Jul 022018
 
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Will Hernandez, New York Giants (May 11, 2018)

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

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: No other position epitomizes the futility of the New York Giants since their last Super Bowl appearance than the team’s offensive line. It is a myth to say that Jerry Reese and Marc Ross ignored the position. Instead, one could argue that their demise was largely due to the allocation of significant draft and free agent resources with negative returns.

2017 was supposed to be the year that the three premium draft picks (Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Ereck Flowers), signed and then re-signed John Jerry, and self-proclaimed “best right tackle in football” Bobby Hart turned a team weakness into at the very least a middle-of-the-pack unit. However, once again, the Giants offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL. The line couldn’t protect Eli Manning (31 sacks, the second most in his career despite an offensive system predicated on the short passing game) or open holes for running backs (26th in rushing). Justin Pugh talked a big game (again) and got hurt (again), missing half the season. Weston Richburg only started four games before ending up on IR with a concussion that he insisted wasn’t IR-worthy. Ereck Flowers – punching bag for fans and opposing pass rushers – struggled mightily both at the beginning and end of the season, and was benched. John Jerry played all 16 games (12 at left guard) but remained a soft player. D.J. Fluker started six games at right guard, performing reasonably well as a road grader, but was placed on IR in November with a toe injury. By the end of the year, you had guys like Jon Halapio (six starts at right guard), Brett Jones (12 starts at center), and Chad Wheeler (three starts at right tackle, one at left tackle) manning the front wall.

The Giants have been a soft, finesse offensive football team for years because of their offensive line play.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Bobby Hart was cut before 2017 was over. The Giants made no effort to re-sign Justin Pugh (2013 1st-round pick) and Weston Richburg (2014 2nd-round draft pick). D.J. Fluker signed a 1-year contract with the Seahawks. Adam Bisnowaty (2017 6th-round draft pick) was cut in May. Dave Gettleman re-signed Jon Halapio (exclusive rights), Brett Jones (restricted), John Greco (unrestricted), and Ethan Cooper (practice squad player).

The newcomers are Nate Solder (4 years, $62 million); Patrick Omameh (3 years, $15 million); Will Hernandez (2nd-round draft pick);  lesser-known “street” free agents Chris Scott, Malcolm Bunche, and Jarron Jones; and rookie free agents Nick Gates and Evan Brown.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: So now the never-ending attempt to rebuild the offensive line falls upon new shoulders. Dave Gettleman will try to accomplish what Jerry Reese failed. Enter the third new head coach and third new offensive line coach as well. To the team’s credit (but also embarrassment), they at least had the courage to part ways with most of their previous mistakes. John Jerry remains but he has already fallen out of the starting line-up. Coming out of the spring, the starters entering camp appear to be left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Will Hernandez, center Jon Halapio, right guard Patrick Omameh, and right tackle Ereck Flowers.

Most of the attention will be focused on whipping-boy Ereck Flowers, who started off on the wrong foot by throwing a hissy fit and not showing up to the early “voluntary” workouts due to his ego being bruised by the shift to right tackle. He returned once he hired a professional agent. The good news is that Nate Solder has attempted to take him under his wing. But Flowers – who the team did shop before the draft – still seems to have a learning disability when it comes to grasping three years of pro coaching. My guess is he will be on a short leash. The problem is there is no obvious replacement. Chad Wheeler flashed but was very shaky as a rookie. On paper, the other vulnerable spot is center. Brett Jones may have already fallen behind journeyman Jon Halapio, who has played with such stalwart “pro” franchises as the Boston Brawlers and Brooklyn Bolts. The Giants tried but failed to sign veteran center John Sullivan in free agency. That tells you they are concerned about the position. Don’t be surprised if the team actively scans the waiver wire throughout the year. The hard truth may be the team needs one more offseason to address two potentially glaring holes.

But while we may all be focusing on the individual component parts, the real issue is finding five starters who can form a viable, physical, and cohesive unit. And the priority appears to have changed. The offensive focus may no longer be pass blocking for Eli Manning and his targets but run blocking for Saquon Barkley. In other words, there may be a real emphasis on becoming a physical football team up front again and not just talking about it. If they don’t, then drafting Barkley with the #2 pick made little sense. New offensive line coach Hal Hunter was out of football in 2017. The pressure is on him to fix a unit that Pat Flaherty and Mike Solari couldn’t.

