Mar 152019
 
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Markus Golden, Arizona Cardinals (October 1, 2017)

Markus Golden – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN MARKUS GOLDEN AND OLSEN PIERRE…
The New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agents linebacker Markus Golden (Arizona Cardinals) and defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (Cardinals). Golden’s deal is reportedly a 1-year, $4.75 million contract that includes $2.225 million in guaranteed money.

The 28-year old, 6’3”, 260-pound Golden was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. Versatile, he has played both defensive end and linebacker at the pro level. In four seasons, Golden has played in 46 regular-season games with 24 starts. Golden’s break-out season was in 2016 at linebacker when he accrued 51 tackles and 12.5 sacks. He missed 12 games in 2017 with an ACL injury. While he returned in 2018, he missed five games and saw his production slip to 30 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

The 27-year old, 6’5”, 293-pound Pierre originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Chicago Bears after the 2015 NFL Draft. The Bears cut him in August 2015 and he then signed with the Cardinals. In three seasons with the Cardinals, Pierre has played in 24 games with eight starts, accruing 42 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

The transcript of Golden’s conference call with the media on Friday is available in The Corner Forum.

GOLDEN TATE ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
Wide receiver Golden Tate, who the New York Giants signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Philadelphia Eagles, addressed the media on Friday. The transcript is available in The Corner Forum.

MIKE REMMERS LEAVES WITHOUT A DEAL…
Free agent offensive lineman Mike Remmers, who was cut by the Minnesota Vikings earlier this week, finished his visit with the New York Giants on Friday and left without a deal. His agent tweeted, “Mike Remmers just wrapped up a great visit with the New York Giants. Very good chance we could be getting something done with them in the not too distant future… Just to clarify, nothing imminent between Mike Remmers and the New York Giants. The interest is mutual and we will be staying in touch. Good chance something could happen a little further down the road.”

The 29-year old, 6’5”, 310-pound Remmers was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Denver Broncos after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Broncos (2012), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012–2013), San Diego Chargers (2013), Vikings (2013), St. Louis Rams (2014), Carolina Panthers (2014–2016), and Vikings again (2017–2018). Remmers has started 59 regular-season games in the last four seasons, missing five games in 2017 with a concussion and lower back issues. While Remmers has experience at both tackle and guard, he played much better at right tackle in 2017 than he did at right guard in 2018.

OAKLAND RAIDERS SIGN JOSH MAURO…
The Oakland Raiders have signed New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive end Josh Mauro to a reported 1-year, $1.4 million contract. The Giants signed Mauro as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2018 after he was cut by the Cardinals. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 NFL season by the NFL for the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Mauro played in the 12 remaining games, with four starts, finishing with 28 tackles and one sack. The 6’6”, 290-pound, English-born Mauro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2014 NFL Draft. He did not make the team, but was signed by the Cardinals after he was cut. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Mauro played in 47 regular-season games with 26 starts.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS SIGN MARIO EDWARDS…
The New Orleans Saints have signed New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive end Mario Edwards to a reported 2-year, $5 million contract that can also include another $1.5 million based on sack production. The Giants claimed Edwards off of waivers from the Oakland Raiders in September 2018. He served as a primary back-up, playing in 15 games with no starts, and finishing the year with 14 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. The 6’3”, 280-pound Edwards was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Raiders. He missed most of 2016 with a hip injury. In three years with the Raiders, Edwards played in 30 regular-season games with 24 starts.

Feb 222019
 
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B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson – © USA TODAY Sports

After 24 years of playing in the 4-3 defense, the New York Giants shifted back to a 3-4 defense that emphasized the pass rush coming from the outside linebackers rather than the defensive ends. It was anticipated that the big, strong, tackle-like trio of nose tackle Damon Harrison and ends Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill would dominate the line of scrimmage. While the defensive line was arguably the strongest unit on a disappointing defense, more was expected. Harrison was surprisingly traded away in late October after a dreadful 1-6 start. The Giants publicly claimed this was done to move Tomlinson and Hill to more natural positions, but there was also speculation, fueled by senior official comments of bad team chemistry, that the Giants considered Harrison a locker room cancer.

