Dec 312023
 
Jamie Gillan and Mason Crosby, New York Giants (December 31, 2023)

So Close, But Yet So Far – © USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES RAMS 26 – NEW YORK GIANTS 25
The New York Giants came close to upsetting the red-hot Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, but untimely missed throws, dropped passes, missed tackles, penalties, and missed kicks hurt the team. The Giants lost 26-25, falling to 5-11 on the season with one more game to play.

In terms of overall team stats, the Rams held slight advantages in first downs (22 to 17), total net yards (391 to 389), net yards passing (286 to 284), and time of possession (30:11 to 29:49). Both teams rushed for 105 yards. The Giants won the turnover battle 3 to 1.

The Rams received the football to start the game, gained 54 yards on 10 plays, but had their 4th-and-3 passing attempt from the New York 21-yard fall incomplete, turning the ball over on downs. The Giants went three-and-out on their first possession. The Rams then responded with an 8-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard run for a touchdown by running back Kyren Williams. Rams 7 – Giants 0.

The Giants tied the game on their second offensive possession with a 9-play, 75-yard drive. The Giants overcame a 3rd-and-4 and 3rd-and-6 before a 24-yard end-around for the score by wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson early in the 2nd quarter.

After both teams exchanged punts, the Giants got the ball back when safety Dane Belton intercepted an overthrown pass by quarterback Mathew Stafford. However, the Giants gave the ball right back to the Rams after a failed 4th-and-1 conversion attempt at the New York 46-yard line. Eight plays later, Stafford threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-7.

The last 1:44 of the first half was eventful. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s deep pass intended for wide receiver Darius Slayton was intercepted at the Los Angeles 27-yard line. On the very next snap, Stafford completed a 16-yard pass over the middle, but cornerback Adoree’ Jackson forced a fumble that was recovered by Belton, setting up New York at the Rams’ 43-yard line. The Giants managed to gain 30 yards in the last 58 seconds to set up a 31-yard field goal as time expired. (The first attempt was blocked however the Rams were flagged with a leaping penalty).

At the half, the Rams led 14-10.

The Giants gained one first down and crossed midfield, but were forced to punt after Taylor was sacked on the team’s first drive of the second half. Then on 3rd-and-4 from the Los Angeles 18-yard line, Stafford completed a short pass to wide receiver Puka Nacua that he broke for an 80-yard gain to the New York 2-yard line. Williams scored on the next play. The Rams missed the extra point. Rams 20 – Giants 10.

After both teams exchanged punts again, the Giants overcame a 3rd-and-10 with an 11-yard completion to tight end Darren Waller. On the next snap, Taylor threw a beautiful deep pass to Slayton that was completed for an 80-yard touchdown. However, place kicker Mason Crosby missed the extra point and the Giants trailed 20-16.

Momentum continued to shift in the Giants direction as Belton intercepted his second pass on Los Angeles’ ensuing possession, setting up the Giants at the Rams’ 34-yard line. The Giants converted on 4th-and-1 at the 25-yard line, reached the 10, but were pushed back and forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal. The Giants now only trailed by one point early in the 4th quarter, 20-19.

Here is where momentum quickly shifted back to the Rams. The Giants defense allowed a quick, 3-play, 75-yard score with two chunk plays, including a 37-yard pass by Stafford and a 28-yard touchdown run by Williams. The Rams missed the extra point again, but now extended their lead to 26-19 with 12 minutes to play.

The Giants gained two first downs and reached the Los Angeles 42-yard line, but were pushed back with another sack. After an 18-yard gain on 3rd-and-19, the Giants went for it on 4th-and-1, however Taylor’s completion to wide receiver Jalin Hyatt lost a yard, turning the ball over on downs at the Rams’ 34-yard line. Both teams then exchanged punts again.

With 4:46 left to play, the Rams began another possession, gained a first down, but then Stafford was sacked on 3rd-and-7 by inside linebacker Bobby Okereke and defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches. The ensuing punt was fielded by wideout Gunner Olszewski, who broke a tackle en route to a 94-yard score. Trailing by one point, 26-25, Head Coach Brian Daboll went for two. Unfortunately, Taylor badly missed a wide open running back Saquon Barkley for what should have been an easy 2-point conversion.

The Rams got the ball back with 3:27 left to play. On 3rd-and-9, linebacker Isaiah Simmons sacked Stafford for a 10-yard loss. After the punt and a 10-yard holding penalty on cornerback Darnay Holmes, the Giants had the ball on their own 35-yard line with 1:08 left to play. Barkley dropped a pass, but Taylor then scrambled for 31 yards to the Los Angeles 34-yard line. Taylor decided to spike the ball with 43 seconds left, losing a down. Oddly, the Giants ran the ball to Barkley with no timeouts. Worse, this play lost two yards. Taylor’s 3rd-and-12 pass was incomplete. Crosby’s 54-yard field goal came up short with 30 seconds to play and the Rams ran out the clock.

