Jul 092018
 
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Alec Ogletree, New York Giants (June 12, 2018)

Alec Ogletree – © 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: Linebackers

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: As previously mentioned in our defensive line preview, one of the reasons why 2017 was such a huge disappointment was that a defense that was supposed to be the strength of the team fell from 10th in yards allowed in 2016 to 31st. Scoring defense fell from 2nd in 2016 to 27th. New York’s run defense was 27th in the NFL, allowing over 120 yards per game on average. Pass defense was 31st, allowing over 250 yards per game on average.

The problems were across the board. The defensive line and secondary were supposed to very good. They weren’t. At best, the linebackers were supposed to be average. They weren’t even that. An entire generation of New York Giants fans has now grown up without witnessing a good linebacking corps on their team. Jessie Armstead and Antonio Pierce were anomalies during the last three decades.

One would be hard-pressed to remember ANY plays made by Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, B.J. Goodson, Devon Kennard, Calvin Munson, and Kelvin Sheppard in 2017. Injuries were a major issue as Casillas, Robinson, and Goodson missed a ton of games.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: There was a much-needed house-cleaning. Of the 13 linebackers currently on the roster, only four played with the team at that position in 2017 (B.J. Goodson, Calvin Munson, Mark Herzlich, and Ray-Ray Armstrong). And re-signing Herzlich was somewhat surprising.

The Giants showed zero interest in re-signing former starters Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, and Kelvin Sheppard. It’s quite telling that all three STILL remain unemployed. The Giants also did not attempt to re-sign Akeem Ayers, Curtis Grant, and Deontae Skinner, who remain unsigned as well. Devon Kennard signed with the Detroit Lions.

The Giants traded away 4th and 6th round picks to the Rams for Alec Ogletree. The team’s first major signing in free agency was Kareem Martin from the Cardinals. Lorenzo Carter was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The team also signed street free agent Thurston Armbrister and rookie free agent Tae Davis.

And by transitioning to the 3-4 defense, the Giants have now shifted their best pass rusher – Olivier Vernon – from defensive end to linebacker. Defensive ends Avery Moss, Romeo Okwara, and Jordan Williams are also now at linebacker.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: After a quarter of a century of playing in the 4-3 defense, the New York Giants are shifting back to the 3-4. There is now an emphasis on acquiring linebackers as well as a new type of linebacker. It is no coincidence that Dave Gettleman traded away two picks for a linebacker. Or that Kareem Martin was the first player signed in free agency. Or that the Giants drafted Lorenzo Carter in the 3rd round (and tried to trade up into the 2nd round to draft him). In addition, the shift to the 3-4 led the Giants to trading away Jason Pierre-Paul and moving Oliver Vernon to outside linebacker. This defense is now predicated on the linebackers being the play makers. This is foreign territory for an entire generation of Giants fans. In 2018, the team’s leading sacker should be a linebacker. Linebackers are now expected to lead the team in tackles for losses and impact plays. Mark my words, it is only now a matter of time before the Giants draft a linebacker in the 1st round, something they haven’t done since 1984.

Perhaps the biggest issue on defense is the successful transition of Oliver Vernon from defensive end to linebacker. For this defense to be effective, Vernon has to become the team’s best pass rusher from the outside linebacker spot. While he will mostly be moving forward, and at times will be shifted to defensive end in some pass-rush packages, he needs to be able handle playing in space or opposing teams will target him. Vernon has some experience in this role from his days with the Miami Dolphins, but this is a big adjustment. Vernon also has to stay healthy, something he hasn’t been able to do since joining the Giants in 2016.

There are some people who feel Alec Ogletree is best suited for outside linebacker, but he has already been designated as the defense’s leader from one of the inside linebacker spots. A mobile athlete, Ogletree will be complemented by the more physical thumper B.J. Goodson right next to him. Ogletree could thrive with 1,000 pounds of defensive linemen in front of him. Goodson needs to stay healthy and improve his pass coverage.

Flying under the radar is Kareem Martin, whose overall stats in Arizona were unimpressive. But James Bettcher loves the former defensive end and thinks he is just scratching the surface of his ability as a linebacker. Regardless, he could be pressed by Lorenzo Carter, who has rare athletic ability.