Team defense “improved” from 31st in 2017 to 24th in 2018. The Giants were 20th in run defense in 2018, allowing over 118 yards per game and 4.3 yards per rush, which were very similar to their 2017 numbers. Of course, much of the blame for this disappointing result must also rest with the linebackers and defensive backs, who were often out of position and missed too many tackles.

In January, Dave Gettleman chalked up 2018 as a valuable learning experience for the young linemen.

When we traded Snacks, part of the issue when Snacks was here was he played the one (technique), we had Dalvin playing the three (technique), and B.J. playing the five technique. Well, Dalvin’s a one technique and B.J.’s a three, so I’m very pleased with the change… B.J. came a long way. Pass rush is critical, as I’ve stated it a million times as we all know. B.J. had, I think, five and a half sacks, so he made some progress inside. Dalvin did what he does at the one, so for us, it worked out and those young guys are getting snaps. That’s the only way they’re going to get better. There’s a theory out there that young guys, once they get to 5,000 snaps, that’s when they’re really ready to rock and roll and that includes practice and game snaps and all that. I don’t know if I subscribe to it, but I’m just throwing it out there.

Overall, the run defense was not as good as expected. And while there were flashes here and there, particularly from Hill, there were no consistent pass rushers in this group.

THE NEW BUILDING BLOCKS

Dalvin Tomlinson began the year playing the 3-technique position (9 starts) in the team’s 3-4 scheme before being moved to the 1-technique spot (7 starts) after nose tackle Damon Harrison was traded. He finished the season with 59 tackles and no sacks. The Giants drafted Tomlinson in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Tomlinson started every game as a rookie and finished the season with 50 tackles and one sack. Tomlinson is an average-sized tackle who is very strong and tough. He is a good run defender who flashes the ability to disrupt plays in the backfield, but to-date, he has not proven to be much of a pass rusher (only one sack in two seasons).

The Giants drafted B.J. Hill in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He played in all 16 regular-season games with 12 starts, finishing the season with 48 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two pass defenses. Though listed as a 3-4 defensive end, the 6’3”, 303-pound Hill was shifted from the five-technique position to the three-technique after the team traded away nose tackle Damon Harrison. Hill has good quickness for his size, plays with leverage, and flashes the ability to disrupt. He needs to become a more consistent run defender.

SOLID ROTATIONAL PLAYERS

The Giants signed Josh Mauro as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2018 after he was cut by the Cardinals. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 NFL season by the NFL for the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Mauro played in the 12 remaining games, with four starts, finishing with 28 tackles and one sack. The 6’6”, 290-pound, English-born Mauro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2014 NFL Draft. He did not make the team, but was signed by the Cardinals after he was cut. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Mauro played in 47 regular-season games with 26 starts. Mauro is a hard-working run player who does not get much heat on the quarterback (only three career sacks).

In his fifth season with the Giants, Kerry Wynn started five of the 14 games that he played in, finishing with 39 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 pass defenses, and 2 forced fumbles. Wynn was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has played in 63 regular-season games, with 15 starts. Wynn has a nice combination of size, strength, and overall athletic ability. Wynn is a better run defender than pass rusher as he lacks dynamic quickness on the outside pass rush (just 4.5 career sacks). He is able to play defensive tackle in pass-rush situations. Wynn flashed more in 2018 than he has in previous regular seasons.

The Giants claimed Mario Edwards off of waivers from the Oakland Raiders in September 2018. He served as a primary back-up, playing in 15 games with no starts, and finishing the year with 14 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. The 6’3”, 280-pound Edwards was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Raiders. He missed most of 2016 with a hip injury. In three years with the Raiders, Edwards played in 30 regular-season games with 24 starts. While a disappointment in Oakland, Edwards is a good athlete who flashes against both the run and the pass.

The Giants selected R.J. McIntosh in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. However, an unpublicized medical condition prevented him from practicing with the team all summer and the Giants placed him on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness List in September 2018. He was activated to the 53-man roster in early November and ended up playing in six games with no starts, accruing just five tackles. McIntosh combines good size and overall athleticism.