Taylor finished the game 27-of-41 for 319 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also was the team’s leading rusher with 40 yards on six carries. Robinson caught six passes for 55 yards and rushed for a 24-yard touchdown. Waller had five catches for 51 yards and Slayton had four catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. Barkley was held to 39 yards on 12 carries.

Defensively, Okereke led the team with 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a tackle for a loss. Simmons and linebacker Jihad Ward each had a sack and Nunez-Roches had a half-sack. Belton picked off two passes and recovered a fumble.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ELEVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Saturday, placed TE Lawrence Cager (groin) on Injured Reserve and signed ILB Darrian Beavers to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. The Giants also activated (standard elevation) WR Dennis Houston and PK Mason Crosby from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were CB Deonte Banks (shoulder), WR Parris Campbell, WR Dennis Houston, OC Sean Harlow, DT Timmy Horne, OLB Benton Whitley, and S Gervarrius Owens.

RT Tyre Phillips (right knee) and S Jason Pinnock (foot) were injured in the game. It is feared that the injury to Phillips is serious. Pinnock was wearing boot in the locker room, but he said x-rays were negative.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

CRAIG FITZGERALD DEPARTS GIANTS…
The Florida Gators have hired Craig Fitzgerald to be their new director of football performance. Fitzgerald had been the Giants’ director of strength and performance since 2020 when he was hired by then head coach Joe Judge.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Monday.

Nov 052023
 

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS 30 – NEW YORK GIANTS 6
The New York Giants were badly defeated 30-6 by the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Giants fell to 2-7 on the season.

However, the bigger story for the franchise is what is feared to be a season-ending ACL injury to quarterback Daniel Jones’ right knee. Jones was injured on the first play of the 2nd quarter when his knee buckled without contact. An MRI will determine the actual severity of the injury.

The Giants were not performing well in the game before the injury, trailing 7-0. New York went three-and-out on their first drive and turned the ball over on downs on a failed 4th-and-1 at the Las Vegas 34-yard line on their second possession. Meanwhile, the Raiders easily drove for a touchdown on a 6-play, 67-yard effort on their first possession before going three-and-out on their second possession.

It was on New York’s third drive that began late in the 1st quarter where Jones got hurt. After crossing midfield, Jones moved away from pressure on 2nd-and-17 and had his knee buckle underneath him without contact for what officially become a 10-yard sack. He was replaced by Tommy DeVito, with the team punting one play later.

After the Raiders and Giants exchanged punts, Las Vegas drove 65 yards in eight plays to extend their lead to 14-0 with just over five minutes to go before halftime. The Giants crossed midfield on the ensuing possession after a 26-yard run by halfback Saquon Barkley. On the very next snap, DeVito’s deep pass to wide receiver Jalin Hyatt was underthrown, intercepted at the goal line, and returned 40 yards. It took the Raiders just four plays to travel 60 yards and go up 21-0.

The situation got worse when DeVito’s very next pass went off the hands of wideout Darius Slayton and was picked off by the Raiders again, setting up Las Vegas on the Giants’ 25-yard line. The Raiders were forced to settle for a 24-yard field goal, but at the break, the game was already over with Las Vegas ahead 24-0.

The Raiders extended their lead on their first possession of the second half, driving 47 yards in 14 plays to set up 46-yard field goal. Raiders 27 – Giants 0. After exchanging three-and-outs, the Giants finally managed to get on the scoreboard with a drive that began with five minutes left in the 3rd quarter. New York gained 84 yards in 11 plays with DeVito throwing a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson early in the 4th quarter. The 2-point conversion attempt failed and the Giants trailed 27-6.

The rest of the 4th quarter was pretty uneventful. The Raiders punted twice more and added another field goal while the Giants turned the football over on downs on three straight possessions. The Raiders took it easy on the Giants at the end, running the ball on 4th-and-4 from the New York 34-yard line.

The final stats were oddly equal. Both teams gained 15 first downs. The Raiders out-gained the Giants in total yards 334 to 227, with rushing yards practically the same (125 for the Raiders and 123 for the Giants). However, the Giants turned the football over twice and allowed eight sacks. The Raiders had no turnovers or allowed sacks.

DeVito finished 15-of-20 for 175 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Jones as 4-of-9 for 25 yards. Barkley carried the ball 16 times for 90 yards. New York’s defense only had one hit on the quarterback and only two pass defenses.

GAME VIDEO LOWLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Saturday, the Giants placed QB Tyrod Taylor (ribs) and TE Darren Waller (hamstring) on Injured Reserve. The team also signed TE Lawrence Cager to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad.

The Giants activated (standard elevation) OLB Justin Hollins and PK Randy Bullock from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were RB Jashaun Corbin (hamstring), OT Joshua Miles, OL Sean Harlow, DL Jordon Riley, S Gervarrius Owens, and PK Cade York.