ON THE BUBBLE: Again, the starters coming out of the spring workouts were Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Jon Halapio, Patrick Omameh, and Ereck Flowers. Others who received some 1st-team reps and/or quite a bit of time with the second unit were Nick Becton, John Greco, Brett Jones, John Jerry, and Chad Wheeler. Right now, though things can quickly change, these players appear to be the top candidates to make the roster. That said, except for Solder, Hernandez, and Omameh, I would be renting rather than buying a home in northern New Jersey.

FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Ereck Flowers: “He’s actually done a really good job. He’s an excellent athlete and he’s handling the move pretty seamlessly…I think he’s made improvements…He’s been great. He’s been communicating well, he looks like he’s having fun playing out there, he’s worked in with the offensive line and he’s done everything we’ve asked and I anticipate that will continue.”

Nate Solder on Ereck Flowers: “I have been very impressed with his character and his humility – work ethic, everything…the way he goes about his business, the way that he has put it behind him, he’s just doing his thing and he’s trying hard and he cares and he’s asking questions. He is doing everything that you would want a guy to do.”

Shurmur on Jon Halapio: “Yeah, he has done a very good job. Pio is very smart, he’s got good instincts – he snaps the ball well…He does all of those things well and he’s very competitive and he knows how to play the game. I think (Brett) Jonesey is doing the same thing. They’re just in there competing. I wouldn’t over-evaluate who is getting the first team reps, but I think if you’re talking about Pio specifically, he has really sort of opened his eyes that he has a chance to play.”

PREDICTIONS: The strength of the line should be the left side. Nate Solder should be the team’s best left tackle in years. Even without the pads on, Will Hernandez has flashed a much-needed enforcer mentality. Patrick Omameh should be a more physical presence as a run blocker at right guard than John Jerry. Center and right tackle remain the primary concerns as well as overall depth. We’ve heard all of the pleasantries about Ereck Flowers before. Now he is shifting to a spot he didn’t even play in college. There is no guarantee he will be a better player on the right side. Much rides on play. Perhaps the new chemistry in the locker room will help. It was no secret that Flowers and Bobby Hart didn’t get along with Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg. Regardless, Flowers is out of excuses.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Thank the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), but teams don’t have many practices in training camp to get ready for the season. Thus, despite what the coaches say, it is pretty telling that Hernandez was playing left guard, Omameh right guard, Flowers right tackle, and Halapio center for the latter half of the offseason program. These four (plus obviously Nate Solder at left tackle) have to be considered the favorites to start right now at those specific positions. The next four appear to be John Greco, John Jerry, Brett Jones, and Chad Wheeler. But Greco and Jerry don’t offer much positional flexibility so one would appear vulnerable. My gut tells me the Giants will be adding one or two more offensive linemen from the waiver wire. A veteran swing tackle would be ideal.

Jun 282018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (May 29, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS ANNOUNCE 2018 TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE…
The New York Giants have announced the team’s 2018 summer training camp schedule. The Giants will only hold nine practices open to the public:

  • Thursday, July 26: 2:45 p.m. – Practice
  • Friday, July 27: 2:45 p.m. – Practice
  • Saturday, July 28: 2:45 p.m. – Practice
  • Sunday, July 29: 2:45 p.m. – Practice
  • Monday, July 30: 2:45 p.m. – Practice
  • Wednesday, August 1: 2:45 p.m. – Practice
  • Thursday, August 2: 10:30 a.m. – Practice
  • Friday, August 3: 10:30 a.m. – Practice
  • Saturday, August 4: CAMP CLOSED
  • Monday, August 6: CAMP CLOSED
  • Tuesday, August 7: 10:30 a.m. – Practice (End of Public Training Camp practices)

*Schedule subject to change. For the most up-to-date information on training camp, visit Giants.com or call the Training Camp Hotline at (201) 935-8111 (ext. 107).

For general information for fans who wish to visit training camp, see this Giants.com primer.

ARTICLES…

Jun 052018
 
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Dave Gettleman, New York Giants (December 29, 2017)

Dave Gettleman – © USA TODAY Sports

DAVE GETTLEMAN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman has been diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of cancer that starts in lymphatic cells that are part of the body’s immune system.

“Recently, I underwent an annual physical, during which it was discovered I have lymphoma,” said Gettleman in a prepared statement. “Over the past week, I have undergone more testing to determine the course of treatment, which is scheduled to start in the very near future. The doctor’s outlook for the treatment and the prognosis is positive, and so am I.