YET TO MAKE A MARK

The Giants signed John Jenkins in September 2018 after he was cut by the Chicago Bears. He was active for seven games, but was not credited with any tackles. The 6’3”, 327-pound Jenkins was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He has spent time with the Saints (2013-2016), Seattle Seahawks (2016), and Bears (2017-2018). From 2013 to 2015, Jenkins played in 42 regular-season games with 21 starts. However, in 2016 and 2017, Jenkins played in just 17 regular-season games with two starts. He was inactive for eight games in 2017. With only 1.5 career sacks, Jenkins is strictly a run-defending nose tackle-type.

The Giants signed Myles Humphrey to the Practice Squad in October 2018. Listed as a defensive end, the 6’3”, 238-pound Humphrey originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent most of September on the Ravens’ Practice Squad.

Kristjan Sokoli was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2018 after tearing an ACL in one of his knees in the preseason opener. The Giants Sokoli signed to the Practice Squad in late December 2017. Sokoli was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. The 6’5”, 300-pound Sokoli has spent time with the Seahawks (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2016), and New Orleans Saints (2017). The Albanian-born player has played both on the offensive and defensive lines.

Oct 072018
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (October 7, 2018)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

CAROLINA PANTHERS 33 – NEW YORK GIANTS 31…
The New York Giants lost a heart-breaking, poorly-officiated game, 33-31, to the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday. Carolina won the game on a last-second 63-yard field goal after the Giants had dramatically taken the lead 31-30 with just over a minute to play. With the loss, the Giants fell to 1-4 on the season.

Both teams punted the ball away on their initial drives. New York was the beneficiary of great field position on their second drive after a 15-yard punt return by wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. gave the Giants a first down at the Carolina 39-yard line. The Giants only gained one first down, but it was enough to set up a successful 42-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas.

The Panthers quickly responded with a touchdown, however, as shoddy New York tackling allowed two big plays, one an 18-yard gain on a end around, and the second a short throw to wide receiver Curtis Samuel who took it in from 25 yards out. The Panthers led 7-3.

Things quickly got worse for New York. First, the Giants went for it on 4th-and-3 from the Carolina 39-yard line and Beckham dropped the football, turning the ball over on downs. The Giants’ defense held. But on the ensuing punt, Beckham foolishly ran towards a ball that he should have stayed away from. When it glanced off of him, cornerback Janoris Jenkins tried to pick it up but failed. The Panthers recovered the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown and a 14-3 advantage. The Giants then went three-and-out and the Panthers responded with a field goal drive that gave them a 17-3 lead midway through the 2nd quarter.

The Giants clawed back into the game with a trick play two snaps after a 20-yard run by running back Saquon Barkley. On 2nd-and-18, quarterback Eli Manning threw a pass behind the line of scrimmage to Beckham, who then threw deep across the field to a wide open Barkley for a 57-yard touchdown catch-and-run. The Giants now trailed 17-10.

The change in momentum did not last long. Rosas kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, giving Carolina the ball at their own 40-yard line. Eight plays later, Carolina place kicker Graham Gano connected on a 48-yard kick with less than three minutes before halftime. The Giants did respond with their own field goal drive, gaining 40 yards in seven plays. And Rosas hit a 53-yarder right before intermission.

At halftime, the Panthers led 20-13.

Carolina went three-and-out on the first possession of the second half. The Giants put together a 13-play, 75-yard drive that unfortunately only resulted in a 36-yard field goal after reaching the Panthers’ 14-yard line. Panthers 20 – Giants 16.

The Panthers put together a long drive on the ensuing possession, but it ended with a turnover when free safety Curtis Riley intercepted quarterback Cam Newton at the 10-yard line and returned the ball to the Giants’ 22-yard line. However, Carolina got the ball back four plays later when Manning was intercepted at the Panthers’ 14-yard line. It was quite the momentum shift as Carolina then drove 68 yards in nine plays, with running back Christian McCaffrey scoring on an 18-yard pass reception. With less than 12 minutes to play in the game, the Panthers now led 27-16.