QB Daniel Jones (knee), CB Adoree’ Jackson (concussion), and RT Evan Neal (ankle) left the game with injuries.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video)
  • QB Tommy DeVito (Video)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (Video)
  • LB Andrew Thomas (Video)
  • RT Evan Neal (Video)
  • DL Dexter Lawrence (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Oct 202023
 
Tyrod Taylor, New York Giants (October 15, 2023)

Tyrod Taylor – © USA TODAY Sports

OCTOBER 20, 2023 GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The following four players did not practice on Friday:

  • OL Andrew Thomas (hamstring – out against Commanders)
  • OL Evan Neal (ankle – questionable against Commanders)
  • OL OL John Michael Schmitz (shoulder – out against Commanders)
  • OL Matt Peart (shoulder – out against Commanders)

The following four players were limited in practice:

  • QB Daniel Jones (neck – questionable against Commanders)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (neck – questionable against Commanders)
  • PK Graham Gano (knee)

The following six players fully practiced:

  • RB Gary Brightwell (ankle)
  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee)
  • OL Mark Glowinski (quad/ankle)
  • DL D.J. Davidson (knee)
  • CB Tre Hawkins (knee)
  • CB Cor’Dale Flott (ankle/shoulder)

Daniel Jones still has not been cleared for contact according to Head Coach Brian Daboll.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
As expected, the Giants have re-signed TE Lawrence Cager to the team’s Practice Squad. Cager was released from the 53-man roster earlier this week. The Giants have also terminated the Practice Squad contract of WR Cole Beasley, who reportedly requested his release to pursue other opportunities.

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the Giants on Saturday. The team plays the Washington Commanders at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

Oct 182023
 
Josh Miles, Arizona Cardinals (August 13, 2021)

Josh Miles – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The Giants have made the following roster moves:

  • Placed OL Joshua Ezeudu on Injured Reserve with a toe injury that he suffered in the game against the Buffalo Bills. Head Coach Brian Daboll said he did not know if Ezeudu will return this year; his season may be over.
  • Waived OT Jalen Mayfield from the 53-man roster and re-signed him to the Practice Squad. Mayfield was signed to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad on Saturday.
  • Waived TE Lawrence Cager from the 53-man roster.
  • Re-signed OL Tyre Phillips to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad of the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Signed OT Josh Miles to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad of the Atlanta Falcons.
  • Signed OL Justin Pugh to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad.

The Giants originally claimed Tyre Phillips off of waivers from the Baltimore Ravens in early September 2022. He played in 12 games with five starts, including four games at right tackle when Evan Neal was out and the regular-season finale at left tackle. The 6’5”, 330-pound Phillips was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Ravens. He has experience playing both guard and tackle.

The 27-year old, 6’5”, 325-pound Miles was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He has played in 17 games with no starts. Miles missed all of 2022 with an undisclosed injury and was signed by the Falcons in March 2023.

The Carolina Panthers signed S Alex Cook off of the Giants’ Practice Squad to their 53-man roster.

OCTOBER 18, 2023 GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
The following five players did not practice on Wednesday:

  • OL Andrew Thomas (hamstring)
  • OL OL John Michael Schmitz (shoulder)
  • OL Evan Neal (ankle)
  • OL Matt Peart (shoulder)
  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee – maintenance day)

The following seven players were limited in practice:

  • QB Daniel Jones (neck)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle)
  • OL Mark Glowinski (quad/ankle)
  • OL Shane Lemieux (biceps/groin)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (neck)
  • CB Cor’Dale Flott (ankle/shoulder)
  • PK Graham Gano (knee)

The following three players fully practiced:

  • RB Gary Brightwell (ankle)
  • DL D.J. Davidson (knee)
  • CB Tre Hawkins (knee)

Daniel Jones has not yet been cleared for contact. “He’s doing better,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice. “He’ll be out here today at practice doing some stuff. We’ll see where we’re at… He’ll be throwing, and I would say he’s eager to come back. He wants to play, but obviously, just like any player, if you’re not ready to play based on the doctor’s evaluation, we won’t put him out there, but he’s getting better. That’s why we’re going to have him out here today.

“Andrew Thomas will not participate but he is getting better. He’s going to be doing stuff with the trainers. He is getting closer… (Evan Neal’s ankle is) swollen a little bit, so we’re going to rehab him.”

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice again on Thursday afternoon. The coordinators and select players will also address the media.

Jun 272023
 
Darren Waller, New York Giants (June 14, 2023)

Darren Waller – © 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: Tight Ends

2022 YEAR IN REVIEW: Heading into 2022, it appeared the New York Giants had arguably the weakest group of tight ends in the NFL. The team had parted ways with their top three tight ends: Evan Engram (who signed with the Jaguars in free agency), Kyle Rudolph (who was cut in March), and Kaden Smith (who was also cut in March after failing his physical). Chris Myarick was the only returning player. The Giants signed Ricky Seals-Jones, Jordan Akins, and Tanner Hudson, but the first two didn’t even make it to the end of August. The Giants drafted Daniel Bellinger in the 4th round and signed undrafted rookie free agents Austin Allen and Dre Miller after the draft. When the season started, the team’s three tight ends were Bellinger, Myarick (listed as a fullback), and Hudson. Not exactly a murder’s row.