“I will continue to work as much as the treatment process will allow, and as they know, when I am not in the office, I will be in constant communication with (Head Coach) Pat (Shurmur), (Assistant General Manager) Kevin (Abrams) and the rest of our staff.

“I am thankful to John Mara and Steve Tisch and our organization for their support and encouragement, and to Ronnie Barnes for his guidance and assistance. And, of course, to my wife Joanne and our children for their love and support.

“And I want to thank you in advance for respecting my privacy and that of my family as we work our way through this. I look forward to being back at full strength and devoting all my energy to helping make this 2018 New York Giants team the best it can be.”

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN PUNTER TAYLOR SYMMANK…
The New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent punter Taylor Symmank. The 25-year old, 6’2”, 195-pound Symmank was not drafted in 2016. The Minnesota Vikings signed him in January 2017 and waived him in early September of that year. Symmank punted nine times during the 2017 preseason, averaging 42.9 yards per punt.

NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE #8…
The Giants held their eighth voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practices on Tuesday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

The practice was not open to the media, but Giants.com provided the following summaries of the action:

The two remaining OTA practices will be held on Wednesday and Thursday. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 12-14.

ARTICLES…

Jun 042018
 
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Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (May 29, 2018)

Pat Shurmur – © USA TODAY Sports

JUNE 4, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their seventh voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Monday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

“Another productive day,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “I think the OTAs have gone well. You saw today we had a move the ball period, which we did one last week as well where the guys are calling it – offense, defense, personnel is getting in and out and it’s really the key part of playing the game because it’s the most like a game at this point. I think they handled it well. You saw there was some good, competitive play – for the most part we stayed up, got a lot accomplished and we’ll try to do a little bit more of that. Unfortunately, you won’t be here to see it, but we’ll do a little bit more of that as we go the next three days.”

The three remaining OTA practices will be held on June 5-7. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 12-14.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (recovering from ankle surgery) and defensive tackle Damon Harrison did not attend Monday’s OTA.

Safety Landon Collins (recovering from arm surgery) was held out of team drills.

“(Collins is) getting better,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “Well, I wouldn’t say it has changed. I would just say that we’re going to be a little bit cautious because it’s a break that’s healed. We’re trying to get him in as much as we can, but a little bit at a time. But he looks good. He’s getting his extra running, he’s getting everything he needs mentally and I’ve been very pleased with his progress in all areas.”

Defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (unknown medical issue), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), and tight end Ryan O’Malley (unknown) did not practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas was 8-of-10 on field goal attempts, missing twice from beyond 50 yards.
  • The first-team offensive line was left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Will Hernandez, center Jon Halapio, right guard Patrick Omameh, and right tackle Ereck Flowers.
  • The second-team offensive line was left tackle Nick Becton, left guard John Greco, center Brett Jones, right guard John Jerry, and right tackle Chad Wheeler. Chris Scott also got some work at right guard with the second unit.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning continues to look for tight end Evan Engram early and often.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb hit wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr., the first being a one-handed catch and the second a sizeable gain down the sideline. Webb later connected with wide receiver Travis Rudolph for a red-zone touchdown.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple broke up a pass in the end zone intended for wide receiver Sterling Shepard. He later broke up a slant pass at the goal line intended for wide receiver Cody Latimer.
  • Cornerback Janoris Jenkins intercepted a fade pass in end zone from quarterback Eli Manning intended for wide receiver Cody Latimer.
  • Linebacker B.J. Goodson broke up a pass over the middle from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Linebacker Tae Davis broke up a pass intended for wide receiver Marquis Bundy.
  • Quarterback Alex Tanney connected with wide receiver Alonzo Russell for a 40-yard gain.
  • Notes and observations from Giants OTAs (6/04) by John Schmeelk of Giants.com
  • Who stood out at Giants OTA practice? (6/4) by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

REPORT – GIANTS HIRE MARK KONCZ AS NEW DIRECTOR OF PLAYER PERSONNEL…
Pro Football Talk is reporting that that the New York Giants have hired Mark Koncz as the team’s new director of player personnel. Koncz worked with General Manager David Gettleman with the Carolina Panthers as director of pro scouting, a position that Koncz had held from 2000-2017. Gettleman promoted him to director of player personnel in May 2017 before the Panthers fired Koncz in July after Gettleman was also let go. Since February, Koncz has served as a scouting department consultant with the Giants.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed undrafted rookie free agent H-Back Garrett Dickerson (Northwestern University), a tryout player during the team’s rookie mini-camp in May. The 6’2”, 244-pound Dickerson is a versatile player who can play a variety of positions including tight end, fullback, and H-Back.