Long story short… the linebackers are back baby!

ON THE BUBBLE: There is a decent chance that the Giants will now carry as many as eight linebackers. Barring the unforeseen, Olivier Vernon, Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, Kareem Martin, and Lorenzo Carter make the team, leaving probably two or three spots for Romeo Okwara, Avery Moss, Jordan Williams, Mark Herzlich, Calvin Munson, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Thurston Armbrister, and Tae Davis.

FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on the team’s defense: “I think each and every down we might look different on defense. But again, I’ll tell you what – I can’t tell you today who we’re going to be on defense and really what we’re going to look like until we get through training camp, until we get into meetings, until we actually get on the field, until we don’t just play some basketball on grass in the offseason program. Until we get to training camp and we have helmets and pads on and we’re striking and separating and playing off of blocks and what we’re really going to look like. But yeah, there are certainly some 3-4 principles if that’s a term we want to use. There are certainly some 4-3 principles if that’s a term you want to use. At the end of the day, it’s about playing hard with a relentless mindset, playing fast, playing physical and being a smart football team.”

Kareem Martin on the team’s defense: “We’re gonna have a lot of exotic schemes, a lot of guys coming, mixing up the fronts, just so guys won’t get a bead on where we’re coming from and it’s gonna I think cause for a lot of havoc in the backfield.”

Alec Ogletree on James Bettcher: “He’s definitely a linebackers coach, for sure. That’s what he started as. So, for us, he definitely puts it on us to lead the group, and we put it on ourselves as well to be that leader and be that dominant voice out there and get everybody ready and set to run the plays. We definitely take that responsibility.”

Bettcher on Oliver Vernon: “OV, we know is a dynamic guy. A guy that can rush from different angles, a guy that you can move around and put in different match-ups. And he’s embraced everything that we’ve done to this point. I’ve loved working with him and I think he’s making some great progress, not just in this scheme, but I think as I’ve looked at him as a player, he’s sharpening his tools right now.”

Kareem Martin on Olivier Vernon: “Real smooth football player. He’s just a natural, just really fluid player. He does some things I haven’t seen guys do before, one of the strongest linebackers I’ve played with, and just to see him be able to do some of the things and contort his body has just been amazing.”

Bettcher on Alec Ogletree: “You watch his play and I’m not just talking about his ability to make tackles or run down things on the sideline, I’m talking about his play, his mindset, his physicality at which he plays the game, how hard and passionate he plays the game. Those were some of the first things that jumped off the charts for me when we had a chance to get him here. Certainly excited about him as a leader and a guy that is going to bring a ton of energy to our room.”

Bettcher on Kareem Martin: “One of the most improved players that I’ve ever been around.”

PREDICTIONS: While this is going to be more of a hybrid defense than pure, old-fashioned 3-4, this is still going to be a bit of a culture shock for any fan under 40 years old. Linebackers setting the edge, getting into the backfield, creating turnovers, sacking the quarterback. Linebackers actually making plays! If everyone can stay healthy (ahem Vernon and Goodson), on paper, this looks like a potentially strong group. The two inside linebackers complement each other well. Olivier Vernon is no LT, but he will be expected to take on that type of pass-rush role while Kareem Martin does more of the dirty work (à la Carl Banks). Both will also be employed from the down position quite a bit. The wild card is Lorenzo Carter who I am willing to bet will press for pass rush snaps fairly early, either from a standup or down position.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Olivier Vernon, Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, Kareem Martin, and Lorenzo Carter are the obvious ones to make it. Avery Moss looks the part of a 3-4 pass-rush linebacker, but missed the spring rehabbing an injury. Word has it that Romeo Okwara looked pretty good in the spring workouts. Is there room for both? Finding depth inside could be a challenge. The leading candidates are Calvin Munson, Ray-Ray Armstrong, and possibly even Mark Herzlich. A waiver-wire pick-up here might be in the cards. Special teams ability will be key for anyone looking to make the final 53.

Jul 052018
 
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B.J. Hill, New York Giants (June 12, 2018)

B.J. Hill – © 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: Defensive Line

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: One of the reasons why 2017 was such a huge disappointment was that a defense that was supposed to be the strength of the team fell from 10th in yards allowed in 2016 to 31st. Worse, scoring defense fell from 2nd in 2016 to 27th.