Bellinger proved to be pleasant surprise and one of Daniel Jones’ few reliable targets. Coming out of the draft, he was considered more of a blocking tight end, but continued to flash in the passing game, demonstrating better-than-anticipated on-field athleticism and adjusting to pro passing concepts sooner than expected. However, he suffered a very scary and possibly career-threatening eye-injury in Week 7 when his orbital bone was fractured. Somewhat miraculously, Bellinger only missed four games. He finished the year starting 11 games, catching 30 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored on his only rushing attempt.

Lawrence Cager was signed to the Practice Squad in October after the Jets cut him and then the 53-man roster in November. He ended up playing in six regular-season games with three starts, catching 13 passes for 118 yards and one touchdown. Nick Vannett was signed to the Practice Squad in November after he was cut by the Saints and the 53-man roster in December. (Hudson was also cut at this time after playing in 11 games and catching 10 passes). Vannett ended up playing in six regular-season games with three starts for the Giants, catching four passes for 42 yards. Myarick played in 16 games with eight starts, catching just seven passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.

In summary, the position was a bit of revolving door most of the year, aside from Bellinger who had his rookie season interrupted by the eye injury.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants re-signed Lawrence Cager and Chris Myarick. They also signed unrestricted free agent Tommy Sweeney from the Bills and signed Ryan Jones as a rookie free agent after the draft. However, perhaps the most significant offseason addition to the entire team was the trade for former Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller in March.

The team made no attempt to re-sign Nick Vannett and waived Dre Miller after he failed a physical in mid-June (Miller had spent part of 2022 on the Practice Squad).

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES:  The significance of the Darren Waller acquisition still seems underappreciated. Waller’s two best seasons in the NFL were 2019 and 2020, when he caught an incredible 197 passes for 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns. He missed five games in 2021 with ankle and knee sprain injuries and eight games in 2022 with a nagging hamstring injury. None of these injuries required surgery and Waller appears completely healthy now and was a daily standout in spring practices.

Barring injury, Waller seems destined to be the team’s #1 pass receiving threat. He’s more of a TE/WR hybrid who can threaten defenses with size, speed, hands, and ability to adjust to the football. He’s a legit 6’6” target, with a big wing span, who can also run. Waller is “open” even when covered and can threaten defenses vertically down the field. Combine that skillset with Brian Daboll’s history of coaching tight ends with the Patriots (2013-2016) and Mike Kafka’s exposure to the Chiefs’ passing concepts, and it’s easy to see where this is heading. Waller will be deployed in multiple ways to create match-up problems for defenses. It’s quite telling that observers, coaches, and players were raving about him this spring.

Daniel Bellinger was getting lost in the Waller hoopla until a photographer snapped a picture of his huge arms this spring. Bellinger not only has worked his butt off this offseason to reshape his body, but he has drawn praise from Travis Kelce and George Kittle, two of the headliners at the position in the NFL. Indeed, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Waller and Bellinger could be viewed as one of the best tight end combos in 2023, quite an accomplishment given how weak the depth chart looked a year ago at this time.

The third and possibly fourth tight end spots also are now more intriguing. Lawrence Cager flashed in his limited chances as a pass receiver and could have the inside track on Waller’s primary back-up as a receiving target. Tommy Sweeney was signed from the Bills as a blocker. Chris Myarick offers tight end/fullback flexibility and special teams value. Also note that of the nine rookie free agents the team signed, Ryan Jones was given the third-most guaranteed money ($125,000).

ON THE BUBBLE: Darren Waller and Daniel Bellinger are locks. Lawrence Cager, Tommy Sweeney, Chris Myarick, and Ryan Jones will be vying for one or two roster spots.

FROM TEAM COACHES/PLAYERS: Head Coach Brian Daboll on Darren Waller: “He’s a good pro. He’s smart. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s a good communicator. He’s played a lot of football and been productive. Again, we’re still utilizing him in different ways. We’re seeing what he likes, what he feels comfortable with, what the quarterback feels comfortable with, but he’s been a pleasure to be around both in the classroom and out on the field.” (Note: Coach Daboll rarely throws praise around like this, particularly in the spring).

Mike Kafka on Darren Waller: “He’s a really talented player. He’s a great person. He’s a really good teammate. That’s one thing I’ve learned about him. He cares about his guys. He’s competitive, which we really like. We value that here. He’s doing everything we’re asking him. He’s working hard, putting in the time and effort to learn the offense and get in sync with D.J. (Daniel Jones) and the quarterbacks. He’s done a great job.”

Tight Ends Coach Andy Bischoff on the impact of Darren Waller on the other tight ends: “These guys are like a sponge. So a guy like Bellinger, he’s improved immensely in the air of Darren Waller. Lawrence Cager is improving daily just being around this guy. It’s good for the whole group in so many ways.”

Tight Ends Coach Andy Bischoff on Daniel Bellinger: “Bellinger is a guy who can help us win plays and lead to winning games, every down. Bellinger is a better version of himself today by leaps and bounds from this time a year ago. And it’s because of his own commitment, his own awareness, his own learning… He’s a guy who can play the position, he’ll do whatever’s asked. A great teammate.”