The Giants also waived wide receiver Keeon Johnson, cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon, and cornerback Mike Jones.

Johnson was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He was waived/injured and then placed on Injured Reserve in August 2017 with a foot injury.

The Giants signed McKinnon to the Practice Squad in late November 2017. McKinnon originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Dallas Cowboys after the 2016 NFL Draft. McKinnon had spent time with the Cowboys (2016), Tennessee Titans (2016), and Washington Redskins (2017).

The Giants signed Jones as an undrafted rookie free agent after he impressed at the May rookie mini-camp as a tryout player.

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…

Mar 122018
 
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Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (November 27, 2016)

Mark Herzlich – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN MARK HERZLICH AND JON HALAPIO…
The New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent linebacker Mark Herzich and exclusive rights free agent offensive guard Jon Halapio. The negotiating period for other teams to speak free agent players began at 4:00PM on Monday. Players can officially sign contracts with other teams at 4:00PM on Wednesday.

Herzlich was placed on Injured Reserve in September 2017 with a neck injury (burner) and missed the entire season. Herzlich was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2011 NFL Draft. He has started 17 regular-season games in his seven seasons with the Giants, eight of which were in 2014. Herzlich played in 14 regular-season games in 2016, missing two with a concussion. He finished with seven tackles on defense.

Halapio started the 2017 season on the Giants Practice Squad and was signed to the 53-man roster in early October. He played in 10 games and started the last six games at right guard where he was an inconsistent performer. 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 added him to their Practice Squad in September 2016. Versatile, he played both guard and center for the Giants during the 2017 preseason.

JONATHAN STEWART TO VISIT GIANTS…
The NFL Network is reporting that unrestricted free agent running back Jonathan Stewart is expected to visit the Giants on Tuesday after meeting with the Lions on Monday. Stewart was cut by the Carolina Panthers at the end of February. The 30-year old Stewart was drafted in the 1st round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Panthers. In 10 seasons with the Panthers, Stewart rushed for 7,318 yards and 51 touchdowns. He also caught 162 passes for 1,295 yards and seven touchdowns. In 2017, Stewart started 10 games but saw his rushing totals fall to 680 yards, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry.

ARTICLES…

Oct 042017
 
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Giants fans tailgating in Tampa – Photo courtesy of Jim in South Florida

INJURY UPDATE…
Center Weston Richburg (concussion), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder/knee), defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle), and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday.

Running back Paul Perkins (ribs), running back Orleans Darkwa (back), wide receiver Odell Beckham (finger/ankle), and wide receiver Brandon Marshall (toe) practiced on a limited basis.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have waived linebacker Deontae Skinner and signed offensive lineman Jon Halapio off of the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants also signed center Anthony Fabiano to the Practice Squad.

Skinner was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Patriots (2014-2015) and Eagles (2015-2016). The Giants added to and released Skinner from the Practice Squad multiple times in 2016. He also was signed to the 53-man roster in October and again in December. Skinner was cut by the Giants in September 2017 and re-signed later that month.

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 added him to their Practice Squad in September 2016 and again in September 2017. Halapio has not played in an NFL regular-season game.

Fabiano was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Baltimore Ravens after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Ravens (2016), Cleveland Browns (2016), and Washington Redskins (2017). The 6’1”, 303-pound Fabiano played in four games with one start for Cleveland in 2016. Fabiano is an athletic lineman who lacks ideal size and strength.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’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 at 11:20AM. The team’s coordinators and select players will also address the media after practice.

Sep 032017
 
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Adam Bisnowaty, New York Giants (August 26, 2017)

Adam Bisnowaty

NEW YORK SIGN NINE PLAYERS TO THE PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have officially signed the following eight players to their Practice Squad:

  • WR Marquis Bundy
  • OT Adam Bisnowaty
  • OG/OC Jon Halapio
  • DE Jordan Williams
  • LB Curtis Grant
  • CB Donte Deayon
  • CB Tim Scott
  • S Ryan Murphy

In addition, multiple sources are reporting that the Giants will sign WR Travis Rudolph to the Practice Squad. All nine players were with the New York Giants this preseason.

