Feb 262019
 
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Olivier Vernon, Alec Olgetree, and Kareem Martin; New York Giants (December 2, 2018)

Olivier Vernon, Alec Olgetree, and Kareem Martin – © USA TODAY Sports

There are two positions on the team that management simply has not been able to “fix” for years: offensive line and linebackers. And it is not for want of effort. While the Giants have not spent a great deal of draft assets on linebackers (3rd-round pick on Lorenzo Carter, 4th-round pick on B.J. Goodson), the team certainly has spent free agent and even indirect draft (i.e. trade) assets. Three of the four Giants’ starting linebackers in 2018 were:

  • Olivier Vernon ($17 million 2018 cap hit)
  • Alec Ogletree ($4.75 million 2018 cap hit, plus 4th- and 6th-round draft picks in trade)
  • Kareem Martin (3-year, $15 million contract)

The Giants also gave Connor Barwin a 2-year, $5 million deal as a reserve.

To be blunt, the return on the investment was quite poor. The 3-4 defense relies on the linebackers to be the the play-makers and the pass rushers. They didn’t do that. As a team, the Giants had 30 sacks, tied for 30th in the league. Only the Raiders had fewer. And of those 30 sacks, 17 came from the linebackers. Only two linebackers on the team picked off a pass. Most startling, Giants linebackers only forced ONE fumble all year.

Ask a Giants’ fan about their linebacker memories for the 2018 season and they’ll probably mention Ogletree picking off five passes and returning two of those for touchdowns. Or Goodson picking off two passes in a game. They may say that the injury-prone Vernon flashed as a pass rusher as he got healthier. And that Carter showed some good things as a rookie. But mostly it was just blah. Barwin was invisible. Martin was one-dimensional. The positives from Vernon were overshadowed by a frustrating lack of impact and bonehead mistakes such a penalties or losing contain responsibility.

Overall, the run defense wasn’t good, with players often being out-of-position or being successfully blocked out of position. And pass coverage against tight ends and backs remained a sore spot for yet another year (despite the five picks, there was a stretch of games where Ogletree was regularly abused in coverage).

THE EDGE RUSHERS

Olivier Vernon’s first three seasons with the Giants have been sabotaged due to nagging injuries, including a high ankle sprain in 2018 that caused him to miss the first five games of the season. Vernon started the remaining 11 games, accruing 30 tackles, 7 sacks, 1 pass defense, and 1 forced fumble. Despite the missed time and subpar tackle production, Vernon played in the Pro Bowl as a first alternate. Vernon was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dolphins. The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2016. Although Vernon played in all 16 regular-season games in 2016, a serious left hand/wrist injury affected his play. In 2017, he missed four games with an ankle injury that also continued to be a factor in other games. An undersized but athletic defensive end, the Giants shifted him to linebacker in 2018 to fit their new 3-4 scheme. Vernon teases with his big-play ability but he simply hasn’t been able to stay healthy and be consistently productive and reliable.

The Giants signed Kareem Martin as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2018. Though not a standout, Martin has his most productive season as a pro, playing in a 16 games with seven starts, and finishing with 48 tackles (twice as much as his previous high), 1.5 sacks, and 2 pass defenses. The 6’6”, 272-pound Martin was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Cardinals as a defensive end. The Cardinals moved him to linebacker after his rookie season. Martin is a ‘tweener who does his best work moving forward rather than moving backwards in space. He is a sold run defender, but he only has six career sacks in five seasons.

The Giants drafted Lorenzo Carter in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Carter played in 15 games as a rookie with two starts, finishing the season with 43 tackles, 4 sacks, and 4 pass defenses. He is a tall, athletic, disruptive forward mover. Carter causes problems with his quickness and closing burst but can get hung up on blocks at times. Carter flashes as a pass rusher, and he can rush the passer from the defensive end spot in certain packages.

The Giants signed Connor Barwin as an unrestricted free agent from the Los Angeles Rams in July 2018. Despite playing in 15 games with three starts, Barwin finished the year with just 12 tackles, 1 sack, and 4 pass defenses. Barwin was originally selected in the 2nd-round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Before joining the Giants, he spent time with the Texans (2009-2012), Philadelphia Eagles (2013-2016), and Rams (2017).

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

The Giants traded with the Rams for Alec Ogletree in March 2018, giving the Rams 4th- and 6th-round draft picks. In his first season with the Giants, Ogletree started all 13 regular-season games he played in, missing three games due to hamstring and concussion issues. He finished the year with 93 tackles, 1 sack, 8 pass defenses, and 5 interceptions (2 of which were returned for touchdowns). Ogletree was drafted in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Rams. He made the All-Rookie team in 2013 and was named second-team All-Pro in 2016. The 6’2”, 235-pound Ogletree lacks classic size. He’s more of a run-and-hit linebacker than take-on-and-shed guy. Team leader who was voted team captain on both the Rams and Giants. In his six NFL seasons, Olgetree has averaged almost 100 tackles per year. Despite his five interceptions in 2018, he can be exposed in man coverage by athletic pass catchers.