Safety Xavier McKinney on how Darren Waller changes the offense: “Really different… added piece that’s explosive, that’s able to make plays. Obviously when he’s out there, you’ve got to be aware of where he’s at, at all times… because he can make a lot of plays.”

Wide receiver Darius Slayton on Darren Waller: “He’s impressive… Somebody asks what’s an NFL tight end, you just point to Darren Waller; big, fast, can catch it. He’s been a great addition to our team.”

PREDICTIONS/CLOSING THOUGHTS: I suspect pundits will soon be asking how the heck the Giants acquired Waller for a late 3rd-round pick.

It is difficult to believe that Daboll and Kafka will have many offensive formations that have Waller or Bellinger standing on the sidelines, suggesting a heavy emphasis on 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends). But flexibility may still come from the fact that Waller is more of a WR/TE hybrid and may be employed as more of a wide receiver on many plays.

The Giants had 15 passing touchdowns in 2022. Waller had nine touchdown receptions in 2020 alone. Believe it or not, the Giants had one of the NFL’s best red-zone offenses in the NFL in 2022. Their problem was getting to the red zone. That should be less of a an issue now. I’ll go out on a limb and predict that Waller-Bellinger-Cager alone will tie the Giants’ total touchdown mark from last season. I don’t think it is crazy to think Waller could have eight touchdowns, Bellinger six touchdowns, and Cager one touchdown with Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka calling the plays.

The presence of Waller changes the entire complexion of this offense. He will draw double-team attention, opening up opportunities for Saquon Barkley (both as runner and receiver), Daniel Bellinger, Parris Campbell, Isaiah Hodgins, and the other receivers. This coaching staff knows how to use tight ends. Waller can become New York’s version of Kelce or Kittle. And if the latter two are correct about the emergence of Bellinger? Look out!

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Darren Waller, Daniel Bellinger, Lawrence Cager, Tommy Sweeney (Chris Myarick to the Practice Squad)

Feb 142023
 
Mike Kafka, New York Giants (October 7, 2022)

Mike Kafka – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS KEEP MIKE KAFKA…
Mike Kafka will be returning as the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants in 2023. The Arizona Cardinals have hired Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon as their next head coach, passing on Kafka and Cincinnati Bengals Defensive Coordinator Lou Anarumo. Kafka had also interviewed with the Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, and Houston Texans for their now-filled head coaching vacancies. All of the open head-coaching vacancies have now been filled.

The Giants learned last week that Don “Wink” Martindale would also be remaining as the team’s defensive coordinator. He had interviewed twice with the Colts.

The 35-year old Kafka first became a coach with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017, when he served an offensive quality control coach. He was then promoted by the Chiefs to quarterbacks coach (2018-2019) and then quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator (2020-2021).

GIANTS RE-SIGN LAWRENCE CAGER AND JACK ANDERSON…
The Giants have re-signed tight end Lawrence Cager and offensive guard Jack Anderson, both of whom were set to become exclusive rights free agents on March 15.

The Giants first signed Cager to the Practice Squad in October 2022 and the 53-man roster in November 2022. He ended up playing in six regular-season games with three starts, catching 13 passes for 118 yards and one touchdown. The 6’5”, 220-pound Cager was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New York Jets after the 2020 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jets (2020-2021, 2022) and Cleveland Browns (2021). The Jets cut him in mid-October 2022. Cager has played in 10 regular-season games with five starts.

The Giants claimed Anderson off of waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles in late August 2022. He played in 12 regular-season games with two starts, one at left guard against the Cowboys and one at right guard against the Eagles. He was a bit shaky against these top two defensive lines. The 6’4”, 314-pound Anderson was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Bills. The Eagles signed Anderson off of Buffalo’s Practice Squad in September 2021. He played in two games with one start for Philadelphia. Anderson spent part of the 2021 season on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury.

Nov 222022
 
Richie James, New York Giants (November 20, 2022)

Richie James – © USA TODAY Sports

NOVEMBER 22, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Since the Giants only held a walk-thru on Tuesday, the following is projection:

TE Daniel Bellinger (eye), OG Josh Ezeudu (neck), OC Jon Feliciano (neck), OG Shane Lemieux (toe), OT Andrew Thomas (illness), CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee), and CB Fabiran Moreau (oblique) did not practice.

WR Richie James (knee), OT Evan Neal (knee), OT Tyre Phillips (neck), S Dane Belton (clavicle), and S Jason Pinnock (jaw) were limited in practice.

ROSTER MOVES…
The Giants have signed tight end Lawrence Cager to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. The 6’5”, 220-pound Cager was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New York Jets after the 2020 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jets (2020-2021, 2022) and Cleveland Browns (2021). The Giants signed Cager to the Practice Squad in October 2022 after he was cut by the Jets. He has appeared in three games for the Giants this season.

The Giants also signed tight end Nick Vannett to the Practice Squad. The 29-year old, 6’6”, 261-pound Vannett was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He has spent time with the Seahawks (2016-2019), Pittsburgh Steelers (2019), Denver Broncos (2020), and New Orleans Saints (2021-2022). The Saints cut him last Saturday. Vannett has played in 80 regular-season games with 35 starts, accruing 86 catches for 832 yards and six touchdowns.