In 2017, New York’s run defense was 27th in the NFL, allowing over 120 yards per game on average. Pass defense was 31st, allowing over 250 yards per game on average. These numbers are so bad that every position and the coaching staff must share responsibility.

Two position groups were supposed to carry the defense: the defensive line and the secondary, covering up for a linebacking corps that has been considered sub par for years. Both groups failed miserably. Up front, not only could the Giants not stop the run, but they couldn’t rush the passer either. Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon were paid huge sums of money to get after the quarterback, yet finished with a total of 15 sacks. These numbers look even worse when one realizes that JPP and Olivier were each held sackless in 10 games. And after these two, the rest of the line had an embarrassing 4.5 sacks in 16 games. Sometimes sacks are overrated if your pass rushers are getting hits on the quarterback. But the Giants were 27th in quarterback hits with 70 – or a little over four per game.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants traded Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March. The team also let Jay Bromley walk in free agency. The Giants re-signed Kerry Wynn and Robert Thomas in free agency, as well as signing newcomers Josh Mauro (Cardinals) and A.J. Francis (Redskins). The Giants drafted B.J. Hill (3rd round) and R.J. McIntosh (5th round) in the 2018 NFL Draft. Tyrell Chavis was signed as a rookie free agent.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: After a quarter of a century of playing in the 4-3 defense, the New York Giants are shifting back to the 3-4. While it won’t be the Giants’ old 2-gap system, and the team will shift at times back to the 4-3, the switch is a big deal. We’ve already seen the fallout with the personnel department acquiring more 3-4-type defensive linemen and linebackers. Because the Giants will play a hybrid defense, and because in the 3-4 the outside linebackers tend to be more forward-movers, defining who is a defensive end, nose tackle, defensive tackle, and even linebacker becomes more complicated and partially moot. For example, even back in 1980s, one could argue Lawrence Taylor was a glorified standup defensive end. When you hear the coaches now talking about 5-man fronts, they are not talking about just defensive linemen, but the outside linebackers.

What we do know is this, Damon Harrison will be the starting nose tackle. Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill are likely to be the starting defensive ends, especially with Josh Mauro starting the year with a 4-game suspension. Meanwhile, Olivier Vernon, Romeo Okwara, and Avery Moss are with the linebackers now. When the Giants go the 4-3 in certain pass-rush packages, expect these three to put their hand in the dirt.

On paper, the trio of Tomlinson, Harrison, and Hill up front seems imposing and a problem for opposing teams that want to establish the run. The good news is that Tomlinson and Harrison have previous experience in similar systems so the adjustment should not be that difficult for them. Hill’s college coaches talk about his position flexibility and he has impressed his new coaches and teammates with the Giants. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher brought defensive end Josh Mauro and hyrid linebacker/defensive end Kareem Martin over from his old team with him. Base-defense depth could be an issue if any of the starters get hurt.

The big question is are there any pass rushers in this group? Can Tomlinson and Hill get any heat on the quarterback from the 3-4 defensive end spots? Bettcher has also said they will work to get Harrison more favorable one-on-one match-ups rather than facing constant double teams. In a traditional 3-4 system, the pass rush usually comes from the outside linebackers (Olivier Vernon, Kareem Martin, Lorenzo Carter, etc.), but these guys will also put their hands in the dirt in certain packages. Regardless of style of defense or position, the team must get heat on the passer in order to be a good defense.

ON THE BUBBLE: Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill are the sure bets. Normally, R.J. McIntosh would be too, but he has been sidelined all spring with a mysterious ailment and still remains unsigned. The Giants knew about Mauro’s 4-game suspension when they signed him so he will likely make the team. If Harrison were to get hurt, Tomlinson and Hill could probably play nose tackle, but finding another 3-4-type reserve is important. Robert Thomas and A.J. Francis will probably be battling each other for one of these spots. Kerry Wynn had a good spring, but I’m not sure where his body type fits on this defense. Josh Banks, who spent last year on IR, was also active in the spring workouts. He faces an uphill climb as do Kristjan Sokoli, Jordan Williams, and Tyrell Chavis.