In his third year with the Giants, B.J. Goodson had his most productive season, playing in 15 games with 13 starts, and finishing with 61 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 4 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions. Goodson was drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he played in 15 regular-season games with no starts. In 2017, Goodson started all seven games he played in, but missed most of the season with shin and ankle issues. Goodson is a big, strong, physical linebacker who lacks ideal speed and quickness. He plays the run better than the pass.

The Giants signed Tae Davis as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. Davis not only made the team, but he played in 14 games with four starts, accruing 33 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 pass defense. The 6’0”, 222-pound Davis lacks size, but he is a good athlete with fine speed. While aggressive, Davis is not a physical player against the run and he missed too many tackles in 2018. He also needs to improve in coverage.

The Giants claimed Nate Stupar off of waivers from the New Orleans Saints in September 2018. He played in all 16 games, finishing the year with just 14 tackles. In his one start, Stupar missed three tackles. The 6’2”, 240-pound Stupar was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. Stupar has spent time with the Raiders (2012), Philadelphia Eagles (2012), San Francisco 49ers (2012–2013), Jacksonville Jaguars (2013), Atlanta Falcons (2014–2015), and Saints (2016–2017). He has played in 79 regular-season games with ten starts, six of which came in 2016 when he accrued 58 tackles. Stupar missed 11 games in 2017 with a torn ACL. He is a good special teams player.

Ukeme Eligwe was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2018 after he was waived by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Giants signed him to the 53-man roster in October 2018. Eligwe ended up playing in 10 games with no starts, accruing just seven tackles and one pass defense. The 6’2”, 239-pound Eligwe was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chiefs.

STILL HANGING AROUND

Avery Moss was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2018. Moss was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Giants. As a rookie, he played in 11 games with two starts. He finished with 14 tackles, two pass defenses, and one forced fumble. Moss has good size with long arms and is a good athlete. Moss flashes as a disruptive run defender and pass rusher, but he needs to become more consistent and get stronger at the point-of-attack.

Jordan Williams was waived/injured in September 2018 with hip and shoulder injuries, and then placed on Injured Reserve. Williams was originally signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent time with the Jets (2015) and Miami Dolphins (2015-2016) before being signed by the Giants to the Practice Squad in December 2016. He spent most of 2017 on the Giants’ Practice Squad, even though he played in one regular-season game.

Sep 012018
 
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Mark Herzlich, New York Giants (November 27, 2016)

Mark Herzlich – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS REDUCE ROSTER TO 53…
On Saturday, in order to meet the NFL’s 53-man roster limit, the New York Giants made 36 roster moves.

Placed on the Reserve/Suspended List:

  • DE Josh Mauro (violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy)

Placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness List:

  • DE R.J. McIntosh (unknown medical issue)

Placed on Injured Reserve:

  • OT Nick Becton (ankle and wrist)
  • OG Nick Gates (foot)

Waived or contracts terminated:

  • RB Jalen Simmons
  • RB Jhurell Pressley
  • WR Kalif Raymond
  • WR Alonzo Russell
  • WR Roger Lewis, Jr.
  • WR Travis Rudolph
  • WR Amba Etta-Tawo
  • WR Jawill Davis
  • WR Marquis Bundy
  • TE Garrett Dickerson
  • TE Ryan O’Malley
  • OG Chris Scott (contract terminated)
  • OG Zac Kerin
  • OT Malcom Bunche
  • OT Victor Salako
  • NT Robert Thomas
  • NT Tyrell Chavis
  • NT Izaah Lunsford
  • DE A.J. Francis
  • LB Mark Herzlich (contract terminated)
  • LB Calvin Munson
  • LB Avery Moss
  • LB Jordan Williams (waived/injured – hip and shoulder)
  • LB Warren Long
  • CB Leonard Johnson (contract terminated)
  • CB Chris Lewis-Harris (contract terminated)
  • CB Grant Haley
  • CB Mike Jones
  • S Darian Thompson (waived/injured – hamstring)
  • S Andrew Adams
  • S Orion Stewart
  • PK Marshall Koehn

“As I’ve said, I feel like we’re on the right track,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We had a competitive training camp that forced us to make some tough decisions. We will continue to look to improve the roster in any way we can. This day is never easy because you are dealing with people who have made a commitment to your program, and while we all understand the reality of the business we’re in, it doesn’t make it any easier.

“When we started camp, I told the players that my hope for all of them is that if they don’t make our roster, I want them to make somebody else’s. So that’s my desire for the men we parted ways with today.”

The Giants can begin signing players to their 10-man practice squad on Sunday.

For an overview of the existing team, see the Depth Chart section of the website.

ARTICLES…

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

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.