NOVEMBER 22, 2022 BRIAN DABOLL PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Tuesday (VIDEO):

Daboll: Just had a walkthrough. Got another walkthrough. In terms of the injuries, which I know there will be a lot of questions about, here’s where we’re at with that. Belly (tight end Daniel Bellinger) won’t make it. (Cornerback) Adoree’ (Jackson) won’t make it. And everybody else is going to come right up to the last second what we decide to do – treatment, talk to the doctors, the athletic trainers. So, relative to where everybody else is at, it’s going to be a last second decision that we make.

Q: If that’s the case with all the other guys you’re talking about, that sounds like relatively good news with all these other guys if it’s a possibility.

A: It’s a possibility, but it’s also not a possibility. That’s what I’m saying. It’s going to go right to the end. We’ll see who we have healthy.

Q: Did you sign (tight end) Nick Vannett?

A: Practice squad.

Q: What’s your message to the guys with this situation being what it is as the injuries have piled up?

A: Prepare to play a game. It’s really that simple: prepare to play a game. (It’s) a short week; everybody plays them. So, do a good job in the walk throughs. Do a good job on studying the team that we’re playing, and make sure that we’re ready to go. Take care of our bodies and get ready to go to Dallas.

Q: Do you feel snake bitten, or do you feel like this is the league and this is what it is?

A: It’s the NFL; every team deals with injuries. So, next guy up. And let’s get ready to play.

Q: Have you sensed anything from (tackle) Evan (Neal) this week in terms of wanting to get back on the field? Not just to get back on the field, but to play the Cowboys again. He had kind of a clunker there.

A: Of course, he wants to get back on the field. I’d say what’s tough is just how we’re getting ready to play this game. Of course, he wants to be out there. We’ll see. Again, it’s more. It’s not necessarily, ‘Go out there and run around.’ It’s really treatment, talk to the trainers, talk to the player. And then we’ll make our decision. We’ll try to take it as long as we can. And if obviously someone says they just can’t go, then they can’t go. But all these other guys, we’re going to hold out hope to see who can make it.

Q: Is (outside linebacker) Azeez in that group? (Azeez) Ojulari – is he in that group?

A: No. He won’t go.

Q: (Cornerback Fabian) Moreau is in that group, right?

A: He is. Yep.

Q: Assuming the worst and he can’t, how do you feel about (defensive back Cor’Dale) Flott, (cornerback Nick) McCloud, (cornerback) Rodarius (Williams)?

A: Yeah, all those guys. All those guys are.

Q: How ready are they for the challenge of the Cowboys?

A: They’re preparing to be ready to play. That’s why they’re on the roster.

Q: How much do you have to change your defensive approach a little bit with so many guys possibly down in the secondary?

A: I think we do that a little bit each week. So, it’s really no different this week. Obviously, you try to do what you can do for the guys that are out there. You put them in the best positions. That’s really no different than any other week.

Q: Will you put Adoree’ on IR?

A: Not right now. He’s a lot better today.

Q: With the Cowboys, they kind of look a little bit different than the last time you played them with (Cowboys quarterback) Dak (Prescott) back. It seems like (running back Tony) Pollard is a lot more involved in the backfield than he was. How much has that offense changed in just the few weeks since you last saw them?

A: I think they’ve always been a good offense. They have a lot of good skill players. I think their roster construction has been really good with really offense, defense and the kicking game. This is a dynamic team, I’d say, in every area. They’ve got great skill players. When I say skill players, I also include defensive ends, who are skill players. Explosive – scored a lot of points, obviously, last week. (They had) seven sacks, 40 points against an 8-1 team at their place. It will be a huge challenge.

Q: I know you always want to run the ball, but with that pass rush and their defense in particular, how much maybe more important does that even become this week for you guys?

A: Really, I think it’s execution. If you get into passing situations against this team, I mean put on the tape, there’s a bunch of negative plays. So, if you’re playing the game in third-and-long or second-and-long, or if you get behind and you got to try to make up ground, that’s a bad spot to be in against this team.

Q: There’s an old axiom that the season really starts after Thanksgiving. Do you subscribe to that?

A: Yeah, all the places I’ve been. Again, you put yourself in a position at this time of year. Every game matters – the games we play in the beginning. As it gets closer to the end, you got to treat it the same as you treat every other game. And we have a division game that we’re playing a team that’s really good.

Q: What happened with (wide receiver) Richie James? He’s listed on the injury report.

A: His knee was bothering him. So, he’s kind of another guy in that boat. We’ll see where he’s at.

Q: Did he hurt it making the tackle on that interception?

A: I don’t know exactly when it happened. I think he’ll be fine. Again, we’ll take it all the way to the end. I think he’ll be fine. I think he will be ready to go. I just don’t want to say one hundred percent.

Q: If he’s not ready to go, I guess the punt returner situation kind of keeps going in flux?

A: Yeah, we’ll have the next guy ready to go.