The game appeared over when Manning threw his second interception just two plays later. However, the Giants got the ball back when Jenkins intercepted Newton at the Giants’ 37-yard line and returned it 29 yards to the Carolina 34-yard line. Two plays after that, Manning hit Beckham on a deep pass for a 33-yard score. The successful 2-point conversion attempt, a pass from Manning to tight end Rhett Ellison, cut the score to 27-24 with just over eight minutes to play.

The Panthers responded with a 12-play, 54-yard drive where Newton threw a 27-yard pass on 4th-and-1 from the Giants’ 44-yard line. The play set up a 39-yard field goal to give Carolina a 30-24 lead with 2:16 to go in the game.

Starting at their own 25-yard line, Manning first hit wide receiver Russell Shepard for an 8-yard gain and then a 40-yard pass. On the third snap of the ball, Manning found Barkley who scored from 15 yards out with 68 seconds left in the game. The Giants had their first lead since the first quarter and now led 31-30.

Carolina started from their own 25 yard. Two completions in four attempts put the Panthers in a 3rd-and-1 situation at the Giants’ 45-yard line with 30 seconds left. It appeared the Giants had stopped McCaffrey short of the marker, but the Panthers were given the first down and Newton then spiked the ball to stop the clock. Two plays later, Gano connected from 63 yards away to win the game.

Offensively, Manning finished the game 22-of-36 for 326 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. His leading receivers were Beckham (8 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown), Barkley (4 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown), and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (4 catches for 75 yards). Barkley carried the ball 15 times for 48 yards as the Giants only ran for 50 yards on the day.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 350 total yards (118 rushing and 232 net passing). Riley and Jenkins each had interceptions. The Giants only picked up one sack, by linebacker Connor Barwin.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), tight end Evan Engram (knee), quarterback Kyle Lauletta, center Evan Brown, defensive tackle John Jenkins, cornerback Mike Jordan, and safety Kamrin Moore.

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

  • Head Coach Pat Shurmur (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (Video)

JOSH MAURO REINSTATED, STACY COLEY PLACED ON IR…
The NFL’s 4-game suspension of New York Giants defensive end Josh Mauro has ended, and Mauro was reinstated to the team’s 53-man roster on Saturday. To make room for Mauro, the Giants placed wide receiver Stacy Coley (hamstring) on Injured Reserve.

In March, shortly after he was signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Giants, Mauro was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 NFL season by the NFL for the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). For the last four weeks, he has not been allowed to practice with the team.

The 6’6”, 282-pound, English-born Mauro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2014 NFL Draft. He did not make the team, but was signed by the Cardinals after he was cut. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Mauro played in 47 regular-season games with 26 starts, 20 of which came in the last two years. In 2017, Mauro started seven games and finished the season with 22 tackles and one sack.

The Giants claimed Coley off of waivers from the Minnesota Vikings in September.

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

Oct 012018
 
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Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (September 30, 2018)

Pat Shurmur – © USA TODAY Sports

MONDAY MEDIA SESSION WITH HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the team’s 33-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints (the video is also available at Giants.com):

Opening Remarks: Last night, certainly we had a good start, we go down and score and you play a half of football, we turned the ball over, they go down. Our defense keeps them out of the end zone, and we’re in there at halftime down by one score against a really good football team, and then we came back out and really didn’t do enough. Offensively, I think we moved the ball in a two-minute scenario at the end of the game, but when you get penalties and you have minus-yardage plays and get knocked off schedule, that affects you, and we’ve got to eliminate that. Then you can’t turn the ball over like we did early as well, so that’s the name of that. Then again, defense, I thought in the bulk of the game battled, kept the score down, and that’s really the key to defense is keeping them out of the end zone, a very high-powered offense. We didn’t do enough in the end to win the game. On special teams, it’s kind of the devil is in the details in the return game, we’re a block or two away from making more yardage. We’ve got a young kick returner back there, probably one questionable decision, and then we dropped the snap on a punt, so those types of things. We’ve got to get those cleaned up and we move forward and get ready for Carolina. That’s what I told the team this morning. We’ve just got to clean up the details and keep moving, and we believe in our guys, we believe in our team, and we’ve just got to do what we do better. I’ll take your questions.