Each NFL team can have up to 10 players on its Practice Squad. The league now allows four players per Practice Squad to have up to two accrued seasons (an accrued season means a player who was on full-pay status for six or more regular-season games on a club’s active/inactive, reserve/injured, or reserve/physically-unable-to-perform lists). Aside those four players, players on an active roster for less than six games or were a part of a 46-man active game-day roster for fewer than nine games qualify for a spot. Practice Squad players only practice with the team; they cannot play in games unless signed to the 53-man roster. Practice Squad players are free to sign with other NFL teams, but they have to be signed to the 53-man active roster of the acquiring team. A Practice Squad player cannot be signed to another team’s Practice Squad unless he is first released.

CONDITIONAL 7TH ROUNDER FOR ROSS COCKRELL…
The Bergen Record is reporting that the conditional 2018 draft pick the New York Giants gave to the Pittsburgh Steelers for cornerback Ross Cockrell is a 7th rounder.

WILL TYE CLAIMED BY THE NEW YORK JETS…
Tight end Will Tye, who the New York Giants waived on Saturday, was claimed by the New York Jets on Sunday.

Sep 022017
 
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Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (November 27, 2016)

Mark Herzlich – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS REDUCE ROSTER TO 53; TRADE FOR CORNERBACK…
On Saturday, in order to meet the NFL’s 53-man roster limit, the New York Giants made 29 roster moves.

Players who were placed on Injured Reserve included:

  • LB Mark Herzlich (burner)
  • DT Josh Banks (shoulder – torn labrum requiring surgery)

Players who were cut included:

  • QB Josh Johnson
  • RB Shaun Draughn
  • RB Khalid Abdullah
  • FB Jacob Huesman
  • WR Travis Rudolph
  • WR Jerome Lane
  • WR Canaan Severin
  • WR Marquis Bundy
  • WR Ed Eagan
  • TE Will Tye
  • OT Adam Bisnowaty
  • OT Jarron Jones
  • OG/OC Jon Halapio
  • OG Matt Rotheram
  • DE Devin Taylor
  • DE Jordan Williams
  • DT Bobby Richardson
  • LB Deontae Skinner
  • LB Stansly Maponga
  • LB Curtis Grant
  • CB Donte Deayon
  • CB DaShaun Amos
  • CB Nigel Tribune
  • S Ryan Murphy
  • S Trey Robinson
  • PK Mike Nugent

The Giants also sent a conditional draft pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for cornerback Ross Cockrell. The 6’0”, 191-pound Cockrell was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The Bills cut Cockrell in August 2015 and he then signed with the Steelers. In two seasons with the Steelers, Cockrell played in 31 regular-season games with 23 starts. He started all 16 games in 2016 and finished the year with 62 tackles and 14 pass defenses. He had two interceptions with the Steelers in 2015. Cockrell struggled with the Steelers this preseason.

“Today was a challenging day. This week was a challenging week,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “You have to hand it to the players. They really worked hard in camp. And then Thursday night really made it tough on us. It’s a tough day every time you go through it. The second year is probably harder than it was last year, considering the relationships you build with the men on the team.”

Regarding the competition between quarterbacks Geno Smith and Josh Johnson for the primary back-up job behind Eli Manning, McAdoo said,  “It was a close call. Both men earned an opportunity and can play in this league. We wish Josh the best and thanked him for everything he’s done for us.”

Aldrick Rosas beat out veteran Mike Nugent for the team’s place kicker. “We know Aldrick has a big leg, and we really liked the way he responded throughout training camp and in the preseason games,” McAdoo said. “Mike Nugent was a guy that came in and was a great teammate and was a pro. He pushed Aldrick, which made him better, and it made Aldrick better. I think at the end of the day you go with the players who’s been here (since January) and has the biggest upside.”

Five of the team’s six 2017 draft choices made the 53-man roster. Bisnowaty was waived despite being drafted in the 6th round. In addition, three rookie free agents are on the team: FB Shane Smith, OT Chad Wheeler, and LB Calvin Munson.

“Munson is a guy we were excited about from a special teams perspective,” McAdoo said. “He’s also a guy that can add depth at linebacker. We had a lot of guys nicked at the linebacker position, so he got to play a lot of football for us, which is good for him. We need to get him going on the special teams as well. It’s a credit to Munson, he’s done a nice job jumping in with both feet and really taking advantage of his meeting time and his field time.

“Wheeler probably should have been drafted in the middle rounds somewhere. He slid on the board and we were fortunate enough to get him as a free agent. He’s a talented player who has a little bit of a mean streak in him, which we like. Fundamentally, he’s coming along, and we feel he has a bright future for us.

