches got practice in before any rainfall. The players were all in shells. As has been the usual the players were out in groups with their coaches doing drills as we waited to get on the field. Today, TE Evan Engram, WR Sterling Shepard, and RB Saquon Barkley were right in front of us throwing passes at the practice net trying to make baskets from about thirty yards away. Saquon Barkley is a pretty accurate thrower. Sterling made a few quite a few himself, or at least hit the net. Engram hit the net a few times himself. The four quarterbacks in their red shirts were again to the right of us practicing their footwork. There was not a lot to read into today’s practice, some of it was with cards, and they mostly practiced setting up play action in their sets without hitting. The Giants were getting ready to play the Jets in two days.

We were let onto the practice area and escorted to the field at our far right. The defense was in white jerseys and the offense was in blue today. After the stretches, were position drills. We were standing where the backfield did their drills and watched them and I peaked at the offensive lineman drills at the edge of the field to our left, and saw LT Nate Solder knock T Paul Adams hard into the ground, and noted that LB Alex Ogletree has switched his uniform number from 52 to 47.

One of the conversations we had were about the differences between this year’s team and the team two years ago. As I have mentioned previously, it is noticeable that the Giants have invested in big men especially up front on both offense and defense. Consider that of the offensive line starters: LT Nate Solder is 6’9” 319lbs, LG Will Hernandez is 6’3” 332lbs, C Jon Halapio is 6’4” 315lbs, RG Kevin Zeitler is 6’4” 330lbs, and RT Mike Remmers is 6’5” 308 lbs. Sy’56 noted that the majority of the NFL isn’t built that way anymore, whereas on the Giants every lineman above 300 lbs and they range from 6’3” to 6’9” – the guards being a little shorter and nearly 15 lbs heavier than the tackles. The starters on the defensive line are DL Dalvin Tomlinson at 6’3 319 lbs, DL Dexter Lawrence at 6’4” 342lbs, and DL BJ Hill at 6’3” 310 lbs. These are all Giants. Coach Pat Shurmur and GM Dave Gettlemen have stated that this is a big man’s game and clearly that is how they are building the roster with very big men who are strong and athletic and cannot be pushed around so easily.

As we watched the first sets setting up play-action, it is easy to see the Giants being a throwback team this year with the big men up front giving RB Saquon Barkley a little more breathing room, and we hope learning to keep moving forward, and buying time with the play-action to set up the quick-passing game. WR Sterling Shepard and WR Golden Tate will be key to this type of game with crossing patterns and other short passes and with getting big chunks of yardage on the fly after the catch. TE Evan Engram will also play a big role up the seam and running sideline routes. TE Rhett Ellison will be counted on as a burly outlet and has been stout in practice in the red zone. One or more of WR Cody Latimer, WR Alonzo Russell, WR Bennie Fowler, and WR Darius Slayton – when and if they play – will be asked to stretch the field.

On defense, the big front will be tasked with stopping the run and penetrating the line to get to the QB. LB Lorenzo Carter, albeit that he has yet to prove it, is probably set up to be the Giants best weapon off the edge with LBs Kareem Martin and Markus Golden opposite him. By the way, the new LB/ER Joey Alfieri was given first- and second-team reps off the edge today and looked almost comical getting engulfed by LT Nate Solder and LT Paul Adams. He looks a little small, way too light at 226, and not too fluid. The other new addition, G Malcolm Bunche, does look the part of the big man, however, at 6’6” 310lbs.

Notes:

  • WR Cody Latimer made the first big play today with a 50-yard reception down field by the end zone.
  • We remarked how disconcerting it is to see CB Deandre Baker wear Brandon Jacobs old number. Also, WR Reggie White, Jr. wearing OBJ’s old number. Both of their body types are polar opposites to their predecessors. LB Ryan Connelly had his helmet off for a while today and looks a little like Mark Herzlich.
  • RB Paul Perkins looks like he is filling out, and looks more the part of a running back.
  • CB Deandre Baker made a strong play boxing out WR Bennie Fowler III on another long pass.
  • S Jabrill Peppers looks very comfortable out there catching punts, and build-wise looks a lot like Tiki Barber. He also wears Tiki’s old number.
  • WR Alonzo Russell made a nice catch today.
  • During the final series of 11-on-11’s and then 7-on-7’s, the team practiced getting into formation and getting the snap off before the 40-second play-clock elapsed.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • QB Daniel Jones hit WR Reggie White, Jr. for a 30-yard touchdown over CB Ronald Zamort.
  • QB Kyle Lauletta connected with WR Da’Mari Scott for a roughly 30-yard gain over CB Grant Haley.
  • S Jabrill Peppers broke up a short pass to WR Alex Wesley.
  • QB Alex Tanney hit WR Da’Mari Scott for a long pass down the right sideline.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to WR T.J. Jones.
  • CB Janoris Jenkins tipped a QB Kyle Lauletta pass that was intercepted by CB Grant Haley.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a touchdown pass to WR T.J. Jones on a corner route.
  • CB Deandre Baker broke up a long pass from QB Eli Manning to WR Bennie Fowler.
  • QB Eli Manning fired a touchdown pass to WR Sterling Shepard against CB Grant Haley.

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…

Aug 052019
 
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Deandre Baker, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Deandre Baker – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 5, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their tenth full-team summer training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have waived offensive guard Austin Droogsma and re-signed offensive tackle Malcom Bunche.

The Giants signed Droogsma after he impressed at the 2019 rookie mini-camp. The 6’4”, 345-pound Droogsma was a star shot-putter at Florida State. He has not played football since high school in 2012.

The 27-year old, 6’6”, 319-pound Bunche was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2015 NFL Draft. Bunche has spent time with the Eagles (2015), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2017), and Jacksonville Jaguars (2017). The Giants signed Bunche after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2018 rookie mini-camp, but cut before the season started. He has not played in a regular-season game.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (unknown), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Monday.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (thumb) and cornerback Grant Haley (shoulder) participated with non-contact jerseys.

Defensive end B.J. Hill was excused from practice due to the birth of his child. Safety Michael Thomas and long snapper Zak DeOssie were excused in order to participate in NFLPA duties.

Offensive tackle Brian Mihalik (burner) left practice early.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The quarterbacks completed 14 of their first 16 pass attempts, primarily focused on the short passing game.
  • CB Deandre Baker broke up a long pass from QB Eli Manning to WR Golden Tate.
  • LB Ryan Connelly was unblocked o a blitz up the middle and “sacked” the quarterback; LB Alec Ogletree also got to the quarterback with an inside spin move.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a “perfect” deep pass to WR Cody Latimer over CB Janoris Jenkins.
  • CB Janoris Jenkins broke up two passes.
  • At one point in practice, Corey Ballentine and Deandre Barker were the first-team corners with Janoris Jenkins playing in the slot.
  • CB Corey Ballentine broke up a pass intended for WR Sterling Shepard.
  • QB Alex Tanney connected with WR Alex Wesley, who ran a good route and beat CB Grant Haley.
  • LB Kareem Martin got past LT Nate Solder on a blitz and forced QB Eli Manning to spike the ball into the ground.
  • In red zone drills, tight coverage from CB Corey Ballentine caused an incomplete pass from QB Daniel Jones to WR Bennie Fowler. But then Jones threw a touchdown pass to WR T.J. Jones against Ballentine.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, CB Grant Haley knocked away a QB Alex Tanney pass intended for WR Da’Mari Scott in the end zone.
  • QB Daniel Jones had a good day, completing 10-of-16 passes with three of those going to WR Bennie Fowler.

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…

Jun 262019
 
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Spencer Pulley and Will Hernandez, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

Spencer Pulley and Will Hernandez – © USA TODAY Sports

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: It’s clear that General Manager Dave Gettleman took one look at the team’s offensive line and had the same reaction as fans. Justin Pugh (2013 1st rounder), Weston Richburg (2014 2nd rounder), and D.J. Fluker were allowed to walk in free agency during the 2018 offseason. John Jerry was cut before the season started. The Giants started the 2018 season with newly-signed free agent Nate Solder at left tackle, 2nd-rounder Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio at center, newly-signed free agent Patrick Omameh at right guard, and Ereck Flowers at right tackle.