Q: What do you attribute to not being able to hit a lot of downfield passes?

A: Again, I mentioned it yesterday, we took some shots and they were playing in two-shell, so the ball gets checked down. That’s one reason for it.

Q: So you’re saying you called them?

A: Yeah, we called them. There were deep routes called that we couldn’t get the ball downfield, so you check it down. Then you move on.

Q: A lot of coaches say the best teams dictate on offense. What is the fine line between, you want to dictate on offense and you also have to be cognizant of how they’re playing. Moving forward, how can you dictate more on offense?

A: You call plays to be aggressive. If they’re there, you take your shots. That’s how you dictate. And if they’re not there, you check them down, and then the backs catch the ball and run with it. You’re talking about seven-eight yard gains, which is fine, so that’s how you dictate. Then you make them defend those. That’s how you dictate, and then when you choose to run the ball, you make yardage.

Q: Obviously we know (Saquon Barkley) can hit some home runs, but is getting more consistent run production the best way to get a team out of a soft zone defense?

A: Looking back on it, I think Barkley had 18 touches yesterday. I’d like to have a couple more probably, and those being runs certainly. We want to run the ball, we want to run the ball and when we want to throw it, we want to throw it, and we want to be explosive and efficient doing it. That’s the reality of it.

Q: Why do you think you got away from the run, or didn’t give him as many runs?

A: I wish I would’ve called more runs. That’s the reality of that, because I think the ball in Saquon’s hands is a good thing.

Q: The quarterback is such a vital position. Your quarterback has four touchdown passes in four games. What is your overall evaluation of him so far?

A: Eli, the quarterback. Let’s call him Eli, his name is Eli. He’s done some really good things, and each game he’s had a handful of plays he wants back, but that’s no different than any player on our team.

Q: Having a deep threat like Odell (Beckham), even if they have the coverage, isn’t it worth sometimes just taking a shot; he can make spectacular plays?

A: At times, when it’s a one on one scenario, sure. Absolutely.

Q: Is the same true for the red zone? Odell wasn’t really involved in your red zone passing.

A: He was actually. He actually picked on the two-point play, and he was available. What teams do in the red zone typically is they’ll double your star and then you move on.

Q: Understanding that the check-down might sometimes, and perhaps more than sometimes, be a smart play, does your offense though need Eli (Manning) to be a little more of a gunslinger and to take some chances because of the positive upside it could have, not only with the playmakers you have but also the penalties on offense. In Week 1 Odell was able to draw one, which were at the time really big plays in that game?

A: Sure. I think we had 45 yards of penalties in the first game. It’s important to take shots, you need to be aggressive and not reckless. I think that’s fair.

Q: Do you think (Eli) has shied away for any particular reason, afraid of an interception, afraid of something like that?

A: No, I don’t sense that from Eli.

Q: Are you happy with his level of aggressiveness?

A: Yeah, I am. I think if it’s there, he’ll take a shot. He understands it’s important to protect the ball, as well, and we are getting to it with these last couple questions – there’s a fine line between being aggressive and reckless with the football. I think that’s the line you walk all the time.

Q: How do you keep your defense from becoming frustrated with the offense?

A: Just keep playing, because I think we on all three sides of the ball have things that we need to get better at, and that’s what the focus is. It’s not becoming frustrated with the other side of the ball, it’s about trying to become better at what you do, and I think the way you keep that from happening too is you have a locker room full of guys like (Alec Ogletree) and good guys that are good players that understand you just keep playing, and understand that the first step is to try to win your division, and we’re one game out of that right now. We’ve just got to play our way back into it. That’s the reality of it, and that’s the world that we live in as coaches and players, and we all have things we need to do better.

Q: How important is that to instill that message for the long term?

A: It’s a constant conversation. We talk about that all the time. It goes back to establishing what your team is all about.

Q: We haven’t asked you about Jonathan Stewart since he went on IR. It didn’t seem like at this time last week you were that concerned, did his injury get significantly worse? And if his season is over, he has six carries for 17 yards. How much does that hurt the cause when a big free agent signing doesn’t really produce much?