“Shane Smith – we wanted to take the best 53 and not be concerned about which position they play. It just happens to be he’s a fullback and he really fits in well with the tight end group as far as his skill set. He can do a variety of things for us on special teams and on offense. It adds another piece to your board. You can move him around. He has some flexibility.”

Last year, in his second season, Will Tye was promoted to the starting tight end spot at midseason after the bye week. He played in all 16 regular-season games, with 10 starts, and finished the year with 48 catches for 395 yards (8.2 yards per catch) and just one touchdown. Tye was originally signed as a rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. In 2015, he played in 13 games with seven starts, and finished the season with 42 catches for 464 yards and three touchdowns. Tye was voted to the Pro Football Writers NFL All-Rookie Team.

“Will is a guy that played a lot of football for us and played well,” McAdoo said. “That was a tough decision to make, but we feel we chose the best four (tight ends) for our football team moving forward. We’re excited to get going with those guys.”

Herzlich was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft. He has started 17 regular-season games in his six seasons with the Giants, eight of which were in 2014. Last year, Herzlich played in 14 regular-season games, missing two with a concussion. He finished with seven tackles on defense.

“We felt it was best to put Mark on IR this year and give him an opportunity to get healthy,” McAdoo said. “He’ll still be involved with the team, whether it’s in the locker room, or in the meeting rooms. Mark will still be around to help the guys.”

Veteran DE Devin Taylor, who the Giants signed in the offseason, was also cut. “We have a lot of talented players in that defensive line room, a lot of depth in the room,” said McAdoo. “Devin Taylor can play in the league – he’s played in this league and he’s started in this league. He’ll probably go somewhere else and do the same thing. We’re confident with the group of men we have in the room.”

ARTICLES…

Aug 312017
 
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Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (August 31, 2017)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 40 – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 38…
The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 40-38 on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Giants – who blew a 34-14 first-half lead – won the game with no time remaining on place kicker Aldrick Rosas’ 48-yard field goal. The Giants finished the preseason 2-2.

The Giants and Patriots treated the game more like a scrimmage. Only one of the Giants’ projected 22 starters played in the game: safety Darian Thompson.

The starting offense consisted of quarterback Geno Smith; running back Orleans Darkwa; fullback Shane Smith; wide receivers Roger Lewis, Jr. and Travis Rudolph; tight end Will Tye; and offensive linemen Chad Wheeler, Jon Halapio, Brett Jones, D.J. Fluker, and Adam Bisnowaty.

The starters on defense were ends Kerry Wynn and Devin Taylor; defensive tackles Robert Thomas and Josh Banks; linebackers Romero Okwara, Calvin Munson, and J.T. Thomas; cornerbacks Donte Deayon and Nigel Tribune; and safeties Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams.

On the second offensive snap to start the game, Tye fumbled the ball away to New England after a short reception. Six plays later, on 3rd-and-6, Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett threw a 9-yard touchdown pass. The Giants back-ups responded with an impressive drive against the Patriots back-ups, moving the ball 75 yards in eight plays and culminating with a Smith 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Matt LaCosse. On New England’s very next offensive snap, Wynn intercepted Brissett’s pass and returned it 15 yards four a touchdown. Giants 14 – Patriots 7.

After forcing a three-and-out, the Giants put together another long drive, going 74 yards in 14 plays. However, this time New York had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Rosas. New England responded with a quick 5-play, 75-yard effort that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass. Giants 17 – Patriots 14.

Back came the Giants with another 14-play, 74-yard effort. But unlike the preceding New York drive, this one resulted in a touchdown as running back Shaun Draughn scored from one yard out. On the first offensive play of the Patriots ensuing drive, linebacker J.T. Thomas forced a fumble that fellow linebacker Stansly Maponga recovered at the New England 27-yard line. Quarterback Josh Johnson then hit Tye for a 24-yard gain. Two plays later he found LaCosse for the tight end’s second score of the contest. Giants 31 – Patriots 14.

The Giants forced a three-and-out. New York got the ball back near mid-field with 30 seconds left. Johnson found wide receiver Travis Rudolph for 27 yards, helping to set up Rosas from 31 yards out. At the half, the Giants led 34-14.

After picking up one first down, the Patriots were forced to punt to start the third quarter. The Giants drove from their own 23-yard line to the Pats 27-yard line, but on 4th-and-1, running back Wayne Gallman was nailed for a 1-yard loss. The Patriots then drove 72 yards in 14 plays to cut the Giants lead to 31-21.