FROM THE COACHES AND PLAYERS: Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on his defensive line: “I think B.J.’s (Hill) really coming along. I’m really excited with where he’s at right now…(Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Damon Harrison) have done a great job for us and I think Kerry Wynn has had a really, really good offseason and excited to see him in pads. Josh (Mauro), (A.J.) Francis, the list can go on. Robert (Thomas). I’m going to leave guys out if I keep going. But I’ll say this: I’m excited about where that group is at right now, but more importantly I’m excited about putting some pads on and seeing where we’re really at.”

Bettcher on if B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson can rush the passer: “I do think so. I do think so. And one of the things when we drafted B.J., that was part of us selecting him because we thought he has a potential to be a three-down player. Whether that’s a middle push guy, whether that’s a guy that can beat some guards and create some disruption for either edge players, or edge pressure guys. Dalvin’s the same kind of player. Has some slipperiness to him, has the ability to get on edges. Excited to get to – again, I keep saying that, but I’m anxious to get to training camp to really see where some of that’s at. But I do expect those guys to be able to help us.”

Bettcher on Damon Harrison: “We went and looked initially, all the one-on-ones that he had in the run game, and there wasn’t anyone that blocked him one-on-one in the run game. And I think what he’ll find and what we’ll find is we’ll be able to get him some one-on-ones. Whether that’s matched up on a center, on a guard, we’ll be able to get him some one-on-ones in the run game.”

Damon Harrison on B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson: “He can play. He can play and that’s the first thing our defensive line coach told me when I got here. He said, ‘You’re going to love 95.’ He said, ‘He can play.’ So, I got out here and I’ve been watching him. He’s strong and he’s got some wiggle to him and he has some move to him. So, that’s somebody else who I think with some time and a little more experience will be a dominant player in this league, as well as Dalvin Tomlinson, who I think will take the next step this year.”

PREDICTIONS: Perhaps I’m too guilty of drinking the offseason Kool-Aid, but I’m very optimistic about the team’s starting front three if they can stay healthy. Dalvin Tomlinson, Damon Harrison, and B.J. Hill are not only a combined 1,000 pounds of muscle up front, but they are darn good. There aren’t many teams in this league that can field three players of this caliber. James Bettcher’s 3-4 system is not a two-gap system where the responsibility of the linemen is to absorb blocks and allow the linebackers to make a play. Bettcher’s system is a penetrating defense where he will look to create favorable one-on-one match-ups. The Giants (and Bettcher) are very fortunate to have had two players (Harrison and Tomlinson) on the roster with 3-4 position versatility. Drafting B.J. Hill simply completed the picture. THIS is what enabled the team to move forward with the new scheme. For the first time in decades, the Giants have the TYPE of players to play the 3-4.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: It is difficult to predict how many defensive linemen the Giants will carry because of the hybrid nature of the defense and the hybrid nature of many of the players in this defense. Personally, I would prefer the team carry at least five true defensive tackle types (three starters and two reserves) beyond any other situational players. The three starters are Harrison, Tomlinson, Hill. Mauro will start the year on the suspension list so he won’t count against the roster. McIntosh is a question mark at this point because of his health too. Right now, if you put a gun to my head, I would guess Kerry Wynn, Robert Thomas, and McIntosh make the September team. But Thomas could be pressed by Francis. And Josh Banks could sneak onto this roster… he’s physically well suited for a 3-4 end.

Jan 022018
 
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Eric Studesville, Denver Broncos (October 9, 2016)

Eric Studesville – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS INTERESTED IN ERIC STUDESVILLE AND PAT SHURMUR…
The New York Giants will interview Denver Broncos Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville for the team’s head coaching vacancy on Friday. Denver fired Studesville on Monday. ESPN is reporting that the Giants have also requested to interview Minnesota Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur for the head coaching vacancy as well.

The 50-year old Studesville served as the Giants’ running back coach under Head Coach Jim Fassel (2001-2003) before going on to hold the same position with the Buffalo Bills (2004-2009) and Broncos (2010-2017). Studesville also served as interim head coach of the Broncos for four games in 2010 and became an assistant head coach in 2017.