Q: What do you see from your guys? I think you’ll probably agree that was your worst game of the year against Detroit. You have an opportunity now, they have an opportunity – everybody watches pretty much on Thanksgiving, everyone will be sitting there watching – big opportunity for you guys?

A: Yeah. I mean look, every week is a new week. Whether you win or whether you lose, you try not to focus on results – you focus on the things you can do to get better whether you win or lose. I’ve said that from the get-go and that’s been our approach. That’ll always be our approach.

Q: With Dallas’ ability to rush the passer and make negative plays on defense – how much is (quarterback) Daniel’s (Jones) mobility and ability to get out of there an asset?

A: Yeah, I think any time you have an athletic quarterback… Look, they’re very athletic, they’ve created a bunch of them, they get after the quarterback. Again, I think it’s more about the situation and they force them. They’re really good in those situations and, unfortunately, they’re really good on early downs, too. Being able to produce positive plays is going to be a key thing for us. We get into those situations, they’ve done it to everybody – they did it to us the first game, they did it last week. They’ve done it to everybody. They have dynamic players, and they get after the passer. To have a guy that can use his legs to get out of it, it’s certainly a little bit different than just a guy that stands back there.

Q: When you went back and looked at (running back) Saquon’s (Barkley) day, was there anything that you didn’t know before watching that you do now?

A: Which one?

Q: This last game.

A: No. Pretty much what I said. It takes everybody.

Q: Will the result of this game, after your conversations with (general manager) Joe Schoen and throughout this week, will the result of this game impact how aggressive you would or wouldn’t be in adding players?

A: No, I think we’d do the same stuff every week – try to be consistent regardless of results and do what’s best for our team.

Q: You’ve talked all year about you just never know in this league because any week you can be humbled. Do you feel like this team was humbled a bit on Sunday?

A: No, we lost the game. We were 3-0 on turnover ratio. Teams that do that this year are 1-18. There are some certain things we could have coached better, played better. We want to win every game; we didn’t do enough to win that game and you got to move on quickly – particularly when you got a short week.

Q: Do you like your team, the way you’ve built it, to respond on a short week with all the circumstances that you’ve had?

A: I’ve liked everything about the guys since I got here. They work hard, they’re humble guys, they do everything we ask them to do. They go out there, they play as hard as they can play. Again, we don’t always like the results, but these guys are putting everything they’ve got into it – everybody is putting everything they got into it, and we’ll always do that.

Q: What does it mean to you and your team to have this opportunity to play on Thanksgiving?

A: This is the sixth time that I’ve been part of this game, not necessarily against Dallas – third time against Dallas, I think. It’s great, it’s a great tribute – you know? You remember when you’re a kid, sitting down and watching television and the games and Madden and turducken and all those type of things. Again, we got a big challenge ahead of us in Dallas and that’s where we got to keep it.

Q: With that time slot, everybody on Thanksgiving seems to watch that game. Do you talk to your players about this is an opportunity as a showcase to show the country how good you are?

A: I don’t. I don’t because we play Sunday nights, Monday nights. I think you got to keep the focus the focus and, again, with the short week, there’s not a lot of time so we got to do everything we can do to get ready.

Q: Have you had a turducken before?

A: I have not. Might look like I did, but I didn’t.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the Giants on Wednesday as the team travels to Texas. The Giants play the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Nov 132022
 
Jaylon Smith and Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants (November 13, 2022)

Jaylon Smith and Dexter Lawrence – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 24 – HOUSTON TEXANS 16…
The New York Giants defeated the Houston Texans 24-16 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the win, the surprising Giants are now 7-2 on the season.

In terms of overall team statistics, the Texans actually held advantages in first downs (22 to 19), total net yards (387 to 367), and net yards passing (286 to 176). But the Giants were better on 3rd down (50% to 30%), rushing the ball (191 to 101), and time of possession (33:20 to 26:40). The Giants also won the turnover battle 2 to 0.

The New York defense completely shut down the Texans in the 1st quarter, forcing three separate 3-and-outs as Houston was held to -3 yards. Meanwhile, the Giants took an early 7-0 lead that they never relinquished by driving 68 yards in 10 plays on their first drive. Aside from two short third-down conversions, the big play on this drive was a 36-yard completion from quarterback Daniel Jones to wide receiver Darius Slayton. Two plays later, Jones connected with tight end Lawrence Cager for the 9-yard touchdown pass.

After that impressive opening drive, the New York offense slept walk for the remainder of the first half. The Giants punted four straight times before having their final possession of the half end with a sack. Houston wasn’t much better, punting two more times for a total of five times in six drives. However, early in the 2nd quarter running back Dameon Pierce broke off a 44-yard run. This set up a 38-yard field goal.

At the half, the Giants led 7-3.

After combining for just 10 points in the first half, both teams exploded for three straight touchdowns in the 3rd quarter. The Giants received the football after halftime and they needed just five plays to travel 75 yards for the score. On 3rd-and-9 from the New York 46-yard line, Jones threw a short pass to Slayton, who made man miss e route to a 54-yard catch-and-run score. Giants 14 – Texans 3.