With Davis Webb now at the helm for the Giants, New York responded with a 12-play, 66-yard effort that ended with a 27-yard field goal by Rosas. The Giants were now up 34-21 early in the fourth quarter.

The Giants defensive third- and fourth-teamers could not hold the lead however. New England scored 17 points in the final quarter, including touchdown drives of 9-plays, 79-yards and 12-plays, 87-yards. The Patriots got the ball back at their own 31-yard line with 1:42 left to play. In seven plays, they managed to drive to the New York 37-yard line, setting up what looked to be a game-winning 55-yard field goal with 44 seconds left to play.

After returning the kickoff, the Giants started their last offensive possession at their own 25-yard line with 39 seconds to play. Webb completed 4-of-6 passes for 45 yards to set up Rosas from 48 yards out with four seconds on the clock. Rosas made the kick as time expired.

Offensively, Smith completed 10-of-11 passes for 111 yards and one touchdown, Johnson 11-of-14 for 135 yards and one touchdown, and Webb 8-of-14 for 103 yards. The leading receivers were LaCosse (5 catches for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns), Tye (4 catches for 48 yards), and Rudolph (3 catches for 46 yards). The leading rushers were Draughn (14 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown), Orleans Darkwa (6 carries for 40 yards), and Gallman (8 carries for 27 yards).

The Giants only had one sack in the game, by defensive tackle Robert Thomas.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Not playing in the game due to injury were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (ankle), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), defensive tackle Jay Bromley (sprained knee), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion), linebacker Mark Herzlich (burner), cornerback Eli Apple (ankle), cornerback Michael Hunter (concussion), and Duke Ihenacho (sprained knee).

The Giants did not appear to suffer any significant injuries in the game.

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

MASSIVE CUT-DOWN DAY ON SATURDAY…
Clubs must reduce their active rosters to 53 players by 4:00PM ET on Saturday.

ARTICLES…

Jul 122017
 
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Ereck Flowers, New York Giants (January 1, 2017)

Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW: Entering 2016, the New York Giants offensive line was expected to take a major step forward. While the right-side was still composed of journeymen right guard John Jerry and right tackle Marshall Newhouse, the left side and center were composed of two first-round and one second-round draft picks. With all five returning together, greater chemistry and cohesion was expected. And new offensive line coach – the well-respected Mike Solari – was supposed to make an impact.

Simply put, the offensive line continued to disappoint. Left tackle Ereck Flowers did not markedly improve and remained a significant liability in pass protection. Left guard Justin Pugh missed time for the third season in a row. Center Weston Richburg did not play as well as expected. In some ways, it was the right side of the offensive line that exceeded what admittedly were low expectations. John Jerry had a decent year and second-year lineman Bobby Hart was surprisingly steady at right tackle, replacing Newhouse after Week 2 until the end of the season. That all said, it would be misleading to say either really “played well.”

It’s always difficult to assess who is mostly to blame for a poor running game. The play of running backs, tight ends, and fullback (or in the Giants case, the absence of a fullback) all matter. But the Giants ground game fell from 18th in 2015 (100.6 yards per game) to 29th in 2016 (88.2 yards per game). The average yards-per-rush fell from 4.0 to 3.5.

In pass protection, Eli Manning survived another year without missing a snap. And his sack numbers declined from 27 to 21. But that is a misleading stat given the West Coast Offense emphasis on the short-passing game combined with Manning’s rapid decision-making and quick release. It appeared to many that Manning simply did not trust his pass protection and played some games more than a a bit gun-shy.

Injuries were somewhat of a factor. Pugh missed five games at left guard, leaving a bit of a revolving door as his replacements such as Brett Jones and Marshall Newhouse also got hurt. At one point, the team was down to their fourth-string option at right guard – Adam Gettis. Hart also missed the last regular-season game with an injury.

In summary, the offense of the Giants was a major disappointment in 2016, and the offensive line deserves a large share of the blame.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Marshall Newhouse signed with the Oakland Raiders early in free agency. The Giants chose not to re-sign Will Beatty, but did re-sign John Jerry to a 3-year, $10 million deal. The only significant addition in free agency was adding D.J. Fluker, who was cut by the Chargers. The Giants re-signed Practice Squad players Adam Gettis and Jon Halapio and added street free agents Michael Bowie and a couple of other players who have already been waived (Khaled Holmes and Martin Wallace). The Giants drafted Adam Bisnowaty in the 6th round and signed rookie free agents Chad Wheeler, Jessamen Dunker, and Jarron Jones after the draft. Bottom line? Newhouse is gone and the only apparent significant additions are Fluker and Bisnowaty.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Media and fans love to complain that Jerry Reese has ignored the offensive line. Spending two #1 picks and a #2 pick says otherwise as does his free agent spending in recent years. The real issue is that despite the significant allocation of resources, Reese has failed to put together a viable unit since David Diehl, Richie Seubert, Shaun O’Hara, Chris Snee, and Kareem McKenzie retired.