In recent years, the 52-year old Shurmur has served as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback coach (2002-2008), St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator (2009-2010), Cleveland Browns head coach (2011-2012), Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator (2013-2015), and Vikings tight ends coach (2016). Shurmur was promoted to Vikings offensive coordinator in 2017. He also served as interim head coach for the Eagles in 2015.

GIANTS SIGN NINE PLAYERS TO RESERVE/FUTURES CONTRACTS…
The New York Giants have signed the following players to reserve/futures contracts:

  • WR Amba Etta-Tawo
  • WR Canaan Severin
  • OG Ethan Cooper
  • DE Jordan Williams
  • DT Kristjan Sokoli
  • CB Jeremiah McKinnon
  • CB Tim Scott
  • PK Marshall Koehn
  • P Austin Rehkow

All of the players except for the two kickers finished 2017 on the Giants’ Practice Squad.

Koehn was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Dolphins (2016), Minnesota Vikings (2017), and Cincinnati Bengals (2017). He’s played in only one regular-season game with no field goal attempts.

Rehkow was signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Bills waived him in August.

ARTICLES…

Jan 012018
 
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Matt Patricia, New England Patriots (September 17, 2017)

Matt Patricia – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS INTERESTED IN JOSH MCDANIELS, MATT PATRICIA, STEVE WILKS…
ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants have submitted requests to interview New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels and New England Patriots Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia for the team’s head coaching vacancy. The Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, and Arizona Cardinals have also reportedly requested permission to interview Patricia.

The NFL Network is reporting that the Giants have requested to interview Carolina Panthers Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks for the team’s head coaching vacancy. The Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions, and Chicago Bears are also said to be interested in Wilks. Because the Panthers play in the first-round of the playoffs on Sunday, teams cannot interview Wilks until next week, whether the Panthers win or lose.

The 41-year old McDaniels not only has served as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator and quarterback coach (2006-2008, 2012-2017) in recent years but he also was the head coach of the Denver Broncos (2009-2010) where he compiled an 11-17 (.393) record.

The 43-year old Patricia has spent his entire professional coaching career with the Patriots (starting in 2004) and has been New England’s defensive coordinator since 2012.

The 48-year old Wilks has served as as a defensive backs coach with the Washington Redskins (2005), Chicago Bears (2006-2008), San Diego Chargers (2009-2011), and Panthers (2012-2016). He was also named an assistant head coach of the Panthers in 2016 and promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017.

DAVE GETTLEMAN TELLS GIANTS COACHES THEY ARE FREE TO LOOK FOR OTHER JOBS…
ESPN is reporting that General Manager Dave Gettleman has informed the team’s assistant coaches that they are free to look for other jobs without the Giants blocking them.

GIANTS RE-SIGN FOUR PRACTICE SQUAD PLAYERS
Although not officially announced, according to media reports the Giants have signed wide receiver Canaan Severin, defensive end Jordan Williams, cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon, and offensive/defensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli to reserve/future contracts. All four players ended the 2017 season on the team’s Practice Squad.

INTERIM HEAD COACH STEVE SPAGNUOLO…
The transcript of Steve Spagnuolo’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…

Nov 122017
 
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SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 31 – NEW YORK GIANTS 21…
It keeps getting worse and worse. The shit-show that is your 2017 New York Giants were soundly defeated 31-21 by the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in a game that was not as close as the final score. The 49ers were 0-9 coming into the game widely-regarded as vying with the Cleveland Browns for the title of “worst team in football.” That honor may now belong the 1-8 New York Giants.

Entering the game, the 49ers easily had one of the NFL’s most anemic and inept offenses, scoring just 13 touchdowns on the season. The 49ers put 31 points on the scoreboard against Giants with 474 total net yards, including 186 yards rushing. The first 49ers’ punt in the game came with just over five minutes to play in the contest. For the second game in a row, the defense did not sack the quarterback.

Meanwhile, the Giants’ offensive totals look more impressive than they really were, as the Giants had a garbage-time, 15-play, 90-yard drive on their final possession that resulted in a touchdown and 2-point conversion. Up until that point, the Giants’ offense had only generated 13 points, 14 first downs, and 269 net yards.