A: Once a player is a player on your team, what he signed for or where he was drafted doesn’t matter. In the case of Jonathan last week, he came in after the game with some foot soreness and then we were going to try to let it play out to see what could happen throughout the week, and it didn’t improve, and that’s why we put him down.

Q: Does he need surgery? Is his season over? Can you bring him back?

A: He’s a potential to bring back. I think that’s an eight-week thing.

Q: You mentioned after the game the idea of maybe doing some things differently offensively.

A: Keep looking for that right combination of things that gets us in the end zone. Again, it showed up in sections of the game during certain drives and you’ve just got to keep getting back to those things. We’re constantly looking for and trying to do the things that our players are good at. Eli is not a zone read quarterback, that’s just an example. Our receivers are a little different than some of the receivers on other teams. We have a running back that can make yardage when we run it. As I mentioned earlier, I will always wish that a good player like Saquon, he’s got to touch the ball. That’s the reality of it.

Q: Can you understand from the outside where those of us who do look at even without (Evan Engram), you have (Sterling Shepard), Odell, Saquon and others, and say how is this offense not scoring?

A: They’ve had their production. We got down and scored twice yesterday. It’s not enough, I get that. I get it.

Q: When you look at all the plays, you had a fumble and a return, but your quarterback saved a touchdown. Do you mention that to the players?

A: Absolutely. That kind of goes without comment outside the building, but those are things we comment on, we hit all those points, we obviously are able to see the details of the full game from the coach’s copy and that’s what we go through today.

Q: Did you think on that play (Eli Manning) had a chance to run him out of bounds there?

A:  We stopped him from getting in the end zone, that’s typically what a quarterback should do.

Q: How did you feel the pass protection held up yesterday?

A: I thought we made progress in that regard in terms of pass protection. Again, Chad Wheeler drew a tough draw with number 94 (Cameron Jordan) and he made progress. He played better than he did the week previous, and then a couple other guys. Again, I say that knowing we didn’t win, but there were some things that we made progress on and we just need to build on that.

Q: A couple of Saints defenders said that they felt there were opportunities to be had downfield but Eli didn’t take them. When you’re watching film back, did you see any of that?

A: I don’t know. It’s easy for a defender to say that, but again, there’s a handful of things we should’ve done better.

Q: Did you have any meaningful injuries coming out of the game?  Significant?

A: Meaningful – they’re all meaningful. Especially if you’re the guy that got hurt.  Nothing really we haven’t talked about yet, just normal wear and tear.

Q:  Is Josh (Mauro) back this week?

A: He will be back. He’ll be out there. We’ll get him out there practicing, and I think we have a week before we have to put him back on the roster. We’ll see how that goes. I think we’ve got to make the official move by next Monday.

Q: (inaudible) quoted James Bettcher saying he’s optimistic (Olivier Vernon) returns this week. Are you?

A: I’m optimistic, yes.

Q: Were you aware an official apparently told (Alec Ogletree) that ‘I wouldn’t have made that call if it was in the Super Bowl’?

A: I was made aware of that. Mr. Hanlon over here told me that about 15 minutes ago. That’s a unique comment. I have no comment.

Q: Are there any calls you guys are going to look for an explanation from the league on?

A: Oh yeah. There’s a handful of things, but that’s typical of any week. I have a bigger handful this week.

Q: Was that rule changed where that was a horse collar, because it wasn’t a horse collar unless they changed the rule?

A: We’re going to inquire and try to get an answer.

Q: Will you let us know?

A: Oh, I can’t. I think it’s silly. When we start talking about the O word – officiating – then that’s excuse-making. We don’t do that.

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

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

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.

Aug 282018
 
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Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (August 9, 2018)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Tuesday due to injury were linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), tight end Evan Engram (concussion), offensive guard Nick Gates (foot), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

“No update (on Vernon),” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “Same as yesterday, so we’re just working through his ankle.”

Linebacker Connor Barwin (knee) remained limited. “Connor did well and he did a little bit more today as well,” said Shurmur. “He’s on the right path as well.”

TEAM PRESIDENT/CEO JOHN MARA…
The transcript of John Mara’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no press availability to the team on Wednesday. The Giants play the New England Patriots in the preseason finale on Thursday night. Teams must cut their rosters to 53 players by 4:00PM ET on Saturday.