Most of the fan and media attention entering training camp will be on left tackle Ereck Flowers, a lightening rod of criticism. There is no obvious fallback plan if he fails to progress, though in an emergency Justin Pugh and maybe even Bisnowaty could play there. But Pugh – who talks a lot and wants a huge contract – has to prove he can stay healthy. Weston Richburg apparently played hurt in 2016 and needs to rebound from a disappointing season.

The right side is more up in the air. For now, John Jerry remains the starter. But he may be pressed by D.J. Fluker, who surprisingly only received spring reps at right guard. That suggests Bobby Hart is the clear front runner for right tackle, though Bisnowaty could be a factor there.

It is the opinion of many that the only thing that can hold back the Giants in 2017 is the offensive line. While this is clearly an overly-simplistic falsehood, the line has been a team weak spot for years. If a team can’t block up front, it is very difficult to consistently move the football.

ON THE BUBBLE: Michael Bowie, Chad Wheeler, Jessamen Dunker, Jarron Jones, Adam Gettis, Jon Halapio, and Brett Jones.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Mike Solari on Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart improving their technique: “Well, just like everything else, you work different drills, you work techniques, and you just keep honing in until you could make it where you don’t have to think about it and its part of your toolkit. The thing is, what we’re excited about, and Ereck is excited about, so is Bobby and not just those two men, everybody. They are committed. Aaron Wellman did a beautiful job in the sense of where they need to improve on. Physically working in the weight room, conditioning aspect, you could tell the difference. I believe you could tell the difference, in the terms of their body types and where they’re at physically at this time of the season. It’s still early, so that’s really encouraging… They do a nice job in the classroom. You’re not privy to that, but they do a nice job in the classroom. They’re into it, they’re learning, they’re into the film study, they’re into their techniques. They know what they are trying to work on, they know what they are trying to achieve.”

Solari on D.J. Fluker: “Big Man. D.J. is a pro, he comes to work every day and he gives everything he has. He’s done a nice job in the classroom, learning and developing and we’re excited about having him when the pads come on… We like him at guard. He’s got experience at tackle, as we all know from Alabama, when he initially came into the league but his strengths are at guard. There will be a point, where we do want to rep him a little bit at tackle, just for versatility, so if he is not the starter, he is able to go to tackle in need. But guard is his strength and guard is where we like him.”

Solari on Weston Richburg’s hand injury in 2016: “That hurts. That hurts you; your hand placement, your ability to grab, ability to work the chest plate is a big part of the game. So that was tough for him, and he worked through it and he performed at the highest level that he could without being able to use that hand at full strength. But it would be a big difference this year.”

Solari on Adam Bisnowaty: “It’s still early. Right now, we got him at right tackle, but he’s a guy that could, he has versatility, he could go to guard. He has played a little guard in his career, obviously at left tackle, but right now, we like him at right tackle. Try to get him as many reps as possible, so when training camp comes, these young rookies are ready to compete.”

PREDICTIONS: There is a very good chance that the starting line will be the exact same line that started the bulk of the games in 2016. And that won’t sit well with many. Media and fans sometimes forget how young both the bookend tackles are. Ereck Flowers is 23; Hart is 22. Both are big, strong, and have been working their tails off. Whether they succeed or fail still remains to be seen, but the tools are there. What will help both is greater stability, consistency, and health from the interior trio. In particular, Weston Richburg and Justin Pugh need to step up and take ownership of this line. I expect the OL to play much better in 2017. I also expect them to look better with Rhett Ellison and perhaps even Evan Engram and Jerell Adams providing more credible blocking on the perimeter. But if Flowers continues to struggle, and Pugh gets hurt again, and Richburg doesn’t rebound, then Jerry Reese is going to look awfully bad. Those three represent three PREMIUM draft picks.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, John Jerry, Bobby Hart, D.J. Fluker, Adam Bisnowaty, and Brett Jones. (Versatile Adam Gettis and Jon Halapio could press Brett Jones. There is a chance the Giants could carry a ninth offensive lineman. That would help Chad Wheeler’s chances).