The 49ers started the game at the Giants’ 40-yard line after place kicker Aldrick Rosas kicked the opening kickoff out of bounds. San Francisco only needed five plays and 35 yards to set up a successful 35-yard field goal. The Giants responded with a 10-play, 46-yard effort that resulted in a 47-yard field goal by Rosas. The Giants then got the ball back when the defense held the 49ers on 4th-and-1 from the Giants’ 36-yard line. New York picked up 40 yards in six plays to set up another field goal by Rosas, this one from 42 yards out. Giants 6 – 49ers 3.

Things got sloppy early in the second quarter. Safety Andrew Adams forced a fumble after a short pass that was recovered by linebacker Curtis Grant at the Giants’ 46-yard line. But three plays later, the Giants gave the ball right back to the 49ers as quarterback Eli Manning was sacked and he fumbled the ball away. Three plays after that, rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard threw a 83-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marquise Goodwin on 3rd-and-8 as San Francisco went up 10-6.

The Giants responded with their best drive of the game, moving 75 yards in 10 plays as Manning found tight end Evan Engram for a 9-yard score. The Giants were back on top 13-10. That didn’t last long as the 49ers quickly marched 76 yards in six plays, with Beathard connecting with tight end Garrett Celek for a 47-yard catch-and-run for the score with 28 seconds left before halftime. San Francisco was ahead for good, 17-13.

The Giants moved the ball on their opening possession of the 3rd quarter, driving 59 yards in 11 plays. However, that went all for naught when Rosas missed a 34-yard field goal. The Giants got the ball back when defensive end Olivier Vernon intercepted a pass at the New York 25-yard line. But the Giants couldn’t move the ball and punted. The 49ers then pretty much put the game away with an 11-play, 61-yard drive that culminated with an 11-yard touchdown run by Beathard on 3rd-and-2 on the first play of the 4th quarter. The 49ers now led 24-13. The game got out of hand with another New York punt followed by another San Francisco scoring drive with running back Matt Breida running it in from 33 yards out. 49ers 31 – Giants 13.

Both teams exchanged punts before the aforementioned 15-play, 90-yard, garbage-time drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Manning to wide receiver Roger Lewis with just over a minute to play. Running back Orleans Darkwa rushed for the 2-point conversion. The contest was over after the failed onside kick.

Manning finished the game 28-of-37 for 273 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. He did fumble the football away once again however. Manning’s leading receiver was wideout Sterling Shepard who caught 11 plays for 142 yards. Darkwa rushed for 70 yards on 14 carries.

While the Giants defense forced two turnovers, they accrued no sacks and barely put any pressure on the rookie quarterback. The defense allowed almost 500 yards of offense, including almost 200 rushing yards.

Video lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), linebacker Devon Kennard (quad), linebacker Keenan Robinson (quad), cornerback Donte Deayon (ankle), wide receiver Travis Rudolph, offensive tackle Chad Wheeler, and quarterback Davis Webb.

Right tackle Justin Pugh (back), right guard D.J. Fluker (knee, returned), linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (groin), and defensive tackle Damon Harrison (ankle) all left the game with injuries.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants signed fullback Shane Smith from the Practice Squad on Saturday. To make room for Smith, the team waived tight end Matt LaCosse.

Although not officially announced, it appears the New York Giants have re-signed defensive end Jordan Williams to the Practice Squad and waived defensive end Nordly “Cap” Capi from Injured Reserve.

Smith began 2017 on the team’s 53-man roster but was waived and signed to the Practice Squad in late September. Smith was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft.

LaCosse was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft. The Giants waived/injured him in August with a hamstring injury and re-signed him to the Practice Squad in November and the 53-man roster in December 2015. He played in two games and finished with three catches for 22 yards. The Giants waived/injured Matt LaCosse in late August 2016 and then placed him on Injured Reserve with a knee injury that required surgery.

Williams began the 2017 season on the Giants Practice Squad and was added to the 53-man roster on November 1st and waived six days later. Williams was originally signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jets (2015) and Miami Dolphins (2015-2016). The Giants signed Williams to the Practice Squad in December 2016.