This group did not play well and the offense struggled to score points before the bye week. In addition, Halapio broke his ankle in Week 2 and was replaced by John Greco and then waiver-wire pick-up Spencer Pulley. 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 play better as the season progressed. 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.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Somewhat surprisingly, the Giants re-signed both Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley. The team did not bring back John Greco, and Jamon Brown signed with the Falcons. The Giants acquired guard Kevin Zeitler via a trade from the Browns and signed tackle Mike Remmers in free agency. Street free agents Chad Slade and Austin Droogsma were signed. Surprisingly, the Giants only drafted one lineman: George Asafo-Adjei in the 7th round. Rookie free agents Paul Adams and James O’Hagan were signed after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Heading into training camp, the expected starting offensive line is Nate Solder at left tackle, Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio or Spencer Pulley at center, Kevin Zeitler at right guard, and Mike Remmers at right tackle. On paper, this appears to be the team’s best offensive line in almost a decade. Hernandez and Zeitler are arguably one of the best set of starting guards in the NFL. They are not just big, physical football players, but they play with professionalism and attitude. The Giants haven’t been in such good shape here since the days of Rich Seubert and Chris Snee.

The three other spots are a bit more unsettled. Nate Solder clearly did not live up to his contract. He’s also missed the Spring workouts due to ankle surgery. However, he is another veteran presence who gives the Giants more stability and reliability at the crucial left tackle position than Ereck Flowers and Will Beatty ever did. Moreover, the Solder-Hernandez tandem on the left side should play better in their second year together. Mike Remmers has bounced around the League, now playing with his seventh team. But the self-made journeyman parlayed his improving play into a 5-year, $30 million contract with the Vikings in 2017. He played well at right tackle for that team in 2017 but was more inconsistent at right guard in 2018. A recurring back issue that required offseason surgery was a factor in the Vikings cutting him in March. If Remmers is over his back issues (which caused him to miss Spring workouts), and if he can regain his 2017 form, the Giants will have massively upgraded themselves at right tackle with another professional, veteran presence. But those are two big “ifs”. Like the left tackle position, right tackle has been a disaster for the Giants for years.

Based on offseason comments by team officials, it was assumed that Jon Halapio would be penciled in as the starting center again. However, Spencer Pulley has been pushing him and splitting snaps with the first unit during Spring workouts. The starting center position appears to be very much up for grabs. The good news is that whomever starts, they will be tremendously aided by Hernandez and Zeitler on their flanks.

Overall, the main story line is this group needs to develop cohesion and chemistry quickly. Both starting tackles missed the mini-camp and OTAs this Spring due to injuries. With so few training camp practices, there is not much time for everyone to come together.

ON THE BUBBLE: There are currently 16 offensive linemen on the roster. The Giants will probably keep nine. Barring injury, Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Kevin Zeitler, and Mike Remmers will start. Both Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley should make it unless one of the younger centers push one off the roster. That leaves three spots for ten players. Chad Wheeler probably has a leg up on being the reserve swing tackle. But it will be a dogfight for those last few spots.

FROM THE COACHES: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Mike Remmers: “I worked with Mike for two years. He is a pro, a real pro, and he played winning football for us in Minnesota. I knew a lot about Mike and then he started last year every game and played well. We were in talks with him, took a couple of physicals, just went through the process and signed him.”

Shurmur on Jon Halapio: “He was really playing well for us before he got hurt a year ago. So we had high hopes for him last season. It appears he has come back 100 percent and is back in there just like he was when he left us.”

Shurmur on George Asafo-Adjei: “We like him for all the reasons we liked him on his college tape. He is a powerful guy that has very good length. You can tell he is a very physical style player. That is important at that position.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula on the offensive line: “I think the guys that we’ve added over the course of last season and this season have brought a lot of character, intelligence, competitiveness, integrity to that room. I think it didn’t show as early as we wanted it to last year. I think it showed pretty well at the end of the year. I think we’ve kind of picked up, in fact improved since then. We are going to be leaning on them, they are going to be the starting point of our offense. Everyone knows we have Saquon, we want to run the football, we are going to be balanced. To do that it’s got to start with the offensive line. We want to run the ball, when we want to run it, we want to throw that ball when we want to throw it. To do that it starts up front. We are going to lean heavy on those guys.”