But just as it seemed like the Giants had finally taken control of the game, Houston responded with a 7-play, 75-yard effort. The drive ended with a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Davis Mills to wide receiver Nico Collins. Giants 14 – Texans 10.

Back came the Giants, this time driving 74 yards in 12 plays. New York converted on two 3rd-and-7 yard situations, the first being an 11-yard pass to wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and the second a 26-yard pass to wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins. Running back Saquon Barkley finished the possession with a 2-yard touchdown run. Giants 21 – Texans 10.

The Giants’ defense began to bend again on the ensuing possession with tight end Jordan Akins breaking off a 46-yard catch-and-run as the 3rd quarter ended. But two plays later, on 2nd-and-goal from the 10-yard line, defensive lineman Leonard Williams forced Pierce to fumble. The loose ball was recovered by inside linebacker Jaylon Smith. The Giants went three-and-out with a 13-yard punt by Jamie Gillan. A 19-yard Houston touchdown pass was wiped out by a holding penalty against defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence. On the very next snap, Lawrence pressured the quarterback and his pass was intercepted in the end zone by safety Dane Belton.

The Giants picked up a couple of first downs and then punted. Starting from their own 8-yard line, Houston drove 76 yards in 12 plays, but could get no closer than the 16-yard line. The Texans settled for a 34-yard field goal with 2:22 left in the game. Giants 21 – Texans 13.

The ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Giants. The Giants did not pick up a first down, but they forced the Texans to use their remaining time outs and place kicker Graham Gano nailed the 49-yard field goal to extend the lead to 24-13 with less than two minutes to play.

The Texans gained 58 yards on three straight passes, but then Mills was sacked by safety Jason Pinnock on 1st-and-10 from the New York 17-yard line.With just 11 seconds on the clock, the Texans kicked the 46-yard field goal. They attempted another onside kick, but the Giants recovered that as well and the game ended on a kneel down by Jones.

Jones finished the game 13-of-17 for 197 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 153.3. Slayton had three catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Barkley rushed 35 times for 152 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Giants accrued four sacks: 1.5 by Pinnock, one each by Lawrence and outside linebacker Jihad Ward, and 0.5 sacks by Williams. Lawrence had a monster game, being credited with 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss, 5 quarterback hits, and 1 pass defense. Williams had 9 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson had 6 tackles and 2 pass defenses.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Saturday, the Giants activated OT Matt Peart from the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform List. Peart tore his left ACL in December 2021 and only returned to practice on October 25.

The Giants activated (standard elevation) TE Lawrence Cager and DL Henry Mondeaux from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster on the same day.

Inactive for the game were TE Daniel Bellinger (eye), RT Evan Neal (knee), WR David Sills, OT Devery Hamilton, ILB Austin Calitro, and OLB Quincy Roche.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Oct 192022
 
Marcus Johnson, New York Giants (October 16, 2022)

Marcus Johnson – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS SIGN MARCUS JOHNSON TO 53-MAN ROSTER…
The New York Giants signed wide receiver Marcus Johnson to the 53-man roster on Tuesday. Johnson had been elevated to the game-day roster for the past three games, catching five passes for 60 yards.

The 6’1”, 207-pound Johnson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Eagles (2016-2017), Seattle Seahawks (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2018–2020), Tennessee Titans (2021), and San Francisco 49ers (2022). The Giants signed him to the Practice Squad in early September. Johnson has played in 44 regular-season games with 14 starts, catching 56 passes for 899 yards and three touchdowns.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
On Tuesday, the Giants signed offensive tackle Korey Cunningham and tight end Lawrence Cager to the Practice Squad. The team also terminated the Practice Squad contract of tight end Austin Allen.

The Giants terminated the contract of Cunningham in July 2022 with a non-football injury. The 27-year old, 6’6”, 311-pound Cunningham was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He was traded to the New England Patriots in August 2019. The Patriots cut Cunningham in late August 2021. The Giants signed Cunningham was signed to the Practice Squad in early September 2021 and the 53-man roster in October 2021. He ended up playing in 12 games with no starts. His only significant playing time came in Week 16 at right tackle, filling in for the injured Matt Peart. In four NFL seasons, Cunningham has played in 30 regular-season games, with six starts, all with the Cardinals in 2018. He has experience at both tackle positions.

The 25-year-old, 6’5”, 220-pound Cager was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New York Jets after the 2020 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Jets (2020-2021, 2022) and Cleveland Browns (2021). The Jets cut him on Saturday. Cager has played in four regular-season games with two starts, catching two passes for 35 yards.

Allen was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2022 NFL Draft.

OCTOBER 19, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
WR Kenny Golladay (knee), WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), OLB Oshane Ximines (quad), CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf), and S Jason Pinnock (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday.

RB Saquon Barkley (shoulder), OT Andrew Thomas (elbow), OC Jon Feliciano (groin), and OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf) practiced on a limited basis.

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available on YouTube.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday afternoon (12:45-2:45PM). The coordinators and select players will also address the media.