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

  • Head Coach Ben McAdoo (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (Video)
  • LB Jonathan Casillas (Video)
  • S Landon Collins (Video)

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Nov 072017
 
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Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants (October 1, 2017)

Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports

JANORIS JENKINS REINSTATED, DEONTAE SKINNER RE-SIGNED…
The New York Giants announced on Tuesday that cornerback Janoris Jenkins has been reinstated to the 53-man roster from the Reserve/Suspended List. Jenkins was suspended last week for violating team rules. The Giants also re-signed linebackers Kelvin Sheppard and Deontae Skinner, the latter off of the Practice Squad of the Oakland Raiders.

To make room for these three players, the Giants waived defensive end Jordan Williams and cornerback Tim Scott. The team also placed linebacker Nigel Harris (ribs) on Injured Reserve.

Sheppard started 11-of-16 regular-season games at middle linebacker for the Giants in 2016, playing 39 percent of defensive snaps. Sheppard finished the year with 50 tackles and two pass defenses. The Giants chose not to re-sign him free agency during the offseason. Sheppard was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in April 2013 and signed with the Dolphins in September 2014 and Giants in April 2016. Sheppard is more of a two-down linebacker who plays the run better than the pass. While he has good size, Sheppard lacks ideal overall athletic ability. Sheppard does not make many big plays.

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). He also spent time on both the Giants’ Practice Squad and 53-man roster in 2016. The Giants waived Skinner before the season started, re-signed him in late September, and waived him again in early October.

The 6’2”, 230-pound Harris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Giants claimed Harris off of waivers from the Chargers in October 2017. Skinner has played in seven regular-season games this year, with one start with the Chargers.

Williams began the 2017 season on the Giants Practice Squad and was added to the 53-man roster last week. Williams was originally signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jets (2015) and Miami Dolphins (2015-2016). The Giants signed Williams to the Practice Squad in December 2016.

Tim Scott is started the season on the Giants Practice Squad and was signed to the 53-man roster last week. The 5’11”, 195-pound Scott was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Dallas Cowboys after the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent time with the Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, and Washington Redskins in 2015, but he did not play in a game and was out of the NFL in 2016. The Giants signed Scott in August 2017.

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 New York Giants return to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s away game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Nov 012017
 
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, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)Justin Pugh

Justin Pugh – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Center Weston Richburg (concussion), offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle), defensive end Kerry Wynn (knee), linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice on Wednesday.

Tight end Rhett Ellison (not injury related) was an excused absence.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (calf), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck), and linebacker Calvin Munson (quad) practiced on a limited basis.

Running back Paul Perkins (ribs) fully practiced.

JORDAN WILLIAMS PROMOTED TO 53-MAN ROSTER…
The New York Giants have signed defensive end Jordan Williams to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad. The available roster spot was created when cornerback Janoris Jenkins was placed on the Reserve/Suspended List for violating team rules. Williams was originally signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jets (2015) and Miami Dolphins (2015-2016). The Giants signed Williams to the Practice Squad in December 2016.

To fill Williams’ spot on the Practice Squad, the Giants re-signed wide receiver Kalif Raymond to the Practice Squad, one day after they had terminated his Practice Squad contract. The 5’9”, 160-pound Raymond was originally signed by the Denver Broncos after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with both the Broncos (2016) and New York Jets (2017). Raymond has played in six NFL games. The diminutive Raymond has not caught a pass, but he has returned nine kickoffs (24.7 yards per return) and 16 punts (9.3 yards per return). Raymond was signed to the Giants’ Practice Squad in October 2017.

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…

Jul 142017
 
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Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants (June 13, 2017)

Dalvin Tomlinson – © 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: Defensive Line

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW: The New York Giants defensive line underwent a major overhaul in 2016, and the changes were perhaps THE major reason why the team’s defense improved from dead last in the NFL to 10th in terms of yardage and 2nd in terms of points allowed. The Giants went from 24th in run defense in 2015 (121.4 yards per game, 4.4 yards per carry) to 3rd in 2016 (88.6 yards per game, 3.6 yards per carry).