Shula on Chad Wheeler: “I think Wheels has done a really good job this offseason with our exposure with him. Again, I have only been around him for a year, but I think there is a big difference even with him and his approach. I think he, along with a lot of other guys, got better as the year went on. We all know that we were nowhere near good enough early in the year. We did a lot of good things even though it wasn’t good enough at the end of the year, but we were really, really close and trending in the right direction. He was one of those guys that falls in that category.”

Offensive Line Coach Hal Hunter on Kevin Zeitler: “You have to love Zeitler. He is a tough, hard nose guy. I have seen him play. I watched him play when he was in Cincinnati’s offense. He is a good football player. He brings a real toughness. He is all business… He is very demanding of guys around him in a positive way. You demand in yourself what you demand in others. I love that about him. I love everything about him, his personality and what he brings. He is so fun to coach.”

Hunter on Jon Halapio: “He made good progress during (the 2018 training) camp and great progress during the preseason. The way he was playing in the beginning of the Dallas game, that was shocking. He was playing really well. When you sit out all that time, you get so far behind physically and technically. Now he is back in the swing of things and he looks good. He is only scratching the surface. He is smart, tough and strong. He has athleticism and needs to continue to play at the position.”

Hunter on George Asafo-Adjei: “My son works at Kentucky. He works in the football office down there. We found out from the inside out – he talked about what a quality guy he was. He was probably the most respected guy on the offensive side of the ball. He talked about how he competed with Josh Allen on a day-to-day basis. He talked about his character, work ethic and his toughness. All of those things peaked interest. You watch him on tape and see that he has a lot of athleticism and power. He has a lot of toughness and plays in the best football conference in the country. We have some technical work to do. He is a rookie and you have to tell him to do something once and he goes on and does it right the next time. He picked up the offense much quicker than I thought he was going to. When you compare our offense to their offense, we have a lot more volume to it with a lot of the things that we were doing. We need to continue to work with him technically to get him up to speed but you have to like everything about him. When you read him, that is one of the first things that I found out. He had committed to Kentucky early and is a man of his word. When all those other schools came in like Alabama, that is legit. Those people tried to come in and recruit him. He gave Kentucky his word and didn’t go anywhere. He has some developmental potential.”

PREDICTIONS: Some fans have questioned me about why I am so upbeat about the 2019 offensive line since there remain some serious question marks at center and both tackle spots. I feel good because I see a group of professional, reliable veterans. For the last decade, the Giants haven’t just been bad up front, they’ve been dreadful. They were not only physically overmatched, they did not treat their jobs as professionals. And they certainly could not be relied upon.

I love our two guards. And whomever starts at center will benefit from them. Solder and Remmers aren’t pretty, but they get the job done. This group will show up to work, give you a full 60 minutes, and leave their opponents feeling sore the next day. I’ll take that any day.

My only concern is that with Solder and Remmers missing all of the Spring workouts, early-season cohesion and chemistry will be lacking. But both guys have been around the League for a long time and that will help. The Giants also have to pray Remmers’ back holds up.

There are Giants fans in their teens and 20s who have never seen their team field a decent offensive line. I think that is about to change. Don’t be surprised if both guards receive some Pro Bowl recognition.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Kevin Zeitler, Will Hernandez, Nate Solder, Mike Remmers, Jon Halapio, Spencer Pulley, Chad Wheeler, George Asafo-Adjei, Paul Adams

(I realize this is tackle heavy, but it’s easier for a tackle to play guard in a pinch rather than the other way around. The Giants also need to groom a couple of young tackles).

May 082019
 
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Rod Smith, Dallas Cowboys (December 30, 2018)

Rod Smith – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN RB ROD SMITH…
The New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent running back Rod Smith (Dallas Cowboys). The 27-year old, 6’3”, 235-pound Smith was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Seattle Seahawks after the 2015 NFL Draft. He was released by Seattle in October 2015. The Cowboys claimed him off of waivers and he played with the Cowboys until the end of the 2018 season. Smith has played in 49 regular-season games with two starts, carrying the ball 101 times for 364 yards and five touchdowns. He also has caught 30 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown.

NEW YORK GIANTS ASSISTANT COACH MEDIA SESSIONS…
Transcripts and video clips of Wednesday’s media sessions with the following position coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

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.