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.

May 222018
 
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Russell Shepard, Carolina Panthers (September 10, 2017)

Russell Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN RUSSELL SHEPARD, CUT TIM SCOTT…
The New York Giants have officially signed free agent wide receiver Russell Shepard, who was cut by the Carolina Panthers last week. The NFL Network is reporting that the contract is a 1-year, $1.3 million deal that could be worth as much as $2 million with incentives.

The 27-year old, 6’1”, 195-pound Shepard was originally signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as undrafted rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft. Shepard has spent time with the Eagles (2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013-2016), and Panthers (2017). He has played in 72 regular-season games with nine starts (including three in 2017). Shepard has 47 career receptions for 634 yards and four touchdowns. He is a good gunner on special teams.

To make room for Shepard, the Giants waived cornerback Tim Scott, who was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Dallas Cowboys after the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent time with the Cowboys (2015), Cleveland Browns (2015), and Washington Redskins (2017). The Giants signed Scott in August 2017. He started the season on the team’s Practice Squad, was added to the 53-man roster for one game in November, cut, and then re-signed to the Practice Squad in December.

OTA PRACTICE #2 COMPLETE…
The Giants held their second voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Tuesday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

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

The eight remaining OTA practices will be held on May 24, May 29-31, and June 4-7. There will be media availability for the May 29 and June 4 practices. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 12-14.

ARTICLES…

Mar 232018
 
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Josh Mauro, Arizona Cardinals (November 9, 2017)

Josh Mauro – © USA TODAY Sports

JOSH MAURO SUSPENDED FOUR GAMES…
Newly-signed unrestricted free agent defensive end Josh Mauro has been suspended for the first four games of the 2018 NFL season by the NFL for the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Mauro is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

ESPN is reporting that the Giants were aware of the upcoming suspension before signing Mauro after he was cut by the Cardinals to a 1-year, $880,000 deal.

Mauro issued the following statement: “While I take full responsibility for this suspension, I want to clarify that my test showed traces of a banned stimulant from a pre-workout supplement bought over the counter. While I didn’t and would never intentionally put anything in my body that was a banned substance, I wholeheartedly honor and respect the NFL’s drug testing policy and I take full accountability. I want to thank the entire Giants organization for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to compete and help bring another championship to such a storied franchise. I look forward to overcoming this adversity I’ve ultimately brought upon myself and will do everything I can to contribute to this team winning football games.”

The 6’6”, 282-pound, English-born Mauro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2014 NFL Draft. He did not make the team, but was signed by the Cardinals after he was cut. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Mauro played in 47 regular-season games with 26 starts, 20 of which came in the last two years. In 2017, Mauro started seven games and finished the season with 22 tackles and one sack.

Mar 202018
 
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Josh Mauro, Arizona Cardinals (August 12, 2017)

Josh Mauro – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN JOSH MAURO…
The New York Giants have officially signed unrestricted free agent defensive end Josh Mauro (Arizona Cardinals). The 27-year old, 6’6”, 282-pound, English-born Mauro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2014 NFL Draft. He did not make the team, but was signed by the Cardinals after he was cut. The Cardinals cut him last week. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Mauro played in 47 regular-season games with 26 starts, 20 of which came in the last two years. In 2017, Mauro started seven games and finished the season with 22 tackles and one sack. Mauro is a hard-working run player who does not get much heat on the quarterback (only two career sacks).

D.J FLUKER SIGNS WITH SEAHAWKS…
The Seattle Seahawks have signed New York Giants unrestricted free agent offensive guard D.J. Fluker, who was placed on Injured Reserve in late November 2017 with a toe injury. The Giants signed Fluker in March 2017 after he was cut by the Los Angeles Chargers. He started six games at right guard before being injured. Fluker was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Chargers, Fluker started 59 regular-season games, first at right tackle and then right guard. After a solid rookie season in 2013, Fluker struggled with the Chargers and was cut in March 2017.

For a complete listing of free agent comings and goings, see our New York Giants 2018 Free Agency Scorecard.