The key to sparking the dramatic turnaround were the high-priced, high-profile free agent additions of defensive end Olivier Vernon (5-years, $85 million) and defensive tackle Damon Harrison (5-years, $46 million). These two were a major upgrade over defensive ends Robert Ayers/George Selvie and defensive tackles Markus Kuhn/Cullen Jenkins. Harrison is arguably the best run-stuffing defensive tackle in the game and earned first-team All-Pro honors after making the switch from a 3-4 nose tackle with the New York Jets to a 4-3 defensive tackle. Vernon was slowed by a serious hand/wrist injury but played virtually every snap and earned second-team All-Pro honors.

Jason Pierre-Paul (JPP) rebounded nicely from a 2015 offseason catastrophic fireworks accident that left him permanently maimed. After a slow start on the pass-rushing front, the line was rounding into peak form until a groin tear/sports hernia injury sidelined JPP for the final four regular-season games and post-season contest. Unfortunately, the dropoff was noticeable. As a unit, the line finished with 24.5 sacks in the regular season (up from 16 in 2015).

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants’ biggest personnel loss in the offseason was DT Johnathan Hankins signing a 3-year, $30 million contract with the Colts. The team did re-sign DE Jason Pierre-Paul to a 4-year, $62 million deal. The Giants also re-signed exclusive rights free agent DT Robert Thomas, restricted free agent DE Kerry Wynn, and practice squader DE Jordan Williams. New additions include veteran free agents DE Devin Taylor and DT Corbin Bryant as well as rookies DT Dalvin Tomlinson (2nd round), DE Avery Moss (5th round), DE Evan Schwan (undrafted free agent), and DT Josh Banks (undrafted free agent).

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: One of the most significant story lines for the team is can the Giants adequately fill the shoes of Johnathan Hankins at defensive tackle? While Damon Harrison quickly became the headliner at defensive tackle for the Giants, Hankins was an important part of the drastically-improved New York Giants run defense. Many believe Dalvin Tomlinson will automatically assume the starting position, but Tomlinson is a rookie and will face challenges from veterans Robert Thomas, Jay Bromley, and Corbin Bryant. Depth is also a cause for concern as Harrison must now be considered one of the most indispensable players on the team. Heaven help the Giants if he gets hurt.

A secondary story line will be the quest for a third defensive end who can rush the passer and spell Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, who both played far too many snaps last year. To date, holdovers Romeo Okwara, Kerry Wynn, and Owamagbe Odighizuwa have not demonstrated the ability to consistently harass opposing quarterbacks. They will be pressured by newcomers Devin Taylor and Avery Moss. Then there is the curious backstory of Odighizuwa’s situation as he missed all of the spring work due to undisclosed “personal issues.”

ON THE BUBBLE: Everyone except Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Dalvin Tomlinson.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Patrick Graham on the defensive line as a group: “Really the group is smart. They understand that this is their profession and they know they have to have proficiency at that. They all work hard in terms of knowing football and knowing what we want them to do.”

Patrick Graham on Dalvin Tomlinson: “I think any rookie coming into this league, they don’t know anything about this league aside from the stuff they read and see from the media and TV. I think it’s important for them to stick with what they’ve done in being a good football player up until this point. An organization in the NFL wanted them. To be humble there, listen to the players and listen to the coaches and just diligently work through the process. He’s a pretty even keel guy. He’ll be able to handle it. We will see how it plays out once the competition comes and the season comes… We wanted him for a reason. He’s a good football player and he comes from a good program.”

PREDICTIONS: Dalvin Tomlinson is one of the few defensive tackles who realistically could come in and adequately replace Johnathan Hankins as a rookie. He not only has the physical tools, but he is a super-smart guy who played on the big stage at Alabama. Nevertheless, keep an eye on Robert Thomas, who may split snaps with him. Competition for roster spots will be fierce as the Giants added a couple of former veteran starters late in free agency (Devin Taylor and Corbin Bryant). The Giants can’t keep all of these guys and linemen who can play in this league are going to be released. Another player to keep tabs on is Avery Moss. The coaches and players have said nice things about him and the Giants are still looking for that third pass rusher.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, Romeo Okwara, Avery Moss, Devin Taylor, Robert Thomas, and Corbin Bryant. (The Giants hate to part ways with draft picks so it would not be shocking to see Owa Odighizuwa and Jay Bromley make it over late FA additions Taylor and Bryant. I would also not count out Kerry Wynn).